Moments In BetweenStarted by Tihaanth Nightrain at Nov 25, 2019 10:48 pm
Falanna 75, 1 AOH
Tihaanth was starting to get a headache, right there behind the eyes, and typically this was the signal that it was time for a break. Many years ago, before now, there was a time when Tihaanth wasn't all that great at taking such things as breaks. One could argue that it still wasn't exactly a skill, and one would be right. It was a learned trait, something Tihaanth had to really work at to get good at it, and that was unfortunate, but by now, Tihaanth was just focusing on learning things that'd been lost before.
Maybe it was just a side-effect of the time Tihaanth had been born. It was not long after the start of the Shade Wars, though Ryhil had been first. There was a soft pang at the thought of Ryhil. Everyone had lost something, even the ruling line. Tihaanth had thrown caution to the wind and dived head-first into becoming the prince Yanan had needed then, but now maybe it was a different person they needed. Maybe they needed a different Sovereign, too, but Tihaanth tried to be that. And ultimately, Tihaanth would be no help to anyone if all that happened was Tihaanth burning out.
It should've been Tihaanth that died. Ryhil would've been a better Sovereign. Mostly, Tihaanth didn't talk about that, just thought it and then ignored it. All things considered, it could be worse. Tihaanth was trying. And still healing from the Wars, too. Tihaanth and Ryhil had almost died together when that spire came down. Most of the time, it was good they didn't both die. Tihaanth still thought the wrong one lived.
Loosing a quiet sigh, Tihaanth restacked the papers into their pile, tucked them back into their place on the lacquered desk. Despite how warm it was on Kai'non, the fireplace was burning. Tihaanth got distracted watching the flames for a moment, and then stood up and meandered off down the hall with a notable limp. It'd been a year now, and still Tihaanth limped. Maybe it wouldn't ever really go away. It was just as well.
There were plenty of other things that would never really go away, why not that too?
Hmm. Now where would one find an Arael around now? If Tihaanth had to guess, probably wherever the Sthyrventlin were. Tihaanth used to lead them, but after taking over as Sovereign, it'd been more difficult to find the time, and Tihaanth had mostly surrendered command of them to Arael. It felt like a personal failure, but, Arael didn't seem to mind, even seemed a little glad to do it. Maybe it was for the best. They didn't need a second Fallen Legion on their hands.
Anyway, Tihaanth changed direction, heading towards where the Sthyrventlin usually were. And if that wasn't right, there were a few other places to look.
Arael was sometimes a little annoyed in the Former Sovereign Asmodeus' direction. See, on the one hand, they understood. The Shade wars had taken so much from them all, and Asmodeus had lost many things that meant a great deal to them - their mate, and one of their children being on the list, but certainly not the entirety of it. Arael understood that in the wake of it all, it seemed appropriate for a new Sovereign to take their place, a light in the darkness. Someone with new methods and the ability to look past what had been done and keep moving forward.
On the other hand, Tihaanth had lost a lot too, and while Asmodeus was busying themselves with trying to piece Suyis back together, it seemed to Arael that maybe it would have been better for the former Sovereign to remain in power a little longer and keep things stable, to allow Tihaanth time to rest and heal without worrying about also figuring out how to rule Yanan.
It wasn't that Tihaanth wasn't doing a good job, they were. Tihaanth was an excellent Sovereign. It was just... the principal of the thing. Asmodeus had been their leader, and maybe they were around and if things really got complicated they could help Tihaan, but on the other hand, they weren't around they were out there somewhere trying to do something that was probably not actually possible. It was not particularly fair, perhaps, Arael could recognize that, which of course was why they'd be keeping that to themselves.
As it was, Arael had comfortably taken the Sthyrventlin off of Tihaanth's shoulders, mostly just glad for something that they could do to lighten their beloved's load. At the moment they were overseeing a sparring session, rather than fighting themselves.
The pair in front of Arael changed out as one gained victory and someone else stepped forward, but it was then that Arael sensed Tihaanth's approach. Arael gestured for the sessions to continue without them and turned on their heel, moving towards the blip of force that was every bit as familiar as their own.
"Hey," Arael greeted warmly, a smile pulling at their lips. "It's good to see you." Up and around and not... still buried under paperwork. Sometimes Arael had to come unbury Tihaanth before they got to spend time together.
