Fable - Ask The Scent of Lost Magic

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Neith

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Her cheeks warmed and she shot him a shy smirk at his comment.

She tried not to think about the blood that coloured the water a deep pink as it ran from her skin and hair. Tried to push the recent memory from her mind entirely and blank it out. Whilst she was busy looking after him she could keep it out of her mind, but she dreaded the moment when the silence of sleep would fall in the cabin and she’d be left alone with her thoughts.

“Good..” she smiled.. “Seems you’re over the worst of it then.”

Neith didn’t spend long in the bath. The water was getting cold and the colour of it was turning her stomach. She reached for her towel as she stood, wrapping it around herself before stepping out with a shiver as the cool air clung to her wet skin.

“Think you’ll be able to sleep through?.. Or do I need to tie you to the bedpost again?..” she smirked as she rummaged for something clean and dry to wear.
 
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Kyril

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Kyril was already drifting in and out of sleep.

Closing his eyes had been like a dare to his body. He hadn't slept, truly slept, in what felt like days now. He could feel the weariness washing over him, the struggle to stay awake as he opened his mouth and yawned. "You-you don't need to tie me up."

Not this time.

That pain was gone, that impulse to give in slipped away.

"I'll slee..." Kyril drifted off as he spoke, his body visibly relaxing as he curled into his pillow and passed out.
 
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Neith

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She turned to look over her shoulder at him as his words trailed away, a quiet sigh tumbling from her lips. If she felt exhausted, she could only imagine how he felt. But now it was quiet..

Neith pulled on some cotton bed clothes that drowned her in size, and towel dried her hair before setting about busying herself and her mind for as long as she could. She washed their bloodied clothes and hung them by the hearth to dry, she drained the water and cleaned whatever mess they'd made, she shared a little food with Rok and poured through some of the captain's journal with a cup of hot tea until her eyes were drifting shut.

She curled up on the sofa, the black bird nestled under her arm and nibbling affectionately at her hair as though he had sensed her anxieties and sought to mollify them with comfort. She drifted off to sleep quickly, and yet her mind did not settle and remained alive with gruesome flashbacks and rivers of blood, of splattering brain and bone, of the Captain's eye staring up at her from the pool of blood on the floor. Soon it wasn't his eye at all but her father's, and she turned to see him standing staring at her with his one remaining eye, his head only half intact, rubies pouring from his wide open skull.

She jerked awake when he reached for her, Rok's wings flapping in fright as she sat bolt upright, her chest heaving in panic. When she'd realised where she was she buried her clammy face in her hands and tried to breathe, unable to stop the tears that silently flowed.
 
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Kyril

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Kyril slept with a surprising ease. No nightmares touched, no dreams graced his sleep.

Whether it was our exhaustion or something else the young mage slept like the dead. His chest slowly rose and fell, his lips remained sealed, and the tattoos on his flesh did not spark with a glow even a single time. Almost for the first time since they'd med Kyril slept peacefully.

He might not have stirred for a week. Might have stayed in that bed were it not for the sound of Neith's quiet sobs.

It was as though his unconscious mind was now paranoid. His trance like sleep was interrupted, a watchful part of his mind demanding he wake in case another sailor threatened their lives. His eyes fluttered open, the covers shifting slightly as he woke.

His ears twitched, as if straining to hear. "Neith?"

Ky asked quietly, his head turned, eyes peering at her.
 
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Neith

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Neith flinched at the sound of Kyril's voice having not realised that she'd woken him. She rubbed at her face quickly and frowned as she looked up at him through the dark cabin, her head shaking.

"I didn't mean to wake you. Bad dream that's all.. I'm fine." she cleared her throat and pulled her blankets tightly around her.

"Go back to sleep.." she insisted, settling back down.
 
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Kyril

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Kyril looked at her for a few moments, his eyes peering through the bare light of the captain's room.

There was a soft glow from one of the lanterns still lit, but most of the illumination within the cabin came from the massive window and the full moon that lingered above the ship. Kyril could see Neith well enough with it, watching as she settled back down.

"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked softly.

Kyril had never been good with emotions. Empathy was not something that came easily to him. Feelings and the like had never been useful for him, at least that was what his father had always said.

What was the point of emotions if they could not help?

Still. Neith had been kind to him. Caring. It was a favor that he wanted to return. He shifted slightly on the bed, pulling himself up just a bit so he could better look at her.
 

