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

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

  1. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    Her hand softly combed through his locks, her fingernails gently dragged against his scalp. She gave a understanding smile. Cyrene softly nodded.

    "Aye. That does sound nice." A sigh escaped her lips at the heavy burden placed upon both their shoulders. Some of it shared between them, but it seemed that they both had their own demons to face.

    "I'm not going anywhere. I'll stay here-with you." She looked toward him, hoping that Marain could find some peace.
     
  2. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    The next weeks, an eerie quiet fell over the city of Hersegal. The police set up checkpoints, but to Marain, it felt they had no strategy except to wait. Violent incidents did happen, but they usually involved BVM and Naneh activists, not the police. On that front, there was a stalemate. The AFRN Army Council forbade attacks on the checkpoints, analyzing it (correctly, Marain thought) as a useless escalation. The war was about information now. The BVM, with its presumptive help from its SPV members and other, darker channels, was trying to find and kill Naneh leaders, while the barricades kept them from invading the Naneh quarters, where there was almost no official presence of police anymore. The checkpoints made Marain and his cell very wary; they had trouble operating safely and so took turns shadowing this potential target or that. Their first was buried quietly after the AZRN propagandists had successfully run a net-based campaign denouncing the man as a crooked cop. As the weeks passed, Marain thought less about him.

    Some unrest came about when the authorities issued a two-week ultimatum to the Naneh community to remove the barricades. The AFRN leadership invited comment from activists of all ranks and organization and finally decided not to fight the ultimatum – on their own initiative, the quarter Companies started burning, demolishing or otherwise incapacitating the police buildings in their neighborhoods before the day to remove the barricades was there. The declaration that accepted the ultimatum, was in no way meek:



    In the last paragraphs, the declaration announced officially that NALIA and AFRN were in tight alliance, working with different methods. It was a clever bit of disinformation: There were hardly any NALIA cell members who were not also AFRN volunteers; the former organization was, essentially, an offshoot of the latter, more secure and able to ignore the clumsy clandestine command structure, necessary for sustained defense but cumbersome for offensive action.

    The days before the barricades came down, someone stole a large BVM weapons cache and a BVM unit tried to attack the family house of an AFRN company CO in the Lower Marshes, sneaking in through side streets. They ran into a hellish ambush, in which said AFRN man used a machine gun to hose the BVM vehicle – which, the rumors had it, was one of the stolen weapons.

    The barricades did come down, and as the Army Council had planned, the triumphant entry into the quarters was denied the police; nobody was on the streets, the abandoned police stations were unusable. The AFRN slipped back into the fog, countless volunteers having joined its ranks.

    All the while, Marain and Cyrene spent as much time together as they could. Being a couple, in Ikani terminology, turned out to be a decent cover, Marain thought; that way, no observer could wonder why they were meeting up, because whether they were going on a date, sleeping together or talking about what she had access to at work. Cyrene could get useful information about deployments, which greatly helped securing logistics operations. Hardly any movements of weapons and ammunition were intercepted by the police. Some of the caches and transports they did find, Marain got the impression, were deliberately placed to keep them from getting suspicious about their lack of success. Someone on the other side of the Cyrene’s rat line was doing a good job protecting her, and Marain made sure she knew that.

    The City Grounds quarter, where the Ó Adith and the Zajecs lived, saw a riot one day when an enterprising SPV commander tried to arrest someone suspected of AZRN membership. Marain’s platoon used the confusion to set three police trucks on fire, the crews having joined the fray. For good measure, an ‘artistic’ Volunteer put up a quick sign saying ‘No Ike Parking, violators will be burned. AFRN Traffic Division’.


    *


    Marain had been quite busy at work all the day. When he finally came home, the sun was already down. Getting out of the car, Gate Street was as lively as ever: The families were out, the kids played like on any other day, but the adults seemed subdued somehow, talking among themselves, no jokes being traded or music played. Guen had thought to bring out a chair for him too and he fell into it. He was just about to ask what was wrong when he saw Cyrene rounding the corner. His smile froze when he saw her face, cold – or even furious?
     
