The Final Stand of Kauria

Lord Regal

The West Team
Sheriff
Kitten followed Feronia to where she was sitting and sat down next to her, close enough that they were touching each other. This wasn't exactly a surprising move, and it was a safe gesture as well, one that didn't have any subtext for once. The Kitsune launched into an explanation that the biggest thing that needed improvement was flexibility. She had a good thing with the bird, but there wouldn't always be time, and it wouldn't handle range either. Her leg came up as a detriment, which stung a little, but the argument made sense enough...she'd need to figure out how to compensate. Plus there was apparently a need for hand-to-hand combat, which seemed a little silly to the Stillblood...she could conjure up steel at will...there wouldn't be a need for a straight fight like that as far as she was concerned. Still, she'd asked, it would be rude to be critical of the advice given. It wasn't like she could deny the need to practice...she'd panicked, frozen in fear. She'd only gotten involved because her life had been in immediate danger, and her actions had been far less than controlled. In a larger scale fight, she'd've been an easy target, and that galled her. Didn't make it any less true, but it hurt to think about. Kitten paused for a moment, allowing Feronia to nod and murmur, "thanks...not what I wanted to hear, but you're right...I got lucky more than anything...it's just...bird's all I've ever really done with my power..."

Feronia trailed off, morose, only to stiffen as Kitten opted not to take the less painful subject of why she'd limited herself that much, instead returning to the worst possible topic. And yet, she'd approached it without any heat, talking in a calm manner and making it hard to feel any strong emotion about the fact they'd gotten back here again. "Kitten...it's ok, really, it is. I'm sorry for badmouthing your girlfriend, I wouldn't have if I'd've known, but...I'm not her...I'm not comfortable doing that, not comfortable even thinking about it. The law is clear here, and I don't think it's wrong. Besides, it's not like I'm any different from any other Stillblood. We all deal with this. We all have to deal with this. Besides...I've never done it before, not even to an animal, which is ok if it was to be eaten soon...I don't trust myself to have the control I'd need. It's just...it's just a bad idea, ok? I'll be fine, I promise. I know you said not to bring this up, but I'll keep you as removed from it as I can...it'll be over in a couple hours, and it'll have been like it never happened. Ok?" The Stillblood more or less knew Kitten wasn't going to let it go at that, but with any luck she'd scored a couple hits. She wasn't going to do it...she couldn't...if it weren't for the respect she'd been gaining for the Kitsune she'd've gone ahead without asking if she could accept it. As is, she at least deserved to be talked into letting her do this...
 

Apelatia

Well-Known Member
Duty. The word stuck in Tekki's mind as she listened with growing discontent to Anna's request. With all that she had just discovered and the seeming urgency of the situation, there was no time to muse about her loss nor to dither about in hesitation. She needed to act, and swiftly. Her duty to her own race and to the greater good in Kauria demanded it. Her problem lay in the small child sat in front of her. Had they not chanced to meet, Tekki would never have discovered what she had. However, she knew that Anna would only get in the way in the long run... Regardless of any attachment she might feel to the child, Anna would be preventing her from doing what she had to do efficiently, whether that be travel, fight or talk. Always there would be the presence of the small child to consider. In her heart, Tekki decided that it wouldn't work, at least, not long-term. Letting out a prolonged sigh, Tekki relaxed her face into a slight smile, before speaking slowly. "I've decided, and I will look after you for one night, my dear. You can come back with me to the inn and sleep in my room tonight." Tekki paused, looking for a reaction in the girl's face to see if she had fully understood. Once certain that she had, the Nuseni councilwoman continued. "Tomorrow, when you have had a good sleep, Anna, we will see what we can find out about your Mommy and Daddy, and find somewhere even safer for you." Tekki patted the girl gently on the head, before standing. "Now then, follow me my dear and I will show you the way." With Anna beside her, Tekki strode from the park, intent on making her way back to the inn in good time.

A while later, the duo strode in through the front door of the Dawn to Dusk inn. The journey back had taken them longer than Tekki had anticipated. This had been partly due to her realisation that they would need to procure an evening meal of some sort to sustain them, but in the most part the delay had been due to the heaving crowds that they had encountered in the streets. The mass of people had been returning from that day's events at the Games. On reflection, Tekki had decided that perhaps she had not chosen the most appropriate route home. Inwardly, she scolded herself for her lack of planning, knowing full well that such lapses were not ideal and were usually costly. She would have to do better. Still, things were not going awfully, all things considered. Both she and Anna were back safe and sound, and while the situation they found themselves in was a mile from the best, as far as Tekki was concerned, a positive outlook henceforth would only reap rewards. These things and more flitted across the forefront of her mind as they entered the inn proper. Ignoring any glances from the inn's occupants, Tekki strode forward towards the innkeeper, greeting him once she had his attention. "Adin, hello!" With a smile set on her face, she continued, "I wanted to ensure that everything was all going well here before I retired for the night. Anna here..." Tekki gestured at the small girl standing beside her. "...will be sleeping in my room for one night before I assist her in finding her parents tomorrow, and I hope that you will accept extra payment for the convenience. It would only be proper." The Nuseni ended with an unusually firm statement and an equally suited facial expression, before proffering the two silver coins in the palm of her hand to the innkeeper. Should he have any questions to ask or an intent to strike up conversation, Tekki would be perfectly happy to respond in kind. After all, there was no rush to return to her room.
 

Zemelci

Well-Known Member
The harsh desert sun beat down upon the canvas roof. As Jokir sat in the shade of the wagon, he sighed to himself. It was late evening now and Jokir was beginning to wonder why he’d agreed to this trip in the first instance. He and Foze had not exchanged a single word since the two had clambered onto the wagon. The reason was, in reality, obvious. Marjanna had secured an excellent deal related to her cutting edge Dramoran fashion business. The designs were to be kept entirely secret until they were first worn in high society, part of the package that her customers paid so much for. Dramoran fashion, as Jokir understood, had taken off in more recent years but it was a booming business and Marjanna, by catering for the richest and most powerful, had secured herself a small but impressive niche in the market.

What this meant, however, that she could only use people she trusted as wagon guards. And the two people she trusted most were her brother and her husband. Jokir wondered if it was no small coincidence that she was attempting to get the two of them to make amends. For his part, he was happy either way. Foze hated him and he could live with that (well, apart from the fact that it annoyed and hurt Marjanna, a fact he was still getting his head around) but he couldn’t see the point in putting effort into an attempt to mend relations with a man who so clearly despised him. For Foze’s part, Jokir figured this was part of an attempt to reclaim some form of honour. The two men had come to an understanding that Foze would drive the wagon during the day and then, rather than stop for the night, Jokir would take over as driver whilst Foze slept in the back. When the horses got tired, they could find a place to stop and wait it out for a couple of hours whilst the horses had a break. The sun was beginning to set and they were headed towards one of the small areas of thick forest that dotted areas where the water table was high enough for roots to remain alive.

