Willimina, Echo, Lillia, Tallel


Echo goes to her cousin's yurt for a family dinner and to meet Willimina and their kids.


It is sunset of the nineteenth day of the eleventh month of the twelfth turn of the 12th pass.


Tallel and Willimina’s Yurt, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 04 Jan 2018 05:00


WillaGif5.gif echo_default.jpg lillia_default.jpg tallel_default.jpg


Tallel and Willimina’s Yurt

Unlike the outside of this dwelling, the inside of this round tent puts the bolder, more flamboyant side of Tallel's Zingari roots on display, though it's now been augmented by all that the rest of his family brings to it. While simple in layout, there is nothing simple at all about the intricate weave of the rugs thrown down upon the light, portable wooden slat-work spanning collapsible frames. Deep wine red is the most commonly found hue, though gold, green, and silver are found as well in the hangings that drape the tent walls at even intervals. A low, wide table to the left of the hanging door serves as Tallel's primary workspace for grinding herbs and mixing medicines, while another one further off to the right - round, this time - is laden with wood and steel serving ware and makes up a small dining area. Cushions lay around the yurt in abundance for sitting, the largest pile of which obscures the low mattress on which he and Willimina sleep. Nearby, a couple of folding dividers fashioned of woven reeds and silk partition off the beds their children sleep in. A few braziers for incense and candles, as well as some round red glow baskets, hang about the ceiling, which tapers up to a vent that can be shut against the weather but is wide enough to give a nice view of the night sky in the evenings.

Sunset is a good time of day on the caravan grounds. Some are closing up shop, while others are just truly beginning business for the day. While caravans like the Reika begin to settle down for the night, The Zingari camp is just flaring up for the evening, one of their performance nights in full swing. But, missing from the act roster this evening are the Zingari leaders themselves. While everyone else prepares to perform, the Zingari leaders and their family are just sitting down for a quiet - er - mostly quiet evening at home in their yurt.

Willimina sits at their low sitting table and pours over hides for the seven, despite the point of the evening being to relax, as they are expecting company at some point. However, there she is, one hand holding the hide she currently pours over, while the other one idly stirs a cup of tea. Tea. That’s unusual for Willa, who is known for liking her whiskey. Occasionally the woman looks up to briefly check on her youngest two children, who are playing on the floor. “Tai, be nice to your sister….” Willimina gives her son the patented Mom look and glances over to make sure her daughter isn’t about to have one of those famous toddler meltdowns. Assured she isn’t, Willimina goes back to her work.

Willimina’s eldest daughter, Lillia, is soon present as well, waltzing into the yurt, her face and cheeks rosy from a ride outside the weyr. She’s still in her riding clothes, and a few sticks of hay and desert detritus still cling to her hair from a fall near the pens. “Hello mama!” She greets as she sets her rucksack aside and moves over to greet her siblings.

“Don’t you ‘Hello Mama’ me young lady, we need to talk about the lessons you’ve been skipping lately. However, your father’s cousin should be here shortly. I suggest you make yourself presentable, understand?”

“Yes, mama.” Some of the light leaves Lillia’s features and she moves off to where a sectional screen provides privacy for changing. There she’ll get into a proper dress and pull the detritus from her hair. She really should talk to her Mom…but the topic at hand is sensitive and she just doesn’t know how to broach the subject. Maybe the visit with family will make her mother forget for awhile that she wishes to speak about the missed lessons. But knowing her luck…probably not.

The caravan leaders may not be making a huge showing at tonight's performance night, but that doesn’t mean Tallel wants to forego any of the amazing food that’s going to be plentiful. He soon slips into the yurt, looking every bit like the feline who got the flit, his rogue’s grin making tawny eyes glitter. “Stew, meatrolls, and four different types of bubblies,” he declares, brandishing the basket under his arm. “And I didn’t have to do too much wheedling.” He sets the basket down and then bends to kiss his children, then his wife. “Is Lillia back yet?” He clearly hasn’t glanced back toward the divider. Some sound or other will probably alert him after a moment.

