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RP:Reap What You Sow

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Summary: Lanara is holed up in her apartment in Enchantment, devastated over the loss of her brother, Scandal. The dragon took his own life, and after a heartfelt reunion with her sister and planning a funeral, emotions are running high. The witch doesn't want to eat, sleep, venture outdoors, or speak to anyone, though she perks up slightly when Kyori drops by with some news. Apparently, Lanara and Natianara are related! The spellblade can't say more than that, as Talyara was rather tight lipped about her niece, but he's saddened to learn that Nat has left the lands and doesn't have plans to return. Feeling protective of Lana, as she reminds him so much of his recently lost friend, he force feeds her a muffin top and agrees that they should attend the Mabon Festival. They head into the center of town where the festivities are being held, and immediately Lana drags him over to a kissing booth filled with puppies. One in particular catches her eye, and as she's lavishing it with attention, the breeder appears and issues a threat against the woman. Kyori steps in to defend Lana's honor, and the breeder loses a tooth and is knocked unconscious. Fearing the wrath of Lunalesca, the woman that granted her a safe haven in Enchantment and a fair trial, Lana advises Kyori to keep his distance for a while, until all of this blows over.

Part of the Magic, Madness, and Mayhem Arc

The past two days had been hell on Lanara, and her patience was wearing thin, which is likely why the flower shop is closed on a Friday, the day that they usually have the most business. Between pacing back and forth, constantly wailing over the loss of her recently deceased brother, and punching three holes in the wall, it was a wonder she wasn’t evicted from the apartment. Even now, the witch sits campfire style on the floor, wearing nothing more than a pair of thin cotton pants that hang low on her hips, and a pale blue sports bra, with her hair tossed up in a messy bun. She still manages to look beautiful, somehow, even with tear stained cheeks, and a lost look in her eyes, but the last thing she cares about, in this moment, is her appearance. It wasn’t like anyone had dared to visit, at least not since Lunalesca ordered the residents of Enchantment to excuse Lana from her duties this week, and to give the woman her much needed space. Lanara hadn’t eaten, nor had she rinsed the blood from her swollen knuckles, or even bothered to write a reply to her attorney that would be representing her in the upcoming trial. She had attempted to do some light stretches and breathing exercises to ease her anxiety, but she had difficulty concentrating, and continuously found herself curled up in a ball and sobbing against the floorboards. In just forty-eight hours she had learned that Scandal had committed suicide, and she had gained this knowledge from the one she was hoping to avoid until after the trial; Talyara, her younger sister. She also was left with a cryptic message from Taly, something along the lines of, ‘believe what the warrior says, it holds a key to your past and will tie you both together’ though it held little meaning to the witch as she was consumed with grief. Trembling, she glances at the door as Cinder rubs against it, notifying her that a visitor was on their way. “I don’t want to see –anyone- right now…” Lana mutters, as fresh tears spill onto her cheeks, “Just my brother…”

And Kyori he was not her brother. He had heard the news from Talyara though, at the tail end of his visit at the Sanctuary. Lanara’s instructions were impeccable and the warrior found the place without incident. He was still dealing with the tumultuous news he’d received about Nat. Had he come back to Lithrydel or was this an unholy nightmare caused by his death to that sludge monster? The confirmation that Nat, Lanara, and Talyara were connected gave him more questions than answers. The only real answer he walked away with was the corroborated story that Natianara was gone. The witches, enchanted as he was by their histories, were suffering a great deal of loss and the warrior felt tied to the circumstances beyond withdraw. Kyori approaches the door, knuckles curled to knock on the door when he picks up the sound of Lanara’s response to Cinder. He sighs, turning sapphire to sky blue. Not a cloud in sight. Kyori, do you think Lana will think this random Nat woman being related to her is –good- news to cheer her up or yourself? That voice again. “Lanara.” He called her name in a strong, formal way so she would hear him. If she doesn’t hear or respond the first time, he’ll call out again and knock against the shop’s door.

Lanara thinks it’s Lunalesca at the door, or perhaps another package of baked goods from Khitti being delivered. Waveline, the proprietor of the flower shop had left the front door unlocked again, though magical wards protected any of the goods from being stolen. If a single flower was plucked from an arrangement, sirens would blare, digits would be zapped with electricity, and there were rumors that a carnivorous plant lurked in the basement and would be unleashed on any that brought harm to the shop. Cinder paws at the door, her claws lightly digging into the wood as she hears Kyori call out, and she meows in protest when Lanara doesn’t immediately rise and run to answer his beckoning. The witch is hesitant, heartbroken, and clearly not in the mood for company. She’s so uncertain about everything these days, but she’s mildly flattered that it’s the warrior and not another coming to visit. Why had he come back to Enchantment? Did he truly wish to see her again? Had something happened to her sister? Was there a chance that –he- was the one that Taly told her would bring news? Curiosity is killing both the witch and her cat, and so she forces herself to open the door, nipping her lower lip as she meets his sapphire gaze, “Hi, Coyote… Is everything okay?” The tikifhlee rubs up against Kyori’s leg, and Lana steps back a bit so that the man can enter the apartment, making sure to lock it once he’s inside. He’d see that it’s rather disheveled, as one bed is unmade, dishes are piled up in the sink, and there are three obvious holes in the far wall, likely from a fist pummeling through the sheetrock in a fit of anger. Lana diverts her gaze from the wall turned punching bag, and gives a one armed shrug to Kyori, “Sorry… I wasn’t expecting anyone.” That’s the best apology she can muster for why her place is in such apparent disarray. “Can I get you something to eat or drink?” She’s struggling to keep it together, as her voice is shaken, and her injured hands refuse to stop trembling. Still, she is trying her damnedest to be a decent hostess, “I can make coffee, tea, or hot cocoa…” Was it morning? The middle of the night? Drapes covered the lone window, and she literally had spent hours staring into space and thinking of her late brother. “There may be a few bottles of ale in the back of the ice box, or some apple cider.” She’s so focused on trying to name beverages that she isn’t even aware of the fact that she’s full on crying, “And-and… The-There is all-always water. I could squeeze so-some lemon…” A normal man would have run away at the sign of a woman in tears, but Kyori is still standing there, staring at her, and she crosses her arms over her chest. Lana doesn’t care that her upper half is mostly exposed, as she used to be a bikini model and was used to being on display. “It’s really not a good time, Coyote… My adopted brother, Scandal… He…” She starts off matter-of-factly, and then loses all resolve around the word ‘died’ as she bursts into a fit of sobs. Palms press against her eyes and she half turns away from Kyori, as she wasn’t used to being so vulnerable before someone she didn’t know all that well.