Jokir did also have a second reason for coming on the trip though, well, a second and a third if he was honest. The main reason that he’d given was that it would be nice to get out of Marjanna’s hair and let her work in peace but he knew that she’d seen the truth. Even after the first month or so, Jokir was still getting accustomed to married life and the almost constant presence of his partner, something that was exacerbated by the fact that they had to get even farther apart to get out of one another’s hair. This trip, which would be a week’s round trip with a couple of days in the middle, was a nice opportunity for him just to have some personal time. The minor reason was that he got to dodge some of the more troublesome duties as advisor and, rather than having to constantly be formal, he got to let his hair down and enjoy himself. Besides, he was sure that this was the path that his Cycle wanted him to take. After all, Marjanna’s Cycle and his own were intertwined now so what her Cycle desired, his Cycle would change shape to match it. Jokir leant back against one of the wooden crates and shut his eyes, focusing on the soothing sound of the wheels on the sand. He didn’t sleep and having been with Marjanna as she slept recently had caused him to look at it in a different way some of which had confused him rather than help him understand. That said, he did enjoy the odd spot of meditation. With that thought, he centred his thoughts on the sound of the wheel and let the seconds turn to minutes and hours as the wheels drifted along the pleasant sand.

By the time that Jokir came out of his trance, the sun had dipped below the sky. He opened up the canvas flap at the front of the wagon and slid over the bench, joining Foze. Foze grunted and passed him the reigns. “All yours Bloodless.” The words were growled out in Dramoran and Jokir chose to keep his peace. After all, insulting the man was likely to get them nowhere. As Foze made to swing into the back, Jokir put his hand on the man’s shoulder. Foze stared at him for a second, as if wondering whether to crush the hand. “I saw something. Movement in the bushes, up ahead.” They were in the forest now and, as they trundled along the path, the trees crowded over them. Jokir could see clearly through the forest but to Foze all was dark. Foze closed up the front of the wagon again from the outside and Jokir slowed the animals down, carrying on but at a walking pace. A sword materialised on the bench, right next to Jokir’s right hand. Foze placed his hand on his sword’s pommel, unwilling to draw it until the threat had been realised. The cart continued forwards, the horses now having sensed that danger was afoot. One of them whinnied and Jokir shushed it. His eyes, now entirely alert, scanned the entire forest until he saw a glimpse of it again. For the briefest of moments, figures moving in the bushes. “At least three.” Jokir was whispering in Dramoran now. “They’re on the right hand side. You take the reins; I’ll prepare for them.” Foze took the reins without question. For the moment, at least, his hatred of the Aluille had been cast to one side. As much as he hated to admit it, he could barely see anything in this darkness. It was a new moon and the forest was pitch black. The Shade, on the other hand, had night vision. Jokir, unaware to his brother-in-law’s thought processes, prepared the trap. Silently, the shadows of the upper branches unfurled themselves and formed a row of pikes that hovered in midair.

As they came alongside where Jokir had seen the movement, there was a warcry and five Dramorans burst out of the bush, weapons drawn, with one carrying a lantern. Jokir released the pikes, giving them a small push, and gravity did the rest. They thudded down, two Dramorans being impaled. The other Dramorans continued to charge and Jokir grabbed his sword and leapt from the moving card, vanishing into the night. Foze pulled the cart to a stop and watched as the Dramorans looked around for their opponent. His hand on his sword, he scanned the remaining areas for any more potential foes. As he did, one of the bandits cried out and Jokir materialised as his sword penetrated an opponent’s back. Jokir let the blade dissipate and flipped back into the bushes. A few seconds later there was a swishing in the air and a blade appeared, slicing another Dramoran’s head clean off. The final assailant backed up into a corner. He heard the woosh of the blade and as Jokir materialised his sword clanged with the Dramoran’s sword. A look of faint surprise crossed the Shade’s face before he was pushed backwards. Jokir was on the defensive now. Without the element of surprise, he was slowly losing ground to his opponent and though he had the power of the entire night sky to draw on, he didn’t trust his ability to summon a weapon and keep his concentration up enough to block his opponent’s attacks. The two whirled around one another, the Dramoran clearly on the offensive. Jokir dodged and parried, several times having to summon a new sword as he was disarmed. He slowly retreated back towards the wagon, thinking as to how to get out of the situation. In his distracted state of mind, he missed the subtle flick of his opponent’s wrist. His sword went flying and before he had time to summon anything else the blade was headed straight for his heart. Jokir stumbled backwards and tripped on an unseen branch behind him, collapsing to the floor. As the Dramoran raised his sword to strike, a blade impaled itself through his chest. He stared down at the growing pool of blood dripping from his chest and his blade fell to one side. It slowly disintegrated before Jokir’s eyes and as he picked himself up, Foze stalked past and retrieved his sword from the fallen warrior’s corpse. “Nice work.” Jokir nearly didn’t reply out of shock. Foze had actually complimented him. Well, things might not turn out so bad after all.

By the time that the wagon rolled into the city a few days later, the two men had come to an understanding. Foze couldn’t pretend to understand Marjanna’s decision or what she saw in Jokir that she couldn’t find in a more respectable Dramoran man but he respected her decision and her husband. Jokir, for his part, was happy as well. Foze and him were on speaking terms and the Dramoran had even been willing to crack a few jokes. He’d also stopped calling Jokir ‘bloodless’ which had been a bonus. As the wagon pulled into the market and they prepared to start delivering Marjanna’s goods and collect payment for her, Jokir smiled to himself. Perhaps things really would work out in the end. Well, it certainly seemed like Marjanna always got her way. Then again, that was part of why he loved her.
 

johannmaximus

Well-Known Member
Uwe wanted to be offended by Lensni's remarks; he really did. It didn't matter that he had known her for less than one day. He had accidentally involved her into something that was most likely larger than he could imagine, and now it had fallen on him to protect her. She was his responsibility; he wouldn't allow Lensni to come to harm if he had any say in the matter. But he understood skepticism. He hadn't even known Lensni for a day, so it was understandable that she was hesitant of his promises. But had she known his history, she wouldn't be nearly as reserved about his promises. Unfortunately for his reputation, Uwe still wasn't ready to tell Lensni about his past, about his parents, about their downfall. Instead, he'd have to prove to Lensni that he was trustworthy, he was capable of keeping the restaurant owner safe. Though the only way to prove that, he reasoned, was to get involved in a fight with those things, a possibility he wasn’t at all looking forward to. "Trust me; this is one promise I'll be able to keep, Lensni," Uwe responded to her skepticism. As he sipped some of that oinos himself, he continued the conversation. "I don't make promises I can't keep. If I promise that I'll keep you safe, please believe that I will keep you safe." Lensni allowed the subject to drop as she tried the oinos, face showing that she approved of the liquid. As she drank, she mentioned, almost offhand, that she believed even antagonistic mentors were better than no mentor.

