Maize: Memoirs & Memories

Memoir & Memories are for solo or collaborative historical accounts for your characters.
They can be a diary, a memoir, or a bunch of scribblings. That is up to you!
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Maize
GMO Goddess
Posts: 417
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 4:51 pm
Location: Corn Country
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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Maize: Memoirs & Memories

#1

Post by Maize »

TABLE OF CONTENTS (I'll make it cute someday)

Dr. Abel Theron - Entry #1 “Lovestruck”
  • Dated: 19 Champion Moon 9990
  • Summary: Lusine won't talk to her father about the Fatal Charade, not yet; she will, however, talk about someone else.
Lusine Theron - Entry #1 “Decisions”
  • Dated: 6 Bloom Moon 9990
  • Summary: Lusine and her grandparents receive some heartwrenching news this Wish Day.
Fiorella Caldarelli - Entry #1 “An Unexpected Meeting”
  • Dated: 4 Hero Moon 9990
  • Summary: An unexpected visitor puts Fiorella on edge.
Lusine Theron - Entry #2 “An Afternoon in Hateno”
  • Dated: 21 Champion Moon 9990
  • Summary: As Lusine continues to recover in Hateno, Jazza pays her a surprise visit.
Lusine Theron • ROTC at the Royal Academy • Textbook Overachiever
⮞⮞ Dr. Abel TheronMelville Shumate
Fiorella Caldarelli • Don of the Caldarelli • Wine Mom
⮞⮞ Gisella CaldarelliMo TerraAnja Ume
Ioana Mori • ARI Field Intern • Budding Necromancer
Ronan Noh • Yiga Footsoldier • Arrogant Prick
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Maize
GMO Goddess
Posts: 417
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 4:51 pm
Location: Corn Country
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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Dr. Abel Theron - "Lovestruck"

#2

Post by Maize »

Abel had seen it all before: the shy, lopsided grin; the flushed nose reminiscent of a cherry; the fleeting brown eyes, sparkling with an unfamiliar joy.

In fact, he had seen it in the mirror two decades prior when the thought of one Zaria Moreaux crossed his mind. He saw it in the wedding portraits perched on the mantel, infatuation shining far beyond the bounds of the picture frame. He saw it the morning after a beautiful, fleeting dream, the image of happier times deeply ingrained in his skull.

Call him a cynic (though people rarely did), but he never imagined he’d see the same hopeless romanticism painted upon his eldest daughter’s face, a welcome reprieve from her stick-straight demeanor. Perhaps he had been too quick to assume that romance was the lowest of Lusine’s priority, but, in his defense, never before had she regarded a person so highly. Socialization simply wasn’t Lusine’s strong suit. Who was Abel to fault her for that?

When she returned home after that most-unfortunate Charade, midnight creeping upon the sky, Abel focused on her injuries before anything else. He sat her down and poked around at her ankle — broken, unsurprisingly, but stable, which Lusine credited to a “magic bubble” during the massacre — before placing it in a splint and warning her to use crutches.

(He wanted to believe that she would listen, because healing was paramount for a swift return to training, but he had a hunch that he would catch her in the kitchen the next morning, perched like a crane while pouring a cup of rushroom tea. She was stubborn, just like her mother.)

But once her injuries had been squared away, Abel moved towards the kitchen counter and onto more trivial conversations. Lusine’s brow furrowed when he adorned his telltale teasing smirk, the bane of all five of the Theron girls’ existence, and he wondered if she knew just what he was about to bring up.

The water spattered across the kitchen table indicated that no, she hadn’t expected Abel to inquire about any such boyfriend. Her cheeks flushed from their natural rosiness to that of a carnation, and she stuttered out a quick denial, insistent that her and Jazza were just friends, thank you very much. However, the look on her face refuted the annoyance in her tone, the ghost of a smile tugging at her normally taut lips. She crossed her arms over her chest, avoiding Abel’s knowing glance, and explained that he was too much of this, not enough of that, and even if she was interested in Jazza — which she wasn’t, she insisted, though the lie was evident across her fleeting gaze — she had no time for romance.

“He was a very nice young man,” Abel said, which prompted Lusine to bury her face in her shoulder. “I’m just saying that I like him, Lusi. He’s very down-to-earth.”

“How would you know?” There was that signature Lusine tone, sharp and defiant. “I doubt he even spoke to you enough.”

“With some people, Lusi, you can just tell.”

With that comment, Lusine grimaced, which brought a sympathetic smile to Abel’s face. Sure, Abel could probably count the number of words Jazza had spoken to him on all his fingers and toes, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t sense the wanderer’s aura. Really, if Abel was to be completely honest, it didn’t seem like Jazza had a mean bone in his body, but he didn’t need to jump to such conclusions quite yet.

And he most certainly wouldn’t press, for watching his daughter squirm in discomfort made poking fun too painful. He knew Lusine; whenever she was ready to open up, she would, and Abel would be with her every inch of the journey. Until then, he could silently offer unwavering support, no matter how insistent she was that his support was unnecessary.

He looked at the young woman sitting at the table, wringing her hands and kicking her legs under the table — trademark nervous habits, of course. She looked undeniably like her father (and, with a soft chuckle, he almost felt sorry for her), but deep down, she was Zaria’s daughter through and through. From the bright intelligence that burned in her brain, to the domineering words always on her lips, even to their inability to lie with a fleeting, telling glance, the mother and daughter proved one and the same, women forged of fire and passion.

