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Fantasy Gypsy Winds (PC and Tarmagon)

“That, seems a gift from a higher power,” Rill said slowly. “But gifts like that do not come without a cost. Will using this gift on me cause you any harm?”

“Yes, but very little,” Serenity said immediately.

“What do you mean very little? Sere, I would not have you hurt on my account,” Rill said, his brow furrowed.

“It uses my life force to do the healing, and will only weaken me for a few hours to a day, depending upon how much of the healing is needed,” Serenity replied.

“I am uncertain that I wish you to take such a chance over something so minor,” Rill said doubtfully. “On the other hand, this gift has been bestowed upon you for a reason. And you aware of the cost, so I shall trust you to know what is safe. I will have your promise that you will not exhaust yourself, and with that, I shall place myself in your hands.”

PrincessCrystal PrincessCrystal (He will trust her judgement)
Serenity smiled and asked him to lay upon his stomach. Once he did, she closed her eyes and, starting at his neck, very slowly moved her hands back and forth across his back. They glowed an erie shade of green and radiated a heated warmth, which spread throughout the area where her hand went. He could probably feel the heat, but at the same time, it also felt as though she were massaging the muscles in his back, without even touching his body. This caused them to loosen up and removed any kinks that might have been there from the way he had slept. When she reached his lower back, she ran into a small problem. There was a knot the size of, in our time and age, a golf ball. Her hands stopped over top of this spot and spent a little longer than she should have on it, but it too went away.

In the end, Serenity spent nearly an hour, healing Rill. She kept a smile on her lips and told him she was done then got up from the bed. "How do you feel?" She asked, her voice sounding stronger than she actually felt. Her right hand reached for the foot board of the bed but missed causing her to crash to the floor, where her eyes closed.
Getting into a horizontal position took a little doing so as not to trigger another set of spasms, but by dint of careful and slow movement, Rillianthar found himself lying on the bed as Serenity had requested. He wasn't certain what to expect. What he didn't expect was for Serenity's hands to begin to glow a rich emerald green. He could tell that her hands were open, palms down, but it felt as though he was getting a massage with warm stones, thanks to the heat radiating off of her hands.

Initially, Serenity's treatment went fairly quickly, moving at about the same pace of a slow massage as she worked her way from his neck, down to his shoulders, then began to move slowly down his back. Rillianthar found himself relaxing under her ministrations, so much so that he nearly drowsed off. It was a change in the rhythm of Serenity's work that roused him to full wakefulness. The movement of her hands had stopped over his lower back, and... something inside him was resisting the caress of her power. Rillianthar was about to protest, but the feeling in his back began to change. Something was succumbing to the wash of her power. Finally, the odd sensation vanished, and with it, the strange glow and feeling of warmth.

"All done," Serenity said, rising from where she had been sitting while she worked on his back. Her voice sounded... normal. "How do you feel?"

Before Rillianthar could frame a reply, Serenity swayed slightly, her hand reaching for the foot of the bed. Before Rillianthar could do more than shift, Serenity had missed her grab for support and gone crashing down on the cabin floor. Rillianthar surged to her side, turning her carefully to check for any damage she had done to herself as she fell. Serenity's pulse was racing, and her breathing was fast and shallow. When Rillianthar gently pried open one the pupil reacted to the light, though Serenity remained unconscious. As he considered the symptoms, her words came back to him.

“It uses my life force to do the healing, and will only weaken me for a few hours to a day, depending upon how much of the healing is needed."

Rillianthar didn't know what had caused her to pause for so long at the one spot on his back, but whatever it had been, it had been enough for her to forget her promise... which she had never actually given to him. Rillianthar cursed mentally as he realized he hadn't extracted the promise from her before she began. Serenity was not going to put her own welfare first unless he ordered her to. How was he going to help her become her own woman if he had to resort to acting like a 'master'.

