Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

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Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:47 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 111 of the Fourth Age

The Light Elves of Keliac and the Dark Elves of Elysium were two races that had always – at least in the memories of their current populations – lived in peace with each other. They were very similar in nature: both countries were bordered on the north by a mountain range and on the south by the ocean; they both had the same hot, humid climate which resulted in mile after mile of tropical rainforest; and they both had the same cultural expectation that everyone in their borders would marry only those of their own race.

That didn’t mean that there weren’t cross-border friendships. There were two families in particular who lived on either side of the fence, and who shared a well. On the Keliac side were Erlan, a mercenary, and his wife, Makaela: Light Elves. On the Elysium side were Tasar, a woodsman, and his wife, Elora: Dark Elves.

Being a mercenary, Erlan was gone much of the time, and Tasar and Elora did what they could to make sure that not only their own family was taken care of, but also Erlan’s. Their son, Tehlmar, was, while not formally trained, an avid archer and skilled hunter, and he took great pleasure in bringing cuts of meat, and sometimes entire cooked meals, to Makaela and her daughter, Takari. Sometimes Makaela and Takari would cross the border and join the others for meals as well. None of this took place when Erlan was home, but he knew about and did not protest what happened while he was away.

At least, not that part of it.

Tehlmar and Takari loved to spend their free time together. They were very different in nature, but it worked out just fine for them. A typical boy, Tehlmar was proud of his skills, and he especially loved to show off for Takari. For her part, Takari loved watching and playing with him, and she was willing to follow him just about anywhere. They would spend hours in the jungle together. While Tehlmar swam in the river or did target practice, Takari would braid crowns for him out of the brilliantly coloured flowers that grew almost everywhere. Tehlmar was a leader; Takari was a follower. But their friendship was deep and true, and as they grew, so did their regard for each other.

One day, as Takari’s father was preparing to go on yet another job, he pulled Takari aside to speak with her privately.

“Takari,” he told her seriously, kneeling down so that they were at the same eye level, “listen to me. You’re still young, but your friend Tehlmar is growing up. Soon he may begin looking for someone to become his wife someday. I know you two are good friends, but I want you to stop spending so much time with him.”

Takari was confused. “Why, Father?” she asked, her golden hair fluttering in the breeze as she tipped her head curiously.

Erlan smiled grimly. “Because,” he began seriously, “I am afraid of what he may do if you continue to be friends as you have been. Though you are only ten years old now, he is of the age where he can now marry. If he were to try to take you as his wife, it would bring great shame to you and to our family. He is not our kind: he is Dark Elven, and Takari, you are Light Elven. You must turn your attention to those of your own race.”

Takari was troubled by the news, but she nodded humbly. “Yes, Father,” she murmured. She was sad. She loved her time with Tehlmar. They were such good friends, after all!

Her father smiled and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Good girl.” After one last quick hug, he rose once more, hugged Makaela, checked his bag and his weapons one last time, bid them a fond farewell, and left.

Takari tried to obey her father’s wishes, but within the hour she was at the well, waiting for Tehlmar to come outside. Sometimes she had to wait for quite a while, but other times he was available and would come quickly. Today was one of those latter days. He came out of his house, spotted her by the well, and ran over as quickly as his skinny legs would take him.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” he asked when he was close enough to see the troubled expression on her face.

Takari ran around the well and threw her arms around her friend. “It’s terrible!” she cried, bursting into tears. “Papa has forbidden me to play with you anymore!”

Surprised, Tehlmar put one arm around her and stroked her golden hair gently – an uncharacteristically tender action for him. “Why?” he asked, perplexed.

“Because!” Takari sobbed. “He says that you’re old enough to marry now, and he doesn’t want you to shame me or my family!”

Tehlmar snorted and put his hands on Takari’s shoulders, forcing her to look up at him. “Don’t be silly!” he chided her. “I may be thirteen now, but I’m not getting married any time soon! I don’t know what your father is thinking, but there’s no reason for us not to play together anymore.”

Takari’s expression froze, then lit up with hope. “Really?” she asked excitedly. “Then we can?”

Tehlmar pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. As young as he was, he did recognize the problem that now lay before them. He couldn’t tell Takari to ignore what her father had said – one thing his father had instilled in him since he had been young was that while the two cultures had some differences, it wasn’t their place to question them. And he didn’t want to cause any trouble for Takari.

“Only when your father isn’t around,” he decided was safe to tell her at length. “And probably we shouldn’t tell him about it. Right? We don’t want to make him mad.”

He wouldn’t deny that he also had a bit of a vengeful streak in him, too, and he was annoyed that Erlan was taking away his favourite playmate.

“Are you sure?” Takari asked anxiously, her blue eyes bright with fear. “It’s wrong to lie to him…”

“It’s not a lie,” he told her firmly, grinning. “It’s a secret. It’s different.”

Her entire face lit up, and she clapped her hands together with excitement. “Good!” she exclaimed. “Then I’ll be fine. Father’s gone most of the time, anyways.”

Tehlmar grinned. That made him happy, all of a sudden, though Erlan’s absence had never meant anything to him before.

“Come on,” he grinned, taking Takari’s hand and tugging her towards the jungle. “Let’s go check on that nest we found the other day!”

Giggling, Takari followed him eagerly.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:08 am

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 111 of the Fourth Age

By the time Erlan returned from his job, the wet season had begun. This was fortunate for Takari, because it meant that when he returned, she was inside the house with her mother, helping her with mending. She sat near the window, which gave her a view of the path leading up to the house, and she was the first to spot her father’s return.

“Father!” she exclaimed excitedly, dropping the skirt she had been mending. She ran to the door and opened it to greet him, her mother directly behind her.

In only moments, Erlan was inside the house. He laughed and scooped up Takari, hugging her tightly. “Hello, Takari,” he said warmly. “How you’ve grown since I left!”

Takari giggled as Erlan greeted his wife with a kiss. “Not so very much, Father,” she protested, though she was beaming at the compliment. “Tehlmar grew lots more!”

“Oh?”

Erlan looked at her sternly, and it was only then that Takari remembered her promise not to spend as much time with Tehlmar anymore.

“We were invited to dinner with Tasar and Elora two nights ago,” Makaela told her husband with a gentle smile, saving Takari from having to come up with a reason she would know about Tehlmar’s growth. “She is right, he has sprung up quite a bit this past season.”

Erlan smiled then and set Takari back on the ground. “And you’ve been helping your mother while I was gone?” he asked her.

Takari nodded eagerly and picked up her father’s bag of dirty laundry. “Yes, Father!” she beamed. “Gardening and harvesting and cooking and cleaning and mending and sewing – everything she needed help with!”

Her father smiled proudly. “Good. Now run along and bring my bag to my room. I’m going to wash, and then we’ll all make dinner together.”
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Sep 29, 2015 7:12 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 111 of the Fourth Age

Dinner was barely over when there was a knock at the door and Erlan opened it and found Tehlmar standing on the other side. He was surprised to find that the boy, as his wife and daughter had indicated, had grown quite a bit in the weeks he had been gone, and his expression showed it.

“Welcome back, sir!” Tehlmar greeted him cheerfully. “Can Takari come out and play?”

A muscle twitched in Erlan’s jaw. Before he had left, the lad had been growing out of childhood already; and now, such a short time later, he already appeared older and more mature than he had before. He had been concerned for his daughter before: now he would be adamant.

“No,” he said firmly, without any effort to soften his reply. “And I think it best you not play with her anymore. You’re too old to play, anyways. You should be helping out your father.”

Tehlmar blinked, surprised by Erlan’s reaction. Then again, it had been a long time since he had told Takari that she wasn’t to be spending time with him, and, like Takari, he had forgotten.

“I did help my father!” he protested. His cheeks flushed with anger. “Today we cut thirty cords of wood and cleaned the animals from our traps! He was the one who said I could come over, and if he says it’s fine, I don’t see why-”

“Hold your tongue, boy,” Erlan said coldly, cutting the boy off. “Mind how you speak to your elders.”

Tehlmar sucked in his breath and his face grew very red. Down the hall, Takari poked her head out to see what was going on. She paled when she saw the confrontation between her father and her friend. Tehlmar spotted her, and rather than saying anything else to make Erlan even angrier, he folded his arms across his chest, forced himself to remain calm, and tried again.

Sir,” he hissed through his teeth, “can Takari please come out to play? My work is finished for the day.”

Erlan smirked and nodded to himself. “No,” he said again, as firmly and coldly as he had the first time. “And if you have any idea what’s good for you, you won’t ask again.”

Tehlmar burned at the injustice of it, but he knew enough to realize the wisdom of backing down. Without speaking, he looked past Erlan for one final look at Takari, then turned on his heel and left. Erlan closed the door unceremoniously and turned away from it. When he saw Takari in the hallway, he paused.

“I don’t want to have to tell you again,” he told her, his tone threatening punishment should she disobey. “Stay away from him.”

As he strode past her down the hall towards the bath, Takari had to blink back tears.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:43 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 111 of the Fourth Age

After watching her father scare of her best friend, Takari went to bed and cried and cried. She heard her parents talking out in the living room, but she couldn’t tell what they were saying, and she didn’t care. Eventually, all fell silent, including her sobs. She was exhausted, her energy completely spent; but despite that, sleep still wouldn’t come.

Suddenly she heard a tap, tap, tap at the window. She raised her head and rubbed her eyes. What could that be? For a moment, she wondered if she had imagined it – but then there it was again!

Tap, tap, tap.

Takari rubbed her nose on her sleeve and slid off her bed. The idea of calling her parents never even entered her mind: there had never been any real dangers in the area, at least nothing that would be intelligent enough to knock at a window.

Pausing just a moment to wonder if it would be a good idea, she reached out and opened her shutters. The moon was only a mere sliver that night, so at first she didn’t see the dark shadow that was there – until Tehlmar’s black-haired head popped up and nearly frightened her out of her wits.

“Tehlmar!” she exclaimed excitedly.

“Shh!” Tehlmar reached up and clapped one hand over her mouth. “Quiet!”

He kept his hand there for several long seconds, until he was sure that her parents hadn’t woken at her shout. Only then did he lower his hand and grin at her. “Hi,” he whispered. “Stay quiet, all right? If your parents hear us, there’ll be trouble for both of us.”

Takari nodded and smiled widely. She sniffled and put her arms on her windowsill, then rested her chin on her arms so that she could see her friend better. “I’m really glad you’re here,” she whispered back to him. “I don’t know why Father’s so firm that we can’t play together anymore. It never used to be a problem.”

“Yeah, my parents have been giving me some grief about it, too,” Tehlmar admitted. “Not the same as your dad, I think, but they’d still prefer I don’t spend as much time with you.”

Takari frowned again. “Why? Did we do something wrong?”

“No way!” Tehlmar caught himself and lowered his voice again. “No. It’s nothing we did. They just think that Light Elves and Dark Elves aren’t supposed to be friends, I guess. It doesn’t make sense, because our parents are friends, but that’s what Dad tells me.”

“My father says that you’ll be looking for a wife,” Takari murmured thoughtfully, “and that you’ll shame me and my family if we keep spending time together.”

Tehlmar rolled his eyes, though Takari couldn’t see it. “Yeah, because we’re both ready to get married,” he muttered sarcastically. He sighed. “Maybe it we were actually old enough, it might make some sense at least, but for now it’s just stupid.”

“I don’t understand what he’s talking about,” Takari admitted.

Tehlmar took a moment to think about it. “Well,” he said quietly, “I guess he’s afraid we’re going to maybe get married someday, you and me. But Dark Elves are only allowed to marry Dark Elves, and Light Elves are only allowed to marry Light Elves, so I don’t know what he’s afraid of.” He shrugged and looked up at her.

“I’ve never thought about it before,” she admitted. “But it still doesn’t make sense. What’s wrong with it?”

Tehlmar shrugged again. “I dunno.” He reached up and put one hand on her arm. “But in the meantime, we can’t see each other during the day anymore, not while your dad’s home anyways. So if you can handle being on your own during the day – you know, helping out your mom like you’ve been doing and stuff – then I’ll come see you after all the lights are out again, all right?”

Takari thought about it for a moment. “On one condition,” she decided.

Tehlmar blinked and looked up at her. “What’s that?”

She smiled at him. “I want a hug,” she told him, as firmly as her father had ordered Tehlmar to stay away.

He grinned and went up on his tiptoes to try to reach the window, and Takari leaned out as far as she dared, stretching down to hug her friend. It wasn’t exactly a firm hug, but it was a hug nonetheless. They spent a bit more time talking very quietly, and when Takari at last went to bed, she had no trouble falling asleep.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:07 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 113 of the Fourth Age

It was a while before Erlan went on any more jobs, and for months Takari and Tehlmar did what they could to spend time together – midnight chats at Takari’s window, a few stolen moments here and there when they were fetching water from the well at the same time, and once in a while, when Takari headed into the jungle to read in peace, Tehlmar would come find her and they would spend hours together.

Takari had finally reached the age where she also had hit a growth spurt, and on top of growing taller, she was also growing into quite the beauty. With the amount of time she was spending with her mother, she was also growing quite accomplished – reading, music (a panflute), cooking, sewing, mending, embroidery … the feminine arts. She continued to help with the garden and the searches for herbs in the jungle, yet for all her hard work, she remained surprisingly dainty.

One afternoon, when Erlan was gone on a job, Takari made sure she had finished her chores, chose a book to read, and headed into the jungle. There was a spot near the mountains where she loved to go, and it was there that she headed now. Over the past year or so, Tehlmar had made it a comfortable place for her, using his talent with wood to make her a very comfortable chair to sit on, tucked away safely out of sight behind some rocks, and she had added her own touches – woven cushions and mats, vines of flowers overlapping each other and softening the walls. There was also a lot of moss growing on the rocks – not only was it a humid tropical rainforest, after all, but behind the rocks, only a few meters away, was a waterfall. It was not huge, far wider than it was tall, but the noise of it provided a calming, peaceful backdrop which made it easy for her to relax, even when she was upset.

