Fable - Ask The Scent of Lost Magic

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Kyril

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Alven - Royal Quarter
1223 Rose Street

"Only a little left." Ky said to himself as looked at the small vial of powder in his left hand. It was a shimmery blue, marked with small pockets of red that seemed to move every time the light shifted around the glass. It smelled of metal, tasted of copper, though Kyril had not let it touch his tongue for some time.

Lyrum.

The drug that had controlled his life for nearly five years now. What had gotten him through the days, and brought him shivering pain throughout the night. He needed it, wanted it, but he also hated it. Fingers tightened around the vial, and he struggled not to turn and whip it against the wall. His entire body seemed to shiver, the very thought making him want to wretch.

A breath filled his lungs and slowly he drew the cork out of the small glass vial. That scent, that scent he knew so well touched his nose and he once again closed his eyes.

He sighed in resignation, letting some of the powder spill onto the table before him.

It wasn't enough, not nearly enough to let him use even a quarter of his magics...but it would have to due. The Duke was fool enough that a few parlor tricks and some well placed words got him through the day, but soon...soon it wouldn't be enough. Without Lyrum he couldn't do his magics, and once it was completely gone...

Lips thinned as he thought of the withdrawals. Slowly he put the cork back into the vial, setting the glass back down onto the table and pushing it aside with a deep breath.

He knew he had to this.

It was the only way to survive. The only way to keep going.
 
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Neith

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The rain had been relentless for three days now. Sage, a dark friesian trudged along the puddles of the dimpled road, carrying her rider into the heart of the city, where the streets were a little wider and were named things like Violet and Orchid and Rose, rather than being so insignificant as to deserve a name at all, but not so grand as to deserve the names like Jade, or Opal or Quartz.

Neith had been travelling for some time, begrimed by weeks of dirt and rain, her hood doing nothing for her but giving her a little more anonymity. She tugged back on her reins and Sage halted abruptly on the corner of the street, huffing tendrils of white breath onto the frigid air. The street was otherwise empty, the weather wasn't one that invited the wealthier residents from their homes, and Neith's eyes shifted from the cosy warm glow of each window to the next, her shoulders rising and falling with longing at the thought of a heart and a dry blanket.

It was far easier to sense magic here than it was in Elbion. In Elbion it was everywhere, here there was far less of it, and it called to her far louder and clearer. It's what brought her to this corner, facing the home of the one she'd been sent here to find. It stood out. Even if she couldn't sense the magic within the walls of the building, she could tell just by looking at the thing that it belonged to someone who's life was crumbling around him. What would once have been opulence now overgrown with ivy, stone that had long since chipped away and shutters that were broken and in need of a few licks of paint.

Dark brown eyes briefly swirled with a subtle white light as she peeked out from underneath her hood, the rain assaulting her face as she looked up toward the large raven that circled above. She didn't speak, nor did she gesture to the building, but the bird swept from the sky to perch upon the man's window ledge, his black feathers ruffling and puffing to shake out the raindrops. The crow watched through the window for a moment before calling out, and gliding back down to the girl's arm to nibble at her wet hair.

"Found you." Neith sighed and slipped from her horse's back with a splash in a large, muddy puddle. She huffed irritably and the raven found himself a dry perch to watch from above as Neith tied her reins to the fence, and wandered up the gravel path to knock twice at the door.
 
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Kyril

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His head swam.

Hands shook, fingers refusing to curl into fists as he stared ahead into the mirror. He did not recognize the gaunt man looking back at him, did not know whom he was looking at. Lips thinned as he took a step back, and the reflection seemed to take a second longer to move.

Eyes closed as he took in a long shuddering breath, his whole body a wash with goosebumps as he slowly looked back up at the reflection. It stood there, barely a man. A small spark of magic trailed up his arm, and quickly Ky glanced down to peer at his own flesh.

Nothing was there.

A hand gently reached out and pulled at the skin, shaking his head when suddenly a loud knock echoed at his door.

The Reflection seemed to look first, peering towards the doorway of the restroom just a moment before Ky himself turned. A frown touched his lips. Who could it be? One of the Duke's guards coming to fetch him? What time was it?

Rain always made it so hard to tell. "One minute!"

Ky called loudly, grabbing the vial of Lyrum and quickly walking towards the wall, his hand shifted over the stone, a patch of marble seeming to peel away. He stashed the vial inside and then swept the marble back into place, the small spark of magic being nearly the limit of his powers now.

