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Fantasy Changelings

She nodded and put her bag on the table and her boot under it. She didn't have anything else. She needed to be alone with Brennigan right now.
"I need some air," she said quickly and ducked out. Then she took Brennigan into the trees, hopefully out of earshot, hugged her, and started sobbing. He meowed with her, and they keened for her parents, and maybe Niall, together, for as long as she could justify being out. She kept going over and over her grief, and random memories bubbled to the surface. Even as she got up to clean her face, she remembered playing hide and seek with her mother when she was little, and wrestleing with Niall while their father egged them on. More tears came, and all she could do was wipe them as quick as they came. Brennigan licked her cheeks dry. Finally, they stopped coming, leaving her hollow and tired. She dried her face entirely and wished she could shift the redness from her eyes, but couldn't change them at all. Then she went back inside.
Sveni let the girl wander as he got to setting up their fire wood. When she returned, he was only just situating tinder under the sticks and logs. He looked over his shoulder to see red puffy eyes. He knew that feeling. That sinking heart and twisting stomach. The burning eyes and sore throat from sobs no one would comfort. He gave a look of pity, speaking softly, "Are you ok? You don't have to speak. Just nod.. Do you need a shoulder to lean on or something?" That what he had needed when he was in that spot. Just someone to lean on.
She shook her head, slowly. Misophonia. Another tear leaked out and she wiped it away as quickly as possible. She wished she were better at hiding her emotions. It would be easier if she could change her eyes...
"Why do people hurt people who are different?" she asked softly, not really to him, more so at the universe.
Sveni sighed, moving to stand in front of her, "Because they're afraid. It's, unfortunately, only human. Being afraid keeps you safe. Keeps you alive. You don't take into consideration how the other side feels, because you're scared. Doesn't make it right, and doesn't mean you should have to suffer. The forest listened. Scream your heart out. I did. They'll keep your secrets."

The bearded man glanced at the firewood, "Do you want to get your mind off it? I can show you how to start a fire."
She was certainly afraid of the fairy hunters. And she hated them! She wanted to hurt them. She wanted revenge. That was a first. She had always hated the hunters but never like this, and never wanted to hurt them. She wanted to find the man she had seen in her home killing her parents and kill him in front of his children. She wanted to burn his house to the ground and track down every other fairy hunter out there and hurt them too. The feelings scared her, but they felt good, too. Hate. Revenge. Fire.
"Yes," she said, and moved closer to the fireplace.
Sveni nodded, giving her room as he knelt by the fireplace. He put a handfuls of sticks and some twine between them. As he set up the fire starter, he gestured to a few bundles still sitting to the side, "See those? Get a handful of the fine stuff and put it here at the base of this stick." As she did so, he began using the twine to spin one of the sticks until the tinder began to smoke, "Ok, now gently blow on that until it starts to catch. Then I'll show you how to move it without burning yourself."
She carefully followed his instructions. Behind her, Brennigan meowed and paced anxiously. She focused on her task and got a small fire going, which she carefully feed and tended like a fragile pet.
Once the tinder began to light, Sveni leaned down, "Now the key is grabbing a thick part of the bundle that's dense. Move slowly and keep your flame toward the front so you can put it up underneath like this." He carefully placed it under the firewood, against the tinder and kindling he placed before, "Then you blow again to make it really catch." The man cupped a palm in front of his mouth to help guide the air into the flame, using small bursts to keep from blowing it out. Soon their fire was burning and he sat back, "I'll show you building the fire in the morning, but for now we can let it burn."
(Apologies, I've been busy)
She nodded and stared into the fire, mesmerized. She had never seen a real fire before. It smelled good, and she liked the noise (though Brennigan was not impressed with the fire, and was in the corner hissing at it). She swayed with the crackling and enjoyed the heat on her skin, a bit to hot, making her skin feel a bit cracked, but it was somehow pleasant. Niall would have loved this...
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Sveni nodded, standing again to grab a few things, "Are you hungry? We've been out all day and haven't had much. You much be starving."
She nodded absentmindedly, realizing she was rather hungry. She hadn't eaten since before she had fallen asleep before he found her, and she hadn't eaten much. "Do you have anything for Brennig-Brenni?"
"Sure, plenty of meat for him to eat," Sveni nodded, gesturing to another platform, "I'll show you where the food is. I keep food away from the ground to keep wild animals out of it. Like bears and such.. not exactly a visitor I want to welcome." The man chuckled, making his way to the other platform. The path was much more stable and wide enough to travel comfortably across. He gestured to a handmade wooden box, "We keep all our meat in here. Herbs and wild vegetables go in a burlap sack on top. I'm currently drying a bunch, so it's over in storage while the plants dry."

