Breaking at the seams

Alexis saw Gonuayl's silhouette up ahead framed against the luminescent plants. Or at least she assumed it to be his shadow.

Voah followed behind slowly, wondering why the two have decided to leave camp one after the other. She was convinced they wanted to talk away from her. And she intended to catch them in the act. The air in the cave smelled pure and fresh and there is a raw quality to it as if they could taste ozone. No one noticed Tarmen slipping from the cave taking the path they came from.

Alexis decided to stay on her guard at least until she could confirm it was indeed her friend.

She called out to him again.

Suddenly, the silhouette seemed to melt downward. Gonyaul had knelt down and undid the top of his outfit to access the hidden pocket that was near the right upper sleeve interior. He carefully used the long sleeves endings to handle the few plants he was able to uproot and placed them inside, securing them.

The silhouette returned in their field of vision as he stood back up and continued to the waterfall area like an insect towards a bright light. He was trying to appreciate its marvelous design as well as deduce how it worked.

Walking through the spray and mist, he looked like he had just gotten out of a pool. His long hair was no longer up in a bun, instead it was cascading down his backside like a waterfall of darkness.

He still couldn’t hear them due to the noise. But the water falling wouldn’t last forever and the silence of the large space would return.

Arriving at the edge of the pool he paused to take it all in. He then took a few very deep breathes and enjoyed the distinctive feeling when interacting with it.

Alexis cautiously followed the shadowy frame to the waterfall, glancing around every now and then.
Feeling the spray of the rushing water, she moved slightly sideways now, shielding her torch.
She would have to wait for another pause of the water falling, it seemed she could not be heard over it.

When it finally did stop, she tried again.


Voah, not holding a torch, followed Alexis as closely as she could through the dark path, still chewing a small handful of dried fruit and nuts.

She picked her teeth with her tongue as she watched and listened in unreasonable vexation. Needing to know what they were meeting about.

He once again couldn’t hear their calls. But suddenly the waterfall stopped. Gonyaul got as close, as possible, view of how it shut itself at the top to prevent the flow from descending into the pool below. His eyes sparkled with amazement. That was impressive, he thought.

He watched the rest of the water plummet into the pool and sending up a splash of water that hit him and sent him back a few steps to keep his balance. He felt invigorated by the cool liquid, he spat some out that got in his mouth and let out a snippet of a laugh.

The roar of water stopped and the sound of silence took over, save the sound of water moving gently. He conjectured it was the sound of the pool draining.

The mercenary finally was close enough she could see it was indeed Gonyaul.

Breathing a sigh of relief, she covered the rest of the distance and stepped next to him, turning her back to the pool with the torch held closer to her in preparation for the next bout of water to fall.

She addressed him with some exasperation lacing her voice.

“Please don’t just sneak off like that. We don’t know if it’s safe here.”

Gonyaul whipped around, surprised by his name because he didn’t know he was being followed. He was drenched and looked like he was beaming with joy. After hearing her tone and catching the glimpses of their expressions, his smile faded. He realized he had gone and done something he shouldn’t have by their expectations.

In truth he felt like it was safer out here than back with them based on how things were escalating.

“I sorry” he said apologetically.

Alexis sighed.

“It’s fine. You’re alright, that’s all that matters.”

She looked up to the awe-inducing construction.

“Should have guessed something like that would draw you in like a moth to the flame.”

Gonyaul smile returned as he nodded.

“It so interesting.” His tone was saturated with wonderment.

He went on to try and quickly describe with his words and hands performing a duet of how the thing seemed to work.

Voah imagined their words and gestures as complimentary words about one another and insults about herself. Though… she wasn’t close enough to really make out any words.

Alexis indulged him and listened, quite easily so, as the artisan side of her was genuinely interested.

“Interesting. Maybe it collects a certain amount of water up there, until it’s weight pushes the shutter down?”

As much as she enjoyed a conversation without vitriol being spit at her right now, they should probably return soon.

He was inclined to agree with her, but felt it needed hands to give what it really looked like in action justice. He then gestures to Alexis.

“And air is breathing winter breath and water feel surprise birth.” He took another deep breath.

He was not yet aware of Voah being there.

Alexis chuckled. At least someone was enjoying himself.
She nodded towards the camp.

“Sorry to cut into your fun, but we should probably go back.”

He nodded without resistance. He was aware of how important it was to listen and do whatever Alexis asked when on mission. He began walking away from the edge of the pool to go alongside her for the walk back.

“I get plant samples too.” He stated.

“Glow stops when pulled out.” He said with a hint of disappointment.

Before Voah could confront the two about their secret liaison near the pond she clearly saw a figure standing in the archway to the north, black against the dim light reflecting from the cave. It stood there for a few heartbeats before it disappeared into one of the north passageways.

Forget it. She didn’t need the drama. Voah would do what she did for the past decade and close off her concerns to the opinions of others. They were no different than the failed, persecuting students she has surpassed in training. Feeling paranoid and a little heartbroken, the Arbiter headed back to see if Tarmen would at least be willing to join her in following the figure in the distance.

Approaching the camp, the Arbiter noticed that Tarmen had disappeared. She sighed with another note of frustration. The bastard must have been a coward and decided to abandon them… Either that or he was as fed up with these two as she was.

Voah grabbed up her things and decided to go her own. Her time practicing stealth while stalking and hunting with Hunter should pay off.

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