Cascabel, Divale


Divale's world is about to be flipped upside down when a living 'ghost' of her past appears in the Bazaar…



Bazaar Sidestreet, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 09 Feb 2018 05:00



Bazaar Sidestreet

No matter the time of day, the darkness here is almost absolute, adding a certain je ne sais quois that borders on the treacherous. Here and there, cobblestones have gone missing and leave holes that are perfect for snagging the feet of the unaware. The stench is also criminal, a mixture of urine, rotting meat, and other things best left unexamined in the heaps that pile up next to the back doors of certain of the bazaar establishments.

It's an unpleasantly wintry afternoon, but that is favorable for Cascabel; the Lemosian young woman is actually more fond of cold than not. The wind chill brings a nice memory of home, and so while she looks like she must be miserable — standing outside a shady-looking shop wrapped in scarves and a knee-length coat in addition to her usual veil — there's actually an oddly quirked expression to her lips that might be called a smile. The reigning silence despite people bustling in either direction is almost pleasant until Cas disrupts it with a sneeze. One passing young man gives her a dirty look, and her expression only brightens briefly before falling back to that hint-of-pleased neutrality.

Winter doesn’t deter everyone! The Guards have been busy still with their patrolling of the Bazaar and cracking down on any illicit sales of forgeries of the latest fad. Never mind that word has got out too that there are glowing goats about! A pair of Guards march by the sidestreet further up, but it’s a third shadow with them that gives pause. Dressed in her thicker uniform and riding gear, Divale is every inch Parhelion and rider on this particular hour. Her short cropped hair, styled more masculine than feminine, remains covered mostly from view by the hood she wears as a shield against the cold wind. Dark, shadowed eyes, betray some exhaustion but the wary alertness of someone on edged and prepared. There’s no fear in the way she approaches Cascabel; merely innate curiosity — and a touch of something else. “And odd place for such a lady to be lingering. Are you lost?” Divale asks in a dry tone, mouth curving in the faintest of smiles.

"I am," There's a hesitation after that, as Cascabel seems to consider who she's speaking to more thoroughly; eyes behind the veil widen slightly, but whatever she may see she doesn't disclose as she concludes her hanging statement with a mere, "Waiting." It is an awkward enough comment all on its own that after letting it linger in the air for a few more seconds, she clarifies further. "My husband is in there," a gesture at the door, "And I was asked not to accompany him inside." Nor was she told that she could go in somewhere else and be warm, and apparently she's an obedient wife.

Recognition is not as swift for Divale, remaining as nothing more than a faint nagging at the far back of her mind. The eyes, perhaps? Given that that is likely all she can clearly see of Cascabel’s features. Her simple answer of ‘waiting’ is not so much awkward but a tempting piece of bait that Divale perks up to. Yet before she can muse further, more information is yielded and her features settle to a neutral mask. Ah. “Gone to do ‘men’s business’ that is not appropriate for the delicate ears of a woman?” she murmurs instead, not entirely masking the dull bitterness in her tone. “Unwise is your husband to leave you out here in the cold… and without proper escort.” Disapproval there, with a dash of amusement. Her gaze turns away to glance down the alley, before a hand lifts in a gesture even before she voices her offer. “I know of somewhere nearby that is warm and still in view of this establishment.” Oh, she noted the shadiness of it. All the more reason she’s interested in this woman (maybe not the only reason).

To be fair, Cascabel often sees ghosts of her past in places where they aren't, so it's odd enough that she might see one in a place where they were. "I think if I were swept up by rogues he might find it an interesting turn to his day," she says of Eryem, with a tiny shrug of one shoulder. "He would probably find me again." Probably. He would probably look for her, too. Her, "You do not seem to be a rogue," is more acceptance than refusal, considering being swept up by rogues was presented as the negative. Being swept up by … Weyr guard? Somewhere easily found? That's fine. "You're welcome to show me."

Ghosts are a plague to Divale’s mind as well and were she not so keen to ignore that nagging voice, she’d realize that that icy sliver of unease is because she’s staring at one right now. One that she’d long ago written off as lost and dead. Instead she dons her mask of respectful politeness and neutral intrigue, now in the form of a subtle nod while gesturing for Cascabel to follow her. It’s not but a few steps, to a building that boasts a little shop that, while the small entranceway can be accessed, looks to be closed from within. There is shelter here, at least and a view of the previous shadier location that her husband has holed himself up in. Not to mention an air of privacy here. “I would show you some of the more enticing locations to wait, but I would not lead you too far astray from where your husband… requested you remain.”

"Yes, he would be cross," Cascabel agrees with a slow, even nod. If a nod can carry nervousness, hers somehow manages to while still being perfectly calm about it — nervousness is a natural state of being for her, and she no longer shows it much of anywhere but her eyes. And those are visible through the veil she wears; the veil that, once inside, she is now unwrapping from around her head to convert it into more of a scarf. She fluffs her hair up a little with long many-ringed fingers, shaking her head a little to loosen crushed hair. "Have to admit, I was getting a little bit of a headache, I need to redo that — " Attempting to catch Divale's eye directly again, she tilts her head to one side and blinks, "Have … we have met before, haven't we? I think?"