"Small steps," he said aloud, gathering Serenity into his arms and lifting her onto the bed. "We shall just have to take small steps along this journey. If we perhaps have to take more, the end destination shall remain unchanged."

Settling Serenity into a comfortable position, Rillianthar set a pitcher of cool water in easy reach then stood up and stretched, marveling at the flexibility Serenity had restored to him. After a moment, he moved into the bathing room and began his morning routine. He would check on Serenity every so often as he worked. If what she had told him was correct, she should awaken sometime today.

PrincessCrystal PrincessCrystal (I wonder what that knot was in his back.)
(Sometimes people end up with a muscle that has become knotted in their lower backs. Once that has become unknotted, so to speak, it helps them to be able to move about like they did in their younger years. He should notice some of his older sores or wounds were healed in the process of fixing his back.)

Serenity looked so peaceful as she slept. No pain, no anxiety, no worries. She did move a bit in her sleep, but it was nothing like the night before when she was plagued with nightmares. And, true to her word, she woke just passed mid day, nearly six hours after her collapse. "Rill." She called out as she moved to sit up. She was still a little weak, but it was nothing that a little food couldn't help. When she didn't see him inside, she stood up and carefully moved to the doorway. Calling out for him again once she opened the door, leaning against the door frame. "Rill? Where are you?" She called out.
Rillianthar attended to his morning routine as usual, adding in checking in on Serenity periodically. She appeared to be resting comfortably, her pulse and breathing slowing to reflect a deep sleep. Rillianthar allowed himself to relax slightly as Serenity rested, attending to the needs of the animals then setting about the thousand and one tasks of maintaining the farm. As he worked, Rillianthar noticed that some of the aches he was used to from old injuries were absent. Idly he wondered if this was a temporary effect visited upon him by Serenity's powers, or if she had somehow managed to relieve him of some of his older injuries.

Noon came and went, and while Serenity moved occasionally in her sleep, it was a far thing from the tossing and turning of her nightmares, so Rillianthar let her be. Deciding to take advantage of his currently ache free state, Rillianthar retrieved a ladder from the barn and commenced to replacing a couple of the shingles that were starting to show definite signs of aging. He had removed the old shingles and was about to haul the new ones up when a sound reached his ears.


A minute alter he heard the door of the cabin open, then Serenity's voice floated up to him from the doorway.

"Rill? Where are you?"

"I'm on the roof," he called down, moving to the edge of the roof to gaze down on a startled Serenity. "A couple of the shingles required attention, and it is good that you have awakened, for I was about to make a large amount of noise. Give me a moment to secure the replacements, then I shall be down. We need to speak of this wonderous gift you have been granted."

PrincessCrystal PrincessCrystal (Of course she had to wake up while he was on the roof.)
"On the roof?" Serenity asked. She looked upwards and sure enough, there he was, looking over the side of the roof at her. "Be careful please." She said, with much concern in her voice after he told her what he was doing. "I do not think I can heal a broken back." She added. Serenity remained leaning against the door frame as he returned to his work. If anything, she could sit in the doorway and wait for him.

After several minutes, Serenity did just that. She sat down in the doorway of the home and closed her eyes, leaning back against the open door. "When you finish... I'm sitting in the doorway. Still a bit weak, but food can take care of that. What I really need is your help to get back inside." She said with a slight laugh.
"Then, it is a good thing that I am finished," Rillianthar said as he moved into view. He had finished his work and brought his tools back to the ground, now he scooped Serenity up into his arms before she could protest, and carried her inside. "It is also a good thing that you are so slender, for I have found myself carrying you many times since we first met."

Rillianthar carried Serenity to the bed and set her down, then moved to the kitchen area to retrieve the remains of their picnic from various storage containers. Settling everything onto a tray, he carried it over to where Serenity sat, placing it in easy reach before checking on the water in the jug. It had grown warm, so he poured it into the watering barrel before refilling the jug with fresh, cool water. This too he placed in easy reach, then pulled a chair up so he could face Serenity directly.

