A Bet is a Bet

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Log Info

  • Title: A Bet is a Bet
  • Place: W03: Druid Grove
  • Summary: Jacob completes his side of their bet by treating Rune to a dinner with dishes from his culture. However, discussion soon turns to the two laying out their feelings and where they stand. Despite the fact that they both may want different things, the two seem willing enough to keep moving forward, at least for now.

Well, a bets a bet.

After the BRUTAL thrashing Rune had given him in a horse race, Jacob swallowed his pride and began searching for locations to host a dinner of his design, intending to reveal the richness of his culture through the stomach with some of the finest recipes of his tribe (that he remembers.)

Its to that end that Jacob sits near a large fire, carefully dug and wooded to provide a campfire good enough for cooking various meals simultaneously. Earlier that day, he had sent a message via pidgeon to find one Rune, the parchment within asking her to join him at the nearby grove to indulge in scenery and good food. Since a fight was not expected, he had asked to dress comfortable if she so desires.

He has plates out, in addition to what looks like a bottle of some kind of alcohol, some carefully torn greens on the plate with a sauce that looks like radish. Jacob hinself was wearing some lighter robes this evening, his hair allowed to fall freely from his head as he carefully has a ladle in a bowl of soup.

To call the win a 'BRUTAL thrashing' would be an exaggeration. Oh, Rune had certainly /won/ but neither she, nor Jacob, had really shown themselves to be elite riders. In fact, they probably ended up scaring the daylights out of a few stable-hands more than impressing anyone with their skill.

Well, a bet is a bet.

Since Jacob had indicated casual dress, Rune is not wearing her usual leather armor with the subtle silvery sheen underneath that suggested a mithral shirt of some sort. Instead, she has a simple sleeveless top which laces partially at the chest and along the sides. Such clothing shows some measure of her tattoo, starting at her cheek and running her arm and then beneath her clothing. Otherwise, she has a simple set of trousers and her usual boots.

Perhaps Rune doesn't really have 'nice' clothing in the typical feminine sense.

She steps out of the trees, shaking a few spring leaves out of her hair in the process. The half-sil is already sniffing the air, as if taking in the scents of what is cooking. "It smells good." She murmurs, stretching her arms out over her head and then letting them flop again to her sides. "I'm starving. Spent half the day trying to track down the flowers I use for my hair dye. It... wasn't as successful as I'd have liked." The tips of her hair are starting to fade a little, looking more pale blue than their usual vibrant hue.

Jacob will be the first to tell you that he's not the best rider in the world - such a thing would insult those who call themselves 'Horse Lords'. He cut his corners too wide, had poor control from his excitement of a race, and severely underestimated Rune's skill (or lack thereof).

A bet made is a bet honored, especially when it's made to someone dear to Jacob's heart.

When Rune emerges from the treeline, he had turned his head to regard what approached. Though Rune was not wearing a dress or some kind of relaxed fashion, she wasn't wearing armor.

Dress Code met.

Jacob's own attire revealed much of the tattoos on his arms, yet seeing hers always made him consider getting another. All the same, he's smiling ear to ear.

"I would hope so, or else I'd hate to give you food on a full stomach." He gestures to the picnic blanket and the numerous pillows on the ground that look more for general seating than something stranger. The night beckons in the sounds of owls and the occasional howl of the wind as if bristles the trees.

"Oh? I'm sorry. If it helps, the lighter shade still looks good. It's like a transition now towards the ends. I still find it lovely." He stops stirring to place a cover over the cooking food to steam it.

"How are you, Rune?" He asks as he steps close to her. A warmth in his mismatched eyes s he regarded her with a fondness like none other.

"Live on the road long enough, and you never turn down a meal, even if you just ate." Rune replies with a soft laugh. "You never know when the next one will come." It sounds as if she is speaking from experience. There are many years of her life that she doesn't speak about, some more recent than others.

Stepping closer to the fire, Rune rubs her hands together, holding them out to the warmth of the flames. It isn't exactly a warm night, and with the sleeveless shirt, she likely may be feeling a bit cold. Then again, Rune always seems to feel cold, so it may not be all that different. "Looks like you went all out. Is this how your people eat at the end of a long day?" Rune asks, seeming genuinely curious about his people.

At the mention of her hair, Rune blows at one pale strand, then draws it back behind a pointed ear with delicate fingers. A hint of color finds her cheeks as she shakes her head, "I just just want it to fade out completely to white. So, if I can't find enough of the flowers, I may just color them something else."

She tips her head a little upwards, which tends to be a requirement of conversing with most people. Why were the men in her life all so goddamn tall? "A little cold... and hungry." Another of those soft laughs follows. "Otherwise... a little better, I think." She reaches back, rubbing at the back of her neck, "It comes and goes."

