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Fantasy All's Fair

Sub Genres
LGTBQ Friendly, Magical, Romance

Aerynth

Senior Member
The man looked her up and down, taking in all that was to take about her. His gaze wasn't exactly unkind, but it did feel somewhat cold and clinical; almost as if he was, say, observing an exotic bird. "I see. And what about you?" he turned to Cyreia. "Are you also looking for a job?"

"Yes. No. I mean, yes, but not really here? I'm just here to support my wife, I suppose." Which was turning out to be largely pointless considering the fact Remin was doing just fine while she stumbled over her own words, but hey, it was the thought that counted, right? At least she hoped so.

"How nice of you," the healer nodded and focused on Remin once again, apparently more than willing to disregard Cyreia's entire existence. That probably should have insulted her, really, but it in a way, it was actually pleasing. Being the centre of attention could be so tiring, and lately it had felt like everyone watched her all the time. Hell, it hadn't just felt like that; everyone had watched the new king, eager for any mistake he might make. No, being able to step into the shadows for a moment was a privilege in itself.

"So," he stated, "what I'm getting from this is that you don't really have experience with anything. Your hands look like you've never worked a day in your life, either." Despite the harshness of his words, somehow he failed to sound accusatory; there was no condemnation in his voice, just this... resoluteness? Yes, resoluteness of someone who fully believed in his own judgment. "Mind you, there's nothing wrong about that," he shrugged. "Everyone has to start somehow. Here's the problem, though; training you would take time, and I am looking for a helper because I want to save it. I'm also assuming," a mischievous spark appeared in his eyes at that, "that you would like to get paid. So, why should I want to waste my precious time training you and losing my coin for it?" Then, as if he realized how that must have come off, he smiled warmly. "That's not a rhetorical question, you know. I'm asking you to convince me."
 

Conifer

Senior Member
This man was hardly any more difficult to talk with than any of the stubborn, full-of-themselves lords, or the demanding merchant-kings who thought they might throw their money at problems until they solved themselves, or lady with prying eyes - but Remin found him more intimidating than any of them.

But she could handle this. Yes, she was out of her element, standing in the street in borrowed clothing and all but begging for work, but element mattered little anymore. If she couldn't handle this, then what did that mean for convincing anyone else to help them re-claim Athea?
"Because," Remin says, more confidently now, though it's a false sort of confidence. Isn't it usually, though? "This town is small. Small, and - I'm assuming - lacking in anyone who has the skills you want, otherwise you'd have already hired them. Which puts me on the level with the rest of your options, so let me place myself above them: No, you're right. I haven't done much manual work, but I have worked. My wife can attest," She laughs softly, partially a calculated move to break some of this sharp tension, partially to say her wife aloud, partially from nerves from the lie, "She's seen me asleep at my desk more times than I'd be willing to admit." Not particularly a lie, though - there had been a handful of times, especially when they'd returned from their 'honeymoon', that Remin had indeed dozed off over a pile of paperwork, " I'm familiar enough with plants - it's what my studies are in, though admittedly your local flora's different than what I'm familiar with. But my memory's good. You won't have to tell me things twice, and if you do - or if I'm otherwise unsatisfactory - then I welcome you to dock my pay." That might be a risk, but...he didn't seem the type to take her up on it, and it wasn't as if they had immediate expenses. If she took home a bit less one day, then...so be it. "Honestly," Remin says, a bit more plainly, appealing to his sympathies. "I need the work. We're existing through kindness alone right now. Bandits robbed us of everything but a handful of coin outside of town, and we're...really just trying to build ourselves back up from nothing as a result. So perhaps I'm not your best choice, but I think I'm likely the best choice available to you. I need the work, and I'm willing to put in whatever I have to to have it."
 

Aerynth

Senior Member
As Cyreia watched Remin negotiate with the man, a strange kind of pride swelled in her chest. Why had she even come, really? Her wife was more than capable of dealing with people, both with and without her crown. Loran might have taken it away from her, yes, but he couldn't steal what made Remin... well, Remin, and it showed. It showed in such beautiful, varied ways that it would never cease to amaze her. Having the honor of being able to get to know her better and better, until they were both old and grey? Cyreia didn't think she had ever received a greater gift.

The healer, too, looked appreciative. "Well reasoned," he said before shaking her hand and - just as Cyreia had promised would happen - pressing a chaste kiss on her cheek. When he got closer, Remin noticed he smelled of herbs, but also of something sharp and vaguely unpleasant that didn't seem to be plant-based. Some sort of disinfectation, perhaps? "You passed the test. A healer also needs to be a quick thinker, and you proved that you are just that. I may be able to teach you something useful. And if not-- well, you can still clean my house. God knows I don't spend nearly as much time on it as I should."

"Well then," Cyreia inserted herself into the conversation, "since you're doing just fine, Isara, I'll be taking my leave. Wish me luck with the blacksmith. I guess I'll see you at Sayna's after the sun sets?" What a strange, strange thought! They had worked separately before, of course, with Remin hidden in her office and her studying in the library, but the distance between them had always been just a few metres. Whenever she had wanted to, Cyreia could have crossed it and-- kissed her, caressed her, satisfied her desire for her in any way they deemed fit. Ruling a country was a time-consuming affair, granted, though nobody had had the authority to police them on when to do their tasks. Here, on the other hand? God, they would go so long without seeing each other! Well, maybe it would only teach them to appreciate that shared time more. Not that she thought it to be possible at this point, but-- well, one had to try and see the silver lining, right? That was often the only thing that made day to day life bearable. That, and maybe also looking forward to meals.

Cyreia turned around, fully intending to leave, but the sight she was greeted with stopped her in her tracks. Three people were walking towards the healer's abode; or rather, two people were walking while the third one was being half-carried, half-dragged. Judging by the person's height, Cyreia would say it was a child, and-- oh. Was it just a trick of light or were they really drenched in blood?
 

Conifer

Senior Member
The silence before the healer had answered her was nervewracking. She knew how to negotiate with people of higher station, and that negotiation with the healer was clumsy at best regardless of that fact. Rarely did she have to market herself in such a way; if she ever did, her station itself lent a lot of weight. Or- had. Now she was doing no better than eloquent begging, hoping that she'd hit against emotions rather than nerves, hoping that she could sell herself like she was a (particularly useful, poorly dressed,) piece of meat at the butcher. Not that she'd ever done that, either. Well, perhaps she'd find herself there next if this didn't work out.