In short order, Echo is calling tentatively in from outside the yurt. “Hello?” before she slips in slowly, giving a little wave at the family gathered within. “I hope I’m not late. I decided to explore the Bazaar finally and I ended up at the Cantina for a drink. Nice place.” she remarks as she moves further in timidly, her steps deliberate as if she is nursing some soreness, but otherwise smiling at the children. She’s dressed simply, a pair of serviceable leather pants cut just below the knee, with a matching leather vest-style shirt, cropped to show off some midriff, showing off a little more skin than usual, but in the Igen heat, who can blame her? Around her neck, a new accessory, a simple collar with a silver pendant hanging off a ring. Echo shoots a smile then to Tallel, “Hi cousin.” She’s obviously waiting for him to make the introductions and so she just stands there, willing herself not to fidget.

Willimina eyes her daughter as she moves behind the screen. But then Tallel is arriving and Willimina is all smiles for her husband. “That sounds delicious dear.” She kisses Tallel back before pointing towards the changing screen in regards to Lillia. “Came in just before you did.” Willa comments, her tone implying she might not be too thrilled with her eldest. However, there doesn’t seem to be time to explain her irritation, as Tallel’s cousin is arriving very shortly after Tallel’s arrival. Well. Time to be a good hostess.

Standing, Willimina moves to join Tallel, a smile on her face. And true to her own nature, Willimina won’t wait, she’ll make the introductions herself. “I’m Willa, Tallel’s wife. It’s so nice to meet you. The two scamps on the floor here are Taliana and Taimin. Our eldest will be out presently, she’s changing behind the screen.”

Lillia does indeed appear just then, dressed in a mock version of a dancer’s outfit, it’s loose and comfortable. She’s pulled her hair into a messy bun at the nape of her neck, mostly free of detritus. There may be a straw stick here or there. “I’m Lillia. Well met.” She darts a glance at her mother and father before giving Echo a bow of welcome.

Tallel glances back toward the screen as he goes about setting out food, dark brows hitching upward in acknowledgment of Lillia’s presence. He does note Willa’s note of discontent but files it away for later, especially when he hears Echo’s voice outside. No time for family quibbles now! “Come in, Echo!” he calls, sidestepping to poke his head out the door of the yurt and bring her inside, into the midst of his family, where Willa promptly takes over in the easy manner she does.

Tal doesn’t spare a second thought for anything Echo is wearing, since he generally meanders around without a shirt on when it’s too hot himself…though he does idly think he might suggest she go with less leather and more breathable fabric in the heat. When Lillia appears, he sidles over to Willa’s other side to touch a quick kiss to his step-daughter’s temple, nonchalantly plucking a few bits of straw from her hair with a smirk before turning his attention back to his cousin. “Come have a seat,” he says, gesturing to the cushions around the low table he has the food spread on. “I figured it might be nice to eat some of the performance night food here instead of in the middle of the performance night, for now.” To save her from getting bombarded like so many first-timers to their revelries end up being.

“Well met Willa.” Echo says politely, bobbing her head in the Caravan Leader’s direction. Then she turns and returns Lillia’s bow with a matching one, “You too, Lillia.” Then with a smile she looks at the kids on the ground and says with a chuckle, “Hello scamps.” Then she is being invited to sit down at the table and she readily accepts crossing the distance into the yurt with her long willowy stride. As she lowers herself to the pillows, she can’t help a slight hiss as she sits down stiffly. She tries to cover the fact by quickly piping up with, “You have a really nice yurt here. Roomy. I’m guessing that’s your influence Tallel.” She says as she settles more comfortably onto the pillows. As Tallel mentions eating in here as opposed to eating out amid the crowds, she gives him an obviously thankful smile. “I really appreciate that cousin. I’m slowly getting used to it all the new people though. It’s been a lot of fun so far.” A small giggle bubbles up from her at that. Echo doesn’t giggle. A self-deprecating chuckle the closest she comes to normally. She leans in to take a whiff of the food, “This all smells so good. I gotta say, I think your cooks are better here than those back with the Kheeriin.”

Willimina scoops Taliana up off the ground to join Tallel at the table, placing the squirming toddler in her lap. The squirming stops the second Willimina hands the youngster a small piece of meatroll to gnaw upon. Taimin comes of his own volition, taking his place at the table and staring widely at their new guest.

“Mama, I want a choker like that one….” Taimin comments, pointing at Echo’s new accessory.