A second later he cleared his throat, making a point to never look at the reflection as he headed downstairs and opened the door.
 
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Neith

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The metallic smell of magic tickled at her nose, all the more pungent as the door opened. Her dark gaze lifted, raindrops running in rivulets down her face, dripping from her nose and chin and strands of brown hair clinging to her skin. She recognised him, but only just, and her brow furrowed briefly. Nobody's cheekbones should have stood out so proudly. Neith dismissed a fleeting memory of her father before glancing behind him into the home, as though to ensure he was alone.

"Kyril?.." she didn't have to ask, she knew he was the one she'd been looking for. She'd sold to him once or twice, but she never made a habit of letting people look at her for very long and hoped he wouldn't recognise her and try to run.

"We have some business to discuss, that might be better done inside.." she quirked a brow at him, her brown eyes fixed on him in warning should he decide to refuse her entry.
 
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Kyril

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Blue eyes locked on hers, fingers twitching at his side before they slowly formed into a tight fist.

He could feel an ache in his spine, a call in the back of his head that was screaming. Ky didn't know what it was, but there was something familiar about this woman. His eyes flickered over her features, drawing over her face and down her body.

It could have been mistaken for an obvious leer, a man ogling a woman that had shown up at his door. But it wasn't that.

Kyril felt as though he knew her from somewhere. She was familiar, yet he had no idea from where. Teeth bit down on his tongue for a moment, seconds feeling like hours as he considered who she might be. Someone from one of the Rival Dukes in the city?

One of the herbalists he'd pissed off? He'd scoured through most of Alven trying to find more Lyrum, and he hadn't always been nice about it either. "I-" He had to clear his throat, as if something were stuck int it."I have somewhere to be."

Slowly he moved to step out and besides her. "And I don't make it a habit to speak to urchins."

Even with those smouldering eyes, that quirked eyebrow, he wasn't just going to invite her in like a fool.
 

Neith

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Neith's head tilted as she watched the inner workings of his mind through his eyes whilst he fought through his memory, trying to figure out who she was. They were both a long way from where they'd met, and the meetings had been brief. She had never actually spoken with him at all. A quick, simple, silent exchange before she slipped down one alley or another.

Urchins.. Her gaze narrowed and she sneered at the word. She had once been far wealthier than he ever had been, and by the looks of it his life was quickly following that same downward spiral as her father's had. And still, this pompous prick was too good to speak with her.

A hand slipped into her pocket and she casually produced a small vial of the bright, blue powder and she turned it over in her ungloved palm, her shoulders shrugging as she stepped back indifferently. "Fair enough.. I guess you're not interested. I'll move along." she tipped her imaginary hat at him in dramatic flare given his self importance and turned theatrically on her heels as she slipped the vial back inside her cloak.
 
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Kyril

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"Wait." The word came so quickly, so swiftly that it was almost painful.

As soon as he had seen the vial, the full vial his heart had skipped a beat and a fire raced through his veins. It had been as though a Queen had bared herself before him and declared her intention of seeing his bedded herself.

The excitement was palpable.

If she had a supply of Lyrum, if she could get her hands on more he would be able to use his magic again. His actual magic, not the parlor tricks he had been forced into. "Wait."

This time his voice was more pleading, pathetic almost.

"We can talk." He said, his tone switching once more as he tried to pull himself back into some form of decorum.
 

Neith

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"Thought so." Neith sighed to herself as she stopped. She turned slowly in the persistent torrent of rain, her head tilting in feigned confusion..

"Oh I thought.. You didn't speak to urchins.." her arms folded and a finger pressed to her chin. She remembered her father sounding as pathetic as he did right now, all that was missing was the pleading, the begging.

"Fine. I suppose I can forget my offence.." she agreed as she took a step back toward him. "But don't fucking judge me again." her brown eyes narrowed and she gestured with a jerk of her chin toward his door. That he would turn a lone, shivering girl away from his door in weather like this made it a little easier to feel less pity for him at least.
 
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Kyril

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Ky had to grit his teeth, fingers unfurling as he took in a deep breath. He looked up for a moment, casting his gaze up towards the rainy skies before he slowly looked back down towards the woman.

There was something so familiar about her, but his memories were a haze even on the best of days. A sigh of relief escaped him as she finally agreed to 'forgive' him. His teeth gnashed together for a moment, nearly biting through his tongue. "I won't."

He promised, then took a few steps back and drew open the door.

"Come in." Ky offered with a wave of his hand.

