Private Tales Scorched Earth

  • Distant lands call to you, Guest. The next world event coming soon.

    A land once ruled by Dragons and Gods opens, but not every secret of Arethil's past is safe to uncover.

    Titanfall

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Fife

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Going. Fife nodded. She felt paranoid all the time. If it was enough to make Raigryn cautious enough to pass up a bed, however, she likewise wanted to avoid it.

The stew suddenly didn't sound appealing and Fife only took a single drink from the mug. For once she barely touched her food.

They had made a few quick exits in their time together. After the siege of Belgrath and from the buried desert city, specifically. This felt different somehow. It felt like when city guards started asking around or (even worse) when other unsavory underworld figures came looking for information. One did their best to avoid those types coming around in the first place.

With a sigh, she pushed away her food and looked up at Raigryn questioningly. Fife could assume that he was not unfamiliar with the situation. Empathy was outlawed magic and, if he was who he said he was, then he had once been a well known figure. They had not been so careful for nothing.

That was okay. She had lived a similar life, too.

I get horses and we go? she asked. There was no disappointment or frustration, only clear gray eyes awaiting his instruction.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"We go," he said. Unlike Fife, he had managed to get most of his stew down quickly. A few minutes would not make a difference and he had already paid. The rest of his beer stayed on the bar.

It took only a few minutes to get the horses saddled with their gear once again. They seemed none too pleased about going back outside after getting themselves comfortable. Raigryn and Fife opted to walk out of the town to give Dusty and Socks some reprieve.

"We'll take the road for a while," he explained once they were beyond the town borders. "Then we'll get some distance away. We'll keep away from them and make for the portal stone at speed in the morning."

Raigryn paid close attention to her in return. The light was fading, making it harder to read sign language.
 
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Fife

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Raigryn seemed just as familiar with this as she was. They went to the stables and saddled up quickly, the most difficult part being that Fife had to put her weight against Socks to make him leave his hay. Seeing Dusty going, however, motivated him to go without any further willfulness.

They were both quiet until they reached the edge of town. She looked up at him as he spoke then looked to her. It was getting dark, and it would be the last time she could sign until they stopped to rest for the night.

There were a few things she wanted to say, but it didn't feel like the right time or place. One she hadn't yet found a way of signing.

I am right behind you, she offered with a small smile instead of any of those things. The soft reassurance was the best she had right now.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Tired legs made the time pass slowly, but they soon put some distance between themselves and the town. Raigryn has the reassurance of known just how vast the area South of Elbion was. Finding two people was next to impossible unless you knew where to look.

He felt a flutter of fear. Not his own and not Fife's. Carefully controlled, just the slightest slip of nerves from somewhere behind them.

"Fife..." He started to say, reaching for his sword.

He felt the impact before he heard it. The metal chain flung from the shadows struck his raised forearm hard enough to break the bone. Controlled by strange magics, it coiled around his wrist and hand. It kept him from his sword and then pulled him from his feet.

He tried to roll as he struck the ground, calling on his aspects to bring himself back to his feet. He grasped the chain with his left hand and held firm. Shadows resolved into people. At least four rushing at them from behind.
 
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Fife

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The night enveloped them slowly, a dark embrace as worrying as it was comforting. She eventually stopped looking back to focus on navigating the path ahead. In the open land, there was only herself, Raigryn, and the sky speckled with stars. The emptiness lulled her into a renewed sense of security. They were alone out here.

Until they weren't. Fife felt it, too, but had instead turned to look behind them. She saw the glitter of metal piercing the night with a moment's confusion -- a confusion that was immediately corrected as the chain hit Raigryn and he came down. A weapon she recognized.

Fife had been afraid in the past. She knew the feeling well after several close scrapes with death. But this time it came sharp and clear, a feeling that made her heart falter and her stomach flip as she gasped, unable to even whistle his name. It was quite easily the worst thing she had ever felt in her life. A note of panic that rattled through her head, scattering any and all of her sense.

Raigryn got back up and Fife grasped for some degree of balance as her heart began to beat again. She had to level out. It was all happening very fast. She did not have the time to unpack all of that feeling right now. He was on his feet; that had to be enough for now.