It may as well be that Divale’s world has turned upside down in the breadth of a second. One moment she’s listening to the conversation and the next she is staring, wide eyed, in visible shock. For what feels like an eternity to her, the world begins to tilt and time seems to slow to an insufferable crawl. A cold, vice-like grip takes hold in her chest and around her heart, stealing her breath as she is left wordless and silent. She knows those eyes. That face! The jolt is enough to raise unpleasant memories and all the emotions with it. Some small piece of her can sense Lukoith’s awareness pressing down, the brown woken from his slumber by the intensity and abruptness of her mind’s turmoil and alarm. All this in a span of seconds and then with a blink of her eyes, everything snaps back in an disorientating reverse to present reality. It will take a few tries for Divale to even utter the first words and failing that, exclaims in a tight, low voice of disbelief. “Cass?” Some echoes of grief cannot be withheld fast enough from her voice, as she begins to shake her head in denial, brows furrowed and mouth twitching to a grim, stressed line. “You’re dead. You were dead…” she hisses in a harsh whisper between her teeth.

Sorry, Lukoith. Cascabel would be, if she knew; at present, she does not know you exist, and that makes it even harder for her to feel any remorse.Toward the dragon, at any rate. Toward Divale, she does; she presses her eyes shut first, and then bites down on her lip hard enough to make all color drain from it. At least there's no bleeding, and she's not got fingernails in her palms as of yet, but she's certainly pressing down hard enough to force herself to stop from feeling anything except that immediate sharpness. A long-honed and not entirely safe coping mechanism, perhaps, but it stops her from saying anything stupid as she finally precisely places the familiarity of the voice just as Divale — once her savior, when she was a little girl, that slightly-older girl that took her away from everything that was wrong in her life — identifies her. Now the things that are wrong in her life are so much more wrong that those childhood woes seem like nothing, and yet now Cascabel considers her life exactly what it ought to be. So when she opens her eyes again it's with more of a lightness, the uncertain smile straightened into a much more satisfied one. "I thought that was, maybe, that you were Divale," hopeful, because if she's not, it's even weirder and she might be in more trouble. "I wasn't sure until just now and now I hope I'm not wrong, I — am not. Dead. Quite. Mostly." (That's got to be reassuring.)

None of this is reassuring. Most would be feeling some semblance of joy or happiness at seeing someone thought dead to be very much alive — but not Divale, no. No, she is feeling something far more sharp and poignant and every inch corrupted; perhaps there is relief and joy somewhere in that twisted mess her mind has become. Enough, just enough of a buried sliver, to keep her from simply walking right out of that shelter and away from this. Even so, it’s almost too much to bear and Divale battles both in coping with discovering Cascabel and Lukoith’s weight on her thoughts. Her expression twists, tense and pained by that, perhaps or more for the words the young girl speaks. “Not that girl,” she breathes at last in a voice just as strained. “That Divale died Turns ago.” Not entirely true but who is going for exact details here? Silence falls for a lingering heartbeat or two, as she collects herself again, tongue working over her lower lip in a mouth gone suddenly dry. “… but ever a friend and ally.” Finding strength to move now, she steps forwards even as her brows furrow again in a heavy frown and disbelief is writ clearly on her features and in even tense line of her posture. “How?” Oh, she’s just about to open Pandora’s Box, isn’t she?

"Okay." It seems like it must be easy for Cascabel, the way she plays it off, to accept that the Divale she knew and loved is no longer, but here is someone who looks like her, and must have her memories. If she has become someone else in a similar external shape, maybe so has Cas, and that's not anything she'll refuse to go along with. "I might understand," she adds, as if it's all the same as how she thinks of herself as mostly not dead. "I was too fine a prize to lose, you know?" is delivered in a very light-hearted tone, as if this is a truly normal thing to say about oneself and not something that upsets her one bit. "Easier to sell as a ladies' maid, marry off to that lady's son. He still calls me Cascabel." She had another name, once, and Divale was one of the few who knew it; Divale was the one who changed it. "A little piece of … not controlling, but I told them that was my name, and no one argued." Her parents had given up a long time ago. When your daughter who is supposed to be a sweet, pretty docile thing isn't, and you can win every fight but one, isn't the name one the easiest one to lose?

Too fine a prize? In an instant, Divale bristles and disbelief melts away to shadowed anger. Cascabel doesn’t need to explain — they lived through the same downfall and tragedy and in so few words, she understands. At least enough of a glimpse to assume what happened and it does little to soothe. Any hope of this being a happy reunion has all been dashed at this point! “Are you the only one?” she mutters and secretly she wishes both to know and not know the answer. That Cascabel stands here, very much alive, is testament enough to renew old pain and open old wounds and fresh ones. As for her name, there is a tentative faded smile for that — one good memory among the festering ones. “Who is he?” Her husband. Venom laces those simple words; she may know of him as there was a time Hellebore made them know everyone’s name of any significant importance and no matter how little or trivial.

