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(Created page with "'''Summary:''' ''It's been a week since Kyori had taken Lanara's advice and stayed out of Enchantment, until the air cleared of his fight with Feige. A lot can happen in a wee...")
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Revision as of 23:41, 5 November 2019

Summary: It's been a week since Kyori had taken Lanara's advice and stayed out of Enchantment, until the air cleared of his fight with Feige. A lot can happen in a week... The warrior went on an adventure with Penelope, and the witch held a funeral in honor of Scandal and discovered that Natianara is her daughter. Lana confronts Kyori, claiming that he knew their connection the entire time, but the warrior is more concerned over the fact that she is covered in bruises and was attacked by Feige's sons. After tending to Lana's wounds and comforting her, Kyori excuses himself and doesn't return until dawn, covered in blood and completely disoriented. He tells Lana that he has to leave, and she argues that she wants him to stay, but her attempts are futile. Kyori slips into a coma...


Part of the Magic, Madness, and Mayhem Arc



Lanara had kept out of the public eye after the mishap at the Mabon Festival, especially since things had taken a much darker turn after Kyori had left the witch at her apartment. The breeder, Feige, had lost the thumb on his sword hand for threatening Lanara, and ‘pointing the finger’ so that others would believe the false accusations. In turn, Feige’s sons had vowed their vengeance, and so they learned her habits, watched her expressions, and stalked the unassuming woman for several days. A few of the locals feared Lana, and others loathed her, as they held Feige in high regard and didn’t think he should have lost a finger. Lunalesca was having trouble keeping the peace, and she held regular meetings, in hopes to ensure the safety of her charge, but her attempts were futile. The windows of the flower shop had been broken several times, the residents were signing a petition to have the witch removed from their city, and it seemed their hatred ran deep. However, the day of Scandal’s funeral, when Lanara showed her face and announced to the realm that she was truly back, they saw her in a different light. She willingly admitted to misusing magic, she wanted a trial to face the charges brought against her, and she asked that everyone hold their prejudice for a moment so she could give her adopted brother a proper send off. It earned her a modicum of respect, at least enough where she could safely wander through the streets of Enchantment. However, after hearing from Talyara that she was the mother of Natianara, the witch chose to remain huddled up in her apartment…


Kyori spent the time Lanara’d banished him from Enchantment by following up on a letter that had been slipped under his door in the Inn. He’d received it before he’d talked to Lana’s sister and still held a sneaking suspicion that it was related to Nat. He wanted to believe that she went off to be a high priestess but the note nagged at him. With Penelope, and her contact in Cenril, he’d discovered the letter to be a map written in a special invisible ink. The ink could only be deciphered with a plant based paste, he didn’t know WHAT it was honestly, but he had to get some plant and he’d asked Penelope for help.


One week later…


It’s the middle of the night, and although Mesthak never used these two words in all of his life, his voice booms over the crowd of patrons, “LAST CALL!” The final round of drinks is poured for those that wish to partake, and everyone is ushered into the streets of Kelay, some forcefully. The barkeep trudges up the steps and loudly bangs on the door of the room that Kyori’s renting, and upon opening the door, the warrior would be given a long once over. “Get your sword and follow me. I have a job for you and it pays good! All you have to do is sit inside a room and kill anyone that walks in there, that isn’t supposed to be in there. You understand? You will guard the witch for the next day or two, and I’ll be sure that Nancy stops in often with food and whatever else you need.” The door down the hall is unlocked, revealing a spacious room with all of the necessary amenities that one may need for a pleasant stay. The door to the washroom is closed, and the area is eerily silent, until the door springs open so violently that it nearly falls from its hinges. “Don’t you –dare- touch him! Get out!!!” A high elf runs from the washroom, blood trickling down her blouse, as she yanks a pair of scissors from her shoulder. “I-I can’t. I can’t do this. She won’t let me stitch her wounds. I tried to give the puppy a sleeping drought and she stabbed me! I would rather face Lunalesca’s wrath than spend another minute with that wretched woman!” As the healer exits the tavern entirely, Mesthak exits the room and gives Kyori a pat on the shoulder, as though wishing him good luck. The room is silent once more, until a hound puppy and a tikifhlee come barreling out of the washroom, with Lanara a few steps behind. She must have cleaned herself up after the attack, as her long locks are damp, and she’s wearing a towel, snugly tied about her slender frame. The witch stops short as she locks eyes with the warrior, and he’d spy her bandaged hands, the poorly self-stitched collarbone, and the bruises that lined the left side of her fair face. She swallows, narrows her eyes, and in a slightly accusing tone hisses, “You knew…”


