A look into the past

Below is the passage that first inspired me to write of Talia’s past, and childhood.  It is what prompted me to set about putting words to paper for NaNoWriMo.  This was never posted online before under Talia, but was included over as a side story on Leefe.  This will give some perspective to the origins of both Talia and Tomas. 

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          Aldous looks down to her arms “Those markings… interesting.  Have you had those long?”

         Talia looks down at her own arms, “something from when I was younger.” Then thoughfully, “there are things you can leave behind, but a part of them will always stay with you.”

         “Younger?”  He smiles,  “Right. I suppose we all were once. But I’m not one to say that either of us aren’t still young.”  He leans in for a closer look, “What are they of?”  When he notices her blush he smirks, “Oh come now.”

         “I wasn’t always a tailor.  In those days, I was more daring.. foolish perhaps.”

         “They can’t be -that- bad. Besides. Foolishness and fun start with the same letter for a reason.”

         She raises an eyebrow at his jest “as does frightful.”

         Aldous hold up his hands, “Simply saying, the foolish usually have a great deal more fun than the… well.. come now! Simply tell me what they are.”  He smiles widely, “You’ve tickled my curiosity. I simply can’t rest until I know now.”

         Talia sighs for a moment, “They were just markings of status… of accomplishment.  Suffice it to say, I was a bit more reckless in those days, and a bit less noble in my persuits of wealth.”

         “Oooh? Shady dealings mayhaps?”

         She smirks this time, “at the time I told myself it was liberations.”  He hand goes out, retrieving the bottle.

         “Now it’s getting interesting.”  Taking another sip of wine, “What sort of things did you do?  Just give me a little example.”

         She frowns, looking into the fire, “petty thief, really.  Though we liked to think of it in grander terms.”

         “Tell me about it. Everyone does that with everything they do. Reality is simply… depressing.  But, regardless. You’ve -got- to tell me at least one story.”  He smirks at her knowingly, “I know you’ve got them.”

         She takes another sip of her ale, “I’ve worked hard to put all that behind me.  I try not to think of it.”

         “It’s healthy to reminesce. Besides, you’re not the only one who’s been mischevious.”

         She looks over her cup to Aldous, “Mischevious, or stupid?”

         “A bit of both,” he smiles slightly.  Talia takes a long drink and sets the bottle down.  Aldous chuckles to himself waiting.  “You know, I’d be willing to trade one of my stories for yours.”

         She leans back in the chair, tired, “If you really must have story…”

         “Oh, I’ve got them, too.”  He smiles smugly and slides back in his chair.  “But you know… if you don’t want to talk about that sort of things.”

         “In those days there were maybe 9 or 10 of us altogether.”  She looks thoughtfully into the fire.  “We thought that the nobles had enough coin that’d that never miss a few here or there.  It was usually a simple enough task to cut a purse while delivering drinks at an upscale tavern.  Occasionally one of us would be caught, but the guards cared littlle.  A night in a cell wasn’t much worse than a night on the streets, so we never really learned.  Only one night, it wasn’t the city guards that stopped us.  Tomas had targeted a rather loudmouthed young noble, of an age with the rest of us.  It was the same ploy as always, we just didn’t expect the other to be watching.  The noble noticed nothing, but as Tomas turned to leave, he came face to face with “Daddy’s Guards” who were keeping an eye on him two tables away.  The young noble was embarrased, and very drunk.  He’d been shown for a fool.  They took Tomas out to the back alley and beat him within an inch of his life.”

         Talia pauses for a moment frowning as she stares into the fire.

         “Are… you alright?”

         She blinks slowly and looks over, “those were darker days then.  When the rest of us found out, we were furious.  A night in the cells was nothing compared to what they had done.”

         “Listen… I’m sorry I brought it up.”  He leans over and reaches his hand over to her armrest.  “Listen, you don’t have to go on.”

         She smirks slightly, “you asked for a story… I never promised a happy ending.”

         Aldous shakes his head slightly, “I didn’t want to do anything that would bother you.”

         She nods, lips twitch, not quite hinting at a smile, “well.. it’s a bit late for that, better I finish it, or I’ll think about it all night.”  He nods to her, saying nothing as she takes another sip of wine.  “As Tomas was recovering, the rest of us plotted.  None where known to the noble, so it was easy to get close.  We waited… watched.  One even managed to make it into his little circle of friends.  Once we knew the guards, it became easy.  A little drugging of the wine, just enough to dull the senses, not enough to alert them that something was wrong.  When they left the tavern that night, we guided them, over to where the rest were waiting.”  She smirks slightly, “the guards may have been large, but they were easily surprised.  A few clubs, and it was only the noble standing.  We closed and gave him the same beating he had dealt.”  She pauses to take another sip, staring again into the fire.  “Tomas stepped from the shadows then, I hadn’t know he had come along.  There was something in his eyes that I had never seen before.  A beating wasn’t enough.  Tomas had his dagger out, he pushed past us.  Only a few of us realized his intent, and by then it was too late.”

         Aldous takes a deep breath, “I see”

         She shakes her head, sadness creeping into her eyes, “no words, no pause for gloating.  He moved in quickly, calculating, and in an instant the blade had opened the young noble’s throat.  No one cared when all we cut was a purse or two, but this was different.”  Aldous shakes his head as he listens.  His gaze turns downwards, a faint expression of sadness on his face.

         “This changed everything.  We fell apart, as a group.  The city guards were looking everywhere.”  She looks again down at the marking on her arms, “When I left that city, I left that life behind me.  I don’t know what happened to the others.”

         “And Tomas… what did he look like?”

         Talia smiles slightly at a memory, “not many would call him handsome, but he had a way with his smile.  His black hair was cropped close, his eyes pools that you could fall in to.  He had the courage of one who didn’t know any better, and a quick wit.”  Her smiles slips to a sad frown, “After that night, both his smile and wit were gone.  Only a hatred remained.”  She sips quietly at the ale.

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