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Author Topic: There's a Lurker Making Rounds  (Read 724 times)

Description: Tag: Hearsay

Offline Melody Tioriand

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There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« on: Apr 04, 19, 06:56:29 PM »
Melody recognized that she was lucky. She found a Queen to follow while she’d been a child, one she adored and considered the best friend any girl could have. She had a papa that recognized her need to get away from her well-intentioned but overbearing mother, so he helped her purchase her little home. One just far enough away from her mother that Melody could breathe, but close enough that her mother didn’t fret. (Though the help provided would always be a secret.) With Verse providing a seemingly endless supply of leather armor for her to “try out” for him, Melody had the freedom to spend her income on her two greatest loves. Sharp pointy objects, and books.

Lots and lots of books.

She was almost at the point where she’d have to go through another book purge soon. Sell some back to bookstores or donate to libraries so that she’d have room for more books. Or she could get another bookcase. But, not today. Today she was on a mission to buy more books. New books. The types of books she’d rather not purchase someplace she was easily recognizable. Not that there was anything inherently wrong about enjoying a tale centered around the journey of two Children of the Wood finding true and everlasting love. She just had a reputation to protect. Besides, that stuff only ever worked out in books. And those books were so entertaining.

Which was why she was risking her mother’s unending wrath to take a solo trip into Eddersea to check out a few bookstores. The last time she came up with Virtuosa and Quietus she had noticed some new titles but hadn’t been able to purchase them without notice.

Immediately after dropping out of the Winds at the Landing Pad, a terrified child’s scream sent chills down Melody’s spine. She groaned as she called in her bow and started running into the woods in the direction of the scream. “Mom’s not the only one that’s going to want to kill me for being unescorted.” Hawk will probably want to strangle her too, especially after that last delivery task.

She burst into a small clearing and noticed a new sound, a thumping. She zeroed in on the source of the noise and anger flooded through her. Not a child, a rabbit. A doe, judging from the kits surrounding her. Melody slowly approached the wild creature caught in one nasty looking spring trap, doing her best not to upset the injured rabbit anymore than it already was. She was so going to need help dealing with an injured mama bunny with so many agitated babies nearby.

Although, if she remembered correctly, she wasn’t too far away from where Vee said that Hearsay was living now. And he abhorred animal mistreatment as much as she did. She reached out for his familiar Opal, the one that was just a little closer to Hawk’s than her own. *Hearsay dear, please tell me you’re free at the moment to help me with an injured rabbit and her babies.*

Offline Hearsay Elerbeck

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #1 on: Apr 06, 19, 11:02:14 PM »
Hearsay still preferred to not be seen when he was going through the regimen (and exercises) that Obscenity had outlined for him so many months back. It was not easy, though he was certainly putting on more muscle--even if he would be forever a slim, trim build--he had not yet pushed to spar with anyone. It just made him feel awkward, at the end of the day, because for all that Glory Glade had seemingly accepted him there were still those that looked at him as if they couldn't figure out what he was.

The Healer Warlord had picked a nice spot on the outskirts, still well within the boundaries and protections of Glory Glade. He preferred to not go out them, not when he was uncertain whether or not the Brood still held an interest in him. It was better safe than sorry. As he was about to start up, however, he heard--and felt--a familiar tug along his psychic scenes. A thread of Opal that called to him from one that was the mirror of his.

Melody?

There was no doubt about it. Not when he heard her voice within his mind and when she mentioned a rabbit and her young. It had been far too long since he had last seen the witch. Part of him was curious as to what brought her this far north but that didn't matter. Not at the moment. Hearsay wrapped himself up in his shields, calling upon every bit of presence masking capability that he had.

I am, Melody, he called back. Show me where you are? Hearsay was already moving even as he called back to her along the Opal. While he could not understand the trees and their whispers, he could still hear them and they were growing louder as he took to the canopy of the forest. The quick flash of a location--near the landing pad--told him all that he needed to know.

Be there in just a minute, said Hearsay, calling upon his Red so that he could move just a little faster. When he arrived in the clearing, Hearsay dropped himself down from an old tree. Melody's emotions were bright as they always were, though her concern and worry about the rabbits was the most obvious. His Red--still uncut, still pressed to left hollow of his collarbone and held there by twining vines that curled around his neck and bicep--pulsed gently as he called upon it. It was just a touch of calming, projected around him to help with the young that were beginning to scatter.

