Joan offered to show them to their rooms, but no one seemed to be moving. Scrunching up her nose, Cat stared down the dark hallway and frowned a little bit. The woman named Shine explained the function of the house, and explained just where they were at. A nexus? Hmm, that was extremely interesting, especially since that meant it could be anywhere at any given time. Maybe if she went out another door, she would find herself in another place far away from the men that wanted to kill and abuse her. Chewing her bottom lip, she nodded towards Shine as she indicated that this wasn’t a place to fear. The garden sounded like a place for her to go, and once she found a room, she was going to do just that. Shine and Joan spoke among themselves, and Senshi found herself scooting towards Aether, still wondering about his head being broken.
He claimed that his head wasn’t broken, but she wasn’t so sure. Now that the hood wasn’t on his head, she was able to take in his appearance a little more, and arched a brow as he shook his head to prove it wasn’t broken. He didn’t seem comfortable interacting her in such a manner, and honestly, she wasn’t all that comfortable either. Sometimes she hated it when she was in her child form, because it make people interact and react to her different than they would if she was in her natural form.
“I see… I’m Catalina Senshi, by the way…”
Catalina found herself calming down more and more, and as she calmed down, her appearance seemed to change. Shifting her blue-green eyes down towards the ground, she took in a few deep breaths, releasing each one slowly. Before long, she was finally the age she was supposed to be, a nine-teen-year-old female with long flowing reddish brown hair. Stretching a little, she felt her bones popping satisfactorily into place, and she was a lot taller and finally looked normal. She wasn’t aware that her clothing hadn’t shifted with her, and therefore she was quite naked because she was too busy looking around at places she couldn’t when she was tinier.
The boy idly drifted between consciousness as he lay looking up at the runes that shifted and dance on the roof above in a brilliant glow. There was a subtle sweat melody, a ring resonating from the rune, which played like a lost musical song in the ears of the young boy. Memories of the academy drifted occasionally across his mind: his friends, his teachers, and the peaceful surround of the years old academy. They spoke to him, welcoming him back, telling him the war was over and that peace had descended across all the kingdoms. His mother and farther were there, they were all right after all – not dead. Sen smiled eyes closed as a tear slide down the side of his pale and cold face. The white sheet beneath the young boy was no longer white. As the blood breached the circle the young mage had drawn, it began to erase the bottom right rune he had drawn with his own blood. The rune flared angrily for a moment, before it broke and died away as the blood erased the rune markings – collapsing the small stasis spell the injured mage had conjuror up as best as he could. The slow drip of blood began to blossom and trickle again – but still constrained by the dancing runes of magic that lined all 6 surfaces of the room: created by someone else magic and not the boys.
Sen opened his eyes again to see the runes dancing above him, once again snapped back to reality for a few moments. He once again became aware of the cold, the uncontrolled shivering that caused the injury to hurt bitterly on his side, and the seeping red that flowed over his right hand. He became aware that his circle had been broken – but he didn’t have the strength to sit up let alone cast another. He closed his eyes- tired. Reaching out, Sen tried to feel for the ancient magic he had felt before: but he was still a youngling and his power to sense was limited to direct physical contact with only a few sporadic psy connections. There was nothing, and Sen opened his eyes again saddened. He was alone, in a strange house…dieing. Slowly the tears began to fall without resistance as boy that lay upon the bed began to cry and weep – breaking the silence of the room.
He was crying, not only for fear of what was happening to him, but also of regret that he would not be able to return the Celestial Crystal of Song back to his people. He had saved many lives when he stole it from the humans – that should comfort him, Sen tried to be a grown up and focus on that – but the magnitude of the war, everything he saw and all those he lost wiped away any comfort. He hated this war – it was all too much as the tears could no longer be held back. He was fourteen not an adult despite all that he had done and all that he had put on: a very mature fourteen year old boy but still a boy none the less: no man, no warrior. He longed for someone, anyone, to come and find him and comfort him. He wished his mother or farther were still alive and could hug him.
As the tears soaked into the white red sheets, droplets of blood dripped onto the floor.
Last edited by Nekolight; 04-20-2012 at 12:11 AM.
((OOC sorry about the inactivity on my end. Oz-Kun messaged me to say He'll be out for a bit. I don't know if this still holds true but this post will be written in a way that won't restrict anyone.))
