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Paewai Funeral; Opened to all
Topic Started: Mar 21 2018, 04:01 AM (745 Views)
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Gordana didn't know why she was alive. She had stood up to a god-like being that had demanded the allegiance of all of those on the battlefield. She had told it that she would never worship anyone, and her only goal was to keep her family safe and well. Yet the shadow had ignored the Chef completely. It not only let her live but transported her, along with everyone else, to a strange land where the rolling hills were replaced with mounds of sand. The fresh air away form the battlefield was replaced by an arid emptiness.

It seemed fitting, given what had happened.

The Chef had found the rest of her family shortly afterwards. The site of Hine and Manaia injured as they were caused the agony of loss that she felt to increase. 'Yet here I am, bearing barely any wounds'. The family needed to know about the fate of their siblings. The despondent woman had to try and find a way to tell them. She had to try and find the words, but anything she tried to say choked up her throat. "Mumma...I'm sorry...I couldn't..." Tears threatened to overwhelm Gordana, but she wouldn't cry, not here. The liquid stayed in the woman's eyes, blurring her vision. Her duty was to her family, and grieving now wouldn't help them at all.

The Paewais - or those that followed - had managed to find temporary lodging in a run down farm house that looked almost ready to collapse. Black soil clung to the doorstep and some had even managed to find it's way inside, a testament to how far the Nile would flood. Gordana had managed to find enough ingredients by mostly stealing it from others when they weren't looking to get a supper ready for after the memorial ceremony. A vegetable stew, simple and easy to eat, that everyone could partake in. The charcoal from the fire would be used to form drawings of the deceased. Now all that was left was for someone to weave a boat, and then for the sun to set.
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The battle was devastating. So many lives were lost. So many families ruined. It was a horrible thought, yet Cherry was glad to see her family alive. Some were injured, but alive. She felt as though Theia had blessed them with a chance to live together again, as a family. Oh how she wished they could return home and live together again. The battle seemed to be over, peace would finally be achieved. At least, that’s what she hoped would happen.

Oni said a few cryptic words that Cherry didn’t really understand. Oni talked about exploring the world but being ready to follow when they call her. The thing is, Cherry didn’t really want to leave. She wanted to be a family and return home. However, before she could respond, everything went dark. As soon as she opened her eyes, all the bodies and blood were replaced by sand. Sand in all directions, with no one else near by. She was lost and confused. She started to wander, not really knowing where to go until she came across a river.

She followed the river bank for what seemed like hours until she saw the first sign of life. It was her family. She rushed over as fast as she could, excited to meet with them! The first person she saw was Gordana. She quickly ran up and gave her a big hug. ”Gordana! I’m so glad you’re here!” She said with joy, not realizing her sister’s tears. She opened her eyes and looked around, seeing all of her siblings and her mother, except for Stray and Vegeta. ”Hey uh, where’s Stray and Vegeta? I’m sure they’d love to see Mere back home.” She said in a softer and worried tone.

Then it hit her. She noticed the tears streaming down Gordana’s face. She noticed the sad expressions on everyone’s face. She realized, her younger sibling had died. She quickly fell to her knees in disbelief. She didn’t know what to say, or how to react. This was not the first time she experienced loss, but this one stung even worse than her parent’s death. Stray was part of her team, she was supposed to be there to help her, to keep her safe. She was strong enough to protect her this time, unlike with her parents before. This was her fault. If she didn’t hitch a ride with the stupid cult and just went with her sister, they would be alive. Tears started to fall down her face. Every passing moment, her sobs became louder and louder. She felt so much sadness, so much guilt, she almost couldn’t handle it.

Hours passed.

The family was planning a funeral service. They found a small and abandoned farm house, run down and flooded by the river. Gordana was already preparing a meal for them. A meal for all of those who would come to pay their respects. The others would all do their parts to help with this service, yet Cherry did nothing. She didn’t have any skills that would help. She was useless, helpless. All she could do was wait, and regret her decisions. She sat by the river bank, staring blankly into the flowing river. Her eyes completely devoid of any joy, sunken from all of her tears. Then she waited, it was all she could do, all she was good for.
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Momo had always known that death was an inevitable possibility during the war, but she never imagined that it would come to anyone in her family. They were all strong, tough, and intelligent. They were raised by the war bird herself, they knew what being a warrior was. She didn’t know how to handle the loss of two of her younger siblings, one of which was only 10 years old. They both had so much ahead of them, and for it all to be taken away in an instant boggled Mai’s mind.