Lips pursed together, Cascabel has to admit her answer to the first question is, "I don't know." The expression crossing her face is a combination of guilt and grief — she's letting Divale down, in a way, but also herself and her memories. "It's possible others made it out, but I have no way of knowing …" She shrugs, trying to push those thoughts aside. "Eryem. His family was from here originally, and we came back to the bazaar after we married." Until then, she had been too young to marry, so the family must have just been biding their time. When they were young, Eryem's family were harsh but reasonable. Eryem the spice dealer is often considered to be the same.

Not a desired answer in any form but Divale doesn’t pursue it. Their time is short enough as it is and while she would love nothing more than to steal Cascabel away… it would not be a very wise move in the slightest. “Eryem.” The name is echoed back in a harsh, bitter, whisper as she commits that to her memory; she’ll have some business later digging up what she subtly can on the spice dealer. Brows furrow, her expression tight and grim as she continues to struggle with this new altered, and present, reality. “… you had no say in the matter, did you?” The marriage. A grimace of disgust follows a swift, sharp recall of word ‘sell’ just moments ago. “No. Of course not.” She’ll answer for her and as silence falls, heavy and charged, Divale will lapse to wordlessness again as she can only stare at a girl — no, now a woman, that she long since counted among the dead. “Cass, I…” Her attempt to speak is cut abruptly short, words failing as her mind cannot string together the chaotic mess her thoughts have become to coherent speech. So she will reach with one hand instead, to gently touch her fingertips to the other woman’s cheek. It is just a fleeting moment, but it’s enough to draw a sharp intake of breath from Divale and brazenly, she moves in to gather Cascabel into a fierce, tight embrace.

Technically, there was one thing Cascabel could have done: she always could have died, and she'd chosen the marriage instead of suicide. Not that that's likely to make anything any better, and so she saves Divale from having to listen to it by not saying a word just yet. While she doesn't initially lean in to any touch to her skin, she does allow it without pulling away, and then when she's being wrapped around and hugged — that is reciprocated with a soft little noise that's a mix of surprise and contentment. "You're warm," she points out, as if other people's body heat is a fascination.

Divale scoffs, likely felt more than heard by Cascabel and she will gradually ease back from the embrace. Only she doesn’t quite part from being in the other woman’s personal space, lowering her head instead to press her forehead to hers — it’d be a familiar gesture from their time together before. “Strange,” she begins. “As I often feel cold.” If there’s any warmth, she’d put that on Cascabel! Time keeps ticking and it’s with further reluctance that she steps away from her, disbelief remaining clear as day in the dark depths of her eyes. It will hit hard, much harder, later when she is alone and in the quiet solitude of her weyr. “We shouldn’t linger,” she warns. “Less it breeds suspicion.” Glancing towards the sidestreet, there is a moment of hesitation as she rapidly tries to formulate the next steps of a ‘plan’; rough as it may be. “If you are to be staying here in the Bazaar and within Igen’s territory… We could meet again.” In secret. It’d have to be done carefully!

"Exothermia," Cascabel defines helpfully, letting the faint smile stay as soon as Divale can actually see her face. "You are merely letting me take all your heat — a bad idea, here, I think. I, yes, I live here." The smile isn't going anywhere; it reaches her eyes all the way and stays there, at the idea of maybe having someone she can trust in this place. She's been here long enough it should feel safer and more familiar, but outside her actual home, the structure itself where she sleeps, everything is a little intimidating. "Eryem will want my assistance soon, I'm sure, but — if you have firelizards — ?" Somehow she seems sure Divale would, even if she herself doesn't at present. The dragon is another story entirely that she hasn't taken in, not ever giving much thought to looking at knots. The guard look suits Divale and that's all she's really registered.

There comes another, quiet, scoff for Cascabel’s definition and a fleeting half-smile from Divale. Her expression falls neutral again, masking the mix of relief and something akin to anxiety when it’s confirmed the young woman is staying IN Igen’s territory. The Bazaar is not the Weyr but it’s still too damn close. Mention of firelizards has her looking grim but nodding. “Mercy,” she whispers, just as a young gold appears from Between to land on her shoulder. “Eidolon and Quixote.” A brown and bronze follow, both of which are named and vaguely gestured too. They’re left too linger, so that Cascabel can memorize the look of them as much as possible before Divale sends them off. It’s rare that she’s ever seen with one, let alone half her fair! “You remember how we’d communicate?” Even so, she will help dredge up that memory; of how the firelizards know the simple whistle-tune to hint they are there and what Cascabel needs to do to cue them that it’s a dangerous time or ‘all clear’. A later time, perhaps she will meet Lukoith but not today. Their time and chance meeting is at an end and loathe to raise suspicion, she will hurriedly send Cascabel back on her appointed task. Promises, of course, that they will cross paths again soon and carefully… oh so carefully, they will make up for lost time. Divale will linger in that tight little space, watching as a living piece of her past disappears back down the sidestreet to await her husband … It’s too much. All too much. Now, however, is not the time to lose control of herself. There is work to be done and she will have time a plenty in the solitude of her weyr to relive old nightmares and create new ones with this chance event.

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