Private Tales A Revival

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer
Kaida fidgeted with her hands as she looked upon the man in front of her. He was alone, suffering from something she did not fully comprehend. She wanted to know everything about this place, everything about this sad and tired man. She was anxious to peruse every inch of each tower, but he made it clear she was not to do that alone. She could feel old magics within these walls, things not touched for a very long time. She longed to seek them out and study them, but she worried Orion would throw her out at any moment's notice.

She waited for him to accept or decline her question, being as patient as she could muster. When he agreed, she lit up once more. She pulled out her tattered journal and showed it to him. "I like to take notes and sketch in my journals to submit to our monastery library. I wanted to make sure you were okay with something like that, though you seem to want to preserve and keep it to yourself. I don't want to make you mad by sharing without your knowledge."

Kaida's exuberance had faded slightly, but Orion could tell that her excitement was still there, bubbling just beneath the surface. He held no desire to temper that fire, however. To extinguish a hungry mind was an atrocious sin for a teacher to commit.

Orion blinked, and seemed confused for a moment, looking down at himself briefly. Had he just compared himself to a teacher? After all that he'd done? Being exposed to Kaida's enthusiasm was having strange effects on him, and the disgraced man was suddenly unsure if that was a very positive thing, or if perhaps he'd be better shutting out such intrusive thoughts.

Regardless, he'd given his word. Returning his attention to the girl, he reacted with some apprehension at the notion of the site of his failure being recorded into written history.

"What exactly is it that you wish to preserve? Our research? The history of this place? I promise you, Kiada, Trastus is a place better off forgotten by the world around us." The mage crossed his arms, sliding his tongue into his cheek as he closed his sullen eyes in thought. "I... I simply ask you to be selective about what you write. For your own safety and the safety of others."

He hadn't the heart to tell her how strongly he wished to be forgotten.

Kaida carefully tucked her journal away, eyes studying him quietly for a change. He seemed to be slowly changing with each interaction they shared. It was like he was slowly coming back to the land of the living. She folded her hands and looked at him solemnly. "I have no desire to paint an ill picture of a place as ancient and worn as this one. I will keep my recordings simple and factual, and you can even look at my notes and decide if you want things excluded. I understand that you would rather keep things buried, but there might be valuable things for others to gain from studying my notes."

She showed her first bout of maturity, it wasn't that she couldn't be, it's that she chose to embrace who she was. She was still a baby in dragon terms but being around humans had given her insight on important interactions. This was one of those moments. She smiled at Orion, swiftly changing gears. "I'm ready for your tower now!"

Orion did his utmost to let Kaida's assurances ease his worries, but the fact that she knew not the truth of this place perhaps impeded her ability to comprehend the magnitude of what she sought to undertake. This was no mere forgotten ruin lost to Father Time. It had been abandoned and pushed out of history quite intentionally, and with good reason.

That such a thing had occurred, and that Orion was directly responsible for it, would have to be revealed to her in due time. Were it not, she would find out on her own eventually anyway. Orion seemed to mull over her words, slight nods meeting her sentences as he stood himself up. No, it wouldn't do to deceive the girl any longer. There must be a measure of honesty, before he lost the capability for such transparency once again.

"Before you record anything, Kaida, there is something you need to see. Once you've done so, I will give you free reign to do as you please. Come, follow me."

Orion spun towards the door leading to the leftmost tower, bearing his name. Beyond it lie a tall, winding staircase that ran the length of the tower, with all manner of classroom, laboratory, storage and more offshooting from this central shaft. Dim magelight still illuminated the walls, and this tower seemed a deal more tidy than the main hall.

He was noticeably quiet as she finished speaking, his head nodding to acknowledge her but he never interjected or stopped her. He didn't even get bored or start to ignore her, he was giving her his full attention, and it was such a foreign concept to her. Usually no one had patience for her excitability and curious nature. She watched him carefully as she finished, worried that maybe she had spoken too much again.

Orion responded and she tilted her head as she listened intently. He sounded serious, she wondered what it was that he was going to reveal to her. She bit her tongue to avoid questioning him, only nodding as he stood. She followed closely behind, her eyes wandering over every open door and every nook and cranny they passed. His tower was notably less dusty and more organized. It would be much easier for her to explore later if given the chance. She was already feeling close to Orion, even though they had just met, she was feeling at home here, and it made her want to know more.