"Few truths have been better spoken." Jacob smiles at Rune, taking note of the wisdom despite her (seemingly) young age. Ofcourse, she's Half-Sil. She could be over 100 and he wouldn't know it. Though the door is opened to talk about more of her life, Jacob doesn't pursue it right just yet.

Maybe after a few bites.

Her question earns a bow of his head. "Yes. I'm afraid it's a habit I haven't broken. I tend to cook for five stomachs when I only have the one." He chuckles. "It's something I miss about home. The Vast is...a chaotic place, filled with wonders that can drive the mind mad. Every day, to reach its end is a gift from the Vast itself and the Gods who favor us, so we celebrate with food and drink once the Great Mother calls us to feast." Are the Phurai Dae matriarchal?

"Maybe purple? I hear that hyacinth has been in bloom quite often of late. There's some up the hill in fact." Jacob offers to get as something to consider, but to hear she's doing a little bit better? It makes him smile. "I had been worried about you. The heart must take its time...and I understand you've been taking yours." He turns his attention to a horse that's nearby - the same horse he had ridden in their race. He pulls from it the cloak she often sees him wear on his adventures. "Here, this ought to keep you warm." the fur on the inside may look tempting on a night such as this!

"It comes and goes...and one day, it will not return. Such is my prayer for you that I end my nights with of late." He thinks about her that much?

"Now then, let's feed you. Would you like to save the best for last or the last for last?" He smiles, gesturing to the bottle. "I also have some spirit, if you're thirsty."

"You won't see me complaining." Rune replies with a soft laugh, peering to get a look at the various cooking implements. "Just so long as there isn't so much it goes to waste. There are always hungry mouths to feed." She genuinely does have concern for other people, not wanting to see food spoil when it would be better put to use.

It's obvious that Rune knows little of The Vast. "It... sounds like an interesting place." The hint of unspoken story seems to seize her attention. That's one of those things about the rogue, she seemed to have a love for stories, especially those about wonderous places. "I've... never heard of the Great Mother. Is that a name for one of the gods?"

The offer of the familiar cloak is is met with a greatful expression, reaching out and pulling it around her shoulders. With her shorter height, it drags the ground slightly, but she seems to very much appreciate it, snuggling into the fur lining for warmth as she moves to sit on the blanket. "Purple would work. I could even just use some of it to augment the blue I already have." She follows a glance into the darkness, taking note of where there might be more flowers nearby.

"I should count myself blessed. I have two clerics praying for my well-being." Rune laughs softly at that, looking up at him. She had been wearing a new ring recently as well. Being a cleric, himself, Jacob would likely recognize it as a material component to a spell which is often used to protect someone else in battle.

"How about we eat in the order your people would have?" Rune suggests, looking curious. "And yes, a drink would be perfect. We could lift a glass to toast a time where the benefits of losing a bet seem to outweigh the benefits from winning." Amusement shows on her features, an easy and relaxed smile.

"Nothing goes to waste. Whatever is left over will be saved until the next meal as rations or given to the steeds." Jacob remarks to her with a warm look in his eyes.

For a moment, his eyes drift to the ring on her hand and for a moment, his mind goes to it being that she had found a suitor. Instead, a closer look tells him that rather than a marriage band it was some kind of item meant for protection spells.


"Ah...The Great Mother was the leader of my tribe. An old woman, but one with wisdom enough to lead us all through the Vast...and keep us alive. Surprisingly dextrous too, she beat our best warrior despite being hampered by old age and frailty. Never judge a book by the cover." Jacob smiles softly, happy that Rune has accepted his cloak and covered herself in the warmth it provides. "Oh yes. Impossible to navigate under normal circumstances, but...only we have mastered the charts to successfully do so. If you find the Vast? Always go with a Phurai Dae...or hope to find one."

"Acceptable." Jacob smiles softly, and he locks eyes with her for a long moment, not saying anything until... "You look beautiful." He comments to her with a soft voice, before he clears his throat and steps to approach the drink, pouring two cups for them, seemingly of smoother wood surface. The liquid is amber colored, and has a sweet smell. He offers her a cup. "Then we can start with the soup. To benefits outweighing the losses."

"She must have had amazing stories to tell, or stories told about her." Once more, her fascination with storytelling seems to take hold there, focusing in on the woman that Jacob describes. "I also would wager that she wouldn't like you referring to her as frail, either. I bet that would earn you a whollup." A smile spreads on her lips.