Kyori stood still, making no attempt to enter the shop when Lanara opened the door. Her face was red, puffy with tears, and bordering on sobbing just greeting him. His eyes soften with compassion, striking sapphire melts to a paler blue. He reaches down without breaking eye contact with the witch to stroke Cinder’s velvety fur. The warrior only moved inside when it was expected of him but lingered near the door in case Lanara changed her mind. He isn’t caught off guard by her state of dress or the state of her living arrangements. It was a cycle he was all too familiar with himself. He couldn’t fault her at all. He keeps his eyes on her as she tries to maintain equilibrium only to break out in tears. He knew she would, hell it was better if she did. The falsified face of stability didn’t suit her. The spell blade takes in the dishes, the bed, and the holes in the wall. It took him a millisecond to put together. Her hands confirmed his theory. The woman’s hostess schitk breaks and he light-steps around to stay in front of her when she turns away. “I know.” He whispers, not sure what the best course of action would be. He knew from having so many sisters that certain women prefer certain approaches to comfort. The eldest appreciated no conversation unless she initiated it and black tea. His middle sister needed to cry loudly and be held in a tight hug until she stopped, leaving his shirt covered in tears (and snot) without judgment. The youngest needed to be alone but accepted small candies if he snuck them under her door. He didn’t have any candy or tea so he opts for third option and very, very slowly, in case she’s not comforted by it, tries to wrap his arms around her and hold him loosely to his chest. He doesn’t speak, letting Lanara say what she will in her own time. He wouldn’t judge a grieving woman. Grief makes even the mightiest king small.

Lanara found it hard to maintain eye contact, so she feels herself turning slightly away as Kyori’s gaze stays fixated on her face. If he were to peer into those dark chocolate hues, he would see her soul, and right now it was muddled with varying degrees of emotions. The warrior would see a plethora of sadness, a twinge of guilt, a hint of anger, and a dash of relief that she wasn’t enduring this heartache on her own. Sure, Cinder had done her very best by keeping her company and offering some snuggles, but the feline didn’t have strong arms to pull her in for a gentle embrace. A few of the locals that were friendly with the witch had stopped by, even her sister had sent a handwritten message, but all had been turned away or ignored. Lanara was used to tending to injuries on her own, whether they be of the heart, mind, or body. “I’m so sorry…” Was she sorry for mourning in front of the warrior? Sorry about what happened to her brother? Or was she internalizing Scandal’s death and holding herself responsible? The façade crumbles as she realizes that it’s okay to fall apart in front of Kyori, and she gives up entirely on giving him an excuse to leave. He didn’t care about the food or beverages in the kitchen, nor did he care about her haphazard housing, or even that she was a scantily clad stranger that had punched holes in the walls. As the male circles her, making sure to keep her within his line of vision, she feels like a caged animal on display at a bazaar. Still, she remains with her bare feet planted on the hardwood floors, the pale pink polish on her toenails a cheery contrast to the dreary atmosphere. As his fingertips graze her shoulders she forces herself to look into his guileless eyes, and she gives a barely perceptible nod, before he wraps his arms around her and pulls her gently against his chest. Lana no longer feels cornered or caged, as she coils her arms around Kyori’s middle and tightly clings to his frame, as though he were a lifeline and she was taking her final breath. It’s almost freeing, to accept comfort from one that expected nothing in return, and she cries without hesitation, her lithe body trembling in his strong arms for what seems like an eternity. Hands splay on Kyori’s lower back and her sobbing subsides for a moment, but then another memory of Scandal strikes and she grips his shirt into her fists and fresh tears drench his chest. The witch is petite, as her head barely reaches his shoulders, so their hold is a tad awkward, and she grows weary from keeping the pose and exhausting her emotions. “Thank you…” She murmurs, tilting her head so her words can reach his ears. The sound of his heart beating is soothing, his touch calms her, and after another fifteen minutes or so of leaning on the warrior, she forces herself to break away. He didn’t come here to bring her comfort, did he? Lifting her tearful gaze, she searches his eyes for answers, and in the back of her mind she finds herself realizing that being in his presence is easy, and although she should mistrust this man, she finds herself doing the exact opposite. “I… I’m a mess… I’m sorry that you had to see me like this. Was... Was there something you needed?” Her arms are still around his middle, and her cheeks flush, as she slowly drops them to her sides.

Kyori relaxes with Lanara's permission to hug her. He didn't dare assume what she needed most in her time of grief. He's silent as she cries, offering no worn out lines about how it would be okay or how it was normal to feel this way. No two fits of grief were the same, even if the same person. Lanara was clearly fighting several battles on her own, trapped in Enchantment while her sister was in Kelay and her brother...unreachable. He didn't need to know her well to know she blamed herself. She'd left this home after the incident that required the trial. She blamed herself for not being here to save him. Kyori blamed himself too. Not for Scandal's death but for his own heavy griefs. The things he would forever mourn. His grip around her will tighten periodically, when her sobbing was at its worse. A pulse of support to remind her he was here, he was listening. She wasn't alone. Even without him here, she wasn't alone. His keen senses meld with his stoic expression. He could swear he hears her heart racing echo through the room. A loud bass beat of sorrow that leaked through the walls and into the forest, deafening the voices that whispered through this magic realm. The warrior's arms slack when she pulls away, no hesitation to let her go of her own agency. His eyes are still that pale blue when she meets his gaze again."-I'm- sorry. Your sister told me, while I was there, about your brother. I'd come to tell you but you already know." He frowns sternly when she deflects, acting fine and asking about him after apologizing again. They really were related. "Don't apologize." He reminds both of them before stepping back to let their arms pull away from each other fully. He looked pensive. "I found out more about Nat and thought you should know that as well." Now he's the one who can't look at her. All these women look so similar, it's like he could be talking to all three at once and that makes him hesitate. He doesn't know why, he's not uncomfortable around women or delivering news. He's not afraid of public speaking or talking to people he doesn't know well either. "Your sister told me she's part of your family. She's...related to you and Talyara." The warrior pauses, pushing his blonde hair away from his face. "She didn't know where Nat went but knows you all are linked. I know it's not a consolation for the loss of your brother but it looks like you're family."

