Day 071: Nineteen Years Too Late
Summary: Luther goes to Komfi Itl looking to return something.
Date: 7 August 2016
Related: First and Last
Luther Komfi 

Komfi Itl's home
In poses
71 Days After Landing

Luther checked the Healing House — nervously. He checked Galle and Timore's house — even more nervously. Now comes the most nerve-wracking: Komfi Itl's house. The Warrior has not skulked since he was a Second, not really. But if he isn't skulking now, he's certainly waffling, crouched down outside the Komfi's house, deadheading a flower bush. No other reason to bet there. Really. Oh hell. And then he's up to his feet again, moving up to onto the porch and knocking lightly on the door, his left hand holding Galle's shoes from the celebration behind his back.

Komfi Itl's house is not much, but it served as a proud home for her and her houmon for almost sixty years, and has housed children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. It is a low structure that is far from the glorious home Timore built for Galle, but it has a porch, and that is Komfi's favorite feature. She sits on that porch often, watching the village go by. She sits on that porch now, at the far side, on a bench, half-hidden behind a wild Indian Plum bush. She won't fault Luther for not noticing her, but she will take advantage of it. "Need somethin'?"

Luther starts, which is unlike Luther, and then reaches up with his right hand to unnecessarily tuck a dreadlock behind his ear as he turns toward the aged Healer. Still, there's a smile on his face that he probably couldn't stop if he wanted to, "Komfi." Even if he wasn't a family friend, he would still call her that, just like everyone else in the village. He clears his throat, nodding toward the house as he steps over toward the old woman, "I… was looking for Galle."

Komfi stands, brushing her loose pants lightly with old, weathered hands. For a woman in her eighties, she moves lightly without a hunch or shuffle. Unlike her granddaughter, who is all light airy fabric and wire jewelry, she is simple in a patched skirt, long sleeve shirt despite the summer warmth, and a headwrap of coral and blue fabric. She snorts slightly at his proclaimed purpose. "Aren't you about twenty years too late, Luther kom Trikru?" She starts to the opened door that leads into the dwelling, and she steps inside, gesturing the man to follow her. A old tom cat is draped on a chair just inside the door, and he mrrows irritably as if his nap had been interrupted.

Luther looks wildly guilty for a flash, and then clears his throat again, pulling his left hand from behind his back to reveal her shoes as he follows her in. The human tomcat extends his hand to the feline one, to sniff and approve of (or not), even as he explains, "Ahh, she left these at the celebration last night." Even after another couple of cups of vilely bitter tea and two heavy meals, Luther's stomach still feels like it wants to lurch up his throat. That may not be the fault of the hangover though. "I wanted to return them to her." There's a pause, and then he admits, "About nineteen years, actually." Now that he's remembered the circumstances.

"Useless," Komfi scolds the cat. "I allowed him to stay because he moused… the moment I was feeding him regularly, he stopped mousing and started lazying around." She ignores the cat as it sniffs at Luther's knuckles, and then swipes at his hand in disapproval. Inside the house, the air is cool and comfortable, and it smells of nutmeg and black cumin. There is something familiar about the setup of Komfi's house. Despite the fact that it has more rooms because Komfi had a far larger family, the layout is almost identical to Galle's. She is already moving behind the table at the center of the living space, and gesturing Luther into a chair.

"Hmph," she states simply. "Leaving her shoes around like a flower-crowned girl." She turns to an old tin box that had once held cookies, but the red and green paint has long ago peeled away. She opens it, removes a simple black pipe, and a small container of weed. She goes through the process of packing the herbs even while she grumbles slightly, "I know it's been nineteen years. Who do you think made sure you were both in Polis together to begin with?" She scoffs. "As if your grandfather would have left the wine cabinet unlocked, either."

