O'itoeri: Similar to a Japanese tonkori, it is an instrument that can be carried around like a guitar.
Muse: a person who inspires art in the Tanjian world. Here, Kai'do is using it in a derogatory way.
Ahn'yeh: a term of endearment in Tanjia.
"What a beautiful melody…"Ru'qayyah mused as she turned back for her lantern.
"Is that an O'itoeri? I wonder who is playing...probably a new bard I haven't met yet." Due to her love of music and dance, Ru'qayyah knew most of the bards and dancers that graced the marketplace with their presence from time to time.
"I must meet him or her one of these days, they play so well..." she decided as she made her way back down the steps into the Temple.
Kai'do strummed the strings of his O'itoeri absent-mindedly as he traipsed through the marketplace. He had been there almost an hour with no sign of his latest..."muse" in sight.
"What was her name again...Il'laia? Im'uli...? I thought she instructed to meet her in front of that fruit stand two hours before sundown!" Never the one for patience, he ( )ushed his free hand through is sapphire mane haphazardly while preparing to depart... and then realized he had reached the front of the Taj'erii Grand Temple.
He gazed in wonder at the ornate pyramid before him as he hung his instrument across his torso with its strap. The setting sun led the twin moons above the gate to scintillate in a myriad of light beams; it truly was a sight to behold. Even though he had seen the landmark many times, the feeling of awe was the same every time he studied its intricacies.
As his eyes made their way down to the gate, a blur of dark teal caught his eye. Moving past the gate toward him was the most interesting creature he had ever set eyes upon. Her dyed hair noticeably contrasted with violet eyes, and her outfit was even more striking. She wore a gauzy sheer top that ended just above her slender navel, and a flowing teal skirt that glistened slightly in the sun. Her outfit was vastly different from the stark white robe and mint green sash she wore on top, revealing her status as a priestess of the temple. He resolved, "I MUST speak to her. Such duality cannot be without an interesting story."
She seemed to be in a hurry, as her rose colored lantern clanked while she marched toward his direction. He decided to stop her by any means, as his usual good looks did not seem to have an affect on her. Though she was looking in his direction, she seemed lost in thought while displaying an endearing smile that made him all the more determined. "I must be the cause of that smile one day," he vowed as his sharp mind ran through scenarios of how to speak to her, or at least get her to look at him.
He realized then the flower stall beside him. Quickly picking up one of the bei'roti roses on display and flicking a coin at the stall owner, he prepared mentally to woo this maiden off her feet with his witty charm and ( )avado, like he had done to scores of women before...
Ru'qayyah didn't realize how long she had spent speaking with Yu'uto while retrieving her lantern. She only had a little over an hour before prayers at dusk! As she strode toward her destination, her thoughts drifted to her conversation with the young priest, which was jovial and, more importantly, lengthy. Didn't she just moments ago believe she was not capable of holding a lengthy conversation with him? She smiled to herself with quiet pride for her accomplishment as she entered the market.
She was a( )uptly met with a hand, which both blocked her path and held a pretty purple rose. "Another flower for the lady? It would look stunning amongst your voluptuous...teal hair..." the man uttered seductively.
The man that stood before her was...well, not really a man. His boyish looks and impish smirk made him seem younger than he probably was, she couldn't be sure. Long, navy hair was pulled into a messy ( )aid that seemed to enhance his strong jaw, and his clothes and the instrument at his side signified that he was a musician of sorts. His striking aqua eyes felt like they were looking right through her as he awaited a response.
"Uh...I..w-why..," Ru'qayyah mumbled as she blushed and took a step back. He looked into her eyes and could see both her surprise and anxiety, and felt a slight pang of guilt for being so forward with her.
"Wait, why should I feel guilty?? I am but offering a flower to the lovely lady after all," he surmised and put the thought at the back of his mind to ponder later.
She seemed to have composed herself and responded politely, "I...I thank you for the kind gesture, but I cannot accept flowers from strangers," as she started making her way around him.
