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Location: Winton

Fatima patted the dog, watching the game progress. She followed Gen's gaze to Thom. The poor boy was trying to hard but the keg was obviously quite the thing for him to handle. She carefully set the dog on the floor as she went to help the lad. "I don't know. It's not safe with us." She said as she passed him. It was spoken with a light, matter-of-fact tone that did not indicate the darkness she felt regarding their situation. Fatima took an end of the keg and grinned. "You know, it is okay to ask for help. You need not carry a burden alone when you are among friends," she told the boy with kindness. She helped the boy carry the drink up to the room. She gave Faeril and Mikhail a small smile and wave before heading back down to the common area.

She took her seat back at the poker table and pulled the dog into her lap again. She was just in time to hear Dareen's question. "That's a bit complicated," she responded with a smirk. "I spent a lot of time dodging the servants to do what I wanted. I did not like getting bossed around. But there were people who dressed me and made my food and such. The usual fair. But when I was able to get away I learned how to do a lot for myself too. Nothing beats having someone draw hot water for your bath for you though. I can handle bugs and dirt and eating bread harder than a rock. But cold baths are just the worst." She wrinkled her nose as she said it.

Location: Winton

She was glad to leave the black jeweled male far behind them. The further away they got, the less she thought about him. And having the child and dog underfoot was a lovely and welcome distraction. Words could not do justice to the relief she felt in their being with her. She did her best to spoil and dote on the pair, perhaps overcompensating a bit for having considered their deaths as a viable option.

She spared no glance for the haughty Queen. To do so would be to acknowledge that she too had felt the spark of contention. Instead, she kept her mind on the little dog which trotted at her heels. She hadn't been allowed a dog growing up. Dogs were working creatures, tools to protect and guide the sheep. A Queen could not be seen with a tool of the common man. Fatima especially loved that she could talk to Dunny. His delightful conversation kept her from wallowing in self-loathing. He helped her see the brighter things in life.

They made it to the inn without incident and she was grateful. For once in her life, she was behaving. She did everything she was told to do for her Queenly protection and did not even attempt to sneak off once. Nor did she whine or gripe about Xandar going off and having fun without her. Nope, she had learned her lesson, for the time being, after her stupidity in Sharon.

Fatima looked over the cards in her hand. She had nothing. Absolutely nothing. She glanced at the other players in the group, considering her options before heaving a sigh and laying down the cards. "Fold," she said airly. She disliked losing and it would seem luck was not on her side this day. Had it ever been, she thought with sarcasm. She leaned back to watch how the round would play out. Denny lay in her lap and Fatima was bolstered by this fact. She couldn't be too sad when there was a puppy to pet. She scratched him behind his ears and bent down to kiss the top of his head.

Location: Sharon, Shalador

Fatima, full of relief and joy, walked her way back into the campsite. She grabbed herself a little breakfast and sat next to Thom. She offered him one of her fine smiles. "Have I told you my name? I can't remember. Fatima, nice to meet you." She held out a hand briefly to shake before shoveling some food into her mouth.

Thom looked distinctly nervous and bashful when Fatima sat next to him. Being a young boy next to a powerful woman who held his life in her hand and having been found out by Jandar hadn’t exactly helped his confidence that he could slip away. Not that he would have been able to, Dunny was off playing fetch with another woman and Thom couldn’t leave his friend. Guilt was knawing at him for Dunny’s mistake, but he had told the Sceltie about the danger! It wasn’t like Dunny had risked himself without knowing what he should have done! The stupid mutt just- Thom cut his thoughts off as he nodded to the Queen. It wasn’t fair for him to blame Dunny. He should have gone along with the Sceltie. ”Thom… I’m Thom Moorson.” Or at least it was the family name his mother had given him in the Red Moon house he had grown up in. Twisting the strand of dried grass in his hands the mix raced boy grimaced slightly. ”I- I warned Dunny to stay away from people, Lady. I really did.” His tone was that of someone who was grieving for a mistake they thought they could fix while certain they should never have been blamed for it.”I won’t say I’m sorry. A man’s gotta do what we gots to, but I- I didn’- I wouldn’t tell anyone you were out here. I saw you all at the bookstore…” He stared at the ground looking utterly bashful as he trailed off uncertain if he was digging a larger hole for his corpse.

