Private Tales Strained Beginnings

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Fraeya

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Fraeya didn't know what to say. She'd grown up around fae and she just felt...awkward around humans. Most of the time. A foot in each world and not quite fitting wholly anywhere. A small shrug at Lexi's apology. Wariness not quite leaving her gaze even at Kain's grin and her...brother's reassurance.

But from what she'd seen so far?

She knew she should trust him. Trust them. They'd been fighting to save this town and its people. Monster hunters he'd said. She stepped back, giving the couple a moment, eyes drifting back to the river as she found her thoughts wandering. What would Delun make of this and would he even care?

Perhaps only that his assistant was absent for awhile.

"So..um, do the townspeople pay you for fighting monsters?" She wondered how they made a living.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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These loving touches still jarred her at times, especially in front of the rest of the White Ravens, but like he was learning to let her fight in battles she was learning to let him love her afterwards. So she leaned into his rough hand and pressed a kiss to his wrist with a tired smile.

"I'm fine, tired and sore but fine," she murmured reassuringly, her eyes dragging over his body to see if he was hurt. Content she then glanced to Freaya.

"No, they don't pay. Well, sometimes people will but it is not necessary," it would be nicer if they did all pay. "It is our duty to rid the world of creatures like this, as Templars."
 
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Cassian

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He gave Lexi a look that said he was unsure if he believed her, but he gave a quick nod, his thumb brushing against her jaw before he dropped his hand and gave her space. He wouldn't coddle her, she wasn't the type of woman who needed such things, but it didn't stop him wanting to fret. It didn't stop the panic from stopping his heart each time she got herself hurt, worrying that one of these days, she wouldn't get back up.

Cassian rubbed at his face and sat himself down on a broken wall, bracing his elbows on his knees and letting his head fall for a brief moment as Lexi and Fraeya spoke. It was a lot to take in, and he had so many questions that he didn't want to bombard her with, and he didn't know which to ask first.

Eventually, he lifted his gaze to study her again, his lips drawn into a tight smile.. "Where did he send you? Did they treat you well?... I asked, we both did, Remi and I, but he didn't want us to know." Cassian frowned, rubbing his hands together awkwardly as he recalled those beatings. "I'm sorry I didn't try harder."
 

Fraeya

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Fraeya had to wonder if the Templars knew about the creatures that were fae. Her mouth went dry as she thought about them. Ones as much her family as these two before her. In a very strange and dangerous way.

“I don’t know where he meant to send me. But I ended up somewhere else.” And being treated well?

“It’s...complicated.” Was all she could offer in the moment

Eyes drifted to Cassian. Gentle frown on her lips. She wanted to tell him it wasn’t his fault. Knew that it wasn’t. But she couldn't bring herself to get it out. Not beyond the other name he said.

“Remi?” Blonde brows furrowed in confusion.
 
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Lexi Quinzell

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"Why... don't we have this conversation somewhere more pleasant?"

Talking about Remi was a painful experience for Cassian. Even with her he would only mention his brother at odd times and usually when they were having a moment together where they both opened up. But his sister deserved to know about him. With a grunt she pushed herself to her feet and put a hand over her still tender ribs.

"Come on, we've set up a camp. They should have some food," and booze, if her second knew her at all. Despite her state only moments ago Lexi set a brisk pace through the streets, nodding in acknowledgement to her fellow Ravens as they stopped and saluted. As promised, the camp wasn't that far away and was made up of one large pavilion and several smaller tents. Lexi beelined to the pavilion and smell of food. Thankfully it was empty aside from them.

She helped herself to stew and bread and indicated the others should do the same before sitting down on one of the benches.
 
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Cassian

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His brows were knit with confusion as she spoke of ending up elsewhere. She had been cryptic about where she'd come from and she seemed too afraid to speak about it, and so he made a mental note to try and push her a little more on the subject later perhaps rather than risk her running off again.

He hadn't even realised he'd said Remi's name until Fraeya repeated it back to him, a muscle feathering in his jaw as he searched for the words. Lexi's suggestion was met with a short nod and he met her gaze with a thankful smile that faltered as he watched her rise in pain. He looked to Kain, jerking his chin toward their departing commander in mute request that he see to it.

"Come on." he rumbled quietly to Fraeya, offering a tight-lipped smile and gesturing for her to follow Lexi. He too helped himself to a bowl of stew and found himself a seat next to Lexi, leaning to press a kiss to her temple given that they were relatively alone.

Once Fraeya had joined them he folded his arms on the table and and cleared his throat. "Remi." he started hesitantly. "Was our older brother. He died in battle a few years ago.. He'd have been glad to know that you are safe." his brow furrowed and he offered a small smile. "As am I."
 