She would see the shake of it then, the slight shiver that ran through it as he struggled through the effort of raising it. She would also see the blackness of his veins, the trademark scarring that Lyrum left behind when it burnt through one's magic circuits.
 

Neith

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Yes, she saw it. And here she was, about to test him with more of the stuff, enabling and propelling his downward spiral, contributing to his crash. Every day she pushed down the guilt. She didn't have much choice in the matter. It was life, it was her job, and it was pointless to let her conscience get in the way. He was just another fly caught in the honey.

She drew her eyes over him as she passed him, suppressing a shudder at being so close to him. Not only could she smell the magic on him, she could see it too like a haze of heat around him, and hear the crackling thrum of it in his veins. Magic had always drawn her in, like moth to a flame it seemed to beckon her in.

She walked her muddy footprints through his hallway and into the main room, water dripping from her clothes and puddling around her where she stood in the centre of the room, casting her gaze over the fraying and dusty furnishings. Her lips drew into a thin line and she pulled down her hood and turned back to him.

"You skipped town without paying your debts, Kyril. So that'll be extra for the weeks it's taken me to get here and the weeks it'll take me to return." she told him, getting straight to business. "I work for Cyrus. You remember him, I'm sure.." her brow arched.
 
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Kyril

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Fuck. The word rang in his head just as the door closed behind him and she began to speak.

It was like someone had struck him in the gut with a club. The wind was instantly knocked out of him, his head spun, and his heart pumped more blood through his veins than it had been years. The Lyrum coursed through his veins, his entire body tensing.

He recognized her.

Ky knew who she was. Remembered seeing her in the dens. He thought her pretty then, out of place in a spot such as that. Now that she was here he saw only a hawk ready to pick out his eyes and nibble on his flesh. His breathing grew quick, heavy.

He turned towards her.

There was no denying her claim. There was no saying he had no idea what she was talking about. She had known his name. His home...he...he should have known, but the Lyrum made him dull...no, the lack of it had.

His mind ran with a thousand thoughts. Paranoia. Fear. Violence.

For a few seconds Kyril looked at her, and then suddenly his hand closed into a fist and his lips parted in a quiet whisper.

The carpet beneath her feet suddenly shifted violently. It jerked a foot to the left, dragging beneath her feet as Ky went jumping forward to hopefully tackle her to the ground and grab her by the throat.
 
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Neith

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She wasn't sure if it was the magic, or just an affinity for reading the thoughts behind a person's eyes, catching those telltale muscular twitches and idiosyncrasies that she could read like a book. He was going to opt to attack, rather than run, rather than talk. She sighed as she waited for it.

The carpet was a decent distraction, and for someone so confident, Neith seemed to go down without much fear, without a fight.. She allowed him to grip her by the throat as she landed hard on her back, her brows sloped as she gripped at his wrist with one hand, and the other gripped the crook of his neck as she stared up at him.

There was a swirl of white light in her eyes akin to a tendril of smoke in the moonlight. Whilst she could still breathe, her lips parted, and wordlessly called forth the magic from his very veins. Although the magic itself always looked pretty outside the body, like the same smoky tendrils in her eyes, the process of syphoning it from a mage was never pleasant, and Neith awaited the screaming.
 
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Kyril

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No scream echoed from his lips.

It was more an echoing gasp, a sensation that wracked his body and forced out what little air was left in his lungs to spill forth. Eyes bulged and pain seared through his entire body. It wasn't a lash over his back, it wasn't a knife in his gullet.

It was a searing, burning hurt inside of his very veins. That wordless cry echoed from his lips as he struggled to breath.

The fingers on her throat tightened, just for a second, as if desperately trying to make her stop. She would feel the bruising embrace, the force to either break her neck or take away any air she might have. Yet it was too much.

He was too weak.

Too far gone.

Ky let out a whimper, and then his muscles gave out. He felt to the side of her, a pathetic mess, one hand still held to her throat as he curled up in anguish.
 
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Neith

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Threads of silver magic crawled up the arm that gripped him, crept over her throat, whispered from his lips in tendrils that she breathed in as she stole from him. Her eyes squeezed shut as his grip tightened in one last effort to stop her, but as he collapsed to the side of her, she wrenched his hand away and coughed as she rolled onto her side and breathed.

His pain would linger for a short while after the connection was broken, but the weakness would last longer. The light in her eyes slowly died out as his magic settled into her veins and she chuckled to herself at the tickle of it, and sat herself up, rubbing at the pain in her throat with a wince.

