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 Action / Adventure A Day to Come (Epicurean & Bean)

Discussion in 'Roleplay Execution' started by Epicurean, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

    Messages:
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    Again, Baras took time with his answer. He wanted to argue politically with Cyrene, change her attitude. But he had always suspected there was more to her conformity to Ikani values than the inculcation received by their education system. Perhaps, he thought, she was at odds with herself somehow. And of course, she was exhibiting a contradiction their people had been dealing with for centuries: The central tenet of the Emmelan, the Naneh sense of belonging and community, was to seek a way to get along, while the injustice and suffering of oppression demanded, screamed for, an action that could not be without confrontation against the oppressors. Funny, Baras thought, how she kept talking about diplomacy. Diplomacy, equitable negotiation, could not even start without all sides accepting the idea that the others had legitimate interests. With the recent swing of Ikani politics, he was sure that basis did not exist. To the Corporative Party now in full control, there was no Naneh question, and any pretense (as they saw it) of a distinct Naneh culture was clinging to backwards superstitions. To the CP, what had to be done about the Naneh was something to be done to, even for them, but not by or with them…

    “There are questions you’re not going to be able to avoid forever, Cyrene,” he finally said gravely, “questions not from your kinfolk,” Baras added in clarification, deliberately using the outdated term, “but from yourself, your soul and conscience. Please never stop asking yourself what you’re doing, and compare the answer to what you want to do – what you want to happen, in fact. The Ikani, at least, won’t care about your intentions. They’ll see just another Ninny traitor to their Republic. You’ll go to jail, and you know how many of us ‘commit suicide’ in jail…”

    He felt himself getting heated and he had to calm himself down before continuing; indeed, political prisoners had a high death rate – but there had been no suspicious death (and few political prisoners overall) in the last decade or so.

    “If you want to, do it. But work on losing any illusions you might have about what it means,” he said with finality. “About your handler,” he continued, tone changed. “As few people as possible must know. By crashing this little party, you’ve really made yourself known to too many already – but the guards are solid wayfellows. The risk is low from that side, but you have to think through your actions in the future. Impulsivity is for the dance-hall, not the struggle.”

    Baras nodded slowly to himself, then gave a low call to the young man outside. “Marain. Come in here.”


    *


    Marain had been patrolling in front of the window, doing his best not to hear what they were talking about. For a moment, he had heard Captain Baras’s voice a little raised, but now he was beckoned inside. He pulled off his mask, smirking a little at the vague surprise on Cyrene’s face before turning serious.

    “Thought you recognized my voice. You got lucky there, aily,” he said, using the term for an unspecified fellow Naneh. “In fact, I might have fired, you being in that uniform and all.”

    His tone was airy, but he had no intention to pretend he felt any warmth towards her. That was probably against the Emmelan, but how could he? She was little removed from a traitor.

    Baras made an impatient gesture. “You two have been out. People have seen you together. Are you burned?”

    Marain shook his head; to the best of his knowledge, the authorities had no idea he was a Volunteer, or even politically active. It had been easy to avoid in the countryside.

    “Your OCs tell me you’re smart.” Marain felt himself straighten up at the praise; it made him feel very boyish, but it was still good to know he was appreciated. “My daughter wants to give us some information she has access to through her work. You’re in the perfect position to be her handler. If you don’t want the job, tell me now and forget we ever talked about it.”

    Marain replied before he had a chance to think it over. “I’m in, Bary.” The affectionate war-name slipped out and he had to keep from wincing. “So in. I’ve learned about running sources, about security. I’ll do it right.”

    Baras nodded; Marain couldn’t tell if he was surprised at all. “Alright. I’m going to let you use this hut; the conference is over. We’re heading back to Hersegal. Make sure you let us all leave before you follow. Can’t have a convoy.”

    With that, Baras Zajec left the hut, touching his daughter’s shoulder on the way out; it made sense, intimidating as it was to Marain. ‘Bary’ didn’t need to know any more.
     
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  2. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    Cyrene was grateful that her father didn’t choose that moment to argue politics. While they both wanted freedom for their people, they had very different views on how to obtain it. However, it seemed that the youngest Zajec may have been faltering a bit. Though she stilled believed in using legislation, dialogue and peacekeeping tactics, the brunette could no longer sit idly by while her people were hurting. Her way was not working, so maybe if she helped the AFR… it could protect her people from further harm while strategically putting them in a place to negotiate. The Ikani believe themselves superior. And they did have the upper hand. But if they could turn the tables, maybe it could change the political landscape.

    She held her tongue. Listening to Baras intently. The graduate didn’t want to miss a word. As her father pointed out, this could be literally be life and death. She nodded in understanding. The brunette was already questioning herself. Unsure if she could actually accomplish this monumental task. But what other choice? Cyrene was already in the best position for espionage.

    She bit her bottom lip and contemplated on his words, already replaying in her head. Her breath caught in her throat as he spoke of a handler. The youngest Zajec was already nervous about this. This would be her contact. The person vetting her and her information. She nodded her head again about her father’s lesson on impulsivity. “Yea, Papi. I will do my best.”

