Private Tales Scorched Earth

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Raigryn Vayd

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"No, no, forgive me sorry. I'm a little surprised to actually meet someone who knew Fife in Elbion. It's rather incredible, especially out here."

They were very physically comfortable with one another. He knew what lurked at the heart of Fife's barriers against physical intimacy. Seeing her so relaxed was another surprise.

"We are passing through, but not in a significant hurry. You must make time to do some catching up," he said. The corner of his mouth twitched upwards. "And to fill me in on some more about what Fife used to be like," he added.
 
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Fife

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Masselin laughed. "Tell me about it." He and Fife exchanged another look that was beyond words, a simple happiness that required no translation. It felt like a reunion out of a story, something too good to be true for her own life. Then again, her life felt more like a story these days than something of her own design.

Her brother's happiness was evident when Raigryn told him they were in no hurry to leave, allowing them time for a visit. Fife's, too. She flashed a glowing smile at Raigryn. At least until he shifted to a topic about a younger Fife. She looked taken aback by the betrayal as Masselin howled with robust laughter.

"Oh, have I got some stories." Fife's cheeks flashed crimson and she shoved her hand up toward his face to cut him off from saying any more. He swatted her hand away. "Fine, fine. You're both welcome to visit. I live with my mother not far from here. I've a livery and forge in the northeast quarter." He spared Fife a grin. "I think we've both got a lot to catch up on, but I'll not keep you from your business." Masselin gestured to the smith's shop.

His mother? A home? Fife nodded, somewhat bewildered as Masselin exchanged details with Raigryn about where to find his home. She watched her brother with mixed emotions. She had a lot of questions, and his glances toward her said as much for him as well, but she was still so happy to see him. No cloud from his sudden departure from her life could spoil today's sunlight.

He put his hands on her shoulders to bid her farewell. "If you've not yet made dinner plans, my mother will be glad for guests."

Fife nodded eagerly before turning to Raigryn with a hopeful look. Can we? She knew the answer without having to ask, but she asked it regardless.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"And no dinner plans had been made. Not that they could not have been changed for this," he replied. "I'll bring wine in exchange for at least one story that Fife doesn't want told."

"I'd forgotten we were here for something," Raigryn uttered as he left them to say there goodbyes. A sidelong glance to Fife when he was facing away said that he was going to need a little filling in on how this could be possible.

He didnt want to be rude and just ask Masselin directly how he could possibly have gone from he Elbion streets to a good home here. They would need to discuss what Fife did and did not want to reveal in turn.

"Swords," Raigryn said towards the owner. "I don't need fancy commission, but looking for a solid hand and a half sword. Maybe some surplus for he military or slightly imperfect?"

They could afford better, but he hated wasting money on form over function.
 
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Fife

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She grinned, then threw Raigryn a glare for his offer of wine for a story. This was not fair! She would keep this injustice in mind the next time they inevitably met one of his many acquaintances! Masselin seemed rather fond of the idea, to her growing horror. Perhaps dinner was a bad idea of they were already conspiring to gang up and embarrass her.

They made their goodbyes, Fife and Masselin exchanging one last hug before he departed. She watched him go and caught him glancing back. Smiling, she waved and he waved, too, and then he was lost in the crowd.

When she looked up at Raigryn, she felt like she was walking in a dream. He gave her an odd look that she didn't quite understand, but she couldn't blame him if he was a little out of sorts. She certainly was. Standing by his elbow, Fife was present and yet not. Swords and pickpockets and gryphons were far from her thoughts. Instead, they turned over the memories she had of her brother, of the days before and after he had gone. She reconciled the image of him that had lived in her mind for years with the young man she had just seen.

She looked at the smith's wares, but did not see them -- not really, not at first. There were already enough knives on her person and in her belongings to equip a kitchen and she had managed to keep her idemni blade in her possession. Still, Fife brought herself around to show some interest in what Raigryn was inspecting. There would be time to be stunned when they weren't about.

The smith's selection fell short of any expectations, if only because he had to follow the meeting of a long lost loved one. Fife softly patted Raigryn's arm for his attention.

Are you certain? You do not want a very nice sword? she asked with a small, nervous smile. Gods knew they could afford it for once. You gave me nice things. I can give you one nice thing. She looked away and her gaze flitted past the smith, who only made her feel that much more self-conscious, both for a witness to the color across her cheeks and for being odd.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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A sword needs to be balanced and forged of strong steel, not pretty, he replied. The smith watched the exchange of hand signals with mild suspicion. He had overheard the conversation already but he didn't like customers speaking out of his earshot.

