The River Spirit And The Bad Omen

The farms and houses of Shim, a single inn known as the Red Chalice, and an old manor on a hill overlooking it all to the north.
Aislinn Vahtees

...

Post by Aislinn Vahtees » Sat Nov 25, 2006 11:07 pm

The night was closing in, the air freezing her exposed flesh, her breath. Her fingers began to hurt, after many years of intricately playing her flute her joints were flexible, but delicate. If she ever broke her hands she didn't know how she would live. Selling her talent was one thing, but would she ever get so low as to have a need to sell her body? She hoped not. Pulling her sleeves over her hands and tucking them under her arm pits she walked in silence, taking in the beauty of the river bank.

The river flowed silently off to their right, the black surface of the water partially reflected the silver moonlight of the moon, which was only just beginning to reach its zenith. The current made the surface ripple, constantly moving so the orb appeared to be three, or four, shimmering and almost ethereal. She looked up to the cloudless night, breathed in the crisp air and sighed. ''I apologize for being such a bore. I am very tired. I have been travelling for so long, this is the first time I have had a chance to-''

Over his shoulder she spotted something in the water. Walking past him, and standing at the water's edge she looked into the black water, straining her eyes, then, after another minute she gasped-her hands covered her mouth, and wanted to cover her eyes, but she could not. The pull of the water was too great, she had never been able to force a vision away, and tonight was no different.

The surface of the water was no longer black... men were chasing her new found friend, chasing with the clear intent to kill... he ran, and ran, but in vain. They seized him, and tore him limb from limb! An angry, evil mob, murdering this poor man! The water rippled and she saw him, standing right here, looking into the water as she was looking... A scream and then the river turned into a river of blood. Aislinn put her hand into the water and pulled it out, covered in blood.

''You must not come back here...'' Her voice was horse, she knew with the utterance of those words she was perhaps sealing her own fate too. She could not stand by and watch someone die. She never could. Always bad omens, always her fault. She turned to him and grabbed his upper arms, staring intently into his eyes, urging him to believe her.... they never did.

''If you come back to this spot tonight you will die... don't ask me how I could possibly know this, I cannot prove it. Come...'' She released him and started off back towards the tavern, ''...come back and listen to me play, perhaps we could spend the night together, get to know one another.... and maybe I can explain how I know what I know. It would be a relief to speak to someone about it.'' She offered him her hand, willing him to take it and follow her back.

Coinneach
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Post by Coinneach » Tue Jan 02, 2007 4:46 pm

Coinneach remained quiet throughout all this, watching her with his goldenrod eyes. He did not share her sudden change of mood, and was unperturbed but suspicious about why she would suddenly say these things. Did she somehow find out about Margretta? Would someone be sent to protect her? If that was the case he could best them, and drown them, too.

Suddenly his face lit with his winning grin. "Well, if you're that eager to spend a night with me. Though I wasn't thinking of you in that way," he said, being jesting. "You don't have to frighten me into it. You're actually quite pretty." With that he took her hand.

Aislinn Vahtees

Post by Aislinn Vahtees » Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:38 pm

Once they got back to the Inn Aislinn was accosted by the innkeeper. He was agitated that she had gone missing, and giving Coinneach a look of mistrust, but did not comment on where she had been. Instead he asked her to play once more before the night was up, and she obliged him. Grabbed her flute and taking her place on the little stage, she put the instrument to her lips and played her sweet music.

She tried to keep and eye on Coinneach as she played, but there was so much raucous behaviour and activity, she soon lost his face amidst the smoke and flickering flames of the hearth. Frustrated and with an impending sense of doom, she rolled her eyes to the ceiling, hoping that he was still somewhere in the room.

Coinneach
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Post by Coinneach » Thu Feb 01, 2007 4:46 pm

Coinneach lingered, listening to the mesmerizing music that Aislinn played. When he looked to the window, outside all he could see was black, and he knew it was time. Aislinn's eyes roved but he skillfully avoided them. With discretion he left the tavern, hoping she didn't see him. Whatever she had thought of to foil his plan for the evening would never work. He took a fresh breath of the night air and walked toward the woods with a smile on his face. This night was going to be very pleasant.