"First and foremost," he said, "I thank you for the healing you performed on my back. That is a wonderous gift you have been blessed with. When you collapsed from exhaustion, first I was afraid you had injured yourself, then I became angry. I had said I would have your promise not to exhaust yourself before I allowed you to begin, and I was both hurt and angry that you had broken your word..."

Rillianthar held up a finger to stop the incipient protest he could see forming in Serenity's eyes and continued speaking calmly.

"On reviewing my words and yours however, I was chagrined to discover that you actually made no such promise to me before you began, therefore I had no reason to be hurt or angry, save with myself. Thus I ask for your forgiveness for the undeserved anger I felt. However..." Rillianthar's voice grew slightly stern as he continued, "I will not have such a glorious gift hazarded in such a fashion again. It is indeed yours to do with as you will, but I ASK that you only ever consider using it on me should my life be in immediate danger. It is too precious... YOU are too precious, to risk your wellbeing on things that are in the end minor. I shall not command or order, I am not your master, but please, I would not incur the wrath of whatever deity gifted you with that ability by causing you harm."

PrincessCrystal PrincessCrystal (He is extremely grateful, but he wants her to put her own wellbeing much higher on her priority list.)
With his scooping her up from the ground as he did, she became a bit dizzy, but said nothing as he sat her on the bed. By the time he had the food and water set, the dizziness had gone away, and she was able to pay attention to what he was saying to her. "What does cha-grin-d mean?" Serenity asking trying to pronounce the word as she had heard it.

"Master didn't..." She stopped. Master hadn't cared about her so maybe she should just try and forget about that part of her life. Or do something to make herself forget everything. She knew the right combination, and she could do it one day while Rill was busy with the farm.

She shook her head and went back to what Rill had told her. "Then... I should not use it for your back again?" She asked, referencing her actions from that morning. "Only if you are hurt bad or deathly ill?" Serenity tilted her head and closed her eyes. When she opened them again she nodded. "You have my word. I shall only use it in a life or death situation. But.... What is considered a life or death situation?" Her stomach grumbled at the smell acosting her nose making her grab some of the cheese and crackers.
"Chagrined means embarrassed at oneself," Rillianthar replied in answer to Serenity's question. "It means I made a mistake and feel badly about it. As for what is considered a life and death situation, that depends. Should I fall and break a bone here, it is inconvenient, but not life threatening. However, the same injury would be devastating if we were out hunting, so we shall have to use our best judgement."

Rill gave a dry chuckle before continuing.

"Of course, if I have taken leave of my senses, I can do little to stop you, but as I have said before, it is YOUR gift, to use as you see fit. I shall trust your wisdom and your promise."

Rillianthar suppressed a chuckle as Serenity's stomach demanded that she pay attention to its needs, and used the pause in conversation to address his own needs. As they had before, for a time they ate in a companionable silence, just enjoying each others company. Rill could almost see the color returning to Serenity's cheeks as she ate, and the bit of worry that he had harbored slowly vanished.

"I'm glad to see you recovering Sere," he said, allowing the relief to show in his voice. "You know you had me worried there for a bit. Will you wish to rest and recover inside, or back at your reading tree?"

PrincessCrystal PrincessCrystal (Serenity now has her very own tree.)
After Serenity had fed her stomach she sat back and let her thoughts wander, but at the sound of his voice she was brought back to the present. "I think I will stay in and rest. Even though I have recovered from the use of my healing, it usually has me drained for the rest of the day." She answered. "May I ask you a question?" She asked. "Why were you worried about me? I told you what to expect, yet you still say you were worried about me." She was curious about his remark about being worried about her for a bit.
"Serenity," Rill said, the use of her full name making it known how serious he was. "There is a world of difference between being 'weakened for a few hours up to a day' and falling flat on your face and passing out. Your words led me to expect weakness, not unconsciousness. Since I was not expecting it, I could do nothing about your fall. What do you think would have happened if you had say, struck your head on something as you fell, or worse yet, your head had fallen straight to the floor? In your already weakened state, an injury that could normally be considered minor could be life threatening. A serious injury could well turn fatal."