"Gather her kits up, would you, Melody? I'll look at the doe." When it came to matters like this there was no trace of the shy, uncertain Hearsay. He moved with purpose, sinking to his knees next to the trap.

"Shh," he whispered to the rabbit in the old tongue, "it's alright, little one. I promise." Reaching out with his hand, still projecting calm, he let it hover over the rabbit and slowly lowered it down to rest against her fur. If there were to be proper hellos and greetings, they were going to have to wait until after this was handled.

Offline Melody Tioriand

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #2 on: Apr 10, 19, 03:18:27 PM »
Shock was too strong a word for what Melody felt at getting her first glimpse of Hearsay in quite awhile. Surprise was probably too soft. Somewhere in the middle. It wasn’t just the uncut Red Jewel, he was well past the age for his Offering after all, and it wasn’t that she could see the muscle toning his slim frame. Perhaps it was the confidence in which he took over the situation? Or a combination of all of them. Her lips pursed for a moment before she smiled and shook her head.

“Gather kits, got it.” Amusement laced her words, despite the worry and outrage she still felt over the vicious trap clamped tight around the poor rabbit. She formed a bubble shield around the scattering kits and slowly tightened it so that the bunnies were gathered into a small area. She sank down to her knees and lightly stroked the back of a kit adventurous enough to approach her. “We’re going to help you and your mama out. No need to worry.”

Though the witch was worried. She saw the way the trap had clamped down on the doe’s leg. They’d be able to get her out of the trap. Get her wound cleaned and wrapped. Perhaps there was a Healer in Glory Glade that wouldn’t mind using Craft to help the rabbit heal? Rabbits were dinner for some, after all.

She stroked and soothed the wild kits where they’d let her before quietly approaching Hearsay and the mama, not wanting to spook the calming rabbit. “I’ve got the kits corralled,” she spoke softly. “Is there something I can do to help remove the trap so that she doesn’t get more injured? Or would there be too many hands in too small an area?”

This had been her rescue mission, but she didn’t mind ceding control to the Warlord who was usually so uncertain. She was pleased by the changes she noticed in her friend, and she’d certainly be asking about them once the situation was resolved.   

Offline Hearsay Elerbeck

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #3 on: Apr 19, 19, 05:08:59 PM »
"... not at the moment," answered Hearsay. With the kits gathered up, he pulled the projection of calm back to simply being in a bubble around the doe so that she stopped struggling within the trap and further injuring herself. "Need to make sure that opening it up and letting her go isn't going to make her bleed out."

A quick smile, soft and shy as all of Hearsay's smiles often were, was given as he looked over his shoulder at Melody briefly. His attention was quickly back upon the doe who had stilled, though her heart was beating rapidly. Too fast, he realized, and then the damage done by the trap ...

It was not good and all the struggling had practically sealed the doe's death. Rather: it would if Hearsay did not tend to her as he could. He chewed the inside of his cheek, pale eyes cutting towards Melody and then back. Did she know? Probably not. Virtuosa likely believed it his place to inform people, if they did not find out on their own somehow.

If he wanted to save the doe, as he knew Melody would be upset if she couldn't be, then he would simply have to run the risk. Hearsay was not supposed to be hiding anymore anyway, not with the rumors spreading about a Red-Jeweled Healer in Glory Glade.

"Keep her kits bubbled but come here?" Once Melody was sitting opposite him, Hearsay spoke again. "I need you to open the trap up slowly while I handle and get her out of it. On the count of three?" Waiting for her acknowledgment, Hearsay counted back from three.

His hands were already upon the doe and with Melody's help--with her slowly opening the spring-trap up--Hearsay was pulling her from it. The damage, however, was even more obvious now that she was free. Her fur was matted with blood, part of her hind quarter mauled by the teeth of the trap. It was not something that would see her survive in a normal situation to get to a Healer.

Not that that was a concern. With the doe pulled from the trap, settled into his lap, Hearsay pressed his hands to the bloody mess. It was not the Opal he pulled upon but the Red, weaving it through the doe's body delicately. His eyes slid shut as he began to bolster the doe with craft, weaving healing through her. Under his hands the doe's body was being healed, knitting flesh and more back together carefully. Gradually, as he worked, there was a subtle shift to his scent as he released the craft that hid his true caste.

