1st Vhalar, 719
Location: Beacon and Luna's Dream
Once out in the open air, a breeze played with Ari'sora's hair, and she watched the current intently. It begged the question; why walk when she could fly? Flying would be faster, and far more enjoyable than just walking. But as her weight shifted with her first running step, she froze. Running was...not a good idea. Her balance was thrown off by her pregnancy that even walking could be difficult at times; she tended to waddle awkwardly when she moved more than she walked. And while she only needed a few running steps to launch herself into the air, she did need to run.
As Ari'sora thought about that for a few trills, she found herself wondering if it was even possible for her to fly in her current state. The added weight of her unborn child might well be more than her wings could bear. Trying to find out risked injury to both herself, and her unborn child. If she was in danger, and needed to escape, it might be worth the attempt, but to risk her child for mere pleasure? No. It wasn't something Ari'sora was willing to do. So no more flying for her until her child was born, and she managed to lose the weight she had gained during her pregnancy. Besides, while the breeze was light now, the winds had been quite strong all morning, and this felt more like a brief lull than anything else. Even if she wasn't risking injury if her wings couldn't support the added weight of her pregnancy, she would be risking it if the winds gained strength suddenly while she was flying, and they proved to be too strong for her.
It was hot, but Ari'sora didn't mind the heat so much. She was used to long breaks of hard work in all weather conditions, so she had built up a tolerance for them over the arcs. But since she wasn't running late, she walked slowly, simply enjoying the freedom to be out and about the city. She allowed her mind to drift as she wondered what she would be doing with the kids totrial.
She was so caught up in her thoughts that she didn't notice it at first. Someone was following her. At first, she dismissed the thought. They were most likely simply going in the same direction as she was. For that matter, she couldn't even be certain it was the same person that she kept glimpsing in the corner of her eye. They had the same height, and body type, and they were wearing the same colors, but since she hadn't gotten a close look at the person, she had no reason to assume they were the same one.
But as she started to pay closer attention, she was certain of it. It was the same person, and they were in fact following her. When she changed her pace, either to speed up or slow down, they adjusted theirs to match hers. And when she ducked down an alley and circled back a bit, they still continued to follow her. Two questions dominated her mind, overwhelming all else; who was following her...and why? People who had been involved in the maze, and the cathedral in Emea knew of her just as she knew of them, but there wasn't any reason for one of them to seek her out, was there? She didn't look rich enough to be a target for pickpockets or muggers, and she was pretty much a nobody in most circles. At least Ari'sora didn't think she had earned herself any enemies.
She didn't quite dare to stop and turn to look at the person who was following her for fear of letting them know that she had spotted them. But she did glance back a few times, trying to disguise the motion as simply paying attention to the crowd around her. It was enough to tell her that it was a man that was following her rather than a woman, and that it was a giant of a man at that; big enough that it almost had to be a Lotharro. She knew a Lotharro.
Ari'sora began to tremble as panic took hold.
Hathelrri...but it can't be! He was arrested last Cylus! No...wait. Vyndar was arrested after we escaped, but Hathelrri managed to escape. When I never saw him after that, I figured that he must have left Scalvoris. But if that's him...
Ari'sora picked up speed. She couldn't run in her current state, but panic drove her into a lurching half run, half walk. Each step threw her off balance, but she spread her wings to counter it as much as she could. Fortunately, she was near her destination. Luna's Dream was a very welcomed sight as she fled up the path, and startled the dog as she stumbled into the orphanage.
Ari'sora panted heavily, struggling to catch her breath, still trembling with nerves from seeing Hathelrri following her. She was quickly surrounded by concerned children questioning her. She couldn't think, and her sides burned painfully from her exertion. The crowd of kids broke apart as Felicia and Nats took control. The two adults took one look at the situation, and got to work. Nats herded the kids away, promising to tell them what had happened as soon as she knew anything. Felicia for her part, gently herded Ari'sora into her office, and helped her to sit down.
"What happened?" she asked gently, but insistently.
"I saw..." Ari'sora's voice shook, stuttering to a faded whisper.
"What did you see?" Felicia asked as patiently as if Ari'sora was one of the children in her care.
Ari'sora swallowed hard, and tried again.
"I saw...him. Hathelrri. One of the ones who...last Cylus..."
Felicia's eyes widened with recognition. Ari'sora had told her about being held captive for most of last Cylus, and what she had endured during that time.
Felicia stood quickly, and left the room. She returned a few bits later.
"I asked Chris to go take a look around outside to see if anyone suspicious was hanging around." she said as she sat down once more.
That reassured Ari'sora a little. If Hathelrri was out there, Chris would find him. And gardener or not, he was strong enough to look out for himself in a fight. That was assuming that she had even really seen the man at all. Now in the safety of the orphanage, she was starting to question what she had seen. It wasn't like she had gotten a good look at the man, after all, and there were likely to be more than one Lotharro in Scalvoris.
As Ari'sora's breathing slowed, she began to feel guilty for causing such trouble.
"I'm sorry." she said softly.
"What for?" Felicia asked in concern.
"For...all of this. I'm supposed to help take care of the kids here, but I scared them instead."
Felicia chuckled, and shook her head.
"Taking care of people who are in need of care is very important. But it's important to remember to take you own needs into consideration too. In order to be able to take care of others, you must take care of yourself first. If you do not, you will have nothing to give the people in your care."
Ari'sora nodded, lost in thought as she considered Felicia's words. It made a great deal of sense, and it also made her feel better about her current state.
"The kids will be fine. The more important question is...will you? You look better now than when you first arrived, but are you in any condition to work totrial?"
Ari'sora considered the question carefully before nodding.
"I was terrified, yes. But I am calmer now. And it isn't like I was actually hurt, or anything. Spending time with the kids will be a good distraction for me as well as helping you. It's too hot out to run around outside, but I could tell them a story. They like my stories."
"Yes, they do. But I think they would enjoy a singalong more this time. They've been talking about wanting to have one for trials."
"I think I can manage that." she agreed.