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To Catch The Fly

To Catch The Fly

Post by Grasshoppers on

The clothing was shabby, the steps shuffling, the looks downtrodden and dull. The three ladies who approached the compound appeared to be nothing beyond broken, though the young girl who stepped ahead of the other two had a dreamy enough look that she could be called hopeful.

The girl had stark-white hair and crystal green eyes embedded in a round, near-cherubic face. Her upper eyelids sat low on her eyes, though she lacked circles underneath to indicate exhaustion. Her eyes were set just wide enough and her nose and mouth just small enough to give her a perpetual dreamer's stare, giving the impression that while one was speaking with her she might be listening to several other voices at once and floating listlessly between the sounds. Her clothing was a long beige dress, buttoned down the entire front from just above her breasts to her heels. It was flattering enough to outline the figure beneath, and simple enough to remove in a moment's notice - which of course was the intention.

She strode ahead of the two others in long, lanky strides, tall enough to appear graceful with such long limbs but shorter than the elf moving behind her. The elf had the customary large orbs for eyes which dominated her facial features. Her head was long and lanky, and her body extended beneath her to match this trend. Her fingers dangled in thin strips from her hands, and the bits of leg flashing through the slits in her tattered skirt were knobby and spindly. Her arms dripped bare and thin from angular, thin shoulders, the bone at her elbow joint jutting out noticeably. Both hair and eyes were a mixture of an odd hazel-green which bespoke of a natural streak, just enough to make her nearly alien to look upon. She carried a small cloth sack.

The third woman walked in tandem with the elf, her stocky legs pounding the turf at somewhat faster pace to keep up with the taller ladies. She had short-cropped hair patched with bald spots and a small, condensed face which gave her a scrunched look. She was chubby in the most unfortunate way, with blobs of flesh poking from ill-fitting clothing which was clearly intended to show off a figure she did not possess.

All three had stains of dirt, grime and other assorted poverty staples along their clothing. Only the elf carried anything besides her body and clothing, though the leader had the bearing of someone who had recently experienced a hardship and was proud of her ability to make it though. As they neared the compound, the taller human stepped a bit faster and opened her mouth to speak. Her voice was airy and light to match her dreamy appearance, and though she focused within the compound she did not seem fully present as she spoke.

"We heard you were offering shelter to those who escaped...the shanty town."

She straightened her back, a clear attempt to draw strength. The elf reached to place an encouraging hand on her back, and she continued.


Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Falcon Bertille on

Rosemary was so focused on awaiting the arrival of one particular group that she didn’t initially notice the refugees approaching. But when the white-haired girl spoke, it immediately captured Rosemary’s attention. The girl’s cherubic face and dreamy expression gave her a childlike quality, which tugged hard at all of Rosemary’s maternal instincts.

“Of course, of course,” Rosemary assured, beckoning the trio forward. A nod to the nomads standing sentry duty indicated that they should allow the women to pass. “You’ve come to the right place. You’ll be safe here.”

Normally, Uluki welcomed the refugees and got them settled in. But Uluki wasn’t here. And, even when she returned, Rosemary suspected that her friend would have other things on her mind. So Rosemary decided to handle this group herself. Truthfully, it felt good to be doing something. As Rosemary led the trio toward the compound’s main building, taking care to move slowly enough for them to keep up without struggling, she felt glad of the chance to help Uluki in a more tangible way than simply waiting around.

“Are you hungry? We have plenty of food and clean water. And if you’re hurt or sick, there’s a woman here who knows a lot about making people better. She’s gone at the moment, but when she gets back, she can give you some medicine, if you need it.” Speaking about Uluki reminded Rosemary of something else. Stopping just outside the door to the compound’s main building, she turned to face the new arrivals, and placed her hands on her hips. For the first time during the encounter, her tone turned stern. “She’s a fairy, by the way, and she’s married to a human -- one of the warriors who protect us. They have a son together, as well as several adopted daughters. I hope you don’t have a problem with any of that.”

If they did, Rosemary fully intended to march them back out to the street. Uluki had enough woes without adding three more fairy-haters to the mix.

Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Grasshoppers on

The three women followed in the same pattern they'd approached the refuge, though the stocky one fell behind a bit, her eyes roving over the landscape. The elf kept her eyes down, watching her feet shuffle along the ground and drawing her shoulders and arms closer against her body in an attempt to make herself seem smaller. Only the white-haired one maintained a steady gaze on their benefactor as they moved, her eyes never wavering from the woman's form, though her focus fixed more upon the clothing than the figure within.