Healing like this--even an animal--would give it away anyway.

Offline Melody Tioriand

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #4 on: Apr 25, 19, 06:36:21 PM »
Hearsay gave voice to the result that had worried Melody enough to ask for help. That prying open the trap would just worsen the poor bunny’s wound or hasten its death. She was relieved that he had answered her call, that he’d been close enough to lend a hand.

Melody heard a rustling in the underbrush just outside of her bubble so she creeped closer, making almost no noise. She carefully pushed aside a branch and found another frightened baby. With the utmost care, Melody scooped the soft creature up and placed it into the shield with its siblings.

“Of course,” the witch responded instantly. She hurried to the trap and sat across from Hearsay as he indicated. She shielded her hands before figuring out the best place to pry the vicious trap open from. She gave a nod, listened to the countdown, and carefully pried open the spring-trap.

Melody was a bad ass fighter. She trained daily, sparred all the time, fought the brood. And still she couldn’t help but to gasp at the damage done to a defenseless creature. Tears stung her eyes as her mind jumped ahead – they’d have to get the rabbit to a healer, now, for them to do any good.

She knew he’d have come to the same conclusion, only he just cradled the rabbit into his lap and pressed his hands to her wounds. Melody knit her brows together and opened her mouth to prompt Hearsay into moving, only to snap it shut.

Hearsay was weaving craft into the rabbit. Healing Craft. And not the little bits and pieces all of the Blood learn to close shallow wounds, but actual Healing Craft. She blinked a few times, because now her sense were telling her that he had the psychic scent of a Healer. A Healer Warlord.

Well, well, well. Things just got interesting. Seems her friend has been keeping a secret from her, unless he’d just trained into it? Either way she wasn’t sure if she was annoyed that he’d kept it for her or impressed that he had. The brat.

She sat back and watched while he patched up his furry little patient. She waited until he was finished before smiling cheekily. “Well, looks like I know where to bring all the injured rabbits I find.”

Offline Hearsay Elerbeck

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 19, 12:30:42 AM »
Hearsay felt it, Melody's upset at the state of the doe. In another situation, he would have offered comfort, done what he could to ease that pain that he felt keenly. Within this situation, he knew the quickest way to ease her worry, to seeing those tears dry up, was to take care of the mother rabbit.

It was without thought that he kept an eye on the witch's feelings. Not that he could actually turn off his empathy, it never particularly listened to him that well. So he did not think about how Melody's mood briefly shifted, likely because she wanted him to get a move on to help the doe.

He was too busy using a soft, deft touch of his Red to ensure the damage done was healed. His shoulders had tensed, an uneasiness settling into him that had nothing to do with the injured rabbit. Mostly it was his own worries that-- Hearsay pushed them away, not letting his mind slip from the task at hand.

Not too much longer and the doe was asleep in his lap, the damage from the trap healed without even the smallest trace of a scar. The only thing that gave it away was the lack of soft, fuzzy fur over where the rabbit had been caught. Hearsay smoothed his hand along her fur, thumb rubbing gently at an ear. He repeated the motion once, then twice more, before he finally looked to Melody.

Red spread out across his nose, dusting his cheek. "... if you want to," said Hearsay, looking more like his shyer self once more. He was silent as if considering what to say. The silence stretched out for a quick smattering of heartbeats before he spoke again.

"I'm not trained," he said after some consideration. To be trained would mean death, for him and whoever would have trained him. No, Hearsay was born a Healer and had suffered for it. "... just know how to hide myself really well." A pause. "So, um ... I'm sorry for not telling you." Which he honestly felt a little bad about. Especially given that it seemed as if Melody wasn't bothered by his Healer caste. There was no malice in her emotional landscape, no disgust. No, she was a little annoyed but mostly relieved and happy to have the rabbit healed.

It was for the best, he thought, because he was not sure that he could handle a close friend like Melody calling him an atrocity or abomination or some other not nice thing.

"Going to sit here a little longer, just to make sure that she's alright." His thumb ran along the doe's spine, his pale-eyed gaze dropping back to the rabbit.

