Ah...so that's the way the wind blows. Eliza no longer thinks of me as a friend. That didn't take long…
She turned toward Bartholomew, or Tholo, was next then Vitius as they spoke she inclined her head and smiled sadly at them as they stated the chains stay off.
Then there was Sadon. She had no idea why he'd been sentenced. He pulled back his hood and revealed his gray hair. It was like moonlight from a half moon. She remembered the first time she saw it.
I watch across a crowded ballroom as couples dance. Some looking like they're in love others like they're going through the motions that society placed on them. My mentor, Calpernia, was invited I was just here to make connections. Her words not mine.
Sighing softly I fidget with my gown. The light pink form fitting, but simply cut, chiffon was not normal for me. Calpernia had insisted I wear it. At least she had caved on my footwear. Flats that she'd had dyed to match the dress. I'd much preferred my black, gray or sometimes blue, garments that you couldn't tell what my shape was. This, this seemed to scream that I had a figure and I was uncomfortable with the attention it caused.
Leaning against the wall alone I tried to blend in. I had hoped that Eliza was in attendance. My hopes flagged with each person that strolled in. I literally knew no one other than Calpernia.
“I told you Fendrel parties are the best.” I looked over at the young man who was speaking. He is with a friend and they can't be much older than my eighteen. His attention on me was...strange. He tapped his friend grinning wolfishly. “Look at this pretty little wallflower. Why are you back here in the dark, little one?”
I looked around. Surely they weren't talking to me? They both close in and I shrink further back in the shadows and they grin wider at my movements. I start to look for a way to get around them but every time I see one they cut it off. I am herded outside and I realized quickly there is no one out here.
Before the two could touch me the door creaked open just enough to let a figure come through- A flash of grey hair stepped outside, he had a forlorn look about him. Whos is that? His despondent eyes swam around the place before finding their way towards me and the two men.
“Eh, beat it kid, we’re busy he-”
“That grey tuft, isn’t he a Fendrel?”
“Nah, can’t be, right?”
“It doesn’t matter, this is none of his business, just tell him to get lost.”
“I may be reading this wrong, but that girl doesn’t look like she’s taken well to your… ‘advances’. I suggest backing off.”
“Who the fuck do you think you ar- wait, aren’t you Sadon?”
“HAH that pathetic excuse for a Fendrel? Whose he to tell us what to do.”
The figure- Sadon, didn’t react. His face never broke, I felt a pang of guilt, it was like he was wearing a porcelain mask. The two figures lunged at Sadon but he dodged effortlessly- soon they began stumbling on themselves, not landing a single hit.
Both my assailants looked tired. Sadon got around them after they stumbled past them and hit one with a neck chop, knocking the guy out cold. His friend swung widely but Fendrel sweeped his leg. He chin landed on concrete, I almost felt a bit sad for him.
Sadon looked at me now, he opened his mouth to say something but he didn’t. A few seconds passed before he just turned around walking towards the door.
“Thank you. I appreciate the rescue.” I was struck by how his hair looked like spun moonlight. His features almost delicate, right on the edge. I walked over to him rubbing my arms at the slight chill in the air. I smiled winningly and curtsied. “I’m Brighid O’Shay.” If I could get him to respond then maybe he wouldn’t look so sad.
“Ah.” he turned around, almost surprised that I referred to him, “I am… Sadon, Sadon Fendrel. Those two, I’ll handle them.” he then bowed awkwardly as if he just remembered to, “Enjoy the party.”
I looked puzzled. That sounded like a brush off. “Do you play chess?” I heard myself say shocking myself. I don’t normally try to make people stay and talk to me. I normally let them wander on by.
“... I suppose I am capable, yes. Why do you ask?”
“I enjoy it more than parties. Complicated conversation that I never understand half of the innuendo. How to hold you fan, fork... anything you really have in your hands. Not to mention your hands and where to place them. Dancing and the question of how much touching is appropriate or how much conversation is expected. It’s all so complicated. Chess is simple in its rules and no one gets hurt in chess.” I looked up at the stars and sighed. “Plus you don’t have to dress up for chess. You can wear comfortable clothes.” I let my gaze fall back to him. I was going to push the boundaries of propriety with this next question but I’d get no real enjoyment out of the night if I didn’t ask. “Would you fancy a game?”
“Alright, sure.” Sadon said, a look of sympathy about him. “I’ll grab the chessboard, it is quiet enough out here so we can play here.” he then started walking back inside. After a few minutes the door opened and out came Sadon with a chessboard by his side. He sat by the fountain and set up the pieces.
I sat down and listened to the fountain splashing as Sadon set up the board. “Black or white?” I rubbed my arms a little at the cool night air. Calpernia was worse than some matchmaking mama. The chiffon whispered as I rubbed my arms and I cursed that I hadn’t given in to making it silk, at least that held body heat. Possibly not a good idea if it had been really windy.