The man lifted the top off the box, grabbing out a few things of meat what was wrapped in leather. He handed the off to the girl before replacing the lid, "There you go. Enough for both of you. It's already cooked but you can warm it up."
She thanked him and handed some to Brennigan, who was circling her feet hungrily. Then she took a bite, relieved by having food on her toungue and the promise of nutrition. If Niall were here, he would eye her and suggest she find a murder-free option. The meat soured on her toungue, but she forced herself to swallow and eat more. She needed food, and she wasn't a vegetarian.
Sveni chuckled at the cat, "Well, it'll be totally dark before long. Best to get some rest. I'll go get some more furs while you ejoy your food." The man wandered off, walking down more paths to his storage. Someone her size is going to lose body heat faster, he thought, A thicker fur would be better for her. Sveni pulled out some of his winter furs, picking a couple before making his way to their shelter, "use these for blankets and pillow. All I got but they'll keep you warm."
She nodded and tucked Brennigan under her chin so he would be wrapped by the blankets too. Niall was scolding her in her imagination, and it made her laugh until she remember that he might be dead. But then imaginary Niall said something silly or stupid and she laughed a little again.
Sveni raised a brow, shaking his head in amusement at the girls seemingly random laughter. He kicked his boots off before laying on the bed, scooting so his new companions would have room, "Get some rest. You don't have to go to bed right now if you're not tired."
She and Brennigan curled up on the edge of the bed. She expected to spend hours worrying and grieving, but fell asleep almost immediately, Imaginary Nialls teasing growing fainter and fainter, until she bolted up, surrounded on all sides by the man who had killed her parents, her fathers screams echoing from everywhere. Then she was running toward her mothers hand, outstretched, but was running too slow and by the time she got there it was limp and cold. Then she was in darkness, and Nialls voice was echoing around her. "Why didn't you wait for me, Sea? You could have saved me... IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT! NOW I'M LIKE THEM!!! and then the darkness cleared, and around her were the bodied of everyone she cared about. She looked down at herself, and she was the fairy hunter who had killed them. She tried to change her face, but couldn't. She was trapped in the face of a murderer!
She woke up, a scream on her lips, but was soothed by Brennigan.
(My phone is about to die, too be continued.)
As the night drew on, Sveni's restful sleep would be abruptly interrupted with a scream. He bolted up, ready to fight whatever had alarmed the younger girl. A tool snatched from the table above them sat firmly in his hand as he peered around. The fire had started dying, still lighting the area around them enough to see they were alone, aside from the cat. The ginger sighed and rubbed his face, "Just a bad dream? You ok?"
Seanait blinked at him. She hadn't realized she had cried out in her sleep, and hadn't meant to wake him. "Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you up." She used her best, 'I'm not dying on the inside' voice. She was too tired to make up an excuse, hopefully he wouldn't ask. She could probably say she saw a spider or something if he did.
"Its fine," He said with a yawn, "You're ok though?" He asked as he put the toll back on the table above them, "We can talk about it if you want." He always struggled with falling back to sleep after a bad dream. Sveni could at least offer her something to settle her mind a bit, "Just know.. no one should be able to find you out here. So if you're still worried about the government or whatever.. I promise they don't care enough to get their feet dirty coming out here. They'll just stamp a poster with your face and call it a day."
She nodded and wished the same were true for hunters. "What about..." she wondered how to phrase it ambiguously, "people who are more personally invested in me? Like... my foster family?"
"Then they won't get past me," Sveni said, "I'll hear them coming. We'll both feel them coming. They'll shake the tree climbing up here. I can fight them off while you run. Come and find you when it's safe."
She wasn't sure how stealthy hunters were, she had always been taught gow to identify them in cities and large crowds, but she hoped he was right. She almost asked about fairy hunters, in her sleep deprived state, but remembered herself and nodded. She wondered if they would care enough about her specificlly to track her down... didn't matter. They probably couldn't. She hoped...
"I promise. I'll protect you," He said, pausing for a moment in thought. What else did he wish he had when he first came out here? Comfort. Someone to tell him that everything was ok, "Can I do anything to comfort you? Anything at all?"
She genuinely contemplated telling him the truth for a minute, but decided even if he was trustworthy, he would think she was crazy. Or attack her. But even still, something slipped out. "It's my fault..."

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