Kyori’d been dead asleep when Mesthak broke down the door to his room. The warrior scrambled up in boxers, hand on the jeweled hilt of his sword before the other man’s words broke through the groggy veil of sleep. Mesthak rants off a list of instructions and Kyori shakes his head, confused. “What witch?” He only knew three witches, so it had to be one of them. He’s still trying to take it all in, hopping into his pants and wrinkled shirt. He doesn’t even have time to put his shoes on before Mesthak’s shoving him down to the room and leaving him alone there. The warrior blinks at the empty room, wondering if he should search the closet or washroom when a high elf shoots out from said washroom with a pair of scissors lodged in her shoulder. He rushes forward, grabbing a towel to apply pressure to the wound she’d just opened up. “Whoawhoawhoawhoa.” Kyori looks her over, still dazed from being pulled out of bed, and can’t figure out what’s going on. Was this woman also a witch? The healer stomps out, batting off his attempts to hold the towel in place, leaving only Kyori and Mesthak in the room and he still just –can’t- get what’s happening. The voice had been…Lanara’s right? He starts towards the washroom when the puppy and tikifhlee bolt out ahead of Lanara, who looks to be in a state of undress. “L-Lana? Why are you…?” He points over his shoulder at the now closed door. “Did you stab that...? What’s going on….?” All of his questions are ignored in the face of the witch’s enraged expression. He knew? What did he knew? What did he know, rather. He could only guess she was talking about the man he’d hurt and assume her injuries were related to blowback from his actions. “Damn it, Lana, you should have let me stay.” He sighs, ignoring her accusation temporarily. “I didn’t know this would happen. I wouldn’t have been so quick to bark at that man if I had.” Lie. Kyori’d have done it again in a heartbeat. Except now Lana was battered for his thoughtlessness. It hurts to look at her this way. “What happened to you?” And whose ass was he going to have to kick for it. “Sit down?” He urges, gesturing towards the bed. His hair is a cow licked blonde mess, his eyes dark with concern.


Lanara doesn’t bother to react when Kyori asks if she stabbed the worthless healer, as the answer was pretty obvious. Of course she had, and she would do it all over again if she could locate another pair of shears. The wench had worsened her injury and had the audacity to try and overmedicate Sawyer, because his whimpering was a distraction. Lanara stalks towards Kyori, nearly closing the distance between their bodies as she glares up at his face, a predatory grin given at his words. “Let you –stay- with me? Why, Coyote!? So you could protect me? Get closer to Natianara? Lure me into bed?” She speaks with such vehemence that she has to pause to catch her breath, and so she storms past him and locks the door, being sure to secure the deadbolt, as well. “After the tree planting ceremony for my brother… Taly stopped by and told me –everything- about the connection between Nat and us… I was so stupid to think that –I- meant something to –you- or that we were friends, or you had an interest in me… I honestly thought it was fate, because I felt this magnetic pull to get to know you that I rarely have with anyone, and to you I was just a… a… a MILF!” Obviously, Lanara had been pacing as she’s wildly gesticulating with her hands, causing a few of her poorly sewn stitches to come undone. She bites back the physical pain and dwells on the emotional, hating that she allowed him to see her vulnerable, yet again. Cinder and Sawyer hop up onto the foot of the bed and watch the pair interact, a mild curiosity in their eyes. Kyori’s next words, his suggestion to sit down and talk things out is something that Lana wants to refuse. She didn’t want to grow closer to this man, because after she told him about Nat and when the morning came and his guard shift was over, he would abandon her as all questions were answered. What further use did Lana have? Hell, she could be put to death in under two weeks! Grumbling, she sits on the bed and pats the space next to her, “Fine. We’ll talk. I am pretty sure you already knew, as it was rather strange that you appeared in Enchantment, at the exact place and time where I would be, brandishing questions about Nat… But… I’ll play along as if this wasn’t some sort of game.” She’s not angry, she’s hurt. She placed her trust in Kyori and she actually missed his presence during their time apart. “Natianara is my daughter… I had a single night affair with Desparrow, four years ago. I was living with him for over a year, as friends, and one night we had too much to drink and it sort of happened. We weren’t in love, and I didn’t know he was a psychopath and would be banished from the lands a few days after that night. I don’t have casual sex, either, if that’s what you’re thinking… I need there to be feelings involved, and it was a mistake with Des. Anyways… I found out I was with child, I went to have the pregnancy terminated because I didn’t want the baby to grow into a lunatic like her father, and when I got near the area… I began to miscarry… Along the way, I changed my mind and I was turning back, but I was heavily bleeding. I thought karma killed my baby for my wicked thoughts of an abortion, and I passed out. When I awoke, there was this healer, and he told me that the baby died, and I nearly had, also. Unfortunately, the blood loss was severe and I had lost my short term memory, as an effect. I had no idea that my baby, Natianara, had survived, and was a healthy little girl. Sharna… The healer’s sister had stolen the baby and begged him to let her raise Nat, as she was an innocent. The healer? He was my father, Thronnel. He… He did –awful- things to me, and without my memory, I had no knowledge that we were related…” She looks sick, as she hints at the incestuous relationships the man had forced on her, all because she looked like her deceased mother. “Sharna magically aged Nat… So, she’s technically only a few years younger than me, which is super weird.” The ball had dropped, and the fight had left the witch, as she looks up into Kyori’s eyes, and in a soft voice asks, “Did you know that Nat was my daughter, Coyote?” Her injuries are forgotten for the moment, they could get to them later, because for now, she wants answers and not comfort.