But somehow it did. It wouldn't have held up against anyone who truly didn't want to hire her, but it stood. "I appreciate it," Remin says, soft and earnestly, trying not to find discomfort in the nearness of the man as he kissed her cheek. When had anyone been this close that wasn't Cyeria? Her parents, she supposed, when she was younger. Healers, when she'd scraped her knees, the cook once. It was a shorter, more painful list than she might've liked. Remin looked to Cyeria as she spoke up, nodding softly. "Thanks for coming with me, love." She says, reaching out to take Cyeria's hand, squeezing it once, and ignoring entirely the press of panic that threatened to claw itself up her throat at this open affection, however meager it might be. They weren't in Athea, and no one knew who they were. It was safe, here. "I'll see you tonight, and miss you terribly until then. Good luck with the blacksmith," She smiles. "Though you won't need it."

It seemed that Remin might need that luck, though. When Cyeria turned, she followed her gaze off to the distance, and her mouth fell softly open at the sight before them. No easy first day pouring over books or stems or vials and learning their uses for her, apparently.

"Hello?" One of the figures walking called, voice thin and frantic and coming out in short bursts between heavy breaths as they helped the third person slowly, steadily, towards the healer's. "We-- we need help. We /really/ need help-"
 

Aerynth

Senior Member
Help. Right, of course they had come for help. Why else would they be approaching the healer? Even if the request wasn't directed at her, Cyreia still found herself rushing towards the group. "Are you--" --alright, she almost said, but managed to stop herself just in time to avoid looking like a complete fool. It was obvious that they weren't! At least not all of them. The adults seemed to be fine enough, even if they were as pale as freshly fallen snow. A few scratches could be spotted on the woman's arms, yes, and they were long and uneven, but also shallow. Nothing to visit a healer for, or so Cyreia thought. The child they carried, though? Now that she got a closer look, he was both covered in blood and completely out of it; his eyes seemed to be unfocused in a way that... felt more familiar than she would have liked it to, really. (How many times had a soldier looked at her like that, either after he had killed or seen his comrades killed? Cyreia had thought it to be a thing of past, but suddenly those eyes stared at her again and-- no, not now. This wasn't the time. This was possibly the worst time imaginable!)

"What happened? Should I help you with him? I can-- I can carry him for you," Cyreia offered, because that was about the extent of her expertise here. Carrying things. She did know how to wrap bandages around a wound, of course; that wasn't particularly difficult, and a soldier who only relied on healers probably wouldn't last long. It seemed to her that this patient required care a bit more complex than that, though. Hell, most injuries did! Even after stopping the initial bleeding, she had usually sought out a healer to prevent an infection.

The woman stepped away, letting Cyreia take over. "I-- thank you. It's the damn poachers." The confusion on her face must have been obvious, really, because she proceeded to launch into an explanation. "They, uh. They lay traps, and--" Oh, so that was what had happened. A wave of anger washed over her. Did these people have no heart, placing traps where others might get hurt by them? They deserved to meet the same fate!

"Well," the healer turned towards Remin, his eyes suddenly serious, "would you look at that, your first patient. You said you knew how to tend to a wound, didn't you? Go on, do it. My equipment is in the chest near the door."
 

Conifer

Senior Member
The healer's voice struck Remin out of whatever stunned sort of daze she was in (so soon, too soon, she- she wasn't ready to deal with this. Yes, she knew how to tend a wound, in theory. It'd been books, it'd been light quizzing, it had involved some amount of magic, and more importantly, it had been literal years since she'd done the learning. A decade, nearly, and she'd barely used it in that time. A princess rarely needed to know how to tend a wound, even if her flights of fancy and anxiety demanded she learn it. If only she'd pushed harder to learn more, instead of just learning enough to sate her, to give her some modicum of control over a situation.) There wasn't time for her to dwell on any of that, though; this was a time of action, and so, she pushed her way into the healer's home and began to sort through the chest. A bottle of that sharp, clean smell that clung to the healer's skin - disinfectant? Remin ran some over her own hands, wrists, arms, pushing her sleeves away. Scissors, bandages, cloths, cleaning solution - never enough hands or pockets for everything.

It was strange to be grateful that she'd seen worse, when Cyeria brought the child into the home, but she was all the same. It was- awful, it honestly was, and she hadn't seen worse on children which added a whole new layer to it that made her hands feel weak to the bone, hollow and useless and fumbling. But she'd seen worse. She'd done worse, which - in the same vein that she shouldn't be grateful - she shouldn't be comforted by. Most of the injury was contained to the boy's leg, which only barely hadn't been snapped through the bone (bile rose sharp and acidic in Remin's throat, and she pushed it down) but scrapes from desperate attempts to escape crossed his arms and wounds from where he'd presumably dug his fingers into the sharp edges of the trap to try to pull it away bled loosely. Those were...lesser, though. The leg was the thing. Remin set herself to work as quicky as she could, cutting away the boy's pant leg with sharp scissors as soon as he'd been lead onto the cot in the room. The woman who she assumed was the boy's mother didn't let go of his hand the entire while, but her presence by the edge of the cot was lost to Remin entirely, as was the other person - father, maybe? - who stood outside with the healer, breathlessly explaining what had happened. (Blood on her dress, her hands, again. Gods.)

It was all frantic muscle-memory that she relied on once the pantleg was away; if Remin stopped to think about it for even a moment, then her mind went blank. Should she stop the bleeding first, or clean it first? She should elevate, shouldn't she, but was it to the same level as the heart or above it? Did it matter? Her hands shook. They couldn't. The mother was worried enough, the child worried enough, she couldn't show how incompetent she really was at this, so: a distraction for both the doctor and the patient. "You're going to be alright." Remin murmurs, surprising herself with the steadiness of her voice. It was thin and worried, but steady. She set to work, letting her hands carry her through the process and hoping that she's not messing up too terribly. "You made it here, so you're going to be okay. What's your name, little one?"
 

Aerynth

Senior Member
Maybe, Cyreia thought, it hadn't been a good idea to come here. They needed money, yes, but this-- this was too much. Too much responsibility, too much stress, too much... everything, really. Children covered in blood? Yeah, she wanted none of that. Remin hadn't even been trained to deal with that, at least not properly, and this very much wasn't a game. Dammit, they should have asked Sayna to let her help her around with the inn instead! It wasn't like her wife had much experience with that, of course, but at least that inexperience would be paid for in broken glass and dissatisfied patrons and-- and not with an innocent life. No, Cyreia shook her head as she looked on, worry in her eyes. The healer wouldn't let it go so far, would he?