    She was thinking of something to say. To comfort her father. But no words seemed to come to mind as she watched him come to terms with what was happening. Then he called Marain’s name. Cyrene was surprised he was so close by. She looked over her shoulder at his entrance to the hut.


    Her emerald eyes narrowed at his smugness. The graduated returned her attention to her father as he spoke. Her eyes widening when Baras appointed Mahree as her handler. Cyrene was about to protest, but thought better of it. The war hero was already agreeing to her being a spy, she best not push him any further. It was a miracle he hadn’t carried her home and locked her in her room.


    It seems that Marain had an affinity for her father. Yet she felt as though there was still tension better them. From the concert? Her work? There were many things proper Naneh would not appreciate about her. Her head turned toward Mahree when he said her father’s nickname. She had never gotten used to the attention both her father and mother received from others.

    Do it right? Cyrene stared at Marain for a moment before turning back to her father. She took in a deep breath and nodded at his brief gesture of affection before leaving.

    Alone, the brunette was unsure of just what to do.

    She slowly turned to Mahree. “I’m sorry about leaving you at the concert… but as you can see it’s difficult to say no to my father.” She gave a small smile but it quickly faded.

    “I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I have some information. Ikani are moving. Strengthening the reservists. Chaz, the leader, he will be working in my building, extensively with my boss. They will be planning and strategizing.”

    Cyrene was getting a bit nervous speaking with Marain. Her hand moved and rubbed her bruised collar bone. Reminding her of how harsh a somewhat colleague had been with her. A pain in her heart when she thought of Shanha. She couldn’t complain of her injuries when the singer was beat to death on stage.



    The graduate looked toward Marain. “What else… what do you need? Want to know? Sorry… I just… I’m nervous.”
     
  3. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    Marain rubbed his chin and tried to remember the ‘weekend seminar’ he’d had about intelligence gathering and running sources. First things had to be first, however.


    “We need to establish some things first. Rules for your security,” he explained. “Sorry if some of this is obvious to you, but it’s good to spell it out. One – never refer to what you’re doing for us in writing, digital or analog. No notes, no veiled references, nothing. No phone conversations about it, either. We’ll have a few code phrases for emergencies, but other than that, we’re just neighbors who spend time together sometimes and we have to talk and text like it. Even in person, we only talk about sensitive things when we’re alone and in a safe environment, with phone batteries and log-in chips out.”


    “I’ll be the one to control your information. We have to be careful how we use it, and we will be. For now, basic information about deployments is interesting: Where will intensive traffic checks take place? What are the PVs up to? What Yeomanry company is active where in Hersegal, if any? How strong is the police in which quarter at a given time? This kind of thing, that’s what you should try to give us. But right now, I don’t think you need to risk much. Just take what you see anyway. Don’t even make copies (unless your 100% sure you’ll get away with it), just memorize it. Then come over for dinner at my family’s house and we can take a walk after. Make it innocuous, make it natural. Good thing about this sort of info is that we can mostly use it without the opposition knowing we had it. Make sense so far?” Marain asked finally, hoping he had explained it well enough.
     
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  4. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    She listened to Marain and nodded. Everything he said made sense. Instructions seemed simple enough, though Cyrene wasn't naive enough to think this would be easy.

    "I understand." Her head tilted upward as she looked upom her newly appointed handler. Out of all the people her father could have selected. Yet, it also made sense. They could easily explain her appearance. One to see Baras... or even a love struck girl clamoring for Marain's attention.

    They had gone out visibly to the concert together. And their guardians wishing for them to spend more time. It was a decent cover for their clandestine activities.

    It was odd how similar this story was to her father and mother's. The tell wasn't of Baras seeking out her mother. Rather her mother being very cordial woth the war hero. Many thinking she did it for clout with her people that were already displeased. The brunette couldn't help but think of all the times as a young girl Idira took her to work and events. Cyrene watched her Mami charm people with her beauty and words. Her mother was the ultimate contradiction at times. Pushing Cyrene to go to a proper Ikani led school, yet also making sure the young girl was heavily seeded in her Naneh roots.

    Cyrene gave a small smile. "I guess, We are good for now. I can see what I learn tomorrow at work and come by for dinner."

    There was something nagging her though. "Marain... are you okay?" From the concert? For being appointed as her handler? Being in the same room as her? He was AFR now... she wasn't sure exactly why she was asking and what for, but she was genuinely concerned for his wellbeing.

    "Shall we head out?"
     
  5. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

    Messages:
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    Since Marain was expected to work with Cyrene on a professional level, for the movement, he was in a different mindset. That way, he took the time to think about his response. He didn’t want to talk to her about his feelings – about the shame. She wouldn’t understand. The physical defense of the Naneh people was not her concern. To her, it was all abstract, a game of words – words like progress and diplomacy. To him, it was very real, very physical, in success and failure.

    “Let’s head out,” he replied simply. He’d have to talk to Cyrene a lot; but some things he would keep to himself.


