05.03.3014: Sand Giant
Summary: Cyrielle, Orren and Ines chat before breakfast while Ines's children try to bury a standing Orren.
Date: Day Month Year
Related: None
Cyrielle Ines Orren 

House of the Albatross
The school of learning on Honor's Keep, where there is a smaller, private lagoon.
3 May, 3014

The sun has broken free of the horizon’s tether, and the smaller lagoon that serves as the center focus of the House of the Albatross is already alive with splashing and quiet laughter that grows in boisterousness as the morning passes.

The Sun Salutation yoga class, usually lead by Ines, has already broken for the morning. The paddle boards have been stacked neatly to the side of the little inlet that lets out to the ocean.

Now is a more informal family time for the Heir’s family, as the twins are in the lagoon playing water tag with others their age, and Marie sits off to the side with her back against a palm tree as she reads on a tablet. Ines and her youngest, a toddler, sit near the edge of the water, digging into the wet sand to make their own private lagoon, while another girl scurries about on her knees nearby, building up the wet sand into a castle of interesting proportions and configuration.

There is still almost half an hour before the breakfast gong will sound, and more students of all ages filter into the area on their own or in small groups. Some take up quiet pursuits, reading or just relaxing in chaises, while others join the revelers in the water. A few are still left floating on their paddle boards, having yet to abandon them after the yoga ritual.

A guest of the Ligonier and student of the sword, Sir Orren Tylos emerges from his hut, tightening the last tongue of his less-than-decorated swordbelt into place. Wearing a baggy white linen shirt that catches the wind and a simple pair of dark, leather breeches the color of a horse's saddle, he looks up to catch the first kiss from the sun and a brief moment of silence. Dark lips curling into a smile on his black-skinned cheeks, he turns to head in the direction of the squealing children.

Thankfully, this morning’s session was more of a massage with stretching. One of Cyrielle’s largest hurdles to overcome has been adapting to balancing her weight equally and no longer favoring her right leg. It’s led to a vast change in how her muscles handle distribution of weight, pressure, and stride. The masseuse has sent her out with a large bottle of water to relax until the morning meal and perhaps sweat out some more of the released toxins beneath the morning sun.

The woman is wearing the attire that has become a uniform of sorts for her more official rehabilitory activities upon Ligonier’s lands: a blue, sleeveless top that clings in some places and drapes in others, plus a pair of dark grey shorts that form well to her hips and cut off spare inches above where her cybernetic begins. She’s barefoot, getting a better footing and sense of balance with the land beneath her feet. Sipping from the bottle, she ambles slowly in the direction of the small lagoon.

Looking up from her digging to take stock of her sons’ play, to make sure they are not drowning themselves or others, Ines also scans the area to see her daughter still reading. She draws a deep breath, a somewhat wistful smile curving one corner of her lips.

In the act of returning her attention to her toddler and the mini-man-made lagoon, the approach of the dark skinned knight is noted. Her expression smoothes once more, giving nothing away as she watches his steps along the beach. Sir Orren’s appearance commands her attention enough that she hasn’t noticed the Hollolas Lady, yet.

Stepping out to the edge of the beach, Orren lowers his body into a crouch and collects a handful of sun-warmed sand. Like time slipping through an hourglass, he pours the sand down his fingers into his other hand, letting the particles fall back down to the ground. It's a new ritual, a quiet cleansing of some sort that he has adopted in the last two weeks. Only once the ritual is over does he look up to see Ines looking his way.

Rising to his feet, he balances a hand on the pommel of his sword and starts towards her and her children. Smiling quietly to one as he passes, the dark haired mane of Cyrielle catches his eye and he directs his attention towards her knowing well Ines will catch the subtle eye movement. Other guests are here as well.

"Good morning, M'Ladies," Orren addresses them, so blue-collar in a rather citizen-way. "Blue skies for the moment it seems."

Articulated toes of cybernetic dig into the sands as Cyrielle takes stock of the lagoon and its current occupants. When she spots the Young Lady, she shifts and approaches forward. Her balance is improving, though not wholly perfect yet. Her strides are slow. At the least, the Hollolas no longer uses crutches or a cane. She’s improving and it’s noticeable.