She watched him as she chewed, fiddling. When he was done she said, "It's alright little one. Fret not. Our desire is not to harm you. And even if…" she trailed off a moment deciding against saying the next thing. She didn't want to give the poor dear nightmares, even if the thought lived in the back of his mind.

"Since we have now become aquatinted we will be taking you and Dunny somewhere safe. You cannot stay here. Have you eaten yet?" She asked as she took another mouthful of food.

Thom shrugged absently and gave Fatima a startled look. ”Take us where?” There was worry there, reasonable considering the state of the Realm. ”I don’t need puttin’ anywhere!” He protested, looking sullen about his defeat.

"To a friend, so you will be safe, and warm, and well-fed." She said this last part pointedly as she filled the bowl with food and shoved it into his hands. "I can't and won't leave you to be hurt by anyone. Especially on our behalf. So, I'll make sure you're taken care of. Whether you need it or like it or not." She pressed a fork into his hand. "Eat, please. Don't make me have to feed you."

“Yes, Lady.” The young lad said meekly as he obediently began to eat what he had been given with the gusto of a young Blood male. Which is to say, with a bottomless stomach. Giving a sideways look to Fatima, Thom swallowed the meat that sung of wonderful flavors and gave a slight pessimistic shrug. ”What if where you leave me isn’t safe? Why can’t I stay? People say a lot of things in front of me without thinking. Not the Prince. Dunno what folk have against him, but he aint so bad less you cross him.” It seemed safe to talk to this Queen, even about the gossip of the back alleys and streets. Plus, if he could prove he was useful perhaps he could stay about. He didn’t know why exactly, but he liked this Queen even if her being a Queen induced a quiet terror in him.

"The Prince?" She inquired gently. It felt like the bottom dropped out of her stomach. She hoped against hope he didn't mean him.

Thom looked hesitant as he nodded slowly. ”Prince Sadiablo. I don’t know him. I saw him go into the bookshop afore you last night. He was nice enough, gave me a silver mark.” The boy looked utterly dreamy even admitting it though he shifted uneasily. As if she might take it from him or shake him for answers about the infamous Warlord Prince.

"Ah," was her reply. So it was him after all. Shit. "Well, I also have a nice Prince. And he has assured me this person would be very safe. And if you aren't treated well you can rest assured that my Prince will take this person's head. I won't let any harm come to you little duck." She reached out and ruffled his hair gently before pulling her hand back as if she had touched flame. "Sorry."

The ‘little duck’ blushed slightly as the older woman ruffled his hair. Shrugging slightly he looked away. ”’S fine.” He muttered embarrassed by his flushed cheeks. ”The big one wanted to put me in the ground. Anyone could tell that. We’ve had a few Eyriens in the Red Moon-” The boy pointed out surly about the fact the Warlord Prince was a Eyrien warrior. They tended to want any possible problem dead. Not that he didn’t believe the Queen, Dunny had spoken to her after all. But his mother’s Red Moon house had catered to a few and they had left… a mess behind them. One that was impossible to clean up. For all it seemed this ‘nice’ Prince was trying to be helpful he wanted to toss the lad to the unknown which Thom was not a fan of. To be fair he had been a tad bit curious about the pointed ear man- Mikhail his name was?- til this tidbit came up.

"Mmmm, it's true, Eyriens can be rough around the edges. Especially mine. But he's a good lad. He wouldn't hurt you. None of the boys here would hurt you. Because I ask it. And because Faeril would probably make them eat their balls if they did." She chuckled softly. "Now eat up. We'll get to leaving soon and we may not stop for food in a long while."

”Lady?” The word was timid as Thom studied the bowl shyly. ”I don’t mean to be prying, but you talked to the Black?” He gave her a look that was innocent of any malice if perhaps overly curious.

