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Witchy Wonderland

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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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36 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:10 pm

The scene dissolves into chaos before me faster than I can even comprehend it, Raefiya sticking closely to the outside of the fence as she peers over it with wide eyes at the men fighting while I hurry into the yard. 

"Stop it," I hiss fiercely over the animalistic sound of their fighting, reaching out in an attempt to slow the flurry of blows. My nails manage to find something to dig into as I get a hold of one of them, but before I can attempt to separate them a blinding force collides with my face, jolting me back several clumsy steps. 

I'm still making sense of what happened when I hear Raefiya's fearful cry, her hands finding my arm quickly as I look down at her in a bit of confusion. 

"Mama, your nose!" Rae whines as I feel wetness spread across my lips, and I bring a hand up to wipe at the blood flowing there. The sight of the red against my fingers and the smell of metal stinging my throat puts a twist in my stomach as Evander wails at my chest.

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37 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:23 pm

My eyes widen as I look back over my shoulder to see Yvla's bloodied face, the wailing of children making my stomach drop. I barely have a moment to take in the increasing number of onlookers before I'm struck again at the base of my skull. White sparks burst across my vision as things go dark for half a second, my hip hitting the ground as I barely manage to catch myself.

"Enough!" I manage to get the word out as I scramble back to my feet, Emhyr, naturally, seeking to take advantage of my fall. The red haze that had come over me, however, is gone, and I meet his attack with cold, calculating fury. I can see his eyes widen in the fraction of a second it takes to counter him, my hand coming to his throat as his balance tips him backwards and I slam him onto the grass.

My chest is still heaving breathlessly as his eyes roll into the back of his skull, and his body goes limp on the ground. I manage to pull my wits together enough to check that he's still breathing before I stagger back to my feet, my hand fishing for a handkerchief in my pocket as I wander over to offer it to Yvla.

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38 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:31 pm

By the time Solas staggers towards me with the handkerchief extended, I've handed Evander down to Raefiya. 

"Take your brother inside," I say thickly, trying to look at the girl as little as I can with my bloodied face. She nods a quiet understanding and heads for the door, taking care to step around the stirring but disoriented man in the grass. 

Taking the handkerchief, I press it against my swelling lip and look at Solas seriously. "Are you okay?"

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39 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:37 pm

"Been hurt worse sparring," I respond dismissively as I frown at her bloodied face. "I'm sorry - I really didn't mean for you to get caught in the middle of that." I say as I fumble with the pouch on my belt, my fingers unwilling to cooperate as I try to fish out the salve within. Giving up for the moment, I nod back toward her house, gesturing for her to lead the way inside - hoping the short trip will give me time to clear the cloudiness throbbing inside my skull so I can regain the dexterity in my hands.

"I didn't even notice your approach until I felt my elbow hit you," I frown.

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40 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:41 pm

"It's fine," I say softly, inspecting the bloodied fabric of the handkerchief before holding it back to my nose. It'll stop soon enough. "It's not the first time I've gotten a knock from trying to break up a fight." 

"Get him up, too," I add, turning just in the door to gesture back to the man on the ground, "I don't want a hunter lying in my yard and I don't want him wandering off yet."

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41 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:48 pm

"Ugh," I respond begrudgingly as I roll my eyes before tilting off toward Emhyr's dazed figure. He flails at me in his struggle to sit up on his own, my hand swatting his fist away before I grab him by the hair to help him to his feet.

"Get'ff me!" he slurs as he sways on his feet, my hand leaving his hair to grab his arm as I help steady him and guide him inside.

"You're a hunter lying prone in the middle of a witches' grove," I hiss at him as he continues trying to loose himself from me. "Knock it off, and get inside before one of them decides to finish you off."

Emhyr glares back at me at that, but stops struggling as he allows me to guide him inside. Still, he holds no reservations about glaring between Yvla and myself. I sigh tiredly at that; it will be some time before he lets this go, it seems.

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42 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:54 pm

Inside, Evander can still be heard crying from his bedroom as Raefiya's rustling about trying to calm him filters in through his squalls. I've busied myself in the kitchen washing my face and putting Solas's handkerchief into a soak, my bleeding have stopped with the aide of some of the leftover salve from the lot I'd made for Novigrad. Something I made sure to tuck away with the presence of hunters in my home. 

My lip has started to tingle with the warmth of swelling, but the pain has settled to a dullness that's easy to ignore as I bring two mugs of tea into the living room to offer to the men standing tensely just past the foyer. 

"Tea," I say simply as I hold the mugs out, Solas taking his with a polite nod. The other man, however, only glowers at me as I frown. 

"It's just tea, nothing special. Got it from the markets earlier," I try to assure him, "I'm not daft enough to try magic on a hunter."

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43 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:12 pm

"And I'm not daft enough to trust a witch," Emhyr sneers, his rudeness earning a glare from me before I reach out to take the other cup of tea as well.

"Thank you, he means," I say insistently as I shove the other cup into Emhyr's hand.

"I'm not-,"

"Drink your fucking tea," I hiss at him. "You owe her far more than that small courtesy."

Emhyr's jaw muscles flex with anger as he glowers at me for a long moment, his gaze never straying from me as he takes a pointed sip from the small cup. I give him a scathing look before turning back to offer a small smile to Yvla as I drink my own tea.

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44 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:19 pm

Sighing slightly, I turn back to the kitchen to get a cup for myself before waving towards the couches on my way.

"Please, take a seat." I call back, pouring water over my own mix of teas and twirling the chain to the teaball around my finger as I stir it lazily on my way back into the living room. Neither man has moved, naturally, so I take my own seat and rest the mug on my knee. 

"Please?" I ask again, pointedly keeping my gaze on the angry looking man.

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45 Re: Witchy Wonderland on Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:24 pm

"We shouldn't be here," Emhyr scowls, ignoring Yvla's request as he puts the cup down and wanders over to the window. Rolling my eyes, I take the offered seat and sip at my tea quietly.

"Where was that attitude a week ago?" I grumble into the cup. "I've had to leave Elwinel with Varna twice this week, thanks to you."

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