“Sir Ines,” she offers to the woman, dipping her head in a nod to her. There’s a faint glance to the children, but Orren thankfully provides an easy distraction there with his greeting. “Seems to be most mornings. A pleasant Spring, mm?”

IInes’s expression doesn’t change as she surveys the knight, but she does follow his glance to Cyrielle. “Good Morning, Lady Cyrielle,” she greets. “It is a pleasant one, and good to see you without your crutches.” There’s a little crinkling at the corner of her eyes, and an easing in the cheeks that denotes a lighter, almost smiling countenance. “I had a feeling that you would improve quickly once they were gone. Lady Cyrielle Hollolas, have you met Sir Orren Tylos?”

With the pausing of the large man nearby, Nigel, the toddler sits back. He looks up, then down again. Reaching into the hole, he lifts a handful of wet sand, and dribbles it on the dark skinned foot nearest him. Apparently, he likes the way the grains of sand run down the slope of instep, because he reaches in and grabs another handful, this time patting it after he plops it down.

Looking down suddenly at the sensation of something being poured onto his feet, Orren can’t help but smile at the diminutive child. With a roll of his shoulders, Orren crouches down and takes some of the sand into his hands, doing the same to Nigel’s ankle with a quiet smile on his face. “You, little lord, are going to have a long day of work ahead of you if you plan to get all of me.” He says to the child, then rises to his full height, leaving his foot in place. “But I won’t move.”

Turning back to the two women, Orren flashes both Ines and Cyrielle a bright smile that seems to lighten up his dark, battle-chiseled features. His head lowers in a respectful nod of his head to Cyrielle as introductions are in order. “There’s not much social to be had from inside of a mountain, and though I’ve been a guest for weeks I’ve been at the training huts.” Orren lifts his eyes once more. “Well met, M’Lady.”

“They took them,” Cyrielle states blandly, casting an eye to Ines. Her lips are turned slightly in a smirk, tempering her words. She’s not angry about it; just mildly amused. “Woke up one morning, they were gone. Made for a few interesting days.”

Her dark eyes drop to watch the child with a mild interest, but the introductions bring her attention back to the Knight. “Mountain?” The inquiry is offered, but soon followed by a slight gesture of chin. Acknowledgement, without being out of line as far as propriety goes. “A pleasure, Sir Orren.”

There’s a giggle from Nigel as the liquid sand slithers over his ankle, and he draws it away from Orren. Another pair of dark eyes looks up, and hearing that a grown up will stand still while he’s being buried proves too much temptation for the six year old. She abandons her pail and scoots over to the knight’s feet, and begins packing some more solid wet sand around his feet.

Her face impassive as she watches the resident of Khar-Mordune flirt with her son, Ines does glance back up with an answering smirk for the missing crutches. “They do tend to just toss you in the deep end to swim around here,” she allows mildly. “I take you’ve been in the water. You should come with us in the morning. Just to paddle out. You can learn the poses later.”

“Khar-Mordune, M’Lady. The home within the mountain. We don’t get sky quite like this, but there’s a cozy togetherness of it.” Orren replies, glancing down with a smirk as another child starts to bury him. He’ll be a sandstone statue of a knight in no time. “And not quite so many places for lads to play and enjoy themselves like this.” No doubt fond of the children, he leaves them to their work and crosses his arms over his muscular chest.

“The yoga, is it? It’s something I haven’t done yet.” Orren speaks up, returning to the topic of the moment with a tilt of his head. “The seas, though, there’s nothing like it. It’ll be a hard day when and if the time comes for me to return home. How the Hollolas and Ligonier could live under a mountain after having all of this is beyond me.”

“I have been wading and doing some light swimming, yes,” Cyrielle says to the heir with a tilt of her head in a nod. “I could still swim prior to the injury, but it seems I’m even better at it now. Or I will be.” There’s a bit of a smile.

She watches the children at their work, but the smile fades slightly when Orren mentions where he is from. “Ah,” she offers, simply. “I could never live within the mountain, no. I need the trees of the forest or the open waves.”

Two dark eyebrows raise at the word ‘if’ from the knight.

