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  #26  
Unread 3rd of December, 2011, 11:43
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As Ellana nears the open patch she slows down, then eventually drops to her knees, still clutching Mira. There's power here, she can feel it, but she can barely think through her exhaustion. Mira mews and nestles closer to her owner as Ellana sinks to the ground, curling around her cat. Tomorrow Mira. We'll figure it all out tomorrow..." she murmurs as she drifts off to sleep.
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Unread 7th of December, 2011, 14:58
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Sylvia couldn't help but smile at the compliments. Hearing praise for Golden Plains, a town her parents and then she had worked so hard to to bring to its current state, always gave her a swell of pride. She took her hat off and place onto the ground next to her. "I'm happy to hear that. So let's get down to why ya'll are here."

Taking a breath and closing her eyes, she took a moment to compose her thoughts. After she was ready she snapped her eyes open and Silver Wind looked over the three as she spoke. "I've brought you out here because I need to tell you all a secret. You'll need to know it if you plan to keep working here, but it's a secret that you must never tell. If it gets out to the wrong ears it could bring terrible things down upon this place and I won't let that happen."

She adjusted herself so that Flicker and Indigo were now excluded from the circle and held her left hand out to Haru and her right out to Petra. She nodded towards Jin, waiting for him to grab the other's hands before continuing. "So what I need from you is your word. That you will never reveal the secret I am about to show you. Unless and until I reveal it to the world you will never speak of it to anyone not from Golden Plains. If you leave Golden Plains you will never speak of this secret." She paused and looked each of them in the eye, gauging what effect her words had on them.

They were all nervous, naturally. Promising to keep an unknown secret, especially in this day and Age, it was only the natural reaction. No she was looking at the other sorts of reactions. Petra seemed curious to know what the secret was, her attention completely enraptured on Silver Wind. She was the first to nod in agreement. Both of the brothers seemed a little more jittery than before, probably memories of whatever ordeals they suffered playing through their minds. She gave Haru a small smile, pushing warmth through her eyes and she squeezed his hand a little and he seemed to calm down a bit. He nodded his affirmation, and then Jin did so as well.

Silver Wind smiled at each of them. "Then so be it." Taking a deep breath, she willed her inner glow to wrap themselves around the words she had just said. Let her breath out some motes of it came out of her mouth as wisps of golden light "By the powers granted to me by Heaven, The Sun, and your words I bind this oath. Let none break it on pain of Heaven's wrath." Golden runes, words and laws in a language Silver Wind only knows from her oaths, swirl around them.

Eventually the words faded, though the glimmering light on Silver Wind's forehead did not. She let go of the hands of her new townsfolk, placed her hat back on, and then stood. "And now you know. Tomorrow, if you still have questions, y'all can ask me. Or one of the others. We'll try and answer as best we can. But for tonight, get some rest. We all got work tomorrow after all."

After the three mortals had left, Sylvia turned to face her two exalted companions. "Lemme show you two where you'll be staying. Follow me."

********************

Home. It was almost surreal, being back here. Going through it to the upper levels, past the dining table and her office, she could almost forget for a moment that she was more than she once was. Almost.

"These four are the guest rooms," she told the two visitors to her home. She gestured to the four doors lining the side of the hall at the very top of her home. "The one at the end of the hallway is mine. Normally these rooms are for visiting Legion commanders and the like, so they have a bit more than just the bare minimums."

"Breakfast here is just after dawn. There'll be a servant or two here who can help you if need be when you wake up. Indigo, once yer ready come and find me. Flicker, I suggest you mingle with the townsfolk a little, get to know them." The sound of a baby crying came down the hallway and Sylvia gave an exhausted sigh even as a smile exploded across her face. "Anyways," she said, handing her candle to Indigo. "Pick whichever room suits ya. I should be a better host, sorry, but being a mother comes first."

She turned from her companions and walked down the hallway. Opening her door she turned one last time to face them. "Sleep well you two," she said as she closed her door.