"Look.." she swallowed and coughed again, feeling her throat ache and struggle with the word. "I'm not the worst thing that will come knocking at your door. I'm the one you want to deal with, because what comes next won't be nearly as reasonable.." she coughed and pulled herself to her feet.

She unfastened her sodden cloak and let it fall to the floor before flopping into the most comfortable looking of chairs, the dust tickling at her nose. "Now are you ready to discuss payment?.."
 
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Kyril

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What little magic the paltry amount of Lyrum from earlier had offered him was now entirely gone.

The pain lanced through his body for a few seconds more, his body curling in on itself as he tried to breath through the agony. An odd sort of clarity washed over his mind, as if his mind had been forced back to it's regular state.

It was an...off sensation. One that he had not felt for years. Like a cloud had been torn away from his mind and a haze that had been there for years was suddenly gone.

He blinked for a moment, his head turning to catch his reflection in one of the mirrored Chalices that had been thrown on the floor days before. As he faced his reflection he saw it move, but this time in tandem with his own.

Yet with the clarity came an absence. A deep, anguished longing. He knew what it was. His magic, out of reach from his grasp. So far gone.

Instantly he thought of the vial in her coat. The one that would give him his strength. The one that would let him eviscerate her very soul.

"I..." Ky took in a deep breath.

Slowly the mage drew himself up, his knees coming up, his hand wrapping around his legs. He noticed his hands, how skinny they were, how thin they had become.

Why had he not seen that before? "I don't have any money."

He doubted that would do it.
 
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Neith

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Neith draped herself lavishly over the grand velvet chair, her muddy feet dangling above the floor as she lay cradled in it's dusty embrace. She turned to him as he spoke, her lips pulling back as she pulled air in through her teeth with a hiss.. "Well, that's going to be a problem." she nodded sagely and spun herself to settle her boots back on the ground.

She cast a glance around, a brow slowly quirking as she gestured to the items that furnished the room. "Looks like you have plenty of it to me. Everything has a price." her head tilted, and she kicked a silver goblet toward him.

"You owe quite a bit. If I were you, I'd get selling, because if I'm not back when he expects me to be, he'll only send Jarek.. Then Seth.." she added with a grimace and a shrug. "The house is a shit hole but I'm sure it'll still cover your debts with some to spare." she leaned forward, setting her elbows on her knees.

"I'm not here to be a bitch I'm here to do my job and get the fuck home, so please don't make this more difficult than it has to be.." her head tilted.
 
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Kyril

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Ky kicked his foot out and caught the cup under his boot.

"This house isn't mine." Ky quickly countered with a scowl, looking up at her as he tried to grow his spine back a little. "Nor is anything in it."

The odd clarity that he now felt allowed his mind to work a little faster, let him remember things better. He could recall Cyrus, the man whom held his debt. The reason that he had been brought to this fucking city. The reason his father had betrayed him. "I can't pay you, Cyrus, or fucking anyone he sends."

His fingers tightened.

He tried to think of a solution, something he could do. The coin that the Duke paid him was...well it wasn't enough. It wouldn't even make a dent, and...and he needed it for more Lyrum.

Lyrum. That was the answer. "The Lyrum. Where did you get it?"

Ky said, asking his own questions.
 
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Neith

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"Oi.." her head shook. "Then that really is a problem." she sighed and sank back into the chair to fold her arms, her deep brown eyes wandering over him. "Well. We have a couple of days to sort it out, you're just going to have to come up with an alternative solution. I don't care what that is, but I'm leaving in two days with the coin that you owe, or the boys are going to make a mess of you all over this carpet that you don't own." Neith frowned, unable to hold back the bite in her tone. Her throat hurt, and he was a dick.

Her lips quirked upward at the corner at his question, the vial appearing in her hand as though from nowhere. "What this?.." her lips pursed. "I mean, you can have it, if you want.. When you've got the coin to pay me for it."

"Come on. I know you can think like a desperate man, you just evidenced that. I'm here giving you a chance.." she smiled, flipping the vial over between each finger and back again as she watched him.
 
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Kyril

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Ky licked his lips, fingers tightening for a moment as he fought the urge to stand up and lunge at her again.

The magic...whatever the fuck she'd done to him had hurt, but he was sure he could fight through the pain...he was sure that he could snap her neck before she brought him down. Lips thinned for a moment, and then he just shook his head.

No.

Had the Lyrum still been in his veins he might have done it, might have tried it. The haze was gone though, and with that came an actual plan. "You know who I am?"

He asked.

