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Fantasy Changelings

Sveni glanced at the sky, seeing no signs of the eagle in question, "So, you picked up others? What you never got super into 'em or you just don't consider it a skill unless you've reached a certain skill level in it? Dun really matter. I ain't got any fiddles or banjos or whatever else you play, so I can't offer you any way to practice."
She watched the eagle in question fly away, gripping Brennigans scruff so he didn't pursue, and felt relief. "Oh, ah, picked them up and dropped them. I like to focus in on a think I'm interested in." That was not true, she took intrest in the whole spectrum of her special interests, but he didn't know that. Also picking things up and losing interest might be an ADHD thing, and even if it didn't matter if he knew she was autistic, she didn't want to give any extra information. And people usually picked up on neurodivergence. There was also a chance that changelings tended to be autistic, though without any community database to draw information from it was impossible to know. Though she could probably stop worrying about him catching on, she had layed enough of a false trail and besides knowing better than to disturb a fairy ring, he didn't seem to know a thing about changelings. And there was enough human folklore about fairy rings that a superstitious redhead might just not know.
Sveni stopped walking for a moment, looking at their surroundings. They were about a quarter of the way there, "So, what's the cats name?"

Sveni continued their hike as he asked the question. It would likely be dusk before they saw his shelter. Right. I need to make her a bed too. That would be a task for tomorrow. He'd need to start a fire when they returned.
"Uh, I don't know about that. Food is food," He said, "Wouldn't really know where to start. Never had a cat."
That was sad... But not her buisness. Maybe he was a bird person! And maybe she was biased. Honestly, he was probably a dog person. Stop it! Finding him a pet was not her job. Nnnhhh... "Do you want a pet?"
"If by chance some animal comes along that doesn't see me as dinner, or a light snack, sure. I don't suppose I'd mind it," He answered, "It'd be good protection at least."
She started to smile and let her gears turn, then snapped out of it. As cool as it would be to get him into falconry, that wasn't why she was here. She was here to stay away from her parents killers. That sobered her. Niall... was he alive? She would never find him if he was. If he got home after the hunters left, he would see their parents bodies, and assume the blood in the the living room was hers. He would change his number, like she had, and cut off all contact with Boston. He could have gone anywhere in America, or maybe Canada. Illegal immigrants were hard to track when they could shapeshift. Gah! Her parents had told them a meetingplace if something like this happened, but she was too little to remember. He probably did. He might be there, but only if he thought she had survived. He was 18, he could get work if he didn't change his face, but he probably did. He would find a way to get new papers for his new identity, and she would never find him. It was just about impossible to find a changeling who didn't want to be found. If she found the area he was in, she might be able to find him by his tell, a fern shaped birthmark on the back of his right hand. Unless he covered it with makeup or gloves or something, like she would if she could afford contacts. Maybe he had somehow found some changelings to help him? That was unlikely. She looked at Sveni and wished she had found a changeling. She almost laughed at that. He wasn't a changeling. No way. "So how long have you been out here?
" Ah," Sveni thought for a moment. He couldn't remember the moment he left his life behind, "Gotta be a couple years now.Days kind of just blend out here, its hard to really tell. If I had to guess.. at least 4 years?"

The ginger man tried his best to recall a date or even a season, but all he could remember was the still burning ache of losing his only family. The man seemed to hang his head sadly, "I lost everything that mattered. Couldn't handle it. I came out here hoping wildlife would end my sorrows, and found a better way of living where I could focus on just.. staying alive. I'm sure my mom would've wanted me to make something of myself."

