Tales The Space Between

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Shuck, Dec 30, 2018.

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  1. Shuck

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    #1 Shuck, Dec 30, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
    Their journey out of the faewilds was peaceful and, thankfully, uneventful. Finally given a cause for her flagging energy, they had a means of treating it. Setting after well sunrise and stopping before sunset, Shuck had slept considerable amounts each night and, of course, took her tea thrice daily as per Yaste's instruction. Joseph suggested that she take a second cup each time, making sure she used every bit of each steeping to its fullest, but her appetite had only become more voracious. It was all she could do to wait until whatever they had hunted up for her evening meal to cook completely before she devoured it. The bewildering urge to eat the game raw never left and, arguably, only grew with each passing day.

    They had, at Trahaearn's suggestion, passed by Kitty's for the sake of time, taking a more direct path out of the fae lands. With her needing to sleep as much as she was, their journey would take them two full extra days. But the path set them almost directly toward the village where they'd met Matthias, and they all agreed that a visit to the half-fae physician would be wise. Traveling out of the faewilds at last, it was two more days before they reached the place.

    Lindow, she corrected herself. Trahaearn had informed them of the village's name that morning as it drew near. Her eyes eagerly searched ahead, and when they rose over the hill that revealed the small riverside community, she flashed a bright smile back at Joseph. She was excited to see Matthias again, even if he wasn't.

    For the most part, Trahaearn had led the way, but when they arrived in Lindow, she had trotted ahead, following the path past the inn and smith's to the clinic. She had already swung off of her horse and thrown the reins over the rail by the time the men had caught up to her. Friends were a rare commodity in her life, and she was eager to see one of the few people she knew.

    "Come on," she whined, waiting on them on the other side of the hitching post. She was bright-eyed and giddy. Waiting only until Joseph's feet hit the ground and not bothering to see if Trahaearn transformed from shuck, she turned toward the clinic door. Letting herself in, she left the door open behind her for them to wander in as they pleased.

    Just as she'd found him the first time, Matthias was hunched over a tome, flipping pages and scrawling notes on a separate page. He turned and looked over the rim of his glasses, and his inquisitive expression became one of surprise.

    "You've returned." Flashing a brilliant smile, he pushed back the chair and set the glasses into the book. He opened his arms to her and gave her a friendly hug before holding her back at arm's length, surveying her.

    "You've lost weight," he remarked with a stern frown and a sigh. "You've only been gone three weeks. You must have found your name in a hurry. I told Risu you'd make it back. You see, Risu? I was right."

    Matthias smiled toward his desk, and Shuck peered around his person to look as well. There was nothing there -- until suddenly there was. With a flash of light, the blue flame appeared, crouching on the edge of the roll-top desk. Its dark eyes narrowed at her from the flame's depths.

    "What do you mean she hasn't got her name back?" Mattias asked after a beat of silence. He turned back to her, looking confused. "You don't have your name back yet? What about your heart?"

    She forced a smile. "We had a change of plans," she said meekly, turning toward the door.

    // Joseph Meier // Trahaearn //
     
  2. Joseph Meier

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    Lindow. A properly humble name for a properly humble village. Joseph was tired. It was all he could do to keep Shuck in raw game. Their supplies had run dangerously low with her eating as much as she needed to, and he worked tirelessly to feed her appetite. He rememebered the hag's words. He had to keep stoking that fire if her babe's needs weren't going to consume her. He was tired, but he was happy to see Shuck's spirits brighten so when they reached the clinic. He needed to speak to the doctor. He needed more milk of the poppy, and Shuck needed some vitamins. She'd lost weight despite eating so much.

    Joseph smirked and headed into the clinic after her, watching her embrace Matthias. He noticed the same thing; that she was losing weight. "I'll pick up some souet in town. We're going to be needing to cook more than game if we're going to keep her weight up." Joseph told him, going to kiss Shuck's cheek. "Look, uh...." He took Matthias' arm and steered him away from Shuck a bit.

    "I'm no stranger to this pregnancy thing, but I remember my....well, there were these vitamins people had to take. I'm worried that even with her eating us out of house and home she won't get enough nutrients." he said quietly. "I remember giving my wife some drops from a brown bottle. Smelled bloody awful but seemed to help."
     
  3. Trahaearn

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    #3 Trahaearn, Dec 30, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
    Trahaearn had kept to himself for their trip back, save for advising they not stop at kitty's place once more. Surprise was his only reaction as to just how quickly Mal suddenly needed to eat more. While Joseph cooked, Trah made sure to keep nabbing game to cook, but the strange light in Mal's eyes as she watched them cook made him wonder if it wasn't a waste of time to stick it in the fire. He was thankful that nothing else happened for the time being, but, he was always wary of an evening in case some stray fae had decided to wander closer. It was strange though, as it seemed almost too opportune for their travel to be so calm and quiet while leaving.