Kyori dons his classic 'confused' face and tries to make sense of Lanara's shouting accusations. "Yeah? So I can protect you?" Wasn't that obvious? His expression turns guarded when she mentions Nat. Even more so when the witch accuses him of only wanting to sleep with Lana. "Whoa-" he starts, but she cuts him off again and he watches her with one blonde brow lofted, enduring the words she's jabbing into him like scissors in that healer. He waits until she runs out of steam, face contorting into rare shadows of patience. This was the mood he was in when the breeder'd come at Lanara but Lanara wasn't that man. She was Lanara and she was going through more heartbreak, partially because of him. Or, based on her logic, mostly because of him in regards to Natianara. "Why would you think you don't mean anything to me?" He doesn't move to sit beside her yet. "We are friends." He'd attacked a dude just for yelling at Lana. He'd pulled her out of her house when she was depressed about her brother, hell he came to check on her after her sister told him about Scandal's death. The more she talks the more frustrated and confused he gets. Is this a trick? "This isn't a game-" He growls, ruffling his cowlicked hair in frustration. Then Lanara drops the bomb. Nat is her daughter? That's when he sits, shocked, eyes darting to try and connect the threads in his mind. That's impossible. Natianara was older. Not old old but old enough and Lanara didn't look old enough to be ANYONE'S mom. While Lanara explains the situation that led to Nat's existence, false death, and then aging, the warrior keeps his eyes trained on the floor. His calloused hands grip his knees, the muscles in his arm pulsing, trying to put the pieces in place. Lanara had endured so much. Her pain burned close to his heart, for he too suffered great loss and betrayal. He too suffered beyond repair. Lanara looks over at him, voice soft and pleading for the truth. Kyori lifts his dark eyes off the floor and looks up, studying Lanara's face as if he could read her future in the swelling of her eyes or the bleeding of the stitches on her collar bone. "No." All of her spilling her soul and all he could offer up was a simple but honest 'no' to her pain. The sound of her racing heart floods his ears. He stands, walking calmly to the washroom and gathering supplies to deal with Lanara's injuries properly. If she tried to stop him, he wouldn't halt but he would jerk away either. He'd simply stay in place and move away when she released him to do so. He sets the healing kit on the bed, gives Cinder and the Hound a long look, and then gently aims to take up her stitched hand to wipe the blood away from the messy stitching.


A single word is all he offers, after her angry outburst and scandalous confession, and the witch finds herself blinking back tears. She wasn’t very good at this sort of thing… Making acquaintances? She was a professional. Attracting a male? Her beauty was undeniable, so that was easy enough. However… Maintaining a friendship or romantic relationship? That proved difficult, more times than she could count, as she referred to herself as a ‘throwaway woman’ because she was always discarded for someone better. Plus, with all that baggage she carried, most knew better than to get too deep with the witch. Kyori didn’t know any better, as he was new to the lands, and to the area. Yet, Lana is convinced that he only cares for her because she resembles Nat, and although she’s pleased that her daughter had a true friend in the warrior… She’s also mildly hurt that their friendship was built under false pretenses. She feels foolish and lowers her chin to her chest, a single tear splashing onto her crossed arms as she allows Kyori to tend to her injury. Lana can’t quite meet his gaze, so she sits at the edge of the bed, starting at the floor, like a chastised child. In one word he had silenced her, which was a feat in itself. Cinder hisses at the male when he touches a particular popped stitched, sending a twinge of pain through Lana’s upper arm, but if he were to gaze at her bruised face, he wouldn’t guess she was in any discomfort. She knew how to hide her pain, though the anguish in her chocolate hues was palpable. The hound puppy is gnawing on a bone, but he looks up when Kyori finishes tending to the wound and wags his tail, army crawling across the mattress to get the male’s attention. “I named him Sawyer…” She pauses, as she tapes a bandage neatly over the stitches, “Thank you for helping me and for answering my question… I –do- believe you…” Lana slides from the bed and walks over to the closet, perusing the articles within, before she plucks a recently laundered robe from a hanger, it’s not the most fashionable but it would serve its purpose as her garments were coated in blood. The robe is placed over her body, and once it’s tied, she slips the towel from underneath and tosses it into the hamper. Her movements are slow, and had Kyori caught a glimpse of her upper legs he’d see purple bruises, similar to the ones that lined her face. Had she been thrown? Kicked when on the ground? Lanara forces herself to lift her head, but she looks at Kyori’s shoulder and not his face, “I… I’m sorry that Mesthak woke you… You don’t have to stay, if you want to go… I don’t think they’ll come back, at least not tonight.”