Last edited by red_dr4g0n94; 4th of January, 2012 at 13:56.
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  #28  
Unread 13th of December, 2011, 03:50
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In the pitch black of night, Ellana finds sleep.

Her dreams are vivid, yet broken into pieces she cannot understand.

The smell of horses... sounds of a summer day...
The warmth of Selen's voice...
Men arguing over wine... Blinding red light from chrome mirrors...
A rider's stirrups... markings on armor in the morning sun...
In the dark... walls that smell of mold and dust... the light in the distance...
Fire. Fire everywhere. A woman's maniacal shrieks. Blood red eyes.

16th of Descending Fire, Realm Year 768 - Morning

Ellana wakes with a jolt, the images of her dream still very present in her mind. As she returns to reality, she notices a rider trotting toward her. It is a man dressed casually, leather pants and white shirt, with an assortment of tools, pouches, and other things hanging from the sides and back of his horse. As he gets closer, he appears to be middle aged, perhaps late thirties. Slightly unshaven, built, with brown eyes and short jet black hair. He looks down on Ellana with a measure of concern.

"Child. You should not be sleeping out here in the open." He looks up and then around, then back to Ellana. "Especially in this particular spot. It is not safe."

He looks up again, this time focusing on the town. Ellana then notices the man's armor hanging among his things... an insignia that looks strangely familiar.

---

The morning light hits Flicker like a bag of bricks. The bed was comfortable, but sleeping like everyone else always feels difficult. After a quick breakfast, Indigo and Silver Wind make their way out to discuss construction... or something. Flicker didn't quite understand. He finds himself wandering around town. Most people seem to be busy with something or another. The place seems to be full of very focused people. Some kids that couldn't be far from his age are gathered in the center of town, in the field where the horses graze. It looks like it could be some kind of game. Two will stand side by side with lassos. A third will throw a short length of firewood high up into the air. Expertly, one of the two will manage to grab it with a snap of the rope, ending with it firmly tightened. A few kids sit around on the grass, taking turns. One more lays lazily on the back of one of the older horses, patting its mane. He turns toward Flicker and gives him an sideways, inquisitive look.

---

Silver Wind and Indigo step outside into the morning sunglight. "So what first, Lady Villirith?" Asks Indigo, half grinning.
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  #29  
Unread 13th of December, 2011, 10:48
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Sylvia looked over at Indigo and rolled her eyes. "Please. Call me Sylvia. The others call me 'Lady' because of what I've done for the range town, but there's no actual title involved." She looked back at her home briefly, a looks of wistfulness crossing her face momentarily, then she turned back to the road.

"Follow me," she said and started walking towards the gate. "There's a spot outside the walls." She looked around at her people as she walked by. There weren't more than a dozen people still in the town, but they all worked on this or that, or were on their way to some chore or another. She smiled then turned back to the Dragon-Blood. "It's about 15 minutes ride from here, but we'll be walking so it'll probably be closer to 20 minutes or so. We try not to let the horses near there since, well, odd things happen there."
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  #30  
Unread 13th of December, 2011, 12:48
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Fighting his body was starting to get tiresome... Flicker had never been a morning person and since his... change for the better he'd gotten even more of an ache to sleep in while the sun was high in the sky. Each morning he had to crack his glossy black eyes open it was like a punch to the face, he hissed and squeezed his eyes shut and covered his face, rocking onto his bare feet and grumbling as he started to find his clothes where he'd abandoned them the night before, tugging on his pants and shirt, lacing up the chest and dusting off a bit.

The night before when he'd been shown his room he thought there had to be a catch or rent or something but Sylvia just scooted him in and let him crash there. Pretty sweet deal! This whole place was kind of a sweet deal... People were working hard, earning stuff, making useful things... Flicker barely wanted to steal anything from them at all! Marukani nobles were the wierdest nobles ever. But in a good way.

