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#1 [fr] 

The Tryker torch crackled through the apartment, while the other 3 were extinguished, leaving just enough light to see the objects, the furniture and the children's eyes. Normally, you'd think it was a quiet winter's evening, with a Tryker and a Zorai looking after their miniatures... but something wasn't quite right.
The pressure of the water acting on the large underwater glass pane of the Tryker dwelling let us hear a silence... we could hear and identify a silence coming from the lakes of freedom. A slight gurgle could be heard, accompanied by a dozen or so bubbles rising along the decorative glass to its destination... the surface of the lakes.
Besides... the surface... I hadn't seen it for a few weeks. Was it that I missed it the most? or exchanging a few reassuring words with my wife? because yes, it had been weeks since we'd locked ourselves in the apartment to devote ourselves solely to the children.
As for Maya'kan and Saya'kan, they hadn't asked for anything, which was probably why we'd refrained from explaining ourselves openly to them. Naturally, we took turns looking after the little ones, changing them, feeding them, feeding ourselves... and sleeping.

It's said that children are sponges for the feelings, atmospheres and emotions around them, yet their naivety gave nothing away. They were growing up so fast. I could see it, and commander that I was, faced with a tribe of marauders, I would have had, even if I'd run out of ideas, words to motivate, enchant and encourage my troops. But here... The silence...
...
Occasionally, a grimace from Maya or a burlesque stunt from Saya would let out a laugh from the mother, who would then turn to me, leaving a knowing look hanging in the air for half a second before pulling herself together and hiding her mask in a new silence...
...
a heavy silence...
...
I was dying to take Ylang'Hao in my arms. Even without a word, the exercise Yokao had imposed on us to avoid the self-destruction of our couple had become familiar, but the lack of contact, even if only visual... pierced my heart so painfully that no mandible could match...
I could see it... his mask... as crimson as ever. The mark had stopped progressing, but it hadn't disappeared. All my natural confidence, all the comforting certainties I could tell him were gone.
What if there was nothing I could do for her? The Drakan could sometimes open her eyes to certain things, but right now... I was out of ideas, arguments and weapons to fight the evil I'd identified for her, that of not living freely.

So for as long as I didn't know what to do, I let it speak for itself, this silence... always hoping that it would be interrupted by a reflexive laugh at some foolishness of the young innocents.

...

Until I went out for the Guild meeting I'd been announcing for several months. A vague wave of the hand to say goodbye, or see you later, didn't encourage me much.
But now it was time to go up and join the Drakani...

---

Jazzy Mac'Plantey
Chef de Bai Nhori Drakani
Commandant de Bai Trykali
Citoyen célèbre

#2 [fr] 

I'd come back late from that meeting. That interlude with the Drakani had been so... simple, naive and full of enthusiasm, Tryker style in fact. I'd managed to extract myself from that heavy silence for the duration of the meeting.
The new Drakan Nhor, Ny-Ceowyn, was like a cute. He was a clown, but he carried a lot of hope for the Drakani. Hope that Tryker youth would be reborn in the interests of the Lakes. Once the guilding ceremony was over, the older members, who were showing signs of fatigue, headed home, while the younger ones wondered what trek they were about to embark on. Kyriann, still proudly wearing his black guild armor, always had the right words to take the little ones for a ride across Atys. As for me... I was reluctant to go home, even though I longed to understand what was troubling Ylang'hao and could hold her close to reassure her.
I found myself standing stupidly in front of the elevator door, motionless, my head full of questions, full of answers ready to be said if the conversation started. A head full of scenarios, a shy, tearful look and an emotional reunion, or ... an empty apartment. Empty. Without a wife or children, leaving me in fear and abandonment.
I stayed in my thoughts long enough in front of the doorman for him to get worried and get me out of these mental illusions I was trapped in.
"- Nair-Jazzy? You... you want to come up?"
Reassured, genial and determined to find out what awaited me, I rubbed my hands together under my chin, as if to give myself courage, and took the step that teleported me to the submerged apartment...

---

Jazzy Mac'Plantey
Chef de Bai Nhori Drakani
Commandant de Bai Trykali
Citoyen célèbre

#3 [fr] 

The doorman held out his arm to block my access to the elevator. My reflex was to glare at him, but with an equally questioning air, so incomprehensible was the situation. What's he got to do with it? I asked myself. He then gestured with his head as if to point with his chin to the terrace.
It saved me from discovering the empty apartment and unnecessary anxiety.

