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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:35 am 

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Kate did not say a word she embraced him and smoothed his hair. She felt him relax and purr. She kissed his cheek. Did you hear all I said to Abby? It is alright if you did. It was all true. I meant every word."
Kate smiled and held him tightly. "I am so glad you asked. I needed a hug too. I am trying to not feel scared. I never ran so fast as I did getting here. Are you afraid?"


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:46 am 

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Jasper was relieved when Kate didn't say no, or anything for that matter. He relaxed into her touch, a soft purr breaking the silence that had settled between the two. When she asked if he had heard everything, he tensed a little, his ears flat. 

"I didn't mean to." He admitted. He really hadn't been trying to listen to their conversation. He relaxed again when Kate said it was okay. He was trying hard not to make mistakes, and now would not be the place to do so.

When Kate said she was trying not to feel scared, Jasper's ears perked up, listening for danger, and he held her close. He didn't want Kate to be scared, or worried or anything like that. He didn't really have an answer for her when she asked if he was afraid, having been taught not to fear things outside of punishment. He nuzzled her cheek.

"I have sworn to protect you, and I will." He said, no intentions of breaking that oath, even if his life depended on it.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:31 am 

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Kate closed her eyes and listened to his heartbeat and felt the vibration of his purrs. She wrapped her tail around his waist and slowly raised her right hand to massage the back of his neck. Her left hand rubbed is back. She sat quietly listening to any noise. It was close to sundown that Kate barely heard sleigh bells. The snow had fallen all day and anyone out in the weather had to be crazy. The snow was falling harder and the sky was a dark grey. The noise did not approach up the steep grade. The wind howled and whined. Kate whispered in Jaspers cat ear, "It must be near supper time. Nothing is getting through that. I bet the snow will be over the door tomorrow. I hope you and Matt can go hunting. There is plenty of game. Do you want to help me see what we can rummage for dinner?"

Kate stiffly got to her feet and held Jasper's hand. There was plenty of wood for the fireplace. She led him into the kitchen. "I am sorry I am not as good a cook as Ann. I can heat leftovers. Kate gathered pasta, ground beef from the icebox, cheese, and cream of chicken soup. She added frozen mushrooms, peas, and carrots. She found some frozen bread and chocolate brownies. She added all the ingredients in a pot and set the temperature to low. Then she had Jasper boiling water and added pasta. She poured water into a kettle and measured dried leaves and jasmine into a tin cup with tiny holes.
"We can roast chestnuts by the fireplace and have honey cakes tomorrow."


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:26 am 

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Jasper was purring happily as he leaned into every touch Kate gave him. He felt spoiled by this small action, but he quickly pushed that thought away as the faint sound of sleigh bells caught his attention. He sat up partially, reluctantly pulling away from Kate a little as his ears turned to pin point the sound. As suddenly as the noise had come, it soon died away and Jasper, after a few moments to make sure they weren't returning, once more relaxed. His ear flicked when Kate whispered to him, and he gladly accepted her hand when she offered it.

Following her into the kitchen, Jasper saw no need for Kate to apologize. He quietly watched her pulling things out, following the instructions he was given. He knew that whatever Kate made would taste delicious, and so as she measured out the leaves and jasmine, he watched, taking it all in. 

As he watched, a question came to his mind and he hesitated before asking. But Kate had never gave him a reason to fear speaking, in fact, she had encouraged it and Jasper knew he was never going to learn if he didn't keep trying. So as the mage did her thing, Jasper asked.

"Kate, are you happy?" She had asked him similar things in the past, but he had never stopped to wonder if she herself was happy. 

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:34 pm 

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Kate stopped and faced him as she held his waist, "I am happy. I am on top of the world because you are here. Yes, I feel like you are the most important person to me. I have feelings for you that I never had for anyone else. I am relieved we are safe. I hope the snow will keep anyone from getting to us. I am so glad your beginning to speak freely and are able to talk to me.I am getting closer to your sister. We can talk and she knows I want her to be my friend. That makes me very happy. May I ask the same of you?"
She pointed her right index finger to his chest and touched his shirt. "You could not answer for yourself before. I think you can now? Are you happy? In your heart, your inner being, what do you feel?"


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:02 am 

My stress is stressed!

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He listened to her answer, taking in each word. Jasper could feel a faint blush colouring his face and he wanted to look away. He ducked his head a little, but kept his gaze on Kate. He was glad that her and Abby had been getting along better. Jasper could still remember when Abby had hated Kate, and had shouted at her and become deeply upset around the mage. He was glad that was in the past. He felt Abby needed someone that she could connect with, someone that she could talk to about what was bothering her, and when she was happy. 