*************

Margretta hurried away through the eerie night, shuddering at any noises she heard. It appeared that sneaking out of her small house wasn't going to be the hardest part, as she had feared. It was hardest making her way through the dark without the light of the especially bright tavern, which she had to avoid lest she be discovered wandering around at this fairly late hour. Anticipation kept her from running back home, however; she wanted to see that amazing man again. She had never met someone else so interesting, nor so attractive. Though he was more beautiful like a woman, it seemed to match his grace. And the naughtiness of sneaking out to meet a man at night was titillating. The girl walked just outside the range of trees, hoping for a sight of Coin.

As she walked, holding herself in the cold, a mist seemed to come from the woods. She stopped to squint in the dark to see if she could see the taller, white form of her friend. Other than the light of the tavern, whose chatter she could faintly hear on the breeze, was a ball of light between the trees. It came closer, floating serenely. Was it a lamp? Or perhaps magic? The latter thought frightened her.

The next moment she found herself unafraid and stepping over sticks and rotting logs, finding her way through the ever increasing mist to follow the light. Rationally she thought that it must be a lantern of Coin's to signify the way to meet him. Irrationally, she felt an irresistible urge to continue after the peaceful glow.

The next moment that Margretta was aware of she was standing on the bank of the Ofriyu Mar, its waters raging, drowning out all other night noises. It was obscured partially by a heavy mist. This area was one of the more treacherous and deep areas and even standing on its bank unsettled her. The orb sank slowly down to the moving water and seemed to meld into it. She continued to stand, shivering, at a loss for what to do without that light. She still couldn't figure out what it had been. Remembering her father's stories of elves and magic lurking in the forest further increased her unease.

Before she turned to go running home, there was a splash in the water. "What's that?" she said aloud, fear pervading her voice.

"Just I, lovely Margretta," came Coin's sweet voice. Relief washed through the naive young woman in seeing his barely discernable form swimming fluidly in the water. Her surprise kept her from saying more, however, and silence followed for a moment.

"Why don't you come in for a swim with me?" he asked, and she watched him move closer without any struggle.

"Isn't the water cold?" she wondered, incredulous. "And the river's really rough."

"Not at all," Coinneach replied, and she thought she saw the shine of his teeth as he smiled.
--
Coinneach watched the woman from the water, feeling neither the cold nor the force of its inexorable push to sea. He felt only content in the water after having been away from it for a day. Margretta still looked forlorn and uncertain far above him on land, and so he realized he would have to rely heavily on her gullibility.

"This time of year the river's very nice. I'll turn my back if you'd rather not come in while in your dress." She bit her lip but slipped down the bank into the river while still in her dress, and went so fast that she was within it's powers before she could draw back. Coinneach glided over to Margretta's sputtering form. "You lied," she barely got out before being carried away by the current. He watched hungrily, following after, still on the surface, while she struggled to get back to the bank. It wasn't possible in this area, mainly because it was such a steep bank. "Help, Coin!" she cried, trying to find him in the dark rush of the water.

Coinneach shivered in ecstasy as he fell gracefully beneath the waves and watched with his uncanny eyesight as her legs flailed to keep her above water, tangling with her dress. With ease he grabbed them and pulled. As Margretta plunged beneath she struggled mightily, sensing her doom, but he clung on easily, pulling her down deeper into the chilling oppression. While she squirmed with the panic of the dying the kelpie only felt a serene feeling he couldn't describe come over him. He continued to smile, placid as a lake, throughout the ordeal. Over the next few minutes Margretta's fighting slowed until she was completely still. He let her go and glided after as the body flowed with the river. He brushed the hair from her lifeless face, eyes still open looking up, her face showing resignation.

Coinneach held her in his arms next, pressing her cold flesh against his, relishing the motionless state of her body. Before long rigor mortis would set in and turn her into a doll, and the water would bloat her. He squeezed her corpse harder, envying her. Anger filled him at her insolence of leaving him behind. It wasn't fair.

The kelpie kissed her cheek in farewell. Grabbing her shoulders, he viciously rent her body in two. Blood burst forth in the water and, discarding the body, Coin swam in it, reveled in it. What was left of her rushed away, disappearing in the murky, dark water. The feeling he got from his power over life was the closest to happiness he ever came.