Flicker padded his way out of his room and explored the manorhouse a bit, peeking in rooms and following smells until he could get some breakfast. One thing he noticed in a ranch town was a prevalence of kerchiefs and bandannas... He snagged one for himself from a drawer and bundled it to tie on his had like a headband, tugging it low over his eyes to help shade them from the sunlight (why did he keep thinking 'sinlight' instead of sunlight?) and bravely headed out into the world.

He strolled, wandered, wasted time mostly. He knew Sylvia told him to get to know people but he was more comfortable watching right now. All these people were so relaxed and laid back, there were no signs of poverty, no dangerous and exciting back-and-forth dance of death and thievery, it was just a... nice quiet place with very busy, focused people.

It was making Flicker a little uncomfortable.

He shifted from foot to foot watching the kids play their rope and wood game (haha that sounded dirty) and he wandered over to find a kid looking lazy on the back of a horse. He looked pretty mellow, maybe the sort to talk to? Without looking too interested in anything in particular he aloofly approached and clucked his tongue up at him.

"Hey. Uh... What are they doing there? That a betting game or something?"
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  #31  
Unread 13th of December, 2011, 13:48
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The morning sun rises and Ellana's eyes snap open. She rubs the sleep from her eyes and lies back down, enjoying the warmth of the sun contrasting with the cool freshness of the grass, trying to make sense of her nightmare. Mira sits on her chest, mewing and pawing at her. Ellana hugs her pet close, "It's okay Mira, it was just a bad dream. I'm okay." Though her pet reminds her that she will have to deal with Lady Vilirith. She owes the woman an explanation, as soon as she could think of one. The images of her dream fade in contrast to a cool morning breeze and Ellana rolls over, she needed to think, actually think.

As she begins to properly order yesterday's events in her head, the process is interrupted by the rider. Plain faced, and even, kind as any of the other Marukian she's met, "Child. You should not be sleeping out here in the open. Especially in this particular spot. It is not safe." he says.

Ellana jumps up at his words, Mira rebounding from her back, to the ground, to her shoulder in one stretched out motion. The girl dusts off her field clothes and looks up at the man, his armor, particularly the insignia catch her eye. "Oh um...Thank you for your concern. But I'm okay. This place doesn't seem dangerous at all," she motions to the embracing landscape, "It's actually a comfort here. I guess I lost track of time last night. But I'm sure Mira kept me safe." Ellana pets her cat and Mira meows with pride, nodding her agreement.

She stares at the insignia some more, trying to place it, where had she seen that before. If only she'd studied heraldry more. The silence grows long and she looks back at the man, "I'm sorry, are you here on business? I'm only a temporary field hand, but er...I suppose I could find someone more official around to help you."
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Unread 16th of December, 2011, 09:29
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The kid chuckles. "Betting game?" He hops off the horse with youthful ease and eyes Flicker. "No, not really. This is just practice for wrangling cattle. Figure if you can catch a piece of wood in midair you can catch most anything on four legs. The real trick is doing it on horseback." He holds up a bundle of rope. "Wanna try?"

The other kids look over, curious about this new and, honestly, strange looking outsider.

---

The man smiles heartily at this offer. "Don't trouble yourself young one. I was just passing through." As he says this, Silver Wind and Indigo come over the next hilltop and spot the two conversing. The man looks out to them. "Friends of yours?"

---

As Silver Wind and Indigo come over the next hill, they can now see the demesne in full view. The grass almost seems to change color to become a more brilliant green. Flowers dot the landscape in abundance, practically iridescent in the beams of the morning sun. To anyone sensitive to the lines of power in creation, the pool of energy in this place is unmistakably present. To their surprise, Ellana can be seen in the center of the field and with a strange man on horseback. The pairs meet eyes.
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Unread 17th of December, 2011, 09:57
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"Ellana," Silver Wind exclaimed upon seeing the young girl, a smile of mixed concern and relief on her face. Relief that the child hadn't gone far, concern that she was here of all places. "You're...okay." Her smile faded with her words as she registered the man on horseback. She silently cursed herself for not taking any of her weapons with her outside the walls.