Mai clenched her fist as hard as she could, causing spurts of blood to drip from her palm. She was extremely flustered. She was filled with a mixture of anguish and anger. She was extremely down because of their untimely deaths, but also pissed at the fact that she had allowed it to happen. As one of the older children in the family, it was her job to look after her younger siblings. She was a failure. Though she wasn’t on their battlefield, she couldn’t help but beat herself up about it.

Mai could only imagine how her mother felt. The only reason she had participated in the war was to protect them, and to know that the war caused the death of two of her children must have been a heavy pill for her to swallow. Manai’s hurt was on a completely different level from that of everyone else. She had a stronger attachment to them all; she was their mother.

Mai went over to hug two of her sisters, as her father had always told her that going through things on your own is an awful idea, that’s why you had family. The funeral was a time where they all needed to come together and love one another, as you never know when one of them might be gone.
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Traherne had never really been one for 'paying respects'. The war in New Zealand hadn't allowed time for such ceremonies, not when making too much noise or being off-guard for too long could get one attacked by the other side. But they were no longer in New Zealand, were they? Traherne had never imagined that so much sand could exist in one place. But where as most people despised the intense heat that blanketed the country, Traherne was perfectly comfortable.

Being a being made of ice and snow had its perks, after all.

But when he had heard from the other New-Zealand-ites that the Owls family had been preparing a funeral for those that had fallen, Traherne decided it would be best for him to show up and pay his respects. They weren't trying to kill each other anymore. They were in a relatively peaceful area. A thriving country with tall buildings, (relatively) friendly people, and good food. It was paradise compared to home. They even had the Internet!

Traherne had heard of the Internet before, back home. But the war had torn up all the infrastructure required to actually access and use the wonderful thing long before he'd been born. But now? Well, he had gone into something known as a 'library', a place to check out books to read. While there, he'd 'googled' (at least that's what he thought it was called) some information on the properties of ice and wood to give him new ideas on how to use his Quirk.

The information would prove to be invaluable.

But as he approached the large house on the edge of the Nile River, he found that a few of the girls were sad. One appeared to be a cook, and was preparing a meal. Another was crying by the riverbank. The pink-haired girl from before. Cherry was her name, right?

Traherne sighed. Why had he picked today to try to be nice?

The sounds of his foodsteps were largely muffled by the soft mud and sand that lined the shorebanks. Traherne had never seen so much flowing water before. He wondered if it was safe to swim in. He'd never gone swimming before. Too dangerous with the monster-infested waters around his home.

He spoke, as he began to sit down next to her. He was comically large compared to her.

"You alright?"
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Manaia stood by the Nile River by herself, far upstream from the rest of the family. Alone. This is how she needed to be for a short while. She couldn't let the rest of her children see her like this. She was still in sight, but far enough away to know not to be bothered. At the very least, she'd see people approaching and be able to mentally and physically steel herself for what was to come.

The sun was just barely starting to go down on the horizon. And with that would come the great burst of power and energy that came at night. But tonight, all she felt was emptiness. Her chest had been bandaged up quite nicely since then, but she still felt like there was a large gaping hole in her chest where her heart should have been.

Vegeta. Stray. Why did this have to happen? She should never have left home that day. Never should have even taken Maui with her, to begin with. All that did was inspire her other kids to come along and follow suit. And look where that led?


After so many years of fighting, battle after battle, encounter after encounter, she still failed her primary goal. To protect her children. All of them. Of course, she'd never, ever pick favorites. But Stray's death particularly hurt her rather hard. Not only was she the youngest, but she was born after her husband's death. She never knew her father. The poor girl had never known his beautiful singing voice... He would have been proud to know his daughter carried on his talent.

But not anymore. She was gone. Somewhere in the afterlife, her kids were with her husband. Perhaps he was singing them a song like he always did. That was the only thought that helped her keep going, instead of breaking down. He'd take care of them, now that they crossed over to the other side. Even in death, Manaia felt she could trust him.

