Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:55 am

She dropped her hand as if Menel's deliberate refusal to shake it meant nothing to her, rolling her shoulders in a shrug. "Good to know." She didn't seem to react at all to the emotion in Menel's gaze, though her eyes softened a little when he looked out towards where Laven had left. A generous mouth suddenly smiled, and her posture relaxed noticeably.

"Good. My dog likes you, so it'd be a shame to have to get rid of you so soon, snowflake." The woman grinned wider and reached for some of the remaining bacon. "Even if you did feed him so now he's gonna be farting all over the place." She took a savage bite of the strip of meat, knowing exactly how blunt her words were.

As if summoned, Mac ghosted back into the room, the heavy look he gave his owner reducing her to a raspy laugh before she tossed him the remainder of her bacon.
"Oh get over yourself you great big windbag. If you're gonna be choking me out all day you can have some bloody bacon. Wont make a difference now." She rolled her eyes and winked at Menel in the same way Laven had earlier before ruffling her hound's ears.

Laven stepped into the room while Revina was teasing Mac with a bit of bread, shaking his head at his cousin's deliberate refusal to try and keep the dog's diet healthy. Black eyes glanced over to red and she tossed the bread away, much to Mac's delight. Quickly her hands flew in front of her chest, a rapid fire pattern of gestures and curled fingers. Laven responded in kind. Face blank from years of careful control. Only their hands seemed to show any emotion, the sound of hands meeting palms loud in the silence of their voices.


What did she want?

To get the blankets and update me on Gwenny. She'll live. I won't get the full pay though.

What, why? Did you miss him or something?

Or something. Can we talk about this later? I don't want to make Menel uncomfortable.

He's half naked in our dining room. I don't think he could be less uncomfortable. I have new jobs for you upstairs. Look them over at least. Gonna need the extra cash now.


"Yes mother," Laven intoned out loud, before smiling over at Menel. The swordsman was still in one piece, which means whatever Revina had said to him while Laven was occupied hadn't been too horrible. Careful that what she could have said would put Menel off, Laven stepped around the table and leaned his hip against the side of the human's chair. "You two played nice, I hope?" Revina snorted in reply, standing up and popping the bones in her neck before beginning to leave. She stopped in the doorway and looked Menel over one more time with a leer in her eye.

"You and me should fight sometime, snowflake. I wanna see what your made of under all that pretty muscle." Then she was gone, her white dog trailing after her. Laven could only sigh in response.
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:24 am

From the corner of his eye he saw her relax in her seat, her words far less direct and harsh and more like her posture. Her and Laven were alike in a way. He found it hard to actually argue with either of them. Even when he half felt like he should. Menel pushed a hand through his hair.

Mac came back in as though his owner talking about him had summoned him and Menel grinned at the dog. He still had a bit of food left so... Without anymore probing questions Menel set to clearing the last few plates that had anything left on them. Trying to leave at least a little for Laven who by his estimation hadn't eaten nearly enough.

Still, Menel was more than a little grateful when Laven appeared. Most of the plates were dutifully cleaned and neatly stacked beside the swordsman who was cleaning his fork when the elf walked in. Thinking about the pie and wondering if Laven had made it too. A flicker from the corner of his eye caught his attention and it took Menel all of a few seconds to realize that they were... talking? With their hands? The motions had some meaning even if it was far above his ability to comprehend.

The swordsman didn't interrupt but watched avidly and tried to figure out what those quick motions meant. It was useless, and finally Laven sighed theatrically resting at the side of his chair so that Menel tilted his head up slightly so that he could watch Laven talk. Menel offered Revina a short nod as she disappeared upstairs. He had to admit that meeting her in combat was something that he'd like to do one day. But not today. And likely not where there were weapons nearby.

Menel shook his head and looked up at Laven with a little smile.
"She loves you a lot you know..." For all her threat of killing him, Menel decided that he probably liked her even more now than he had at his first impression of her. "Are you going to tell me what the hand-talk was about? Or was it private?"


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:04 am

Laven hummed in agreement with Menel's observations on Revina's affection for him.  "She's the last of my family, and I'm all she has left at this point." He looked down at Menel and smiled before reaching out and running a hand through the short white hair.  "But she must like you, if you haven't run with your tail between your legs. Which speech did you get, 'I'll hunt you down like a rabid beast' or 'he's made of glass so handle with care'?" The assassin laughed and shook his head, reaching out to start collecting all the plates that had been cleaned of food. As he did Menel asked about the signing he and Rev had done, so he thought before answering.

"I can tell you a bit of what we were saying I suppose. Most of it was work talk, not something I can share with you without breaking confidence. But," Lifting the the stack of plates Laven brightened a little, raising both eyebrows at Menel before nodding towards the door to have him follow Laven.  "Gwenny, Mahri's sister? She's going to make it." The thought was a weight off of Laven's mind. Even battered and forever changed that little girl was going to survive and become a fighter. He knew it. And he knew just the way to help her confidence return.

As he walked back to the kitchen he continued to talk to Menel, the relief on his face clear.
"Revvie has... some history with surviving similar trauma. I'll be asking her to go down there and help her out." Revina would show her how to live from now on, how to overcome and defeat her demons. With fists made of iron.