Willimina looks up briefly to eye Echo’s collar and admires the simplicity of it, until she notices the emblem engraved in the pendent. Hmmm….

Lillia blushes and does the typical teen flinch when Tallel comes to greet her and pulls the straw out of her hair. Could parents be more embarrassing sometimes?? She moves through the rest of the niceties with everyone and then joins the group at the table. “Everytime we visit the Steppes I find the Kheerin’s food quite acceptable.” Lillia comments with a smile. She has a long love for the Kheeriin, despite the Haeyleri being her birth clan.

“I’d say they’re about equal,” Tallel says of the cooks for both clans, “not that I’ll say anything like that to any of them. Getting the wide end of a wooden spoon hurts.” Sagely said; there’s no doubt he’s had experience in that area. Taimin’s comment about Echo’s choker earns a chuckle. “Maybe when you’re older,” is all he can think to say at the moment, and while he does think he can’t recall ever seeing his cousin wearing any sort of jewelry before, he doesn’t think any further of it.

The giggle is something new and does draw a lifted brow from Tallel, who smirks. “Fun? Meeting new people? You shedding your shell a bit, cousin?” He can only hope. It hasn’t been with his help so far, however; she’s not come to see him for any herbs for anxiety yet.

When her newest accessory becomes the subject of discussion, Echo’s cheeks color briefly as she reaches a hand up and touches the pendant lightly before smiling at the little boy, and then his mother. When her cousin makes a passing comment of maybe when you’re older, Echo schools her expression as best she can to one of neutrality. Lillia’s typical teen reaction get a sympathetic look as she addresses the girl, “I’ve heard you are a really good rider and that you use runners as part of your act. I’d like to see that.” but then Tallel makes his comment about her shedding her shell, and she blushes in earnest. “Yeah, I guess you could say that. Everyone’s been so..” she pauses to search for the right word before continuing with a smile. “..accommodating.” Then the food is eyed and she reaches over to dish herself up a bowl of stew.

When Echo fiddles with her pendant, Willa gets a bit of a better look at the emblem upon it. Recognition sparks in her chocolate brown eyes and she has to bite her tongue to keep herself from asking about it. Willa knows that mark, and knows what it means hanging from Echo’s neck like that. Willa may not be part of it, nor do her tastes run down that particular road, but she knows what her escorts and spies get up to, and she knows of a few with more than…socially acceptable tastes and habits. But….since the children are about, it’s not something she can outright ask about. Echo’s last response to Tallel has her eyeing the girl as well. “I’m glad to hear our clan has been so…welcoming Echo. How are you finding the pace here? Adjusting ok?”

Lillia nods when Echo asks after her riding, a spark of light coming to her eyes that is reserved especially for runner talk. “I do. I’ve been practicing a variety of trick riding stunts as of late.” Though she’s sure Willa would rather she be doing something else. Lillia drops the subject for a moment however, moving to serve her brother with a plate of food before grabbing one for herself.

Tallel doesn’t pay any attention to the escorts and their proclivities, so is completely clueless at present. Nor does he see anything out of place in Willimina’s observation of his cousin, though he senses some sort of tension and can’t put his finger on it. It makes him more alert, but he isn’t certain what he ought to be keeping an eye or ear out for.

Seeing Echo blush, however, does raise his suspicions in a completely different way. He has a faint, mischievous smirk for his cousin but doesn’t ask what’s on his mind, not wanting to embarrass her. He tousles his son’s hair a bit as he reaches for the stew in order to dish himself up, waiting to hear his cousin’s answer to what his wife has asked.

Now she’s being eyed by the Caravan Leader and Echo freezes in the middle of a bite of stew, wondering what the hell she did now. Steeling herself though, she forces a smile back on her face and shrugs her shoulders nonchalantly. “The pace is fine, I’m making good marks with my farrier services, can’t really complain. Starla’s loving it, she’s my riding runner, trained her up all by myself from a filly. She gets a kick out of meeting new people and trying to get them to give her food.” And now she’s speaking as if Starla was a good friend and not just a runner. “So yeah, I would say I am adjusting well.” Another smile before Echo goes for another bite of the stew.