Jasper found himself a little caught off guard when Kate turned his own question back on him. At first he froze, panicking as he tried to think of an answer to give her. He hoped it wasn't evident on his face how he was feeling, but knowing from past experience, Jasper knew that he was like an open book, easy to read. When Kate touched his shirt, he looked down before almost shyly looking back up.

"I want to believe that I am." Jasper started slowly, not meeting Kate's eyes. "But I..." His ears lay flat as he tried to think of the words he needed. He closed his eyes, letting out a sigh, before trying again.

"I'm lost." He stated, feeling vulnerable and exposed at having admitted this. "I need...I need a purpose, a task, something." Jasper didn't think he was explaining himself very well. It was true, he felt purposeless. All his life he had been given orders and instructions to follow, but now he didn't have this. What was he to do? This was a frequent thought he had, and he hated not having an answer. He also didn't want Kate to think that he wasn't happy, but how was he suppose to explain that without causing further problems for himself. Frustrated, Jasper growled softly.

"Why can't I explain?" He asked himself quietly. Was there something wrong with him? Was he just not cut out for this? Why did he have to do this, over think everything like a simple question?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:43 pm 

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Kate noticed he had tried very hard to explain and she hugged him, "Patience my love. You are talking about feelings. Jasper, of course, your lost inside. You are no different than anyone. My reason for living is to be my father's daughter and keep my father's name unblemished. I am to keep my brother course and be the best sister by supporting him and letting him know he can talk to me about anything unconditionally. Right now you and I are to protect each other and alarm Matt and Abby if there is any danger. I told you, you are on holiday. This was supposed to be a few weeks of fun. I will teach you games, what fun is, and how to live without pain. I can begin your book learning if you want. Your well enough to practice. I promised you would never be made to fight. I meant it. You have skills that would keep you alive should you have to fight. I know you are able to best most any man and my father would give you a real challenge. Test me after we eat. Will that make you feel better? We have a great room that is empty. Papa uses the room as a hall for his officers and guest. I will not use magic and we use live steel or practice swords. I want to know if I am any good. I have been using a wooden sword since I could walk. Papa has taught me how to swordfight. Would you test me, Jasper?"


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:01 am 

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Jasper huffed in slight annoyance at himself. He knew Kate wouldn't be upset with him, but it was still a bit of a shock when she hugged him and told him it was alright. He listened to Kate explaining her purpose, she had her family, of course she had something to work towards. Jasper had only just been reunited with Abby and thus didn't have any figured out yet. When Kate told him what they were to do, watching for danger and keeping Matt and Abby safe, Jasper felt a fraction better, it was something, something he could do. At the mention of being on 'holiday', Jasper's ears lowered from where they had risen while listening to Kate. He still wasn't too sure on what he was to do with free time, and the sounds of a holiday seemed like a lot of free time. 

He only nodded when the mage mentioned his book learning. That was something he had never thought he would ever need to learn, but now that he was no longer allowed to fight, what other options did he have? What would this involve? Would he be able to catch up, or even keep up with what was demanded of him? When asked if he would test Kate's swordfighting skills, Jasper looked up quickly, meeting her eyes. A mix of concern, worry, and even a bit of pride crossed Jasper's face.

"Kate...I..." He tried to come up with an answer. What if he hurt her? What if his instincts took over and he lost control. He had been made to kill. 

"I don't want to hurt you." He managed to say quietly, his hands shaking slightly where he had rested them on the counter.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:19 am 

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Kate placed her hands on his, "Do not think I have thought about it. Deep breath. Come and eat. It is too soon. What if I watch you practice. I bet you are as graceful practicing with a sword as a dancer. May I watch you? Kate handed him a plate. The food she heated in the oven permeated the kitchen. I will be quiet. You need to concentrate. Did you know dancing and sword fighting require the same discipline? One your not killing your partner. You and the sword are one as you and your dance partner. How would like to be my dance partner as well as my protector?"


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:32 am 

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Jasper tried to focus on Kate's hands over his, grounding himself in something familiar. He hid a small smile as a blush covered his cheeks at Kate comparing practicing with a sword to a dancer. He supposed that being watched as he practiced wouldn't be any different then what he was used to. When he had been trained, and when he had fought, there had always been eyes on him. 

