• Closed • And From The Ashes They Rise...

A cruel twist of fate entwines the destinies of two complete strangers

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Ki'an
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And From The Ashes They Rise...

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63rd Trial of Ashan 716

Main Road out of Ivorian City
Mid-Trial
A dull thud thunked the side of his head. A soft grumble escaped dry lips as consciousness slowly aroused the drowsy half-blood. “Mmm, hmm…” Faint creaking, rustling reached his ears. Was that the sound of birds? The world seemed so far away, as if he was hearing the outdoors from miles away, not quite able to focus upon the array of noises all around.

Everything was shrouded in shadow. He felt as though his mind was struggling to swim through a thick, murky swamp. He strained to see through the dense, ebony abyss but to no avail. Why couldn’t he open his eyes? Panic bubbled deep within.

He attempted to shift, yet his muscles disobeyed him. He felt as though a mass weight pushed against his will to move. Imprisoned within his own leaden body, the young warrior frantically searched his hazy mind. Cohesion of recent memories was impossible. His mind was aflurry with black holes of missed time. He had no idea where he was, what was happening to him. Hell, for a split trill there he wasn’t even sure of who he was.

As alarm threatened to unbalance the erratic fire within, Ki’an shoved his mind into practically assessing his situation. With rising apprehension, adrenaline flooded his hot veins. The instant he began to feel his mind clear through the fog of uncertainty, searing and unbearable pain split open across his body. Like a raging blaze, the flames of excruciating agony licked through his entire skull.

With each laboured breath, his lungs burned, air caught in his throat, his chest refused to suck in the seemingly poisonous air around him. His muscles ached, burned. He cried out as the full force of the intense pain shook him from his somnolent sleep. Despite his limbs feeling sluggish, each inch of movement feeling as though his entire body was bruised all over, Ki’an forced his arms to move.

As he struggled, waking his excruciating body into action, he suddenly realised he was buried! He was buried beneath a mountain of... of things. He couldn’t see. He didn’t want to see. His face tingled, stung all over. Something coarse, itchy, stingy rubbed uncomfortably over his face, his chest, his hands. It only further inflamed the raging fire of pain scraping across his skin.

Exploding in desperation to be free Ki’an flung his arms and legs in every which way. Whatever was piled on top of him flew in all directions. He was a mess of thrashing limbs, jerking his body to and fro, a rough growl sounding through a clenched jaw, barred teeth. An anguished cry followed moaning from the burly warrior as he jostled helplessly in a world gone dark.
 
Last edited by Ki'an on Mon May 02, 2016 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 479
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T
he air hummed with life, as Ashan showers clung to the mountainous region in great plumes of chill mist.

After the chaos that had ensued in the last few trials, Lö'we felt a weight lift from her chest as she steered her horse and small wagon out of the city.

While she had been intrigued and awed by Ivorian, with their snake-people and great stone walls, her free Sev'ryn spirit was stifled under the regimented discipline that imposed itself in the culture.

A deep inhale lifted her chest, filled her lungs with the sweet breath of the trees and greens about them, the rich notes of moist dirt, the purity of the fresh air. Gooseflesh arose down her bare arms and she huffed out relief.

She shivered lightly in her orange scarf-top, holey linen blouse and simple wool pants. Tossing her black and wheat mane over her shoulder, the Sev'ryn reached around into the wagon for her thick, hide coat.

It was piled atop her blankets and rucksacks and tent. It was then that she heard a groan from beneath, and her heart thrummed a little faster. Had he woken?

Lö'we chewed her lip, concern etching into her dark, freckled complexion. The wheels of the wagon squeaked lightly with the thuds of O'ye's hooves.

We must find a place to rest.

Lö'we's hazel orbs danced to the wilderness either side of the road, grasses and brush sloped into plains farther out—when then suddenly her stuff was flung all ways!

"Ah!"—Lö'we cried out in alarm. She tugged on the rope that was Oy'e's makeshift halter and reins, and the horse clopped to a halt, peering round with curiosity, his long ears pressed towards the commotion.

"Wait! Stop, stop!" Lö'we called urgently in Xanthea, grabbing her coat as she jumped down to the ground, her sandals making slapping sounds as she landed.