Their similarities were subtle but numerous. Perhaps that was why the relationship between Abel and Lusine was so strained: Lusine had been attached to Zaria’s hip since birth, and when Zaria passed away, she left Lusine and all they shared in her wake. Perhaps Abel wanted so dearly to abandon the piece of his heart still cradled in Zaria’s hand that he abandoned the only thing in the word that could possibly compare.

But Zaria was in the past, and Abel gripped the edge of the counter, knuckles turning white as he tried to clear his head. Throwing his head back, he breathed deeply once, twice.

If Jazza had any future with Lusine, Abel prayed to Hylia that he’d hold onto her fiery, fleeting soul much better than Abel did Zaria’s (if only he had begged her to stay with the babies just a bit harder, if only).

When he turned to take her empty water glass, blinking away the remnants of his discontent, Lusine hurried to stand and take it to the sink herself. With a rather pitiful hobble, she nudged her way to Abel’s side and offered him the glass, and Abel took it was a soft, sorry, lopsided smile.

“But…” Lusine leaned her back against the counter and looked in every direction but towards her father. The look in her eyes was dreamy, distant — lovestruck, if Abel had to pick a word. “If I happened to like Jazza — which I don’t, but if I did — would that be, like, okay?”

“Oh, Lusi.” He wrapped his arms around his eldest daughter, who squirmed only for a second before submitting to the tight embrace, a win in Abel’s book. He placed a kiss on her hair and smiled. “If he makes you happy, it doesn’t matter what I think.”

But when Lusine pulled away, that answer proved unsatisfactory. She searched his face for some sort of approval, an unfamiliar longing gifted to Abel. He wanted to roll his eyes — when was the last time she had asked his permission for anything or had even cared about his opinion? — but instead just laughed once, soft and telling. Lusine’s eyes went bright, sparkling in the flickering lamplight as she could not contain a rare, lovely grin.

“But of course it’s okay, Lusine.”
Lusine Theron • ROTC at the Royal Academy • Textbook Overachiever
⮞⮞ Dr. Abel TheronMelville Shumate
Fiorella Caldarelli • Don of the Caldarelli • Wine Mom
⮞⮞ Gisella CaldarelliMo TerraAnja Ume
Ioana Mori • ARI Field Intern • Budding Necromancer
Ronan Noh • Yiga Footsoldier • Arrogant Prick
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Maize
GMO Goddess
Posts: 417
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Location: Corn Country
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Re: Maize: Memoirs & Memories

#3

Post by Maize »

They were making bouquets for the wedding of a gaudy duchess to a slackjawed duke. Brin, while placing armoranth in a cluster of violets and nightshades, told Lusine all about how rude the couple had been, how annoying the duchess’s Castle Town accent was (which caused Lusine to snicker behind her palm, because Brin’s was shining through, too), how the pair were definitely cousins and how their babies were definitely going to come out with extra limbs. Lusine was no help when it came to the actual arrangements, so she sat at the kitchen table and traded conversation with her grandmother, handing her flowers when asked and sipping away at a cup of tea.

“I don’t see them lasting longer than a year,” Brin remarked and she slowly pulled away from the bouquet, admiring her handiwork. Without any instruction, Lusine slid her a piece of silver ribbon to tie around the base. “Hylian couples these days get married younger and younger, I tell you. One bad decision and it’s time to get hitched.”

Lusine smiled softly, twiddling with the luminous stone charm of her new necklace, a Wish Day present from Jazza. “Isn’t that why you wanted Mom and Dad to get married, though?” She let the fact that she was their “one bad decision” go without saying.

Brin shrugged, taking the length of ribbon and carefully wrapping it around the bouquet. “Your mom was going to make stupid choices anyway. Better to make them with a good man like Abel than the first man to offer her a ring.” She paused to adjust the shining bow around the base, tugging at the ears to make them even and straight.

“You’re lucky the stupid decisions skip a generation,” she said, and then, quieter, “except for Taline.”

“Except for Taline,” Lusine echoed. After a morning of training and an afternoon of waitressing at Shumate’s, it was nice to finally sit and relax, to listen to her grandmother banter with all of Hyrule and her grandfather deliver countless aphorisms over a pipe of Korok petiole. Later in the evening, Lusine would retreat into her bedroom to finish her letter to Jazza and wrap up his Wish Day gift: a simple silver pocket watch that wasn’t terribly ornate but could perhaps be useful enough during long days of venturing about Hyrule. She’d then go to sleep and then dream about work, about school, and hopefully not about the Fatal Charade. She’d forget, for even a moment, about her most recent altercation at the Coliseum as well as about the strange letters that followed.

At nine in the evening, as usual, Kaester left for his nightly walk around Castle Town, pipe loaded and pocket watch in hand. Tonight, both Brin and Lusine decided to stay home -- Brin to finish one last bouquet and Lusine to keep her company. When he returned at fifteen ‘til ten, Brin and Lusine expected him to bring home an empty pipe and perhaps some free pastries from the nearby patisserie that closed at ten. They did not expect him to bring home Abel Theron, exhausted and a couple of days unshaved.