She had barely settled into her chair when Tehlmar burst into sight in front of her shouting: “Boo!”

Takari jumped, dropped her book, and laughed as she reached down to pick it up again. “Tehlmar!” she chided him. “That was unkind!”

Tehlmar chuckled and sat on a rock next to her. “Sorry,” he grinned. “I couldn’t resist.”

“It’s all right,” Takari smiled, leaning over to hug him. She hugged him longer and harder than she normally would have. “I have good news!” she told him when she finally let him go. “Father’s gone again – he expects to be gone until the wet season again!”

“Wonderful!” Tehlmar beamed. “Then we can spend some more time together!”

“As long as Mother doesn’t make a fuss,” she sighed. She set her book aside. “How have your parents been lately?”

Tehlmar shrugged one shoulder and leaned back against the mossy rock wall. “I think Dad knows we still see each other,” he replied thoughtfully, “but he doesn’t make a big deal of it. I think Mom’s the one who really doesn’t like it.”

“The opposite of my parents, then,” Takari murmured sadly. “I don’t think Mother minds too much, but Father …” She shook her head. “I hate to think what might happen if he were to find out.”

“Then we won’t let him,” Tehlmar grinned. He reached for her hand. “Come on. I want to show you something.”

Takari barely had time to drop her book before he dragged her off her chair and out of her little shelter.

“Where are we going?” she asked curiously as she followed him.

He grinned at her over his shoulder. “Just trust me,” he winked. “You’ll love it.”

He brought her down to the water’s edge, but rather than stopping there, he pulled her into the water. She blinked in surprise but didn’t protest and followed him even when he led her to the waterfall. She opened her mouth to ask where they were going, but the roar of the water was so loud from this close that she couldn’t make herself heard. Instead, she just stayed close to him.

When they reached the waterfall itself, Tehlmar turned to her, grinned – and darted through it, pulling her behind him. Takari closed her eyes and braced herself, expecting to run into either Tehlmar or a rock wall, but she was surprised when she felt nothing but open air. She opened her eyes, wiped the water out of them, and looked around.

They were in a large cavern lit only by what sunlight made it through the wall of water that cascaded over its entrance. From what Takari could see, though, it was about the same size as her house – the whole thing. Her jaw dropped in amazement, and Tehlmar grinned.

“Like it?” he asked her. “Hey, you have light magic – light up the place!”

Takari blushed. It hadn’t occurred to her to do that, but now she cupped her hands in front of her and summoned her ability. Light emanated from her hands, illuminating the cavern, and she looked around.

Considering she’d never seen the place before, she was impressed with how homey it was. There was a definite sense of organization to it. One area had a short table, perfect for sitting on kneeling beside it, and a few palm-frond woven mats around it. There was also an area clearly set up for sleeping: thick layers of woven palm fronds and soft brush built up into a mattress large enough even to fit his tall stature. There was also a shelf with a rack above it, stocked with food so that someone could stay here for a while. Of course, water wasn’t a problem – all they’d have to do for a drink of water was go to the waterfall at the entrance.

“What do you think?” Tehlmar asked eagerly, standing next to her.

Takari’s eyes sparkled brightly. “It’s wonderful,” she breathed. “You did this all of this?” She looked at him admiringly.

He grinned at her. “Well, I found it a while ago. I thought it might be a nice place to hang out when we get the chance.”

Takari threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly. “I love it!” she giggled. “Father will never find this place!”

“He’d better not,” Tehlmar murmured, his tone soft as he returned the embrace. He continued to hold her close. “I don’t even want to know what he might do if he did.”

“Nothing good,” she sighed. She looked up at her friend. “Tehlmar, it’s been nearly two years since Father forbade us to spend time together, and I still don’t understand what the problem would be if we did want to get married.”

“Trust me,” Tehlmar muttered, frowning, “when I figure it out, you’ll be the first to know.”

Takari was silent for a moment, and she bit her lower lip thoughtfully. Then she looked at him again. “Do you … do you think we might, someday?” she asked him quietly. “Marry, I mean? Because I don’t know anyone else I would want to marry. You’re my best friend!”

“And you’re mine,” Tehlmar assured her quickly, smiling again. “Maybe someday. But we’ll have to figure out what to do about your dad. I’m sure mine wouldn’t be a problem, but your dad …”

She winced. “My father would hurt you,” she murmured. “Probably quite badly.”

Tehlmar sighed and let her go. “And you, probably,” he muttered. He took her hand and led her over to the table, where they both sat down. “What can we do, then? I mean, he’d probably hurt us even just for talking to each other nowadays. Forget about getting married!”

Takari wrung some water out of her dress. “There’s nothing I can do,” she admitted reluctantly. “Father is very strong, and he doesn’t listen to either me or Mother.” She smiled sadly. “I wish I could do something, but … I don’t want to make it worse, either.”

“I understand,” Tehlmar nodded seriously. He set his jaw. “Then it’s up to me. I’ll have to get stronger. Learn how to fight. Because it’s just stupid for us to have to stay apart like this.”

“You’re already strong!” she protested.

He shook his head. “Not strong enough. Your dad could take me apart in two seconds if he felt he had a reason. And apparently just wanting to talk to you is reason enough.” He sighed again. “All because we’re not from the same country.”

“We’re close enough,” Takari said firmly. “Father’s just being silly.”

Tehlmar nodded, then pounded one fist on the table. “Then it’s settled!” he decided. “I’m going to get stronger and learn how to fight.” He grinned at her. “Just you wait. Soon enough, we’ll be able to spend time together again.”
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Oct 03, 2015 11:38 am

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 116 of the Fourth Age

By the time Tehlmar was fifteen years old and Takari still only twelve, the two of them had decided that they didn’t care what their parents said or did: when they both grew up, they were going to get married. When Erlan had returned from the job the year before, he had grown very suspicious of Takari’s long visits to the jungle with nothing to show for it when she returned. He had followed her one day and stumbled across Tehlmar coming to join her. Takari hadn’t any idea until the next day when she saw her friend hobbling around his father’s property on crutches.

From that day forward, the two had gone back to staying away from each other during the day and talking to each other only in the evenings – and even then, only occasionally. More often, they would leave notes or gifts for each other in the cavern behind the waterfall. They had to work out a schedule so that one of them would be at home and as visible as possible at all times so that Erlan wouldn’t be as suspicious, and though for the first while it had only made him watch them closer, eventually he had more or less accepted that they weren’t seeing each other anymore.

It took a while for Tehlmar’s leg to heal, but eventually it did, and his determination only grew. Takari worried about him and tried to convince him not to strain himself, but he stubbornly insisted on working as hard as he could to make himself stronger.

“We were just in the same area when your dad caught me last time,” he pointed out. “If he ever discovers we want to get married – and especially when we do get married – I have to be ready to defend both of us. If I can’t do that, he’ll do more than make me hobble for a bit.”

The incident had also had the unfortunate side effect of destroying the relationship between the two families, and afterwards, any time Erlan left on a job, Takari and Makaela were left to fend for themselves. If not for the small offerings Tehlmar left in the cavern when he could, they might have gone hungry.

The first few times Takari had come back with sacks of meat, Makaela accepted it unquestioningly; but the fourth time, she had to ask.

“Takari,” she said quietly as she slid the fresh roast into the oven, “where do you keep finding these? You’ve never trapped, hunted or killed an animal in your life.”

Takari, now thirteen, was peeling fruit, and she didn’t falter in her work. Her smile vanished, though, and she sighed softly. “I don’t know if I can tell you, Mother,” she admitted quietly. “For your own sake. But I am not stealing them, nor am I trading away any of our things.”

Makaela watched her daughter in silence for a moment, her lips pursed thoughtfully. Takari ignored her and remained silent, and at last Makaela smiled.

“Well,” she murmured, “whoever your friend is, thank them for me.”

Takari did.

When Erlan returned, he assumed that Takari had a suitor, and though he guessed every Light Elven male within an hour’s walk, she remained silent, and he eventually gave up. He was pleased, though: in his mind, she no longer had anything to do with Tehlmar.

Time continued to pass, and despite the efforts of both Tehlmar’s and Takari’s parents, the two continued to grow even closer than they had ever been before. Then, when Takari was fifteen and Tehlmar eighteen, the time came when Tehlmar came to a decision.

Erlan was off on a job again, and Tehlmar and Takari had met together in the cavern behind the waterfall. It was mid-afternoon, and Takari was sitting on the mattress, leaning against the cavern wall, one hand stroking Tehlmar’s hair as he lay with his head in her lap, the other holding a book that she was reading aloud to him.

“… and thus defying all they’d known, the two set out to do what they had always dreamed,” she read, her voice soft and filled with emotion. “The odds-”

“Takari,” Tehlmar interrupted her, something he had never done before; “why can we only read about people who stand up for what they want? Why can’t we just do it?”

Takari lowered the book and set it aside, though she didn’t speak yet. She was thinking hard. She had an answer, but it was an answer she knew he wouldn’t like. She shifted her gaze so that she was looking at him. She could see in his eyes how frustrated he was, and while she shared his frustration and understood it, she had something that he did not: patience.

“As we are,” she said at last, “we do not have the strength. At the moment, as much as I am loathe to admit it, we simply cannot. My father would tear you apart, and I’m quite certain that even I would be far from immune from his temper.” Her expression softened and she brushed her fingers lightly against his cheek. “I know how hard you have been working, Tehlmar, but my father is a professional killer. You have never killed before, save the animals that you hunt and trap. Have you even ever fought with a man before?”

Tehlmar clenched his jaw and sat up, pushing himself away from Takari so that she couldn’t see his face or the rage that suddenly filled it.

“Hang your father,” he muttered angrily. He thought quickly and turned back to Takari. “We could just run away.”

She shook her head sadly. “Do you not think that I have thought of that?” she asked him softly, her tone tender. “And not only thought, but also dreamed of it? But where would we go? Elysium? I would most certainly be either arrested or killed. Keliac? Then it would be you who would be in danger. And my father tracks people for a living … he would find us no matter where we went, or how far we ran.”

She rose to her feet and stepped closer to him, taking his hands in hers. Her hands were pale compared to his, and very small, and when he closed his hands around hers, hers were almost swallowed up.

“Then I will learn,” he told her decisively. His tone left no room for argument. “This is ridiculous. All we get is a few stolen moments hiding away, and even then only when your dad’s gone on a job. Someday, we have to be able to be free to go out together, to be together without being afraid of what might happen to us.”

He hesitated, lowering his gaze, and then he stepped closer to Takari and held her hands just a bit tighter.

“I’m going to join the army,” he told her quietly. “Go through the training. Learn how to fight, to defend myself. Get some experience. And then I’ll be back.”

Takari was too surprised to speak, even to protest. Her mouth moved, but no sound came out.

“And when I come back,” Tehlmar went on, putting his arms around her, “I’ll be strong enough that we can go anywhere, do anything, and it won’t matter. Because I’ll be able to protect you from anything.”

She hugged him tightly, and a tear slid down her cheek. “Did you just think of this?” she asked him, her voice shaking slightly with emotion. “Or had you thought of it before?”

“A passing thought until a moment ago,” he admitted, “but it’s the only thing that makes sense.”

“No, it doesn’t,” she protested. Another tear slid down her cheek. “It doesn’t make any sense at all! Once you join the army, that will be your life – you will go where they say, when they say, and you will do what they say! You will not be free to come and go as you please, or to marry – and certainly not to marry a foreigner!”

“Let alone a foreigner of a different race,” Tehlmar agreed. “But actually that’s perfect. Because if they find out, then they won’t just let me leave – they’ll kick me out and tell me never to come back!” He offered her an encouraging smile. “Come on, it’ll work out just fine.”

Her tears were only coming faster now. “But then I won’t see you for – for I don’t know how long!” she protested more desperately.

“A small sacrifice,” he assured her, “for a lifetime together.”

Takari sniffled. “But what if something happens and I never see you again?”

He hugged her again. “That’s a risk we run here just as much as anywhere else. And you said it yourself, Takari – as we are, we can’t be together. Not the way we want to be. So something has to change – and this is it.”

As much as she hated the idea, she had to admit that he was right – they couldn’t just keep hiding in the cavern, hoping not to be discovered They had to be able to defend themselves, and Tehlmar would never learn how by simply hunting and trapping and cutting wood with his father. He needed to be taught. But that didn’t make the idea of it any easier.

He promised her that he wouldn’t leave for one week – time enough, he reasoned, to get his things together and to let his parents know. The week passed far too quickly for Takari, but she did manage to make him a token: a golden bandana that he could wear around his neck or arm to remind him of her while he was away. And when the time came for them to say goodbye, he also had something for her.

“For now,” he murmured, holding a ring of gold to her, “just wear it around your neck. On a necklace. When I get back, though …” He smiled softly at her. “It’s going on your finger.”

Takari’s voice failed her, and, her cheeks wet with tears, she threw her arms around him and kissed him.

When she returned home that evening, later than usual, her mother was concerned by the tear tracks on her cheeks and the redness of her eyes. When she questioned her daughter, however, Takari’s only response was, “Don’t expect any more gifts of food.”

Then Tehlmar was gone. Takari had never before wished for her father’s return, but now she longed for it simply so that she would have a reason not to want to see Tehlmar during the day. The nights, she knew, would be just as difficult – perhaps more so – but any relief would be welcome.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Oct 03, 2015 3:48 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 117 of the Fourth Age

As a rule, mercenaries were without honour or loyalty, did anything they were asked provided the price was right, and made many enemies. Some enemies, knowing that the attacks and/or deaths were not personal to the people who committed the crimes, would hire these same men and seek vengeance against the one who had hired them; while others would take the simpler route and seek to destroy those who had done the deed.