Buy me a nice...holder to go with it, he replied after a moment of thought. He didn't want to brush the idea aside and take this away from her, but he also knew that a sword didn't always last for long in his hands.
 
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Fife

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The Silent Way was made for conversations like this. Unsurprising, given the culture it came from. Fife gave him an exasperated huff and a cutting glance at his polite refusal. He sounded like Aretta. Her sword was proof that one could have both.

She almost missed his concession, catching enough of the first half to figure out what he meant. A scabbard? That was a good idea. It was a really good idea, but it wasn't going to spare him from her arch sniff and frown as she turned back to the weapons on display. She had not been catty enough with him lately. If they were going to go back to normal, he'd have to acclimate to her tempers once more.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Do you a good leatherworker for grips and scabbards?" Raigryn asked.

"Yeah, Baynard across the way. Oh is that what you were talking about?" the smith asked. "Thought you were talking trade tactics."

Raigryn arched a silver eyebrow.

"Sorry if that were rude."

Too right, thought Raigryn at the apologetic tone. He might have become a milder man, but no one ever completely changed. There was still a streak of arrogance through him. The eyebrow was lowered.

AlbionEarlB1152.jpg

"Now this is a little less plain than you might want. Was for a noble's son. Gryphon rider. Turned out he was a hand shorter and a hand more narrow than his family said. Apparently my fault."
 
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Fife

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Her indignation rolled off like rain on oiled leather. Fife had to hide a small smile when Raigryn showed a bit of his own true colors to the unfortunate smithy. There was more of Raigryn in the arch of that fair brow than she hadn't seen for a while now. Was he a bit sour?

She hoped so. She honestly, desperately hoped he had enough range to feel upset that she was being unfair.

With a potential leatherworker found nearby to satisfy Fife, Raigryn finally carried on browsing the swords. The one in question was not as simple as the others. Fife leaned in to get a closer look.

It was good work. She had not spent the majority of the past year with one assassin's guild or another without picking up an eye for blades. It was well made, but it was also practical enough to suit his needs. Raigryn was right; he was rather sorry at keeping a sword in his possession for very long. How many had he had in the time she'd been with him? At least four, she guessed.

How had he lived to be this old, exactly? Fife bit her lip and hid her amusement by focusing on some insignificant detail of the pommel.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn picked up the sword. Using one finger he felt for the balance point and nodded approvingly.

Feels heavy but that is me, he signed at Fife. There was a slightly sharp nature to his signing that he didn't even realise was there.

Taking it back up in two hands he moved through several slow positions. It was harder to assess the weight and balance but it was in the right region.

"If you like it, pay me and take it to Baynard's. If you like his work leave it with him to fit and then I'll have my boy take the lot around where you're staying."

There was some negotiation but eventually coin changed hands. In a cloth wrap they carried the sword across he marketplace towards the leatherworker.

"If you want," he said, offering a branch of truce, "you can pick out whatever design and leatherwork they offer."
 
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Fife

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Her mind was free to wander while Raigryn concluded his business and wander in did. She was still reeling over Masselin, over seeing her brother here, far away from the Elbion streets that had once been their shared home. Questions circled like vultures. Fife couldn't answer them and he wasn't here to answer them either, so they just wheeled round and round in her head.

When the affair of purchasing the sword was over, she looped her hand back around his arm to let him lead in the way. She had the same directions, but he had the advantage of height that she lacked.

Fife accepted his peace offering with a smile and nod. It had been tempered by his lighthearted remark on the sword's weight; the reminder that something had been taken from him could have sobered up any of her moods. He had earned her going easy on him. She hadn't really been mad at him in the first place, so she shed the attitude like a coat in warm sunshine.

The leatherworker in question had much finer work than the smithy who had recommended him. They were, of course, priced to match the quality of the work.

And she, of course, felt the same rise of panic when she was confronted with a choice. Fife mercilessly chewed at her lip as she looked between the scabbards and her mind wobbled as the needle spun, the exorbitant weight of her Aspects. She still carried too much. They vied to tip her over, but she held onto her center. Barely. There was a lot on her mind today.

Fife was not prepared to admit that she had no idea which of them he might have liked. Insecurity nibbled at her conscience. He would have, no doubt, been able to pick out the perfect one for her. Did this even matter to him as much as it did to her? Why did the idea of him wearing something she'd gotten for him every day make her chest warm with pride and excitement? Was this a normal feeling associated with spoiling someone?