She stood there in silence. Not trusting herself to say or do anything at the moment. The sun finally sunk beneath the horizon, and she let out a long hard sigh. Her body felt rejuvenated as always, but her soul had never felt worse. Never had her throat felt so dry and empty of, well, anything. The desert was not the best place for mourning, even if it had one of the most beautiful rivers she had ever seen. Vegeta would have liked it here... Stray would have joked about the sand getting into her feathers.

Manaia finally had to let out a soft chuckle at that thought, but the hurt didn't exactly fade any. It was time to rejoin the family and mourn together. Standing by her lonesome wouldn't accomplish anything in the slightest, so she started walking back to that abandoned shack they had found. She had to show her kids that everything would be alright. Death was a part of life and it was to be celebrated.

Even if she didn't believe that statement with a single ounce of sincerity.
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Electronic Ink
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Maui Paewai wasn’t especially one for metaphor, but the sunset here certainly felt like one.

It didn’t seem right. It had been night-time when they had been swept away by Oni, and yet the sun still fought here as they did not. It was slowly succumbing to its day’s fatigue, but it was still there, and that was...wrong. Admittedly, being stolen away from one’s home in the dead of night may have been worse.

He sank down to his haunches, resting his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. Stray and Vegeta were dead. He hadn’t even been there, and they were dead. Hadn’t even been able to say goodbye to either of them. Hadn’t been there to save them, or hold them, or comfort them as they died. Hadn’t been there to retrieve their bodies.
He had done nothing. Everything he had tried to do in that battle had failed dismally, and now Oni had every one of them under hi-her thumb. He was a coward. He hadn’t fought, hadn’t stood strong. Hadn’t been willing to lay down his life to save anyone. He hadn’t even been able to protect Hine from leaping before their mother’s fire, and she had been right there.

Why was he still here? There was no purpose he could serve here. He didn’t deserve to shed tears beside an empty grave as though he had been gutted when he hadn’t even tried to save them. Not for the first time, Maui longed for his music player- the music player still back in Aotearoa, abandoned in a land filled with corpses now. There would be no song he could drown the world in tonight, and with a cry of fury and grief he threw his hands forward at the water and let a roaring blast of sound tear forth, hands shaking. It was dissonant and tuneless and lacking of all the musical beauty he once would have adored, petering out gutturally and pitifully into the air.. Music had always been Stray’s favourite thing. He had tried to share it with her as often as he could, but...

He was a failure of a brother and a failure of a father. He was more of a father than he was a brother and more of a bastard than he was either of them, and now two of the people he should have protected were dead and another grievously injured. The war was lost and the family was too, broken in places Maui would never be able to fix. He just wanted to run, to go somewhere where he’d never have to think about this ever again and just...just…

He didn’t know. There was no way he could purge this from his conscience. He had not fought, he had not been anything he should have been. Had not defended anyone. Had not acted in any way that wasn’t entirely futile. He was a pitiful excuse for a soldier, a pitiful excuse for Manaia’s son. Some protector he had turned out to be.
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Tenka Mikazuchi
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Hine was walking along the river bank, following the contours of the waters edge back to the place her family had chosen to stay at for the time being. She was wearing a peculiar set of clothes that she certainly had not been when she set of to follow the rivers course a few hours earlier. Her new ensemble consisted of a flowing green garment with long wide sleeves in a darker tone of green. The garment came down to about halfway to her knees, worn over top equally loose fitting pants tucked away in sturdy walking boots. There was a hood attached to the robe though it hung over her back now that the sun was starting to set. She was hoisting a large pack over her shoulders that was wrapped in a linen cloth. For someone usually not very in tune with clothing, she was wearing quite a lot this time.

She could see Manaia before any of the others, her mother was standing alone. Solitary. She could guess why her mother had looked for the solitude in the twilight just before dark. She smiled to herself in a sort of bittersweet melancholy, everyone dealt with heavy matters in their own way. They had all lost the two amongst their number that would never come home again. Their mother, ever the strong one didn't want her children to see her grief. As for Hine herself, she sought comfort in her faith. She knew that her siblings in the afterlife would be far better of then the ones still left behind here. This whole ordeal was only just beginning even if they had a temporary respite now. So it was that she had taken it upon herself to travel upstream of the river and explore this new land. While her family was busy grieving she would take it upon herself to protect and care for them. That was what she told herself.