At mention of medicinal benefits, the elf's shoulders managed to draw even closer into her knobby frame. She ducked her head further, lowering her height as much as she was able and glancing at the human who proceeded her. Sure enough, the human responded to the offer, raising one hand to flick into the air as though shooing a lazy fly.

"No," she breathed as they moved, each word languidly spaced out and pronounced with efficient emphasis on syllables, "we do not need medicine."

The description of the fairy and her motley family drew widened eyes from both human and elf; the stocky woman remained unperturbed and only huffed and wiggled her shoulders in reply. The elf seemed debating with herself, torn between amusement and some form of frustration. She reached up and pressed her index finger and thumb together to pinch the tip of her ear, favoring the woman with a look halfway between aggravation and offense. But again, it was the dreamer who replied.

"A fairy?" The word dragged on, shoving past the initial "f" with some effort. "Oh..."

Tears welled within her eyes as she moved one step closer to their guide, her hands fluttering away from her form as though she believed she could take flight. In another moment she turned to regard her companions, who both met her gaze with the ease of followers recognizing the leader of their choice.

"Did you hear? They have a fairy here. We've come to a land with fairies..."

The girl's voice quaked with pent-up relief and joy. Her hazy, tear-filled eyes turned to regard their guide once more, hands drifting at her sides. She seemed to have been set adrift in water, limbs floating effortlessly around her frame - and only her hair and drab garment broke the illusion of floating in place.

"Tell me, does she have wings?..."

Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Lylessa Uluki on

((Continued from: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1731))

To Uluki, the journey back to the compound seemed much, much shorter than the trip out had. At least now she knew Rollick was safe. Hurt, but they could face that. It was better than dead, and better than not knowing. He was still with her, and that filled her with relief, like she'd been holding her breath and could finally let it out. She murmured another prayer to the angel. "Thank you for keeping him alive. Thank you so much..."

They'd managed to recover Rollick's weapons and armour, as well as some supplies and pieces from the sellswords. This burden was divided between the various riders, except Yonash, who shared his horse with Rollick. Uluki would have preferred to share with Rollick herself, but he needed someone to lean on, and she wouldn't have been able to stay upright while supporting his weight. Instead she rode as close to them as possible, keeping Rollick in view, occasionally reaching out and touching his leg reassuringly when she could, earning a weary smile in return.

They dismounted when they reached their destination, and Uluki held Rollick's hand-- his left hand, the hand he had left-- as they entered the compound. She wasn't done healing him, because she hadn't wanted to make him stay in that room any longer than he had to. He needed to be surrounded by friends now, to be in a familiar place that didn't carry horrible memories. His face and chest, visible under his ripped shirt, still bore the marks of bruises, though they had faded with the magic she'd already used. He kept his stump clutched close to his body.

"Uluki, before we go inside, I wanted to talk to you about something," Rollick said quietly, so as to keep their conversation private. "I understand if you can't... if you don't want to..."

"If I can't what?" Uluki was concerned about where this was going.

He paused for a moment, collecting himself. "If you don't want to be with me anymore. If you think you and the children would do better on your own. If that's what you need, I'll release you from the vows you made to me."

Hearing this at any other moment, Uluki would have been shocked, and more than a little hurt. But right now, the way things were, she understood that it was the pain talking, and she felt nothing but sympathy. "Do you still love us?"

"More than life."

"Do you still want us?"

His voice broke. "More than anything."

"Then how can you imagine we would leave you? That's never going to happen. You're still you. You're still the man I married. We're going to get through this together."

Uluki knew that wasn't going to fix everything. He wasn't going to forget about what he'd suffered, or be able to ignore a major injury just because of her love for him. What had happened changed things for him, and he would need time to adjust. She didn't expect him to just... be alright. But he did need to understand that he wouldn't be abandoned in his pain.

She gave his left hand a quick squeeze. "You know what it feels like to lose everything. I understand why you were scared, but that isn't going to happen this time. You did suffer a loss today, and you don't need to try to pretend it doesn't hurt. I know it does, and I want to help you bear it if I can. But you aren't losing everything. You aren't losing me. You aren't losing our children. We'll get through this, I promise. Of course I still want you. I'll always want you. I love you."

