Echo, Tallel


Cousins finally stop avoiding one another and have a much-needed chat.


It is midmorning of the tenth day of the fourth month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.


Caravan Grounds, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 21 Feb 2018 07:00


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"Disagreement over one thing shouldn't keep family at a distance."


Caravan Grounds

Deep grooves in the hard packed earth criss-cross a large patch of denuded ground, bearing mute testament to the caravans that frequent this area. Despite the midden holes set back a ways from the main center of traffic, the air is sweet, redolent with the sagebrush that forms a loose perimeter around the flattened expanse. In what is as close to its center as the vague boundaries suggest, a stone ringed fire pit has been dug and surrounded with the odd log or two, ash overflowing from its darkly blackened core.

It's midmorning in the Zingari Camp and Echo's wagon door is wide open, noises from within hint at things being carelessly moved around, thumping, and a couple crashes and the occasional muttered curse word. Finally with a loud huff of exasperation, the auburn haired herder stomps out and sinks to sit on the wagon's step. Her warm brown eyes wander the camp and her fellow traders milling about. She is keeping a close eye out for her cousin since she had been meaning to grab him the next time she saw him for a proper catch-up.

There are things Tallel can be counted on to be seen doing around the camp at least once a sevenday - practicing his dancing, hobnobbing with other caravan leadership, working at the healer tent, or chasing his son (and therefore a small herd of other children) around the camp. This morning finds him hard at work play with the latter, a group of half a dozen girls and boys besides Taimin running and squealing as the caravan second chases after them, growling and snarling dramatically the entire way. One thing must always happen during the course of this game, however, and that is for Tallel to end up tripping and sprawling on his stomach just as he's about to catch someone. It's always on purpose, of course, because the kids love it and scatter in a fit of shrieks and giggles as they go off to hide again. So this is what happens not far from Echo's wagon, with Tallel going down in a spray of sand and sputtering and grumbling as he pulls himself back up, the kids scampering off in a fit of giggles to make their grand escape. He does literally have to brush himself off, though, and spies Echo in the process, giving her a little wave as he smacks the sand off his pants and shirt.

The chase of the kidlets grabs Echo's attention and soon she is laughing softly to herself as her cousin trips himself on purpose and lets the children get away. When she sees him getting up she pushes herself up off the step and strides easily over to him, returning his wave in the process, "Working hard this morning cousin?" she says, lightly teasing as she hooks her thumbs into her belt and tilts her head to one side. "Can you spare a few? I really wanted to catch up with you properly." she asks, a warm smile on her lips.

"Of course. The best kind of hard work," Tallel replies as Taimin catches his eye across the way, his smile broadening warmly at his son. With Echo drawing near, however, it becomes clear to the little boy that his father is about to get snagged, which he's used to and knows needs to happen sometimes. So he waves to Tal, who lifts his hand and waggles his fingers back before tawny eyes come to land upon his cousin. A slow, quiet breath is drawn and then released before he gives his reply with a nod, some of his smile still lingering at the corners of his mouth in the wake of her own. His cousin does have a pretty smile, after all, and smiles are contagious for him. "I can, sure."

"I have a small pot of klah over by my wagon." Echo indicates the pot that is boiling over a small brazier near her working area. "I just know I have been avoiding you, and I feel bad about that, I didn't want to upset you any more than I already did. So I am sorry for that." She'll take a couple steps towards the klah pot while looking back at him, smile widening to show some teeth, her whole demeanor is a lot more comfortable and relaxed than when she first arrived at Igen.

Tallel nods, amenable to the idea of klah since he's only had one mug this morning. "I did point out that we've both been sidestepping each other," he counters, moving toward the brazier himself. "I'm sorry, too. Disagreement over one thing shouldn't keep family at a distance." He perches on the edge of one of the steps down from Echo's wagon, noting again how much more at ease she is than she once was. Much as he may not like the road she's chosen to achieve it, he certainly can't deny the change.

Echo takes the time to pour them both a mug of klah, passing him one before leaning on her wagon easily, crossing one leg over the other, she takes a small sip before she continues, "Thank you for your apology. But I wonder, and please feel free to say no, but can I talk to you a bit about me..and Milosh?" She quickly adds, "Not details or anything right, just, things have…..changed between us." And here there is a slight crease in the herder girl's brows, as she looks pensive for a moment, not quite conflicted, but puzzled.