    *

    Shahna’s funeral was the same week. Thousands flocked to it; as the coffin was carried through the streets outside of the Upper Cliffside quarter of Hersegal, the procession was attacked by an Ikani mob. The casket was sullied by thrown dirt. The crowd defended itself, but police in the vicinity did nothing.

    The singer was considered a martyr of the cause. The AFR color party there to shoot salute was accosted by Shahna’s family, Marain heard. They posed the questions the group deserved, he had to admit – where had they been during the procession? Where had they been when Shahna was murdered? But at long last, the Army Council reacted. Orders came down; the individual units were to patrol. Attacks on police units committing acts of violence against Naneh were permitted at CO discretion. Quarter defense was to be re-organized, or rather, fully re-established.

    Down in the Old City Grounds, where Marain (and the Zajec family) lived, plans were made, weapon caches inspected. Marain now knew where to go if a Company Alert were to go out – the roof of an old AFR hand. A scoped rifle would be brought there and he would act as the first lookout… at least, that is.

    Marain worked his hours at the logistics firm downtown; on the next Fiveday, he was sitting in the big family room of the Ò Adith house, getting ready to watch Tryball. The team from the Ikani capital Amay was visiting the local Hersegal Naneh Tryball Club. It would be a good time, he hoped, watching the game with all his cousins…
     
  6. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    The funeral had been a disaster. Cyrene had shed a few tears. It seemed that Ikani could not be civil enough even to respect the dead. A woman murder by their own hands in front of her people. On the eve of remembrance of the Great Rising.

    And the AFRN... it was too little, too late. Her heart broke for the family. She could see similarities between them and her own. Cyrene prepared to leave for work and her mother dressed glamorously yet solmen. Idria planned on smoothing things over with the family. Even if she no longer graced the glossy covers or engaged much in manikin anymore, she still had some status to pull from. After a brief exhange, the two ventured forth.

    Cyrene used her time traveling to work contemplating what she needed to do next. There was so much unrest. Her own street was littered with unhappy and hostile Naneh.

    Once at work, she began her mundane tasks but kept an ear open. Her boss, the chief of police was merrily stuffing his face with Ikani bake goods, drowned in sugary coffee as he boasted of the botched funeral.

    Nearing the end of the work day, she was began filing away reports when Chaz reappeared. A smirk on his lips as he passed. Cyrebe ignored him, but stayed close to her boss's office. She could hear Chaz, and Chief Lezel Burke speak of the growing number of Ikani and Naneh ready to come to blows.

    "Dali, come here." She cringed. It was Ikani's less then endearing play on the Naneh's Dari. Dali was used as a word of oppression and posession. Indicating the Naneh was owned by the Ikani.

    The graduated sucked in a breath and calmly walked into the lion's den.

    She said nothing as the two men smiled at her.

    "She'd make quite the good informant? No?" Chief Burke laughed as Chaz smugly nodded.

    The blonde officer snickered. "I'm not sure she has what it takes. Or even the smarts. Ninny are such savages. But few can wash up nicely. Really just play things."

    Cyrene glared in Chaz direction as Burke gave a another hearty laugh. "Right, right. I got dibs on Cyrene. Couldn't pass on the daughter of Idira."

    The banter was more then cringeworthy. As if she wasn't standing there. The brunette cleared her throat. "Is there anything I can assist you with, Chief Burke?"

    Lez smiled at her. "See. The perfect Dali! Yes... um... chaz and I have been discussing the funeral and the mobs. Ikani are out to defend themselves from the Ninny. Likelu come to blows tonight."

    She nodded. "Sir. Sounds quite dangerous. Ikani need protection. Maybe we should tell them to stay home or we should block them from-"

    Chief Burke shool his head. "We aren't doing anything. Let them beat on the Ninnies some more."

    Cyrene bit her tongue. A riot was brewing and the Ikani police had no intention of intercepting them before blood would be shed.

    Chaz smiled. "At least not at first. Let the mob kill a few of em. Show them whose boss. Then we will do something."

    Cyrene swallowed hard and smiled back. "Surely that will teach them not to fight the powers that be."

    Chaz stared at her intently. "Surely."

    Chief Burke finished his pastry and smacked his lips. "Cyrene, what are they planning? Numbers?"

    She turned back to her boss. "Oh... um... quite a few. But I don't know much. They don't talk to me. Since I work for you all. And believe in the Ikani way."

    Chief Burke nodded. "Cyrene. I would be careful tonight. You are important to show that Naneh are trainable and can be tamed. That is important for your people. Otherwise, they are just savages to the Ikani."

    Cyrene gave a slight bow. "Thank you sir. I will be careful this evening."

    Chaz continued to stare at her with his chin in his hand. "I don't know Lez. I think she needs a bit more training."

    Burke laughed. But the brunette and the blonde knew it was no joke.

    The chief waved her off. "Have a good evening, Dali." She quickly walked out of her boss' office. Even faster out of the building. She needed to get to Marain as fast as possible.

    *** An Hour Later ***

    Neither of her parents were home. Not that it mattered. She quickly slipped put of her uniform and into something a bit more inconspicuous. Some shorts and a shirt. She threw on some old boots and raced to the O Adith home. There was much commotion on the streets.

