seekrit is now known as Flauri
Oxford has changed the topic to: Gevaar! Mijnenveld!
<Oxford> Dusk begins to settle over the rolling hills of northern Gaulia. From her hideaway high in an abandoned grain silo, Flaurentine watches the approach of night dye waving fields of golden grain a deep purple. With the sun down, the risk of being spotted by a passing patrol drops significantly; it is finally safe to emerge and get a feel for her surroundings.
- Flauri uses this opportunity to get a break from the hour or so spent hyperventilating and then the next few spent in silent, pure self-loathing. Hair now an almost messy wave instead of pulled back by her usual ribbons, the poor girl's physical discomfort is easily tossed aside to make room for the emotional side of it, which consumed thought after thought. Slowly but surely, she tucks the pendant into a part of her outfit where it can't be seen easily, though without removing it, and steps outside. Each breath and each step are taken with caution as the small girl makes like a mouse and tiptoes, warily but a little hungrily, through the field.
<Oxford> The fireflies begin to come out, mirroring the stars that gradually resolve against the deep blue dusk. Across the field, beside a stand of poplars, a square of golden light within the black silhouette of a building shows that at least the farmhouse here is still occupied.
<Flauri> The little girl's thoughts are clouded, mostly those of failure, but her rumbling stomach is something else. What good is it to stay and one place and do nothing, anyway? At the same time… it actually IS night, and having every memory she still has be one of a time when a curfew was in place, the lateness grants her a newfound sense of freedom. At least for now. Instead of heading
<Flauri> straight to bother anybody, her steps are taken swiftly and silently - avoiding any crops or the like in the process - past the field for somewhere else to get a good look at what else is around. In the pessimistic mood she's in she certainly expects empty space, but surprises happen!
<Oxford> The grain is tall and already heavy with seed; the harvest should have been weeks ago. Beside the farmhouse is a long dirt road that winds up a low hill and out of sight down the other side. The moon is waxing gibbous, about three-quarters full, and provides good illumination in open places, but ample shadows along the hedgerows that mark off the border between fields. A faint glow in the distance, down the dirt road, might be coming from a village of some kind.
<Flauri> With a small determined nod to herself, little Flauri sets off down the road while measuring in her head every single meter of distance she takes from the building… just in case of needing to go back there. Then again this isn't anything new at all, since she'd conditioned herself from the beginning to make every distance immediately known considering the terror of getting stuck in a wall and instantly dying or some other horrific thing. That's why after a gamble like this one, despite the depression of being responsible for the pilot's death and other things, she's at least just a little grateful to be alive. Each step still as wary as the last, she trots down the road clutching the hidden pendant at her chest.
<Oxford> Reaching the crest of the hill, Flaurentine has a good view of the surrounding countryside. The glow she saw earlier is indeed coming from a small village, twenty or thirty low brick and mortar buildings arranged haphazardly around a central well. A few wisps of smoke emerge from chimneys in town; from her place atop the hill, the young girl feels a chill breeze blowing in off the sea, despite the unseasonable warmth of the day.
<Flauri> The thoughts of curfew still rise to the top of the girl's head, but under the rising flame of instinct they all slowly evaporate. Putting on her best smile despite the unlikeliness of anybody being out this late she clutches the pendant even tighter, looking off to the direction of the breeze with the slightest bit of worry in those eyes of hers that nobody can see, before silenty proceeding to walk in a gentle slide down the hill.
<Oxford> The dirt road is deeply grooved with use, and Flaurentine has to carefully step around a small heap of horse manure. It seems automobiles are still fairly uncommon in this part of the world. At the base of the hill, the road becomes cobblestone at the edge of the village, though grass pokes up defiantly through the cracks. A number of storefronts and vender's stalls sit empty and dark, plate glass display windows reflecting the moonlight that emerges from behind the church's bell tower.
<Flauri> Finding it difficult to resist a smile, she takes a nice, deep breath at how calm the scenery is, lessening her caution and proceeding straight into the village, keeping an eye out for anybody who might live there despite how doubtful it is. Her first mission… find something somewhat better than a grain bin to stay in for the time being, and if there happens to be any vendor nearby that's still open that would make the process even easier. She's not even sure at this point whether the pocket change she has is enough to matter, here, but faces the situation with determination! Or… something close enough, at least. With a peek at each stall, she makes what's otherwise a beeline toward the square…. only, in the form of a slow stroll.