And, indeed, the man was watching Remin. He spoke with the father, yes, and if the hand he placed on his shoulder was any indication, he tried to provide some sort of comfort, too, but more often than not, he kept his gaze on her wife. Did he disapprove of what he saw? His expression told her nothing, but since he didn't voice any complaints, he must have thought it to be adequate. More than adequate, maybe. And didn't that make a lot of sense? A memory resurfaced in her mind; a memory from seemingly million years ago, from when they had ridden in that carriage and Remin had tended to her wound. (She had been Avther then, and her wife? Well, Remin had been herself. What a cruel twist of fate to have those roles reversed now! Was there perhaps some sort of equilibrium to be maintained, with them being unable to both live honestly at the same time? A cosmic tax they had to pay for their two worlds colliding? At this point, it wouldn't surprise Cyreia; gods could, after all, be supremely cruel.) Either way, Remin had taken care of it competently back then, and that competence hadn't disappeared. Of course it hadn't! Perhaps not believing in her wife fully was a mistake. The healer could apparently do it, despite knowing next to nothing about her. Why did she find it more difficult? Remin had been nothing but supportive, trusting that Cyreia could be more than just a sum of her actions, and this is how she repaid her. With doubts. Once again, she found herself thankful that no mind-reading magic existed; at least her shameful thoughts were hers and hers only.

"... Ylan," the boy sobbed when Remin asked him for his name. He had been quiet for the entire time, aside from the occasional moan and sob, and he had avoided Remin's eyes. Once she adressed him, though, he looked up to her for the first time. "I didn't want to go there," he said, defensive, as if he expected her to reprimand him. "But I got lost. I-- I didn't know where to go, and--" at this point, tears welled up in his eyes and finally, finally they spilled. They streamed down his face; soon enough, his tunic was wet with them, though he didn't seem to care. "And now they're going to take me."
 
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Conifer

Senior Member
The fact that the healer didn't stop her, even as he moved into the building, was comforting. He wouldn't let her mess up to prove a point, would he? That'd be cruel, and he didn't seem like the sort to be cruel to prove a point, to test her. At least not to a child. But then again, she'd only known him for all of five minutes; maybe he was that sort of person and he was just good at hiding it. Gods, no. They weren't at court; she was kneeling on a dirty, pitted wood floor, with blood up to her elbows, with a shaking and terrified boy at her fingertips, while she was shaking and terrified herself. Okay, well. Not terribly all that different from court, if you allowed all of that to verge into metaphor. But it wasn't metaphor, not right now, and so he had no reason to play a potential, strange, power game. If she was working wrong, he'd cut in. (Equal parts hoped that he would and hoped that he'd have no reason to.)

"Ylan." She repeats softly. His name was Ylan, and she'd help him, and nothing else mattered right now. "Ylan, I'm Isara." Oh, it feels...wrong, to lie to a child in this bed, in this blood. Maybe she'd just go about introducing herself as little as she possibly could. "It's okay that you got lost. That happens, sometimes. My wife and I are very lost right now, but that's okay, isn't it?" Except they weren't really as lost as would be ideal; Cyeria knew just where they were. Remin would still struggle to find it on a map without aid (she barely remembered the name Cyeria had mentioned,) but...still. Effectively lost.
Take him, though? She looked to the mother, then the healer and the father, her confusion at that written plain enough on her face in the brief moment she isn't focused on the leg. "...You're going to be okay. We'll get you all fixed up." She says, softly, instead of pressing for answers. Later. Later, when the traumatized boy isn't there to recount all this. She'd like to promise more - like to promise that no one's taking anyone, that these poachers, whoever they might be and whatever they might be poaching, wouldn't harm him - but she can't. If it feels bad to lie about her name, then it'd feel worse to lie about his fate. Getting him fixed up is nearly a stretch, but it's one that she'll risk. It's not lying; it's just hope.
 

Aerynth

Senior Member
Cyreia, too, was similarly confused. Take him? Who would take him? Surely not the poachers? As far as she was aware, poachers weren't interested in hunting people. That sort of thing happened in other countries - in countries where slavery was still legal - though that hadn't been true in Eupriunia for... well, centuries. Law wouldn't stop certain people, of course, but it would have to be a well-hidden thing, not common knowledge. Not common enough for children to know about it anyway! Was it some sort of fairytale, maybe? Parents did scare their children into obedience often, after all, and this sounded vaguely like that sort of thing. 'Don't go there, or the evil people will take you.'

"Isara," Ylan repeated. Having a name to associate with the doctor seemed to calm him a bit; he relaxed somewhat, sinking into her touch. "That's pretty. Like a song, or-- or something." All things considered, the boy was handling it rather well. He did wince occasionally, especially when Remin manipulated with the injured limb, but he never cried out, nor did he flinch away. Either he was still on shock, or-- or maybe he focused on this nebulous threat he had outlined instead, Cyreia supposed. It was difficult to tell, really, whether that would be a blessing or a curse.

Meanwhile, the mother took a few hesitant steps towards the boy. She placed a hand on the boy's head and wiped the sweat from his brow, all soothing and authoritative at once. "Shh," she said. "The healer needs to focus, you see? It will be fine." Then the woman turned to Remin, her eyes suddenly shy. (She was pretty, that much was apparent now, with her gentle features and kind eyes, but life hadn't been kind to her. Wrinkles marred her face, and her hair was a lusterless shade of blonde.) "You are not from around here, are you, lady healer?" she asked, a hint of caution in her voice. "The taking away-- it's nothing. Probably. A rumor, or rather a story. It is said that whoever's blood is spilled there, the fae will come for him. It's supposed to happen in places of great bloodshed. The fae are drawn to it, or so they say. I told you it's silly, Ylan, so don't disturb the lady. It is silly, right?" Her eyes sought out Remin once again, a plea written in her stare. "Tell him, please. Tell him that he's wrong. He won't listen to me, and if this continues, I'll have to chain him to his bed. He won't feel safe otherwise!"
 

Conifer

Senior Member
Remin keeps pushing through the work, the conversation comforting her as much as it seemed to comfort the young boy. The pant leg was pulled away, and clean water washed over the wound which had been dirty with the effects of being half-dragged through the underbrush of a forest away from where the boy had been wounded. She'd been so careful, cleaning away the dirt and moss, but she couldn't imagine it felt nice at all. Her fingers itched for magic to clean it properly - brush away infection, that water won't clean away. But...no. No, magic wouldn't be welcomed. She'd already made herself apparent as an outsider to these people; no need to scare them more. Even if they perhaps wouldn't notice. "No, I'm- I'm not from here." She agrees softly, looking over the small collection of things she'd brought from the chest. Well, she'd have to help stop the bleeding sooner or later, and so she gathered up the soft and clean, but stained, towels, and began to - as gently as she dared - apply pressure to the wound. "But I do know some of the stories. Especially concerning the fae, who I promise, you're safe from. A lot of the stories say 'shed blood' - but they don't mean you shedding blood there, Ylan. They mean the person who did it. Who drew blood from you. So if anyone's going to be taken by the fae, it'll be the poachers, or the trap.' Was it better to pass the threat off to someone else? She didn't know. Probably not, right? "And even then...they're just stories. No one's going to be taking anyone, and if they try, then your parents will protect you. Fae respect family." A lie, all of it, likely - but what truths did they know concerning fae? All those stories were lies; better offer him up a more comforting one."