“Abel.” Brin spoke first, pushing herself off of her stool and standing in front of her son-in-law. She extended her arms for a hug. “Honey, you look like shit.”

“I need to talk to you,” he said, uncharacteristically returning the hug in a half-hearted manner. Lusine, from her spot at the kitchen table, wondered if this was how he looked nearly nineteen years ago, seeking guidance after his own parents shunned him for making the biggest mistake of his life. She wanted to be sympathetic, but, admittedly, Lusine had exhausted all of his sympathy for him years ago.

“Of course.” Brin nodded towards the couch, and Abel sat down hesitantly. Lusine stood and, mug in hand, moved closer to the group, eliciting a strange look from her father.

“Lusi, I think you should go to your room, this is a conversation for the adults--”

“Now, Abel.” It was Kaester who spoke this time, slow and smooth, voice laced with honey and petiole. “I’d say Lusine is more mature than any of us.”

On any other occasion, Lusine would have flashed her father a smug, satisfied look, but the smug satisfaction that once characterized Lusine was, at the current moment, nowhere to be found, crushed beneath the blows of two disastrous Coliseum altercations. Instead, she sat on the opposite side of the couch as her father, sitting on the edge of the cushion. Across from them, Kaester sat, relaxed and unbothered, in his armchair, with Brin perched on one of the arms.

(Lusine often felt sad when she thought of the fact that Brin, with the Sheikah blood that flowed in her veins, would likely outlive her husband. Even now, at age sixty-one, she looked at least a decade younger than her husband, who himself had aged gracefully. The thought of outliving a loved one was terrifying; as evidenced by her disheveled father, the reality was as terrifying as the thought.)

“What’s on your mind, honey?”

Lusine found it amazing how willing Brin and Kaester were to accept Abel into their home as their own child, not just as the bereaved husband of their deceased daughter. She supposed someone had to, though, because his own parents certainly couldn’t have cared less.

Abel looked as though he was an eternity away from the Castle Town apartment, hands folded tightly in his lap. He was pale, looking as though he had seen a ghost wandering the streets, shaking as though he had gone all day without food. His eyes were glossy; his lips were tightly pursed. Lusine brought her mug to her lips, sipping as she waited for his response.

“Zaria’s not dead.”

The only sound in the entire apartment was the shattering of Lusine’s clay mug against the hardwood floor, lukewarm tea pooling around her socked feet. She hardly registered the spill, instead staring straight at her father, petrified.

Five years ago, her mother left for the Tabantha Frontier to investigate Dinraal sightings. When her entourage departed from the Hateno home, Lusine had been carrying baby Gadarine, barely three months old, silently wishing that her mother wasn’t so fixated on Hylia. She wished she could have had a normal family, a normal doctor father and a normal teacher mother, not two weird adults caught up in their obsessions (as well as in one another). Lusine still remembered her mother’s final reminder to her: “Do good in school, Lu!”

Her mother couldn’t have been alive. Zaria was strange -- Din, sometimes Lusine thought Zaria was downright crazy -- but she wouldn’t have just abandoned everything she knew. Except…

Except maybe she would have. With her fanatical behavior and her constant search for something more, leaving would probably be perfectly in-character for her. Lusine, of course, couldn’t answer that for certain, having only been thirteen at the time, but it made sense in her mind.

But how dare she do that! How dare she abandon her entire family and force the burden of keeping the household afloat on Lusine’s shoulders! How dare she take away five years of her life for her own gain! Abel sounded incredulous, but Lusine? Oh, Lusine could believe it, and she hated that she could.

Beside her, Abel, Brin, and Kaester were exchanging solemn conversation, but it all disappeared in the rage that clouded her thoughts. She stood up quickly, without thinking, and stepped on a piece of the shattered ceramic. Her father said something to her, something serious, but she didn’t catch it.

“Dad, where is she?” Had she listened, she would have heard her father say that he couldn’t surrender many details, not just yet, but that they would be the first people he told. He barely registered him repeating the answer, instead stepping towards him. “Dad, please where is she?”

“Lusi, sweetheart, I can’t tell you.” Abel stood, too, and softly placed his arms on Lusine’s upper arms. She shook him off. “Please, Lusi, sit down, let me look at your foot, it might bru--”

“I’m fine, Dad, where is she?”

Next came Brin, who, when standing by Lusine, was simultaneously two inches shorter and much, much taller. “Lusine, Abel, both of you need to be quiet.”

“Brin, I’m sorry, this is why I didn’t want Lusine to listen--”

“Don’t talk about me like that, Dad, I’m right here--”

“Lusine, honey, you clearly weren’t ready to hear this. You’re not in the right--”

“Abel, don’t talk to her like that--”

“Brin, she’s my daughter, and I’m just looking out for her--”

“In Demise’s forsaken fucking name, Abel, where the hell is my mom?”

“That’s enough.”

Towering over the other three, Kaester put a set of kind, calloused hands on Lusine’s shoulders. The motion pulled Lusine back to reality, and when she came back down to Hyrule, she realized she was trembling with rage. Her father had tears running down his face. Her sock was wet.

“Lusine--”

“Can everyone stop saying my name like that, please?” She hated being treated like a child, especially since she raised Abel’s (and basically had to raise him, too).

