May 26, 2022 10:19 AM
vanda nosseo in velgarth shortly after the Cataclysm
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"I was not Urtho. I was Ma'ar." 

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- Tsashi recoils, involuntarily. 

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And this is why nothing is all right, actually, and it never will be. Not for him. Whether or not the wealthy aliens arriving to fix everything are angry with him is so far beyond the point. 

Maybe Tsashi understands why, now. Which is good. Horror is the appropriate response. 

 

 

 

Lionstar doesn't say anything. 

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"I - I, Lionstar–" 

She shouldn't, Tsashi knows she shouldn't leave, that it's one of the worst things she could do to him right now - and it's true what she said before, that she already knows all of the things about him that matter, and ten seconds ago she thought it made sense of everything and so why is this different - 

- and she's not angry, that's not it at all, but it suddenly feels like she can't breathe and she can't think

She manages to gasp out something that is hopefully comprehensible as 'I'm sorry' and she scrambles up and stumbles over to the ladder and manages to make it out of the cellar before she bursts into tears, and runs out of the building and down the narrow 'street' and past Zanro's shop, sobbing too hard to see where she's going, and she trips and falls and sits in the dust. Tries to cry quietly because the last thing she needs right now is for the entire town to hear her. 

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Tarwë hears her.

He extricates himself from his conversation, and he goes and sits next to her on the ground.

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It's utterly pointless and unhelpful to be angry with the visitors from Vanda Nossëo - even moreso than being angry with Lionstar, which she isn't - and yet. 

Tsashi manages to glare at the ground instead of at Tarwë.

"Can you," she gulps, swallows, "can someone go - Lionstar - he shouldn't be alone - thinks I'm angry with him...

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"Where is he?"

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She attempts, not entirely coherently but with lots of gestures, to indicate which building he's in the basement of. 

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"I can drop by, but if he doesn't answer the door there's not much else I can do," says Tarwë. And he gets up and brushes dust off himself and goes looking for where to knock.

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The door to the house and the trapdoor that usually separates the basement are both wide open, courtesy of Tsashi's frantic flight. He's probably down there? 

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Yeah no Tarwë is not going to just walk into his house. Knock knock?

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The basement is reasonably sound-isolated even with the trapdoor open, and it takes Lionstar a few moments to recognize what the odd thumping sound must be. (Knocking on doors is not, per se, an established tradition here; people yell or they just walk in.) 

Probably one of the visitors, then. Is there a problem already? He sighs and hauls himself to his feet and crosses the basement to where he'll have a better chance of being heard. "What do you need?" 

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"I don't, but Tsashi suggested it might not be good for you to be alone."

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"Oh." It is very obvious that Lionstar has no idea what to do with this. "I - is she all right?" 

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"Emotional, but not obviously traumatized. I don't have a lot of practice with humans yet."

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Lionstar nods, shakily. "I - told her something about my past that I - could not keep secret anymore. It upset her. ...I told Zanro because it seemed relevant to Vanda Nossëo's decisionmaking here. She ought maybe speak with him." His voice is very flat. 

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"He's still in the shop. I think she knows where to find him if she wants. But I can suggest it to her."

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"Thank you. I - she might be worried that I do not want her to talk to him behind my back? But it would be easier than explaining." 

He wants to apologize and he wants to say that he doesn't think he would ever have done this deliberately, but he doesn't know that, he can't know what he was thinking at the time, and the people to whom he most deeply owes his apologies...aren't here anymore. 

 

 

Tarwë is still there

"I suppose I would rather not be alone," he says stiffly, because apparently he isn't willing to just lie about that, "but I do not see why that should be your problem." 

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"Well, if you want me to leave, I will, but if you don't, I can sit here and listen, or if you don't feel like chatting I could sing."

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Lionstar is trying to think through all the things he needs to do before he can reasonably stop doing things for a while, but it's not working very well. 

He wants several thousand things. Whether Tarwë stays or goes and whether he sings or listens isn't an input toward any of them, which makes it very hard to tell if he has a preference. 

"You can sing if you want." Maybe that will be the right amount of distracting to get him to stop thinking about pointless tragedies he can't undo, and instead think about the future.

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Tsashi, after a couple of minutes of sniffling and trying very hard to calm down, does of her own accord go seek out Zanro at the shop. 

"Lionstar told me the thing he told you." She fidgets. "I mean, probably it was the same thing?" If there are MULTIPLE THINGS of that magnitude then she might explode. 

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"Did he?" says Zanro. "I take it it was a big shock."

(Tarwë's singing is beautiful, and sad. Allspeak lets you speak other languages, it doesn't oblige you to; he sings in incomprehensible Quenya, grieving for the dead.)

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Tsashi is going to talk to the alien CALMLY and with COMPOSURE and not like her world was just turned upside down and sideways. 

She shrugs. "Yeah. I guess. I– it makes sense of some things but it's also confusing? He - said he was one of the mages who fought in the war that caused the Cataclysm, and I thought he meant he was Urtho. But he was - the other one. I don't know why! I don't get why anyone would fight Urtho, he was the best mage in the entire world, he had a school and taught thousands of people. I...guess I didn't really think about it before? I was sort of thinking of it like Ma'ar - wasn't the sort of person who did things for reasons. But everyone does things for reasons. Lionstar does things for good reasons that make sense and so I think Ma'ar must've too and I don't know what the reasons are that I'm missing! Maybe Urtho was really horrible somehow. - It would also be really upsetting if it turns out Urtho was horrible somehow, my grandparents were in his army..."

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"Bet you my grandparents were in a worse army," says Zanro wryly. "Even for a war that's ongoing, it's really hard to tell what's going on and be sure why everyone doing things is doing them. After the fact? With no records? Rebuilding everything from scratch? It's remarkable you know their names. But I don't have any more context than you, I'm afraid."

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She is not going to ask him about the army his grandparents were in right now even though she's suddenly very curious. 

"I guess I would have to ask Lionstar. If I want to know more. But I think he doesn't want to talk about it, and," she scuffs at the dirt with her foot, "and I told him before he said anything that I didn't think anything he could say would matter that much to - to who I expect him to be, 'cause I already know that, from what he's done for the last twenty years helping us. ...Only now I dunno why he helped us, instead of whoever survived from his country's army." 

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