Orion was deathly silent as he began to ascend the long and winding staircase that ran up the tower, past dozens of closed doors. His silence was not out of anger or disdain for the hungry young mind following close behind him but rather indicated the silent battle he fought within himself. Those voices, those invisible hands that yearned to control his every move, they screamed for him to stop, to think about the ramifications of a confession the likes of which he was about to make.

There was no point, they said. She was but a child, it mattered not what she thought of him. Those were the tamer thoughts, but deep beneath, under layers of confusion and pain, darker commands attempted to reach him from the void. She could not be allowed to leave. She had seen too much. She must be silenced. Do it now.

Orion had already made his choice, and it was that resolute confirmation that allowed him to resist such dark callings. He would lay his crime before Kaida and allow her to be the judge and jury. What was there to lose by such an action? The world beyond his walls already thought him a maniac, and Kaida's writings would only reaffirm that fact.

Finally, they came to a shut wooden door about halfway up the tower, marked with a scratched-off and illegible number on its face. Orion spun to face it and reached out to trace his hand along the splintering wood, a look of remembrance filling his dull, tired eyes.

"I was once a proud teacher here, an instructor of the illusory arts. I lived here with my wife, and held an enviable position as one of the Headmasters of this Academy." These words sounded far less rehearsed and professional. Orion's voice was almost weak in its vibrato, meek in delivery. "Unbeknownst to me, such liberal use of powerful Illusion magic was taking it's toll on my mind. Slowly, my mental state began to deteriorate, until one day..."

Gently, Orion pushed the door open. The classroom within was upended, chairs and tables strewn about chaotically, dark stains upon the floor a chilling hint as to what had happened in this cursed room.

"I lost control."

  • Cry
Reactions: Kaida
Kaida, despite the mystery that was about to be revealed, was silent. She could feel waves of emotion flooding off the man in front of her, an internal battle he must be having. Now was not the time for her to be prattling, even an excitable girl like herself knew better. Instead, she studied open door they passed, took in the musty smell of old books and dust. Secrets to uncover, new things to learn. This was an important moment for the girl.

They ended their climb about halfway up the steep stairs, a shiver slowly traveling up her spine as a cascade of new smells invaded her senses. She lifted her eyes to meet his as Orion spoke. It took for him to open the door, for her senses to be overwhelmed to really understand what he was saying. An acrid smell of old magic, the copper smell of old blood..there had been death and bad magic here.

Her chest heaved in panic as she looked at the man in front of her. it wasn't him making her feel this fear, it was the taste of magic from what had been. It made her want to flee, made her want to fight. She gritted her teeth silently for a moment, collecting herself.

Finally, after several moments she collected herself. She stepped towards Orion then, a deep concern in her eyes as she approached. It wasn't his fault, magic was wild, no one can truly control it. Though she was still finding it hard to articulate, she reached up to touch his brow with her fingertips. She flooded him with the feeling of understanding, with sadness for his plight, and a caring for his wellbeing behind it all. How could she blame him, for something he couldn't have predicted or controlled? "It was an accident."

"It was an accident."

Orion's body would have recoiled from her touch, had his back not been against the doorframe. He'd told himself the same thing, again and again. He'd tried to absolve himself of the guilt, to wash the blood of those who'd trusted and looked up to him from his calloused hands. To no avail, that sin still weighed upon his shoulders heavier than any weight ever could.

That this strange girl, so calm in approaching him despite her fear and concern, could readily forgive him for what he'd done... It was both maddening and terrifying. She'd done so easily what he could not do himself, and worse, she'd given him forgiveness when he could not carry it.

"Perhaps it was." Orion turned his head, looking into the classroom with an intense gaze. In the back of his mind, in those chained and hidden recesses, he felt the nagging voices vie to return to him, those violent urges that had led him to this point. They hadn't left. They never would. "But it's an accident that could happen again. It will, if I'm not left alone. My mind is uncured, my magic still rips at my psyche every day."

Orion stumbles back onto the stairs, leaning against the railing to steady himself as he attempts to break his trance.

"Do you see now, Kaida? I am a danger to myself and to you. I am a doomed soul on legs, waiting out my time in this prison of my own making."

Right now, Orion felt like the child, not her. He was punishing himself over and over again, trying to make himself pay for something that happened outside of anyone else's memories. It was silly to do, to dwell on something that may or may not happen again. What a silly way to live your life.