She was sitting on the 1st-floor terrace, with Saya'Kan and Maya'Kan in front of her, playing in the fresh lake air. The winter light was sometimes soft, despite the chill of the wind. The children were beginning to try to stand up, clinging to the railings of the suspension bridge.

I watched them from a distance, first to observe and then to analyze the situation. The family situation. I was forced to note that these children were apparently healthy, vigorous, alert and curious. Seeing them play with their mother made me happy, but also nostalgic. What had I missed out on that would deprive me of a stable, happy and ultimately ordinary life?

I continued to smile stupidly at them, lost in my questions, when Ylang'Hao, who finally noticed me, gestured to me to join them, accompanied by a broad smile. I was as confused as I was surprised, but above all reassured to finally see a reassuring and comforting gesture from her, simple as it was.
Just as well, I had something to say to him, and the reverse was true.
After a few exchanges of words and a few tender smiles, I finally took the plunge.
A calm discussion ensued as long as we exchanged nothing but banalities. I didn't dare broach my subject too brutally. Then "Yly" beat me to it and announced his fears. Homine was perceived as unstable, bordering on insane by some, and completely mad by others. Her sensitivity gave her a very special personality.
We both agreed that our union was not the easiest thing to live with. Many didn't find it "normal" for a neutral Tryker to marry a Kwai kami, just as in the eyes of the Theocracy, I had to convert to their religion at some point, as Sève had told us when we met before the wedding. As a Tryker, I had optimism running through my veins... but let's face it, the idea of shaking things up wasn't going to happen in a few months. So she decided to put some distance between us. Her words had the effect of a terrible storm in my heart, like a bolt of lightning that struck me down. Yet the idea I was going to propose to her was much the same, except that I would be the one to break the news. I hadn't imagined how this announcement could upset the other person.
So that's it... that's what you're proposing... to separate us, to keep the evil eye away from your family. She kept repeating that she loved us and only wanted our well-being, our protection and our love. The idea was to live in a neighboring apartment so she could continue to see the children when she could. I even think, knowing her, that the procedures for buying an apartment in Avendale were already underway.
After digesting this decision... it was up to me to state an idea that had been germinating in me for a few weeks of silence in the family home... The problem was... I was incapable of doing so... only he could tell him, that's my courage, my arrogance, my lucidity, and my frankness.
I closed my eyes and took a long, quiet breath. Ylang'Hao knew what I was up to because she'd been through it many times before.
My breath caught and a rale came from the back of my throat. That's it, I've let him have his say, he's the one speaking now, the other one...

I reopened my eyes slowly, wearing a confident, almost alarming smile.
Yly didn't flinch, neither fear nor dread showing on his mask.
"Drakan? it's you, isn't it? I'm glad you can talk to me because Jazzy isn't ready to hear everything."
I smiled wider.
"-Hooo Lordoy pretty Kwai, long time no see! bet I missed you! My charm, oy! my charm! it's because of him!!!"
Ylang'Hao smiled, not entirely unmoved by the Drakan, but she changed her mask to a serious tone.
She wanted us to talk.
"Oy Su-Ki, I'm here to tell you something but indeed, Jazzy will be unable to tell you himself..."

---

Jazzy Mac'Plantey
Chef de Bai Nhori Drakani
Commandant de Bai Trykali
Citoyen célèbre

#4 [fr] 

(HRP: The Drakan is Jazzy Mac'Plantey's second personality, so the story is voiced by Jazzy, making the Drakan like another person. I leave it up to each of the readers to come and meet Jazzy, Bai Nhori Drakani, or anyone who knows Jazzy's story to find out more about this dual personality)


The Drakan stared at the colored mask and the Zoraï did the same. He smirked defiantly, she smiled with determination and gravity. The Drakan liked to put the couple in jeopardy, out of jealousy no doubt, to test Ylang'Hao too, and to strengthen me.