"I love you too, dear one. So much. I'm so glad..."

Uluki lifted their clasped hands, and reached in the pouch she wore around her waist to produce Rollick's wedding ring, which Jenny had removed from his severed hand before burying it. Uluki kissed him and slipped it onto his finger. "Together. I promise."

Rollick was visibly exhausted, but he clutched Uluki's hand tightly and tried to hold his head high as they went to rejoin their friends and family.
"When you feel like you can't go on, love heals.
Hold onto love, and it will lead you home. Love heals." -Rent

Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Falcon Bertille on

Rosemary felt unsure of how to interpret the elf’s response. Was the pinching of her ear tip just a meaningless fidget? Or was the movement intended to draw attention to one of the features which most revealed her non-human heritage? Perhaps elves didn’t hate fairies -- Rosemary supposed that might be true, since elves lived closer to magic than humans. Should she have known that? Maybe. But to be fair, until witnessing people’s reactions to Uluki, Rosemary hadn’t guessed how deeply even humans could hate.

Left with a vague sense that she should apologize for something, but with no clear idea what, Rosemary decided to pretend she hadn’t noticed the gesture. Fortunately, the white-haired girl gave her somewhere else to focus her attention. Rosemary practically beamed at her when she expressed her enthusiasm for fairies. “No, she doesn’t have wings. But she is bright blue. And one of her daughters, Dash, has wings.”

At that moment, the compound gate opened, and a small group of people on horseback road through it. Relief flooded Rosemary’s heart when she saw that both Rollick and Uluki were among them. Her first instinct was to rush over and find out if there was anything she could do for either of her friends. But she couldn’t just abandon the new refugees. Perhaps she should bring the refugees along and introduce them? The white-haired girl certainly seemed eager to meet a fairy. Unfortunately, that didn’t work either. Rollick looked exhausted -- clearly, he needed to go inside and lie down as quickly as possible. And while Uluki would probably be touched by the girl’s adoration of fairies, this wasn’t the time for it. She probably wanted to be alone with her family, not pestered by strangers, no matter how benevolent.

So, Rosemary settled for waving at her friends and giving them a bright smile, which she hoped would simultaneously communicate three things -- that she was glad they were back, that she would check in on them later, and that she had the current refugee situation under control. Then, Rosemary pushed open the door to the compound’s main building, and beckoned the trio of women inside.

“I think there’s still some stew left. Beef and mushroom, with just a touch of tarragon.” Rosemary had bartered a few of Mavelle’s gifts for fresh herbs, and was proud of the noticeable improvement in compound cuisine. “There’s also bread and cheese. I hope some of that sounds good to you.”

“Oh, and by the way, my name is Rosemary.” Rosemary allowed an expectant pause, but didn’t actually push for return introductions. She realized that there were reasons why refugees might not want to give their names out to strangers.

Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Grasshoppers on


It wasn't disappointment, per se, though the girl's expression fell a moment before she slid her lids down and up in a drawn-out blink, recollecting herself with some effort.

"Wings as a dove, perhaps?..."

The comment came and went of its own accord, prompted by nothing beyond the hazy thoughts within her own mind. As their guide moved forth, the women followed. The elf immediately entered the building ahead of any of them, clearly driven by the food offered within as she scanned the interior for the mentioned stew. The stocky woman turned to see who Rosemary had waved at, raising both brows in a comically blatant look of curiosity. She directed this look at the other human before stepping inside the door after the elf, remarking as she moved in a scratchy, medium-pitch voice -

"I like tarragon."

She moved beyond them, and the remaining woman turned to grace Rosemary with a smile, raising her upper lip enough to show the whites of her teeth. One hand fluttered in the direction of the women who'd passed, indicating both at once.

"Marjorie, and Bonnie. We call her Bon..."

One hand pressed against her own bosom, and she shifted her other out and to the side in a mimicry of a courtly bow - but only made with the head. Her hair fell straight, dipping forward along with her head.


The wave drew her eyes to the returned group with a distant stare, tilting her head as one hand lifted by the elbow to flow through a graceful dip, her index finger extending in their direction.

"The blue fairy and her boy?"

Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Lylessa Uluki on

Rollick's reflexive reaction was to return the wave Rosemary had given them. Because his left hand was twined through Uluki's, the automatic response was with his right arm-- which no longer ended in a hand. Almost immediately his conscious brain kicked in and a sick horror overcame him. Rollick jerked the limb back against his body, battling the twin sensations of a dark stab of disgust over his injury and a wave of embarrassment about subjecting those around him to it in such a sudden and careless fashion. He felt Uluki's grip tighten briefly in sympathy.

Rollick's attention was quickly grabbed by the new arrivals, however. It might just be paranoia, but the timing unsettled him. Could it be that they were in on what had just happened?

"Let's go upstairs," Uluki said gently. "We can see the children, and you can rest."

Rollick wanted nothing more at that moment than to see the other members of his family. To hug them, hold them close, and reassure himself that they were safe and well. But duty had to come first.

It seemed a little too fortuitous, a group of refugees just happening to show up while Uluki, Rollick, and those in the rescue party were away from the compound. What if this was all part of the plan? They'd framed Doeni for stealing to get at Dash and Zee, taken Dash and Zee so they could take Rollick hostage in the girls' place... and who was to say if that was the last layer? Rollick wondered if they'd made him their captive knowing Uluki and the others would go after him, when they really had something planned for the compound all along.

It was most likely, of course, that this was an innocent group of refugees who had very, very bad timing, but nothing more. Still, Rollick couldn't chance it. Looking after the safety of the compound was his job. His injury didn't change that. He could stand upright, that was enough, and if anything...

If anything, it was even more important now. For him to go upstairs now, to ignore the danger to everyone and go rest, to abandon his post when it could be so crucial... it went against everything in his nature. He wouldn't be useless to those he cared about. He was strong enough to defend his family and friends, with two hands or with only one. He could do this.

"Need to talk to them. Could be danger," Rollick said briefly, trying to conserve his energy.

Uluki looked at him, deciding whether to argue. There were plenty of other people in the compound, both civilians and soldiers, who could see to any care the new arrivals needed or deal with any threat they posed. And Rosemary clearly had things under control. Uluki would have said all that, but for the look in Rollick's eyes. Uluki knew him well enough to know he wouldn't be talked out of this, and arguing with him over it would only sap his strength-- and he didn't have much to spare. Better for her to simply go along, and try to help things go as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Rollick and Uluki slowly approached the group; she was clutching his hand tightly and he was trying not to stagger. Aware his bruised skin and bloodied shirt might worry them, he kept his voice as calm and even as possible. "Hello, Rosemary." To the three he didn't know, "Greetings, ladies. I'm Rollick, the castellan here." His vision was swimming a little, and nausea was making it hard for him to concentrate.

Uluki shot him a worried look, and added, "I'm Uluki. Healer. His wife. Welcome to Lightsword Hall."
"When you feel like you can't go on, love heals.
Hold onto love, and it will lead you home. Love heals." -Rent

Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Falcon Bertille on

“Yes, that’s the fairy and her husband.” Distracted by the arrival of her friends, Rosemary didn’t pick up on the oddness of Cindy using the term ‘boy’ to describe a man who was clearly in his fifties.

When Rollick raised his stump, Rosemary’s expression strained against her control, like a startled horse trying to buck its rider. If she hadn’t already known about the missing hand, no amount of effort could have held back an alarmed cry. As it was, she experienced a rush of pity and revulsion, quickly followed by shame for feeling the revulsion. Fortunately, none of that showed on her face. Instead, her smile simply became a little more fixed, a little more false. But she hoped her friends were too far away to notice the subtle change.

By the time Uluki and Rollick had joined her, Rosemary’s emotions were back under control, although she couldn’t help being dismayed by the situation. Rollick obviously needed to be in bed, not making small talk with refugees. If it had been Julen, Rosemary would have said some very stern words, and then marched him up to his room. But even with Julen, that didn’t always work. Rosemary remembered one time when he’d insisted on going to work in the field, despite being sick -- she’d gone to check on him several hours later, and found him on his knees, puking his guts out all over the fresh seedlings. Really, men could be so pigheaded.

“Hello Rollick. It’s good to see you back.” Reaching over, Rosemary gave his uninjured arm a gentle squeeze, fully prepared to try to hold him up if he faltered. “And you too, Uluki.” Rosemary’s eyes shone with sympathy and solidarity when they turned toward the fairy.