As the witch leaves Kyori’s personal space and takes a step back, he’d get a whiff of her perfume, an intoxicating combination of lavender and vanilla. It assaults the senses, in the sweetest of ways, as the fragrance is foreign when compared to the overabundance of flowers in the floor beneath. The apology for the loss of her brother earns a nod, as she knew she should get used to accepting condolences, not that it eased the pain she felt, not even in the slightest. “So, you’ve met Taly?” Kyori’s words are a much needed distraction, and she busies herself in the kitchen, by pouring them each a tall glass of spring water, infused with lemon. At least she had stopped sniffling for the moment, which she believed was a nearly impossible feat as she had surrendered to the grief stage of acceptance. Several platters of baked goods line the counter, and she picks one at random, with an array of muffins and cookies. It’s placed atop the center of the table, and joined by plates and napkins, as she motions for Kyori to take a seat. The witch sits beside the spellblade, rather than across from him, as she was craving closeness. It had been a long while since someone other than her sister or best friend had offered comfort, and Lanara had never shied away from affection. “Taly and I are complete opposites, aren’t we? She is fragile whereas I’m a fighter, trouble finds her while I look for trouble, and she is naïve while I am mistrusting of most… And that’s not even considering our looks!”Talyara was known for having the best bosom in the land, and Lanara, when she gained a little more of her weight back, had that legendary derriere. The younger witch was lighter of skin, had vivid emerald eyes, and frizzy chestnut curls, and was known for her brains. Lana, the elder sibling, was known for her undeniable beauty, and had the darker skin, big brown eyes, and her locks were often straight or held a slight wave. “There –was- one more of us, my fraternal twin… But she has passed and to my knowledge never had a lover, let alone a child. Her name was Persephone, and she looked much like our father, with red hair and green eyes.” They all had the similar face shape and slightly tapered ears, which is likely why Kyori has a slight hesitation in his words, and he is carefully studying Lana’s face, as though he’s looking for the likeness to Natianara. “So… Your friend, Nat? She’s a relative of mine? I mean… I don’t really understand –how- she can be related, but I suppose it’s possible that our Aunt Sharna had a daughter, long before we met. What does she look like? How old do you think she is? Do you know if she has any magical abilities?” She’s trying to narrow down the connection, and her brows furrow in confusion. Their past was convoluted, as Taly and Lana had thought they were half siblings for over two hundred years, and only learned the truth of Kuruni and Thronnel’s relationship three years ago. Her stomach growls, so she selects a chocolate dipped cookie from the plate and takes a small bite, eyeing Kyori curiously, “There’s more… I can sense it… What else did my sister tell you about Nat?” The cookie is lowered, and Lana locks eyes with Kyori, willing him to tell her the truth in its entirety.

Kyori's senses are already overloaded by the flowers and the perfume is -actually- intoxicating His sense of smell is extraordinary and when assaulted, can leave him with a high. "Yeah, I met her." His eyes droop but he shakes his head clear, rubbing his nose profusely. The warrior doesn't stop her but wanders into the kitchen behind her, just in case. He slides into his seat with ease, examining the muffins curiously. Deft, calloused fingers pluck a peach muffin out from the array's center. He sniffs it, decides to take his chances, and peels off the wrapping. "I think I scared her." He had to get better about this witch conversation. You idiot, you can't walk up to a woman and ask her if she's a witch in hostile lands. He'd learn, or so we hope, one of these days. The witch sisters -did- have different figures and features but it was their facial structure that looked the same. All three of them. He could reconstruct any of their faces on the base model in his mind. He does so now, rotating through eye and hair colors until he had it right. "She had blue eyes and long dark brown hair. Age, hmm, late teens early twenties maybe? She was young and a half elf, without pointed ears." The spellblade sees her clearly now and turns away."Your sister couldn't be sure how, or if she was she didn't disclose it to me." Lanara asks about abilities and he flashes a smile at the floor. "No elemental powers," he recalls, "Just palm reading." When Lanara takes a cookie, Kyori pops the top off his muffin with his thumbs and unceremoniously tosses it in his mouth. "She didn't tell me anything else but she looked worried." He recounts around the orange tinted pastry. "Your sister, hell, you guys don't really know me and I get the witch persecution thing." He didn't. He was a prince who'd never been persecuted. Never say never, Kyori. "Makes sense she'd want to keep it secret. As long as Nat's safe, that's that." He shrugs, swallowing his food. Kyori hopes the conversation is a welcomed distraction. He left the bottom part of the peach muffin in front of him (why did he bother taking off the wrapper first) and pulled a chocolate flavored one off the tray. He repeated the process of popping off the muffin top and eating it in one go. Is the witch looking at him strangely? "No, it's good." He promised, pointing at various muffins until she picked one and followed through again. The warrior hands the muffin top to her. It was most obviously a ploy to make sure she was eating. He opens his mouth wide and mimics eating. "puh heh ehn youh moufh."