He stopped peering at the sky as gentle words came from his lips. Words centuries old that came from a lineage that the man could feel within his veins. He knew what they meant, but not how he knew them, "scíth a ligean, mama."
Involentarily, she repeated under her breath, hoping he couldn't hear her. It was probably just an Irish thing, and hopefully not not a fairy hunter thing, but she was pretending not to be Irish, so she couldn't be heard repeating gaelic words with proper pronunciation.
Sveni took a breath, "Anyway. That was a long time ago. I still miss her but, civilization has no place for me. I just dont think I would fit in well.."
She thought about his words for several seconds, hoping the silence wasn't awkward. Did she have a place in society? Did any changeling? Sure, she could blend in better than most humans, but it wasn't built for her. And at the end of the day, she would never really be human. She wouldn't have papers, or fit comfortably into the cities and homes. She was meant to live in forests and burrows and moors. Finally, she replied. "How do you know if you do fit in?"
"You don't feel like an outsider, I suppose," Sveni answered after mulling the question over for a moment, "Like You visited a whole new country without knowing anything about it. Sure you see things, you're around people, but you don't belong there. And you kind of just.. Want to go home.." That was an all too familiar feeling. Just wanting to go home. Nothing ever quiet felt like home to him like the fresh, robust smell of the forest, "I feel more at home out here. This is just where I belong."
"Home..." She really, really wanted to go home to the cramped human city apartment with her parents and brother right now. But she had always been wondering about home. "Where is home?"
She supposed it had been destroyed thousands of years ago. First when the fairies were forced into the mounds, then it was burned to the ground when "Saint" Patrick came.
Thinking about home gave her a strange feeling, sharp and bitter and sad. But also distant stirrings of freedom, happiness, and being herself.
But she did know this "country". She understood it's rules and customs and language. But she had been in it 16 years. She had learned it. And it hadn't come as naturally as it had for everyone else.
"For my family, Norway and UK?" He said, "Technically. I think my mother said we had some lineage from Scotland and Ireland. Currently, Home is deep enough that it'll be getting dark by the time we get there. What about you? You said.. what- Bethlehem, yea? So what about your family. Where are your people from?"
"Jewish," she said too quickly. Hey! Jewish people were also in diaspora! She had an excuse for relating! "From, ah, the middle east." Right? After the catholics massacred fairies, she wasn't terribly impressed with Abrahamic religeon and had never done any research.
"Huh," Sveni sounded as he cocked his head to give the girl a once over, "Never would've guessed. French, Italian maybe, never would've guessed Middle Eastern. Jewish I could kind of see. Ain't that somethin'?" He replied, "I guess if you mix the gene pool a lot you'll end up with someone who probably looks nothing like their ancestors. I wonder if I look anything like mine.."
"Oh, uh..." She guessed wrong! Shoot! "Yeah, I'm only half Jewish? And I'm not religeous." That much was true. She saw religeon as fairy hunters. She didn't care if their God was real, since he clearly didn't care about her, sending hunters after her for existing. If their God had created everything, why had he created her if he hated her so much?
"Never been myself. Kind of more of worshipper of nature," Sveni replied as they began hiking up a mountainside, " Do you know the other side? Or is it just like... American? Jewish American? Is that the term?"
She had no idea. "Um, no? I," her story was that she was in foster care. Great! "Uh, my dad left before I got to know him. My mom is... was... jewish." Did that work? How the heck should she know? Argh!
"Oh, you dad walk out too?" He asked, feeling for her. Sveni never knew his father, but he remembered that he was the example of why he couldn't trust a human to know what he was. He knew what human's cruelty was capable of, "Mine left when I was just a baby. Couldn't handle being a dad I guess."
No! Not more questions! And she would not speak ill of her father, even if this was an imaginary one. "No, vanished. The police gave up looking years ago. Mom says he never would have left of his own free will. His parents blame us, so I don't know that side of the family." That was too much. It would prompt more questions. Shoot!
"Thats awful, I'm sorry to hear it," Sveni said, his voice softening a bit, "I hope you get answers one day."

As the sun sank below the horizon, the two would finally get back to the shelter. Their trip had few more words, than commenting on the distance to camp, but once they were within eyesight, the ginger man spoke again, "There it is. Home sweet home. I only have one bed for now, but you'll be warmer that way. Ill make another bed tomorrow."

He stepped up the narrow path to the platform and turn, positioning himself to give Kennedy a hand, "Careful, it's a little wobbly but you'll get used to it."
Sveni nodded, leading the way to their bed and fire, "Go ahead and get comfortable while I make the fire. I'll show you how, that way you can practice it in the morning." Sveni gestured to a moss and fern bed on a wooden frame. Draped over it was a few furs that acted as blankets and one folded as a pillow. Nearby was a table, littered with bowls of fat and herbs as well as handmade tools, "You can put your stuff up there for now. I'll work on making this bigger so you can have your own space."

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