Luther … did not know that fact. Either of those facts, and for a moment, his surprise shows on his face. "Komfi." He sounds scandalized, even if he's smiling. And there might be a little sadness to the smile. Luther is a complicated man right now, even if he usually isn't. His thumb taps the soft heel of the shoes, "There was a lot worse than that happening at the celebration though, Komfi. I think you would have liked it." There's a pause, "Thirty years ago or so." Okay, now he's just teasing her.

"Oh, don't… you two wasted our efforts. Either too drunk or too stupid, I can't decide which." Then she moves toward the stove, using a thin reed to grab a bit of flame to light her pipe with. The smell of pipeweed follows her as she moves back toward the table, claiming a seat across from him. There is no doubt that Komfi enjoys a strong weed, but she's old and her bones are tired, and it staves off the arthritis. "Timore — Flame keep him — was a fine man, but far too easy a catch for Galle." Komfi's disapproval is obvious. "What was it? Broke his arm the day before he was deemed ready to finish his training, and of course, Galle was there to set it. She felt sorry for him, and pity is a terrible place for a romance to begin." Then she snorts almost indignantly at his teasing. "Boy, don't you go there… I may be old, but I know a thousand ways to make you miserable." She sets the pipe between her teeth now, puff-puffing on it for several long, critical moments. "So, what do you go and do?"

"Both," Luther admits. "You know that you and Komfo could have said something." Not that a pair of teenagers would have listened. "Most awkward morning of my life." And then he coughs and shakes his head, scritching the tomcat behind the ears as he tries to ignore the fact that he just said that. Did not need to share it. "I know. I was there when he broke it. I almost had to carry him back. Couldn't quite bring myself to go into the Healing House. But he was a good man. A good friend." The threat, however, has him laughing and holding up both hands in surrender… until the question cuts off his laughter far too quickly, "Nothing." He's not a good liar, he's really not. The words also comes out far too quickly. "I dragged her to the celebration from the healing house, so I thought it was the least I could do to return her shoes."

"Yes, and then you ran off with your First before anything else could be done, and you two didn't see each other again for almost four years… four years is a long time to forget someone." There is a hint of regret there. "I considered saying something, but… Galle had already met Timore. I didn't want to meddle." How unlike her. Komfi narrows her eyes as she puffs more on her pipe. "Uh huh… now are you going to tell me honest, or am I going to have to put donnalie in your tea?" She sends out a smoke ring before she offers the young Warrior the pipe. Maybe he could use some to relax, the poor thing.

"Komfi… that's the most wonderful thing about you," when it's not directed at you, at least, "You meddle." Luther still has a charming smile, even when he's being complicated and evasive, "And nothing happened that matters, Komfi." Liar. Bad liar. The Warrior looks down, very absorbed by giving the tomcat the scritches he so richly deserves (according to him). The gesture toward him causes him to look up again, and he hesitates, then sighs a little and reaches to take the pipe, giving it a little draw and holding in. You don't refuse Komfi Itl. Another breath in, a suppressed cough, and the pipe is handed back while he continues to hold the smoke in.

"Not well enough!" The woman watches him as he takes in the weed, giving him several moments of silence as she returns to puffing away at her pipe again. Then she shrugs a shoulder. "It appears to matter to you, strikon," Komfi says. "What will it take for you to tell me what it is that my granddaughter has done to you?" She crosses an arm at her chest, holding lightly to her opposite elbow while she continues to nurse on her pipe. "I would offer you a drink, but methinks you have already had too much of that." She smiles, smoke lacing out of her mouth as she does like a fire-breathing dragon.

Luther lets out the smoke in a slow, controlled stream, letting his shoulders slump down as he does. "She didn't do anything to me, Komfi. I made a mistake while I was drunk." That will confirm the fact that he really doesn't need any more alcohol, which he confirms by groaning softly at the suggestion. "That's it, that's all there is to it." Still lying, but closer. "It's nothing that will happen again, so it's not something to worry about, Komfi. I just want to return her shoes to her. I guess I'll leave them outside her house, since I can't find her." There might even be a little relief in his voice at the last part.