"Is it the stars that you navigate by... or visual markers or... a combination of them?" She seems to be trying to put to use what little knowledge she has about the area, mostly knowing that it is a vast expanse of plains. "Sorry if those are dumb questions. I was raised to be an emissary. Lots of proper etiquette and writing. My father didn't put much interest into lands like The Vast. It... wasn't a 'proper civilization'." She motions her fingers in air-quotes.

Then, as soon as she says it, Rune seems to back-peddle, "Not that I think that way. I swear." There is some uncertainty there, as if she might talk herself aorund in circles. Thankfully, he stops her dead in her tracks by saying that she looks beautiful.

Blink. A flush of color lights her cheeks as she shyly looks down, toying with a piece of jewelry in one pointed ear.

"Soup. Right. Soup is good." She takes the cup of amber liquid and takes what would be considered a strong drink of it. Maybe she just needs a little alcohol-based bravery at the moment.

"She does." Jacob sighs happily, recalling the woman who would become as much a mother to him as anywone. "We call called her B'kela. In her youth, she was our best hunter. It was her that first permitted magic in our tribe when her mother, the previous Great Mother, had passed and began a new season of teaching in our lives. We felt our minds expand under her leadership...and she is considered the most knowledgeable of us. From what I hear though, she was quite the rebel as a youth." he winks playfully. "...and she has numerous times put me on the ground for a disrespectful comment. I rescind my previous words." He laughs, voice warm with the rumble in his throat.

"A combination of them, really." He hums softly as he pours her a bowl of soup with a simple spoon inside. It looks to be some kind of simple stock soup, as if carefully harvested and cooked, with streaks of pasta and carrots inside. Curiously, there's pieces of beef. He hands the bowl towards her. "Please, sit." He tells her, gesturing to the pillows on the ground. "This is caled Gukrikai Shul. A word in the common tongue I think would be....'appetizer'." He smiles softly towards her.

Though hearing that her father didn't much consider the Phurai Dae to be a proper civilization, he nods softly. "No offense taken." Jacob shrugs. "He probably means what he said. We never stay in once place, wich means we make no roots anywhere. It makes us natural Adventurers, I suppose." He humms softly. "And no, you're not asking stupid questions."

He turns to look her in the eyes. "I like it when you ask questions."

"There wasn't magic in your tribe before then?" More questions. Such curiousity comes easily to Rune. Her mother's stories had cultivated that, creating a deep-rooted fascination with distant peoples, far off places and supernatural events.

When Jacob withdraws his previous comment, Rune chuckles a little, a quieter sound this time as she finds a flat place to set her drink before taking the bowl of soup. Immediately, her eyes widen in surprise, "You didn't have to go all out, Jacob. I wasn't even expecting meat, given the current prices." Her blue eyes look over to him, as if she felt a bit bad for her request, given the state of the market.

Still, she isn't one to refuse to eat food already prepared. There is a sound of appreciation that murmurs from her, eyes half-lidding in the pleasure of good food. Then, she gives a shake of her head, "My father is long-lived and short-sighted. There's a reason I'm here rather than nose-deep in dusty old books."

By her voice, alone, it's clear that Rune doesn't always get along with her father, it is also obvious that he is the Sildanyari of her parental pair, if that wasn't obvious before.

"As... long as it doesn't bother you. I just... love learning about new things. New places, people. Hearing about their adventures." She smiles softly, "Spent a few too many years living vicariously through those stories that I still tend to get a bit absorbed." Literally...

"True. But thankfully, when you are aware of how to hunt and how to clean the meat yourself, it's a bit more helpful to avoid the wild prices." Jacob winks at her playfully. "I hope it's good? It's...been a moment since I've had company during a meal out here." Most likely, what she's eating is well-seasoned deer meat. Of course, the last time he went out to eat, it was with Harkashan and Rune after the library book incident.

He doesn't seem to look upset or even inconvenienced about the market prices. Hunting is free.

Right? Or is that a law he just doesn't know about?

Either way, Rune speaks of her father, even as she clearly enjoys the food, which makes him /clearly/ happy. It's always good to bless the hands who prepared the meal. "I'm sorry that you don't get along with your father. I rarely got along with mine either." Jacob remarks.

He tilts his head at her. "Bother me? Why would it?" He questions softly, looking her in the eyes. "Sometimes, literally." He leans over to nudge her softly with his elbow. "But, I'm glad to know something else about you. I don't mind the questions, honestly. It means you're interested in knowing about my life." He chuckles. "And I'm even more glad that you're living an adventure yourself." He chuckles.