"Joan, do you know where the boy who greeted you might be now?"
"He is here" The boy spoke softly. The Dark House stood near the door. The young boy was very pale his hair hung limp around his face as though soaked in sweat. He rolled his slender shoulders under this cloak as though to banish an ache. The woman turned to face him tilting her head for a moment in puzzlement. Her eyes widened in mild surprise and confusion. Then they narrowed in recognition. She knew him almost instantly, just as he knew her. She was smaller than he had imagined. Barely over a meter and a half her build was slender. She was dressed in white. Her hair was white. Even in the dark of the hall she seemed to glow. In his mind she was an imposing presence, powerful enough to transport them both and compassionate enough to remain on until her promise had been fulfilled. Glowing or not the form before him was made of the same frail stuff as the boy whose life he now moved to save. It was almost difficult for him to grasp. The woman opened her mouth to speak her face shifting from recognition to anger. The boy blinked out of existence to reappear before her. There were others watching but his concern was not for them. He reached up uncurling the fingers of a small fist and placing his open hand on the cloth covering her belly and holding it there. Her lips curled away from her teeth. The House cut her off before she could speak.
"There will be time to discuss things later. There is a boy in the medical bay." He lifted his hand away. A small bloody handprint remained. He turned from her moving to touch the same bloody palm to the nearest wall. The stones glided against each other shifting and collapsing away with soft grinding sounds until a small archway had formed. The woman continued to watch him with narrow eyes.
"Go I will take care of those gathered here."
The woman hesitated for only a moment more before bowing deeply to those assembled.
"Forgive me it seems that there is pressing business to attend to." Shine spoke in her lilting voice bowing again before moving swiftly to enter the arch. The stones rolled into place behind her until the wall was solid again.
The boy turned to face those that had gathered. Brick colored eyes took them in swiftly his expression worn. His eyes paused a fraction of a second longer on the man in red although there was no perceptible change in his expression. He sighed deeply and then smiled. It was a tired smile but it was born of genuine amusement.
"Please forgive me. It is very much past my bed time." He laughed softly amused at his own play on his own childish appearance. He was tired. So very tired but he would not sleep until he knew that the boy in the medical bay would live. In the mean time there where these guests to attend to.
"Welcome once again. Joan, Satori, Aether...." His eyes alighted on each of them pausing on what he had previously assumed was a young child. Yet now was clearly a young woman. A nude young woman. "...Catalina" A blush spread across the boys face glowing a bright red. He removed his own cloak and held it out to her averting his eyes as he continued to blush violently. It would barely cover her and he was unsure if he was making some sort of faux pas. To keep his mind busy he continued to address them.
"Please inform me of your needs and as your host I will do all I can to ease them"
Under the Sanctuary
Shine moved swiftly through the passage that the boy had opened up. She did not think about the boy or about the blood on her shirt. Her bare feet picked their way carefully through the dark hallway candles ahead of her flickered to life and then died as she drew closer leading her deeper in to the secret part of the Dark House. Elliptical pupils wide she followed pale hair streaming behind her. She could feel it now, her own magics triggered and working. It did not take her long to reach the room. It was one of many which could house badly injured creatures but here was no hesitation in her selection. Even if she could not sense the hum of magic it was the only door with faint light peeking out from under it. The woman pushed it open and entered.
The smell of blood washed over her. The soft flickering of light from the runes and candles danced over her skin and caught in her hair and eyes as she woman stood just inside the doorway. The House (for she did not doubt for an instant that's what the strange boy was) had said there was a boy in the medical bay. She had assumed that boy was a term it would use for any male creature not as ancient as itself. The creature laying in the blood soaked sheets was nothing more than a child. His head was adorned with erect ears and a tail lay limp beside him but neither distracted from his youth or fragility. Light highlighted the tears that had ran their way down his cheeks. A frightened child. But what was most heart wrenching about the sight that greeted her was not the young ones age or tears or even the alarming amount of blood he had lost. It was the injury itself. Standing erect from the child’s side a metal arrow glinted cruelly.
Someone shot this little one. Some base beast shot this child. The rage she had carefully repressed bloomed quietly.