"I don’t think Jakob was ever antagonistic, Lensni," Uwe responded to the comment. "He was hard at times, of course. It makes sense. I probably deserved it; I can't imagine a time that he was worse than I deserved. Jakob was strict, but he knew how to teach. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for his guidance. He finished my swordsmanship training, though he admitted that he wasn't nearly as good at swordplay as my father was. But he was more than decent enough to ensure I had enough skill to improve on what I was already taught. If things had gone another way, I might have been in that stadium today, flinging my sword around for the glory of my homeland. But then I never would have gone to your café and we never would have met.” Uwe poured himself another glass and continued. “I don’t know how you feel, but I’m glad that we met. Save for the scene next door, this would have been a perfect night. I hope you’ve had a fine night as well, excepting the incident of course.”
 

Autumneverlast

Well-Known Member
Inn
Apparently the bird was all that she'd done with her power. Not exactly a shocker, but a little worrying nonetheless. She'd seen metal mages in action and knew that it was one of the most protective, powerful kinds that she knew of. A good metal mage wouldn't have been rendered helpless by that mage-squid thing. Though all of the mages she knew were out of reach now... And apparently Feronia hadn't quite gotten the message not to lie to her. Oh, the bits about the law and not having done it before were perfectly true, but the apology and the assurances that it'd be like it never happened weren't exactly heartfelt. "You would've wanted to badmouth whichever Stillblood was draining me, regardless of who they were," Kitten growled. "Don't spare my feelings telling me that because she's my girlfriend she's exempt from your values and opinions. That's not you. And stop insisting 'it'll be like it never happened' as if you were lying about a back-room romp. I got good at knowing when my lover was sneaking out and taking care of her energy problems without me. I'd be able to tell even if I didn't have to sit with my ears pressed up against a metal wall, wincing every time you couldn't quite stifle your whimpers." She sighed, relaxing into laying her head against Feronia's shoulder. "Sorry, I've been through this argument enough with my girlfriend and... I miss her. You remind me of her. Just thinking about you being in pain... Hurts." She shuddered against the serving girl at the memories. "Think of it as an apology for taking your virginity. Leading you on, getting you all wound up, I shouldn't've done any of that, and I should've known better. You deserved better. I know the risks for this. You can go slow, take your time. Nobody ever needs to know. Just... please, let me help." She could tell this wasn't quite working, wasn't quite there. Her girlfriend would have folded well before this point, and she didn't want Feronia being hurt. She didn't want to beg, hated the idea, even if she were arguing with her girlfriend. Even when she'd had nothing, she'd still kept her pride. But for this... "Please, Feronia..." The words felt torn from her throat, quiet and raw as if they'd been made out of hot coals instead of air. But if they worked...
 

Lord Regal

The West Team
Sheriff
Kitten didn't like Feronia's apology...there was no way around that. Much to her chagrin, the Kitsune knew she would have felt the same about it no matter which Stillblood was doing it, and the fact it was her girlfriend didn't change anything. "Well, you're not wrong, but that doesn't..." she tried to speak up, only to get talked over. The young woman also took offense to the assurance that letting her handle it would be like it never happened, which...ok, yeah, her point there was valid as well...the image of Kitten hearing her and reacting to it was kinda powerful. With the heat gone from her voice, the Kitsune continued, saying Feronia reminded her of her missing girlfriend and the idea of her being in pain was bad for her. The Stillblood found herself biting her lip...she...she was starting to feel bad for saying no...what the hell was wrong with her? And then the rationale moved on to it being an apology for taking her...oh...well...she was still feeling guilty about that. Which...if a person who hadn't saved her life had done that to her in the manner Kitten had she'd've been livid...with the Kitsune, she just felt tired...it had happened, continuing to worry about it wasn't going to change the choices...and maybe if she let the young woman do this she'd stop feeling bad about it...at least from the perspective of having taken something from her, anyway.

Wait...no, what was she thinking, she couldn't...why was she getting in her head like this? Feronia needed to say no, she needed to...hold on...Kitten was...pleading with her...almost unable to get the words out and lingering on them like they had pained her to say. Kitten...was willing to take that large of a step down for her, to the point of what was more or less begging...ah...hell...the Stillblood swallowed hard. Kitten had systematically destroyed what had amounted to her best arguments, and then gone far out of her usual character to try to convince her. She...she'd feel like a terrible person saying no again. But...that meant...becoming a criminal...the worst of the worst in her peoples' eyes...but...she wasn't going to be doing it for personal gain, she wouldn't make a habit of it...it was this one time, and she was doing it mainly so the young woman leaning on her would stop being so morose about it...she'd saved her life...causing her pain was unforgivable to Feronia in its own right. "Fine...I'm insane for saying it, but ok...I'll...I'll do it. Just...just please tell me if I'm doing it wrong, too much, or anything else." She was breathing hard now, nervous as hell about what she was about to do...she was about to break a major law, become the scum of the earth according to her people...but...she was doing it to placate the woman who'd saved her life...she could justify it that way. "I...you know enough about what's going to happen, seeing as you were holding me like you were back in my room...if we could just go back to that, it'd be more comfortable for us both..." Once the adjustments were made, the Stillblood worked hard to relax, a futile effort for longer than she'd've liked. After a subjective eternity, Feronia took a deep breath, murmured a "tell me the moment something doesn't feel right," on the exhale, and became a criminal.


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Uwe's Room

Uwe had taken offense to Lensni's dismissal of his promise poorly, saying he didn't make claims he couldn't back up and that she could trust him that it was a genuine guarantee. While he moved on easy enough, the Nuseni filed the information away...it wouldn't do to upset him if she could avoid it, he'd been too nice for that. He instead started talking about how his mentor, how he'd been firm, but never unfair. From what the Human said, he wouldn't be anywhere near as successful without the man's influence. "Sounds like you miss him a lot...I know you said you took to traveling to get used to the road, expand your name and grow your business, but I hope you go back to visit him every once in a while." He finished his thoughts by saying his fate could have gone on a different path, but he was glad it hadn't as he'd enjoyed the day aside from their brief horror trip. "I agree...I can't say it's what I expected out of the day when I got up, but it was quite nice up until we got back here...and it's continued to be nice for the past while now." Lensni leaned back, taking another sip of the oinos. "I'm sorry for imposing on you tonight, Uwe...I hadn't intended to be a burden...I don't like it when I need to lean on other people...makes me a good businesswoman, not so much other things. I'll owe you for this...and don't say I don't, you have your honor, I have mine. I'll make it up to you somehow, promise." She leaned forward, putting her almost-empty glass on the table. "I just feel bad for the girl...she couldn't be eighteen yet...and she almost died...awful..."