    The brunette's hair still perfectly in a bun as she knocked on the door. Cyrene cursed at herself. Hopefully she wasn't too late. She impatiently waited for Marain to answer.
     
  7. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    551
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    The fucking Amay fans, rabid Ikani patriots all, were trying to provoke a riot. They showed pictures of Shahna, the dead singer, with mocking messages; they sang Beamey-Ikani songs about keeping the Ninny in his place. The Hersegal fans responded by angry chants of rebel songs that made shivers run down Marain’s back.

    Marain found himself grinding his teeth with rage. It was all unbearable. That was the core of it, wasn’t it? Not even the injustice and cruelty as such, but the sheer psychological pressure. It was truly impossible to live with oppression. You could stop being yourself; you could try to be the model Naneh to the Ikani, which was just another way of not being yourself; or you could fight.
    Now, fireworks were going off in the stadium, aimed at the Hersegal fan section. The game was stopped as the stadium announcer and club security people tried to calm the situation, but Marain could hear even through the TV that the Hersegal fans were ready to explode. Part of him wanted them to, but another knew the terrible things that could happen in a crowd stampede.

    Yet another time, a banner with the portrait of Shahna went up over the Amay section. This time, she was drawn as a cruel caricature, pale, her face bloodied, clearly dead. But it was the caption that tipped the scales. ‘Just like in Mila’. Even in the Ó Adith living room, there was an audible groan, while in the stadium, it appeared, complete pandemonium was about to break lose.

    “They’re just scum,” Marain’s great-grandfather said quietly. The sadness in the old man’s cracking voice ripped Marain back and forth between empathy and rage, his eyes filling with tears. “Not enough they murder us… they have to mock us, too. Can’t even let ‘er be buried in peace. Sometimes, I get them who lays bombs under their arses. Can’t blame ‘em, sometimes…”

    Yeomanry and PSP were entering the stadium now. Marain didn’t even have to check who they were setting up to attack. He saw with satisfaction that they were too late. The battle in the stands was already joined, the hard core of Hersegal fans having overrun all fences and police lines.

    Aunt Guen chimed in, her hand pressed against her mouth. “There’s going to be trouble today,” she whispered as everyone else fell quiet. “Them Beamey Volunteers… they’re going to use that. We need to be thinking about defense…”

    It was all Marain could do to stop himself from declaring that the Army was ready, that the BVM and their mob would enter the quarter over the dead bodies of the Old City Grounds Company. Then the doorbell rang. Marain decided to go; the nervous energy in him was becoming unbearable. Grim-faced, he opened the door and looked down the three stairs at Cyrene. Of all people.

    “Hey. What’s up?” he asked curtly, knowing she was undeserving of the unfriendliness, but to him, in this moment, she embodied a lot of what was wrong with the world at large.
     
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  8. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

    Messages:
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    Cyrene stood nervously as she waited for someone to answer the door. She sorted of hoped hor the Aunt. She was sweet. A bit of a reprieve before facing Marain. The tension was already sharp.

    She turned to look at the street. Normally as darkness began to fall it would become quieter. There was no peace to be found. She didn't know what was worse. Sitting alone in her family home or facing Mahree's unpleasantness.

    Soon the brunette knew the answer. The door swung open and she was meet with a sharp tongue. Cyrene pressed her lips together for a moment. Hopikg to find words. She had to be discreet. Not impulsive.

    "I want to spend some time with you... you know... privately." Her eyes shifted from him to the vicinity around them. The streets still had many walkers, most unsettled and conversing about the game and the concert. Murmurs of riots. The youngest Zajec hoped she wasn't to late to get word out.

    "Please."
     
  9. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    Marain’s demeanor changed instantly. He nodded and looked around. “Alright. Give me a second. We’re going for a walk.”

    Breaking with anything resembling Emmelan niceties, he didn’t even tell his family he was heading out; he simply slipped on his shoes and stepped out to join Cyrene.

    “We can head towards the beach; don't know who's around,” he said tensely, gesturing around the street - the immediate environment was clear, but pairs and small groups were hanging around the other houses, some listening to the game on the radio, some just having a drink.

    He waited until they were a little ways away from the Ó Adith home.

    “What do you want to talk about?” Marain finally asked. “Sorry I snapped at you,” he added, meaning it but unable to convey. “The game… it’s turning really ugly. Going to be a big riot. It’s all intense right now.” Part of him wanted to tell her he was expecting a Company Alert, maybe even a call-out of the whole city Brigade any minute – but he had to treat her as a source. She was no Wayfellow, even if he was romantic enough to hope that she might one day be.
     
  10. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    Cyrene felt a pain when he addressed in such a way. Yet another Naneh who hated her. They preached of Emmulean... yet the brunnette was finding it hard to believe it existed.

    Dealing with the Ikani, and especially her boss and now Chaz's statements, now to be faced with her people she wanted nothing more than to help... all of them... so much anger and hatred ot was hard to see clearly.

