[LF] Reunion [K 2.6]

edited November 2012 in In-Game
After dressing up and cutting your hair, grabbing Claw, you head out onto the street. People are already heading to work in the docks and stores are beginning to open. You notice there are guards on every corner, but you're able to avoid them deftly.

You make your way to Mama Feng's, a seamstress shop where Mama and her four sisters and their sixteen daughters are work day and night to create enough clothing to sell each day to keep everyone fed. The few husbands and sons are all off in the Earth King Army and they don't have a single bender among them. This is where Ip used to work as a hired hand, a protector and well, a big brother sometimes. They all live in that house and it is pretty cramped, usually a couple girls to a bed, hammocks, too.

The house sits at the end of a ramshackle cul-de-sac, butted up near the outer wall. It doesn't get light there with the rest of the city due to shadows, so the place looks like night. But you can see candles lit in the windows and the ladies are hard at work. As you get closer, you see Boot is sitting up on a broken wall beside the shop, picking at his toes with a knife. He's trying to look casual, but you know he's on sentry duty right now. Which is a bummer, but he doesn't even see you until you're near and when he does, he does not recognize you.
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  • I'm so relieved to see Boot, that the Clay Street Gang is here, but I don't wave in greeting or even really acknowledge him. I don't know if anybody is watching. So I just walk into the shop like I'm an errand boy or something. Once inside, I look for Mama Feng. She's always been a sort of surrogate mother to us girls, despite having a houseful of her own daughters.

    I make my way over to her and bow respectfully, like any good errand boy. Then I look her in the eyes and whisper. "Mama Feng...it's Dare. Is Dash here?"

    My whisper trembles slightly, despite my best intentions. The gravity of my situation is beginning to set heavily on my shoulders, and I just want to see Dash and have him tell me everything is going to be ok.
  • When you enter, you see six girls busy with needlepoint, sitting on the floor. You catch sight of Min among them, busy at work. Then when you come up to Mama Feng, who is in the kitchen working on breakfast, you pass by a side room where you glimpse a very frustrated Mew Mew who has a bandage on each fingertip of her left hand and you overhear one of Mama Feng's sisters saying, "Well, you can cut the cloth lengths then, dear. You can do that, right?" She's trying to sound encouraging, but you can tell she's given up on Mew Mew's ability to be terribly helpful.

    Mama Feng notices you as soon as you walk in the kitchen. She looks worried when she recognizes you, "Dare, are you alright?" She pulls you into a hug before answering you. She's a grandmotherly woman, plump and short, but she's hard to refuse. She pulls you back and you feel her run a hand behind your head to feel the frayed edges of your hair and she frowns, "Dash and Canlid took off this morning, said they had something to do, weren't forthright with details, you know boys... why did you cut your hair? Are you hungry? How is Ip, Canlid said you went to see him."

    A couple girls about your age come in to see Mama Feng and see you both. One of them, frail Tiss, you don't get along with her. What happened between you when you two were really young?
  • The disappointment that floods me when I hear that Dash isn't here stings. "I'm ok. I—"

    I break off when Tiss walks in the room. I don't like Tiss and she doesn't like me. When we were younger we spent a lot more time here at Mama Feng's. Tiss has always had a crush on Dash, and I suppose that's why I initially disliked her. Tiss has perfected the innocent look, but I know the truth. Behind that sweet face she is a schemer. Whenever Dash is around, she plays up her frailness, asking him to help her do everything. And Dash loves to help, so of course he complies. Well, more than complies. I've seen him look at her. It makes me want to punch her.

    But well, I've done that. When we were really young she told me that Dash liked her better than me. I lost my temper and punched her, like I would Canlid. Well, she fell down and broke her arm and screamed bloody murder. Worse was the lecture from Mama Feng. Worse still was the lecture from Dash.

    She's always been frail and sickly, but in the past year, she's transformed into a sort of delicate beauty, like a fragile doll. I feel the loss of my hair even more now, my face flushing self consciously.