As she talks, murmuring hopeful stories to the young boy, she shifts him - elevating the leg, as she'd thought she was supposed to (a glance at the healer doesn't do much to make her more confident, but less so in that he's looking at her in any particular way, and more that his attention seems to be, in that moment, saying something quiet and reassuring to the father. Just...stem the bleeding, and the immediate worries will be lessened. He won't bleed out on this cot on her first day as a healer's assistant, in her first proper day as Isara, and that's the important part, isn't it?
 

Aerynth

Senior Member
"Do they?" Ylan observed her with big, serious eyes. "You wouldn't lie to me, would you?" The question was sharp, maybe surprisingly so; something about the tone reminded her of a knife, and it cut just like one. "I-- I guess you wouldn't," he concluded after a few seconds, shattering the tension. "I'll believe you." With that, Ylan closed his eyes and let Remin care for his injury in peace.

And how did it go? Perhaps also thanks to a bit of luck, Remin's work went smoothly. Ylan's wound was ugly, but not particularly difficult to clean, and since he held still, there were no real obstacles in her way. (Well, perhaps aside from her nervousness, though that was to be expected. You didn't, after all, save a child's life every day. Not even real healers got to do it that often.) As her own hands became stained with blood, with dirt and various other things - better not to think about what they were, really - the wound, in turn, got cleaner and cleaner. A curious balance, Cyreia thought.

As uninvolved as the healer seemed, evidently he was paying attention, because he was standing next to Remin the moment she finished her task. "Alright. Good job, now let me check." With a gentleness one wouldn't expect from his large hands, he took the injured leg and examined it. "Not bad. Be more careful with the disinfection next time, though. You don't need to use that much of it. The stuff doesn't grow on trees, you know?" he smiled. "Now watch. I'm going to show you how to bandage a wound properly." Ah, so he didn't trust her with everything. Considering how high the stakes were, that was probably a good sign, really. Any healer that would surrender his responsibility to a newcomer entirely wasn't worth his title. "Now, it needs to be tight enough to stop the bleeding, but loose enough for the wound to breathe. If you choke it too much, you'll stop the bloodflow, and trust me, you don't want to do that." He worked as he spoke, surprisingly quick and nimble. How many years had he been doing this? Since he didn't even need to watch his hands, Cyreia would wager he had been doing it for a large part of his life. That was how it usually worked for these people; they chose their profession when they were young and stuck with it. "Now, it's best to tie it like this-- are you paying attention, Isara?" If she wasn't, then she was justified in it, mainly because the father behaved strangely. He marched back and forth, clearly frantic, and he also reached into his pockets occasionally in order to... throw something around? Some sort of powder, perhaps? It certainly looked like that, but the healer ignored him. "Try it yourself," he encouraged Remin.
 

Conifer

Senior Member
She didn't want to lie to him, and Remin hoped that was moral enough that simply allowing himself to answer his question for himself wasn't some sort of sin. If it was, then - there was worse she'd done, and likely worse she'd do yet. They were only at the beginning of this journey. As much as she could hope that lying to a child was the worst she'd have to do, that...seemed foolishly unlikely.
Remin was grateful when the healer took over the work; by the time she'd cleaned the wound and slowed the bleeding, she was pushing the limits of what she was capable of. It was some small miracle that the sight of blood didn't leave her feeling nauseous - but she certainly didn't feel good when she stumbled herself to her feet, all light-headed and dizzied. So much blood on her hands, on her shirt sleeves, on her- she wanted to reach out for Cyeria, find her wife's embrace, but she couldn't. Cyeria still should go visit the blacksmith today, and showing up with blood on her wouldn't help anything, and Remin clinging to her wife at the first sign of injury, when she was supposed to be competent enough to do this job, wasn't going to help Remin. Instead, she clung to a bookshelf, gripping at the wood and letting the edge of it dig into her skin and hoping it would be enough to keep her grounded and upright as she watched the healer work.

She barely even noticed the father's strangeness. She saw it, yes - but if the healer was unconcerned with what was happening, then Remin might as well be, too. (It's what she tried to convince herself of, and fight down the urge to watch him until whatever he was doing was made clear to her.) Besides, Cyeria was-- she was there, and if something happened, then she'd react. No sword, no knife, even, but that wouldn't stop Remin's unfaltering faith in her wife's abilities. "Yes- sir. Yes. I am." Remin agrees quietly, before moving to his side and beginning to continue the wrapping of the wound. The first go's a little too loose, and then she over-corrects and it's too tight, but the third time is clumsily in the middle of the two and it seems to be good enough for the healer, who doesn't stop her as she ties the bandages into themselves, sturdy and safe.
 

Aerynth

Senior Member
Unlike Remin, Cyreia was watching the father intently. What was he doing, even? Something... normal, probably, at least judging from the healer's non-reaction, but still. She didn't remember people behaving like that, and her experience with sick rooms was quite extensive. Friends or families of those being treated generally just stood and waited for the healer to do his part. Nervous breakdowns were somewhat common, especially if the procedure was complicated, but this looked purposeful. Purposeful and weirdly specific. Had the people of Eydar developed a new tradition while she had been gone? That filled her with a strange kind of sorrow. It was just another proof that the town had moved on. She hadn't expected it to remain frozen in time, of course - for it to reflect her childhood memories - but... well, the extent to which things had changed still shocked her. Eydar may as well have been an a completely anonymous little town; one she had never been to, not her former home. Cyreia supposed, though, that it was only fair. Hadn't she changed as well? Perhaps her desire for something constant was just-- a symptom of childishness, really. Only children, after all, clung to the hopes of having something that could never be. (Knowing that still didn't make it any easier. Didn't make it any easier to be there, to witness this.)

The healer observed Remin's work carefully, providing tips here and there. If he noticed Remin's hesitation, then he didn't point it out; instead, he focused on factual remarks such as 'this is too tight' or 'careful, don't stick your fingers into the wound'. When she finished wrapping the bandages, he once again examined the boy's leg and nodded. (Was that a hint of pride in his eyes? Perhaps, though it dissolved into nothingness before it became clear.) "Yes, that will do. You'll need to learn how to do this much faster, though. Taking that much time with every single patient is just not acceptable. But don't fret," he smiled, "you'll pick it up with practice. There's no other way to do this, really. Now, go wash your hands and clean the tools. The boy can go home."