"It's good." Rune confirms, taking a few more spoons full before she speaks again. More-so, she seems to appreciate the heat that transfers from the bowl to her fingers. She keeps shifting her hands around to take advantage of the heat. "I didn't really cook much when I was traveling by myself. Sildanyari travel rations are not good, let me tell you." A smirk quirks her lips, "Lately, it's just been Hark and I, and he usually does the cooking. Makari cooking is pretty different."

She tips the bowl back to drain the last of it with some relish, then in a not-so-ladylike gesture, wipes her lips on the back of one forearm. "My father loves me." Rune states this as a fact, which seems to run almost in contrast to some of her previous statements. "Maybe a little too much. He'd keep me as a porcelain doll wrapped in packing material in a box in the back of a closet if he could." Her blue eyes roll with some measure of endearment. She /loves/ her father, but that doesn't seem to matter when certain fundamental things come between them.

"Don't you start teasing me about the books, too. I get enough of that from scales-for-brains." The bowl is waggled at Jacob briefly before she seems to think better of it and just offers it back towards him. "Of course I'm interested in your life." She motions around to the empty clearing, "If you haven't figured it out yet, I don't have very many friends, much less close ones."

She quiets a little at that, "You and Hark, you're pretty much the most important people I've got in my life right now. With Telamon and Cor'lana coming close there-after."

"Good to hear." Jacob considers for a moment in silence. "I don't think any rations are good....especially if it's basically just bread. But, I guess it's better than nothing on the road - never know when you'll get lucky." Either with hunting or an inn that happens to have a good stock. He tilts his head at her regarding harkashan's cooking. "What's Makari cooking like? I never really looked into their customs...it's something I've been meaning to ask Harkashan about. I know the basics, but...like you, I love to learn more."

Jacob smiles at her, though as he watches her tip the bowl back, he does much the same, apparently they're both similar in how they finish off their soup! He takes a long sip of it, before he sets the empty bowl aside on a different little area. Most likely, that's how he knows what's dirty and what's clean.

"Ah..." Jacob lowers his eyes as he reaches for the next meal in question: He opens up a pan and it reveals some lovely, nearly perfectly made dumplings! THe nearly is because at some point during the folding process, one or two suffered some mild unravelling. Nothing to worry about! "Hnnh." Jacob curses to himself quietly, but he sets the dumplings on a plate and offers it to Rune. "...I believe these are called Dumplings in the common tongue. Want to try some?" Some part of him is happy she didn't throw the bowl at him.

Not that he wouldn't catch it...

But he's happy to take it from her. "I don't have many either. Lots of acquaintances, people who don't want to kill me or rob me...but friends? Not many, no." Yet, she tells him that he's one of two people that are the most important to her. Jacob turns to look at her then, his face softening. "You're the most important person in the world to me." Jacob tells her. "Dolan and Harkashan are...getting there, I feel. I've bene meaning to spend time with the both of them." His eyes rise up to meet hers.

"...I care about you. Thank you for letting me provide you with a meal. For what it's worth...I think you're better suited for being out and about, isntead of being trapped in a pretty cage. You deserve to be free, like all people do."

"It's just bread. Stale, hard bread." Rune confirms with a expression that flashes a hint of her tongue in the process, her nose scrunched. She is not a fan of standard travel rations, it seems. "The Makari tend to be very communal. When they gather, everyone brings something to put in the pot. Something foraged, something hunted. It's all put together, and then the one who volunteered to cook finishes it off with herbs and seasonings." There is affection in how she talks about the Sith-Makar, suggesting just how deep her love for their people may go.

"When it's just Hark and I, he usually has to do most of the work. It's pretty meat-forward, with lots of herbs and spices." Rune elaborates, but her eyes are already looking towards the pan and the contents within. No one is going to turn down a couple of imperfect dumplings! "Of course, I do."

Taking the plate, Rune takes a big bite out of one of the dumplings, showing obvious enjoyment. The girl seems easy to please, at least where food is involved.

Yet, there is some uncertainty that makes a way into her expression. "I... wanted to talk to you about that." As if she couldn't be more vague. It's enough that it might even feel ominous. "I just... want to lay everything out on the table and then... you can decide... you know, how you feel."

Rune sets the plate down, "I care bout you. The last thing I want is to hurt you, or have you hate me." Her expression seems downcast. So, she just takes a breath and gets on with it. "You know Hark and I traveled together before I died. That I was killed because I threw myself in the way of a blast that would have killed him instead. I care about him."

Then, with that uncertain and vulnerable expression, she lifts her eyes to Jacob, "I don't know if that's something you can deal with or not. I don't want to lose either of you, but I also don't want some competition like my affections are something that can be won and claimed by one and only one person." She hesitates, "That aside, I'm a pretty broken person. I'm not really sure I'm ready for... anything. So maybe it's a moot point anyways but... I'd feel like a shit if I wasn't honest."