    She bit her tongue and stood there. She wanted to snap back but thought better of it. The graduate stood calmly before following Marain. Her pace picked up. She ignored his apology, not knowing if he said that fearing she'd not give intel or if he meant it. He was mean and had been, maybe she should keep him at a distance. He not as directly mean as some, but somehow it pained her more. She didn't know the reason. She barely knew him.

    Cyrene knew when a fellow Naneh did not like her. All warmth was gone. Motions being followed so they could at least say they were following the emmulean way. The youngest Zajec sighed heavily. Maybe a different handler would be a better idea? Though she already knew her father would be displeased. Changing handlers could be sign she wasn't as forthright.


    Her eyes shifted and looked at the street. Still no sign of Ikani presnece. "Let's just get this over with. As the approached a clearing, giving them privacy yet a view of the ocean over the cliff, Cyrene folded her arms in front of her. "Ikani will be allowing the mob to do whatever they want until midnight at the earliest. There will be nothing to stop the mob but the AFR and the Naneh themselves. That is what I was told. And all I have for you." Cyrene turned to walk away and head back home.
     
  11. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    Marain was genuinely sorry Cyrene had taken his distanced treatment so hard. She might not be a Wayfellow, but she was a Naneh. And maybe, she had just delivered very important information.

    “Cyrene, wait…”

    He walked with her, trying to explain himself, getting more and more hasty. “I mean it. You caught me with my head elsewhere, alright? There are people getting hurt right now. But you – well, maybe you just helped us protect ourselves. That’s real help. Don’t think I won’t take that into account. Look, I have to go. Everyone needs to get off their asses tonight, and what you told me might just be what’s necessary for that to happen. Thank you. You’re doing the right thing. Be safe. Stay out of the fight if you can, we don’t want to lose you.”

    With that, Marain turned and ran towards the Ó Adith family house. Within minutes, he had a secure message out to what he suspected was Brigade leadership Intel. The information, he knew, would take its time trickling back down, but it would arrive. Tonight, it was indeed like Cyrene had said: All that stood between the Naneh community and destruction was the AFR, and whatever help they might get from the population.

    *

    The area around the stadium was a warzone; dozens of deaths occurred in the chaos, countless injuries. Later that night, mobs of drunk and angry Beamey-Ikani, intermingled with Amay fans, BVM activists and general city rabble, marched on the Naneh quarters.

    The AFR was only half-ready, but, warned by the news trickling down from ‘somewhere’ that they were on their own, Volunteers and just regular Naneh fought with desperate anger; on the Upper Cliffside, rebel heartland, AFR and ad-hoc resident militia failed to keep the mob outside the quarter, but in three places, managed to turn quarter streets into hellholes with thrown petrol bombs, improvised weapons and sporadic gunfire, including one instance of a machine gun driving off Ikani trying to set fire to houses.

    The Lower Cliffside remained almost untouched, protected by the almost rabid Upper Cliffside Company resistance, and LC Volunteers were a big part of the Marshes fight.

    In the Marshes, where Ikani and Naneh quarters lay side by side, resistance was stiffest – but also most violent. AFR and BVM fought outright battles along the Lower Marshes Road. However, defense failed completely along the Rampart. Whole streets were set ablaze by mobs.

    Rights Movement activists, who had always almost begged via their online outlets for their people to remain non-violent, fell silent that night.

    The next day, nobody thought of removing the barricades. The police, whose activities had stayed very limited that night, did not try to, because masked Volunteers were guarding each and every one. ‘Auntie Afra’, as the AFR was also known, had finished her multi-year nap. Once more, she was out guarding her family, gun in hand.

    In the Old City Grounds, Marain’s company saw only a limited attack; a BVM action group tried to infiltrate the quarter, but ran into an armed patrol, which drove them off.

    Marain was pleased that there was progress – that the fighting spirit was still alive. But he was not content with defending the quarters. In the morning, he made contact with a Naneh Liberation Army member; he was a fine shot. NALIA would have use for him, Marain was promised…

    *

    Two days later, the barricades still stood, the AFR was still out in force. City life went on, however. Marain went to work to dispatch his trucks and do his paperwork, Cyrene rejoined her boss at the PSP HQ. In the evening, Marain sought her out. He had received a message he wanted to convey – and he had something to ask her individually, as well.

    It was her mother who opened the door; he felt awkward being faced with the famous mannequin – the one who had started all the kissing up to the enemy. But Bary’s wife seemed to like him for some reason and called Cyrene.

    “Hey,” Marain said when she appeared, unsure of himself. “Want to take another walk?” he asked, his Mila Hills lilt more prominent now. “We didn't really get to talk last time,” he added nebulously, but with a pleading undertone; Idira seemed to hide a smirk – she clearly took this the wrong way, but Marain didn’t care.
     
  12. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    That night Cyrene sat quietly her mind elsewhere. Her father had yet to be home. Though it was likely she would not see him for a few days. He was a war hero, he had aged since his glory days. She worried.