"What are you doing here," she asked, not bothering to direct the question to anyone in particular. "This place is dangerous to stay in for too long."

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Unread 17th of December, 2011, 10:09
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Flicker almost reflexively took a step back as the other boy hopped off the back of the horse, not having particularly good memories of people who did that at him, but he relaxed remembering that, you know, he was apparently a demon now or something. He did have the odd look with his oil-shine black hair and eyes and teeth that were just a bit too sharp looking.

"No money in it? Huh, seems you could turn a profit betting on the best one... If it don't cost nothin' I'll go for it though."

He nodded and took the rope curiously, watching how the other kids were doing it, remembering the technique, then whipping the rope around over his head and giving it a go.
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Unread 17th of December, 2011, 17:30
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"Oh! Lady Vilirith!" Ellana turned to the man, "She owns these lands," she explained. Turning back to the silver haired woman, she continued, "I'm sorry about last night. It's just...um..." Ellana looked nervously at both the man and the other woman standing staring at her. Her ears burned red. "I'll...I'll tell you later. If I can stay, that is."

Ellana stood up and moved closer to her employer. "I fell asleep here. Why..." She looked between the two adults, "Why does everyone say this place is so dangerous?" she spread her arms out, as if to embrace the glowing glade, "This place is wonderful. Something about it just makes me feel...comfortable. If anything I feel safer here than I ever have, besides the Redoubt."
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Unread 18th of December, 2011, 11:35
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Flicker follows the firewood with his eyes as it flies upward. He reaches out and reacts, letting the rope unravel as he lines up the loop with the long end of the wood in midair. With an audible snap he pulls the rope back, sending the wood flying towards him, perfectly wrapped, to be caught firmly with his off hand. The children gaped a little. It was easy - Almost too easy. This sort of stuff had always come quickly to him, but ever since his transformation, it's like things were slowing down whenever he needed to concentrate.

"You MUST have done this before. That was about as clean as it gets." Says the kid, smirking. "You holding out on me?"

[(Dexterity 3 + Thrown 3) = 6 (10,8,5,4,2,2) 3X vs. Standard <superior>]

---

The horseman gives Ellana a stern look. "A demesne, Child, is untamed. Like a wild animal, it cannot be trusted."

The horseman turns. "Forgive me." He says, bowing gently to the two women. "My name is Darren Galvadorix. My journey takes me north, towards Lookshy. I am simply passing through."
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Unread 19th of December, 2011, 09:59
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"A demanse?" Ellana's eyes widened and she gasped as her hands flew to her mouth. She began shaking slightly, letting out small little gasps. Finally, she dropped her arms and let out a full squee, a wide grin plastered her face. "I've never been in a demanse. By the time I get into areas of power they've always been turned into manses."

Ellana hopped back to the center of the demanse and spread her arms out, twirling as she did so. She tried to spot the edges, see the difference in landscape where the demanse ended and the natural section of creation began. "What kind of demanse is it? I can't quite place the elemental attunement. Of course I'm not an essence user. I always thought they'd be more...energetic? Shiny? Mysterious and dangerous? We always try to convert them to manses as fast as possible, for safety reasons. But it'd be a shame not to take advantage of-" Ellana stopped as Mira meowed at her, there was a sense of distain in the cat's voice.

Ellana sighed, "Yes, you're right Mira." She turned toward Darren Galvadorix, "You're heading toward Lookshy right? Can you let them know about this demanse? They'll want to at least increase the troops in this area. You can tell them-" she stopped as Mira let out a yowl, the cat stared at her owner for a second before hissing softly. "Er, just tell them there's a demanse in this area."
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Unread 19th of December, 2011, 12:15
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Ever since breaking out of that cocoon it was kind of like Flicker had an IN to the world. Not like he could see the future or anything but as things happened it was like he could kind of... cheat. Cheating was a good word for it. Like he was slipping himself a winning hand, slowing things down, seeing just where he was supposed to finish things to make them best for himself...