Fraeya

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She found a seat across from them but didn't take any food. Pale green eyes widened as he spoke about a brother she never knew she had. Another one. But one that was already gone. She didn't know what to feel. She just felt...numb. Losing and gaining so much in a day.

A small breath through her nose and she felt the fatigue from her travels catch up. Tracking them for the past few days. Hiding from any fae that would report her location back to the courts. And she quietly watched how they casually cared for each other. A simple kiss and a quiet nudge toward each other.

Fraeya never saw that with the fae. Their moves were always calculated. Always with ulterior motives. She wondered if any of them truly knew how to love or what it was.

"What did he look like? Do I look like our mother at all?"

Her chest tightened then her gaze flitted back to the food in the center of the tent.

"Is it...safe? What do I owe you for it?"

She'd learned nothing in the world of the fae was for free. There was always a cost and price. Especially for a human.
 
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Lexi Quinzell

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Lexi had been a soldier for her entire life and a Commander for five. She knew someone who was suffering from trauma and fear when she saw it as she did now in Freaya. Her eye flickered briefly to Cassian to see if he noticed it to before setting down her spoon slowly.

"You don't owe anything, Freaya. Even if some of your tactics were..." her lips twitched. "Unorthodox you still helped bring down that chimera. You have earned hospitality amongst us and even if you hadn't," she shrugged.

"Family is family."
 
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Cassian

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"Remi looked very much like me. And yes, you look like her, very much." he answered, his gaze wandering over her face, a ghost of a smile playing on his lips. "She was a gypsy, our mother. You have her temper I see." he laughed under his breath and shovelled a spoonful of stew into his mouth.

Her question about the food caused his brow to furrow slightly. He swallowed, meeting Lexi's gaze for a fleeting moment before he returned his attention to his sister. "Why wouldn' it be safe?" he asked after Lexi had offered her own reassurance.

He reached a hand across the table to settle it gently over her wrist. "You may not know me, or trust me, lass. But I plan on doin' all I can to change that if you'll let me. You're my little sister, means I protect you.. Not that it looks like y'need much protectin' but still. Will you stay with us?.." he asked, his brows lifting hopefully.
 

Fraeya

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Her temper.

A curl of one side of her mouth upward.

A gypsy.

Was that why she loved music so much? Why she loved to travel and even though living amongst the fae had not been easy, she'd enjoyed traveling across the different courts and her ability to use the ley lines and ancient roads long forgotten or unable to be used by ordinary humans. Pale green eyes lightened further as she thought about an older version of herself. Trying to imagine what her mother looked like. An older version of the new brother before her.

But she flinched at his touch.

She couldn't help it. She wasn't used to something gentle or sincere. Perhaps only on the rare occasion from Delun. She locked eyes with Lexi.

Family.

A type of family she'd never known before. Gaze snapped back to Cassian. She took a slow breath. "Let's start with tonight and see how it goes." She couldn't promise more than that. Delun would want her back soon and she'd rather get back before anyone else knew where she was. Because if they did, they'd try to use her family against her. And she wasn't going to bring more trouble upon them even if she initially sought their help.

She'd been foolish.

She withdrew her hand from Cassian's and stood, going over to the food in the center and very carefully picking out a few pieces. Smelling and looking at the food cautiously. Couldn't shake old habits even if she'd been promised by them both that it was safe.

It was more clear to her that they were good people and that only made her feel more lousy about her choices.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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Lexi watched as Freaya stood and wandered off to get some food. When she had her back to the pair she finally turned to Cassian to see how he was holding up. It had been hard to miss the flinch and the way she drew away from him and knew that it had to hurt.

"Give her time, Cass," she said softly and put her hand over his where it still lay on the table. Her thumb ran over his and then she threaded her fingers through his. She didn't need to say what it was she meant in such a simple gesture; she was going to be there with him through it all. "We don't know what she's been through, what she's still going through," Lex kept her voice low so their guest couldn't overhear them talking.

Because even though she didn't know this girl, she'd seen the signs of trauma before. Of the feeling of being overwhelmed. She wondered if it was how she had looked when Cassian had told her he loved her for the first time.
 
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Cassian

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His brow furrowed briefly as he felt the flinch under his palm, and as she withdrew her hand his fist clenched, and he offered a silent nod as she got up to get herself something to eat. For as brawny a man as Cassian was, as much physical pain and strain he was able to endure, he was more fragile in other ways than he'd care to admit. Lexi knew him, she knew that well enough and she'd pulled him through enough of his battles to know her meaning. His head bowed and he sighed, lifting her hand to press a kiss against her knuckles in appreciation of the strength that she offered him.