“Of course, I’m sorry,” Kaester said, voice mellow and unbothered as per usual. Did he ever feel angry? “Do you want to go sit in the garden?”

A pause; Lusine blinked at him incredulously. Now, of all times, was he asking her to sit in the garden? He just wanted her out of there, so he and Brin could talk with Abel like adults. As if Lusine wasn’t an adult herself.

“No, Grandpa, I don’t,” she said. “If I’m going to be kicked out, I’m just going to bed.”

Upstairs she went, hobbling on a sore foot with wet socks. When she made it to her room, she threw back the desk chair and pulled out a piece of empty parchment. Another letter to Jazza.

The words didn’t come, the ‘Dear Jazza’ scrawled at the top taunting her. What would she even say? Jazza was far away, wherever he was these days, and even if he was here, it wasn’t as though he could help her. What could anyone do for her?

For the past six months, ever since the Fatal Charade, Lusine had felt absolutely helpless. Once a stern, solid, stoic presence, she had since become a heaping mess of emotions she had once tried so dearly to repress. Since the stupid decision of attending the Fatal Charade, gone were the days of the perfect soldier, the most graceful, loyal person she could possibly be.

In her wake, she left an awful, erratic mess.

Lusine put the pen to her temple and sighed. What was she going to do if her mother was alive? She had no plans to openly embrace her; Zaria didn’t deserve her love after leaving her to suffer through taking care of Abel and her siblings. Lusine was a child then, thirteen and innocent. She wasn’t meant to be a mother for her sisters or a crutch for her father. She should have been focused on school, on her future, and yet her mother’s disappearance threatened to inhibit all of that.

Downstairs, she could hear her father and grandparents talking in hushed voices. She chose to ignore them, instead trying to focus on her letter. What was there to say, though? That she was sad? Yeah, no, she had been sad for six months, and there was nothing else to say about that. Jazza was sad, too, and she was just a spoiled little soldier girl at the Royal Academy, begging for sympathy when she didn’t deserve it.

Why was she even thinking about this? Why did she even care? This wasn’t about her tenure as a Royal Guardsman, no, not at all. This was about her mom, about how dearly she despised Abel, about the childhood she lost. This was about nothing and yet everything.

Lusine folded her arms on her desk and rested her head on them and, at some point, fell asleep. She woke up at about midnight and, after changing out of her sticky socks (the piece of mug had done little more than leave a slight purple bruise), started downstairs.

Her father was asleep on the couch, snoring softly. Lusine thought he looked twenty years younger in his sleep; she also thought he deserved every sad wrinkle on his face. Someone had cleaned the mess that she made when she dropped her mug. Still at the kitchen table was Brin, still delicately assembling flower arrangements. She had since moved onto the boutonnieres, small clusters of single armoranths, nightshades, and violets.

“How are you feeling?” she whispered, holding the boutonniere up to her face, inspecting the shining ribbon.

“Annoyed,” Lusine replied, though ‘annoyed’ didn’t begin to scratch the surface. She began twiddling with the stone on her necklace. “Did Grandpa go to bed?”

Brin nodded. “He works in the morning.” She put down the arrangement. “Stay annoyed, sweetheart.”

That was such a characteristically ‘Brin’ response, who grew up angry, who saw action in her anger. Unfortunately, radical anger did not apply in this situation.

Brin seemed to read her mind. “I mean it, Lusine. Doing something with your anger will hurt you a lot less than being sad.”
Lusine Theron • ROTC at the Royal Academy • Textbook Overachiever
⮞⮞ Dr. Abel TheronMelville Shumate
Fiorella Caldarelli • Don of the Caldarelli • Wine Mom
⮞⮞ Gisella CaldarelliMo TerraAnja Ume
Ioana Mori • ARI Field Intern • Budding Necromancer
Ronan Noh • Yiga Footsoldier • Arrogant Prick
User avatar
Maize
GMO Goddess
Posts: 417
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 4:51 pm
Location: Corn Country
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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Fiorella Caldarelli - "An Unexpected Meeting"

#4

Post by Maize »

Lusine Theron • ROTC at the Royal Academy • Textbook Overachiever
⮞⮞ Dr. Abel TheronMelville Shumate
Fiorella Caldarelli • Don of the Caldarelli • Wine Mom
⮞⮞ Gisella CaldarelliMo TerraAnja Ume
Ioana Mori • ARI Field Intern • Budding Necromancer
Ronan Noh • Yiga Footsoldier • Arrogant Prick
User avatar
Maize
GMO Goddess
Posts: 417
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 4:51 pm
Location: Corn Country
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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Lusine Theron - "An Afternoon in Hateno"

#5

Post by Maize »

Lusine Theron • ROTC at the Royal Academy • Textbook Overachiever
⮞⮞ Dr. Abel TheronMelville Shumate
Fiorella Caldarelli • Don of the Caldarelli • Wine Mom
⮞⮞ Gisella CaldarelliMo TerraAnja Ume
Ioana Mori • ARI Field Intern • Budding Necromancer
Ronan Noh • Yiga Footsoldier • Arrogant Prick
User avatar
Maize
GMO Goddess
Posts: 417
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 4:51 pm
Location: Corn Country
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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Ioana and Mihail: Untitled

#6

Post by Maize »

Shumate's Milk Bar
Castle Town, Central Hyrule
2 Fairy Moon, 9990

For months, Ioana had promised that she’d come to Castle Town to treat her baby brother to lunch, but taking Mihail Mori to lunch wasn’t as simple as finding a café and having a meal. No, because if her baby brother was anything, he was a dreadfully picky eater, and if he had it his way, he would happily eat only cucco (off the bone, of course), potatoes (but only without the skin), and bread (drowning in butter) for the rest of his life. But Ioana was nothing if not a dedicated big sister, and she bothered her roommates until they were willing to help her find the most Mihail-accessible café in all of Castle Town.