    He pushed the thought away as Shuck took the lead into Lindow, passing by the inn and smith and headed to another building. The doctors office they had told him about more than likely. He followed leisurely, the village well and far away from danger as she called them to hurry up. With a renewed vigor, Trahaearn followed behind them both without changing to human. It would hopefully be a quick stop, and he wasn't going to waste energy changing for this.

    Once they entered, a man was pouring over a tome that he was scrawling notes from, but quickly turned his attention to Mal when he noticed someone enter the room. He seemed excited, and thrilled at seeing her.

    The remark made him tilt his head a bit, a little confused at first by the speaking of another when clearly no one was their. When Mal looked past the man, Trahaearn stepped to the side and watched the little blue flame materialize on the man desk. He boofed at the flame in his surprise, hackles rising as he pushed his way toward Mal before he spoke.

    "You know that is a Will-O'-The-Wisp, right?" Trahaearn quietly spoke to Mal, the concern in his voice a measure to his alarmed state of being. Those spirits were magick incarnate, even given how small they were, and one of the few things that went unseen by all eyes. The hag's ability to see the future possibilities was outshone only the wisp's ability to see everything, including what your fate was. And yet, here was a forest spirit, casually in the company of this mortal. His eyes squinted at the doctor, and that familiar feeling of something other was about the man. He was half fae as they had told him.

    The man spoke with confusion about her not getting her name back, and then asked about her heart. So what they had told him in that week of travel was close enough to true about the helpful half fae doctor. The part about the wisp had been left out on the other hand.

    The comment about hearts made him wonder though, what was a Will-o'-the-wisp doing here in a doctor's office? Joseph had pulled the man aside and begun to speak about something as he looked to Mal.

    "You spoke of the doctor, but not of his friend. Was the wisp here last time as well?" Trahaearn spoke quietly, eyeing the flame that was on the desk still.
     
  4. Shuck

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    Matthias frowned. "A change of..."

    Whatever he'd been about to say dropped off suddenly as he looked beyond her and Joseph to the dog standing behind her. He blinked. Joseph stepped in, kissing her cheek and pulling Matthias aside to talk in private, and she was grateful. As the two men stepped away, and she looked back at Trahaearn.

    "I don't know what that is," she whispered sharply, glancing over her shoulder at said wisp. "I guess... I must have forgotten about him," she admitted. Shuck's face was drawn tight, a sharp frown creasing her brow. She'd forgotten about Risu until she'd seen him again. Once again, she's forgotten something that was otherwise rather memorable. What else had slipped from her mind?

    "Why? Is it dangerous?" she asked Trahaearn, wanting something else to think about. She struggled to remember the last time she'd been here, but didn't seem capable of recalling anything about the faerie other than she knew she'd seen it before. It continued to watch her, those beady dark eyes not once straying from her as Joseph and Matthias whispered to one another behind her.

    "It makes me uncomfortable," she said softly, leaning in toward Trahaearn and not moving her gaze from it either.




    Matthias stood aside with Joseph, reluctantly peeling his eyes off of the black shuck. Another black shuck! Whatever they'd gotten into in the faewilds must have been troublesome if they'd doubled back so soon without her name or heart. Of course, far more time may have passed for them there than what had there -- Matthias was quite familiar with the pools of wonky magic that skewed time.

    At the first mention of pregnancy, however, he stopped walking. Planting his feet, he looked down at Joseph, his soft features setting into a rare frown. He didn't interrupt, letting Joseph run the thought to completion, and continued to stare at him in silence for several heartbeats after. Sharing a brief glance with Risu, he looked back at the shuck, then at Joseph once more. Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose.

    "I suppose it can't be helped now. I should have said something the first night I saw her, but I thought you'd be a worldly man and would know how not to make children," he whispered softly, harshly. Matthias sighed. "There's not much to help her. Fae pregnancies are dangerous ordeals, especially for greater fae such as herself. It's not the nutrients so much as the magick that will be her worst enemy."

    Matthias looked at the shuck again and sighed again, this time a sharp, frustrated sound. He lowered his voice before he spoke again. "How much do you know? About fae pregnancies?" His blue eyes were marked by the uncharacteristic frown of his brows, but he spoke with genuine concern. "How much does she know about it?"

    // Joseph Meier // Trahaearn //
     
  5. Joseph Meier

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    Joseph glared right back at Matthias. Why could no one be fucking happy about this news? Why was he the only one overjoyed at the prospect of a child? He wanted one so sorely. He felt his good mood slipping away when Matthias pinched the bridge of his nose and looked down, sighing like he'd just told the man she'd contracted fleas or something. He tightened his jaw and seethed as Matthias spoke. "Listen, you stupid bastard, it happened and I've never been sorry for having a child before." he growled, keeping his volume low as to not alert Shuck. "Crazy thought in this day and age but I'm actually happy this has happened. It will be dangerous, but it's my responsibility to keep her healthy."

    Magic would be her worst enemy. That was something he needed to learn how to combat. He knew all about human pregnancies...keeping women away from fish, or letting them exercise too much, or using goat milk if a mother needed a break from her babe. He took a deep breath. "I don't know anything about fae pregnancies. I know about human pregnancies." he said coldly. "I don't know how much she knows. We only just found out. I'm asking you for help, and if you're going to lecture me about how it never should have happened, I'll happily fucking leave and find a doctor interested in the god damn patient."