"Aye.. You're probably righ'.." he answered in a breath and turned to take in his lover's face with a doting smile when a thought registered on his face. "If she's stayin', you best make the lads aware she's off limits." he smirked, knowing how flirtatious Peter and Alec could be.

He turned to look over his shoulder, watching Fraeya pick and sniff at the foods, his brow quirking curiously at her behaviours. There was something a little wild about her, and he couldn't help but wonder who had raised her and what sort of life she'd had. Perhaps those questions would be answered eventually, but for now he left her to settle into her new company with the hope she'd quickly feel at ease.

Cassian returned to his food and was suddenly joined by his ginger friend, Red. The feline hopped up onto the bench beside him, propping her front paws on his forearm to nuzzle at him with an obvious hint that she too was hungry.

"Fuckin' scavenger.." he muttered, and picked a chunk of meat from his bowl which she happily ate.
 
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Fraeya

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"Don't go for the chocolate pudding. Mac is the chef today and and it's always better when it's Chelsea." Fraeya looked up at the red-headed guy who spoke around a mouthful of roll. Blonde-brows quirked in mild amusement as her pale-green eyes flickered between his face to the bowl of chocolate pudding.

No matter what she ate here, she knew it would taste...blander. So much blander than the food she'd grown up on. No matter how much seasoning humans used, there was something about the fae food that made it taste...fuller. Richer.

She took a roll and then piled her plate up with greens and different cooked vegetables. "You were good with that bow," the guy swallowed the bite of roll.

"Thanks," Fraeya's tone was clipped. Wary. A part of her knew he was just trying to be friendly. But. People were never just friendly in the courts. She ducked past him and made her way back to Lexi and Cassian. With a strange grace, she tucked her legs beneath her and sat fluidly, picking at the food on her plate.

"So," eyes flickered between them, falling suddenly on the cat. Lips twitched slightly before pressing together. "How long have the three of you been together?"
 

Lexi Quinzell

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Red prowled from Cassian to Lexi. Despite her demeaner the feline knew that if it was at all possible, she was even weaker than he was at saying no to such a cute face. Almost on cue the Commander sighed and gave over the lion's share of her food just as Freaya returned to the table. Her good eye flicked up to Alec who was hovering by the door looking at Cassian's sister like a lost little lamb and her eyebrow rose. The lad had the good sense to gulp and flee before she said anything though.

Yeah... off limits indeed.

"Nearly a year," she answered with a quirk of her lips, glancing to Cassian before picking up the roll on her plate and tearing it to pieces. "Not really sure why he stuck around after I beat him arse but he's been a real asset to the team," warmth and pride flooded every word. "Our city - the White Raven's - isn't that far from here. We could show... you tomorrow if you like?"
 
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Cassian

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His eyes lifted as Fraeya sat, a smirk tugging at his lips at her question and a husky laugh tumbling forth at Lexi's answer.

"In my defence, I was piss drunk an' had just been beaten to shit by eight men.." his brow arched and he bobbed his head. "Deserved that." he added. "Then Lex and her posse wander up to me, layin' in the middle of the road, an' she pours ash in my face." he leaned toward his sister and pointed to a little light scarring under his right eye. "An' then she picks me clean up an' throws me into the alley." he bobbed his head.. "Aaand I deserved that too." he admitted with a grin.

"Love at first sight. Least for me... She only let me stick aroun' cos she liked my cat. Tried to steal her from me in fact." he smirked at Lexi and looked back to Fraeya.

"Father had be exiled from Vel' Anir a little while after Remi died. I ent sure what you heard about me, lass..But he wasn't a good man, least not after our mother died." his head shook and he dropped his gaze back to his food.
 

Fraeya

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"I'd like that," she said quietly in response to Lexi's offer. Another day. She could stay through tomorrow. After that? It might be pushing it. Her eyes looked up and around at the trees outside the camp area, eyeing the birds there. Any of the animals in the woods.

Luckily, she didn't recognize any of them.

She'd know if any of the fae were in their animal forms and spying on her - at least the ones she knew.

"Why ash though?" Blonde brows scrunched together as she voiced her confusion between a mouthful of greens. A twinge of envy in her chest at their bond. The way they looked at each other.

Fraeya swallowed.

She just learned a few days ago how their mother had died. It had been her. Giving birth to her. She hadn't even let her mind try to tackle that. She just shoved her feelings of loss and guilt deep, deep down. Did Cassian blame her? She'd understand if he did.