"You've made yourself into a self-perceived devil. You don't know that it will happen again, you've not explored any alternatives other than to sit here and waste away in a punishment you made for yourself. That's no way to live your life." She huffed softly as he stumbled away from her and the room, closing the door resolutely, staking him to the stairs.

"It seems you needed someone to invade your little bubble, and I'll gladly continue to do so. You can't be frightened forever, and you can't scare me away with maybes. You need help, you need a friend. I can be those things."

Kaida decided then, that she would show him exactly who she was. She shifted seamlessly in front of him, human giving way to dragon as she suddenly took up much more room than she had before. Stone walls scraped against emerald scales as she pushed her snout into the face of the solemn man before her, opalescent eyes staring him down. "I am not afraid."

Orion stood against the railing of the stairs as Kaida so openly displayed her resolve to him. The illusionist did not attempt to refute her claims, but the dullness in his eyes and the exhaustion that seemed painted on every inch of his face suggested he was far too trapped amidst the hell of his own mind to take her reassurances seriously.

He'd tried to convince himself of every word she spoke, told himself that it had merely been an accident, that he could prevent such a thing from happening again. In his heart, though, he knew it was an inevitability. Even now he had bouts of insanity, losing complete control of himself and with only a hazy memory of what he'd done.

What friend could change an undeniability? This was not a mere maybe. This was a certainty.

Kaida did not seem to grasp that, nor was Orion going to attempt to force the truth upon her. He would let her have her fun, and when she was finished he would point her to the wall and allow her to leave unharmed. This girl, he would ensure did not face the same fate as the others. For this one child, he would resist.

And that was what Orion thought Kaida to be: A child. Her claims otherwise were ludicrous, something he'd tossed aside in dismissal almost the very second they had left her lips. Now, she decided to show him, to prove her claims correct. As the girl began to grow and shift before him Orion's tired and sullen gaze grew into one of surprise, his eyes widening in a way they hadn't in years.

This was no human girl standing in his tower, it was that which she'd told him in the very beginning. The snout that nearly touched his brow was that of a dragon, barely fitting in the tower, and nearly sending Orion over the edge of the railing.

"Sometimes fear is a necessary emotion."

He breathed the words, the last of his defiance flaring.

A deep rumble could be heard from the chest of the emerald dragon, her lip lifting to reveal an ivory tooth in amusement. He hadn't believed her, she could see it in his widening eyes. They never did believe her, not until she truly shifted and showed herself to be true. Behind that gaze though, she could see he was tired and worn. A shell of a man that hadn't known rest in its true form for a long time.

Still he wanted to convey that she should fear him, a futile task to the young dragon. She would never be convinced to fear a human, despite what she had seen and felt looking upon that room, she knew it hadn't been something had he done on purpose.

"Fear is an excuse."

Kaida shifted back slowly, taking her human form once more. She shoved a small finger against Orion's chest, a stern look on her face. "Now, I think we've had enough excitement for today. Let's get some food in our bellies, and some sleep to mend our busy minds." She was resolute, and would not take no for an answer. In all honesty, the man could use a wash and a shave too, but they could work on that later.

Orion scarcely held back the snarl in his throat, even as a finger nearly as thick as his neck pressed against his chest. Perhaps Kaida was indeed a dragon, a beast so fearsome and intimidating that they were spoken of only in legend. She still held the naivete of a young girl. To speak to him as if his problems were nothing, that food and sleep would make anything okay... She had no idea, and how could she?

"Do you patronize me, Kaida?" He sneered, though his gaze was not as sharp as he wished he could muster. "You would speak of a hot meal as if it eases my pain, a restful sleep as though that is something I can achieve?" Sleep was pain, without fail. Food was a temporary reprieve, and one that only brought sorrow when the aches and voices returned to him.

Alas, he could gripe and complain all he wished. The chance he had to force Kaida's departure had passed. There was nothing he could do against a dragon, not in his drastically weakened state. Sliding away from her prodding finger, Orion turned to ascend higher up the staircase, clutching his cloak and holding it tighter around his body.

"You'll have to change back, I'm afraid. I've not the food to fill the stomach of a dragon. "

Orion's quarters sat at the very top of the tower, a small room with the essentials; a furnace for cooking, a chair and an assortment of cluttered books, and a small adjoining room with a bed. Perhaps most appealing to Kaida would be the door leading out to a balcony that overlooked Trastus from the highest point possible. Either way, Orion's boots thumped against the hardwood floor of his room, smearing the odd black scorch marks that covered it.