    Joseph was losing his temper, but it was easy when Matthias made his displeasure at the situation clear. He had expected Trahaearn to be surly about it, but would it kill the doctor to consider their feelings on the child at least a bit? He seethed at him. What was he doing consulting some half-breed in the middle of a town? He should be asking someone who had studied fae pregnancies, or at least didn't treat them like an exasperating problem.
     
  6. Trahaearn

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    The man looked at him, and then truly looked at him, seemingly enthralled by his appearance. When Joseph pulled the man to the side to speak privately, it was not unnoticed that the doctor seemed reluctant to look away from his dog form. However, Trahaearn's attention was drawn back to Mal when she expressed that she had no idea what the fae was. The admittance nearly winding him as he slowly looked up to her, his dog jaw slack with disbelief. She had forgotten she finally told him, and he was almost painfully wheezing at her statement.

    "F-forgot!?" Trahaearn barked quietly to her. His eyes were wide as he stared. He wasn't angry per se, but his intense alarm may have been seen that way. He eyed the little being for a moment longer as he tried to fathom a simple way of explaining the powers that the little body of flame possessed.

    "If you thought the hag was powerful, with being able to peer into the future at possibilities. They are magick, in it's purest form, fate given shape and the subtle hands that guide even the fae. And it is incredibly rare to even have the privilege of seeing one." Trahaearn remained as calm as he could, considering the wisp had not relented in watching Mal, which even made him uncomfortable.

    "Do you know why it is here?" His voice carried a bit of concern. This was a doctors office after all, and a form of fate was sitting there as if it belonged.
     
  7. Shuck

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    #7 Shuck, Dec 31, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
    The shuck frowned. She'd just said she'd forgotten. What more did he want from her? Giving him a pouting frown, she listened to what he had to say before casting another glance at the wisp.

    "I don't remember," she said sourly, the voice of a child who was ashamed of their ignorance. "I think Matthias may have said something about him last time, but I can't recall."



    Matthias frowned and worked hard to keep his voice down when Joseph's temper sharpened. "I'm sorry," he said firmly. He glanced at the shucks before continuing. "I suppose it's not your fault that you don't know; I shouldn't have been condescending. She's a sweet girl, and black shucks are rare -- very few of them remain, to my knowledge. But what's done is done. You'll forgive me for being a bit worried about her?"

    His eyes had softened, and the hard lines had gone out of his face. He meant what he said, and the sigh that followed his words was pensive.

    "Regardless of what she knows, It might be useful for you to know as well. She has been forgetting things, hasn't she?" He gave Joseph a knowing look. "You said before she didn't have a name. I'm sure you understand the danger she's in. Losing her magic and forgetting things are the first signs of a dying fae. They're only immortal in a sense, and pregnancy on top of it?" He shook his head, loosing a deep breath.

    Without another word, he turned to the pair of shucks. Matthias raised his hand and Risu disappeared for a moment before reappearing in his palm.



    The shuck didn't have to dwell in her dark thoughts for long. She turned toward the sound of Matthias' voice, seeing that the wisp was now in his hand.

    "I've heard congratulations are in order. Bïbọ pïkrïpupäkäg! Üglü us zäzu näbö ba buz, ipwu ọjö, gufï shu bïl bafläa hïl! My dark lady, would you kindly take a seat?" he asked with a kind smile and a wave of his hand toward the cot.

    Her cheeks flushed with color. Joyous celebration! May the gods smile upon you, black dog, and your coming baby! So that's what Joseph must have been talking about with him.

    "Bïl paba tshä dï," she replied softly. You are too kind. The shuck skittered past Matthias, taking a seat on the cot.

    "I expect you've been experiencing some fatigue and hunger. What have you been craving?"

    She squirmed under the sudden scrutiny and glanced between Joseph and Trahaearn before answering. "Meat."

    "Raw?"
    His expression was genuine and clear of the surprise or horror that she might have expected to be upon the face of a man asking if she craved raw meat.

    She gave him an exasperated look. "Yes."

    "Interesting,"
    he remarked. The hand unoccupied by a wisp stroked his chin. "It is a craving that plagues several varieties of fae. Do you know if it's the flesh specifically or if it may be blood your body desires?"

    The shuck spent a moment in thought. "I'm not sure."

    "Not to worry. Your body is telling you it needs something. I recommend listening to it in the future to find out. You appear to have two very capable providers. Though you've lost weight, you are in excellent condition for an expectant mother of four weeks, especially considering your lack of heart and name.

    "Risu here will help me assess you, if you don't mind."
    Matthias laid his hand over his heart, recognizing her apprehension when she looked abruptly at the wisp. "As my familiar, he abides my will and I can assure you that no harm will befall you or your precious cargo. He will not burn you."