    I turn back to Mama Feng, pointedly ignoring Tiss. "I'm starving." I say honestly. "Ip is his regular self. Prison seems to be treating him ok. Can I take some food to the back room?" I'd rather be alone right now, or at least not around Tiss.
  • Tiss answers, "Of course you can have something to eat, Dairy." Tiss answers in her mocking little sing-song voice that Mama Feng mistakes for being helpful, like she always does. Mama Feng squeezes your shoulders then moves back to working on food, leaving you to Tiss.

    She glides over to an icebox, saying, "Your hair is interesting, Dairy. Where would you get such a bold style? I'd say you and Moo Moo are practically sisters now!" She pulls up a large covered bowl of congeee that is brown and you see some mushrooms and some white meat in it. She takes that over to spoon out a portion into a smaller bowl for you and shares, "It was so nice to spend some time with Dash earlier this morning before he left. He's grown into such a wonderful man. He asked me what I thought him joining the army, did you know he was planing on that?" Its obvious she hopes this is a shock, then she prattles on, "I told him it was good enough for my brothers and uncles, he would love it. And he could earn enough wage to afford to have a family. He really wants to have one, you know. This congee is for you, Dairy." She hands you the bowl, smiling sweetly.
  • I smile a tight fake smile and take the bowl. "Of course I know." I say sharply. "I told him he could do better, but of course some of us have higher ideals than just being another Earth Kingdom soldier. I think Dash could be whatever he wants."

    I turn on my heel and stalk towards the back room. But first I pass by the side room where Mew Mew is, and I stick my head in. "Mew Mew." I hiss at her. "Back room."

    I continue on without really bothering to see if she recognized me. What Tiss said is bothering me more than I let on, or tried to not let on. I know Dash wants to have a family eventually. I don't know what my future holds anymore. Being on the run forever? More prison time? Dash could join the army, have a career, get married....

    I don't know if I fit in that picture. I push through the door and stop in the middle of the back room where I know the Clay Street Gang has been staying. It's really more of a large closet than a room, and from the looks of it, everyone's been sleeping pretty squished together. I turn to wait for Mew Mew, still holding the bowl of congee numbly.
  • Mew Mew looks up at you eyes wide when you address her. She shoves the cloth in the older woman's hands and scrambles after you. Once you enter, she comes in right away and shuts the door, "You're out? Your hair! What's that, a baby cat-owl?" Then she hugs you, careful not to touch Claw and there's a moment where you feel that bond she's always playing cagey about and she draws back from you slowly. She isn't crying, not at all. Her eyes look a little glassy and she looks rather relieved to see you.
  • I hug her back tightly and when she pulls back and looks at me, I burst. I have to tell someone and Dash isn't here and I'm having a bit of a breakdown. The words pour out in a whispered rush. "Mew Mew...I...I'm in trouble. I didn't...I broke out. I attacked guards. I'm..." My eyes overflow and I clutch the bowl for something to hold onto. "I helped another prisoner escape. She had kids. She needed to get back to her kids. And I...I'm a...I'm a firebender." I search her face desperately. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to lie to you. I just...everyone hates me...and you all didn't, and I didn't want to ruin it...but I probably did. I ruined everything. I can't go back, and Haidong is probably furious and Jun Da is sick and I don't know what my father will do. I'm a vassal. Or I was. I don't know what I am now. I mean...besides a criminal."

    I bite off my panicked words and stare at her miserably. Will she hate me now? I don't think I can stand it if Clay Street turns me away.
  • edited November 2012
    Mew Mew's face runs through several flavors of shock as the damn breaks loose and you tell her your entire secret world. She pauses for a moment, her face still unreadable until finally, "A firebender? Wow. I mean, Chopsticks always said you had their skin, but he figured you were a mix, you know? Like some Firebender father and a servant mother in Upper, something like that. But we never listened to Chopsticks..." She frowns a bit, then puts her arms on your gently, avoiding Claw, "Dare, we always knew you weren't like us exactly. I mean, your skin, your manners, even the way you move and talk. You had a secret life."