Shumate’s Milk Bar was nice enough and clean enough, and it offered standard fare bar foods at reasonable prices; Ioana did ask the barkeep whether or not they actually offered milk (which Mihail wouldn’t drink, either), and he simply laughed.

Apparently, the phrase “milk bar” was a nod towards the establishments of Hyrules passed. Bars would carry milk because it was the chosen drink of heroes of legend, probably because strong bones made strong heroes, yadda yadda.

Ioana thought Hylian myths were ridiculous, and she told the bartender just that. If she was a legendary hero, she would probably drink plum wine. The bartender then said that he didn’t have plum wine here, but he would get it for a pretty girl like her. Oblivious, Ioana said no, that’s okay, and asked for two baskets of cucco bites, please.

When Mihail made his way into the milk bar, softly jogging to Ioana as she motioned him over, she knew that she had never seen him glowing quite as bright. She stood up and offered him a hug, which he happily accepted.

“It’s so nice to see you, Misha,” Ioana said as she took a seat, looking over her brother once more. In some ways, he hadn’t changed a bit: he was still lanky, still dopey, still soft and tired in every way. The last time she had seen him, though, at the very beginning of his school year, he hadn’t smiled so bright, and his eyes hadn’t sparkled quite as much. Ioana recognized the energy.

Leaving Kakariko Village had clearly been good for both of them.

Ioana was more than happy to sit and listen as Mihail, with infinite sparkle in his eye, talked her through his first year of university. She had no choice but to just listen, as he was so excited to tell her all that he had done that even she, frequent dominator of conversations, couldn’t squeeze a word in edgewise. She stored words in the back of her head to ask him about: survey class, distant cousins, infirmary boy Luka…

Oh, infirmary boy Luka?

“Wait, Misha, wait,” Ioana said, cutting off a story about magical theory projects. She leaned her elbows on the table and rested her chin in her hands. Her brother’s eyes were wide, bright, and his mouth slightly agape. “Tell me more about Infirmary Boy.”

Mihail went speechless, a couple of incoherent stutters leaving his mouth. Ioana knew the routine; she, too, would sometimes be so excited to talk that she wouldn’t even consider what she had said. Ioana could only smirk. “Don’t be shy, c’mon! Let’s hear all about him! Of course you would fall for a nurse.”

“I-I don’t… what-what do you want to know?” His cheeks were flushed, but he didn’t bite back the smile still growing on his face.

“Just… who is he? Is he nice? Do you guys hang out?” Ioana then added with a singsong flair: “Is he cute?”

“Of course he’s cute!” Mihail said, barely above a flustered whisper. “He’s just, he’s just a guy from the Deplian Badlands, I don’t know.” Ioana nodded and did not admit that she had no idea where the Deplian Badlands were. “He works at the infirmary and wants to take his medical training back to his home, which I really think is just admirable. And he’s so smart! He knows everything, Ioana, I really think that.”

“Do you ever see Infirmary Boy outside of the infirmary?”

That was the million rupee question, the one that caused Mihail to go quiet, pursing his lips and shifting his eyes downwards. “Well… sometimes we study together, which counts.”

Ioana chuckled softly. “So you studied together? Or was it a study date? Because every study date I had ended up with me and the girl--”

“Ana, stop!”

“Sorry, Misha.” Ioana almost felt sorry for Mihail when he buried his head in his hands, hair falling around his face, but she certainly wasn’t surprised. He had always been as shy and modest as they came, no thanks to Malia Mori’s constant babying and smothering. “I can take that as a no, though?”

“He… he takes his studies very seriously is all,” Mihail explained, slowly lowering his hands, “and that’s okay.” A pause. “You know I wouldn’t want to… rush things.”

“Yes, Misha, everyone knows you’re an impossible vir--”

“Be quiet!” Mihail hissed as the waitress brought over their meal, sheepishly smiling as she slid his cucco bites in front of him. Ioana, unphased, thanked the waitress for their food.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry! You know I pick on you because you’re my baby brother,” she said with a laugh, taking the shaker of Goron spice off of the table and dusting the spice over her food. Mihail had a brief coughing fit in response.

Right, asthma didn’t pair well with spicy things. Even spicy air.

“It’s okay,” he said, voice noticeably weaker. Ioana chalked it up to his coughing, nothing more.

“But do tell me, Misha.” With his previous energy dampened, Mihail now grimaced at the use of his childhood nickname. “I’m almost certain you don’t spend every day studying and waiting like the Princess Zeldas of legend for Infirmary Boy to come and rescue you. C’mon, Misha…” She leaned forward, and Mihail shied away. “Tell me one crazy thing that you did this year.”