    Yet her mind flickered back to Marain and their conversation in the eve. He had been a bit harsh but apologized... even explaining himself. It seemed somewhat logical, but the graduated brushed it off. Giving him a sight bow but no words before making her trek back home through the crowd. At least if there was Ikani surveillance she wouldn't stick out. She slipped through collective of angry Naneh and back into her empty home.

    Cyrene wanted to throw something. Punch something. Scream. Cry. Everything..yet nothing. She took a few deep breaths and held it all in sitting in her room ruminating and fighting her own thoughts.

    Just as she was about to throw a pillow across the room "Dari-" Her mother's voice startled her. She hadn't heard her enter much less climb the stairs. There he mother stood. Glamorous and with a smile. How could she stand there and smile? While her husband? Their people... with this chaos?

    "I've brought you some supper. Have you eaten? You look pale-"

    "Mami- people are dying. Papi is out there-"

    Idira posture straighten and her expression a bit stern. "I'm aware. Though that does not prohibit the need for sustenance or of taking care of my daughter."

    Cyrene scoffed. "Fine." She wasn't hungry. The brunette followed her mother downstairs.

    "Cy... I know it pains you. Myself as well... but Papi will be fine. He always is." They reached the kitchen and a takeout of Cyrene's favorite noodles lay on the counter. She said nothing. Her mouth dry.

    Idira grabbed utensils and sat Cyrene down to eat. The graduate prodded and poked. The dyed blonde model broke the silence.

    "How is Marain? Have you seen him again?"

    Cyrene glared at her mother. "Yes. Briefly. In passing."

    Idira smiled again. "Oh. Maybe we should find you a new dress, what do you think he may like-"

    The youngest Zajec slamned her utensils on the table. "Mami. I do not like him. I will treat him as a fellow Naneh-"

    Idira wiped her lips gently with a napkin her head tilting to the side. "Dari. Come now-"

    "No-no-no- I will not heel. I will not. He is uneducated. Brash. He-he- hates me!" Cyrene didn't realize she had stood up until her mother clamly looked up at her. The brunette felt her cheeks go flush. "Mami. I'm so sorry... I don't know... I don't know what got over me. Im worried about papi. And the fighting... I'm tired."

    The mannikin got up and kissed her daughter's forehead. "You must keep this closed off, Dari. You know better. Go rest." Cyrene nodded her head in understanding. Just as she was about to head upstairs her mother called out.

    "I said that all about a boy I dated once." Idira gave a small sigh. Cyrene turned around in curiosity. "Who?"

    Idira gave her daughter a loving smile. "Your father." Cyrene rolled her eyes and head upstairs. Maybe a shower and rest would do her good.

    ****
    The days seemed to move slowly. Filing, typing and conversing with her boss and Chaz had been excruciating. She worried aboit her father... and fought thoughts of how the foghter with the brown locks was fairing. Every report of a dead AFR member gave her pause, yet relief when Marain was not mentioned.

    Chief Burke and Lieutenant Chaz Stalla were hard at work and demanding. But that meant the brunette had access to much of their strategies. A few learing and glaring looks from Chaz was the worst of it for now.

    On the second day, Cyrene got home. Her mother already fussing. Against her wishes she had gone clothes shopping for her. Her mother's idea of a coping mechanism. Cyrene refused to try anything on. Instead throwing on a tank and some shorts. Before she could let her hair down she heard her mother call for her.

    Cyrene groaned and made her way downstairs. To her surprise... Marain was at the door. She could have hugged him right there. Her chest felt tight for a moment as relief washed over her. The brunette stunned for a few moments before slowly approaching the AFR member.

    He requested to talk. Cyrene looked to her mother not knowing if she could plead for an out. Her mother smirked and gestured for her daughter to carry forth.
    Cyrene hesitated for a moment looking to the man in front her. "Yes. That would be...appropriate." appropriate? What was she saying? She shook her head at herself. "I mean... yes..of course. Let's go. Mami, I'll be gone for a few."

    She felt her cheeks blush a bit as she pushed passed Marain and into the street. She wait for him and then they began their walk. A few neighbors oogled the pair. Naneh were very involved in each others lives. Gossip was rather popular. Cyrene's pace quickened. "Please... Marain... tell me where we are going is nearby." She was uncomfortable. Still on edge. The anxiety of the potential gossip or Mahree's harsh tone again was weighing on her. Normally she was so collected and poised. Her handler seemed to spark something. A piece of her she tried to bury so deep.
     
  13. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    “Not far,” Marain assured her. He was still sleep-deprived and had a hard time talking. He saw the folks watching them, but he didn’t much care; he had no connection to Ikani values of chastity, where sex and relationships were somehow dirty and shameful.

    When they had turned a corner into an alleyway, he cleared his throat. “Business first, I guess,” he began quietly. “This is from way up the chain; I’m guessing either the Brigade Commander or even Army Council, but I don’t have a direct line there, so I’m not sure; I don’t want to know too exactly, either. They said they’d need a poet to give you enough praise. The weekend was bad, but without your info, it would’ve been a massacre. Looks like we actually won this one – as far as you can win things like this. We lost fighters, but only a dozen or so. But we knew there would be no police, so we could go all out. Those mobs… BVM ran them, marshaled them. Because we were ready, we identified a bunch of the leaders on the spot and got them first. Up on the Cliffs… they were really hot to get that place. All the symbolism. But they got absolutely hammered up there. Many other places, too. That’s on you, Cyrene. I’m supposed to tell you that – and I want to thank you for myself, too. You did a great thing. Saved many lives.”