Aislinn Vahtees

Post by Aislinn Vahtees » Sat Feb 03, 2007 2:03 pm

Her fingers danced across the cold metal, her breath was transformed into the haunting melody of her instrument, touching every soul with awe and wonderment, filling their hearts with peace, and just a touch of regret. How her own emotions were both reflected in her song and so at odds with it she didn't know. She wanted to allow herself to be consumed by her own enchantment, but looking for Coin was far more important.

Fate it seemed had other plans this night.

A vice-like grip tightened on her temples, and her fingers no longer danced, instead her hands clamped down on the sides of her head, the flute clattered to the floor and she dropped to her knees and rolled onto her side. Her eyes were staring wide with terror, but she did not see the concerned faces of the patrons.... instead she saw

---A young, beautiful girl, walking the same road she had walked that night-shivering from fear, from the cold, unsure of why she was there or what was going to happen-no shivering from anticipation .... GO HOME! Aislinn wanted to shout!-go now...... she knew she was not seeing the past or the future, she was watching these events as they happened, that was her punishment....-the light...she remembered the light...and the river.... no not the river! The dark and murky depths called to her...PANIC and COLD! Oh it was so cold... so welcoming, but chilling her to the bone...she cried for help, felt the betrayal of the beautiful man, and felt him pull her under... suddenly cold turned into acceptance and acceptance into.....

A river of blood.---


she had never been hit so violently by a vision. Perhaps it was because she had tried to interfere, or because she had been so wrong? People were helping her to her feet, the tavern owner urging her to go upstairs and rest, she had entertained them enough this night. She insisted on needing some cold air and hurried outside, hoping she was not too late...

When she got to the river, to the spot of her misinterpreted vision, she dropped to her knees, her breath knocked out of her. She was to late. The girl was dead.

"I know what you have done!!!" She screamed, and broke down in tears. She wept violently. She cried for all the dead girls and dead children, for everyone she had tried to save. As the tears streamed down her face her sorrow turned into anger, but the anger was soon quelled by her memory. Suddenly she remembered the last part of the vision and started to laugh, almost maniacally.

"They are coming for you Coin. They know!!! And you will die a horrible death because of it. A-a-and for once I will be here to make sure it DOES happen..." She was a little surprised in the venom in her voice, but it was soon overcome again by fear and grief. She was not a vengeful woman, but she was also at breaking point.

In the distance she heard a scream...someone had discovered the crime. Soon the torches and the pitchforks would come. But not for her, not this time. Only Coin knew of her power, and he was the guilty party. Yet, she found she could not move. Frozen by shock, or relief, by grief she did not know. Staring blankly at the turbulent river, she cried. She cried for herself and for the girl.

The girl that was dead.

Coinneach
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Post by Coinneach » Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:57 am

Coinneach was still underwater, languishing about in the last ounce of blood, when he heard a woman screaming something. He poked his head out of the water and saw, to his surprise, Aislinn crying up on land, the mist he had made still hanging damp and heavy around her. She knew. This irritated him. Why in the world would she cry over someone as stupid as Margretta? Aislinn screamed at him again, saying "they" were going to get him, and laughing. Her tone and her words chilled him to the core.

He dipped back underneath the raging river and the next moment a ball of light rose out and slowly floated toward Aislinn. When it got close it went down beside her and glowed brighter, taking the form of a man. The glow faded and there sat Coinneach, naked, his skin so ghostly white that it gleamed in the scant light from the moon. He sat Indian style and was leaning back on his arms only a few feet from her. His long, blonde hair covered the right side of his face and stuck wetly to chest and arm and back, covering the side facing her and dripping water onto the sandy dirt of the riverbank.

The kelpie was watching the flutist with a puzzled expression as she cried, kneeling on the ground. "Who's 'they', Aislinn? What are you talking about?" he asked, loud enough to be heard over the Ofriyu Mar. He hadn't heard the scream, having been a Will o' the Wisp at the time, and couldn't fathom being caught so soon.