Kyori ignores Cinder's warnings while he fixes the witch's stitching on her collarbone. He takes his time, gently but swiftly mending the wound. After the last pull through of the needle, he cuts the thread with his teeth and reaches for a cool pack, which he asks Lanara to hold against the side of her face simply by holding it there himself until she takes over. If she doesn't, he'll stand there a good while before moving away to pack up the rest of the supplies (except the bandages). Sawyer crawls over on the bed and the warrior gives him the ghost of a smile. "Fitting name for such a fine champion." He speaks the praise to the pup, patting his head and tucking the healing kit into the nightstand drawer before standing at his full height and considering the witch. He doesn't have a chance to answer her thanks. She gets up to cross the room and change and Kyori, man that he is, turns his back to her for privacy's sake. In doing so, he missed the bruises on her legs but that doesn't mean he isn't thinking of a way to ask her what happened. "Your bruises," he swallows, face pointed towards the bland wall. "What happened?" He continues to face away, afraid to read in her face what he can already guess. "Are they my fault?" From the breeder or worse? From others at the festival who'd taken offense at the warrior's actions. Was it witch hunters? Are you destroying yet another life Kyori? You've been here all of a few weeks now. The spellblade grits his teeth and turns slowly to face her. It won't do him any good to tell her not to apologize. "I'm glad he did." Not only so he could tend to her wounds but so they could discuss Natianara. So they could alleviate Lanara's heavy heart over thinking Kyori'd manipulated her. "Nat was very precious to me and from what little time I knew her, I could tell she was a wonderful person with a big heart. A bit naive but always kind." Minus the brawl with the fox woman but that was a fluke, he's sure of it. "You should be proud to call her your daughter. Especially since she's gone home to be a high priestess person." He didn't understand witch politics but it sounded like a high honor. "I didn't get a chance to say goodbye but all my searching for her helped me find you and your sister. To learn more about the witch hunters and the rampant disparaging opinion of your birth right." Anyone could hurt but it takes a special person to heal. "What I knew and didn't know about her, I never lied." He'd told other lies, small self defensive lies, but nothing that changed the kind of person he...wanted to be.


Lanara makes certain that the door is locked, since Kyori seems to want to remain on guard, and she struggles to push a small dresser before it, to add an extra barrier. She’s frightened, as though she can sense that men that brought her home would be returning, but she refuses to let it show in her expression. “I…” The mention of Natianara is enough to bring tears to Lana’s eyes, and were she as naïve as her daughter, she would have spilled her guts to the warrior. But… She wasn’t capable of opening up just yet, as it always took a little finessing to get the witch to talk. Kyori can see the longing in her expression, as she yearns to hear more about the child she bore but never had the chance of meeting. For years she believed she was unable to conceive, it had cost her a chance at marriage, and she had no knowledge about the existence of Natianara. Yet… The witch was always hopeful to have a family of more than just herself and a menagerie of animals. It was possible, were she to turn into a lycan, or if she used some forbidden magic, but that would require a husband… And she had difficulty in keeping –anyone- in her life, let alone a man! The witch was a bit of a handful. “I am sure I would be proud to call her my offspring…” She’s trying to remain aloof, but the look in her eyes is wistful and Kyori can read her emotions by now, “Would you like to see her again, Coyote? Nat isn’t just going to be a High Priestess, though that would be an honor, as well… She was chosen to be Lady of Kelvar… So, she’s unable to ever leave the lands… In a sense, she’s married to the Earth, and she’s more powerful than a Queen. The villagers will look to her as their personal Goddess… Our last was murdered when the Drow overtook the land, but Nat will rebuild Kelvar, I’m sure of it!” Lana smiles faintly and slowly walks over to Kyori, taking a seat on the edge of the bed at Sawyer’s side, and she beckons for the male to take a seat. “Only one with Kelvarian blood may part the veil and gain access to the island… Otherwise, you will wander aimlessly in the fog for all time. But… If I’m proven innocent, I will leave the next day and meet my daughter… You are welcome to accompany me, if you like.” She understands that Nat and Kyori shared a bond, to what extent she didn’t know, but she was open to seeing them continue their friendship. Even if it was a little strange that mother and daughter were only two years apart in age! “This-“ She motions to her battered body, before pressing the cold pack against her cheek to alleviate the swelling, “It’s not your fault… Basically… The man that you punched? Well, Lunalesca punished him… He lost the thumb on his sword hand and I’m allowed to keep Sawyer. –My- punishment, if you want to call it that, is that I have to host the Samhain ball next week. Luna thinks I need to let the public know I’m back and I’m not a threat…” She still hasn’t gone into what happened to her that caused the injuries, and he’d notice that she’s stalling.