Stepping up to the sink, Laven stacked plates and flatware into the empty basin. Revina's plate wasn't there so she must have cleaned it herself before coming to terrorize their guest. The oven was on and warming at a low setting and as Laven glanced at the small rounded pastry inside he estimated the time it had been warming and deemed it done. Reaching out and grasping a mitt to protect hands from the oven's heat, Laven passed it to Menel and took the plates in his hands in exchange.
"There's something in the oven you asked for, go ahead and pull it out if you would?" The assassin smiled and turned his back to the dishes. Hopefully Menel would be happy with the apple pie he had mentioned wanting to go with his meal.
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Wed Jul 15, 2015 4:27 am

"I see." Menel's tone was soft, his eyes sliding to where Revina had disappeared. He knew that if he'd had any family left... "Mostly the former I think. Even if she meant what she said... I think she was just as curious about what I would say to it."

Laven started collecting plates and Menel rose to his feet so that he could help as well. He would have understood if the elf couldn't share whatever they'd been talking about, using their hands to speak made it clear that at least one if not both of them wanted a bit of privacy. The swordsman followed Laven back toward the kitchen his breath stilling for a moment at Gwenny's name... until Laven said that she was going to make it. Menel let the breath out, his blue eyes widening and joy practically radiating off of his skin.

If not for the fact that they'd just eaten Menel would have suggested that they go out to eat to celebrate or something. He hadn't really dared to hope that she was alive at all, but to hear that she was not only alive but well enough that she was expected to recover?
"Really?" His voice was light with amazement. "I'm so glad to hear that..."

Menel wore the same relief on his face, he hoped that Revina would, and could help the girl. Her experience in the matter meant she would know when and how to help the child find her way. "If there's ever anything I can do..." He might not know the family, but he still remembered Mahri, the way she'd smiled at him when she realized he was leaving some food behind. The way she'd nestled in Laven's arms. He still found himself wishing there was something that he could do... and he did have one skill at least. "She'll want to learn self-defense at some point. I have a lot of experience teaching."

Doubtless Revina had experience fighting, but experience in combat did not always equate to making one a good teacher. Menel might have said more but Laven was handing him an oven mitt and the swordsman let out a happy sound of surprise. It seemed that his nose hadn't been deceiving him after all! The swordsman pulled the pie from the oven and set it down carefully before closing the oven again and waving at the pie a bit. "Ahhh it looks perfect Laven. Where are the forks???" He didn't care if it was still steaming hot. He couldn't wait to try it. Menel glanced back to Laven and gave a sort of half frown.

"You aren't planning to wash dishes too are you? Come on, I've got to pay you back for breakfast somehow and the pie needs to cool a little bit." Menel slipped closer and tugged lightly on Laven's shirt. "I can wash a few dishes. Relax, relax." He was obviously trying to wave Laven off.


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:47 pm

As soon as Menel mentioned a history of teaching self-defense Laven's ears pricked up and his brain started whirling. While it was true that his cousin had a lot of skill when it came to hand-to-hand combat and had some talent in passing the knowledge on to others... She didn't have the best bedside manner, nor was she comfortable with children. He understood her fears, long shrouded memories of her mother haunted her even now, 40 years gone. It was why she had left her husband and her own offspring. That and the desire to save them from her fate.

He was so lost in thought on how he would manage to convince not only Revina but also Menel that the two of them working together might be just what the dwarven family needed that he allowed himself to go into a kind of automatic routine when it came to the kitchen. It wasn't until Menel was pulling at him and making Laven blink in surprise that he realized Menel was asking to wash the dishes in his place. He had expected the swordsman to go straight for the pie, but that was unkind of Laven. After all, Menel had offered to clean up while the pair had made their way home in the first place.


"Ah... I suppose if you really want to." He stepped back from the sink to make room for Menel's larger frame and then thought better of it, making some space to rest clean dishes and grabbing a cloth used specifically for drying dishes and hands. "But at least let me dry them. Otherwise I won't know what to do with myself." Not willing to be denied this, Laven hoisted himself up onto the surface of the countertop and crossing his legs at the knee before watching as the hot water began to fill the basin.

"So tell me about your teaching experience. What do you teach and how good are you with showing children what to do?" It was a good way to get to know the swordsman a little better, and Laven would be lying if he didn't admit to being terribly curious now that the two of them seemed to have an understanding of how they felt about each other.
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:25 pm

Menel grinned, glad to have something to do with himself. He would have felt more than just a little awkward sitting there eating pie while Laven cleaned up, which was why he didn't argue when Laven offered to dry. It was probably for the best since Menel had no idea where anything went. The swordsman nodded, filling the sink with water and soap before pulling the bulk of the dishes into it. The smooth practiced motions of cleaning made it obvious that this wasn't his first sink of dishes and he soon passed the first spotless plate onto the elf. The way his shoulder muscles bunched and corded as he scrubbed at a particularly stubborn spot suggested that perhaps not all of his muscles had been gained merely from working out.

"Mostly hand-to-hand combat where size matters less than leverage and momentum. Teaching someone small how to fight isn't as useful as teaching them how to evade the first blow or how to use that first punch against the person trying to make it." Menel's tone had shifted subtly, as if he was explaining something that he'd explained before. He handed another plate to Laven. "I've taught here and there over the years. Kids who were just learning to walk and sometimes the other guys working the caravan with me."

A small smile slipped across his lips as he carefully pressed his fingers into a glass and scrubbed the bottom. "Sometimes both... More than once I'd start practice in the morning and find a handful of kids watching me. Kids are can be so eager to learn. More than adults." He shrugged and handed another dish off to Laven. "It's usually either about keeping them interested so that they don't get bored learning or... being patient and knowing when to encourage them when you have to show them something for the tenth time."

