Tales, Tribes and Traditions Pt. 2

It was understandable why she was afraid, he supposed. She’d been carried off the only home she’d ever known by two strange men she’d never heard of. Who knew what their plans were for her? Surely there were many uses for a young woman such as herself and Fiearius’ particular intended use was uncommon. He didn’t blame her for being frightened at first.

Though three weeks later, having been nothing but careful and courteous and leaving her be to do as she will, even if her will was to hide in her room and continue to weep, Fiearius thought it was about time to cut it out. Had he not proven no ill intention yet? He’d destroyed the deed, told her she was free, made her dinner every damn night and handed her a gun so she could shoot him if she felt threatened for gods’ sakes. What more did she need to believe it?

Although, notably, she hadn’t shot him. So perhaps that was progress after all.

“Yeah maybe,” he muttered absently to his brother before heading back out of the bridge, rather unable to take any more of the incessant chatter coming from the console. He gestured towards it as he stepped out into the hall. “Enjoy slowly losing your brain cells to that woman.” Behind him, Cyrus waved his hand absently, eyes fixed on the screen.

———————————-

Fiearius could not remember a Concordia feast prepared as quietly as this one. Way back when, at his childhood home, the process of cooking the dinner was one that involved at least eight people shouting back and forth at each other. Even later on, when the guests had been much fewer, there were at least three. Never had he completed the task completely alone, as he was now. As all of the meals he prepared these days were. Not that Fiearius didn’t enjoy the quiet solace of cooking alone, but today? It just didn’t feel right.

But the whole ship was like this. Quiet. Silent. He’d chosen the Dionysian partially for its small size, but no matter how small it was, this empty? It felt huge. Cyrus stuck mostly to the command deck. The princess, he could only assume, clung to her quarters on the crew deck. And here he was, in the kitchen, all alone, cooking a feast for three. It almost made him want to go back upstairs and ask Cyrus to play that stupid Concordiarana video again just to feel like today actually was special.

Just after he silently finished cutting the vegetables and silently mixing the soup and was just about to silently check on the meat in the oven, the silence was broken by the sound of light footsteps. Ready to order Cyrus to help him or at least keep him company, Fiearius looked up and opened his mouth, but paused when he realized it was not his brother standing there and staring at him with big brown doe eyes, but the only other occupant of the ship.

Surprised, he stood up straight and smiled cautiously. He had a subconscious reaction to never make any quick movements around her. Specifically not with that gun still holstered to her hip. “Hey, princess,” he greeted her calmly. “Y’etah Concordia.”

Those giant eyes just blinked back at him through her dark hair. She didn’t move. She didn’t run away. But she didn’t seem to comprehend either. So he tried again, dropping the Ridellian, “Happy Concordia?” This, she actually seemed to respond to. She perked up and then frowned thoughtfully, looking away from him. “Lost track of the date, huh?” he guessed, earning him another long quiet stare. So she still didn’t feel like talking to him. Fair enough. Nothing new. He turned back towards the oven. “Well have a seat.” He gestured towards the table. “Feast’s almost ready.”

Fiearius had expected her to flee. Or simply stand there totally still until he looked away and she was free to drift off. That seemed to be the usual reaction anyway. But, much to his surprise, out of the corner of his eye, he saw her not disappear into the closest hallway, but rather move cautiously over to the table, pull out a chair and sit down. No such thing as Concordia miracles, his ass.

Not wanting to cause her mind to change about sticking around, however, he didn’t press for anything further. The last time he’d asked her a simple question, she hadn’t come out of her room for two days. As volatile and skittish as she was, Fiearius had to wonder what she’d be like if he actually had decided to keep her an ally rather than a guest. How would he have gotten her to do anything? No wonder Goddora had mentioned she had been a discounted product. Fuckin’ useless, this one.

She hadn’t seemed that way, back on Kadolyne. Of all the times he’d been in Goddora’s office and she’d been there, pouring him drinks, the girl had held herself confidently. The other allies he’d met in the hall had turned their eyes from him and shrunk out of the way. This one, however, had stared him down from the very moment he stepped in the door. She’d met his eyes, unimpressed and unafraid. So very different from the girl that stood before him now. He believed, however, that that tough, fearless girl was still in there, somewhere. It was just a matter of getting her out.

Or perhaps just waiting til she came out on her own. “It smells good,” she offered suddenly, from the table. Her voice was barely more than a whisper, but it was the first time she’d said a word to him without being prompted. He’d take it.

“Thanks,” he muttered in reply, casting her a skeptical glance. “Hope you like it. Might be a bit different than what you’re used to on Kadolyne.” The girl shrugged, but she seemed uninterested in saying anything else. Unfortunately for her, Fiearius wasn’t quite willing to give it up yet. “Do much celebratin’ back there?”

At this, she nodded, but remained silent still. Until, “Of course.”

Fiearius smirked. Progress, perhap? “Well excuse me, how should I know,” he muttered, though good-naturedly.

“We had to cook the feast for Goddora and his men,” she continued, much to his surprise. “But we made far too much for them so we had a feast of our own.” For the first time since she’d come aboard the Dionysian, a faint hint of a smile twisted its way into her lips.

“He didn’t mind that?” Fiearius asked curiously, leaning up against the counter.

“No,” she replied shortly. “He was fine with it.”

“Hm,” he mumbled under his breath. “Doesn’t seem like him.”

“He’s not that bad,” the girl offered, strangely defensive. He would never have predicted the behavior for the sake of her former owner. “We were good. Taken care of. We were good. Like family.”

When she went quiet again, Fiearius knew that that was probably about as much as he’d get out of her. Her head had sunk, her eyes had dropped and now she stared solemnly at her hands in her lap. She looked like she might start crying again at any moment. He was almost certain, in fact, that she would. But despite his best logic, he couldn’t help but ask, quietly, “You miss ‘em don’t you?” She nodded quietly, still watching her fingers as they laced together. “I’m sorry…”

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