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The Unexpected

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76The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sat 3 Feb 2018 - 16:46

“I don’t know,” I frown, “usually when he comes through, she disappears for a few days. Says she can’t stomach to be around him.

“I think she mourned Wolter the day he chose dessication.”

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77The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sat 3 Feb 2018 - 16:54

"I'll never understand what could possess someone to choose that," I sigh as I pour us another glass, and then move on to putting the cornbread in the oven so I can begin working on the rest of the meal.

"And after working with the temple?" I add, lowering my voice as I glance back at her. "Seeing people literally kicking and screaming and biting to avoid being dragged in for it. I can't grasp it."

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78The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sat 3 Feb 2018 - 17:03

I frown at Solas as I take the second glass, glancing towards it before shaking my head softly.

“He had his reasons.” I answer quietly, glancing over my shoulder towards Nell and Rae as I frown. “He pushed for me to do it, too, years back.”

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79The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sat 3 Feb 2018 - 17:21

"Well, I'm glad you didn't," I say off-handedly as I take a sip of my drink and push it off to the side.

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80The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sat 3 Feb 2018 - 17:43

“Ah,” I laugh slightly, “Me too.”

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81The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sat 3 Feb 2018 - 18:36

"I know we've said you'll be fine in the den," I start hesitantly as I frown toward the two chatting in the aforementioned room. "But would you prefer to be set up in my room?? It's a little warmer and more comfortable if you two want to try to sleep at some point. The bed is large enough for all of you, and I can sleep in Elwinel's room."

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82The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sat 3 Feb 2018 - 18:50

“Don’t be ridiculous,” I scoff, still staring at the second drink before I set it down and slide it towards him untouched. 

“The den is more than enough. We’ll eat, and I’ll feed Evander and we’ll be out of your hair until Emhyr comes back.”

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83The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sat 3 Feb 2018 - 18:58

"Very well," I concede with a faint sigh. "I have a few chores to finish up once dinner is done, but then I should be inside for the night. If you need anything, just give me a holler."

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84The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sat 3 Feb 2018 - 19:11

“Thank you,” I nod, Evander’s crying pulling a frown to my face as I look back to see Raefiya holding the infant in her lap as she tries to quiet his fussing. Sliding from the stool, I leave Solas in the kitchen as I make my way back to the den, my brow pinching slightly as I realize the children are alone.

“Raefiya,” I start, looking around as I step closer to grab up Evander, “Where’d Nell go? Bathroom?”

Rae looks up at me nervously as she shakes her head, my jaw clenching as I look around again.

“Aunt Nelly said she had to go,” Rae says, rising from the floor as she comes to stand at my front, content to tickle and squeeze at Evander’s feet as he continues to fuss quietly in my arms. “That she’d see us at home tomorrow or the next day.”

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85The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 8:35

"Wait, she left??" I ask as I hurry into the den, a rag in my hands as I wipe them off. I do my best to keep the alarm from my voice and my posture as I drop the rag on the back of one of the chairs before going to the front door to confirm what the girl has said.

The wind is whipping angrily outside, the earlier chill already picking up into something icy and fierce. I can hear the barn door banging in the wind already as I approach, my jaw tensing angrily the closer I get. Sure enough, the first stable is empty and my best horse is nowhere to be found. A string of curses floods past my lips as I secure the door and check on the other horses to make sure the weather hasn't spooked any of them.

I'm still cursing angrily, a litany of foreign words lost in the wind, as I make my way back toward the house to get my things so I can ride after her. Before I make it a hundred steps, however, I see another figure riding toward me. Hesitating, my heart sinks into my stomach when I recognize it as two figures.

"What are you doing back already?!" I holler over the wind the moment they get close enough, Hylda's voice chiming back in response before I've even finished the question.

"I got clients stayin' tonight, due to the wind howlin'!" She says as she waves Elwinel off toward the barn to put her horse up, the girl's eyes lighting up brightly at the sight of me. I try my best to return her smile past the knot of horrible panic clawing its way up my throat.

"Hyld', love, she really can't be here," I say fiercely once Elwinel is out of earshot, my hand catching the reigns of Hylda's pony. "Not tonight."

I can see the woman's concern as she shakes her head apologetically. "I'm sorry, lad. You'll want her with me even less, I'm afraid. I got three hunters and a baron with an inflated sense of entitlement. Pretty girl like Ellie..?"

I shake my head sharply to stop her from elaborating further, my forehead pressing into the neck of her pony in frustration. "It's fine," I say flatly. "I'll take care of it. Thank you for bringing her home."