“Black.” he replied. I saw the door creak open again, the person had the insignia of Fendrel on his tabard. The bulky figure picked up the two unconscious men and before he turned around to leave Sadon called out to him. Whispering something in his ears. The guard nodded and walked away. A few moments later the guard came back with an opulent cloak, who handed it off to him with a grunt and left them to their own devices. The cloak had the Fendrel insignia embroidered on the left shoulder. I was then offered this cloak.
I accepted the cloak and put it on grateful for the warmth as I sat down in front of the white pieces. I caressed the ivory pawn as I confidently placed my first piece starting the forward march. Back and forth we went my concentration split between the attractive man and the board. I caught him not paying attention to the board a few times and each time made my cheeks warm. I teased him looking up from the board. “I have you in three moves, Sadon. It’s a wonder you don’t see it.” I smirked when he looked up at me and I felt my cheeks go hot.
His silvery eyes then swam around the board, widening slightly when he realized she was right. “You’re right, Lady O’Shay.” he tipped his king horizontally, “Sorry, my focus... wasn’t entirely all here.”
“No need to be so formal. This is the most fun I’ve had in awhile…” I bit my lip. “My apologies I shouldn’t have taken liberties with assuming to call you by your first name.” I could feel the shame slump my posture and I became unsure in why he chose to forfeit. My hand hovered over the board indecisively. “Giving up? Why? You could have gotten out of that easily.”
“No worries, refer to me as you like. It’s just that I can’t wholly foc-” An unfamiliar voice interrupted him, I could tell that Sadon froze up.
A man with a fierce gaze and a choking presence was now glaring at Sadon. He looked very similar to Sadon, ashen grey hair with silver eyes. “Sadon. This... is what you do at our gatherings? Your presence is required. Two minutes..”
“Yes… Father.” Sadon replied, his ‘mask’ hardened, making him impossible to read.. He placed his hand on his chest and bowed to me, “Apologies Miss Bridghid.”
Brighid looked at the man who went wild eyed and pointed his bow at Vitius. Well isn't this fun. Looks like we find out who needs to be watched.
She heard the song of a sword leaving a sheath and watched in slow motion as it pointed at her neck. Knowingly fully well she could step out of range but she wanted to let it be known that she wasn't the aggressor. She looked at the male that was holding the sword as he said something about unauthorized use of magic and prisoners. He threatened to cut my head off called me by my gender and threatened those whom I released? Well I guess the walking clank will keep this is entertaining. This one and the archer need to be watched.
She kept her eyes on the tin man. She raised an eyebrow as Finlay started yelling and tossing the chains at someone, out of the corner of her eye she couldn’t tell who. He then grabbed the blade.
He sliced his hands and her eyes widened as the coppery scent of blood washed over her. She got side tracked as she wondered how the vampires would take it. Snapping back to reality as Finlay was mentioning these people being her best friends? Yeah she had an issue with my best friend pulling a sword on me because they thought that they were better than me. I also had an issue with them aiming a bow at someone’s head just because they were different. Not to mention she had issues with people she thought were her friends; then decided that their friendship, no matter that they’d known each other for at least four years now, wasn’t worth mentioning. Brighid was hurt. Eliza hadn’t said a word of knowing her. And the summoner fool had put his chains back on. At least Vitius and Tholo had the right idea. She couldn’t believe Sadon had wanted them back on as well.
She almost lost it laughing when Finlay said that the next person to hand him anything without him asking for it he’d take their head. The man was funny. It took all her will to keep a straight face. He turned to leave and gave them fifteen minutes.
Brighid couldn’t turn away from someone in need. She was a Healer. She knew she could fix him without scaring him further. She just had to. She shook her head and decided to deal with a problem she knew she could fix. Healing Finlay.
She turned toward the man that the little fairy was hiding in the shirt color of. She nodded to him and stated in a soft calm voice. “I’ll be right back. I need to heal Finlay.”
As she passed the rooms she called out. “Vitius. Tholo. I’ll be back in a few.”
Brighid broke away from the rest of the group that lingered in the hallway not looking back after telling the male and fairy as well as Vitius and Tholo that she would be back. He’s hurt. It might not be my fault but he’s right and I have more to lose then most. If I fail I die. Others have the luxury of not worrying about that, I do not.
She took off after Finlay.
Turning the corner she caught the edge of his cloak in her vision and quickened her pace a bit to catch up. She almost stumbled into him as she turned the corner. She stopped in time not to plaster herself to his back. “You’re hurt. I can fix that.”
Finlay spun gradually, seemingly unsurprised by her approach. Her footsteps no doubt telegraphed her impending arrival long before he set eyes on her.. His face wore a metaphorical mask that epitomized inconvenience. “I’m bleedin’,
” he corrected. “Takes a bit more to hurt.
” He stood there and looked at the open wound on his hand. A small smirk crept out. “Yunno, they say the Commander’s hood started out yella and that’s why she starts us all out the same.