“This is Marjorie, Bonnie, and Cindy. I was going to get them some food. Would you care to join us?” If Rollick was determined to act like he hadn’t just survived a horrible experience, maybe she could at least get him inside and sitting down. And a bowl of stew probably wouldn’t hurt him, either.

Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Grasshoppers on

The handless wave did bring a moment's pause to the young woman's thoughts, halting them all at once for one brief and glorious moment of clarity. Her eyes widened and pupils contracted, pinpointing the specific area of focus. And then the man disguised his injury with a self-conscious look of shock, and her eyelids lowered to their natural position.

Her elbow dipped in a languid slope once more, a long, eloquent gesture which pushed her entire arm up and up, higher - high enough to wave along with Rosemary. The smile she provided was large and genuine as the group approached, and she left her hand up until they had reached the women, fingers pressed together and wrist gently rotating.

"Castellan?..." Light confusion overcame her, and she gave him a delayed blink, her eyelids moving separately as they rose and fell.

"But doesn't that mean a castle?..."

An arm pressed against her lower shoulder, encouraging her to drop her hand from its never-ending wave. Cindy turned to see Marjorie, who stared down at her with a slight shake of the head. Abashed and shy, Cindy turned back to the group who had entered with both hands drawn in and head dipped. She had made some social faux pas which she could not identify without her friend's help; her penance was to stand silent and ashamed.

Marjorie left her long fingers draping against Cindy's shoulder as she stared hard at Rollick and his entourage. She made no effort to hide her evaluation of their status and presence, sizing husband and wife up with the glower of a person who has learned how trust can be used as a potent weapon. Her eyebrows rose nearly to her hairline when the fairy said "healer." It was a very particular word to use, when describing use of the healing arts - Marjorie's eyes scanned Uluki head to toe, finishing with a small, tight smile and bow of the head. From one non-human to another.

A voice rose behind her, where Bonnie had settled herself with arms crossed. She scanned the couple with the same intensity as the elf, though her eyes focused instead on Rollick's weakened state. His assorted bruises and bloodstains would have spoken enough, if he had not already revealed his injury with a hapless wave. Bonnie spoke with a short, suspicious tone.

"How safe are we here?"

Marjorie's eyes widened and she jerked a meaningful look at the smaller woman, but her hand tightened on Cindy's shoulder. When the elf returned her glare to the couple, there was a hard, protective sort of scowl fixed on her face.

Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Lylessa Uluki on

Rosemary's sympathetic but understated greeting set both Uluki and Rollick at ease. Uluki thought Rosemary was hitting just the right note, being friendly and supportive without adding unnecessary drama to draw even more attention to the situation. "Thanks, Rosemary," Uluki said softly. "It's a relief to have him back. I was so scared that..." She trailed off, not even wanting to say it. Her implication about what could have happened, what the worst case scenario was, was probably obvious anyway. "It's a great blessing having him home. That's what matters most now." Uluki punctuated that thought by embracing him, and she felt his left arm tighten around her.

Rollick nodded his thanks to Rosemary, but when she mentioned food, his stomach began to roil. It was no affront to her cooking, or to Martha's, since he knew both were excellent; it was just the nausea that had been coming and going since the first time he had regained consciousness. If he'd had any food in his stomach he would have retched, but since he hadn't eaten since breakfast, he simply went a little pale, shook his head, and said, "Thank you, but no. We will speak for a moment and then be on our way, and not delay you more than necessary."

With effort, Rollick smiled at Cindy when she asked her question, a smile that was pinched and tight given his pain and the energy that needed to be expended to retain a pleasant demeanor-- but what she asked didn't bother him in the slightest, and would have received a more genuine smile under better circumstances. "The title is derived from a word for 'castle,' but can also refer to any other sort of keep, like this one. It means a combination of duties in military and household administration."

He left it at at that. Not because he wished to hide the information-- though his suspicion hadn't lessened, he saw no harm in telling her something she could find out easily by consulting a dictionary if she could read or by asking another soldier if she could not-- but he was simply not in any shape to talk at length about his job description. He hoped his smile would help ease the embarrassment the woman seemed to feel.