Lanara sighs, gathering extremely little from Kyori in regards to this mysterious half elf named Natianara, with blue eyes and brown hair. Did he know anything else? Was Talyara being secretive with the warrior on purpose? Her sister was naïve, but ever since they were abducted by witch killers, she had all but become a recluse. If she wasn’t up in Frostmaw with Krice, than she was overseeing things at the sanctuary, and she made certain that she always was around those she trusted. Lana, meanwhile, disliked her solitude, and if someone were to get too feisty over the fact that she was a witch, she would engage in a screaming match or deliver a hellish throat punch. “Hm. I don’t have any family members, to my knowledge, that have blue eyes. Likely, that’s why I prefer men with blue eyes and blonde hair, as it’s not the norm in Kelvar.” That would be news to Kyori’s ears, as he happened to have blonde hair and blue eyes, but from Lana’s perspective, she’s fairly certain he had eyes for Nat, as that was all he ever truly talked about. “I’m sorry that Taly couldn’t tell you more, but I’m glad that your friend is safe…And, you probably did frighten my sister… We…” Her gaze drops to the mauled muffins that Kyori is discarding atop the table, which is another welcome distraction and the corner of her mouth twitches, though she doesn’t smile. She also preferred the tops and used to give the bottoms to her animal companions. “So… Taly and I weren’t just harassed because we are witches… We were hunted and abducted, separately, by witch killers… She was taken a few days ahead of me, and when they caught me, well, we were sort of held in the same area…” Lana’s face pales as she recalls the tiny cage they squeezed her into, after beating her half to death and murdering her staff at the sanctuary before her very eyes. “They tortured us for days…” Her voice falls to a whisper, and she stares at the half eaten cookie, “Um… My sister picked the lock to her cell and she pulled me from my cage, and that’s when one of the guards came and realized we were trying to escape. I dove in front of Taly, so she wouldn’t be stabbed, and I took the hit.” She lifts her right leg, the one free of the ankle monitor, and Kyori can see the jagged scarring where her achilles tendon had been severed with a pair of gardening shears. “Taly’s boyfriend, Krice, he came in the nick of time, before I bled to death, and he saved both of our lives…” Why was she telling Kyori a hint of what happened before she was put away? She hadn’t even told her closest friends some of the details! “I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to take that detour down memory lane. I think I just have been so melancholy the past few days… After finding out that my brother took his own life, and that my ex-boyfriend is back from the dead and we had an argument, it’s just been… Tough.” Largakh and Lanara never should have been an item, and she realizes this now, as they were too different in the past and their paths were leading them in opposite directions. The insults he threw her way still stung, and the witch is about to tell Kyori to take the muffins and leave as she wasn’t fit for company, when he holds up a muffin top and literally places it before her lips. “Wh-“ She nearly nips his fingertip as she obediently takes a nibble of the muffin, and she realizes that she’s starving and there is no coaxing needed as she gobbles up the rest. The warrior is mimicking chewing and doing these strange hand motions, and before she even realizes it, Lana begins to giggle, “Stop! You’re going to make me choke!” She carefully sips water and finishes the muffin, before she shyly meets his gaze, “Hey… Thank you for stopping by, I really appreciate it… And, I am famished and totally not in the mood for cooking… There’s this Mabon festival in the center of town… Wanna go with me? I’ll put on a pretty dress, you’re fine the way you are, and we can totally just eat a bunch of food, people watch, and play some games. I need to get out. And I want you to be my date.”

Kyori’ll be the first to say he knows very little about things. Not everything, but a lot of things. There were too many things to consider as thing, let alone know everything about. Lanara fills him in on their kidnap, torture and escape. “Hey,” he starts, furrowing blonde brows and shaking his head. She didn’t have to tell him any of this. This is not helpful to the mood. This is worse. Worse than her brother dying because they are happening now, at the same time. He’s got to derail this train of thought. She pulls up her ankle and the spellblade frowns deeply at her injury. News of Talyara’s boyfriend pulls him up a peg. The warrior’s relieved to hear they had back up. “Why are you sorry? I’m not judging you.” Dead ex-boyfriend huh? He’s chewing while she’s talking, food catching in his throat when she makes her preference for men known. T-that’s him. He has blonde hair and blue eyes and is not from Kelvar. He’s from…where is he from again? Lativu? Lativu, he’s sure of it. His outward demeanor doesn’t give away his mental misstep. It looks like his mistake is overlooked in favor of her dinner invitation. “What’s Mabon?” He asks, wondering why she’d need to dress up but he’s fine in his ragged old clothes. Hell, maybe she just wanted to and he couldn’t let her go out by herself, even in Enchantment, after that gruesome tale of kidnapping and torture. Almost dying was in there too. He’s going to ignore the date title though. Is it a witch Holiday or a Fae thing?

Lanara is mentally kicking herself and thinking that Kyori must assume she –is- a crazy person after her trip down memory lane, including kidnappings, death, and past relationships. Why has she felt it was necessary to show him her scar? Had she truly used the word ‘date’ when asking if he wanted to visit the Mabon Festival? “Not that I had many ex-boyfriends, and they didn’t all die… Just the one, but apparently he never truly died! And the other two that I was with for quite some time… Well, one left me at the altar and the other just vanished from the realm…” She’s babbling, as she’s prone to do when nervous, much like Natianara. They really did have quite a few similarities! Lanara tries to remain casual, hoping that he wouldn’t think she was too forward and that he’d know she meant it as a friend date, not a romantic one. Losing her brother and the upcoming trial were weighing heavily on her heart, and she wasn’t thinking clearly, so she chalks up her slip of the tongue to being emotional. The witch never chased a male, she preferred to be pursued. “Lativu doesn’t celebrate Mabon? Well… It’s a high holiday for those that follow pagan beliefs. Mabon is the autumn equinox, and it’s celebrated by a harvest festival. It’s the time of year when the day and night are of equal measure, and you say goodbye to the summer, and welcome the coming winter months. Life is all about balance and reaping what you sow.” The witch loves this time of year, as it reminds her of her homeland, and she practically leaps from her chair to go and get dressed. “Oh! Nick left some of his things in the closet to the left. Feel free to borrow whatever you want, if you want to get changed, but it’s not necessary. You will look great, either way.” She flashes Kyori a grin as she heads into the washroom, with the tikifhlee obediently trailing after her heels. If the warrior were to look in the designated closet, he spy clothing that was relatively his size, and likely with designer labels. A few were costumes that Nick, the Backstreet Bard, had worn to his concerts. Lana had quite a few celebrity friends, but the bard had been a close friend for years, and he had even taken the punishment for the crimes that she was being charged. It’s not all that surprising that a few overpriced articles of his remained at the apartment, as he considered himself to be a guardian of the witch.