Shine crossed the floor in smooth even steps. The circles brightened as her bare feet touched them increasing the light in the small white room. She stood over the boy her face expressionless, her anger carefully concealed.
"Little one. Can you hear me?" She ran one clawed finger over his forehead freeing the sweat soaked hair from the skin and then carefully brushing it away from his face with her palm. She wove influence into her whispered lilting words. Calm, relaxation, but also the demand for attention. She continued without waiting for an answer weaving the words together.
"Do not be afraid. I have come to help." The eyes that watched him where distracted, almost dispassionate, but her voice was warm, protective. The tips of her fingers on one hand rested against his forehead the other hand hovered near the arrow. She was not born a healer. She was not one of those special creatures who restored everything to rights in a bath of warm healing light. Shine continued to whisper as she examined the wound without touching it. Feeling out both the magic that moved in the small form and the damaged that had been inflicted on it. She probed carefully with her own magic keeping her touch light stopping the bleeding and cleaning the wound as she went. She knew he would feel heat as she worked. Her primary element was fire and unstable as it was in most cases it was a potent cleanser. As she worked she spoke to him. Some of what she whispered was placation and encouragement, asking him to remain strong for just a little longer most of it was nonsense in a language that was no longer spoken. Always it was designed to calm without lulling to sleep. It was not long before she had halted the worst of the bleeding. Her fingers hovered over the arrow just shy of brushing it.
"Boy?" He eyes focused on him, seeking his eyes for the first time. "If you can speak I would like the honor of you name."
OOC: Apologies for my delay as well. Busy weekend/week/everything. D:
Her heartbeat slowed slowly. She had always had a somewhat quick heartbeat - something from her bird-influenced side, she supposed. Still, it was coming to rest. She was relaxing. Her muscles ever so slowly untensed, and she all but melted into the shadows. A content sigh escaped her lips as she continued to realize that she was not going to die.
Her life had been nothing but fear and pain. And she had expected the same here. Alone, she could realize that she was not in danger. In a group, she had nothing in her previous experience to tell her that injury was not forthcoming. Especially with all the odd things that seemed to happen in this Sanctuary-house.
Shivering slightly, the changeling drew her knees close to her chest and huddled up. It was chilly, she thought. Maybe? She was not good at judging temperature. Still, it was better than her Master's house in that it was not her Master's house. She was free. She had seen that the door out did not lead back to her place...she could find a new place. A new world and live there instead of in her own world. Somewhere safe. Somewhere where changlings were not slaves. Somewhere where she could just live without worrying about anyone or anything. That sounded nice...
With her chin tucked down into the small divet between her knees, the little changling nodded off into a blissful, dreamless sleep where no one hurt her and nothing was wrong. Just darkness and comfort.
Deep Roots Are Not Reached by Frost || Look Upon My Works And Despair || Vanitas, Vanitatum, Omnia Vanitas
Satori looked at the small boy surprised by how mature he acted even though he didn't seem old enough to understand the workings of the world; Nonetheless, he planned to show him the same kindness he demonstrated with Shine. A sense of amusement bubbled beneath the surface as he placed a cloak over a girl older than himself and then continued on with a flushed face.
"I'll be sure to keep that in mind, but how should we refer to you young sir?"
He asked rather blatantly knowing he was possibly the only curious one out of the group.
Thank you for the awesome set Alu! :3
Catalina shifted her attention towards a voice, her eyes taking in a pale boy who was addressing the girl with white hair. She had no clue what he was talking about, so her attention drifted elsewhere. She still felt safe, which was a good thing, but a gut feeling told her that feeling wasn’t going to last long. No, her attackers would be back and they were going to try to break into the house. Nothing would take away their prey, especially not a winged freak. Her eyes gazed back towards the boy as he reappeared once again. He was holding a cloth and seemed to have a bloody hand. Scrunching her nose up, she stepped backwards a little, not sure what was going on. Her fingers clenched against her side as the female entered an arch that hadn’t been there moments before. Now they were left with the strange boy, and she could feel her anxiety rising a little.
She was just about to turn around and bolt out of the room when the boy welcomed the group calling them by name. She noticed his bright red face and wondered why he was blushing so much. Arching her brow as he held out his cloak towards her, she glanced down at herself. Screeching, Cat grabbed the cloak from him and wrapped it around her very naked body. How had she not noticed that she wasn’t clothed?!
