RP:Don't Be Suspicious
Summary: Talyara decides to take a break from paperwork to stroll around the sanctuary to make sure that everything is running smoothly. A mysterious visitor appears and the witch is immediately wearisome. She soon learns that Kyori was a friend of her niece, Natianara, and is simply hoping to figure out what happened to her. As if his motives weren’t suspicious enough, the spellblade brings word of Lanara which leads Taly to believe he is a former patient at the same mental health facility where her sister lives.
Part of the Magic, Madness, and Mayhem Arc
Kuruni’s Animal Sanctuary
True to his word, Kyori did not try to find the animal sanctuary after leaving Enchantment. He went to the tavern and once his business concluded there, he left after asking for directions. The main road was occupied but not overbearing. The man moved with ease through the crowd but kept his keen eyes on the faces of those he passed. None of them fit the profile. The Kelay hub behind him, the spellblade ruffles his ashen blonde hair while a frown takes his features. He watches his own reflection in puddle underfoot. Didn’t he look ever the hero? Wearing the weight of a new world on his shoulders in place of his last failed attempt. ‘It’s such a good look, isn’t it darling?’ He recoiled from the sound, real or imaginary, and pushed on off the path. While leaves turn to dust under his boots and twigs snap like icy wind, Kyori wonders what the Sanctuary would be like. Would it be fenced in or free roaming? Would it have a fence with Lanara’s name carved in it? The sounds of town and man yield to the susurrus of birds and forest creatures. He rounds the outside of the Sanctuary cautious and aware. His left hand clasps at the chest strap on his scabbard. The glint of various jewels in the weapon’s handle refract like prisms against the afternoon sun.
The sanctuary sat much like it always did, a renovated barn which had been sectioned off on the inside, and expanded even further to accommodate more exotic animals. It was a slow day in terms of traffic and potential adopters, but that suited Talyara just as well--she had a ton of work to do and the tempered activity would allow her to accomplish that. After spending the morning catching up on paperwork for pending adoptions, paying open invoices, and balancing the books, the witch decides to spend the remainder of her day out on the grounds in the fresh air. After informing Venin, the head caretaker and Taly's right-hand woman, that she'd be outside if she was needed, the witch heads out back to stop at the stables first and check on not only the animals, but their stock of food and supplies as well. Guards roamed the perimeter of the sanctuary; they had been in place before Lanara's kidnapping and Venin's attack, and Taly kept the practice in place even though it had been months since that horrible night occurred. It was a lovely autumn day, Talyara's absolute favorite, as it reminded her of her home of Kelvar. She wore her usual leggings (brown today), a purple sweater, and worn leather ankle boots. Her mess of chestnut curls was left to do its own thing, hanging wildly down to her mid back. After checking out the stables and ensuring everything was set there, she circles around out front to examine the entrance to plan out some fall themed decorations when a flash of something colorful catches her eye and the green eyed witch spots Kyori loitering nearby. She tenses slightly, even more paranoid of strangers since her own abduction and torture, and quickly scans him for any sign of the witch hunters' sigil. Not finding any, Taly fixes a tentative smile on her face and calls out to the man. "Hello there. May I help you with something? Are you looking to adopt an animal companion?"
Kyori's lost in a memory when the witch calls out to him. The leaves were orange and yellow, the wind was chilly, the sun was warm. A blonde haired woman turns back to drag him forward, laughing with leaves caught in her hair. Sapphire eyes refocus on the woman before him in reality, taking note of the same overlapping similarities with both Lanara and Natianara. Where witches all from the same family or was the -ara name pattern traditional? No doubt this woman is related to Lanara, though Talyara is the younger of the two if he's got it right. He waves her over, cautiously, in case this woman also had a Fairy Queen protector to threaten him with dates and apples. "Are you a witch?" He stops himself too late, swears he can hear her heartrate shoot through the roof. "I meant to say, are you Talyara? I don't mean any harm, I don't care that you're a witch. I forgot your name..." Lanara had asked him not to spoil the surprise of her return. He needs to explain himself before Talyara hexes him. Nat warned him about witches and hexes. "Stop, wait, hold on. I'm a friend of Nat's!" He curses himself, may all his interactions go so smoothly. "Bad introduction. It's been a long couple days, sorry. I was hoping you could tell me where Nat is, I can't find her and some Fae woman told me she was gone. It's troubling stuff." His blonde hair frizzes in the absence of attention. Dark circles denote lack of sleep and potential intoxication.
