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Unrest

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Re: Unrest

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:03 pm

"Your horror movie is crap," Ridahne said smiling, truly grinning from ear to ear. A small tint of red could be seen under her deep russet-brown skin in her cheeks and nose, meaning she'd clearly begun to feel the effects of the booze they'd been passing back and forth. She really hadn't realized how much they'd gone through already until she watched him take a drink; there was a lot of room for the liquid to slosh around. Her head was pleasantly light, though she still had her wits about her. Though Ridahne was slim, there was something in her stout Azurei blood that made her able to handle her liquor well. "But it's entertaining crap. I haven't seen too many movies. We prefer live performance instead, though we did have a screenhouse...sort of. It was more like a projector and a big piece of cloth, but still. I always liked um...Bat. Bat man. Bat man, yes."

Ridahne could pack down a lot of pizza for a girl her size. She was mostly full, but it was engrained in her to take whatever food was set before her when she could get it, lest she be without. That had been her experience too many times for her to really forget the practice, so she was currently slowly chewing on a piece. Mark found a comedy movie that Ridahne did not quite understand; she was versed enough in Earth culture to understand humor in everyday dialogue, but movie humor was something else entirely. It was so...silly. She could think of no other word for it really. The one thing she could relate to was the physical humor--people tripping in ridiculous ways, hitting each other with horrible punches, and getting pies to the face. That one was baffling to her. "Why wouldn't he eat the pie!? You don't waste pie, ai!" She slipped into Azurian for a sentence or two and then back to English as if there was no distinction between the two languages. "I woulda punched him. Punched him right in the mouth." She laughed, grimaced slightly and held her side, but then frowned. "I'm doing it again aren't I? Or does it count if my violence is pointed somewhere else?"

Ridahne laboriously got up to retrieve a glass of water from the kitchen (she knew the secret to drinking heavy and not regretting it later was lots of water) but the alcohol had changed her whole demeanor, everything about her movements. She was steady on her feet still, but she looked more human as she moved across the small space and back, plunking the glass down on the end table a little heavier than she normally might have. Her footsteps were less precise, less measured and quiet. She settled back in with a sigh, supporting her injury all the while as she moved.

Mark asked her what it was like growing up, and the first thing out of her mouth was, "Hard." Ridahne gave a small laugh then fell silent as she actually considered the question further. "That is a joke, but it's not so far from the truth. Like I said, we were poor. My parents were not always around, either, so it was anarchy for me. I liked it, but I also had bad manners. I got beat more than a few times for bad behavior--stealing, breaking things, being very disrespectful. Not by my parents, but shopkeepers, merchants, or really grumpy people who I offended. I offended people easily because I'm uh...a half blood. We don't like that where I'm from. It's seen as a forsaking of our culture and our ways to go and marry someone foreign, though there are a few exceptions with some similar countries we live close to. But not English people. The child of that marriage is viewed like a mistake. I had to prove everything to everyone, so I got in lots of fights, I learned to be stubborn and to fight for what I wanted because no one was going to give it to me otherwise. And some things I could just never have...I wanted to be a tattooer, but to be trained by a master, I'd have to be fully Azurei. I was never allowed to apprentice one, so I became a soldier instead."

Ridahne was much more apt to talking when she had a little drink in her, as most people often were. "I've been a lot of different places. Spent some time on Epsilon after I caught a shuttle off of Theta...spent two weeks in an engine room of a starship just to get there, but I made it. I hated Epsilon, or at least the little I saw of it. I was in a country called Imera for several weeks, then just started catching rides with whoever would take me to other places. I dont' know the names of most of the places, but I worked my way onto a ship that came here to earth. I've been wandering around since, and been in this city for a little more than a week now, maybe two."

Ridahne picked up a tablet that lay in the drawer of the side table next to her and handed it to Mark. "Here, I don't read English very well, especially not after a drink. Look up pictures of Azurei, and of Atakhara specifically. I want to show you what it looks like."

The image search yielded an overwhelming majority of photos with a predominately iron-red hue, cut with pristine blue skies unhindered by even a wisp of cloud. What trees and plant life existed in the photos were of the harsh, scrubby variety or palm trees--specimens that could survive the heat and lack of moisture Azurei offered. A few photos had wildlife in them--most notably, a very large breed of wild cat with reddish-taupe fur and black banding on the legs, face, and tail; Ridahne pointed out that Mitaja was such a cat--a closer relative to a lion than a siamese house cat. Abrupt structures of deep red rock sat staunchly in the midst of endless fields of an equally red sand, or the bases of great mountains climbed upward to the sky.

Atakhara itself was nothing short of a ghetto by Earth standards, though it was busy and the ports at its waterfront thrived. Houses were very small and mostly made of brick rich with iron and though the walls themselves were dilapidated and sun-bleached, curtains and tapestries of vibrantly dyed cloth adorned the majority of them. Everything was dusty and dirty, though not out of neglect--much of the ground was not paved, so dust floated freely as feet and tires kicked it up. "That's home," she said somewhat wistfully. "It feels like it's been forever."