As she closed in on her, she saw her mother starting to head back. Picking up her stride, the tall woman soon made it to her side. She looked at the woman besides her and put her arm in front of her. Keeping her from advancing further.

" Mom... "

She took a deep breath before she lowered her hand from in front of her mother and ran it through her own hair, seemingly struggling to find the words to say what she wanted to. While she was out, Hine seemed to have gotten her hair cut. The ends of her hair that had returned to white after getting hurt in the war, she had cut them off, returning her hair to a shorter, but entirely vibrant black coupe again. Her eye that had turned back to red was slowly starting to fleck green again. She was obviously already healing again and had visibly tried to make sure her appearance didn't constantly remind her mother she was hurt.

" Maybe, you shouldn't come out by yourself next time.... You know mere doesn't think you care because you never let her or any of us see you cry, or hurt. When you hide when your in pain and just want be strong in front of us. All they see is that they are weak for feeling as they do. "

She pointed at the figure sitting by the waters edge some ways infront of them.

" Maui is just like you, you both should stop blaming yourself for everything and trying to shoulder all the responsibility. It's not your fault and it's OK to be sad. You did everything you could, we all had a home because of you. We need our mom and it's OK for her to stop being a soldier for a while now. "
Edited by Tenka Mikazuchi, Mar 23 2018, 05:05 PM.
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The meal that Gordana was cooking was sparse, but would still taste good. It took considerable effort for the Chef to try and create a bad meal and even then, sometimes it came out as rather decent. But in this case the soup simply just did not have much of the way of ingredients in it. A bag of peas, some left over pumpkin that someone had thrown out and a few piddly potatoes were currently all that was in it. Salt and pepper seemed to be easily found so at least while the dish would be lacking in heartiness, it wouldn't be so in flavour.

With nothing more to do but wait, the woman sat down for a moment. No one else but Mai was in the room with her, the rest of the family choosing to grieve in their own way. When her sister had hugged her earlier the shock from the war, coupled with grief, loss, and guilt, had left the woman numb and unmoving. Those very emotions threatened to still overwhelm Gordana, but another was rising up. The woman's stubbornness was starting to finally gather strength beneath her, although it was still weak.

That emotion told her that she had to keep moving, to keep doing things. 'Fake it till ya make it' as their deceased father often said when one of the children tried something new and ended up failing. It encouraged them to try and keep on at the thing they were attempting, and currently for Gordana that was moving on. It would be difficult to begin with, every new thing was. But until the Chef got more used to the hollow feeling inside her, to the guilt at what she was unable to do, she knew that she had to keep her body moving.

The Paewai's may not have a body of the deceased to send off, but they could always make do. Gordana got up and walked around the small hut, picking up two pale slates that must have fallen off of the walls at some point. With those in hand, she walked over to the fire and kicked out a piece of charcoal. It left a black smudge on her shoe and then ground and it rolled out and started to cool. Once the black lump had cooled enough to use, the chef was set to continue keeping her hands and mind at work in a futile effort to stave away grief.

Gordana sat near her sister, one piece of slate on her lap, charcoal in her hand. And she began to draw a portrait of Stray. She wasn't the best drawer, but as black lines appeared on the pale slate familiar features followed. And the grief, the loss, the guilt, grew. 'This is the least I can do for them, to make sure that their spirits aren't left on that battlefield.'
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Manaia's pace was suddenly interrupted. An arm shot in front of her, refusing to budge. Hine had stopped her... Again. No longer worried about her safety, she could find the humor in that statement. Hine was just as stubborn as she was. Hell, almost all of her children had inherited her stubbornness. Probably for the best. They never would have survived back in New Zealand otherwise.

She was just about to speak herself, commenting on her new appearance when Hine herself spoke. It hit her like a bag of bricks right to her skull. Is that truly what they saw? Is that how she felt? Manaia let out a long sigh as she turned to look up at her giantess of a daughter.