Kyori’s trying to guess at Lanara’s reaction, which turns out to be the same as Nat’s, and his face softens. It’s not fair to either witch that he’s comparing them but he’d spent the time away worrying about Nat only to find Nat gone. They’d had very little time together but he considered her his first friend here. He felt protective of her and Lanara was given the same consideration. Lana was suffering where Nat had been a blank canvas of experiences. Natianara wasn’t stained by life and her innocence was what drove his want to preserve it, like she was one of his younger sisters. He’d watched, powerless, as their innocence shattered. He wouldn’t let that be Nat…except Nat was gone Kyori. He would come to peace with it, in time. For now, Kyori wanted to see Nat as Nat and Lanara as Lanara. He would try harder. The offer of a suit makes him grimace. “Rather not, if it’s not breaking custom.” The warrior’d worn a suit before and did not enjoy it. He stands when she does, loitering in the kitchen trying to fix his hair in a pot bottom’s reflection. Tell her the truth Kyori. His eyes were his mother’s eyes staring back with unblinking focus. You can’t keep a fantasy alive. Where are the servants to tame your hair and press your clothes? Where are your sisters, crying because he looked too much like Father? The warrior licks his thumb and rubs out a scuff on his ‘mirror’. Kyori was a ghost of the man he’d once been, just like he wanted. All the diplomat dinners and arranged marriage proposals weren’t going to save him now. He looks down, smoothes deep wrinkles out of his shirt and paces.

Lanara is taking her sweet time getting ready, like any ordinary woman would who hadn’t had a night out in a year. She trades the sports bra and yoga pants for a slinky burgundy dress which ends just above her knees, which would be perfect for dancing, and warm enough for the autumn air. Tan boots which read her knees completes the outfit, and the warrior likely hears her grumbling as she struggles to stretch the leather over her ankle monitor. It’s a workout in itself, and twice she nearly faceplants on the bathroom floor. The next order of business is to apply a thin layer of mascara to darken her long lashes, some eye liner, and a clear gloss to her lush lips. Lana deliberates on whether or not she should wear her pentacle, but given her reputation these days, she decides on leaving her neck bare. A few silver bangles are shrugged onto her wrists, she squirts a little more perfume on her throat area, and she gives herself a once over in the full length mirror. She didn’t need even minimal effort to look pretty, but she seems to be pleased with the image that looks back. This would be her first outing in a year, and it’s the first time in several months that she’s worn makeup or put any effort into her hair. Chestnut locks are worn straight, with a few curls expertly placed, and the witch fights the urge to pin it back with a clip. “No. Tonight is about having fun. I have to get back to being me…” Cinder paws at her boot, to tell her that Kyori is pacing around the apartment and waiting impatiently. Lana takes a deep breath and exits the washroom, to find the warrior with a pensive look on his face. Was he having second thoughts about going to the festival? Was he offended by the ‘date’ comment? The witch is torn, and had she known that he kept comparing her to Natianara, she would be crestfallen. They had enough similarities to definitely be related, but their personalities couldn’t be more different. “Hey… Um. I hope I didn’t force you into agreeing to go out tonight. Please, don’t feel obligated or anything… You don’t have to go.”

Kyori didn't know what he expected when Lanara returned but it was not what he saw. He expected a dress, shoes, and hair do but she looks...nothing like Natianara. He can say that solidly after seeing both women fancied up. The warrior can see them differently. He swears he can, except he almost calls Lana 'Nat' by mistake when she walked in and surprised him. He's too in his own head to pull it together. "You look beautiful," he says over her follow up to the invitation. Blonde brows knit together. The spellblade is taken aback. "What?" He shakes his head in disbelief. "You aren't forcing me?" Did she really think she was? "I'm a big boy." He laughs, charmed by her hesitance. "I gotta learn the customs and you gotta get out of this house." His sapphire eyes spot Cinder and he points at the witch. "Tell her she has to go." He says dryly, waiting for the cat-like creature to make a call on siding with him or not. "Did you celebrate this in Kelvor...?" Did he say that right? He's bad with the names of places. "Sure you don't mind slumming it with me? I'm not suit material." Nick the bard would wear it better.

One would think that by now Lanara would be used to receiving compliments, but the furious shade of crimson that darkens her cheeks would tell Kyori that she rarely believed them to be true, so she stammers as she replies, “Really? I, uh, thanks! You’re beautiful, too. I mean, um, well, you know what I mean.” Now, it’s the witch that is second guessing this little adventure. Was she really ready for a night out? Was Kyori? He probably had a million better things he could be doing on this beautiful night. “May-“ Her words trail off and she immediately turns to glance at Cinder, as the fur rises on the back of the tikifhlee’s neck and it seems as though the master and companion are having a heated conversation, without speaking aloud. “The feline has spoken. Off we go!” Had Cinder really convinced Lanara to go out? Or was the witch just being funny? The big boy comment has her chuckling, and she opens the door and motions for Kyori to head out first, so that she can lock up behind them. “Pfft. I wouldn’t want you to wear a suit, because then I’d have to wear a gown or a fancy dress. This is more of a cocktail dress, I guess you could say?” Here was another difference between mother and daughter… Nat despised being social and was awkward in fancy attire or skimpy clothing. Lanara was a social butterfly who enjoyed dressing up to impress others, and she owned a bikini in every color of the rainbow. She doesn’t take the warrior’s arm as the head down the stairs, out of the shop, and into the night, as she doesn’t want to add any extra pressure. They walk in companionable silence until they see the massive bonfire come into view, and Lana gets excitable and points out the different stations that have been set up. “Ooh! There is pumpkin carving, and over there is bobbing for apples. There’s a kissing booth, too, with puppies! We –have- to go there, first!” There were various tables lined with many varieties of food, an open bar, and some games where one could hope to win a plush toy. A tent is set up for those that wish to have their futures told, a wishing fountain is erected in the distance, and various vendors line the way selling seasonal wares. To the rear a band is playing a lively beat, and several bodies sway to the music. Lana slips her hand into Kyori’s, and practically drags the warrior over towards the puppies, “Oh my gosh! They are so darn cute!” Instead of placing a chaste kiss to one’s head, or receiving licks on her cheek, the brunette is reaching into the booth and pulling a tricolor hound into her arms. Kyori’s hand is dropped, the male momentarily forgotten as the witch dotes on the little dog.