“I will admit that it is something that I find difficult to comprehend,” Ines agrees with Cyrielle, but not expanding further on the subject. Her lips do curve more into a smile at the mention of swimming better. “That is the purpose behind the change, is it not?” she enquires. “Every change we make to our mind and body we hope will be for the better.”

As Acadia busies herself with patting sand up around Orren’s ankles, and Nigel adds his own splattered art work over top of it, she swishes the hand that was digging in the mini lagoon, rinsing most of the sand from her hand before giving it a flick to send extra water away. Pulling her feet towards herself, toes pointed towards the water, she loosely wraps her arms around her ankles. “Yoga is good for clearing the mind, even if only for an hour. Most people are surprised how difficult it is to think about anything else but your pose and your breathing. Especially on a paddleboard.”

If. It seems even Orren recognizes the slip, his mind allowing things to be said that his tongue did not initially intend. The tall, dark-skinned knight does not scowl or flinch his brows at the faux-pas, and instead opts to pretend as if it never happened. He sees the lifted brows from Ines, though, and with a quiet glance, he chooses to ignore them.

“After the initial assault, out in deep space, I was left with the need of massive medical work to my chest and one of my lungs. They’re not entirely natural now, some plates and aides. They’re no replacement limb, of course, but the adjustment is a rough thing, aye?” Orren nods to Cyrielle and Ines sharply, calves flexing as he keeps himself upright to allow the children to play. “Is that the plan today then? To take to the sea?”

Orren’s massive shoulders shift as he pivots at the hip, turning to look to the sea in the distance. His brows lower, an almost strange wariness at the ships in the distance. A man born under a mountain, he’s become accustomed to the sand and sky, but to be so far from land…is something he hasn’t tested yet.

“I would be willing to try the paddleboards, regardless of how much I can do or not.” Cyrielle’s shoulders rise and fall in something of a shrug. Dark eyes shift to Orren and there’s a slight quirk of lips, “I imagine they have their own sets of difficulties. The leg could be worse.” She leans slightly to her right, as if showing off just how much she’s handling at this point.

“The next stage is learning to fight with a weapon, rather than just my Awakened abilities.” Cyrielle’s lips quirk slightly. “Not that I ever think it will do me better service, but sometimes, perhaps, it’d be best to keep such things in reserve.”

“If you wish to try the paddle boards, you should join us tomorrow morning,” Ines encourages the woman lightly, resting her cheek on her knees and uncurling one arms to drift her hand over the water in her little lagoon. “It will definitely help you fine tune your balance on your new leg.”

Arcadia is now trying to bury the the muscular calves of the stalwart knight, which means she has a regular slope building up around him. Nigel rolls over, planting his little hands on the sand hill to push himself up. He stumbles to his feet, swaying for a couple minutes before he tries to climb up his hands splayed towards the man, grabbing at the fabric of his pants.

“I am not sure you are ready for the sea, Sir Orren. You have yet to even paddle on the lagoon. However,” she looks up through her lashes, without lifting her head. “You may be ready for a lesson on the lagoon.” She lifts her hand from the water to hold it behind the toddler to ease a fall if it should happen.

“I am about to become the lagoon,” Orren replies to those around, looking down to Nigel and Arcadia as his legs have begun disappearing beneath the mountain of wet sand. He brushes a hand over the top of his head, scratching lightly over the short, black hair that has been clipped so short it is nearly a second skin. A new smile forms and he makes a quiet hrm from inside of his cheek.

Reaching for his sword-belt, Orren double-checks the strap of leather that ties the hilt to the scabbard and then tugs at the buckle. The sword-belt being a second belt to the one holding his pants up, merely functional to keep the sword separate, he carefully removes the belt, holding it by the scabbard, which he offers to Ines. “Would you please, M’Lady?” He asks, mindful of the safety of her children.

“It would seem, Lady Cyrielle, that M’Lady has identified that you and I are both working a few difficulties. You, your therapy. Myself? I’ve known pools, baths, and showers and enough to keep from drowning.” Orren tsks, a cluck of his tongue against his teeth as he spares another glance to the sea in the distance. “We’re all capable, though. There’s not much water under the mountain, not so much a man can get lost in it.”