Rill looked directly in to Serenity's eyes as he asked his next question, letting her see the seriousness within.

"Were I to tell you that caring for my animals would make me a bit tired, and then collapse as I walked in the front door, how would that make you feel? Your breathing was fast and shallow, your pulse racing. You had all the signs of going into shock initially, but I decided to trust that you had done yourself no harm. However, that made me no less concerned until your heart slowed and your breathing became regular."

Rill sighed, running a hand through his hair as he collected his thoughts. How to explain things without sounding like he was criticizing her actions?

"We have to try and overcome years of you being told to place the needs of others over your own well-being. I know I cannot reasonably expect you to be concerned for yourself this early in your recovery, so I worry for you, about you. I have to try and avoid triggering the ingrained reactions that have been placed within you by your years of captivity. I have deliberately used your training once, but only so that you could see that there was no way for you to be blamed for the situation you found yourself in. I would not continue to do so if it can at all be avoided. In time I hope you will come to see your own worth in this world. The healing gift you have been granted should tell you that some being values you enough to give you such a gift."

PrincessCrystal PrincessCrystal (She did say weakened, not out like a light.)
Serenity thought about his words. She was still confused but understood that what she thought as weakness and what he knew as weakness were different. "I am sorry. I... I guess I do not fully understand. He always said that my fainting was weakness and that I was strong if I did not faint from its use. I was ordered to use it whenever he returned from a bar fight and if I fainted then I was weak. If I did not faint then he could use me to get off." She looked up from her hands. "I... I guess that was all a lie wasn't it?"
“Indeed it was,” Rillianthar said grimly. “As you have said, this gift uses your vitality to repair damage to another. Who is to say that you have not shortened your life by the amount of time the wounds would have taken to heal naturally? As for your erstwhile master, I would doubt anything he ever said to you. The more and more you tell me about him, the less and less sorry I feel about cutting his current trip through the world short. Should I ever chance to meet the brother you have told me of, I shall feel even less guilt about ending his existence.”

PrincessCrystal PrincessCrystal (Sorry it’s short, but he is so angry he can barely speak.)
Serenity was beginning to doubt herself even more now. What her master had considered as weakness was really bad for her. "Rill? I..." She felt the need to defend her master but to what end. Everything she ever knew was a lie. "Never mind. I think some more rest and thought is needed. Please, do not worry about me. I will be fine whilst you care for your creatures." She lay down and turned her back to him. It was almost healed. Another day or two and the last of the wounds should be gone.

He could see the muscles in her back, one, on the lower left, twitched involuntarily. She flinched when it did, but said nothing as she closed her eyes to rest. "Rill? I'm sorry I worried you. I will try not to worry you again like that." Serenity said quietly.
"You have years of misinformation to unlearn," Rill said quietly. "I must learn the proper questions to ask. We will learn together."

As he started to turn away, Rill saw the muscles in Serenity's back jump, and her whole body twitched. He started to reach out automatically, then stopped himself. He wasn't certain that Serenity would welcome his touch right now, however well intentioned. Best to ask permission in this case.

"I see your back troubles you, much as mine did. May I help you? Unlike your gift, I must touch you to use my arts. "

"You may." Serenity replied as the muscle twitched again and she tried to hide her flinch. Rill immediately sat on the bed and gently lifted the back of the tunic Serenity was wearing. He laid a hand lightly on her back and winced involuntarily as he felt a spasm twist through her back. This would never do.

Rising, Rill moved quickly to his supplies, mixing the very medicine he had intended to have Serenity compound for him. HIs hands flashed as he worked, one eye on his reagents and one eye on Serenity. From the tightness of her shoulders, her back was not relaxing. In minutes his work was done, and he presented a tiny cup, no more than a single swallow to Serenity.