Kyori isn’t freaking out at all. He’s silent while Lanara and Cinder have their discussion. Is she talking to the cat? Is this a witch power? Most importantly, is the cat AGREEING with him? Lanara announces their departure and he gives Cinder a thumbs up. If she’s being funny and no magic discussion was had, then his thumbs up is funny. The warrior’s stride is lax without falling behind. “This isn’t a fancy dress?” He studies her skeptically while she locks the door. “Cocktail dresses are fancy dresses.” He declares, like he’s the expert on dresses and their fancy levels. He saw a fancy cat man once so he’s fluent in fancy (and angry cat man roars and lethal toe beans). He wasn’t a social butterfly anymore. The spellblade’s old life drained him of stiff smiles and stiffer expectations. It wore heavy on him now, so far from home and circumstance. For now, he’ll just be the sellsword Kyori with the excited witch Lanara. The lights, sounds and crowd put him on edge. Not to mention the voices here. The further in they go, the louder they become. But he ignores it, focusing instead on Lanara’s excited face as she points out all the attractions and then drags him to the kissing booth. He laughs immediately, recounting her words about his first kiss being a poodle…and what do you know, this kissing booth contains exactly one poodle. Kyori watches Lana for what to do and then reaches in to grab the poodle’s attention. It regards him stoicly, so the warrior lifts the puppy further and searches it’s beady eyes for life. That’s when he gets pelted with a wriggling 3 lb mess of kisses all over his mouth and face. Probably his ear too. He looks over to Lanara again, sapphire eyes swirling with thoughts, and grins. This is the happiest he’s ever seen her and it fills a distant ache in his chest to see people happy. “Wanna switch? Turns out you were right and my first kiss WAS a poodle. Are you sure you’re not a fortune teller?”

Lanara doesn’t have any intention on releasing her hold on the tricolored hound, and the puppy kisses her faster with each bout of laughter the woman has, as she hugs him tightly to her chest. He’s beyond adorable, with dramatically long ears that he may never quite grow into, and his big brown eyes are pulling on the witch’s heartstrings and have her considering if the tikifhlee would be accepting of a little brother. For a moment in time, Lana forgets about the trial and her recently deceased brother, and she fiercely focuses on showering the puppy with attention and maintains a hold on his wriggling loaf shaped body. A male appears at the kissing booth, his expression one of rage, when he sees that one of his puppies is being held by Lana. Clearing his throat, he glares and speaks in a gruff voice, “Put. Him. Down. He’s for sale, but not for the likes of you, Witch. I breed my dogs for beauty and temperament, and even if you offered me a thousand gold, I –still- wouldn’t let you have one. You’re going to HANG, don’t you know!?” He leans in as though to steal the hound from Lana’s arms, and it’s then that the smile fades from her face and she loosens her grip, but instead of handing him off to the owner, she plops him in Kyori’s arms! The toy poodle is now in her grasp, and she runs her fingers through its curls, her dark gaze not once leaving the form of the menacing man. She seems to ignore his comments, and carries on speaking to the spellblade at her side, “They are –too- cute! At the sanctuary we only take in strays, and it’s so rare that we rescue a purebred, but I can see the appeal.” The hound puppy is trying to nip Kyori on the neck and ear, as he’s likely in that terrible teething stage, but those pathetic ‘take me home’ looks continue to tug at their hearts. “I –can- tell your fortune, but it’ll cost you!” She winks, about to engage in some mild flirting, when the breeder interrupts once more and snatches the poodle pup from her arms. “Hey!” Wagging an angry finger at her, voice raised and face purple, he bellows loud enough for those nearby to hear, “If by some miracle you are deemed innocent at this trial, I PERSONALLY will see to it that you BURN like the evil doer that you are! What were you hoping to add ANIMAL SACRIFICE to your list of crimes?!” The witch is mortified, but she tries to keep her composure as she apologetically looks at Kyori, “Hey… Why don’t we grab some food and go somewhere quiet to eat?” She knew he had sensitive hearing from their first meeting. The mystical stream was just beyond the clearing, and there were plenty of places to sit, without people screaming in their faces. Lana places a chaste kiss to the hound pups head, and all gathered could see that the puppy would have had the –best- possible home, were she able to adopt him. She waits for the puppy to be returned to the belligerent breeder, and whispers, “My first kiss? It was a bulldog. He was so chubby, and I kept feeding him bits of bacon, but then I wanted some for myself! He grew so upset, that he launched himself into my arms and took it out of my mouth!”

But Kyori doesn’t exchange puppies. The poodle finds Lanara and the tricolored hound plops the short distance to the ground, unharmed. Instead of receiving the dog, he stands and shoves the man harassing the witch against his chest. Hard. “Watch your mouth, friend.” The stranger retorts by snatching the poodle from Lanara and continuing his hateful remarks. The warrior’s face is set in a hard line. He doesn’t hear Lanara’s offer for food but he wishes he had. After what her sister and Lana had said about witch persecution, Nat even, he couldn’t stand by and let it happen here. In this Fae realm of all places. “Don’t you touch her.” The spellblade checked his shoulder into the breeder until the other male pulls back. Several people in the crowd back away and whisper behind their hands, staring at the pair. Kyori’s too busy not murdering this guy to hear Lanara’s first kiss confession. Why do creeps think they can get away with whatever? “For the record, I ain’t no witch so my actions aren’t on her.” The breeder refuses to back down, howling about how the witch put a curse on this boy and is mind controlling him to get away with her wicked actions. Kyori, the best course of action is not to punch this man in the face. It’s to bend down, help Lanara up, and get the hell outta dodge. Think about this. Ignore your gut instinct. Don’t – but it’s too late. Once the son of a b- puts the dog he’s holding back in the pen, Kyori upper cuts him with impressive speed. His face is stone; frozen in rage so deep he’d knock the man’s head clean off if he kept it up. “This is a celebration!” Kyori screams at the onlookers, frustrated they didn’t intervene. “She’s protected by…” he didn’t know her name “…that fae queen! If you got a problem with witches, let’s chat now. A public forum, if you will.” His voice is gravel and daring. The breeder he’d just punched had dropped to the ground. He now rolls over and spits out a tooth before passing out from the sight of blood. No one rises to his challenge to an ‘intellectual debate’ so he relaxes his shoulders but leaves his fists in tight balls at his side. “You f-ers.” He swears at the circle of onlookers before taking Lanara’s hand, a little too roughly, and dragging her away from the commotion. He doesn’t have a destination in mind. He’s just going to keep walking until she tells him to stop.