That, however, didn't seem to sit well with the father. He flinched, almost as if the words hurt him physically, and looked up from his strange task.

"We can't take him home."

"What?" Cyreia asked, unable to hold herself back. "Why?" This was getting really strange really fast, and she didn't like the direction it was heading towards to at all.

"Because he's been marked by the fae!" he explained. Her voice was pained, but also full of resolve; Cyreia had seen it many, many times before, usually in men who had nothing to lose. Whatever had led him to that particular conclusion, he wouldn't budge. "We have three other children and we can't risk them, too. Just... could you take care of him for a week? If they don't come for him, it should be fine. We'll pay you, as much as we can. Please."

"I-- it's not that simple, Bryn," the healer frowned. For the first time since Cyreia had met him, he seemed-- not sure of himself. Conflicted, perhaps. "And it's not about money, either. I don't have time to care for a child in addition to everyone else."
 

Conifer

Senior Member
Remin moved as quickly as she could to wash off her hands, clean them of all the dirt and blood that had caked onto them during the work, her motions near-frantic as she scrubbed at her hands in the wash-basin. With the danger over and the task done her nerves settled somewhat, but there was still a thrum of nervous energy that she doubted was going to leave her any time soon. Still. He was safe, likely. There was still time for infection, or something else bad, but that wasn't happening now, and so it wasn't something to worry about now.
Her hands slowed as Cyeria demanded the same answers that Remin was eager to hear. Why wouldn't they take their injured child home? Did they honestly believe those stories? Sure, there might be some merit to them, but they sounded more like the things from Remin's own childhood than reality. Stories based in nothing but a desire to keep its recipients in bed past dark, or away from the rivers, or out of the forests - warnings, not truth. Stories. They weren't going to come for an injured boy who'd been caught in a bad moment. And surely if anyone had ever actually been taken by the fae here, Cyeria would have mentioned it when they'd first talked about her heritage? Surely she would have known it? Sure, she hadn't lived here in years, but rarely were these the sort of things that sprung up overnight with no reason.

But the parents seemed so sure that they would take him. Even the mother, where she still sat by her son, looked scared. Still looked scared; Remin hadn't had the time to recognize it on her face earlier, but she saw it now, and saw that it had persisted. "Your son was caught in a poacher's trap." Remin says carefully, a little more in her element now, she supposes, as she towels off her hands. Talking, as difficult as it was sometimes, was usually easier than doing. "That's no more being marked by the fae than it is being transformed into a -bear, or a rabbit, or whatever the poachers were hunting."
 

Aerynth

Senior Member
"Isara is right," Cyreia said and put her hand on Remin's shoulder, both supportive and loving. Being able to do that in front of other people still felt unreal - like a feverish dream, really - but in a good way for once, and she relished in it. God, it would be so difficult to get used to Athea again after this-- this unexpected piece of freedom. Cyreia would do it, of course, because she had always done her duty, but it would have been kinder not to know what it was like, not to taste the sweetness that came with it. Was it maybe a part of the gods' plan for her? A part of her punishment? If so, Cyreia couldn't really complain. For the blood that had stained her hands over the years, she deserved all that and more. "This is just silly. Nobody will come for your son, I can assure you of that. Fae probably have better things to do than kidnap children."

Alright, perhaps she could have said it in a more diplomatic manner, but the whole idea was just so outlandish, wasn't it? Cyreia sincerely doubted that the reclusive creatures Remin had described to her would go out of their way and steal people, for god's sake. Wasn't avoiding the contact with humans the entire point here? Why would they invite them to their kingdom, then? It just made no sense. (Unless, Cyreia supposed, they needed people for something. Something not entirely pleasant, at least judging by the way they went about acquiring them. But-- no. No, this couldn't be. If something like this happened, surely she would have known about it!)

Upon hearing her words, Bryn's expression twisted into a scowl. "Foreigners," he spat on the floor. "You know nothing and yet you come here all high and mighty, daring to lecture us. Fae do hunt children, and they do mark them. It is known."

"That-- is actually true," the healer said, still a bit hesitant. "It didn't use to be that way from what I heard, but it does happen now. Kids go missing when they break the rules. I can't say whether fae are doing it, or whether there is something else at play, but something is clearly making them disappear."
 

Conifer

Senior Member
Foreigners. Remin swallowed hard at that, though the man was right. She wasn't from here, she didn't know anything (even if she knew enough to know that him refusing to take his scared, injured son home was stupid at best and cruel at worst, regardless of any potentials.) Remin wasn't going to be some out-of-touch noble that threw a fit anytime anyone didn't address her exactly properly, especially not here, where she wasn't anyone, but- surely the man could spare the woman who just helped his son more respect than spitting at her feet. He was scared, she could understand that much, but still. There's a baseline of decency, isn't there? She doesn't voice any of this, though; there's no point to it. There's better things to worry about than a moment of unintentional disrespect.

"And no one's looked into it?" Remin asks, frowning. Surely someone had, if this was something that the town was scared of? They hadn't looked well enough, if they're not quite sure if it's fae or not, at the very least. "How many have gone missing? How long has this been happening for?" Had it been happening other places, as well, or had this town done something specifically to anger the fae - assuming that they had anything to do with it anyways, which Remin sorely doubted. It almost seemed more likely that the poachers were taking anyone who wandered into their hunting grounds, or- or squirrels were running off with people, or anything else utterly ridiculous.
 

Aerynth

Senior Member
The label wedged itself deep under Cyreia's skin as well, though... the man wasn't wrong, she supposed. Whatever ties that had once bound her to this town were gone now; burnt to ashes, just like everything she had ever known. A tree without roots, that was what she was. Nevertheless, this wasn't really about her. No, this was about the small boy whose parents rejected him for a reason that seemed more than just a little bit dubious, and so she swallowed her pain. (She did that so often that it was only a question of time until it spilled, until the force of it tore her apart, but Cyreia did like testing her own limits. Or maybe she didn't, though the line between what she wanted and what she was used to tended to be blurry at best.)

"We didn't mean to lecture you," she said, maybe a bit more reconciliatory than the man really deserved, "but you do understand how absurd this sounds to us, right? I mean, we are talking about your child here. He needs you."