With the way Mihail paused, Ioana was ready to believe that no, he actually hadn’t done anything crazy. It certainly wouldn’t be out of character for Mihail to stay deeply within his comfort zone: with his frail health, there was simply too much at stake to do anything crazier than cheat on a test (which she knew her little brother would never do). Plus, he would always be Malia Mori’s child, the cautious son of a cautious mother.

But then he looked up at Ioana with wide eyes, leaning forward. Ioana leaned forward, too, taking a bite of cucco.

“If I tell you a secret,” he said in a low voice, “do you promise not to tell anyone?”

“Swear on Hylia,” Ioana said through a mouthful of chicken, knowing full and well that she would write back to Riku about the situation, whatever it was, the very moment that she got back to her flat. He had been asking for updates on Mihail for months, and she hadn’t been able to deliver.

“Thank you. So…” Mihail wiggled in his seat, moving his hands from his utensils to rest them under his thighs. Ioana knew his mannerisms well, and she knew that whatever he was about to say was enticing and juicy and, most likely, the best thing she would hear in months.

“So a few months ago, I think it was… it was Champion Moon, because it was the night before the Fatal Charade, after the parade.” Ioana simply nodded along. Mihail’s words were slow as he mulled over every last one. Though Ioana was antsy and simply did not want to wait, if she pushed Mihail too hard, he wouldn’t want to say anything else.

“So after the party, a few of my friends from the chess club--”

“Wait, you’re in the chess club?”

“It’s… it’s not relevant! I… We were just out, and we were drinking--”

“Mihail? Drinking?”

“Ana, please, stop interrupting me! Me and my chess club friends were out, and we were drinking, and it was like… like 2am. So we were walking back to the campus, and we knew we were going to get in trouble, but we didn’t care.”

They didn’t care, and Ioana didn’t care either, not really. She didn’t want the mundane details; she wanted to know the things that proved that little Mihail was no longer Malia’s sheltered baby.

“We were walking back to campus, and we saw this shoemaker’s shop, with these beautiful, decorative rocks outside. And I picked up one of the rocks, because drunk me thought they were pretty. And I tossed it in the air, because it fit nicely in the palm of my hand. And then…” He leaned in further, speaking at the slightest whisper. “I thought, wouldn’t it be funny if I sent this flying through the window?”

Ioana had been turning over a few ideas of what Mihail would have done in her head. Spit on the sidewalk? Spill ink on a carpet? She certainly didn’t expect property damage! Her little brother wouldn’t even squish a bug!

“And then I threw the rock through the window, and we all cheered, because we were drunk and dumb. Then we heard some guards coming around, doing their rounds, and all my friends scattered, except me. So… so I…”

“So you what, Misha?”

“So I started crying and telling the guards that a couple of hooligans threw a rock at me, and I said it might have been because of the Fatal Charade coming up. One guard stayed with me to calm me down, and the other went to find my friends. When they brought my friends back to me, they begged me to tell the truth, but I… I just shook my head. Last I heard, he got sent to Student Conduct, but I don’t talk to the chess club for…. Well, obvious reasons.” He gave a small, exasperated laugh, finally picking up his fork to eat. “It’s… it’s kind of funny, though, isn’t it?”

Ioana, for likely the first time in her life, was speechless. Her little brother had a reputation as one of the sweetest young men from Kakariko Village; he could have been a Sage of Hylia or whatever, given all of the warmth in his heart. He could have been Hylia Herself, even, with how good he was! Ioana had always considered her baby brother humble and honest, and she furrowed her brow.

“No, I actually don’t think it’s funny,” Ioana said, setting down her fork. There wasn’t much of an edge in her voice, just evident disappointment, but Mihail still flinched. Of course, he would. Had he ever disappointed anyone in his life?

“I didn’t… it’s not funny,” he repeated, flustered, “but you have to admit, it was clever thinking.”

“No, it wasn’t clever. It was selfish.” There was the edge. Ioana locked eye with Mihail, who went pale, pastier than his frequent pallor. His lips were slightly parted, words long forgotten or perhaps stuck in his throat. “Those were your friends, Mihail, and you got them in serious trouble.”

Mihail blinked once, twice. Ioana was rather incredulous, too: she had never once scolded him, partially because she never had to and partially because she didn’t care. His voice quivered as he spoke, clearly on the brink of tears. “I… I didn’t want to get in t-trouble.”

“But doing that makes you a dick, Mihail.” Had he just whimpered? Probably, and while half of Ioana wanted to comfort him, the other half had no reason to apologize. She hated being stern, but someone had to do it. “You know I got sent to conduct multiple times at STU. And you know what I did every time? I owned up to it. It’s called having integrity.”

Discipline was hard work, far too hard for the happy-go-lucky big sister with a soft little brother, and Ioana slumped in her chair. She sighed: how had Malia Mori somehow manage to scold her every day for twenty years?

“Are you mad at me?” Mihail asked, barely audible. She knew that if he spoke any louder, the tears would begin flow like the Floria Falls.

“A little,” she said. She wasn’t going to lie to him. “You need to make this right, you know.”

“How?”

“I don’t know. Tell the guards? Tell the Royal Academy?” A spectator would have thought that Ioana was slinging vicious insults, given the way her brother flinched with every word. She tried not to let it bother her. She knew, after all, that she was in the right.

