Private Tales An Evening with Friends

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Kala

The Other Gutter Rat
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Kala fell onto her rear as Nat pushed her away from Rumer. A quiet grumble escaped her lips as she found herself nearly sprawled on the grass.

She glanced at the girl, still breathing on the floor, and then to Kasimir who appeared little more than a lifeless corpse. A frown touched the Tiefling's lips. Was her kin dead? He hardly seemed to move, in fact he seemed to not move at all.

For a brief moment she wondered why she would even care. Why it mattered.

She had wanted to help Kasimir because seeing him a slave had disgusted her. It had been the antitheses of their kind, now he was seemingly dead.

Why help the others?

Nat was nice enough, but she wouldn't have called the woman a friend. Not really. The two of them had simply spent a few days together traipsing after a wizard. She frowned for a moment more, and then let out a loud sigh. "Fine."

She was going to have to move after this. Again.

"Bring them into the cabin." Kala told them. "There's a bed, and a couch."

Though not much more.

"Take her first. The big lug we'll have to carry together." The tiefling said as she pulled herself to her feet and began to head towards the cabin. Once inside they would find not a rustic mountain home, but instead the ostentatious trappings of a Queen.

Silks hung from the walls, gold necklaces and crowns decorated mannequins, jewels lay scattered on every surface as though they were ordinary rocks. It was such a display of wealth that one might have thought they'd wandered into a dragons hoard.
 

Nathaira

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Moving Rumer was easy enough, and Nathaira selfishly carried the girl on her own. It was equal parts love and guilt that streamed from her, for she had been Rumer’s entry into this hellish life. She wondered what her past self would have done, had she realized the bond that would overtake them. She preferred not to think about it. Her past self was… cold.

The cabin was lavishly decorated, to the point that even in the height of her worries she had to notice it. Kala had done well for herself since the artificer, it seemed.

Kasimir was heavy. Very heavy, and it took a good deal longer to carry him back. Nevertheless the pair of unconscious forsaken were successfully brought indoors.

Nathaira leaned over his face and let her long tongue flick a few times across his lips. ”He iss not dead,” she said with a heavy swell of relief as she detected the barest hints of breath. Something was different about his scent though. It seemed simpler, less complex and layered. She feared what she had stripped him of, but she would do it all again if it meant saving his life. ”He will wake in time.”

She returned to Rumer, who appeared to be sleeping more peacefully than she had before. The half-naga looked at Genevieve and had the good grace to appear embarrassed. ”I am ssorry Mistress— er, Genevieve. Thank you for helping her.” It was less of an apology than the dreadlord deserved but the best Nathaira could manage.

”And you, Kala. Thank you.” For the magic, for the shelter, for showing up when they needed her. Too many things and Nathaira was suddenly too exhausted to list them all.
 

Genevieve

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Where on Arethil were they? The inside of the unassuming building looked far more lavish than any of the rooms she'd seen when she was in service to House Urahil. This Kala person must have been a member of some royal family or perhaps she run an incredibly successful business. Those were the only explanations for this level of wealth.

Once the two were secured inside of the cabin Genevieve collapsed into one of the corners.

Her verdant eyes cast on the unconscious child. She was far too young to suffer through what had befallen her thus far and at this point Genevieve's only hope was that she could live a normal life, or as close to normal as possible, from here on out. Nathaira and Kasimir would serve as excellent parenting figures based on what little she'd seen and if they needed her to help it was the least she could do after the atrocities she'd stood by and watched Norris or others in Vel Anir commit.

Quickly her gaze darted to the still half-tiefling, worry clearly consuming the half-naga. Then, to her shock, the woman who seemed to dispose her issued an apology and a thank you. Bewilderment only overtook her for a moment before she gathered the courage to say, "I'm sorry too. And, he'll be alright. We'll make sure of it." If Genevieve had to use her magic until she passed out, so be it, but they'd ensure the red-skinned Forsaken survived.