"This will taste foul," he said as she sniffed at the mixture dubiously. "The herbs themselves are not bad, but in order for it to work quickly, the base liquid is brandy. I know you do not drink, but there is no way around it. I suggest that you hold your nose and gulp it all down at once. I have water ready to wash the taste from your mouth. This mixture will not put you to sleep, but it will force your muscles to relax so that I may try to calm those spasms."

PrincessCrystal PrincessCrystal (Nasty medicine, but effective.)
Serenity accepted the medicine and downed it in one gulp. The she grabbed the water and drank that down as well. She flinched as they twitched again then lay on her stomach and closed her eyes. She waited for the twitching to stop. "Rill... Please make it stop." She said with a pleading voice.
"Shh Sere," Rill said soothingly, lifting the tunic so that Serenity's back was exposed. "Let the medicine do its work and let me do mine."

Find the spot where Serenity's back muscles bunched and twitched, Rill set his open palm over the spot, then moved his other hand to Serenity's spine. Counting the bones upward, he found the spot that he wanted, then removed the hand covering the problem area and used it to grab a small vial of vellis oil. Pulling the cork with his teeth, he moved the hand near Serenity's spine and poured a few drops of the oil onto her back before putting the cork back in and setting it aside. Returning both hands to his chosen spot along her spine, Rill began to knead the oil into Serenity's back. Gently at first, then more and more strongly as he avoided the healing scars.

"Most people think only of the spot where they have discomfort," he said conversationally, trying to distract Serenity while he worked. "The nerves that control that particular spot on your back actually emerge from the spine up here where I am working. If something causes irritation to those nerves, the muscles they control begin to twist and spasm."

Pausing just long enough to drizzle another measure of vellis oil slightly lower and further away from her spine, Rill resumed his work and continued to speak.

"The medicine I gave you will force the tight muscles to try and relax, but if the nerves continue to be irritated, they will still jump and twitch, though less strongly. By working from your spine outward, I am trying to relieve any irritation in the nerves caused by muscles bunched up around them and pinching. Ah, like that one."

Rill worked steadily down Serenity's back, taking his time to do everything he could to relieve her suffering. His nimble fingers found tension, tightened spots that he slowly, carefully, worked away. His own hands grew warm from the mild heating effect of the vellis oil, but he continued to apply it as he worked his careful way down and out, finally making his way to where the worst of the spasms seemed to have been. As he worked, Serenity's back continued to spasm, but each was just that much weaker than the one before it. By the time he had worked his way down to the actual point where the muscles had been twisting, he could barely feel a twinge. Working from the outside of the area towards the center, Rill made certain to carefully tease out the tension that remained from prior spasms, working his way inward until he felt the final relaxation as the last bit of protesting muscle relented to his ministrations and smoothed out.

Rather than cease his ministrations, Rill, using slow, gentle movements and murmured words, encouraged Serenity to allow him to slip the tunic fully off of her body. Rather than use vellis oil, Rill retrieved a jar or lavender oil and set to work at the base of Serenity's skull, humming softly as his fingers danced up and down her neck, absolutely forbidding any tension to take root. As he worked his way back down Serenity's back, Rill was careful to put no pressure or tension on the nearly healed scars, but taking his time to work the oil into the old scars, loosening the skin around them so that they would no longer pull uncomfortably. It would take many such sessions to make Serenity's back supple again, and he would never be able to erase all the scars, but Rill swore to do as much as his arts would allow him to do.

Once he was certain he had done all he could for her back, Rill turned his attention to Serenity's arms and legs. From shoulder down to fingertips, he worked his slow, deliberate way, taking the time to massage the palm and each individual finger. When he turned his attention to serenity's legs and buttocks, he was scrupulously careful about where his hands went while he worked. That meant that some areas did not receive the same attention that the rest of her body had, but Rill was going to do nothing that would seem inappropriate. Nearly two hours after he had begun, he finally sat back and surveyed his handiwork. Serenity seemed at ease, her breathing slow and steady, her skin gleaming faintly from the oils he had worked into it.