So she sighed again, poking at a piece of cucco with her fork. “We can… start small, I guess, Misha.” Upon hearing his childhood nickname, Mihail let out the breath he was holding. Ioana wondered if it was even safe for him to hold his breath like that. “You want to apologize to your chess club friends.”

“No, not at all.” When Mihail shook his head, his hair bounced softly, and Ioana laughed softly. Simply put, she knew that she had the best, worst little brother.

“Too bad. Let’s start with apologizing to your chess club friends.”
Lusine Theron • ROTC at the Royal Academy • Textbook Overachiever
⮞⮞ Dr. Abel TheronMelville Shumate
Fiorella Caldarelli • Don of the Caldarelli • Wine Mom
⮞⮞ Gisella CaldarelliMo TerraAnja Ume
Ioana Mori • ARI Field Intern • Budding Necromancer
Ronan Noh • Yiga Footsoldier • Arrogant Prick
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Unnamed (Mihail and Riku)

#7

Post by Maize »

Kakariko Village, 20 Bloom Moon 9989, Dusk

With the journey to the Royal Academy only one day away, dread nestled itself into the pit of Mihail’s stomach as the afternoon sky faded into vibrant orange. Malia invited Hana and Kuran over for dinner, tearing up as Hana reminisced on his wheeziest days, proud of how far her little wind mage had come. Kuran, as he tended to do, asked Mihail to check out “those Castle Town parties” and assured him that they would never compare to one of his own, as he called them, spectacles. Malia swatted at her father’s arm, scolding him for encouraging her baby to do mischief. Always preferring to sit and listen, Jimin smirked and asked Mihail to please pass the carrots.

After his grandparents said their goodbyes, shared their final hugs and their ‘I love you’s, Mihail offered to give the cuccos their evening feed. Mihail hated the cuccos, though, and Malia knew that, but when she told him that he certainly didn’t have to, he assured her that he wanted to, because she needed to rest before all of their traveling. Truthfully, though, he just wanted somewhere to cry on his own, and the dust and grime from the coop made his eyes red and itchy anyway.

The dust also tickled down his windpipe, unsurprisingly causing him to cough and gag as he sowed the seed at the bottom of the coop: that wasn’t what Malia did, but he didn’t like the birds enough to make any more of an effort. Tonight was not the night to have an asthma attack, and certainly not because of cucco crud.

With his own coughs filling his ears, he didn’t notice Riku leaning up against the coop until he straightened up and pulled the collar of his shirt from his nose.

Riku Latan, Ioana’s childhood best friend. A dangerous combination of clever and cocky. The hardest worker this side of the Dueling Peaks. Perhaps the first person Mihail ever had a crush on -- but what was he saying, had? Even now, he got butterflies feeling Riku’s smirk on his skin. The pit of gloom nestled in his stomach also deepened unexpectedly.

“Leaving tonight, aren’t ya?” Riku asked, crossing his arms over his chest. Mihail watched the muscles flex against the sleeves of the tight Sheikah Warrior jumpsuit. Riku hadn’t always been so fit; he remembered being eleven years old, when Riku finally sprouted taller than Ioana. He had still been wiry and slight. The fitness came after he and Ioana finished at school, in training to join the guard. The traveling guard, after a few years with the village guard, he said, but something told Mihail that he wasn’t leaving Kakariko any time soon.

“Tomorrow, actually,” Mihail said, lifting up the bag of feed, just-opened and rather heavy. Ever the chivalrous show-off, Riku took the bag from Mihail and allowed him to open the door to the shed instead. This time, though, he wasn’t showing off. He always did little things for Mihail.

The best kid in Kakariko, Riku called him two summers ago, right after he had met with Jimin’s ARI contact in Castle Town. Ioana, home from Sage Temple University, raised her glass of sake in a toast, and they both laughed when Mihail gagged and sputtered on the drink.

“That’s awesome,” Riku said as he straightened up and wiped his hands on his trousers, “and it’s even more awesome that Mama Mali is going with you. Didn’t think I’d ever see the day.”

Mama Mali. Riku had been calling Malia that since long before Mihail was even born, and he was her second favorite child, right after Mihail himself.

“I think she’ll really like it!” Mihail reached up and scratched the back of his neck. His voice was raspy from coughing, and he tried to clear his throat. Riku just crossed his arms again. Goddess, why were his arms so nice? And why did Mihail feel so weird? He had long-accepted his crush as perpetually unrequited, so why did he feel like mourning now? “Um, I’m sorry Ioana isn’t coming back to the village for her birthday.”

Riku shook his head, the long loose strands that he had died blue on a whim six years ago and kept as such brushing against his cheeks. “Ain’t a problem at all! She would agree when I say that she is better off staying gone, you know?”

“Yeah, I know.” He let the conversation fall because, truthfully, he didn’t. Whenever Ioana wasn’t home, he missed her dearly, and he didn’t like going through the motions without her. He knew that Riku felt the same way, too, still stuck to Kakariko with his mother, whose experience was the opposite of Malia Mori: Renji Latan wanted dearly to leave but was tethered to the village by forces out of her control, an obligation yet to be fulfilled.

