When Worlds Fall

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Bright Lights

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251 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:40 am

Sighing, I head in the direction he's pushed me as I look around cautiously, trying not to turn my head any more than I need to to see to my right as we walk. Something about the street being on that side leaves me anxious, and I find myself realizing I can't read a single sign as I look for whatever building he might be leading me to.

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252 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:47 am

"Here," I say as I nod toward the door just ahead of us before slipping around to pull it open for her. As we make our way inside, I'm a little put off by the shop's... well, normality. At a glance, it doesn't appear to have changed much, but I notice a difference immediately. The plethora of magical trinkets and components it had once house are sorely lacking... though, the selection of clothing and other general goods appear to have improved.

"Find whatever you need," I say quietly as I start looking around myself.

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253 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:56 am

I nod vaguely before looking back to see Lavellan wandering off, frowning slightly as I'm left to face the store alone. Skycrest was a much easier pill to swallow than the world out here, and I feel beyond little as I begin meandering through the shelves of clothes and goods. 

One of the first few items I seek out are clothes, a pair of pants and a shirt that should fit properly and keep me warm. The fabric is rough and muted in color, but heavy enough that I feel confident they'll last me awhile. Tucking them under my arm, I continue browsing, my attention drawn to a shelf of simple beauty products. Nothing extravagant by any means, just simple lotions and hair pins or ties, but it's a world of goods I'd been hidden from for years, and I can't help the sheepish curiosity as I pick up the various jars of tinted creams and smell them.

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254 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:27 am

I pick up a couple pieces of clothing here and there as I walk, mostly to detract from my very obvious confusion as I continue to look through the shop with increasing desperation. They have teas, spices, herbs, dinky little crystals and trinkets, but nothing exuding any real magic. Even the hematite I pick up is subpar - little more than baubles for tourists, though it will do in a pinch.

And as we shop, I can't help but notice the watchful eyes that follow us from behind the counter. At first, I chalk it up to a distrustful shop owner. I've been on the other side of that counter. I know what unfamiliar customers sometimes turn out to be. But the intensity of her gaze as she watches us...

"Did you find something you like?" I ask, my tone coming off almost sweet before I lean in so she can hear me when I drop my voice. "Let's go. They don't have shit anymore."

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255 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:35 am

I'm startled a bit as Lavellan leans in over my shoulder, my brow pinching as I set the jar of tinted lotion on the shelf and look at him. 

"Pants," I say lamely, confused slightly as I hold them up towards him.

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256 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:38 am

"They're lovely," I respond with a false smile as I pull her over toward the shelves to look at the shirts and coats, away from the shopkeeper. "Let's got some stuff to go with it."

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257 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:41 am

Lavellan's demeanor only confuses me further as I let him guide me back to the shelf of clothes, clearing my throat as I walk just ahead of his hands so I seem less like a puppet. 

"I grabbed this sweater, seems warm-" I start, waiting for him to stop before I turn back to narrow my eyes at him. "What the hell is going on?" I whisper sharply, pointedly picking up another sweater to distract myself with.

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258 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:48 am

"This place used to be packed with magical supplies," I whisper, frowning sharply as I busy myself with 'helping' her find something satisfactory. "It was so full, they often had product overflowing onto the sidewalks. Now I can't even find a tin of fucking charcoal powder. And the way the vendor acted in the alley...

"I don't think magic is as welcome here as it once was," I admit, unable to keep the worry from my voice. Without pit stops like what I had expected to find here, I won't be able to make my salve. "In fact, I'm pretty certain the cashier - the woman we have to check out with - is a Guardian."

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259 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:52 am

I still slightly as I look down at the sweater in my hands, my gloved fingers pinching at the weave before I sigh and shrug, glancing up at him with a smile. 

"Then it's a good thing we're meant to be here," I say softly, holding the sweater up as I speak at a more comfortable tone. "What about this one? I like the color."

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260 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:04 am

"Mmm, it suits you," I nod before holding another up next to her cheek. "Yeah, definitely that one. This one makes your skin look all piquey."

We spend another few minutes like that, a pair of shoes catching my eye as I wander off to grab those, too. I don't like spending our money like this. But we need to be convincing. Particularly this close to Ölüm Kapısı. Particularly with a Guardian watching our every move.

