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Witchy Wonderland

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11 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:00 pm

"Oh," I breathe slightly, turning the carving over in my hands curiously before I look up at her hesitantly. "It's - lovely. But, uhm... you do know that I'm a hunter, right..?" I ask uncertainly. "I'm not sure Hecate would care much for me."

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12 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:02 pm

"And you've given my girl a worry doll. I can..." I stop for a moment, looking at him thoughtfully. "I know you can appreciate it."

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13 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:11 pm

"Indeed," I concede with a slight smile as I tuck the figure safely into my bag. Hesitating for a moment, I glance at her and then pull a small square of heavy parchment from the pocket sewn into the side of the bag. "Here. Should Emhyr appear again trying to cause a fuss, I can be found there most evenings from mid-afternoon until the hour before sunset."

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14 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:18 pm

Palming the parchment, I glance at it quickly before nodding.

"And your name?" I ask, "Who am I looking for?"

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15 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:19 pm

"Solas," I respond as I step outside the fence before turning back to her. "And you are?"

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16 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:21 pm

"Yvla." I respond, smiling slightly. "Thank you, Solas."

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17 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:26 pm

"You are very welcome," I reply, nodding toward her once more. "Have a good night."

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18 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:09 am


The paper in my hand is stiff and rough as I hold it clumsily between my fingers trying to read it. The breeze cutting through the alley makes it difficult to hold the paper still, and the infant wiggling in the sling across my front doesn't help either. 

"Mum, where are we going?" Rae asks nervously, still lingering near the edge of the alley as she peers off towards our neighborhood. "Are we gonna go back to the shops? I'm tired." She whines, pacing across the cobbles back towards me as she reaches up to pat at Evander's back.

"Shh, muffin," I hush her softly, holding the paper against the wall as I manage to smooth it enough to read. Crow's Inn, eastern edge of town. I don't read any further before tucking it back into the bag hanging on my other hip before reaching out to take Raefiya's hand in mine and setting off with the sun at my back. 


Venturing further from the familiar area of the city, my grip on Rae's hand tightens as we maneuver through the busier cobblestone streets. Rae's hurried steps practically skip behind me as she hangs heavily from my hand. There's a sign several yards off, it's chains rattling as the heavy wooden crow swings dully in the wind. The Crow's Perch. 

The moment I make it through the door, I'm met with the loud bustle of the tavern, Evander shifting and stirring against my front as I hold Raefiya and my bag close to my sides. Even with my jewels and charms tucked inside of my shirt collar and Rae stripped of her own jewels and baubles, I can't shake the unsteady feeling that we stick out in this area of the city. Families aren't common sights for the inns nearer the ports and city centers, instead they're usually reserved for traveling tradesmen and hunters. 

Once I hit the bar, I pull Raefiya to stand between me and the worn wooden bartop, craning my head to look for the barhand. 

"We don't serve kids," A weathered but attractive woman states as she steps over to address me, glancing at Rae and her brother before looking back to me curiously. "Sure you ain't lookin' for a room here?"

"Not a room, a person," I say over the din of the bar, the crowded and loud nature of the environment not what I'd have expected for the man who'd given me the parchment just a week before. "Uhm, hold on, I have this-" I continue, digging into my bag as I pull out the parchment and unfold it on the bar, pointing at the man's name as I look up at her expectantly. "Can you direct me to him?"

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19 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:27 am

"Oi!" the man across from me shouts as I laugh and scoop the sizable pile of coins and various trinkets toward me. "Ye're fuckin' cheating, ya bastard!" I can only grin as he throws his cards angrily on the table, his mug of ale sloshing onto the wood as his elbow hits it.

"Don't be a sore loser, Lib'," I grin as I make a circular gesture toward our barmaid, signaling her for another round. "This one's on me. Care to play another round? Try to win back your pride?"

The others at the table nod their enthusiasm, mugs sloshing as they drink the last dregs down before the other round comes. Meanwhile, I begin the arduous task of gathering my cards back into my hand without letting the mess of drinks and food stain them. Lib' is clearly on his last legs, his large body swaying in his seat as he extends far more focus than it should take for him to situate his own cards. I can't help but grin at that, my gaze lingering on the expensive blade on his hip. One game closer to coaxing him into recklessly betting it against my deck - a deck he's not once managed to beat in all the months we've known one another.