He gave Laven another plate and this time their eyes met, and Menel's eyes were serious. "Revina won't have those problems with Gwenny. With her it will be more about drawing her out of her shell, and then later... it'll be helping her understand and control the drive that comes when she understands what learning means."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:08 pm

It was interesting to hear Menel slip into the voice of an instructor, and Laven listened intently as he ran the cloth over the damp dishes before stacking them neatly at his side. As much as Laven himself was drawn to children and adored them to pieces, he had never been around more than a handful at a time and wasn't quite sure how one handled teaching so many at once. But obviously Menel enjoyed it and knew how to keep little ones occupied and learning a useful skill. He chuckled at the image of Menel showing a row of scrappy children how to evade a grab. "I suspect you're a natural when it comes to teaching." It seemed like the kind of thing the swordsman would excel at.

Laven had picked up on the cues as Menel had mentioned them off hand. Hotel rooms, caravans, not really knowing the city at all as they walked it. The swordsman was a traveler. That was probably how he earned his money, by following the work. And the idea of caravans... They were basically obsolete in Maquina. The trains and automotive convoys being the idea form of transportation. Menel was either from Vida or spent a good deal of time there. Would probably have to go back there to keep earning coin. In the end it wasn't something that bothered Laven, He wasn't expecting Menel to be attached to his side from now on. But it was something to worry about. A Lavate in Maquina was dangerous by it's very nature. Laven had allowed himself to be branded with Aethel's mark just to convince anyone looking to get rid of an elf that he belonged here. He hoped Menel didn't have anything similar.

Concerns for another time, Laven decided. Instead he kept his gaze on Menel and raised his eyebrows as Menel circled back on the subject of Gwenny.
"She's not one for cosseting as I'm sure you noticed." Laven smiled wryly and accepted another plate from Menel. "But what I know of Gwenny... She wouldn't respond positively to being wrapped in silk and kept safe. She'll crave the control Revina can show her. But I think you'd be best for showing her practical tricks as well..." The little part of his brain that seemed to always be working and thinking gave him another idea and he raised his eyebrows at the idea. "If you're around when Rev starts going over there maybe you wouldn't mind being the training dummy? Or showing Gwenny some of these things on Rev instead? If she'll let you, that is."
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:13 pm

Menel smiled brightly in response to Laven's easy words. He'd always enjoyed teaching, more so in some ways than he even enjoyed fighting. The swordsman fought for the same reason that an artist drew or a writer wrote; because he was driven to do it. When he was in the midst of fighting he felt as though it was what he had been born to do. Yet he battled that feeling with ones of guilt and concern. Fighting was something that was used to injure, to kill. When he was teaching though... He was able to teach people how to protect themselves. Some part of him did worry that some of what he taught might be used to hurt others, but most of his students were children or the other bodyguards he knew, or were raw enough to need the training for basic survival.

"I enjoy it, and I think that counts for a lot when you're teaching." The dishes were getting done rather quickly between the two of them. Soon enough they would all be done and they could sit down to enjoy the pie that Laven had reheated. Eagerly Menel pulled a pan into the water, scrubbing the oil and remnants of food off of it's surface.

"I'd be happy to help however I can." He'd brought up his skills as a teacher for a reason after all. In a way it felt like a job interview, and it made him more than a little happy that he'd met Laven's standards. Besides... Teaching Gwenny would give him even more reason to stay in the area.

Laven wasn't wrong about Menel at all. It was something that had been there on the back of the swordsman's mind. Now that his job was over he'd usually spend a few days looking for a job in this area and then move on. Looking for work wherever he could find it. Maybe talking a local business into hiring him to help them in a transportation job. When he couldn't find work as a bodyguard there were any number of other more menial jobs that he could take up until something came along but... He wanted to stay around. At least for a little while.


"When she's ready of course." Menel handed Laven the pan and suddenly all he had left to wash were a handful of forks. He set to it quickly. "I'd like it if you could introduce me to her in the next few days. Once she's had a chance to settle in back home, but before to much time has passed."

He knew that the girl wouldn't forget the man that had saved her, and being associated with him from the beginning would inspire a modicum of trust. "In fact you should consider being there during her first few lessons, whoever gives them. So that she feels safe, so she has someone to go to if things go sideways or if she isn't comfortable." Hopefully Gwenny's mother would be understanding of these things... Menel handed the silverware to Laven, let the water run out and flashed the elf a smile.

"What do you think? Pie?" The swordsman tilted his head toward the treat in question, drying his hands on his jeans carelessly. "Which reminds me, your cousin mentioned that your hair was gray... "

Gently he lifted a hand and touched the little lock of hair that didn't seem to stay back with the rest. "But it sure doesn't look gray to me."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:32 pm

They continued like this while the dishes were quickly washed and dried. Discussing a short term plan for a long term problem. Laven appreciated Menel's sensitivity and desire to have him there at the beginning of Gwenny's lessons. "Absolutely. When I spoke to her mum she said that Gwen was healing up well but the next few days will be important. She needs some quiet to heal and be surrounded by her family. Helsmi will come when she thinks it's time to give the child some help." There was a part of Laven that wanted to rush over there right now, but that would be nothing if not a bad idea. The poor girl was probably going to sleep for days on end anyhow. There would be time.