Unsure what to do in the downtime she addressed their host, "you have a lovely home."
 

Rumer

The Forsaken
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Rumer's body was radiating much more heat than it should have. Her clothes were damp with blood and sweat, but despite all of that she clearly felt no pain, nor did she suffer fever. She slumped in Natharia's arms and settled comfortably when she was laid down, her breaths slow and calm as her mind and body savoured the rarity that was deep sleep.
 

Kasimir

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Kasimir made not a single noise as he was moved. Not a grunt or a mewl of pain or discomfort as his tail dragged along the floor when the three women manhandled him into the house, and not again when he was set down. For all intents and purposes he appeared dead. Whether that was just down to Nat's poison or the lack of shadows it was hard to tell.

But, if the shadows were gone, so was the threat that had previously hindered Kala's efforts...
 
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Kala

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"Yes yes, I know it's great. Took me a lot of years to steal all of it." Kala said with a dismissive wave of her hand.

She was not exactly pleased that they had all stumbled into her mountain home.

No one was supposed to know where she lived, and even though none of them likely had any idea where they were they had seen enough. Now she was going to have to move it all, to where she had no idea, but she knew she couldn't stay.

A rather annoying fact of all of this. "Now."

She said, peering as Kasimir.

"Can someone please fucking explain what is going on." The Tiefling demanded. "Why you're here, and..."

She frowned. "If all of his...things...shadows are gone."

Kala wasn't a complete fool. She remembered what had happened last time, why. The opportunity was there, but she was none too eager to try again. Not after last time. Not unless she was sure.
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira sighed, feeling steady for the first time in what felt like hours. Of course... it hadn't been long at all. Norris' body probably wasn't even cold yet. It made her happy to think of him dead, though there was an inexplicable fear.

"Norriss, our master, pushed Rumer too far. She killed him. Kasimir did something to shield her, made it look like he wass the one who did it... I'm ssorry, I don't fully understand it myself, but both of their runes turned on them."

She took a seat amongst some thick, expensive looking rugs. It wasn't until she had done so that she realized how tired her legs were. "We needed help. Met your... large friend." She frowned as Kala pondered Kas's missing shadows.

"He once told me that his shadowss were the closest thingss he had to friends. I didn't know they could leave."

Her tongue flicked nervously in the air. She hoped Kasimir could forgive her if she had stolen his shadows. She hadn't liked the cold realm they came from, but they had been a part of him, and therefore she loved them.

Suddenly the significance of Kala's questioning dawned on her, and her energy returned. "Wait do... do you think you can free him now?"
 

Genevieve

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Steal? They were in the home of a common burglar? And relying upon this thief to save both of the children?

Genevieve kept her objections to herself. Clearly they didn't have many options and whatever the cutpurse had done to Rumer seemed to be working. The Anirian nodded as Nathaira explained it all, not feeling a need to add very much to the story.

She thought about cutting in when the question of his shadows leaving had been raised.

There were places, within the Dreadlord program, which studied magic. They could maybe find a way to bring them back. But better judgement reminded her that they were all enemies of Vel Anir now. She was an enemy of Vel Anir now. His shadows would come back on their own or they'd find some solution elsewhere. Perhaps in Elbion. Or from the magical, trinket-stealing, tiefling they'd just met.

Gods the woman seemed like such a bad influence of these poor children. But Genevieve put on a smile and looked up at Kala when the half-naga asked if her magics could free Kasimir. "Please."
 
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Kala

The Other Gutter Rat
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Kala frowned for a few moments as Nat gave a quick summation of all of what had happened. "Ah."

She considered for a moment, glancing at the distinctively human woman that was standing in the middle of her living room. The Tiefling could not miss the woman's rather judging look, her eyebrow perking slightly as she offered a waggle of her eyebrows.

"I suppose she's one of your slavers?" There was no tact to the question.