<Oxford> Most of the stalls are locked up tighly, though one - a dairy-farmer's spot, judging by the metal jugs inside - is probably loose enough to squeeze into if need be. In the center square, the round public well sits like an endless pit, its bottom lost in the blackness.
<Oxford> From across the square, Flaurentine thinks she sees fleeting movement - a shadow flickers and ducks around the corner of a building.
<Flauri> Flauri's own shadow ducks around the corner of the building with a tiny gasp… but a drink isn't such a bad idea. Spending what may even be a few minute smothered in timidgirltom, her head slowly peeks out to look in the direction of that 'shadow' before even making an attempt to head toward the well. Breathing softly, she assures that her voice is soft enough to not reach the nearby residences before making an attempt to speak up across the square. "H… Hello? Is somebody there?"
<Oxford> A low shadow detachs itself from the alley across the far side of the square and approaches cautiously. The silhouette is about 4 feet tall and carrying a long, cylindrical object.
<Flauri> Pendant clutched even tighter. But what's there to lose at this point? The little girl approaches, herself, heading presumable to the well. But that's not going to stop her from just waiting for the other party to reveal themselves a little more.
<Oxford> The approaching outline catches a beam of moonlight midway across the square. The cool white light reveals a young girl of about nine or ten, her arms clutching a white metal tube of some kind, covered in knobs and dials. Her short, square bangs swish from side to side as she walks slowly forward.
<Flauri> A sigh of relief. Though… it's not time to take it easy just yet, as the pendant's still clutched just a little. It probably even looks a bit strange for ltitle Flauri to be showing up with her hand to her chest, but if anything that just emphasizes her worriedness at this point. And she's not all that little in comparison, anyway. "Ex… cuse me…" Clearing her throat softly, her finger begins to reach up and point to the well. "Is this…?"
<Oxford> The little girl - rather, the littler of the two - tilts her head to one side in confusion. Her eyes follow Flaurentine's finger, but go back once she realizes what's being pointed at. "Zo het fontein…?" she says carefully, head still cocked.
<Flauri> "Zo… oh…" And then the realization hits. "… O-Oh." And then there's probably a good bit of a staring contest before going through whatever memories are there… only to find most language classes totally a blank spot. Great. Mustering all her courage she makes a small, apologetic bow of some kind and makes motions to the fountain indicating a drink, then follows with a quizzical gesture, questioning. And her eyes by themselves do the entire apology 'I'm sorry, I'm lost' thing.
<Oxford> "…!" The small, brunette girl shifts the odd cylinder in her arms to get her hands free, and then pantomimes taking a drink from a cup. She points toward the side of the well, where a bucket attached to a long rope sits half-hidden in shadows.
- Flauri gives a gesture of genuine thanks before dashing straight over to get it free, making a quick effort to actually utilize the well and have something to drink if allowed. That is, if this girl doesn't actually indicate there's something wrong with it. Cleanliness doesn't really matter at this point anyway, having been alone in an empty place for so long. But however that ends up
- * Flauri going by, little-big Flauri would politely set it back down and approach again, starting to speak but cutting herself off and starting to make hand-gestures… of course, not long after she realizes that won't work and just speaks WHILE indicating, starting with a point to the outside of the village. "I'm sorry, I'm… lost and there isn't… anywhere to stay here." A pantomime of a
- Flauri roof above a head, then of sleeping. It looks kind of silly.
<Oxford> The girl shakes her head and waves both hands flat and horizontally, making a little X. "Nee, ik heb geen behoefte om te gaan nog slapen." She points to the long tube - a telescope, Flaurentine realizes - and then points at the night sky above.
<Flauri> To somebody who's been in the military, any long cylinder could be a gun. Finally understanding that it isn't, a soft breath leads to her grip loosening. But with that, she looks down at the pendant and starts to formulate some thoughts that most would find more than unusual, putting them aside for the moment as she nods with a smile. "Oh… I see. I'm sorry, this was the only place I could find this late… are you looking for somewhere to…" Pointing to the telescope she realizes how horribly misinterpreted this sentence is going to be, "… Use that?" She follows by motioning questioningly to the outside again.
<Oxford> While it is unclear how much of that the little girl understood, she nods happily when Flaurentine points to the telescope. Then she turns and, gripping the expensive device carefully, trots toward the corner of the church, looking back to make sure the older girl is following.