  3. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    It had been nice to spend more time with Marain and the O'Adiths. It seemed that their friendship-courtshop as some referred to it as, had been somewhat accepted by the community. Surprising for Cyrene, as she was what they often labeled as a traitor. Yet, maybe some minds were changing. O'Adith family was known for their commitment to the Naneh and emmelan.

    While time had been precious, the last week or so had been hectic. The brunette hadn't even had time to see Marain or anyone really. Ikani Police Force was working long hours investigating the assassination of the man attributed for initating such volatile acts at the tryball roits.

    Chief Burke and the Lieutenant were tense and stressed. Yelling and screaming. Strategizing. Nothing yet had surfaced and while their desire for the barricades to be taken down was accompished, they were dismayed at the lack satisfaction.

    It was midday. Cyrene had finished some her filing and was about to inquire about the investigation when she heard Chief Burke call her name. Odd... he didn't call her Dali.

    "Yes, Chief-"

    "Take a seat- look at this- look what the Naneh really are! Despicable!" He pointed to his television screen. A news report. There had been a bombing in the capital. 27 dead, 59 injured and counting. It was at a government building...

    The new reporter appeared on the screen, carange behind her and haze of smoke and debris. "It is a sad situation we have her, Zuli. Among the 27 dead, are 9 grade school children, here on a field trip during school. Several more injured and their status unknown for the time. The radical AFRN may be responsible. The police say they are looking into it. All I know is this has to strike fear into every Ikani here."

    Cyrene felt tears beginning to form. "Do we know-was it AFRN?"

    Chief was red in the face. "Who else could it be? Savages! Attacking children! Children! They will pay for this! I know we are close. Closer than ever to ginalky putting them in their place."

    She almost couldn't breath. Did they? There were other groups- she had to get to Marain. Would he know? Would he even tell her? She felt anger. It didn't matter at this point, Ikani or Naneh, these were innocents. Children. Young ones should never be fodder for war.

    "I know it's hard for you. I wish you had been born Ikani. You should have been. But I show you this, because we need you more than ever. I need to be able to continue to trust you. And trust you with even more secrets... like the investigation into the sniper." The Chief handed her a handkerchief. "Dry your eyes Dali. I'm sure we will catch them."

    Cyrene finished her work, but travelling home her feelings were a rollercoaster of sadness and anger. The evening air almost seemed stale as she rounded the corner toward her home.

    Her eyes caught sight of Marain and narrowed. She almost felt on autopilot. It seemed to take forever to just cross the street. To put one foot in front of the other.

    "Marain... I must speak with you this instant." While normally she would go out of her way to change before engaging, Cyrene wanted answers.

    Once they were alone and in private. There were no signs of affection from her.

    "What did you do today? What did they do? Did the AFRN have anything to do with the bombing today? Because if so- this is over! Children- innocents- babies- died! And are still dying! How do we justify that? How? Tell me!" She was angry but tears ran down her cheeks as she prayed the AFRN had nothing to do with this.
     
  4. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    “Calm down! I have no idea what you’re talking about!” Marain snapped. He had taken Cyrene to his room. He hated seeing her in the semi-uniform she wore, it felt like a symbol of all that was wrong with the world.

    “What bombing? I was at work all day. I don’t know of any bombing, I don’t… there is no… we… damn, give me a minute, ok? Let me read the news.”

    He was already fumbling with his phone, unlocking it, willing the news page he used to load faster.

    ‘Bomb blast in Amay mall, government office kills dozens, injure many more; Naneh underground suspected’, he read. There were images of a big building on fire that held stores and government offices, there were injured civilians fleeing, corpses under blankets, a wall spattered with blood.

    “Shit,” he murmured, “shit.” Marain swallowed and looked at Cyrene, his face suddenly deathly pale. “I… I didn’t know about this. I have nothing to do with it. This isn’t… Cyrene, we don’t do this. Not us. I have no idea, I swear. This is horrible…

    His phone vibrated and he looked down. “Army Council… their PP account… says there’s going to be a declaration.”

    Marain hated himself a little for how much relief he felt. Had he thought the men and women he had defended Old City Grounds with were capable of such a cruel thing? No. But he had considered it, and that was bad enough, wasn’t it? He turned the phone so Cyrene could see. The red and black AFRN flag with the Emmelan symbol on it was the account’s profile picture, and the message read:

    “Look!” Marain emphasized, shaking slightly. He had heard it in her voice. If he couldn’t show this had nothing to do with him, he would lose her – and even the short two months since they had first slept together, Cyrene had become more important to him than he had so far understood.