"The worst."

Jacob smirks softly, though hearing that the Makari are communal, it makes him occasionally bow his head in a subtle nod as more and more information is made aware of him. "It sounds really special. I've never known too many Makarai, and yet in the past months, I've met at least five. It's really something, that the knowledge I've been able to learn just form being next to one...and now, with you." He smiles softly to her, warm and sweet.

"I'll have to ask him about his seasoning practices. I love to cook and new recipes are exciting." He takes a few bites of his dumplings before....he slowly sets his utensil back against the plate and sets his plate in his lap, his legs crossing underneath him as he looks at the ground for a moment.


He turns to look at her for a moment then. "I care about you deeply. You should know that I intend to mate with one person until I die or she no longer wants me." He looks her in the eyes then. "You are not a trophy to be won. You experienced enough of being the star attention. If I have your affection, I wish for it to be freely given. That being said...if we....mated, I would not wish to share you."

Jacob sees this as important enough to tell her bluntly and realistically how he would see the situation, and what would make him happy. "That being said...we all suffer our traumas. Sometimes they break us. Sometimes they build us. Sometimes they shatter and reform us into something stronger than what we were before. You may be broken, but I think you're workings are lined with gold. We're all just witnessing the strength you are building within yourself."

He clears his throat a moment. "I have no intention of being in the way of anything you and Harkashan may have. I care for you...but I know you re healing. I..don't want to make you uncomfortable by weighing you with my own flaws and complications while you are still going through your grief."

He looks at his meal. "But I don't hate you. My feelings haven't changed. But I would...like you said...feel like a shit if I didn't tell you what my heart desires."

Other topics seem to pale in comparison to the matter at hand. In some ways, Rune had already prepared herself for the answer she fully expected to hear in return. So, it is no true surprise to her what he might want. "I understand." Her voice is soft, and yet she blinks a bit more than before, likely holding back some measure of her own emotions. "It's... complicated." She laughs, but this time there's little joy in it, just a sad sort of sound.

"Makari don't mate for life. I know that. I've lived among them for years." Rune explains, "We're not even really compatible that way, anyways. So one of us would have to out-bond to have a family. Not that I even know if I /want/ one or not." She groans, hanging her head forward slightly. "Just ignore me. I don't even know what I'm saying."

For a long time, Rune is just quiet, weighing over a thousand things in her mind. "I do care about you. A lot. I just don't know that I can ever be what you want." She admits, those words still whisper-quiet. "The stupid, selfish part of me wants to still walk by your side as long as you'll have me. But that would be wrong of me, wouldn't it?" It doesn't seem that she is really looking for an answer.

She shifts, wrapping her arms around her legs. "You can mend the pieces together with gold so it has the same function, the same beauty, but... it doesn't change the fact that the thing /is/ broken." These words are a whisper. Something she had said to Harkashan as well. Almost those exact same words.

Then, she reaches up and undoes the clasp of his cloak. "I... should go." The garment is offered back with one hand, the other wiping at her cheek. Wiping at a tear that she can't quite keep from falling as she looks away.

Could they talk about anything other than this?

Probably not.

Jacob takes a deep breath. "Too complicated." Jacob remarks. "I have...seen these kinds of relationships before. Two cannot walk together unless they are agreed." Jacob remarks softly, a faint whisper. Though she speaks about her complicated relationship with Harkashan and while it's hard for him to hear, he takes the time to listen anyway.

"I don't want to."

Ignore her. Why would he? He says that he cares, why would he stop just because the going got rough? He looks at her a moment. "I would walk with you." He whispers back to her. "I'm just...afraid that I won't be enough for you." Jacob remarks to her, softly. Even as she wraps her arms around her legs and speaks to him about how she is.

"We are all broken. We all must simply decide how best to put ouselves back together." Jacob tells her then. "Sometimes, we need help and cannot do it alone." She offers him his cloak back and Jacob reaches to grab her by the wrist, instead of the cloak, as if to feel the skin there.

If she'll allow him? He'll pull her closer to him to embrace her in a hug. "Pain reminds us we still live...and our hearts still beat."

There is likely a part of Rune that is regretting this honesty. If she were a different person, she might have been able to simply continue without ever having this conversation, not with Jacob or with Harkashan. However, one of the problems with being a good person, is sometimes honesty is really, really hard.

It's hard to tell if Rune really processes his words at first. As if she was already trying to build up walls around her heart and figure out her next steps.

