Yar Zaman Jaraei25 | Citizen | Soldierthe sketch.Stats.
Height: 5'11.Skills. Personality. Quirks.
Build: Wiry, tough.
Eyes: Dark Green.
Hair: Light brown.
Other: Trims his beard down to a scruff.
- Sort of serious, sort of fun.
- Painfully professional when on duty.
- Prone to helping people who don't need his help-- even more so to those who don't want his help.
- He has a solid conscience, with a strong sense of duty to his country and his people.
- Doesn't know what to make of the Refugees. On one hand, he enjoys their customs, their music, and their food, but on the other, he feels that they don't 'fit' into Escovian society. Flip-flops on the issue of what to do with them. Tries to stay clear of that mess on most days.
- Has a problem with wearing his heart on his sleeve. Is in love with a new girl on a weekly basis. The baker's daughter this week, the carpenter's daughter the next...
- Is an accomplished Lute player (the 8 stringed variety) and a fair singer. Few people actually know this.
- Sits outside during storms.
- Is somewhat religious, but not very devout in his faith. Tries to pray daily, but ends up praying once in a week. Sometimes even less than that.
the story.The cove was an insolated stretch of water not far from the village. Sheltered from the howling winds by a series of misshapen rock, it was a small sanctuary away from the monotony of everyday life. Dark, slate-coloured water lapped into the small bay, bringing with it the cold, salty smell of the nearby ocean.
The little boy played alone in the cove, colleting pebbles and scraping shapes into the gravel. From time to time he would look up, across the neck of the cove, to the ocean. There were storm clouds in the distance, inky stains of black that would sometimes light up with flashes of lightning.
I voice called out to him.
The boy looked to his left, back towards the smoky shape of the village.
"Yar Zaman!" the voice was louder now, closer.
The boy sprang to his bare feet and darted a few meters towards the sound of the voice, his green eyes finding the slender form of his mother cresting a large, flat rock. Wind whipped at her hair and shawl, turning his mother into a mythical bird of some sort. Even from a distance, he could see that her eyes were narrowed, and one hand was clutching her shawl tightly to her chest.
Zaman lifted his hands over his head and waved. Then he called to her. "Manë!" He didn’t wait for her to come to him. Instead, he jammed the pebbles he found into his patchwork pockets and ran to her, falling into her tight embrace.
"Yar Zaman, I told you to be back before the storm."
Zaman breathed her in, smiling into her thick shawl. His mother smelt of smoke and salt. "It’s not here yet," he told her, shivering into the shawl. The storm was still a ways away. Half an hour at the most.
"It will be here soon enough," he said, running her long fingers through the knots of his unruly hair. "Now come with me. Your father will be very upset."
With the words said, she took the edge of her shawl, wrapped him in it, can carried him home in her arms...
Eleven years whipped away past him, like errant gusts of wind. The boy-- now sixteen-- was much older. There was scruff on his chin now, and the youthful glimmer had vanished from his eyes. He watched as the houses of the village grew smaller, less discernable. He was sailing away from them, bring taken to port of Khya, and then Maristheum beyond.
He was leaving home.
He watched until mist shrouded the Island from view and all he could see was the dark sky above and even darker ocean below. Falling into a squat next to the prow, he wrapped his thick cloak around him tighter and closed his eyes.
He thought back to his final conversation with his mother.
“It has been this way for decades,” she’d told him, fasting the bone hook of his cloak. “We send whoever we can to join the military. It is our way.” Once the hook was secured, she ran her wrinkled hands down the sides of his arm, looking up at him with a brave smile.
He looked away, still angry for being chosen.
“Don’t be upset,” she chided, one hand cupping his jaw. “You aren’t leaving us for good.”
Her words struck something bitter. “The others didn’t return.”
She smiled. The lines around her eyes were prominent now, and they were tight with suppressed emotion. “You will come back to visit. Or we will come see you. Yar Zaman, you will have a better life there.” There was a mother’s surety in her voice. She knew, and Zaman knew, the this village couldn’t sustain its numbers. Boys had to be sent to the cities.
He sucked in a breath and gave her a nod. He would go-- but he would come back.
Now, seated with his back against the prow, he wondered when. This journey would take days through choppy, stormy waters, and few vessels made the trip back and forth.
Zaman realized he would be waiting a long time…
The recruitment officer looked at him.
“Yar Zaman,” he replied, looking up at the formidable-looking man.
“What’s your last name, boy?”
The officer tightened his jaw and irritation crackled through his gaze. “Your father’s name, then.”
Zaman’s eyes flashed with sudden understanding. “Jaraei,” he said. “Yar Jaraei” His old man. The name conjured up images of strong hands, ropey arms, and a weathered, wind-beaten face. It brought with it a fond emotion for a hard man.
The officer grunted. "Right then." He scrutinized the scrawny boy, trying to find a soldier behind the thin arms, gaunt face, and bright eyes. In the end, he fixed the boy with a look. "Well, what're you waiting for? Your training starts now, lad. Move! Move!"
“This your first time?” She sounded incredulous.
He scoffed. “No.” The lie wasn’t convincing; his eyes gave him away.
She pulled herself back slightly. Her fair hair was strewn about her shoulders and her top had miraculously fallen off somewhere. She leaned against the bale of hay and fixed him with a cold smile. “This is!” she exclaimed, sliding her hands down his chest, until she held something a little more solid.
He squirmed. “Is not. What are you--”
She laughed and kissed him. Her fingers made quick work of his trousers. “I won’t tell, Soldier of Escova” she breathed, still laughing. She peppered her words with kisses. “I won’t tell anyone…”
Zaman had a feeling she was lying.
But in that moment, he didn't care.
By the time he reached the village, the funeral ship had already been cast. It was no longer on the horizon, and there was no memory for him.
He avoided the village. He struck out towards the old cove where he'd played as a child. He sat there for a long time, until his old father joined him. They sat in silence for a while, comfortable to let the roar of surf and sea speak for them.
Eventually, his father spoke. “Her last thoughts were of you.”
Zaman averted his gaze. Instead, he looked out over he ocean, watched it as it churned and roared. The colour of the water was always different here. Near Kyha, the sea was blue, and it sparkled. Here, the ocean was black and frothy. It was filled with noise.
“We tried to wait for you.” His father sounded old-- he was old, Zaman reminded himself. Seeing him after a decade was hard. Gone were the strong arms and sharp eyes. Instead, Zaman had found a bent old man with a cane. The light had died in his father’s eyes, and there was a sense of gloom that clung to the old fisherman. He spoke on, “But the priest said the time was auspicious. We couldn’t wait any longer.”
Zaman said nothing.
He sucked in a breath of salty ocean air. “I turned into one of them,” he said, admitting to something.
“One of who?”
“The others. The boys. I didn’t come back.”
His father stayed silent.
Zaman shook his head and searched for a rock to throw at the ocean. He felt like a child. An angry, bitter child that had lost something.
“You came back,” his father said.
Zaman sighed. There were no pebbles to throw. Deflating, he finally looked at his father seated next to him. He pulled up his legs and wrapped his arms around them. “Come with me,” he told his father. “Come with to Maristheum. You’ll be comfortable there.” He had a small apartment. He could take care of the bent old man.
Jaraei laughed. It was a soft sound, musical. “I can’t leave this island. I’m content here.”
His father patted his back. "Let it go, Yar Zaman" The old men pushed himself to his feet. "Come now. You sail out tomorrow and there is much I wish to know…"
OOC Connections.PB claim:
Peter MooneyPlayer name:
msn - ohgoduzair[at]hotmail.com | PM