"Try an' get some rest." Hylda pats my head with motherly affection before shooing me off of her horse. "I'll come an' fetch'er once my guests are gone. Give you a proper night off."

"Thanks," I say dully as the dwarven woman digs her heels into the pony's flank and then hurries off back down the path. Elwinel is already at my side by the time I've contended with the change of plans, grinning up at me through the bundle of warm clothes covering half of her face.

"Where is your cloak, pa?" she asks accusingly as she lifts my bare arm to point it out scoldingly. "You'll catch your death out here dressed like that!"

"You're right," I laugh lamely as I put an arm around her shoulders and pull her to my side as I steer her back toward the house. "Let's get inside, yeah?"

"Yes, please," she agrees as her gloved fingers clumsily pull her scarf off of her face so she can speak more clearly. "I can barely feel my nose. Oh, hey! Where is Rosie? Her stable is empty."

"It's a long story," I sigh as I look toward the lights coming from the window to the den apprehensively. "We have some guests of our own tonight."

"Oh," she responds, her eyes widening as she looks up at me worriedly. Poor girl. She knows to be more concerned with my reaction to strangers being around her than she is with the strangers.

"Just-," I say disjointedly. "No magic, alright? They're witches, these girls... but Emhyr is hovering, too."

"You brought Emhyr home?" she asks in shock.

"I didn't bring him, no," I scowl at the memory of the man showing up. "He tracked me down and invited himself. Just be careful, okay? You're still young enough that you don't quite pull of looking human yet; let's not give him any reason to start sniffing around."

"Yes, sir," she mumbles as she pulls her scarf back up over her face moodily.

I'm still torn as we hit the foyer where Yvla is hovering in the archway into the den. Elwinel doesn't even acknowledge her as she runs past, darting through the den and toward the kitchen, no doubt to make herself some tea. I still want to ride out after Nell, but with Yvla's wide eyes at the unexpected guest and my daughter tearing the kitchen apart, all I can manage to accomplish is a pained look in Yvla's direction.

"My daughter, Ellie," I explain as I close the door behind me and brush off the light dusting of snow that had gathered on my clothes and hair. "As for Nell," I add, unable to keep the crossness from my voice. "She stole one of Ellie's horses, and took off. Emhyr is not going to be pleased with us - as though we stood half a chance of keeping that one from doing whatever the hell she pleased."

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86The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 12:18

Solas, I’m so sorry,” I frown sharply, rocking Evander absently as I look back to the girl in the kitchen. Rae is lingering behind me curiously, peering through to the kitchen at the girl humming as she bounces around fixing her tea. 

“Go say Hi, love,” I say to her quietly, shooing her off towards the kitchen. She scampers off excitedly at first, her pace slowing considerably once she’s past the small pantry separating the rooms. I can just hear her voice as she squeaks a nervous Hello, her shoes tapping gently as she makes her way to the island to watch Ellie.

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87The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 12:31

"It's not your fault," I say lightly as I move back into the den to see Ellie, her coat and scarf discarded on the floor, as she looks at me with wide-eyes as though seeking permission to talk to Raefiya. I smile faintly at her, her shoulders sagging with relief at having my blessing before she greets the small girl cheerfully.

With the kitchen full of cheerful chatter, I take the moment to sink into one of the chairs in the den with a sigh. Elwinel will finish cooking the food that's in there, leaving me to brood while she natters away with Raefiya.

"Would it be rude of me to tell Emhyr to get the fuck out when he returns?" I ask with a tired laugh as Yvla returns, my gaze wandering back toward Ellie as she makes an ungodly amount of noise with the pots and kettle. "He's never met Ellie. I was rather hoping he never would."

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88The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 12:35

“We’ll all be out of your hair once he comes back,” I frown, pacing with Evan as I look towards the girls occasionally. “I can bring the kids back home, then see if I can find Nell before she’s holed up at Art’s.”

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89The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 12:44

"Let us cross those bridges when we come to them," I say lightly as I look her over with a frown. "You should try to get some rest. I don't know what Nell plans to do, but Emhyr likes to take his time with things like this. It may be well past morning by the time he returns."

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90The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 13:09

“I’m pretty sure all I have ahead of me this evening is a lot of pacing and fussy baby,” I laugh weakly, shifting Evander as he looks around with wide eyes. “It’ll be hours before he even flirts with sleeping. It’ll be hours before I can.” I sigh, looking back towards the kitchen tiredly. 

“At least Rae is distracted,” I add, “I know you wouldn’t have invited this, but I’m glad your daughter is here... I’m glad Rae has someone to keep her mind off of whatever is happening tonight.”