Except that, unexpectedly, the healer corroborated the story. Cyreia's eyes widened in shock; wasn't he meant to be the sensible one? He had certainly appeared to be that type, right until this very moment. No matter what he said, it still made no sense! If Cyreia had to take a guess, she'd either label it as a fairytale or the newest piece of Eupriunian anti-magic propaganda. Then again, clearly something was amiss here. People did like to invent rumors, yes, but those rumors generally revolved around someone's neighbor cheating on her husband with the shopkeeper's cousin, or the baker using spoiled ingredients to bake her famous bread. In other words, they were something to be entertained by. And missing children? Those decidedly did not fit the theme.

"No," the healer said, his voice shaking with anger. "We just sat around and waited, obviously, because we enjoy seeing our children getting stolen and possibly murdered. What do you think, Isara? Of course we looked into it! Except that those who did disappeared, too, and we can't count on any outside help. Nobody cares. We're on our own." The outburst seemed to exhaust him a bit, which came with the side effect of him calming down somewhat. "Uh. I'm not sure. I don't think it happens anywhere else. And as for how many of them disappeared-- nine? No, ten. Flora's girl was the last one, I believe. One for every year since the children started to go missing, now that I think of it."
 

Conifer

Senior Member
Ten years. This had been happening for ten years, and no one had been doing anything about it? No local government, no nearby authorities, nevermind Loran? The last one, while the least surprising, made her the most furious. Her fingers curled into fists, her nails that had been run rough-edged over the chaos of the days applying sharp pressure to her palms. Ten years. Ten years, ten kids, and what sounded like a handful of other people - and Loran did nothing. Eupriunia was bigger than Athea, nearly twice its size if not more, and Remin'd be happy to admit that she couldn't keep track of everything happening in every out-of-the-way town, but surely there wasn't children going routinely missing every year for the past ten years anywhere in Athea without her hearing about it and doing something.

Well. She didn't have the resources here that she might have had a week ago, and this place wasn't Athea, but it was Cyeria's birthplace, her once-home, and so it still had meaning and importance to Remin. Not that it needed it for her to have a furious desire to right this, or at least find them answers as to who and why until she could do something more about it -she'd be seconds away from turning to Cyeria and telling her they were solving this either way. She only didn't, right now, because she didn't want to seem foolhearty or reckless or, honestly, rude. She also didn't want to offer up false hope, because...well, the whole process of how she was going to figure all of this out would take a long conversation with Cyeria to even begin to have shape. She couldn't do this alone. Remin entirely doubted that Cyeria'd be feeling much different than she did about the whole thing right now, but they didn't have the time or the energy to be taking on tasks without discussing them.

It wasn't as potentially pointless an endeavor to take on as it might seem, though (but that might just be Remin hoping to rationalize her want to help into their need to help.) The plan had been families, had been countries, had been...anyone. And a town was everyone, wasn't it? If they could figure this all out, if they could stop this senseless nonsense...it might be worth it. Yes,the town was small. Yes, it seemed to have little in the way of offerings. But even the smallest chip in glass was enough to make it break all the easier. If they helped, and explained who they were to these people in some way that would be safe, and explained what they were doing...well. Surely that would mean something? Surely some of them might want to be under the rule of those that stopped their families from vanishing into dark forests, instead of ruled by the man who seemed to care very little about the whole thing? Remin flexes out her fingers. Inhales, exhales, soft and slow, and faces the healer's outburst easily. It's not unexpected, it's not unwarranted, and she's been on the receiving end of worse. "...I'm sorry for your losses." She murmurs softly, and then turns to the father. "But that's no reason to allow your son to be taken from you before he's taken from you." she wanted to offer to watch over him themselves, but everything was too complicated right now to make that decision without talking with Cyeria, either, and surely the healer or the blacksmith - proper businesses - would offer more money than some family would be able to here. It'd feel wrong to take that money, anyways, and they needed money to even survive a handful of days. "If you're scared of losing him, then keep an eye on him. Keep him near you, so at least the last time you see your son isn't while his leg's ripped open on a healer's cot." Perhaps it wasn't the best to say any of this with the child himself in the room, but she could only worry about appealing to one of the parties right now. It was possible to split the difference, she was sure, but it'd make it less effective for anyone.
 

Aerynth

Senior Member
Cyreia listened to the conversation with growing dread. What on earth was happening here? And how come she hadn't heard of it? She should have! Someone should have told her, and then she would have... done nothing, really, just like everyone else. Avther's part, after all, hadn't been to care for his people. It was maybe the furthest thing away from that. How many years had she even spent in Eupriunia since she had joined the army? Cyreia hadn't bothered to count them, maybe one or two? So, so much of her time had been spent on waging war in other countries; on destroying others' homes instead of protecting her own. She had been a sword, not a shield. And now? She wasn't either of those things. (Once, Cyreia had prayed exactly for that, to be able to extract herself from her roles, from the masks she had worn, but maybe that, too, had been foolish. Especially since her roles were useful and she just... wasn't. Not in any way that mattered at least.)

"Your neighbors don't help because they don't want to anger the fae, I take it?" Cyreia asked, her own voice sounding numb to her ears. God, maybe this town really was cursed. Sayna's statement had been oh so silly yesterday, but now? There was one disaster after another, it seemed. First the fire, then the children and-- and who knew what else. That they were apparently alone in this was just the icing on the cake, really.

"Aye, that's the way it is," the healer nodded. "And I can't blame them. I wouldn't want to tamper with such things either, you know? But we live here, and so we need to deal with it."

Yes, that really was understandable. Few Eupriunians, after all, had the stomach to deal with magic; Cyreia herself found it entirely overwhelming at times, and she was the one using it. And people who only imagined magic as this malevolent force ready to suck their souls out of their bodies? Of course they would rather stay away, especially since Eydar was so isolated. Honor didn't command them to sacrifice themselves for relative strangers, and that was effectively what they were to everyone else. How come Loran hadn't helped them, though? He bore the title of the country's protector! Eydar may not have been much, but the last time she had checked, they were still part of Eupriunia. Had he just-- shrugged it off? Shrugged it off and decided that the tax money was better spent elsewhere? God. One could easily fall into the trap of seeing people as numbers, especially when operating on a scale as large as what kings worked with, but this was monstrous. It was dangerously stupid, too. What if this spread, whatever it was? What if-- no. She didn't need to be thinking of what-if scenarios; the victims were human, dammit, and that was the only reason anyone should require to act!