Then turning back to Lillia she nods encouragingly, the beam on her face showing just how much she enjoys the current topic of conversation between them. “Trick riding is fun. I could do a couple of tricks back in the day, although the last time was probably when I was your age. I never really had a knack for anything entertaining. Oh, except,” And Echo lowers her voice conspiratorially at the teen as if she doesn’t share this with just everyone, “I wanted to be a sword swallower at one point, actually had a bit of a knack for it. I could never get over my stage fright, but I would practice for hours in the hope of someday performing. So yeah, I’m impressed by anyone who can do it, in whatever capacity. And besides, you like runners, so you’re my kinda people.” She offers the younger girl a small wink of encouragement. “Let me know when you practice your routine next, I’d love to watch.” Echo is in a curiously chatty mood this evening, it seems a far cry from her usual bundle of anxieties.

Willimina stows her thoughts away for later and goes about feeding Taliana while Tallel catches up with his cousin. She gets a bit wrapped up in this task and zones out a little bit, but she’s listening for now.

Lillia nods. “Some of the trick riders for the Kheeriin are amazing. I would love to go study under them for awhile.” Lillia nods avidly at the thought of Echo watching her sometime. “You’ll have to get a good look at Nefrit too, he’s a gorgeous beast.” Her paint is her pride and joy.

Echo’s level of chattiness only increases Tallel’s suspicions. Little does he know, of course, that they’re aimed in completely the wrong direction! “I remember you going off and practicing,” he says of his cousin’s sword-swallowing. “Or at least you disappeared for candlemarks on end for some reason or other. Now I know for certain.” When the topic of conversation turns back to trick riding, he grabs up a meatroll and dips it in his stew before filling his stomach for a bit, nodding along to Lillia’s words and sliding a sidelong glance to Willimina when their daughter mentions going to study with the Kheeriin. “He is a fine beast,” Tallel says of Nefrit. “And Lillia has a knack we really haven’t seen much of here on the grounds. Certainly no one else has ever tried doubling.” Without falling on their ass, that is.

“They certainly are.” Echo laughs easily as the girl talks of her clan of birth. “I’ve been amazed more than one myself, and I grew up among them even.” Another couple bites of her stew before commenting on Tallel’s words, “Yeah, I didn’t tell too many people what I was up to, I was worried they’d want me to show them and that thought terrified me.” Then she nods eagerly at the mention of fine runnerflesh, a personal passion of Echo’s and she adds with a smile. “Well definitely let me know then, I can never pass up a fine beast.” she says with another giggle as she pours herself a glass of juice and taking a sip.

Willimina perks at the talk of Lillia studying elsewhere, catching Tallel’s sidelong glance. Hmm. She wonders what that may have been for. She has to nod when Lillia’s talent is brought up, though. “She certainly does have a way with runners, our Lillia. I wish her attentions to her studies were just as avid as the attention she pays Nefrit.” She eyes her daughter when she says this, while idly trying to get Taliana to take a bite of stew.

Lillia looks as if her feathers might be a bit ruffled at her mother’s remark, but she smartly keeps her opinions to herself, following the conversation as it continues. “I’m not the only one who’s tried doubling Papa, just the only one who kept at it.” She can stand riding two with ease, as long as it’s at a canter and not a full on gallop. “You can come by anytime, I’m near always with the runners.” Which only backs up her mother’s claim that she doesn’t pay enough attention to her studies…but hey, runner talk.

Tallel clears his throat softly at Willimina’s rebuke of Lillia, not believing it to be appropriate to air with a guest around. He tilts his head toward the girl in concession to her point. “Yes, but they obviously weren’t worth remembering,” he quips after that, downing some more of his meatroll and stew. “You’re not too far off a gallop now, I’m sure.” She’s been at it for some time now, after all.

The unspoken words between husband and wife doesn’t go unnoticed by Echo but she definitely would never think to say anything about it. When Willa talks of Lillia shirking her lessons for spending time with the runners, Echo lets out a burst of hearty laughter as she looks at the teenaged girl, “I was exactly the same way. I was relentless, why did I need to do all the other lessons when I knew I was going to work with the runners?” Uh oh, maybe Echo isn’t helping here, but runner-crazy girls have to stick together. “I’m sure we’ll bump into each other at some point down in the pens.” Cause Echo spends a lot of her time down there as well.