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Inn

Anna had been a good girl the rest of the day, obedient and willing to work with Tekki. She was excited to have a place to stay for the night, even if she didn't like the idea of it being a one time thing. Still, she could complain about that later...if she did it now the nice lady might decide she couldn't stay the first night. She kept quiet for the most part, taking in the sights and sounds of Torpolis as they passed through, though she did thank the Nuseni for dinner in the enthusiastic way only a child can manage. It was rather late for Anna when they got back to the inn, she was starting to struggle to keep her eyes open. A kind man behind a desk started talking to Tekki, but she didn't really pay attention...she'd be told if she needed to respond to something...she just wanted to rest right now...

Adin smiled at Tekki as she walked in, greeting him with her usual enthusiasm. "Good evening to you, Tekki." He looked down at the tired young Human girl for a moment before returning his gaze to the Nuseni, smile gone. "Missing her parents? That's awful...If you give me any description Anna gave you I can check in with the guests and see if anyone's seen them. No need to pay me extra...the money was for the room, what you do with it is up to you...and even if that wasn't the policy I'd feel bad taking money from you when you're trying to help her." He sighed, rubbing his eyes. "Today's just been full of unpleasantness...yesterday ended so poorly as well...don't know if you've heard the phrase 'good things come in threes,' but I think it applies to the reverse as well...she makes three though, so hopefully that's the end of it." He looked back down at Anna, frowning a little. "Tekki...why is there just a bandage where her thumb should be?"
 

Apelatia

Well-Known Member
Perhaps she had been a little presumptive when thinking that conversation with the innkeeper would be far from problematic at that point in time. This and more Tekki considered within her head as Adin began to ask ever-so awkward questions of her. The question about the missing parents would have been easy for her to skirt around, or even for her to play along with had she so desired, however that possibility had been quickly quashed by the final words that had departed from the human's mouth. Letting out a poorly concealed yawn, the Nuseni rapidly sifted through the options that she had laid out before her. Whichever one she considered inevitably had pitfalls, so it was going to be far from an easy decision to make. Firstly, she could be evasive. This would involve her fabricating a description of Anna's parents on the spot and then explaining away the girl's strange anomaly by claiming that she knew nothing about it. This particular option's downsides lay in the fact that Adin would probably sense that she was not being truthful, and would mistrust her all the more for it. Plus, the idea of lying directly to him, when he had been nothing but kind and helpful to her, held little appeal. As a second option, she could play along with the situation. This could be done by asking Anna for a description of her parents and providing the innkeeper with that, before responding to Adin's other question by making up a simple story about the missing thumb that was a little less doom-inspiring and unbelievable than the real truth. This too involved lying, and whilst Tekki was not entirely adverse to the idea, she considered her moral standpoint on that particular matter to be one of use only in the direst of circumstances. Were things dire at present? Perhaps they were, but Tekki's gut instinct told her that lying in this scenario was not the way forward. So, instead, Tekki took the third option available to her. She disliked it, and was wary of scaring the innkeeper, but it was necessary. Hiding truths would only harm her when all was said and done.

Still with her palm outstretched, Tekki shook her head briefly whilst making a tut tut noise. "I insist, Adin. You are not taking money from me; I am giving it to you to assist in the daily running and upkeep of your splendid inn. Please allow me to help you in this regard." Once the matter of the payment had been settled, Tekki leaned in somewhat, her expression darkening and her voice dropping to a volume that only he could hear. "Anna's parents are not in Torpolis, Adin... I do not know where they are, and neither does she." The Nuseni woman paused then for a short moment to let her words sink in, before continuing in a concerned tone. "I don't want to concern you, but I must say what I know. Something is going on, Adin. Anna's finger, the Stillblood the night last, perhaps even the earthquake... Something is happening, and I don't like it... Anna has told me things... She has waxed a tale that a child as young as she should not be able to tell. Dark things are happening, Adin. She is involved in it, and we are now too..." Tekki withdrew somewhat, and for a moment her gaze became unfocused, as if she were considering a vague principle. As quickly as it had, however, it refocused a second later, and the councilwoman continued in the same lowered tone. "Please believe me when I say this, Adin. I have used my best judgement in this situation. I would not speak thus to you unless I were certain that it needed to be said. The girl has not lied to me - this I know." Tekki tightened her grasp on her staff as she spoke, bringing it closer to her body in a defensive gesture. Then, with a determined expression set on her face, she spoke again. "I will keep her safe tonight. Tomorrow, she must go elsewhere, to someone who can protect her longer term. This I know."

Her piece said, Tekki's expression softened somewhat, and she ruffled Anna's hair with her other hand. "Of course, I am also honoured to have protection of this little one. It is my duty to ensure that the lives of the young and innocent are protected." Relaxing her grip on the staff, she concluded speaking with a question. "So, what do you say, Adin? Will you work with me to best deal with this issue?"
 

Autumneverlast

Well-Known Member
Inn
Thank... everything that was good and bright. It was enough. Feronia decided that she was willing to do it, requesting that they assume the same position as before. Which was good, since that was the position that Kitten was used to. Quietly, Kitten slid behind Feronia, moving her in front of her so that she was leaning into the serving girl, arms wrapped around her middle. Her head was pillowed on the girl's shoulder and tails basically fell where they wanted. The only sparks of discomfort here were how stiff the Stillblood was and how long she hesitated before starting. But once they got started, the world faded into the familiar haze it always entered when she did this and Kitten was alone with her thoughts and Feronia. Nothing trying to kill them, no dangers, no worries, just... floating. They were safe, Feronia wouldn't be torturing herself tonight... When she came to, though, things weren't quite right. For one thing, the girl she was holding on to was shaking. Kitten felt more tired than she usually did after this. And what... "Feronia?" Kitten asked. "You okay?" She tightened her hold around the girl's middle, hoping that would comfort her a little. Hopefully she was okay and Kitten didn't screw up another good thing...
 

