Fable - Ask The Scent of Lost Magic

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Kyril

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Kyril wrapped his arms tightly around her, holding her firmly. He didn't care bout the blood on her, didn't care about anything but ensuring that she did not fall apart in that moment.

His chest rose and fell slowly.

"It's alright." The mage told her softly. His gaze drifted over her shoulder and towards the two corpses in the little room. It was the first time he had ever killed anyone, the first time he had ever taken a life.

His arms shook slightly around her, quivering as he held her tighter. A breath filled his lungs, and he closed his eyes as his gaze drew away from the bodies.

After all that she had done for him, after all the risks she had taken, he would have done it a thousand times over.
 
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Neith

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She took a few shuddered breaths and tried to calm her heart. "Are you alri-" she stopped speaking when she heard other voices up on deck. They were looking for the captain, had no doubt heard her screaming but had been told to ignore whatever noise came from this cabin for the duration of their journey.

"Can.. Can you make us look like them?.." she asked as she sat back. "They'll drown us both." her head shook and her breathing pitched in panic again.
 
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Kyril

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Kyril looked down at her and shook his head. "No, but it's okay."

He said as he offered her a quiet, soothing, shh. His arms tightened around her one more time, and then he gently slipped free from her. He stood, pushing himself to his feet and letting the magic spark through his tattoos.

They flickered with light and life, Kyril standing over Neith and the two corpses as the first sailor turned into the doorway.

"What in the fuck?"

"These two men tried to rob us. Tried to rob me and my assistant in the night." He stepped forward. "They made a mistake, but their mistake doesn't have to fall on you."

A wash of blue floated over his eyes.

The Sailors all stood still, staring, looking at Kyril, then the corpses. Fear colored their features.
 
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Neith

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Neith frowned in confusion. It's okay?! They were completely fucked!!

She kept her mouth shut as the sailors rushed in and she watched those lambent tattoos with intrigue, a quick nod given to back up Kyril's claim. Her brown eyes shifted back and forth between Kyril and the men who stared at him in terror, each one lapsed into a shock of silence and nodding obediently.

"Aye, and we'll be having Captain's quarters too.." she threw in with a shrug to Kyril. Might as well get a better room out of it.
 
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Kyril

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Silence seemed to hang in the air.

It was a tension that threatened to explode at any moment. The sailors looked at Kyril, then down at the corpses, then up at Kyril...then slowly towards Neith as she mentioned the Captain's quarters. One of them cleared his throat, slowly.

"We-we...uhh."

There was hesitation there, his voice quiet. "Speak. Up."

Kyril tried to keep his voice steady, firm. The threat carrying even as the magic that he had taken from the First Mate began to slip away. He was no blood mage, not practiced at such things, and the power began to ebb from him even as they spoke.

"We...you won't hurt us?"

The question came slowly, a look shared among the sailors.

"Get us to Elbion. Fulfill the contract." Kyril stood, staring at the man. "You'll get his rewards, and this ship."

He gestured, and then for a few moment silence once again reigned. After a few moments the Sailor looked at his fellow, and then slowly nodded. The others stepped back, and Kyril gently reached out and grabbed ahold of Neith.

With a slow step, his weight on her, he began to move out of the hallway and up towards the Captain's cabin.
 

Neith

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Neith's gaze drifted back and forth between Kyril and the men as she slowly got to her feet, still soaked in their captain's blood. She couldn't look at the corpse for fear of vomiting, but she crouched to pick up the bag of jewels and held it against her chest. The men hardly seemed to notice her, their fearful gazes wholly fixed on Kyril.

She wrapped an arm around his back as he stood, taking as much of his weight as she could as they moved across the deck, the men there taking steps back to clear their paths and exchanging cautious glances at the blood covering them.

Neith kicked open the door of the captain's cabin and helped Kyril into a far more comfortable chair before locking the door behind them. The room was decent, the bed more comfortable, the desk larger, and a fireplace and tub both welcome additions to their previous accommodation. Even better were the windows that spanned the length of the room. She wandered over to the large desk to pull open the drawers to find the captain's coin purse that she had noticed hadn't been on his person, and the rubies she'd paid him in tumbled out onto the desk as she emptied it.