“Should I wake early enough, I will. I believe I’m due for training with your brother, Sir Canis, but I imagine he would be willing to reschedule or move it to later so that I can join you on the paddle boards.”

Cyrielle glances to the children again with something of bemusement, her gaze flickering to Ines briefly. She’s still perhaps a bit out of sorts around the woman; she’s been kind, almost too much so. More than the woman is used to. Especially without someone wanting more- like the Hollolas vassals tend to.

“The oceans are superior to the mountains, Sir Orren, I assure you.”

“Nooooo…” Acadia drawls, her tone clearly indication that Orren is one of those rather ignorant grown ups that don’t know anything. “You can’t become /water/, that’s just silly talk,” she informs the knight importantly before she continues to pack in the sand that spreads outwards as it creeps up his calves.

“You’ve been told,” Ines informs him as she takes the sword, of habit her hand testing the weight of it before she balances it across her knees. The blade lays almost perfectly parallel to the ground without her hand to steady it.

She turns an amused smirk to Cyrielle. “I would give anything to see Canis out of bed early enough to see the sun rise. Please, if you have managed to pin him down for a training session at that hour, I will not want you to give him an excuse to lay in bed, instead.”

Despite the two ladies present, the tall, powerful Orren has the mind and grace to tend to the children first. Hands on his shoulders, he looms high above Nigel and Arcadia, laughing down to them as the latter corrects him. “Aye, young lady, you’re a very smart one, turning into water is silly, but if I could turn into a lagoon it would be this lagoon.” His calves flex beneath the growing wall of wet sand, trying to keep his body just enough free beneath it to move if needed. “So how high are you planning on burying me?”

Waiting for the children to look back to their work, Orren glances up to Cyrielle and Ines, allowing his smile to warmly fade to a neutral position. Fingers flexing against his hips, he lets out a deep breath, lifting his shoulder in a noncommittal shrug. “I’ll give oceans the upper hand. It’s the strongest stuff in the universe. It’s soft as can be and over time can bore holes through solid rock.” His eyes dip from Cyrielle to Ines as he speaks, trading views with each of them. “But it was beneath the mountain where I was born. The mountain gives and the mountain takes away. As much sky as I find. I’ll know where I come from.” He pauses. “Perhaps one day you’ll visit Khar-Mordune, the all of you. It isn’t as close together as it sounds. It’s a massive, open space beneath.”

“Well, perhaps I shall drag him to the paddleboards with me,” Cyrielle opines, flashing a brief grin to Ines. It’s perhaps a bit forced, but it’s there nonetheless. She’s starting to relax, this much is true. The ill aspects of the woman are fading as she has begun to force herself out and about more. To try to at least act normal in the presence of most…

… but Orren has to speak as he does of Khar-Mordune. Something flashes in the Hollolas’ eyes and she stands straighter. “The mountain takes away, with no regard or care. I need not ever visit.”

Acadia pause sand stands up to her full height. “Stand still!” she orders, then adds, “Please,Sir,” at a clearing of Ines’s throat.

Her mother nods once, and looks out over the lagoon again. Any response she had to either Orren’s oblique offer of a visit or Cyrielle’s promise of waking Canis early is suppressed beneath a calm mask. The toddler slithers back down the slope he was climbing, and decides to turn instead back to his mother. With a smile she shifts the sword over her shoulder and reaches an arm for him to hold onto as he walks towards. She curls the arm as he walks, folding him into a close hug so she can kiss the top of his head.

The mountain takes away. A strange look falls over Orren’s knights at Cyrielle’s choice of words, bringing the man’s attention to the smaller, Hollolas woman. Head turning ever-so-slightly, his brows soften, a carefully composed gesture to move him in the direction away from the immediate thoughts that surface. For all his bearing as a once-Citizen and warrior, he understands the sudden need for house politics.

“I know well of this, M’Lady.” Orren replies to her softly, his head nodding in a show of extended sympathy. “The mountain above takes from all at times. It…can be a hard place.”