With a light touch of Joy, she quickly dropped the reins and crossed the short space between them. Fife had her sword in her hands as she took her place beside him -- and two steps in front as figures formed out of the darkness. Not good odds. Her hands flexed on her grip and she touched her usable Aspects regardless.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Sword up defensively," he grunted at her. "Watch for magic."

He doubted they were going to try and confront them up close. Fife needed to keep her blade in front of her for cover. Magic didn't normally mesh well with steel and a sword was all the defense she had unless she had found even more control over her Avarice.

Raigryn set his heels, held the chain firmly and called on Fury to drag his attacker to the ground. The chain unwound from his arm, snapping back to its owner.

Their magic did seem to work with metal. Raigryn took two steps back to the horse. He pulled the back with Jocelyn free and seemed to toss it carelessly into the tree.

"Jason, up!" he hissed. She might have been Jocelyn now, but she had been trained as Jason. Up meant climb the nearest tree and stay there.

If they were captured, they would kill Jocelyn. It was the best he could do for her now.

He reached for his sword and another chain whipped out for him. Raigryn dove to the floor. It hissed overhead and he imagined it could have cut him in half.
 
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Fife

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Raigryn tugged and the chain unwound and slunk back into the darkness beyond the figures that were becoming more clear as they approached. Fife took a deep breath, shifted her weight between her feet, and loosened her grip.

There was the awful warning clink of the chain again. With the same dance of acute terror at the fringes of her mind, she couldn't help throwing a terrified glance over to be sure he hadn't been hit. Fife had stepped wide to make sure she was well and clear of it, but it had forced space between her and Raigryn. She turned her eyes forward once more and tried to step back closer, but she needed to mind that chain. They had seen firsthand just what it could do.

They were at a severe disadvantage -- handicapped, outnumbered, and almost blind. Fife sure hoped Raigryn had an idea, because she didn't have the repertoire to balance the odds in her favor.

Fife couldn't get any closer to him before the first reached her. She kept her sword up in front of her to block, but she wasn't trying to hold her ground. They were too far apart. She had to move back.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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His right arm was definitely broken. Raigryn used it on instinct to stop his fall. His cry of pain was sharp and brief, loud against the stillness of the night. He threw up his left hand and a wall of jade Avarice rose up to protect him. It shuddered as two chains struck it, but he was given enough time to draw his sword.

It was a heavy bastard sword that he could use with his right or both hands. He was going to struggle with his left. Two chains punched through his barrier of Avarice. He drew on Joy and Tranquillity to swing the flat of his blade across his body to deflect them.

Raigryn stepped forwards, drawing level with Fife. No more chains came out to meet them. The enemies were slowly spreading out to surround them. Now he could see them more closely.

"I recognise two of them from Elbion," he muttered.
 
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Fife

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She drew sharply from her Aspects to block a chain and continued to give ground. She couldn't look at Raigryn again, could only gauge where he was by the chains she saw out of her peripheral vision and the clang of his sword deflecting a hit as well.

When they finally stepped even, she breathed a shuddering sigh of relief. Fife quickly put her back to his. While there was a small comfort in being closer, the situation was still not good. Raigryn had made it out of three other fights by the skin of his teeth. Two of those because of her help, but he had still been hurt.

Fife had the sick, tight feeling in her gut that these were still odds even they couldn't weasel their way out of.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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With the element of surprise and a right arm that wasn't broken he could have worked into this group and hacked a couple of them down. He could sense more magic around them. Not a type he was familiar with. Raigryn suspected that moving metal chains around was not the extent of their abilities.

"We don't want you dead," called out one of them. It was a man who must have been close in years to Raigryn. He has closely cropped hair and a hawkish nose. Not much else was visible in the dark. "But we will kill rogue wizards rather than let them free."

"We're headed for the portal stone. We'll be far from Elbion and not your concern," Raigryn replied.

"You are not in a place to decide my concerns. Weapons down and neither of you will die by our hands."

"Can think of a lot of ways you can make us dead without using your hands, specifically."

"Not here to negotiate or convince you."

A ring of grass around them rather suddenly blackened and died. Raigryn felt the press of magic, edging towards them. He should have had Fife wind the crossbow before they had set out.

"She leaves."

"Not here to negotiate."
 