Kyori watches Lanara move the furniture around before he can help her. Was the dresser necessary? He wouldn’t fight it if it made her feel safer. He watches the witch’s eyes well up with tears and tries to backpedal. “What I meant was…” He starts but she cuts him off by asking if he wants to see Nat again. The spellblade swallows, hard. “Yes.” His voice hits a high pitch and he coughs it clear. Did he deserve a chance to see her? To say a proper goodbye? Lana goes on to explain how Nat is a witch god now and she’d never leave the land of magic and perpetual autumn. He takes a seat when she gestures and mulls that over. He didn’t know if Nat was ready now, today, but he knew she would be eventually. “There are a lot of holiday’s around here.” He notes scratching his stubble with a furrowed brow. How did they keep track of them all? When Lanara dodges his question, he pivots back around to it gracefully. She says it’s not his fault but she mentioned the man he’d punched, which means yeah it was his fault but she’s too nice to say so. He looks at the witch with dark eyes, angry that anyone could make peace with hurting her like she was hurt now. His words are quiet and supportive when he speaks but his face tells his true opinion about whatever monsters he was summoned to protect her from. “What happened?”


Lanara seems pleased when Kyori assures her that he would like to see Natianara again, because she wanted her daughter to have friends… And the warrior would be a buffer should things go awry. What if Lanara didn’t meet Natianara’s expectations? Sure, the young woman came to the lands looking for her mothers and having many questions… But, it’s natural for Lana to worry about the unexpected. Taly and Kyori both speak so highly of Nat… If only Lanara was given the chance to be a parent to the girl, it would’ve meant so much more, but instead her chance of raising Nat was stolen. “Yes… There are a few holidays that I haven’t even heard of, that others celebrate… Generally, witches celebrate eight high holidays…Samhain, sometimes referred to as ‘Halloween’ is a day that we celebrate the death of those that have passed from the land of the living. It also marks the start of winter, and a welcome to the darker half of the year, as the days are shorter.” Lana pauses, “It’s my favorite of the holidays… Though I don’t feel much like celebrating this year.” A sad smile is given to Kyori, and she hesitates before opening up about what transpired earlier in the evening, “Feige has three sons… They didn’t take too kindly to their old man losing a thumb… I guess they have been watching me, because I generally take the same route every evening before bed. I take Sawyer for his final walk, so he can go potty… I turned down the woodland path and the eldest son stood in the way, refusing to let me pass!” Her hand reaches out and pats the hound pup on the head as he whimpers, as though sensing Lanara’s pain. “He said that I could pass if I gave him a kiss, and when I said no, he tried to kick Sawyer. I let go of the leash and lunged at the man, and he stabbed me with a dagger here…” She motions to the collarbone they had just patched up, “He kissed me… Said he wanted more… And he tried to unbutton my pants.” Lana blinks back tears, mortified that she was describing what happened to Kyori, but she continues, “I –refused- to have my pants removed and held my legs tightly together… So… With one hand around my throat, he drug me over to his horse and took the riding crop and started to lash my thighs… He whipped me over a dozen times for rejecting his advances…” Lana swallows hard, blinking back tears and staring at her lap, “His brothers came, and they said a ‘real’ man wouldn’t want a wicked witch like me…And they forced me up and punched me numerous times in the face, to make me not as ‘pretty’ they said… The one had a rope and he said I had to hang for what happened to their father…” She lifts her bandaged hands, “That’s how I got these… I kicked and punched and tried so hard to defend myself, but the youngest son was strong… He wound the rope around my throat and drug me up the side of the tree! I nearly snapped my neck, my hands were burning awful from trying to keep the rope from digging in, but at the last second I pulled the dagger from my shoulder and plunged it into his chest… I-I… I –killed- him.” Lanara burst into heart wrenching sobs, trying to cover her bruised face so that Kyori wouldn’t see her crying, “It was self defense, I swear! Lunalesca ordered the other two to be hunted down, but –they- are hunting –me- so everything is a big mess and I’m just a burden to everyone… When I fell to the ground the brothers were trying to tend to the man I stabbed, so I crawled to the castle and the committee escorted me here, after rounding up my pets… I washed my mouth a thousand times and that STUPID ASS was my last kiss!?! Nick can’t protect me, because he is guarding the animal sanctuary, and the rest of the pack is protecting Taly, in case they head up to Frostmaw. And now –you- have been forced to babysit me and I just hate myself!” She’s babbling into her bandaged palms, shaking from head to toe, and when someone knocks on the door, she literally leaps onto Kyori’s lap and buries her head in his chest. Were the hunters here?! Has she been found?! “Do you two need anything?” The voice is Mesthak’s. Thankfully.


