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Listen to the Earth

Listen to the Earth

Started by Xiaodan Tachibana

Jun 11, 2018, 01:56 PM

Dated March 28, 76

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28 Posts 25 Years Female Black Hair Brown Eyes 5'4'' Jihon Ujalin House Tachibana
Jun 11, 2018, 01:56 PM 353 Words Last Edit: Jun 28, 2018, 01:43 AM by dragonborn
Three empaths with no training. She had had a lot handed to her at once, but it was worth it, to have the help healing the woman, it was worth it to reunite her with her remaining family members. Xiaodan didn't mind - and the chance to learn more about her magic and how it could be used was invaluable, if terrifying on its own. It had been a few days, and where she'd started with all three of them was figuring out what they could sense and if they could identify what it was. From there, figuring out if they could tell who it was.

She'd been reunited with her brother, and Xiaodan was happy about that, genuinely. She still wished he didn't know the truth. If he could play ignorant it would probably be safer but well. It was not to be, she supposed.

It was early, perhaps two hours after dawn or so. She was sitting in the garden off to one side. Xiaodan was trying to be out of the way, but she'd wanted a few moments of peace before she went back to teaching or... healing or practicing her own magic. Just  moment to breathe and take in the morning air.

The young woman had started humming under her breath at some point, with her eyes closed. But it was in that relaxed state that she thought for a moment that she sensed someone coming, so of course, dark eyes opened and she half turned to face the direction she thought they were coming from. It was possible they'd go somewhere else though, she knew that. Still, Xiaodan was just a bit too much on edge to want to be caught entirely off guard. Assassins, they did happen on rare occasion - though they didn't usually get as far as the garden.

@Zozma When you're ready~. Let me know if you need anything changed.

39 Posts 34 Years Female
Life in House Essair was turning out to be quite different than anything that Zhihao was accustomed to. Customs were different, manners were different, everything was so different. The way people to spoke to one another, the way they approached one another... Zhihao was still taking it in, quietly stunned for the moment. 

Back home, Zhihao was much more open-hearted. He was adventurous, curious, and maybe a tad mischievous. Outside of his comfort zone, however, he was stiff and silent. He was terrified of making one wrong move--and already felt as if he'd made several. The master of the house still intimidated him and he constantly had to tell himself to keep every spare bit of advice he'd been given in mind. It was stressful and he didn't feel natural in the least. 

Robotically, he made his way to the garden. Gardens made his soul feel peaceful and it was so early in the morning that he thought nobody else would be there. Besides, he wasn't feeling very well. He woke up hours ago with a banging headache and a strained feeling of dread. His skin didn't feel like his own. He felt... restless. 

Nervous, he checked the astronomer's guide. Not tonight. But soon. 

Where would he go? Somebody would know. That man... That man that knew what he was. Surely they would have some kind of contingency plan for him. Or others like him. Not in the garden, though. That would still be a terrible place to change. It was with this thought that he stopped abruptly in his tracks. Somebody else was already in the garden. There. The humming came from a girl. Zhihao quickly stepped backwards--and right into a bush that seemed to swallow him.

28 Posts 25 Years Female Black Hair Brown Eyes 5'4'' Jihon Ujalin House Tachibana
At some point after her senses had gone somewhat on alert, she had stopped humming so that she could hear better. Xiaodan thought for a moment that whoever it was had decided to go elsewhere. The girl had started to close her eyes again, and then the sound of someone colliding with a bush jarred her into paying attention again. This time the young woman rose from her place and began to move towards where she'd heard the sound.

After a moment, she stopped cocking her head slightly to one side as she regarded him for a moment in quiet - not entirely sure what to make of the scene before her. Her arms were crossed close to her body, probably making her seem even smaller than she was. Certainly Xiaodan wasn't an imposing sort, and her expression held a friendliness in its expression.

"Are you okay?" She asked him after only a moment of assessment. His emotions didn't seem to indicate he meant any harm, of course. And then there was the fact that the girl was sure she'd seen him here and there at mealtimes. Yes, she thought this one was one of the guests of the house, though admittedly Xiaodan didn't really know his name immediately. She should have, she thought, but it was escaping her.