Kala knew what Vel Anir was, who ran the show there.

She'd never been overly fond of humans herself, but mostly because how they treated her kind. Most saw Tieflings as demons, monsters to be slain. She'd been run out of more than one little village because of religious nuts.

"Well...I..." She shrugged. "Last time I tried the shadows tore off my arm."

The tiefling raised her glittering golden palm. "But this worked on the girl."

She said, tugging the paper free and showing the symbol to the two women. "So I don't see why it shouldn't work now."

Though it seemed she was none-too eager to try a second time.
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira did not comment on Kala's choice of title for Genevieve, she hadn't warmed up to the Anirian that much, not yet. Besides... she wasn't wrong. Inwardly she struggled with her hatred as Genevieve pleaded for Kasimir's freedom. The evidence of kindness was right before her, but it was extremely difficult to convince change from the deep, calcified pillars of fear and pain that had formed under Genevieve's watchful, albeit helpless, eyes.

She struggled to her feet again. Her limbs felt leaden. "I'll do it." Kala's arm was impressive and a hard-fought victory. She could understand not wishing to risk it. Nathaira doubted such a thing could be replaced. She took a few slow steps to the glowing paper. "Just, tell me how."

Nathaira, on the other hand, had nothing left to lose. She could not return to Vel Anir as anything but a fugitive, and would likely be hunted for the rest of her life. The only two people she had ever felt anything for were in this cabin. She would give an arm, a leg, even her head to see them free and healthy once more.
 

Genevieve

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Genevieve winced at the reference to her as a slaver.

She wanted to scream at the tiefling in that moment. Deny it and correct her. She'd been just as much of a prisoner, taken in as a Dreadlord when she was but a girl. Barely avoiding the gallows and forced to work on the Forsaken projects under Norris as a healer. She was just as much of a slave as anyone!

But... she knew that wasn't true. Genevieve could have done more. Sure, she had showered Rumer with little kindnesses here and there. Cleaning her off, insisting she eat, making the trips to and from that cabin in the woods as pleasant as she could. There was so much more that she could have done though. She could've tried to interfere when the punishments got too severe, could've tried to find a way to free the children sooner.

It wasn't untrue what the thief had said. She had been a slaver. So for now she kept her lips sealed and allowed the other two women to do what needed to be done to save Kasimir.
 

Kala

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"It's actually surprisingly easy." Kala said with a shrug.

The piece of paper was placed on the nearby table, Kala gingerly pushing a pile of gold coins aside so that Nat could have a better view of the parchment she was wielding. "You just draw this symbol around his mark."

As she spoke the Tiefling walked back over to the shelf she'd earlier used, plucking some of the ingredients free.

The fact that she still had these on-hand spoke to something, though what it was couldn't be said. The thief wandered over towards Nathaira, gesturing towards the mark on the table as she began the quick mixtures that would be required.

"After that..." She shrugged. "With her it kicked in as soon as the Rune was completed. With Kas?"

Her lips thinned. "They ripped my arm off before I got that far."

Unconsciously she glanced down at her golden appendage.
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira stared at the symbol. It looked... simple enough. "That's it?" It seemed too easy. Surely, if this was all it took, they could have been freed much sooner. No doubt the instructions for this spell would have been jealously guarded by Vel Anir, she reasoned. No doubt even buying the ingredients would bring Dreadlords down on your head if one wasn't careful.

Her face noticeably paled in response to Kala's warning. She would endure it, for him, but the shadows had always held a certain eldritch horror. Would it be cold, she wondered, where they pierced her flesh?

She took the vials from Kala, forcing her body to move against her better judgement. Pain, fatigue, and fear were screaming at her to stop. Love drove her forwards. She knelt by Kasimir's motionless body, turned his head gingerly to expose the rune. With long, slender fingers, she traced the symbol, and held her breath as she made the final mark.
 

