Xenofos — Snow On The Eyelashes
????, Dark Season, Season/Movement Week
Dark Season/Movement Week/Water day/ In the morning. [[[s02:session-21|Session 21]]]
Xenofos strides purposefully between the yurts towards the one with black door poles. As he gets closer his steps slow down. It is unusually quiet in the vicinity of Black Lance’s yurt. Maybe it’s the threat of snow keeping people inside. Xenofos is used to just stepping in and greeting. Now he eyes the door warily. It doesn’t open for him.
Gathering courage for a few heartbeats he calls out with sound he hopes will carry into the yurt without reaching whole camp. “Neela?”
There is silence.
“Orgfal’s boot was left behind, I brought it.”
The door opens and a dark-haired woman about Neela’s age steps through. There’s a sharpness to her that suggests if he gets too close, he might get cut. She’s followed by a second woman, who looks so much like her that they must have been born at the same time. Xenofos has seen them before around camp, though they’ve never really bothered to speak to him. They look unlikely to speak to him now.
Neela follows. She is fully clothed, though now Xenofos knows the perfect shape of her beneath the layers. The way her hip curves just so. The hint of alynx stripes across the slightly rounded belly that tell the story of Orgfal’s earliest months. The fullness of her breasts. But it is those grey eyes that catch his attention. Her expression is haughty, but her eyes hint at her vulnerability.
Xenofos bows his head and shows the little shoe.”The little warrior should not go without.”
She frowns and says something to one of the twins. That woman steps forward swiftly to snatch the boot from the scholar’s hand.
Xenofos lets this happen, looking at Neela.
The woman takes the boot and disappears in the direction of another yurt a short distance away.
His errand done, Xenofos could and maybe should nod and leave.
She watches him silently. The other woman says something in rapid Praxian, but Neela just shakes her head.
Instead he stands in the snow, pretty obviously trying to figure out what to say.
The woman continues, then throws up her hands as Neela continues to ignore whatever is being said. She follows her sister, though as she does, she passes close enough to Xenofos to hiss at him. “Weakling.”
“Saberak!” Neela snaps, but Saberak just walks away, her back turned to them both.
Xenofos shrugs. “Neela?… I am sorry to have hurt you. It was not my intent, nor have I tried to deceive you with words or actions.”
She shrugs. “I was stupid.” She looks at him for a long moment. “She don’t love you back.”
“Berra? No. I don’t think she does.”
“Hurts to love when don’t love back.” She looks sad as she says it.
“Sometimes. But, it is not really a choice. From her or from me.”
“Or from me.” She closes the distance to stand directly in front of him.
He shrugs. “Indeed. I am sorry Neela.”
She reaches out to touch his face, gentle fingers tracing across his forehead, to his cheek. The touch is feather-light.
“Would have been good, X’fos.”
“Could have been, Neela.” His eyes shut when she touches him and his voice trembles slightly.102 on fertility. That touch was electric.
“No.” he shakes his head. “Sure I can’t marry you. Sure I love Berra. Sure I don’t wish to hurt you. Unsure what is easiest, unsure what is best and unsure what is right.”
“You already hurt me,” she says with another shrug.
“True. And I can not undo that, so I am wary of hurting you more.”
“Life is lonely. Don’t always need to be alone.” She lets her hand fall. “But now, I need alone. Go.”
“Good bye Neela.” He nods and turns away.
She doesn’t watch him go, instead stepping into the yurt.
- 102 on fertility. That touch was electric.