Talyara watches Kyori with a curious, albeit friendly expression as he seems lost in thought when she initially calls out to him, but he seems to come to his senses and is waving her over. Perhaps he was mute and unable to speak? The big hearted witch takes a few steps forward when he suddenly asks if she's a witch. It feels as if she's been doused in cold water, as panic bubbles in her stomach quickly, flowing into her chest, squeezing her lungs, and making it near impossible to breathe. Was this a witch hunter after all? He didn't wear the sigil of Cramer's men but that didn't mean he chose not to wear it or it was hidden from view. Her once kind expression morphs into one of fury and fear. She's frozen for but a moment and she quickly glances over her shoulder towards the entrance of the sanctuary, wondering if she has enough time to clear the threshold before Kyori can catch her. His calling her by her name induces a pure panic that threatens to overwhelm her and she knows she must act offensively and immediately. The witch lifts her hands which seem to be glowing as she channels some magic and is about the hurl it in the spellblade's direction when he calls out for her to stop and claims to be a friend of her niece, Natianara. The magical energy is right at the the tips of Talyara's fingers and she's unable to recall or absorb it. She has but seconds to decide what to do, and at the last second shifts her body angles her hands up towards the sky where golden, glittering sparks explode in the area above the pair instead of Kyori's person. Taly's fingers tingle with lingering energy as she takes a few steadying breaths and stares at the man before her. She crinkles her nose at him and, while she's not revving up to send another spell his way, she's not about to answer his questions eagerly either. "How do you know Nat?" she asks him suspiciously.
Kyori knew he f-ed up when Talyara’s face grew pale. Not with meek, shy avoidance either. She’d charged her laser and was about to take him down (understandably, after what Lanara’d told him about witch hunters) when she pulled back at the last second. His skin tingles from the discharged energy. The charged air makes his hair stand on end. If he was tired or drunk, he looked awake and alert now. “Sorry, sorry.” He adds, putting his hands down but maintaining the distance, keeping them out of each other’s reach. “I’m Nat’s friend. I took her to the ball in Larket and fought off some thieves that jumped her near Cenril.” The spellblade hoped Natianara relayed this information to a family member so she’d know he was telling the truth. One of the sparks the witch shot in the air falls on his shoulder and burns a neat hole through the shirt. “Ouch!” he jumps, brushing it off. “I really didn’t mean to scare you, I’m really out of it.” And boy he looked it too. “She’s really nice and read my palm and everything.” He holds out the hand she’d read from in the Larket Stable, in case Talyara wanted to cross notes with what he said. “She said a bunch of stuff but I mostly remember she said I was bound by fate.” He inches forward so his palm’s more visible. “She was staying at the Tavern in Kelay, across the hall. Working there.” He’s running out of stuff to say. He’d only known her a short time. “But I had to leave, on a job, and came back. She’s gone, I can’t find her, I’m worried.” Nat had been so delicate and small and naïve, untouched by the world’s filth and malice. “Is she here with you? I just wanted to see her, make sure she’s all right.”
Talyara didn't realize she was breathing so heavily; after nearly losing her breath due to anxiety it seemed strange that she was now acting as though she had run a great distance. Her internal energy feels as charged as the beam of magic she nearly smote Kyori with and it leaves the little hairs on her arms standing on end and her skin tingly. She blinks in the spellblade’s direction but makes not move to close the distance between them, although she does give a slight crinkle of her nose when a spark lands on his shoulder and singes a hole through the fabric thus burning his flesh. The witch listens as Kyori begins to explain all the things her knows about Natianara and the time they had spent with one another. Taly had helped with Nat’s hair and makeup before the ball and knew that her niece was going with a date. Afterwards, she had listened as the young woman gabbed about everything that had transpired while there as well as the more intimate palm reading in the stables afterwards. Talyara knew the spellblade was speaking the truth; she may no longer hold empathic abilities but she was still adept at energy reading and thus often knew when people were lying to her. Plus, everything he said was confirmed by Natianara’s stories. “Nat’s not here,” she says, eventually finding her voice once Kyori had exhausted his. “But she’s fine. She was offered an opportunity to not only learn magic but also to grow within the coven back home to eventually become the high priestess. She jumped at the chance. Plus, I think she missed her aunt whose health isn’t the greatest so she wanted to be close to her.” Talyara crosses her arms over her chest and fixes Kyori who a piercing look. “So you’re the one that allowed Natianara to quarrel at a ball and break someone’s nose?!” Yeah, that detail had not been left out of the retelling of the story.