"Do you think we want to abandon him?" Bryn snarled at Remin. The healer's hut suddenly seemed too small to contain his anger. He seemed larger, his presence more imposing; in contrast, the mother started crying quietly in the corner, and Cyreia's heart broke for her. Had they come to that decision together or was her husband's word the law in their household? Honestly, she had no idea what was worse. "You know nothing. Nothing! I would risk my life if I was the only one involved, but we have other children as well, and god knows what they will do once they get inside. I-- I'm a candlemaker, not a fighter," he added, this time more reluctantly. "I can't protect anyone. So, unless you want to stand at his bedside and guard him, be silent. Nobody asked you for your advice!"

Alright, those last few sentences? That was the exact moment Cyreia lost any and all sympathy she might have felt for the man. Nobody got to talk like that to her wife, especially not a coward who was willing to leave his own child behind!

"Isara means well, my friend, so mind your manners." 'Otherwise I'll make you,' her eyes said. They were cold and serious, more Avther's than hers, and she slipped back into the template easily. This, after all, was her true home. No matter where Cyreia would find herself in the future, nobody could take this away from her. "But since you're asking, I can guard your son's bed. If you're too afraid, I mean, because I'm not." ... okay, she may have said too much, especially since she hadn't bothered to discuss this with Remin, but how was she supposed to keep her cool? People were dying and nobody gave a damn!
 
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Conifer

Senior Member
She shouldn't shrink away when the man shouts, his voice taking up every inch of space left in this small room, nor should she feel this twisted sort of guilty embarrassment. But she does, like she's a child; like she's running late to lessons, like she shirked some task assigned to her, like there's mud on her skirts from playing in the garden and someone important's arriving soon, and she's being told off for it. She feels young. Helpless. Stupid. Young, helpless, stupid, and furious. If not for the children, any want to help him was shot clean out of her; if he didn't want her advice, then surely he didn't want her help. If he didn't want her to speak, then surely he hated her hands helping his son's wounds. It was for the better that Cyeria said anything before Remin could, because it would have been with that mindset she replied, and that would have done nothing to de-escalate the situation. Would it have been worth it, to try to argue him down? Maybe. But he was unrelenting, and scared, and quite honestly rude, and men like that...arguing with them was more pointless than arguing with a stone.

And again Remin was grateful for Cyeria. She might've kissed her, right then, if this was the time or place for it. As much as she disliked the boy's father, the boy had no fault in that. He, apparently, needed protecting (even if Remin still had doubts on the likelihood of fae stealing him out into the night.) Her qualms about taking their money were rather abruptly gone, too, any compassion for the man outside of the safety and comfort of his son rather lost on Remin at the moment. (What a queen she was turning out to be. She could make whatever excuses she wanted - he was rude, he wasn't really her citizen - but...she should care more, shouldn't she? Kindness wasn't just being nice to the people who were nice to you; it was being nice to people despite their own lack of decorum. And here she was, failing there already. Shouldn't she be better than this?) (Apparently being away from her home for all of a day and night and morning was already making her doubt herself. That felt...dangerous at best.) Remin caught Cyeria's eye, though, hoping to communicate through a glance that they found themselves on the same page; regardless of the man's cowardice, they had to do something to help. She could only hope that Cyeria was on the same page concerning wanting to fix the rest of this mess, too, but that'd be a conversation for later. When they were alone, and when they had to make no promises to anyone else. And the not-subtle jab at the man's fear? As ill-advised as it was, it was justified.

For the first time since her son had been laid down on the cot, the mother stands - though her hand is still clasped around the smaller, dirty one - and steps a small distance towards Cyeria. "Please. Would you? Just until - just until we're sure it's safe."
 

Aerynth

Senior Member
The anger still felt hot in her belly, but some of it lost its power when the mother approached her. This was a terrified, broken woman, not some villain. A victim of her circumstances more than anything else. (Well, that, and Cyreia also didn't know how to deal with being treated like this. Rudeness? That she knew how to deflect; her life in the army had taught her how to armor herself against it, how to close her heart to insults. It hardly even registered on her radar anymore. Nobody had taught her, however, how to refuse when someone begged her for help. She just couldn't!) "I will. Don't worry," Cyreia promised. Was Remin mad? A quick glance told her that no, probably not. Reading her expressions was a second nature to her now, after all those months spent together, and her wife looked at her... approvingly? Could that be? God, wasn't she lucky. Many other people would have chastised her for wasting their precious time on something like this, Cyreia was sure, but not Remin. Not her kind, sweet Remin.

"I won't do it for free, though. I understand that you likely don't have much, but we are poor, too, and we lost everything due to bandits. And since helping you will cost me time I could otherwise use to work-- well, you get what I mean, right?" Did she feel bad for demanding money for something as essential as well-being of their child? Yes, though that couldn't stop her. Not when every word she said was true; they really did need coin, and it wasn't them being greedy just for the sake of it. The fate of Athea rested on their shoulders, as much as it terrified her. Who knew what Loran was doing to their people in this very moment? Surely he was hungry for revenge, which could only really mean one thing; he was looking for a way to sate it. How convenient, then, that he found himself in a country full of acceptable targets. (Cyreia just hoped Remin didn't realize that. Sometimes, ignorance truly could be a bliss, especially if you could do nothing to improve the situation anyway.)

"Wait," the father said. "I didn't actually mean that. You can't-- we cannot accept that. What could you possibly hope to do against the fae?"

"Well," Cyreia smiled softly, "as long as they're made of flesh and blood, they're not immune to a sharp blade. That's what I hope to do. Simple enough, right?" She knew she had made a mistake the second those words left her lips because-- well, because everyone suddenly eyed her with suspicicion, but she couldn't tell what it was exactly. The confidence, maybe? Should she have pretended to be afraid instead?

"A woman with a blade?" Bryn's eyes widened. Oh. Oh, so that was where the mistake was! Obviously. In that moment, Cyreia wanted nothing more than to punch herself. How could she have let that slip?! Easily, as it turned out. It was just that she wasn't used to hiding that particular part of her identity! There had been no reason to, back when she had been Avther, except that now there was and she had messed up. "That's just bad luck," he continued. "I'm sorry, but I will have nothing to do with that. Ylan will stay here."
 
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Conifer

Senior Member
Hadn't they planned on keeping a low profile? Giving nothing notable to speak about if Loren should ask this way about them? Ha, how long that had lasted - a few hours, and they were already making a ruckus. She should be careful of the masks she puts up here; in fact, should wear none but that of Isara, which is more the stripping away of a front than the placing of one, with a few key exceptions, but what does any of that matter anymore? Matter right now? He wouldn't come looking here immediately, and there were more pressing matters than the potential of Loran finding them.