Offline Melody Tioriand

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 19, 07:49:18 PM »
Melody watched the blush rise on her friend’s face and sighed softly. She climbed to her feet and tousled his hair before turning towards the trapped kits. She had to wrestle with her annoyance with Hearsay, and the slight hurt that came with knowing he kept such a secret from her. She knew he didn’t keep it from her in particular. It was forbidden within their territory to train a male into a female Caste, but he said he hadn’t been trained. So the Healer Caste was natural to him. The territory court triangle had a dual caste male in it. Though she’d heard that there’d been quite a bit of drama surrounding Blade Amdir and his second caste.

But Virtuosa Illion was her best friend and her Queen. A Queen that acted in a way that’s contrary to what their society dictated. Certainly, if anyone could be trusted to accept people for who and what they were it was her, right? Melody scooped up the baby rabbits and brought them back to their sleeping mother. She sat back down and formed a new shield around them to keep the kits close until the doe woke back up.

But Melody also recognized that everyone had their own secrets and scars. She certainly didn’t lay her vulnerabilities out for all to see. “Thank you for trusting me with this.” There wasn’t much else to say, really. Not about his being a Healer. Although, she hesitated for a moment. “Does Vee know that you’re a Healer?” It was possible that Virtuosa knew, her Queen wasn’t in the habit of divulging secrets that weren’t hers to give.

She stroked the silky soft fur of one brave bunny that started sniffing at her boots. “She said that she found that you settled down here in Glory Glade. What have you been up to here?” If they were going to hang out until they were both satisfied that the animals would be okay, there was no reason she shouldn’t nose about in what Hearsay has been up to.

Offline Hearsay Elerbeck

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 19, 10:08:01 PM »
Despite the time that had passed since coming to Glory Glade Hearsay still struggled at times with feeling comfortable with being out in the open--so to speak--when it came to his nature as a Healer. Though many had come to accept him, or at least put up with him, part of it was because he did not act as a Healer did. That would have been pushing it, he thought, even if more than a few seemed perplexed that Red-Jeweled Healer hadn't been put to work by a Court.

His fingers continued to smooth along the doe's fur, watching as Melody gathered the kits up and brought them closer. Hearsay gave her a smile, one that did reach his eyes, when she thanked him for trusting her. "... she knows," said Hearsay, "though she found out because of Brevity." The Healer Warlord's twin brother, a Warlord Prince, was forever a sore subject. "He's more vocal now about my being an, ah ..." His nose wrinkled up. "Abomination. Not that she put up with that talk but you know how Vee is." Which was one way to say that Brevity ended up getting his arse handed to him.

The flush that had faded finally returned in full force, Hearsay sighing. At himself. "I didn't end up here by choice but settling here was my choice." There was one more piece of jewelry on Hearsay beside the living vine that curled around his neck and down along his shoulder to his bicep that held his uncut Red in it. His thumb fidgeted, twisting the ring on his finger that marked him as Steward of Glory Glade. "Epiphany--Lady Estinaria--found me when I was running." Letting out a low noise, a soft croon, the Healer held out his free hand to one of the kits. Given enough time he was likely to be covered in bunnies; Hearsay was more of the forest than many others.

"She's my Queen," said Hearsay finally, "and I decided to stay here." A glance went to Melody. "It's safer that way, I think, but I also like it here."

Offline Melody Tioriand

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 19, 03:00:42 PM »
Annoyance and anger flared through Melody at the utterance of the word ‘abomination.’ In her opinion that word was for the Brood and the Brood alone. Their people were always so eager to put everyone into a neat little box predetermined by Caste and bloodlines. Nothing would make her mother happier than if she removed the color from her hair and settled down with a ‘proper’ aristo man. Society would prefer Vee to put down her sword and put on a dress.

Hearsay was wonderful. A little shy, and a little nervous at times – but compassionate, sweet, and dependable. “I do know how Vee is, and I wouldn’t have put up with it either.” But Melody also understood twisted family bonds, and why Hearsay might not have been able to do anything about it himself.

Delight replaced her annoyance as she grinned. “Your Queen, hmm?” She gave the Healer Warlord a playfully pointed look. “And, I see she made you her Steward. Already part of a Triangle while I’m forever stuck in the Third Circle.” Not that Melody would want anything higher than third circle, not when the Queen she was contracted to was Majesty. If Vee ever set up a Court, Melody would most certainly have a place in the first circle. “You should tell me all about her, and the other people you work with.” The witch wasn’t all that familiar with Glory Glade or its inhabitants.