    Marain had stopped and looked at Cyrene through these last few sentences; it was important to him to tell her this. She was valuable, she was brave – and like any good Naneh, he delighted in praise more than in criticism.

    “People are flocking to us. The structure can barely handle all the new Volunteers. That’s also in part on you. We needed a success. We got it. The people are angry, but they’re also confident.” That was really more than she should have told her, he knew, but it seemed important to let her know the enormity of the Tryball Riots, as they were coming to be called.
     
  14. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    Finally they reached the alleyway and Cyrene rubbed her arm as she listened to Marain. Her eyes looking to her feet and back to his face many times. Her nerves still a bit shot.

    She gave a small smile and nod at the praise but frowned heavily at the hurt still inflicted. Her eyes widen at the mention of more volunteers. Cyrene felt conflicted. It was bittersweet. Her people 'winning' and now inspired and spirited. Yet there had still be blood shed.she chewed on her bottom lip in contemplation.

    "Thank you. I'm elated the information was helpful." The youngest Zajec shifted uncomfortably. "I'm pleased you are also well. Is my father... okay?" Her eyes searching his.

    "Is that all?"
     
  15. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    “If I’m informed right, your father is not out in the streets, fighting,” Marain said quickly – before he could think better of it, he realized. “He’s doing more important things – but I don’t know what, just that we protect these people well. He’ll also return soon, I hope. We don’t like our Volunteers going fully underground unless it’s unavoidable. There’s a new strategy paper they’ll put out… I think he might be involved with that somehow, but I’m not sure.”

    Marain stretched and yawned, his exhaustion overcoming the awkwardness that was still lingering between them. “It’s not all I wanted to talk about, no. Look… when I said sorry before the fight, I really meant it. Not going to say I never doubted you. I did. I’m still sure you have some things wrong, important ones even. But you did a great thing. I know you’ll do more. I’m proud to be part of that.”

    Somehow, whatever he said to her seemed stupid and incomplete, but he just had to try his best. He envied people who could really talk…
     
  16. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    Cyrene nodded in understanding. Though was a bit surprised that Marain offered such information on her father. Baras was always willing to help and offer his expertise. She admired his dedication and passion. Even if they didn't always get along politically. But it seemed as though her father may have rubbed off a bit.

    The brunette was still a bit nervous. When Marain stretched and yawned she worried about his exhaustion but his next topic took her a bit off guard. Her eyebrow raised. Was he just playing nice now?

    She exhaled slowly barely maintaining her composure. Her Mother's words of close it all of rang in her ears. Suddenly it felt like butterflies in her stomach. An odd response. Her brow furrowed in frustration at herself.

    "I accept you apology... also I am aware that I will be tested. To ensure loyalties and allainces. I will do better to embrace it." She looked over her shoulder they were still alone. Cyrene slowly approached the AFR fighter. Her words a whisper. "You appear tired. You should rest." Her eyes worried didn't hide the worry she had. He presented as inact even if tired.
     
  17. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    “I’ll be fine in another day or so,” Marain dismissed Cyrene’s worry, but he did so with a smile in her direction. “I had two very short nights over the weekend, but with all this chaos, there’s not much going on at work and I’ve been getting better sleep.”

    It was new that she came so close. It had been pleasant at the concert, and it was pleasant now. Nobody could say she wasn’t a perfect mixture of her father’s vibrant, exuberant health and her mother’s renowned beauty. She seemed less ethereal than Idira – more physical. More Naneh, in a way. Marain touched her shoulder for a moment.

    “No need to worry. I don’t break so easily,” he chuckled, speaking of himself like of a car. “The other thing I wanted to talk to you about, though… they’re having the big rally downtown. The Rights Movement. People from all over are coming – but you probably know more about that than me. Leftie Ikani, us, even Meratians and Te’esh and Liyadanians. We could go together. Listen to the speakers… they’re not having political types exclusively, either. Singers, and Soulfriends.”

    The Soulfriends were the old priestly caste of the Ikani, their position more communal now than spiritual – but what, really, was the difference? Also, the Rights Movement had made it very clear to the militants that they wanted no defense, no guns, nothing of the sort at their event. It rankled Marain a little, but it made some sort of sense. Many, many thousands would be there, any systematic defense would’ve required a true military structure. The mass of people itself was enough defense, he supposed.
     
  18. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    ** The Next Day **

    Her recent discourse with Marain had been at the very peculiar to say the least. Once home, her mother had given her a knowing smile but said nothing. Still no word on her father. Cyrene had trouble falling asleep. Every over the course of the last couple weeks replayed in her head. From the concert, to the riots, her father, work, AFRN… and him. The graduated forced herself to think about anything else. Marain may have been nice… this time.