They would go together the first day, Laven decided. The sooner Menel was designated a 'good' person the better. And he seemed very confidant around children, without being pushy. It would be a good attitude to have around while Laven met and spoke with her.

Suddenly the dishes ended, and Laven blinked at the speed of the task being finished. Usually the process was slow and Laven found himself letting his mind wander. But with Menel doing the brunt of the work and the two of them talking it had been simple and efficient.


Is this how having someone who shares the burden with you works?

A quick thought that he quashed as Menel brought up the cooling pie. "Pie. Absolutely. I'd be lying if I didn't admit I wanted to taste that from the first moment you showed me what you'd bought last night." Laven's hands wrapped around the clean flatware, running the now damp washcloth over them before reaching next to him and opening the long drawer they were kept in. Two forks stayed in his hand, one going to Menel before the swordsman reached out and touched Laven's hair. And asked him about the color.

Laven felt his face heat up before he sighed and thumped the back of his head against the cabinet he was leaning against.
"Revina..." He muttered before looking over at Menel with a shy smile. "It's something closer to silver, I suppose. As soon as I noticed it growing in that color after... well I started using a stain to give it this tint." It was vanity, pure and simple. If Laven couldn't have his dark hair anymore than he could have something strange. Something that made a statement.

Scooting off of the counter top Laven began placing dishes and cookware into their respective homes, hanging the pots before shrugging.
"Lavender with the lavender hair, how my parents would have laughed! I don't even know why I keep dying it like this other than habit. And I'm too young to have a head full of grey hairs." Shaking his head ruefully, Laven raised and eyebrow. If Revina was sharing secrets Laven surely could too.

"If you'd like... Well let's eat the pie. And then after we get your armor drying properly I can get you a shirt and show you some old photos? Unless topless is preferred?"


Last edited by Laven on Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:53 pm

Menel took the forks and slid over a few steps to check the temperature of the pie. It was cool enough for him to pick up if he didn't hold it for to long so he grabbed it and moved it the little island that stood in the middle of the kitchen. The swordsman leaned against it comfortably, poking his fork into the pie. There wasn't any real need to worry about a knife with just the two of them sharing it.

He tried to imagine Laven with silver hair, but he had to admit that the color suited the man. It might make for a bit of an unusual name, and an unusual color for hair, but it was beautiful on Laven. Menel made a soft sound as he popped the first piece into his mouth. It was every bit as good as he expected it to be. Even sitting out overnight hadn't done anything to ruin the taste of apples, sugar, and cinnamon.


"I think you would look good with silver hair though the lavender color is nice." It wasn't hard to tell that Laven's full name seemed to embarrass the elf a bit. "I'd love to see some photos!"

Menel couldn't help grinning. A chance to see Laven as a young man? He wasn't about to pass that up. He wished that he could return the favor but... He didn't have a single picture of himself. Nothing remained of Menel's childhood save his memories of it. "Do you think you have something that'll fit me?" It didn't bother him to walk around without a shirt, and he'd rather wait until his armor dried than ruin something of Laven's. He poked his fork into the pie and waggled the resulting piece at Laven. "Here, you should try a bit of this before I'm tempted to eat the whole thing."

"I'm not keeping you from anything am I?"


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:23 am

The look on Menel's face as he took his first bite of the pie was enough to convince Laven to give it a shot as well. Not that the elf needed a lot of convincing when it came to sweet things. The fork Menel waved at him made Laven chuckle a little, but he leaned in to take the morsel with a gleam in his eye. "Menel my dear, you're forgetting my 'real' job." As he took the bite into his mouth Laven almost closed his eyes, instead making an indecent noise at the flavors warmed his tongue. It took longer than he might normally have liked to come back from that taste. It was a good cover for how the praise from the younger man had embarrassed him.

When he did recompose himself he gestured at Menel's torso with his outstretched but still clean fork.
"I make clothing, I make clothing here to be more precise. I think I can find something I've put together that will fit you." In fact if he remembered correctly he had a lovely teal and grey shirt he had been experimenting dye with sitting in his room that might fit Menel bit snugly, but Laven suspected it would suit the swordsman in cut and color.

Quickly the assassin took a stab at the pie, breaking off a bit of the crust to give that the attention it deserved.
"I'm not usually busy immediately after a job, in case of broken bones or worse injuries. So no, Love, you aren't keeping me from anything that can't wait." He smiled at Menel, and instead of taking his fork into his mouth turned it and offered the swordsman the mouthful instead. "Turnabout," He chuckled, winking at Menel.
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:30 am

Actually Menel hadn't forgotten that Laven's other occupation was as a tailor, but he hadn't assumed that he worked from home or that he would have anything here that would fit. Certainly none of Laven's clothes would fit Menel. Shoulders and chest to narrow, and that was not even beginning to account for muscle mass. Laven wasn't lacking in muscles, but his were leaner, less bulky in their shape and form. His eyes slid up from Laven's body as the man joined him. Up to his smile as he took the bite from Menel's fork.

Laven couldn't hide that he felt the same way about the pie that Menel himself did. Menel smiled a little. Apple pie was his favorite food. He couldn't eat it as often as he'd like, but when he had the chance... The assassin offered him a bite and Menel blushed lightly, leaning forward and accepting it. It was just as good as the first, the flaky crust falling apart on his tongue.

