• Closed • Reunion

Kura and Kirei meet back up.

84th of Ashan 720

Once an isolated and dying township, an influx of academics, adventurers and thrill seekers have made Scalvoris Town their home. From scholars' tea shops to a new satellite campus for Viden Academy, this is an exciting place to visit or make your home!

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Kura Wolfsdotter
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Timestamp:84th of Ashan, 720
Location: Scalvtown

Kura let out a low growl as she reread Kirei's letters. She had known that going into hiding would have repurcussions, but she hadn't wanted to hurt her sister so deeply, especially after they had found each other again. Worse yet, the whole thing seemed to be made worse by already existing issues. Even more worse, according to Pierce, no one had seen or heard from Kirei since Saun. On top of all that, Kura hadn't known where Kirei lived before she disappeared, and it had taken Pierce quite some time to track down her sisters house. However, thanks to her spy/butler, Kura knew where her sister lived and figured that would be a good place to start looking. So, taking both of the letters Kierei, and Kirion, had sent her, Kura went over to her sisters house.

Word of her recent promotion had reached Scalvoris Town, and the locals looked at their new Albarech with no small amount of curiosity. Her reputation did exist, but very few people in Scalvoris knew much, if anything, about her private life or her history. To many of them, she had just popped up out of nowhere and almost immediately talked her way into a Council seat. Fortunately, she hadn't been idle in the days since joining the Council and her actions as a Councilor were, so far, well enough received to overcome her vague origins.

For now, however, most folk just stayed out of her way and let her get about her business. Fortunately, the meant she could get to her sisters house without any interruptions. Taking a deep breath, she knocked on the door and waited for an answer, fully prepared to wait until someone got home if the house was currently empty. Once someone either opened the door or got home, Kura smiled. "Hi, I'm lookin' for Kirei? Or if she's not here, Kirion?" she asked. "I'm Kura, by the way, Kirei's sister."
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Kirei Qe'Azour
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Kirion flipped through the pages of the book he was reading. With Kirei trapped in caracal form as she was, the entire family had stepped up to help her out in every way that they could. The people at Cally's believed that she had suffered a deep trauma that she was working through. They believed that she was terrified of being around too many people, and that the staff and customers of the restaurant would overwhelm her. So they had allowed her to continue learning as much as she could about various cooking techniques on her own while providing them with fresh meat until she had recovered enough to return to work as a chef. That was one thing less that they needed to worry about.

The kids had all stepped up to do all of the housework. At fourteen and twelve arcs respectively, Kirion and Maerin were the oldest. So they took over the biggest jobs, and all of the errands, leaving Aerin, Eris, and Ryl to do the smaller jobs. Aiden looked after the youngest children, but all of the kids chipped in to help. Ryl especially, was good at entertaining Tauriel and keeping her occupied while Aiden looked after Ruari and the twins.

At the moment, Kirion was looking up recipes and various ingredients that he thought Kirei might want to learn about while Maerin and the others were looking after the little kids since Aiden was out hunting with Kirei. He was so focused on what he was doing, that it took him several trills to realize that someone was knocking on the door.

Kirion frowned in confusion as he stared at the door. They weren't expecting anyone. Aiden wouldn't knock, and Kirei couldn't. So who could it be, and what could they possibly want? Aerin appeared in the door leading into the family room, and looked at him apprehensively.

"Aren't you going to answer it?" she asked softly.

Kirion considered ignoring it. Whoever it was, was probably trouble. Even if it was only someone from Cally's wanting an update on Kirei's condition, it wasn't something he was prepared to deal with. But he knew that whoever it was wasn't likely to just go away. So with reluctance, he nodded. Kirion got up, and went to answer the door. His expression was wary as he opened the door, but it quickly turned to confusion and shock as he recognized the Albarech standing outside. His eyes widened even further when the woman asked for Kirei. What possible reason would the Albarech have for wanting to speak with Kirei? And what, exactly was she supposed to tell her? Kirei wasn't exactly able to speak to anyone who didn't know the codes they had worked out as a family. More importantly, she didn't want it known that she was a caracal, or that she was currently trapped in that form. Kirion couldn't blame her for that; if it was generally known, there would be all kinds of questions that Kirei didn't want to answer. Many of them would be ones that she probably couldn't answer for that matter.