"What about you? What is childhood like here on Earth? Where is home for you?"

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Re: Unrest

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:57 pm

(Ooof what a week. Elections, new government, hurt my knee...blah blah...sorry for the long wait!)

Mark laughed. “It is supposed to be crap and entertaining.”

He watched her, noting the slight signs of intoxication and it pleased him that she had relaxed so much.

“Batman is good.” He chuckled, his words meaning little as she once again yelled at the television. She threatened to punch the guy on the screen and it, along with most things she had done since he wrapped her wound, amused him. Mark shook his head. “It is fine, it is a waste of pie.”

Mark was unsurprised at her answer but growing up. Ridahne had the resolve and presence of one that had worked hard her whole life, of one who had not had things easy. Even when she tried to say it was a joke, he knew before she clarified that it was not far from the truth. He knew from the way she moved, the way she spoke and from her reactions to everything that life wasn’t easy and she fought for everything she was.

He ignored the question about his childhood for the moment. “Half blood? A mistake? How can they treat any child like a mistake?” Mark tried hard to keep his indignation in check. “Shopkeepers beat you? They are allowed to do that?” He was confused and unclear on how Azurei culture worked. He was trying not to pass judgement though it was hard to stay completely neutral. “Why are there restrictions on blood for being a tattooist? I know they mean a lot more than they do here on Earth but here it is about skill not your background.”

Ridahne said she had traveled, bouncing around and he could understand that. Though Mark was doing it for work, all his travel he knew what it was like to feel transient.

He did as she asked, using the tablet to look for pictures of her home. Mark’s eyes scanned the pictures of the red land. It was quite a contrast to the green and browns of Earth. It reminded him of the desert here or the arid areas of the Earth though red instead of sandy brown. The mountains were stark grey and hard on the landscape. The world was hard and harsh.

Mark looked at pictures of what was a city though it seemed something out of a movie made about people in hard times and bad conditions. Crowds stood outside buildings that had seen better times. Fisherman stood on docks with large hauls. More pictures, more houses and buildings that needed repair though all the people were smiling or at least didn’t look as if they were unhappy. This was her home. It fit. This fighter, this strong woman had not been pampered or lived in easy conditions but it wasn’t as if she was unhappy. Ridahne’s tone spoke of one home sick for a place that held happy memories.

“The red sands are impressive. Reminds me of the desert here though more exotic.”

He wanted to hear more about her home. “You miss it, I can’t say the same for where I grew up. Is fishing the main industry?”

Again he avoided talking about himself. For now he was content to talk about her. Her life was interesting and talking about himself was never his favourite activity anyway.

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Re: Unrest

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:53 pm

(Goodness! A busy week indeed! hope your knee is ok!)

In her lightly intoxicated state, Ridahne did not notice the fact that he neglected to answer her questions, nor did she seem to mind that he was asking questions she might not readily answer in another mood. Even his restrained incredulity didn't bother her much, though normally she did not like to get into deep discussions of her culture for that reason--people here did not understand how things worked and they usually thought it was wrong.

"They can and they do," she answered, though without any particular intonation that might give a hint as to whether or not she agreed with it. "My mother was white. My father, Haivan Torzinei, met her at a far off port. Her name was Ariana Mackinnon and she offered to buy him a drink if he'd let her sketch him. She liked to draw." She shrugged. "They became close enough to marry, I guess. She knew what she was getting herself into by marrying him, but she was a fighter too, she wouldn't give up on him."

Ridahne drifted off into silent thought for a moment, her amber eyes a little glazed before she continued, "I don't think mistake is quite the right word. Mistake is something you don't mean to happen. Hadian and I were on purpose but...we are...awkward. We can never be outsiders and yet we can never be insiders, not fully. Nobody knows what to do with people like us. We get accused of breaking traditions because we try to tell our friends about--what's his name, Santa? Watering down a proud, ancient culture with something that was never ours. We are...something that should not be, and yet, we are." Her tone was bittersweet then; she clearly had conflicting opinions as to whether or not she believed such doctrine or not. "But yes, I got beat. I deserved it," she laughed. "Shopkeepers get angry when you break their things or try to steal from them. They were never bad though, maybe just a few bruises. You can do that at home because you can't put children in jail, but you have to teach them respect somehow. It's less of a problem in wealthier districts, but if you do not show an Azurei child who is in charge, they will overrun you." She laughed.

His question about tattooing made her stop and think for a moment, her mind drifting slightly before snapping back on track. For a while it seemed like she would not answer at all, but finally her mouth moved and she struggled to come up with the appropriate words for a bit, and then, "I think you would understand better if you knew more things. I don't tell people this, okay? So the Ojih...it's like a record of who you are. Things you do or are get you certain marks, so everyone has a different Ojih because we are all different. And...we put these things on our faces because we believe in openness--at least among our own. You can't hide many things if you have an Ojih. And it is tattooed because the things you do in life are permanent. You can't take back things you do or who you are, you can only add to it or cover parts up. And so..." she struggled with this a little, unsure if she wanted to divulge this. She decided it was worth it and continued. "When we die, we believe that there is a being who will read our Ojih and, based off what it says about us, who we are, we get our fate in the afterlife decided. To alter one without reason is like...the ultimate lie. Which is why you can never damage the face. If you cut it, and a scar formed on your ink, then it is altered, and there is no place for us in the afterlife because this being can't tell who we really are. We...will lose posession of our soul when we die instead of keep it. We lose our body and yet we can't move forward, so we're stuck in between."