As I watch him thoughtfully, a familiar face catches my eye near the bar, and my smile disappears. Cursing under my breath, I frown at Ylva as she spots me, my posture stiffening only slightly as I carry on shuffling my deck and trying to pay half my attention to the gin soaked words coming from the woman beside me.

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20 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:39 am

Turning as the barmaid points me towards a table back in the corner, I spot Solas almost as soon as he spots me. Frowning sharply, I turn back to the woman and thank her quickly before digging into my pocket for some coin to drop on the bar before grabbing Rae's arm and guiding her to walk ahead of me. 

The looks we receive as we meander through the crowd leaves a humiliating knot to form in my stomach, threatened only by the sense of anxiety as Raefiya catches the gazes of several patrons as we pass by. This was a mistake, I think as we get closer to Solas's table, stopping in my tracks as I pull Rae back against me as a particularly boisterous woman slides back from the table roughly before getting unsteadily to her feet and wandering off.

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21 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:50 am

"Play this round without me," I say over the din of laughter as my companions natter amongst themselves, my words drawing a loud, "Boo!" as I offer them an apologetic smile and pocket my cards just as Hylda tries to reach over to grab them from the table. "Nobody take that sword! I'll win it yet, mark my words!"

"Over my dead, smelly corpse!" Lib' shouts as he downs more alcohol than I could rightly put away in one sitting.

"How'll we know if the stinkin' thing is dead or just passed out?" Hylda chides with a boisterous laugh as I try my best to squeeze out past the drunken woman. Her short legs come up as she stands on her chair to shake her fist at Lib's quick threats of violence, her arm nearly knocking me off my feet as a string of curses flies from her lips.

I offer Ylva an apologetic grimace as I squeeze behind Hylda's chair, managing to free myself from the table just as a mug of ale flies at Lib's head. I'm a little unsteady on my own feet as I reach out to put a gentle hand on the frazzled woman's arm, gesturing her toward the door leading out to the patio.

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22 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:04 am

Solas's hand guides me ahead of him towards a door near the back end of the bar, my own hands guiding Rae along as she reaches up to push it open and head out. I'm grateful for the considerably more quiet environment as the door shuts behind Solas, though it's broken by the suddenly more noticeable cries of the infant hanging across my chest. 

"I'm sorry," I start as I turn to face him, my nerves coming through in my words. "I must seem so desparate, coming here, but-" I stop, shifting the bag from my shoulder and handing it to Raefiya before looping my arms around Evander and bouncing him anxiously. "We were at the shops, and when we got back to our street, your 'friend' was standing in my front garden." I explain, the infant quieting slightly as he gets a handful of my hair to his mouth. A pastime of his I've been trying to discourage, but at the moment I could care less if it quiets him. 

"I normally wouldn't be so bothered by it, I've encountered your sort before but never with-" I hesitate, my voice softening as I glance back at Rae and then to Evander. "I had this bad feeling about it and I got scared."

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23 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:17 am

I curse sharply under my breath, my cheeks already flushed from the alcohol as I glance back at her and her children sheepishly. "Sorry," I say quickly, oblivious to the fact that my curse is not in her native tongue and was likely not understood. I find myself staring at the fussing bundle in her arms before I find the wherewithal to pull my focus back to the present.

"No, you were right to be concerned," I sigh as I nod for her to follow me toward the stables. "Emhyr is a damned fool. I fear this is partly my fault. I had hoped he would drop it, and leave you be. Clearly, I was mistaken, and I must speak to him more directly. He'll no doubt still be waiting at your house. We'll go, and I'll put this to bed for good."

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24 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:26 am

"I can't thank you enough," I let out with a heavy sigh of relief, gesturing back to Raefiya as I call for her to walk behind me. 

"I don't fully understand, even, why you're willing to help, but-" I shake my head as we trail behind him, looking down at Evander as he entertains himself with my hair and the hem of his own dress, "We're grateful."

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25 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:30 am

"Nothing to understand, really," I shrug as I glance back at her before stepping into the stables to fetch Etrielle. "He crossed a line, taking a child. It's as simple as that."

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26 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:32 am

"Not all hunters would agree with you," I respond, my tone drifting as I watch him sway on his feet a touch as approaches a languid and impressive mare.