39 Posts 34 Years Female
"Uh, yep!"

He let out an embarrassed laugh as he attempted to disentangle himself from the sharp brambles of whatever plant he'd decided to fall butt-first into. It was an awkward angle to be found at--half sitting in a plant while trying to push himself safely out. Safety wasn't happening, though. His arms were already covered in scratches and his predicament was only made worse by his ungainly attempt to extricate himself from the thorns. 

Once he'd finally freed himself, he brushed himself off and stood as tall as possible to show he was above such disasters. 

"I misstepped," he informed her, as if this wasn't already obvious. Nobody went blending into plants unless they were some kind of creep. Or perhaps an assassin. He regarded her with suspicion but she didn't look like the type of person to have assassins on her tail. Actually...

Actually, though, she did look pretty familiar. Like he'd seen her somewhere before he left home. 

"Zhihao Zhu," he said to her, lowering his head briefly by way of introduction. 

28 Posts 25 Years Female Black Hair Brown Eyes 5'4'' Jihon Ujalin House Tachibana
"Well I figured." She was frowning a hair, attention on the scratches on his arm. Xiaodan almost itched to try and heal them, simply because they looked painful and she knew she could. On the other hand, he was still familiar and the only people who should be particularly familiar were Jihonese, and uh, well. They didn't tend to take magic very well, so probably she should keep her hands to herself. Yeah, that was a better idea.

"I'm sorry though, because that looked painful." It did. If nothing else he should probably get those cleaned up but she didn't say that either. He would... probably know that.

And then he introduced himself, and suddenly she knew who she was talking to. Yes, she should keep her magic to herself indeed. Xiaodan's gaze lowered from his face almost immediately, lingering near the ground as was appropriate. "I'm Xiaodan." A pause, for a heartbeat. "Ah, Tachibana." Better to give him her birth house than her husband's name. At least her brother Haku was here and would support her using the name if it came down to it.

When she introduced herself, she dipped her head and shoulders more deeply before straightening up. Her gaze stayed lowered, but she was sort-of watching him through her eyelashes. "I can't say I was expecting to see you here." House Zhu... hm.

39 Posts 34 Years Female
Another embarrassed laugh. He ran a hand through his hair.

"No, no. Don't be. It's my own fault." Well. Kinda. She startled him into stepping backward but she didn't put the bush there and he was the idiot who lost his balance and got himself all tangled up in it. Discreetly, he looked down at his arms to try and assess the damage without looking too obvious about it. It felt like a thousand little paper cuts. 


His gaze swung back up. Tachibana. "As in Haku?"

Well, this was surprising. Two Tachibanas? At the same house? With Zhihao? Now things were getting interesting. Also, a little suspicious. Was there a reason why House Essair was acting as a home for refugees? Lowering his hand, Zhihao watched Xiaodan carefully but if anything, she seemed to be as demure as any woman he'd ever met back home. Was this Haku's wife? Sister? He should have paid more attention to the other Houses back home. 

"It happened on accident... of a sort," Zhihao said, not sure how much to reveal. If he told her about the transformation thing--magic--she would probably hiss and start throwing salt at him. "I'm staying here until I figure things out. What about you?" 

28 Posts 25 Years Female Black Hair Brown Eyes 5'4'' Jihon Ujalin House Tachibana
A slight little inward wince. "Yes, Haku is my brother." She said after a moment of debating to make sure there was nothing particularly harmful in that statement. It'd be fine, as long as she didn't share her magic. And yet, here in Dalmasca, eventually her magic would be shown. If he was staying here, eventually he would hear of her careful empathy lessons, or of the fact that she herself was learning to handle her magic better.

There were so many mages in the house, he would almost have to come to terms with it eventually. That did not mean she wanted to be alone with him while he did so. House Zhu was formidable, and she did not know much about Zhihao in particular.

On.. accident. She didn't ask.

"Master Essair has been kind enough to allow me access to supplies to help heal a friend." That was a vast over simplification but it was more than he needed, all at the same time. "As for what brought me to Nydema... it's a little complicated." And she wasn't sure she was willing to share that with him just yet.

39 Posts 34 Years Female
"Ah, his sister."

Wasn't there some kind of... something about her back home? If there was, Zhihao had remained rather ignorant on the subject. Again, he found himself wishing he had paid more attention to politics. He was older than Kass, for example, and somehow he could never see himself leading House Zhu. Not right now, anyway. So what did that make him, then? Useless decoration? Little more than his own sisters? 