"I have done what I can for your back," he said quietly. "I... could perform the same service for your front as well if you trust my intentions. If not, I perfectly understand, for despite our time together, you know me very little."

PrincessCrystal PrincessCrystal
Serenity felt weird as he worked to make her muscles stop their jumping and twitching. She'd never had someone take such care to massage her muscles and relax her back. "Thank you." She mumbled a bit sleepy.

When he finished her back and asked about her front, Serenity slowly turned over. She mumbled a "Yes please." Then her thoughts turned inwards. *I'm surprised I've not been turned on, aroused once with his touches* Her eyes closed and she settled on her back, waiting for him to help her fully relax.
Rill was equal parts astonished, flattered, and appalled at serenity's easy acceptance and immediate exposure of herself. Rather than let anything show however, he simply anointed his fingertips with the lavender oil and began to gently massage her temples. He took his time working his way slowly down her face, past her cheeks and down to the bottom of her jawline. After a moments consideration, he elected to skip the front of her neck entirely. That would be for another day, when he had helped her exorcise some of the memories of her old master, his ill treatment of her, and the cruel iron collar he had found her in. Instead, he turned his attention to her shoulders and upper chest, working steadily at each muscle group.

"I will give you an oil for you to work into your neck," he told the young woman drowsing under his ministrations. "I do not wish to call up bad memories or make you uncomfortable in my presence."

Rill worked his way down her arms again, this time paying attention to the front. He started working his way down her torso, studiously avoiding the swell of her bosom, taking special care not to inadvertently tickle Serenity as he moved down her sides. Her abdomen received nothing but the thinnest coating of oil, though he did send his fingers dancing across her diaphragm. As he approached dangerous territory again, he paid strict attention to where and how his hands moved, moving as close as he dared, but never straying into that area that only Serenity should have control over. At last he had worked his way down both of her legs, and stood back to observe his work. Serenity seemed barely conscious, and totally relaxed. With a smile, Rill pulled up a light sheet to cover the young woman, then bent to plant a gentle kiss upon her forehead.

"Get some rest Sere," he whispered softly. "You deserve something pleasant in your life."

PrincessCrystal PrincessCrystal (Hopefully she can rest easily now)
Serenity moaned softly as he worked , her eyes closing. "Thank you Rill...." She mumbled as she fell into a peaceful slumber. She heard his whispered words but did not respond other than a light snore as she slipped further and further into the world of dreams.
Rill quietly put away his supplies, moving slowly so as not to make any undue noise. Serenity seemed to be slipping deeply into a restful sleep, and he was loathe to disturb her rest. From her relaxed state, he hoped that she wouldn't have any of the nightmares that seemed to plague her so often. For now though, there were other demands on his time, other things that needed accomplishing, so Rill slipped out of the door of the cabin and into the late afternoon sun.

It took until sunset, but Rill managed to catch up on most of the neglected chores by dint of hard labor, and the fact that whatever Serenity had done to heal his back seemed to have cleared up some of the lingering aches and pains that he was used to. He felt refreshed and rejuvenated, even so long after her 'treatment'. Finally, the animals were in for the night and Rill turned his attention to dinner.

Rather than disturb Serenity's rest, he kindled a small fire in his outdoor ring, then set about preparing a simple dinner of roasted vegetables and venison. He tended the dinner as the sun sank lower, turning the sky to gold tinged purples and the forest around the cabin began to come alive with the sounds of the night. Settling back with a small glass of wine, Rill enjoyed the quiet of the evening and the relaxation of days end. Maybe Serenity would awaken for dinner, maybe she wouldn't. Either way, he hoped that he had brought her a bit of respite after the healing she had granted him. Idly he wondered which deity had so blessed the young woman asleep in his bed. Was it in recompense for the horrible way her life had been up to this point? He just didn't know.