    “Not us. Not the Army. If it was – I’d be out today. I swear. Not this. The enemy commits massacres. Not us. Not me.”
     
  5. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    Cyrene was furious, scared and terrified. What if it was Marain? Or the AFRN? What if? Her world seemed to be crashing and her heart broke for the innocent lives slained. The children.

    Tears continued to trickle down her face. There some relief in knowing Marain and the AFRN had nothing to do with it. Her knees felt weak, her body like lead. Nowhere for her to go. Nothing for her to do.

    Her chest heaved with another sob. "Marain... children... gone... dead-" She flung into his arms. All she could to not end up a crying mess on the floor. Cyrene tried to collevt herself, but it wasn't doing much.

    "They aren't considering anyone else. Summing this up as all Naneh radicals. Doing everything to link it to the AFRN-" She sucked in a breath, but couldn't catch it. "And the sniper. Sounds like they are closing in-"

    The brunette was speaking fast unable to concentrate on any one thing. "Marain-promise me! Promise me you won't, you won't ever harm children- Ikani or Naneh! Promise me-tell me-" She was shaking, less anger, and more fear. Anxiety over what may come.

    Her head hung low and tears still fell.
     
  6. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    Marain held her tight and kissed her hair. She had no right to demand this promise; it ought to have been self-evident. But she had been indoctrinated, he thought, taught that there was something savage and evil about anyone joining the underground.

    “Day I find out we’re killing children, I’m out,” he said flatly. “That’s no joke. ‘s a matter of fact… if I know someone is doing it, I’ll make sure – sure, if you get what I’m saying - it can’t happen again. Don’t think it was any Naneh, frankly, but you never know. The Crazies haven’t shown up to this party so far. Could be them. They’ve done shit like that.”

    Then, Marain realized that even Baras Zajec’s daughter might not know how far the AFRN was prepared to go to ensure the fight stayed as clean as it could be.

    “Cyrene… we find these people, the ones who did this… and they’re really Naneh… they’re gone,” he went on more urgently. “This isn’t just me thinking that way, not just many other Wayfellows. As far as I know, this is policy. Someone does shit like that… won’t see them no more, not in our quarters, at the very least.”

    If they found the actual bombers, Marain thought it more likely they’d end up in a swamp ditch outside the city somewhere. Supporters might get twenty-four hours to leave the country or something similar. You can’t sleep under one roof with a panther, no matter what color he is, the saying went.

    “I’m so sorry this happened,” he murmured softly into Cyrene’s hair. “Please calm down. I have nothing to do with that bomb, and I will never do anything like it or even let it happen. Or stay allied to people who do things like it.”
     
  7. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    Cyrene softly nodded. Relief starting to take hold. She had to make sure. Partly, because there was no way she could continue if it was true. She doubted her father would allow it, but she couldn't chance it. Also, knowing Marain felt the same way gave her some solace.

    Cyrene kissed him passionately, ignoring the stain of tears on her cheeks. Once the osculation broke she finally felt she could breath. Her eyes searched his. "I knew it couldn't be. It's not even in the AFRN nature. I just had to be sure. Thank you."

    She just wanted to stay here, with Marain. Weariness of the day and the emotions, was waning. There was a soft knock and Aunt Guen stepped in.

    "Cyrene. Dari, your mother is downstairs looking for you."

    "Thank you Auntie."

    The brunette looked to her lover in confusion before wiping her face and heading downstairs. Idira was already braiding Edal's hair and making merry with Aunt Guen.

    "Mami? What are you doing here?" Cyrene nearly hissed. Edal kicked her legs and smiled. "She is doing my hair!"

    "Aye my love, I see. Pretty braids for a pretty girl." Idira smiled.

    "But that still doesn't answer my question, Mami. What is going on?"

    Her mothet sighed. "Always so worked up. You should smile more often, Dari." Edal smirked and wagged her finger at Cyrene. Aunt Guen looked on.