Kirion's mind raced as he desperately tried to think of something he could tell the Albarech when she spoke again. This time, she introduced herself, and told him that she was Kirei's sister. Kirion froze in confused shock for a few trills. He had known that Kirei's sister's name was Kura, of course. But he had never met the woman, and he certainly hadn't known that the Kura who was the Albarech was the same Kura that had been Kirei's sister. He had just assumed that there were more than one Kura living in Scalvoris. Kirei's sister was supposed to be dead, after all.

"You're not dead." he said blankly.

Then he blushed a deep shade of red.

"Sorry." he muttered a trill later.

"That was stupid. Kirei's not here right now. Do you want to come in and wait?" he asked.

Why am I asking her that? What do I do if she says yes? It's not like Kirei can talk to her right now...and what is Kura going to do if she learns about Kirei? Would Kirei want her to know if she knew that her sister was alive? Then again...Kirei's a mortalborn, and Kura is one too...she has to be if they're sisters, right? Does that mean that Kura can help her somehow?

Kirion noticed the letters that Kura was holding, and enough of the writing was visible for him to realize that they were Kirei's. Part of him wondered just how much trouble he was in. Kirei had never meant for anyone else to read those letters. He knew that. But it wasn't exactly as if he thought that Kura would ever really read them! She had been dead at the time! Or at least...everyone had thought she was...

If Kura was willing to follow him, he would lead her into the family room. The rest of the kids had gathered, and were watching them with curiosity and nervousness. Maerin introduced herself and the others before offering Kura something to eat and drink, and Kirion silently cursed himself for forgetting to offer proper hospitality to their guest himself. Then he realized something else he had forgotten, and he blushed again.

"I'm Kirion, by the way. I'm guessing that you probably have some questions. I'll try to answer anything I can, but it's...complicated."

****************************************


Kirei sniffed the air carefully, allowing her instincts to interpret the various scents. One was identified as being a rabbit. It was the strongest scent by far. According to her instincts, that meant two things. One was that that scent was the closest one to where she was. It also meant that there was more than one rabbit nearby. That suggested a rabbit warren since rabbits wouldn't wander far from home in Cylus if they had a choice.

The second scent her instincts picked up was similar to a rabbit in some ways. As a passenger in her own head, Kirei wondered if that meant that the owner of the scent was similar to a rabbit. Her guess was confirmed when her instincts told her that it was the scent of a squirrel...specifically the type that live in trees as opposed to the ones that live on the ground. That scent was older than the rabbit scent, though, and her instincts warned her that it would be harder to follow it because of that. It meant that the squirrel was no longer in the area, and the chances of losing the scent before finding the prey was high.

The next scent she identified was a deer. The scent was strong enough for there to be more than one, possibly even a herd. But it was further away than the rabbits, and since Kirei was hunting for her family totrial rather than for Cally's, she decided to settle on the rabbits. A hot rabbit stew would be the perfect thing to combat the icy cold of Cylus, and it was something that could feed her family for trials. Besides, her adopted children were better at skinning rabbits and cooking them than they were at dealing with the much larger deer.

Decision made, she gave control back over to her instincts and began following the rabbit scent. It wasn't long before she reached a clearing in the woods, and there was the rabbit warren. Two rabbits were visible, both rooting through the snow for whatever they could find to eat. She made a note about having been right that more rabbits in Cylus meant a warren since they were unlikely to stray far from home if they could avoid it. But it was time to hunt, and Kirei wanted to focus on what her instincts did; it was the only way she had of learning to do it herself at this point.

She was downwind of the warren, and Kirei noted that this allowed her to get much closer to her prey than she might have otherwise been able to. The wind was blowing the scent of the rabbits to her, and blowing hers away from them, so they didn't smell her coming. When she was within striking distance, her froze, every muscle tensed as her body prepared to leap. Then she did. She pounced on the first rabbit, killing it quickly, but the second one was down the nearest entrance to its warren before she could even attempt to go after it.

From past experience, she knew that it was no use hoping to catch another rabbit here. Not now, at least. The one that had escaped would have warned any other rabbits in the warren of the danger simply by the panic of its escape. No. No other rabbits would be poking their heads out of this warren any time soon. One rabbit did not make a rabbit stew. Fortunately, this wasn't her first kill of the trial. She had killed four other rabbits that were currently back with Aiden at the edge of the forest. He wasn't any kind of hunter himself, but he liked to come with her when she went hunting as a way of spending some private time with her without the kids. And she had to admit that it was useful to have him along. He was able to carry more rabbits than she could, and if she had managed to get a deer totrial, she would have needed his help to get it home.