For Erlan’s family, living near the border had its advantages. Often there were no fences to distinguish exactly where one country ended and the other began, which meant that raiding parties (or others) would have to be on the lookout not only for those in their own country who would try to defend themselves, but also for those from the neighbouring country who might see an attack so close to their home as a threat to their home as well, and join in the defense of those being attacked. But even when there was a fence, as at Erlan’s home, the risk was usually counted to be too great for an attack to take place.

During all of Takari’s life, there had never been an attack on her home, either random or planned, and she had enjoyed a life of peace. The same could be said for Tasar and Elora, though they were not at as great a risk because Tasar was a woodsman rather than a mercenary.  But because of this, Takari was very innocent, very naïve, about the real world. Her world was small and peaceful, the idea that there could be danger there never occurred to her.

One night, she was woken out of her sleep by a noise outside her window. Her heart leapt into her throat, her lips parting in a wide smile. Tehlmar! He had returned!

She leapt from her bed and threw open the shutters without even pausing to throw on a shawl. Her beloved had returned – what else could it be?

But when she looked outside, she was struck dumb with horror. Her eyes wide, all she could do was stare. It wasn’t until the first arrow whistled past her ear, catching some of her hair with it, that the spell was broken and she let out a shriek of terror.

Mother!” she screamed, slamming her shutters closed again.

She picked up the bottom of her nightdress to run down the hall, but then she heard a loud crash and then her mother’s own strangled cry.

Mother!” Takari screamed again. She ran for her door, but as she pulled it open a loud whoosh met her ears and a ball of flame burst into the room. Instantly, everything was aflame. Takari threw up her hands and recoiled from the heat, gasping in surprise. Instantly, her lungs filled with smoke, the heat of it searing her windpipe, and she began to cough. “Mo-” She coughed again. “Mother!”

“In there!” a male voice shouted, muffled by the noise of the fire.

Takari doubled over, coughing from the smoke, and tried to think. There were so many men – there had been at least half a dozen outside her window, and there were at least a few more in the house. What could she do against them? She’d never used a weapon in her life – she didn’t even know if there were any in the house!

“Hurry up, the place is going down!”

Rough hands grabbed Takari by the arms, and adrenaline surged through her as panic set in. She fought back, struggling, scratching, pushing, hitting, kicking, biting – doing anything and everything she could to keep those hands from getting hold of her.

“Let me go!” she coughed desperately. “Get off of me!”

A hand clamped over her mouth, and she bit down on it as hard as she could. The coppery taste of blood filled her mouth and a loud howl sounded in her ears, but she didn’t let go. Her shoulders felt like they might be ripped from her sockets, but still she fought.

Suddenly she felt air against her back, and some of the hands that had been holding her down let her go. She tried to see what was going on, but her hair was in her face, blocking her from seeing much of anything. Then another set of hands disappeared. Hope surged anew, and she struck out against the last set of hands that had her. Her elbow caught something soft, and then the last hands released her.

“Takari! Run!” Tasar’s voice commanded her.

Without hesitating, she obeyed. She scrambled to her feet and pushed her hair out of her face, looking towards the door. But the door was a wall of flame – there would be no escape in that direction.

“Takari!” Tasar’s voice came again, louder this time.

When Takari turned around, she saw that her outside wall was half gone: partially burned away, partially hacked away by Tasar and his enormous axe. What was left was also ablaze, and Takari hesitated. Suddenly Tasar himself appeared in the gap between burning planks, one hand extended into the room. “Hurry!” he urged her.

Behind her, some of the men began to stir, and she swallowed down her fear. She had to get out! Taking a deep breath, she reached for Tasar’s hand. He yanked hard, and Takari fell through the flames and into his arms.

Before she had a chance to thank him, though, he pushed her away again. “Hide!” he ordered her. “Quick! In the jungle! And don’t come out until I come for you!”

Takari took the time for only one question. “Mother?” she gasped, her throat burning.

Tasar scowled. “Go!”

Tears blurring her vision, Takari ran.


Last edited by Nara-pyon on Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Oct 03, 2015 4:46 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 117 of the Fourth Age

For two days, Takari waited in the cavern behind the waterfall, nursing her wounds, scrounging for food, crying herself to sleep. She knew nothing about what had transpired at her home, or the results of it: was there anything to go back to? Anyone? Had her mother survived? Had Tasar? Had Elora become involved at all? Why had it happened? Was she alone now?

Fire wasn’t an option, even if it were possible to get some dry wood into the cavern, and despite the warm weather, being constantly wet from going in and out of the cavern made her feel awfully cold, and she ended up shivering quite a bit.

Finally, just when she was beginning to give up hope, she heard something out in the jungle. Her first reaction was fear: was it the men who had attacked them, returning to finish the job? Then there was hope: Tehlmar had returned!

But when she heard a voice calling her name, it was Tehlmar’s father, Tasar. Swallowing back her disappointment, she crawled out of her hiding place and, to keep it secret, climbed gingerly up to the place where she had used to read her books.

“Tas-” She tried to call back to him, but her throat still burned, and she coughed on the sound. She tried again. “Tasar!” Then, taking a deep, careful breath, louder still: “Tasar!

She shivered again and rubbed her arms to try to stay warm. Her nightdress was torn and filthy, but considering that it was white and thin, the filth was the only thing preventing it from being see-through at the moment. She was glad of that.

The sounds of him moving through the jungle grew closer, and he kept calling for her. Takari’s voice was still weak, though, and she waited until he felt close enough to touch before she called out to him again.

“Takari!” Tasar exclaimed when he saw her. He had a few cuts on his arms, but aside from that he was fine from what she could see. He knelt next to Takari and put his arms around her to warm her. “Are you all right?”

Her tears started to flow again, and she pressed herself into his warmth. “M-Mother?” she stuttered.

“She’s safe,” he assured her. He braced himself next to her. “Put your arms around my neck,” he directed; and when she did, he put one arm around her back, the other beneath her knees, and picked her up. Starting back towards their homes, he explained what he knew.

“Your mother is safe at my house,” he told her quietly. “She was pretty badly injured, and I don’t know what the lasting result of that will be, but she’s alive and safe with my wife. Your house is … too burnt to go into. It’s simply not safe. You’ll be staying with us for a while, at least until your father returns.”

Takari whimpered with relief and pressed her face into Tasar’s shoulder. With the answers she had needed, her mind was able to rest, and before they were halfway back, she was fast asleep.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Sun Oct 04, 2015 9:57 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 117 of the Fourth Age

Takari’s recovery was steady and far quicker than anyone else’s. Her wounds thankfully had all been superficial, and within a week even her throat was feeling better. Tasar had sustained only minor burns and cuts, and it was his wife who tended to everyone.

Makaela, however, had been very badly injured: she had been beaten, slashed, burned and shot, and for several days she didn’t even regain consciousness. Tasar left for two days to bring a physician, and after an hour of convincing the man to treat the Light Elf, he examined her. It took him several hours to do what he could and then leave instructions for her care, and he refused to stay any longer to do any more for her. His prognosis was not good: if she survived, she would definitely not walk again.

Takari left her mother’s side only to help Elora with tasks when necessary. She avoided the window: it faced the remains of her house, which made her burst into tears every time she saw it. She spent her time tending her mother when necessary, and sewing new clothes for her mother and herself. After the fire, they both needed to replace their wardrobes, small though they had always been. Occasionally, when her fingers simply ached too much from stitching, she would choose a book off a shelf in the room and read to her mother.

Part of what made it difficult for both of them was the fact that there was no way to let Erlan know what had happened. They could only wait for his return. For Takari, it was made even more difficult by Tehlmar’s absence - though she did draw some comfort by holding tightly onto the ring he’d given her when no one was watching.

The dry season passed and the wet season began. Tasar, on his own, worked from sunup to sundown to feed the four who were now all dependent on him and to fell trees and make planks to help rebuild the Light Elves’ destroyed home. It was difficult when it was raining hard, so to keep from wasting time, while it rained he worked on safely dismantling what was left of the burned-out home.

Thankfully, heat wasn’t a problem in that area, even when it was raining. The air was always warm – sometimes even more so when it was raining. And Tasar didn’t mind being wet. At the moment, he was on the roof of his neighbours’ house, carefully sawing it apart, board by board, salvaging what he could from what was left.

“Hey!” an angry voice interrupted him suddenly. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Tasar sat back on his heels and looked down. Erlan was back, and he looked angry – and Tasar didn’t blame him.

“Where are Makaela and Takari?” Erlan demanded harshly, dropping his bag and reaching for his bow.

“They’re safe,” Tasar assured the man, raising his voice slightly to be heard over the downpour.

“What have you done with them?” Erlan shouted, nocking an arrow.

“They’ve been staying at my home for many weeks,” Tasar assured him grimly. “Your home was attacked. Takari is all right, but Makaela …”

Erlan stared, silent, as the news sunk in. Then he dropped everything and ran. Without slowing, he vaulted over the fence and ran for Tasar’s door. He didn’t worry about knocking, just threw the door open and stepped inside. Elora was working in the kitchen, and she stared coldly at Erlan.

“Where are they?” he asked in a low tone, dripping rainwater all over the floor.

Without speaking, Elora pointed towards the bedroom where Takari and Makaela had been staying since the destruction of their home. Erlan strode quickly over to it and paused in the doorway with bated breath, afraid of what he might find.

Takari was sitting on a chair next to the bed, reading to her mother, but when she spotted her father in the doorway she gasped and dropped the book.

“Father!” she exclaimed. She burst into tears and ran to him, throwing her arms around his neck. Erlan held her close, but his eyes were on his wife. Makaela’s face and arms were all of her that was visible, and they were still covered with burns and scars. Her eyes, as bright and as blue as ever, glittered with joy and tears as she looked at her husband.

Releasing his daughter, Erlan moved to his wife’s side. “Makaela,” he breathed, reaching for her hand.

“Erlan,” she murmured, her voice rough from fire damage. She smiled faintly at him. “Do not worry for me … it looks far worse than it is.”

Takari stood next to her father and put one hand on his shoulder. “She has made a good recovery so far, Father,” she told him softly, “but she still has a long way to go. Regardless, she will never walk again.”

Erlan looked at her. “What happened?”

Takari bit her lower lip anxiously. She had done her best not to think of that night since it had happened, but her father needed to know. She didn’t have all the details herself, but piece by piece, she told him what she could.

He kept his eyes on his wife while Takari spoke. As Takari told the story, Makaela kept her gaze on Erlan, and when Takari came to points that she couldn’t explain – like what had happened to Makaela in the other room while she had fought off her own attackers – she averted her eyes and remained silent. Clearly, she didn’t want to talk about it. Takari still felt the pain of her own attack from time to time – usually in her dreams – but she was well aware that her sufferings were nothing compared to her mother’s.

When Takari finished her story, including how Tasar and Elora had taken care of them since that time (a bit begrudgingly on Elora’s behalf, admittedly), Erlan was silent for a long time. He kept Makaela’s hand pressed to his lips, his fingers lightly moving across her uninjured skin, and his eyes were fixed on her face.

Finally, he murmured, so quietly that Takari almost missed it, “Please leave us.”

Takari was a little surprised, and more than a little disappointed, but she did as her father bade her. Elora looked at her silently when she entered the kitchen, and Takari, well aware that her presence was not wanted in there either, stepped outside, into the rain. She leaned against the wall and looked out into the downpour, a lump in her throat making it difficult to breathe normally. She slid down the wall, one hand clutching the golden ring about her neck, and tried to swallow the lump away: but it stubbornly refused to go.

Tehlmar …

His name rose in her mind and she became fixated on it. Tears gathered in her eyes and trailed down her cheeks, mingling with the raindrops that already soaked her. Closing her eyes, she lowered her head and wept.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:00 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 118 of the Fourth Age

A full year passed from the time Takari and her mother had been attacked. Tasar and Erlan worked together to build a new house for the family, and to the contentment of all but Takari, it was further from Tasar and Elora than the original had been. It had an identical layout to the first house, too, so when the family moved in, it was made easier on them. The last of Takari’s wounds healed with hardly a scar, and she found herself suddenly very busy doing everything her mother had once done. As expected, Makaela did not walk again, but spent her days in her bed or in a chair, sewing or reading, which were just about the only activities she could do anymore. Takari was in charge of the garden, of collecting fruit and herbs from the jungle, of taking care of meals and the wash, of preparing water for baths and getting rid of it again afterwards … and while on the one hand, she was bitter – for her mother’s sake, not her own – she was, on the other hand, grateful, because being kept so busy meant that she had little to no time to think about Tehlmar, or miss him.

Still, even with the changes, life once more became routine, with the difference that Erlan did not leave as often on his jobs, nor did he go as far away, or for as long as before. The attack on his home and his family had been something of a wakeup call for him, and he now took seriously the responsibility of their safety as well as his provision for them. His presence helped Takari to feel safer, but it did mean that she could not as easily slip away into the jungle for some time alone anymore.

In desperation for an outlet for her thoughts, fears and frustrations, she began to write letters to Tehlmar. She couldn’t send them, and she had to keep them in a safe place, so whenever she got the chance, she would bring them, however many were finished, to the cavern for safe keeping. The odd thing was, the more she put her thoughts on paper, the more she began to doubt. She doubted somehow that Tehlmar would ever return – he had been gone over two years already! And if he did return, how could she go off with him? She wanted nothing more, but her father was still a mercenary, and his jobs would continue to take him away from home. With her mother now a paraplegic, how could she abandon her? And if she couldn’t abandon her, how could she marry Tehlmar? And yet, she wanted nothing more!

