A Chilly Reunion [Svariella's Stone]

Navyri please

The cities and villages of Melrath are as varied and diverse as they come. The capital of Raelia is the the jewel of this western kingdom, playing host to a merchants, artisans, Aesir priests, as well as a cut throat political landscape dominated by the nobles of Raelia. To the south in the depths of the Myrkvior Forest lies Melrath's second largest, and oldest city, Fensalir. Here people have learned to live alongside spirits and the natural world by maintaining their loyalty to traditions laid down the first Melrathi. To the east lies the small fishing village of Noatun, and to the western mountains rests the Mer city of Verimeer, the brewing town of Alivilda and the alpine village Vormund.
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A Chilly Reunion [Svariella's Stone]

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A Chilly Reunion
7 Cylus 720


The cold Cylus wind whistled through the makeshift camp as Brent trudged through the deep snow. He was bundled in at least two layers of furs but still felt the frigid air on his exposed cheeks. One of the moons was full, and along with the vast array of stars, it lit up the snowy landscape that would otherwise be dark. As the cartographer moved around the simple wooden dwellings, he was still amazed at how much the Svariella people had managed to accomplish before the worst of the snow had come.

It wasn’t typical for Brent to be traveling outside of Alivilda during the dead of Cylus, especially if it meant taking his horse with him to bare the cold as well. However, he had heard rumors of this new settlement just south of Alivilda, and the skirmishes they had dealt with in late Vhalar. Part of what drove him here was curiosity, to see a whole new community being formed, and part of it was concern that they might not be faring so well in the middle of Cylus.

He had arrived the previous day with supplies, not only for himself but some to offer, and was surprised at the hardiness of the people here as well as their open hospitality. In exchange had tried to offer services of his own, and made some much needed repairs to some of the simple wooden dwellings the people were living in. One building had a leaky roof that was aggravated by the fact that the fire warmed the snow which collected on top. Whereas another one was very drafty, and together they tried to actually use the snow as a form of insulation and to keep out the wind. What struck him most was the optimism they shared and the high regard they each had for the rainbow coloured Svariella Stone.

Now that Brent had a slightly better sense of this community, at least in terms of its people and attitudes and general layout, he wondered if this could be an opportunity to do something more. They were managing alright with the temporary buildings they had, but what about the next cold cycle? What if they needed some additional protection, such as walls? Or even a temple to honor Svariella?

With a limping gait, the cartographer made his way back to the dwelling of the family who had offered to house him, and knocked on the door.

“Adelaide? Do you know of someone who might be interested in hiring a builder come Ashan? Like maybe to construct some protective walls or even a temple?”

The door opened a crack as the woman of the household peeked through, trying to keep the cold out while being wrapped in a multi-coloured knitted shawl.

“There’s not just one person who makes decisions here, but maybe you should try talking to Yvonne. She’s a healer here, and she’s rather clever about those sorts of things.”

Brent gave his thanks and a quick bow. After some brief directions, Adelaide shut the door to keep in the warmth, and Brent started making his way through the simple wooden buildings. The door with the dream catcher… you’ll know it when you see it. There were a couple of webbed rings that gave him pause, but he was certainly not prepared when he finally spotted the intricately beaded dream catcher with an array of brightly coloured feathers hanging from it.

“Come in!” Called a voice after he knocked. “Close the door behind you!”

Inside was a dazzling display of colours as knickknacks littered the walls and hung from the ceiling in a bright array of hues. Brent blinked several times as he took in the slightly larger house that was divided into a main area as well as space for some beds. The beds were simpler, with plain sheets, and it appeared that Yvonne, as he assumed, was caring for one of her patients. She didn’t quite match all the multi-coloured trinkets but she did have her hair in fine braids with colourful feathers tied in at the ends.

“Err, hello. I was told that I might find Yvonne here? My name is Brent Forrester and I might be able to offer my services as a builder here when the weather warms up. Something like some fortifications or a temple. That is, if you’re the right person to ask.” Brent wasn’t exactly sure how best to ask such a question but he hoped it sounded genuine enough.

The healer seemed to nod at her name, but she gave a distinct frown at Brent’s introduction. “Your name… I can’t quite place it…” She started to reply with some obvious distaste, but then seemed to make an effort to mask it. “There may be opportunities for a builder here. Especially as we are still so young as a community.”

Brent stepped forward intending to further his proposal, yet his gaze fell briefly onto the face of one of the patients and he did a double take. She looked worse for wear, but there was no mistaking her obsidian hair and brilliant blue eyes.