Neith

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"No." she answered quickly and grimaced at the sharpness in her tone. "I'm fine, thank you."

She'd rather forget about it and go back to sleep, but every time her tired eyes drifted shut she saw the same things and forced them open again. Neith looked up at him for a moment, and without a word she got up from the couch and wandered over to the bed, her blankets wrapped around her shoulders and held close to her chest.

She crawled onto the bed beside him and curled up in front of him with her back to him and allowed her eyes to close.
 
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Kyril

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For a few seconds Kyril hesitated, entirely unsure what to do.

In his mind he figure it she did not want to talk, then pressing her was the wrong thing to do. Lips thinned for a brief moment as she laid herself down besides him, another hint of awkwardness flickering through the young mage.

For a brief second Kyril didn't move.

It was as though some paralysis had overcome him. Perhaps insecurity or unfamiliarity simply forcing him to stop and think. He swallowed slowly, glancing at the couch where Neith had just been laying and then looking over towards where the Raven was perched.

The bird seemed to stare back at him.

Then after another second Kyril laid himself back down on the bed. For a moment he lay there, still, and then his arm wrapped comfortingly around Neith.
 
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Neith

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She couldn't help but smirk to herself as she felt him still, his awkwardness obvious even without looking at him.

She hadn't expected the arm around her, but she didn't offer any protest and simply eased and nuzzled into the pillow with a deep sigh as she let herself fall asleep. It was far more comfortable than the sofa, and far warmer with him next to her. As though her subconscious felt safer, she'd spend the rest of the night sleeping soundly if nothing else woke her.
 
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Kyril

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By the time dawn came and the sun forced his eyes open Kyril still felt a wash of lethargy and exhaustion clinging to him.

Every muscle ached as though he had not moved in years. An odd itch clung to the palm of his hands, and his stomach felt emptier than the great Abyss. Yet he did not hurt, not in the same aching way that had plagued him for the last few days. The odd craving was still there, that need for the power Lyrum could give him, but he knew it now.

Recognized it for what it was.

For a second he let himself sink into the pillow. His arm was still wrapped around Neith, holding onto her. The warmth she provided brought more than a little comfort. A sense of calm hanging over his mind. He breathed softly, and focused.

Kyril let his mind delve gently within himself. He reached out towards a well that he knew was there. He traced along thin circuits, drawing himself further and further until he could feel it.

A small spark.

The tiniest drawn connection. He could feel it.

It was there.

A small smile touched at his lips. He knew he could not grasp his strength, knew that if he tried it would burn him from within. The fact that he could feel it was enough.

For now.
 
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Neith

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Neith didn't stir for the remainder of the night, her sleep deep and dreamless. When she woke she realised she'd been holding onto the arm that Kyril had looped around her, and she drew a deep breath and sighed as she released him with a sleepy chuckle. "Sorry." she grumbled and stretched.

"How do you feel?.." she asked grittily as she nuzzled back into the pillow to lay for a few more minutes. She couldn't remember the last time she'd slept as well as she had the past few hours. The exhaustion, the comfortable bed and soft sheets, the warmth and the gentle sway of the ship and sound of waves outside. Her body felt loose and rested, but she wasn't ready to let go of that quite yet.
 
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Kyril

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Kyril drew back, though somewhat hesitantly.

"Exhausted." It was an honest answer. His body still felt like he'd been run ragged through the mountains. If she'd asked him to stand in that moment he wasn't entirely sure that he would have managed that. He felt like a newborn foal.

"But no pain." He added the upside. "The best I've been in days."

Even if he was ready to fall asleep again at any moment.

Slowly he drew himself up in the bed, a lethargy clinging to him. He rubbed gently at his eyes and took in a deep breath, steadying himself. The ship was still slowly rocking beneath them, the storm having long since passed.

He wondered where they were now.
 

Neith

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Neith yawned. "Mhm.." she sighed. "That's good. We can work on getting your strength back up before we get back then.." she added lazily before pulling herself up.

"Let's get some food in you for a start." she smirked at him and wiped the sleep from her eyes before wandering to pull on her dry clothes.

"I'll go check that we're still on course." she told him, picking up the small blade and tucking it away as she headed toward the door.
 
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Kyril

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Kyril nodded his head. "Careful."

The Sorcerer was tempted to tell her to wait, say that he would go with her, but he knew it would be a mistake. In any sort of confrontation he would have hurt far more than helped. A sailor could knock him over with a gentle push at the moment.