Lord Regal

The West Team
Sheriff
(Kitten's actions cleared with Autumn)

The next span of time was a blur for Feronia, everything blending together into a haze of light and sound. What she did know when she came back to herself was that she felt fine, and hadn't stopped. She jerkily ended the process, snapping back to reality in full. And then it hit her. What she had just done. To someone who had been nice to her, saved her life. Oh...oh hell...despite herself, she wound up in tears, trying to keep quiet and not alert the Kitsune holding her. What had she done? There was no going back from this...she'd be found out, and that'd be the end of her...quick trial and execution. They always knew, always found out...why had she let Kitten talk her into this?

The Stillblood's misery was interrupted by the Kitsune holding her tighter and asking if she was ok. "N-no...I just...I shouldn't have done that...I really shouldn't have...I'm sorry...I'm really sorry..." A hand lifted from her stomach and found its way into her hair, stroking gently while Kitten's voice flowed from behind her, murmuring it was ok, that they were both fine...this kept up until Feronia had managed to calm down enough to get ahold of herself, the tears slowing and then stopping. "T-thank you...I...it's just...scary...breaking our most sacred law..." She fell silent for a moment, relaxing back into the young woman's embrace. "It's so strange...no pain...at all...I see why people would be tempted to abuse it..." She trailed off, relaxed and recovering from her outpouring of emotions in Kitten's arms. She was starting to understand why the Kitsune liked physical contact so much...she jumped as someone knocked on the door, only now realizing she'd almost fallen asleep like that. Nerves shrieked at her that something was wrong. "Kitten...are you expecting anyone?" she asked, staring at the wooden rectangle as though she could see through it. If they were about to be attacked again...


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Lobby

Adin frowned, but took Tekki's coins, thanking her as he did so. He'd turn them around into a gift basket for her and Anna or something, pay the Nuseni woman back that way. Thoughts of what exactly to do with the money were driven out of the innkeeper's head, however, as Tekki launched into a very broad, vague explanation of why the young girl's thumb was missing. He didn't understand most of it, but from what he did get the girl's parents weren't in Torpolis, and she was somehow connected to the Stillblood who'd died the previous night. His first reaction was to laugh it off, call it a hoax, but...after last night, he didn't know if he could afford to treat it so lightly...so instead of letting mirth overtake him, he looked up at Tekki, gaze sharp and alert. "Her thumb is like the arm of the man last night? You're certain?" He sighed. "This is troublesome indeed. One is a coincidence. Two...I can't claim anything of the sort." He spread his hands in a beseeching gesture. "I'm an innkeeper, Tekki. I give people a bed for the night and hot food in their bellies. I'm not a doctor, and I've never been adept at magic outside a couple handy cleaning spells. I'll help you as much as I can with her while you're under my roof. Beyond that, I can't get involved...my wife and daughter need me. So when you say I'm a part of this now, I have to refuse your offer. Of course, I could be getting ahead of myself. What kind of story did Anna tell you? That might shed some light on the situation." All throughout this exchange, the girl in question had been swaying on her feet, tired, but content to let the adults talk about adult things for the time being. She wasn't being asked hard questions anymore, that was enough for now. She did hope Tekki would let her sleep soon though...

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Streets
"Finally," Roni groaned, helping Kat up the steps of a quaint inn in an out of the way location. "I'm sorry for taking so long, Kat...I thought I knew the area better than this. I have...a room standing open for me here...I trust this place more than anywhere else in the city. We'll be safe here." She assisted the young Kitsune into the inn, weary eyes flicking to the innkeeper at the desk, talking to a woman and a small child. Good...very good. The Stillblood limped over to the stairs as calm as she could, working on getting them both to the second floor. Once there it was a short trip to the end of the hallway. "Damn lock never worked right...you twist and pull out and down it pops right open..." she muttered to herself more than anything. The door was supposed to swing inward so no one else had ever discovered it, but she had...there was of course the danger of finding the space occupied, but she'd handle that as it came...

...Or not. "What...the...hell..." The door had opened just fine, but inside, the remnants of a fierce battle could be seen. There was a warrior on the floor, some goop and chitin that had been...something...closer to the slept-in bed, and a mage by the shattered window. The mage had been burned to death, and the warrior was oddly stiff as though something had removed too much moisture from it...her signature magic. She'd been here...had been in this very room...had they taken her? She couldn't tell...there wasn't any red blood in the carpet from what she could see...but if she wasn't there then where was she? A soft, scared sound escaped her throat, a decision forcing its way to her mind. "Sorry Kat...something's very wrong here...hold on just a little longer, ok?" A short limp later and she was knocking on the door next to the ruined room. Maybe...just maybe...the neighbors had heard something...anything...she just needed something...
 

Autumneverlast

Well-Known Member
Katarina
Kat stared at the front of a nice little inn she'd never seen before and, needless to say, never stayed in. Places like this cost money, she didn't like to waste... wait, didn't she have money? Something about a Shade... or was it a Havren? She wasn't entirely sure, but the nice Stillblood whose name she couldn't remember was helping her up the steps. The air felt almost frigid, which probably meant that she was practically burning up. It was summer, after all. And probably sweating all over the nice Stillblood. She'd have to formally apologize for that later. But when had they gotten into the inn? Places like this were expensive, didn't cater to her and... but she had money, which came from... Kat shook her head, trying to clear the haze that was building up before realizing she was she was standing in front of an open door listening to the Stillblood apologize for something and tell her to hold on a little longer. Which was silly, she wasn't in any danger, just... when did they get into this inn? Places like this weren't welcoming to street rats, plus they cost more money than she was willing to... Maybe she was right, she didn't feel great. Kat settled herself against the woman supporting her, trying not to let her mind spin her in circles.

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Inn
She really should have anticipated this. Feronia still hadn't gotten over the whole illusion that the law always knew what she'd done wrong. Which was ridiculous, but whatever. Kitten kept up a combination of soothing words and hair stroking until the girl had calmed down enough to come back to her senses. Apparently she was surprised that there was no pain, made sense since she'd used the same method all her life and nobody had told her much about this way... Kitten was tired, of course, as usual, but she'd be fine after a night's sleep. And with the girl apparently settling down enough to- Three sharp knocks at the door. Probably the innkeeper, but something about that pattern sounded familiar. Apparently Feronia didn't recognize the knocks, which meant it wasn't the innkeeper. Those things wouldn't knock. "No, but I'll get it, you just relax," she said to the girl as she got up, taking care not to wobble or show any signs of the weakness she was feeling. It was probably just some guests who were looking for another room because they hadn't... Kitten opened the door, to come face to face with... She blinked. That couldn't be... How...? Kitten rubbed at her eyes, but the person in front of her didn't go away... And now there was a young Kitsune on her shoulder that she was supporting... "Come on inside, it's safe enough and there's room for everyone," she heard herself say before gently pulling the woman in. Old lessons taking over when she couldn't handle this. It couldn't be, she couldn't have... Roni...
 