“…Yes… what is your name? As for my needs… I’m starving… is there anywhere to eat around here…? Oh… and is there any clothing around here?”
((OOC: so Claus is out for a bit as well. Moving things forward. D: ))
The boy looked up at Satori rubbing his eyes. It was odd to be in the small form again so soon how swiftly he had once again begun to think of himself as an entity almost apart for the whole. But he was too tired for such existentialism. He jumped a little as Catalina cried out but kept his eyes averted as he felt the cloak tugged from his fingers. Satori spoke and the boy turned relived to have a place to focus his attention. The young man asked him a question. The same question he had been unable to answer earlier. The Dark House stared blankly for a moment as though he had not understood. What was his name? He was known as the Dark House. As a sanctuary. But what was he too be called?
The young woman echoed the question. The boy dared to turn his head enough to see her from the corner of his eye. Covered. Not by much but enough that the worst of the blush faded. He bowed deeply at the waist both to the young woman and to Satori.
"Seiiki. I am Seiiki."
He extended a small hand towards Catalina.
"If I may be so bold Ma ‘lady." He touched the place where the cloak fell together just above her breasts. Blushing madly once again he turned his full focus to his task. Under his fingers the cloth fused and lengthened until it fell to just above her knees. Brushing the backs of his fingers near her shoulders created a place for her arms. She was now wearing a dress. A formless ugly dress... but a vast improvement on a child’s cloak.
Seiiki... he felt the name was suiting.
"That shall do for now I think I'm sure clothes can be found for you later. To the Kitchen first then? The path will take us past one set of rooms. Those that wish to rest after their travel may select one and join the others later."
So much had begun to stir in Aether's presence. A little girl who in the blink of an eye transformed into a quite bare young adult. She gave him her name in a soft tone, completely unaware of her wardrobe malfunction. Having known nothing outside of his Mentor's sights, Aether was not knowledgeable of the pros and cons of nudeness. In fact, Aether had never seen a naked body other than his own and came to the conclusion that since he's okay with himself being nude that other's nudenss suprisingly didn't effect his emotions in any way. The dark haired youth was ready to strict a conversation with normality, however his attention was averted when a small boy in appearance came form from what seemed like the shadows to direct the one called Shine's attention away from the gathered crowd. Although the others surrounding him may be convinced this is just a normal little boy, Aether knew otherwise. He knew knowing of an exact purpose but this silver eyed magician had a knack for smelling magic ten miles away and this boy was covered in it.
It's almost like he's blending into the house, isn't it? Aether sighed at the return of the soundless words that came only to mock and trick this poor man into sacrificing his body. That was never going to happen though, Aether was strong willed although naive and believes down to his very bone that the one called Oil will perish before he does. A spike of pain quickly filled his chest upon first scent of the magic bathed boy's hand as he so kindly clothed the naked one called Catalina. This alone gave Aether enough reason to resist the urges of the Black One in his body and mind. Blood was all it lusted for and the young magician laughed silently to himself at this because It could not feed on Aether for then they would both die. If anyone here actually knew Aether they would down right tell you he has always been ahead of his years, in both training and meditation and what he lacked was experience but that mattered little at the moment. For you see the dark being residing in Aether's soul was too weak from having not fed in so long that he could not muster the strength to possess Aether's body and lunge at the wounded magical one. Instead Aether simply stood there like a statue, ever calm appearing, with only a few sweat drops running down his own tired cheek.
There was an every going battle between the two yet thankfully for Aether he remains safe, as does those around him. It had become much easier to ignore the soundless echoes of a bitter, old creature at the mention of a kitchen. With his focus snapped back to reality Aether was ready to follow the group, eagar to be fed.
"Young man." Aether quickly found himself by Seiiki's side, only after bowing kindly to Catalina as he walked away, drawing his heads toward his hood to place it gently atop his head. "I do not doubt the quantity or quality of your inventory but if you are weary of cooking, please allow me to provide a most delicious meal unlike any of you have ever tasted. I promise you all will not be disappointed." He turned his head only to smile warmly at the gathered band of misfits. A quick scan of his memory caused Aether to believe one had been missing. It was only a moment before he had remembered a rather tall being fled down the halls of this enormous house. That much became obvious to Aether as he walked beside the boy who called away the kind host, but of course this boy's kindness was neither better nor worse.