    She went to work. The morning had been uneventful. Her boss rushing around before calling for her. Chief Burke had been irritable all morning. The upcoming festival had the Ikani on guard.

    “Cyrene… I need you to deliver these maps to Chaz. Then you can leave for the day. If you can, let us know what the AFRN have plan... if you get close enough that is.”

    The chief’s assistant grabbed the paperwork without a word and headed down the hall to Chaz’s makeshift office. She knocked on the door and there was no answer. The youngest Zajec entered with caution. Luckily it was empty of life. Cyrene placed the maps on Chaz’s desk and there were the standing orders written and ready to hand out to the security forces. They were to stand ready but not interfere with the festival unless necessary. Her green eyes scanned the document for further information. Her heart and mind racing. She couldn’t spend much time in this room. Her hand pushed the document upward revealing a communications log. Radios. Frequency z5607. They would be using channel 1709 to communicate. Cyrene moved the paperwork back as best she could and threw the maps on top, hoping that Chaz wouldn’t notice.

    After delivering the maps, she rushed home to prepare for the festival. Her mother fussed. Of course the daughter of the most famous manikin wasn’t going to be able to leave the house for such an event without being made up. After much poking and prodding, finally Idiria let her daughter venture forth.

    It was midday now. And many Naneh and a few leftist Ikani filled the festival to capacity. There was a celebratory mood in the air. Cyrene tried not to stand out. She moved through the crowd in attempt to find Marain. It seemed a nearly impossible task, people singing, dancing, drinking, conversing and protesting. She got a few stares due to her more posh dress and boots, but at least no one seemed to recognize the daughter of Idira and Baras. At least the few that might of said nothing and returned to their various activities.

    Cyrene repeated the numbers of the radio in her head. Over and over again as she moved through the crowd toward the epicenter. She had to find the man that somehow managed to unravel much of will trained persona in a matter of a week. The youngest Zajec sighed at herself. Reminded of what her morher said. Close it off. Kept your emotions to yourself. Don't let them see you cry. Smile.
     
  19. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    Marain couldn’t help himself. He was fast being swept away by the atmosphere of the assembling rally. There was no aggression there. The strongest drug on offer was slairse, a small nut you could chew to relax – no alcohol, nothing more intoxicating. Marain didn’t partake, because he simply didn’t feel the need. Everyone seemed in a festive, confident mood. They were so many, and for once, there were no Ikani provocateurs in sight. The blue sky was so beautiful with small, friendly clouds driven in the breeze that it made Marain ache for something he couldn’t describe. He imagined a free people, united in a free state, where the spirit of the Emmelan guided everyone, and nobody had to be alone. He was sure that the Republic of Nanehri would be no threat to others, a force of good in the world, the reasonable voice of a community that had seen too much to be foolish. And they would even get along with the Ikani, if due reconciliation were achieved – had they not together defeated the enemies of all freedom in the Great War? That just had to count for something…

    He wondered where Cyrene was. He had come here straight from two hours of (rather well-paid, he had to admit) extra work, taking care of some issues with a container shipment lost somewhere in Liyadan customs bureaucracy, and therefore hadn’t met her. News trickled down that the march was to start soon, so he took out his phone and sent her directions. Service was slow because of all the people, but it did reach her at the end.

    When Marain discovered her, he got her attention with a wave and a bright smile; he was glad to see her, especially since she wore something that passed for Naneh clothing, not the damn servant uniform. His mood wavered when he read her expression.

    “You look worried, ailys,”, he said, the subtle change of the ‘aily’ moniker meaningful – you could call any Naneh ‘aily’, it was a friendly word, but ‘ailys’ denoted someone you had a personal connection with beyond the Emmelan. The Ikani translated it as ‘friend’, but that didn’t quite encompass all it meant. “What’s wrong?” Marain asked.
     
  20. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    She wander in the crowd for a bit. Cyrene was feeling apprehensive. Usually she'd stick to the sidelines of such an affair, but her need to get crucial information to Marain outweighed her lack of comfort.

    The brunette turned at the sound of her name. A sigh of relief when the bounce dark curly locks came toward her. She gave a small smile. And her eyebrows perked at the more affectionate term he gave her. She softly cleared her throat and shuffled a bit nervously.

    The youngest Zajec looked around, everyone else busy with celebrating the festival. "Um. I have to tell you something... things... stuff... private stuff." Her eyes stared into his hoping he understood what she meant.

    Cyrene knew that they still needed to be tactful. The noise from people surrouding them was sure to cover being overheard. Her eyes shifted as she looked around. Apart from a few glances their way everyone was wrapped up in their own festivities.

    The graduate moved to him, invading his personal space. She wrapped her arms around him. Her face nuzzled against his neck and lips nearing his ear. Affection, even publicly wouldn't be second guessed by the Naneh.

    "The purples, they have no intentions of disrupting the festival. It would look bad. They are on alert though and stand ready to intercede if the need arise. But... I have their comms. Frequency and channel." She rattled off the numbers for him. "I hope... I hope that helps."