"Mark," she said, her eyes pleading. "You can never cut an Ojih. You can't do it. Better to kill them instead." She felt a little silly telling him all of this, not to mention vulnerable. She was glad, then, to move on to the art of tattooing in general. "So...because of what it is, a tattooer--an Ojikhai--is like a sacred person. To mark someone else's Ojih is something not done lightly. Everyone can do their own, but the first one has to be done for you, and people with money will have tattoos done for them by an ojikhai. Since they are sacred, a person that should not be, a mistake, like myself, can't be one." Ridahne sighed a little. "This might all sound shocking to you, but after thirty summers you start to get used to it and just accept it."

Mark asked more about her home, and if fishing was the main industry. She wavered a hand back and forth. "Sort of? In Atakhara, where I lived, yes, it was. But in the mountains it is steel and iron and silver. Tenuu'ris has less sand and more soil, so they grow lots of things. It just depends on where you live. We used to be a clan system ages ago--Torzinei's and other families could only ever be fishermen for example. It's not so strict now. But a lot of those families still go out to sea because that's what they know."

She paused for a long while, a small hint of a smile on her face, before she suddenly and in a very odd turn of character began to sing a song. It was all in Azurian and the notes were quick and lively. When she finished, she said, "That is one of the songs they sing on the ships out at sea. It is about a man who fell in love with the spirit of the sea. One night they fought and he made her angry, and a storm tried to destroy his ship. But he was a good sailor and survived the storm. Angered that she could not drown him, the sea spirit made the seas calm again but never spoke to the man again. It sounds like a sad story but it isn't, I promise. The sea spirit is a trickster." She smirked. "We like to hear stories of her losing."

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Re: Unrest

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:47 pm

Ridahne talked as if it was normal for children to be treated as outsiders. Mark knew cultures were different but he couldn’t imagine what it did to a child to be treated that way.

He couldn’t help but smile as she talked about her parents, how they met, how her mother was a fighter. Mark knew where Ridahne’s spirit came from.

“It is like you have two cultures. Your human and your Azurei sides. I am surprised there isn’t more mixing in this day and age. Humans have been traveling the stars for a long time. I didn’t think there were still cultures that viewed mixed races that way.”

He leaned on his elbows, intensely interested as Ridahne explained about the tattoos. A record of a person...that they carry around. Mark wondered what all of her tattoos meant and what sort of marks he would have to record the events of his life. It was interesting, the idea that one’s whole life was written on their skin to be read by those who knew how.

The Azurei seemed to be a spiritual people, more so than Mark realized. They also had their own set of folklore but that was not at all surprising to Mark. Cultures all had different stories to explain things.

He didn’t get the chance to promise not to cut an Ojih or ask more as they looked at pictures and Ridahne told him more about her world, the people and their industries. She sang and he grinned from ear to ear at the lively tune. The story seemed not to fit with the song but she promised him it was a good story, not sad.

By the end Mark moved his tablet out of the way and was looking at Ridahne. “I think it would be interesting to visit your home. To see that all in person, even hear more singing. You aren’t half bad.” He chuckled.

“So...about the Oja-Ojih...do you get a tattoo for everything you do or just important things? Who determines what is important? And I promise if it is an option between death or cutting one I will do as you ask. Seems harsh but I understand the spirituality behind it and that is important.”

Mark cocked his head. “So tell me, what warrants a tattoo? What events or decisions do you mark and what if you do something no one else has..does a new symbol or design get made up for you or is it like writing?”

The alcohol was slowly wearing off though Ridahne had been a bit more intoxicated than he was to begin with. The conversation was interesting and he found the whole thing very intriguing. Whenever Mark was sent too a new place to do recon he always tried to learn as much as possible about the culture and people. The difference was here, he was working with her and not trying to get the drop on her. It was a really nice change of pace.

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Re: Unrest

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:48 pm

"I very much had two cultures. We ate a lot of foods other people didn't just because of my mom, though eventually she learned to cook like an Azurei, mostly because it was hard to get any other ingredients." Ridahne laughed, remembering her mother fondly. She was a lively woman and quite outgoing, though something Ridahne admired about her the most was her humility and strength--she felt no need to go around touting how good she was, but if someone said something ill to her, she wouldn't let them get away with it. Ridahne always loved that about her. Her father was more of a quiet man, gruff and hardened by his years at sea, but kind and gentle deep down. "But I was raised Azurei. I have mostly ignored my white culture because I have been so focused on trying to prove to the world that I am Azurei. I'm realizing now that I've left that I am both."