    Idira sighed. "Your Lieutenant- Captain? Chaz or something. He came by the house. Wanted to see if you made it home safe."

    Cyrene cringed at the thought he knew where she lived. "Oh? And what did you say?"

    "That you were upset about the mall and were asked not to be disturbed-"

    "And?!" Cyrene was becoming impatient with her mother.

    "He left you a note. " Idira nodded to the envelope on the table.

    The brunette opened it and read.

    Dearest Cyrene,

    I know I have not been kind as of late, due to the stress. As a red blooded Ikani man, I sometimes get ahead of myself. Chief and I spoke at length about your usefulness. I think you'd be a great spy for us. Seeing as the roits have met your front door. Tomorrow, we can discuss it.

    As for Clari. I broke up with her. I think in time you will see things my way. I hope that you head has healed.

    Chaz

    Cyrene was about to crinkle up the note and toss it in the nearest fire. "What a son of a-"

    "Language, daughter, young ears"

    "Biscuit."

    Idira finished Edal's braids and gave the girl a kiss on the cheek. "I brought you clothes and things. I and your father won't be home tonight. Aunt Guen has kindly offered you room here." The blonde nodded and smiled at Guen.

    Idira kissed her daughters cheek and whispered in her ear. "Be on guard. Do not go back to the house. Do not trust anyone unless you know for sure. I'll be back soon."

    Idira gave her goodbyes and in what seemed like a whirlwind was gone.

    "I like her. She is nice." Edal said as she popped some candy in her mouth.

    "She is certainly... something." Cyrene sighed and looked to Marain.
     
  8. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    Again, Marain and Cyrene had to retreat. This time, they decided on a walk after she had shown him the note; with the events of the day, he felt he needed some fresh air. Marain slipped away for a second before they left, pretending to take a leak, but really getting his pistol to hide under his vest. He had a very bad feeling about this Chaz guy; he was a dangerous man, and Marain would take no chances with Cyrene’s security or his own. Strangely, on another level, he loved the idea that Cyrene would stay the night. The little touches he was getting used to did him more good than he had ever imagined. They seemed to reinforce their closeness, but also his unity with all the others, his link with the Emmelan…

    Now that the barricades were gone, they could walk towards the beach with little danger. He had asked for a moment to think over the note; especially, Marain knew he had to distance himself from one impulse especially: He wanted to take out Chaz Horry. Had there not been a connection between the man and Cyrene that would draw all sorts of attention, he would have made a perfect target. But Marain didn’t kid himself; he knew half of his impulse was because he threatened Cyrene. Possessiveness wasn’t the Naneh way, but protecting those around you was – at least that was how he saw it. He thought of a phrase from the declaration concerning the lifting of the barricades: the old and kind spirit of our ancestors has gained a new and strong aspect. A beautiful expression of what the ‘new’ AFRN stood for, he thought…

    “Alright,” he began the discussion, with Hersegal Bay’s gentle waves breaking in the background. “If you say no to being an informer outright, that will at least make it harder to get more access, if not shake their trust in you,” Marain stated, assuming Cyrene already knew that, but wanting to be as thorough as possible. “So, it’d be best, I guess, if we can find a way for you to say yes and have that be believable in the mid-term without actually informing?”
     
  9. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    She waited for Marain to respond. Even with everything spiralling around them, somehow she felt a calmness with him.

    Cyrene slightly nodded in agreement. "They have asked me before. But I tell them I don't know anything, because I'm a Dali. I tell them minor things. Nothing of substance... but... that is not what I'm most worried about." She took a deep breath and felt tears coming to her eyes as she slowly pulled her top to the side to reveal the bruises on her shoulder. Still forming purple shaped like fingers contrasted against her natural skin tone.

    "Chaz. He is abusive. I caught him fucking the secretary. He grabbed me at the concert when I lost you. He- I think... he has an obsession with Nanehri- it's hard to explain. He hates us. So much so. I'm not sure what he will do. And of course my mother just runs off- but at least she isn't leaving me home alone. I can't believe Chaz has the gall to come to my house. To leave a note like that." She felt anger, upset, fear and exhaustion thinking about all the moving parts. Everything seemed to get more convoluted by the day.