"It's a pleasure to meet you Seiiki."
Satori replied, just before the one named Claus began to finally speak; The mention of the man preparing a meal made his stomach ache, it had been quite a few centuries since he last slept in a bed and even longer since he had eaten a home cooked meal, actually he had never once eaten a home cooked meal.
"I would like to take part in this meal."
He added in as the group began to follow the young boy.
Her stomach grumbled angrily, the sound echoing throughout the dark hallways. Scowling, she whapped at her stomach, which caused her to nearly drop the jacket since it was such a tiny piece of cloth. Swearing under her breath, she adjusted it before pretending like nothing had happened. Luckily the boy introduced himself as Seiiki, which in her mind, took the attention off of her. It was an odd name, one that she hadn’t heard before, but the world was mighty big, and if this place was a nexus or whatever had been said previously, then it wasn’t surprising she hadn’t heard of him despite her profession.
As he reached out his hand towards her, Catalina arched her brow, about to slink away from him. For whatever reason, she didn’t move and instead focused her eyes closely on his hand, ensuring that he wasn’t going to hurt her. His hand was uncomfortably close towards her breasts, and she pulled back slightly, her breath catching in her throat. Even as the cloak stretched to better fit her larger frame, she felt uncomfortable. Now, instead of being naked and barely covered, she was wearing a makeshift dress that didn’t make her feel much better.
No doubt she was glad when he said that clothes would be found for her later. She didn’t want to remain as she was for much longer, but food was more important, at least in her mind, so she was glad that he was finally taking the group to the kitchen. Her stomach growled again, and she didn’t bother to quiet it because she wasn’t the only one hungry. No, Satori’s stomach was growling just like hers especially when Aether mentioned that he was a fantastic cook. The more she thought about food, the louder the growling became, and soon she was holding her stomach and scolding it as if it were a misbehaving child.
“I would like to take part in the meal food time too! Should we try and find that tall girl who ran off? Maybe she’s hungry too?” Scampering off the group, she glanced around cautiously. Once her stomach was filled, she would find different clothes and then pass out for the night.
"A pleasure to meet you as well Satori" And the boy found that he truly meant it. The house nodded and stepped away from Catalina as she thanked him. He suspected that he made her uneasy and so he took care to keep his gaze averted and his gestures peaceful. While exhausting this face to face interaction was fascinating. As Aether rushed to his side the boy fixed him with a stare that boarded on hostile. The abrupt arrival was not forgotten and not yet forgiven. Although the House understood that the man himself had little to do with the collision and had been at risk as great if not greater it held to the little grudge the way a child might. And like a child it forgot the injury the moment Aether began to speak. It was nearly impossible not to feel the enthusiasm coming off the man.
"Your offer is most generous Aether. If you desire it the kitchen is completely at your disposal. I think that everyone would find my skill at food preparation sadly lacking." He looked up at the man finding and holding his silver eyes. The boy felt a moment of unease but brushed it aside. These were his guests and while he was tired and concerned he found that this long desired company made him almost irrationally happy. He laughed softly at the almost unanimous agreement to go to the dining hall.
He shook his head at Catalina as she inquired about the tall one.
"If she is not drawn out by the smell of cooking I will bring her something."
He led them through the halls resisting both the temptation to alter the path to be shorter so that he could rest or altering it to be longer to better display his architecture. He had been constructed with care and elaborate arches and hidden niches were the hallmark of his creator. The most direct route to the dining hall took them past the first set of room, plain heavy wooden doors that opened into the simple rooms. He pointed them out as they walked remarking that there were also rooms on the higher levels and within the towers. The second set of dorms they passed opened to face directly into the garden a short stone wall being all the separated the hallway from the grass. From there is was only a very short distance to the dining hall. The dining hall also opened into the garden. A stone patio spilled out before it, intended to extend the hall outside to accommodate the vast amount of people that would sometimes gather in the summer. The boy softly sighed at the memory. With little ceremony he opened one of a set of double doors much like those at the entrace and moved inside.