Ridahne prodded gently at her wound, seeing if the swelling had gone down at all. It hadn't; it was still hot to the touch and very sore. "There used to be. Mixing, I mean. It wasn't an issue ages ago--Azurei has always cherished its culture and has remained very traditional, even now. But the...what's the word? Alienation? Of other races is more recent in our history. It's...fear, I think. Fear of losing what we hold dear," she said, her expression erring on the side of somber and thoughtful. "It's not uncommon for your people to travel the stars, find new worlds and new peoples and to...befriend them? And eventually The white people begin to move in, to make families, bring in new traditions that eventually replace the old ones. And then the culture is not what it used to be anymore, it is now just part of your people's culture. Then they become part of the Interplanetary Federation and the Council makes decisions for them without ever knowing who they are or what they value. I think that's what we're afraid of. We fear that if we allow that to happen, we will lose what makes us Azurei and our traditions will be buried under the sand forever." That probably had something to do with the incident at the rally, though it was far more complicated than that.

"The Azurei are not stupid," she said. "We know what we have and that others desire it. Like I said, we are a huge producer of iron ore and steel, and also silver. It's why we wear a lot of it." Ridahne gestured to the two side-by-side silver hoops in her nostril and to the silver plates permanently affixed to the upper ears. "It might be a bit extreme by some standards, but we've tried to protect ourselves and what we have for centuries. It's why we don't like IP's nosing around in our home. They keep pushing to add us to the Federation and they consider us to be a part of it. We consider ourselves independent. They want control of us and we won't have it." Ridahne was lax about a lot of Azurian values like the sanctity of race, but of this she was adamant: the IPF had no place in her home.

Ridahne suddenly had a dreamy, wistful look in her eyes and she felt another surge of longing for home, of the sand under her bare feet (Ridahne always hated shoes) and the heat of the sun reflecting off the deep red stone. She sighed deeply. "I wish you could see it. A week out in the Atakharan desert is so peaceful, but you can never go without a ja'oai--a desert cat like the ones you saw in the pictures. They have been important parts of Azurei culture for centuries, because without them we wouldn't survive in the harsh land of the south especially. I know Mitaja kept us alive in bad times. But yes! Someday you must go and see the markets in the capitol and the oceans and the vast emptiness of the desert. Though in your skin, you would fry." She laughed lightly, not wanting to aggravate her wound.

Ridahne made no comment about her singing voice, as she never really thought it to be much good. She was more of a fighter than a speaker anyway, and more of a dancer than a singer.

Ridahne blinked at him. "I don't know if I've been asked that many questions about my Ojih before at one time....ah....let me think..." The concepts were so beautifully explained in Azurian, but she needed English and now it seemed insufficient. She tried her best anyway. "There are some things that are just culturally important. I don't know how else to say it. So not everything is on there. But general things are....marriage, great service in the military, or if you are a master tattooer, or a master at something else. Military rank can be there on some level, and if that changes, a mark gets added to the first one. After all, you can't change the past, you can only add to your history, you know? So..." Ridahne turned her face to the side to a black line stemming from the base of her ear that followed her jawline and blossomed into the rest of the tattoo. It had a very clear break in its middle, a blank patch of bare skin that looked equally out of place as it did intentional.

"The line here starts at my Ku'o," she tugged on the engraved bone earring, "Which shows where I'm from and what my family name is. But it breaks here because I am not fully Azurei. The Torzinei line breaks with me, so to speak. And here," she moved her finger along the first few marks that appeared more worn and older than the rest, "Is to show that I have pledged myself to a life of transparency, that I have chosen the life of wearing the Ojih and I will maintain it and keep it for as long as I live--it is something you choose to do, though I've never seen someone choose not to." Ridahne went on to explain in more detail than she ever had (mostly because for most of her life it did not need to be explained) what many of her marks meant, including the most recent (now in the stages of scabbing and peeling) mark above her nose that showed the world she had betrayed her people twice now.

"Some marks are unique to me and they are created, but based off what others have done. You could say it's like a form of writing I guess. I don't know. It's a way of showing the world and the Gatekeeper--I think that's how it translates--what defines you and who you are. It's very complicated and hard to explain. I wonder...how do you know people here without Ojih? It feels like talking to people here is like talking to them blind. It's so strange."

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Re: Unrest

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:35 pm

Mark listened as she talked about her mom. He held back a few questions, letting her talk and have a moment in her memories.

He frowned a little as she told him that there used to be mixing with other races but that alienation had become more prevalent. It seemed to be happening everywhere. More fear, more discrimination. There had been time when it seemed like they were swinging the other way yet how quickly distrust breeds once more. Of course the recent bombing didn’t help. Regardless of why or how many strings were being pulled to manipulate the situation behind the scenes, all the regular person knew was a bomb went off, people died and those who resembled the culprits were not to be trusted.

Mark sighed. He knew deep down that things might never change. That fear was easier than acceptance and understanding.

“That behaviour breeds distrust from both parties. It is a shame that we can’t learn to appreciate, work together and understand each other. Power and money rule all in the end.” Mark muttered disdainfully.

He chuckled. “I would cover up and take a sunburn to see such a beautiful place. Especially with a knowledgeable tour guide.”