Since he was at least a half-foot taller and ( )oader than she, blocking her again was child's play. "Well then, let us not be strangers…” he muttered softly as he closed up the space between them; only his beckoning hand with the rose was preventing their bodies from touching. She could not help the heady feeling caused by his voice and close presence. The end of his sentence hung with the anticipation of her name being revealed, but Ru'qayyah was not privy to such things. She may be nervous and quiet around new people, but she certainly was not stupid.
She was about to respond when he ( )oke the silence with a husky introduction. "My name is Kai'do and I am completely begui--"
Out of nowhere, a shrill voice chimed, "Kai'do! I'm here...quickly, let us go!” Ru'qayyah looked to her right to see a petite woman dressed in black, with a suspicious look directed at her captor. She realized her proximity to the stranger was the cause and took a step back towards the flower stall. Kai'do quickly turned and presented the flower he had offered to the priestess just moments ago to the raven-haired beauty.
He put on his best smoldering smile and exclaimed, "Il--Ig'mae, my sweet, a flower to cele( )ate your arrival!"
The woman's face went from emoting suspicion to anger, plain and raw. "My name is Ir'lohi, you arrogant, lecherous shadow of a man! What are you doing with that woman??" She hit his palm, throwing the rose to the ground and proceeded to berate the towering man before her.
“Wait, who? This woman? I was just asking her advice about what flower to gift the holder of my heart. She is a priestess after all, her advice would be…so enlightening.” Ru’qayyah shuddered at the suggestive end to his remark and balked at the scene playing before her eyes. He continued to speak sweet nothings to the dainty girl without pause. She thought to herself, “By Ki’konia, is he really fooling her with his outrageous performance? She cannot possibly be that enamored with him, could she?”
Then, lo and behold, Ru’qayyah observed the woman’s demeanor go from anger, then confusion, to embarrassment. Ir’lohi turned to face her and proceeded to apologize. “I am truly sorry Sister for my outburst and for misreading this situation. Please find it in your heart to forgive me.” Ru’qayyah stared in disbelief at the woman before her, her sage-colored eyes sincerely waiting for the priestess’s response. Ir’lohi’s head was slightly bowed and behind her was Kai’do, flashing a quick smirk and a wink before reaching for his companion.
“I’m sure she forgives you Ahn'yeh, now let us be on our way. We still must decide on where to dine this evening, and I must play this new tune that was inspired by you.” He steered her away from Ru’qayyah and proceeded to play his O’itoeri. Shocked, Ru’qayyah recognized the tune from when she forgot her lantern and was heading back into the Temple. She stood rooted to the spot where the stranger had attempted his advances for a good minute or two, to regain her composure. Still in disbelief of what just happened, she made her way home while pondering how such a pure and beautiful melody could come from such a duplicitous man.
Kai’do pulled his upper body away reluctantly from silky, magenta sheets and stretched his arms outward. He then looked down at the naked small back and cascade of ebony hair beside him and smiled shamelessly. Making up after a fight was more enjoyable than he expected. After stroking her hair and kissing the top of her exposed shoulder blade, he pulled on his trousers and headed to the balcony for some air. The night sky was filled the glow of the moons and it made the buildings shine with a dull ( )illiance.
His thoughts wandered back to events earlier in the evening, and to the attractive “sister” he met. He still couldn’t determine why he felt guilty earlier for his advances, and then realized he had never been with a priestess before. This was understandably so, since they would be extra stringent on maintaining the Moral Code. “Eh, that just makes it more a challenge…and I welcome a challenge,” he thought wickedly.
He watched aimlessly at the world two floors below him. Since it was the middle of the night, not many souls could be seen on the streets. However, one caught his eye in particular. He could spot that familiar frame and gait from a mile away and this woman had traveled this way many times before. He then looked away while moving from her possible line of view; his baby sister Sa'ahria would have to wait yet another day for his presence to be known to her.