"Who I actually am?" Not just the name, not just the Lyrum addict. The man behind the wastrel that now sat before him. His eyes watched the Lyrum vial, not her face, not her expression, nothing else. "What I can do?"

It had been months since he'd been able to use his magic properly. Months since he could truly feel alive.

That change nothing though. Ky knew what he was capable of, what he could do. "Give me the Lyrum. I can kill Jarek, Seth. Whoever the fuck else Cyrus sends."

He could kill Cyrus himself, though he knew the bastard would never come himself.

"Get you enough gold you won't ever have to go back." He knew where the Duke kept his vault, and with that amount of Lyrum...
 
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Neith

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Neith's nose wrinkled in a sneer at his words and her head shook with doubt. "You sound like a fucking idiot." she commented. It occurred to her that she didn't know anything else about him, but she'd known to expect exactly what she saw when she was sent to collect debts. He was the same sort that bought the stuff from her in back alleys and brothels. Weak and desperate.

Her eyes rolled and her brow knit as he offered to get her gold. "I've heard that one before." she muttered. "What makes you think I don't want to go back?.." she answered as she pushed herself slowly to her feet, stretching out and pursing her lips in consideration.

"Could use a bath.. Some food.. Then perhaps I'll reconsider." she reasoned, lifting the vial in her hand, and with a flourish of her fingers it was gone again.
 
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Kyril

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He looked up at her for a few seconds. With his head clear he knew. He knew that he had a hook in her. It was a small one, a very small one, but he saw the look on her face. She thought him a wastrel, an addict and scum, but that didn't matter.

She hadn't said no.

If she worked for Cyrus she had coin enough to get an Inn, a brothel. Hell she probably could have rented herself a palace. She didn't need his hospitality. She didn't need to spend time with scum like him.

She hadn't said no. "Because no one in their right mind wants to work with that fucking sociopath."

Ky said as he pulled himself up from the floor, his head almost immediately spinning as he stood.

He swayed for a moment, nearly falling as he realized just how weak he felt.

For a few seconds Ky closed his eyes. Taking a breath to steady himself before he answered her demands. "I can get you some food."

"There's a bath upstairs."
He told her. "I could heat the water for you if you gave me the Lyrum."
 
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Neith

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Neith stared at him as he spoke of Cyrus, drawing in a slow breath before her lips pursed and she let a shrug roll off of her shoulders. "He's always been very nice to me." she laughed under her breath, watching him stand and stagger.

"Nice try sunshine." she smirked at his desperate attempts to convince her to hand over the vial. "I'm sure you could use good old fashioned fire.." She could have rented an inn, indeed. But she couldn't trust him not to flee now that he knew he'd been found. If she let that happen, well all the more trouble for her.

"I trust you're not going to try anything stupid. I'm really not difficult to deal with if you're not a prick." she smiled sweetly, though it failed to reach her eyes.
 
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Kyril

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Ky stood there for a few seconds. "Pretty sure you can make fire yourself."

He grumbled quietly.

His head was still spinning, and he felt the slight wooziness still cling to him as he attempted to take half a step forward. For a second he hesitated, as if he were about to fall again, and then he drew himself upright as she spoke.

"Fine." Ky said with a small, clearly forced smile at her mention of not being a Prick. "I'll go draw you a bath."

He looked back at her. "I'm sure you must be very cold."

The words sounded almost as though he genuinely cared.

Slowly he shuffled towards the stairs, another thought already in the back of his mind.
 

Neith

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Her gaze had narrowed a fraction at his lack of hospitality, and she'd been about to comment as such before he decided to be a little more obliging. Her jaw tightened as she followed after him at a safe distance. She was freezing, and the longer she stood the colder her wet clothes felt on her. She'd been ridingfor days in sleet and rain between this city and the last town, and the chill had settled deep in her bones, but she wasn't about to dignify his apparent concern with an answer.

"How kind of you." she commented dryly.
 
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Kyril

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"My father raised me to be a gentleman." Ky said as he slowly ascended the stairs. He moved as quickly as he could, noting the distance that she was keeping between the two of them.

It was smart, and if he were strong he might have tried to turn around and simply throw her down the stairs. Yet he knew that with how weak he was...and that strange magic she would easily be able to overpower him. Now wasn't the time.

Not yet. "There's a room here with towels."

He gestured to the left as they approached the restroom.

"You can change in there." He told her. "Unless you have some...proclivities about being watched."

Ky's voice was utterly flat, stopping to peer at her for a moment as though he were waiting for an answer either way.