Mark listened as she talked about the tattoos and used her own to explain. His eyes followed her finger as it pointed out the various lines.

He smiled gently. He made no remark about her lines that showed her betrayal. He wanted to ask more but felt as if he really had pushed the personal questions a lot already.

“Here we rely on talking to people, spending time with them. Watching how they treat others, learning about their job. We also know that sometimes we have done things in our past that we do not wish to be judged for, that we may have changed and a mistake does not define us.”

Mark put his head back against the headboard. “Then there are things we have done for our job and some of those things are not things we want people to know or we don’t want to be judged for. I have done a lot of things for my job that are not me. They do not tell you anything about who I am other than I follow orders. They tell you nothing about me as a person.”

He looked at Ridahne. “See if everything was written on my face, my body...every action and decision you might not want to talk to me, you might judge me unfairly because a mark says I am a particular rank or I did a particular deed but what if I am different? What if that happened in my youth? Also, what if I don’t want someone to know things about me? Where is the mystery in getting to know a person? Why talk to them if you can read it on their skin?”

He chuckled. “I understand why you have them I am just glad I don’t. There is a lot in my life that I would not want the average person to know about me or judge me for.”

Mark smiled. “What was your favourite Earth dish that your mother made? If you don’t mind me asking, is she still on Azurei? Is your father?”

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Re: Unrest

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Wed Nov 18, 2015 7:23 pm

Ridahne nodded with some sadness. How strange it was to be half of two different wholes, only to know that they could never be cohesive anywhere else but in her. Instead there was fear. Fear, mistrust, and centuries of pent up anger, frustration, and misunderstanding. Ridahne remembered when she was six years old, a passenger transport starship malfunctioned and made an emergency landing in the empty sands near her little home. She and other children went to investigate and she remembered Hadian offering to translate for the ship's captain since he was clearly not an IP and wanted nothing more than to be on his way. Passengers came outside to stretch their legs, and one in particular stuck out in Ridahne's memory.

A small girl sat crouched in the sand, stunned by how hot it was on this far away planet. She was about seven years of age and was waiting patiently while her parents gave assistance to less mobile passengers. The sand felt nice, though it was hot. A disturbed cloud of dust heralded the arrival of a young Ridahne, black tangled hair askew, looking down at the pale little girl with bright amber eyes.

"Ja'ti! A'ae ke'huna ta!" Ridahne reached with dirty fingers for the yellow ribbon in the girl's hair, touching it curiously and without any reservation. The Azurei loved hair adornments, but she had never seen one quite like this.
The girl was alarmed. "Stop! Don't take that, it's mine!"
Ridahne blinked. Her english was weak at the time, but passable. Still, her communication skills were not stellar. "No, I like it," she said, trying to tell the girl that she merely wanted to compliment it and touch it, not take it.
The girl took that entirely the wrong way. "Go away! You're a thief!" Her father promptly tuned in and rushed to her side, looming over Ridahne like a thick white tree.
"What do you think you're doing?" he berated her. "Lawless little brat! Where's your parents? Don't they teach you manners here? Go on, go away."


Ridahne had been so shocked by his rudeness and accusations and she didn't feel like she could explain herself in english, not very well. Offended, she simply spat the one word she knew was not meant to be said lightly among white people. The ultimate of four-letter words (white people must have thought four letter words were naughty, she reasoned) sprang from her lips and the family was so miffed that they hurried away. Ridahne had been proud of her comeback once, but she understood it now as a failure on her part. They expected her to be a brat and that's exactly what she showed them.


"It's like a cycle. We think they're bad so we don't treat them well. They think we're bad so they don't treat us well. Then we get mad and treat them poorly again, and on and on...I don't know what life would be like if my people and yours finally made nice. It's not unheard of for white people to come and move to Azurei, but in extremely small numbers and in order to be considered part of the community, even in part, they have to prove that they want to and can respect our culture. I've seen it done. But they are not supposed to marry with us. And even though I am a mistake in their eyes, I have worked very hard to prove myself as Azurei and prove my commitment to my heritage. I was given trouble for it, sure, but nothing like I have since I betrayed my people. I have lost any reputation that might have saved me."

Ridahne could feel her buzz wearing off a bit now, but she still was in a state of relaxation and there was little need to forsake it at the moment. She reclined back against the wall, allowing her body to be fully supported by it. She stayed that way for a while, and then her wound began to irritate her, so while Mark spoke about his perspective on Ojih and why he would not want one, she pushed herself upright and filled up a little bag with ice and wrapped it in a thin towel.

"Ah, but there is so much more to a person than what the Ojih shows!" she said, settling back in. "The Ojih is just...it's like bones. And the things that are not inked on your face are...like the meat and skin. The Ojih is..." she scratched her head, envisioning the picture of what the word meant, but not the actual english word itself. She gave up and offered up instead, "The basics. My Ojih does not show what makes me angry, what I fear, what I like to do or eat or what I think about art. And to know those things, you have to know me. But an Ojih gives you somewhere to start. And part of having one is understanding that marks are permanent, and that some marks are old and can be added to or modified as your life goes on." Ridahne shivered a little from her ice pack and encased herself in the comforter on the bed.