Her hand closed around the stones and she leaned forward, resting her brow against her forearm with a deep huff, giving herself a moment to breathe.

"What the fuck was that?.." she asked.
 
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Kyril

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"Magic." Kyril answered meekly.

He felt weakness slowly return over his body as the power he had taken from the First made ebbed from him. Holding onto it was difficult. The magic was not his own, and unlike when Neith had freely given her gift, that which he had taken seemed almost repelled from the circuits running through his veins.

A lifetime ago, it felt like anyway, he had read a tome about holding onto such power. It required practice, the grim sort that Kyril had never really been interested in.

"I'm not exactly...I don't..." He frowned, reaching up to rub his face with his hands. It was the first time he noticed the blood on himself. "I don't fight."

Kyril's heart was pounding. "I've never...I've never killed anyone before."

His breath became a bit more shallow, his head woozy.

There was still a craving in his belly, still an ache for the Lyrum...but even as the magic ebbed away he felt no pain.

"I just didn't want him to hurt you so I..." Kyril frowned. "Lashed out."
 
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Neith

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She looked up when she heard the shakiness in his voice. She hadn't considered if he was alright, and a wave of guilt crashed into her as he explained.

"Fuck.." What a way to kill someone for the first time, and for her. She felt sick, with the thought of it, and now the guilt of it. "I'm sorry, Ky.." she said as she got up and moved to sit beside him, an arm wrapping around him in a gentle embrace.

"Are you alright?.." she asked, the air around him still thick with the metallic scent of magic that tickled at her nose.
 
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Kyril

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When was the last time someone had hugged him?

When was the last time that someone had given him a soft and caring touch? Kyril could hardly remember. His mother had hugged him, held him. His father...never. It felt so foreign, so odd, but he couldn't help but lean into her slightly.

A shaky breath filled his lungs. "I...I..."

He stuttered, but it wasn't the lyrum. It wasn't the addiction that still held to him. It was a slight wracking sob that shook through him.

"I don't know." He wasn't a killer. He wasn't a murder. He was a mage, a scholar. He knew magic, but he did not want to kill. He wasn't a Dreadlord. He wasn't a blood mage. He wasn't some sort of villain.

A shaky breath pulled into his lungs.

His hands came up to gently hold her, embrace her. "I don't know..."

Kyril sobbed quietly.
 

Neith

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Neith frowned, shifting to wrap her other arm around him as he sobbed, something cracking in her chest at the sound of it. "It's alright." she hushed soothingly and sighed, gently stroking at his hair. "Those men would've hurt us both. The captain knew I had more of those stones, he didn't intend on allowing us to leave this ship without taking more." she reasoned..

"You did it to stop him hurting me. Thank you." she whispered, justifying his actions before guilt took hold.
 
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Kyril

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Kyril took a long, deep, breath. He would never say 'you're welcome', not for a second.

His whole body seemed to quiver, shake. Fingers tightened on her body. Eyes closing as he rested his forehead against her belly. The magic that coursed through his veins seemed to ebb away from him, flowing slowly from his body and adding to the height of his emotion.

He drew her in, his touch soft, desperate. "I...tried."

It was a pathetic, desperate little excuse.

In his heart Kyril knew he could have done better. Knew he could have found another way. Yet he hadn't. He had taken the easy way. He had done what impulse came to him, and because of it two men had met their end.

Another sobbing breath wracked his body, but he slowly steadied himself.

But I would do it again. The thought pulled through him, his fingers tightening again as he took in a deep breath. His eyes squeezed shut, but he tried to steady himself.

A hand came up to wipe at his face. "S-sorry."

He said softly as he drew himself back from her.
 
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Neith

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She continued to stroke his hair, hushing him gently, a soft frown on her brow at his words. "Don't apologise." she said as she looked down to meet his gaze. "You've nothin' to apologise for." she told him firmly.

"Lets get cleaned up, I'll get a fire goin' for some hot water." she nodded, only letting go of him as he drew himself back. She squeezed at his shoulder.. "I'll find you some clean clothes.." she smiled, and turned to set about the chores she'd set herself.