It'd seem Arael was going to end up meeting Tihaanth halfway. That worked out, because Tihaanth's knee was already annoyed at the sudden movement, but that was to be expected. It wasn't like Tihaanth had been remembering to get up and move around, like they probably should've been, just to stave off the knee locking and getting angry like this. By now, it was probably mostly healed, which meant that it was just never going to get better than this. That was a problem, in Tihaanth's mind, because that meant they'd never really fight as well again. Tihaanth tried not to think about it, but at the moment, it would probably be a rather simple matter to add another funeral to the list.
One more reason to let Arael worry about it.
Tihaanth didn't try to stop the smile in return, though it was notably more strained. "Yeah, I thought it might be," Tihaanth said, reaching over to take one of Arael's hands. They liked being in contact with Arael. Odd phenomenon, for sure. "I started getting a headache, and figured a break would probably be a good idea. My hands hurt, too. Cramping from the pen I think." Unlike a lot of people, Tihaanth was truly ambidextrous and just switched hands when one got tired, so it was actually both hands that hurt. That was unlikely to be a good sign, actually. But then there was always more paperwork. Every layer needed something, all the warlords had requests, all the factions wanted something, people needed supplies and new travel routes had to be figured out and the entire sea on Nebaelen was suddenly gone, and that wasn't even the worst of the ecological damage.
"It's almost like I do a lot of writing or something..." Tihaanth may have been being sarcastic, but they were more amused than anything. "How's your day gone?" That was probably a less depressing thing to talk about than how much Tihaanth sucked at literally everything. Okay, Tihaanth probably didn't suck at everything but it sure as heck felt like it most of the time. Like there was some magical way of handling all this and they'd just missed it.
It wasn't hard for Arael to see the strain in Tihaanth's smile. It was unfortunate but not terribly surprising. Being the Sovereign was a hard job after all. And Tihaanth had never really been good at just sitting and writing, they were more of an active sort. ... It was probably better for their recovery that they rest, but... it wasn't shocking that they started to get a headache after too long.
Quietly Arael's second hand joined the first and they set to lightly massaging the hand that Tihaanth had given them. "Seems likely, you've probably been writing for hours." That did tend to happen, where time was lost and suddenly they'd been working for so long everything protested at once.
"Do you want to find somewhere to sit down so we can talk?" Giving Tihaanth a way out in case their knee was bothering them since the other didn't like to admit there was something wrong even when it was painful. It was much easier to just ask Tihaanth and make it easy to get the strain off of that knee.
"My day's been pretty okay. Lots of training sets earlier. Making sure the patrol rotations are scheduled out properly." It was important that their defenses still be careful, even in the wake of the war's end. Just in case there were still those remaining who might try to hurt Tihaanth. Arael wasn't taking any chances."How was your day, other than busy?" Maybe not much other than busy, to be fair, but it was worth asking to Arael.
They liked to know these things, Tihaanth was important to them. That was love, Arael supposed. Certainly it seemed their parents worried just as much about each other as Arael did about Tihaanth. It was nice, sometimes, having someone else to focus on. A reminder of why they had to keep moving forward even when it was hard.
"Love you, by the way." Just saying. 'Cause maybe they didn't say it enough and Arael wanted to make sure that Tihaanth always knew. No matter what happened, Arael loved them.
Tihaanth couldn't help the slightly bemused look that crossed their face. Arael was always doing stuff like that, and Tihaanth never did figure out why. Maybe there didn't have to be a reason why. Maybe it was just because. Suyis used to do things for Asmodeus just because a lot, and this seemed to be a similar deal. It wasn't like Tihaanth would really know. They weren't exactly accustomed to this sort of thing and how it was supposed to work, and sometimes, it was still amazing Arael didn't get sick of their ineptitude, but then Arael had a lot of the same shortcomings. It was an unfortunate side-effect of growing up in a war.
Well, that was good then. Sounded like a normal day with the Sthyrventlin. Tihaanth found that they really missed familiar things like that. A lot of things had changed since the end of the shade wars, from losing entire ecological features to suddenly Suyis had a cult that originated on Nebaelen. Mostly, Tihaanth tried not to think about it too much. It was easier to move forward when one didn't dwell on useless things like that.