So suddenly he was holding the wood and he put on a cocky grin, tossing it up and down and shrugging lightly.

"Nah, first time, really! I catch onto things quick though, was watching for a bit. Wasn't as hard as it looked was all. I'm Flicker. What do they call you?" Asking for a name would have been presumptuous.
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Unread 19th of December, 2011, 22:15
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"Ellana," Silver Wind shouted in horror and embarrassment as the girl proceeded to give orders to the stranger. She reached out and grabbed her arm, pulling the girl away from the man, staring at her with fear and anger in her eyes. "You do not just go around giving orders to strangers." She handed the girl off to Indigo, knowing the other woman might get offended but feeling strangely threatened by the whole situation.

She turned back to the man. "Forgive me Mr. Galvadorix. She is new and young, and," she says glancing back behind her, "unaccustomed to manners. As stated, I am Sylvia Vilirith, owner and proprietor of Golden Plains." She gestured with one hand toward the walls in the distance. "You are of course free to stop there for provisions and rest."
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Unread 20th of December, 2011, 01:45
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The man nods. "A pleasure to meet you." He hesitates and thinks to himself.

"I am in need of provisions." Then he turns to look around. "And your fields are as lovely as I have yet seen. I must stay a while."

With that he makes another short bow to the women, shoots a smile at Ellana, and brings his his horse to a trot, making for the town. As soon as he leaves earshot, Indigo looks into the young girl's eyes, still gripping her arm.

"How do you know so much about Manses, and Demesnes? And you mentioned the Redoubt - You're from there, aren't you?" Indigo moves in closer, opens her mouth to pry further, then thinks better of it, instead looking up at Silver Wind with one of her knowing glances.

---

"My name is Kurst." He says, and he motions over to the others. "This is Beo, Wiggle, Oni, and Ira. We're training to become great horsemen."

"And one horseWOMAN genious." Says Ira smirking, a few long curls showing through her otherwise boyish attire.

Kurst beams. This seems to be his little gang. Eventually, everyone insists on seeing Flicker throw that lasso a second and a third time.
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Unread 20th of December, 2011, 08:05
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Ellana squirmed in Indigo's arm; she'd seen this look in adults before and wanted no part of it. Mira hissed and nipped at the woman's heels, but her grip held strong and soon Ellana slumped her shoulders. She cursed herself for mentioning the Redoubt, but the damage was done. "Yes. My friend Selen was teaching me to be a thaumaturge," Ellana said. Indigo's grip loosened and Ellana slipped free, scooping up Mira (who was still hissing and scratching at the woman) she stood between the two adults.

"Shhh, it's okay Mira," Ellana whispered, stroking her cat, calming the animal, "They won't hurt us...probably." She looked between Lady Vilirith and Indigo, for a moment her knees wobbled and she took a step forward, ready to bolt again. A glance at the silver-haired woman told her better and she stepped back. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to cause trouble," she said. She looked at Lady Vilirith and gestured to the demanse, "But, Lookshy WILL want to know about this. We're allied with the Marukan so we need to know points where you'd likely get attacked." She glanced back at the center of the demanse. With the official business complete Ellana could turn to more interesting things, "I'm sorry, what element is this demanse? Selen always said it would be really obvious. But I can't quite put my finger on it. It might be wood with all the natural growth, but that doesn't seem quite right."
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Unread 20th of December, 2011, 10:42
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Selen.

The realization of who this girl was hit Silver Wind as if it was a body blow, sending her a step back. She stared at the girl, this little girl so timid and seemingly fragile, who was only barely starting to enter womanhood.

"Oh gods," she whispered, her eyes wide with shock. "You're her, aren't you. The Anathema from the Redoubt."
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Unread 20th of December, 2011, 12:24
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Flicker nodded, short black hair bobbing as he greeting the boy's friends in turn. Looks like kids, at least, didn't change much from place to place. This kid had a little gang just like everyone back home!