” The crimson fluid trickled slowly down his arm, following the flow of his veins on his wrist. “It only got red with blood when she first took a stand against it all. And then a legend was born.
” He closed his hand slowly before reopening it. It was deep enough that it’d likely need stitches. “How d’ya suppose you can fix this?
Brighid sucked in a breath at the wound. “That’s deeper than I thought.”
She looked back up at him. “I’m a Healer. A White Healer. Not that it matters now all anyone sees is a wolf. Interestingly enough that hasn’t changed the fact that I can do some general spells and my speciality. If I could have your hands.”
Brighid waited for him to place his hands in hers. “As for standing against it all… someone has to or it never stops. I can appreciate standing against injustice and evil but one voice doesn’t get heard in the dark. It’s the multitude; and those backing her had just as much to do with it, if not more, than she did. Bet it took a lot of convincing till she found people who would listen and help.”
She raised an eyebrow and bounced her hands gently.
He gave a small huff of surrender as he presented his hands. He could argue, claim to be able to tough it out, but if there was someone offering a magical cure, it was foolish to ignore it. “You earn your red and you won’t be looked at as a wolf,
” he assured her as he looked her up and down. “You let someone catch you with a sword again, though, and yer gonna get stares.
” There was no humor in his voice. It seemed like a genuine statement. After a moment, he looked at his own hands as his eyes darted between the two, a nervous tell that occurred when Finlay was thinking deeply. “Brighid, wolf, caster.
” He recited in monotone. “Give me something exciting,
” he instructed. “What else?
Brighid held the top of his forearms which were parallel to the floor at the moment. She raised an eyebrow at his notice of the fact that she could have moved out of the tin man’s sword range before he’d had it drawn. “Ah you noticed that. I felt I was being a bit more patronizing if I let him telegraph his suspicions. Besides while I believe what I said fully I did also want to make sure whom I needed to watch out for and make it apparent to others whom needed to watch out for.”
She raised an eyebrow at his comment of give him something exciting. “Exciting? What could I have that would be in the least bit exciting to a Red Hood? Besides the more excited you get the more you’re going to bleed all over the keep. I rather fancy that you’d not like to have all the vampires and werewolves know where you reside.”
She fluttered her eyes shut and her lips parted. Turning his arms over she ran her fingers from forearm to catch his hands in hers. She didn’t seem to notice the blood or really care. She sucked in a breath and shakily breathed out “Eless- sina rúatan's harwe...”
She knew all he could feel is possibly a tingling sensation and that the pain would vanish just before that, perhaps nothing. It was different for some people. Some healing felt like a wash of warm water, static shock, some people could smell flowers, hear the tinkling of bells. Even taste honey, mint, cinnamon or cloves. Though taste was rare. Rarer still was seeing it, and just about unheard of was all sensory experience. It was mostly different for different people that were being healed.
Except for her the pain was always there. It reminded her of the conditioning they went through to be Whites. She breathed through the pain and the heady rush of feelings that came with it, shaky and breathy but wanting to distract herself she continued talking. “Some people can feel, smell, hear, taste or see healing magic. But full sensory experience is just about unheard of. They test you for full sensory experience when you test for Healing. If you don’t have three out of five you don’t get in. Only those who have a full sensory experience are some of the best. As a White they stretch your pain threshold and teach you various ways to work through it, bury it, turn it into something...else or push past it. If you don’t know, as a White we take the pain as well as healing you. Most Healers don’t experience anything when they heal other than Whites that is and usually that is only the pain.”
She shivered let her breath out shakily and let go. His hands clear not a mark in sight. She kept her eyes closed and tried to calm down.
Her heart pounded like a drum and her breathing was ragged. She circled a hand counter clockwise her palm facing downward and open at the start fingers splayed. Her wrist rotated upward as she made the clockwise motion and she closed her hand making a fist that came palm up at the end of the motion while saying, “Awaime as sina sercë.”
Suddenly all the blood was gone. She breathed in and out slowly. “Well normally this doesn’t affect me that much. But I’m guessing that I’ll be feeling things more acutely from here on out. Only been like this about two weeks now, since the last full moon.”
She didn’t look up at Finlay and turned to go.
Finlay made a fist, examining the handiwork before his eyes returned to Brighid. Pleased, he opened his mouth to say something, but stopped short. As he stood there, the floor space he was occupying was suddenly shrouded in shadow. There was someone standing behind him. Finlay steeled himself as he turned, but he needn’t see with his own eyes to know with whom he was about to face. His vision trailed from the floor and climbed up the onyx cloth to the pitch void that covered Zeke’s face. No words were spoken, you could just hear the latter breathing, each huff that rained down from the towering figure rolled with a gravelly undertone. Finlay stared into the void for just a moment before nodding uncomfortably. After the unspoken exchange, Zeke turned and walked away, leaving Finlay standing there in the corridor to contemplate his next move.
” he said to himself in a whisper. “ I suppose the fun begins.
” He then turned to follow Brighid back to where the rest of the initiates were.