There was some good news in all this, at least. If nothing else, maybe the next Sovereign would be a better one, raised in peacetime by parents that were raised in war, with all the knowledge of both peace and war. But first, Tihaanth had to figure out how to be Sovereign in the first place. Most probably figured Asmodeus had taught Tihaanth that much, but it was mostly Ryhil that got taught such things; Tihaanth never had interest in it. And even then, it was rarely. With things exploding every ten minutes it seemed like, nothing really got done. One thing was sure. Whatever this one wanted to do, that was what it'd be doing, not whatever Tihaanth decided it should be doing.
"Love you too," Tihaanth answered quietly, leaning over a little to kiss Arael's temple. "I actually have something to show you." Tihaanth had only found it this morning, but could tell the living creature in it still lived by the way the Force signature moved through and around the shell. Vasi eggs were very fascinating things, but Tihaanth had unfortunately not bothered learning much about them. Before now, it was really a waste of time. It wasn't like Tihaanth would ever have kids, but if they ever were going to, they'd come in egg form. Tihaanth was mostly vasi, after all.
"Have to go back upstairs for that, though." Mostly because Tihaanth was almost afraid of moving it too much, and had set it by the fireplace and left it there.
The unfortunate side effect of growing up during a war was that Arael never knew exactly what the right way to show how much they cared for Tihaanth was. Mostly Arael tried to emulate the way their parents treated each other. It seemed to work reasonably well much of the time, and the bond between the two of them certainly helped let the way they felt pass through. Arael hoped it was enough. They didn't always have the words for all the things in their heart, but Arael hoped it was good enough.
Arael smiled slightly as Tihaanth kissed their temple, and leaned over to kiss the other back. It was a light touch, but it felt nice and right. Then again, almost anything involving Tihaanth did. It was probably a side effect of being so close to the man. But then, Arael did love the other dearly, and it was ... well, it wasn't surprising that the force archer preferred to be where Tihaanth was most of the time.
Blink. There was something to see that Arael hadn't already seen? It was certainly possible, Tihaanth did wake up sooner than him, and it was possible that Tihaanth had done something cute like getting them a gift or something small. Or maybe it was something completely different. Who knew.
"I think we can manage going back upstairs." Presumably, Tihaanth's knee could handle it, and they could get settled down and get him off of it in general. And they'd be out of public eye for a while, which could be nice and comforting. "I am curious about what you have to show me though." Tihaanth didn't do things like that all that often. They were, after all, very busy people. Life moved on whether they were ready for it to or not, and their lives had been anything but easy to keep up with.
Even in the wake of the Shade wars, there was a lot to do. Maybe especially, honestly, because now they had all the clean up to do after the wars, and the peace times to smooth out, and frankly, so much of their world had been warped by the wars that maybe nothing would ever really be the same again.
"Course, we don't have to go back yet, if you aren't ready."
Arael would just have to wait and see what it was Tihaanth had to show them. With some work, Tihaanth managed not to look amused; but might've looked a bit nervous, instead. It wasn't like Tihaanth had ever had the opportunity to ask Asmodeus or Suyis what you're supposed to do with vasi eggs. All Tihaanth really knew was they needed to be kept warm. What was warm? How did one know if it was too warm? How did one do temperature regulation?
These were probably things that would be much easier to manage when actually a vasi, Tihaanth imagined. Unfortunately, that meant they might have to spend a little more time than usual in vasi form. Tihaanth, despite being over half vasi, never did really feel much like a vasi. The only time they shifted anymore was for flight practice with Arael, and that was always a little strange. Before bonding, Tihaanth hadn't shifted in... oh, probably a thousand years. There was just no reason for it. Asmodeus hadn't been raised that way, and even if Suyis had been, Suyis was a shade by the time Tihaanth knew them, and couldn't rear children as a vasi.
And sometimes it felt like another thing the wars lost. How many others lost their heritage like that, because the war made it impractical to remember half of who one was? Why was half of who one was capable of becoming impractical? These were just a few of the questions the sovereign never had an answer for.