“Navyri?! What are you doing…? I thought you had gone. You disappeared and left the theatre and everything! I had made a promise to you and you….”

Brent turned away sharply, unable to look at the winged woman. But more importantly, he did not want her to see the obvious pain upon his face. A wave of emotion flooded him as he recalled her sudden disappearance without a word or anything. How could he have trusted such a flighty being? He had thought he had meant something to her even if it was more along the lines of what he could do for her than his actual character or personality. And now seeing her again seemed to rip open all the protective scabs that had formed during the cold of Zi’da.

Note on Brent's Renown
For context regarding Brent’s name being somewhat known: Brent’s maps had been used by the Ragnari to help round up the Stormtouched in Fensalir and capture them. Since the Svariella Stone community is largely made up of Stormtouched seeking to be healed by the stone, they have a distrust for the Ragnari, and Brent’s name may have been used in passing as the creator of said maps (as they were signed by him).

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Re: A Chilly Reunion [Svariella's Stone]

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"How are you feeling?" Yvonne asked, stepping into the bedroom with a tray of steaming broth and a bit of reading material for the broken Naer. Like shit, Navyri thought. She said nothing in reply and drew the blanket's higher, wincing at the pain that shot through her entire being and shivered beneath the layers. Some time had passed since she had been found at the precipice of icy death, and despite the fires, the furs, and fresh gown, she felt no warmth. Yvonne shuffled forward, setting the items on the nightstand and briefly explaining its contents, "I hope this is alright. Do you... do you remember anything? Being found?"

The lie was easy, "No." Of course she remembered. She remembered plenty. Her kidnapping, her solitary confinement. The screams of lesser men as they were eaten alive by fellow inmates. The wild look in the eyes of the damned. Starvation, agony, escape. Bliss? No.

Despair. Betrayal. Collapse. Cold.

So much cold.

"Well," Yvonne straightened, trying to find the words while Navyri counted the feathers in her hair, "It's a miracle you're even alive. When-"

Knock. Knock.

The medic turned, "Come in! ...Close the door behind you!"

Navyri rested her eyes and pushed her skull deeper into the sad excuse of a pillow. It was lumpy, poorly made, and smelled faintly acidic - a stranger's bile and lye soap, maybe. Pain drummed behind her lids as she listened to the darkness. Uneven footsteps. The unsure voice of a man, "Err, hello."

'It can't be.'

"My name is Brent Forrester and I might be able to offer my services as a builder here...."

Blue eyes opened, watching the door silently as the transaction unfolded before her. Yvonne seemed thoughtful and then dissatisfied, but she did not deny him. Interesting.

Navyri almost believed she could go unnoticed, but fate chose its favor and the carpenter stepped further into door's opening, spotting her at once. Their eyes met and she watched shock twist his features, words spilling out so quickly, she wanted to remind him he was already speaking to someone else. “Navyri?! What are you doing…? I thought you had gone. You disappeared and left the theatre and everything! I had made a promise to you and you….”

She wanted to see if he would finish the sentence. Of course he had brought up the theater - did he really want to have this conversation now? "Hm." Navyri arched a brow, clenching her jaw. Shifting her weight, she leaned forward, pain flaring through her chest. Her lip was busted and swollen, bruises patterned her jaw. The branches from greedy and barren winter trees had cut thin and inflamed scratches across her neck and collarbone. Her wings emerged from the layers of blankets to hang limply over the sides of the cot as she struggled to sit up, "Do you want to have this conversation now?" her eyes flickered beyond him, to Yvonne who stood expectantly, "Luck has been a bit sparse this season. I didn't exactly have time to write."

To the medic, her eyes narrowed, knowing that they wouldn't exactly have privacy, "Do you mind?"
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The healer Yvonne was clearly surprised at the rather sudden and sharp exchange. For a moment, she seemed to be assessing the potential threat of Brent, but eventually she nodded. “I’ll be in the other room,” she replied and stepped away.

“You look like shit,” Brent stated bluntly, having had time to compose his earlier emotions.

He stared at her coldly, still unsure of what to make of the unexpected encounter. He had thought he would never see her again, and that she had vanished to some faraway land for some frivolous reason. Her soft smooth skin was scratched and marred, while her plush kissable lips were swollen. Yet what was more telling was the limp way that her wings and feathers hung.

