Bria Lana has shifted and changed as a character this month, as I’ve been working on the story — but I found it very interesting to explore her outside of the setting of her story.
The moment the familiar rift began, Naj hung his head. But the smile was still plastered on his face when he lifted his gaze to Marie’s shining eyes.
“Pardon me, won’t you? I should have known- this is “our song”. Excuse me.”
Kain leaned over the gap now left between them. “Karaoke is singing along with your favorite songs. Or in our case, dancing along.” He chuckled. “It seems our dancers cannot help it.”
Marie was twining herself around Naj, tail wagging furiously. Naj was trying his best to look seductive, but his laughter ruined the effect. It was a far cry from when they’d first begun practicing this song.
Bria Lana laughed at the resulting effect, “An interesting way to let loose and have fun, certainly. I’d probably best remain in the audience though — haven’t had nearly enough to drink to think getting up there to dance or sing is a good idea.”
“The drinking definitely helps- seems like you’ve got the concept of karaoke down pat.” Rain offered a hand. “Your other hosts seem to find themselves preoccupied,” Her gaze flicked to the bar, where Seth could hardly be seen through the knot of people around him. “so I thought I’d come introduce myself. I’m Rain, Rook’s… uh, niece.”
“Bria Lana,” She shook hands with Rain, “Pleasure to meet you. Rook, he’s the owner of this tavern, right?”
Rain slid into the seat next to her, across from Nat. She gave her a little wave and a blushing smile before turning to Bria Lana. “Yes, he is, though I doubt you’ll see him tonight. He found the drama crowd right away, and is quite happily drowning in otherworldly gossip at the moment.” She wrinkled her nose, opinion on such exhausting activities clear. “Are you enjoying yourself, do you need anything?”
“Ah, the drama crowd,” Bria Lana grinned at this, “nice to know there are some things that are universal. I’m having a lovely time — actually rather enjoying the lack of drama just now. It’s not often I get to sit and enjoy a drink, company and music without having to be worrying about something else.” She took another sip of the drink, realizing she would never finish it if she continued to just take the smallest sips. A larger taste gave an expected quick reaction as pain shot through her back for a moment. Hoping that it didn’t reflect too greatly in her face she smiled at Rain, “so… are you a shape shifter as well? And, forgive me if that’s terribly rude to ask…”
Rain felt instant companionship the more the woman spoke. Her kind of people, for sure. A flicker of pain crossed her face, or maybe Rain was simply feeling it through the Rook/Jon aura thing, but when Bria Lana didn’t comment, she let it go.
Her slight blush from earlier blossomed at the shapeshifter comment. “Man, I wish. I don’t have moves anywhere near as smooth as these guys.” Again, her eyes found Nat, and even Rain could feel her own cheeks warm. She was infinitely grateful Chris was currently no where to be seen- probably sleeping off whatever pre-gaming he and Rook had gotten up to. He’d be down, eventually. With a little shake, Rain brought herself back to the conversation.
“I’m more of a …a mage, I guess. Before, I might have said witch, but those are actually a thing, and very different from what I am. I’m… gifted?” She bit her lower lip as she struggled for the right word. Finally, she said with a laugh, “I would check the “Other” box on a survey, how’s that?”
Bria Lana let out a hearty laugh, “I’m not sure I can say I know exactly what you mean, but I think I get the idea. Pretty similar myself. Magic isn’t allowed where I’m from — even though everyone uses it in little bits and pieces they don’t realize, just the other day my sister used a locating spell, but since she called it “maternal instinct”….” She rolled her eyes, “Anyhow, it’s illegal, punishable by death usually. And I… Gifted, sounds like a nice way to put it.”
Rain’s eyes widened at the woman’s description of home. “Oh gods-that sounds awful…”
“It hasn’t always been that way. And it will change, hopefully very soon.” Brian Lana punctuated the determination in her voice with an extra-big sip, which promptly caused another shot of pain. After a momentary wince she knew she looked more annoyed than anything and sighed again, “sorry, my face is probably doing some sort of ridiculous acrobatics. Apparently I’m not agreeing with this drink as much as I would like.”
“Problems?” Rain reached out and patted her hand sympathetically. “I can get you something else, if what you’ve got isn’t agreeing with you.”
“Not sure if anything else would settle better. My…” She hesitated a moment, “my body has a way of informing me when it thinks I’m making poor decisions. Apparently drinking here is being considered one, I’m not sure the drink choice is the cause –” She laughs for a moment, “I’d like to finish this drink, I think it tastes wonderful just, ignore the occasional grimacing? What is it like to live somewhere where you can actually do magic? What kind of magic do you do? I mean, if that’s a question that’s okay to ask… or answerable even… I know I’d face some challenges answering that question myself.”
Rain nodded as Bria Lana explained, settling back into her chair when it was clear she wasn’t needed to play hostess. She wouldn’t know what to offer her anyways, not really.
She didn’t know how to answer her question, either. “Eh, it’s hard to say what I do myself, and what is me experiencing the magic around me sometimes. My powers are rooted in death, the memories of those that have passed, but other than that, I’m really not sure yet. Rook says it’ll come to me with time, but…” She glanced around the bar in general, at Nat and Zig and Jon in particular. “I’m more focused on figuring myself out right now. My magic will come, in time.” She laughed. “I’m not in danger of killing anyone accidentally anymore so it’s really become a back burner kinda thought for me.”