He pulled back and swallowed the bite, blue eyes flickering down so that he could watch his fork poke into the pie. It wouldn't last very long with both of them eating it. He didn't let his eyes stay down for long though.
"You didn't do what you were hired to though... did you?" His voice was a little quiet. Almost he didn't want to talk about it, but they had to. Menel needed to.

"I guess I didn't either. I left my payment on his desk when I left; I don't think he's going to need me today." Menel took a firm bite of the pie, lips thin. He would have gone in if the man had still been in any condition to need a bodyguard but as it was... He didn't want anything else to do with Rayleigh. "I spent hours wondering why you didn't kill him, and I still don't know why you didn't."

Menel's eyes were reading the elf's careful features. He was grateful that Rayliegh was still alive, but... why?


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:50 pm

Laven frowned and poked a bit at the remaining pie. there were maybe two or three bites left after the two of them had attacked the little pastry with gusto. Laven quickly took another mouthful before answering Menel.

It was obvious the assassin didn't really want to have this conversation from the set of his shoulders and furrowed brow, but Menel was owed answers and he had promised to tell him the truth. Whether or not the swordsman would be comforted by the answer remained to be seen. Laven sighed softly before answering the younger man's burning question.


"I should have killed him, absolutely. And I'm not going to receive all of the money I was promised since I didn't." Laven looked disappointed in himself but shrugged. "Honestly? What I did is infinitely worse for him now. Death would be a mercy that he doesn't deserve." Laven abandoned his fork, laying it down gently on the kitchen island before resting his elbows on the smooth marble.

"At first I thought I had spared the monster because you were so adamant that I didn't. The idea that maybe I was just being a hopeless romantic did occur to me later. But..." Laven lowered his head so that his chin was sitting comfortably on the palm of his right hand, fingers tapping on his cheek. "I suppose I really didn't believe that you would let me go if I killed him right out, Menel. I had to make a choice between two unpleasant outcomes." He tipped his head to the side, watching Menel as closely as he himself was being watched.

"I chose to get to those children quickly, and hoped that that man would die from his injuries. I'm not ashamed to admit that to you." Laven's red eyes were clear as they looked into Menel's. If Laven was lucky Ryleigh would die. As much as being trapped in a broken body would satisfy a dark part of Laven's conscious the assassin wanted his full pay. Needed it, though perhaps not as much as Menel needed his.
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:53 pm

There was only one bite of the pie left, after Laven took his and Menel lingered over it. Using that bite as an excuse to look somewhere other than Laven's red eyes when the assassin admitted that he should have killed Rayliegh. Menel felt a bit of guilt that the other man wouldn't be getting paid his entire fee, but Menel couldn't regret that Rayliegh was alive. Laven might think that it was worse for him to be alive but the swordsman couldn't see it that way at all.

He ate the bite of pie, cleaning the last of the pie from the little tray and looking at Laven. He hadn't imagined for an instant that Laven might have saved Rayliegh for him. For a moment he let the thought roll around his mind. A person's life could hang off of such small things. Off a single moment. A single choice or emotion.

In that moment Menel had been prepared to hurt Laven. To watch someone he cared about bleed for someone who deserved pain and suffering.
"I think he got exactly what he deserved." Menel licked the last of the apple taste from his fork and let it rest in the pan. "But your wrong. I wouldn't have chased after you."

He would have gone to the rooftop, gotten his things, and left the city. Menel met Laven's eyes and wondered how someone who was so kind could say those things so easily. He'd lost someone once, had touched the edge of death himself. Yet somehow he failed to see how much life was worth. "You're... the most confusing man Laven. If you killed him can you really say that it wouldn't mean anything to you? That you wouldn't feel his blood on your hands?"

Menel's eyes weren't clear at all. They were full of confusion, the edge of unknown pain. He couldn't reconcile the man he knew with the idea of Laven killing.


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:32 pm

"He deserved worse than I had time to give him." Laven said with just an edge of heat in his voice. The pie tin lay cold and empty between them, and Laven reached out with his unoccupied hand and spun it with his index finger. There couldn't be pity inside of him for the man that had been his target.

"If I had killed him there would have been a rush of relief that the job was done. That I could rest for a moment. That he couldn't continue his heinous hobby." Laven smiled and shook his head at the hurt expression on Menel's face. "Would I have looked at myself differently in the mirror today? No. How could I when he would be just one more death I was paid to deliver." The assassin smiled again and watched his hand moving the pie tin in circles. "I was brought up to do this job, Menel. But I also had a choice to turn away from it. Staying wasn't a choice I made lightly, anymore than a person decides to sell their body for other people's pleasure." In fact Laven had great respect for the people that went out to those dangerous streets to earn money so they could live. Nothing was easy.

Laven let the tin spin away from him and further down the island, watching it go with a twist to his lips.
"Does that make me a bad man? A bad lover, father, brother? Am I not allowed to kiss the cheek of the little girl who I saved from a horrible fate because a man's blood needed to be spilled?" Laven sat up straight and gave Menel an inquisitive look. His voice had mellowed from something close to frustration to quiet thoughtfulness. There wasn't any heat or judgment aimed towards Menel. Instead it was a case of a man asking another to look at his vantage point. "Am I not allowed to kiss you? What do you see when you look at me, Menel? The world isn't just right and wrong. There are layers to every action and reaction." He wondered briefly if this was how this budding relationship would end, or if Menel could try and understand that Laven was more than the sum of his parts.