“You should also tell me what you mean by it’s safer than you decided to stay in Glory Glade. Have you found yourself some trouble that needs to be dealt with?” Because Melody was all for pitching in to help drag Hearsay out of trouble if needed.

Offline Hearsay Elerbeck

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 19, 12:16:45 AM »
It was still strange, so many months later when people grew affronted on his behalf. Would it have been better to have been honest all those years? As Brevity had turned those within their town against him, could he have won them over by simply being himself? Perhaps but then the problem had always been that he was too aware of the emotions of those around him.

There was only so much disgust and otherwise that he could cope with before it weighed him down. So lying, hiding himself, had been easier. Then there was the fact that if he had been honest ... Hearsay was content with his life as it was now. If anything had been different he would not be where he was, not for certain, and that simply wouldn't work.

He gave Melody a half-smile. "Probably didn't help that he came to Glory Glade either." A short while before Hearsay had fled and found himself here. "He wanted to serve Epiphany, as she's one of the darkest Queens within our forests." He shook his head, blowing red bangs out of his eyes a moment later. "She rejected him, a month or so before I ran here." His flush worsened at Melody's teasing, Hearsay rubbing a hand at his warm face.

"... kind of walked myself into it," admitted Hearsay. "She didn't have one yet and I started handling the audience schedule and some other things." The Healer Warlord shot her a look, however. Mostly because he knew that Melody wouldn't want to serve any further than the Third Circle of Esgarth with Virtuosa's mother ruling.

For a moment he had been about to talk about Glory Glade, his Queen and the others that he had met who were now friend and ally. (Including two Warlord Princes, which was something given that he was absolutely terrified of most that bore the Caste.) Melody's question about trouble, what had brought him here, made him the flush in his cheeks disappear. Hearsay paled, closing his eyes and curling his hand gently against the doe's fur (similarly he did, indeed, have at least three kits already on him in his lap).

"I can hear the trees," said Hearsay softly. It was something the Children of the Wood had been capable, something lost to the Purge and time. Much like the old tongue, though the Healer Warlord could speak it thanks to his cousin. "Can't understand what they're saying, not as my Queen can. I can feel their emotions, though." Was it strange that the woods they lived in had feelings? Possibly but it was natural to Hearsay. "It's been that way for years."

A sigh escaped as he bowed his head. "The winter before this last," started Hearsay, "I was in the forest," which was where he had always been found before he disappeared, "when I heard a voice call out. From a tree, Melody, a tree. A spirit of a tree called to me." The things that the Children of the Wood had once been closer with. What stories he could learn about the forest and the spirits that dwelled within had been the tales Hearsay loved sharing.

"It understood me. What I was going through, what it was like to be ostracized ..." Hearsay frowned, though he pushed away the old, terrible feelings that welled up. "It said that it could teach me, that I could learn to heal more than just flora," yes, he did just imply he could heal trees and plants, "and fauna ... All I had to do was just listen to it. Do as it wanted me to do."

Glancing up through red bangs, Hearsay looked at Melody once more before he continued. "Spirits still exist, they have to, and this one talked to me in the weeks before my Offering. When my Offering came and I claimed my Red ..." The Healer Warlord fidgeted, thumb stroking the ear of a curious kit gently. "It couldn't hide from me anymore. Not once I held the Red. What I thought was a spirit wasn't a spirit, Mels. It was one of the Brood. Who wanted to capture me, take me wherever, and ... I don't know, I just ran before it could get a hold of me."

It was why Hearsay rarely--if ever!--left the boundaries of protections that secured Glory Glade. There was too much chance that he could be found. "That's the trouble," said Hearsay. "That the Brood may still be hunting me all because of what I am."

Offline Melody Tioriand

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #10 on: Sep 11, 19, 05:29:10 PM »
Melody wasn’t a vindictive person. She tended not to hold grudges or negative feelings. But somehow she couldn’t help but to feel vindicated on Hearsay’s behalf to hear that his jerk of a brother had been turned down by Hearsay’s Queen before they’d even met. Melody didn’t know if there was anything between her friend and his Queen beyond their bond, but deep inside she sighed over the romance of it all. The sweetness of a Queen taking care of her Male before she even knew him.