Kasimir

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The symbol blazed white and bright against his red skin and suddenly the coma-like tiefling's back arched and he let out a bellowing scream of agony. Inch by inch the rune disappeared, slower than it had on Rumer but disappearing all the same, until eventually all that was left was smooth skin.

Kasimir's body thudded back to where it had laid and the slow heart beat...

Stopped.
 

Rumer

The Forsaken
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The voices in the room seemed so far away, but slowly oh-so-slowly, her surroundings became more apparent to her. She was laying on a table. Her clothes were wet, and she was cold. She'd lost blood, but there was no more pain other than the spot where her rune had been branded into her skin, and from there a burning pain throbbed. Her fingers curled against the wood she lay on and her hands fisted by her sides as though trying to clutch at something that might force her to properly wake.

The child's brow furrowed with the effort of opening her eyes only barely, and she stared in confusion for a long moment at a pile of treasures on the floor. Where in hells was she?

She didn't recognise Kala's voice, and panic had a brief chance to grip her before Nathaira's voice halted it. Rumer dragged a deep breath into her lungs and groaned it back out as she tried to push herself up and found herself too weak to do so.
 

Genevieve

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The sandy-blonde haired Anirian winced at the mark on Kasimir's skin, her stomach turning over when the lad's back lifted. Goosebumps filled her arms and the hairs on the back of her neck stood at attention when that awful scream was let loose from his throat.

Genevieve was motionless. As if any gesture she did might cause the procedure Nathaira and Kala had worked on to backfire or fail.

Suddenly the half-elf seemed to return to consciousness. A few quick movements, a shuddering breath, and an attempt to awaken herself. The young thing was far too weak and had been through far too much to lift herself up and rejoin them all so suddenly. And while Genevieve was unsure what she could do to aid the half-tiefling's recovery she knew that she could offer Rumer a kind word.

In a quick motion she squeezed the child's hand and whispered, "you're safe." Her emerald eyes glanced towards the naga, wondering what could be done for the poor red-skinned boy.
 

Kala

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"Well you still have your arm." Kala said with a chirp.

The Tiefling had absolutely no idea if the magic had actually worked, but the mark was gone and Kasimir seemed like he was still alive. That was two things she could mark in the positive column. Briefly she wondered if the Mage back in Elbion should know her experiment worked...but then she decided against it.

That little girl had been creepy as the seven hells.

Golden fingers clacked against the table for a moment, consideration flickering over her face. "Suppose I can feed you for a few days..."

She mused for a second.

"But I'm not much of a cook." This place was her personal sanctuary. She had enough food for herself, but for five of them? She wasn't entirely sure. Lips thinned for a moment, head shaking. "So you'll have to think of a plan"

Kala said as she pushed a stack of gold coins from a comfortable leather chair, sitting herself down and peering at the Anirians. "Because you're definitely not staying here long term."

A few days though...a few days she could give them.
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira's eyes went wide at Kasimir's scream. She was terrified that she had done something wrong, that she had accidentally performed some sort of curse or maybe made the rune's attack worse. He quieted though, and as he did the rune faded. She breathed a sigh of relief. Hopefully the poison would wear off soon. Maybe his shadows would return.

Rumer's soft murmurs roused her attention back across the cabin, and with the relief of seeing that Rumer was alive and well, she felt the sweeping fatigue again. Finally she felt like she could rest.

"We don't need to sstay long," she answered Kala. Nathaira had never learned to expect hospitality, so although Kala seemed to be able to afford enough food for an army, she did not question the rough remarks. "Once they can walk we can... can..." She stopped. She hadn't thought of what to do next. What could they do? Where would they go? As far away from Vel Anir as possible, if she had any say, but where else would take them in? Who in the world would not turn them in for fear of retribution, or desire of reward?

Oh well. They would figure it out. They were all each other had. Despite the desperate situation, Nathaira smiled as she leaned back and rested her head against Kasimir's still shoulder. She reached up absently to touch his arm. Finally free. Finally hers, truly.