Mihail felt a bit bad for Riku. He watched many of his classmates, his best friend, even, file out of Kakariko to see the greater expanse of Hyrule, and time and time again, he was denied that chance. Even a brief visit outside of the walls was out of the question: if he wasn’t on guard duty, he had to help out around the general store, and if he wasn’t helping with the general store, he had to help harvest carrots or hunt or something of the sort. There simply weren’t enough hands to keep the Latan family afloat, and if they refused to branch out, Riku certainly couldn’t.

“Hey, listen, Mish.” Riku was perhaps the only person who could ever call him that: he had started recoiling to the nickname ‘Misha’ two years ago, but he didn’t have the heart to tell him to stop. After all, it surely meant something that he still wanted to call him nicknames, albeit childish and not necessarily the ones Mihail wanted from his crush. “I have to head to my rounds, but I got a couple of things for ya.” Riku swiftly pulled his pack off his shoulder without disrupting the spear on his back and pulling out two packages wrapped in brown paper. “Top one’s for Yo, and the bottom one’s for you. If you promise to deliver the present to her, you can open yours right now.”

Mihail, with a sheepish smile and slight excitement climbing up his throat, tore open the package, careful not to seem too overly-enthused. Though he knew he had no chance in Demise with Riku, he still didn’t want to be childish. He wanted to be cool. Normal. Totally and definitely Riku’s equal, even if the way Riku winked when he had passed over the gifts made his knees weak.

In his hands, Mihail held a small wood statue of a frog; he knew Riku hand-carved and hand-painted every last intricate detail. He held it up against the fleeting slivers of daylight and noticed the little apple the frog held in his chubby arms.

“Remember when we all used to make our offerings,” Riku started, and Mihail grinned, quick to finish the statement.

“And I always had to have the biggest apple, oh, how could I forget? Riku, this is so nice.” Mihail stepped forward to close the gap between them, enveloping Riku into a tight hug. Riku laughed and pat Mihail on the back.

“C’mon, kiddo, don’t be a sap. I just didn’t want you to leave us all behind is all.”

Whatever remnants of butterflies remained in Mihail’s stomach quickly found themselves crushed beneath the sudden guilt that washed over him. How many times had Ioana been home since starting at Sage Temple University? He could count it on one hand, five times exactly. Sure, it wasn’t practical to make the journey often, but he couldn’t imagine how Riku felt, only seeing his best friend five times in four years. Mihail liked to think Riku could make do by spending time with him instead, but Mihail and Ioana were as different as night and day, and Mihail was basically a child to Riku. A little brother, something small that he nurtured cordially. They didn’t speak, move, act, and think in unison, not as Ioana and Riku had.

Mihail was a wave from over the fence, a passing favor. Ioana was everything.

“I won’t leave you behind,” Mihail said, muffled in Riku’s embrace. Then, as he pulled away: “You know Ioana didn’t either, right?”

“I know, Mish.” But Riku’s tone said otherwise. He pulled away from Mihail and clapped him on the shoulder. His face gave away none of the sadness that had previously reflected in his voice. There was no denying that he was good at pretending. “I gotta get to my post. You need any more help around here before I go?”

“I didn’t need your help to start,” Mihail joked. When Riku pulled away, Mihail felt the long, loose blue strands of his hair brush up against his cheeks. He gave a small, sheepish laugh. “You need a haircut.”

“I’ll cut it when you or Yo let me dye yours, how about that?” Riku had already started out of the yard, swinging a leg over the fence and foregoing the gate completely. Mihail saw him off until he made it to his post and stayed leaning against the wall of the Mori house until night had fallen.

“Misha?” There came the dreaded nickname. Malia stepped out of the house, nightclothes already on. “Are you still out here?”

“Yeah, Mom, I’m right here.” He straightened up and moved to brush a curl behind this ear. His hand was cold from the evening air.

“What are you doing out here?”

“Just… enjoying the air,” he responded, and it wasn’t quite a lie, “I’ll come in right now, though.”

Truly, it wasn’t a lie. Castle Town air was stuffy, much thicker than the fresh, clean air that made Kakariko even safer for him. He hadn’t been thinking about the air, though; instead, he thought about Riku, thought about how dearly he wanted to leave Kakariko like Ioana, like Mihail, and how, day-in and day-out, he and his own mother were held back. If Mihail was Riku, he would be insanely jealous.

But Mihail was the lucky one. While Riku suffered at the hands of his circumstance, Mihail was comfortable enough to only worry about the fact that he’d had a crush on him for four years, that he would always be the unattainable love, whereas for Riku, everything just so happened to be unattainable. Mihail could get over a heartbreak that never happened, but he had heard Riku describe how he felt to Ioana before, and Mihail could only assume that it was a new broken heart every other day.

When he went inside and showed his parents the little statue, Malia cooed that he was the best young man in all of Kakariko. Mihail had to agree.
Lusine Theron • ROTC at the Royal Academy • Textbook Overachiever
⮞⮞ Dr. Abel TheronMelville Shumate
Fiorella Caldarelli • Don of the Caldarelli • Wine Mom
⮞⮞ Gisella CaldarelliMo TerraAnja Ume
Ioana Mori • ARI Field Intern • Budding Necromancer
Ronan Noh • Yiga Footsoldier • Arrogant Prick
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