Kirei quickly made her way back to where Aiden was waiting for her, and she gave a huff in greeting when she saw him. He grinned at her.

"Five rabbits. Not bad, Kirei. We'll have a good stew for supper tonight!"

Kirei huffed again, this time in agreement.

"Are you ready to head back now, or did you want to try your luck again?"

Kirei gestured in the direction of home as an answer. Aiden grinned again, and the two of them made their way home with their dinner.

****************************************

When they got home, Kirei picked up an unfamiliar scent that made her freeze. They hadn't been expecting any company, and her instincts protested the invasion of her territory. She growled low in her throat, a clear warning. Aiden tensed, and looked at her questioningly, but she had no way to convey her concerns to him. Even so, he was tense and alert as he opened the door to their house, and walked in. Kirei was hot on his heels.

"Kirion?" he called worriedly.

"We're home. Is everything okay?"

The kids glanced at each other nervously, uncertain as to whether Aiden would be upset that Kura was here.

"Mama Kitty?" Tauriel called hopefully.

Kirion stiffened, wondering just how he was supposed to explain that if Kura started asking questions about it.

"We're in here." he called after a trill.

"And we have a guest."

As Aiden made his way into the room, he froze in shock, recognizing the Albarech.

"May I ask what brings you here, ma'am?" he asked politely, shock and confusion clearly present in his voice.

Kirei froze in the doorway to the family room when she saw Kura. Her sister was dead. Everyone knew that. So how could Kura be in her house? She certainly didn't look like a wisp...

"Mama Kitty!" Tauriel cried gleefully as she ran over to Kirei as fast as her little legs would carry her.

"Miss you, Mama Kitty!"

Kirei withstood the ambush by toddler easily, purring when Tauriel hugged her. But her eyes were on Kura, as she tried to figure out just what was going on.



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When a teenager opened the door, Kura spared a moment to wonder why the boy wasn't in school, but figured that was Kirei's decision. When he blurted out his reaction to her survival, however, she smiled at him. "I'm not, no." she said, her tone gentle. "It wasn't stupid, no. I've been gettin' that reaction rather a lot, lately." she said, her tone slightly amused. "And yes, I'll be happy to wait for her." she said, letting the boy lead her into the sitting room. After being introduced to the family, Kura accepted the offer of refreshments, then looked at Kirion as he introduced himself. "Ah, so you're Kirion. I do have questions, yes, and while Kirei's out, we can talk about the one I couldn't ask while she was here." she said, her voice calm and relaxed. "You sent me a letter. I think I can help her, but I need to know everythin' you can tell me about why she's stuck in that mindset." she said, her tone turning more serious then.

When Kirei and Aiden came home, Kura nodded at Aiden when he came in the door. "I'm here to see my sister." she said, her tone polite in response to his question. At first, she didn't give the caracel that followed him in a second thought. After all, many hunters had hunting companions. But then Tauriel, one of the kids that Kura had been introduced her, called the caracel "mama kitty" and ran to hug her. That didn't take much to put together and Kura sighed and set aside her plate. "So that's why everyone's been walkin' on eggshells since I got here. To save time, Kirei, I am very much alive." she said, standing up and walking over to her sister as she spoke.

Kneeling down, she considered her sisters cat form for a bit, then smiled. "You know, I figured it would be Ela who'd be the first to actually turn into an animal. But it's a solid huntin' form, and pretty handy for a first Mortalborn power." she said, before considering her sister a bit longer. "Let me guess, though, you haven't figured out how to change back, have you?" she said, her tone calm. "Well, it's not uncommon for powers that don't have an automatic cut-off. I've hospitalized myself twice when first gettin' new powers."

Kura pondered Kirei a moment longer, then nodded and looked at Aiden and Kirion. "You must have worked out a communication system. If you can translate, I can probably help find out how she can change back." she said, before looking back at Kirei. "Don't you worry none, little sister. We'll have you back on two feet in no time." she said, before something occurred to her. "Oh, and there was nothin' wrong with savin' that dog, by the way. Anyone who tells you different has a bad agenda." she said, her tone firm, but reassuring.
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When Kura said that she thought that she could help Kirei, Kirion felt a huge sense of relief. She asked him to tell her everything that he knew about why Kirei thought she was so selfish, and why it was so horrible that she was. That he would answer the question wasn't a question. Of course he would. He would do anything within his power to help the woman that he and his sister saw as a mother. But even so, he took a few bits to gather his thoughts and try to piece together what he knew.