The Elf's knowing look when Uluki mentioned being a healer worried Uluki. Uluki hadn't meant anything particular by it; among her people, "healer" could refer to any herbalist or midwife as much as it would to a magical practitioner. The word seemed to carry different connotations in Marn. Uluki hadn't been watching her speech carefully enough, and she mentally chided herself for that. What did it matter, though? So a random refugee knew something that pretty much everyone in the compound had probably already learned through gossip, on the off chance there were a few who hadn't yet guessed it anyway. This woman who didn't even know her was less likely to report her than Mamie was, since Mamie already hated her.

Rollick's anxiety came to the forefront again when the question of safety was raised. From one perspective, it was a rather obvious concern when faced with someone visibly injured, especially when that person was charged with defending the place where you sought refuge. The question didn't necessarily mean anything. On the other hand, if these three were planning some sort of mischief directed at the compound, the woman could have asked the question to try to size up the security.

Rollick went for an answer that he hoped was both reassuring and neutral. "Quite safe. The compound is well-fortified and well-guarded. I was set upon by sellswords in another part of the city, and we believe the reason for the attack was personal. What happened to me should not cause you to fear for your own safety. The defences at the compound are strong."

"Rollick, we should get upstairs," Uluki prompted softly, concerned that at any moment, his forced energy would flag.

He took her point and cut to the chase about the information he sought. "What brings you to the compound? And why now?" There was no threat or hostility in his tone, but he was too focused for the questions to seem idle. No matter how they answered, they would be carefully watched, he would ensure that... but the question might help him determine the potential level of the concern.
"When you feel like you can't go on, love heals.
Hold onto love, and it will lead you home. Love heals." -Rent

Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Falcon Bertille on

Out of the corner of her eye, Rosemary watched while Cindy’s wave continued to flutter in the air like a dazed butterfly. There was something both sweet and sad about the gesture. Maybe the girl wasn’t entirely right in the head? How terrible for such an innocent creature to be left at the mercy of the shanty town. Fortunately, Marjorie and Bonnie both seemed very protective of her. Marjorie’s silent reminder to end the wave, as well as the way her hand lingered on Cindy’s shoulder, were both noticed with approval by Rosemary. That was exactly the sort of concern friends should feel for each other.

Rosemary nodded when Uluki trailed off. She didn’t need to hear the words spoken in order to understand what her friend had feared. It was the same thing she’d feared during those terrible hours that Julen had spent lost in the shanty town. It was what any wife dreaded when their husband was in danger -- that the final moments of their marriage would be spent at the edge of a freshly dug grave. Briefly clasping Uluki’s hand, Rosemary gave it a sympathetic squeeze. “Yes,” she agreed. “It’s good to have him home.”

Rollick had made it safely back. But Rosemary couldn’t help thinking of those who hadn’t. So, while Rollick explained the term ‘castellan’ to Cindy, Rosemary bowed her head, saying a silent prayer for Karsimir, Krarug, her own dear Julen, and all the other brave warriors who were still in harm’s way.

Bonnie’s question drew a slight wince from Rosemary. She’d suspected that the issue of safety would come up eventually -- the women were bound to hear some version of Rollick’s kidnapping from the refugees -- but she’d hoped that it would be later rather than sooner. Once they’d eaten, bathed, and settled in, they might be less likely to abandon their new home, no matter what they learned. But now, with little yet invested, they might decide to bolt. And if they went back to the shanty town, who knew what horrors might await them there? Fortunately, Rollick answered the query with a persuasive mix of honesty and reassurance. Rosemary hoped that his words would convince the women.

Until Rollick began to interrogate the three women, it hadn’t even occurred to Rosemary to be suspicious of them. This was a refugee camp and they were refugees. Their arrival seemed as natural as birds flocking to a feeder. Of course, their timing had proven somewhat awkward, but even that spoke of their innocence -- surely an enemy capable of devising such an elaborate kidnapping plot wouldn’t follow it with a clumsy attempt to send in three saboteurs at the exact moment when everyone would be most wary. At least, that was how the situation looked to Rosemary. But Rosemary would be the first to admit that she wasn’t the one who’d been given the responsibility of guarding the compound. That was Rollick’s job, and since the weight of any successes or failures rested squarely on his shoulders, she let him do it.

Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Grasshoppers on

Rollick's explanation drew a furrowed brow from the elf, who turned to give Bonnie a meaningful look. Rather than the scold she'd tried for earlier, this look was clearly meant to encourage the smaller woman to speak further. Bonnie appeared quite ready to take her cue, but Cindy's lilting voice floated up in response to Rollick's question. Her tone was mystified, and she raised perturbed eyes along the older man's frame, settling on his face as though it were merely the most appropriate spot to stop. She met his eyes as a courtesy, though her own remained hazy.

"Do you wish us to go?"

She unclasped her wringing hands, raising them to gesture about the surrounding area. Her eyes misted over with unshed tears as she turned enough to glance at Rosemary, emotions flitting across limbs and facial features until the swirl of them was obvious in both face and bearing. Her visible distress was amplified by a shuddering voice which belied the tears she held back with effort.

"We had heard this was safe, and open...if you wish us to leave, we will go..."

The elf's hand tightened on the lithe shoulder, silencing Cindy's babbling offer to rid these people of what appeared to be an unexpected mishap. Her eyes hardened further as she glared at Rollick, blaming him for the girl's distress. It was clear enough that she might have growled, save for trying to make an impression beyond a bothersome burden.

Bonnie's sharp voice cut through any residing tension with her usual direct approach. If she was annoyed with Rollick's question, there was no indication in her tone or stance beyond a moment's worried glance at Cindy's back.

"We 'eard yens saved some of th' others, but th' stery was diff'r'nt each time we 'eard it. Sometimes it were good, an' sometimes it were monstrous. It were better t'wait, an' see if yens were just another type of slaver."

The elf's eyes fixed on Uluki, unable to meet Rollick's gaze with anything beyond outright indignation. She couldn't keep the surly growl from her alto intonation.

"We'd heard this place was better."

Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Lylessa Uluki on

Rollick's face betrayed his genuine confusion at Cindy's words. It seemed a strange overreaction to what he had considered harmless and basic questions. He managed to conceal better the fact that this display made him all the more suspicious. If it was meant to inspire guilt, it had failed.

"That was certainly not my intention. Everyone who shelters here has given us the same information. Perhaps you can understand why we need to know that, to keep everyone safe?"

Uluki tried to smooth things over. "No one is asking you to leave. You're very welcome here. But just like we don't expect you to trust us right away after what you've been through, we need to know the people who come aren't going to hurt the people who already live here. You asked before about whether it was safe, and to make it that way, we have to ask questions like this."

Uluki noticed Orion watching them from a short distance away, not exactly concealing himself, but clearly making an effort to be unobtrusive. Uluki assumed that with Elvish hearing, he was catching most of the conversation, and wondered what he thought of what was going on... and why he cared enough to listen in. They were conversing at normal volume in a public place, so Orion could hardly be accused of eavesdropping, but Uluki was still puzzled by the Elf's interest.

In response to Bonnie, Uluki said soothingly, "I can see why you were worried. A lot of people here weren't sure of our intentions at first."

She was thinking specifically of the women, once prostitutes, who had left the shanty town with the group when they rescued Julen and Kaydee after Snyde's attack. Those women had assumed Uluki was going to pimp them out as well, and had asked her terms. An understandable confusion given what their lives had been like.

Uluki continued, "People here aren't slaves. We all work together to-- Rollick!"

As Uluki spoke, Rollick's knees buckled, and he collapsed, his injuries and the trauma of the day finally having overcome his resolve. Uluki immediately dropped to her knees beside him. His eyes moved to her face; though he was conscious, she could tell he was in no shape to continue the conversation. "We're going upstairs. Now!" Uluki insisted. She would heal him further, and then see that he got some rest. Rollick for an instant seemed prepared to argue, but in spite of his stubborn desire to keep working, even he could see the absurdity of continuing in such a state.

Orion smoothly melted out of his position of observation and joined the group. "Here, take my arm," he offered Rollick, and the warrior did so, trying not to look embarrassed about needing such aid. The Elf continued lightly, "After all, might as well help the person I plan to hide behind if this place is ever attacked."