Zhihao looked down at the scratches on his arms again, thinking not of those injuries but of past injuries. The ones that led him here. The ones that sent him into a panic. If he couldn't learn to control it... He could only imagine what his family would think, what his father would think. He took in a soft breath, reminding himself to breathe. 

"It seems we're both here under unhappy circumstances," he said as he looked back up with a small smile. She wouldn't layer her words the way she did if she was here under celebratory reasons. Plus, she was here, with House Essair. It seemed like the refuge for outcasts. It made him wonder why she ended up here and he was dying of curiosity but he didn't ask for fear she'd turn the question on him. Even if she did, he was under no obligation to respond... but neither was she and he was in position to make enemies. 

"It's not so bad here. It's taking some getting used to but... it's not so bad." He paused. "Have you... made any friends yet?"

28 Posts 25 Years Female Black Hair Brown Eyes 5'4'' Jihon Ujalin House Tachibana
A slight nod in affirmation. ... She wondered what he had thought she was, but Xiaodan supposed anything was possible. It didn't really matter, she supposed if she'd had to have another husband, someone like Haku would have been nice. Provided, of course, they didn't remind her so much of her brother that she had a difficult time taking them seriously. That wasn't the point.

She could sense something deep inside him, empathy left many bare to her. She tried not to press with it, tried not to learn more than someone observant might. But his emotions were strong enough they were practically being shoved down her throat, despite his seemingly calm demeanor. Xiaodan wondered, idly, what it was that drove him so deeply. She wouldn't ask, she wouldn't press. Instead the young woman focused on a soothing tendril of calm, and extended it in hopes of calming something of his storm.

Mistrust danced in her gaze for a heartbeat before fading behind serenity. "So it would seem." She said finally. Allowing that was almost risky, she didn't know his circumstances, but then neither did he know hers. Unfortunately... Xiaodan did not know what had been said in the wake of her husband's death. She did not know how far the knowledge had spread nor what was spread about it. She would just... hope. That was the best she could do. And be ready in case he turned upon her.

"It does take some getting used to." She admitted mildly. "But Kassandros is a gracious host." So far he had been, at least. "Mm. Not really." She hadn't tried. For a moment she thought of the Ilim but... no. Xiaodan didn't think she could call him a friend yet, they had only met once. She hoped he was okay out there, somewhere.

[if anything in this bothers you pls lemme know!]

39 Posts 34 Years Female
Hm... Being around her somehow made him feel less... frenetic. He couldn't say why. All he could say was that she had a calming presence. He thought it was because she was familiar looking and he recognized the lilt of her accent. She came from his homeland and that put him at ease. Yes, that was it. Whatever it was, being with her made him feel more at ease than he had since arriving. Gently, he picked a stubborn thorn out of his arm and smiled slightly. 

He wasn't going to press her for details as to why she was here because he certainly had no intention of telling his story. Even if she did disarm him with her grace, her smile, and her humming, he wasn't ready to try and wrap his head around what happened to him. As homesick as he was and as badly as he wanted to return to a life of normalcy that he knew, he was also afraid. He didn't know if he'd ever be able to go back. Maybe he'd be stuck here forever. 

"He's a lot younger than I imagined a head of House," Zhihao admitted. "But he's been kind enough."

After the build up he'd experienced before meeting him, it turned out Kass was indeed a gracious host. He'd been nothing but kind so far. Zhihao just had to keep in mind not to try lying to him--he had no idea what would happen but he wasn't prepared to poke that beast. 

"I want friends," he said with a wry smile. "But I'm also not too keen on trusting anybody yet. If my father is to be believed, nobody in Dalmasca is to be trusted." 

[Everything's good!]

28 Posts 25 Years Female Black Hair Brown Eyes 5'4'' Jihon Ujalin House Tachibana
"I suppose he is." He was young, Xiaodan could agree. But this was Dalmasca and perhaps things were different here. Certainly he was doing a good job leading for one so young. She could not find fault with that - nor did she care to. It wasn't her place - he was helpful and very kind. He had saved lives and seemed to have united families in his home. "But I imagine something happened to cause it." Who knew what, but if he was the eldest and his father died then that would do it.

That was not something that fault could be found in. At least, Xiaodan didn't feel it was. Ah, but no one asked her, she was just a girl, after all.