"I don't know how much you know about Kirei's past, but she lived on the streets of Rynmere for most of her childhood. If she was anything like me and my sister, she was probably half feral back then. We were before she took us in. When she was twelve, she was captured and sold to a slave ship. She spent three arcs in the slave school in Athart before she was sold. And she wasn't freed until Ymiden of 717."

Kirion paused for a trill as he remembered some of what Kirei had told him. Being older than the other kids, he knew that he, and his sister knew more about Kirei's past than the other kids did. But he was well aware that he didn't know everything. And some of what he knew of it had come from overhearing Kirei and Aiden talk on more than one occasion.

"Kirei didn't tell me everything that happened to her during those arcs...or even all that much of it, really. But I know enough to know that it was bad at that school. From what I do know, and from what I've seen...I think that Kirei believes that being selfish is one of the worst kinds of evil there is. Right up there with being a monster that tortures and kills people for fun. If I'm right, that makes sense, kinda. I mean...slaves can't really be selfish. I bet that they had all kinds of horrible punishments for people who showed even the slightest signs of being selfish at that slave school."

I don't think that Kirei really ever dealt with what happened to her there. She probably couldn't when she was a slave, and afterwards...well, knowing Kirei, she probably thought that she should be over it by the time she was free. Especially when she she found Maerin and I sleeping in her barn, and offered to let us live with her. Aerin and the others, too. She already had Tauriel to look after when I met her. She probably focused on taking care of us instead of herself.

"Then in Zi'da of 718, some idiot told her that she was selfish." Kirion growled.

Then he flushed.

"Okay...so Pier and Pre aren't really idiots. But still. It was the worst thing someone could say to her, and it came from someone she couldn't just dismiss as an idiot who didn't know what they were talking about. They are the Immortals who judge us after we die, after all. That doesn't make me hate them any less for hurting Kirei, though." he muttered.

"I think...I think that what they said ate at her. It had to. She couldn't dismiss it because their purpose is to judge people. So instead, she must have wondered what they had seen in her to make them say that. She started questioning herself, and everything she did. All of us could see that, especially when it got bad. None of us dared say that we wanted something because we were scared it would make her feel worse. And then she just...fell apart."

************************************************

Kirei wondered how Kura guessed that she was more than the caracal she looks like so easily. Tauriel's "Mama Kitty" was probably a good clue. But there were other reasons for that name. Her cubs poked their heads in the room, probably smelling that she had returned. Aerin picked one of them up, and looked at Kura.

"How did you know that the caracal was Mom? I mean...Tauriel could have been calling her "Mama Kitty" because she has cubs."

Kirei flinched at her adopted daughter's words. Even she was troubled by that at times. She knew that her instincts had been in control when she had gone into heat, and that she couldn't have won against them. She had tried once she realized what was happening. And she knew that she relied very heavily on the instincts of her current form, especially when she had first turned into a caracal. Even now, she was hopeless at hunting without them. But...even so. She couldn't help but wonder what Kura would think about the cubs. She knew what it looked like on the surface.

Aiden chuckled.

"Probably because there was no way I would let Tauriel tackle her like that if she was a real caracal. No matter how well a hunting caracal is trained, they are still wild in some ways. A real caracal would never permit anyone to tackle them the way Tauriel does."

Kirei wasn't completely certain of that. Her instincts were incredibly protective of all her cubs...the ones who walked on two legs as well as the ones who walked on four legs. She couldn't imagine ever hurting Tauriel, or any of her cubs. But would those maternal instincts be enough to stop a real caracal from savaging anyone who tried to tackle them like that? Not if they saw that person as any kind of threat, at least. She did nod in agreement, though. She also purred when Kura told her that she was alive.

Kura said that they must have worked out a way of communicating, and she, Aiden, and Kirion all nodded at the same time. Then Aiden chuckled again.

"It's a lot more limited than we'd like, but yes we have." he agreed.

When Kura spoke of her not knowing how to turn back, Kirei wasn't sure how to respond to that. She did...or at least she thought she knew some of it...but at the same time she didn't. If she was right about not being able to turn back unless she truly wanted to be the person she had been before she got trapped in her caracal form, she didn't know if she could ever turn back. How could she want to be the selfish person that she was? She was doing everything she could think of to be better than that! And yet...she desperately wanted to be able to turn back.

After a few trills, she tapped her paw on the floor once. Then she hesitated a few trills before tapping it on the floor twice. Finally she tapped her paw on the floor once more. Aiden frowned.