    She smirks a bit, "We talked about it for forever, it was a game, guessing where you went all the time. But Dash held a meeting and we talked about if we really cared who you were when you went away. And we decided, every one of us, that we don't. When you're here, you're Clay Street. Ok? I don't know what kind of trouble you're in, but we're always in some kind of trouble down here in Lower, right? We just need to ride it out, stay hidden and be smart."

    Then, like something clicks in her head her expression changes and she quips, "Hey! I just figured it out! THAT'S how you beat me at the six candle ceremony! You dirty little cheater!"

    So, did you cheat at the six candle ceremony? Not that Mew Mew will ever believe you now that she has an excuse.
  • I gape at her a second, and then I start laughing. Of all the things...ok, yes, I did cheat at the six candle ceremony. It was a silly, stupid thing, but I wanted to impress them. Mew Mew was the reigning champion. No one had been able to beat her for years, until I came along. And cheated. It was so long ago....I'm surprised she even remembers.

    "Guilty." I tell her, grinning and wiping my eyes. I slide down to sit against the wall, plucking Claw off my shoulder and putting him on the floor. I look up at her and pat the ground next to me, waiting till she sits to continue. The thought of them all unanimously deciding that they didn't care who I was outside of Clay Street makes me feel warm inside. "I guess I owe you the whole story, huh?" I say ruefully. I take a couple bites of my food and watch Claw try to walk across the blankets. He keeps getting his sharp little claws stuck in them.

    "My other name is Keela." I say quietly once I swallow. "My father is a Fire Nation noble. I was sent to live here, raised by a Earth Kingdom noble as a gesture of good will between our nations. I was so angry. I didn't want to leave my home. I tried to run away a lot at first. That's when Dash found me. When he took me back to all of you....you just assumed I was one of you. You welcomed me, you were nice to me. And...and I was so lonely and homesick. You let me be a part of your family. And I just couldn't bring myself to tell you the truth. I was so afraid you would hate me if you knew who I was, and I didn't want to lose the only happiness I had left to me."

    I take another bite of food and then I tell her everything. How Jun Da is dying, how his horrible family moved in, how it became harder and harder to escape to come here. I tell her about the prison and Haidong's deal and finding Rui and fighting Talon and Suli and Jialee. I just talk, and it's a relief to get everything out in the open. Mew Mew is like an older sister to me. I've wanted to be able to talk to her for so long. Especially....especially about Dash. So I keep going. I tell her about Dash...and how I saw him in the prison and how he almost kissed me. "I...I think..." I flush and look back down at Claw. "I wanted to kiss him back." I confess in a whisper. My free hand comes up to touch the shorn edges of my hair. "Do you love Boot?" I add, glancing sideways at her.
  • When you sit Mew Mew down, she slides next to you and listens as you reveal all your little secrets. She reaches down to take your hand and squeezes it warmly. As you tell her about your family and vassalage, she is amazed. You know she's always had a little bit of wonder about nobles, never been out of Ba Sing Se and never above Middle Ring.
    Keela"And I just couldn't bring myself to tell you the truth. I was so afraid you would hate me if you knew who I was, and I didn't want to lose the only happiness I had left to me."
    Mew Mew actually gives you an "Awww" then follows up with, "You're Clay Street, Dare. I mean, Keela." That seems to be enough for her.

    She lets you eat a couple bits and then talk about your Earth Kingdom "family" troubles. Its obvious she doesn't really understand the trouble with a nattering selfish noble family, but she lets you have it out and she doesn't ignore it. It just, doesn't really click for her. Now when you spill about Dash, she leans in, rapt with attention, engrossed in the dishy comments about the two of you. When you admit you wanted to kiss him, her eyes sparkle and she gets a wide grin. Which falters when you broach the subject of Boot. You see it, her eyes shift and she draws back and her mouth twitches. You releases your hand and draws her knees up to her chest. But you've been so honest with her and you can see it stripped away the walls between you and she takes a breath and huffs it out, then says, "Boot and I..."