Kyori sits there, listening to Lanara, for what feels like a lifetime. He wants to flinch with each gruesome detail but he doesn’t. He’s a warrior and can summon a calm exterior at the drop of a hat. Below the surface, though, he’s creating his own version. He’s boiling with unfathomable rage and he –cannot- let Lanara see it. Not after bringing all this on her by letting his temper get the best of him once. That’s all it took. Now she was nearly raped, killed, and worse. Beaten and stabbed. His imagination starts to carve out crude details, flashes of the scenes as she describes them, but he banishes them just as quickly. He doesn’t want to see it. The witch had been pushed to the point of killing one of them to escape. Where was he? Where was Nick? Where was Luna…whatever? Kyori scoots over on the bed to pull Lanara closer. This is how she’d been comforted in her apartment after her brother died and if there is one thing Kyori can remember it’s how people grieve. He lets her cry and keeps his arms around her, tucking her face against his chest so they wouldn’t see each other. If they did, Kyori’s resolve might break. Turns out Mesthak’s arrival forces the witch closer. Kyori’s torn on what to do. He frowns at Lanara, putting a hand on the crown of her head to silently say ‘I’ve got you’. This was –his- fault and –he- needed to fix it. “It’s not baby-sitting, it’s protecting.” He says, stiffly, trying not to break. “Don’t take the hate of those men and turn it on yourself. You are not a burden. You are a victim. Victims often blame themselves first, thinking they deserved it because then, they feel a sense of control over an otherwise chaotic event. It’s easier to believe you had control of the bad thing than that you didn’t. Lanara, you didn’t cause this.” I did. He calls out to Mesthak after a moment. “Wait, I need something.” The warrior gives Lanara one more light squeeze before moving out from under her slight weight to stand. “I’ll be back.” He promises, the sobering look of his dark eyes proves it to be true. He moves the dresser in front of the door just enough to slide out into the hall with the bar keep. “Move the dresser back.” He shouts through the door. Then he turns towards Mesthak with a stone expression. “The bar’s shut down, stay with her.” The warrior doesn’t give him time to argue. The spell blade hikes up his sword strap, pulling the hilt out and back in until it clicks in place. Heavy boot falls carry him down the hall and stairs and just as quickly out of the tavern.


Lanara doesn’t flinch when Kyori’s arms wrap around her frame and he holds her in place, for she places her trust in the man. It’s ironic, since a mere thirty minutes prior she was stalking towards him as though she wanted to go to battle, hurling accusations about their shared connection to Natianara. The witch doesn’t have any answers as to why fate placed them in each other’s paths, and she wonders if it was her daughters doing, as though she somehow knew they would need each other in some way. Right now she needs comfort, and the warrior is granting her that request, so she snuggles up in his arms and allows herself to fall to pieces. It’s the second time he witnessed her vulnerability, whereas most weren’t allowed to get –this- close to Lanara, as she refused to let anyone break down those walls. It was easy around Kyori though, and if she weren’t so shaken by Mesthak’s random arrival, her thoughts may have lingered on –why- she chose this man to share her deepest feelings and fears with, above all others. She’s easily lifted as he shifts positions and approaches the door, and the look on Lana’s face when he announces that he’s stepping out is enough to shatter the coldest of hearts. “You-You’re leaving?” She hates that she sounds so helpless, so she hugs her knees to her chest and gives a slow nod. Was he disgusted by what she had told him? Kyori said she was the victim, but what if those were just pretty words to calm her down? Maybe he found her bruises to be hideous and he couldn’t bare the mere sight of her face? Was he sickened over the face that she was weak? Lana can’t help but feel that he won’t return, even if he promised, and she glares at Mesthak as he puts a meaty palm atop her wounded shoulder. “I’m fine. You can go.” The barkeep sighs, muttering how he prefers the ‘offspring’ of the witch, before he leaves the room for a split second and returns with a pair of pajama pants and a tank top. “They were Nat’s… She left a few articles of clothes behind… They may be a little big on you, but at least you aren’t parading around in a robe. Do you need undergarments? I’m sure Nancy can wash a pair and loan them to you… They may have some mud streaks, but that’s not my fault! I told her to work harder for tips to buy herself pretty things…” Lana shakes her head; she refused to wear the underwear or bra of –anyone- else, regardless if they were freshly laundered, “No. Thanks. I am covered in that department…I’d like to be alone. Why don’t you wait in the hall? Just… Knock if Kyori returns…?” She was covered, figuratively and physically, as the nurse she had stabbed had given her a clean pair of panties and a matching bra, strapless so that it wouldn’t annoy her wound. Mesthak goes quiet when he’s dismissed, as he doesn’t want to upset the witch or the warrior, but he thinks it’s best that he remain in the room. The door is locked and he inches the dresser back in place as he was earlier instructed, though he doesn’t approach the crying woman again, or offer her any more unsavory undergarments. Lana steps into the washroom and changes into Nat’s pajamas, the only remnant of her daughter that she ever held, and she bursts into fresh tears as she smells the perfume. They both favored lavender, though Nat didn’t add the touch of vanilla like her mother, and it’s the sweetest form of sadness that Lanara has ever felt. Wrapping her arms about her middle, she hugs herself before the mirror, ignoring the throat clearing of the barkeep in the next room. Her thoughts of being alone are painfully consuming, and she rests her back against the door and closes her eyes, wiling the warrior to return.