When Neith stepped out the door, Kyril took a few deep breaths. His hands came up to rub his face, and then slowly he pushed himself to stand. Almost the minute he was on his own feet his legs began to wobble, shaking slightly and refusing to move.

"Come on." He said quietly, shuffling over towards the wall to slowly make his way across the room.

Eventually he found his way to the Captains desk, practically throwing himself down in the chair as he panted with exhaustion. His head shook, and then he reached out towards the desk. "Let's see what the dead left behind."

He mused.
 

Neith

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"Mhm.." Neith nodded with a huff as she headed out the door, hoping that the sailors were all suitably scared of Kyril enough that they'd have the good sense not to give her any trouble.

Eyes shifted toward her as she walked across the deck, men murmured amongst themselves and cleared her path to the helm of the ship. The man who'd taken over had been the one who'd made the agreement with Kyril, and he eyed Neith somewhat nervously as she ascended the steps and leaned on the banister to offer him a small smile. He only stared.

"Good morning." Neith chirped. The new 'captain' tipped his hat.

"Somethin' can I do for you lass?.." he asked quietly.

"You can tell me how long we have to Elbion.. And, breakfast would be nice." her head tilted. The man's jaw tightened.

"You and your man made a fair mess in there, you know." he grunted. "Someone's gonna have to answer for it. It ent right."

"As my friend said.. We were bein' robbed, I was held at knifepoint. We are entitled to defend ourselves, ain't we?.. If, you'd rather talk to him about it I can get him up here.." she turned as though to return to the cabin.

"Wait - That.. that ent necessary. Storm gave us a good shove, we're ahead of schedule, got about four days til we dock. I'll get one of the lads to bring you some grub.." he sighed in resignation. Neith gave him a tight smile.

"Thank you." she nodded, turning to find a man on the step directly behind her. Even a step below her he was a foot taller. Neith looked up at him, her gaze narrowing as he postured. "We're not..goin' to have any trouble, are we?.." she asked.

"Len. Stand down." the new captain said firmly. Len stood his ground for another short while, his massive hands clenched into tight fists as he refrained from wringing her neck. The man reluctantly stepped aside, and Neith nodded as she descended the steps, finding that she had to shove her way through a few of the men, apparently inspired by Len's behaviour.

Shit..

Neith locked the door as she stepped back into the room, pressing her back flat against the wood as she looked toward Kyril.

"Think we're goin' to have a problem."
 
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Kyril

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"I think we were already in trouble." Kyril said with a slight frown, his lips thinning as he stared at the book in front of him.

The Journal was a simple thing, not even encoded. The Captain had clearly not been the smartest man, though from the numbers within his ledger it showed that he was at the very least shrewd. His lips thinned as he drew a breath, looking up at Neith.

"Look..." He began slowly. "...At who our Captain was employed by."

The Mage turned the book, and then slid it towards the other end of the desk.

There in the Ledger Neith would see a name. One that she was more familiar with than she wanted to be; Cyril.

Kyril knew that she hadn't betrayed him. That all of this hadn't been some sort of plot. She had done too much for him. Had taken him from the edge of death and cared for him a dozen times over. He was confident she wasn't in on this, but the name was undeniable.

The Captain had worked for Cyril. Her boss.

He had either been an insurance policy, or would have turned them in at his own behest the moment he figured out their secret.

Kyril looked up at her, his features tired, but stern. "What else happened?"

What problem would bury them next?
 

Neith

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"What the fuck?" Neith muttered as she stared down at the journal for a moment. She swallowed and looked to Kyril with a shake of her head. "He.. He was just a random captain that I met on the docks, I didn't know I swear." she frowned and flopped into the armchair, rubbing at her face.

She looked up at his question and huffed out a breath. "The sailor you offered the deal to has taken over the helm, but he's gonna have trouble keepin' the others settled. Most of them are scared shitless of you, but there's a few wantin' blood by the looks of things.." she pinched at the bridge of her nose.

"We're four days off.. I ain't sure we're gonna be able to hold them off that long."
 
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Kyril

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"I believe you." He truly did.

It was likely just a coincidence, at least that was where the odds weighed, but there wasn't really any way of telling. Cyrus was a clever bastard, and it was very possible that he somehow used his influence to have the Captain guide Neith's eyes to him.

There were ways of doing that, not with magic, but with how you presented yourself.