Amusement played over her face. She knew that Princes tended to deal with the reams of paperwork produced by a properly functioning Court, but she still couldn’t get over how the males she knew dealt with the busy work better than her Queen. “Why am I not surprised that a Bonded Male would simply pick up the paperwork slack for his Queen and end up in a Steward’s position by accident?”

Melody listened intently as Hearsay described his life in Glory Glade. She was beyond pleased that he was forming friendships and seemed to have found his place. His sudden loss of color had Melody reaching out to place a hand on his knee, needing to provide some level of comfort. The witch understood what he meant when he said he could hear the trees. When she had her bow in her hands and an arrow nocked it felt as if the very wind would tell her where to aim to place her arrow where she wanted it.

She listened as he explained and equal parts awe and alarm flowed through her. Melody had experience with a spirit. It was brief and frightening and left what felt like a coating of grime on her mind. That an entity that had been as hungry, as destructive, as what she felt trapped in Rakal’s sword, might have talked to Hearsay terrified Melody at a visceral and primal level. But it wasn’t a spirit, it was one of the Brood. And that fear switched, in an instant, to rage that coated her throat and hazed her vision with red. After the experience she had at the hands of one of the Brood with Hawk, Melody simply couldn’t abide the thought of one of them getting its hands on Hearsay.

It took a long moment for Melody to swallow the anger, for the young woman to clear the rage from her vision. For her to be able to speak. “Well,” she started. “We’ll just have to hunt the bastards back and be rid of them.” It was what she did with Vee after all. It was what Virtuosa’s informal Court was formed to do. To pick up blade and bow, to use Craft, to combat that which was unnatural and should not exist.

Offline Hearsay Elerbeck

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #11 on: Sep 12, 19, 05:03:57 AM »
If Melody had wanted to ensure that Hearsay was perpetually flushed, she was doing a good job of it. "... no one else was doing it and it was beginning to affect her and ..." Hearsay just sighed, rubbing a hand across his face before merely nodding. Melody was right: it really was not that surprising. While Princes were certainly more common as Stewards--so far as he knew--it was not as if the other Castes were any lesser.

Unless someone brought Contract craft up and thankfully that was not a problem. There was a Prince perfectly content to work with him, to help him with any contracts that needed the touch of the requisite craft to finalize them. All of that faded away, and stayed gone, even as Melody touched his knee with the intent to comfort.

He could feel it, even wanted to bask in it, but it could not overcome the fear that was within his heart. Not when he could remember the whisper of the Brood, the feeling of spectral feelings down his spine, and how close he had been to ...

To what?

That was the problem: he had no idea what they wanted with him. It had to be because he was both Healer and Warlord, didn't it? Or was it because of the whispers he heard? What was it? Melody's fear had merged with Hearsay's, leaving him near breathless. When her fear turned to rage, he managed to get a lid on it.

Somewhat, at least. Enough that he could catch her hand, tangling their fingers together, and hold to it with a tight but gentle grip. "I would greatly prefer that no harm comes to you," said Hearsay, "or to Vee or anyone else but that's foolish to want." He bowed his head, red hair shadowing his eyes. "Just as I don't want it to happen because you're hunting Brood all to make sure I'm safe."

Despite the doe in his lap--and the kits that were around him--Hearsay scooted forward until he could nudge his shoulder against Melody's. It was as much of an invitation to settle close as it was to ... Well. Not snuggle but certainly invite a closer contact. With how few Hearsay was closed too, how few were close to him, he tended to embrace it.

Especially in moments like this when emotions were high and nearly overwhelming for him.

Offline Melody Tioriand

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #12 on: Sep 18, 19, 03:52:54 PM »
It seemed that everyone within their Territory had some personal connection or story involving the Brood. It was an odd sort of situation. So intimately personal and yet so foreign and other at the same time. It was the Children of the Wood who sickened with the Waste. It was the Children of the Wood, sickened with the Waste, who became the Brood. Monsters that hunted and terrified their own. Monsters that didn’t see themselves as monsters – even if they had believed it before they had fallen ill.

Melody squeezed Hearsay’s fingers lightly and, seeing her own need for comfort reflected in her friend, the witch shift so that she was sitting next to him. Hip to hip, thigh to thigh.  She rested her head on his shoulder and breathed in his psychic scent – one that was, at times, difficult to differentiate from the woods around them. “Vee and I will be getting into trouble with the Brood regardless,” she said matter-of-factly. “Might as well add protecting you to our many and varied reasons for doing what we do.”