She watches them then, their interactions as a family warming Echo’s runner-loving heart, Turning to Tallel, she tips her glass in his direction. “You have a beautiful family cousin. You must be so proud.” With an easy smile before taking another long sip of her juice, the Igen heat has definitely left her feeling thirstier of late.

Willimina catches that sidelong glance from Tallel and raises her eyebrow in question. What? She goes on feeding Taliana like nothing had happened, dropping the subject at least. However, Echo’s first comments to Lillia has Willa giving Echo a weird version of ‘mom eye’ that clearly states she doesn’t appreciate it. She’s trying to convince Lillia to go to her lessons, not give her more reasons to skip them. However, Willimina beams at the praise Echo gives them as a family unit.

Lillia nods at Echo’s last and gives her mother her own look, cheeks rosy with embarrassment. She goes about eating her food, trying to keep her temper in check.

And now Tallel doesn’t know how to warn his cousin off a sensitive matter for their family at the moment. If it were appropriate, he’d be scrubbing his face in consternation. Fortunately, Willimina does drop the subject, though he catches the tail end of that Look she gives before beaming at Echo’s compliment. “I am,” he tells her with an equally beaming grin, and slips an arm behind Taimin to rest his hand against Willa’s back. “And happier than I’ve ever been in all my life.” Even more than when Echo would have known him best, when all he’d had to worry about was healing, illusions, and dancing.

Echo gets a little wistful smile on her face as her hand rises, almost on its own accord to the pendant hanging around her neck, where she fiddles with it again. She will finally realize she’s doing it, and pull her hand down quick, her cheeks blushing brightly as she averts her gaze down and really concentrates on her stew now, see, she can’t speak with her mouthful so someone else would have to speak. Right?

Well. That was certainly an awkward moment. And Willa knows she was the cause of it, so she just tries to smile and move on. She gets herself a bowl of stew and raises it to take a bite, since she has Taliana in her lap. For a second, she has to pull the bowl away from her face, the aroma of the stew making her slightly queasy for a moment. Odd. She sniffs at it a second time, and this time, it smells delicious. What an odd occurrence. Hmm. Either way, she begins eating now, allowing a bit of silence to fall over the group. Echo’s fidgeting is noted again and Willimina notes to herself to talk to Tallel about that, tomorrow, when the kids are with Timo.

Lillia eats silently until the quiet seems to get on the teen’s nerves. She looks around the table for a moment, and then, noticing that no one else is going to take the lead, she does. “Are you enjoying your time with us Echo? Papa mentioned you needed a change in pace. Is Igen busy enough for you?” For a child who doesn’t wish to inherit, and skips her lessons, she does seem to have a few inherent leadership qualities. Such as picking up the slack in a conversation.

Now Tallel truly notices Echo’s blushing, and he thinks he’s certain he must know the source. And where the choker comes from, in a way. But he’s still not going to question his cousin at the dinner table. Though normally more effusive, he’s rather glad he’s not having to do most of the talking; Willimina is a natural at it, and Lillia is following suit, which he’s quite pleased about. It affords him the opportunity to do more observing…and time to try quietly deciphering the odd little ups and downs of behaviors and emotions he’s picking up across his family.

Composing herself as she decimates the bowl in front of her, by the time Echo looks back up, she manages almost normal. No weird tic, just relaxed Echo. And thank Faranth for Lillia taking up the hostess role with ease. “I am! Actually, my mother was a little worried that I was unwed at 21 turns of age, so she started a subtle campaign lets say, to find me a husband basically. It didn’t work. And I needed a break from her efforts. On top of that, I’ve never left my birth clan on my own before, so it was an adventure, and I find I kinda like it.” Thoughtful, concise, who is this woman?!?!

Other than the fiddling with her collar, Willimina doesn’t notice anything unusual about Echo, so the girl need not worry there. As Lillia takes on the role of hostess, (something Willa is actually beaming and proud about) Willimina works on her stew. About half way through the same brief nausea hits her again and this time, she sets down the bowl. What is wrong with that stew? “Surely your mother wasn’t trying to arrange a marriage for you, was she?” Willimina asks this near incredulously, as it’s no secret Willimina has banned the practice amongst the clans. Both parties must be willing to be wed, this is something Willimina has made utterly clear.

