Jan 27, 2023 12:43 PM
branches off from no promise of freedom to explore new and exciting variants of dubcon
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Going somewhere is, in fact, very stressful! Leareth slightly panics about it after crossing the Gate. He told Vanyel this would probably happen and that it's fine. Vanyel offers him a hug and sings until he calms down and then they walk around a bit, until Leareth gets exhausted enough that he trips on a tree-root and falls and lies on the ground crying. Vanyel, after a moment of having no idea what to do, matter-of-factly helps him up, he's not strong enough to actually carry him, and Gates them back. 

They spend the next three weeks exploring uninhabited coast near Vinyamar, for gradually longer intervals, eventually getting to the point that it's a full-day trip and they need to bring food along.

Eventually, Leareth decides that he especially likes a little cove area with a stream that joins the ocean, and he wouldn't mind living there. He expects it to be another very stressful adjustment, actually sleeping in a new place, but, again, if he just doesn't do things that are scary, he is basically not going to do things period. 

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Neat! They can set up there and Maitimo can talk to people in Vinyamar easily. Also he can build Leareth a house. 

"I really want to build you a house. It will probably take longer than Vanyel doing it but I bet it won't be worse."

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It gets a genuine smile from Leareth. "I would like that, I think. I am sure it will be a very pretty house and I am not in any hurry." He's quiet for a bit, thinking. "Why do you want to do that in particular?" 

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"A thing Quendi do is learn -- all the arts that make the tools we use. Glassblowing and papermaking and carpentry and metalworking and farming - it doesn't take so long, and if you don't like it you don't have to do it for very long, but that way you understand what you're building on, you know? And I wonder if you ought to have that. It wouldn't have made any sense in Velgarth, but here -"

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"I think I - it is not just that I would enjoy it, I would, but...it would help? I am not sure with what. Something." 

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"Even better, then. I will teach you how to build a house."

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"...That might take a very long time, I am - not very good at doing things." Shrug. "As long as I have somewhere to live in the meantime, I suppose that is fine." 

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"Yes, we will make sure you have a comfortable place to sleep right away. And then - get more ambitious from there."

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"I look forward to it." 

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So he builds him a very basic house which Vanyel can ward and where he can sleep, and then he teaches him how to build a nicer one, himself. He starts with designs, because the Quendi tried making houses without coming up with designs first and then the houses weren't pretty enough. Even if your plan for your house is very simple you want all of the measurements written down before you cut a single tree.  

He gets an architect from Vinyamar who can go on at some length about this and then give all kinds of advice.

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This is kind of overwhelming! Leareth finds having a new person there stressful, and trying to pay attention for the 'some length' is exhausting, but it helps that the topic is both neutral and very - concrete, about a thing in the immediate future that he cares about doing right. (But not something with very high stakes, it won't bother anyone but himself if he designs a bad house– okay, fine, it would also bother Maitimo. He will try hard to design a pretty house to avoid that.)

He takes notes and eventually manages to convey when he needs breaks, and works on his design. It takes a lot longer than it feels like it should, but eventually he has something that he at least feels reasonably good about. He is of course going to show it to Vanyel and Maitimo and anyone else who wants to check it over, to make sure it's not terrible in some way that he failed to notice. 

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Maitimo thinks it is a very reasonable house desigh.

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Leareth is...kind of an absurd level of pleased about this. It feels very good, in a way that's only mildly terrifying, to have so unambiguously done a thing. 

He's very cooperative with all the next steps of house-building or learning prerequisite skills. Very little of it is specifically scary or upsetting; to the extent that it's hard, it's mostly because he's easily overwhelmed and gets tired quickly and has a hard time concentrating for longer than ten minutes. This is a lot more obvious when he's trying to accomplish something, but - not in a bad way, and it feels like some of it will get better just with practice. 

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Then they can learn how to lay a house foundation and how to cut boards and lay bricks and shingle roofs. 

Maitimo is enjoying himself a lot, even if they have to do most of it in very short intervals. 

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Leareth seems - not just happier, but more himself, as though more of the Leareth-pieces are present and working, when he's actively trying to build something. Even if it's a very simple thing. He gets frustrated a lot, with himself or with the materials that won't do what he wants them to do, but he seems to improve at managing that over the first few weeks. 

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He feels badly for not thinking of this a while ago. So Leareth would feel like he could try to achieve this, instead of trying to achieve - 

- well, he mostly doesn't think about it. 

 

Next are doorframes, and windowframes, and flooring.

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Doorframes are really hard to get right, for some reason, and Leareth also isn't starting out with a lot of tolerance for - well, he expects his attempts won't work on the first try when he's just learning something, but things not working by the third or fourth or tenth try makes him feel like giving up in despair and never trying to do anything again. And then frustrated with himself because that feels like such a wrong, alien way for him to respond to anything. 

He has to leave his tools alone for a day, on a few occasions, before he can look at his progress without crying, but that part gets easier over time as well. 

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"I've been wondering if I mishandled something earlier," Maitimo says to him one day when they're resting and it seems like he could maybe use a distraction.

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"Mmm?" 

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"When we talked about your immortality method. I wanted to - not get upset when it'd obviously scare you if I did. But I was thinking that it must have felt - like you had better not upset me -"

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"...It did feel like that." Leareth is trying not to tense up. It's not a comfortable topic but - Maitimo isn't going to hurt him, no one here is going to hurt him. "I - I had been - not sure what to do. About - overhearing in your thoughts, when the amulet was broken..." He doesn't need to say that part, Maitimo knows. "And then - we had that conversation, and I - I was just very scared, I think. I - misinterpreted you, it felt like - realizing your help was more conditional than I had thought. Because I thought you knew - what I am - and it turned out you did not know all of it."  

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- he takes a deep breath. "I don't know all of it. I - you explained fine, but I think I am not really - imaginative enough - to have come up with all of it. I probably won't actually know all of it unless you tell me specifically, which you may, if you would like, but which you certainly don't have to.

But - I'm not going to leave. What you did for us was real, whatever you did before that. Even if some of it was actually just awful, not just a clever but terrible trade - even if it's stuff I haven't thought of. I don't want you to feel like you have to pretend at anything to be safe here."

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Leareth nods. He's shaking a bit. Also sort of crying, in the really stupid way where it's just enough to make talking hard. He switches to Mindspeech. :I - appreciate that. I think it would be better if it did not feel like everything would be doomed if you left. It is a lot to ask of you, and I - should be able to survive losing any one specific person. But it might take a long time, to get there: 

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I know. I won't leave. I'm really very sure. But - I understand that 'it'd be fine if I did' is a much stronger position than that. And it makes sense to wait for that.

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Nod. 

:I suspect I had thoughts around it that were not very logical. I remember feeling very strongly that my actual self was - probably not acceptable to you. And so I needed to hide the worse parts, or - make them different. I think hiding - other things - from you was very bad and it made everything worse, but - that is part of why: 

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