The black-skinned man’s lips frown for a brief moment, but then soon settles into a polite, empathetic smile before turning his attention back to Ines and her children. Lifting his gaze over her quick parenting of her children, careful to not interrupt and usurp her authority, he lowers his head in a gentle nod to Lady Ines, searching her face in silence. It’s a brief moment of shared understanding, the woman knowing just what the mountain had taken from Orren many years ago.

“So, Lady Acadia,” Orren starts, erasing the near-gloom of mourning with a bright-toothed smile, directed down to the little architect. “Is there any way I can assist from up here? I feel a bit helpless to this. How about you let me trace some marks into the sand like from the stone in my homeland, little one. The markings on the walls of my people tell stories you may find interesting…”

The show of understanding from Orren mollifies Cyrielle enough that she falls back on her heels a bit. Bare toes dig into sand; the sensation unique in the new cybernetic. Her jaw, set, shifts finally and she takes on a more easy stance. Tension fades from her shoulders and she’s drawing in a breath as a gong sounds in the distance. Breakfast.

Frowning absently, she glances over her shoulder in that direction. “I shall see you at the meal,” she decides, giving a nod to those gathered before she turns and sets off once more across the beach at a slow pace.

The well-honed instinct, sometimes referred to having eyes in the back of one’s head, brings Ines’s dark gaze around to meet Sir Orren’s with unfathomable black pools. She knows, and her chin dips slightly before her head swivels back to the lagoon as he keeps his sorrow to himself rather than unleash it on a woman who has unwittingly asked for it. She opens her mouth and begins to turn when he offers a story to her daughter, but with the gong, Lady Cyrielle is taking her leave, and she turns to give the woman a pleasant nod.

The sound of the gong brings an organized flurry of movement among the Ligoniers that swirls around the half buried knight. Marie turns of her tablet and tucks it away, coming over to pick up the toddler. “Nigel, your hands are all sandy,” she admonishes good naturedly, picking up a towel from the little pile to wipe at his hands as she carries him towards the dining hall. The lady knight stands, handing over the sword to Orren before she picks up two more towels and shakes them out for the twins that splash in from the lagoon, laughing and getting in their last bit of horseplay which sees Medard going under in the shallows and coming up spitting water and sending a last splash at his twin. Their mother’s raised eyebrows brings them into line, still grinning as she knuckle scrubs the tops of their heads and sends them towards the dining hall. Acadia, her interest in the offered story mercilessly forgotten with the heedlessness of youth when food is in the offing is already on the porch and bobbing through the throng of students that funnel into the wide doors.

With a moment of peace, now, Ines stands for a moment. Her eyes fall to the pile of the sand around the man’s feet, and she quirks an eyebrow. “You should have children of your own, Sir Orren,” she tells him quietly. Reaching down, she picks up the oblong object wrapped in a towel, and unwraps the simple, but serviceable weapon and buckles it around her waist.

“I apologize, Lady Acadia, Lord Nigel, but there is only one way to get out of the sand.” Orren replies to the children, his fingers brushing Ines’ as his hands grip around the scabbard of his sword. Lips flattening into something thankful, he offers Ines a quick nod of his head. The pile of sand around him begins to crack at a thousand points, releasing the eternally trapped legs of the behemoth that lie beneath. Like an ancient golem breaking free of a mountain, the sand crumbles, leaving Orren’s breeches covered in wet sand. “And I’m going to need to change before being proper for the table as well. I’ll meet you there soon.”

As Orren turns to leave, to follow Cyrielle towards the huts, Ines’ words bring him to a stop. Shoulder and cheek rising at the same time in a wry look, he turns for one last point of eye contact with Young Lady Ligonier; brows twisting at an angle as he considers how to answer.

“Perhaps someday, M’Lady,” Orren replies to her, shoulder lowering back into place. “It’s a multi-step task and I wouldn’t want for less than a strong mother to care for them. Roots is…are…” Orren blinks, his poor Citizen upbringing slipping through in a failure of vocabulary. “They’re rather important to me. My children would be my world, enough of that I know.” He smiles quietly, lowering his head to her. “I’ll meet you there, M’Lady.”

With nothing else to say, Orren turns and pushes his way through the heavy sand, lashing his sword-belt to his hips for the duration of the trek.

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