"Hmph," Komfi replies. "No, you are making a mistake while you are perfectly sober." She clucks her tongue in the same way Galle often does. "Nothing has changed in nineteen years, it seems. I do not know if this can wait another nineteen for you two to make another mistake." Then she sets her pipe down on its curved rest, and she brushes her hands together. "But, not my business… I'm not meddling." Much. She begins to step away. "Well, since you are going to be a coward — " Low blow, Komfi. " — and just leave her shoes outside her door…" She opens one of her cabinets, revealing an array of colorful bottles, "You can leave this for her too." She selects a short, light blue one and closes the cabinet.

As Komfi no doubt intended, her words do not sit well with Luther, and he shifts his shoulders as if he were a bird with his feathers ruffled, or a cat with his hackles raised. "She doesn't want to see me now. Looking out for her isn't cowardice." You keep telling yourself that, Luther. Still, he steps forward to accept the bottle, studying it curiously for a moment and then tucking it under his left arm, "Komfi…?" There's something tentative, boyish about the question, "She's been alright, these last three years, right? She hides everything so well."

Komfi hands off the bottle to him easily. She does not say what it is, as there's no identifiers of its contents or where it came from. The old woman looks at Luther as he asks his tentative question. Her mouth purses slightly. "No, she has not," she says simply. "She is lonely and believes she is supposed to be, not realizing that, that loneliness is worse than any poison. She works too hard, her focus too narrow." Says a woman who is eighty-some years and refuses to retire from her own work. As if expecting that to be pointed out, the woman goes on, "I had a houmon I loved, and a family that was rich and full. I did not go to sleep in an empty bed, nor live in an empty house."

Luther nods slowly at the response, accepting the confirmation of what he believed to be the case, "She has a heart made for smiling." The Warrior blushes slightly at that, looking down again and shifting her shoes from one hand to the other, "Sorry. Too much time with Komfo." Who was a poet as well as a politician. He hefts the bottle a little, "I'll drop this off with the shoes."

Komfi raises a brow slightly at the poetic words and the blush that follows. "You waste an apology on something you don't need to apologize for." The old woman watches him, her frown deepening. "Your Komfo was a wise man… you should listen to his spirit more often." Then she nods firmly as he dedicates himself to the task. "Alright." She starts to wave him off.

Luther scoffs softly, "We have a perfectly able Ambassador. We need a Warrior more than another Ambassador." 'For now' his tone says. "Although perhaps a Warrior will not be needed as much in the future, with the Mountain dead." And then good old pessimistic Luther reasserts himself, "Provided the Skaikru do not set themselves up as the next Maunon." With that cheery future foretold, he steps forward to press a kiss to Komfi's cheek, "It was good to see you, Komfi."

"That is not what I meant," Komfi says, but she relents. "Though, if anyone was going to be looked at for an Ambassador, Nixo's grandson would be a fine choice." She tilts her weathered cheek to the kiss, and then nods. She lets him walk away for several paces, but she cannot let it be. "Feisripa," she calls after him, using a more fiercer petname than the simple little one earlier. She waits for him to turn to her before speaking again. "You could both be dead and buried in nineteen years. Or worse, you could be dead and she is still living on alone in that little house." She fixes him with a serious look. "It was good seeing you again, too."

The compliments cause him to chuff pleased disbelief, and he heads for the door, turning at the nickname and offering up a smile… one that fades away at her advice. He considers it long and hard, a thoughtful frown on his face. "I don't think I could put her through that again, Komfi. Even if she wanted it." He ducks his head, then moves to depart.

Komfi frowns, shaking her head. Again, the point was missed, but she has said she won't meddle… despite the fact that the bottle Luther carries to deliver with the shoes is none other than rose wine — a wine that will certainty spark memories for Galle once she catches its fermented, flowery scent.

It probably won't help matters when Luther adds a small rosebud to the little collection of shoes and rose wine. Something sparked in his mind by the conversation with Komfi.

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