"Do I have blood on my hands? Of course. And I understand that clearly. I don't celebrate it. But I do acknowledge it. I may have chosen to be a monster, but that doesn't mean I have to lose everything else that makes me who I am in the process."
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:14 pm

There was no argument in Menel's mind or heart that the man had deserved what he had gotten at Laven's hands, that he deserved worse. Not death, not by Menel's accounting, but worse? Yes. Which didn't make it any easier to understand Laven. It made his stomach clench tightly to hear the words that lifted from the elf's lips. As though so much death had passed before his eyes that he no longer felt the sting of it when it came; and perhaps that was true.

Laven had been... born to this life. Born and raised to not think twice about the blood that stained his delicate fingers; but he was not unaware of it. He would not compare his work to those who walked the streets if he was. The swordsman never judged those who turned to less reputable work to make their way in life. Not the thieves who earned broken fingers trying to steal his blades or those he fought to protect caravans from.

Like Laven said. They were people too. Even an assassin had someone who loved him. Had those who cared if he showed up the next morning alive and well. Laven himself was living proof of that.
"You are not your job Laven. I knew what you did when I kissed you the first time, and when I let you kiss me just a few minutes ago." Maybe it wasn't wise of him to care so much about someone who could kill without a second thought to it but just because Laven was wrong didn't change how either of them felt. Menel had his own blood on his hands, was a monster of another color underneath it all.

Menel shifted so that he wasn't leaning against the island anymore. He wasn't comfortable and that much was painfully obvious. The swordsman shook his head and looked at Laven, fingers sliding over the counter so that he could touch Laven's hand with his.
"I see you Laven. A man that even a scared little girl trusts, a man that I trust; but I don't understand. Why you would choose to do it when you don't have to... I know you aren't a monster Laven. You care about people, you're generous and warm. A far better man than you think yourself to be..."

So why didn't it eat at him? How was it that he went through his day without feeling the blood on his hands like it was still there? Freshly spilled and drying on his fingertips. Menel's fingers ran over Laven's hand, squeezed it gently. "But I don't understand how this man... this man I see right now lives so easily with the idea of putting more blood on his hands."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:15 pm

It was simple enough to turn his hand so that the palm was facing up, letting Menel's fingers cover his. Laven stroked Menel's wrist with his thumb as the other man said his fill. It wasn't the first time he had heard people talk about the absolutes of rights and wrongs. A large part of his youth had been listening to his grandfather speak at great length on how the grey morality his family worked and lived in was going to cause most people to shy away. Laven had never spoken to any lover about his family, his history. Menel was unique in this aspect. He was the only person to step into this house that wasn't blood or spouse and knew. Knew this was a den of assassins.

Assassins that made breakfast and teased their faithful hounds with treats.


"Thank you for trusting me, Menel." Laven continued to stroke the wrist above his in gentle circles, smiling a little sadly at the turmoil he could see in those brilliant blue eyes. "I need you to understand that no matter what, I will be honest with you in terms of my job. Even if all I can say is 'I can't tell you'. I know it must be hard, to trust someone who does what I do." The elf stilled for a moment, searching Menel's face and smiling a little wistfully.

"I don't know if this is a conversation that can ever really have a resolution. If I can even explain in a way that makes sense to anyone but myself." Laven moved his free hand in a vague gesture, as if even he couldn't really grasp what he was trying to articulate in a way Menel could understand.

"I suppose the best answer I can give you is that It's not easy. It's not as though I can simply forget that I kill people. But what I do... I can let it destroy me like I've let everything else or I can recognize it's a job that needs to be done. And that I accept what I do." Laven gave Menel's hand a light squeeze and sighed, raising his eyebrows. "And it's something you're going to have to accept if you want to be with me. I'm not asking you to share my thought process, Love. But I do need you to let me believe what I will on something like this."
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:40 pm

Somehow it was almost comforting to know that it wasn't easy for Laven. Menel wasn't sure he could have been comfortable if the idea of death rolled as easily off of Laven's shoulders as water off of a duck's back. By the same measure it worried him. He worried that this job that Laven did would eat away at the elf until one day it was to much. Perhaps in some ways it had begun to already. The only family that the elf seemed to have was Revina and Mac, and his cousin had mentioned herself that it had been a decade since the last time Laven had been in a relationship with someone. Not that Menel could judge that, and there were more reasons than a career that ended in blood to choose carefully those that drew close to you.

Menel blushed lightly and squeezed Laven's hand. He couldn't say that he accepted, or would ever be comfortable with Laven's career choice, and he knew that if he ever came to be on the other side of Laven's dagger like he had last night that he would try to stop the other man. The swordsman smiled. If someone he cared about wanted him to stop being a bodyguard he might have said something similar. He might not always like his job, but he had his reasons for doing it and however dangerous it was, it was something that he wasn't going to give up simply because it was.
"As long as your honest with me, that's enough. I don't expect to know all your secrets, and both our jobs require a lot of discretion sometimes."

It wasn't like he'd really expected to understand, and Laven had tried at least to explain it. They didn't have to agree on everything. He couldn't really laugh with such a serious subject, but he could push aside his worries for the moment. "Maybe I'll understand someday. In the mean time..."

The swordsman stole Laven's fork and slid far enough away so that he could toss both utensils into the sink. "I should probably get my armor out of your bathroom, and I think you mentioned something about a shirt? I'd love to see some of the clothes you've made."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:15 am

Laven heaved a grateful sigh at the conversation steered into more comfortable waters. It wasn't that he never wanted to discuss his motivations and reasons for picking up the blade. It was more to the point that this relationship with Menel was less than a day old. And such a heavy talk was a lot of emotional work in such a short span of time. Laven didn't have a lot of emotional energy on a good day, but this was starting to wear him down and it was only just reaching noon.