"All I heard was you two were murderers," a mild snort as her voice cracked as she realized she was one too. "But I never thought," she couldn't even say father. He'd never been that for her even if he'd never been that for her brothers, either, "HE was a good man. How could I?"

She pushed some leafs of lettuce around on her plate around some roasted carrots.

"He didn't think I was worth keeping," a mumbled response beneath her breath as she put her fork down.

Funnily enough, the fae had thought her life worth stealing.

Head snapped up. What the hell was she doing? She wasn't supposed to show vulnerability. It was too dangerous. Always too dangerous.

"I need a minute," she shot to her feet, leaving her half-eaten food and trudged for the boundary of the camp.
 
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Lexi Quinzell

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Lexi smiled and snorted at a few bits of Cassian's story. There wasn't even a hint of regret in her face when he showed her the burn scars under his eye - the guy who had tried to feel up the inside of her thigh drunkenly that day had deserved every little bit of pain she'd dealt out. But that wasn't the man who she was proud to call her partner now and she wasn't the same woman either.

"From my pipe," she answered Fraeya's question about the ash whilst she rubbed the back of her neck and laughed. "He caught me in a foul mood."

Lexi did at least have the decency to grimace when she was labelled murderer but again there was no regret in her eyes. What she had done was perhaps rash. She most certainly felt bad for taking away the kill from Cassian himself and for letting the monster inside of her claw its way to the surface even if it was for a few minutes. But did she feel bad for killing a man who had made Cassian's life hell?

She opened her mouth to say something before Fraeya jumped to her feet then watched as she walked away.

"Are you sure you want kids?" Lexi smirked to the love of her life before finishing off her food. "You go talk to her, I'll go deal with Alec," and no doubt Peter now.
 
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Cassian

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His chest ached at his sister's words. The only one his father had felt was worth anything was Remi, and that loss had only made him resent Cassian more. How did he tell his sister that she was better off away from him, when he didn't know what her life had been like, whether it was better or worse? His father had simply claimed not to know how to raise a girl. He raised his boys like soldiers, but an army was no place for a girl, and so his decision was made.

He'd opened his mouth to speak when Fraeya got to her feet, and he closed it again, letting out a quiet sigh as he watched her go. His fork clattered against his bowl and he rubbed at his face, shaking his head helplessly to Lexi.

"She said she needed a minute. I might just make it worse for her if I don't give her the space that she needs. She'll come back, and if she doesn't I'll go look for her." he nodded, and pulled the nuzzling ginger cat against his chest to scratch at her chin.

"The only girl I can rely on to give me no trouble.." he murmured to the feline.
 

Fraeya

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She took a deep breath in the night air and tilted her head to look at the stars. She'd always found comfort in them. The freckled sky nearly the same from anywhere in the land. A deep breath in. She held it before exhaling.

She didn't know how to be around her own kind.

A hand came to rub at the back of her neck. She just had to take it one step at a time. One conversation at a time. She could handle that, couldn't she?

Her hand dropped back to her side and stealing another few minutes, looking at the stars, she slowly made her way back to the people. One that gave her curious looks at the way she walked. Moved. She ignored them and found her way back to the mess tent.

Her half-eaten plate of food still there. Cassian and Lexi still there. That cat still there.

She didn't apologize. She'd been taught that early on around the fae. Never apologize, it implies you owe something. So she said, instead, "Just had to get some air." Legs curled beneath her once again and she took up the plate of food but didn't eat much else as she pushed the contents around.

"You two are lucky to have each other," she said quietly. "What do you like doing when you're not hunting down monsters?"
 

Lexi Quinzell

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Lexi chuckled under her breath at Cassian's words to Red, kissing his cheek as she stood and slipped away to have that quiet word with Alec. It didn't take long and she was back before Fraeya returned to the table. Her hand slid onto her partners thigh beneath the table to give him a reassuring squeeze.

"It's fine, I needed a lot of air after meeting him too," she winked and then threw her partner a playful smile. After another subtle squeeze of his leg she shrugged casually at the question. "Train, usually. Drink, often," a laugh at that as though it were some inside joke. She ran her fingers through her matted hair.

"Recently we've been trying to take some time away too... just for us. As the Commander of the White Raven's life can get a big bogged down with politics and paperwork and..." she gestured to what was around them, implying the fight that had occurred only an hour ago.
 
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Cassian

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Cassian shared the rest of his meal with the ginger cat as the two left him alone, taking the short time to collect his thoughts and reassure himself. Red nuzzled at his jaw and hopped up onto his shoulders to curl around his neck and purr by his ear, as though she too realised that he required the reassurance.