"But you can't just hide them like they never happened, because they did. To do otherwise would be...like a lie." The idea seemed insane to her--not that she had never lied in her life, but she certainly did not lie about who she was as a person or her history, she would only avoid the subject if she didn't wish for people to bring it up. "I have the right to be judged for my marks," she said, referring specifically to the two that showed she had betrayed her people. "I did what I did and I am not sorry for my actions. There is some chance I could repent and go back home, have the marks added to to show that I was sorry and regretted what I did. But I am not. I don't. I've...thought about it. While you three sleep I have been contemplating my heart and where it truly lies. I...have to be honest with you, I have considered turning on you many times just to go back home, to be Azurei again, and Ajoran--"

No. She did not have enough alcohol in her still to feel comfortable talking about him. A facet of her hardened, usual self rose to the surface and she quieted, glance breaking away from Mark and settling on a loose thread of the blanket. Her face turned from thoughtful to her typical stoic stare.

Ridahne cleared her throat. "Anyway, favorite english dish..." She was quick to change the subject. "Ai...maybe...mm, I know. I don't know what you would call them, Hadian and I called them ur'tavani--pan chocolate. And it's not cake, I know cake. But it is baked and cut in pieces, and its like cake but it's...chewier. More dense. And she would put salty caramel on it--or once I got to have cold milk--er...you say ice cream I think--on top. That was the best. And your favorite?" Ridahne was eager to shift the conversation away from her after her quick slip about Ajoran, or at least to keep the conversation surface-level.

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Re: Unrest

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:55 pm

Mark nodded. It wasn’t as if the same sort of thing didn’t happen whenever anyone went to a new country. He should have known better than to expect an alien planet to be different. Ridahne straddled two worlds and she would never be fully in one or the other. He however liked that about her, thought it made her interesting. No person was just what they looked like but a sum of their experiences and past.

He frowned. The concept of the Ojih still seemed very strange to him. He understood that the parts that made p personality weren’t there but experiences were. He still could fathom someone reading his past-his successes and failures on his face.

“But where is the mystery? Where is the point when you meet someone and they get to tell you about themselves. If I can read it aren’t people more likely to avoid you if they see something they don’t like? What if that means someone who might have been your best friend or greatest love passes you by because of a mark?”

He rubbed his forehead. He had done things in his life that he didn’t want to be judged for, sorry or not and he knew people he had met that he liked and respected that wouldn’t like him if they knew those things or maybe they would learn to grow together to get past them but to have it out in the open? No. Mark didn’t think he would like that at all.

“Trust me, there are things I am not proud of in my past and if you asked I might avoid telling you at first, work up to that in the friendship but if you were just to see them there, on my face you wouldn’t even talk to me.”

The conversation was heavy, heavier than he had intended and while good, Ridahne had started to retreat a little.

“Ice cream on a brownie. Good choice! Not much better in this world than a warm brownie with vanilla ice cream. Second favourite? Something you have heard about but never tried?”

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Re: Unrest

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:19 pm

Ridahne laughed, but instantly regretted it and showed a stifled grimace as she stiffened up and put a hand to her injury. She'd had worse before, but it'd sure been a long time...Ridahne had grown more accustomed to sore feet and hunger pains than any kind of real injury, these days. Of course, she'd never admit that. "Well that's the point. You don't have to do...ah...talk small. Opanih. Like, when you make conversation because you don't know anything about the person. Mystery is not a part of relationships...mystery means that things are hidden, in a way. That's so..." She shook her head. "Strange. It's difficult here for me to trust people. How do I know what kind of person they are? I mean, even if they have something bad on their Ojih, and something good, then at least you know about them and know what to expect. But you understand that is not all there is to them. You can learn about them from getting to know them and spending time with them. But it gives you somewhere to start."

Ridahne grew serious for a moment as Mark spoke of people judging someone based on their negative marks, and how it might change or prevent relationships from forming. She spent a long time in silence, waiting only until she had the right words to say to him in reply. "Yes. They do. People look at me all the time, people who know what I've done, and they turn the other way." Her tone had a harsh edge to it, though what exactly it was aimed at was unclear. "I have been chased from my own home, forced to cut contact with my family and anyone I ever loved, and threatened with death. Yes. Yes, people see things you don't want them to. But in the end it shouldn't matter who turns away from you because if someone loves you, he will see beyond those things. The people that mean something to you, the people that matter won't care. If he is your 'greatest love', then he would cast his entire world down for you because he is an individual and can make those choices, and he will, because he loves you, and you lo--" Ridahne had been ramping up to that point and stopped like a car hitting a brick wall. She held her breath for a second, grimacing slightly as small amounts of water slipped between her eyelids and made two little streaks down her face, one after the other, and then stopped.