As she spoke of those wanting violence he frowned, reaching up to run a hand through the bare scraps of his hair. A frown settled on his face, and he thinned his lips. "I need to go up on deck."

Even though he could barely stand.

"They need to see me." He said quietly. "I'm not sure...i'd rather not do what I did again."

Kyril still wasn't a murderer. "But...if they believe I would, it might stop them."
 

Neith

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Neith gave him a look that said she didn't think that was a very wise idea.. "I mean, it might, aye but.. There's this big brute and he doesn't look the type to back away. If he sees you he might try and make a point, and you ain't exactly in much of a state to defend yourself Ky." she frowned.

"We should just, stay here and wait it out. I'll bar the doors with whatever I can. Rest and let your magic build up a little more before you need to use it again. I anticipate that dockin' won't be without it's difficulties." she huffed
 
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Kyril

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Four days.

That was what it would take. That was the time that they would need to survive. It would be a siege of sorts. Four days spent cooped up in the tiny room, four days spent trying to make sure no one would breach into their sanctuary and slit their throats.

Lips thinned. "If..."

Kyril knew she was right. Knew that if he walked onto the deck and faltered for even a moment they would jump on him like Hyenas.

His magic was still a bare string, a small length ready to snap at any moment. Perhaps the Gamble of it wasn't worth it.

"If you think so." The mage said quietly, clearly not used to following someone elses ideas. "But we'll need food."
 
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Neith

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As if on cue, there was a knock at the door that caused Neith to near jump out of her skin, her hand already on her blade as she looked up.

"Who is it?.." she demanded.

"Cook, Miss." the young man's voice shook nervously. "I b-brought you the food you asked fer.."

Neith looked to Kyril before approaching the door and leaning her shoulder against it.. "That's kind of you, thank you. Just leave it out there by the door." she frowned. There seemed to be a moment's hesitation at the odd request, but she heard the tray be placed on the ground and a step back be taken..

"Aye, Miss. Good day Miss, a-and Sir.." he added, and his feet shuffled quickly away. Neith waited for a moment before turning the key, then the doorknob and peeking out, her eyes falling to the plate of food. She edged out and lifted it before stepping back inside and setting the tray down on the desk, the door swiftly locked again.

"Breakfast?.." she smiled and let out a huff.
 
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Kyril

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Kyril chuckled. "At least he's afraid."

The Mage said as he reached up and rubbed at his face. A cloud sigh echoed passed his lips and for a brief moment he allowed himself a fantasy whereby he wasn't fighting for every scrap of his life.

It was a nice thought, a pleasant one, but dashed by the facts of what he had put himself through. Without Lyrum he might have disappointed his father, but with it he had done so anyway. Hands drew away from his features, and he looked up at Neith with a smile.

"Come on." He told her. "Let's eat."

Kyril wouldn't let her go hungry either. "Then I'll show you a Rune we can use on the door."

Her interest in those matters hadn't gone unnoticed. In the haze of his mind Neith's watchful eyes hadn't always been important, but with his thoughts more clear he could remember the interest she expressed, how she'd reacted to it all.

It was the same way he'd been years ago.
 

Neith

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Neith didn't need to be told twice. She dragged another chair over to the desk and sat, picking her way through toast and sausage and eggs and sharing them with Rok as he perched on her shoulder to survey her plate.

"What other runes can you show me? Do they take different amounts of time and energy? What else can you do?..." she enquired enthusiastically as she stuffed another mouthful of toast into her mouth.
 
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Kyril

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"Runes don't take energy, not from the person that draws them." Kyril explained with a small smile.

He had always enjoyed the concepts of magic. In another life he might have made an excellent professor, though he'd never had the patience for people who had no interest in what he was talking about. Perhaps a flaw his father had instilled in him.

"Their power comes from three things. The material they are drawn with, the intricacy of the rune, and whatever the rune is written on." He explained. "These factors all effect how strong the Rune actually is. Each component able to make up for the other."

His shoulders rolled in a shrug. "The runes are a language in it of themselves, complicated, but entirely easy to understand once you have the basic concepts."

He wished he had his fathers books. It would have been easier. "I can teach you a lot, but we should focus on your own magic first."

The Runes would be secondary at best. They were never as efficient as what one could draw from themselves.

"I know..." Kyril smiled. "A lot."

He didn't know how else to put it. "My studies went far beyond Rune Magic, and once I took the Lyrum..."

Well, things had only expanded from there.
 
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