These questions also made it into her letters, to be hidden away. The idea of Tehlmar ever reading them never entered her mind – once he returned, there would be no need of letters, after all. She didn’t bother, then, to filter what she wrote – but only wrote and wrote and wrote, filling parchment after parchment with her thoughts.

During all this time, one thing remained constant, unshakable, no matter what happened. She knew, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that her heart belonged to Tehlmar, and to Tehlmar alone.

Once, her father returned from a job with a second man with him, a fair-haired athletic-looking young man. He had introduced him to Takari and made the suggestion that perhaps she would be happier with some companionship, but Takari had been thoroughly unimpressed with the man. It wasn’t that he had been … well, perhaps if Takari’s heart wasn’t so firmly taken already, she might have been interested. He wasn’t a bad person. Not bad to look at, either, truth be told – but she didn’t feel the least bit attracted to him. He had stuck around for a few weeks, and only when Takari’s father had left on another job did the young man leave as well.

Takari’s only thought as she watched them leave was that she wished she could walk away so easily.

With everything that had happened to her, everything that was going on in her life, the only thing she felt stronger than the loneliness was the sense of being trapped.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:47 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age – Yestarë

The New Year was never anything special for Takari or her family. It passed like any other day, unnoticed and unspecial. There was never any rhyme or reason as to whether or not her father would be home, either. So she didn’t bother to keep watch at any window while she worked that day. She was surprised, however, when the front door opened and her father stepped in with someone behind him.

“Welcome back, Father,” Takari greeted him without enthusiasm. Her hands were covered with flour, and she was in the process of making flatcakes. And after eight weeks of doing all of the work around the house, she was just tired. She barely cast a glance at the man who was with her father, but, knowing that it would be expected of her, she greeted him as well. “Hello, Faelyn.”

He was someone she had known for many years, and someone in whom she had never been interested. She had a feeling she knew why he was there now, and she wasn’t impressed.

“Hello, Takari,” her father greeted her. Without any other greeting, he turned to his companion. “Stay here and talk with Takari while I go see my wife,” he told him. “Don’t know how long I’ll be.”

Faelyn nodded at Erlan, and as the man went off to find his wife, he turned back to Takari.

“Hard at work,” he commented with a smile.

“Harder than you’ve ever worked, I’m sure,” Takari replied without skipping a beat. She tore off a piece of the dough and slapped it down on the counter. “Why are you here?” She used the heel of her palm to flatten the dough, and her fingers to round and curl the edges.

The man wandered over to her and leaned against the counter next to where she was working. “Your father thought you might like some company,” he answered in a disinterested tone. “He thinks you’re lonely.”

“I’ve no time to be lonely,” she said flatly. “Especially when Father is gone. It’s not just my survival that I’m responsible for while he’s away; I’m also responsible for looking after Mother. There’s very little she can do, after all.”

“I could help,” Faelyn offered.

Takari’s eyes turned hard. “No, thank you. We get along quite fine.”

He reached over and ran his finger over her ribs, and she elbowed him away from her. “Just saying,” he shrugged, “you could use a bit more meat on your bones.”

“Don’t touch me.” Takari glared at him. “What do you want, Faelyn? Father’s wishes aside, what do you want?”

Grinning, he shrugged. “Truthfully? To get to know you. I mean better. We’ve known each other a while now, but we still don’t know each other well.”

“Well enough to know I’d rather go hungry than have you around,” she retorted.

A hurt expression came over Faelyn’s face. “That’s not fair.”

“Isn’t it?” She looked at him angrily. “You certainly did not seem eager to help when Mother was first injured. Would I be correct in assuming that your interest now lies in the fact that my father has perhaps offered you my hand?”

He blinked at her, and in the brief moment before he stuttered out, “N-no, not at all,” Takari knew that she had pegged the situation correctly.

“Allow me to assure you,” she told him coldly, turning back to her flatcakes, “that despite my father’s will to the contrary, neither you nor anyone else wishing to marry me will do so without my consent.”

Tehlmar, where are you? She closed her eyes and sighed softly, longing once more for Tehlmar’s return.

Her silence lasted so long that eventually Faelyn gave up trying to talk to her and left.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:14 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age – Yestarë

As Takari had predicted, her father was not at all pleased that she had all but chased Faelyn away. He spent some time lecturing her, raising his voice for most of it, and though she sat obediently through it Takari didn’t bother listening to it. It wasn’t that she was too tired – though she was tired – and it wasn’t that she was too upset – she wasn’t upset in the least. It was exactly what she had expected. The truth was that she just plain didn’t care.

After that her evening was silent, and she went to bed as soon as it began to grow dark.

It was still dark when she woke, and she blinked and looked around, disoriented. Why had she woken?

She jumped at a noise outside her window. Adrenaline coursed through her veins, making her instantly alert, and she listened intently. Had others come again? Back to destroy their home for a second time?

The noise came again. It triggered a memory, an old one, and it took a moment for Takari to realize what it was.

Tehlmar!” she gasped. She slid off the bed and scurried to the window, throwing open her shutters with just enough care that they didn’t slam against the outside of the house and alert her parents. Sure enough, Tehlmar was standing just outside her window, taller and more handsome than she remembered. She laughed, then pressed one hand to her mouth to keep herself quiet.

Tehlmar chuckled softly and held his hands up to her. “How I’ve longed to see you again,” he murmured, his eyes bright, even in the darkness.

Takari took his hands and pressed them to her lips, then leaned out of the window, pulling him closer as she did so that she could throw her arms around him and hold him close. Tears began to fall, but Tehlmar didn’t seem to mind. He just held her tightly.

After a moment, he helped her climb out of her window, and then he took her once more in his arms. “It worked,” he murmured into her ear, stroking her hair tenderly. “I am yours. I will never leave you again.” He kissed her cheek. “We can go right now. Never look back.”

“No,” Takari sighed. “No, we can’t.” She took a half-step back and took his hands in hers. Her gaze low, she murmured. “Tehlmar … while you were gone … things … happened …”

There was a sound behind her, in the house, and she turned towards her window, biting her lower lip anxiously.

“Takari …” Tehlmar clutched her hands to his chest. “Tell me.”

There was a knock at Takari’s bedroom door, and she looked into her room again. Her heart rose in her throat, and she pulled away from him. “I have to go,” she whispered, terrified that they would be discovered. The knock at her door repeated, and she turned towards her window, intent on climbing back inside.

“Wait!” Tehlmar whispered, grabbing her arm. She turned towards him, and he kissed her hard on the mouth.

She returned the kiss very briefly before pulling away from him again. “Tomorrow,” she promised him. “At the cavern.”

She had just made it inside and closed the shutters when her door opened and her father poked his head in.

“Are you all right?” he asked her softly, his brow furrowing when he saw her by the window.

Takari nodded and rubbed her eyes as if she were still half asleep – though that was far from the case now. “I heard something outside,” she murmured. “At least I thought I did. It turned out to be nothing.”

With a yawn, she returned to her bed and pulled the blanket up around her chest. “Good night, Father.”

Erlan looked around quickly before he ducked back out into the hall. “Good night, Takari.”

And then he was gone.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:43 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age

It wasn’t easy to pretend that nothing was going on, but once lunch was over, Takari told her father she was going into the jungle to look for fruit and left the house. Of course, she had no intentions of looking for fruit: as soon as she was out of sight of the house, she made her way quickly to the cavern behind the waterfall. She had no idea whether or not Tehlmar would be there or whether she would have to wait for him, but she was hopeful.

She passed through the waterfall and pushed her wet hair back from her face. Tehlmar was in the cavern: he was sitting at the low table, his back to the entrance. He had Takari’s piles of letters on the table in front of him, and he was reading so intently that he didn’t even hear Takari coming up behind him.

She almost didn’t want to disturb him: he was so intent in his reading. But her eagerness overcame her hesitation, and she knelt next to him and put one hand on his arm. He startled, but then he chuckled softly and leaned over to kiss her softly, slowly. There was no reason for them to rush this time, and Takari made no effort to stop him.

Finally, he smiled at her, his eyes radiating his love for her. “Hi,” he murmured softly.

Takari giggled and laid her head against his shoulder. “Welcome home,” she replied warmly. “I’m sorry I couldn’t greet you properly last night … Father’s becoming a little unbearable of late.”

“So I understand.” He held up the letter he had been reading. “I found your letters. You weren’t kidding last night when you said things had happened while I was away.” He took her hands in his own, dropping the letter to the table. “It’s such a frightening thought … we thought, when I left, that I would be the one in danger.” He shook his head incredulously. “And yet you were the one who was almost killed.”

Takari remained silent. What could she add?

“And your mother,” he murmured sadly, his eyes downcast. “I’m sorry. Sorry I wasn’t here to help defend you.”

“Don’t,” Takari countered him, looking anxiously into his face. “It was not your fault, and you were where you needed to be at the moment. If there is anyone to blame, it’s my father. It was his work that brought the men to our home in the first place, and it was his responsibility to make sure that we were protected. It was his failure, not yours.”

She smiled up at him and brushed his hair away from his face. It had grown so shaggy while he was gone …

“Besides,” she murmured, “your father practically rebuilt our home for us. It was he who fetched a doctor for us, and your mother who nursed both me and my mother back to health. We owe your family more than we owe my father.”

Then she sighed. “It does put us in an impossible situation, though.” Tears pooled in her eyes as she looked at him again. “Tehlmar, I want nothing more than to leave here with you, to be your wife, to live with you forever … but I can’t leave Mother on her own. Father still goes on jobs, and I fear that he always will! It was one thing when we both worked together to survive, but now … without me, I’m afraid she’ll die. Your family has helped us so much, but when Father first returned from the job he was on when we were attacked, he saw your father on our roof and assumed the worst … he nearly attacked your father. I don’t know if you noticed when you returned home, but our families, more than ever, have nothing to do with one another.”

“I haven’t been home yet,” Tehlmar admitted. “I wanted to see you first.”

Takari blushed and smiled at him. “But you can see why I cannot simply leave,” she murmured.

Tehlmar nodded and stood up. He needed to think, and he paced back and forth so that he could do so. Takari watched him, her hands clasped together in her lap. As he paced, Tehlmar kept his eyes on the ground in front of him, but at length he came to a stop just in front of Takari and looked at her.

“You still have the ring I gave you?” he asked her.

Takari blinked, surprised by the question. Did he really think she would get rid of it? And why was he asking? Did he want it back?

Hesitantly, she lifted the chain from around her neck and set it, and the ring, in his outstretched hand. Then she looked at him anxiously.

Tehlmar took the ring and looked at it closely. Takari couldn’t tell what he was thinking, as his face betrayed nothing of his thoughts. Then he slipped the ring onto the end of his pinky finger and yanked on the chain, snapping it easily. A soft gasp escaped from Takari’s lips, and she looked at him fearfully. As she watched, he tossed the chain aside, pulled the ring off his finger and replaced it in the palm of his hand. Then, suddenly, he knelt in front of her and looked into her eyes.

“Takari,” he said quietly, “I don’t know if this will work, but I’d dearly like it to, and if you’re willing, I’d like to give it a try. We may not be able to go anywhere just yet, but I’d like you to become my wife anyways – even if it’s only in secret, until either we’re discovered or something happens to free you from the position you’re in. I just can’t stand the idea of not being with you anymore for as much as possible.”

He paused for a moment, then took her hands in his and held the ring up between them. “Takari, will you marry me?” he asked her softly.

Takari was so relieved that she burst into tears, and, ignoring the outstretched ring, she threw her arms around Tehlmar and pulled him close, pressing her lips to his.

“Yes!” she laughed when she was able to speak at last. “Yes, Tehlmar. Right here, right now – I will marry you.”

It was Tehlmar’s turn to be surprised – he hadn’t said immediately after all – but when Takari kissed him again, he didn’t protest. He simply chuckled softly, kissed her back, and picked her up to take her over to the makeshift bed.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:29 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age

“I should return home,” Takari murmured regretfully as she lay in Tehlmar’s arms. She sighed contentedly and brushed his hair away from his face. “Though how I can do so and not let on how happy I am … I do not know.”

Tehlmar pressed his lips to her brow. “And yet, if your father finds out …”

“I know.” She sighed again, this time in disappointment. “I know.”

She rose and began to dress herself, and Tehlmar was right behind her.

“What did you tell your parents you were coming to the jungle for?” he asked her as he dressed.

“Collecting fruit.” She shrugged into her dress. “I can stop at a mango tree on the way back. Tell Father I tripped, and that’s why there are so few.”

“And this?” Tehlmar reached for her hand and gently spun the ring that was on the fourth finger of her left hand.

Takari paused and watched him fiddle, making no move to take her hand back.

“I don’t know,” she murmured after a moment. “You broke the necklace I had it on before. And that’s not the kind of thing one simply finds in a jungle, and even if I were to find it, that would not explain to them why I chose to wear it on that specific finger.” She looked at it a moment longer, then slipped it from her finger and put it into Tehlmar’s hand. “Here,” she said softly. “You take it for now. I shall see if I can’t get another necklace to keep it on.”

She closed his fist around it. “As much as I would love to have a symbol of our union, I do not think it would be prudent just yet.”

Tehlmar looked around. “Hold on,” he grinned at her suddenly. He headed over to the table, picked up a pen, dipped it into the ink bottle that was there, and returned to her.

“Here,” he murmured, putting his left hand flat against her right and holding them between the two of them so that the blades of their hands were up. With the pen, he drew a single rune over both of them, a complicated rune Takari had never seen before.

“What is it?” she asked him curiously.

“Something I picked up in the army,” he grinned at her. “It’s something only army people know, something they put on their helmets for luck if they’re married.” He finished the rune and blew on it to dry the ink. “None of our parents will know what it means, especially since we each have only half of it.”