"Hine. You don't understand. I've lived twice as long as you, in a world where the slightest mistake meant death. Where being sad and weeping for fallen soldiers just made you join them." Manaia let out a long sigh, shaking her head as she glanced over at Maui. Maybe she was setting a bad example. Honestly, she wasn't quite sure what to do herself. "None of you will ever quite understand. You weren't soldiers."

"I wouldn't doubt if it was the first time most of you all had to take a life..."
She suddenly pauses, her eyes glancing around until they focused on Cherry, quite a good distance away. "Or rather, killed someone in a war... Keep a close eye on Cherry for me, will you? I'm sure I don't need to explain myself."

Manaia once more lets out an even longer sigh. Slowly pushing Hine's arm down, she instead linked arms with her and kept walking slowly, pulling her along. "I do understand what you are saying. I'm not daft in my old age. I know it's alright to be sad. I'd be a fool if I thought otherwise. This is just how Momma mourns, little one." Of course, she specifically skipped over the whole line about it not being her fault. To Manaia, it certainly was without a shadow of a doubt. If she never left home that day, her family would be alive.
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The Dork of Ages!!!!
Franklin himself was present at the funeral, yet isolated. He wasn't really apart of this close knit family. He was an outsider brought in only with the prospect of remembrance of the lost. And the person on Franklin's mind was a young girl, Olivia. The girl whom had paid a hefty price of her own life, thanks to Franklin's ignorance. In that battle, he had done nothing except for cause her death.

He didn't know if it was Oni's power nor something inside him awakening, but metal tubes had developed above his wrists soon upon arriving to the deserts of Egypt. Upon a quick test, he discovered he could fire bullets which gave him a more effective role in combat. For whatever conflict would occur late on. He was now finally useful. But he still had a weight of uncertainty weighting down on his heart. Olivia had wanted peace and she had died. Could he avenge her death by murder or by creating peace? That very question was banging inside his mind as he knelt in his damaged clothes.

He sat on his knees, south of the group. The close knit of people who were a family. He ran his hands through the wet sand staring deeply into the Nile River. He felt broken, a shell of the egotistical man he once was. What was he if he couldn't fight when the ability to fight was needed the most? He was no one. A man who deserved to die. Part of him wanted to end it all now and see whatever was waiting for him in the afterlife.

It was a single thought that was in his head from his subconscious. A small part of him urging him to stay in this horrid world. "Fulfill Olivia's wish and serve Oni. You know he is true. Now fight for the bastard Oni. You don't deserve to live. So give yourself a reason." His entire body shook as tears rolled down his face silent as he lowered his head and faced the wet sand he was kneeling in. He raised a sand covered finger and bit the tip of his thumb, forcefully ripping free skin and leaving blood to well up and begin to drip from his shaky thumb. The blood ran down and mixed with the sand on his hand as Franklin stared at it. He then shoved his thumb in the sand, wincing at the sting of sand in his open cut. Then he made a small image in the sand from his blood. A pair of butterfly wings. His way of remembering the girl who had died. And him making his silent and eternal vow to avenge her at the cost of his life.

He stood after a minute of silence. It was time to join the others, even if he didn't feel right. These were the comrades Olivia wanted to protect. So he felt he must do the same and try and protect them. He walked along the Nile towards the abandoned farm house, feeling much out of place. Even with his once powerful suit, that had been torn to shreds from combinations of mud, water, fire and acid.
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Cherry stared onwards, past the large river right in front of her, over to the endless expanse of desert ahead. The bright sun above scorching the endless sand dunes of the desert. The immense heat reminded her of her brother, Vegeta. She never spent enough time with him. All those hours she would have spent with him would never come. It would be something she would always regret.

Then her eyes focused back on the river. The gentle flowing river that would be a sign of hope and rejuvenation for those suffering in the heat of the desert. It would be a source of joy and prosperity to those in the desert. The river reminded her of Stray. She was the little bundle of joy and hope in the family. Cherry remembered her beautiful songs and melodies. She always managed to lift everyone’s spirits with her melodies. Oh how she wished she could hear her voice again.

Suddenly, she heard a voice. She immediately turned to face the source of the voice, hoping, no, praying it would be her sister. Yet it was just Traherne, the 8 foot tall tree man she met on the battlefield. He sat beside her and asked if she was alright. She opened her mouth, yet no words escaped her mouth. She was struggling to speak, yet to no avail. It was like her voice was caught in her throat.