PrincessCrystal PrincessCrystal (Relaxing evening by an outdoor fire.)
As Serenity slept, she thought of ways that would help her to forget her past. She knew the right combination of herbs and a special plant, that when taken, would help you to forget the last few days. If she uped the dose a bit it would help her to forget everything. But she would need to find the plant first.

She turned at a sound, but continued to sleep, her body relaxed more than it had been in years. There were no dreams due to how relaxed she felt, and the massage that Rill had given her helped her to recover even more of her energy from having healed Rill earlier in the day.
The stars were out, twinkling in the night sky as Rill finally doused the fire and headed into the cabin. Serenity hadn't woken, and by the light of the single candle he lit, Rill could see her sleeping form. Unlike the sleep of the night before, this seemed, better. Serenity's body was completely relaxed, her face smooth and unworried, her breathing slow and even. Moving quietly, Rill set the cabin to rights, scarcely making a sound as he put away things and prepared for his own rest. He eyed the cot with distaste, then elected to leave it folded away, choosing instead to sleep in his familiar chair. He was going to have to figure out how to expand the cabin sooner rather than later, and see about the construction of a proper bed for Serenity.

Dousing the candle he had been using, Rill settled into his chair to sleep. No matter the trials of the day, tomorrow would always have plenty of things that needed attention, so best to claim what rest he could, while he could. Tomorrow he could talk to Serenity about how much room she wanted for herself, and the type of bed she would like.

PrincessCrystal PrincessCrystal (Time to rest and recover. Tomorrow is a new day.)
With the sun, came the smallest of sounds. The tip toeing of the young lady as she moved to use the facilities. She was trying so hard not to make a sound so that Rill could get his sleep. After she washed her face and hands, she took her brush and combed it through her hair. She took her time, working to get all of the tangles out of her long hair. Serenity watched herself in the mirror, her mind wandering as she brushed. She began to hum softly as she went through the motions.

A few minutes later a memory of her past struck her. It was a bad memory of the beatings she'd received. She dropped the brush and moved to cower in a corner of the tiny room. She closed her eyes tight and tried to make herself as small as possible. The dropping of the brush sent a small echo through the room, and if Rill wasn't awake before then, he certainly would be now.
Rill was hovering on the brink of wakefulness when a sound no louder than the scurrying of a mouse tugged him over the edge into full awareness. He stayed relaxed, letting his ears tell the tale of a furtive trip to the necessary chamber. Serenity was being to quiet and thoughtful of him, though he could have told her that unless he was exceptionally exhausted, when the sun began to rise, so too did he. A splash of water in the basin let him know that Serenity was about her morning routine, so Rill rose quietly and dressed for the day to the sounds of faint humming. It seemed Serenity was doing well after a good nights sleep uninterrupted by nightmares.

The clatter of something falling to the floor pulled Rill's attention to the necessary chamber just as he finished dressing. Without thinking, he moved to the door and opened it, glancing around to see what had fallen. Serenity's hairbrush lay on the floor in front of the mirror, and Serenity herself was cowering in a corner, curled up in a defensive ball. As he moved cautiously closer, Rill could see her eyes were squeezed shut, and she appeared as though she were waiting for a blow to fall upon her. Rill moved slowly closer, then knelt so he wouldn't be towering over the terrified young woman.

"Sere," he said softly, keeping his posture as non-threatening as he could. "Sere... there is nothing to fear here. No one will strike you here. No one will so much as touch you without your understanding and permission. You are safe here. The past cannot harm you. Come back to the present little one. Come back to me."

Rill didn't know if his words were reaching Serenity, but in her state he was not going to lay so much as a finger on her without her consent, despite how desperately he wanted to sweep her into his arms and soothe her fears away.

PrincessCrystal PrincessCrystal (The challenges of comforting someone without adding to their trauma.)

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