He lifted his attention to both women as they rejoined him, and he settled a little as Fraeya sat back down. His eyes creased in a quiet laugh at Lexi's words and he nodded, lifting his hand to scratch at Red's ears. "Well, I'm lucky to have her at least." he agreed with a glance toward the woman by his side. If it wasn't for her, he had no doubt in his mind that he'd have no doubt drank himself to death or gotten himself killed by now.

"Aye, we took a trip to Oban a little while back. Finally managed to convince her to take a break." he jerked his chin toward Lexi and covered his mouth with his hand as he mouthed 'workaholic' to Fraeya with a roll of his eyes and a small smirk.

Cass cleared his throat and folded his arms on the table, deciding on trying to gently coax a little more information out of his sister who seemed more intent on learning about them than giving anything away about her own life.. "What 'bout you?.. Where did you end up?.. What do you do?.." he asked casually..
 

Fraeya

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Lexi's comment about fresh air managed to coax a small, genuine smile from Fraeya. And it only widened and stayed on her face longer as Cassian described Lexi as a workaholic. Again, their banter. She drew up her legs to the lip of the chair she sat upon and encircled her arms around them. They might notice her clothing looked fine. Not like a noblewoman. But a material that seemed different than normal cottons and wools.

And the soft-leather boots she wore looked master-crafted with someone who paid attention to detail with one well-placed autumn leaf mixed with a scale, an insignia of the autumn court, in one corner near the top of the boot. With her knees popped up, her chin rested atop them as she held her brother's gaze.

She hesitated.

She was forbidden to speak outright of the fae. But there were always loopholes with language. Ones she'd learned to navigate well. For the most part.

"
I think my original parents, well, those who traded for me, they died when I was around three. Someone named Delun took me in then. I became his assistant. It's," eyes shifted to Lexi, "in a place far away from here."

Lips pressed closed as she struggled what to say. How to say it. Wanting to say more but wanting to protect them.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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Lexi jabbed him in the ribs with her elbow when Fraeya laughed, not knowing what it was he said but guessing it was some kind of insult towards her work commitment. She huffed and tore another bit of bread off her roll then shoved it in her mouth. Despite her sulky expression a smile played at the edges of her lips.

As Fraeya spoke of where she had ended up Lexi's eye took on a sharper edge. Cassian might have been new to the monster world but Lexi had been brought up in it. Her eyes slowly ran down the girls clothes and posture.

"You seem to have done... well," she said casually before glancing to Cassian briefly then back. "Did your Foster parents.... trade you to this Delun?" Her tone was casual but her eye...
 
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Cassian

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Cassian winced at the dig to the ribs and let out a breathy laugh, his hand rubbing at the ache her elbow had left behind as he gave her an innocent look.

He was a simple soldier and as oblivious as most men were, when he had looked over her he did so for weapons, wounds or ailments. He hadn't taken notice of what she was dressed in, nor were there any obvious signs of where she had come from. Lexi was of course, far less oblivious, and Cassian looked between the pair at Lexi's words, a small frown in mute question creasing at his brow. She seemed to know something that he didn't.

"Trade her?.." he asked incredulously. As if it hadn't been bad enough that their father had sent her away rather than care for her, surely those who had cared for her hadn't given her away too? He looked back to his sister, a muscle feathering in his jaw. She seemed well cared for, but he knew well enough that what was on the surface and what was underneath were often two very different things, such was true even of him.

"You don't need to be afraid to talk to us, lass." he told her gently, noting her hesitance. "We're family. We look out for each other now, alright?.."
 

Fraeya

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"You seem to have done... well,"

She supposed she had.

At least when it came to some things. There were times when Delun had just forgotten how human she was. The food she needed. At least clothing had never been a problem. And the times when he went away and the other fae thought it fun to put her through their own machinations, like Favashi and the Blightlands.

"Did your Foster parents.... trade you to this Delun?"

"Not...exactly." Eyes remained fixed on Lexi. There was something about her. Something that reminded her of the power the fae had. Not the cruelty just something...more than human. Eventually, her gaze slid back to Cassian.

"I'm afraid for you. Now I'm wondering if I even should've found you two but when I found out I had a human father I just couldn't stop myself from seeing if there was anyone else who...," voice trailed off, arms wrapped tighter around her drawn up legs.

She looked around the camp. All it would take was one of the fae. One of them. At least the high fae. With their preternatural speed, strength, and healing. Their power. They could take out every single person in this camp if they wanted to. There wasn't enough iron. And she didn't see any ash weapons.

"There are far more dangerous beings than the monster we fought today," she said quietly. Noting the looks of concern, she drew herself up straighter, squaring her shoulders. Lifting her chin. "But I can handle myself." She had been, for the past 20ish years.
 
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