"My wife," Remin says, her voice steel wrapped in fabric; bone wrapped in flesh. "Is a better swordswoman than you will ever be candlestick maker. Interpret that however you will about your own skills. I don't know your candles, but I do know what my wife is capable of. Your son would be in no safer hands than hers, but no. You beg for help, you demand it, you ignore when it's rejected, and when it's offered, you refuse it. You don't have your own spines, so you ask for someone else's - and then ignore it when someone gives you theirs. No wonder nothing has been done about this for ten years; if you're any indication about this town, then the whole lot's stubborn fools who deserve to be taken by the fae themselves, if only to experience what they're putting their children through because they're too frightened to let a woman hold a sword." She pauses, breathing a moment, staring the man down, but softening. "You're scared. You're scared for your son, and your children, and your family. I understand that, I promise, I do. I'm scared for my family too. Not the same reasons, I'll admit, but I empathize. But you're only letting whatever's scaring you to win if you let it force you into submission. The healer's told you he's too busy to watch over Ylan. Him staying here isn't an option. You won't protect him yourself, so I suppose that's also not an option. So you're left with allowing my wife - who is far better than you could ever pay fairly, for the record - to protect your son, in which case he'll be safer than anyone in this town, allowing whatever's taking people to take him, chaining him to his bed, or ignoring all of this and hoping that you're wrong about his fate. What is it that you'll choose?"
 

Aerynth

Senior Member
Remin exploded in anger, and honestly? In that moment, Cyreia was glad to be on her good side. Just... damn. Not even a sword managed to cut deeper than her words. (Had she ever seen her so furious? Cyreia didn't think so, and maybe that was a shame. Something about it captivated her. The unwilligness to hold her punches for once, perhaps? Remin had always made herself smaller than she was, always wore her chains like most women wore jewellery, and seeing her cast them aside was downright cathartic. If only she could burn like this forever! All of their enemies would be consumed by the flame.)

The father clearly hadn't expected the outburst; he took a few steps back, his mouth agape, as he watched Remin speak. A range of emotions could be seen on his face, everything from shock to anger, but finally, it settled on... uncertainty? At least it looked that way to Cyreia. "I don't know," he muttered. "Look, I see that you are trying to help, but that is not how things are done here, you know? What would people say?"

"Maybe," the mother spoke, her voice firmer than Cyreia had ever heard, "they would be happy that someone is trying to do something about the scourge. Or would you rather sacrifice our son to expectations? Because that is what you are saying here."

"Ugh. Fine. Fine, I give up. Have it your way, then. Maybe-- maybe you're right," he turned to Cyreia and Remin. "I'm sorry. I did not mean to offend you. I just-- dealing with people like you is new to me, and this has been difficult. If you can save our son, please do so. We won't forget your kindness."

"Well, I did promise," Cyreia shrugged, "and I never take my word back. I would just ask you to keep quiet about our arrangement, at least for now. Surely you understand that my involvement could, uh. Create some controversy." 'Like the one you just caused,' she wanted to add, but managed to keep that to herself in the end. There was no need, after all, to escalate the situation again. Second chances and all that.

"Yes, yes, of course," the man said. If he had any objections, he didn't voice them; perhaps he didn't want to give Remin more reasons to target him.

"Alright. Thank you," Cyreia smiled. Considering how much she had messed up, this was actually going... shockingly smoothly, really. Maybe it wouldn't even end in them being driven out of the town! "I'm going to need to know a few things, however. Mainly this: why do you even think that the fae are the ones behind the kidnappings? Nobody has actually seen them, right?" Despite that, though, Cyreia doubted that people had just invented the rumor randomly. No, there must have been some underlying logic to all of this; logic that could help them untangle the mystery.
 

Conifer

Senior Member
At the end of all of that, Remin felt little better than she did deep in the belly of the cavern beneath her home yesterday; scared and drained. As...shockingly well as that'd managed to go she couldn't just pick fights every time something happened that she couldn't stand, could she. They didn't have the time for martyrdom. With any luck, complications like this would be few and far between, but it wasn't like they had much luck left, and what they did would be better pushed towards their actual pursuits (as if they had any choice over where they got lucky and where they did not.) Whatever; those were worries for another day. She was too tired to focus on maybes when there was too many definites taking up attention: they definitely had to take down Loran, or at least run him from Athea, and they definitely had to protect this child. Anything else was a problem for a different day. Remin crossed a short distance of the room to sink into a lumpily-padded seat, watching the rest of the scene play out in front of her with a soft, tired frown.

"...some claim to." Whatever strength the mother had mustered just moments before seemed sapped out of her now; her voice was soft and tired again, and she sat back down to sit beside her son. "The grocer's boy - Alistair - was supposedly with his sister when she was taken a few years back, but he doesn't talk about it much. Too scared, poor thing. Came running back to town, saying the fae took her, and then wouldn't breathe a word of it again." Surely all of this wasn't based on the claims of a scared child, though? Remin's frown deepened slightly.
 

Aerynth

Senior Member
Some claimed to? Cyreia couldn't help but frown; people generally weren't the most reliable source of information in cases such as this one. She didn't want to accuse anyone of lying, of course, but-- well, liars did exist. The desire for one's fifteen minutes of fame could be a powerful motivation, especially in a small town where few exciting things happened. And if they had truly seen something? That still didn't necessarily mean that that 'something' had been fae. At times, your head could conjure up illusions of staggering persuasiveness. How often had she believed she had met someone who had died long ago, only to discover that her own senses had deceived her? Too many times to count, really.

Alistair, though. If he had truly witnessed his sister's kidnapping, then perhaps he knew of something that could help them. How to get him to talk, though? "Isara," Cyreia turned to her wife, "would you be so kind and try talking to the boy when you have the time to do so? You are-- better with words than I am, I think." Perhaps that was a cop-out, but an entirely justified one. Her skills had improved under Remin's care somewhat, sure, though she still didn't trust herself not to re-traumatize the poor child. Who knew what she would say under the pressure? Certainly not her! Not when her mouth seemed to work independently of her brain from time to time.

"Alright. Is there a pattern to when the fae appear? What I mean is, do they perhaps favor night, or dawn, or any specific period of time?" she asked after a few seconds of silence. "I just... want to go take a look at the place Ylan got injured at, but I won't do it if it's too dangerous to leave him unprotected at any given moment." Examining it could possibly clue her in on whatever was happening in Eydar, Cyreia was sure. Surely it was significant in some way? Poachers and fae, at the very least, sounded like an interesting combination. "And does the place have some history? Is there perhaps any reason why the fae would feel territorial over it?" Cyreia sincerely doubted that the people gathered here were privy to the secrets surrounding the patch of land, but hey, rumors sometimes were built on truthful foundations; one just had to separate that hidden nugget of truth from all the distortions it was wrapped in.
 

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