Kyori’s reverted to a school boy by Talyara’s fixed stare. “Allowed is a strong word.” He sighed, slumping forward to gather his thoughts. “I tried to get her out before it escalated. The cat woman wanted to fight ME but I couldn’t stop her.” She was fierce when she wanted to be. “I insisted several times, tried to take her by the arm when her and the cat woman started.” He leans further down, hands on his hips, until the witch can see the blonde crown of his head. The spellblade chuckles to himself; that glass smashed right into the cat woman’s face. Wait…not a cat. A fox. She was a fox. F- “Fox, sorry. It was a fox woman. Not a cat.” Why did she think she was a cat? His brain is scrambled like mushy eggs. After his defense is presented, he sighs and straightens up. “I’m glad she’s okay. I was worried. Not that I left word when I left either…” Kyori, what right did you have to be worried? He clears his throat loudly. “Sorry, I did try to get her out.” He promises, flinching. The memory itself is funny; their moment in the stable had been clear and cool like a spring. A refreshing look at the world. “She’ll make a good magic high priestess.” He didn’t know what that meant and he wanted to give Talyara more. “Bad first impression, but I am a witch ally. I heard about the situation from La-“ Kyori don’t mess up twice. The spellblade almost dropped Lanara’s name. “La-Larket. When Nat and I were in Larket.” Whoops. He’ll pretend that worked. He can hear Talyara’s heart pounding anxiously. “And I guess you guys are family,” He frowns. “Do you know anything about little…shadow looking cats?” He meant Cinder, Lanara’s tikifhlee companion. “They’re pretty biggish?” He holds his palms apart the appropriate size. Did Nat have one too?
Talyara continues to watch Kyori with a mixture of annoyance and weariness. While she would never expect anyone to control another, let alone her -niece-, she understandably had reservations about Natianara, a naive witch, going into Larket where tensions were already high. But the she had spoken so highly of the spellblade and seemed so excited about the prospect of her first ball how could Taly deny her such a request? Still, the witch had hoped that he would keep Nat out of trouble, not enable her to brawl with beastly women. Intellectually, she knew she was being unfair to Kyori, but her concern for Natianara had outweighed her logic. When he mentions that he left without relaying the message to Nat, Talyara cannot hide her audible scoff. Typical and convenient. And now he was coming to her to what? Assuage his guilt at abandoning his friend? The witch's expression softens, however, when Kyori expresses his support and confidence in her niece's ability to be a high priestess and she nods in agreement. "Yeah, she will." Realizing she might have judged the spellblade a little too harshly, Taly nips at her bottom lip before sighing so heavily her shoulders sag. "Look, I'm sorry. I know it's not your fault that Natianara fought at the ball I just...I've lost more family members than I can count and when I heard that her safety had been jeopardized, I worried about the repercussions that might follow her." His fumble with almost outing Lanara and quickly shifting it to Larket isn't caught by the witch whose mind is still on her niece, far away in Kelvar. His inquiry about shadow cats draws Taly's focus once more and she blinks at him in confusion. "I have a black cat familiar who can shapeshift into other, larger feline forms. Is that what you mean?" Talyara has no knowledge of tikifhlees or that her sister, who is no longer in a mental institution, possesses one.
In Kyori’s defense he tried to get her out of the bar before fox lady started trouble! But he didn’t want to fight anyone either. He would have, for the record, if the fox woman continued her assault. The spell blade stands there, out of Talyara’s reach but still uncertain about Nat’s being gone. The discomfort splinters when the witch goes on to discuss other trauma’s her family’d endured. It makes him think of his promise to Lanara, to not tell Talyara that she’s back, but the way Talyara’s slumping and sad tugs at that promise. When she asks about the cat, he shrugs as if he didn’t know. “Yeah I think I saw one…nearby. Didn’t know if you rescued those or not.” Lie. Kyori shoves his hands into his pockets and pulls out a pack of cigarettes. “Look,” he lets one hang off his lip while he fumbles for a match. “You didn’t hear this from me but your sister is safe.” It’s opaque. “I know we don’t know each other but please trust me. That I care about your family and want them to be safe.” He wanted more than anything for Nat to be safe, for Lanara to be cleared of charges and home with her sister, for Talyara to know he meant no harm. “My mom was a witch.” He confessed, though the legitimacy of the term ‘witch’ would be called into question later. That’s what she’d called herself, it’s only natural that he’d follow suit. Then, with a serious expression, Kyori puffs his cig, grinds the match into dirt with his heel, and addresses the witch again. “I promised not to tell you ANYTHING, so please promise me you won’t tell ANYONE I told you ANYTHING.” There’s an edge of pleading to his otherwise stony stare. He didn’t look dangerous, he’d displayed no violent tendencies (in front of Talyara). He cranes his neck to check out the holes burned in his shirt, using his free hand to prod them. “Thank you, for telling me about Nat. I really…missed her.”