The room was large, the ceiling high and rafter lined. Along the center beam three chandeliers hung. The two at either end where electric and the one in the center, massive and iron wrought held dozens of candles. Lacking the patience to find the switch the House switched the electric ones one on with the usual bit of manipulation and then just for good measure lit the candles as well. The tables and chairs were laid out in a kind of controlled chaos with plenty of room to pass between them. Like many places in the House they were a mix of modern and archaic. A cheap modern table set with a polyester table cloth here and a massive hand hewn thing with crude benches there. The pale woman seemed to resent synthetic materials but, in what the House suspected was some bit of private humor, she had placed a set of abrasively colored reclining beach chairs around a coffee table with a glass top. The House did not know that the chairs were intended for the beach. However even in his limited experience he knew that they were utterly out of place. He ignored them now hoping that if they were some kind of private joke that it was not an offensive one. Smiling with quiet pride he turned back towards the others.
"The kitchen is this way" He stated simpily.
(OCC: My deepest apologies for my absent: I've been rushing to finish one of my essays - which I've now handed in - and I've been on placement. That has caused me to fall behind in my posting more than I realise.)
The sudden appearance of a strange women above Sen was a welcome relief for the young boy. The new arrival parted aside the hairs that stuck to his clamy forehead. There was a flick of magic sensation: Sen’s sensations were weakening and wavering as his body prioritised the key systems to maintain. She asked if he could hear her. Shaking his head rapidly, Sen replied with a small feeble sounding “yes”. Again the women spoke to him before words of unknown origin, similar to those of the runes, escaped and commanded from her mouth. There were magic lanced in her words. At the same time, Sen shuddered slightly as the stranger examined him. He could feel the presence of another touching and observing his magic 'soul' - it was hard for the little one to explain. There was a strange warm hot feeling around where the arrow had struck his side, closing his eyes to avoid seeing whatever was being done to him. He did not want to see the arrow protruding out of him, for with each glance he was reminded the pain and shock of the moment of impact: and the feeling and knowledge of the cold steel metal embedding itself through his skin and body.
"Boy?" commanded the stranger. Sen opened his eyes to meet hers as she looked down directly, such strange eyes: but one full of mystery, wisdom and command. "If you can speak I would like the honor of you name."
“Sen Ternworth,” answered Sen quietly. “Please don’t leave me...” the small boy begged and weeped with tears running down his face. He reached out for her with his blood soaked left hand to cling onto her - he was scared: terrified in fact of the pain, weakness and the strange strange place he was now in. He didn't care who the stranger was, she was someone: someone for him to hold onto.
Last edited by Nekolight; 04-20-2012 at 12:21 AM.
“Please don’t leave me...”
Shine's throat tightened at the words. His small hand, slick with blood found hers. Too long she has been removed for the gentle parts of life. Solitude has made her distant, her time spent wandering lost has made her cold. Shine closed her eyes unprepared for the emotions that plaintive plea invoked. They stirred to life deep within her; their revival a painful awakening. The woman who kept the door to this place was accustomed to casual platitudes and easily given smiles. That casual faked humanity had slipped when her appearance had, reminding her that she was something older and darker. Shine had become more herself. Now in the underground she suffered a second awakening. Unbidden a face from long ago rose in her mind. Innocent and violence circling each other always. The woman closed her eyes. what had become of that one? With effort Shine forced herself back to the present.
"Sen Ternworth. Greetings to you." She whispered opening her eyes.
Calculating gave way to genuine compassion as she squeezed his hand back gently. Her face remained grave and she offered no false smile but in its place gave a sincere promise. She would protect this one.
"My name is Shine. I won't leave your side until you are well little one." Still holding his hand she touched a finger to the blood soaked sheets then traced a crude circle onto the wall beside her. If she could pull an entire building from nowhere she'd be dammed if she couldn't magic an arrow out of a child. She curled the finger against her palm breaking skin and carving a rune. She did not warn him knowing that bracing for pain could be worse than actual pain. She closed her fingers around the arrow and in less than a heart beat it was over. The arrow was suddenly buried in the wall at the center of the circle.