"Tapping her paw on the floor once like that means yes, and twice means no. She can count in the same way. Doing both like that...means that the answer is complicated. It can mean that it is more involved than a yes or no can answer, or it can mean that both answers are correct." he translated.

Kirei's eyes widened when Kura mentioned the dog she had saved. How could she possibly know about that?! When Kirion's breathing speed up, Kirei looked at him expectantly.

"Um...I kinda sent the letters that you wrote to Kura. Maerin believes that if you send a letter to someone who has died, they can read it. And I...I wanted to help. I didn't know what Kura could do when we thought she was dead, but...if there was even a chance that she could help..."

Kirei wasn't sure what to think. Those letters were private...but she couldn't bring herself to be mad at Kirion. Not when she had clearly hurt him even more than she realized she had with all of this. And if there was something that Kura could do to help, then she wanted that desperately. But that didn't mean that she was at all comfortable with her sister knowing how selfish she was. At the same time...hearing Kura tell her that she was right to save the dog...that helped. Even now, she couldn't believe that she had been wrong to help the dog.



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Kura nodded when Kirion started talking about Kire's past. "So far, this is all things she told me, when we were sortin' out how she had been taken from our family." she said, her voice calm. There was a slight glint of gold in Kura's eyes for a moment when slave schools of Athart were brought, but she managed to keep from growling. "It is...difficult, for people to move past the kind of things she was forced to endure. She is not the only person I know who still struggles with what Athart left in them." she said, her voice calm but with a slight edge. Kura was not happy about Kirei having been in Athart, not at all.

When it came out that it was Pier and Pre who had told Kirei she was selfish, however, Kura rolled her eyes. "Oh, those two. They aren't stupid, no, but they aren't exactly what I would call reliable. This isn't even the first time this Arc I've heard about them stuffin' somethin' up." she said, some clear annoyance in her tone. "Don't you worry none, I'll be able to set her straight on that point. I've got some unassailable logic that'll go a long way to fixin' that right up, plus another advantage. But I do need one bit of information that you can help me with." she said, her tone confident. "How many of the children here did she adopt? And how many were born to her?" she asked, her tone intent.



When one of the kids, Aerin if Kura remembered introductions correctly, picked up a kitten and asked how Kura had known the caracal was Kirei, explaining that the little cats were also Kirei's, Kura just grinned. "Our family has a strong association with animals. I've had an owl followin' me about since I was little, our sister Ela keeps wild animals as companions, and our mum runs with wolves." she said, her tone cheerful as she reached out to pet the kitten, if it would let her. "Hello there, little one. I'm afraid I'm not quite sure if you're a niece or a nephew, I'm not that up on cat anatomy." she said, nothing about her voice or body language or expression showing she was the slightest bit bothered by Kirei having actual kittens as kids.

At Aiden's point though, Kura laughed a bit as well. "That did help." she said, her tone warm. When they explained their worked out communication method, though, Kura shook her head. "Well, that is limited. If all else fails, I'll get you guys a couple packs of those letter blocks. A few of those should be enough to let Kirei spell out most words, and I figure that will help a lot." she said, her tone calm.

When topics turned to the letters Kirei had sent, Kura nodded. "Right, to business, then. I read those letters you sent, little sister, and Kirion filled in some gaps for me." she said, looking at the rest of the group. "This is somethin' I'd rather not have gettin' out, so I'd appreciate if no one goes talkin' about what they hear today." she said, her tone firm, but not so firm as to scare the kids. Then she looked back at her sister. "I'm old, Kirei, well into my second century of life. And in all those decades, the most important thing I have ever learned about the Immortals is that they can be wrong, they can be foolish, and they can be just plain stupid. Even when it comes to their own Domains, they can still bugger things up. Pier and Pre, for the record, can barely bring themselves to agree on what color the sky is half the time, so I wouldn't take anythin' they say as automatically true." she said, her tone calm.

"But as for you bein' selfish? Nah, they're just wrong." she said, before gesturing at Kirei's whole household. "Three kids of your own, that's enough for most. You took in six more, out of the goodness of your heart. I've known a whole load of selfish people in my time, and I can tell you that not a one of them would have been inclined to take even one child in unless there was a profit to made out of it somehow." she said, before grinning slightly. "Besides, bein' generous runs in the family, and you're a Wolfsdotter, same as I am. Athart couldn't change that, not if you're takin' in kids because they need a home." she said, her tone warm.
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Kirion nodded solemnly when Kura told him that it was difficult for people to get past the kinds of things that Kirei had been through.