He felt wrong. She frowned, running her fingers down his skin again. He was too cool. Kasimir was always warm, unusually so. He had braved the frigid peaks of Belgrath while she had been bundled beneath mountains of leather and wool. Even sleeping beneath the poison's spell he had radiated heat. She turned, and the sensitive pits on her lip drank in his heat. It was there... but it was dimming.

A cold dread pierced through her. "Kas," she said firmly, getting to her knees and leaning close to his face. "Kasimir," she said again, louder. A nervous flicker of her tongue - no breath on his lips.

"He's sstopped breathing," she said with a frightening coolness. The poison should be wearing off, not intensifying. Had she killed him? No, don't think about it. A lifetime of abuse had not erased her emotions, but it had taught her how to isolate them. Right now, she locked them away. She had to think.

Forsaken were not taught how to revive people. Why would they be? None of their lives were worth saving, and they were weapons, not healers' tools. But she was in a room full of stolen wonders, the witch that had taken them, and an Anirian healer (albeit an exhausted one). She knew enough about death to know that Kasimir's fate was not certain, not yet, not if they acted quickly. This chapter could yet be rewritten, but the ink was drying fast.
 

Genevieve

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She felt a sense of relief as Kala insisted this wouldn't be a long term arrangement. That was perfectly fine by her, the children needed to learn an honest trade and a thief would be a terrible influence. The horrors of Vel Anir had likely already tainted their moral compasses, rubbing elbows with a burglar wasn't a good long term option for any of them.

There was a moment of hesitation from Nathaira and Genevieve had considered making some place up. Offering some half-baked suggestion to ease their hostess's nerves or help the half-naga see a possible future. But, again, she bit her tongue. She was still an outsider among the group of Forsaken.

"Stopped breathing?" Genevieve asked, sudden panic in her voice. Her magic couldn't do much if the boy had expired.

Still, she had to try. The Anirian woman released Rumer's hand and moved over towards Kasimir, taking up a standing position between Nathaira, the bed, and the wall. She out stretched both of her palms and closed her eyelids tightly. There wasn't any telling how long she could keep up her magic after using it so readily today, and there was no way of knowing if her magic would even do anything.

The mist poured from her hands and up into Kasimir's nostrils and mouth, flowing downwards to mend and heal any internal damage. "I don't know how long I can," her words were strained, her breaths labored, "keep this up for."
 
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Kasimir

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For what seemed like forever, Kasimir's body didn't give a hint at responding to any of Genevieve's efforts. But, just as the last drains of her energy begun to leave her the tiefling suddenly took a deep, shuddering breathe in which quickly descended into a series coughing fit. He rolled weakly over onto his side where he threw up the build up of blood that had gathered in his lungs and been a part of why his heart had finally stopped.

Kas wished for the bliss of unconsciousness again but it didn't sweep him under again due to the amount of healing magic that had been pumped into him. Shakily he wiped his bloodied lips and then looked up with bloodshot eyes at the scene around him, the house, Rumer also struggling to sit up.

"What happened?" he croaked.
 
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Rumer

The Forsaken
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'you're safe'
Tension melted. Breath shuddered from her lungs and tears flooded onto her cheeks. Had she ever been 'safe' in her life? She was dreadfully tired, though there was no more pain, and she was gone from that place. She could cry all she wanted without punishment and she could trust comfort for what it was. It was no trick, she believed it, they had made it out.

Her eyes had closed with the intent on resting some more until Nathaira's words and Genevieve's echo jolted through her.

"Kas?.."

The tears were no longer those of relief. Her face was a perfect picture of panic as she shakily propped herself up to watch Genevieve do her work, her eyes wide and unblinking as she waited desperately for the tiefling to wake.

"Nat?.." she croaked in panic the more effort it seemed to take.