    That's when the door opens and interrupts you. Min stands there, looking elated but trying to look cross, "Mew Mew! You had Dare in here and hid her from me! I should kick your scrawny butt!" Then she hops down to throw her arms around you, Keela and she squeezes tight, "Oh Dare, I'm so glad you're here! I was so scared for you! Muh-wha... your hair?!?"

    You realize Mew Mew has slid away from you and is standing near the door. She looks like part of her wants to leave, but she won't.
  • I hug Min back and attempt to keep a smile on my face when she mentions my hair. "Yeah...my hair." I say unhappily. "I...well...it's a long story. Do you know when Dash and Canlid will be back? I'd rather tell it to all of you." I glance sideways at Mew Mew. Min doesn't need to know I already told Mew Mew. She'd just get jealous.
  • Min looks at you, then up to Mew Mew. You get the feeling she thinks something was going on, but this time she doesn't push it, she's excited to have you here, "They will be back for lunch. That's what Dash told Boot. In the meantime, we need to get back to work, Mew Mew. We agreed to help out to pay for lodging. This was a pretty toasty place to sleep and the food was delicious, so you need to stop lollygagging, okay?"

    Min stands up and reaches down to help you up, too, "C'mon Dare, you've got nimble fingers, let me teach you the new stitch!"

    Unless you resist or need to leave, we can probably skip time to lunch, right?
  • red
    edited November 2012
    I shove the last few mouthfuls of food in my mouth and let Min pull me up, nodding in agreement. I'm feeling much better now that I'm full and I talked to Mew Mew. The thought of seeing Dash is still a nervous tickle in my stomach though. He'll see me here with my chopped hair, right next to beautiful Tiss. Then I'll have to tell him I'm a firebender...and Mew Mew took it ok, but what if he doesn't? But I just swallow and force a smile at Min and follow her out to the sewing room, after putting Claw back on my shoulder of course.

    Let's skip time to lunch!
  • You head into the main room with Min and sit down to begin sewing with her. The twins, Lial and Shurn, teach you the new stitch and time passes surprisingly quickly, the work helping you keep your mind off of things. Then you smell sweet rolls and honey and the thoughts of lunch come creeping back.

    Before long, Boot comes inside the front door with Canlid behind him. Sure enough, Tiss comes in from a side room at just the right moment to be closer to them than you when Dash walks in. She calls to him right as you're trying to finish a stitch and move out from underneath the large sheet. He sees her first, of course, and misses you completely as he walks in.

    Tiss runs up to give him a hug, throwing her frail arms around him. You notice Dash looks like he's been running along rooftops and he doesn't return the hug, he's more shocked by it.

    Then you hear Canlid call, "Hey girls! There's a BOY over there sewing with you, not sure if you NOTICED!" He's pointing at you and smirking. Then Boot catches on and comes over to pick you up into a bear hug, "Dare! Hey everybody, Dare's here!"
  • I'm standing, trying to get out from under the sheet, my eyes on Dash and Tiss, but then Canlid is pointing at me and then Boot has me in a bear hug. I return his hug tightly, thankful that he just cut off my view of Dash so I can compose myself. But then he puts me down and my eyes go back to Dash like a magnet.

    I give him a wobbly smile. "Hey." I say, trying not to look at Tiss...or notice how good they look together.
  • Tiss turns a bit with the commotion, but when you look at Dash, you see she's slipped under his arm, the sly little thing. He gives you a warm, thankful smile, then says, "I'm glad, uhm, to see you, Dare. We, ah, looked all over for you..."

    Canlid interrupts, "We went ALL OVER, Dare. Dash was really worried, I thought he was going to CRY!" Canlid starts making gasping noises like he's about to break down sobbing and puts his hands to his eyes in a dramatic fashion. Boot snickers. You even hear Mew Mew chortle a bit.