"Well sometimes one must take a risk." Finally. "It is dangerous to make friends, even in Jihon." She said after a moment or two. "To befriend someone is to let them close enough to hurt you, though you must trust them not to. But, Zhihao, if you do not take risks, you do not grow."

Growth only came from stepping outside of one's comfort zone. It wasn't comfortable, but growing never was. "You must ask yourself which is more important, staying safe but stagnant, or taking risks and growing into the person you were meant to be."

39 Posts 34 Years Female
"Must one?" he mused. Did one have to take that risk? Zhihao didn't want to tell Xiaodan that somebody had already tried to kill him and that he'd been warned that trusting the wrong people would result in his death. Although some might have argued against the case, Zhihao didn't have a death wish. If he did, he wouldn't even be here, he'd say. Sighing, he rubbed the back of his head.

"You sound like one of my father's advisors," he said with a half smile. "But I don't think it's that easy. Trusting people isn't that easy."

After all, he could say he trusted somebody until he was blue in the face but that didn't mean he actually felt that way. He had sort of latched onto a handful of people amongst those in House Essair but would he call them friends at this stage? Hard to say. Maybe in the right company or to keep things uncomplicated but truthfully... It was hard to say he truly trusted many people. 

28 Posts 25 Years Female Black Hair Brown Eyes 5'4'' Jihon Ujalin House Tachibana
"Yes. If you stay in your comfort zone forever you won't learn Zhihao. It's not even about trusting people at that point, it's about learning about the world." Xiaodan didn't think he was far off of her age, but she had already been married, had experienced the loss of a child. Had run from her homeland to find some measure of safety for herself knowing she could never go home. Maybe he had done those things too, but for him to clearly not understand the point she was trying to make, it made it difficult for Xiaodan to believe he was as world-wise as he should have been for someone who... if her memory was correct, was supposed to be the heir of a noble house.

She didn't say that. Her opinion didn't matter, she reminded herself carefully. "But I also didn't say it was easy." After a moment. "Nothing worth doing ever is, is it?" Xiaodan didn't really think so. Yes, there were risks to making friends, there were risks to just living. Making friends with the people he was sharing a house with was hardly so much of a risk as leaving his homeland completely alone had been.  He was already living with the people here, he might as well start by making friends here, right? Within the walls he'd already accepted as sanctuary enough to sleep.

Xiaodan shook her head slightly. "Forget I said anything. I speak above my place." Haku tolerated such things, but it was not wanted by most, and she should know better than that.

She looked away from him for a moment. Somewhat at a loss for where to guide the conversation. But perhaps it did not need to be guided anywhere.

39 Posts 34 Years Female
"That's probably for the best." 

Being lectured by a woman was beneath him; his father would have looked right through Xiaodan like she was made of dust motes if she had said any of this to him. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), Zhihao had learned more from his loving wet-nurse than his father. Idly, he picked at some of the thorns that had stuck into his skin. There were some he probably couldn't reach but he'd figure that out later. 

There was a silence in which neither he nor Xiaodan said something and she just seemed to be looking at her feet. Clearing his throat, Zhihao nodded slightly toward her. 

"Anyway, I should... move on. I was just checking something out here real quick." Yes, like scouting the area for a place to safely shift without doing anything harmful to anybody in the process. "It was nice meeting you." 

28 Posts 25 Years Female Black Hair Brown Eyes 5'4'' Jihon Ujalin House Tachibana
Was it for the best? She didn't comment on that, her gaze remaining on some of the decorative plants to one side. Brown eyes were quiet, and the soothing aura hadn't really faded much. Sometimes it was easier to rest in silence though. "If you go to the infirmary Merenwen can probably get the rest of those out." She advised mildly. And, she might be able to give him something for the discomfort as well. It was safer to say that than to display magic before him.

She inclined her head slightly, peaceably. Xiaodan didn't ask what he'd been seeking. It wasn't her concern, really. Though, she was curious what he'd really gotten to see while standing there picking thorns out of his skin. Move on. It was an odd way of wording that.

Then again, Dalmascan words still felt strange on her tongue, it was possible she was just not understanding it exactly the way he had meant it to be.

"It was a pleasure meeting you as well, Zhihao." Her attention had returned to him mostly, instead of remaining on the plants then. It was polite when addressing someone.

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