Talyara's initial suspicions about the curious cat-like creatures Kyori inquired about melt away with his perfectly delivered lie. "Really?" she asks him, her head turning this way and that as if she might catch a glimpse of one in that moment. If there was an animal, especially one with unique and maybe even magical qualities, she wanted to help it. Her focus is drawn back to Kyori with a painful snap of her neck--what did he mean her sister was safe?? Of course she was safe! She was locked up in a room in a specialty hospital with the best doctors gold could buy! But then the witch is struck with a realization--Kyori is a former patient at the same hospital. How else could he know about Lana's whereabouts and well being? Was he dangerous? Did he have violent tendencies?! Taly's anxiety is already kicking into overdrive at the "could have been" scenarios with Natianara going with him to that ball in Larket. Was he the real reason that Nat had gotten into the fight? When he confesses that his mother is a witch Taly thinks it's just a story he's telling, perhaps to win her over. But she fixes her face in a polite, blank expression and simply nods her head as if this is a totally normal encounter. "Oh! That's...lovely. Do you practice as well?" she asks. Presumably, she receives an answer before his imploring outburst. She's not entirely sure -what- he told her that she's not supposed to share, perhaps the bit about his mother? But she's still a bit leery of the spell blade so she dips her chin in a tiny, but emphatic nod. "Of course! I won't tell a soul!" She promises, complete with a pantomime of her zipping her lips, locking them up, and throwing away the key. "I'm sorry she didn't tell you herself and you had to find out from me," the witch offers, shifting awkwardly on her feet.
Talyara’s question about him being a witch pulls a smile out of him. Nat asked him the same thing. “I’m not. But she taught me a lot of stuff about plants. ” He shrugs, he’s fine with it. “Ain’t ever used it for anything but I have it.” He doesn’t realize she’s freaking out about his mental stability. “Thanks, for keeping the secret. Lana was really keen on my not telling you. So when she gets here.” Kyori looks at her with a wink and gun pointing gesture. It fires one ‘shot’ before he tucks it back in his pocket. Nat’s aunt’s apology about her was…hard to hear but he’ll wear the smile of nonchalant lest this woman thing him completely insane. “I didn’t tell her I was leaving either. It’s only fair.” He shrugs again but his shoulders look heavier. They don’t lift as far and he can’t meet Talyara’s eyes anymore. “Well anyway.” He must be feeling awkward as well. “See ya soon?” No doubt he would if the witches were all related to one another. He’ll linger, just in case she has any more to say or ask about before he heads out.
Talyara feels her anxiety ebb away slightly when conversation returns to the topic witchcraft. "Ah, well plant knowledge is an important skillset to have," she says with a nod. She was known for her herbal concoctions, salves, and tinctures which were used by the healers in Frostmaw frequently. However, when Kyori mentions about Lanara "getting here", the witch feels her panic begin to rise again. What did that mean?! Was her sister plotting some grand escape from the hospital? Was Kyori going to help break her out?! Taly makes a mental note to send word to Lana's doctors to inform them of this breach of security; if Kyori was anything like her sister, he probably needed to get back to the hospital to continue his treatments. His finger guns are met with a confused arch of her brow before she mumbles, "Uh huh. Your secret is safe with me." Talyara forced smile feels more like a grimace but hopefully the spellblade doesn't notice. It seems he's taking his leave anyway, so the witch raises her hand in a parting wave. "Sure, see you soon!" she calls out. 'At the hospital when I visit my sister,' she thinks to herself. Talyara watches as Kyori takes his leave, waiting for him to be out of sight before returning to the sanctuary and locking herself in her office to draft a letter to Doctor Carter.