"I used to have more. I'm not sure where it went."

Kaida huffed at his retorts, he really was impossible. She had her work cut out with him, that was for sure, but she wasn't going to give up on the lonely old hermit if she could help it. "Of course I know food and sleep are not going to cure decades of trauma. I'm young, not stupid." She rolled her eyes as she shifted back into a more fun sized version, the girl that he had met and barely tolerated.

He was stuck in the past, and even if he was alive and moving, she felt as if he lived in this dream state, separated from the world. She wanted to wake him up, get him to live again. It was no short easy task, but one she set her heart to. She scrambled up the remaining stairs behind him, not keen to let him out of her sight.

While she desired to explore some more, she contained herself to the task of meal making. "Why don't you sit down, Ill get us something warm for our bellies." What he had was pitiful, but she was prepared. She slid her pack from her shoulders and began to rummage through it, the Knights had taught her many things, foraging being an important part of her training. Prey rarely stood a chance against her too. She would have to stock his larder tomorrow, no wonder he was so pale and skinny.

So she was going to handle the food? Very well, that gave him the chance to separate from her, to cool down and perhaps collect what thoughts he was still able to wrangle together. Wordlessly he strode to the balcony door, pushing it open and letting a cool blast of evening air rush inside the room, only made more frigid by the altitude they were at.

It didn't bother Orion any longer; much of his skin was numb from the wards he'd placed onto himself, markings burnt into his flesh in the hopes of restraining his magic and prolonging his sanity. They worked, but only barely, and he had to renew the magic every couple of weeks, which was a painful experience to say the very least.

Orion wrapped his hands around the railing of the balcony, looking out over the desolate town he'd once helped govern. Why did fate see fit to send him trial after trial, when his willpower had already eroded long ago? The Dragon-girl behind him failed to realize the simplicity that Orion did not want to be helped. He did not desire to be saved. He was an aging, tired mage who had lost his fight years ago.

Now, she wished to prolong his suffering.

  • Cry
Reactions: Kaida
Kaida hummed as she prepared their meal, feeling the cool air on the back of her neck as he strode out to the balcony. She knew she had been pushy, probably pushier than he'd had to deal with in a very long time. Still, it seemed like the teacher in him prevailed over the annoyance he must have for her. Everyone was annoyed by Kaida, it just seemed to be a fact of life. She was loud, and clumsy, and excitable. She was out of place everywhere she went, but still she was determined to make the best of it.

Her hands were busy cutting wild carrots and onions, the rabbit she had stowed already skinned and ready to be diced. Several odd herbs joined the mix as she combined them all in a pot of water. Hanging it above a newly made fire, she finally stood and brushed her hands on her breeches. If only she had a few potatoes, but ah well.

She looked out the balcony doors, studying the back of the old mage that stood silent and rigid. She walked slowly out to join him, the first stars blinking into existence as they stood. She was quiet for a long time, a sigh finally escaping her as she spoke. "I'm sure you would prefer to be left alone, I'm sure me being here is the last thing that you want. I'll admit, I'm selfish. I'm alone in this world too, the difference is, is that I don't want to be."

By the time Kaida had worked up the nerve to speak to him again, Orion's anger had dissipated somewhat. No matter how the fire in his veins raged, no matter how his corrupted heart ached, something about the cool wind against his face, the familiar scent of his home that still lingered faintly in the air... it soothed him. It brought him back to his senses.

It was one of the only things that could, anymore.

"It is not that I wish to be alone." Orion replied softly, shaking his head. He did not turn to face her, instead closing his eyes against the breeze. "I simply refuse to allow myself to put another's life into such peril again. Kaida, I..." The weary mage sighs and turns at last, looking at the girl as he leans on the stone railing with one arm. "I appreciate your faith in me. Your belief that I can improve is well-intentioned and I was wrong to lash out at you for it."

Still, the shift in his eyes suggested he remained uncertain.

"I simply wish it was so simple as willpower and optimism. There are forces at play that subvert any human effort I can muster. Do you understand why your insistence has frustrated me? You may be alone to some extent, but you have a home. People to return to. Why fight this battle?"

The stood in silence for a while, the breeze ruffling her hair as she looked to the starry sky. It was quiet, peaceful. The tension of the day was slowly easing itself from her muscles. She leaned forward, dangling her arms over the railing as she slumped against the cold stone. The moment came, when Orion decided to speak first, his solemn aching tone drenching them once more in his sadness.