    He smiled warmly, and Shuck nodded. Lying down as she was guided, she watched as Matthias lowered his hand and the wisp stepped onto her stomach. It felt warm, but as he promised it did not burn her. The faerie crouched and laid its ear to her stomach, listening. After a moment, it sat up and stared at Matthias. The half-fae frowned.

    "Risu says you've had a tea?" he queried. He glanced at Trahaearn, then seemed to dismiss him in favor of Joseph. "Might I ask what tea?"

    // Joseph Meier // Trahaearn //
     
  8. Joseph Meier

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    "What the hell do you think we're walking for? My health?" Joseph snarled at Matthias. "I know she's fading. A hag told us we'd need her heart before her name, or we'd lose the child. Of course, her heart is located in the opposite direction we were travelling, out of the fae lands. Otherwise we wouldn't be stopping in this dung heap again. You're worried about her, I've been worried since we met." He glowered at the man as he turned to congratulate his lover. Honestly, it was like the doctor didn't even listen to them. This entire journey was for her...and now for their child. As much as he wanted to get her name back, the thought of losing their child would tear him in pieces. Shuck seemed to have taken well to being pregnant, regardless of her hunger.

    Joseph came close, listening to the half-breed. He was struggling to learn fae. It was a complicated language, but he'd need to be at least proficient in it if he ever wanted to pass for Mal. If someone spoke to him in fae he needed to be able to respond in kind. The excuse that losing her name had taken her memory would only last for so long. He watched the wisp step on her stomach apprehensively, thankful that the doctor had seen fit that the magic wouldn't hurt her. Joseph felt protective of his lover, and her child, and he'd sooner die than allow anything to harm her.

    "The tea was given to us by a hag who allowed us to stay for the night. Several times a day, stirring clockwise only, and she had to drink every drop. We still have some left." Joseph told him, heading out to the horses. Thank the gods they hadn't stabled them, or he'd have had a hell of a walk. He dug out the jar, cradling it carefully as he went back to Matthias. He didn't let him take the jar, but showed it to him. "She can't share it, not a drop. I can't risk opening it around you. Even a crumb dropped on the floor would violate that promise." He growled protectively.
     
  9. Trahaearn

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    "That is fine, given your current state." Was all the more of a reply he could give Mal before the doctor turned around and spoke of congratulations in Faerie. With the wisp now settled in his hand.

    As well asking her to take a seat, which made Trahaearn a little nervous as Mal crossed the room. He sat back, content to watch as the doctor asked if she had been craving anything, and the response did not surprise him too terribly. Though her sheepish expression made him wonder about how she felt being at the center of the questions he posed.

    When he asked if she had wanted the meat raw, and she replied with a yes, his suspicions earlier were clearly founded. He had not wanted to say anything, but now that it was out in the open, it certainly made meal time far easier with simply having to rip the skin off. When she wasn't sure if it was the meat or blood, he mused at the possibility of seeing her absolutely drenched in blood. It tickled him a little, as it would be a familiar sight.

    Then the doctor said that Risu would help him asses her, and-. Wait. It was his damned familiar!? Trahaearn was horrified, and wondered as to the why and how the man had a wisp as his familiar. The notion of this wisp touching Mal had him shaking the bag off and shifting to human form as quickly as he could. The tea was brought up and Joseph fetched it, expressing that he would not share any of it. Trahaearn's face showed exasperation at Joseph, a small sigh as he felt for the doctor having to deal with the man.
     
  10. Shuck

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    Matthias' brows rose sharply at the mention of the hag and he bit his upper lip before sharing a look at Risu as Joseph went out to fetch it for him from the horses. Shuck watched Risu stare up at his master, only to turn back to her. It remained crouched, watching her closely, and she didn't look away from its beady black eyes. Though, when Trahaearn shifted, both wisp and physician turned -- the wisp as if it was just seeing the man for the first time.

    "Oh. You're not a shuck. How disappointing," Matthias remarked, just a moment before Joseph returned and put an end to any further conversation on Trahaearn.

    "Not to worry," he said, bending to look into the jar. Matthias moved around it, changing his perspective to inspect the contents. "Wise of you. If this is a gift from a hag, it is intended for the recipient and her alone. I doubt the consequences would be upon her, but rather the offender. Hag magic is powerful but straightforward. You must have been very kind to her for such generosity."

    Straightening, Matthias offered his hand and Risu seemed to leap through the air, his movements as graceful as a bird or a dancer.

    "Risu will look but will not touch," he said with a smile, swinging the wisp close to the jar. It stared at the jar for a very long time. When it looked up Matthias' brows shot up again.

    "Well. That is certainly a tea I couldn't replicate if I wanted to." He blinked and turned back to Shuck, who was looking at him with a great deal of concern. "O-oh. Not to worry. Uh..." He seemed to trip over his words in his haste to add, "Just some, uh, interesting ingredients and some magick specific to hags. Fortunately, you've enough to last you until full term. Thrice daily, you said?" Nodding, Matthias seemed to measure the contents.

    Risu looked up at its master, and Matthias laughed.