    Cyrene's arms crossed to hug herself. "I can do this. And get more info for you. I just not sure how much longer I can put up with Chaz.
     
  10. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    Marain was glad he couldn‘t see too much of her bruises in the dim streetlights. He dug his nails into his palms. His first impulse was to tell her to pull back, to look to her safety – but he was just as much of a Volunteer as he was, even if she hadn’t sworn the oath. You never tried to think for a Wayfellow, even if you were supposed to always think about them. He swallowed and cleared his throat.

    “Be careful with that guy,” he murmured. “If you… I mean – we need to think about a way to get out. If you need to resign to get away from this soul-foe, you have to have a plan in place, a plausible excuse… maybe you’re being cut out of the community and you can’t take it anymore…” he proposed pensively.

    Marain tried to cut through all the weeds, to stay only with what was relevant – and what they could influence.

    “I want you to leave. Before something… something happens,” he admitted. “I’m not talking as your handler. Not just, anyway. I want you to be safe, because I don’t want to be without you.”

    Once more, Marain thought about how Chaz would make the perfect target. But personal contact to the best source the movement had – that meant he could not be touched, ever. The first idea anyone would pursue was Baras Zajec’s daughter.
     
  11. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    It was first time she had opened un to anyone outside of her mother. Idira was well aware of how Dali were treated. She had toed the line and made a name for herself. Higher in society and friends with the untouchables. Cyrene didn't want to ruin her chances, so even with her mother she remained silent for the most part.

    Her Chief seemed to hold back, even brief moments of respect. But Chaz. There was no redeeming. She would endure. For now.

    "I can't leave- I can't just not show up either. Be extremely suspicious, especially now. Look, I may not know what you do- when you are gone... but I too have my own things to deal with. If I must run. I will. I promise."

    She knew it wasn't what he wanted to hear. And Cyrene wondered if she should have broken her silence. "I didn't tell you-show you to upset you- only to prove that this man- he is evil. He walks into the heart of Nanehri- to the door of a war hero, and enemy- he has no respect. All arrogance and no brains."

    She scoffed at the thought of Chaz. The brunette felt her heart flutter at Marain's small confession. Did he mean it?

    She gave a coy smile, attempting to soften to the mood. "Have you fallen for the traitor, Wayfellow? I think there is a song about that. Loosely based on my parents. Something like that." She gave a small laugh at the tongue and cheek melody. Yet for a moment she reflected on how Marain and her seemed so similar to her parents. She didnt have the time or energy to dive into it at the moment, but some day soon she would have to ask her mother for some clarification.
     
  12. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    Marain was surprised how hurt he was by Cyrene’s flippant treatment of his feelings. They were not some story, to him anyway. But there was nothing to about that. He couldn’t rock the boat now. But she had hung around the Ikani a lot, hadn’t she? Where beautiful women could afford to be flippant, where they were made to be a disgusting cross between a commodity and ancient Queens. Maybe it was just how she did things. Marain, anyway, wouldn’t join that game.

    He kept silent for a while as they walked along the beach promenade. His phone buzzed; a code-word message from Ela that meant they had a new potential target. They would meet tomorrow. The pistol under his vest – he had almost forgotten about it was so different from the precision rifle, he thought. He preferred the pistol, a means to fight off an attack on him or others. The rifle was an attack weapon.

    He had weathered the feeling of hurt when they turned back towards the Ó Adith home.

    “I’m hungry… let’s get some shasic and sit in the garden?” he proposed with a tired smile, stopping to kiss her, his weapon again forgotten, but for different reasons.
     
  13. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    Cyrene felt a bit sorry that her attempt to soften the mood and find humor only seemed to further Marain upset. As they walked she felt a bit silly. It seemed at times, they still couldn't connect. Maybe it was because of the secrets and the nature of what they were doing. Still there was something. A connection. A bit more thna emmelan, but the brunette would not push it. For Nanehri, love was not necessary for relations. And relations didn't always mean some deep romantic bond. Pushing or directing it to mean anything more, was rather untasteful. Nanehri preferred for nature to take its course.

    Cyrene cared deeply for Marain. Every time they met it seemed to grow. He got a message on her phone and she stayed silent, letting him deal with his volunteer work.