He lowered their hands, then leaned his head down and kissed her warmly. “Like this rune, we can only be whole when we’re together,” he murmured against her lips.

Takari smiled and hugged him tightly. “I shall make sure it is always clear,” she murmured. “But I do have to go now, I shall be late for dinner as it is.”

As she picked up her basket, she asked him, “What are you going to do now?”

Tehlmar watched her put the basket to her hip. “Probably stay here a few days, in case you’re able to get away again, and also to keep your father from connecting me to your absence today. That and I might make the place a bit more homey, if it’s going to be our home, as opposed to our parents’ homes.”

“Then I shall do the same when I can,” Takari giggled. She kissed him one last time and headed out of the cavern.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:41 am

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age

When Takari returned, her basket three-quarters full with mangoes and bananas, it was dinner time, and her father was in his bedroom, eating dinner with her mother. There was a bit of dinner left for her; but before she sat down on her own to eat, she put the fruit away and washed up. She had almost finished her meal before her father came out of the bedroom, carrying his and Makaela’s plates.

“You’re back,” he commented, passing by her to put the dishes into the wash basin. “What took you so long?”

“Clumsiness,” Takari replied softly. “I was on my way back and dropped my basket and spoiled everything I’d found, so I went back to get fresh fruit.”

Erlan picked up a mango and squeezed it lightly. “I wish you’d gotten more,” he murmured. “I’ll be leaving again tomorrow, for probably two or three weeks.”

Takari looked at him sharply. “Already? You just returned yesterday, Father. You never go out on a job again so soon.”

“Jobs don’t usually come up so quickly,” her father replied. He looked at her sternly. “While I’m gone, Faelyn will be bringing-”

“If Faelyn so much as shows his face here, you will not find me here when you return,” Takari interrupted him coldly. “I do not know why you have encouraged him to seek out my affections, Father, but it will not work. I want nothing to do with him.”

Erlan set his jaw. “You need help,” he said flatly. “You have to do everything while I’m gone, and it’s too much for you alone.”

“Perhaps you should have thought of that before you accepted the job,” she quipped. Usually she never questioned him when he told her he was leaving, or when he tried to look out for her, but today she was feeling brave. She was feeling reckless. Before, she had been trapped. She still was, in a manner of speaking, but now that Tehlmar was back – now that they were married, she had a freedom that she hadn’t had before.

And a reason not to stick around.

Erlan was not impressed. “Takari,” he said, his tone threatening.

For the first time in her life, she was not intimidated by her father. “I am not chattel, Father,” she told him coldly, “and you cannot trade or offer me away. I want nothing to do with Faelyn, not so much as an offering of food from him. If you are concerned about Mother and me, then perhaps you should spend more time at home. What protection do you leave us with? The last time we were attacked, we lost our home and Mother lost her mobility. Next time, she will not even have the chance to defend herself.”

“Tasar will look after you.”

“After you just about killed him?” Takari shook her head. “Somehow, I cannot see that. But at least he knows where his place is. With his wife.”

She rose abruptly and headed to her own bedroom, ignoring her father as he shouted after her. Not for the first time, she was angry with him. A mercenary was not a job with any honour. To be paid money to hunt down and kill people who had never done anything to him … it was no wonder their home had been destroyed. How many people must hate him!

It was not yet dark outside, but Takari changed into her bedclothes anyways and lay down on her bed. For a while, she simply lay there, her mind full of the day’s events; and then she twisted her hand so that she could look at the ink that now stained her skin. She ran her fingers over it lightly.

“Someday,” she whispered softly to herself, her heart racing as she remembered back to the events of the afternoon. She brought her hand to her mouth and kissed the markings gently. “Someday, my husband, we shall be together freely.”

The word felt strange in her mouth, and she mouthed it again to herself: husband. It still felt funny, and she giggled. She was looking forward to getting used to saying that.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:02 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age

When Erlan left the next morning, Takari stood outside the front door and watched until he was out of sight. Despite her protests of the day before, she was glad he was going, at least in a way: it meant that she would be at least a bit freer to speak with Tehlmar when he returned to his home.

She spent the morning doing her chores, brought lunch to her mother, read to her for a while, and then, when her mother asked to be left alone to rest for a few hours, stole back to the cavern in the jungle where Tehlmar was still waiting for her, making sure to return home before her mother would wake and wonder where she was. The day following passed similarly, but the day after that, there was no need to go to the cavern to see Tehlmar. While Takari was kneading dough in the kitchen, she saw him through the window and watched as he returned to his parents’ house.

She smiled, watching as first his mother and then his father embraced him, and she caught his glance in her direction as he was led into the house. She hoped all would be well with him. He was returning with the shame at having been dismissed from the army, dishonourably discharged, he had told her. She wondered if he would tell his parents the reason for it.

Once the dough was ready, she put it on its cooking stone, built up the fire for the oven, and placed it inside to bake. Then, poking her head into her mother’s bedroom, she told her she was going outside to get some water to wash, and headed outside.

One of the adjustments that had been made to the well between the two properties was that Tasar, always looking for ways to help out and make things easier, had built a roof and pulley over it, with a bucket permanently attached to the rope. Takari was glad of it: she no longer spilled half the water in the bucket when she pulled it up, and her arms no longer ached from hauling it over and over again. She headed towards the well now with a large, empty bucket against one hip, her eyes on Tehlmar’s house as she walked. She wondered how things were going with his parents – he had been in there nearly an hour now, surely he would have explained things by now.

She set her bucket on the ground next to the well and reached for the one that was attached to the rope. It was empty, so she dropped it into the well and began to crank the lever to lower it. As she did so, the door to Tehlmar’s house opened, and Tehlmar himself stepped out. He had changed his clothes since going inside, and was back in his forest greens. He caught Takari’s eye and grinned at her, though he stopped at the side of the house and grabbed a bucket of his own before making his way over to the well to join her.

“Welcome home,” Takari greeted him softly, her eyes bright as she looked at him.

Tehlmar looked quickly over his shoulder, and once he was sure his parents weren’t watching at a window, he leaned over the fence to kiss her. “Thanks,” he murmured, smiling.

Takari wasn’t concerned about her mother catching them. From her bed, Makaela couldn’t see as low as the well anyways.

“What did you tell your parents?” she asked him curiously. She felt the bucket hit the water and lowered the rope a bit more. She reached out to grab the rope so that she could swirl it around a bit, but Tehlmar grabbed it first and did it for her.

“I just told them I was sent home because of a personal disagreement with my captain,” he shrugged. “Technically it’s the truth.”

“It must have been some disagreement,” Takari giggled, “if you weren’t simply transferred to another unit.”

“Oh,” Tehlmar chuckled, “it was. I was bruised for a few days afterwards. I still don’t understand why people are so offended by those who don’t look like we do, but they certainly are eager to prove their point with their fists.”

Takari smiled at him, taking the opportunity to simply look at him as he cranked the lever to bring the bucket back up again. It was incredible just to see him here with her, as he had once been, doing things that they had always used to do together. At the same time she wished that she could go off with him, even though she knew it was not possible.

“How are you and your mother fixed for food?” he asked her as he dumped the water he’d brought up into her bucket. “Do you need anything?”

“Fruit are always plentiful,” Takari murmured, “and we’ve enough flour to last us at least several weeks. The only thing I have difficulty procuring when Father is away is meat. He hinted that Faelyn, that man I told you about, would be bringing some for us, but … hopefully I convinced him to ask Faelyn to stay away.”

Tehlmar chuckled and sent the bucket down again. “What did you tell him?”

A blush spread over Takari’s cheeks, but she smiled as she replied, “That if Faelyn shows his face here, I would not be here when Father returned.” She sighed and leaned against the fence. “I wish I could just leave. But Mother …”

“I know,” Tehlmar murmured softly, still turning the crank. “If only …”

“If only,” Takari agreed with a sigh. She looked at her bucket, which was now full, but she made no move to pick it up. If she did, she would have to bring it inside, and that was something she didn’t want to have to do, not just yet.

Tehlmar left the bucket down the well and leaned against his side of the fence, putting one arm around Takari’s shoulders and pulling her closer so that she could put her head against his chest.

“Aren’t you afraid of your parents seeing?” she asked him hesitantly, even as she reveled in how close they were to each other.

Tehlmar smiled softly. “Who knows?” he murmured. “Maybe they’ll offer to take care of your mother, and we can go after all.” He chuckled and pressed a kiss to her hair. “Dad might, anyways. Mom, not so much. She still doesn’t like your family.”

“And at this point, I can’t blame her,” Takari said softly. “After all the trouble my father has brought on all of us …”

“It’s a miracle my family’s been left alone, really,” Tehlmar mused. “Though being in a different country helps, I suppose.”

Takari looked up at him and frowned. “Why does everything have to be divided? Our country, your country. Our home, your home. My side of the fence, your side of the fence. Light Elven, Dark Elven … why must everything be kept separate? Why cannot our people live in peace?”

Tehlmar sighed. “Because our races are different, and if different, people rationalize that one must be better than the other. They don’t stop and think that different might still be equal.”

“Fools.”

Chuckling, Tehlmar released her and reached once more for the crank. “Indeed. And I think you’ve grown more opinionated since I left.”

Takari’s jaw dropped in astonishment, and she exclaimed, “I most certainly have not!”

He laughed heartily. “Fine, fine. Then you’ve grown more bold. You never would have said something like that before.”

A blush rose in Takari’s cheeks, and she admitted reluctantly, “Well, perhaps. I found that with you away, I had to protect myself far more. But I think also that the attack on our home opened my eyes to some things.” She sighed and watched as he poured more water into her bucket. “For example, I find it ridiculous and irresponsible that Father still goes on his jobs, leaving Mother and me defenseless.”

“Personally, I find it incomprehensible that he leaves you at all,” Tehlmar agreed. “He leaves you so he can kill. I would kill to be able to stay near you.”

“Please don’t say that,” Takari begged him. “I don’t want you to have to kill!”

“Not unnecessarily,” he agreed. Placing one hand on the fence, he climbed over it and picked up her water bucket. “Allow me to carry it in for you,” he grinned at her.

Takari giggled and clasped her hands behind her back. “As you wish.”
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:39 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age

Takari opened the door for Tehlmar and led the way inside. She had taken only a few steps in when her mother called from her bedroom: “Takari, is that Tehlmar you have with you?”

Takari looked at Tehlmar, astonished, and then she smiled widely.

“Yes, Mother,” she called back, “it is.” After a pause, she added, “Would you like him to-”

“Bring him here,” Makaela requested.

Takari blinked in surprise. She had been about to ask if Tehlmar should leave, so to have her mother ask to see him was not what she had expected. She glanced at her husband, who simply shrugged and lowered the bucket of water carefully to the floor.

Not a word, she mouthed to him, cautioning him. He responded by making a motion as if he were buttoning his lips together.

Makaela was sitting up in her bed, her back propped up with pillows, and as the two entered she smiled. “Welcome home, Tehlmar,” she greeted him warmly, holding out one hand to him. He took it and held it in both his hands, and smiled back at her, but before he could speak she went on. “It’s good to have you back again. I know my husband would rather you stay away from us, but we need more company than just each other.”

Takari blinked in surprise, but kept it to herself as Tehlmar replied to her mother. “Thank you. My dad told me what happened to you. I’m sorry I wasn’t here to help.”

She waved away his apology. “Our protection is not your responsibility, though I thank you for the sentiment. I was thinking, though that you might help us in a … perhaps an unusual way, if you could.”

Now it was both Tehlmar and Takari who were surprised, and Tehlmar glanced at his wife briefly before looking at her mother again. “Well, Takari had mentioned that you have difficulty finding meat,” he began.

Makaela smiled and reached for his hand again. “True enough,” she murmured, “but I was hoping for a bit more … long-term help.”

His brow furrowing with confusion, he nodded. “Anything I can do.”

Makaela sighed heavily with relief. “Our families,” she began, “we once fairly close. We were friends, we and your parents, as were you and Takari, and all of us were happy. I know where the fault lies for that changing, and I pray that you can overlook it and help to mend the rift between our families.”

Takari could hardly believe her ears, but a single glance at Tehlmar’s face showed her that she had heard correctly: he was as astonished as she was.

“I would be glad to,” he assured Makaela, smiling widely.

“But what about Father?” Takari put in anxiously. “The last time Father even thought I was talking with Tehlmar, he was furious!”

Makaela raised one hand to ward off her protests. “I know, dear. For that, Tehlmar, I am sorry. And I know that despite the falling out between our families being his fault, my husband will never even try to mend the relationship if he sees no reason for it.”

“Makaela,” Tehlmar said softly, smiling gently at her, “you don’t have to ask me to try to mend the bond between our families. I would do it regardless. I have always been fond of you and Takari, and even Erlan, when I was younger. And I know my dad would also prefer things go back to the way they were. Mom’s a bit frosty, but I’m sure even she may come around to the idea.”

Takari couldn’t hold back a smile as he spoke, and when he finished and smiled back at her, she blushed. Makaela was smiling too, perhaps more knowingly than the two younger elves realized.

“Thank you,” she murmured warmly. “Now, please, I would like to rest.”

With a slight bow, Tehlmar left the room. Takari made sure her mother was comfortable before she, too, left the bedroom, and joined Tehlmar in the kitchen, closing the door behind herself. Then, alone with him at last, she stepped into his arms and laid her head against his chest.

“Do you think she suspects?” she whispered up at him anxiously.

Tehlmar smiled warmly at her. “If she does,” he replied softly, “she said nothing to discourage us.” He kissed her tenderly, then brushed his fingertips lightly against her cheek. “I have to get back,” he murmured. “Mom and Dad will be wondering where I am. I was supposed to be just getting water, after all. But I’ll be back after I’ve hunted a bit. You need proper nourishment.” He put her hands on her waist and smiled sadly. “You’ve become so thin.”