"She still has nightmares sometimes. And sometimes...I'm not really sure what to call it. She's a fast learner, but if she gets overwhelmed, or if she thinks she isn't learning something fast enough she panics. When that happens, she sometimes...it's like she goes away for a while. Like she thinks she's back at that slave school in Athart, and she's afraid of being punished. I think she gets trapped in her memories when that happens. And it's worse if she thinks she's failed at something."

It didn't happen all that often, but it happened often enough that everyone but the youngest kids knew to look for signs of it happening. Even Tauriel could sense that something was wrong during one of Kirei's episodes.

"Usually when it happens, it doesn't last for very long. But sometimes it can take breaks before she comes back to herself, and once it was a full trial."

For that matter, he and Maerin still had nightmares about living on the streets of Rynmere, and he knew that Aeris, Eris, and Ryl did as well. They never got trapped in their memories the way Kirei did sometimes though.

Kura's reaction to the fact that Pier and Pre had been the ones who had told Kirei that she was selfish shocked him into wide eyed silence for several bits. The Immortals made mistakes? Pier and Pre had made more than one mistake this arc alone? It was mind boggling. It had never once occurred to him that the Immortals could make mistakes, and judging from the looks on the other kids' faces, it had never crossed their minds either. But the thought that Kura could help Kirei was a reassuring one, and her confidence that her plan would work made Kirion believe in it as well despite not knowing what she would do.

When Kura asked him how many of the kids that lived here had been adopted, he blinked in startled confusion.

"Six of us." he replied.

"Tauriel was her master's kid, and part of her duties as a slave was to take care of her. She's the only mother Tauriel has ever known, so when her master died, she just kept her because there was no one else to take her in. Kirie found Maerin and I sleeping in her barn. She could have ran us off or called the guard because we were trespassing on her land, but she took us in and gave us a home instead. Aerin, Eris, and Ryl were living on the streets too. Aerin tried to steal some money from Kirei when they first met. Not only did Kirei let her keep the money, she took them home for a good meal. Then she sat us all down, and while they were eating, she offered them a home too."

He hesitated.

"Do you mind if I ask why you wanted to know that?" he asked.

***************************************************************

The kitten, a young female was happy to let her mother's sister pet her, and she purred a thank you. After a few trills, she tried to bat at her mother's sister's paw playfully with her own, careful to keep her claws sheathed as she did so. If she managed to catch her mother's sister's paw, she would give it a good lick, and nuzzle up against it in a clear greeting.

Kirei watched her daughter's antics in amusement. There were times that she wondered just how much the kittens were able to understand. This instance was one of them. While it was possible that her kitten was just playing, it almost seemed as if she was reacting to Kura's words, and accepting her aunt as a member of her family.

The comment about Kirei's family having a strong connection to animals made Aiden chuckle.

"Maybe that's why we have so many cats coming around."

Kirei's eyes widened. Could he be right about that? She had always loved animals, and cats were a special favorite of hers. So were all felines, but house cats held a special place in her heart. She loved them so much that she had never bothered to question why so many cats seemed to stop in whenever they felt like it. Some even moved themselves in and made themselves comfortable much to the amusement of her family.

"Yeah, it's like they own the place instead of us." Eris said with a giggle.

When Kura mentioned letter blocks, Kirei and Aiden exchanged shocked glances. How had they not thought of that?

"Why didn't we think of that?" Kirion asked, echoing their feelings.

Then the topic of conversation turned to the letters Kirei had written. When asked not to talk about what Kura was about to tell them, everyone was quick to promise that they wouldn't. Kirei listened intently to what Kura had to say. Her own family had told her that she wasn't selfish of course. But they loved her, and they would tell her anything that they thought she wanted to hear because of it. Kura was family too, but they didn't know each other well enough for Kirei to think her sister might be less than truthful in order to spare her feelings.

There was another fact that she had to consider as well. Her sister was a mortalborn just like she was. If Kura said that she was over two hundred arcs old, then Kirei believed her. She had a hard time picturing herself living for that long, but she knew that it was possible. That wasn't the important thing though. The important thing was what Kura had said living that long had taught her.

Kirei had always believed that an Immortal knew everything that there was to know about their Domains. They were Immortals after all. It simply had never occurred to her that they could make mistakes the way that mortals did. That was why it had been so devastating when Pier and Pre had called her selfish. It was their duty to judge people after they die, so if they said she was selfish then they must have seen something in her to justify that. At least...that's what she had thought. But Kura said that the Immortals could make mistakes. That gave her room to doubt Pier's and Pre's judgement of her. Especially when the people she loved and trusted the most were telling her the opposite.