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Fife

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Her hands were shaking out of a feeling more akin to stress than true fear as she worked to keep herself balanced. A small flame of anger was finally sparking -- a defiance that had sustained her long before Raigryn had taken up her charity case. Raigryn's reservations only reinforced her unwillingness. Fife was not parting with her only means of protection.

Well. Not her only means. The presence of her blade in her boot, pressing against her ankle, was more prominent now than ever. Still, she wasn't going to be the first of them to drop her weapon.

They weren't negotiating, nor were they giving a reason for their apprehension. Fife wanted so badly to look at Raigryn, as if seeing his face would reassure her that this would turn out alright -- that he was alright.

The sudden ring of blackening grass was probably a sign of the other magic he was warning her to look for. But the moment he tried to negotiate that Fife could go, the spark of anger blazed brighter, a flash fire of Fury as she glanced quickly over her shoulder. Even if she knew she would have tried to negotiate the same for his sake, she felt the burn of indignation nonetheless. She couldn't even argue. He knew she couldn't have argued and he still tried. The strangers denied his attempt, as succinctly as Fife was denying it without a word. She wasn't leaving him -- not now, not like this.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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There was a bright flash and a loud pop. Some form of magical spell forming in the hands of one of their assailants. Raigryn cursed it and the magic spiralled out of control. The woman fell away, trying to pat out the flames and cradle her wounded hands.

It was oddly silent for a few seconds.

"Choose," called out their leader, unfazed.

The part of Raigryn that was just as stubborn as Fife on her word day tightened his grip around his sword. A quick trick wasn't going to win this fight. They knew it too. Their most junior member had been hasty. The dark circle hissed, almost imperceptible violet ribbons seemed to writhe over the ground.

It would have been a more fitting end, fighting to the last against mysterious sorcerers in the dead of night.

Fife was too young to die here. Raigryn slowly lowered the tip of his sword. They wouldn't know how to contain his magic. Maybe there would be an opportunity to get the best of them, but this was not it.

"Lower your blade Fife," he said softly.
 

Fife

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Fife started when the magic that one of their would-be captors held went off. It was near blinding in the dark of night. She blinked and held her sword up to compensate, but she had more or less been looking right at it.

Silence followed. Then, once more, the same man issued his command. It felt like the last time he would say it. Her hands curled tighter.

However, Raigryn lowered his sword and told her to do the same. Fife remained uncertain and hesitated for several long moments before she followed suit. Her eyes darted between the figures surrounding them, visibly reticent, distrustful, and still looking for an opening. She would do as they said, but only after Raigryn had done so first. And she wasn't letting her guard down on their word alone.

As soon as her hand was free, she slowly reached back and grabbed the tail of his coat. It was all the physic connection she dared, yet simple in its intent. Even on the heels of her anger, it was hard not to feel a little frightened about what was going to happen.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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As the tip of his sword lowered the darkness he felt moving around them receded. He didn't recognise the spell. At least he wouldn't get to find out how it would have been completed.

"Drop the weapons."

Raigryn cast his blade down. An idemni would not have done that. They would have fought to the bitter end.

"What do you want?" Raigryn asked.

"You are going to accompany us for questions."

"My apprentice is mute. She cannot speak," Raigryn said firmly. The last thing he would be responsible for was letting harm come to Fife over a simple misunderstanding.

"I understand. Ralph, Tashen, go and mount up and take the reigns of their horses. You are Raigryn?"

"I am," he replied. He was even more unnerved now. His name should have long vanished from common knowledge in Elbion.

"I will let you ride between us with your hands unbound with the understanding that if you do anything I will have you dragged from a horse the rest of the way."

Raigryn nodded, reaching out to place his hand onto Fife's shoulder.
 
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Fife

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Very slowly, Fife put her sword down. She was grateful that Raigryn made a point to inform their captors that she was mute, but it struck a chord of slight panic. It implied that they were going to be separated. The weight of his hand on her shoulder wasn't much of a comfort to that possibility.

But Fife bit down on her resolve. It would be fine. They would get out of this before it came to that.