Throwing her hide coat on, she hurried around to the side of the small wagon, hastily she grabbed her tent materials and lifting it off the poor fellow laying on her bedroll underneath.

"Wait, wait, it's okay, is safe..."—came her gasping, deep voice in broken common.

Delicate flowers fell from her hair where they'd become entwined, as her hands gripped the man's thick forearms and wrestled him to lay still.

Lö'we's eyes were wide and her frown insistent as she reaffirmed—"You safe now. Be still, ah? You hurt, make—bad."
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Last edited by Lö'we on Mon May 02, 2016 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 431
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Through the thick broth of hazy darkness, a voice suddenly rung clear and true. It was nearby. There was someone there. The rough cloth covering the half-blood’s eyes prevented him from seeing anything around him. With the presence of someone close, he suddenly felt very vulnerable in a world that could see him, yet he was completely blinded to it.

As his skin was set ablaze in excruciating agony with every movement, he unexpectedly felt a great weight lift from his leaden limbs. The fresh scent of the outdoors filled his burning lungs. He felt exposed, open to the unknown. As his arms thrashed around him, his fingertips brushed what felt like a wooden ledge. He was in something, a crate? Wagon perhaps?

The breathless voice of a woman told him he was safe, yet by his account, he was far from it. Who was this woman? Why was she kidnapping him? What was going on? Why couldn’t he see?! His heart galloped within his blistered chest as panic threatened to take hold. Suddenly soft, firm fingers surrounded his forearms and arcs of Aukari training finally kicked in. On reflex alone, Ki’an’s fist exploded outwards.

Despite his hands being encased in thick layers of cloth, he felt his knuckles smash into bone. Instantly white-hot pain seared through the nerves in his hand. A cry escaped him as he cradled his wounded hand close to his chest. “OWWW!”

In a desperate attempt to flee his captor, Ki’an gathered what strength he could and threw his heavy body over the side of the wooden wagon. As his abdomen hung over the ledge, his legs still trapped inside the wagon, his body screamed. Through clenched teeth the half-blood wailed, reaching out with his hands aimlessly searching for the ground. The world seemed upside down, he had no idea what lay beneath him. They could be on the verge of a cliff for all he knew, but his militant training urged him to keep going, to get away.

Sucking in a dry, rough breath Ki’an hurled the rest of his body over the ledge. The feeling off falling through the empty, vast blackness was terrifying. With a thud, fire arced through every fibre of his being as he crashed onto the stony road. Sharp gravel prickled his shoulder as he rolled onto his back. Panting strenuously, the half-blooded Aukari could only lay there, all his strength was gone, his body screamed at him to stop.

His skin tingled, stung beneath his cloth bandages. As he lay there breathlessly fighting away the pain, probing deep within himself for the strength to move, a thought suddenly struck him. Who had bandaged his wounds? His frazzled brain raked every inch of his mind in search of his memories of the past few trials. No matter how hard he sought them, they eluded his grasp. Who was this woman who had taken him? What had happened in the Trials past?
 
Last edited by Ki'an on Mon May 02, 2016 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 502
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"
S
sssshh!" Lö'we hissed, pain lanced along her jaw and upto her temples, leeching dully into her neck and shoulderblades. She stood for a few trills, blinded by the burning ache, hot tears welled.


3 Trials Earlier...
Music was playing, soft and rhythmic, the sweet scent of brewed drinks was in the air, shadows swirling in the warm glow, candles and lanterns flickered all around.

Lö'we felt dizzy in a deliciously tipsy way, alcohol coursing in her blood, making light her head and her heart. She was laughing, hazel eyes bright.

The wheat-haired soldier that stood next to her at the bar had said something funny, flexing his biceps with a cheeky grin. Lö'we's gaze was distracted, though, by the soldier's dark-featured friend.

"C'mon, Ki, relax, live a little!" Her advice thrown playfully at the intense, mysterious foreigner.

"Trust me, I would give in now, lovely. Ki'an's not for drinking, or, well, much of anything besides training."

The wheat-haired soldier chuckled and tipped his goblet up to drain his drink, as though to prove he were everything the opposite of his serious friend.