"Alright, dear, I think we've spent enough here," I finally say after a few more minutes of shopping. "Let's get checked out so this nice lady can close up and go home to her family."

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261 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:28 am

Our little charade come easily as I busy myself looking for socks to go with the pants and two sweaters, smiling up at Lavellan as he comes over to say we're done. 

"Yes, it's getting late, isn't it?" I say with a slight frown, tucking a pair of socks over the other clothes on my arm as we head for the register. Walking up ahead of him, I set my items on the counter and offer the suspicious looking woman a smile. Despite only vaguely trying earlier, I put on my best nomadish accent before speaking. 

"You've a lovely shop," I say kindly, helping her lay out the items before turning to take Lavellan's from him. "My husband and I were just traveling through, and I was so relieved to see your little shop here. It's much colder than I'd expected it to be, and his old clothes are just no good." I say with a slight laugh, watching as she rings the items up.

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262 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:46 am

It's embarrassing how rattled I find myself being face-to-face with a Guardian for the first time in nearly two decades. I offer her a smile, anyway, my expression growing stony as she raises an eyebrow at me.

"Are you not rather young for your... husband?" she asks Ljuba in a thick Chantry accent after giving me a disapproving once over before taking our things to ring them up - though her posture appears less suspicious.

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263 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:50 am

"If you're concerned about whether he can keep up, you needn't be," I respond with a smirk as I lean in, lowering my voice before giving her a cheeky smile.

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264 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:59 am

"Lju!" I hiss, swatting at her as I feel my cheeks flush before the woman behind the counter purses her lips - a hint of amusement hiding behind a generally sour, stuffy look of disapproval. Her expression only embarrasses me further as I shake my head quickly and pull out a wad of money.

"How much do I owe you?" I ask, trying to keep my accent as neutral as possible - a difficult task given how quickly I feel myself falling back into the native language around here. I'm quick to pay her whatever she quotes me, the urge to haggle with her quickly snuffed out by my desire to leave - and the knowledge that tourists here, however rare, are not typically prone to anything but blindly throwing their money at anyone who will take it.

"Thank you," I nod slightly, eager to collect our bags so we can be on our way. "And I'm sorry, where can we find a place to spend the night??" I pause to ask, as though I don't already know.

"Across the plaza," she responds, pointing the way with her chin as she tucks the notes in the register. "Big sign, has a bull on it. Can't miss it."

"Thank you," I reply before turning to leave.

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265 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:03 am

I offer the woman one final, sheepish smile before following Lavellan out the door, pulling one of the bags from his hands to hold as I fall into stride beside him. 

"Can't say I've ever seen you nervous before." I remark lightly, glancing up at him with a slight grin.

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266 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:09 am

"Shut up," I retort grumpily, my whole body shivering as I try to shake off the feeling of talking to the woman. "Gods, I feel like one of the Sisters are going to pop up out of the ground and scold me for not combing my hair in two... three? Three days! Ugh, I can't wait to take a bath."

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267 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:14 am

"Are you that unsettled?" I frown, looking up at him a little incredulously. "You?"

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268 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:27 am

"I don't like - those people," I say, rather than vocalizing the word guardians and risking someone overhearing me. "And they don't have any of the things we need here, and I have a day, maybe two, left on my salve. If things have changed this much on the border in the past twenty years, Ljuba, I can't be without it.

"I'll mess up," I say earnestly. "Or someone will bump against me - something! Something will happen, and they'll figure out I'm here. And what if you bump against me? Then they'll find me and I'll be on my own - I just... I need a drink." I say starkly, nodding intently as I start to feel the streaks running up my arms as my stress begins to neutralize the salve.

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269 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:33 am

"Lavellan," I frown, stopping as I catch his arm. "You're the strongest person I've ever met, we'll be fine. We'll leave here in the morning, as soon as we wake up, and head to the next town. Then the next, and the next."

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270 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:35 pm

Before I can leash the impulse, I roll my eyes sharply and then pull away to go in ahead of her. There's a stiffness in my gait as I feel myself withdrawing once again, my mind already drifting on thoughts of where I might leave Ljuba with her best chance of evading Richard on her own.