Of course unable to keep himself from wanting to show off, Flicker tosses the lasso up a couple more times, cheating as necessary to impress them. Sylvia DID want him to make friends out here, right? So, you know, might as well play it up to reel them in. Could only benefit him in the long run.

And if there was one thing that Flicker liked being able to do it was strutting like a rooster.

"Good to meet ya all. I suppose I can hang around a bit more."
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Unread 20th of December, 2011, 16:49
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"Anathema? What? No! I'm not..." Ellana stops. Memories of that night flood back to her. She tries to sort through them, but the fear and confusion rush back with the memories and overwhelm her. What happened? What really happened? She drops Mira and moves to run again, tripping into Sylvia. Ellana realizes she's crying, and can only hear herself cry, "I'm not, I'm not," over and over again.

Mira licks a few tears from her friend's eyes before looking up at the silver haired woman. The cats eyes plead, if it were possible.
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Unread 20th of December, 2011, 17:34
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"Shhh," Sylvia whispered as she gently wrapped her arms around the crying girl. She felt like a heel, she knew better than to call another Exalt that, especially a young girl like Ellana. She didn't much like the word herself, it had just been a reflex.

"I'm sorry," she said, holding Ellana in her embrace. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to call you that. You're right, you're not."
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Unread 20th of December, 2011, 18:44
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The woman's words called Ellana, she remembered the way her mother calmed her when she was just a child. Gods, she hadn't cried like this since she met Selen. The sobs cut back into hiccups, but she still said nothing.
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Unread 21st of December, 2011, 11:00
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Sylvia guided the young girl down so they were both on their knees, cooing words of comfort as her sobs subsided. "It's okay," she said softly. "It's okay, no one here will hurt you." She started stroking the girls hair, and looked up at Indigo. She jerked her head in the universal language of "leave", her eyes asking her to leave the two "Anathema" alone.
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Unread 21st of December, 2011, 11:16
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Indigo sees this and nods, shooting Silver Wind an apologetic look before leaving. She wanted to help them both, to comfort them, but really, Indigo had nothing to offer. When it comes down to it, She just wasn't one of them, and she didn't know what it's like.
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Unread 21st of December, 2011, 12:02
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Ellana's hiccups finally subside to the point where she can breath evenly. Even still she huddles close to this strange woman, feeling like she was six again and Makel had put worms in her hair. She wipes her nose on her sleeve, careful to avoid touching Lady Vilirith with that arm. "I...I don't know what happened that night," Ellana says, more to herself than Sylvia. This is the first time in over two weeks she's had to think, properly think, about that night and even now the memories refuse to pull forth properly.

"Selen said she knew a ritual to awaken my essence. We wanted to...um...help me become a thaumaturge. But...but something went wrong. I don't know. All I can remember is a blinding light, and Selen pushing me out the window, telling me to run. And I should have gone back, but Selen told me to run, so I did. And I want to go back but Mira keeps saying it's a bad idea. And...I don't know what to do! I'm not an Anathema? Am I? Why did Selen tell me to run?" Ellana stops and catches her breath, she sniffles and tears begin welling up in her eyes.
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That was the best plan we could come up with?

Seduce the wookie?!
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Unread 21st of December, 2011, 12:34
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Sylvia listened as Ellana described what happened to her all those nights ago. Forced to abandon everything with no explanation, chased out by someone she had trusted implicitly. Sylvia suddenly felt grateful for everyone she knew, who even though had been and, she suspected, still were terrified of her at least accepted her arguments.

She sighed and looked down at the top of Ellana's head. "Ellana," she said quietly. "Ellana, look at me." She pulled at the girl's shoulders gently and lowered her own head slightly to look into the girl's eyes. "Ellana, I know this is hard, and I want to help you through this. So can you do something for me?"

"Can you make your mark appear?"
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