Her eyes sparkled brightly as she looked up at him. “I have no doubt that I shall become properly plump with you looking after me,” she teased him. She reached up and cupped his face in her hands and kissed him lightly. “But you are right, my love. Your parents will be looking for you soon. Go. I shall await you eagerly.”

As she watched him return to his parents’ home from the window, she felt confidence surge through her for the first time in many years. And greater than that, something she had never felt before.

Hope.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:15 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age

Takari’s father was gone for weeks, but for the first time in a long time, she didn’t resent his absence. Yes, she was still bitter that he seemed to care so little for herself or her mother – especially her invalid mother, who was, after all, his wife – but with her mother encouraging her to spend time with Tehlmar, she was happier than she had been in years.

She was reminded one day, however, that even with her father gone, she could not be as free with Tehlmar as she might like.

It was mid-afternoon, and her mother was napping again. Takari had gone outside to harvest arrowroot for flour, as their supply was running low. The plants whose roots she needed to harvest weren’t far, only about five minutes’ walk from the house, and she took nothing with her but her knife and a basket. She was only about halfway there when she heard soft footsteps behind her, and a smile crept over her face.

“I ought to have expected you would come to help out,” she laughed softly, turning to see the person who was following her and fully expecting it to be Tehlmar.

It was.

“It’s not every day I get to talk to my wife freely, without worrying about someone overhearing or seeing us,” he grinned at her, his dark eyes twinkling.

Takari giggled at him. “Then do I dare hope we have some time to slip out to the cavern?” she asked him softly, sincere but teasing.

“Well,” he murmured, catching up and reaching for the basket, covering her hand with his own, “perhaps we should start with your work, and see what time we have afterwards.”

She pouted at him briefly, then looked at him through narrowed eyes.

“Very well,” she announced. “I accept. On one condition.”

He cast her a curious look, and she let go of the basket, turned towards him, put her arms around his neck, pulled him close, and kissed him slowly and tenderly. In less than a second, the basket was on the ground and his arms were around her waist, pulling her body against his.

“You’re sure you want to wait?” she murmured with a smile, breaking the kiss at length.

He chuckled softly and kissed her again lightly. “It’s not a matter of want,” he replied in a whisper. “But I happen to know that you’re in need of this flour, and there are certain needs that must come before others.”

Still giggling, Takari picked up her basket once more and continued on towards the jungle’s edge.

Suddenly, she became aware that Tehlmar was no longer walking next to her, and she turned towards him questioningly. He said nothing, but nodded behind her. She turned around and spotted a tall, handsome Light Elf coming towards them.

She groaned aloud. “Faelyn …”

She hoped desperately that he hadn’t seen them kissing. If he had, they would be in great danger.

As he approached, Faelyn raised a hand in greeting. Tehlmar raised one hand weakly, but Takari made no effort to return the greeting.

“What do you want, Faelyn?” she called once he was within earshot. “I thought Father was going to tell you to stay away from here.”

Faelyn smiled at her. “I was just out on a hunt,” he explained, holding up his bow as if in explanation, “and I thought I’d come over and see if you needed anything …” He trailed off, looking at Tehlmar, and a look of repulsion flashed briefly across his face. “What’s he doing with you?”

Takari blinked and looked back at Tehlmar, then turned back to Faelyn. Thinking fast, she replied, “He’s helping me. Which means,” she added pointedly, “that you don’t have to.”

“But I promised your father-”

“And I promised him,” Takari interrupted him coldly, “that if you showed up here, I would be gone when he returned. So unless you would like to be responsible for my permanent departure, I suggest that you turn around and leave, and never return.”

Genuine hurt crossed his face. “But Takari-”

Takari glared at him and, keeping her eyes on him, turned her head ever so slightly towards her husband. “Tehlmar …”

Tehlmar stepped forward, one hand on the hilt of the sword he had worn at his side since returning from his time in the army. “Would you like me to take care of him for you?” he asked coldly.

Before she could answer, understanding dawned on Faelyn’s face, and he held his hands up defensively. “All right, I’m going.” He sighed. “All you had to do was tell me you’d taken on a servant, Takari,” he murmured.

Takari was about to protest indignantly when Tehlmar said calmly, “She has no need to explain anything to you. Now, you were asked to leave.”

Faelyn looked Tehlmar over from head to toe, wary of the sword at his side and yet apparently slow to believe that he might have any real skill with it. “And what will you do if I don’t?” he asked, challenging him with his words and his body language.

Tehlmar looked to Takari, who was still glaring at Faelyn. “Takari?” he asked her softly.

“I don’t want him back here,” she said flatly. She turned to Tehlmar, and her eyes were blazing with anger. “Ever.

Tehlmar nodded and looked back at Faelyn again. “Then I don’t see a need to keep you alive,” he said, as calmly as though he were talking about a mosquito that needed swatting.

The Light Elf paled. He could tell immediately that there was no jest in his expression, and even he was wise enough to know that Takari was not fond of him, and would not mourn his loss.

“Now, now,” he said, his voice shaking. He raised his hands defensively. “There’s no need for that!”

“If I see you again,” Takari said coldly, “there will be such a need. Do you understand me, Faelyn?”

Faelyn nodded and took a slow step backwards. Then, swiftly, he took a step forward again. “Takari-”

Before he could take a second step, Tehlmar was between him and Takari, his sword unsheathed and pointing at the hunter’s throat. It would take little more than a quick thrust to end the man’s life, and Faelyn seemed well aware of it. This time, when he backed up, he kept backing up, speechless, until he was well out of Tehlmar’s reach. There, he paused, looking as though he were searching for the right words to say, something he could say and not get into trouble … but after a moment, he clamped his mouth shut, turned, and left.

Neither Tehlmar nor Takari moved until the man was out of sight, and then both of them let out a sigh of relief.

“By the Valar,” Tehlmar breathed, sheathing his sword again, “that was close.”

Takari turned and collapsed against him; and were it not for his strong arms holding her tightly, she would have fallen to the ground. “Too close,” she whispered. She was feeling lightheaded, and she could think of nothing but how near they had been to being discovered. Her entire body began to tremble.

Tehlmar pressed a light kiss to her brow. “Let’s just get the arrowroot,” he murmured. “That way you can collect yourself before you have to go back home.” He gave her hair a few slow strokes before releasing her again.

It was a while before Takari was calm enough to cut the roots of the plants, a job that required a steady hand to do well. It was only due to Tehlmar’s aid that she was able to do it at all: even so, it took a very long time to do what should have been a relatively short job. It was time well, spent, however.

“One way we could look at his coming is as a reminder,” Tehlmar murmured to Takari as they worked. “We need to be more careful. Even with our parents’ knowledge that we’re spending some time together, we have to be more careful.”

“I don’t want to be more careful,” Takari replied bitterly. “We should not have to be.”

“And yet we must,” he reminded her soothingly. “My mom still doesn’t want anything to do with yours, and your mom can’t do without you.”

“That’s not what I mean!” Takari swallowed back her anger. Quietly, she continued. “I mean Father. It’s absolutely absurd that we should have to have nothing to do with each other when Father is home. And the fact that he cares so little for Mother and me – and for myself, I admit that now that you’re back, I care not a whit: but not to care for Mother!”

“Takari-”

“Sometimes I feel that I might hate him,” she barrelled on. “Really, he’s such a tyrant-”

Tehlmar put one hand on hers, cutting her off mid-sentence. Her eyes pooling with tears, she looked at him.

“I understand,” he said calmly. “And normally I would be the one ranting and raving about your dad’s insanity. But right now that isn’t the point. We can’t change him, especially when he’s not here, and if the first word he gets when he gets back is that someone’s seen us together, then we’re not even going to get a chance to change his mind about anything. And I know Faelyn’s showing up just now doesn’t help things, but you need to calm down. Let your mom’s plan work itself out. Your dad’ll come home, she can tell him how helpful I’ve been, and hopefully he’ll warm up a bit.”

She wiped her eyes. “And yet I doubt it,” she sniffed.

Tehlmar smiled and squeezed her hand lightly. “Cheer up,” he murmured. “Forget Faelyn. We’ve no idea when your dad’ll be back anyways. We’ve just gotten careless lately. We need to be careful, sure, but things’ll turn out all right in the end. Just you wait. Just let us keep going as we have been, and we can be happy, just as we’ve been these last several weeks.”

Takari allowed herself a small smile. He was right – they had been happy since his return. She couldn’t let such a small thing as Faelyn’s surprise visit spoil all of that for her.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured sheepishly.

He chuckled at her. “Don’t. I know why you get so upset, and I take it as a compliment. I’m just glad that I was here to help you out.”

Her smile widened, and she turned back to her work. “As am I,” she sighed contentedly. Then, under her breath, she repeated the sentiment. “As am I.”
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:42 am

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age

Time passed. The dry season came and went, and the rains returned. There were still tasks to be done in the jungle, and whenever it started to rain while she was out there, Takari would take refuge in the cavern behind the waterfall. By this time, Tehlmar had painstakingly carved out a path behind the water so that they could get in and out without getting drenched, though it was still very well hidden. She always made sure her mother knew when she was going into the jungle so that she wouldn’t worry, especially if it was going to rain.

She had already been in the cavern for over an hour on this particular day, but she had no desire to leave. The gloomy weather matched her mood. She was troubled, and she wanted to work through her thoughts before she returned home.

The cavern had been made more than comfortable by now, with proper furniture, a bed with a thick mattress and blankets and everything; but despite the comfort available to her, Takari was sitting on the ground against the wall, her knees drawn up to her chest, her arms around them and hugging them close. She was trembling slightly – not because she was cold, because she wasn’t; but because of how upset she was. She was so upset that she hadn’t even lit the cavern, but was sitting in darkness.

She heard a quiet shuffling noise coming from the entrance, and she looked up and held her breath apprehensively.

Tehlmar’s silhouette appeared in the opening of the cavern. “Takari?” he said softly.

She turned one hand palm-up and illuminated the area just a bit. “I’m here,” she murmured, her voice thick.

Tehlmar’s face was etched with concern, and he moved swiftly to sit next to her. “What’s wrong?” he asked anxiously. He put one arm around her and pulled her close so that she was leaning against his shoulder.

Takari took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Tehlmar’s warmth seeped into her, and slowly, her trembling ceased.

“I … I don’t know yet if it is right or wrong,” she hesitated, “but I … I …” She looked up at him and bit her lower lip. “I think … I may be …” Her voice grew quieter, and she had to force out the end of her sentence. “… with child.”

There was a long silence while Tehlmar processed what she had said. His eyes wide, he stared at her. She kept looking at him, her expression anxious. What would he say? Would he be happy? Would he be upset? And what would they do?

“Tehlmar,” she whispered when he hadn’t spoken for over a minute, “what are you thinking? Is this a good thing? Is it … bad? Tell me …”

Still he hesitated. “It is … unexpected,” he admitted. He reached up with his free hand and gently brushed a tear from her cheek. “I have to be honest, I have mixed feelings about this.” He smiled softly at her. “I’m happy. I’m excited. That we may be parents is …” He took a deep breath. “… a little frightening, I admit, but … but this is what we wanted. To be a real family.”

He leaned towards her and kissed her warmly, and Takari smiled and kissed him back.

“And this might just be what forces us to actually leave,” he went on, brushing her hair from her face. “Go off on our own. Find somewhere that’s safe for us to live.”

“But my mother,” Takari protested softly.

He smiled sadly and nodded. “I know. That’s why I have mixed feelings. Your mom.” He sighed. “Once my parents find out about us, they won’t want anything to do with your mom. And to leave her alone would be a death sentence. But we would never be able to take her with us – and even if we did, your dad would definitely kill me.”

Takari looked down at herself. “But this is something I will not be able to hide for long,” she said fearfully. “A season at most …”

“That still gives us a bit of time,” Tehlmar reminded her positively. “It gives us a timetable, yes, but we don’t have to rush too badly.”

A tear slipped down Takari’s cheek, and she looked back at her husband. “I’m so afraid,” she admitted in a whisper.

He gathered her into his arms and held her close. “It will be all right,” he promised her in a tone both quiet and firm. “We’ll figure something out.”
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:41 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age

It was yet another rainy day, but this time Takari was stuck at home. It had been raining for nearly three days at this point, and she was beginning to ache to go outside. Fresh air wasn’t a problem: with the rain falling straight down, she could simply open the windows without worrying about water coming in. But she was starting to grow stiff more easily than she had used to, and she missed, more than anything, seeing and spending time with Tehlmar.

There was plenty of food in the pantry and she was caught up on her chores, so she was sitting in a chair in her mother’s bedroom, sewing while her mother read aloud to her. She tried to listen, she honestly did; but her mind was so preoccupied that she couldn’t focus for more than half a minute at a time.

“Takari!”

She was suddenly aware of her mother calling her name, and in a rather insistent tone. Her face grew warm, but she looked at her mother calmly, her chin raised in a dignified manner. “Yes, Mother?”

Mikaela was looking at her with a look halfway between concerned and exasperated. “Where are your thoughts, dear?” she asked with a smile. “That’s the fourth time I had to call you.” Her brow furrowed slightly. “You’ve been in the clouds for weeks now …”

Colour rose in Takari’s cheeks and she couldn’t help averting her eyes. “Sorry, Mother,” she murmured. “I have … a lot on my mind.”

“Clearly.” Mikaela lowered the book to her lap and closed it, keeping one thumb between the pages to mark her place. She looked at her daughter silently for a moment. Her expression was tender. After a moment, she sighed. “Takari, I know things are … difficult … with things being the way they are between us and Tasar and Elora … and your father being gone so much …”

“Do you have any idea where he is?” Takari interrupted her mother, changing the direction of the conversation. “He’s been gone … months this time, he’s never been gone this long.”