Lillia beams at Echo, even if she is a little jealous of the woman’s ability to just leave her home clan and pursue what she wants. Thirteen turn old brain. Go figure. “You’ve never left the Kheerin before?” Lillia asks, astounded. Even though she can claim exactly the same. She has never been away from her birth clan before.

Tal smirks, having had this conversation with Echo before. Then Willimina sets her stew aside, and he glances her way curiously. He knows perfectly well where it came from as has full confidence about what’s in it… Hmmm. Now he’s harboring some other suspicions, based on that and the fact that she’s been dismissing her usual whiskey lately. “We all travel,” he points out, spooning up some more of his own stew. “Though leaving for another clan is far less common.”

“If I’m honest, I was always too scared.” Echo says with an easy shrug. “I had just figured out what I was good at and I was content. Saw no real reason to leave.” Then Willa asks if her mother went so far as trying to arrange a marriage but Echo shakes her head vehemently, “Oh no, she would never go that far. She was a lot more subtle than all that. She meant well I have no doubt, but I’d rather a connection that forms on it’s own. Besides, I’m not even sure I’m suited to marriage, so I still have to figure that out as well.” She pauses thoughtfully and considers her next words briefly before continuing. “And I guess by leaving my clan I am giving myself permission to figure those things out, on my own for once, without my family’s constant helpful suggestions as to what I should do. And it’s a little bit scary, but oh so exciting too.” This last comment seems to be directed solely to Lillia as she gives the younger girl a meaningful nod.

Speaking of passing up her whiskey, Willa picks up her tea and sips at it while the conversation continues around her. The tea helps. “Good. I'm glad to hear that.” Things have been stabilising for the Zingari since the Elder's War and Willimina would be sorely disappointed if she found out some of the clans were reverting back to old, outdated traditions. Willimina has to chuckle when Echo talks about striking out and figuring things out on her own, because Willa had done much the same thing. Too bad she doesn't remember that in regards to her daughter. “But Mothers do worry about what's best for their daughters, I do hope you keep that in mind too, because her intentions probably were well meaning.” Willa can't help it, being a mother herself, she feels the need to get the motherly response in.

Lillia looks between her mother and Echo as they speak, hoping just maybe, that some of Echo's words might stick in Willa's mind. She desperately needs to figure out her own path in life, and she desperately needs her mother to see that. “What ultimately decided it for you? Making the leap to be on your own?” Lillia has a plan with this line of questioning. “Was it your mother or the need for self exploration?” Careful Lillia, hitting it a little too on the head there.

A little too on the head, indeed - enough for Tallel to decide he needs to speak up. “Lillia.” Though his tone is low, the warning is clear enough in the subtle rumble at its edges. Things are straying into more personal territory than is appropriate for dinner again, and he’s starting to get the impression that Echo’s reasoning about life in general is hovering on a level more even with that of his thirteen-Turn-old stepdaughter’s than her own twenty-one, no matter how grown she may insist she is. Given her anxiety, it wouldn’t surprise him. But this is not the time or place for such commiseration. Echo is likewise given a subtle look that advises her to tread cautiously.

“I’ve wondered,” he asks his cousin, attempting to steer the conversation onto a safer path, “does being in Igen change the way you work at all? The desert calling for a different sort of care than the steppe?”

Uh oh, at all the parental silent glances being bandied about Echo blushes a little bit and ducks her head, answering Willa's comment first, “Of course. I don't mean to disrespect her, she’s a formidable woman indeed and has steered me on the right path for the most of my life.” Then with a thoughtful pause she turns to Lillia and wonders for a moment how to put this, “I think my mother's actions were a wake up call I needed. My whole family knew about my anxieties and over compensated a bit so I never really had to overcome them. I realized if I didn’t get away from that, well-meaning though they were, I would never figure out if I could overcome them. So yeah, my mother’s actions didn’t really drive me away, just the realization that no one expected me to be able to do for myself made me think that I needed to prove to myself that I could.” Her words take on a hidden strength as she looks bashfully around the table, “I have no idea if that makes sense of not..” she chuckles lightly and then looks at her cousin thoughtfully when he brings up the topic of her work. “Nothing special, but I need to make sure that sand doesn’t get under the shoe in the shoeing, so when it’s gusting a little bit I can’t take clients. I almost need a shelter of sorts to work in.” She adds with a shrug of her shoulders.