Her earlier words had been sharp and crisp. Luck had been a bit sparse. But he cautioned himself against blindly believing her. He had fallen for her before. Fallen hard. But she had proved herself fickle and untrustworthy.

“I suppose that when times get tough and luck is sparse, it’s a good time to give up on your dreams.”

His tone was spiteful, and part of him instantly regretted saying it. Yet there was also a degree of stubborn pride in him that made him feel justified in the response.

“But why did you give up? Where did you go? And what happened to you?” In contrast to his bitterness, he implored her for answers. An explanation, even one that cut him deeper, was what he desired most. At least that would give him some sort of resolution after her unexplained and sudden absence for over a season.

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Navyri felt the shock of biting surprise - Brent Forester had quite the opinion, with his tone being both cutting and disrespectful. More upset than she initially guessed, such realization didn't stop heavy wrath from uncoiling and slithering into Navyri's veins like poison. Blue eyes ignited, she dug her nails into the comforter to maintain her rage. If it didn't hurt to breathe, she would have dragged this man across the floor. Exhale, "Surprise, surprise - I've been through some shit," she growled back, a not-so-subtle warning to back down. In a bad mood to begin with, reverting back to a flight or fight response - particularly the fight - would be as natural as drinking water if he kept on.

“I suppose that when times get tough and luck is sparse, it’s a good time to give up on your dreams.”

Another jolt of disbelief. His words were so different than their last encounters, Navyri had never given thought to how his disdain might present himself, "My dreams?" Was he serious? She barked a cutting laugh, throwing away the comforter while hot fire shot through her side. If anything, Brent was upset because his own fantasies were crushed! She could only imagine it was because he had conjured up some delusion, all because of one fuck. Still, bare feet kicked out of bed, Navyri roaring through the pain, "I have given up on nothing! Why else would I still be anywhere near Melrath!?"

She hated this place! She hated what it represented!

At once, her right leg screamed and she grabbed the cot to keep steady. Frustration urged the Naer to launch the weighted bag that hung from the corner of her bed post towards, and then she remembered the book and broth. Twisting alongside agony, Navyri snatched the reading material, while the first projectile hit the floor with a clatter. Bag bursting at its mouth, a spare dagger skidded across the floor, followed by a pair of prisoner's cuffs. The sight drew her attention and her fury fused with growing panic, "You want to know what happened? That! That's what fucking happened!"

Navyri was fuming. Every step felt like a blade to her lungs and the injury on her hip threatened to reopen. When she had lost control in the wilderness and fell towards the tree tops, a gash had split into her side. Brent might not have been able to see gauze beneath the cotton dress, but Navyri was hurting, "I was abducted, you prick!" She had warned Soren too about her safety, and yet neither men felt the need to act. Often capable of defending herself, even the selfish thief knew when she was at disadvantage. Niefleheim had been a glaring one.

Navyri tried to throw the book, but her body was too sore to offer justice and it landed at the foot of his boot. The thing she had like most about Brent had been his reverence, and now, he was unrecognizable, "How can you even speak to me like this? There were hangings! Burnings! And it never occurred to you they might have taken another? I was tortured and starved! I don't even know what trial it is!" Cylus something. Had she really thought this man might have been clever?

Physical and mental exhaustion was taking its toll, and she sunk against the bed, her voice suddenly tired. The pain was getting harder to ignore and she could only imagine what Yvonne must have thought hearing the racket, "I actually manage to escape, nearly die in a storm and now this?" she refolded her wings with great difficulty, gaze ever stormy, "Are we done now?"

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The way she winced at even the smallest movements eluded to just how vulnerable she was. Even with the fire in her voice, Brent couldn’t help but grimace at her weakened state. This wasn’t the Navyri he knew, although he should have inferred by her presence at the healer’s house.

The winged woman struggled to reach her bag and then it landed forcefully upon the ground. For the most part, Brent had kept a hardened expression on his face, bracing himself against Navyri’s fury. But when the dagger and iron cuffs spilled out, his eyes widened in surprise. Abducted. When his gaze met hers, his face contorted in an array of emotion. They had taken her? Why? What had they done to her? How was she at all like the other hangings? How dare they do such things to her!

Despite the creeping fear of the Ragnari overreach, Brent was more angered by their callus actions against the foreigners. Was there no interest in understanding the individual motives of ‘exotic’ visitors? Why did the nation even allow visitors if they had no care for them? Brent picked up the book that lay at his feet and clenched it tightly in one hand, knuckles whitening slightly. Yet he was reminded that some visitors did have ulterior motives and it was not always easy to distinguish them.