Mikaela was aware of the deliberate shift, and for the moment, she played along. “You know he doesn’t talk about his work,” she chided her daughter gently. “Even to me.”

“There’s a lot he doesn’t do,” Takari muttered darkly, looking away. “Like taking care of us.”

Her mother sighed softly, and Takari looked back at her again. “Why does he do what he does?” she asked softly. “We never see any money, and he almost never comes back with anything for us … does he just enjoy killing that much? And why does he hate Tasar and Elora so much? Why was he always so insistent that Tehlmar and I not even talk to each other?”

She felt her temper rising, and she cut herself off so that she wouldn’t go any further in that direction and let any of her secrets slip. Still, she couldn’t stop herself from gently rubbing the ink that now permanently stained the side of her right hand. She turned her eyes to the window once more, and now that she was thinking of Tehlmar again, she was once again losing her focus on the conversation.

“Takari …”

Suddenly she became aware of her mother calling her name again, and this time when she looked back at her, she couldn’t stop her face from glowing bright, bright red.

Her mother’s expression was anxious now. “Are you all right?” she asked again. This time she didn’t add anything further, since the last time she had, Takari had derailed her questions.

Takari lowered her sewing and rubbed her face gently. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “It’s just …” She paused for several seconds, and then shook her head. “I don’t know.”

She picked up her sewing again and rose from her chair, intent on leaving the room. As she passed her mother’s bed, however, Mikaela reached out and took hold of her dress. She looked down at her mother.

“Whatever it is that troubles you so,” her mother told her anxiously, “know that you can confide in me. Whatever it is. I only wish to help you.”

Takari reached down and took her mother’s hand. “I am sorry, Mother,” she whispered, tears pooling in her eyes. “I know you do, but … it’s nothing you can help me with.”

She gave her mother’s hand a squeeze, and without another word, she left the room.
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Nov 21, 2015 4:25 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age

When the rain finally stopped, it was night, and with the threat of it resuming in the morning again, Tehlmar took the opportunity to meet Takari at her window once more. The moon was blocked by the thick clouds that hung overhead, so it was very dark: even so, Takari was not willing to risk any light, so she simply sat next to him on the window ledge and took comfort in his presence.

“How are you doing?” he asked her quietly, holding her close.

She laid her head on his shoulder. “I’m all right,” she murmured. “I hate this rain, though … it makes it so difficult to get outside. I hate not seeing you every day.”

“Then I’ll make excuses to come and see you every day.” He placed one hand gently on her abdomen. “We can’t have you risk a chill or anything. I’ll bring your water for you, I’ll bring you extra meat, I’ll harvest your arrowroot, I’ll bring you prepared meals if I can … anything I can do for you, I will.” He leaned over and kissed her tenderly.

As much as Takari wanted him to do just that, she couldn’t help but worry. “Mother would appreciate that, I’m certain,” she frowned, “but what explanation would we give? And what would you tell your own parents? Surely they would question-”

“Don’t be silly,” he interrupted her; “they know how hard it is for you two. Dad will be pleased. Mom might not like it but she won’t say anything, as long as I still do a bit for them, too.” He smiled at her. “Don’t worry. Things may be difficult, but I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that you and the baby are fine. Maybe I don’t know what to do in the future, but at least I can do something in the present.”

Takari let out her breath slowly. “If we knew when Father was going to return we might have a better idea of what we could do.” She lowered her gaze and folded her hands in her lap. “I can’t help but feel that we … I … should talk to Mother about everything,” she murmured. “When Father returns, we will have to leave … and Mother deserves to know why.”

“She is the one who encouraged us to mend the rift between our families,” Tehlmar mused.

“Perhaps she would even help us,” Takari nodded, venturing a faint smile. It didn’t last. After only a moment, she sighed. “Or maybe she would make me leave. Or maybe she would just accept my ministrations and … quietly hate me.” She looked at him fearfully. “What if it tears her up inside? Destroys her?”

He hugged her firmly. “Don’t even think it. She loves you. And it was she, remember, who wanted us to be friends again.”

Takari nodded slowly, and after a moment she sighed again. “Yes … yes. Then I will … I will wait until the opportunity arises and … we shall see what comes of it.”
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Nov 21, 2015 9:09 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age

It was indeed raining again when Takari woke the following morning, and the darkness matched her mood. She was anxious about the talk she knew she would have to have with her mother eventually. She didn’t know how or when she would bring it up, but she would have to do so – and she had a feeling that the sooner she did so, the better.

When she brought her mother’s breakfast tray to her, she was surprised to find that the shutters in her mother’s bedroom were open.

“Good morning, Takari,” her mother greeted her warmly, pushing herself into a sitting position.

“Good morning, Mother,” Takari replied automatically, her attention on the shutters. “I thought I shut those for you last night …” She set the tray down next to the bed and moved to close them again.

“Don’t worry about them,” her mother said quickly, stopping her. “They blew open last night. That’s all. It’s rather pleasant, listening to the rain.”

Takari looked back at her mother. “You should have called me,” she chided her gently. “I’d have come to close them for you. It’s cool out at night.”

“Oh, nonsense,” Makaela smiled at her daughter as Takari sat on the edge of the bed. “You need your rest, too.” She put one hand on Takari’s arm. “You mustn’t overtax yourself, you know.”

Takari’s brow creased, and she folded her hands in her lap. “What do you mean, Mother?”

Makaela laughed softly, surprising Takari again. “Oh, I’m sorry, darling,” she smiled. “I’m afraid I have a confession to make. You see, dear, you are not quite as skilled in keeping a secret as you may believe.”

Takari blinked. She couldn’t be sure, of course, but she wondered if her mother was referring to her marriage with Tehlmar – or at the very least, her feelings for him. She was about to ask when her mother added, “I’ve wondered since your father left why you wouldn’t confide in me, but then last night, I suppose I got my answer.”

“Last night?” Takari frowned, confused; but then suddenly she remembered her mid-night talk with Tehlmar, and she paled.

“I had hoped,” her mother went on as if Takari hadn’t spoken, “that when I asked you and Tehlmar to help mend the rift between our families, you would have realized that I knew of your feelings for each other.”

As pale as Takari was, a hot blush rose in her cheeks. Makaela looked at her, and her eyes twinkled brightly. She reached out and took Takari’s hand. Turning it so that the inky marks were visible to both of them, she brushed them lightly with her fingers. “I hear what you murmur when you touch these marks,” she told her daughter quietly. “My body may not be good for much any longer, but my mind has been sharpened since … the incident. The day Tehlmar returned, I heard your conversation by the well. That was why I asked you to bring him to see me. I heard your conversation in the kitchen when you left my room, too. Even before that, I knew of your regard for each other. I suspected that he was the one who brought us meat until he left for training. I suppose that those hours you would disappear every day, you would go to spend time with him?”

Still blushing, and unable to meet her mother’s eyes, Takari nodded.

Makaela was quiet for a moment, biting her lower lip gently as if thinking deeply; and then she murmured, “May I … ask you something?”

Takari nodded again silently.

“I …” Makaela began; and then she paused. Drawing her hands back, she clasped them in her lap and looked down at them. “Now you must understand, dear, that I … I ask this only out of concern for your wellbeing, no other reason.”

Takari blinked and looked at her mother sharply. Now she was really curious, and it showed on her face.

Makaela sighed. “And remember, dear, that whatever the answer, I love you, and I will accept whatever it is that you tell me.”

Takari nodded slowly and cleared her throat. “What is it that you would like to know, Mother?”

Her mother reached for her hand and clasped it tightly in her own. “You and Tehlmar,” she said as gently as she could. “Are you married? Properly married, I mean?”

“Properly—” Takari blinked at her mother, and her face grew very hot. She knew she must be blushing very brightly. “I …”

“Please, Takari,” her mother begged, “I must know. I know that you are with child – I recognize the signs, and I was suspicious even before you changed the waistlines of all your dresses. My only concern is for you – well, you and the child. You and Tehlmar, you are properly married, aren’t you?”

Takari swallowed hard, and she had to force herself to meet her mother’s anxious gaze. “I suppose it depends on what you consider to be a ‘proper’ marriage,” she replied, her voice thick. She cleared her throat again. “We are of different bloods-”

“Nonsense,” her mother interrupted. “We are all elves. None of this racial difference nonsense. I know most people believe in that, but I don’t.”

Takari smiled nervously and nodded. “Well … he proposed very properly, down on one knee and with a gold ring and everything … and we exchanged our vows … there was no one to witness, it was just the two of us … but then we thought that the ring would be too obvious, and if Father saw it he would …”

She trailed off and lowered her gaze again.

“Kill you both,” Makaela finished the sentence with a sigh. “Yes.” She looked at her daughter once more. “And you were not intimate with him until after you made your vows to each other?”

Takari nodded. “That is correct.”

Makaela smiled widely at her daughter and reached for her hand again and gave it a tight squeeze. “Then you have absolutely nothing to be either ashamed or afraid of,” she assured her warmly. “When your father returns, you just-”

She was interrupted by a knock at the door, and she looked over her shoulder towards her bedroom doorway. “That must be your husband,” she smiled at her daughter. “Bring him in here, won’t you, dear?”

Takari was still stunned by her mother’s reaction, and she rose mechanically to answer the door.

As Makaela had guessed, it was Tehlmar at the door, and he had with him both a bucket of fresh water and a large cut of meat.

“Good morning,” he smiled warmly at Takari when she opened the door to him. “I’m not too early, am I?” Then he saw how pale she was, and how stiffly she was moving, and his smile faded. “Are you all right?” he asked her anxiously.

She nodded and stepped aside to let him in. “Mother wants to see you,” she said, still dazed.

He frowned slightly. “That’s … ominous.” He stepped inside, and as Takari closed the door behind him, he set the bucket down on the floor and put the meat on the counter. “Lead the way.”

Takari reached for his hand – her right in his left – and led him towards her mother’s bedroom. His frown deepened when she didn’t let go of his hand as they drew close, but he made no motion to let go of her hand, either.

When they entered, Makaela had started her breakfast, and she smiled and motioned for the two of them to take a seat on the edge of her bed. As they did so, she caught a glimpse of the edges of their intertwined hands, and she laughed softly, surprising them both.

“So that is what the ink is for,” she smiled. “Well, Tehlmar. Takari and I have just been having a lovely little discussion about you.”

Tehlmar smiled nervously and glanced at Takari. “More and more ominous,” he murmured.

Makaela laughed again. “Well, you needn’t worry. I just thought that it was about time I welcomed you properly to the family. And I also want to thank you.”

Just when he was adjusting to the idea of being ‘welcomed properly to the family’, he was startled by her wanting to thank him. “Thank me?” he repeated stupidly. “For what?”

“For making Takari as happy as she is when she is with you,” Makaela replied warmly. “She was just miserable while you were away. I suspect you must have returned a few days before you returned to your parents’ home, because it was very suspicious, how happy Takari became all of a sudden. And when I suspected Takari was pregnant I worried but after overhearing your conversation last night-”

“You heard us?” Takari interrupted, shocked.

Her mother smiled and gestured towards the window again. “Your room is next to mine, after all,” she pointed out.

“And your hearing has gotten so much better since your immobilization,” Takari smiled faintly. Suddenly, the implication of her conversation with her mother hit her full force, and she laughed. It was a warm, hearty laughter, and with it she could feel the stresses and worries of the past weeks slipping away. She just felt so … free!

“Anyway,” Makaela chuckled, “Tehlmar, thank you for all that you are to Takari, and for taking care of both of us.”

Tehlmar smiled at her. “How could I do anything else? I think I’ve loved Takari for as long as I’ve known her. It just took Erlan’s forbidding us to see each other to make me realize it.”

“I was a bit slower in realizing,” Takari smiled at her husband. Turning back to her mother, she added, a bit more soberly, “But Father terrified me. Even now, I’m so afraid that when he returns, he will want to kill Tehlmar …”

“Or you,” Makaela said quietly, “when he finds out his grandchild is not entirely Light Elven.”

A fire glowed in Tehlmar’s eyes. “I will not let that happen,” he said firmly.

“Surely you must realize that it would be safer for both of you if you were to leave here,” Makaela added seriously.

“Yes.” Takari frowned. “But that would mean leaving you behind, Mother, and that is something I could not do.”

“The attack on you and Takari changed everything,” Tehlmar nodded. “We had planned to run away together as soon as I returned from my training. But when I learned what had happened … we couldn’t leave you alone.”

“It would have been one thing if Father would stay home and take care of you,” Takari added bitterly, “but he doesn’t seem to care about anything anymore.”

“Don’t talk like that,” Makaela pleaded, reaching for Takari’s hand again. “Please. Your father loves me very much – and you. If anything, that is why he left so quickly this time, why he’s been gone for so long. What happened to us … he took it very personally. He blames himself-”

“As well he should,” Takari interrupted.

Makaela sighed softly. “Perhaps so. But to be here with us … it’s just too painful for him right now.”

“Not that he will like being around me, knowing my child’s father is a man he hates,” Takari murmured.

“That’s his problem,” Tehlmar snorted. Colour rose in his cheeks. “Sorry, Makaela.”

She shook her head. “No. You are right. Unfortunately, he is like the vast majority of the people in both our countries. It’s something I never understood, myself, but almost everyone seems to think it the worst possible crime for people of a different nation to marry. As far as I can see, we’re all elves. What does it matter past that?”