Instead of a reply, all she could manage was a cough before tears started streaming down her face once more. She broke down once more and she fell towards Traherne, crying and sobbing.
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She leaned into him, crying. He hadn't really been expecting that. Though he supposed he would be, too. He wondered if he'd had other people that cared about him when his parents died how if he'd had reacted like this. He had never properly had time to grieve for them given his situation at the time... his heart had been forced to be hardened to survive.

A hardening that had remained all the way through adulthood. It had made killing the sceptics easy with no guilt, but dealing with a crying girl... he had no idea how to handle that. Other than let her cry. Raising an arm, he'd gently pat her back. His cooling sensations would wash over her, a stark contrast to the heat of the desert they were currently situated in.

He remained silent, other than holding her. He really was at a loss for what to do. Man he really was bad at the being nice thing, wasn't he?
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Tenka Mikazuchi
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Hine stared ponderously out over the waters of the Nile. There was truth in her mother's words. The waters looked serene and peaceful even if she new horrors lurked beneath the surface and the water raged unseen beneath the surface. Calm as it looked there was turmoil all around her. Not unlike her own heart. Manaia was right, of course. Hine had lived a life sheltered from the true horrors of war. Ignorant of the atrocities humans could inflict on one another. She had grown up alone, lived most of her life alone, and when she finally did find a family that accepted her she had clung to it and continue to live in ignorance, safely tucked beneath her mother's proverbial wings.

But all that did not mean she was clueless and naive enough not to understand. She had been wholly unprepared to step onto the battlefield. The scent of uncountable corpses rotting where they had fallen, of blood running free across the ground. The stench of soiled pants emanating from the recently deceased. These assaults on the senses had overwhelmed her the first time she had set foot on a battlefield. All of all those horrible things had come crashing over her in a torrential downpour of impressions and she had nearly thrown up in her mouth. But now, she had come out the other end of that battle and still she wasn't sure how it had changed her. But she knew she was no longer the same in either case.

" You are right, I cannot understand. These hands have never taken the life of another. Even though I cannot say I have not tried to in the past battle. But make no mistake. You are as clueless about living in times of peace as I am about living in times of war. So... I think it's time we talk. "

She looked over towards her brother. Hesitating if she should invite him to join them. She knew he was hurting and needed their comfort but... right now they were all hurting. She knew what it meant when her mother asked her to take care of her younger, wayward sister and she knew that none of them would be allright if she did not convince her mother now... So she led her away, towards the water.

{ This conversation continues here }

20 minutes passed before Hine entered the farm in which her family was preparing for a funeral. Her face was marked by an inscrutable expression. Something had happened outside but for now it seemed she just wanted to focus on mourning with her family. She lowered the wooden backpack from her shoulders after entering and ran a hand through her notably shorter hair.

" Gordie. I'm back, there is a small village an hours walk from here. I brought you some supplies. They also said there is a bigger city about half a days walk upstream. I thought.. you might like to have some things to make the make the meal in honour of our siblings a bit more special.. I-I even found you some meat.. I wasn't sure if that was ok? "
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For the last 20 minutes, the inside of the hut was relatively quiet. The only noises were the popping of the coals and crackle of the fire, as well as the scrape of charcoal against slate. Those sounds lent a slightly ominous and lonely feeling to the air, which probably wasn't doing the two sisters in the hut any good. Gordana did her best to remained focus on her task of drawing portraits of her siblings but the atmosphere and her emotions were still getting the better of her. Water gathered in her eyes and with every second threatened to drop down.

Before such a thing happened and ruined the fragile lines, the door to the hut creaked opened. In walked Hine, with an expression that the Chef could only described as troubled. To begin with, Gordana didn't want to look away from her art. Gazing at the faces of the dead was much easier than to meet the confused and hurt expressions of those that her family wore. The faces of those with Dana reflected and amplified her own emotions. They made her want to cry, to wail, and to apologize. Stray and Vegeta had died while the Chef was there, after all. They had died while she was meant to be looking after them, and Gordana had not only failed them, but her entire family.