"We'll see..." Lö'we muttered mischievously, giggling to herself like a child as she steered her body to obscure the mysterious stranger's line of sight, her fingers slipped a pinch of potent drug into a drink.

"Look I'm sorry, Ki, I've just never met anyone like you...here, this is just made from honey, no alcohol mh."

Lö'we offered him the spiked drink, pulling a soft smile of apologetic truce along her plump, pink-stained lips. As she watched him begrudgingly drink her sneaky concoction, a thrill shivered in her.

Little did she know then that she had made a costly mistake...

Ki'an was half-Aukari. His life of solemn dedication, practiced in meditation and discipline to the finest degree so that he might never lose control of the flames that licked through his being. Never bring destruction down onto those around him.

Lo, her mischief was the cause of his loss of control. After a taunt thrown to-far, hitting the soft core of his nerves beneath a cracking steely exterior, the fire prickled and then it burned.

His cries of pain, shock, fear echoic in her memory.
His eyes burned, his hands, his chest.

Her heart hammered. What had she done?

While she tried to dowse his fiery affliction with water, it would not go out. In a resourceful flurry of panic the Sev'ryn resorted to smashing a clay cup over his head. With his jolt into unconsciousness the fire succumbed.

He was an Aukari spy—he had lied to his commanders and to everyone about who he was and whence he came. Now, he was wanted.

It hadn't taken Lö'we long to figure out that he would be in jeopardy with the Ivorian army. So she had dragged him to a hiding hovel and tended to his charred flesh with herb and water, waiting for just the right moment to sneak him out of the city.

So, 3 Trials later...

here they were.
She, clasping her hands over her jaw, her hazel gaze fell on Ki'an as he lay exhausted on the gravel with a powerful mix of sympathy and guilt.

I'm sorry, Ki'an.
Her conscience chimed.
Silently, suppressed.

He didn't remember what had happened, and she wasn't sure she would ever tell him. Lö'we had made a promise to him, though, as he had laid in a cot, dosed with pain-relief up until his limit.

She would heal him, and make it up to him.
Somehow, someway. Whatever it took.

The Sev'ryn sighed, and stomped over to the half-Aukari where she knelt by his side and tsked.

"Where do you go, uh? You hurt bad. I heal you, but...takes time and patience. You must trust."

It hurt to talk, her jaw already beginning to swell. Her fingertips delicately brushed his bandaged hands, not enough to cause pain, just enough to let him know she was a friend to him.
  
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hey hope that is alright, lemme know if you'd like any of it adjusted.
Last edited by Lö'we on Mon May 02, 2016 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 734
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The sound of gravel crunching beneath footsteps caused the half-blooded Aukari to jump a little. Being blind, relying solely upon his other senses to hazard a guess what was happening in the world around him was terrifying. He could hear her sandals flapping against the ground, coming closer, however he was too exhausted and in too much pain to even attempt to move again. For now his injuries kept him a prisoner of this woman.

His chest heaving with the difficulty to draw breath, his jaw clenched tight, flexed with her words. Her common seemed to be as poor as his own, her accent thick, though he could not place where she originated. It vexed him that she was right. He could barely move a muscle without being caused severe agony, let alone stand or walk or anything else.

As her fingertips brushed his injured hands, a flash, an image jolted into his mind’s eye. A girl, with hair of charcoal and gold mixed, curled and bushy, with hazel eyes and freckled skin. Her voice matched the glimpse of a memory past not a few Trials ago. He had met her before.

His mind still frayed, discombobulated, he didn’t trust the intentions of this woman as far as he could throw her by any means. With his memories still eluding him, injured beyond the ability to care for himself, what choice did he have? Ki’an huffed, riled beyond reprieve. He couldn’t believe he was about to put his fate into the hands of a girl he barely remembered. “Fine…” He grumbled, deep and husky in common laden with a mix of his Aukari and the local Ivorian twang.

Several Breaks Later.
Nightfall.
Nestled in the crevice between two steeply, rolling hills of the plain land surrounding the great city Ivorian, Ki’an sat slumped against the natural rise of earth. With his legs brought up to his chest, his hands dangling over his knees, the half-blooded Aukari easily shrugged off the encroaching chill of nightfall. His warm Aukari blood keeping him comfortable even in the coldest of winter climates.