“It doesn’t, as far as we’re concerned, clearly,” Tehlmar chuckled. “But as glad as I am that you know now, Makaela, and that you aren’t horrified by what Takari and I have done … I do have to get back. I told my parents I was just going to bring some supplies and come straight back. Besides,” he added, standing, “with all this rain you must be running short on wood, and Dad and I were going to go out for wood today.”

“Thank you,” Makaela smiled at him. “Come back any time, please. When you’re around, Takari is so much happier.”

“She’s not the only one,” he grinned. He leaned down and kissed Takari warmly.

She blushed but laughed and kissed him back. “I’ll walk you to the door,” she giggled at him. Rising, she turned back to her mother. “Enjoy your breakfast, Mother. I’ll be right back.”

“Oh, take your time,” Makaela beamed at her. “No need to rush. Just take your time.”
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:56 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age
 
Things had become much simpler since Makaela had let Tehlmar and Takari know that she knew of their relationship. Tehlmar came to the house much more often – always with a gift of food or some supplies or other that they were in need of – but since he could never stay long (his mother was still very vocal about not wanting him to spend too much time with them and shirk his duties to her and his father) they still met fairly regularly in the cavern behind the waterfall. Still, it was nice to be able to be free with each other when they were together.
 
One afternoon, just as Takari was finishing up lunch with her mother, she heard a noise from outside – a dull but steady plodding sound and a faint creaking noise. Curious and slightly wary, she excused herself from her mother’s side and went to see what it was. When she looked out the window, she saw a horse-drawn wagon approaching the house. It was being driven by two Light Elves, both men, and Takari watched as they pulled up just in front of the house and came to a stop. They were close enough that she could hear their conversation as they lighted from the wagon seat.
 
“You’re sure this is the right place?”
 
“How many people live this close to the border?”
 
“Pretty brave of them to live this close to the Darkies, two women on their own.”
 
“Erlan knows what he’s doing.”
 
Takari relaxed slightly. These men seemed to know her father. Hopefully they could be trusted. Still, she wasn’t willing to take chances, not after what had happened to her and her mother; and before going to the door she opened a cupboard and picked up a small dagger, slipping it into one sleeve.
 
When the knock came, she was ready. She opened the door and held it. “Yes?”
 
One of the men held a sealed letter out to her. “From Erlan.”
 
She took the letter and tore it open carefully. It was from her father, all right, and it was just a note to say that these men could be trusted and that they had a delivery for her and her mother. When she had finished reading it, she looked back at the men, who were waiting patiently for her.
 
“What do you have for us?” she asked them calmly.
 
The second man gestured towards the wagon. “An entire load. A dozen crates. You want them anywhere specific?”
 
Takari looked past them at the wagon and thought about it. They would fit well enough in the dining room – it wasn’t used anymore anyways. She didn’t have to worry about anyone but herself tripping over them.
 
“Just here is fine,” she told them, stepping back and showing them the space. “Will this take long?”
 
“Nah.” The men smiled at her. “Half an hour, tops.”
 
Takari nodded. “Very well.”
 
She still wasn’t sure she trusted them entirely, and she certainly didn’t want to leave them alone going in and out, so she sat at the dining room table and watched them work. One of the men was very quiet, but the other made conversation while he worked.
 
“Erlan’s awfully brave, leaving his family here next to the Darkies all alone while he’s gone,” he smiled at Takari. Clearly he meant it to be a compliment, but the comment bothered Takari.
 
“Darkies?” she repeated evenly, pretending she didn’t know what it meant.
 
The man set down the crate he was carrying. “Yeah, you know.” He grinned at her. “The Dark Elves. Across the border.”
 
Takari blinked slowly and had to fight to keep her face expressionless. “I don’t think it’s a matter of bravery,” she replied softly. “Our neighbours are Dark Elves, and they are very kind. I’ve known them all my life and there have never been any problems.”
 
“Really?” The man seemed surprised. “Erlan said you were attacked last year.”
 
“Two years ago,” she replied smoothly, “and it seems Father forgot to mention that we were attacked by Light Elves and that it was our neighbours who saved Mother and me and took care of us again until Father returned.”
 
“Huh …”
 
He paused thoughtfully, and Takari’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Don’t you have a job to finish?”
 
The man went back to work.
 
The next time he came in with a crate, he didn’t enter alone. Tehlmar was right behind him, and as usual he was bearing gifts.
 
“Dinner,” he greeted her, holding up what looked like a full rack of boar ribs.
 
Takari smiled warmly at him and rose from her seat again. “And a wonderful dinner it shall be,” she beamed. “Thank you.”
 
As she took the ribs from him, he looked around at the crates and the men again. “What’s all this?” he asked, gesturing towards it all.
 
“Delivery,” one of the men replied in a grunt, putting a crate down.
 
“Father sent supplies,” Takari explained, putting the ribs in a roasting pan. Without waiting, she pulled out another bowl and started to collect the ingredients for a sauce. When they had a brief moment with both Light Elves outside, she added, “It’s a first and I’m not sure what to make of it.”
 
Tehlmar glanced out the door to make sure they had a few more seconds alone, then turned back to her quickly and murmured, “We can talk about it after they’re gone.”
 
“They should be nearly finished,” she murmured back. The two men entered again, carrying a large crate together, and she turned back to her preparations. Neither she nor Tehlmar spoke as the men brought the crate inside and put it down, but when they brushed their hands on their pants, Takari turned towards them again.
 
“That’s it,” said the one who had been the more talkative of the two.
 
“Thank you,” Takari replied with a slight smile. “I’ll be sure that Father knows how efficient you were when he returns.”
 
Both men smiled back at her and bowed slightly; and while the quieter one went out right away, the more talkative one glanced at Tehlmar and hesitated.
 
Takari didn’t give him a chance to think about what he would say. “Is there a problem?” she asked him expectantly.
 
He glanced at her, then at Tehlmar, and then back at her again. “You’ll … be all right on your own?” he asked slowly.
 
She understood the implication of his question. You’ll be all right on your own with him? was what he had really meant.
 
She almost wanted to laugh. If only he knew.
 
“We will be quite fine,” she assured the man with a smile. “As I told you, I’ve known him all my life and we have never had a conflict.”
 
He didn’t look like he believed her, but he shrugged and nodded. “If you say so. I bid you good day, then.” And with one final bow, he left, closing the door securely behind himself. Takari moved to the window and watched as the men climbed back up into their wagon.
 
“Did you see the way he just let himself into the house?” the quieter one said to the other as he reached for the horse’s reins.
 
“Well, she did say the Darkies were helping them out – and he did have meat with him. Hard for two women to get meat like that on their own.”
 
“Yeah, but he didn’t leave after he brought it, either.”
 
With a flick of the reins, they started off, and their conversation faded. Tehlmar joined Takari at the window, and both of them watched in silence until the men were out of sight. Then Takari turned to her husband and kissed him lightly.
 
“You should say hello to Mother,” she murmured with a smile. “I’ll get those ribs started.”
 
He nodded and smiled back at her. “And then I’ll help you with unpacking those crates,” he promised.
 
Takari glanced at the crates. “They can keep,” she shrugged. “Once dinner is going, then I’ll worry about them.”
 
“All right.” Tehlmar smiled and put one arm around her waist, pulled her close, and kissed her tenderly. “I’ll be back shortly, then.”
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Dec 01, 2015 12:17 am

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age
 
With Tehlmar’s help, it took about an hour and a half to open the crates, sort the contents, and put everything away. Takari was both surprised and pleased with what her father had sent: there was food, ingredients for preparing food, pots and pans and other cooking tools; several rolls of cloth in various colours, spool after spool of thread, packages of needles; towels and cloths for both dishes and bathing; a whole crate full of books, all of them new to Takari (though Makaela said she had read a few of them before, many years earlier); and a crate of stationery supplies.
 
“I told you he cares for us,” Makaela told Takari with a knowing smile.
 
Takari laughed softly. “So you did, Mother,” she agreed, rearranging books on the shelf directly next to her mother’s bed. “But you have to admit, this is the first time he’s sent us anything while he’s been away.”
 
“Well, as you pointed out,” her mother replied, reaching for one of the books and shifting its position, “it is also the first time he’s been gone for this long.”
 
“True …” Takari’s eyes grew troubled, and she touched one hand lightly to her abdomen. She still wasn’t showing, and she knew that even once she did begin to show, the high waistline of her dresses would help to keep her condition hidden for a while longer; but despite that she still worried about her father’s return. “I just …” She sighed and sat on the edge of the bed. “I just wish I knew what to do when he does return. I mean, to have Tehlmar help us and spend some time in our home is one thing, but … for Father to return and find out that I’ve married him, and that we are already expecting a child …”
 
Makaela reached out and put a hand on her daughter’s shoulder. “I wish I could say with certainty that it will be all right,” she murmured, “but the best I can offer is that … should your father not take it well, then you and Tehlmar must flee. Leave me. Your lives are more important than mine, and if I am left alone then your father will make sure to care for me.”
 
“But where would we go?” Takari looked at her mother anxiously. “Where would we be safe? Even the men who brought the supplies, even they were so against Tehlmar’s presence here. If everyone out there is like that, where would we be able to live?”
 
“That, I do not know,” Makaela had to admit reluctantly. She sighed heavily. “I do not know. I wish I did. Oh, Takari.” She patted her daughter’s hand gently. “Takari. If only I could help you out in some way.”
 
Takari smiled and clasped her mother’s hand gently. “You are, Mother. We have your blessing, and that is more of a relief than you can imagine.” She fell silent for a moment. “The only other thing we could possibly ask of you,” she murmured wistfully, “is to convince Father that this is a good thing.”
 
With a soft laugh, Makaela replied, “That is one thing you need never ask of me, my dear. Have no doubt. When your father returns, I shall do my best to do just that.”
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Re: Forbidden Fruit (Tehlmar and Takari) | 111 4A+

Post by Nara-pyon on Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:17 pm

Where: Keliac/Elysium Border, South of the mountain range
When: 119 of the Fourth Age
 
With the shutters securely fastened in order to keep out prying eyes and ears, Tehlmar, Takari and Makaela sat together in the living room after the celebratory feast had been completely cleaned up, talking quietly together. So many things had changed in the course of a single afternoon, and now was the time when decisions had to be made.
 
“This is your chance,” Makaela told the young couple, speaking in a hushed tone. “You can get out of here, find somewhere that it will be safe for you to live.”
 
“We understand that, Makaela,” Tehlmar frowned. “That isn’t the issue. The problem is … what about Erlan? You know my view, but …”
 
“Even with you walking again, Mother, I don’t know if we can leave you like this,” Takari added softly. “Now that we know what Father is a part of, we can’t turn a blind eye anymore.”
 
“I know.” Makaela’s tone was sorrowful. “And I do not know what to do. If he knew what was coming, if he were willing to give up that sort of life … then I think we could be happy together, as once we were. But if he is unwilling …” She looked at her daughter. “Knowing you are safe and happy would be enough for me, if only your father were here with me. But I could not live without both of you.”
 
Takari reached out and squeezed her mother’s hand gently. “Perhaps you can write him a letter,” she murmured. “I know it would be difficult not to let him know everything that we know, but … even if you were to just give him a choice between staying away and coming home again. Let him decide. See what means more to him.”
 
“Takari-”
 
“No, Mother.” Takari was adamant. “You continue to claim that Father cares for us and that he does what he does for us, and yes, he did send us supplies yesterday. But he did not send a note, no message of any kind, nor did he ask for news of how we were doing. You would think he would at least do that much, if he truly cared.”

It was the first time that she had been able to tell her mother what she truly believed about her father. To this point, she had only been able to speak with Tehlmar like this – every time she had tried with her mother, Makaela had only cut her off and made protests. But now, it seemed, Makaela had nothing to say. In fact, she looked downright miserable.
 
In a way, Takari felt bad for making her mother feel that way. But she pushed the feeling aside. It wasn’t her fault. She have neither cause nor right to say such things if they weren’t true.
 
“If you need an excuse,” Tehlmar spoke up, breaking the awkward silence, “you could let him know that you’ve been healed. Or say that something has happened and he’s needed at home. Either way, you would get an answer.”
 
Makaela looked at the two of them. “Regardless of what happens with Erlan,” she murmured, “the two of you should go with these people.”
 
“Without knowing what’s going to happen to you?” Takari asked in reply.
 
Tehlmar leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and putting his weight on them. “These people are still traveling, right?” he asked rhetorically. “Perhaps we could send Makaela’s note with them and see if they wouldn’t be able to deliver it for her. If Erlan comes back, well and good, and Takari and I can leave in good conscience. If he doesn’t, then they do what they do, and you’ll have your answer, Makaela. And if it’s only half a day’s journey away, as they say, then maybe they’ll be willing to come back and get us, either way. That way, regardless of what happens, we don’t have to watch what happens, but you’ll know whether you’ll stay here with Erlan or come with us.”
 
Makaela was startled by his last words. “Go with you …”
 
“If Father won’t come back,” Takari pointed out as tactfully as she could, “Tehlmar and I still can’t stay here. We believe that Tasar would not make trouble about our relationship, but Elora is like Father. She would not be pleased, and she would make things difficult for all of us. Even if she did not, our child would never be either safe or accepted here. If Father does not come back to you, you truly will be alone.”
 
Silence fell once more as Makaela thought hard about what her daughter was saying.
 
“At least we can ask them,” Takari added softly, her expression tender.
 
Makaela nodded slowly. “I suppose we don’t really have much other choice,” she admitted. She rubbed her arms gently. “I think I’m just … afraid.”
 
“I don’t blame you,” Tehlmar murmured sympathetically. “Either way, nothing will ever be as it was. We’ve passed that point. But knowing what he’s involved in …”
 
“I know,” Makaela sighed. “I haven’t a choice.” She let out her breath slowly. “Then let us ask them. If nothing else, it will give us a few days to help you prepare for your departure.”
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