She let go of Raigryn with noted reluctance and a worried glance up at him. Her mind was still simmering, a quiet blanket of red that was far from giving up on their predicament. Their seeds weren't sown just yet. Compliance meant their hands could remain unbound. There was a fair distance between them and Elbion; they would surely have an opportunity to wriggle out of this somewhere on that journey.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn realised how fiercely she would have fought with him. It broke his heart to think back to how viciously she had fought against the scavengers all that time ago. Despite how accomplished she had become already, he imagined the outcome would have been the same. She would have died beside him or been carried away in chains.

"They have a sign language," one of them hissed. Raigryn could only imagine they had been watched back at the town without realising it.

"Then they will not be seen using it," their leader said curtly, meeting Raigryn's gaze.

"Do you have a coin for me then?" Raigryn called out. It was a guess, but it might teach him something about them.

"If I had a coin for you, then you would be dead and we wouldn't have this conversation. We do not take prisoners under contract any further."

"Order of the Steel Coin. You do exist." Raigryn's hands flexed at his sides.

"You are an educated man. Without sword you see what you can win with words. You think you have won a battle. That I have revealed my secret and therefore plan to kill you. Imagine that you answer my questions and I let you both go. Do I think you would be out to confirm that a secret order of magical assassins exists?"

"No, we wouldn't." Raigryn glanced down at Fife. His emotions were a mix. There was strong resolve there, but a glimmer of fear too.

"Because you are also in hiding and also feared. The difference is that they are ride to fear me. We are not so different."

Raigryn had nothing else to say as their mounts were collected. He rarely baulked in the face of deadly monsters, but they were simple things.

Men were worse. Fife knew this too.
 
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Fife

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They weren't allowed to sign. She threw an indignant glare toward their leader, but just as quickly looked down once more.

Being a voiceless passenger among people who couldn't understand her was not going to be a pleasant return to reality. Raigryn appeared to be their target and she was a secondary acquisition, if it was any indication that they didn't already know these things about her. Hopefully she could use that to her benefit.

Then why take her as well? That made her feel a little sick. Which was worse: that she was somehow just as involved as Raigryn or that they didn't plan on taking her at all?

She was somewhat uneasy by the note of fear in his mood, but Fife reminded herself that only fools feared nothing. Raigryn was wiser than most, and she would trust him on that kernel of fear more than any reckless bravado.

Until they got the chance to make a break for it, however, she would be compliant. She would wait and listen.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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They were on the move without much delay. They each had a rider alongside holding their reins. That was a reprieve in a way. Raigryn had his right arm across his lap. He had pulled back his coat delicately to reveal the swollen lump in the middle of his forearm.

Pain wasn't an emotion, but the feelings radiating off him were viewed through that lense. A harsh step and a flash of Fury would follow the pain.

He offered Fife a pained smile anyway. He wouldn't make false promises, but they were still alive. It wasn't time to lose all hope yet.

"If you need to say something wave. I won't have them completely silence you," he said.
 
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Fife

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Fife climbed into Socks without protest, gently scratching his neck to soothe him. She felt wrong not holding the reins. Folding her hands one over the other in front of her, she had nothing to do but have a look at the people who were taking them back to Elbion. Her eyes swept over the person riding beside her, wary and measuring.

Raigryn's pain, however, immediately drew her attention. She turned toward him, mulling on her bottom lip as she glanced over his arm before meeting his eye.

Fife could endure a great deal, but not that. It made her chest tight and woke an irrational urge to fix something she couldn't.

And, of course, he had to say things like that and make her feel things like this in ill-fitting situations. Even as hostages he could make her stomach flip with butterflies. She supposed there had been reasons she had fallen in love with him, and his unwavering advocacy was one of them.

Fife smiled through the concern written on her features as she nodded. Her mind was colored by a strange blend of Misery and Fury, but for his comment he earned a ribbon of Joy -- a feeling she couldn't say in words, but told him nonetheless.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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They rode through the entire night. Their captors did not seem to mind. Raigryn was torn between exhaustion at the ever-present pain. At times it ebbed away only to come back as a sharp stabbing right into his bones. The assassins acknowledged the wound, but offered no respite or care.

When the sun rose, Raigryn assessed where they were.

"We have gone west of Elbion," he called, looking to the northern mountains.

The leader of the band turned around in his saddle. In the pre-dawn light Raigryn could see him more clearly. Not as old as he expected, perhaps in his early forties.

