Packing the bandages into the small pouch at her waist, Adrianna confirmed that she had all she needed before checking her satchel as well. She might not be departing that day, but the magi started every morning ensuring that she could run that day without feeling like she had left anything ‘behind.’ In truth, Adrianna was tired of being alone. Though work on the ships was hard, she had at least been around people. She didn’t talk much, but she enjoyed listening to their stories, especially about the stars. It was from them that she learned a fair amount about navigation, at least at night. During the day, on the open ocean, the task was a great deal more difficult, but the ships she had served on all had half-decent Sailing Masters…even if some of them had been forced into servitude among more unsavory company.
Still, her time on the ocean had passed, and Adrianna found navigating among the trees, mountains and valleys to be a far easier task. Besides that, the maps were a great deal easier to read. Adrianna traveled on her own for quite some time, occasionally joining the company of another to share in the burden of catching their meals and preparing camp. Adrianna wasn’t really going anywhere in particular, she was jut exploring. It had been years since she had been to any of the major cities, or home, and the magi was rather confident that she had been forgotten by most, if not all, of her former associates.
Habits were difficult to change, though, and so Adrianna used a small pair of scissors to cut another inch off of her hair, letting the clippings fall into the grass. Once, the magi had long dark hair, stretching most of the way down her back. She used to braid it, and her mother would help her pull it into more intricate styles when she was younger, teaching her how to hold up the mass with clips, sticks, and pins. She had taken pride in her hair, and in keeping herself looking neat. Times had changed, though, and traveling alone as a woman was…no easy feat. Now her hair never stretched down much farther than the nape of her neck, and her fingers had grown a bit calloused, a permanent layer of grime beneath her now very short fingernails. Some of the changes had been instantaneous, and others had occurred gradually, but no one questioned the identity of the someone scraggly-looking teen boy. She had even gotten quite a few remarks that it would be okay, and her ‘voice will drop before you know it.’ Somehow, she doubted it.
With her items together and her appearance confirmed, Adrianna went to get a bite to eat. She had spent the past few weeks in Mutebo, having come across Taliya and a small crew just outside of Chetigol, a town a few miles away. Adrianna had stumbled upon one of Taliya’s underlings after an unfortunate mugging.
If there was anything more substantial going on, Adrianna was oblivious to it. She had simply been on her way to an inn and heard the sound of a gargle coming from an alley. Though it could have easily been a trap, she entered to find a man leaning against a wall, having been stabbed. The culprit was long gone, but there was still real danger for the man. He was applying pressure to the wound, but it needed stitches, and preferably some magic. Adrianna could sense that the blade that tried to gut him had perforated some of his internal organs. She could stitch the outside, but he would likely die anyway if she didn’t do more.
“You’re gunna be okay.” She said, kneeling down beside him as she began to pull his hand away from the spot.
The man chuckled, though it turned into a cough, and shook his head. “Doubt it, kid.” He replied. Before he had even begun to speak, however, Adrianna was pulling out some of her supplies, causing the man to raise his brow. Maybe he would live through the night.
With a sigh, she started to wipe away the blood with his clothing. If he lived, he could buy more later. She used her water to clean the cut as best as she could in the alley, and then dug through her bag until she found her needle. Fortunately, as she began to sew through his skin, the man groaned and passed out. After checking his pulse briefly, Adrianna confirmed that the man was still alive and used her magic to summon an orb of light. Guiding that to his wound, she could see what she was dealing with much better, and removed the needle. Looking up at his face once more to ensure he was still out, Adrianna placed her palm over his stomach and concentrated on her magic, drawing it from her body.
Healing him didn’t take terribly long, but once the majority of his wounds were handled, he began to stir. Adrianna got rid of the orb and pulled the bandage she had with her, securing it on his side. “So you live!” She remarked as his eyes opened.
The man assessed his wounds, and then looked up at Adrianna curiously. The pain shouldn’t have gone away so completely—he knew that the kid in front of him was not just a medic. “You did a really good job, kid.” He said.
Adrianna began to pack up her things, shaking her head a little. “Not really, it was just a surface wound.” She said. Before she could get away from him, though, he grabbed her arm with surprising strength.
“No, it wasn’t. But…I’m not upset. I’d like to thank you…” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a few coins. He handed them to her, and released her arm, having only used the strength to ensure she wouldn’t run. “But more importantly, there is someone I’d like you to meet. Are you staying in town tonight?”
Though hesitant, Adrianna confirmed that she was going to be in town. “Good.” The man continued. He gave her instructions of where to go in the morning to meet a friend that could ‘help.’ Adrianna wasn’t going to even consider going, and her mind was roaming over whether she had enough supplies to skip town that night, but then the man performed a small magic feat on his own, a tiny little vortex of air appeared over his hand, swirling about for a few moments.
Adrianna bit her lip, and didn’t say anything to the man before departing. He could have been a hunter, but he probably would have killed her after she healed him if she was. He hadn’t mentioned anything about the church, and she doubted a hunter would really be all the way out here, and interested in recruiting. Still, she was wary the next morning when she surveyed the area he said to meet his friends, looking for any signs of church followers before entering.
Mutebo wasn’t going to be her home, though. Really, no place could. Eventually, Adrianna would be unable to pass for a teenage boy, and hopefully by then she will have found a nice city to settle in. It was hard to imagine life beyond wandering about on the road. Would she work as a medic? Would that be too obvious? She didn’t have a lot of other skills. Adrianna made sure that her staff was secured on either hip, the pieces twisted apart to provide her with two smaller batons. It was easier to store, since she didn’t have to carry it around all the time, but they were still within easy reach.
Today, she was telling Taliya that she was leaving. She didn’t own these Magi anything. They had given her some supplies, food, and water, claiming that they were a safe haven for Magi...and they were, sort of. Taliya was also rather…adamant that people find a way to earn their keep, and Adrianna felt like in a way, it was trading one prison for another. Adrianna didn’t mind using her gift, but to continually heal people so they could get into more battles, knowing they would be healed again after, it felt…repetitive. Surely there were other ways to make a difference.
“Taliya,” Adrianna said her name as she entered the woman’s quarters. Taliya looked to be in a bit of a sour mood, but that was basically all the time. Through the few interactions she had with the woman in charge, Adrianna learned that there was no point in sugar-coating what she was about to say, or beating around the bush. It was better to be straight-forward and direct.
“What do you want? Can’t you see that I’m a little fucking busy?” Taliya looked up from the desk, tapping her fingers rapidly against the table.
“I’ll be quick.” Adrianna said. “I just wanted to say thanks for letting me stay for a while, but I’m going to be heading out, probably today or tomorrow.” She said.
Taliya, naturally, did not take the news well. "You whiny little bitches are all the same! You want things to change but don't want to put any work in yourselves! Fine, just stay out of my way.”
Frowning slightly, Adrianna felt like the woman was talking about a whole lot more than just her, but she nodded. “Right… Well, if you hear of anyone else heading out, feel free to send them my way…if they want any company.” She would inquire a bit as well, but Adrianna felt a little weird trying to pose the request to strangers. ’Hey, are you leaving Mutebo by any chance? I was thinking of going, but I don’t want to travel alone.’ Yea, because that wouldn’t make her sound weak and incapable of fending for herself.
With an unenthusiastic shrug, Taliya replied, “Sure, whatever,” and then looked back down at…whatever she had been doing. Adrianna excused herself. As she made her way down the halls to leave, a small child nearly knocked into her. Adrianna stepped to the side as she passed, the brown-haired girl clearly intent on getting somewhere fast. Adrianna watched her disappear before turning away and continuing. She had her own journey to begin.