    "Figures," he said, still looking at the tea. Then he seemed to remember there was a room full of people. "Oh. Risu says it is the exact amount you will need."

    The shuck frowned. That was a very loaded and cryptic remark, and she looked nervously at the jar. It had a lot of tea in it.

    "How long is that, exactly?" she asked suddenly. Matthias helped her rise and pulled over a stool. Risu moved to his shoulder.

    "According to Risu, you're exactly four weeks along, to the day. Baby is growing well and you're both right as rain," he said with a congratulatory pat to her thigh. "Gestation periods vary by fae, but I imagine you'll deliver around five months if your kind carries anything like other greater fae."

    She blinked. "So soon?" she whispered. Her hand idly laid over her belly.

    "Indeed, soon. You should begin showing in the next few weeks." He turned to Joseph. "You said you've had a wife who has had children in the past? The shuck's pregnancy will go twice as fast. Cut the timeline you know in half. The process is mostly similar. She should cease riding at 12 weeks and make sure she's stretching and walking periodically while you're traveling. No sleeping on her left side in later weeks. A little bit of wine won't hurt her, but don't overdo it, obviously. Plenty of water and rest and keep her well fed."

    Matthias paused.

    "And make sure she doesn't shift," he added, his tone serious. "Or use any great deal of magic, for that matter. Her body is a conduit for magic right now, but using it can be dangerous. Shifting back into a dog or a shadow will be dangerous, for obvious reasons. She ceases to have a body when moving between her forms -- I don't think I need to explain why that is dangerous."

    He didn't. The shuck sat watching him, doing her best to memorize what he said and only slightly perturbed that he was telling Joseph and not her. But if she forgot it... She glanced up at Risu and, of course, the creature was still watching her. What was its problem? It made her shift uncomfortably.

    // Joseph Meier // Trahaearn //
     
  11. Joseph Meier

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    Joseph nodded, but listened closely. "We were." he said. He remembered all the chores he had done. It hadn't been on purpose to angle any sort of favor from the hag. He'd just seen what needed to be done and...had done it. He'd grown up in such a similar household, it was like sliding on a glove. He had never asked to chop wood or clean things. It had just needed to be done, and in that sort of life anyone who didn't pull their own weight drug the entire place down. Apparently, it had paid off. The tea was precious, and a rare gift if Matthias was to be believed. It was also, unfortunately, unable to be replicated. Even by a doctor. That meant the jar and its contents were probably the most precious possession they had aside from weaponry and the horses. Joseph let the wisp examine it, taking the time to look at the creature more closely. It was a fascinating thing...living cold fire. He watched it as it moved, measuring the contents of the jar. Apparently they had just enough to get them through the pregnancy.

    Nine....wait. Joseph blinked at Matthias. Did he hear that correctly? Five months? It was so damned soon! At least Shuck and babe were doing just fine, but the babe was growing fast as a weed. No wonder she wanted all the meat in the world! She could probably start eating elk and moose if they could find any. Gods, he'd probably need Trahaearn to take down one. Only eight more weeks until she couldn't ride at all. That meant they needed to get moving, and moving soon. They probably couldn't spend much time in the village.

    Joseph nodded to Matthias. "Stop riding at twelve weeks, light exercise between riding, no sleeping on her left side in the later weeks. Water, rest, and well-fed." he repeated the instructions, both for himself and for Trahaearn. If anything happened to him, he expected Trahaearn to take over. "We're going to need to start hunting bigger game. I'll need you for that." he added, to the other man. He really didn't want an argument....but he didn't savor the idea of taking on a bull elk by himself either. Especially not in winter, when animals were lean and focused on surviving. "No shifting under any circumstances."

    He went to go put the jar back, making sure it was tightly sealed and wrapping the jar in a spare blanket to keep it safe. He came back and kissed Shuck's cheek, looking at Risu. "Why the hell does that thing keep staring at her?" he asked, glaring at the little wisp. What did it want?
     
  12. Trahaearn

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    Trahaearn listened closely to what the doctor told them, four millennia had trained the man to hang onto every word someone had to say. Joseph repeating the instructions didn't matter to Trahaearn, but when the man told him they would start hunting bigger game, he nodded.

    "We'll need to come up clear hunting roles. Make sure neither of us get hurt trying to overextend." Trahaearn added quietly. He had hunted in his dog form for a long while now, and while he hadn't needed to speak with Malice about his role in their hunts, this was merely a mortal man. He didn't want either of them gored in the backwoods with an expecting Mal waiting for them to return.

    When Joseph made a scathing remark at the wisp, Trahaearn could do no more than screw up his face in a pained expression. The blasted fool, he thought to himself. The man certainly knew how to push his luck.
     
  13. Shuck

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    Matthias smiled, impressed but not surprised. Joseph seemed like a smart man, capable of the task at hand. He had to give the man credit: for as big of an ass he was, he certainly seemed to genuinely care for the shuck.