A discreet, mocking laugh broke the tension in his eyes, and the Drakan decided to speak:
"- so you want to abandon the family home... abandon Jazzy... hmm... okal, but... abandon Saya'Kan and Maya'Kan? hm hm...
The Drakan paced back and forth on the terrace, like a cute who never stood still, unable to settle down calmly. He was always active, bursting with energy.
It's an idea that's sure to displease Jazzy! You know that?
The Drakan lets out a laugh as if he'd cracked a ridiculous joke.
Well, well, well! Just think, he had the same idea! Well... I may have helped him a little! I admit it! Except that he... and I... you know us! The Drakan accompanied his question with a misplaced knowing wink: We don't do things by halves. Instead of finding you a place to live in Avendale, we're offering you to leave the lakes!

With this sentence, the Drakan gave Ylang'Hao time to react, understand and digest, and she was astonished by her husband's reaction. Her mask frozen, she unconsciously plunged her hands into her bag to pull out a rosary, which she began to pray nervously, as if out of want and need to pull herself together.
- But... I love you! If I stay away, it's to protect you from danger, from Maze'yum and Nikuya! you know that!
Whatever she might say, do to her, it wasn't me but the Drakan, and relations were far more raw and sincere than with the Commander, she knew very well.
- Go back to the jungle! Jazzy wants you to because he knows deep down you need it. So if you're going to walk away, you might as well do it wisely. And I'm FOR it! Constantly changing his tone as if he were mad, the Drakan looked devastated. We'll be apart for a while, and I know it'll be hard to live without me! But you'll have to resist... my shaaaaarme.

Ylang'Hao and the Drakan talked for a long time on the terrace. Between the Drakan's boasts and debates about the Zoraï's idea of the Theocracy, Ylang'Hao finally asked the Drakan to give her husband back to her... or rather that the Drakan bring Jazzy back, which he did after kissing the homine on the fly.
- Don't cry, pretty-mask, and be strong!
The homine, who may have secretly loved the Drakan, had no desire this time to laugh at his fantasies, nor to return the stolen gesture.

I came to, looking a little vague, my mind still aching, and... my wife in front of me. She hugged me tightly, but I didn't know what she was reacting to.
- Ukio... I'm off. I'll leave the kids with you. I'll be back every 3 days to see them.
She caressed my face as if to keep it in memory, or so it seemed to me. I wasn't even sure if she'd come back, such was the acceptance of my decision in her eyes.
Her last gestures and attentions were for the children, whom she kissed furtively as if she were running an errand in town. Surely not to disturb them...
She disappeared through a kami teleportation pack, leaving me with the children in silence...

---

Jazzy Mac'Plantey
Chef de Bai Nhori Drakani
Commandant de Bai Trykali
Citoyen célèbre

#5 [fr] 

Days went by... Organization set in... 3 days I had the children to look after, 3 days Ylang'Hao came to the apartment to look after them while I was away on a trek or a mission... we'd bump into each other 10 minutes before, 10 minutes after. Just long enough to give them mundane instructions, show them the stock of caprini milk, the change of linen, tell them when they could go to bed. They'd wanted us out of the way... and we were. Secretly, I dreamed she'd change her mind, break down. Every time we ran into each other, I saw Ylang'Hao burst into tears, telling me she regretted those stupid choices, that we could face our lives and the associated threats together... but no...

After our banalities, a silence...

For pride? Confidence? The love was intact... but for how much longer? She would see Maze'Yum again, that was obvious. She needed it, and somehow I came to accept it. Zoraï culture isn't easy enough for a tryker to assimilate, but Ylang'Hao had a personality forged of a complicated past and a fragile present.
So I suggested we start all over again. We would stay married, for the sake of the children and also to avoid any administrative worries. But she'd gone back to her jungle and I wanted to get to know her again. I wanted to see her as she was and not as I wanted her to become. I had to face the facts: Ylang'Hao was not a trykette, nor a citizen of the lakes, nor neutral in her beliefs.

The game was dangerous because I was always confident in my ideas usually, but there... I felt I could lose everything, my wife, and especially the mother of our twins. Deep down, I was angry with her... for leaving me... for leaving us... My curse only echoed in my head every time I stood in front of the children, in silence, watching them sleep peacefully. What would the Drakan say?