    "Sounds good" He kissed her and Cyrene couldn't help but fall into his arms a bit. Just being close and she melted like always. Maybe it was his passion for their people? He was good looking, a bit rugged, but for Cyrene, she enjoyed the genuineness he brought about.

    They managed to make to the OAdith home so Cyrene could change quickly. Short, tank top, tennis shoes and she finally let her long locks down. They covered her shoulders and the bruises.

    Soon they headed to grab some shasic. Cyrene kissed his cheek as they walked. "Im sorry. I didn't mean to upset you this evening. Seems like a lot has been thrown in your lap." She grabed his hand and her fingers interwined with his. "I know you know all the old songs... I don't know... sometimes I worry. Maybe it's just me." She was being honest but stumbling over her words. "I care for you deeply."
     
    • Love Love x 1
  14. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    The shasic wraps were a favorite for Naneh fast food, usually filled with spicy chopped vegetables and sauce. Marain smiled in the darkness. He neither could nor did he want to stay upset with Cyrene. There are no smooth rivers, the saying went. He squeezed her hand and returned her kiss, the shasic bag dangling off his hand.

    “No rift, ailyssa,” he replied lightly. “I’m glad. Thanks for saying that…”

    Marain gave her another kiss as they entered the garden, bypassing the house. He felt like being alone with Cyrene. They settled close to each other on a comfortable bench and nibbled at the wraps. It was a clear night; even with the lights from the city, Marain saw countless stars.

    “Be safe…” he said suddenly when he had finished eating, “please be safe. I will talk to people – set up a way to get away for a bit if you have to suddenly for some reason. I know we have friends in Merat, across the border.”

    He turned and caressed Cyrene’s cheek. “You’ve shown your true colors. That traitor talk… nobody who knows what you do will think that anymore…”
     
  15. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

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    The garden at twilight was peaceful. The atomas of the flowers, the rumblings of tiny creatures and the moonlight made her wish to hide away here. She took small bites, realizing how hungry she was. After news of rhe bombing, food had been the last thing on her mind.

    The conversation moved back toward their business. "I will try my hardest... I need to be a bit more vigilant is all." Maybe if she had been paying attention or knocked before entering, her last altercation with Chaz may not have happened. Cyrene pondered for a moment on being a but more intuitive with her surroundings. Little missteps like that would only hinder her further.

    She leaned into his touch, her eyes closing as she savored his hand on her cheek. Traitor... for once the word didn't cut as deeply knowing Marain backed her. "As long as you know, and believe me. You don't have to agree. But if you believe me- I can endure." She softly kissed his lips.
     
  16. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

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    This evening affected Marain in a way no time had ever had. Sitting there alone with Cyrene at his side, laughing, kissing, watching the stars, the planes heading into the airport, the ships on the bay, the soft crashing of the waves… peace, that was it, he thought. Maybe one day it would no longer matter. Maybe one day, they would both be defending the Republic of Nanehri, made real by their effort and their sacrifice, and the peace would always be there. He wanted that day to come so bad… and anything short of it, he had to admit to himself, wouldn’t ever let him be at peace.

    *

    Marain could not see much of Cyrene the next two weeks – but he let her know of the order that had come down. The ‘Crazies’, the Fighting Organization Free and Proud Nanehri, who shortly after claimed the Amay bombing, were now out of bounds for AFRN Volunteers. There was to be no more cooperation, not even on the most informal level. The AFRN Army Council also threatened the FOFPN with expulsion from the Naneh quarters of Hersegal if they did something anywhere near as gruesome again. Marain did not mind that order in the slightest. In fact, he thought they should just seek the Crazies out and crush them as an organization, disarm them. The public condemnation was as harsh as any Marain had ever seen; the AC said the perpetrators had no place in the Naneh community, the most condemnation any Naneh could give another…

    The reason why Marain could not see Cyrene even after work was reconnaissance; the cell was preparing the next attack. This one was a Police Volunteer Sergeant who owned a drug store. In a riot in the Lower Cliffside, he had been seen leading a squad that had beaten a young woman who would now never walk or have children, and a teenage boy who had lost an eye and was so traumatized he could still not go to school. Neither of their victims, of course, had anything to do with the AFRN or any other organization. They had been there and they had been Naneh, that was enough for this Sergeant and his friends.