So when Menel suggested moving on and getting his armor out of the public bathroom Laven was quick to agree.
"That's sounds like a marvelous idea. And to repay you for letting me throw clothing on you I'll find the photo album Revina keeps around. You have to promise to tease her as much as you'll end up teasing me though." There was a lightness to Laven's steps as he moved away from the kitchen island and offered Menel a smile.

Forks disposed of into the sink, Laven once again lead Menel though the old house that was his family's sanctuary. They used the same hallway that took them through Revina's study, now empty of either woman or bits of metal. Laven didn't give it much thought until he opened the bathroom door and found her picking up the last of Menel's weaponry with care for sharp edges. The blonde elf looked the pair up and down before examining one of Menel's smaller daggers, flipping it end over point and catching the handle.


"A bit messy in here, yeah? I put all your gear in the sun room, it'll get air and dry out faster than in my poor abused bathroom. And then maybe it wont stink like sweaty leather in here." Revina wrinkled her nose at them and pushed past the pair without a word on whether or not Menel would have been okay with her handling his things. Laven supposed that if he was going to strip down and leave the armor laying out then it was safe to assume if someone moved it all he couldn't complain too much. Still...

"Thank you Revvie, my sweet bumblebee." Laven looked over at Menel and pulled a face ignoring her crass swearing at him. "That's where I was going to suggest we take your gear anyhow, so I suppose Rev just did all the work for us. I can show you where it is if you'd like?"
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:09 am

The swordsman brightened even further at the offer of seeing a photo album. It was a shame that he couldn't offer Laven the same, but he could easily admit that he was looking forward to the chance to see a younger Laven. Though he did wonder exactly how many pieces of clothing Laven was going to want him to try on... Actually it sort of sounded like fun. Menel didn't usually have enough money to go to a tailor or buy himself much in the way of clothing, so it might be nice to let someone with that skill pick something out for him.

"Sounds fair to me." He followed after Laven, far to animated to be any kind of shadow. Now that he wasn't rushing from one place to another he could get a better look at Laven's home. Underneath the care that had been put into this home, it was obvious that the house was every bit as old as it looked from the outside. For whatever reason Laven and Revina simply didn't keep the outside as well-cared for as the interior.

Laven pulled open the door to the bathroom, and Menel saw Revina around the elf's shoulder picking up his things. Menel blinked in surprise, making a small motion to help her but she seemed to have it well in hand, brushing past them with an air that seemed to say that she wasn't about to let him to help her.
"Yes... thank you!"

His words seemed a bit delayed after Laven's but he wasn't used to anyone picking up after him. Menel shrugged off Laven's question and offered the other man a smile. "No, it's alright. They don't need me to watch them dry." Nor was he worried that Revina might try to steal something. Nothing he owned was worth very much save perhaps the swords on his hips, and even if she did he'd know the moment he went to put his armor back on. "I'd rather see this photo album you were talking about."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:34 pm

Laven smiled and shook his head at Menel's enthusiasm. "As you wish. Don't say I didn't warn you though." Walking down the long hallway that Revina had warned Menel not to snoop though earlier Laven stopped at the very end, glancing over his shoulder at the man behind him. Reaching out he pressed his hand against a floral pattern on the wallpaper that seemed no different than the surrounding ones, but caused a soft sound to resonate behind the wall. Laven removed his hand and pushed gently against another space, and like something out of a mystery novel the wall swung inwards. A secret door, with a very simple but well hidden release catch.

Laven turned at the waist to gesture at Menel to proceed him but then let his gaze drift down and to Menel's left. A thin eyebrow raised in question.
"Oh no, you're banned from upstairs after last time. Remember?" Mac watched them both, pale tail waving slowly and ears upright. With a soft huff the hound turned and slunk away, throwing the pair pathetic looks every few steps. Laven switched his gaze to Menel and shrugged. "Ignore him, he just wants to get into my room and burrow under the bedclothes."

Inside the secret doorway was a room with plain wooden walls and staircase that lead up and ended with another door, this one with a traditional knob. Laven turned the handle, and stepped inside to allow the pale haired swordsman into his private space.

It was a bright room, soft green wallpaper with tiny white and pink roses dotting the pattern. The floor was a pale wood that had been sanded and stained in the last few years with a dusty pink shag rug in the center to break up the uniform color. The roof came together at a point, showing that this space was intended to be an attic of some kind in the past. The room had windows facing the eastern and western skies, patches of brilliant blue sneaking in through sheer white curtains that moved with the breeze. A wardrobe stood in one corner, as well as a rack of what looked like clothing wrapped in fabric to keep dust and debris off. The opposite corner was home to a huge for poster bed, piled with a pink and white duvet and several pillows of various sizes.  Flanking the bed was a single table, a small stack of paper resting for Laven's eventual perusal. There was a door sitting ajar that allowed a glimpse of a bathroom with a single sink, toilet, and shower stall; as well as a second door that remained closed. All in all it was a place that was clearly both a work space and a place for sleeping.