He nodded to answer Kate's question of whether or not she could watch. That would be something familiar, something he knew how to do. When the topic shifted to dance partners, Jasper almost choked. 

"Kate I don't...I can't..." He started, a mild hint of panic in his voice before he stopped completely with a sigh, dropping his gaze once more.

"I can't dance." He wasn't sure if he was saying it because he didn't know how, or if he physically couldn't bring himself to dance, or maybe both. To him, dancing had always been something wealthy people did, he could remember being dragged (sometimes literally) to dances to be shown off. This may have coloured his opinion of dancing, it wasn't something he had ever even considered doing.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:54 am 

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Kate wondered what made him so afraid. Had he been hurt or even allowed to dance. She removed the lid of the pot with a dish towel hanging from the oven door then dipped a wooden spoon into the pot and tasted the contents. She reached up into the cupboard and opened a tin container. She placed a few pinches of herbs into the pot and stirred.

"Help me understand you are scared of dancing? I can understand you not wanting to train with me. Dancing? Did Malora take you dancing? I have been with nobles and never once saw a slave dancing, not at a formal ball. Serve food and drink and entertain the king. What happened to you?"


Last edited by LadyKate43 on Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:14 am 

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Jasper watched Kate check the meat before he dropped his gaze to the counter, tracing a design on it with his fingers. They stopped when Kate asked him what had happen to make him scared of dancing.

"I can't dance." He repeated, shaking his head. "It's forbidden." He said quietly, a whisper. Dancing was for nobles only, Jasper was to sit quietly at his mistress' feet, accepting what she gave him and doing as he was told.

Jasper raised his fists to his temples, pressing them there. "But it's not anymore. I'm not a slave. Not anymore." He seemed to be trying to convince himself, his head shaking as he said it. His hands dropped to the counter. Jasper lifted his head, his eyes searching Kate's, as though looking for an answer, reassurance.

"Right? I'm not...not a slave? Not anymore?" He held back the tears that threatened to fall, his brow creased with worry and fear.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:46 am 

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Kate rushed to his side and embraced him, "No. Jasper. You are not. Here you are free. You will become a legal citizen very soon. No one will call you a slave. Not anymore. You have no mistress. Come and sit. You are being hard on yourself. I am sorry. Breath. Deep breath. One more time, deep breath."

She held his waist and led him to the living room couch. She sat behind him and held him. She tossed a blanket over him with a blanket. "Easy now. I pushed you too hard again. I am sorry. You will accept this new state you need more time. You will find your place once we get back to the manor."

She massaged his strong shoulders and developed arms. "You will accept things in time and on your terms. I have to be patient."


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:00 am 

My stress is stressed!

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Jasper listened to what Kate was saying, still searching for any lie in what was said. As she led him to the living room couch, he was muttering his own apologies.

"I'm sorry Kate. I'm sorry." He knew he was hard on himself, again, like always. He tried to follow her breaths the best he could. 

Jasper hated how Kate was apologizing for something that wasn't her fault. He was the one who had freaked out over a simple question. It seemed he always needed more time. Time filled with reshaping how he thought, how he acted. It was all so overwhelming still. He felt like he was starting over again, back when he couldn't let go of his training, the things that had been beaten into him for years.

"I'm sorry Kate." Jasper repeated, hating how weak he sounded. He thought he had been making progress, and now he had failed again.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:21 am 

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She wrapped her arms around him, "Love, you nothing to apologize for. You are making progress. You are going at your own pace. You are beginning to feel comfortable speaking. I can not expect you to accept all thing at once. You are right. Dancing was forbidden and Malora was harsh. Of course, going to a ball would mean beatings. Oh. Jasper, I am so sorry. The horrors you have endured. Balls to you are terrifying. I will not make you go. You may stay with Ann."

Kate sniffled and kissed his hands, "Yes. You will stay with Ann. The only place you will accompany me is in town and Heidi's. You may train Papa's guards and work outdoors. How does that sound?"


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:45 pm 

My stress is stressed!

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Jasper didn't say anything as Kate spoke, his ears lowered. He hated how his past was affecting him so much, to the point where the simplest things were a challenge. He hated letting Kate down. He knew that Kate wanted him to be able to do things with her, like dancing, and attending balls and such. He wanted to be able to go places with her, to be able to function like a normal person for once.

His ear flicked as Kate said what he could do, asking how that sounded. He bit his lip, thinking about what she had said. 