    The man walked his dog daily in an extended park near his home, in another of these nice, clean suburbs of Hersegal where the higher middle class Beamey-Ikani lived. On Fivedays, he did so long after dark, after finishing up the store for the week…

    This time, they did not use the van; there was no need. The hillside park offered dozens of perfect sniper perches. Padry was with Marain as security, Therran would be their getaway driver, and Ela was on a jogging round through the park to warn if anyone else turned up.

    Marain and Padry were hidden in a dense bush; they’d cut just enough for it so they could see and Marain could aim. They oversaw a good stretch of the lighted path the target had taken last time. On one side, an avenue lay next to the park – their escape route. The next houses were far enough away from their position that Marain hoped nobody would take note of the rifle’s report.

    “Center mass this time, moving target,” Padry coached as Marain made sure he had a round in the chamber. “Distance to the path – about sixty. No wind.”

    “Got it,” Marain acknowledged and made the right adjustment to his scope before trying to relax. If the target took a different route than last time, that could mean he would have to stay on the gun a while, a strenuous activity.

    “There he goes. Eyes on target,” Padry announced soon after, glued to his binoculars. “He’s coming down the path.”

    Marain set scope and weapon against shoulder and eye. For a stretch of about fifty steps, their view was completely unobstructed. That was where he would take the shot. He waited for the man to enter his view and watched him, trying to get a feel for how fast he walked. It wasn’t a brisk step, the target seemed at ease.

    “On target,” Marain reported when he was sure he had it figured out and the man stepped out into the unobstructed stretch.

    “Nobody around,” Padry’s gruff voice announced next, getting higher with tension. “Send it.”

    Marain fired at the target’s chest seconds later.

    “Fuck, miss! Get back on, he’s ducking behind that bench!” Padry rattled off frantically. Marain suppressed a curse of his own and steered the sights back to the target. He saw the head moving as the target tried to get his bearings. Marain could also see him fingering something in his pocket. He couldn’t let him call the police. Marain fired the second shot.

    “Hit! Head, looks like. He’s down. Let’s get out of here.”

    In the quiet of the park, Marain could hear the dog bark, then whine. He picked up the pace. He hoped to see Cyrene the tomorrow, a Sixday.
     
  17. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

    Messages:
    92
    Local Time:
    8:56 AM
    The last two weeks had been difficult. Her mind always wandered back to Marain and if he was safe. Cyrene was living back home. Her mother didn't say what she had done that night, but it was back to shopping and high society gatherings.

    The brunette had even attempted to go to the bar to see if Marain would be there, but still no sight of the man with brown curls. She shared a few moments with Edal and Aunt Guen, but even even those were fleeting.

    The day had started much as before. Chief Burke was busy reading a report on the sniper. Interestingly, Chaz had not been around much since he left the note. In passing he had mention speaking to Cyrene at a later date.

    Though her boss didn't hesitate. "Cyrene... it's getting bad. People are dying. Children. And high profile targets taken out. I know Chaz reached out. I hope that did not distress you further. But what is going on? What are they talking about?"

    Cyrene looked up from the filing cabinet and paused. She had to be careful, no too eager, but also not dismissive.

    She slowly turned to face her boss, who looked tired and pale. In a way, he cared about people. Even if he was a bigot. He had never laid a hand on her inappropriately. Maybe it was his love for her mother-maybe.

    "Sir. I will be very honest with you. It is dangerous for the Lieutenant to show up and at my door-he could be hurt-"

    Burke sighed. "He can be a bit reckless. Chaz, he has a flair for the dramatic. And be said he wanted to apologize for his actions against you. Also seemed worried about your safety."

    Cyrene nodded. "In my home? I will not be harmed-"

    Burke shifted in his chair but was stoic. "Are you sure?"

    She chewed on lip and looked to the floor. "No." Cyrene remember the last time. Marain had to take her away just to keep her from being killed by the angry mob.

    The Chief gave another long sigh and shook his head. "Not all of them, but savages. If AFRN gets their hands on you... you're a dead woman. I think you may want to consider moving. To a more friendly Dali sector... but for now, I think we need you there. For as long as you feel safe, that is."