Uluki didn't know what to make of that comment, but she was grateful for the assistance. Rollick seemed to take it as a compliment, and gave Orion a sincere smile; the Elf grinned back. Uluki turned to the three refugees and Rosemary. "Excuse us, please. He needs to rest. He's been through a lot today, and even brave warriors like him have their limits." She wanted to make it clear both to the refugees and to Rollick that she didn't see this as weakness. "Rosemary, could you...?" Asking, of course, if she would continue to tend to the needs of the new arrivals.
"When you feel like you can't go on, love heals.
Hold onto love, and it will lead you home. Love heals." -Rent

Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Falcon Bertille on

Cindy’s reaction distressed Rosemary, but not because she found it suspicious. She’d been around the white-haired girl enough to get a feel for her wobbly emotions, which seemed to lurch and spin at the slightest provocation, like the motions of a broken weathervane. Instead of wariness, Rosemary only felt dismay at seeing such strong grief on the face of someone who had just expressed their delight at arriving somewhere with fairies.

“Of course we don’t want you to go,” Rosemary assured. “Please stay. Please.” She would have emphasized her words by clasping Cindy’s hand, but something about Marjorie’s grip on Cindy’s shoulder seemed almost proprietary, and Rosemary didn’t want to risk making the elf any more annoyed than she already appeared to be.

Then, realizing that she’d just stepped on Rollick’s authority, Rosemary bit her tongue and forced herself to remain silent while Uluki and Rollick continued speaking with the new arrivals. However, the interrogation didn’t last much longer before Rollick collapsed.

“Rollick!” Rosemary cried out. Stooping over, she clutched her friend’s arm, attempting to help him back to his feet. Rosemary was by no means a weak woman. But even without his armor, Rollick’s weight challenged her, and when Orion offered to take over, Rosemary rewarded him with a grateful smile. Still, she didn’t completely remove her hand from Rollick’s arm until he seemed stable once more.

By that point, Uluki and Orion appeared to have everything under control, so Rosemary stepped back to give them room. She felt relieved that Rollick was finally going to get some much-needed rest. In her opinion, the warriors around here could do with a little less bravery and a little more common sense. But she didn’t dispute Uluki’s comment. Instead, she gave her friend another sympathetic look, and nodded. “Yes. I can take it from here. I’m sure that Dash and Zee are eager to see their father. I’ll be up later, with some broth and herbal tea.” Rosemary had noticed the way that Rollick blanched when she mentioned stew, but once he started feeling a little better, he’d need to eat something.

Leaving Rollick in his wife’s care, Rosemary turned her attention back to the new arrivals, hoping that all the commotion hadn’t scared them off.

Re: To Catch The Fly

Post by Grasshoppers on

Rollick's fall brought slightly widened eyes to both Bonnie and Marjorie's looks, but only warranted a tilted head from Cindy, unfocused as she was. The man was clearly injured and exhausted, but he had come to speak with them anyway. Since this was a priority to him, she felt it right to address their assurances of intent, even in light of his collapse.

"I understand..."

Cindy's nebulous gaze floated to Rosemary's at the continued reassurances, and she rewarded their guide with a watery smile. The elf's surly voice sounded against her shoulder again, quiet and still filled with a growl of righteous indignation.

"Ask everyone about timing, does he?..."

Cindy's hand raised to clasp the lanky elf's against her shoulder, though the human did not turn to look. She squeezed gently, the elf squeezed her shoulder in turn, and together they released each other from the grasp. Marjorie's dropped her hand to her side with a grumpy snort, shuffling her feet in agitation. She seemed ready to turn and re-enter the building, but unwilling to abandon Cindy when the young woman seemed so close to tears.

Bonnie had no such hesitation, giving Uluki a short nod before and turning to push back inside of the building. They weren't needed to help the castellan and they'd been offered food. If they decided to leave, Bonnie had no intention of leaving on an empty stomach.

Cindy had fixed her gaze on Uluki by now, and though she hardly remembered why she'd been upset before, the tears remained.

"A real fairy..."

With the words whispered, she fell to her knees in a mixture of reverence and awe, eyes now wide as she gazed upon the reality of magic which stood before her. Though the fairy had no wings, she was clearly inhuman, something more imbued with magical qualities than even Cindy's elf friend. Her lithe hand reached out in a delicate tentacle of emotion, prepared to touch the fairy's arm to check if she were real -

"Stop it, Cindy."

Marjorie's sharp scold drew the woman's hand back, and she bowed her head once more. Caught in between social customs and her own impulses, she wrung her hands until the joints popped. The elf was busy giving both Rosemary and Uluki an apologetic sigh-and-smile combination while she tugged at the girl's shoulder, trying to encourage her back to standing.

"She's strong enough, but not quite...well, you know. 'Ere's a part of her that never grew up."

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