Lanara remains silent and still as the scene unfolds before them, escalating to a point that she couldn’t have imagined. She had tried to diffuse the tension, suggested grabbing a bite to eat and going to sit somewhere quiet, but apparently Kyori had other plans in mind. The breeder lays unconscious, blood and animal feces clinging to his frame, as the spellblade is now challenging all of the onlookers. None would dare to speak up to the man, though none would step forward to defend the honor of the witch, either. The hound puppy scrambles off, weaving through the crowd in pursuit of a group of children to play with, his tail wagging endlessly. Lanara hopes he will find a good home, but she dares not chase after him and leave her date unattended. “Hey…” She’s trying to calm him down, though he doesn’t hear her words, as he’d fueled by his anger. A few of the fair goers smile sympathetically at the witch, as she had done work for them in the past, and they didn’t think she was a monster. Some shake their head, give a dirty look, or point at the witch and the ‘mind controlled’ male at her side. A couple of men, who have ogled Lana from afar, look as though they want to punch Kyori as he had managed to score the forbidden sorceress as his date for the fair. Lunalesca’s lackeys were the first to flee at the sign of danger, but she would hear of this, and either ban the breeder from Enchantment, or make certain he was never able to point a finger at another, again. Lanara doesn’t protest when her hand is roughly grabbed and she’s yanked far from the booth, though she has to walk at a faster pace since the boots she’s wearing have a bit of a heel. “Ouch...” She may as well be talking to herself, she thinks, wincing as her achilles tendon chooses –now- to act up. It’s a dull ache as her ankle slightly twists, but it’s not serious enough that she needs medical attention, so she continues to walk against the pain and follows at Kyori’s side. The fair is out of sight and earshot now, and they end up on the opposite side of the mystical stream she had mentioned earlier. The bubbling brook is a welcome sound, compared to the bellowing breeder, and a lone bench is arranged before a small fire. It’s unattended, as though the previous visitor decided to go elsewhere, and its here that Lana squeezes Kyori’s hand, and steers him in the direction of the bench. Once she sits, she turns to look at him and offers an apology, “I’m so sorry… I should have known better than to go out in public, yet. I just… Wanted to get away from that stifling apartment, you know? Is your hand hurt?” Without thinking, she snatches his hand and places a sweet kiss to each of his knuckles, unable to hide her silken smile as she lifts her head, “Thank you for kicking his ass for me… That was –amazing- and I’m flattered that you defended me… You’re incredible, Coyote.” The moon filters through the treetops and lights their location, along with the crackling fire, and had they not just come from a fight, it would be a picture perfect moment.

Kyori doesn’t hear Lana’s whimper of pain. He doesn’t hear anything but the enraged blood pumping in his ears and the voices that surround Enchantment. The witch pulls him back to the present by squeezing his hand. There’s relief in letting her direct him so he can mindlessly follow her lead. They reach the bench and he can’t take in the beautiful scenery. He can’t absorb the natural calm of the spring, the moon light, or Lanara’s apology. “Don’t apologize! It’s not your fault those people are animals!” He snaps, cover his face with his hands and grunts into them. He stands, restless, and lets his hands fall away. He looks back at her, sapphire eyes dark and remorseful. He’s a monster and shouldn’t be near her. She’d done the right thing, trying to deescalate. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to yell. I shouldn’t have punched that guy. I shouldn’t have made a scene and pulled you into the woods. You’re a human being Lanara, you are allowed to go out in public and pet dogs, for f-s sake. It’s not a f-ing crime to not be cooped up in an apartment, or not be burned at the stake, or worse!” The spellblade throws his hands up in frustration, pacing out of her reach. His knuckles are unharmed, not even swollen. There’s no blood or cracked skin. At worst, he touched a hot stove and it left his skin a red and warm to the touch. “I can’t stand this. You're so nice and they're being so ignorant.” What right did he have to be mad? He hadn’t even suffered like Lanara had and he couldn’t take her back to the fair like nothing was wrong. People’d stare because he’d punched that guy’s lights out. Hell, guards might come arrest him, who knows? Then the Fae Queen could give him a punishment, lock him in Enchantment to await a trial with a matching ankle monitor. “I’m happy I kicked his ass, I’d do it again but I’m sorry I ruined the fair. Let me go back and buy you something to eat. You stay here, I’ll be right back. Okay?” If she looks apprehensive or declines his offer, he’ll hold out his hands to stop her. “Stay here. Let me make it up to you. Please.”

Lanara drops his hand and watches him pace back and forth, wondering where all that pent up frustration was hailing from. He was taking this worse than she was, and she was the actual witch! Her dark hues follow him as he walks to the left, yells a bit, continues to the right, and repeats the process. She would be amused, were he not so angered. Once he finally seems to calm down a little, she sighs and shakes her head, “First of all… I’m not –always- nice. It’s rare that I let anyone see this side of me, but I feel that you are someone that I can trust.” To a point. She still hoped to learn more about him, before revealing too much of her past. “I don’t show my vulnerable side to many, and you were kind to me the two times we’ve been in contact. You’ve earned the title of ‘friend’ and I’m grateful that you defended my honor. However…” She glances away, knowing that her current reputation could harm him, as it had done to her over the past few months. Lunalesca would be sure to keep them apart now, as the actions of this night would force the fae’s hand. If she allowed the breeder to go unscathed it would make her look weak, but if she were to punish Lanara for the deeds of the outsider, it would have her going back on a vow. Either way, this had complicated things, but not beyond repair. “Kyori… You will be viewed as a witch sympathizer, now… And that is more dangerous than practicing the craft, or being seen in public with a witch. I-I think we need to spend a few days apart…” Her words are hesitant and gentle, as she didn’t want to be alone, either. The spellblade was the first friend she had made since returning, and he believed in her innocence, and supported her in her time of need after learning of Scandal’s death. Lana wasn’t hungry anymore, but her expression softens when he offers to get her food. “No, thank you. I’m just really tired… Why don’t you walk me back to the apartment?” She waits for his reply, as something catches her eye just beyond the row of trees. It’s the hound puppy, tromping through the forest and stumbling over his long ears, likely following their scent. “Come here, Little One! I will take you home with me.” She dared not return him to the breeder, nor would she leave him in the wilderness. Cinder would have to adapt sooner or later, she thinks, as she lifts the puppy in her arms and looks at Kyori. She feels terrible for being what she is, but she cannot deny her ancestry or the power that runs through her veins. The witch is doing this to protect Kyori, so he wouldn’t be forced to defend her honor again, or risk being attacked himself. “I’m sorry…”