Tallel blows across the top of his klah after accepting it from Echo, his thanks murmured as he seeks out some sweetener. What she wants to talk about doesn't surprise him in the least, and he does want to know what's going on in his cousin's life if she wants to share…but damned if he doesn't find himself having to bite back uncharacteristically snarky comments any time he hears the escort's name. The frown that places an almost familial-looking crease in his own brows is for himself, and he rubs at the point between his eyebrows to ease it. "I gathered as much, considering you've moved in together," he replies. "I…would like to understand what's going on, yes."

Echo feels herself relax slightly and she sighs, exhaling the tension as the warm smile returns to her lips, "I would kind of like to understand myself actually." She starts as she takes a moment to gather her thoughts, "It was little things at first, and I have no idea if I'm reading more into things because I want to or if there's something more there now. I started wondering when he got really jealous of the friendship I've struck with Daenerys after he helped me for that week as punishment for his part in the fight. Like really jealous. We talked it out, and decided we would try something more than the arrangement we had previous, something more like a traditional pairing. And since then, it's just snowballed. He's buying me gifts, confiding things deeply personal things to me, asking me to move in, looking at me in a way that makes my heart want to leap out of my chest." her whole face lights up as she gives a long quavering sigh, the apples of her cheeks pinking prettily.

It takes Tallel a bit to process this, eyes drifting between seeming contemplation of his klah and an intent study of his cousin's face. "'Jealousy can be either a benign side effect of more deep-seated emotions in even the most well-meaning individuals, or a malign one in more controlling or antagonistic personalities.' So say the scrolls I've been studying lately, anyway," Tallel muses, a lighter tone infusing the part that comes by rote. "I hope your…arrangement doesn't involve him limiting your friendships, Echo. Whatever else may be going on, that is not healthy from any perspective." And by his expression, he desperately wants to hear that everything is alright on that account. As he considers everything else Echo says, he sighs slowly, looking down into his mug again. "So he is falling in love with you, then," the caravan second murmurs, looking back up at his cousin with a raised brow. "And you with him."

"No." Echo's voice holds a firm tone that almost shocks her a little bit as she answers Tallel' question about limiting friendships, "We worked through that, he knows he can trust me." And with that she puffs up a little bit, proud of herself, before continuing. "And he's done everything right to earn my trust in return." And that is said with a small inward smile as she ponders something, a memory maybe. But his next snaps her out of that with a scoff, "I don't think I'd go that far Tal." and then she's chuckling nervously, "I mean, I know he entertains others, I'm not naive, it's his job. But I think it's enough for me for now. And if it ever isn't, then we'll talk about it and see where we are then." See all very practical, just like Echo.

Tallel does relax considerably to hear that Milosh isn't trying to hamper Echo's other relationships. Her rebuff of his assertions, however, earns another sternly lifted brow, mention of the fact that the man still "entertains others" erasing any trace of the caravan second's earlier smile. His cousin's naivety (or the lack thereof she insists upon) is still in question for him. "As a man who lives daily in the midst of being in love and has for some Turns, Echo, I think I ought to know the signs of the condition very well," he tells her, and does manage to infuse a wry tone into his voice before taking a more serious Turn. "And if it isn't that, the alternative isn't something you're going to want to hear. And while what you're saying may be enough for you, I have my doubts that you are enough for him, and that worries me more than anything else."

The smile fades softly from Echo's lips as she listens intently to her cousins word, that little furrow back between her brows as something pricks her in the chest and she takes a moment to just sip at her klah while she considers what he is saying carefully. Staring off into spacee for several long moments, the furrow deepening with the brow, lost in inward reflection. "No.." she finally says, softly, but with firm conviction. "it's not about being enough for him, he has his work he does, I can't ask him to stop that. But even then, lately…" and here she pauses, as if checking some fact internally, "I've noticed, he's not been on the roster for the escorts for awhile…and most evenings and nights, he's with me, in our yurt." And then her warm brown eyes look back up at her cousin, looking just a tad shocked, "You're not the first one to say that we seemed in love." her smiles returns, and she giggles a little bit. "Oh my shards…I think I love him Tal."

Hearing that Milosh hasn't been on the escort roster lately has Tallel's eyes narrowing a bit in consideration. "He has two jobs," the caravan second corrects, "and if he truly is serious about you, giving up the one that divides his mind and body from you would seem to follow. He may already be." So her observations would seem to indicate, anyway. He gives another heavy sigh, lowering his mug and turning to look Echo more fully in the eyes. "Even when you don't have a basis for comparison, sometimes you just know," he says of love. "And I really hope he loves you back, Echo. It's the most wonderful thing in the world…and it can cut you to the bone if it's one-sided. Be careful." His eyes drop again, his dark head shaking. "I don't want you to get hurt. Even if the chance to experience love opens you up to that risk."