    Shuck listened to the conversation going on around her, looking between the men before lowering her eyes to look at her stomach as her thumb idly traced a curve over her navel. Four months left. When the tea wore down, they'd know. A warning sign, of sorts. She silently thanked Yaste and felt a pang of regret. If she'd known the gift she'd been given, she would have promised much more than another visit upon their return.

    Joseph returned and kissed her cheek before looking at the wisp.

    "Joseph," she chided, placing her hand on his arm. "You don't have to be so rude," she said carefully, watching her wording. She had to be careful not to command him.

    Matthias chuckled and waved a hand, Risu's beady eyes slid to Joseph, its expression blank as it stared from its flames.

    "No harm done. Risu is a will-o'-the-wisp. He's most likely reading her fate or trying to decipher something about her. Honestly, he doesn't tell me much." He looked at Risu, who turned his head slowly, his eyes lingering on Joseph until his face was fully turned to Matthias. A private conversation must have transpired between them, and the shuck noticed that the physician's eyes seemed to brighten, as if from some internal flame, for a brief moment. His smile faded.

    "And when he does tell me, he's never straightforward." Matthias looked at Trahaearn for a moment, looking him over.

    "This is your beneficiary?" he said, looking to her. She nodded, and his gaze only lingered on her briefly. "A warlock. Very interesting." He looked the man over for a moment before clapping his hands together.

    "Well. It is early in the day. Are you staying in Lindow for the day or are you simply passing through? You said you were going somewhere?" Matthias looked between the three of them, measuring each of their faces.

    The shuck nodded, looking toward Trahaearn. "Trahaearn is taking us to find my heart."

    Risu's head slowly turned to look at her again.

    "Your heart! Excellent. And where is your journey taking you?"

    // Joseph Meier // Trahaearn //
     
  14. Joseph Meier

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    Joseph Meier Resilient as the Wolf

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    Joseph put his hand on hers. She was right. Something about this doctor rubbed him the wrong way, but he was pushing his luck if the man truly did have a powerful fae on his side. He didn't like the idea of having his fate read. He was the forger of his own fate, and he'd be damned if some walking candleflame would tell him what was going to happen in his own life. He put his hand on her belly protectively, sighing. Four more months. It already seemed so soon. "I guess that cuts the time short to think of a name." he said. "In my family the mother names. Some families both choose, some families the father chooses. Whatever you think of, I'll be happy with."

    He looked conflicted as to their timeline. "I was thinking we could spend the day here, but I don't know. It's a long way and we don't have much of a timeline before you can't ride a horse at all. The snows are going to come soon, and the rain will be getting worse. Roads will be harder to pass, the cold will get bad...I'm not sure how much we can afford to slow down. We're going to be slow enough as it is hunting and setting up camp." Joseph said. He was thinking out loud, looking at Trahaearn. He needed his opinion on this. He alone knew where they were going. He did bristle at Matthias when the man asked where they were going. He didn't know if they could trust anyone. The heart of a black shuck could be worth a considerable amount. This was a doctor in the middle of nowhere, and fae had already proven themselves wanting to get into her favor. He remembered the No-No Man's barter. Fae dealt with things like this in clever language.

    "Sorry. I don't think we should tell you that." Joseph bristled. "We thank you for your help, but you've got to understand the worth of what we're looking for. We've already had a fae barter information with us."
     
  15. Trahaearn

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    Trahaearn A Truly Heartless Man

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    Trahaearn listened to the doctor continue to speak. He certainly let the fae half show through on that matter as his carefully chosen words easily flowed. He was impressed to say the least, but it also made him wary of the person. He did, after all, have a wisp sitting on his shoulder after all.

    "The location is private." Trahaearn replied to the doctor. "Considering the hags warning, and continued warning from the good doctor and his...familiar. We should restock here and move on before we lose to much daylight." he finished speaking as he looked to Joseph. He wanted to get underway, but Mal had seemed intent on staying here in Lindow. Joseph might have been a different case.
     
  16. Shuck

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    Shuck Not a Church Grim

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    She hadn't expected to hear the topic of naming babies, and it yanked the shuck out of the conversation, turning to Joseph with a strange expression. Names. For a living thing. She blinked and looked away toward nothing as she struggled to process that. It was still an abstract thought, something far-off and not really real yet. Would he really be okay with her chosen name? She knew so few names, and most of them were ones she recalled from her cemetery -- a memory both cherished and stained.

    She perked up at Joseph's initial response to stay a day, but her smile faded as he became more uncertain, and she turned to Trahaearn instead, hoping he'd, at least, have a mind to stay.

    Both men seemed reluctant to reveal the nature of their destination to Matthias, and she looked between them all with a measure of confusion. They didn't trust him. Should she have been wary as well? What was it about the half-fae that wasn't trustworthy? She glanced at the wisp. Was it Risu? He made her uncomfortable, yes, but wouldn't it be useful to befriend a faerie who could see the predetermined outcome of their ventures? The hag could only see possibilities, putting stock in the one that seemed most likely, but those visions were changeable.