    Dash gently puts his hands on Tiss's shoulders and eases himself away from her and comes over to elbow Canlid and mutters, "Shaddup." Then he comes up to pull you into a warm hug. As he does, you feel his strong hands on your back, his left on your lower back, his right on your spine between your shoulder blades. He hugs you for a bit even though Canlid makes some retching noises and Min joins in on the snickering, just a little giggle. Then it registers that he doesn't feel your braid. He pulls you back and cocks his head in a question, "Are you... alright?"
  • I hug him tightly back, my face pressed into his shoulder. I feel a lot better now that he left Tiss to come give me a hug, and to know that he and Canlid were out looking for me. His warmth is so comforting. I feel his hand move on my back, searching, and it's not until he pulls back and looks at me that I realize he hadn't even noticed my shorn hair before.

    But now I need to tell the truth, and that still scares me. "I need to talk to you. All of you." I say in a low voice, avoiding his question. "Back room?"
  • Min heads over to Mama Feng and within a few moments you're all together, sitting on the floor with warm bowls of noodle soup and rice. Everyone is pretty happy. Boot and Mew Mew are sitting a little close together. Dash is beside you.
  • I play with the noodles in my soup with my chopsticks instead of eating them, and wait for a little bit until everyone is settled. Then I clear my throat a little to get everyone's attention, like Dash does when he has an important announcement. My stomach flutters nervously as I wait for them to quiet, which happens all too quickly. So I take a breath, catch Mew Mew's eye for courage, and dive in.

    I tell them how I broke out of prison, who I really am, where I go when I'm not with them. I tell them everything, minus all that stuff about Dash of course. I end up talking to my bowl of soup halfway through because I'm too scared to meet anybody's eye. It comes out a little better than it did with Mew Mew. I guess a practice round was a good idea. I still stutter a little when I announce I'm a firebender. And after that, I pick up speed like I'm afraid to let anyone cut in. I apologize countless times. I can only hope that if they understand anything, it's how sorry I am for lying for so long.

    "So that's the truth. And I'll understand if you want me to leave. But the other day, you offered to let me stay with you." How much has changed since Dash told me that in the shadow of the zoo wall. "And if that offer still stands...I...I want to. And it's not because I can't go back to the Upper Ring. I...I've always wanted to stay here, with all of you. But I wasn't free to make that choice. Now I am. And this is what I choose, if you'll have me." I gather my courage and glance up at their faces.
  • The group sits quietly, munching on food and giving you time to tell your story. Min and Canlid are amazed, really blown away. Dash, of course, knew some of this, he spends half his time listening, the other half watching the group. Mew Mew, she nods along, still intrigued the second time around, pretending to be hearing it the first time. You notice that Boot crosses his arms pretty early on and he doesn't seem too happy about this big revelation. While Min nods along with the apologies you offer, Boot is not buying it.

    Finally you ask if you can stay with them and before Dash even has a chance to speak, Boot cuts in, "Dare," you realize he isn't calling you Keela, even though you told him that a minute ago, "You're bring a lot of trouble to us now. You shouldn't have run away. Now Muh...MIN and Mew Mew are going to be in trouble, too. You hurt a guard, you escaped their prison. They can't let it go." You glance at Mew Mew and she looks mortified, she grabs his arm to try and quiet Boot, but he shrugs it off, "You stay with us, people will know. None of us will get away with it now. You put us all in prison. I think you should go..."

    Dash uses his I've had enough voice, "Boot, that's enough. Keela is smart, she knows this already. Look at what she did to her hair, she's trying to lay low. She is a noble. I'm sure we can work something out. Maybe Jun Da's kids will grease some palms just so she can get out of their hair. Sounds like all they want is koku, so what does a Fire Nation girl get them? Probably nothing."

    Boot stands up angrily, "You don't even know, Dash. You-you're just making it up so you can keep her around! That's selfish. This is really dumb. I'm going. Min, Mew Mew, let's go."

    Both of the girls glance at you, Keela. Min looks worried, emotional, unsure, Mew Mew, she's torn, really torn about this.
  • I'm staring at Boot, an anguished look on my face. I mean, this is what I expected, but I wasn't really prepared for how badly it would hurt. I never wanted Boot to look at me like that. Never. He gets to his feet and tells the girls to come with him, but I jump to my feet too.