"I just want to be useful." He said quietly, not lifting his gaze. It was the truth, and what Kate had said sounded like something he could do, with a little work. 

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:02 am 

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Kate held his hands, "I want you to be useful too. You will be. Papa will need your special skill to train his elite. You have the skills. You need the education to work with the king's guard. I can get you ready. I want you with me always. Right now try to enjoy our moments together. We will not have these times again. I love holding you. When you have duties we will not have as much time together. Dinner is almost ready and soon it will be time to call Abby and Matt. Your past will haunt you a long time. I want to replace them with happy memories. You were around Lords and Ladies did you have any wants of your own? Is there anything you would like to try for yourself? I am willing to make that happen."


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:29 am 

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Hearing that the moments they had like this would not be happening again was like a shock to Jasper's system. His ears lay flat as his shoulders tensed. What if he slipped back into his old ways? What if he just needed to get away from everything? 

Jasper heard what Kate was saying, but it felt like he couldn't focus on the words. His mind jumping to conclusions, all of them worst case. 

"What if I can't do it?" He asked. He had never had a proper education before, but the way he had heard it being spoken of, it sounded like a difficult thing, something completely different from what he had been taught. Sinking into these thoughts, Jasper almost missed what Kate had asked. He thought about his times around the Lords and Ladies, trying to think of something he had wanted to do that he had been forbidden to do. Most of his memories were fighting, being dragged to various social events like balls and festivals, and being used against his will. Most of the things he had done had bad connections to them now. 

Pondering the question, Jasper thought even further back to when he had been with his parents, listening to them talk about their lives before being forced into slavery. He could remember one story of when a travelling circus had passed near the village, and his father had taken his mother to see it without either of their own parents' knowledge. He had described fire eaters, great ferocious beasts being tamed by men and women, and many other things that Jasper had spent many night's imagining as a child. He had pushed away any ideas of ever seeing something like this when his training had begun, sentencing himself to a life in the pits. But now, the memories were returning to him and his old amazement with them.

"Are travelling circuses still a thing?" He asked Kate hesitantly. For all he knew they had been shut down, forbidden from travelling the land with their shows.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:47 am 

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Kate was lost in her thoughts and was not expecting him the answer. " You can learn to read, write, and cipher numbers. I will find how best you learn. Would you like to see how your name is written in common? I can show you after dinner. I will never yell or hit you. I want you to have a good experience and enjoy learning. I am sure I can find a first year's spelling book in my room upstairs. I would teach servants of lords visiting. Did you think I would not let you be comfortable as you are now? I will hold you and make learning enjoyable for you."

Kate heard the water for the noodles boiling. "Will you let me up, please. I will show you how to test noodles."
She rushed to the pot and stirred noodles with a clean wooden spoon then fished one out and cut it in half. Look at the end. Part is cooked and part is not done. It needs ten more minutes. Then we check it again. In the drawer to the left of the stove is a tiny hourglass. Come back to the couch and well come back. Please bring the hourglass."

Kate held his hand as they walked back to the couch. "I would like you to hold me."

She waited for him to lay down first. Then she layed over him on her back.

"Did you say a circus? I have not seen one since I was a... Now come to think of it I did overhear talk in Heidi's tavern about one coming here for Winterfest. Jasper, what a wonderful idea. We can all go. We will dress as plain folk in furs and plain clothes. If Malora is in town, we will blend in with the crowd. The festival begins next weekend. We can arrive by midday and be back before dark. The circus is just as your parents described it."


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:09 pm 

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Jasper listened to Kate talking about schooling. He was a little disappointed, thinking Kate had not heard him, but he didn't say anything about it as she changed subjects. Doing as he had been asked, Jasper followed Kate to the kitchen and watched what she was doing. He looked to the drawer she had mentioned before opening it to find the hourglass. Holding it delicately in his hand, Jasper once more followed Kate.

It was comfortable having Kate against him, warm and relaxing in a way. His ears pricked when she relayed that she had in fact heard him earlier. He hadn't been expecting Kate to make much out of his small request, so when she began to say that she hadn't seen a circus in a while he didn't let his expression change. However, as Kate continued, Jasper was a little happy to hear Kate already making plans for Winterfest. Memories of what his parents had described came to mind at the mention of the circus. He had to force himself not to apologize for being a bother. If Malora was still in town they would need to take precautions when it would have been much easier just to stay hidden. He was grateful for their current position that prevented Kate from reading his expressions, something she had gotten very good at doing.

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