Gritting his teeth Brent stepped forward, albeit with caution, to take a seat opposite to Navyri where Yvonne had previously sat. “If I had known they had taken you and done this to you…”

Part of him had wondered about the mass disappearance around the time Navyri had vanished. “But they managed to capture you even with your wings?” He had previously dismissed the idea because he had thought she would manage to evade something like a hanging.

“Someone should pay for what they did to you. Seeing you like this…” Brent was both angry at the Ragnari but also frustrated in his own inability. Even if he wanted to gouge out somebody’s eyeballs for the harm they inflicted on Navyri, he knew he wouldn’t last a moment against a member of the Ragnari.

Getting himself under control, he held out the book to her like an offering. “Navyri, if you want me to leave, I will. I had thought you had gone on your own accord. Equally, if you blame me for not trying to go looking for you…” He was silent for a moment as he seemed to wrestle with what he perceived as a failure in duty.

With a frown he added, “But are you safe here? It seems like Yvonne is a genuine healer.”

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Navyri glared at the spot he took and felt poison build behind her teeth, loathing the pity.If you had known you would have done WHAT? What could he possibly have done? The man before her was no warrior and if she had been unable to stop them, what good would Brent Forrester do?

Words of insult played in her mind - ways to hurt him even if her body was weakened. And then he asked a new question, “But they managed to capture you even with your wings?”

Blue eyes widened and in the place of anger, shame manifested. Navyri's brow knitted and she leaned forward to hide her broken face, unable to speak or meet his eye. Wasn't that a funny question. After some time passed, she nodded and spoke with a saying she had read arcs ago, "The Gods loved birds, and so they invented trees. Men loved birds and so they invented cages..." Was she not more glorious than an average sparrow? "I wasn't flying when they found me. I was... I was heading back to the inn." The Ox's Bellow. Saying the name felt too tempting to fate. How could she have grown so comfortable, let down her guard? Had she learned nothing over the course of her life? "I knew I was being followed but I tried to run." She took a deep breath, recalling her fear as she fled for her life in the alleys of Raelia, "When I started to take flight, they..." her anger was returning and she finally looked up, breaking the statuesque image of sorrow, "They threw a rope around my neck and tore me to the ground. I was beaten unconscious and I woke up, alone. And there was nothing - stone and darkness and shackles."

They had kept her there without nourishment, isolated to the point others might have broken, "It doesn't matter. It's over now." And they would pay. But as for Brenths involvement, she only felt annoyance, "Doesn't your tune change quickly?" Navyri stared at the book in contempt and then looked away, busying herself with drawing the blankets back across her lap. It was still a disappointment she hadn't hit him in the face, "I blame myself. I should have been better. If I live... I will be."

It wasn't surprising that he hadn't looked for her. She had not expected him to, but what of Soren? At the very least, they had been partners. They had an agreement! And with Brent so upset, it meant either 1) he had never approached the inn keeper, or 2) Soren had burned bridges to anyone she could have used to hunt him down. Maybe that bald old man was the one who had betrayed her, finding her use fulfilled. It certainly would have fit the bill with those she usually surrounded herself with, "I thought I was safer in Raelia," she snapped, laying back down and turning her back to him, "Here?" In this backwater bundle of sticks? Money, influence, wings, none of it had saved her, "My body will heal but am I safe? No. I don't think so."

If she ignored him enough, she figured he could take a hint. The cartographer was capable of reading body language when it suited him. Fussing with her pillow, the winged beauty glanced over her shoulder, "What happened to the theater? Did... did it get finished?"
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Brent leaned in as she relayed parts of her story. Internally he was torn as he cared greatly for his people and community, but also for the injured woman in front of him. It was not the first time he had heard tales of the Melrath authorities laying down the law with a heavy fist, with no interest in nuance. He recalled the intense fear of Freya, scared to death if she were found out or caught. Stone, darkness and shackles. Brent grimaced. It was more than disconcerting that the leaders of Melrath had sought out Navyri to imprison her. How she escaped, was an entirely different story, he assumed. And yet, there seemed to be no reason. She had never acted out of ill will. Not that he had seen.

Doesn’t your tune change quickly?

“If it didn’t, I’d be worse than talking to a stone wall. I do actually listen to what people say. Context matters.” Brent replied in a rather flat and matter of fact tone.

Of course she would be emotional about it all. Who wouldn’t? Still, he had to steel himself so that he didn’t succumb to the bait.