Comforted by the soft crackle and pop of the wood burning in a hastily made fire pit before him, Ki’an’s mind raced through memories blurred by sudden trauma. Snippets, flashes, returned. He remembered completing his day’s duties, his friend dragging him to the local Militia drinking hole, despite having the early shift the next morn. After that everything became fuzzy, his mind was a shamble.

Nocturnal creatures buzzed, hooted and rustled in the long grasses of the flowing plains. Every susurration of the outdoors, every noise caused the edgy half-blood to tilt his ears in that direction. His head swivelling from left to right, straining to listen out for approaching predators.

He’d never felt so defenceless, so helpless in his life. A warrior, to be left wounded and without his sight, he felt he was a mockery of the man he once was. Relying on the talents of a girl to save his life, he was ashamed to call himself an Assassin of Faldrun.

Suddenly harsh crunching of the grassland alerted the young half-blood. His body tensing, reacting in instinct to act should he need to, caused Ki’an to groan in pain. A hand tentatively touching the bandages covering the wound on his chest, as he recognised the rhythmic flow of footfalls, the half-blood relaxed but a little.

“Where have you been?” It was clear Ki’an was irritated, his question in their shared language of common, a tad accusatory.
 
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L
ö'we's brow was furrowed as she was bent over a particularly woody-stemmed perennial shrub with oblong-shaped leaves that were grey-green.

As she picked the leaves, she felt the tiny hairs on the leaves' undersides tickle at her fingertips. She was relieved when she recognized the Sage plant by its lavender flowers. She knew the herb well for its antiseptic, anti-swelling, powerful healing properties.

Gathering her pickings in her blouse, which she had taken off, gathering the short sleeves and hem-edges to so it acted like a makeshift linen basket for her herbs.

She straightened and looked about at the plains around her. Long grasses swayed gently in the light breeze, flowers released their night-time scents into the wilds, drawing her into a calm-mind.

Her lips puckered thoughtfully as her hazel gaze fell on the long wefts of Lavender over a ways. Ki'an's in pain. She thought with a stab of guilt. She picked the soothing flowers, adding their colour to her leafy collection.

"Ah, yes!" A smile broke into her features as she exclaimed in Xanthea, and she hurried over to a clump of shrubs with low, wide leaves and furry-like stems reaching up to the dimming sky. "—heal all!"

Or plantain, as was its more usual name. The Sev'ryn's relief to see the plant was warranted. Plantain was indeed a 'heal all' with anti-septic, anti-swelling properties, and it relieved pain too.

The plant was abundant among the grasses. 'Where there's grass there's plantain'—her grandpa's grumpy mantra grumbled in her mind.

When Lö'we looked out across the plains she was startled to see that dusk had fallen, night chasing on its heels. Hastily she gathered up her herbal arsenal, and made her way back to Ki'an.

Her sandals thudded dully as she trudged down the lightly hilly inclement. The long-grasses rustled against her, and she found herself welcomed back to tent and fire by an irritable Aukari.

"I gather medicines for burns."—the Sev'ryn herbalist answered him, unruffled by his accusatory growl.

"Were you worried for me?"
Lö'we flirted, trying to encourage cheer.

She set her herbs by the fire, and added another dead branch in from the meager pile, before she got up to rummage in the wagon for Ki'an's soup pot.

His belongings were settled neatly alongside hers, even his armour. In her Sev'ryn way, she had notions that it might hold spiritual meaning for him, as the weapons did within her own culture.

Setting the pot atop the stones that lined the flames, she poured water from her water-skin into it, and dumped the generous helping of lavender flowers in to brew.
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Last edited by Lö'we on Tue May 03, 2016 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 472
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Ki’an responded with tense silence, grumbling inwardly at her attempt of humour as the young girl plodded into the makeshift campsite. It was not her safety he was concerned with. For now it appeared he needed this girl, at least, until he regained enough strength to survive on his own.

