The Past [Lokh Kalira and Ruri]: A Gift for a Heart

Vana'diel date: May 864
Posted on 10 Sep 2012 01:32

He asked her the day he gave her the bow, and Lokh thought that maybe she had always known he would. It seemed the right time, certainly. She wondered how long she had been waiting now, and how long he had.

“So, uh, congratulations!” Ruri fumbled through his greetings as soon as he saw her, and Lokh laughed, a happy sound. Small and strong, she felt radiant that day, and saw herself beautiful reflected in his eyes.

“Thank you!” She waited.

“I… I heard about your new position. Congratulations! I mean, I said that already. And of course I heard about it, you knew that already. You send the letter after all. And, uh… congratulations, it sounds amazing…?”

Lokh laughed again. “You don’t have any idea what it is, do you?”

Ruri gave an embarrassed chuckle as he ran his fingers through unruly black hair, a nervous habit that amused Lokh to pick out. “Not… really.” Another chuckle, and he flashed her a faux cheerful grin. “Nope, not a clue! Care to enlighten me?”

“No.” Lokh grinned back, and hooked her arm through his, leading him to her home. It was a familiar path they walked every afternoon, from the shop stand he had set up near the gates of Windurst Waters, through the scenery of the town that was still beautiful despite the devastation done to it, and finally to her house in the woods before he returned to his room, alone. Children milled around at a distance, too tentative for their young ages from the residue of war, and Ruri tempted them with toys, tiny trinkets of wood and metal that sang and hopped and twinkled. They were starting to get used to him; he had been there for years.

“To be honest,” Lokh continued as they walked, “I’ve already told you as much as I’m allowed. It’s a bit of a secret, see. But,” she smiled as he stopped to hand out a tiny rarab carved of snow-white wood and took the chance to poke his arm, “I can’t imagine you’d have that much trouble figuring it out.”

“You over exaggerate my abilities, Miss Lokh Kalira!”

“Oh?” Lokh smirked. “I guess you’ll never find out, then.”

“How cruel!”

They stopped in front of the Rarab Tail Hostelry, a few rooms still remaining, its majority being rebuilt.

“One moment, please.” Ruri unlinked his arm, flourishing a dramatic bow. “If you don’t mind, there’s something I need to get from my room.”

Lokh tilted her head, stretching and settling against a wall of the building. “Sure, I’ll wait here.”

“No need, no need.” Ruri all but pushed her onto the path again. “I mean, I wouldn’t dream of keeping a lady waiting like that. No,” he sighed dramatically, “you must go without my company! I will catch up as soon as I can.”

Lokh arched an eyebrow. Now, this was something different. A present? She didn’t know. She didn’t wonder too hard, however. Let him have his little secrets, then, and they could both see her delight when he unveils his surprises.

“Don’t take too long, Mr. Escort.”

*~*~*

She didn’t have to wait long, not at all, before a hand covered her eyes, rough and calloused and surprisingly gentle.

The bow was held before her when he shifted to face her and took away his hand.

“It’s beautiful!”

Lokh stared; she couldn’t do much more than stare. “Beautiful” was an understatement. It was the best bow she had ever owned – presumably, it was for her to own, at least – and certainly the most ornate she had ever seen. Supple and strong, it spoke its craftsmanship without sacrificing functionality for splendor.

“Well,” Ruri laughed when she was done staring, though her eyes flickered back to the bow every few seconds, “I was going to ask if you like it, but I think I got my answer.”

“Of course I do!” Lokh took the bow carefully, her fingers running lightly up and down its length, tracing over the designs. “It’s wonderful. It’s perfect.”

Ruri laughed again. “If I weren’t the one who made it, I think I’d be raging with jealousy now.”

“Well then,” Lokh nodded sagely, “it’s probably a good thing you were.”

The rest of the walk suddenly seemed too short for what they had to say. Both shortened their stride, coming almost to a standstill again.

“By the way,” came an off-handed remark, sounding strangely choked, “I’m thinking I’ll settle down in Bastok soon.”

Lokh did stop this time, a stone’s throw away from the path to her home. “Bastok? Why?”

Ruri glanced at her for a moment, then looked away. “The guilds, mainly. The ones both there and San d’Oria. They’re not too far from each other, compared to Windurst with either of them.” He tried a smile, but faltered before he managed to even lift his head. “And besides, Bastok was where my family settled. I can’t say I feel too comfortable anywhere else.”

“What about—” Lokh opened her mouth, and closed it again. What about me? was not a question she could ask. “—the things here?”

“I’ve learned all I can from the boneworking guild.” Ruri gave a small shrug, almost imperceptible. “I’m not as good at it as I’ve hoped. And I’m abysmal at weaving.”

“I don’t mean that!” Lokh frowned, her hands on her hips, and circled around him to face him. “What about Windurst? Don’t you like it here? What kept you here for so long, then?”

Ruri tried to turn, only to find her following, always in front of him. He shrugged again, helplessly. “Shouldn’t you know the answer to that, Lokh Kalira? Tell me, who else is leaving Windurst?”

“Then,” Lokh took a step towards him, her voice almost a whisper, “why don’t you tell me something besides the fact that you’re going?”

Time seemed to stop, and even nature fell silent as Ruri closed the distance between them. “Something like where I’ll be living in case a certain mithra beauty happened to drop by?”

When a bird’s chirp broke the silence, Lokh smiled, holding out her hand as she danced away. “Oh, something like that. Speaking of which, how would you like to… drop by?”



Category: So Many Dreams

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