Before long, a steaming hot bath awaited, fresh linen hung over the rim of the wooden tub and a pile of clean and comfortable clothes were draped over the chair by the bath. The orange glow of the hearth flickered, the only light in the dim cabin until she lit a few candles.

She reached her hands out to help him up and guide him toward the bath. "I'll go give you some privacy.." she told him as she let him sit in the chair by the tub.
 
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Kyril

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Kyril hesitated as she helped sit him in the chair.

His lips thinned for a brief moment, a thousand different thoughts running through his mind. As she has set about her self guided tasks Kyril had simply lingered in his seat, watching or staring at the floor. A hollowness settling in his chest.

As she spoke of leaving his fingers tightened ever so slightly. "No."

There was a certain paranoia that spiked through him. Not because he wanted...anything of that sort, not because his mind wandered, but because of what they had experienced.

"Don't leave." Kyril said as he found a moments rest within the seat, muscles aching. "I..."

He took a breath, his fingers gently dragging over her as he felt himself tire. "We can't trust anyone else on this ship."

The mage said slowly.

"Just each other." He swayed slowly, his fingers tightening ever so slightly.
 

Neith

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Neith gave a gentle frown and nodded to him slowly. "Alright.." she answered with a soft smile. "Then, I'll go sit by the fire whilst you bathe, and make us both some tea. How's that?" she asked in attempt to mollify his stress as she reached for his hand to squeeze gently.

"We only trust each other." she agreed with a warm smile. "I won't go anywhere."
 
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Kyril

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Kyril slowly nodded his head. "Alright."

The Mage said in soft agreement.

Was the paranoia a piece of the craving? Left over from his withdrawals of the Lyrum? He honestly did not know in that moment. All that he knew was that keeping Neith safe was important in that moment. That the idea of her leaving the cabin was almost abhorrent.

He did not trust the sailors they had threatened. Did not think they wouldn't stop at taking her hostage and forcing some sort of settlement.

Kyril would rather risk his modesty than have her feel the blade of a knife against her neck.

His fingers wrapped around hers slowly, squeezing softly.

"That sounds good." He said, looking up into her eyes.
 

Neith

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He seemed so helpless in that way he looked up at her. She tried to hide the sadness she felt from her eyes as she met his gaze, her lips curling into a soft smile. She nodded and slipped her hand free of his before turning to wander toward the hearth and pottering around with the kettle and boxed tea, keeping her back to him to allow him to bathe in privacy.

She hummed a quiet, melodic tune to herself to fill the silence with something other than the crackling fire and gentle waves outside, a reminder that she was there and he wasn't alone.
 
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Kyril

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For a few seconds Kyril stayed still, looking at where Neith had been standing.

It was almost as though he were looking at some sort of reflection, a brief glimpse of something that wasn't quite there. Then he took in a deep breath, drawing himself together and slowly stripping away his clothes. It took only a few moments, and then slowly he stepped into the bath.

The waters were hot, almost searingly so, but there was a pleasantness to it. His eyes slowly closed as he lowered himself within the tub, drawing himself down.

A slow sigh escaped him.

It was the sound of a man who was letting go, the sound of a man finally releasing a length of stress that had clung to him for days, or perhaps even weeks. He sunk slowly into the waters, his eyes closing. "Thank you."

Kyril said softly, barely loud enough for Neith to hear.

"Thank you." He repeated softly.
 
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Neith

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She paused her little melody as she heard him speak, glancing over her shoulder when she heard him repeat himself. A smile tugged at her lips, but she said nothing in response and simply continued with her quiet tune as she stirred the pot of warming water and breathed in the soothing scents of camomile and jasmine.

She let him relax in the water for a while, until the steam stopped rising from it and before it got cold. She turned down the cotton sheets and left his cup by the bedside.

"Do you need help to get out?.." she asked as she fluffed his pillows.
 
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Kyril

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By the time he felt ready to leave the waters Kyril knew that the magic he'd stolen had all but gone.