Shine returned her full attention to the wound. There was fresh bleeding but nowhere near as much as she had feared. The pale woman returned to whispering as she worked, mending, cleaning sealing. She took care but the process was simple from here. Old blood welled from the wound as she finished. At last she leaned away touching the place where the arrow had pierced him carefully wiping the blood away.
"Sen. I've finished." She squeezed his hand again gently.
"I can't replace the blood that you've lost. You'll be weak for a while I think. When you feel strong enough for it I can bring you some food."
Sen squeezed tightly onto the strangers hand as she squeezed his, never letting go. He closed his eyes tightly in a futile attempt to stop the crying. He reopened them and turned to dimly look at the women. Her white long hair flowed and her eyes were yellow slits, reminiscence of the Northern Wing Clans – but she had no wings; and both language and magic she used were alien to that of his world.
"Sen Ternworth. Greetings to you."
"My name is Shine. I won't leave your side until you are well little one."
Sen nodded, barely smiling. He had been operating alone now for the last three months at least since the war started and the kingdoms were thrown into turmoil. Some he had met along the way had been kind, offering temporary sanctuary or food and supplies; other had betrayed or deceived him. The physical contact with another sentient being was welcomed and relieving. The catboy watched as Shine drew another rune circle upon the wall behind in red. She did so with focus, determination and beneficence. Her hand that was not holding onto Sen enclosed around the arrow, Sen could not see but he felt it as each small vibration or touch amplified the pain.
There was no warning as a piecing pain ripped though the whole of Sen’s body. Sen pieced the air with a hi-pitched child’s scream that echo and resonated through the air. His body twitched violently and shook, his back arching and lifting off the bed. The pupil’s in his blue eyes dilated fully, his left hand squeezed tightly onto Shine’s as his right grabbed the blood soaked bedsheet beneath him. Sen collapsed afterwards: his breathing was hard, rapid and shallow; tears running down both side of his face from beneath tightly closed eyelids; sweat mixed with the blood that was already soaked into the boy’s clothes. Whatever remaining strength or energy he had was now depleted, his grip on Shine’s hand weakened. The women returned to healing the wound as once again strange, magical, words flowed out her mouth.
"Sen. I've finished," came Shine’s gentle voice. Sen opened his eyes to look into hers.
"I can't replace the blood that you've lost. You'll be weak for a while I think. When you feel strong enough for it I can bring you some food."
Sen nodded weakly, “thank you,” he whispered, still panting and recovering. He closed his eyes before reopening them again. “I cannot stay long though – the Humans – the Sixth human platoon – will be searching and looking for me still – whether it be me or my body.” There was a pause as the reluctance and 2 months of builtup tiredness became evident on the boy’s face. Responsibilities bore a heavy and visible burden upon the fourteen year old. “As soon as I am able to bear weight I must leave and put as much distance between here as I can; for the longer I stay the greater the danger I place you and this place in. And if they find me in this place – and I have seen…I have seen too many slaughters and do not wish to bear responsibility for another.” The boy sighed: scars, memories, experiences.
“Where are we?” asked the boy sleepily, his left hand still weakly holding onto Shine’s, “I remember running through the Great Ironcard Forest before I landed outside here, but when I turned back to look the forest had gone and were overlooking plainland and the sea. Also, please forgive my intrusion – and for upsetting the ancient magic person before.” Sen tired to smile as best as he could and put a brave face on for Shine despite the tiredness and the trauma of the last few hours.
She heard voices and instinctively drew deeper into the shadows. Even if they were not coming for her, they were coming for her. She started to shake again, hiding her head under her wing, no her arm and shuddering as she tried her hardest not to freak out. She should be fine here. It was a sanctuary. It said it was a sanctuary and it would not lie.
But there were so many people. She was nervous around people. The owner of the house seemed trustworthy enough, maybe, but the others? She did not know the others, and they didn’t know her. They got too close, they spoke too loud, they assumed too much. She wanted to be left alone. One person at a time, and it sounded like they were travelling in a pack.
She was not a pack animal. Solitary by both training and nature of the animal within, she wanted to be alone.
The changeling was hungry though…and there had been mention of food by the group. Was she hungry enough to chance it? Her tummy growled angrily, rumbling her entire body with the force of the hunger.
No…no she really wasn’t.
She curled up in a tighter ball, hid her face in her arms and tried to ignore her tummy.
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