It felt like she had been looking at them for a very long time when at last her gaze settled on one that would be well suited to him. The black leather would cost an arm and a leg, but the tooling was both elegant and simple, a marriage of the two sides of Raigryn's personality: completely indifferent and impossibly pernickety.

And the straps were red. It made her nostalgic for his red coat.

Fife pointed it out to Raigryn, then looked up with the same expression as when selecting a satchel. Had she picked one he would actually like? Or was that gnawing fear right, that she didn't know him at all?
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn was a little oblivious to Fife's dilemma. He was perfectly content enjoying a little look around the shop and watching the man gently hammer a pattern into a new piece. There was something calming in the rhythmic tap of the hammer, in seeing a fine piece being produced a little at a time.

What couldn't quite be put from mind was that someone from Fife's past had just walked into their lives. It was something that he had never thought he would see. Fife's life had been hard and he had rarely asked to scrape deep below the surface

He turned away from the work when Fife drew his attention. Raigryn stepped over with a smile on his face. He let his fingers draw across the leatherwork.

"This is very nice," he said nodding slowly and smiling. "Did I ever tell you that I used to have some minor heraldry when I rode with the Prince. Red, of course."
 
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Fife

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Fife measured his reaction and was satisfied. Even before apathy, that smile would have said plenty.

At first Fife looked up with her unusual curiosity to a "Did I ever yell you". Her brows rose sharply and she flashed a grin in surprise. A heraldry? She shook her head. As someone who didn't even have a real name until a year ago, let alone a surname, she thought a heraldry (minor or otherwise) was rather impressive.

And of course it had been red. Fife rolled her eyes, withdrew a pouch of coins, and turned over his hand to place it in his palm. He would get to do his own haggling for his gift, unfortunately.

Describe it for me? A small exercise in memory recall. He had already showcased quite a bit on their walk here. Plus, it was another snippet of Raigryn’s life to add to her collection.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"I'm afraid it is not so exciting," he laughed. "I think all the great beasts gad been claimed by real nobility."

The description had to wait, quite deliberately from his expression, as he negotiated the price. There was not much negotiation to be had. The artisan leatherworker knew his trade and his fees. The sword was left to be fitted.

"It was a golden knot on red. The knot was angular, square. Not like real rope. I will draw it when we get back."

Raigryn paused, looking around the market.

"There was something else we needed to do...oh no. You were going to write whilst I had my haircut. Yes, yes," he said. Raigryn was pleased to have drawn that back together on his own.
 
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Fife

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Not exciting. The look she gave him argued otherwise, but she kept the actual argument to herself and let Raigryn take care of business.

It was a happy sort of silence that she settled into, her hands lying over one another on his arm as they began to stroll through the market once more. Fife listened and nodded, still very interested in what he shrugged off as trivial. It was not difficult to imagine the younger, more brash version of him that had been described to her. She could see it in him still at times. Those deeds and adventures were as much a part of him as the streets of Elbion would always be a part of her. Good or bad, it had made the man who she still very much loved. Still, even Fife knew it was easier to forgive the flaws of others than within oneself.

He paused and she stopped beside him. She waited, but the reminder stole the warmth out of her smile. Fife nodded and, after a moment, withdrew her hands.

You are certain you can make it back to the inn on your own? Fife was trying not to worry too much, but she was reluctant to leave him alone. His mind had not wandered for more than a week now, but it only took one brief lapse.

She told herself that she was not going to fuss too much. If he was going to be better, then he had to go off on his own eventually. She shook her head and pressed a smile.

Be safe.

Then she perked up and fished out the chalk she wore on the same leather loop as her crossbow's setting pin. With a covert glance around for any watching eyes, she carefully drew a symbol on the tail of his shirt. It was subtle... but plain as day to anyone who knew what they were looking for. A warning, it marked him as danger. It would ward off any potential pickpockets at the very least.

Fife looked rather proud of herself as she tucked the chalk and pin back into her shirt.

Do not get lost. Return before noon. See? He would be fine and they'd both feel better letting some part of their lives go back to normal.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn pretended to have no worried at all about finding his way back.

I will see you soon, he signed back. Raigryn placed a hand on her shoulder to gently fix her in place. He leaned down to leave a kiss on her cheek.

"I will look tidier too," he said, sparing a curious glance for the chalk she had tucked away.

