Tallel, Taavi (NPC)


Tallel makes a brief visit to his parents in search of a solution to something that's been nagging him.


It is sunset on the 28th day of the 1st month of the 13th Turn of the 12th Pass.


Southern Telgar Steppe, Igen Coverage

OOC Date 27 Jan 2018 07:00



“I just…have something I’ve been trying to wrap my head around."


Southern Telgar Steppe

The savannah home of desert runners and hardy herder-folk, Telgar’s steppe-lands along the northern bend of the Western Road are dry and wind-swept. No trees grow here, save around the scant rivers and lakes that dot and thread the terrain. Summers here are quite hot, and the winters are deep, with many a morning finding the low shrubs and grasses gilded in thick, silvery frost. The flatness here might drive a mountain-dweller insane, were it not for the rolling hills that break the monotony of the view every now and again. Navigation must be done relying on sun, stars, sense, and scant landmark alone, for there are no mountains or valleys to take a bearing by for leagues.

The wan light of a winter afternoon warms as Rukbat begins its steady sinking toward the horizon, blanketing the sleeping grasslands of the Telgar Steppe in a deceptively golden glow. The breeze makes the chill feel deeper, and sometimes, Tallel thinks, the whispering of the dry grasses around the Kheeriin camp sounds more…aloof, somehow, the land gossiping more freely about the people that wander it when the weather is colder as if it has nothing better to do.

Tallel shakes his dark head as he peers around the caravan, wondering at the bleak edge to his thoughts. He isn’t in a bad mood, just a pensive one, and visiting his old home in the winter reminds him just how cozy and warm the caravan grounds can be in comparison to the wide open sprawl of the steppes. He loves visiting his parents and aunts and uncles, but he’s glad for a shorter visit right now.

Despite the cold, the camp bustles comfortably. Children dart in and out of the paths between circled wagons and yurts, laughing in their games of tag and hide-and-seek. Flurries of hoofbeats drift past as teen riders take their competitive energy to the edges of the camp and the hills surrounding them. Dinner fires flare, cooks chatter and chop, old uncles grumble and reminisce, all with cheeks made ruddy in the crisp, clear air. Life is as vibrant in this home as it is in the one where his wife and children lay their heads tonight. Tal wishes they could have come, but this is only a short trip, and with Willimina being pregnant again, they'd decided it would be better for her to stay.

Tawny eyes come to rest on a large wagon that had once hosted a brood of his cousins, some of whom are still there. His Aunt Chari had borne eight of them. Eight. He chuckles to himself and shakes his head a little, wondering if Willimina intends for them to outdo even that.

Tallel can’t help wondering if he ought to have a chat with his aunt before he leaves…but no. He shakes that clear with a frown and looks down at the clasped hands suspended from his elbows upon his knees. Thinking of Echo’s situation still makes his insides twist, though it’s a much duller thing than it once was. In the end, it’s none of his business, and voicing any concerns to Chari will only create a terrible mess. He’ll say his hello, let her know her daughter is doing well at Igen, and leave it at that.

“What’s on your mind, min khu?

Taavi sits beside his son on a bench at the little cooking fire, stirring the kettle of stew Ellekha left for him to tend while she answers nature’s call. “You’ve seemed quiet since you got here. Is everything alright with Willimina and the kids?”

“Yes, Papa, everything’s great,” Tallel assures his father with a lopsided smile. “She’s radiant, craving her cheese rolls and date pudding like before. Taimin and Taliana are growing too fast, Lillia’s having the typical issues any teenager does…” His shoulders hitch in a shrug, the fur-lined collar of his deel reaching nearly to his ears with the motion. “I just…have something I’ve been trying to wrap my head around. A situation that’s come up that I feel like I should be able to comprehend better as a healer, but it’s something I never thought to study.” A fact that he looks sheepish about.

Taavi’s stirring slows as he peers curiously at his son. “You’ve always been good at researching and asking questions whenever you come up against something that pushes back at you, Tallel,” he observes. “It must be uncommon if it’s something you haven’t encountered until now.” The wooden spoon spangs upon the kettle’s iron lip as he rids it of excess and sets it aside, giving his son his undivided attention. “If I can help, I will.”

Tallel pulls in a deep breath and lets it out with a huff, the resulting cloud hanging for a split second in the frigid air before dissipating. How to put this without tipping his hand too much? “I was wondering if…you had any hides about mindhealing that I could study.” There. Nice and vague.

“Mindhealing?” Taavi echos, dark brows lifting in surprise. A gloved hand scrubs over his face as his own light brown eyes consider the fire a moment. “You’re worried someone back home is mind-sick?”

“I’m not sure about that exactly, Papa,” Tallel answers quickly. “I just think…no, I know there are ways the mind works that I don’t understand, no matter how open I’ve tried to be in my thinking. I wouldn’t want to misjudge a problem in someone based on my own misunderstandings. Just because someone responds to certain things differently than I might doesn’t make it wrong, I know, but what I don’t know might have me doing more harm than good.” His gaze drops to his hands again. “That might have already happened. I don’t want to make things worse.”

“Tallel.” Taavi turns more toward his son, prompting Tal to look up again. “Is this about mindhealing or morality? Because it sounds like you might be confusing the two.”

The caravan second shakes his head, looking mildly frustrated with himself. “Maybe there’s a little of both. But the main thing is that I want to gain a better understanding of thinking and the things that affect how certain thinking comes about. That falls under mindhealing.” His fingers unlace, hands turning palms-up. “It can only help me. If it can’t shed any light on what I’m trying to understand, I’ll at least have the benefit of adding to my skills by studying. Who knows when it might come in handy?”

Taavi gives a conceding tilt of his head. “True enough. But there’s something you need to remember, Tallel. There are things among the Zingari that have suffered under suspicion and even superstition over the centuries, and mindhealing is one of those things. Dealing with mind-sicknesses has always been difficult because there’s so little to be done when it’s based in the invisible. What I have in my hides might not help you much. Shells, some of it will probably just make you angry,” he notes ruefully. “You’re welcome to it, but honestly…you might consider going to the Healers at the Weyr for help, if this is really something you want to pursue.”

Tallel considers all this quietly, unsurprised at what he’s hearing and nodding along. While he has respect for the Healer Hall, he hasn’t ever truly considered any sort of study with them, even after Willimina opened the caravan to people going off to the Halls. Now, listening to his father, it seems like something he should have tried a long time ago…though his family has been the priority. “I think I just may,” he tells Taavi, sitting up straight now. “It’ll have to be second to Willa and the kids, especially now, but…I’ll find a way to fit it in. In the meantime, I’ll still take whatever you might have.” Eyeroll-inducing though it may prove to be.

“Of course.” Taavi reaches over to squeeze his son’s shoulder and picks up the stirring spoon again. “Where’s your mother? Ellekha!” He lifts his chin to call out to the general area. “You didn’t freeze in place, did you?”

The playfully indignant response that drifts in from the other side of his parents’ wagon has Tallel snickering as he rises, sidling over a bit to check on the klah that dangles from the tripod over the smaller fire next to the main. It’s time to forget more serious concerns for a little while, to enjoy dinner and catching up with his parents. He’ll have time for the hides later…and time to consider just how to go about what he intends on the way back home. As far as trying to come to terms with what Echo has chosen and mending things with his cousin, learning seems to be the path of least resistance.

For him, it always has been.

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