"I'd rather not leave it up there by itself too long," Tihaanth answered. "Seems like a smarter idea to keep an eye on it." Honestly, Tihaanth was just hoping that somewhere in themselves was a vasi-parent instinct that told them what the egg needed, and by hanging around it, they'd awaken this magical vasi-parent instinct. It was worth a try. And it'd only been one day, so there was no saying it wouldn't work. Just, maybe not right this second.
Anyway, Tihaanth turned and went back for the stairs. Upstairs wasn't coming to them, after all. As they went, though, Tihaanth did look at the entryways, wondering if their vasi form would fit through the doorways. Doing paperwork as a vasi might be a little tricky, but there was always Force magic. And maybe Tihaanth could learn to write with a bonding tendril. Hell, worth a try. And maybe right now was the best time to remember Tihaanth was still mostly vasi, when the vasi numbers were at an all-time low.
Then that was the right doorway, and Tihaanth let Arael's hand go, shuffling over to the fireplace and sitting down, wincing the whole way because Tihaanth's knee was still screaming. Beside the hearth was a shimmery egg-shape covered in scales, half buried under a blanket. Tihaanth leaned over and rested an ear against the scaling, and then breathed in.
"Still seems okay," Tihaanth said. "But I don't know how to tell if it's not. How do you know if vasi babies are in distress?" They sure as heck had no idea. Maybe Arael had a better one.
"Okay, I understand." So they needed to go back anyway, because whatever it was needed to be watched. That was... interesting? That ruled out pretty much anything Arael could think of as a matter of course since most things would be just fine as long as they weren't bothered. They followed Tihaanth back inside though with no particular argument. Arael never minded them being alone together, they simply didn't have enough time in the day to just enjoy each other's presence, after all.
At least they didn't have to be physically together to feel near one another. That helped. The bond between them helped make it easier when they were both incredibly busy people.
Arael followed Tihaanth until they reached the bedroom, and stopped somewhere in the middle of the room as their attention came to rest on the egg sitting beside the hearth. Some corner of their mind winced as Tihaanth knelt down, knowing that the other's knee would not take that well. Still, Arael's attention shifted back to the egg with some feeling of wonder. He'd always known it was possible for them to end up with an egg, but somehow Arael hadn't expected it to happen.
... It would be nice, being able to raise a child in the peacetime that followed the war. Better, at least, than raising the child during the war itself. "I... unfortunately don't know," Arael admitted, coming closer finally and joining Tihaanth in kneeling by the egg. "We may have to ask the Ironscales for help on this." Or their parents. Either of their parents, really.
But Asmodeus was gone, and Arael's were on a different layer and the Ironscales were right there, so it would be faster to ask them what the best thing to do here was. Certainly they wanted to make sure the egg was taken care of. If it never made it to hatching then that would be incredibly sad. Arael didn't think either of them could really handle any more sadness in their lives right now.
Certainly another part-vasi in the world wouldn't go amiss either, with how few were left.
Oh. Right. The Ironscales were right there. Some part of Tihaanth didn't like bothering them for anything. Not because they didn't like interacting with them, it was more that they felt like the Ironscales had earned some peace and the sovereign bothering them every five minutes about something probably didn't lend to getting that peace. The vasi had been dragged into enough things as it was. Of course, the vasi probably didn't see it that way.
Maybe that was just Tihaanth's inner vasi talking. To say the least of it, some sense of protectiveness over the Ironscales was probably to be expected.
On the other hand, they never did seem to mind. Of course, Tihaanth was never certain if they truly didn't mind, or if they were tolerating it for the sake of keeping the peace. Or because Tihaanth was the Sovereign. These were the things Tihaanth worried about when they didn't have anything else to be concerned over. It was frankly rather ridiculous.
"Suppose so," Tihaanth said. "But I didn't really want to bother them over this." Weren't they supposed to figure it out themselves? And anyway, Tihaanth didn't want to leave it here by itself too long. Then again, he supposed it wasn't difficult to move it. For a moment, Tihaanth frowned in thought.
"Maybe best to bug them now than later when something goes wrong." If something went wrong because Tihaanth was being a stubborn ass about it all, then he'd probably never forgive himself. It was just as well to go ask awkward questions. And maybe it wouldn't turn out quite so awkward as it sounded like it would. "I think I'll go as a vasi though," Tihaanth said. "Less painful to walk like that anyway."