The best thing for her
Posted on Sat Jan 28th, 2012 @ 12:02pm by Captain Daenelia Bradley
Chapter 3: Mypos or Bust
Location: Myposia, Nadia's House
Timeline: Day 2
It had been a long time, but Daenelia remembered the smiling face of Nadia well. Her freckles and dark red hair had made her stand out all those years ago, and though Daenelia had not seen her in ages... 10 years? more? ... she had kept in touch through letters and gifts. As a matter of fact, Daenelia was carrying a gift now: a tin toy soldier for Nadia's son Lukus. Of course, she was bringing something else along. Someone else, Daenelia cursed herself for slipping up, even in her mind. Nasrim was walking behind her, her head covered by the black lace shawl she had admired in a stall, which Daenelia then bought for her. It had made Nasrim feel safer, being able to hide from the stares and looks she was given by the people of Myposia.
They were nearing the edge of the city, not a far walk from the center, but still far enough away to be more quiet and serene. Beyond the city wall there was farm land, and Daenelia could hear cows mooing. She smiled at the girl with the clockwork throat, hoping this would reassure her. The Captain had not been able to fully explain what the intention of the walk was. But she hoped that Nadia's motherly presence would smooth over any awkward moments. Daenelia knew she was no good with kids, but admired Nadia's inate mothering instincts.
As they rounded the corner, Daenelia already saw Nadia, hanging up laundry, while Lukus ran around on the grass. Nadia straighted to yell something at Lukus, but she spotted Daenelia instead. She smiled, and yelled at Daenelia instead: "Oh Captain!" and then doubled over laughing. Daenelia froze and looked left and right for an angry passer by to grab her and hand her over to the Myposian Guards for being a female Sky Captain. But Nadia was the only one coming at her, with her arms stretched out for a hug. Nasrim, sensing Daenelia's anxiety, took some small steps backwards, as if ready to flee. The two women hugged, and Nasrim concluded this was probably not a hostile situation after all. She stepped forward, curious why she was brought along.
Just then Lukus came running up to Daenelia. The boy was only 8 years old, but looked a lot like his mother. Just before he reached Daenelia he skidded to a sudden stop and reached out to find his mother's skirt. Daenelia laughed and held out the package she was carrying. "Lukus, right?" she asked, as she grinned at the boy. "Your mother told me you collect toy soldiers. Well, I think you might like this one." She put the package in Lukus's hands, who then immediately ripped it open. His big smile was enough thanks for Daenelia.
She turned around, still smiling, to Nasrim.The girl was staring at the boy, at Nadia, at Daenelia, with wide eyes. The Captain beckoned her to come closer and she did so, with small careful steps. "Nadia," Daenelia began, as she reached out to touchj Nasrim on the arm, only to see the girl recoil slightly. "Nadia, this is Nasrim. She is ... a special person."
"Person?" Nadia repeated incrediously. To Nadia Nasrim looked like a construct, a thing, a big pretty girl doll. But Daenelia nodded. It was important that Nadia realised this was a person, a human being, not a thing.
"I need a safe place for her to stay. She can't come with us any further. She was hiding on the ship, and I have seen some of the sailors look at her. I think she is going to stir trouble, whether she intends to or not."
Nasrim couldn't believe what she was hearing. The Captain would just hand her over to yet another caretaker, another owner? She looked at the women with whatever suspicion she could muster. The boy was too busy playing and fiddling with his new toy to stare at her. He was not staring at her.
As Daenelia and Nadia worked out the arrangement of Nasrim's stay, the clockwork girl stared at the boy. He was rubbing the toy soldier, moving the arms, running his thumb along the sleeve, his index finger over the face. When Nasrim stepped a little closer, her gears made a noise. Lukus looked startled. "What's that?" he said and reach out to Nasrim, his fingers brushing her skirt, catching in the lace. Nasrim fumbled for her key, so she could speak. Her hands froze as she realised the boy was blind.
Trembling she just stood still as the hands of the blind boy reached out to touch her hand, her arm, and up higher, to where he expected her face to be, out of his reach. She leaned forward slightly and allowed him to ... touch, so he could... see. For a second her anxiety over being touched flared up. But he boy's eyes were empty, no malice, no intent to harm. Just curious.
Daenelia nodded to Nadia about the arrangement as money changed hands. She looked back at the unusual spectacle of Nasrim's face being explored by this young boy. The girl's body language was screaming unease, and yet she allowed this contact. Nadia smiled. "She doesn't seem too much like a frightened deer, Daenelia."
"No. No, she doesn't." Daenelia smiled. This was the best decision she could make. And as she said goodbye to her friend and Lukus, she gave Nasrim a parting gift. "Here," she said as she handed her the bandana she'd bought at the Myposian market. "This is for you. To remember me, and us, by. If you ever need me, send me the bandana, and I will come for you. Whatever trouble you are in, whatever happy news you have to share. I will come back."
Then she resolutly turned around and walked the path back to the Steamhawke.