"A room for two," I say curtly at the bar, the man behind it giving me a peculiar look.

"Anlamıyorum?" he responds hesitantly. Frustrated, I sigh in annoyance, my patience for the tourist facade fading quickly.

"Bir oda. İki kişilik." I repeat, enunciating each word carefully in case he's too thick to understand them. "This town has gone to shit," I add bitterly, my temper earning a snicker from a younger looking woman at the bar who nods her agreement and holds a drink up toward me.

"Ve biz de akşam yemeği ve içecekler alacağız." I say back to the innkeeper as I nod toward the woman's glass before handing him a large bill. After he's made change and handed me a key, I nod my thanks as he tells me the food and drinks will be brought up to our room, my gratitude faltering as I notice his gaze lingering on my gloves.

Clearing my throat, I pocket the change and then look back at Ljuba, my smile plastering on as I put an arm around her shoulders. "I got us a room," I say casually, nodding toward the stairs.

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271 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:47 pm

"Goody," I respond dryly, hardly interested in the charade as I walk ahead of him towards the stairs, out from under his draped arm. The man accompanying me is much different than the one I'd (granted, only vaguely) gotten to know in Skycrest, and the sharp shifts in demeanor are giving me whiplash. 

"Oh-" I frown, stopping on the stairs as I glance back down towards the door, "I want to get my clothes out of the car," I say as I gesture in it's direction, "What room number, I'll met you up there."

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272 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:57 pm

"You just bought clothes," I complain before sighing as I come up to write the foreign number on a slip of paper for her. As she goes to take it, I tighten my grip so she has to pause to look at me - her expression one that's clearly losing patience with me.

"Be careful," I whisper, my voice still relatively flat, but offering enough sincerity to let her know that I mean it. Whether she takes it as my paranoia, or some genuine concern, I can't tell, and I don't linger long enough to find out before I turn to go up the stairs.

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273 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:21 pm

Lingering on the stairs, I watch him ascend before tucking the number into my pocket and going back down stairs. Everything about this place is foreign to me, including Lavellan. Skycrest was easy to settle into in comparison, and so far the only upside of being out here is that my scars don't seem to garner any extra attention. 

Sitting at the edge of the van's open door, my old clothes sitting plainly in my lap, I look around the dimly lit square anxiously. It's unfamiliarity is terrifying, once I'm alone to really think about it, and just the thought makes my chest ache. 

I don't know how long passes before I finally get back to my feet, tucking the old and worn clothes under my arm as I shut the van door and head back into the bar, pulling out the slip of paper so I can find the room Lavellan had gotten us.

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274 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:31 pm

I'm sitting on the floor, windows drawn and lights low, with the few things I'd manage to scrounge from the shop across the street laid out in front of me. There isn't enough here to work with, so all I can do is stare at it, my hands pressed together as I let long nails drag across the underside of my chin thoughtfully.

My mind can do nothing but cycle over the mistakes I had made in my planning back in Skycrest. I had put that bag in the locker on the docks before I'd created the salve, and I didn't create the salve until after I'd fallen into some false sense of security that Skycrest would always be home. Sure, I'd given passing thought to stocking the bag with the ingredients I'd need to make the salve should I need to run, but I'd never actually been motivated enough to do it.

"Did you find you clothes alright?" I ask absently when Ljuba finally returns.

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275 Re: Bright Lights on Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:42 pm

"Yeah," I nod, dropping them on the dresser near the door once I've shut it behind me. I lean against it for a moment as I look at him, my gaze roaming over the items he'd laid out before him. 

For a brief moment, I want to ask if that's why he's been so obnoxious, but I think better of it. Sighing heavily, I pull my gloves off and drop them near the pile of clothes before shrugging off the coat, walking across the room as I look around curiously. There's but one door other than the one I'd come in, and I'm pleased to find a full bathroom on the otherside instead of a closet. 

"I'm going to bathe," I say as I cut the light on inside the bathroom, pulling the door shut so it doesn't ruin whatever mood he's got going in the dim room so I can cut the water on in the tub.

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