    "I had hoped we could stay, at least for tonight," she admitted quietly. "We haven't had baths since we were at The Cat, and I can't change to bathe in the river." She gave Trahaearn an accusing look. She'd watched him longingly every time he'd bathed in a creek, splashing and rolling carelessly in dog form. She strangely missed her own canine shape. It had been as liberating as it was constraining, but it had been hers for two... no, four hundred years. This skin still felt secondary and artificial at times.

    "Just one night?" she begged, looking to Joseph this time.

    "I think a night with a proper bed and bath would do the lady nicely," Matthias added. "And you would all be welcome to join Risu and I for dinner at my home this evening if you should stay."

    The shuck's eyes returned to Joseph, pleading.

    // Joseph Meier // Trahaearn //
     
  17. Joseph Meier

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    Joseph Meier Resilient as the Wolf

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    Joseph sighed and nodded, putting his arm around Shuck. They all needed a bath, and some time. It was frustrating for him. He wanted a bath and to soak his leg more than anything, but their timeline was in danger. Snows would begin soon and on the plains, drifts could reach over his head. His brace would freeze, causing rheumatism pains, spots of frostbite, bedsores, and muscle spasms.

    Like any cripple he was terrified of winter. “One night. Well get settled, and have dinner with the good doctor but the pace has to be grueling. We’re racing the snows. We’re racing losing game, losing sunlight and heat.” He said softly. He patted her. He didn’t want to become a burden to them once his disability truly came to the forefront.

    He was concerned about another thing. “Oscar put us up last time. I don’t know how much gold we have left. Oscars benefactor is supposed to be one of the richest fae. I don’t think he even considers prices anymore.” He muttered.
     
  18. Trahaearn

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    Trahaearn A Truly Heartless Man

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    Mal wanted one night, and Joseph strained under her plea. Trahaearn yielded to them in the end since it was truly only one day.

    "We will push hard, but since the tea seems to be helping you get your constitution back, we won't have to worry about making fires to cook. You will need the fire more than she does, as she seems to be remedied of her frailty to cold. So with all that thrown in, we can easily make up a day." Trahaearn explained as he scoffed at Josephs worry.

    "This little backwater human town can certainly not be that expensive. Lead the way." Trahaearn chuckled to himself. The after thought of another warlock catching him before he started to walk out.

    "Wait, who the hell is Oscar? Another warlock?" Trahaearn asked quietly, unsure of just what to expect from this development.
     
  19. Shuck

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    Shuck Not a Church Grim

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    They agreed, and Shuck beamed at Joseph, planting a happy kiss on his cheek. They were indulging her, she knew, but she determined then that she would be willing to sacrifice any future pleasures for the sake of time. Trahaearn seemed to agree, his mind moving along the same line, and she nodded enthusiastically.

    "Excellent," Matthias said, clapping his hands together excitedly. "As it's well before the noon hour, you'll have plenty of time to rest and bathe before dinner tonight."

    But Jospeh pointed out that Oscar had been their source of coin the last time they'd stayed, and the shuck bit her lip. She easily forgot that currency was a thing that they had to worry about.

    "You think it will be too expensive?"
    she asked. Thinking back on how much his friend had spoiled them on his strange visits, she frowned. The food, the drink, the baths, the rooms... She told herself she'd be happy with whatever they could afford, that what they got would be fine.

    Trahaearn's dismissal of the concern warranted a furrowed brow, but the question that followed shortly after brought back her excitement.

    "He's Joseph's friend. He came the night Joseph convinced me to leave my cemetery. And he was here with us the last time, too." She looked at Joseph, expecting him to explain it better.

    // Joseph Meier // Trahaearn //
     
  20. Joseph Meier

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    Joseph Meier Resilient as the Wolf

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    “Well just have to watch our gold. I don’t want to be in trouble when it comes to upping supplies. We can restock at my family’s ranch before we turn around and head back, but until then I need to keep purse strings tight.” Joseph told Trahaearn. He nodded tiredly at Matthias, but decided he wanted to explain a little more thoroughly when it came to Oscar.

    “Oscar is a drifter. He’s the eyes and ears of a very old, very powerful luck spirit named Rosebury. He’s human, as far as anyone can tell, but he’s got a lot of coin at his disposal. Rosebury gets information, secrets, anything Oscar can find. I’m guessing Rosebury knows about us already.” Joseph said quietly. He sighed. “Oscars a good man, and a friend of us both. I miss him, but it can’t be helped. I can’t see him disappearing from our lives.”

    Joseph kissed Shuck, and patted her. “Let’s go relax,” he told her. Reserving their old room and an additional one for Trahaearn was less difficult than he thought, and he spent time ordering pastries and a bath for himself an Shuck.
     
  21. Trahaearn

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    Trahaearn A Truly Heartless Man

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    "Keep what gold you have, and don't worry about it." Trahaearn assured Joseph. The information about Rosebury was welcome, though a bit troubling at the same time. "Is Rosebury a neutral party by chance? Or do you have any idea by chance what that spirit hails to?" The question lacked any kind of sarcasm or condescending tone, his own concern present in the words. A luck spirit that dealt in secrets was the last thing he wanted to have feeding the court or any that had a grudge information about them.