Tilting his head in the direction he believed she was, he strained to listen out for her movements. Wary of everything she did, everywhere she went, he didn’t trust her. He felt a wisp of cool air suddenly brush against his skin, she must have stepped past him. Why was she helping him?

As he heard the soft clatter of metal upon stone, he tensed. Was that a dagger?

“What are you doing?”


The thought suddenly released a torrent of questions he hadn’t yet considered. Where were his own weapons? He instantly felt exceptionally exposed without at least a dagger by his side. Where were his other belongings? Despite the obvious need for his more practical possessions, his heart thundered as he worried about his mother’s book.

Swallowing deeply, Ki’an pushed down the rising wave of overwhelming anxiety. He couldn’t show weakness. He couldn’t give anything away to this stranger.

Clearing his throat to steady his voice, the young half-blood raked his fingers gently through his auburn hair. Frustration ate away at his resolve. Why couldn't he order his mind to clear, why couldn't he recall what happened? “I still not remember. Take me through it, one much time?”
 
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L
ö'we brought her soup bowl to the fireside, and begun to break up the plantain and sage leaves into it.

In want of a morter and pestle, the Sev'ryn improvised with a smooth rock, which she fished out from the edge of the flames with a rag, where she had set it to cleanse in the heat.

As she waited for the stone to cool, she rolled her eyes and bossed. "Relax. Your burns will take long time to heal if you do not relax."

She begun to talk through what she was doing, happy to share her knowledge to answer him with. "I make medicine. I found sage and plantain, I crush them together, and it will make, uh, how to say, poultice."

While her common wasn't perfect, her memory for it was getting better the longer she spent outside Desnind. Her rock cool enough now, she begun to mash the plants together in the bowl with it.

"Sage and plantain are powerful against infection, they will draw out sickness, soothe inflammation and pain."

      Guilt bristled in her throat.
         Confession brimming at her lips.

She swallowed, and carried on—
"Lavender in water on the fire, I will add this, and it will soothe the pain as well."
As she spoke, she poured a tentative serving of the lavender infused water into the crushed leaves, and stirred it up until it was a thick paste before setting it aside to cool.

Her brow creased and she sighed; her swollen jaw ached, turning purple and blue where Ki'an's fist had connected in their unfortunate scuffle. She clasped a hand over it delicately.

His inquisition continued. "One more time"—she helped his Common, and grumbled—"I already told you."

Maybe I should knock him out again...?
The idea flirted impishly in her mind.

The herbalist shimmied over to the Aukari with her poultice concoction, and begun to unravel his bandages carefully. His skin was oozing with his body's healing fluids, the flesh sticky.

She grimaced, aware that she was likely causing him some pain as she unwound the material. She hoped her voice would be a distraction as she worked.

"I was dancing, and you were there, being serious."—she teased—"Your soldier-friend was laughing...I didn't see what happen next...you were on fire. I tried to put out the fire but it wouldn't. I saw the flames, they were so..."

Unnatural...she thought, and her voice trailed, as her hazel orbs danced over Ki'an's face, deeply contemplative. He was an Aukari. She had never met one but she had heard among the Sev'ryn that they were fiery beings, destroyers. They were outlawed from Desnind.

"...so I knocked you out and the fire was gone.
I don't know how it happen."

The half-truth
the lie
prickled in her mouth.

She felt oddly-shaped within herself suddenly, a sensation she wasn't used to, and she squirmed lightly. It was a bit of a blessing that he couldn't see her; while Lö'we could tell a story, her expressions were a play dedicated honestly to her heart.

She begun to apply the soothing, healing poultice to the burns on his face, and then his chest and finally his hands, working her way over him gently.

Her unruly mane fell into her face as her gaze took in his muscled body. She marveled that anyone could cultivate such physical strength. It told her he was a warrior.

He is like stone. Little did she know yet that the simile fitted his temperament as well as his appearance.

"You are Aukari?" A statement laced with curiosity, and the subtlest hint of deflective accusation.

The paste would feel cooling, the heat in his flesh soothed, though the dull tendrils of pain would linger.
  
