Winding down the day (Pt 3)
Location: Stormholm Caer, Courtyard, Early Evening
"Any luck today?" Richard asked, gesturing at the book.
Looking up when she heard a voice that had grown familiar over the last few weeks, Sofi smiled, looking up at Richard. "Oh, this is actually just medicinal plants and herbs." She told him, knowing he was asking about a way home. "But no, not yet. It's not likely anyway." Blowing on the tip of her fountain pen to dry it, Sofi tucked it into her book and closed the pages around it. The writing utensils here on Aereth were fascinating to Sofi, actual feathered quills along with an old-fashioned fountain pen, made from metal and hollowed out bamboo that sucked up ink from a jar. She preferred the pens herself. "I don't think there's a way." She hated admitting it honestly, but it was the truth and she'd been told as such as well. "We're just going to have to start our lives over here, my father though..." She hated the thought of her father, left behind with no idea where she had disappeared to. She just wished there was a way she could get a message home to him, at least let him know that she was alive and safe.
Richard could hear the sadness and worry in Sofi's voice as she spoke about her family. He frowned, his expression one of concern as he took a seat across from her. "I know... I'm sorry," he said gently. he wanted to offer some sort of comfort, but that sort of thing was well outside of his skill set. He hoped though she understood.
Sighing slightly Richard shrugged. "Don't give up all hope just yet. You may yet find a way." though the inflection in his voice showed that his own hope was wearing very thin. "Though honestly, I don't know if finding a way home would do me much good. It's been so long. When I get home, there will be questions. If I try to tell my command where I've been, it will be a one-way ticket to an asylum. If I refuse, they'll court-martial me for desertion." Richard shrugged and then offered a slightly ironic smile. "Not exactly appealing choices."
Sofi cringed, the expression taking over her delicate features. "Yeah, neither of those sound all that fantastic. You might actually be better off here." Actually finding a way back but getting put through the wringer and court-martialed for it didn't really sound like an ideal time. Despite her on-going search for answers, there was this tiny part of Sofi that wondered. Hadn't someone told her that the portals only work when it's actually needed? Was it magic, Fate or the universe? She didn't know. Over the last few years, while watching her sister fade away to death's arms, Sofi had lost the child-like part of her that had once believed in fairy-tales and magic, of princes who sweep women off their feet. Being here, she couldn't deny that there was a small glimmer of it back, just enough to make her believe... maybe she really did belong here.
"You never know, you could tell them about all of this and they'd consider it PTSD and discharge you." Sofi shot Richard a small grin. "What did you spend the day doing?"
"I'm not sure that would be much better, if I go back it would be to fight beside my brothers again, if they haven't won the war already by now." Richard shrugged and tried to shake off the cloud that hung over him. "Same thing I would be doing at home... training, training, and more training." Richard replied to Sofi's question gesturing to his dirty uniform as evidence.
"It's a lot of work, but at least it keeps me busy. Less time to worry too much about home that way I guess."
"Oh, I doubt that. They haven't sent any new troops out overseas since they all started coming home." Sofi pointed out as a reminder. "Once Seal Team Six killed Bin Ladan, most of the troops have come home. There are still a few special elite groups over there but for the most part, all of that is over. You wouldn't be deployed back over there." Sofi pulled her long pale blond hair over one shoulder, running her fingers gently through the silken strands.
She couldn't help but grin with amusement at the sight of his clothing. "I really hope you plan on cleaning up before dinner, I wouldn't let you sit at my table like that." Her tone was warm and kind as she teased. "I've had my fair share of days coming home with potatoes behind my ears."
Richard looked at Sofi as if she had suddenly grown a second head, completely oblivious to her comment about cleaning up before dinner. "What the..." Richard paused, biting back the more colorful language that had been about to spill out of his mouth. "What on earth are you talking about? Bringing people home? We haven't even been there a year. And I don't care how awesome people say the SEALs are, we haven't found Bin Laden yet. He's probably still up in some cave in Tora Bora somewhere. It'll be the Rangers that get him, maybe Delta Force, not those squids. No way we would let the Navy hold that sort of thing over us."
Now it was Sofi's turn to look at Richard oddly, light blue eyes narrowing in confusion as she shook her head. She'd remembered something, a passage in one of the many books she'd read since her arrival in Aereth a few weeks before. The portals pulled people from place and time. If the magics had brought them there, was it possible that they had brought them from different times as well? "Ok..." She said, turning and shifting her legs over the bench she sat on so that she was facing him. "When I was brought here, the date was September 15, 2016. If I had to take a guess, you saying you hadn't even been overseas a year kinda tells me you might be around the '01 to '02 area?" Crossing one ankle behind the other comfortably, Sofi continued. "It took them ten years, but on May 02, 2011, Bin Ladan was killed by a group of SEALs. There's still some issues in that area but the President started recalling troops some time ago." She didn't know if he'd believe her or if she was even right that they might be from different times, but she was willing to talk it through and answer any questions he'd have...if he believed her, that is.
Richard listened carefully. He trusted Sofi and there was no reason for her to make up a story like that. Still, it was very confusing. "When I left it was March 2nd, 2002." he said slowly. Falling silent again his expression held one of concentration as he thought through everything she had just said and tried to make sense of it. "So... the portals pulled us from different times? I guess that isn't any more hard to believe than portals to other worlds, or dragons, or magic." He added with a shrug. "I guess that would make getting back even harder since we would have to go back to when as well as where."
Shrugging he looked back at Sofi. "So, we won the war?" He asked quietly.
Hearing Richard confirm her thought that he might be from another time than herself, it surprised her and yet didn't at the same time. 2002, wow. Fourteen years difference. Did that make Sofi older than he or younger? Thinking about it was going to make her head hurt though so she just shook it, a few flaxen tresses dancing about her face and shoulders. "I used to believe in all that stuff when I was younger, magical realms and the like. It's kinda nice to know that the belief was right." She smiled softly at his next question. "Yeah, there's still a few skirmishes here and there but overall, yeah." It was nice though, being able to give her fellow Traveler some good news, even if it was something small.
"That's good then," Richard replied quietly, a faraway expression on his face. After several long moments, he sighed slightly and forced a smile. "I suppose I should go get cleaned up for dinner. Would you mind if I dined with you tonight?"
Richard had gone quieter than she'd thought he might, in fact, it was almost a little surprising as she thought he might ask more questions. It's what she would have done if she'd met up with someone that was from a time over a decade later in the future. To each their own though, everyone handled things differently, maybe he was one of those that needed time alone to process. She did give him a nod at the one question he did bring forth. "Sure, I didn't have any plans beyond doing this after I ate anyway." Moving to her feet, Sofi gathered her belongings, making sure that the cap was on tightly to the small pot of ink. "You're doing the dishes though." She couldn't help throwing the soldier a grin over her shoulder at him.
Sofi's joke brought Richard more out of his own internal world and back to the here and now. He returned her grin, the expression now more genuine. "I was put on detail to do that anyway." He replied. "Doesn't seem to matter what the time or place is, KP never goes away. I'll see you shortly then." He said and made his way out of the courtyard.