"Ai. Sorry," she breathed, the air in her lungs escaping in an overbearingly controlled fashion, like her very breath would float away, never to return if she didn't reign it in somehow. She would not look at him. Instead, Ridahne reached for the bottle of booze and knocked it back, taking not just one but two mouthfuls. She set it down only to draw her knife and present it to Mark, hilt first. After all, it was dishonorable to have a blade while intoxicated. And intoxicated she meant to be. The balance of the blade was second to none, and though the folded steel showed signs of use, it was clean and well maintained, not to mention sharp.

Another pull from the bottle. "Sorry, ah, you were asking something....right, right, something I've never tried but always wanted to. Um." She was clinging to the topic like a rat to pieces of a sinking ship, terrified of the abyss she might fall into otherwise. "You call it...uh..." her brain was scattered. "Toast. Something toast. You make it in a pan and put syrup on it, and blueberries. Or something. Or a noodle dish with nut sauce on it, and like meat? Pa-tah, or something like that." Every second of silence made her squirm, so she asked, "I've been answering a lot of questions. It's your turn now. What food do you like?" Her voice held a subtle high note of panic, though panic would perhaps not be the right word. Anxiety. Embarrassment. Still, she would not look at him. And the bottle was always close at hand.

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Re: Unrest

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:08 pm

Mark smiled a little sadly. “I always liked the small talk. The little mysteries.”

He leaned forward a little “See, that is part of being a person. You talk and get to know a person. You learn to read body language and sometimes we trust the wrong people but that is life, that is how we learn. That is how we know to appreciate the real people in our lives. Not everyone gets to read a face for a story or see their thoughts. Some of us have to take a risk on people. Get to know them. I start by saying hello, sharing a laugh about something or a look that says we happen to be thinking the same thing. Maybe it is brief, maybe I get to know a person.” Mark shrugged.

“So how is it fair for them to judge you on that? Sure it is a part of your past, whatever your marks say but that isn’t all of you. And you don’t deserve to be ostracised because of it. Anyone who loves you would be with you because they want to and others would not judge based on a mark but by your actions now, your love…”

He shook his head. “Just different and I believe we are more than just our past. And that a person has a right to tell what they want.”

He took the blade with a nod. He understood and he placed it beside him.

“Okay, french toast-I can make that for you. Pad Thai...I knew a few good places. You know if you wanted both of those things.”

Mark grinned a little. “Me? I am boring. I like burgers, pasta with lots of cheese. Oh but spicy chicken. A good curry. I have been around the world so I love all sorts of food.”

He licked his lips. "You like movies? Theatre?"

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Re: Unrest

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:09 pm

Ridahne's gaze was fixed solidly on the dark blue patterned carpet the hotel was covered in--a dense, pileless weave specifically designed not to show much wear. Ridahne never liked the decor in most hotels. It was too plain and, she discovered, they were often very similar and always unoffensive. Tasteless, too. She saw very little difference between it and most advertisements she saw on the street, which she found interesting. And regardless, it was far more enticing than looking into Mark's eyes. Or at him in general. Those few moments seemed to perfectly illustrate Ridahne's very being; passionate and outgoing, but emotionally withdrawn, in a way. She was quick to express anger or curiosity, or even joy if the situation was appropriate. But not grief. Grief would not flow openly out of her, instead it would build pressure inside of her until it rent holes in her outer walls and gushed until she very quickly dammed the hole. Her entire life, she had to be that way.

All she was willing to say on the obviously sensitive subject in response to Mark's assurances that things should not be that way was, "You would think so." Those five words were cold and hard, and a subtle anger bubbled up amidst her fluster. To the right person, they would nearly be the sort that would kill by their own merit. But instead of stewing on it, she gave a sigh as if letting something go and shut her eyes while emptying the bottle just a little more.

As she listened to Mark talk about food, her slender hands somewhat unwittingly traveled to the carnelian around her neck, fingertips exploring the smooth surface of the blood-orange stone. "You have discovered my one weakness, Ur'khei." She used this term without any venom and even a hint of a small upward tug on her lips; somewhere in the alcohol she'd been consuming she'd lost most of her awareness of her accent and the Azurei word in particular came out thick. "I will not turn down food. Being homeless will do that to you." She would never have used that word normally, but already her buzz was returning. "But you should know, I have almost no money. I have...five dollars."

Ridahne kicked off her beat-up hiking boots and stretched her feet a little in the free air, wiggling her toes, one of which sported a swirled toe-ring. "I hate shoes," she muttered, partly to Mark and partly to the air. And for a moment it didn't seem like she was considering his question about entertainment, at least not until she nodded long, took another pull from the bottle and said, "I like movies, yes. But...what is this word, theatre? Adjih konei?" she asked. Ridahne took a very long time to realize she had not spoken in english and blinked rapidly a moment later. "Uh...what does it mean?" She corrected herself, her focus wandering a little to poke at her now iced and numb wound, which she found pleasantly and relatively void of sensation other than cold...but the alcohol was doing a fine job at combating that.

"I have a question for you now." Her accent was very thick now. "What do you care about? And why did you become an IP? We all know the sad, pathetic story of my family and why I have none," she said with equal parts humor and bitterness, like it was something she'd just learned to accept. "But what of yours? Do you have family? Ai...that was many questions." Ridahne shrugged, unapologetic.