Laven sighed a little to be back into his own area, shoulders relaxing. Padding through the room he almost threw himself onto the bed, remembering at the last moment that he had promised to clothe his companion.
"When you're ready, if you could come here?" Laven was already running a list of other things he could dress Menel in, and what would need the least amount of tailoring to make sure it all fit properly. Menel would have to be measured. Laven gestured to the center of the room and made his way to his wardrobe where some of his tools were secreted inside. Remembrance hung off of one knob still in it's belted sheath.
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:46 pm

Dutifully Menel followed Laven down the hall, all the way down to the end. Menel looked at the wall in mild confusion until Laven's hand pressed down on what seemed to be some kind of secret pannel and suddenly there was a door. The swordsman's blue eyes widened and he tilted his head for a better look at the plain wooden walls and the staircase leading upwards. He had to admit that he was impressed. He hadn't seen a single sign that there might be a hidden room here.

Mac tried to follow him up, but he was stopped by Laven who turned the dog around much to Mac's chagrin.

Somehow the room wasn't what Menel expected. There was wallpaper on the walls. Mint green and covered in flowers. It wasn't just a room either. It was a work-space. Once this had been an attic, but now there was a rack of cloth wrapped up, a bed, a massive wardrobe... it was a cozy warm space that someone like Menel who lived from hotel room to tent on the ground could certainly appreciate.

Laven directed him and Menel snapped out of his half day-dream with a smile; moving to where he was directed.
"This is your room then?"


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:33 pm

"You look perplexed. Were you expecting a rack of gristly weapons or copeous amounts of black?" Laven smiled and winked at Menel as he began circling him, a seamstresses measuring tape in his hands. Laven worked with efficiency, eyes losing the hard glint they seemed to gain when he was thinking too hard. This was his natural habitat. This was what had always been his dream. Laven was at home with a swatch of cloth and a threaded needle the way he never could be with a dagger.

The hands that measured Menel's arms were careful, all the numbers being cataloged into the assassin's head as he moved to neck and then the widest part of Menel's chest. Laven couldn't stop the way his palm lingered on Menel's bared chest but before long he was back to business, checking the swordsman's waist before opening his mouth.


"What colors do you prefer then, Love?" He smiled up at Menel before kneeling down and brushing his hands over Menel's hips and then thighs. A lock of lavender hair had slipped free from it's confined and Laven brushed it back behind his tapered ear before tilting his head up to gauge Menel's answer.
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:47 pm

Menel laughed at the question. "No, not at all. I wasn't expecting so much..." He made a small motion with his hand. He didn't know how to indcate everything in the room. It was... homey. If he'd been left to decorate a room it would have been wood and very little else. Maybe a dresser, a place to lean his swords. Warm and functional blankets. It wasn't that he wouldn't like more than that, but he would never on his own think to add more. He couldn't think of words to explain it so he finally let his hand fall and shook his head lightly. "It's a beautiful room though."

He recognized the look in Laven's eyes when the other man picked up the measuring tape. An expression that fell on Menel every time he moved with his swords just for the sake of it. The expression seemed to suggest that the mind wasn't entirely here nor there, but in the moment. That he was doing something that spoke to some inner part of himself. Driving his focus.

The swordsman made a perfect model. He didn't move, holding his breath slightly when Laven's fingers ventured over his neck and sides. He knew that they were more sensitive to touch and he didn't want to mess up Laven's measurements because of that. Though by the time Laven knelt Menel was blushing again slightly. There was something almost intimate about letting Laven touch him that he'd never noticed with any other tailor. Perhaps it was the way that the elf's fingers lingered on his chest making him breathe in with a touch of surprise when they touched his hips.

Studiously he stared forward, not looking down because so often he'd been told to stay still just like this.
"Umm... I don't know." Colors? What did it matter what color his clothes were? The only reason that the cloak that had come with his armor was blue was because the woman who had made the armor for him had insisted that it matched his eyes. "I guess blue? Really I don't have a preference."

He flashed Laven a smile. "I'll wear whatever you put me in."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:37 pm

Both his hands resting on Menel's hips, Laven gave a wicked smile and stroked the exposed skin with his thumbs before retorting. "Good, I have this satin ballgown that a lovely giantess never payed for just taking up space. It's all frothy lace and pink ribbons..." Keeping his voice as serious as possible since Menel wasn't looking at his face was a challenge but the poor man had walked right into it. "Though maybe not without a bustle. Your assets would be drowned in all that material." That was as far as Laven could go without laughing against Menel's abdomen.

Wicked and questing fingers measured Menel's inseam before Laven stood and made a face.
"I don't think I have a single pair of pants that would fit your thighs, my dear." It was a war between disgust and admiration on his face before he had a thought. "Unless... You might fit in some of Revvie's pants..." The idea had merit. Revina had the oddest build for an elf. Not traditionally willowy as Laven and the rest of their family had been. No, she was all iron and muscle. While she might be smaller than Menel, it wasn't by much. Some of her more loose pants might make due until Menel's clothing could be properly laundered.

The look on Menel's face made Laven chuckle and he leaned in to kiss Menel's cheek before stepping back and waving at Menel to relax. Then he was sorting through the rack of clothing with it's tags and cloth drapes. Quickly one, then two items were removed and divested of their protective coverings. One was a  clinging green short sleeved shirt of a soft material, the other a charcoal grey shirt made of something thicker, with a collar and an embroidered emblem on the left breast.

Holding both out Laven raised his eyebrows.
"I think the green. but it's only fair to give you final say."
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Re: Land of the Morning Star [Menel & Laven]

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