Kyori couldn’t guess Lanara’s assumptions. His mind, like at the fall fair, was regrettably elsewhere. He was unwillingly dragging her by her wrist through the lilo of her emotions only this time; he left her alone while doing so. The night wears thin in excruciating agony but finds the warrior back at the inn before day break. Just barely though. The dampened mood of Lana and the bar keep were greeted with a crisp fall morning, bright and chilly as the day before. The world and weather had taken no notice of Lanara’s suffering. It continued to spin on, even as Kyori drug himself up the stairs to knock upon Lanara’s door. It’s Mesthak who answers the door, having already moved dresser most of the way back from the door. He lets Kyori in and takes his leave to start prepping the bar to open, quietly closing the door behind him. The warrior was covered in dirt patches; small cuts on his face like the branches of trees clawed him. He looks fine, just tired. His vision is blurred so Lanara isn’t visible to him immediately. If she isn’t on the bed, he’ll check the washroom and even other rooms if he has to.


The witch isn’t on the bed nor is she in the main room, but if Kyori were to open the washroom door he’d find her curled up in the bathtub. The space is cramped, she’s wearing her daughter’s pajamas, and it’s obvious that she cried herself to sleep as there are tearstains marring her cheeks. The bruises from hours before seem to have darkened, and her dark hair fans over the side of the tub in a silken waterfall. Lanara stirs as the door creaks and she opens her eyes to take in the sight of the disheveled warrior, her lips parting slightly in awe. He had left her terrified and crying, with the barkeep as her guardian, and he had the audacity to waltz in like nothing was wrong?! But… He –did- return, didn’t he? Lana pulls her knees to her chest and looks as though she’s too fearful to crawl out of the empty tub. Those chocolate hues are slightly intimidating, full of accusation and paranoia, and she’s ready to blurt out an apology, but she thinks it’s best to keep quiet. Kyori already thought her pathetic, no? She stares at the male for a long moment, not quite daring enough to be the first to speak. Every time he saw Lanara she was incredibly vulnerable and he hadn’t had a chance to get to know the playful, mischievous, charming witch that she often portrayed. Instead, he had seen the raw emotions she kept hidden from the rest of the world, which is so much more intimate than seeing her pranking her sister, playing with an animal, or seeking adventure. Eventually, she rises from the tub and stretches, feeling achy from her head to her toes. Last night was literal hell, seemingly for them both. “You can draw a bath if you want…” She pauses, unsure what else to say, “Are-Are you alright? I’m sorry about last night…”


Kyori finds Lanara in the tub. He squints, forcing his eyes to focus but they keep blurring out again. He can see the dark splotches of bruising beneath her hair and he can see the thin, red claw marks of tears on her cheeks. A splatter of blood mars his chin, visible only because of her angle below him. He stops and squats by the tub, propping his elbows up on his knees and doing his best to keep his eyes in focus. "No." He chides her sweet apology. "I'm the sorry one. I've done nothing but cause you trouble since we crossed paths and if that's what fate brought me to you to do, I can't stand for it." He looks serious. Deadly serious. "Ask me whatever you want and I'll tell you the truth but after that, I'll need to go." He looks at her sadly, like he's mourning the loss of both Nat AND Lanara. Bent down, the neckline of his shift folds to show more blood stains but only beneath the fabric. Could be splatter. Could be sustained injuries. Dried blood and dirt cake round his fingernails and hands. His sword's jeweled hint is dusty with fresh earth. He'd only exclude what he had to protect her. Nothing more and nothing less. That was the one requirement he set down for himself. "But before that, I'm sorry I left you. I just - no I don't want a bath Lana, listen please. Don't apologize. I'm the one that f'ed up. Not you. Not ever. Not one single time since I've known you have you done anything wrong. It's only been me." He grunts in frustration, stance wobbling, while he tried to hold his composure. He can almost see her straight if he tries.