“When there’s a lot of magic floating about it can be hard to figure out what belongs to what,” Bria Lana knew that challenge well. “Figuring yourself out is vital. Regardless of how the magic may work here, you have to know yourself to be able to really do much of anything in the world. It’s an important step, to knowing what you want to hold as important.” She shook her head with a laugh, “sorry, I’m delving into unwanted and not-useful advice mode. I am the last person who should be advising, on anything really. Death magic sounds intriguing, but I gather you’re new to learning how to use it? I’d say not causing accidental death sounds like a great step…”
“No, no, you’re fine!” Rain was enjoying commiserating with their guest. She felt like they could sit and converse for hours, maybe on a rainy day with some coffee. Too bad the party would only last so long. Oh well. She smiled to soften the blow of that reminder, and to put Bria Lana at ease about possibly offending her. “I’m pretty happy about not being a time-bomb-in-waiting anymore. Not that anything major ever happened when I was still learning- luckily- but still… It’s nice to breathe easier about it all.”
“I am in much more danger of being killed accidentally by my magic. Ouch,” Bria Lana squeezed her eyes shut as her face contorted in pain. “Okay, we get it.” She said under her breath, opening her eyes and forcing a smile against the watering eyes. “But let us change the subject, shall we? Uhm….” She searched for what to ask, but her normal fall-backs, the war in Riloern, the most recent fashion from Kilpera, or some obscure observations about some culture or another would be pretty lost here. If only Liron were here, he always seems to know what to say. For someone who claimed to be most at home around books he was surprisingly good in social situations.
Rain’s eyes pinched in concern. “Are you sure you’re ok? My …uncles could give you a look over, if you need. Rook is very Meta, he’s good at bending the rules of reality to suit his needs. If there’s something in your world that would help…” Rain herself didn’t really understand how the whole “meta” thing really worked. As far as she could tell, it was strengthened by not giving a damn about the rules. Rain took too much comfort in order and organization to ever be that blasé. She knew she could “cheat” and use her author’s information to her own advantage, but the whole thing just make her feel so squirmy inside… But if her friend needed it, well, Meta could come in handy, sometimes.
“Bending the rules of reality… I know a bit about that myself, but I’m afraid there’s not a whole lot to be done about this in particular, at least not in my world. I’m fine, I promise.” Rains concern was sweet, but Bria Lana really didn’t want to worry her, ” It’s just… well, have you ever seen a child throw a fit. Like a real, full-fledged ‘I don’t wanna’ fit?”
She laughed. “Rook throws those all the time.” She shook her head, huge smile on her face despite the disapproval in her tone. “It’s sad, really, watching a grown man lie on the floor and kick and scream like it’ll get him somewhere. Really sad.”
Bria Lana smiled at the image, “yes, that sounds about right. So, one of the magical…pieces of me… throws fits like that.. when it doesn’t get its way, when it disapproves of what I might be doing, when it disagrees with me. It seems to think that throwing a fit is the best way to handle things. Can’t quite say why… it hasn’t worked yet to make me do much more than get irritated with it but… the fits often take the form of pain. So,” She shrugged, “It, and I, will just have to make do.”
“Oh. How awful…” Rain remembered well the way her magic had first manifested, taking over her body and walking her out into streets and attacking anyone that tried to help her. She had nothing but pity for Bria Lana. “Can you bind it?”
“Bind it?” Bria Lana blinked, “what do you mean by that?”
She made a cup with her hands, much as Zig had when he’d first explained it to her. “Bind it, like tie it up? Put a wall around it? It’s a pretty common practice here.”
“Hmm… that wouldn’t work so well. It’s..” Bria Lana frowned, “it’s complicated. He’s far too powerful a being to put a wall around. Like.. capturing a god — it just generally isn’t a good idea. Oh I wish it would though, or putting him in some sort of time-out. There are times when I have most certainly wished to send him to his room, much like my sister would send my nephew to his room if he were throwing such a fit.” Bria Lana sighed, rubbing her hand on the back of her neck, “alas, no such luck. And I do owe him my life, so… we figure it out. We’re sort of… bound together, I suppose.”
“Oooooh, I see.” Rain’s smile took on a softer note, and it was clear she was thinking of someone fondly. “The power is separate from you, but not. I know how that is.” She sent a quick tendril of thought to Frost, wishing him a good evening. He didn’t answer, but then again, he usually didn’t, if it wasn’t important. Then her focus came back to the table. “Well, barring that, would you like to try something milder for your next drink? The cider’s quite good.”
“Cider sounds like a wonderful plan. So,” Bria Lana leaned back slightly in her chair, her eyes lighting up a bit, “what kind of things does Rook through those epic fits about?”
Rain snorted. “Clothes, mostly. Or boys. Rook is essentially a teenage girl.”
Bria Lana have a hearty laugh at that. The conversation moved into lighter subjects for a time, until Bria Lana felt the pull to leave, the familiar pull that it was time for her to wake up and leave the dreaming land she was in.