    "No." I choke out, trying hard not to burst into tears. "No, Boot's right. Boot, don't...don't leave. I...I'll leave. It's not fair to any of you that I'm here. I don't want you to get into trouble. That's....that's the last thing I want. I'll find...I'll find somewhere else." I glance at Boot again, and my face crumples up. I don't dare look at Dash. I dart forward towards the door, causing Claw to dig into my shoulder to hold on.
  • "Keela!" Dash commands, then he softens, "Stay. Just for a minute, please? If we need to split up until we fix this, then we will, but we should talk for a minute."

    Out of the corner of your eye, you see Boot, arms still crossed, hesitate and turn to give Dash a chance to say his piece. He doesn't look open to it, but he hasn't left. Maybe because he knows Min and Mew Mew wouldn't leave with him, maybe out of respect. Maybe both.

    "Keela, Boot's right, I don't know anything about nobles. How you all live up there, all that." He pauses, realizing too late he just off-handedly insulted you. Then he tries to cover, "Listen. If I went to them and acted like a messenger from you, do you think they would call off the guards if you just... went away?"
  • I stop immediately when Dash says my name like that, my real name. I'm standing right in front of the door and I don't turn around at first, but I stop. My shoulders are shaking and I'm trying really hard to get myself under control. It helps a little that Boot stops too. Dash says his piece and I just stand there with my back to them, but finally I roughly wipe my eyes and turn around to face him.

    "I don't know." I answer hoarsely. "I...Haidong was more worried about me disgracing the family name than anything else. I guess...I guess I haven't done that yet. The guards only know me as Dare. So I have some leverage. But...I don't know...I don't know what they'd do to you, Dash. Haidong knows who you are now...he...he knows I...know you. And they...they're probably really angry at me." I glance miserably at Boot.
  • Canlid hops up, "I'll go! I'll go tell those nobles to back off!""

    Then Min talks over him, "Stuff it, Canlid, you'll get us all in trouble. They wouldn't even let you past the Upper Ring gates. I'm young, I know some manners. I can go, they don't know me. This all happened because of me anyway. I want to help. Please Dash... Keela."

    Boot barks,"No way. No way, Dash. This is not running, we aren't following the rules. Let her go."

    Dash drops his voice when he replies, using his we're doing what I say now voice, "Boot, Keela is Clay Street. As much as you. As much as any of us. We don't abandon our family."

    With that, Boot drops his arms from being crossed and pushes past you to leave.
  • I grab Boot's arm as he pushes past me. "Boot, please." I beg him. "Please don't leave." I don't want to break up the gang. I'd rather leave than let that happen. "I have an idea...will you at least hear me out?"
  • Let's see if you can convince Boot to stay and hear you out. difficulty two.
  • I can be Charming sometimes. I have good Charisma and Presence.

    Using 1 dice from the pool.

    #DiceRoller( 5d6 )
  • Seeing that Mew Mew and Min aren't leaving, and remembering that you've never led him wrong before, Boot huffs, then turns and leans against the door instead of opening it. He crosses his arms again, "Go on, Dare."
  • I give Boot a thankful glance and then turn back to the others. "I don't want any of you to go up to the Upper Ring." I hold up my hand to stop any protests, looking specifically at Dash. "No. It's too dangerous. But I know someone who can. There's a girl in the Middle Ring prison, her name is Rui. We grew up together. She was one of my best friends in the Fire Nation. She should get out of prison soon, and when she does, I think she could help me. She could deliver a message to the Upper Ring, and then they won't know any of you are involved with me. And if they say no, then I'll leave. I promise. I won't stay here and put you in danger."
  • Canlid exclaims, "Whoah, there must be Fire Nation everywhere! The Zoo, Clay Street, the prisons!"

    Mew Mew shakes her head and looks straight at Boot when she answers, "Its a better plan than sending one of us up there. We will do it." And like that, Mew Mew basically tells Boot and Dash what's going to happen. Min stands up beside her and then Canlid laughs at how uncomfortable Dash and Boot get and it feels like they agree, too. Or don't bother to disagree, which is mostly the same thing.
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