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27 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:35 am

"And there's the whole issue in a nutshell," I grumble as I fix Etrielle's reigns before offering a hand to help get her up onto her back. "Let's just say I don't always agree with my fellow hunters. But a job is a job, and if I can lessen some of the threats in the world in the process, so be it."

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28 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:38 am

I adjust Evander securely into the sling before taking Solas's hand and climbing up onto the horse's back, reaching back to take my bag I'd left with Rae before he lifts her up to me. 

"So do you believe we're threats..?" I ask slowly, watching him as Rae shifts and settles in just in front of me. "Witches, I mean."

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29 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:40 am

"Depends on the witch," I reply lightly as I climb up after them. It takes an awkward moment for all of us to situate on Etrielle's back, but thankfully, she's no dainty pony and she hardly seems to notice the added passengers as I coax her toward the street.

"I like to think I have a good intuition about me," I shrug as I glance back over my shoulder toward her. "And I don't get the sense you're much of a threat. Though, I do believe you could be if you so chose."

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30 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:48 am

"That could be said of anyone," I respond, looking down at Rae as she peers around the street curiously and pets the horse's back just beneath her leg. Craning my neck down, I guide her hands back up towards Solas's waist, coaxing her fingers to hold onto the loose fabric there. 

"Hold on, love, you always hold on." I instruct quietly, Rae nodding an understanding as she adjusts her grip several times before settling.

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31 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:55 am

"Not everyone has your gifts," I reply as I set Etrielle off at a steady canter toward their house. "You knew I would bring her back somehow. Even in the presence of your terror, you knew."

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32 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:01 am

I let a silence creep into the exchange as we carry on through a more crowded street. The crowds from earlier are beginning to disappear into the various inns and bars, and the streets less boisterous than on the trip into the city. 

"There's something about you that's safe," I finally remark, absently running my fingers through Rae's hair as we carry on at a comfortable pace. "I can't describe it, but you're right... I knew."

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33 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:18 am

My lips tense into a thin line at that as I keep my eyes fixed to the cobbled stones of the street. I don't know what to feel at her proclamation, so I opt, as always, for silence. The rest of the ride is quiet as I steer Etrielle through the familiar streets, the weight of Raefiya settling against my back as I feel her yawn tiredly.

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34 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:38 pm

The sky's just started to change hue as we make it back to the edge of my neighborhood, my posture stiffening a bit uncomfortably when I realize Solas isn't slowing down. Even with this stranger willing to step in on our behalf, the exchange waiting for me on my front stoop isn't one I'm looking forward to. Rae's been rubbing her eyes and yawning for more than half of the ride, and Evander's settled in to sleep himself. There's a stray thought behind all of my nerves that tonight is going to be long, regardless of how the mess with the hunter goes.

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35 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:32 pm

Emhyr's posture softens for a moment when he sees our approach, confusion written across his features. That is, until he sees Yvla's fearful gaze peek past me at the man's presence on her lawn. His fist clenches over the hilt of the blade on his belt as he glares at me furiously, Etrielle's steps slowing into a lazy and inquisitive walk as she starts sniffing out the plants growing by the fence.

"Surely, my eyes are playing some trick on me," Emhyr practically growls as I loose Raefiya's grip from my jerkin before sliding off the back of the mare to help them down. "If I didn't know better, I'd think my partner was helping a witch avoid apprehension."

"Apprehension for what?!" I snap, my usual quiet calm shattering as Raefiya and Yvla both jump at the fierceness in my voice. Emhyr himself falters as I whip around to stalk toward him.

"You know for what-," he starts only to have his words cut off as I slap his hand away from his sword before ripping it from his belt and throwing it across the yard furiously.

"You abducted a child for playing a harmless game in her front yard!" I shout into his face. "I tried to do this the kinder way; I tried to let her go quietly, give you the chance to be reasonable and realize you acted out of anger and frustration. Yet here you stand! A week past, plenty of time to realize what a fucking idiot you are, and you're somehow surprised that this is not something I would turn a blind eye to?!"

I wish I could consider myself shocked when Emhyr ignores the lack of his sword, and throws a punch at me instead - but even before it connects with the side of my face, my anger seethes over at his audacity, and I've barely begun to stagger from the blow before I kick him sharply in the gut. The wind escaping him is enough to give me a moment to regain my balance, the throbbing in my cheek barely registering as I descend on him with my own clenched fists.

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