She believed them. Kirei believed them whole heartedly. And in that instant, it was as if a great weight had fallen away from her. Somehow she knew that if she tried to change back, she would succeed. So she did.

The pain hit her instantly a heat coming from deep inside her that was so intense that she was certain that she was burning alive from the inside out. It quickly spread throughout her entire body, engulfing her completely. Kirei couldn't even scream; the agony was so intense that it took her breath away. She collapsed as her entire body began shaking violently. She curled up as tightly as she could in an attempt to escape the pain. Her futile attempt to escape the pain only seemed to make it worse, but she found that she could breathe again. Then she started to scream.



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When Kirion asked why Kura had asked how many kids Kirei had adopted, Kura just smiled slightly. "No selfish person would adopt six kids and raise them well." she said, her tone soft. When Kirei's kitten started playing with her hand, Kura let the little furball catch it, watching the way the cat reacted to her. "You know, I think these little ones are like to be much smarter than your average caracal. Mayhap they'll be akin to the Velduris wolves like that." she said, giving the kitten a little scritch under the chin. When the topic of the cats coming around came up, Kura nodded. "It's possible. If I go campin' in the wrong place, I've got owls buggin' me all night. Now mind, owls are beautiful birds, but your average owl really isn't all that bright." she said, her tone amused.

She did, however, shrug when everyone got all embarrassed about not having thought of the spelling blocks. "Kirei's not the first person I've had to work out an alternate means of communication for. I've needed to get information out of folks that have been in some truly terrible shape before. And you'd think it'd just be the soldiers, but no, I workplace misbehavior can cause some real damage in certain jobs." she said, shaking her head. Then, before they could pursue that thought any further, Kirei started to change. It did not appear to be a pleasant process.

"All right, kids both mortal and feline, take yourselves elsewhere. I guarantee you, she doesn't want you lot present for this." she said, her tone very firm. Then she looked at Aiden. "You should go be with them. This kind of thing is somethin' of an expertise of mine and they'll need someone on hand, most like." she said, her tone not an order with him, more of a firm suggestion. She did take off her coat, however, because she figure Kirei would want something to cover up with when the change was finished. "It's all right, Kirei, don't try to fight it. It'll go smoother if you just let your powers run their course." she said, her tone as calming and soothing as she could make it.
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The kids stared at their mother in horror when she began to scream. Tauriel began to cry hysterically, and Kirion quickly scooped her up and tried to comfort her. But his efforts met with no success, and his own eyes were wide and fixed on his adopted mother's writhing form. Maerin scooped up the young kitten and cuddled her, trying to shield her from what was happening.

Kura's words prodded them into action, and the kids all but fled the room. Aiden hesitated. He wanted desperately to help Kirei, but he had no idea how. And Kura had a good point; he might not know how to help Kirei, but he could help the kids. So he turned to Kura.

"Help her...please." he begged her.

Then with one last look, he followed his kids out of the room.

******************************************************************

The agony was absolute. Her entire world was agony, and she wondered why the entire world had suddenly erupted into flame. She was vaguely aware of her sister ordering the kids away, and she felt a wave of gratitude for it. They didn't need to see their mother being burned alive like this.

Kura's words came from a great distance. Not fight? She wasn't fighting...was she? There was nothing to fight against. All she could do was to try and endure the all consuming agony. If she didn't endure it...what would happen? Would she burn away to nothing? But that was already happening now, wasn't it? Did not fighting mean that she was supposed to give in to the agony that was consuming her? What would happen if she did? What would happen if she didn't? Did she even have a choice either way?

Thoughts shattered in her mind before she could fully grasp them. The agony made thinking impossible. But Kirei knew that her sister was like her. They shared the same Immortal mother, and they both had powers that others did not because of who their mother was. Kura had just finished telling them how old she was, and with age came experience. If Kura was telling her not to fight, then that was important. With a few trills of hesitation, Kirei gave herself over to the agony completely. And she continued to burn.

Time passed, but Kirei had no concept of it. Her screams gradually faded into hoarse, ragged sobs as her voice failed her. After an eternity, the agony began to fade. No...it didn't fade as much as it began to draw back. At first, the tips of her fingers stopped burning. And they were fingers now, not claws. She knew that somehow even if she couldn't move them. Her toes stopped burning shortly after. But as the agony withdrew from her extremities, it intensified through the rest of her, as if the fire that consumed her was burning hotter than it had been before.