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Re: Unrest

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:00 pm

Mark had hit a nerve, a sensitive one and he hadn’t meant to. He realized slowly that she had avoided discussion. He looked down and let the subject go.

“Hey nothing wrong with good food.” A safer topic, a topic they both enjoyed. “A good meal can put a mind and body at ease, can bring out memories...food is a powerful thing.”

He pulled one leg up and rested an arm on his knee. “I will treat. Don’t worry about money. I have lots saved and nothing to do with it.” He smiled a bit sadly.

“Theater...people on stage...never mind I will take you to a show sometime.” Mark chuckled. He eyed her warily as she stated she would ask him a question. The alcohol was taking away her filter and he wondered just where her mind was going.

He leaned on his leg. “I was adopted. My dads were great. I got into the military because I have a very particular talent that showed itself when I was young. I have impeccable aim. I am quiet and patient. Those are skills they cultivate and use. They offered me a chance to travel, to see the world and all I have to do is follow orders, do the right thing. Sometimes it doesn’t feel right but most times I can live with myself.”

Mark looked away towards the window. “My tattoos would show a very particular life, one that might make others avoid me. That isn’t all of who I am though.”

He smiled at her. “I am an only child. Both my fathers have passed away. Anything else you want to know about me?”

The smile didn't reach his eyes. He knew of her past, her mistrust of people - let alone military people. Ridahne was not partial to rules and regiment. He could understand that. Mark liked military life. He liked the routine, the work. Even the missions were something to look forward to. Not always but many times. He had no girlfriend, his apartment was as sparse as it could be but he was never there so he didn't care much.

He couldn't help but wonder if she would ask more and just how much he was willing to talk about. he wasn't as drunk as she was so he was a bit more guarded.

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Re: Unrest

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:00 pm

"My mother used to tell me that food was the way to a man's heart. I made faces at her then, I was young when she was still alive. Boys were only good for fighting with...and I suppose some of that still holds true." She gave a dry chuckle; this was not an unusual outlook for an Azurei woman. There was no patriarchy in her culture, but quite the opposite. Women ruled, women practiced swordplay like some women of other cultures practiced sewing, and above all, women bore children. That left men in somewhat of a secondary position, though they were equally as vital to the survival of the society as a whole. They were protectors, workers, and were often very strong. They were fighters and warriors, and most women jokingly saw them as brawlers. "But she had a point. Food makes anyone warm up to you." She pulled from the bottle again, swallowing a hot mouthful that barely burned her numbed mouth without the carefree apathy of someone having a little fun, but instead with a deep, quiet pain that she desperately desired to bury and silence.

"That's a terrrrrible problem," she admonished with plenty of sarcasm and a dry expression that, if you knew her, could be called humorous. "How do you eeever go on?" There was a small glint in her eye, a smile of sorts. "I can't say I know what that's like. But if you're burning to get rid of it, I'll gladly eat on your dime." She probably didn't have any other kind of humor than dry. "I'm nothing if not opportunistic." She struggled with the last word, almost forgetting how it was pronounced exactly; her English really slipped when she was drunk.

Ridahne looked deeply contemplative as she watched him speak, but the first thing out of her mouth was "Two..? Why would you have two--" and then it slowly dawned on her and she breathed a long, "ohhhhhh," of recognition. While the concept felt strange to her, she didn't see it as being too different from her own upbringing--after all, her mother died when she was young and so Ridahne had almost always been raised by the two men in the family, her father and brother.

Ridahne swished the contents of the bottle around, enjoying the hollow sloshing echo it made inside the glass. Kloop. It was while she was examining the play of the light through the amber liquid that she spoke very casually, and without any sense of decorum, "So you were an assassin? Don't be shy, you're among friends here." Ridahne waved a hand dismissively. "I have killed too. Sent many souls to the next world. But there is only one tattoo for that." Ridahne pointed to a black mark that had been there for some time, now faded by several years of sun and general wear. "That's only one part of what your tattoo would say. And it's not so rare where I come from."

Ridahne continued sloshing the bottle back and forth, drank from it again, and then gently prodded at her wound on her side. Distantly, she praised Ajoran's control and the clean cut he'd given her--it would heal well. "Yes," she said plainly, running her delicate looking fingers over the wrapped stitches. "You never answered my first question. What do you care about? Why do you wake up?" She was going for 'what gets you out of bed in the morning?' but her idioms were not quite as good as her English itself. Ridahne discovered her hands were relaxing too much for her to keep a steady grip on the bottle--it kept slipping away from her and tilting against her hip--and she was not entirely a stupid drunk, so she set the bottle down. Besides, she had enough by now that her head was swimming pleasantly, she had only a loose understanding of all her senses, and she couldn't hold a very deep thought long enough for something to bother her. Perfect. It didn't hurt that she wasn't in as much pain, either. "I am still trying to answer that question myself. But I want to hear what you have to say."


(by the way, good timing on the post. i was really really depressed tonight and having something to write was a good way to get me out of my head for a bit.)

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