"KASIMIR!" she yelled as hard as she could as the the tiefling finally took a breath, and once again relief threatened to knock her into another fit of tears. She pushed herself up and off of the table, dropping only briefly to her knees upon the realisation of how weak her legs were, but she staggered to where the tiefling lay and threw her arms over him with a muffled sob.

"Dundothat!"
 

Kala

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"You just threw up on my carpet." Kala said bluntly as the small humanoid girl crawled over to Kasimir.

She had absolutely no idea what in the fuck was now going on.

Kasimir seemed to be alive, which was good, but the girl was screaming, the Dreadlord? Had seemingly thrown mist into his face, and Nat? She seemed to mostly be falling apart. All of this was complete and utter chaos, and it was unfolding inside of her home.

This was a nightmare. "I took that from the Dynast's Palace."

The Tiefling said with a frown, though it was really more to herself than anyone else.

"It was one of a kind." This time she said it into her palm, rubbing her face in the midst of all this shit.
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira had had just about as much emotional back and forth as she could take. Was this another of Malphias's nightmares? Had she been captured upon return to Vel Anir and subjected to this madness ever since? No, that would be a kindness, and the truth was so much crueler. She had killed Kasimir, she had endangered Rumer. Genevieve's magic was flowing still but she could see it beginning to falter. The woman had given so much of herself already.

A strangled noise of shock escaped her at Kasimir's breath, and she quickly took hold of his head as he retched. You're not dying again, she thought fiercely. If his eyes closed again she felt like she would rip him out of death with her bare hands.

Rumer seemed to come out of nowhere, and nothing in Nathaira's past had prepared her for this type of sentimental whiplash. They had both been at death's door, then seemingly safe, then dying again. Please... please let this be the end of it.

Nathaira let go. Tears came unbidden and uncared for, and she leaned her face into Kasimir alongside Rumer. Her tongue danced lightly across his skin, soaking up the scents of both of them, and she was so relieved to feel his warmth starting to return.

"What happened?"

"We're free."
 

Genevieve

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Genevieve moved out of the way as soon as Kasimir's coughing fit began. It was best to give him space now that he appeared to be alive and the decision was further justified after the boy's lunch came back up.

A judgmental look was pointed at Kala but the ex-Dreadlord was far too exhausted to get into an argument. "Sorry," she said on behalf of the half-tiefling.

She sat on the floor of the cabin and leaned her back against the wall, heaving in air and trying to keep her mind focused on just how lucky they had gotten. It seemed as if all three of the children had been rid of their runes that kept them bound to the Forsaken. Norris was dead. And they'd all survived.

For now the human woman just sat there and looked on a the three Forsaken comforted one another.

Throughout her life she'd been forced to do many things. Most of them horribly unpleasant. But this was one of the few times she could live with her decisions without remorse or regret. It almost made the horrors of the Dreadlord Academy or serving as a healer for the Forsaken program feel worth it. Almost.

So she simply sat there, sprawled on the floor a few inches from the pile of vomit, and smiled at the trio of half-breeds who appeared to finally be happy.
 

Kasimir

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"You just threw up on my carpet."
Kasimir opened his mouth but whatever he was about to say was interrupted by Rumer flinging her arms around his neck and almost choking him to death. With bewildered eyes he glanced at the other three women in the room before winding a weak arm around the small girls waist. Then, before he knew it, Nat was also pressing close. What had happened? He remembered trying to tell her to not hurt Gen and then... Suddenly he felt it. Or rather, felt the lack of the rune. It was gone. They were free.

The three of them who had been through so much... were alive. The sudden dawning of the fact made him numb.

"I'll... replace it..." Somehow. He was still in a daze at the fact he was free.

And then...

"How did you--?" he pulled back in alarm to examine them both and then Kala and then the human. None of then had lost a limb performing the task of ridding him of the rune like Kala had. "They didn't hurt you?" They very clearly meaning the shadows.
 
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