She rubbed her thumb along his hand in much the same way she stroked the pelt of one of the bunnies moving around them. “I knew that you were younger than me. That you carried the Opal and hadn’t gone through your Offering. Intellectually, I knew this. I don’t know why it’s a little bit of a shock to feel you deeper than me now.”

Some of it was that most of Virtuosa’s merry band of adventurers were close to but not quite as Dark as she was. “You feel a little more settled into your skin.” It was said with approval, with an underlying thread of joy for her friend. “I don’t know if it was the Offering. Or the Queen Bond. Or you finding a place that suits you... But I’m...” Was saying she was pleased for him patronizing? She wasn’t trying to be. Melody was trying to express the bubble of joy she was feeling for him. He seemed more confident, more sure of himself, and yet still adorably himself.

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #13 on: Oct 14, 19, 10:07:45 PM »
"I know you will," admitted Hearsay quietly, "and it's the entire me being a possible cause for either of you getting injured," in the protecting of him, "that worries me the most." The Healer Warlord sighed, however, and let it go. Both Melody and Virtuosa would do as they wanted and, in the end, he would not stop them.

It was what they believed in, what they did to protect that which was theirs, and to raise his voice against that would make him no better than the people who had brought him low with every breath. Being closer to Melody, the way her finger rubbed along his hand, helped slow down the increased beat of his heart. Hearsay turned his hand over after her thumb passed a second time, catching it before he tangled his fingers with hers to hold.

"To be honest," said Hearsay, "sometimes it's still a shock to me that I have my Red." His other hand lifted, touching the uncut jewel where it was encircled by the vines that curled around his neck and down along his shoulder to the top of his arm. He was not sure that he would even ever cut it, preferring to keep it the same way that his Queen wore hers.

"... plus I kind of shied away from it, you know. Brevity made this huge deal about his and I just wanted mine to be quiet." In a way, he had put it off, as much as he could until the pull was simply too much to ignore any longer. He was also resolutely not thinking about the fact that that of those who had (or currently were) part of her unofficial Court that Strife had worn both the Opal and the Sapphire. That was a thought pushed securely away.

It did not matter that Melody could not find the words, her feelings vibrant. The joy she felt for him was something that made him smile as much as he ducked his head down, red hair falling into his eyes as he flushed. "This place, I think, and all that it brought me too." Hearsay raised his head just enough so that he could rest his against the top of hers.

"... though you helped too, you know," his voice was soft, "especially when you decided you wanted to go red too. I always felt alone but when I was with you the loneliness wasn't so bad." That, in the end, had been the worst thing for him. Melody--Virtuosa as well--had helped ease that in the small ways that he had let them before his own fear of discovery made him retreat. "Even if now I've really had to get used to being around many people at once, it's moments like this that matter to me the most."

Offline Melody Tioriand

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #14 on: Oct 15, 19, 02:11:21 PM »
“Why?” Melody was absolutely dumbfounded that her care and concern for him would worry him. Melody remembered what it felt like when that Snakey Brood Bitch sunk her nasty craft into her. How easy she felt it would be to simply give up and join. The connections she formed with the people she loved and cared for, the bonds between them, were what helped her shrug the craft off. The stronger the reasons to fight, the stronger she was.

“When I received my Opal, I just felt settled and balanced. Like a hole I didn’t even realize I had inside of me was suddenly filled. I didn’t know I was missing it until I had it.” She wasn’t even sure if what she said made any sense, but she didn’t know how else to explain it. “Yeah, well.. Brevity can get his foot stuck in an ant colony.” She had always been civil with Hearsay’s twin when she was forced into his company, she never actually liked him. He was simply someone she sometimes had to put up with, like the well-bred men her mother picked out as potential suitors.

Melody attempted to look up at Hearsay when he pointed out that she helped him. Though she was enjoying the comfort provided by the cuddling to actually dislodge her friend. “Are you telling me that changing the color of my hair accomplished more than just starting a rebellion against my Mother’s wishes?” She laughed, gently amused. “Hell’s fire, I was just so annoyed with the type of male that gravitated towards me at my mother’s events because of the color of my hair.” The silvery blonde hue practically screamed out the ‘purity’ of her aristo bloodline. It always attracted the stuck-up narcissists that couldn’t imagine a life more fulfilling than one spent dancing attendance to whichever person held the most power in a given room.