Lillia’s pointed questioning of Echo has Willimina a bit irritated, she's on to the teen’s game, tapping her nails on the table idly in frustration. And right on the tail end of Tallel's warning, Echo answers and gives Lillia just exactly what she wants. Parental rage (probably more than is actually warranted in this situation) rears its ugly head within Willa and she huffs out a quiet rush of air. And with Tallel's earlier warnings, she figures she should just keep quiet, which isn't going to happen if this line of questioning continues. So, in order to not embarrass her husband in front of his company, and to get a hold on her unusually sensitive emotional triggers, she stands. This is followed by handing Taliana off to her father with a kiss and a brief but polite, “Please excuse me for a moment.” to everyone else. She gathers up her tea and moves out the door for some air and some processing time.

Lillia watches her mother stand and go and at least has the decency to look sheepish about it. She'd pushed too far. She looks after her mother and wonders if she shouldn't go apologize, but with dinner nearly done, it's near time to pack up and go to Ethelinda’s for the night. As Willimina actually insists her children have a relationship with their great grandmother and family head. Lillia sends a grateful look to Echo and thanks her for answering her questions before looking at her near finished plate. “Papa may I be excused? I should probably get the rucksack ready for the little ones…” And keep her nose clean for the rest of the night, she's pushed her mother's buttons a bit too far today.

Can Tallel give in to the urge to facepalm now? His hinting ignored, Echo plows ahead, and he senses the impending snap of whatever cord binds the situation together at the moment. Things are probably more volatile than they’d normally be, if he’s right about Willimina’s current state (and he’s pretty certain he is). Therefore, when she gets up to leave, he accepts her transfer of their youngest into his arms without attempting to stop her. His lips end up drawn into a tight line, his spoon drawing random curves through the remainder of the stew that coats the bottom of his bowl. Taliana fusses a little, and he breaks off a bit of blueberry bubbly to give to her, handing the rest to a patiently waiting and blissfully ignorant (or so it seems) Taimin.

He doesn’t hesitate in giving a nod to answer Lillia’s question. “Yes, I think that would be best,” he replies, a strident note to his tone as he sits up straight. Tawny eyes make a quick flicker toward his stepdaughter before he draws a slow, quiet breath in and out and then finally turns his gaze upon Echo. “I think you and I ought to take a small walk in a bit, cousin,” he says, and fervently wishes for a fleeting moment that he’d thought to bring a bottle of whiskey to the table.

Great! Echo mentally moans as she watches Willa excuse herself. Piss off the Caravan Leader the first time you meet why don't you? Her eyes sink to her lap and suddenly the only thing she wants to do is to flee and as she watches Lillia excuse herself she makes up her mind that she will do it, running through excuses in her head, early client is the easiest to pass off, but just as she was going to say something Tallel is saying something about taking a small walk. So swallowing the rising lump in her throat, she merely nods weakly and stays in her spot, fingers toying with the pendant from her choker idly as she decides the less she says now the better.

With Willa gone, Lillia stands and goes about packing a bag for Taliana and Taimin, making sure to put extra clothes and things in it. She packs things for herself as well and when she's done she presents herself to her stepfather and second cousin with a weak smile. “I'll take Tali and Tai over to Emei Ethel’s now Papa. You and Echo can talk here if you like… Mama's bound to be stalking the grounds.” She holds out her arms for her sister and gets Taimin up to walk.

“Whatever is in your head is likely not the case,” Tallel assures Echo at a murmur, and pushes the basket of bubbly pies her way. Then he goes about cleaning up Taliana’s face, finishing just in time for Lillia to pop back up. He hands the younger girl off to the older and nods. “I’m sure she is, dagava.” Which likely won’t change his mind about a walk. “Enjoy your time with your great-grandmother. Goodnight.” He’ll rise to kiss all of his children, waiting until they’re out before reaching down to snatch up a bubbly of his own.

“Come, cousin,” he says, holding a hand down to help her up. “Let’s find some whiskey and get some air.” And he’ll take the time to explain most of why things happened the way they did…keeping a few of his own suspicions to himself for the time being.

Add a New Comment