Kyori isn’t easily convinced. He doesn’t want to go down without a fight. He can fix it. Like a corn dog or something would fix it. She’s saying all this stuff about how he’s in danger and she’s protecting him and it’s for the best. Didn’t he get a say in any of this? “It was my decision to punch that idiot.” He couldn’t believe she wasn’t always nice. Didn’t she say she did a bunch of volunteer work while here? Working herself to the bone no doubt. He scuffs when she tells him he’s been kind both times. “Not this time, I guess.” It’s a petty thing said in disappointment with himself as he shakes his head. “They can call me whatever they want, I can hold my own.” Not in a 9817239172 to 1 fight, Kyori. Slow your pride, man. She says they need a few days apart and he squints at her. Is she serious? But he didn’t do anything wrong. He stood up for her! For witches! He wasn’t in danger because some dog breeder got mouthy. The spellblade couldn’t imagine that the Fae Queen could punish Lanara for his actions since they were HIS and not HERS. He wants to protest more but the puppy appears and the witch’s face is all lit up and happy that he just shuts his mouth instead. “Fine.” He mutters, morosely. She shouldn’t feel terrible for being who she is. It isn’t her fault. She’s ALLOWED. It isn’t a choice she made. She shouldn’t have to hide who she was so everyone else got to live cushy lives without considering others. Kyori doesn’t respond to her apology though. He can’t tell her to stop apologizing and it’s clear she couldn’t or wouldn’t. She blames herself; he can hear it in her heart rate. At least the puppy was here and helping. “Come on.” He gestures, stuffing his hands back in his pockets to sulk during the charged silence of their journey back. The warrior wasn’t even mad at her, he was mad FOR her. Mad at the other people. Mad at himself. She’d only been nice to him; this wasn’t a way to repay his kindness. She wasn’t a fragile animal in need of protecting. She’d come this far, endured this much, without his presence. After a while, he speaks up. “I’m sorry I overreacted. I’m not sorry I punched that guy but I’m sorry I couldn’t take it in stride when it’s not even my suffering in the witch plight. Seems pretty blind on my part.”

Lanara is grateful to be walking again; it takes the focus off of wringing her hands or breaking down in front of the man. He had to comfort her all afternoon over Scandal’s death, and it wasn’t fair to bawl into his chest again, leaving his attire damp and wrinkled. The puppy is gnawing on one of her bangles, content to be held and have an elf to call his own. Every so many feet, Lana steals a sidelong glance Kyori’s way, sensing his fury from her words. “Look… It’s not that I –want- to go without seeing you, it’s just that I have a ton on my plate right now. And… I worry that if you’re around me too much, that it could put you in danger. I have no doubt that you can defend yourself, hell, you pack quite a punch!” She smiles faintly, trying to lighten the mood. “I’m flattered that you stood up for me and for all witches tonight, but I fear that the citizens that witnessed everything won’t be so understanding. Lunalesca is difficult. I just… I just want peace of mind that –you- will be okay, because… I, uh, like having you around. Even though I really don’t know you all that well, yet. I felt some sort of connection in the apple orchard, and I can’t explain it.” Similar to how he felt when confusing Lanara for Natianara, as though he were drawn to her aura, or perhaps fulfilling a fortune that was told a few weeks prior. Which part of the fortune remains a mystery; was Lana the adventure, heartache, or love interest? “Anyways… I just need to know that you will steer clear of Enchantment for a few days, while I plan my brother’s funeral?” She’d do more volunteer work; pave the way, should he wish to see her again. Plus, she had a bank heist planned with Callum and Meri, and she couldn’t have eyes on her as she was doing something illegal. She was stealing her –own- property, but she had no choice, as her assets were frozen until the trial was over. “The funeral is in a few days, and will be at the spot where we just were, near the stream… You can attend if you want, but if not, after that… Enough time will have passed and you can come back, or maybe I can venture outside the gates a little ways… I mean, that’s only if you want…” He wouldn’t want to see her again, not after this, she’s sure of it. Lana had grown used to losing friends, mending broken hearts from cowards that realized she had too much baggage, and being ostracized from communities for wearing a pentacle. Thankfully, they are at the flower shop and the puppy is starting to wiggle in her arms so Lana is eager to say goodnight. She turns to peer up at the spellblade, and for a moment she allows her gaze to linger on his face, into those sapphire eyes, “Thank you, Coyote. For coming over and helping me through everything, and for snagging me a free puppy… You’re a true friend, and I hope to see you again.” The puppy inches nearer to kiss the spellblade goodnight, and Lana can’t help but grin, “He hopes you come visit, too!”

Kyori’s too proud to admit he feels like a scolded child. Lanara’s concern, at it’s core, is about his safety. HE came barreling into HER life, not the other way around. He should be more considerate of her feelings but in this moment he can’t be. He hates himself for it but he can’t see past his own limited view. He wants to tell her he can take care of himself and he doesn’t need to be another thing she worries about. He’s been alone, traveling, for a long time. He wasn’t scared of being alone, or getting ganged up on by Witch Hunters. He was scared of other things like people finding out who he was. People judging him for his past mistakes. People were annoying as a rule, or maybe that’s just the mood he’s in right now. A juvenile pout where he felt the world was against him by way of ruining Lanara’s good mood when she was in mourning. “Yeah.” He nods, agreeing to her terms to avoid Enchantment for a while. It’s the least he could do, literally. He’s all spit and vinegar until she looks into his eyes with her chocolate hues and calls him Coyote. His heart aches in a way he can’t explain. Not heartbreak, not love, but loss. They lost the fair. They’d lost picking apples. She’d lost her brother and her freedom. He’d lost…everything. Everything he ever loved, he’d lost and he couldn’t make up for it by defending Nat or Lana or anyone. It wouldn’t win him back what he’d lost. He’s about to speak when the puppy licks his face and breaks the warrior’s bleak concentration. He forces a smile for the witch. “He needs a name,” said the spellblade, as he turns to head back towards Kelay. The loudest voice in his head right now was his own.