This gradual withdrawal lasted for what felt like another eternity. When the intense burning agony was centered around her heart, it was so intense that she couldn't even breathe. Then it exploded, and all that was left was the darkness.

***********************************************************

Kirei stirred weakly. Her fingers and toes twitched, as if reminding her that she still existed, and that she still had a body. She felt as weak as a trial old kitten, but as her eyes fluttered open, she realized that she was, in fact, alive. That was a good thing. The all consuming agony was gone, and that was a relief so powerful that Kirei couldn't even begin to describe it. And as she tried to take stock of herself, she realized that she was back to normal once more. Or back to being her real self at least.

Kirei frowned. That felt wrong. Her caracal self was every bit as "real" as this self was. So. She was back to her other self, then.

"Is Mama Kitty okay?" a hushed voice asked.

The little girl was quickly hushed. Alarmed that Tauriel might be near by, she tried to stand, but her body refused to obey. She did manage to pull herself up to her hands and knees, though. When she looked around, she realized that Tauriel wasn't there. How had she heard her daughter, then? Her ears twitched, and suddenly Kirei had her answer. Tentative hands slowly reached up to her head, and she could feel them. Although most of her was back to her other self, her ears were still those of a caracal, and she had the sense of hearing to match. And as she started making sense of what she was feeling, she realized that she still had her tail as well.

"I..." her voice was little more than a hoarse whisper, and her throat burned when she tried to talk, so she quickly gave up, one hand rising up to rub her aching throat reflexively.

That was when she saw Kura. Her sister had stayed with her when she was burning. Kirei had no words for what that made her feel, but gratitude and relief were a large part of it.

"How..."

Her second attempt at talking went no better than the first had, and it hurt, so she gave up. She just hoped that her sister knew how much it meant to her that she had stayed.

Note
Kirei has no idea much time has passed, but it took her three full trials to shift back into her bipedal form.


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It took a long time for Kirei to regain her human form, far longer than Kura figured it should have. She suspected it was a combination of Kirei being unfamiliar with her powers and how long she had been stuck in caracal form. Eventually, of course, she did regain her human form, mostly. When it was done, she put her coat over her sister and knelt down to look at her. "She'll be fine, Tauriel. She's worn out her voice and there's some physical changes, but she's back to her human form. Mortalborn powers sometimes have physical side effects, but you can never tell until the powers start to manifest." she said, her voice calm and quiet. When Kirei tried to speak, Kura smiled and put a hand on her shoulder.

"Don't try to speak yet. Your transformation took three days. Normally, I expect it won't take so long but you were a caracal for a long time and you're new to your powers yet. Even disregardin' that you've worn yourself out, it'll take some time to re-adjust to being human again." she said her tone calm. Then she smiled warmly at her sister. "It's good to see you bein' able to be human again, you know." she said, her voice affectionate. "I'm going to help Aiden get you into bed, then I need to get back to work before the government collapses, but I'll be back to check on you tonight." she said, gesturing to Aiden.

Once Kirei was back in bed, and she'd brook no argument from her sister on the matter, she looked a her sisters family. "She's likely to behave a little oddly for quite a while after this. I'll keep an eye when I'm here to see if there's anythin' I can do about it, but odds are, we'll have to wait for the residual effects to pass. " she said, before shaking her head. "No knowin' if the physical changes are permanent, but they aren't like to bother her too much, so don't be lettin' them bother you either." she said, before turning to face Aiden directly. "And don't be lettin' her wander off on her own for a bit. We still don't know what her other powers are, and if they manifest in similar ways, it'll be good for her to be havin' someone on hand you knows her." she said, her tone firm.

Once everything she was settled, she went back to her office in the Scalvoris Town Council Building to start catching up on the three days of work she had missed. She let them know she was sitting with her sister while she was sick, but they had still been nervous, since she was still new to her role. Well, she'd settle that in short order. Still, she was nervous about Kirei, especially since she had two others powers left to realize. However, she put it out of her mind for now. She knew from experience that they couldn't do anything about it until those powers manifested.
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Re: Reunion

This thread has been declared non-canon in connection with the PSF ticket here: viewtopic.php?f=362&t=26202
These events did not happen. If you find any reference to the events described within this thread on behalf of any of the involved parties or any other character, please contact moderators immediately due to breach of continuity.

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