"We might have taken you to a safe house in the city, had they not all been dropped into the ground when the dragon fell." A pause. "Had we not learned how much power your kind can draw from a city."
 
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Fife

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It was a long, cold night, only made longer by the weary aches from a full day of travel ahead of it. Fife had grown spoiled on midday naps and sleep that was half decent. By the time the sun was a glimmer on the horizon her eyes were burning. There was no stopping and the quiet was only broken by the steady, rhythmic plodding of hooves.

Raigryn's voice broke the silence.

Their kind? They had done little in Elbion during their brief visit -- nothing at all in comparison to other fights. They surely weren't meaning them. Their own fighter, riding beside them, dispatched the shambling monsters with far more ease than the two of them had.

Fife threw a confused look toward Raigryn.
 

Raigryn Vayd

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"Old wive's tails," he explained to Fife, but loud enough that the others could hear. "There were worries that an empath could drain an entire city dry of all emotion and then unleash it in spells and curses."

"Interesting, but it does stand to reason that if you do not have anyone near then you cannot drawn your power..."

There was a game here, Raigryn realised. He might have understood the rules but he did not know what these assassins though winning looked like. They were after something and the fact that they hadn't explained that yet worried him.
 
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Fife

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The crease of her frown deepened as Fife looked between the pair. To Raigryn, she scowled in distaste in response to the gross misrepresentation of an Empath's abilities. While she was still learning how much of each emotion she could hold, she doubted it could ever be that much. The wives tale felt excessive, but then again most were.

To the leader of their entourage of assassins, one of her brows hitched slightly upward. It felt as though they really had no idea how their magic worked.

It felt like a rumor thrown out like a baited line, waiting to be contradicted or confirmed.

Were they fishing for answers with Raigryn? Fife glanced his direction. Was this why they wanted him?

Playing it off as well as she could, she shrugged and let her gaze drift elsewhere. As Fife shifted her hands behind her to adjust her seating in the saddle, however, she carefully signaled the Idemni mood sign for a suspicion. She didn't like this dance of words, but she also trusted that Raigryn's history at court and then as an outlaw from the college had made him adept.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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They were fast approaching the Seret mountains. At least it felt that way. They loomed higher, but it also seemed like more and more distance stretched out ahead of them. The path was soon winding between the rocks, patches of moss and tufts of grass the only greenery.

He sensed scouts long before he saw them. This reminded him if Indretaar. A secret sect hidden from view. A fortress in plain sight. This was worse than he had feared.

That he could sense the scouts more than those around him was another curiosity. The group sent to bring him here had either steeled their emotions to the point it was hard for him to feel them or had been specifically selected for the task. He was hoping they had not found a spell to block an Empath.

There was hope too. They could not all keep that up, no matter how they were doing it. Eventually he would be able to replenish his Aspects.

Unlike the Indemni the system of caves they were eventually led to were not so crude inside. The gate was well hidden, around the size of a barn door. Fife would immediately recognise the architecture.

"An old dwarven mine," he remarked. Their horses were led away, but the leader briefly inspected their weapons.

"Your apprentice has an idemni blade and yet you use just this plain lump of iron," he mused.

"It works," Raigryn replied, before they were both ushered to a table. Still no one had bound them, but they were followed very closely.
 
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Fife

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The trail around steadily towards the mountains, a visual experience that was now familiar. Fife kept a watchful eye on Raigryn. As they set on more rocky terrain, she was constantly looking ahead toward him to check that he was still riding alright.

It had been a long night and the better part of a day when she picked up on the first flickers of emotions in the hills. Fife tried not to be too obvious about looking toward them, but she charted them in her mind as reliably as a written map.

Fife's gaze panned over every corner she could see in the morning light as they came into the hidden fort. She dismounted obediently, but glared at their captors as they came near her. They kept their distance, and Fife took the first opportunity she could to touch Raigryn as they were seated at a table.

She didn't need to coddle him -- an adventurer with decades of experience -- but seeing him injured had always done a funny number on her. He looked tired. She was tired. Fife could feel the slipping feeling of exhaustion, they struggle to keep her burning eyes open.

You are alright? she asked, indicating his arm and ignoring the previous suggestion that they were barred from signing. Making the sign for worry was useless at this point. The glare she had given the strangers had softened with concern.
 
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