<Flauri> She is, happily so. Though she straightens her hair on the walk there, a bit unsettles about the looseness of it all with nothing to pull it back. What a pain. What the younger girl has no idea as to, though, is that she's actually thinking of simple things and doing unnecessary acts to them… like how can this pendant make this girl's life easier, for starters. She clutches it with a smile but runs along, even somewhat worriedly.
<Oxford> Behind the church is a small graveyard, set on the near slope of a low hill. Gray headstones, some thick with moss, dot the hill; the small girl weaves her way up between the markers toward the top. The wind blows softly, carrying away the thin clouds of breath that puff from her mouth every few steps.
<Flauri> "Is this really okay?" Flauri shows worry (rhyme intended) in her voice, though it's soft enough to not indicate requesting an actual response. It's not like that would be able to happen even if she WANTED it to, though the uncertainty in her voice is evident. Still, she makes her best effort to follow and help set up in whatever way's possible.
<Oxford> The little Gaulian girl stops at the edge of the graveyard, next to the last of the headstones, and starts to extend the legs of a tripod to rest the telescope on. "Dit is mijn grootvader kijker," she explains as she works, tightening the knobs with expert precision.
<Flauri> This is my… well, cues are starting to be picked up, so she gets a crisp nod in response. At least, crisper than the mood Flauri had been in before, and that says plenty. Without the kind of technical knowledge to help with the setup, though, she can only lean back and look straight up at the stars with naked vision.
<Oxford> She looks through the telescope carefully, tweaking one dial and then the other, before looking up at Flaurentine and smiling. "… En dit is mijn grootvader ster!" she says, gesturing the older girl toward the eyepiece invitingly.
- Flauri looks on with interest that actually is somewhat genuine, having not really enough memories to be familiar with something like this. And in such a rural-looking village… still, a big smile plasters itself on her face as she observes curiously. "And you use this to look at the…?" The inquiry in her voice is followed as she looks straight up again.
<Oxford> The girl nods encouragingly and mimes putting her eye to the eyepiece. "Ja, de sterren!"
<Flauri> "Well, it's yours," she says while gesturing the younger girl ahead, before being overcome by curiosity and leaning just a little bit closer, making the questioning sound in her voice apparent with a gesture do it. "Are you sure you don't mind if I…?"
<Oxford> The little girl nods again, more for encouragment than in answer to the question. She watches Flaurentine with rapt attention.
- Flauri nods and puts her eye to it, considering as this girl may not know encouraging actually IS answering the question. Her hands keep mostly to themselves instead of touching the device, mostly out of fear that she'll accidentally do something to it because her deactivated pendant has yet to come off her person.
<Oxford> Through the glass lens of the telescope, the universe opens up before Flaurentine's eyes. The 'scope brings even the faintest lights into stunning focus; one tiny patch of the night, viewed through the telescope, holds more stars than can be seen by the naked eye on even the clearest night.
<Flauri> The telescope keeps aimed at that point, in minor concern. She wouldn't necessarily know whether that's normal or not, but very carefully she makes sure to keep it aimed in that spot while pulling back and pointing to it. In cheerful interest, if nothing else.
<Oxford> Like salt spilled across black velvet, the lights form the barest hints of structure: clumping in groups or strewn in long strands. And at the center of the display, one star in particular, bright and unwavering against the night. "Mijn grootvader ster," the little girl repeats, smiling.
<Flauri> "Your… star?" How nice it must be to have something you can say something even resembling that sentence about. Shooting a smile in return, she looks back up at it even without the telescope's aid. "That must be nice to have… I never knew the stars could be this pretty."
<Oxford> The little girl wanders over to the gravestone nearby. She carefully pats the top of the stone, almost lovingly. "Mijn grootvader," she explains slowly, "gaf me zijn ster."
<Flauri> "Oh…" Her smile loosens as Flauri walks over. "I see… so you miss your grootvader?" The tone could make it 'grandfather' or even 'father,' she notes to herself, but without being one for linguistic study that thought keeps to itself. Even knowing she won't be understood too she reaches to pat the girl assuringly… before pulling back and deciding to do it with words alone.
<Flauri> "I have somebody… somebody I think I'm going to miss very much, too."<Oxford> By moonlight, Flaurentine can read the tombstone: "Arjen Daavos, 1861-1935." The girl ducks under Flauri's aborted headpat and scrambles over to put her own eye to the eyepiece. She looks for a moment and then, after smiling at Flaurentine, runs around the hill in little figure-eights, arms outstretched at either side.