In truth, every reminder that those affects had not worn off frightened him. They frightened him that the damage would remain. The aches and pains of age were very different to losing his faculties.

Wearing an easy smile, he walked away.

When he thought about their conversation the night before, that took precedence over his concerns. She wanted time to compose her thoughts and to provide an explanation. He was apprehensive over exacty what this would be about.

Then there was her old friend. There was plenty to ruminate on besides his memory as he searched for a barber.
 
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Fife

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She knew what was coming when he planted his hands on her shoulders. Or, rather, she thought she did. A mad flutter wound up in her stomach and she inhaled sharp and shallow. Hesitant fingers curled around his forearms, a feather-light touch that couldn't push his hands away but needed the contact, to feel grounded lest she fill up like a kite and soar away. She tipped her chin up. Her eyes were clear and her lips had parted in anticipation.

He kissed her on the cheek.

Fife laughed at his remark, too stunned to do anything else, and waved as he walked away. She stood for a moment to watch him go before she turned back toward the inn in the opposite direction. Her hand covered her cheek and her cool fingers were warmed against the flush of her skin. Before too many steps, she pulled her hood up for a modicum of anonymity in the bustling market crowds.

It wasn't fair to be disappointed. She had expressed a need for space and time. As ever, Raigryn maintained the lines she drew in the sand between them. He was her champion in that regard even when she herself turned traitor. Fife sighed.

The walk was uneventful. She made her way back to the inn faithfully, even cautiously turning the corner where the gryphon had been sunbathing. She was, once more, disappointed to get exactly what she wanted: for the wonderful beast to be gone. Pedestrians filled in the street where it had been lying not long ago as if it had never been there at all.

Raigryn's writing implements had been delivered, and Fife carried the new satchel up to their suite. She opened the shutters to let the light in. She pulled the blanket off of the unused bed and draped it over her shoulders as she sat down at the desk to write.



The rooms were not really as large as they seemed. Fife had discovered that pacing around the room, her quick, short strides eating up what had felt as wide as a greathall the night before. She fiddled with the corner of the paper folded in her hands and her teeth had etched a tender line on the inside of one cheek. Her hair was tousled from the repeated comb of her fingers and the blanket she had kept warm under was half draped on the back of the chair. There was a smear of ink on her palm and she had discarded her hood on the bed when her pacing had made her too warm for it as well.

Time for rumination had not helped. Fife never knew how to say the things that were in her mind. She had communicated so little in her life that she struggled to form a straight, coherent thought, especially one as difficult as emotions. She lacked the depth and vocabulary.

It was, at the very least, a good testimony of her improved handwriting. Gods knew she had done plenty of writing trying to communicate with Lawrence. What it was not, however, was any kind of explanation that could satisfy her. How was she supposed to convey the weight of her emotions and guilt in ink on parchment?

So she paced with a half-written letter that she couldn't finish and anxiously awaited Raigryn's return.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn didn't need any of his powers to sense that nervous energy as he stepped into the room.

He smiled and stroked his much more closely cropped beard. His hair was still longer than it had been before their capture, coming almost to his jawline, but it was far neater.

"How does it look?" he asked.

The barbers here were men with steady hands and sharp implements. They carried out a range of work, from hair cuts to pulling teeth to removing fingers and limbs beyond healing. What they didn't do was invest in good polished mirrors. He'd only seen himself in a distorted image in polished brass.
 
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Fife

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Every footfall in the hall beyond the door startled her to a halt. Fife stood stock still, clutching the letter to her chest. It was no different when it was finally Raigryn. She had been caught at the edge of the room and, depositing the paper on the table as she passed by, came padding to the door in a mix of excitement, relief, and nerves. In spite of herself, Fife smiled.

Long hair? She made a questioning sign for permission before she stepped up and ran her (clean) fingers through his long silver forelock, laying it neatly away from his eyes. There was care in the gesture, a mindfulness. Of course, it was not as long as it had been before the trim, but it was definitely longer than his usual crop.

Her touch extended down his cheek and over his beard. It was all trim and neat and made him look more like himself. If only it were as easy as a haircut. A bittersweet pang tightened her ribcage and her hand lowered to his chest. She nodded.

I like it. Handsome. She snickered as she stepped back and pointed to the mirror. It had not yet lost its novelty. Fife went and sat down at the table to wait, but her gaze drifted back to watch him.