It had ebbed from him the entire time, and without it he was as weak as a baby Kitten. His muscles felt weak, his head barely stayed above water, and his eyes swayed shut as he lay there. A slow and shallow breath drew into his lungs.

In a strange sort of way it was a good sign.

He did not feel that aching pain, that agonizing hurt in his stomach. All that he felt was tiredness, exhaustion.

Yet with it came a distinction of humanity, something that hadn't been there before. A choice instead of just a craving for what he had once desired. "Yes."

Kyril croaked.

"Please." It was hard to admit, and he felt his pride shrink a little bit as he asked for her help. Once upon a time he could have floated from the bath and dried himself off with a whim. Now? Now he couldn't even bring himself to stand.

It was humiliating, but he wouldn't lie. Not after everything she'd done.
 

Neith

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She nodded and wandered over to the tub, casually. It didn't bother her, and he'd already seen her skin, but she'd try to save him his dignity by ensuring he didn't feel that he had anything to be ashamed about. "You'll get your strength back, don't worry.." she told him gently as she lifted the large sheet of linen and opened it.

She braced herself by the edge of the tub and reached to take both of his hands and gently pull him to his feet so that the linen separated them and could be wrapped around him, still giving him a little privacy.
 

Kyril

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Kyril dragged himself from the bath with her help.

The moment he stood he knew that without her arm he would have collapsed onto the floor. He had no idea what he'd have done with out her, though Kyril was sure it would have been in a gutter and not heading back home.

As the lined wrapped around him the Mage took a slight breath. His hand came up, gently catching her attention for a moment. It drew over her arm. "Thank you."

He said softly, another repetition of the words.

"I know you didn't have to do half of what you have." He looked at her with those pale blue eyes. "I've not...I've not had many friends."

Never had the time for them. "But I hope when this is done I can count you among them."
 
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Neith

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Neith stared at him with glassy brown eyes as he held onto her arm, a little lost for words for a moment. She smiled and reached a hand to his face as she leaned in to press a kiss to his cheek.

"I'd like that." she nodded and wrapped his arm around her to help him over to sit on the edge of the bed, leaving him there and bringing some fresh cotton bed clothes for him to change into.

"I don't have friends either." she shrugged casually. "Other than Rok." she laughed under her breath with a glance to the window where the bird had taken to perching himself.
 

Kyril

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A smile flickered onto his face as she kissed his cheek.

Almost as soon as she helped him sit on the bed Kyril felt a wave of tiredness wash over him. His eyes closed, opening up when she brought the fresh clothes over to him. He looked up at he drew the tunic on, glancing at the raven. "Well. At least I'm a better conversationalist."

At least he hoped.

Some mages and witches had familiars. Animals which they used as catalysts for spells or completing rituals. Kyril had never much liked the thought. Though perhaps that was because his own father had always called the practice "parlor tricks". Briefly he wondered what else he'd dismissed because of his father.

"You should wash." He told her softly, knowing the horror that he had accidentally put her through. "I'll face the wall so that I don't see anything."

He was too tired to leave the room.
 
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Neith

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Neith laughed and nodded.. "Sometimes." she teased and helped him lay down against his freshly fluffed pillows and pulling his blankets over him. The tea on his bedside table was still hot, and she'd left a large cinnamon roll beside it.

"Not like you haven't seen it all already.." she murmured with a shrug and a half smirk, recalling how he'd found her naked and quite dead in his bathroom. She kept her back to him as she stripped off the bloody clothes, once again baring her scars as she stepped into the lukewarm water and lowered herself into the tub to start scrubbing at her skin and hair.

"How do you feel?.." she asked quietly.
 
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Kyril

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He slowly turned himself away so that he was not staring at her, chuckling slightly as she made her comment. "True."

Then quietly he added. "Wouldn't mind seeing it again."

His body, surprisingly, relaxed for the first time in what felt like days. The craving was still settled in his stomach, but there wasn't any hurt now. No pain. All that he felt was an extreme weariness, like his body could sleep for days.

"Tired." He said softly. "But there's no pain."

Kyril knew he was still addicted, knew that he still wanted the drug, but that agonizing ache had finally left him. "Now it's just a contest of will."

For the rest of his life.