<Flauri> She can't help but giggle. "Hee hee. You have a lot of energy, don't you… um…" It's at this point the realization hits that there's no way to introduce each other, which just leads to another jolt of depression. Looking straight up at the night sky she can only keep smiling, though.
<Oxford> A voice suddenly calls out from the direction of the church below. "Corinne! Je mag niet onevenredig zijn in deze koude!" The voice is male and gravelly, as though worn with years.
- Flauri can't help but let out an "Eep!" and go back to timiding, shrinking behind the nearest object without even noticing it.
<Oxford> The man jogs halfway up the hill before he notices Flaurentine. When he does, he slows and asks, "ah, hallo?"
<Flauri> Well, so much for hiding. She slowly comes out and realizes she can't even fake the language, politely bowing. "Ah… I'm sorry. I-I'm lost, and we met, and um…" The nervous clusterfuck of a sentence is followed by pantomimes and nervous, apologetic faces.
<Oxford> The man is round-faced and short, dressed in the black dress clothes of a Gaulian priest outside of services. "Er, you speak Alb?" he asks, confusion on his face.
<Flauri> "O… Oh! I…" The Flauri blush comes back in full force as she busts out a flurry of apologetic gestures. "I-I'm very sorry! I didn't know you spoke it too… it's, um…" Cough. "I… don't think it's my first language, it's just the only one I can…"
<Oxford> The little girl - Corinne, perhaps? - runs down the hill to stand between the priest and Flaurentine. The man ignores her and walks closer to the other girl. "Yes, I speak it. Ah… thank you for looking Corinne?" Unfamiliarity with the language makes everything he says come out as a question, but his demeanor is friendly enough.
<Flauri> At least it's better than no translation at all! Although, Corinne's attitude is friendly enough to practically translate itself. "Oh, I… yes, she's a very nice girl. I-I hope she didn't do anything wrong, Sir," she'd raise her hand slightly but quickly pull it back before accidentally giving off the wrong impression. Her other hand's still nervously clutching her chest, though lightly. "I just… ah, I'm lost and wanted to know if she knew of a place to stay, but…" At this point Flauri just chuckles at the girl's excitedness.
<Oxford> "Lost…to stay…ah! Yes, you are able to stay. Here." He gestures down the hill to the church. He leans over to whisper something in Gaulian to Corinne, who goes over to the telescope and starts taking it apart.
<Flauri> Well that's awfully quick. "O-Oh, but I couldn't ask for something so… suddenly…" Her hand reaches for nothing, feeling the crippling loneliness about to converge. Flauri can only nod. "But… i-if you wouldn't mind, I mean…. I'm not sure how to find my way again."
<Oxford> The priest watches his young charge take down the tripod. "She is like you are? Since her grandfather died, no parents." He looks wistfully at the night sky. "He gave…kijker? Tele…?"
<Flauri> "T… Telescope." She utters out the word slowly but surely. "It must have been expensive.. b-but that's right. No… No parents."
<Oxford> The priest nods understandingly. There's a faint boom off in the distance, and a dim flash far off to the north. "The fighting," he says, quietly, "only a little north. Sometimes closer, sometimes not."
<Flauri> A gasp. "You mean… near here?! B-But it's dangerous! What are you going to do when they… I mean…"
<Oxford> "We were in the basement. H…hiding?" He makes a peek-a-boo hand gesture, nodding when he sees he 's understood. "But the army is going north. Soon, no more occupation, no more war." His statement seems confident, but the doubt on his face is plain.
- Flauri remains silent before forcing a smile. "… That's right. The war will be over soon."
<Oxford> The priest sighs. "Yes. Soon, I hope… very many was died, very many destroyed." He nods again, then points down the hill to the church. "I hope, soon. Ah…come now, inside?"
<Flauri> "It's alright, Sir. I know it won't be much longer." With a small nod she finds it hard to anything other than accept, but still clutches her pendant. "T-Thank you for all your help, though. I-I'm Fl…" Gasping she realizes she already screwed up, scrambling to remedy this. "… Flau! My name is Flau."
<Oxford> "Flau?" He nods. "Vader Pieterhoff. Come, then; you have eated?" The round priest waddles down the hill towards the church, waving for 'Flau' to follow.
<Flauri> "N… No, sir." Following his lead, she makes a note to keep being as secretive as possible… but even in the moonlight she looks down at the pendant's tiny glint, which in itself may end up symbolizing the hope for these poor people at some point. Given purpose, little Flau prepares herself for the first meal in what may just have been a while.