Lord Regal

The West Team
Sheriff
Something wasn't right. Feronia had gotten to her feet in case the person on the other end of the door was hostile. She trusted Kitten, but after what had just happened...she might be too tired to put up enough resistance in a surprise attack. Not that the Stillblood believed she would be the saving grace if something happened. No, she'd just need to put up enough of a fight for Kitten to do something...maybe be loud enough for Uwe to come help. No need to be reckless, just do...something...something to keep them alive. Ready for just about anything, Feronia watched as the Kitsune opened the door, and...froze. That...wasn't in the reactions she'd planned for. What was going on? Who was behind the door? Where she was standing, she couldn't see...a rather profound error on her part in hindsight. In any case, it didn't look like they were under attack, Kitten wouldn't have frozen like that if they were...in fact, she was inviting them in in a voice that didn't sound like her. "Kitten, who..." And then they were past the door, and without quite knowing how Feronia was back on the floor. What. The. Hell.

---------------------------------------------

A bunch of possible scenarios on how to deal with the person in the room next to the room Roni had tried to appropriate had flown through her head. The only point of contention was if they decided that she'd done something to Kat, who had more or less left coherence behind in favor of fever-induced delirium. If she hadn't known better she'd've been worried for the girl, but as it was she just needed a good night's sleep...something she'd need to figure out how to give her. She deserved that much for helping save her life. Even if she had to delay finding out what had happened, she had to do that for the young Kitsune.

The door opened. In a polite voice, still looking at Kat, Roni began, "Hi, I'm sorry to bother you..." She looked over at who she was talking to and froze. No...her mind was playing tricks on her. Things weren't that convenient. They never were. Never. As she watched, the specter in front of her rubbed her eyes as if to clear her vision. What a joke. She wasn't the one hallucinating. Maybe...maybe Roni was more tired than she'd thought. Letting her wishes get the better of her rationality. Though she was inviting the pair in...probably had seen how feverish Kat looked, and if her new analysis of her own state was correct the Stillblood wasn't much better off. "Thank you for the shelter," she managed, a standard response to the statement she'd been given. Further proof she was either hallucinating or dreaming...people here shouldn't know that phrase. She helped Kat get into the bed, fulfilling her obligation to the delirious girl, then turned to the specter. She...she looked so real. Tears sprang to her eyes as she looked at the Kitsune standing in front of her. It couldn't be...it was wishful thinking. That's all. The scene in the other room...it had shaken her enough for this too-good-to-be-true dream to take over. And yet, she couldn't help but hope, opening her mouth and simply asking, "...Kitten?"
 

Apelatia

Well-Known Member
Tekki allowed herself a brief smile as Adin eventually accepted the coins that she had offered to him. However, no sooner had she done so, she immediately readopted the serious expression that she had been wearing on her face up until that point. Adin then began to react to her revelation, and she listened carefully as the human accepted that what she was saying was indeed true. However, the man was loath to help her with more than sheltering Anna under his roof, which was perfectly acceptable, and was all she had actually desired of him. Perhaps in hindsight, the wording she had used to ask for his assistance had not been the best, but that was something she could think about later... The innkeeper finished speaking, and Tekki smiled. "Shelter underneath your roof is all I can and will ask of you, Adin. That you continue to do so is very kind of you, considering the circumstances." Taking a sharp intake of breath, the Nuseni continued, "I mentioned that you were a part of it merely because we are underneath your roof. Beyond that, I can only hope that you will have peace. I meant no more by my statement." Tekki considered his final question thoughtfully. She would have to be prudent in what she told the man. She did not want to unnecessarily scare him, but neither did she want to keep him in the dark. In the end, she made up her mind. "I gleaned what I could from the girl. I found her in the Coliseum, alone in an entrance tunnel and sucking her thumb. She did not know where she came from, but that it was some sort of shelter, with members of numerous races inside...." She told me some other things, but nothing that made much sense to me or that it would be worth me telling you..." She had intentionally decided to keep the news about her race's fate a secret for now. She felt that Adin wouldn't believe her if she told him that particular piece of news. Who would? She had used her best judgement when deciding whether Anna had been telling her the truth, but Adin was not a Nuseni, and he barely knew her.

"What I have said is all that I know for certain, Adin." She looked down at Anna, curiously observing her as she swayed on her feet, and allowed her usual smile to once again regain its place on her face. Lifting her voice to its usual volume, she once again spoke. "It seems to me that we have a very tired little girl here. Time for you to go to bed, I'd say, Anna." Looking back up at the innkeeper, Tekki laughed softly. "Everyone needs sleep, especially after a busy day! Thank you for your help, Adin. I truly appreciate it. I shall bid you a good night. Let's hope that we don't have any more issues to deal with in future." Tekki gave the communal area a last glance around, before nodding to Adin and leading Anna toward the stairs. As they ascended, Tekki spoke quietly to the girl beside her. "There is one more thing I need to do before you can go to sleep, little one. It won't take long, I promise." With that, Tekki listened to anything Anna wanted to say, before pacing along the corridor towards Uwe's room, still holding the girl's hand. Once at the door, the councilwoman knocked three times in quick succession, before speaking in a low voice. "Uwe, are you about?" Keeping anything else she wanted to say inside her until the human emerged, Tekki stepped back from the door and waited to see whether it would open or not.
 

Autumneverlast

Well-Known Member
Katarina
The room was occupied. Which was good, because Kat wasn't sure she could keep awake for much longer. She didn't really have the thoughts to spare to excuse herself to the room's occupants, which was a pity considering how nice they were, inviting her and Roni into their room like this. She almost thought she recognized the occupants, which was weird, but didn't matter. What mattered was that Roni was helping her into a nice, soft bed, so much nicer than what she was used to. Waves of exhaustion hit her as she collapsed into it, though she wished she wasn't this warm, she should probably just... shrug out of...

---

Kitten
The Stillblood in front of her helped the Kitsune with her into the bed, with the girl passing out almost immediately. The girl was almost radiating heat, which would have been interesting if not for more important issues. Issue. A quick look behind her to make sure Feronia was okay with giving up the bed told her she wasn't hallucinating, the girl looked as shocked as she was. Then... "...Kitten?" It really was her... Before she knew what she was doing, Kitten had the Stillblood wrapped in a tight embrace, fighting back tears. It WAS her. She was alive. And apparently a little worse for wear, scrapes and fresh bandages, where had she gotten those, they smelled like... She must've ended up fighting when she wasn't there to help her, to protect her, she could've... she should've... should never have... She'd promised to never leave her... Kitten felt tears leaving warm tracks down her face, her body shaking from repressed sobs. "I-I'm sorry..." she choked out, tightening her grip on her girlfriend.
 