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91The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 13:27

"I'm sure Elwinel is grateful for another girl around her age, too," I smile lightly as I glance back at the girls, Elwinel showing off the necklace she got recently. "I feel bad for her at times. I rarely allow her to have people over or to go out with other children to play. I worry for her too much, being what we are, her looking the way she does. Eyes follow us where ever we go, and I know she feels the tension I carry when they do. She's such an outgoing child, but she clings to me in public, not because she's afraid, but because she knows I am."

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92The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 17:57

I nod softly as I watch the girls, offering Solas a slight smile as I shrug.

“A few days away from the temple city, and no one would pay her any mind.” I say, bouncing Evander as he coos and babbles in my ear. Sighing, I take the seat nearest Solas, the girls still in my eyeline as I sit Evan in my lap, his back resting against my chest as he kicks and grabs at his feet. “She’s a beautiful girl, though.”

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93The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 18:06

"She is," I smile slightly as I pull open the drawer in the side table beside me to pull out a tin and a pipe. "She's kind, too," I sigh as I take my time preparing the pipe before casting a quiet enchantment to keep the smoke from drifting toward the baby. "And far too trusting, like her mother. Tells me all the time, not everyone is bad, pa. Just give them a chance. Silly girl."

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94The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 18:17

“She’s got a point, though,” I grin slightly, tugging off Evander’s socks to tickle at his feet and his toes as he giggles and grabs at them. “In my entire life, I’ve only met I think two truly bad people. Everyone else, though? More often than not, bad acts are a result of being scared or confused.”

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95The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 19:03

"Or greedy," I add with a frown as I take a long drag from my pipe and settle back into my seat comfortably. "Or lustful. Or hungry. Angry, spiteful, jealous, grievous, desperate, disturbed, insane. There are far more selfish emotions than their are selfless ones, unfortunately.

"Sadly, I can't claim not to be whim to the same such emotions," I sigh as I watch Elwinel removing the cornbread from the oven, her eyes lighting up excitedly as she discovers what it is. "Ellie was taken from me when she was naught but four or five years old." I admit quietly. "I've never been given to trusting another person since. Not even Emhyr, who I know deep down wouldn't do anything to harm her. But, as you've named it, fear surely wipes away all semblance of reason where she's concerned. I'd ruin our friendship and break every bone in his body if he came near her, for no better reason than the mantle he carries for his precious temple."

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96The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 19:26

I frown sharply, glancing up at him.

“I can’t say I fault you for that.” I say lightly, “It’s not an urge I share, but Nell? Nell would level a city if she thought it’d save these kids from harm.

“Doesn’t bode well for her brother,” I sigh, “doesn’t bode well at all.”

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97The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 19:38

"Honestly?" I frown, looking at her sadly. "The fact Emhyr is going after him doesn't either. The desiccant are stripped of their will and their emotions. When something goes wrong, and one of those things come back... it's never good. Will without emotion leads to cruelty, and emotion without will... well, he seeks to put a bounty out on the mother of his children.

"If he truly lacks reason or control," I add sadly as I watch her. "If he can't be talked down? Emhyr will not let him live."

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98The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 19:57

“I don’t want to think about that,” I say firmly, “I know the Wolter today isn’t the Wolter I wed years ago, I know he isn’t the same man who Rae knows to be her father...

“But I’ll never stop believing that man is in there, though.”

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99The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 20:07

"I hope he is, too," I say genuinely, offering her a soft smile before I set my pipe aside and get up with a tired groan. My joints feel stiff and unruly as I make my way toward the kitchen to find Ellie making something not at all close to what I had started before she had come in and taken over.

"What is this?" I ask skeptically as I peer into the pan, Elwinel grinning up at me broadly as she stirs the bright red contents and then holds up the gooey spoon toward me.

"It's strawberry jam!" she announces proudly as I make a face at her.

"For cornbread?" I ask in horror as I skirt around the stove to get into the pan still sitting on the cooling rack. "I wanted cabbage, not strawberries."

"You always have cabbage," she fusses, rolling her eyes as she turns the heat off and steps down off of the step stool to bring the jam over to the rack as well. "Rae and I decided strawberries sounded better. Less old man food."

"Oh, thanks," I respond dryly as I take a large slice of cornbread for myself and another for Yvla before allowing Elwinel to dish herself and her new friend up. "I'll just take my old self back to the den while you young whippersnappers eat all the strawberries you want with your cornbread."

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100The Unexpected - Page 4 Empty Re: The Unexpected on Sun 4 Feb 2018 - 20:15

“Wait!” Rae chirps as she peers up at the pan Ellie sat down, “Bring Mama some strawberries!”

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