Lanara shakes her head in disbelief, her slightly tapered ears wanting to erase what they just heard. He was going to leave!? “But…” She felt as if she had done wrong by confiding in him, or allowing him to see the bruises on her flesh. Tears well in her eyes and despite how strong she’s trying to look, she cannot maintain the façade for very long. “I… I don’t blame you for –any- of this… -I- am a witch and –I- used astral projection and –I- wasn’t careful enough, so a shade entered my body and killed those kids and animals… That guy at the festival? He had every right to accuse me of wrongdoings, because he’s an idiot that believes those heinous rumors. All you’ve done is defended me… And –I- am grateful that you’ve done what no other man would do… You stood up for me, and you believed me without hesitation. –I- am innocent, and –I- will get through this trial and be free again…Please, don’t blame yourself. Last night? That was –not- your fault in any way… Yes, that confrontation led to some consequences, but I’m alright! A few stitches and a bruised face… That can heal…” Lana leans in close, her face a few inches away from his as she clutches his collar in both hands, “I want you to stay, okay? Don’t you –dare- go away again…” His words sounded so final, like she’d never see him again. “We are connected, whether you want to admit it or not, and –you- are the link between Natianara and me… My daughter left, I returned, and so did you… I… I don’t know what any of this means… But our fate is entwined, and it won’t end in destruction. I promise… Just…” It’s now that Lana spies the bloodstains, and without thinking she slides her hands beneath the hem of his shirt and tries to pull it over his head, “Take this off… Please. Let me heal you, or clean you up…” Had he gone to Enchantment and murdered the duo that were hunting the witch? Did he hurt himself? Get attacked by some wild animals? “Trust me… Once this trial is over, we will go on grand adventures, cook up some mischief, hell, maybe I’ll teach you to dance! I just… I need you in my life, okay?” Chocolate bleeds into sapphire as Lana pleads with Kyori to stay the next few hours, weeks, years, perhaps forever. It’s obvious the witch doesn’t want to lose the warrior, and she doesn’t hold him accountable for the things that had gone wrong in her life. Neither could explain their unique connection, or how close they were becoming, but right now Lana didn’t want answers. She just wanted him to stick around. “Don’t run off, I’m not THAT scary, am I? Only –half- of my face is bruised…” There’s a hint of a smile on her lush lips as she firmly states, “You can’t get rid of me that easily, Coyote…”


Kyori huffs through his nose to keep his head from spinning. When she tries to pull off his shirt, he resists, stumbling back into the joint of the floor and wall. He hisses a curse but stays there, crammed in weird angles. He’d said his piece, he was going away. She couldn’t know about him, the things he’d done before rebuilding a shack of a life here. She, and her daughter, thought he was a kind man with no capacity to hurt or scorn or slay anyone. Neither witch knew the disappointments he was capable of. If he leaves now, she’ll be sad sure, but she won’t ever be hurt any deeper. Her sister knew she was out of the hospital. She had a Sanctuary. If the Fae Queen allowed it, Lanara could stay there under her protection. Enchantment was not making a good show with this breeder nonsense. “YOU aren’t scary.” He grunts, rolling onto his stomach and back up on his haunches to look at her. His vision is worse than before, the tug of his shirt showed only more blood, but this blood was dried in a thick brown ‘scab’. Or just a thick layer and not even his blood. Impossible to tell. She wasn’t scary. That’s why he had to go. To keep her from being exposed to him. His influence was troublesome. It would bring her bad luck if he lingered overlong. Once he’s upright, he tries to refute her explanation. “You can’t promise me it won’t end in destruction.” He frowns, remorseful but resigned. This was what she’d meant. Natianara. He was bound by fate to be here, to do this, and he refused to let these women get hurt anymore because of him and his ‘boy antics’ of heroism. He’d cleaned up the problem, would –never- tell Lana or Nat, and would now go to remove the witch family to avoid guilty by association accusations. It would be better this way. It nearly breaks him, when she calls him Coyote. He moves too fast to stand and stumbles again, falling back, harder this time onto stone and chilled tile. His vision darkens but he sits up, palming the hot spot on the back of his head. He pulls his hand back, stares at it but sees endless black where his blood spotted palm is. “I don’t…” He coughs, rolls over on his side, and falls into a soundless but sure coma.