Lord Regal

The West Team
Sheriff
Any doubts that the woman in front of Roni was fake, imagined, just because she wanted it to be so were crushed by the embrace she found herself in, almost knocking her over. The warmth, the strength, the compassion...it was her...it really was...the Stillblood found herself wrapping her arms around her girlfriend without conscious thought, eyes stinging as a herald for the tears that were falling without her permission. She could feel Kitten similarly affected by their reunion though, so it was ok. Though she was murmuring that she was sorry, which...she should be, all things considered...leaving without telling her, going through when she knew that was a one-way trip...under normal circumstances she would have pushed, saying how worried she'd been, how she'd tried so hard to wait for her before going through, how she'd been literally thrown in at the end...but...she couldn't do that to her...not now. Instead, she simply squeezed harder. "You're ok...that's all that matters...you're ok...I'm ok...and now we're together...that's all I could ask for..." She didn't want to let go, in the fear she'd fallen into a dream...a dream she didn't want to wake up from. Kitten was here, with her where she belonged...the rest of the world didn't matter right now.

-----------------------------------

Adin had nodded in silent understanding of what had been going on in Tekki's head, an acknowledgement of her rationale. He didn't seem to be in the presence of mind to say much else, though his reasonings weren't displayed on his face. He did however bid them a good night as they departed for the stairs, watching them as they vanished from view. Anna for her part remained largely quiet, murmuring a simple "ok Tekki," to her insistence she had another job to do before turning in, exhaustion present in her tone. She didn't know what could be so important as to deny sleep, but if her companion decreed it, she wouldn't fight it. Let the adults do what they needed to, so long as sleep followed she'd be ok with it.
 

Autumneverlast

Well-Known Member
Kitten
It was her, she was okay. They were safe, they were back together... Kitten was left with a whirlwind of emotions and no way to deal with it except to hold tighter to Roni. Eventually, the fear and shock settled back down enough for her to stop the sobs and wipe the tears away. A quick, blurry look around the room showed her a young Kitsune girl in the bed and Feronia on the floor, still looking confused. She should probably explain... try to explain... "F-Feronia... Meet my girlfriend, Roni. Roni, Feronia." Her voice was still raspy and that was a clumsier introduction than she would have preferred, but... she needed the distraction. "Met her in a refuge camp after Toropolis..." Don't think about that. "And..." Don't think about that either. "Got to know each other, one thing led to another, ditched the camp when it... when they..." Stick to the things that won't end in more tears. "And now we're here." Awful job, Kitten, but everyone here knows you're got issues. Ask if Feronia has any questions, don't be afraid to mention things you'd normally prefer to leave- "So what's with the Kitsune, Roni? Is she okay?" ...So much for that plan...
 

Lord Regal

The West Team
Sheriff
Feronia had been staring, open-mouthed, at the scene unfolding in front of her. This made no sense. That...that person looked...but no, there were differences. Most small, some not so much, but...so then...who the hell was she? The Stillblood had finally gotten enough wits back to open her mouth when Kitten spoke up, introducing the stranger as Roni. Feronia blinked back at the Kitsune's girlfriend, who seemed only mildly surprised to see her there. Ok, that wasn't fair at all, how come she had to be the one out of the loop? Kitten went on to explain that they met in a refugee camp, got involved and left the camp, and somehow wound up here. The Kitsune wasn't very coherent at the moment, still a little overwhelmed. The two of them were still holding onto each other, after all. Instead of trying to explain further, she latched onto the question of who Roni's friend was, who had passed out on the bed almost immediately. The young woman holding Kitten spoke up after a moment, still recovering from their reunion herself.

"Her name is Katarina...or Kat. Ran into her after...after I showed up. Bandaged me up, we were attacked...she took a dart for me. One...one of those darts, Kitten..." Roni fell silent for a moment, shuddering, eyes closing. "We survived, a Shade helped. He took a dart too. Took us to their Embassy, got patched up...came looking for you. Kat wanted to come with me...traveling was hard on her, but...those darts aren't fatal to Kitsune." Another shudder, then the Stillblood looked over at Feronia, smiling a little. "Don't worry...I'm not you. Not really. Similar, but not the same. I...I'm not good at explaining it, a lot of it goes over my head." Roni leaned her head back on Kitten's shoulder, a contented sigh escaping her. "Kitten...I don't want to let you go, but it's been a long, long day. Can we lay down please?"

Feronia remained confused. The couple's explanations weren't so much helpful as they were mystifying. She could understand it from Kitten, but from Roni, who was apparently not her but close, whatever the hell that meant, she had been hoping for something more concrete, to really understand what was going on anymore. Instead, more questions than answers...but...at the moment she had no idea how to ask the right things, nor did she think either of them were really in the frame of mind to answer right now. Instead, she stood on shaky legs. "I'll get some bedding so we can spread out and be comfortable. I'll...I'll be right back." She needed to get out of the room for a moment, clear her head. Maybe a couple minutes away would be enough to make sense of it. She might also master every aspect of her magic in that time. Seemed about as likely.
 

Autumneverlast

Well-Known Member
Kitten
Apparently Roni was a little overwhelmed too, judging by how long it took her to answer. Apparently the girl on the bed was named... Kitten blinked at the name. Katarina wasn't an uncommon name for a Kitsune, but... Oh. Oh, no. Looking back at the bed confirmed everything, there was no way that wasn't... And apparently she bandaged Roni up and... her eyes flicked back to her girlfriend as she mentioned a dart. Not one of... Apparently one of those. Well, then. Seemed they both owed Katarina quite a lot, and Roni knew it too. Her mentioning a Shade was interesting too, she figured she had an idea of who that might be, and if he'd taked a dart, that explained why he wasn't here now. Another question answered. Roni explained a little more to Feronia, which was nice since Kitten wasn't quite feeling up to that job right now, and requested laying down, which was something she could do. And with Feronia going off to her room to grab bedding, pulling Roni down to the horizontal to cuddle felt good. More right than anything else from the past few days. The kiss on her cheek felt good, too. And if her hands weren't quite where they were supposed to when Feronia came back, she wasn't going to apologize.
 