Where to start? Fife's hands were folded together tightly in her lap and she sat up stiffly. When she was sure Raigryn wasn't looking at her, she glanced down at the folded parchment. Maybe tonight wasn't the right time. She'd had weeks to prepare, but it wasn't like she had been rehearsing it in her head. Her mind had been elsewhere -- taking care of him, making sure they didn't get captured by assassins, keeping herself mentally balanced while overloaded with Aspects. Now, with plans to visit her long lost brother… maybe tomorrow would be better.

As quietly as she could manage, she picked up the parchment, folded it over again, and tucked it under her leg. One more day.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn stood before the mirror, turning his head from side to side. It was like having a little more of himself revealed again.

Turning his head, he caught her expression at the writing table. Every day there was a little bit more of himself here.

A few days ago he might have noticed and immediately enquired about reading the letter. Today he noticed and decided to let it go. He parchment with her scrawl across it was there and then it was not.

She did not want him to see her account of events. She was afraid of how he would react. She knew she had to discuss it with him, would need to get it off her chest one day. Otherwise it would always sit there between them.

"When you're ready," he said quietly as he turned towards her before changing his tone. "So an old friend from Elbion then? How long did you know him for?"
 
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Fife

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And like a ray of sun cutting through the clouds, there he was. Fife looked up with a face bereft of the many things she had been feeling. It was not as if she had been attempting to mask her feelings. She should not have been surprised. Yet even now he was perceptive enough to know that she needed a little more time.

Swallowing hard and struggling not to sniffle, she looked down at her hands in her lap. She smiled and nodded.

I do not remember. I was very young. Before I was alone. Fife took her time signing. This was not what the Silent Way was intended for and it would be a little mangled and rough. He was there. He was gone. Nowhere. No goodbye.

Pursing her lips, she reached out and ran her finger over a dent in the wood. She ventured a glance over to Raigryn.

My… brother. I remember his hair. And his voice. Fife smiled to herself, then turned to face Raigryn more fully. He looks different. Tall! I remember a boy. Thin. Only legs. She snickered to herself.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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His curiosity wanted to find out whether she had been alone after he left or if that had come later. He was always reticent to pry deep into her past which was why this opportunity was such a surprise.

"Well I'm sure how he came to be here will be something of a story later," Raigryn said.

"I bet it isn't quite as long and fantastical as the journey you took to get here?" He mused. Oban wasn't all that close to Elbion, but the portal stones made them feel much closer.

One day he would have to get his hands on a good map and show Fife just how much space there was between the portal stones. Vast lands less connected than the cities near the stones
 
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Fife

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No doubt it would be very interesting. A mother and a forge! In Oban! Not to mention the fifteen or so years that had passed since she had seen him last. She nodded.

The reminder of her own adventures inspired another hiss of laughter. That was going to be quite a story. Raigryn had his own aresenal of embarrassing stories to trade with Masselin. Fife would have to arm herself with the few she had on them.

Which begged the question of how much they should tell him.

Is it safe to tell him about the Empathy? Is it bad here? she asked. I trust him. Foolishly, no doubt, but she had been using her magic as long as she could remember. He might already know that she'd been doing something. Or not. She wanted to be honest, but she would lie if Raigryn thought it best.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"That's a good question," Raigryn replied thoughtfuly. He stroked his beard, fingers still surprised at the lack of long strands to weave through. He moved closer to Fife so he could drop his voice. He didn't want any confusion because he couldn't sign it precisely.

"If you tell him it's secret I think you can tell him that you're studying magic, just don't mention what kind.

"As long as you don't mention how we gather our power it should be alright. Even if you trust him to keep a secret he might have heard things about empathy before. Gauge his reaction well."

Raigryn grimaced a little. Trust wasn't always good enough. He had been burned before by people who he could trust, but viewed him very differently after finding out what he could do.
 
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Fife

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Raigryn was taking the side of caution. Fife nodded. She would trust his judgment before her own. She looked back down at her hands. He had a few friends still around that they had crossed paths with, but she was reminded of the warnings he had impressed on her. She assumed by his grimace that he spoke from a place of butter experience.

She chewed her lip and her fingers twined together in her lap as she ruminated on that momentarily, then huffed.

Are you going to take wine? Fife gave him a pointed look and her hand shook with annoyance. She was, after all, a notoriously proud little creature. She did not like the idea of her older brother telling stories that would embarrass her. Especially to Raigryn. She had embarrassed herself enough in front of him; she did need help feeling more inadequate in his company.
 
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