She sat, motionless and quiet as he spoke. She never once turned to face him, though she could feel the movement from him when he looked to her. She swung her arms idly in the free space outside the balcony, her eyes still focused on the night sky.

"I understand what you are saying, I understand that it's not as simple as that." With a small huff, she dropped onto her rear, sticking her legs outside the railing this time, arms wrapped around the stone pillars that kept them from falling. "I see a wounded and tortured man when I look at you. I see someone who has given up, but not enough to end his own suffering. Well, even if I can't help you, at least you can have someone around to make it less lonely. You don't even know if you are truly a risk. you certainly haven't hurt me yet." She laid back on the cool stone, closing her eyes as her legs swung.

"We weren't meant to live life alone, no matter what happened in the past, it's in the past. We can't alter it, we can't fix it. All we can do is move on and try to be better than we were before."

Perhaps it was some cruel reminder of how deeply he'd fallen into despair, that hearing her say that she may not be able to help him brought a feeling of relief. Was he so resigned to his hopelessness that the idea of being pulled from it truly frightened him so? His lips again curled in disgust, but this time that vitriol was directed at himself.

"Tell me..." Orion, leaned forward over the railing, the beginnings of a smirk tugging on his dry lips, even through his disdain. "Are all Dragons so forgiving? Or are you a special case?" The tone of Orion's voice seemed to indicate he still found her claim ludicrous, even when he'd seen her transform before his very eyes. Even so, it wasn't as though he could deny it any longer.

"I won't deny that I've remained peaceful with you so far, that you've not seen the depths of insanity that I claim grip me. Come inside, and I'll show you why that is."

Orion pushed away from the railing and returned to his chambers. The smell of cooking food had begun to fill the room, and despite his earlier objections, he could not deny the rumble in his stomach that had begun to awaken.

"After my initial episode, I immediately set about finding a solution to my worsening condition." Orion brought his hands to his robe as he spoke, carefully lowering it off his shoulders and sliding it down his chest, exposing the bare, pale flesh of his torso. "Thus far I have only succeeded in stalling it." Orion's arms, back, chest and neck were covered in black scorch marks, burns inflicted by heated stones. They were not ordinary markings, however. They formed shapes and seemed deliberate in their placement.

"By burning runes into my flesh, I can temporarily ward off my own magic. At the cost of pain and my own health. It is... not ideal, and the runes must be replaced every fortnight, lest they heal over, but it is all that I can do."

Kaida looked up with a grin at the mage that stood next her, a giggle escaping her lips at his question. "Maybe I'm just an inexperienced dragon, and I should have just eaten you instead." They stayed like that for a few more minutes, silent in each other's company, but it wasn't at all a bad quiet. It was mere companionship in the cool dark air, without even a breeze to disturb them.

"If argumentative is peaceful." She retorted as he spoke, a good-natured smile on her lips. He had eventually relented to her, to an extent, but that didn't mean she wasn't going to tease him just a little over it. Still, she clambered to her feet, following him inside dutifully. She was curious as to what he had up his sleeve this time.

He walked an explained at the same time, and she watched carefully as his revealed the markings to her. She approached him carefully, his skin marred and etched beyond what any human should endure. She reached out to touch one of the runes, his skin still seemingly overly warm from the treatments. "I agree, not ideal. What happens when these fail? When you lose sense of yourself?"

Orion winced at the presence of her fingers on his burns, the flesh still stinging with every foreign presence that brushed his charred flesh. It was a pain he'd grown used to, a pain he bore every day. "I lose my ability to tell my own illusions from reality. My magic, left unchecked, drives me insane with visions that I cannot control."

It was not a random act of violence that had driven him to slay those students. It was an illusion, crafted by the talents of his own mind that had spurred him into action. Orion had told nobody of what he'd seen, of what he'd thought himself to be doing.

It didn't matter, didn't excuse reality.

"There was a woman I met once, out on a rare excursion from this town. She claimed to know a cure, wanted to help me. She was pelted with arrows in a useless conflict she held no part in." Orion spoke with bitterness as he re-clothed himself. "A man came another time, offering to ease my mind if I aided him. He betrayed me, left me for dead. I no longer entertain the aide of others."

His heart ached enough without the promise of life being dangled in front of him, like a carrot on a stick.