Aislinn Vahtees

Post by Aislinn Vahtees » Sun Feb 04, 2007 1:24 am

As the Will o' the Wisp drifting towards her and transformed into the wet Coin beside her, she heard the mob getting closer. She could see the torches now, peaking through the trees and coming down the Ofriyu Mar road. He sounded truly dumbfounded and gazed upon her with a puzzled look across his pale face. Could it be possible he did not understand what he had done?

"They are the people who cared about that young girl. They are the people who are coming with torches. They are the people who want your life for hers."

She stood up and brushed her dress down, preparing herself to meet them. All through this it hadn't even occurred to her that they might connect her to all this... if it had, back then she would probably have accepted it as her fate also. Perhaps she needed to pay as well? Her punishment for all these long years of causing more heartache and trying to beat destiny? Aislinn had believed that her curse was punishment enough. She believed that being made to watch, just knowing was hard enough to bare.

As the torches came nearer that realisation did dawn upon her. The words that came from the mob hammered the truth of it home.

"Two of them!"

"I saw them together, all night they have been together!!"

"The kelpie and the outsider!"

"Seize them!"


The mob drew closer and Aislinn began to panic. "But...but I tried to help.... I...I....it wasn't me...." Her legs wanted to run, but her feet were frozen to the spot. Her grief had stopped her moving before, her terror stopped her from running now...

Coinneach
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Post by Coinneach » Sun Feb 04, 2007 1:53 am

The mob's torches lit up the trees as they ran through the woods. It appeared that all the men from the town were here. Their angry faces were livid in the firelight as they ran toward Coinneach and Aislinn, shouting as they did so. Coinneach was instantly bewildered to see them here. Why?

He stood with Aislinn and watched them come. The men shouted accusations at the both of them. The kelpie turned to the woman as she stuttered, her face a mask of fright. This wasn't fair. He only wanted to feel good, and Aislinn hadn't done anything. She had been the only one to try to stop what had happened, but she had been powerless to do so. It dawned on him that she must have known, to some extent, everything that would happen. What she told him, how he would be killed if he went to the river this night, was coming true. Fear welled in him, causing him to stumble back as the mob closed the distance too fast. "Kill him! Kill her!" shouted someone.

It would be so easy to slip into the river from here and disappear before they even knew what to do. The mist was still in the air, making this seem like a dream, and he could just float away. It would even be possible to become his natural form, a horse, and run out of sight within moments. But as he stumbled back he saw Aislinn, frozen to the spot. He knew it was dumb, but he couldn't help it; Aislinn was a good person. He reached out and snatched her arm and began pulling her back, not fast enough to outrun the mob but he only meant to wake her up. "Run!" he shouted at her.

Aislinn Vahtees

Post by Aislinn Vahtees » Sun Feb 04, 2007 2:06 am

Still frozen by her fear, she watched as they came closer, screaming for their blood. Their faces were twisted with hate and rage, even the women seemed infected by it. The madness had spread, perhaps seeing the torn pieces of the girl had caused something to snap in their minds? Her death would be bloody... she had seen Coin's in her dream... it was all coming back to her now. Her had been torn limb from limb, screaming in pain and anguish, devoured by the people who had loved his victim so...Why had she come to this place? Why hadn't she stayed in the wilds, away from people and their murderous rage! Their evil delights! Their simple pleasures that caused so much pain to those around them!

Pulled out of her own morbid thoughts and dark dreams by Coin's strong arm and his voice commanding her to run, she found herself being dragged away from the murderous mob by the man who had placed her in this horrid situation. Enraged by his touch and embarrassed by her own terror freezing her yanked her arm away and she followed him running alongside him. But it was already far too late... they were going to be overtaken and caught before they could hide or outrun them. She could see the torches blazing beside her, thirty feet away, twenty five....now twenty. Behind her the din enveloped the woods, some of them even splashed into the river, pushed aside by angrier more eager people who cried louder and louder for their blood!

"Kill them!"

"Murderers!"


Those words echoed in her mind and made her feet run faster. Her blood was pumping through her veins and driving her onwards, but she knew...oh she knewshe was just delaying the inevitable. She looked back; once, her hair sticking to her sweaty face. Twice; her eyes widened in shock as she saw the faces of her own murderers - twisted and insane, baying for their blood. Almost tripping over a root she found herself running through the trees, the sounds of the chasing mob surrounding her, the pursuit drawing ever nearer...