When she turned her back on him, he noted that at least she was somewhat mobile. Small movements were doable. Although large ones or any kind of fighting was probably beyond her. The cartographer gave a slow nod. He didn’t think she was safe here either. Maybe safer, but not safe. If they could come at her with no warning and surprise her on the streets of Raelia, then this little attempt of a settlement wouldn’t offer her any further protection.

“The theatre?” Brent repeated and then let out a soft sigh. His disappointment still felt fresh even though it was now tempered with the knowledge of her disappearance.

“After it had appeared that you had left, I stopped work on it. I stuck around Raelia for twenty odd days, and then when I still hadn’t seen any sign of you, I went back to Alivilda. Now if you’re going to berate me for not continuing, then save your breath. I don’t work for ghosts and everything indicated that you had vanished.”

There was some regret in his tone, now that he understood the circumstances of her disappearance. But even so, would she still attempt to open the theatre? If she had been released from prison, that would be a different story, but she had said she had escaped. If she was still wanted by the authorities, it would only be doing them a favor by announcing her presence so loud and clear in Raelia.

The cartographer clasped his callused hands together and leaned forward with his elbows on his knees, in a relaxed position. After all, she had seemed to have stopped trying to throw books at him. Closing his eyes briefly, he considered her situation.

“If you escaped, they may still be looking for you. Are you still going to finish the theatre after what has happened? What if they decided to seize ownership of it? In the short-term, it seems like this healer is looking after you. Will you have a roof over your head once you’re healed? It’s Cylus, after all. Cylus the seventh, if I’m not mistaken.”

“I have a house in Alivilda, just a couple days away from here, but I can’t offer true protection. If I get my brother on board, we could construct a hiding place in the house. We certainly have a big enough place. But if they knew… or they caught us by surprise…”

Brent didn’t particularly like the options. Was it treason to be hiding an escaped prisoner? Of course it was. But what love did this healer have for Navyri, other than the kindness of a doctor? She would be in no better condition if the Melrath authorities found her here. Brent had kept someone’s secret before, but that was only for a span of a few days. After that, he never saw that woman again.

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Context mattered now?

Navyri did not move once curled on the cot, staring at the last remnants of steam that died rising from the surface of the broth. Focusing on the anger was better than the pain and she clutched her bandages beneath the blanket. She closed her eyes, hoping she hadn't reopened the wounds in her rage. Meanwhile, Brent's sigh resonated and she listened. The fate of the theater was unknown, but he hadn't kept his word. Because apparently men were not bound to the vows of ghosts, "It doesn't matter," she whispered into the pillow. She could throw accusations about his own honor to spite him if she wanted, but it would only lead to deepening her anger and taxing her of valuable energy. Whatever became of the theater - whether it was still little more than a pile of rubble or now a beautiful display of grandeur - Melrath had forgotten of the Nightingale. They had all moved on, and her presence had never really mattered.

Her brow began to break and she sighed. She hated when she felt this way, not just physically, but emotionally. As rare as it was, the Naer was no stranger to self doubt, to worry. Often a whirlwind of confidence and passion, no breath was big enough to sustain her now. She was once again pathetic. Navyri stamped the hatred on her heart, cursing herself and drew the blanket over her head.

Failure. Failure. Failure.

Brent spoke again first, “If you escaped, they may still be looking for you. Are you still going to finish the theatre after what has happened?"

She tried to shrug and ended wincing as her arms ached terribly. Navyri wanted to rush back to Raelia, to hunt down anyone who dared rise against her, but she was in no shape to do so. She needed to confront Soren. She needed money.

"What if they decided to seize ownership of it?"

"They won't,"
she retorted sharply, refusing to even address the possibility. She might have been a foreigner, but even if Soren betrayed her, he wouldn't give up his work so easily, that much she was confident in, "They took me in secret, they won't be so bold now." 'Not when they know I'm waiting for them.' The very thought of losing her investment made her blood boil. Nevertheless, Brent had no interest in relenting in his questioning and she huffed in annoyance.

"In the short-term, it seems like this healer is looking after you. Will you have a roof over your head once you’re healed?"

"I don't know! How-"

"It’s Cylus, after all. Cylus the seventh, if I’m not mistaken.”


The Naerikk silenced beneath the coverings.

And she did not speak for some time, giving the cartographer the time he needed to offer unexpected sanctuary. Cylus seventh? Was it truly?