It was a sad thing to see, this broken man in front of her. It was sobering, an experience that she would never forget. She could almost feel his pain, his losses. The were practically palpable. Though her touch was gentle, she could feel the discomfort touched him brought and she removed her fingers from his flesh. The magic seared her bones, and smelled acrid. Not the scent of magic she had gotten from him upon their first meeting.

"That is a terrible burden to live with, I would not wish it on my worst enemy." She was feeling a loss of her childish innocence, making way for a maturity and understanding she'd one day grow into. Kaida looked down, remembering the classroom he had shown her. It wasn't his fault, though telling him so would do nothing for him.

"I won't lie and say that I can fix you, I won't say that I'll be around forever. We all die sometime. I can say that I will remain as your friend and ally, because we all need someone. If your wards fail, I will not hold it against you."

"If my wards fail..." Orion's words came quick, though he could not meet her eyes as he spoke them. "I would rather be put down before I may do any more harm than I already have." Came the grim admission. He did not ask Kaida specifically to carry out such a burdensome task. Such a thing would be a heartless request to a creature so young, so pure.

He couldn't avoid the implication, however.

"That I have not allowed myself death is purely some far-reaching attempt at penance, admittedly." Orion continued as he moved to sit cross-legged on the floor, pulling up the small rug to reveal a hatch underneath with a small blackened piece of charcoal, an old weathered book, and a bottle of whiskey. "In the hopes that perhaps I will one day find a way to atone, to attain peace. Those hopes waver every day..."

Pulling out the book, he flips through the note-riddled pages until he stops at one that displays runes matching that which Kaida had seen on his flesh. Raising the book up, he presents it to her.

"This has been my only solace, but even it fails me as of late... For that, I am thankful for your kindness."

Kaida listened carefully to him, it seemed he needed to get all of this out. let someone know, even if he really didn't think it was a necessary thing. She could see the heaviness in his heart and soul, how torn he was. It was as if he ached for death, and the only thing that kept him on this mortal plain was his own punishment. Indeed this was what he spoke.

She could appreciate him being vulnerable with her, he did not seem to regard her as someone he cuoldn't trust. Perhaps she should be the one not so trusting, and yet, there was that fierce notion of her being untouchable that gave her that sense of immortality and lack of fear.

She leaned over him to study the book he presented, taking it gently in her soft, small, childish hands. The wear on it was evident, and she treated it with gentle care. "It must be a lonely existence, wanting to die but refusing to let yourself. I want you to know that if you cannot come back from your madness, for your sake, I will put you down." It was not in a malicious tone; it was purely factual. He could not be allowed to roam the world and cause chaos because of his affliction. She had a responsibility for him now, as she was a squire of Anathaeum. She would not let her order down for the sake of her feelings.

How pathetic it was, that of all the things that she had said to him since her arrival in Trastus, that an offer to end his life should he fall into an inescapable pit of insanity was the kindest thing he'd been told in years. That it was the thing that brought the smallest of smiles to his lips spoke to his ceaseless struggle, the exhaustion that stripped layers from his resolve with every passing day.

"Thank you..." He speaks softly, his head bowing in gratitude. "I... I had not intended to burden you with such a request. It would be callous of me to place such an unfavorable task upon your shoulders, should the need arise. That you offer it so willingly, that you would show me such mercy..." It touched him, and he wasn't sure how to appropriately convey that besides the respectful bow he now paid to her.

"I was wrong. You are a friend, Kaida. Well and truly."

Straightening himself, he turned to move back towards the small kitchen area, no longer slouched and reluctant in his motions. "Enough sentimentality. We were going to eat, no? All of this emotion has left em with an aching gut."

The tension in the room practically ceased to exist after she had uttered her promise of his demise. It was practically palpable, the relief of emotion that came from Orion. She had expected his response, but it seemed he hadn't expected her to say such a thing. Kaida could practically feel the puff in her chest as he finally gave in just a little.

She didn't respond immediately, soaking in the fact that she had cracked him a little. He had let the gloom fall from his shoulders, and it revealed a kind and gentle friend. She let him speak his piece, and then let him change the subject to supper. A grin split her lips as she followed him back, she didn't feel so alone in this moment. She didn't feel like she didn't belong.

She ushered him to sit as she continued to the stew she had so carefully prepared. She ladled him a large helping, and another one for herself. It seemed too large a portion for a girl so small, but she set it at the small table across from Orion. "I'm really glad we met." She looked up at him with bright eyes and an easy smile, waiting patiently for him to take his first bite. "If you have any questions for me, you can ask. I know I've already asked you a lot."