Then, Jacob grabs her wrist. In that heartbeat, she could make the choice to step away. There is a strange feeling that seizes her, like deja vu. Then, he is pulling her into a hug and that seems enough to break down some of her defenses. So, Rune's arms slip around his back, head pressing into Jacob's chest.

"I messed up dinner." She mutters against the cloth of his robes. As if /that/ were the real problem. No, it's more that she fears she messed up her friendship, her relationship, whatever this is with him. However, saying that is much harder.

His comment about pain, though, that has her laughing again. It's another of those sounds that isn't really humor. Instead, she lifts her head, sniffling. "Where's that booze." She lifts a hand form around his back to wipe at one eye. "I need a drink. A toast to being a collosal fuck-up."

It's good that she speaks with honesty in her heart. If she had lied to him, not only would she have risked his anger, she also would have built a relationship out of lies. Even if it's painful, honesty is nearly always the best policy. It's an honesty that Jacob respects.

Even if his heart is in turmoil.

Successfully taking her wrist, Jacob gently pulls the smaller woman against his chest, his arms curling around her until she's completely trapped against him. She may feel the sweet touches of his hand on her head, feeling through her long black and blue tresses. "Nonsense." He answers to her self-pity. "What you've told me hasn't ruined anything. Even now...I care about you most in all the world." Once again he declares his love and affirmation for her. "And you haven't ruined dinner. If you didn't speak at all, then I'd consider the possibility." He was trying to make her laugh.

Poorly, but the attempt is there.

He pulls just slightly away so she can comfortably wipe at her eyes, something he tries to help her with as he looks at her, his thumb grazing from the bottom of her eyelid where a tear had tried to flee, to blaze a tender path across her cheek. "You are no such thing. You are everything but a fuck-up." despite his rare tendency to curse, he was more than happy to do so to prove a point.

One thing that Jacob may notice is that the hug doesn't seem to activate that same fight or flight response as the last time he had touched her back directly. Perhaps it is because the pressure is more spread out across her back rather than focused on one point. Though, it could also be that she is a bit distracted at the moment.

"You shouldn't." She whispers in response to his declaration, "But I'm also too selfish to stop you so... there's that." Some measure of humor seems to be a self-defense mechanism for Rune. "We can still finish the meal, if you want. Not sure how much I can eat though." In some people, emotions have that effect, shutting down any interest in food.

Rune doesn't draw away or try to stop his hand from drawing those tears away, but she /is/ most certainly trying to get them under control. It is a struggle not to feel weak.

"Oh, I very well am a fuck-up, Jacob Ben-Hassid." A hint of a smile comes back to her face, but it doesn't quite reach her eyes in that moment. "You just have an overwhelming tolerance for it. Which I suppose I should thank Serriel for. All that patience and goodness and light."

He's careful this time. Jacob's fingers and hand didn't rub her back the same way they did before. He's more general, rather than touching that spot that had caused her to panic. He has no weapon against her.

Instead, he just holds her against him. "But I do all the same." He nods to her softly when she claims she can finish the meal. "I'd like that. But...if I may? I'd like to hold you some brief moment longer." His hand stays caressing her slender cheek, his eyes looking deeply into her own.

A patient love radiates from him like light itself.

"Serriel has blessed me with many of her qualities. Those may be some of them,but..." He looks at her for a moment. "Still, it changes nothing." He offers her a drink from his cup, reaching behind him to claim it and offer it to her.

"May I ask you something?"

A soft sound is made in response to that first question, a little thoughtful tone that comes with a hint of uncertainty. "This... This is okay." Color still lingers on her cheeks, especially at those fleeting moments when her eyes meet his. She doesn't seem to hold that gaze, though. That is not unusual, though. Jacob would have noticed by now that Rune just doesn't tend to hold eye-contact for long.

The warmth of the cloak seems to have been replaced by the broadly built cleric for the time being, but there is a hint of goosebumps rising up along her arms. It's likely just the cold.

The moment that he offers her his cup, it is tossed back and all but drained in one motion. Times like this, it is very obvious that Rune ran with a rougher crowd in the past. The girl can drink like a monster.

Or, at least, it appears that way at first. She hiccups.

The second question is met with a bit more certainty. "Of course. You can ask me anything."

"Thank you."

Warmth replaced with Jacob's body, he seems more than pleased with her answer. The cloak rests at his side, though he seems to see the goosebumps and - considering it to be because of the cold - he curls the cloak around her like a blanket. Hopefully she doesn't overheat!

He offers her his cup and it's GONE. The contents fully down her throat in one gulp...she acts like a heavyweight, but it seems she might be a tad overzealous as she hiccups. The second question she meets with certainty...but likely not for long.