    "Let us be away then. We shall have the pleasure of your company later today." Trahaearn nodded to the doctor and to the wisp before he left. Whenever Joseph presented coin, Trahaearn swatted the hand away and paid for it instead. Even adding a purchase to the bill without Joseph knowing to have cooked butternut squash sent to Joseph and Mal's room, with a small note on the tray. You loved these around this time of year, enjoy them once more as a new discovery, the note read. It was a small gesture, something that he wanted them both to enjoy.

    He ordered a bath separately, as he imagined the man would take slight against his indifference at seeing them both(read as Malice) nude. He waited for his turn, content to eat on a few pieces of cooked chicken that he had acquired.
     
  22. Shuck

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    Shuck Not a Church Grim

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    Joseph's explanation made her tip her head, a crease forming between her brows. She'd assumed that Oscar was fae. Perhaps as a warlock, then, her poor senses had been tricked? Regardless, she was somewhat sad that she wouldn't be seeing their friend that evening, but there were plenty of other things to look forward to.

    They said their goodbyes to Matthias and Risu, promising to see them later that evening before they made their way to the inn. She stood aside while Joseph and Trahaearn took care of business, looking toward the small sitting area where she and Oscar had spoken when last they'd visited. It reminded her of an item of clothing she'd yet to wear, tucked away into her doggy pack. Her cheeks colored when she thought of it, and when she learned that Trahaearn would be sleeping in his own room, she considered it. At the time she'd been given it, she'd not understood its purpose, but now... Well, she understood a lot more of that conversation in general.

    It was the same room they'd had before and she flopped into the bed with a giggle, sighing deeply as she stretched out. She'd not appreciated the space enough the first time they were there, and the happy (and bitter) memories flooded back. But she remembered them, which was reassuring. She didn't want to forget them any time soon. Sitting up to begin taking off her boots, she smiled at Joseph.

    "I didn't think we'd ever see this place again," she admitted, yanking off the first and unlacing the second. "It certainly brings back some warm memories."

    The arrival of one of the inn maids, carrying two buckets of hot water to fill the tub, made her drop her mischievous grin, focusing on her boots.

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  23. Joseph Meier

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    Joseph Meier Resilient as the Wolf

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    Joseph happily sat down on the bed, pulling his shirt over his head and and running his fingers through his hair. Gods it was getting long! He frowned and dug through their pack for his knife. “I missed this place. Still comfortable...and a lot of good memories.” He said, standing up to use the washbasin. He shaved and began clipping his hair with short, practiced little sweeps of the knife. The maids came in to fill their bath...and bring them roasted squash? Joseph plucked up the note and snorted at its contents, then offered it to Shuck.

    “He says you used to like this.” He said, finishing up his impromptu haircut. He certainly felt a lot better when it wasn’t threatening to touch his shoulders. He liked it just past his ear, swept back neatly.

    A small, and evil thought approached him. “If you would, send Trahaearn some Inland Oysters.” He asked one of the maids, who raised her eyebrow at him. “He’ll enjoy it, trust me.” Joseph said, taking the note back from Shuck and turning it over to scrawl something.

    ‘From my home village west of Alliria. Discover a new favorite.’

    He handed it to the maid with a smirk. Good. Breaded, butterflies sheep testicles would be right up Trahaearns alley. He went to Shuck, kissing her, his grin full of mischief.
     
  24. Shuck

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    Shuck Not a Church Grim

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    Joseph shaved and trimmed his hair, and she undressed as much as she felt comfortable to do so with the maids still coming and going with the water. As some more buckets were brought in, so was a plate of... squash. Joseph read the note, then passed it to her.

    You loved these around this time of year, enjoy them once more as a new discovery.

    "From Trahaearn?" she asked, reading the note and then looking at the cooked squash. It was halved and there was butter and some sort of fragrant seasoning sprinkled lightly over each. There were two spoons, and she pondered the note.

    "It's for us both, then?" she asked him idly as he finished his haircut. The squash was still steaming, plainly too hot for her to indulge until he finished. Though, he took the note and sent back a request of his own for Trahaearn. She frowned when the maid was away, closing the door as the tub was now filled.

    "What are inland oysters?" she asked, pulling away from his kiss to give him a skeptical look. "Why are you smiling like that?"

    // Joseph Meier //
     
  25. Joseph Meier

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    Joseph Meier Resilient as the Wolf

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    Joseph snickered and kissed her. “Sheep testicles.” He grinned. “An actual delicacy in my village but something people need to get used to. I’ve had my share of them but I thought Trahaearn could do with gargling some balls tonight.”

    Joseph enjoyed the bath, though he was fairly utilitarian about it. He bathed himself, soaked his leg in the warm water then got out for Shuck. He was quiet, enjoying the peace until they had to meet up with Matthias for dinner. “Just don’t tell him too much about the heart.” He warned her. “We can’t trust anyone until it’s safely in hand.”
     

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