Lord Regal

The West Team
Sheriff
Feronia's thoughts continued to swirl as she headed for the supply closet for the bedding she'd promised the others. This was all too much...Kitten was...with someone who wasn't her, but close? What the hell did that mean? She didn't understand how that woman could look so much like her without actually being her, but at the same time the differences were obvious enough that they couldn't be exactly the same. "Roni" had her metal leg on the other side, for example...meant they couldn't be the same, but...she was a unique case, she knew she was, no one had any clue what to do with her when she'd...The Stillblood rubbed her eyes, feeling her mental exhaustion kicking in. She'd solved the physical strain, but the day had been long and she was tired. There weren't any answers that she wouldn't be in a better place to understand and receive tomorrow, so she opted to hold back on questions for now.

With that in mind and bedding in her arms, she headed back for Kitten's room, only to notice Tekki standing outside Uwe's door with a little Human girl. Frowning, Feronia stopped, still holding the bedding. "Evening, Tekki. You're looking for Uwe? He's probably sleeping...we all kind of had a shock here earlier today...don't worry about what, knowing won't make it any clearer, take it from me. We're all kind of drained right now, he probably passed out as soon as his door was closed. Get some rest, ok? Good night to your little friend, too." With a last look at the small child (what was Tekki doing with her? She hadn't had her earlier...but at the same time the girl didn't seem distressed, just tired, so it wasn't a kidnapping...gah, another answer that could wait for the morning. She opened Kitten's door and strolled in, tossing a couple blankets and a pillow to one side for her before approaching the now horizontal couple with the others. Her face went red as she noticed how exactly Kitten was holding Roni. Yeah...they weren't the same person, that was for sure...Feronia didn't think she'd ever be comfortable enough with someone for that, especially not with eyes closed and a slight smile on her face like the older Stillblood. She put down one blanket as something to lay on next to the pair, tossing the other over them with precision gained from making beds as part of her job, pillows within easy reach for either of them. "There you go...have a good night..." She staggered over to her own bedding, making it the same way she'd made the guests', and with a final look at the Kitsune in the bed, whose arms were positioned as though she'd been trying to take off her shirt when she passed out, she put her head on her pillow and was gone within minutes.
 

Apelatia

Well-Known Member
Having knocked quietly, but firmly for a second time, Tekki had subconsciously decided that Uwe was either absent from his room or had fallen into such a deep sleep as to render him inaccessible from the outside world. Still, it was in front of the door that she remained when Feronia emerged from further down the corridor. Turning to face the approaching Stillblood, Tekki inclined her head gracefully in response to the spoken greeting, but otherwise remained silent as Feronia spoke. The girl appeared to her to be rather tired and perhaps even overwhelmed... Uwe, apparently, had been exhausted by the day's events and had fallen fast asleep as soon as he had been given the opportunity, or so Tekki presumed, as the phrase "passed out" could of course have multiple interpretations and meanings... The Nuseni councilwoman retained her calm expression throughout Feronia's speech, though her eyes narrowed somewhat as the inn worker declared knowledge of a certain incident, or "shock", from earlier on as unnecessary for her to hear. Whatever this "shock" was supposed to entail, it was yet another coincidence in an already growing list of strange and unfortunate happenings going on at present. Feronia then bid both her and Anna goodnight, with Tekki returning a small smile in response, as well as a knowing, "Sleep peacefully, Feronia. Don't let the night bother you." The Nuseni's gaze lingered after Feronia, with Tekki noticing that the room which Feronia entered was not her own, judging by her memory of Uwe's standing in front of the correct room's door just the night previous. Curious? Definitely. Perhaps there was more to it? ...or perhaps she had merely moved rooms either temporarily or permanently? Either way, it was not her place to pry into Feronia's private life, though the "shock" probably should concern her more than the vulnerable inn worker was willing to admit. However, that could almost certainly wait until tomorrow.

"Bed time." Tekki mouthed quietly as she paced to her own room with Anna in tow. Once she had unlocked the door, locked it again with both her and her small companion now on the inside, and breathed a sigh of relief, Tekki set about removing Anna's shoes, before gently picking her up and placing her on the bed. The girl was soon asleep, and Tekki quickly followed suit, though not before she had removed a single pillow and placed it on the floor beside the bed. It would only be fitting for Anna to have some comfort, especially after the ordeal she had endured. Leaving the girl with someone else left a bad taste in her mouth, but it had to be done. She had yet to decide where exactly could act as a safe haven for Anna, but that could be decided tomorrow morn. She might not like it, but the little girl would have to deal with her new situation as best she could. If Tekki's suspicions proved true, Anna would not be seeing her parents again for some time yet...
 

Lord Regal

The West Team
Sheriff
Feronia's bed felt weird. It was too hard, for one, and her bedding seemed woefully inadequate. Plus she'd fallen asleep in her day clothes again, that was kind of annoying. As she opened her eyes, though, a couple pieces fell into place. She wasn't in her bed, or indeed even her room, but on the floor with a blanket underneath her and what part of another she hadn't kicked off herself during the night on top. The events of the previous day rushed into memory, and she looked over at the other side of the room to see...yeah, that was that 'Roni' person who wasn't 'exactly her' whatever that meant...they had the same name, that was obvious, seeing as Roni came from Feronia...though she shuddered at that nickname...Roni, that was just...ugh. She was still asleep, as was Kitten, arms wrapped around each other and looking for all the world like they could stay there forever. A pang of loneliness shot through her then...she didn't have anyone like that. Didn't have someone to hold, to feel safe with...hadn't since she'd turned ten. She turned to the bed, where the fourth occupant of the room was laying, only to turn away, feeling her cheeks burning. The last occupant had woken up enough to strip during the night it seemed, but hadn't put themselves under the covers. She was...no, don't look. That would be rude, you'd be a horrible person, you'd be mortified if it was you ohhellwhyareyounotlookingaway? She was bright red, glad beyond all reason that everyone else was still sleeping. This was probably the worst thing she'd done in her whole life, gawking like this...and yet...her head just didn't want to move...she couldn't be blamed for that...could she?

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Anna woke up in a start, fighting back the urge to scream, only succeeding because it was important to not upset Tekki, not if she was going to convince the Nuseni to not take her somewhere else. Her dreams had been full of nightmares, of creepy things that had killed so many good people...but that wouldn't happen to her, her parents had promised her...so long as there was either someone around watching her or if she was near many people...but many people were strangers, and that was scary as well. Tekki was nice, she wanted to stay with her...and that meant keeping quiet, even if her dreams made her want to scream. Instead she lay there like a good girl, knowing sleep wasn't going to find her again. When Tekki woke up she'd keep quiet about the day's plans until the fishy lady brought them up...hopefully she'd've realized it was a bad idea to take her somewhere already and she wouldn't have to make her upset...she'd been so nice...she didn't want to be mean to her...