"...Would you be insulted or offended if I asked your permission to kiss you?"

The return of the cloak does seem to ward off any remaining chill. It is still spring, and the evening still runs cold anywhere outside of the reach of the fire's warmth. When she had moved to step away, Rune had gone just out of the reach of that, into the shadows of the surrounding forest. There is a contrast there, with the light from the fire on one cheek and the darkness of the forest across the other.

Thankfully, the hiccup is not followed by any other signs of being intoxicated. Though Rune does look down into the empty cup for a moment before Jacob's question catches her attention.

There is one of those slow lifts of her head, blue eyes looking up at him briefly before looking away again, this time towrds the fire so that it illuminates her features in full. "I wouldn't be insulted or offended..." She starts, "I'm just not sure I'm ready for that kind of thing yet."

When she glances back, it's hesitant. "I... haven't really ever kissed anyone." Which may very well suggest other things she hasn't done. "Closest I've ever done is sleeping in a pile of Makari Adventurers for warmth in the winter. They make surprisingly good space-heaters." She tries to show some hint of shy humor.

Freed from the chill, Jacob seems to be glad to be warmed by Rune and she him. It's good that she's not intoxicated yet - there's plenty of alcohol for that to occur, but Jacob seems happy that she hasn't fled from him in disgust...or thrown up on him from potential intoxication.

The fire illuminates her face as he regards her. She informs him she wouldn't be upset or offended at the act, but tells him she might not be ready. It reveals a subtle truth, but one that seems reflected in Jacob's eyes. "You would be my first. I've never given myself to another...in any way." A virgin? "Makari huddle together for warmth? It's akin to what my tribe does, though it's more for defense so no creature might catch us all off guard." He clears his throat. "I've never kissed anyone."

He looks her in the eyes. Itd be a first for both of them. "But I respect you and I honor you. Even if I had neither of these for you, I would not take something so sacred from you. It's a treasure and once you give it..." he hums. "It's not easily given."

Thankfully for them both, Rune seems to know her limits when it comes to alcohol. At the moment, despite the hiccup, she seems fine. "Let's just sit and enjoy the fire." She invites, shifting back to a sitting position on the blanket. The half-sil pulls the cloak about her again, taking the opportunity to warm her fingers. It seems they always feel cold.

As she glances up, there is no judgement there for his own lack of experience. Clerics do tend to be more sequestered than most. It does bring a curious question to her, "How old are you, Jacob?" Realizing that the question may sound strange, given the context, Rune quickly clarifies, "I just... haven't spent as much time around humans. I'm not really sure how to 'read' age on one. Elves don't show it at all. Half-bloods like me only minimally. Makari it seems different for each one."

"I'm twenty-six." She offers up first, incase that makes the question less awkward. "Left home just after I came of age. So I've been on my own most of that time, except for when I lived with the Makari." Her lip quirks at the comment about them, though. "Mmm. It's hard to describe, but... they're very much about caste and kith. Found family as well as biological family."

She doesn't add much to the matter of affection, likely quite uncertain, herself, when she might take that step. Instead, she just pats the blanket. "Come 'ere."

To sit and enjoy the fire?

Thank Serriel.

A softness and relief washes over Jacob, chuckling for a moment as he accepts her invitation, lying down next to her where she had patted, glad to have the honor.

How old is he? Jacob turns his head to look at her, his eyes pulled away from the stars above to view her in the firelight. He's about to answer when she says she is 26 years old. It makes Jacob chuckle, before he reveals his age. "You are slightly older than me. I'm 24. If must have been strange to be out on your own so soon. I had a similar experience, but not quite so fortunate to find company with Makari." He nods along softly.

He's happy to leave the talk of affection alone and instead just...get to know her. "What would you say is your favorite thing to do?"

Seeing that relief in Jacob's expression seems to echo her own. Things had gotten deep and complicated very fast, but it had been a conversation worth having. Yet, these are the sort of moments Rune enjoyed the most. Those quiet, little moments.

Rune leans back a little, resting weight back on her hands. Her own eyes look skyward, appreciating the stars in the night sky. This is the domain of her patron, the Sky-Singer, and she had somehow always felt at peace with it. She does draw her eyes away to look at him when he gives his own age, drawing a half-smile from her. "Harkashan is well over a hundred. I can't even imagine what it would be like to live that long." Which may come across as strange, as half-sil can easily get to that age.

Then again, that usually is not half-sil Adventurers. The risky lifestyle did tend to come with a distinctly shorter lifespan.