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‘Relax’? ‘Relax’?! As the words poured from the young Sev’ryn’s lips, Ki’an’s jaw flexed and a dangerous scowl descended upon his rugged features. It took great restraint to bite his tongue, to reign in the frustration that threatened to boil over and release harsh words. How could he relax?! His skin was singed, his sight taken from him. He was helpless, immobile, relying on a stranger to nurse him as if he were some new born babe!

As she rambled on about some plant, the young half-blood breathed deeply, focusing on his centre, calming the tempest of emotions swirling within. Panicking and becoming agitated about his current predicament would not solve anything – nor would self-pity. Despite his disinclination to having to admit he required help, he needed this girl. At least, until he regained enough of his strength. For the time being it seemed he was stuck with her.

As the young Sev’ryn spoke of some herb and some other plant, sage and plantain was it? Containing anti-sceptic, anti-inflammatory and pain relief qualities, the young half-blood’s interest peeked. He was curiously intrigued to learn that simple common herbs, such as Sage, used every day by chefs, held such useful properties.

With the rustle of long grass being ploughed by the weight of the young girl as she shimmied closer, the young half-blood stiffened with a sharp breath. Alert and ready to protect himself should she try anything – though in his condition, it wasn’t like he could do much.

As he felt the air swish and warm with her body heat before his face, felt her fingers work away the bandages around his skull, for a split trill Ki’an almost batted her healing hands away. His body shuddered as he pushed away all of his inbred warrior reflexes, forcing his limbs to remain were they lay.

Apprehension consumed the young half-blood as he silently questioned her intent. She had told him the process of crushing herbs and boiling water was for the purpose of a poultice. What if she had been deceiving him? What if it was some sort of poison?

The explosion of sharp stings firing all over his skin in an electrifying blaze, jerked his whirling mind from his worries. Suddenly confronted with the pain as the girl removed all of his bandages, caused the young half-blood to grimace through clenched teeth. Though, his face remained equable, as if he were made of cold granite. Trained to endure all sorts of torture from an early age, pain was something Ki’an was well accustomed too.

As he felt the young Sev’ryn’s gentle touch work around his body, her voice was indeed a comforting distraction. When she mentioned the fire… his fire, it clearly strung a nerve - of the psychological kind. That explained the burns.

The half-blooded Aukari let the duo sit in pensive silence as the girl worked the healing medicines into his wounds. If.. If he erupted in the view of all those people… his cover was blown. The whole of the Ivorian Militia had no doubt already spread the news of his Aukari nature throughout the entire city.

He would have to desert. He had failed his mission. The Zatkai would not be forgiving of such negligence. The crushing realisation of the full extent of repercussions from the events of that night, suffocated the young half-blood. Shame overwhelmed him. He had disgraced himself in the eyes of his Kin, in the eyes of the Aukari Occult.

Regret, guilt, inflamed from the trauma of his mother’s death caused the young half-blood to lament for what the young Sev’ryn must have gone through – but only for the briefest of Bits. Although beneath a cyclone of emotions warred with one another, upon a glance Ki’an’s rugged, scorched features remained as indifferent and phlegmatic as ever.

Stiffening upon the openly aired question of his nature, Ki’an remained mute for some time. Arcs of indoctrination that all those beyond the borders of Sirothelle hunted, slaughtered his Kin upon discovery, caused the young half-blooded Aukari pause. Though, it’s not like she didn’t already know… “…Only half…”
Stagnant silence ensued.
Breaking the tension, Ki’an posed a question that had been troubling his mind for some time, his tone direct, authoritative, demanding an honest answer, “Why you help me?”
 
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    "
O
nly half..."

Lö'we sat back—his wounds now sealed in the poultice's healing properties—and her gaze flickered over his features with a deep curiosity.

What story this Aukari must carry with him...

She wondered where his other half was from.

She was just gathering the bloody bandages in her hands when his next words caught her by surprise.

"Why you help me?"
    —her gut wrenched with guilt.

Yet her heart fluttered, and she took in a breath as something else, something deeper, stronger pulled at her spirit. It dawned on her that she wasn't just helping him out of conscience.

       There was more to this.

Hesitation—as uncertain words tingled on the edges of her lips. She shrugged, and the motion permeated her voice as she stated simply—
            "I won't leave you."
   The ripples of her promise resounded
      subtly
    at her core.
  
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