A letter posted in town announced a meeting of the circles. The temptation was great, but how to get there? The children were too small to teleport. But that wasn't counting Maya'Kan's dexterity who, escaping my vigilance for a brief moment, was able to take enough steps to walk through the Avendale vortex! That's when I knew we'd be going to Zora, on foot!
I had a kind of irrational courage and motivation.
After preparing milk and nappies for the children, I grabbed the twins and set off on my journey. Objective: not to start any fights, to get to Zora safely.
I know she'll be furious, but while they're still naïve, this is a good opportunity to introduce them to their mother's origins, the environment she lives in and her responsibility to her family...
But most of all... to show the wise, enlightened and initiated that our still unconverted children are alive, well and present on Atys. That was my answer to Sève following his threatening insinuations before the wedding.

The Drakan was bubbling with pleasure at the step I'd taken.

---

Jazzy Mac'Plantey
Chef de Bai Nhori Drakani
Commandant de Bai Trykali
Citoyen célèbre

#6 [fr] 

She stared at me. It was a mixture of fury and incomprehension. Translating into a clarity comparable to Aeden Aqueous water a reproach akin to "are you completely oblivious?" And as for me, I was satisfied with my little vengeful provocation, but also with having brought the children to the heart of what animated Ylang'Hao, as much in his torments as in his refuge, Zora, the capital of the Theocracy, what's more, in the middle of the Circle Assembly. This translates into the presence not only of Ylang'Hao, but also of other Initiates, Enlightened Ones and Wise Ones.

I'd proved many things to myself by then, but what Ylang'Hao remembered first and foremost was my foolishness in bringing them across Atys and showing them to the Theocracy.

"Do you want them (the Awakened and the Sage) to take them from us to convert them, you who are not kami? They don't belong here! Not yet, not right now!"

The assembly had moved to Jen-Laï, and Ylang'Hao, who had been able to take the children in turn during the meeting, so fidgety were they, took the opportunity to lecture me despite the audience still around.
Her annoyance was palpable. Constantly alternating a mask of tense features against me with that of a benevolent smile at the children, probably to reassure them, she realized that I wasn't reacting. Yes, I was sure of myself. It's pretentious, as much as a tryker could appear so when he acted so unconsciously. But that was how it was, I knew Ylang'Hao and my children. So I waited...
With an umpteenth back-and-forth glance in the direction of the children, she finally realized for herself. They were in great shape! They seemed to be blossoming, even giddy at the new landscape and the magical atmosphere Zora offered each time a new refugee arrived. Then, for the first time since we'd arrived, she smiled. She then knelt down, revealing a smiling maternal mask, her complexion filled with emotion, to take them in her arms and give them a big hug. After enjoying this moment of great affection, she lifted her mask to stare at me. I now knew how to translate the feelings expressed by her mask.

"You really are insufferable Jazzy Mac'plantey!!!!
...
But I'm so happy to have them with me right now! Now!"

I even got a smile, an embarrassed smile, which would seem to be an unavowable feeling on his part. I felt a breath of fresh air fill my lungs. This sentence contrasted with the silence I'd been dreading for so long. His mouth uttered a word I couldn't hear, perhaps out of modesty, but I could read it on his lips: Ari'Kami (=thank you).

We ended up taking the children to a quieter spot in the basement of the town hall, then, once joined by Eolinius and Funrale back from Jen-Laï, Ylang'Hao offered us hospitality for the night. The return journey was to take place at daybreak the following day.

---

Jazzy Mac'Plantey
Chef de Bai Nhori Drakani
Commandant de Bai Trykali
Citoyen célèbre

#7 [fr] 

It's not easy keeping two children occupied, especially when you know their parents. They rarely keep themselves calmly occupied. They need space, something to do, and Jazzy understood why Ylang'Hao was so keen on her regular moments of respite and meditation at the temple...
One day, he takes them to the beach; another, he buys them caprini milk while he talks to Lyren. The most recent outing was a theater rehearsal in Windermeer. The children went from mischief to mischief, and Caprini's milk didn't contain them this time! Maya'kan ended up drumming on Krill's hat, while Saya'kan threw the assembly's beer barrel into the water...
The commander was feeling overwhelmed.
But... time seemed long. Time seemed long because he'd never waited so long for his wife. Why wasn't she coming back to the family apartment?
He's back...
Jazzy was back to her old anxieties...
He took refuge in endless discussions with the Drakan...
To avoid the silence, heavy and present, once the children are asleep, as every evening.
The eerie silence had returned.

---

Jazzy Mac'Plantey
Chef de Bai Nhori Drakani
Commandant de Bai Trykali
Citoyen célèbre

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