Navyri grit her teeth as she rolled over, blue eyes peeking out to look at the window and the darkness outside. She should have been out there, fused with shadow, celebrating or dancing. How was it that whenever her birth trial came about, she was always dealing with some mess? Ah, the taste of melancholy, "It's my birth trial," Navyri wasn't sure why she told him, but it felt better than addressing the idea of housing. Her eyes flickered to the man, considering. What a irrational suggestion. Even he knew they would be no match should they get caught, and so it was completely reckless. He put himself, his family, his home at risk, and for what? "Can we just talk about this later?"

Making decisions in her current state of mind would do no good. Navyri might not cared whether or not Ted Forrester would approve or the logistics of his dwelling, or what that would even entail, but she was tired. And she needed to think - about more than just her next roof, but about her future in Melrath as a whole. She needed to play, "I need time to think. Up until now, I just... I just wanted to survive," Navyri looked towards the door, quite tired despite her oncoming reprimand, "And you need work apparently.... You shouldn't just offer something like that! These aren't just regular guards, Brent...They're... powerful," she huffed, unable to form the words she needed to give them justice. He had no idea. These people were mages - they had extra eyes, extra resources and they were against her. Most of Melrath would be. Surely, if they wanted to find her...it was only a matter of time. Navyri pressed her lips together and then relented in a serious whisper, "They took me because I'm blessed by Delroth. You know that, right?"

Navyri pulled her arm up and laid it between them, "Watch," she took a deep breath and blew upon the skin of her forearm. The tattoos of feathers lining her skin swayed and she searched his face, bracing herself for his next reaction, "How's that for context?"
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There were times when Navyri seemed to make sense, but other times when she seemed hopelessly optimistic. Had she not just escaped prison? Some of her reasoning fell flat, but at the moment Brent assumed she hadn’t really thought any of this out. Injured, weakened… she was just trying to survive trial by trial.

Brent raised an eyebrow at the mention of her birthtrial. It was a strange coincidence, although one he didn’t take much stock in. For him, such a trial was just another trial and he rarely celebrated.

Navyri needed time, that was for sure. He wasn’t certain that she’d have it, but she seemed safer here than in Raelia. He gave a half shrug at her request to talk about her living situation later, and another half shrug at the mention of him needing work. He didn’t need work. He sought it out in this Svariella town because he saw potential to make an impact here. And now it had led to finding Navyri.

It was odd hearing her seem almost ‘protective’, by not wanting him to offer his home. If they had managed to capture Navyri, then they would have had to be more than just regular guards. Brent watched as the winged lady seemed to struggle with what she had to say next. Usually she was quite vocal, but when the words left her lips, Brent immediately understood the hesitation.

He held his tongue, and subconsciously his breath, as she revealed the feathered tattoos on her arm. The seemed to ruffle slightly in a soft breeze and it was clear that they weren’t just another inking. While Brent didn’t know of any specific Immortals, least of all the one who would have given this mark, he did understand that it was the behaviour of Immortals to bless those who worshipped them.

“In Melrath, this is heresy. You know that, right?” Brent whispered in return, keeping his voice low.

He folded his hand over the animated feathers and pulled down her sleeve so that the mark was concealed once more. Briefly he wondered how many of her other tattoos had a deeper meaning to them.

Thoughts and emotions tore at him, mostly leaving him confused with the new knowledge. Subconsciously he had known that there might have been an underlying reason why she had been taken, but his better half had wanted to believe it was a mistaken on Melrath’s part. His lips tightened as tried to keep himself in check. Even if the Melrath authorities had gone above and beyond, they had every right to investigate and interrogate her.

Brent got to his feet suddenly and stepped away from the cot.

“I need to get some air,” Brent said hurriedly. “You said you needed time to think. Turns out, so do I.”

He took a few more steps away from the winged woman. “I’ll be back in a bit, Navyri. And no, I’m not going to the authorities. I just need some time to… think.”

It was the one rare occasion that he was quite sure she would still be there when he got back.

He left the small house quickly, not caring about the sound of his pronounced limp, nor how much Yvonne may or may not have overheard. The cold Cylus air struck him fiercely. Perhaps it was meant to be a good wake up call.

Why an Immortal? He could explain away her wings. There were a few rare beings with wings. Why hadn’t he continued on with a good Melrathi woman? A nice girl like Ashling? But inwardly he knew why he had been so drawn to Navyri, and still was.

