Zander looks out from the high step of the Engineer’s shop watching the comings and goings on the street while catching some of the fresh night air. Looking in the direction of the bath house he spots a Free Woman approaching recognizing her as she gets closer, “Well, well, well, Tal Kait, I thought you had packed up and left Ar” smiling to let her know he said so in humor.
Kaitlin followed along reluctantly behind Karjuk (NPC Guard). She knew it was best to put this meeting behind her and she could only avoid the builder for so long now that he had taken residence in the city, easily picking up his parents legacy after the death of the builders in Ar in the terrible fire. Rumors had reached her already that he was in very good standing to become the High Builder in the city with the ear of even the Ubar. Yes, it was best to settle things now. As they approached she noticed him at a distance as if he had been expecting her even before he hailed her in jest.
Zander motioned for her to join him at his left, “Please Kait come in and join me, your guard is welcome to join us if you feel it necessary, his time may be better spent in the Tavern or the Brothel, you are safe here” he offered reassuringly, “or perhaps he would like some muffins from the bakery” pointing to Brooke’s establishment to his right, “I highly recommend the ram-berry ones!”
Kaitlin listens to his words assuring her safety. “It was never you I feared Zander but the streets of Ar can be lawless. I thought it best to find you with an escort on hand.” Turning to the guard she pointed with a gloved finger in the direction of the bakery.
Zander pulls open the heavy door of the shop allowing Kait to walk in first watching as her guard entered the small bakery before following her inside “Please sit where you feel most comfortable” nodding to the cushions set in the middle of the shop
Kaitlin offered him a quiet, “thank you” before proceeding into one of the most interesting oddities in the city, a builder’s workshop. Creative brilliance and chaos could be seen everywhere and it took her attention for a moment as she settled on one of the cushions. Her thoughts quickly returned to the task at hand as he followed her inside. “As I told you at the Ball I did receive your letter. Perhaps you should speak of your intentions for this discussion first.”
Zander hears the door close behind him as he waits for his former companion to be seated, choosing the seat beside her closest to the door making himself comfortable while his gaze fixated on her eyes, “I…..I was surprised to hear you were here in Ar” he spoke in a quiet tone. “My intentions are to hear what happened to you, you didn’t return to Tyros, no word from you”, pausing to let what he said sink in for a few ihn “You have eluded me since, no word other than a letter I received long ago with not a word on where you were” his tone still quiet but serious watching her eyes for any emotion.
Kaitlin started off with what she felt she owed most, “I should apologize for how I left things while we traveled. It was never my intent to have a few hand stretch to the time and distance that has separated us but yet here we stand.” Looking anywhere but at him she continued in a voice almost devoid of any feeling, “I expected you would blame me for my carelessness in the loss of our child and that only compounded other issues already brewing between us. After we parted I traveled to several stops for supplies and my research. It was while away I discovered the Merchant Sireal had decided Tyros was not the lucrative place to settle we had hoped it would be.”
Zander nods slowly “Blame you?, all this time I blamed myself” his voice cracking a little as he spoke, “I blamed myself for leaving that day, I realize now that was not a wise decision to travel alone. I too traveled many stops, everyone I searched for my Kait while carrying on with my business. I see now that you didn’t want to be found and if not for the word of unrest here in Ar, I wouldn’t have discovered you were here. I am happy to see you are well, what I can see of you” he points at her many veils and her eyes avoiding contact with his. “So tell me Kait, have you companioned again?, a woman with your beauty would not go unclaimed for long and I know your brother Dren worries constantly about you”
Kaitlin: His words take her by surprise. How could he have blamed himself she wondered? The pair of them had somehow mangled the others wishes and intentions and now they were at a point of no return…a very bittersweet point. “I did not actively seek to evade you Zander. I frankly didn’t expect you to look for me once you learned of our loss in my letter given that I had kept it all from you.” Releasing a breath she hadn’t known she was holding she addressed the last bit of his comments. “I believe this time I will be seeing to matters myself regarding any new contracts despite the approval that should likely come from my sibling. At the moment he is worried I will settle for a Tavern Master just to spite him and his family pride.”