Yet Dana had to look up. She had to acknowledge the living, her family, despite how much she felt like she had failed them. Especially when being talked to. Gordana had a constant morose look on her face that leaked into her statue and movements. But despite the terrible emotions that coursed through her, the Chef had to move. She had to take care of the remaining Paewais in the only way she knew how to: cooking. Luckily for the woman Hine had provided an answer for the pitiful food that was being prepared.

"Thank you" Gordana murmured to her sister as she put the decorated slates down and grabbed the wooden pack from Hine to move it over to the pot. The Chef free-formed a knife made from syrup to assist in breaking apart the vegetables for cooking. "Probably best to not use the meat tonight...we can have it tomorrow." The woman wasn't really feeling like eating any meat, and a lighter meal was probably best for the entire family. Sorrow would make it difficult to eat, after all.

With a task at hand, Dana was able to manage some sort of control over her emotions. She glanced around the room, taking note of who was here so far. The crunch and rustle of the plants being prepared accompanied the sound of the fire, but still the atmosphere was missing something important. Hopefully, conversation would provide at least a patch for the hole that had tunneled deep within everyone. "How did you manage to get these ingredients?" Gordana asked of Hine. Her sister didn't seem like the stealing type, but times her tough in a strange land with strange customs. Hine's hair was at least easy to explain, although the clothes were certainly puzzling.
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For once in her life, Mere was quiet.

Her mouth may as well have been sewn shut as she stepped softly along the Nile's edge. The Paewai girl's normally expressive and vibrant features were as still as the river's waters, her eyes cast down and her face locked into an unmoving facade. The only remaining indication there seemed to be that she was still there, still living and breathing, was the powerful grip she gave to Jason's hand, as her boyfriend walked with her to the funeral of her deceased siblings. That hand clutched on as tight as it could, like it could slip at any moment, and every now and then, it would tremble in his grasp.

She'd already broken several times over, since she'd heard of Vegeta's and Stray's passing. Every time she tried to hold it in, and like always, she only built up the pressure even higher, until she burst in fits of anger, sorrow, and destruction. As grim as the thought was, she at least counted it fortunate, that she'd somewhere else to stay for now, and thus her family hadn't seen her explosions. It disgusted her, the thought of them seeing her break and bend, like she had any right to after she'd abandoned them once already.

Mere didn't know the details of they'd gone. She didn't want to know, not yet. She knew she'd just end up wailing to gods she didn't believe in again, and ultimately, ending up in the same gut-twisting agony of self-loathing and regret. Would Vegeta and Stray have even died, if she'd abandoned them? Would they have even participated in the war? If they had, could she have been there to save them? These were questions she'd never get to the know the answer to. Questions she felt she'd be asking til the day she died.

But all in her grief, in all her fury and despair, Mere remained conscious of the fact that she still wanted to try and see them off. Death wasn't something she'd ever get used to. She'd never found comfort in thinking they were somewhere else, somewhere better, nor had she ever believed such things. The truth was that Vegeta and Stray were gone from this world, gone for good, gone into nothingness... And only in the littlest of things could they live on.

Mere remained silent by Jason, having cried on his shoulder more than enough already, as she approached her family's humble hut. She'd been too much a coward to come earlier, to risk breaking again when the first tears were shed, but as much as she loathed herself for that, she acknowledged that she was her now. Hand gripping Jason's ever tighter, Mere opened the door to the hut, stepping inside with shaky steps.

Her head went dizzy the second she was inside. but she continued on. Under the eyes of her beloved family, she felt the wounds of her own betrayal deeper than ever, and once again, she felt like crying out. In apologies, in rage, in mourning. But with Jason beside her, she found something to cling to at least, as she took further tentative steps into the hut. Unsure where to even look, whose eyes to even meet, Mere found herself staring down at drawn portraits Gordana had made. And there she saw two faces, faces she'd never see in flesh again. The recreations were near perfect, and as sorrowful as it was knowing that they were just pictures... There was some solace in the paintings. Some relief knowing that they'd be remembered not by their dying moments, but by the smiles they once graced the world with.

"They look nice, huh..." The Paewai girl uttered weakly, moisture building up in her eyes as she let the words linger in the air. She wasn't quite sure for whom they were interended. Perhaps Jason, perhaps whoever was near, perhaps Stray and Vegeta themselves, like she actually believed they were anywhere else...
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