Coinneach
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Post by Coinneach » Mon Feb 05, 2007 2:55 am

Coinneach was running, his strong legs giving him headway against Aislinn. He refused to look back, too afraid to even think about so many people chasing after them. It was all happening so fast he couldn't think at first, but as he ran he realized that he was still near the river, and that some of the people were even being pushed into it. The raging water carried them away, but there were still plenty more after them.

In the distance he thought he heard a wail of a woman coming from downriver. A pang of regret touched him, not leaving even in the face of the fear in his chest that threatened to cull him. He hardly even noticed the trees whizzing by, or the river that flickered into sight to the side. When he noticed Aislinn no longer beside him and forced himself to look behind for her, he noticed her stumbling. The forest wasn't all that far, and didn't follow the river forever; would they keep running out into the arid area that comprised most of Thar Shaddin?

Abruptly he slowed down and whirled, facing the mob that was only fifteen feet away. "Keep running!" he shouted over the chaotic noise around him, and focused on the mob and the river. With the wave of his hand the rushing water of the Ofriyu Mar rose up in a wave and crashed into the trees and engulfed part of the mob. Most of them were protected by the trees, and after the water returned to the river they realized what had happened. A few of them turned and ran, but still at least a fifth of the village remained. Compared to other villages or cities the amount was trifling, but while being chased it was dire.

The attack made them pause long enough for Coinneach to do what he planned: morph. In the blink of an eye, instead of a naked man there stood a magnificent stallion. His coat was a ghostly white and his mane, hanging on the right side, was a shimmering gold even in the shade of the trees. He wheeled his powerful body around and sprinted up to Aislinn, and stopped in her path, blocking her way. The horse looked at her with the same goldenrod eyes he had in his human form except that they seemed to have an inner light shining from within. He shook his head and neighed, then kneeled on his hocks so that she could climb on easier. In case she need further urging before the mob regrouped and charged, he said, his mouth moving as if he had a person's mouth, "Get on!" His voice was deeper and more powerful, but was still uniquely Coinneach's.

Aislinn Vahtees

Post by Aislinn Vahtees » Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:29 am

The sound of the river drowned the screams baying for blood and silenced a few forever. The crashing of the water against the trees roused a scream from her own lungs, which were by now hoarse and sore, burning and ready to rupture. She could not run any more. Better to let the river take her, rather then have her flesh rent from her bones by the madness of this mob!

Suddenly a magnificent stallion was between her and her new choice; the river. Its coat as white as the purest driven snow in the heart of winter, Coin's yellow eyes gleaming at her, begging her... Coin's eyes? Was this not just a regular horse? A rather wet horse, and a marvellous one, but considering the flooding from the river, a wet horse was not such a strange thing... those eyes were odd though.

The village closed in on her, now recovered from the river - how it had managed to flood was a question for a less perilous time and more sane and calm mind - driving forward using their grief and hatred as their fuel to commit this awful atrocity. Even if the question of the river and its sudden bursting of its banks was not something she could think on now, what this horse was doing here and why it was blocking her escape was quite the matter at hand...

Coin's voice screamed at her from the horse, urging her to get on it, and the next thing she knew she was on its back and speeding away from her death, and deeper into the throes of this madness... she couldn't help but wonder; had she gone from the cook pot into the flames?

Coinneach
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Post by Coinneach » Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:30 pm

As Aislinn climbed on his white back he surged upwards, a feat not easy for most horses but he did it smoothly. He wheeled away from the mob and ran off at a gallop. Trees and roots and logs were dodged and jumped over with grace without a pause in speed. Soon they were out of range of the mob's cries of anger; the natural silence of the forest at night again settled around Coinneach, calming him. Just as he was calm from the fear he felt the sensation of the woman on his back. This infuriated him, even though he had been the one to invite her on. He turned sharply toward where he knew the river would be. As he approached the bank he stopped roughly, and danced around, trying to fight his feelings. Oh, but it would be so satisfying to jump in and pound her down into the water with his hooves. That would teach her to ride him!