Although the giggle quickly fades, the smile on Echo's lips remain as she returns her cousin's gaze with one of her own, warm brown eyes lit up, considering his words carefully. "It kind of crept up on me. Where he stands…I can't say. But I think I'm just going to wait an see a bit more before I say anything though. I have a feeling…" and with that she trails off briefly and returns to inward reflection for a moment before nodding, as if affirming something, but she doesn't say what. "I just think I'll know when the time is right to tell him." she says with certainty. Taking another sip from her dwindling mug, she seems to remember something, "Oh, so we're heading home for a vist here soon or so I've heard? It will be nice to see the Steppes again, and family of course."

"Let him say it first," Tallel advises firmly. "I might not know Milosh beyond acquaintance, but some people bleed pride, and he strikes me as one of them. He'll have to swallow it if you're not to get hurt. And I want a word with him. He's been avoidant, too." And again, so has Tallel…but mostly because he's had more visions of breaking the man's nose than he cares to think about. The caravan second shoves a hand through his hair and nods at Echo's, a small smile finally making a reappearance. "For a few sevens, yes," he replies. "It's always good to visit. I hear that Udir will be officially passing leadership off to his son Raduin while we're there, though. Finally." He gives a soft bit of a chuckle. "That old man clung to it longer than his body wanted him to."

"You think so?" Echo ponders at his advice, but as soon as she asks, she knows he's right as he makes a surprisingly a perceptive observation regarding Milosh causing a thin auburn eyebrow to hike up her forehead just slightly. "Wow…I know who I'm coming to for love advice from now on." She says only half joking, the nerves she had about talking to her cousin quickly melting away. "I'll let him know we've talked and cleared things more between us. I'm sure he'll be happy to hear that." At news from her birth caravan she nods appreciatively, "Well it's about time." she says with a little shake of her head as she goes quiet a moment, introspective as she wonders if her family will notice the changes she's made in not quite half a turn away from home.

Tallel's chuckling is rueful, a deep smirk tilting his lips. Yes, they've cleared the air a bit…but there are worries that remain, and likely always will if he wants to be spared more intimate details of Echo and Milosh's relationship. He rubs his thumb along a few inches of the rim of his mug and takes another sip. "Are you…going to introduce him to your mother?" he ventures, remembering his aunt's temperament. The woman will either be overjoyed and start planning Echo's wedding immediately, or fret and worry herself to illness, most likely. Possibly both.

Echo's eyes go wide because, she actually hadn't even thought about that. She's still getting used to the more 'official' feel to their relationship and so she sputters for a moment, going a little pink in the cheeks, "Oh no! I'm going to need to introduce him to mom…and dad!" Eliom was a quiet man, but as a senior guard he had an air of menace that he used to his advantage with his daughters' potential suitors. Also the man was well over six and a half feet and excessively burly. At the thought of her father and Milosh in the same room has her clasping her hands over her mouth as her color darkens. "Oh no!" she manages to squeak.

"That usually does end up being something that happens when you find yourself in a relationship." Tallel is teasing, as the subtle glitter of tawny eyes indicates, but only partly. He rather likes the thought of Eliom and Milosh sizing each other up - a burly guard and a crafty spy, their strengths lying in completely different areas but granting each man comparable confidence. Even so, he opts to offer a bit of encouragement. "If your father and Milosh are both capable of behaving like grown men, you don't need to worry about it, Echo. If Milosh is respectful and clear about his intentions with you, it can't end badly." All the more reason for Milosh to rein in his pride, if it remains a factor by the time they reach the Steppes.

Warm brown eyes still round with the realization, Echo lowers her hands and giggles nervously, "I honestly did not even think about it. Well, that should be an interesting time to say the least. Mom's going to be so smug, I run away to here to get away from her matchmaking and fall right into the arms of a man. I won't be able to live it down." She shakes her head with a sigh and then looks up as she sees a familiar face approaching with a pair of runners. "Well looks like my first clients are here." Standing up straight, she offers a smile at her cousin, "I'm really glad we got to talk today Tal."

Clients to be seen and kids to be rounded up - yes, it's time to get a move on again. Tallel stands and knocks back the rest of his klah in a few gulps, leaving the mug in an appropriate spot as he rising. "So am I, cousin. I'll see you around." After a moment of consideration, he steps forward and gathers her into a gentle hug, silently offering up another apology for his avoidance thus far before moving off. He's probably going to end up having to pluck his son off someone's roof at this point, but the pause in the game was worthwhile.

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