Brent kicked at the snow in frustration. He was not the most religious of people, sometimes he even had his doubts, but he always maintained some level of respect for the spirits of Melrath. Each place he traveled to felt a little different and he assumed it was this intrinsic connection of the spirits to the landscape. Whereas in contrast, he had grown up believing that the Immortals were simply meddlesome deities that wished to gain power through self-serving conquests or using diplomacy to play mortals like pawns in a game. Although Melrath was sometimes suffocating in its traditional viewpoints, it didn’t seem to tolerate the child-like squabbles of the Immortals.

Did it matter that Navyri was blessed by an Immortal? Brent didn’t know what Delroth was like or why the Immortal had some interest in Melrath. What was Navyri doing in Melrath anyways? The only thing Brent could surmise was that Delroth had something to do with birds, or at least feathers, judging by the mark that Navyri had shown. It made a certain degree of sense, given Navyri’s wings, yet Brent doubted that was all there was to it.

The cartographer found himself starting to circle the same row of houses as he bundled his coat more tightly around him. He gazed up at the largest of the moons and his eyes trailed over the glittering stars. Spirits at least made sense. He was suddenly reminded of the odd question Navyri had presented him when they were out under the night stars. How had he not caught the reference to Immortals, as if she had doubted the spirits’ existence?

In a more practical sense, regardless of his own opinions on the spirits and the Immortals, Melrath had very strong opinions about the meddling of Immortals and those blessed by them. It was inevitable that Navyri was going to be investigated at some point, at the very least, and it just so happened that she got the full ordeal. Was it worth sticking by Navyri in the face of adversity? Was she worth it?

Brent found himself once again struggling to be a fair judge knowing that if he mistakenly sided with her, it could mean harm to his community or even Melrath as a whole. How could know he could trust her without asking for a full account of all her intentions and what had brought her to Melrath? How could she ever look at him the same way if he demanded such?

He had paused in his walk and out of the corner of his eye he saw a waving hand in a window trying to get his attention. Curious, he walked up to the house and was greeted by a pair of elderly women pushing a box of hand-crafted trinkets towards him. In moments they were hawking their wares and giving out prices. Somewhat flustered, Brent picked out a tiny dream catcher with white feathers dangling from the bottom. It took him several times to assure them that he wanted it, even though it ‘wasn’t finished’. He figured that they were going to dye it some bright colours like all the other trinkets.

The unexpected exchange reminded him that he still really liked Navyri. To give her something that might make her smile, or to see her mischievous look. Even her passionate drama, while tiresome at times, gave way to her spirited personality.

At last, the cartographer made his way back to the healing house. Had it been half a break? A full break? Brent wasn’t quite sure. After he tentatively knocked and let himself in, he looked around to speak with Navyri.

“Sorry I left so abruptly. I found you this. I might have a piece of string if you want to hang it up or turn it into a necklace.” Brent held up the small dream catcher with the white feathers and a few beads. “Maybe I should come back when you’re feeling better and we can talk more in private?”

Although it may have sounded like he was being evasive, he found it difficult to know how to address things especially without any ensured privacy.

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Template Credit: Navyri
word count: 1325
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Navyri
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Posts: 665
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:27 pm
Race: Naerikk
Profession: Thief
Renown: 348
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Re: A Chilly Reunion [Svariella's Stone]

Brent's touch was warm on her forearm, tugging her sleeve downward to hide the magic on her skin, “In Melrath, this is heresy. You know that, right?"

So? She searched his face.

Her stomach hardened into a pit. Navyri tried to speak, seeing a collection of emotion play upon her reveal. She made a mistake. She shouldn't have told him. He was too traditional, too loyal. He had offered his home, it was only fair that he knew what he was housing... But when did she play fair? Stupid! Brent jumped to his feet, pulling back, and Navyri felt fear explode in her chest, "Brent-" Could she stop him from leaving? Don't send me back. Don't.

'Time to think' made sense when she asked for it, not when he did! She wanted reassurance, not a waiting game! When the secret had lead to her recent torture, sitting about was almost unbearable! Navyri forced herself to conceal her panic and look away, "Go on, then." Images of him gathering the guards played in her mind, even as the cartographer reassured her that was not his intent. Isn't that what a snitch would say? She wanted to throw up.

Navyri closed her eyes.

What was so wrong with an Immortal? They had their flaws, but spirits were no better. Not any that she had met, anyway. Brent had admitted to having never even seen one, he had no idea what they were capable of, how horrific any being, even a spirti, could be with that much power. It had been an assumption that telling him, after the wall and Alvidia and the theater,... she believed she could have swayed him. But his anger was still fresh - he was too Melrathi - Navyri would pay for her risk.