"I was actually looking for information on my mother. That's what lead me to Am'shere." Rune explains as she draws out the strange necklace Jacob had likely seen before. It usually rests beneath her clothing. It is larger than most, with small, delicate locks. "This part, right here? It's got Draconic writing. It mentions a location in Am'shere. It's... where I found the first key. With the help of the Makari party I was with, anyways. Fair trade, I figured. I helped them and they helped me."

Had Rune ever talked about the necklace before with Jacob? It seems not, at least not in any detail.

"My favorite thing?" It's not really a question, just repeating it to herself. "I guess, singing. It feels like the one gift my mother gave me. Though I'm nowhere near as skilled as she was. She could make an entire room of drunks sit up and listen like polite gentlemen."

These little wonders...

We are such things that dreams are made of. It's always - seemingly - the big things that changes the world. Great powers and principalities, the wisest, the smartest, the fastest, or the strongest.

But that has never been the Way.

Instead, it's the little things that can change the world just as mightily. A hug can cure the broken, a bite of kindness can sooth the old hatred.

An ear to hear and eyes to see can perform wonders for the heart. "I don't think I stand much a chance to live that long." Jacob chuckles. "Unless I somehow discover the secrets of immortality or my Goddess blesses me with long life. Though your natural days will long exceed mine, blessed by the stars with longevity."

"Truthfully?" Jacob regards her fondly as she speaks of what brought her here: her mother. She watches for who she is...who she was. He looks at the *gorgeous* necklace she produces. "Wow...very fortunate indeed you met Makari along your journey." He liked learning these things about her, it earns a greater appreciation and respect for her, her story, and the pages that lie unwritten.

"I disagree. You've the voice of a Celestial. When you sang it never fails to steal my attention." He smiles softly at her.

Hearing Jacob talk about his own lifespan seems to put some matters into perspective for Rune. He is human. She is half-sildanyari. Under normal circumstances, he is right mortality. On the other hand...

"You and I probably won't agree on that point. Natural lifespan really doesn't matter much for those who regularly put their necks on the line." She lifts one hand from the ground, reaching it over to ruffle his hair in a playful gesture. "Besides, I'm the one of us that's already died, so I'd say my chances aren't that great."

There's something light-hearted about how she talks about her own mortality. It's very different from when she actually has to face it head-on. It is the attitude of someone just enjoying what time they have, not knowing when it will be done.

Drawing that hand back, she uses it to tuck the necklace back beneath her shirt, "They were a good bunch, but I wasn't the only one who fell during that Charn attack. If I know anything about the Makari and their burial rites, I'm sure Harkashan gave them the peace of the pyre." Obviously, the Markari death-shaman hadn't done that to Rune. Strange that he wouldn't follow his own ways when dealing with her body. Though, obviously a good thing, as well.

"And now you're just trying to charm me." Rune smirks at him, following that with a shake of her head. "I'm not that good. But I'm glad you enjoy it." Her eyes look skyward once more, watching as some of the stars are winked out by some passing clouds.

"It... looks like the weather might be turning." She notes, motioning her chin towards the clouds blowing in.

Mortality in general was a hard subject. Not a fair one either. Some races are cursed with lives far too short...and others blessed with lives far too long.

Though he can't much speak of it before her hand is unveiled and ruffling through his long hair. The softness of it may surprise her, locks of Raven black easily pasting under her playful attentions. A shake of his head sets the long locks right as he smiles at her.

For a moment, he seems to slightly lean into her touch before he remembers himself and ceases his actions. Hearing her snark in their mortality, he couldn't help but smile. "Let's just not be in a race to die again, yeah? I like you being alive." He doesn't say the hidden words. The 'id never forgive myself if something happened to you.' The 'You're the most important person in the world to me.'.

It remains silent.

"Then they joined their honored dead in the afterlife. May they rest in peace knowing they are survived by you and the fond memory you keep of them." Jacob smiles warmly at her.

Charm her? Absolutely. And yet a brutal truth rests in his eyes. "Yet it remains no less true." He looks at her for a moment, before he looks up. "Aye. I'll have to clean this up. I can give you a ride back?"

"Oh, trust me, I'm in no hurry to return to that place." A slight shiver runs through Rune that has nothing to do with the cold. There are still many things about her experiences that she hasn't spoken about with anyone. Things that seem to chill her to the core.

Rune moves to push herself to her feet, leaving fond or sad memories of her former traveling companions where they lie. She may very well not know who survived to live that day and who did not, other than Harkashan, himself.

"I'll help, just tell me what you need done." She offers, already moving to help. "Oh, so now you want to get both prizes! I see through your tricks, Jacob Ben-Hassid. You won't fool me that easily." A playful smile lights her face.

"I've got Tinwe lashed to a tree a little ways off. I'll be fine." Rune laughs.