“And when I tried to dye it myself after one boring dinner too many in that rush of purpose and determination…” She began laughing so hard it took a minute to compose herself enough to continue talking. “My hair was just this pink explosion that horrified and depressed me. You were so sweet with me, doing your absolute best not to laugh at me when I came to you for help.”

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #15 on: Oct 29, 19, 10:44:50 PM »
"... because I have a sense of how much you do and how far both you and Vee are willing to go to protect me," said Hearsay quietly. It was one of the things that had always reassured him, though he had never said it. The fact that they cared that much--so much that it colored so much of them--had helped him feel safe with them.

"It ..." The Healer Warlord shook his head. "It's getting silly to say things didn't feel right until I came here over and over but ..." A soft breath was exhaled. "Even my Red did not feel right until I came here and met Epiphany." She wore the same jewels, after all, and they both wore them in a similar fashion.

Hearsay just laughed softly about what she said about Brevity. "You know he tried to come here? Wanted to serve Epiphany and she sent him right back because the trees didn't like him much." Someone, somewhere, liked Brevity and it was not anyone present currently.

"Is that surprising?" That it had meant more than just annoying her mother? "It didn't win me any favor with her either but ..." Hearsay generally had not expected to have any even when people were unaware of the truth. Sometimes he figured that his true hair color--the pale silvery blonde--was an insult to injury considering that he was also a Healer. People had certainly looked at him that way when it had still been that color.

There was no stopping the chuckling when Melody brought up the first attempt at dying her hair. "I still can't believe you actually tried dye, Mels." A hand lifted so he could twist a lock of red gently around his finger. "I was glad to help you fix it, though." He nudged her lightly. "Since I think it suits you just like it suits me. We're obviously meant to have red hair even if our lineage disagrees."

Offline Melody Tioriand

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Re: There's a Lurker Making Rounds
« Reply #16 on: Nov 01, 19, 02:09:26 PM »
After giving Hearsay a sardonic look with an upturned eyebrow, Melody rolled her eyes. “As if you wouldn’t risk breaking yourself to Heal Vee or me.” The knowledge of his Caste might be new to her, but the witch had already processed it and integrated it with the personality she was already familiar with. Besides, it was what friends did, right? Looked out for each other and protected them when they could.
 
It was a little hard to empathize with Hearsay. She was never comfortable when tossed in the fishbowl of aristo gatherings and politics, but she had always had Vee, even before she had her Birthright. The girls had clicked in a way that had warded off the brunt of loneliness. Everything else was absorbed when she lost herself in a book. Trying to imagine her life without that all too important friendship was impossible. Made her grateful to Epiphany for providing that same sort of solace to her friend.
 
“So your Queen can hear the trees the same way you can?” It was an interesting  and thought-provoking notion. Was one reason they bonded because they both had this ability? Or was one of them born with the ability because the other already had it? Would others that were pulled into this Queen’s circle of bonded have a similar sensitivity – the same way that Vee typically drew the misfits to her? Did a Queen bond with a male because of similarities they were born with, or were they born with those similarities so that they would bond?
 
“A little. It was an important symbol to me. Of me. And while I knew it would annoy my mother, that didn’t figure into my need to change the way I looked so drastically.” Well, as drastic as Melody was willing to go. “It didn’t occur to me that it could affect anyone else, well besides the sneering eye rolls of aristo males looking for wives.”
 
Hearsay laughed at the memory, and Melody could not stop her own smile. It seemed enough time had passed that Hearsay no longer felt the need to swallow his amusement. Or perhaps he recognized that she wasn’t in as horrified and vulnerable of a state and could handle it. She hunched her shoulders though, in self-deprecation. “The dye promised red hair – how was I supposed to know it wasn’t a good method for changing hair color?” She sighed in contentment has the Healer Warlord played with her hair. “It was a strange moment when I looked in the mirror after you were done. Even though I had always recognized my reflection there was this moment of ‘ah, there you are!’ The color just feels more like me.”
 
She tilted her head to study her friend’s profile and shook her head. “I just can’t see you as anything other than a redhead. So you’re exactly right, we should have had this color to begin with.”

 

 

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