Again.

In different circumstance, the Naer was a patient woman, but unpredictability scared her. She wanted to stay busy, to move, to run, to fly, to remove energy she didn't have. With a long and slow exhale, she began to think. She weighed pros and cons of returning to Raelia, what would happen if she chose not to. There was a chance of losing everything and starting over, assuming Soren hadn't begun to rent her room once more and pawn her belongings. She'd lose her money, her time. There was no where else she could feasibly go - return to Scalvoris maybe, but a trip that long took preparation and resources. There was maybe the ship, but it would need to be prepped for sea and required a middle man to conceal her identity.

Stealing was an always option. Killing for hire, if she survived long enough to heal, also a possibility. Worst case scenario, she could find a role to fill in one of the smaller settlements while she scrapped together some coin, convinced the locals not to turn on her, create some connections and then go back when she had more of a foothold to fight upon. After all, Svariella hadn't killed her yet.

Just almost.

Eventually, Yvonne returned, questions already in her eyes when she saw the bag had been thrown. She was interested in gossip Navyri wouldn't give her, "Complicated?"

"Always."

Apparently the simple comment was enough to lead Yvonne into thinking she desired conversation or reassurance and so the woman began to talk about men in her own life while pretending to busy herself with tidying up. When she came over, still talking, to check Navyri's bandages, the Naer had to repress an eye roll, starkly uninterested in hearing tales of some random man. It didn't affect her in the slightest, nor did she care. Her own acquaintance with Brent was incomparable to whatever waste of words Yvonne was spewing about the importance of trust and communication in her relationship. More than anything, Navyri wanted to tell the woman to shut up. Her and Brent were once friendly. They weren't friends. Now? He was probably on his way with a guard. Or maybe he was sending them alone, and returning to whatever business had him nearby in the first place.

"Do you have a mirror?"

"-I'm sorry?"

"A mirror?"

"Oh, um..." Yvonne sat a little straighter as her eyes scanned the walls, "There's a little basin mirror over there, I can take it off the wall?" the mirror in question was about a foot in diameter and removed from the nail easily and set into her lap. The plated silver rim around the edge was beginning to discolor and the reflection itself was, "Foggy," Yvonne frowned, "It's mostly for decoration these days. I should have a hand mirror too somewhere. You can have it, if you want. Truth be told, you look well considering... I'm sure he was just upset."

"No," Navyri shook her head, staring down at herself. At the discoloration and exhaustion, "Brent was right. I do look like shit."

"You have been through a lot-"

"It's fine," Navyri sighed, reaching out to prop the looking glass up on the end table, wincing at her tender ribs. The front door sounded and the two women looked at the other. Who was that?

Yvonne glanced at the door and cleared her throat, just as the sound of broken footsteps began to move closer. Brent was back! Navyri searched for an exit, straining to hear if he had company, "I'll go get that other mirror, hm?"

Alone only for a moment, Brent found her and held out his gift, which Navyri took after a moment of pause, "You found this?" Brushing her fingers against the rim, she was unsure what to say. He had gone out to consider things and came back with a present. Something for the nightmares, "You scared me. I thought..." Emotion bubbled up from her chest, both at seeing the first birth trial gift she had been given in arcs, as well as the overwhelming relief she felt at not being dragged away, "I thought I was going back."

Nothing made sense to her anymore. Her judgement was off, she couldn't seem to control anything. Brent had been mad, she had seen it, felt his accusations. It would have made sense for him to turn her in, and yet he was apologizing? "That's probably best," she admitted, admiring the intricate weave of such a simple structure. It wasn't jewelry or fine garments or top shelf liquor, but it had been a gift freely given, "Thank you for this."

When he was about to leave, she'd call out, "Brent? When you see her, ask Yvonne for the hand mirror," she imagined it clearly in her mind, marking it, "We'll talk later, I promise."
word count: 1128
"At last. It has been too long since I have walked the face of this world. Too long have I been locked there, awaiting my champion to release me. My champion... This is you, daughter of Audrae. You have, whether knowingly or not, released me from my self imprisonment, and are here to fulfill the destiny I have seen written in the tapestry of nature. You, daughter of Audrae's daughter, will be my foothold in this world." - Belaera to The Nightingale, after the 600 arc imprisonment
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