At the same time, he was trying to save her. The ride hadn't been a trick to kill her himself, like he would normally do. He didn't exactly like her, but she was a good person. She had cried when he couldn't, and when those that knew Margretta refused to and instead turned to anger. Being unable to resist jumping in, he first reared as high as he could and roughly as he could, trying to throw her off. Then he made for the water.

Aislinn Vahtees

Post by Aislinn Vahtees » Wed Feb 07, 2007 4:20 pm

Aislinn's hands gripped the mane of the stallion as he sped through the murky forest and away from the murderous mob. As their cries dwindled and her heart stopped pounding in her ears, she heard something else that caused fear to make her heart race once more. The sound of the river was close again. Recent memories put her on her guard and she held on tightly, an overwhelming sense of dread welling up inside of her. She hated the fact that she could never see her own future, sometimes she had intuitions, but nothing more then the vague feeling of danger or contentment. Right now though, the alarm bells were ringing. When the horse reared beneath her, she screamed, wrapping her fingers around his glorious mane and holding on so as not to be trampled beneath his hooves. As he jumped into the river the images of the young girls death flashed in her mind, screamed at her to jump while she still had the chance.

Just before Coin crashed into the water she jumped from his back and towards the shore. She splashed into the shallows of the freezing river, safe from its thunderous current and from Coin - or so she hoped. Slipping and sliding and dragging her weary body further onto land she collapsed in a heap, and rolled onto her front, breathing heavily; her heart hammering in her chest once more.

As the mists of fear subsided, her own anger emerged. She was as mad at herself as she was at the mob or Coin. She knew what he was capable of, she had thought - in her arrogance - that she could somehow right this wrong and had put her faith in people she did not know. Nay, it was the fact that she had put her faith in people that had angered her most of all. Why she continued to act in such a naive and foolish way was incomprehensible! After everything that had transpired she still managed to almost be the second victim of the river this night.

She sat up sharply and looked at the river for a sign of Coin. Fear had left her now she was safe on land, but in the back of her mind she cautioned herself to never trust him again. If he was gone, then so be it, she would continue with her vagrant's life and hope to never cross paths with him again...

Coinneach
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Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:14 pm
Race: Kelpie

Post by Coinneach » Thu Feb 08, 2007 11:00 pm

As the kelpie plunged deep into the water he realized she was no longer on his back. The anger faded once she had jumped off; with relief he swam submerged in the relaxing water for a moment. As he did so he puzzled over his feelings. It had happened so often that he wasn't surprised by the rage that overtook him, yet he couldn't place why it had done so in this unique situation. Aislinn had been the first person that he had ever invited on his back without malicious intentions and yet it had still infuriated him.

He swam back to where Aislinn was sitting then galloped up the riverbank, shaking his mane and tail out which sprinkled water around himself. He dipped his head to look at Aislinn with huge glowing-yellow eyes; they seemed almost apologetic. After he pranced nearer to her he showed his agitation by rearing, shaking his head forward and back, and neighing loudly. When he landed he fixed her with another stare and said, sounding annoyed, "You told me that this would happen before and I didn't believe you, but then it happened. How did you know what I would do? And if you told the town about my plans like I suspect, why would they come after you, too?"

Aislinn Vahtees

Post by Aislinn Vahtees » Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:55 pm

The kelpie rushed out of the water and towards her, rearing and whinnying and showing obvious annoyance. Aislinn was tempted to say 'Oh, I am so sorry I did not stay on your back so you could kill me!', instead she fixed him with a cold stare and listened to the eerie voice that came from the horses mouth.

When he had finished asking his questions she broke eye contact with his big golden orbs, she felt like they were piercing her and demanding answers. She was not ready to give him answers yet. He did not deserve them. She was risking his wrath but she no longer cared. Where else did she have to go from here?

"If you want to have a proper discussion with me then I suggest you morph back into you man disguise. I am not accustomed to talking with horses or having hooves rearing in my face whilst demanding answers. I will speak to the human looking Coin and answer his questions." Swivelling on the wet grass she did a very dangerous thing, and turned her back on him. Either the next thing she would see would be the light at the end of the tunnel, or the golden eyes of the kelpie set in the sockets of the human Coin... she hoped it was the latter...

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