    She looked back to Burke. "Need me? Apart from work?"

    Burke nodded. "Listen. Go out. See if you can hear anything about the AFRN movements. Then report back. Just be safw about it."

    Cyrene nodded. "Of course. I can do it. They have been more agreeable with me at the bars and events. I hear things sometimes. But mostly, they know I'm a Dali and don't talk about that stuff much."

    "All you can do it try, Cyrene. All we ask. Thank you."

    Cyrene nodded and the rest of the day, while busy, was pretty easy. She travelled home and changed into a short summer dress and sandals. Her hair flowed down her back as she wandered around her empty home. Cyrene heard her doorbell. Cautiously she answered it but found Edal waiting impatiently on the stoop.

    She couldn't say no to the young one. And soon she was hand in hand with Edal and headed toward the O Adith home.
     
  18. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

    Messages:
    544
    Local Time:
    5:56 PM
    It had been a day since the second attack. Marain had dreamt about it – the dog’s confused bark, most of all. Still, this second time, he thought less about the kill. It was simply something he did now. Not pretty or pleasant, certainly nothing heroic in it, but a necessary thing. Yet all day, he felt like he ached for something life-affirming.

    The cell would lie low once more, wait and see how the authorities dealt with the aftermath. Marain hoped that Cyrene would be able to get them some information about it, about how much the PSP knew. The knowledge that there was a shoot on sight order out against them had added, as the phrase went, to unit cohesion. All four of them were in it together. They would fight their way out together if it came to that. They were soldiers, and even soldiers for a good cause always fought for the comrade next to them first and foremost. Marain had taken a special liking to Padry, the older man’s immovably calm presence most welcome.

    He was sitting next to the porch when he noticed Cyrene and Edal approaching. If he needed any more proof that Cyrene was truly one of his people, the way she dealt with the little girl was it. He rose to embrace both, just that he kissed Cyrene on the lips instead of the cheek.

    “Hey,” he said, his voice breathy with relief. “I’m so glad I get to see you right now. I… I’ve had a rough couple of days.”

    It took him a second to realize he was still holding Cyrene, his cheek touching hers. A deep, visceral, animal part of him was asking why it could not always be this way…
     
  19. Bean

    Bean Active Member Member

    Messages:
    92
    Local Time:
    8:56 AM
    Edal giggled as her cousin and Cyrene embraced. She was surprised by his more forwardness, but becane lost when his lips lavished hers.

    For a moment, it seemed like a dream. A peace. A clamness enveloped the moment before fluttering away. The brunette wished she could catch it and force it to stay forever. Being able to live in the bliss of Marain's affections rather then the toils of this war.

    Her brow furrowed at his comment. Her hand let go of Edal's as she grabbed either side of his face, examining for any damage.

    "Are you alright? One piece still?" A deep breath. Of course he was standing here. Physically appearing fine. Though what else? What had happened?

    She softly kissed his lips again and whispered. "We must speak privately." Her thumbs brushed against his cheeks. Her eyes wide with apologies. All she wanted was to focus on anything but their clandestine business... but things were happening and evidence revealed. More and more heat placed behind the sniper. She wondered... pondered- what if? No. Couldn't. Right? He was too kind and loving.
     
  20. Epicurean

    Epicurean Well-Known Member Member

    Messages:
    544
    Local Time:
    5:56 PM
    Once more, Marain and Cyrene retreated to his small room upstairs, to Edal’s dismay. Marain assumed his relatives all thought they went to have sex – an error he did nothing to correct. The more they thought of the two of them in terms of the couple they were, the less they would think about them any other way, let alone dangerous ones.

    A routine had developed for these occasions. They took a bottle of sparkling water and glasses with them, Marain filled both glasses and handed Cyrene one. He sat in the corner of his bed, she in the only chair in the room. There was something distant about it – but that was actually quite fitting to Marain’s mind. If they wanted to keep enjoying the personal side of their relationship, they had to take professional care of the other.

    “Alright… what have you got?” Marain asked, hiding his desire to just be held behind a dispassionate mask, but unable to keep some strain out of his voice.