Zander casts his gaze down to the table, “A tavern master” he says in a barely audible voice “You underestimated me it seems, the loss while careless was not something done on purpose or out of spite. I am sure you have heard about the fate of my parents in the tragic fire, in that sadness I was somewhat relieved to finally know you were safe when told you and Dren were here in Ar” lifting his head as his hand comes up under his chin, the realization that she is happy here in Ar and has an intended, perhaps she was the one the Bard had sang about after all. Clearing his throat before he continued to speak “I wish you well with your business here in Ar, I know your love of coin continues to drive you and I do hope your negotiations with the Tavern Master are not you ending with steel around your neck, your brother would no longer have to worry about his family pride” a small grin forming on his lips as he spoke the last part.
Kaitlin allowed herself the luxury of looking at him as he wished her luck in all things yet spoke so casually of a collar. At one point she would have given everything to add truth to those words. Bitterness rose to almost choke off her words as she remembered his threats should she ever give in to what had been between them. There were many reasons she had run from this man. Looking away she offered tacit agreement with his sentiment about her love of coin, “The rule of Marlenus will serve my goal of coin well and as to an intended…there have been talks but no firm resolve on either side. The mere discussion has caused my brother to relax at least a bit. Time will tell Zander, time will tell.”
Zander lets her words sink in, his thoughts go back to just before Kait had become pregnant. There were many reasons he had been so harsh and against her desire to submit to him. He had learned a lot from the wealthy Physician in their year together and while Kait could rival the heat and passion of any slave dedicated to her Master in the furs the most valuable lesson he had learned was that of her love for coin. Looking directly at Kait as he spoke, “Time will indeed tell
Kait, during our companionship I learned some things are worth more than wealth. Coin can buy you lavish things for our homes. It can buy your freedom from those that live for chain Luck and blackmail,” standing and moving to her side looking down at her, his hand lifting her chin bringing her eyes to meet his, “coin can buy you the services of those that do good deeds and bad…coin is power” bending down closer to you face, “Coin can buy you all of these things, but it will never replace the loss of an unborn child, or a companion disappearing just before they were to renew” lowering his face to her head placing a kiss on her forehead through the heavy veils and hood ‘Time indeed will tell Kait. Time will tell” releasing his hand from her and moving back to his cushion sinking back into it still looking in her direction.
Kaitlin had not expected tenderness from this man who had every reason to despise her. It was her undoing as she closed her eyes a moment remembering. As he settled on the cushions she was the one to rise this time knowing well when flight was the best option. “You wished to talk Zander and now we have done so. It is not the ending that I once wished for us but it is an ending I suppose. How long will you be in Ar?”
Zander looks up hearing the tone of her voice was much softer even if still guarded, “I did wish to speak Kait, and while I have answers I have many more questions, I am staying here in Ar. Rumor has it the Ubar will be appointing the Chief Builders position soon. The Builders Cylinder rebuilding has yet to be completed and I wish to see that project through to give closure to the tragic death of my parents and the others of my Caste that perished in the flames. An ending I suppose, I wish you well Kait and hope to see you about the city,” not mentioning his progress with the projects they had been working on, that best left for another day “an ending that I did not wish for either Kait, I suppose time will tell. Leaning forward on his cushion resting both arms on the table staring at the back of the shop
Kaitlin frowns as he confirms the rumors were indeed true. “So it seems you will be staying in Ar for a time.” She did not relish telling Barat the news. Even more she did not look forward to the possibility of meeting this man with frequency in the various places their high caste status might cause them to cross paths. He spoke of unanswered questions and those she feared the most. “I wish you well in your endeavors Zander. I am certain your work in Ar will be a tribute to your parents and caste.” Pushing open the door she quickly headed in the direction of the shop next door. Karjuk (NPC Guard) had best not be tied up with some slut in the bakery delaying her escape. That was exactly what it felt like…escape.
Zander watched as she left, he sat for a long time the meeting not going at all like he had planned, He had hoped seeing him and speaking with him hearing his words would have brought her back to him but the news she was already in negotiations with a tavern master was painful especially added to the grief he was already feeling. Staring at the cushion where she had been sitting he thought back to the happy times they had shared, his eyes teared up at the realization this would probably never be that way between them again.