She stiffened as she turned her gaze upon the boy. Why would he possibly want to know about that? The look of innocence in his face told her that he meant no malice by it. The din of the camp died away as all of her concentration was on Thom. "Yes, I did."

The fear seemed to seep away from the boy. ”Oh.” It seemed that satisfied the boy more than anything else could. Enough he gave her a timid smile seemingly unaware of her sudden stiffness.

And it seemed that was it and she was not going to question it. If he had no more questions for her then she had no more answers. She relaxed and smiled again. "I hope we get to know each other well during our journey," she said. And with that she went about her business of packing the camp away. Erasing all evidence of their existence.

Location: Sharon, Shalador

She exited the ramschackle home and looked over at the fire. The sun was beginning to peek over the horizon and she felt panic in her chest. It weighed heavily on her, this decision. And it had to be done quickly. She clutched at her rumpled shirt, her fists balling at her stomach. Her knuckles had turned white with how hard Fatima held the fabric. She paused, taking deep, calming breaths as she let the veil of Queen slip over her. Bright white-gold eyes pierced the group with benign calm. A calm she didn’t feel. A storm raged in her stomach. She wanted to vomit.

“Xandar. Jandar. May I borrow you please?”

“Yes, of course, my Lady. I suppose we are moving somewhere more private,” Jandar stated.

Xandar had just finished eating himself and serving everybody, caught up in his work as he heard his name called. The Queen’s touch and kind words say troubled with him, and he hadn’t replied, but it seemed Fatima wanted to speak with him. Not in particular him, but, he could guess what this was about. Summoning on his usual attire, weapons withheld, he nodded silently as he vanished the cooking wear he was just using.

She nodded to Jandar's statement. "Bellinar," she called, the choice of the Eyrien stemming from Mikhail’s stepping away, “keep an eye on the boy and dog please." Satisfied this would be done she turned on her heel and walked toward the center of the village. Wiping a hand over her face, she turned, sad eyes now upon the two men. "I am at a crossroads and I request your advice. The way I see it there are but two things we can do with this boy." She took a shaky breath before forging on. "We either take him with us or we kill him."

She disliked how many times she'd said the word. 'kill him' today, especially since it involved a child. But this world did not allow for kind phrases often. The words had left her lips sour and she now pursed her lips and looked toward the forest at the village edge some way off. Her arms wrapped about herself as if to keep off a chill. "I spoke with Faeril about this already. She said she would be willing to take responsibility for the boy. She does not have the energy to wipe his mind. But, I do not want to make a final decision without your thoughts on the matter."

Jandar followed Fatima quietly, concerned. He raised both brows in disbelief when he finally heard what was on her mind. So, the Queen had been considering an action as dire as murder. He hadn’t been certain she had it in her. Though the mere thought left her obviously shaken, which was better than the alternative. The Warlord stepped near her, and put a bracing palm upon her shoulder.

“The boy has a Kindred’s trust. I say we keep them. I have no wish to kill innocent children, nor is it necessary if he chooses to follow our directives. He seems like a smart lad, so I believe he will cooperate with us if we give him the option,” Jandar offered his opinion. “Besides, if we got rid of him, we would be subject to the ire and distrust of a Kindred, which would not be a good position to be in,” he added, a tad more lightly, though it was one of his concerns - just not the most important one.

She listened patiently to Jandar's statements and gave him a sad, wry look. Didn't he see the kindred would have to be dealt with too? Fatima was beginning to feel evil.

Xandar followed quietly along, crossing her arms and waiting for the others to speak. He listened carefully, having a feeling this was to be about the boy and his dog. Quite the annoyance, really, it was not ideal for them to have been caught up in such trivial things when they were on their way to leave to much more important matters. After hearing both of them, he sighed and he himself spoke up.

”A rather… annoying predicament thrown into our laps. I’ve traveled on the run before, and as much as it is kind to help those in need, we can’t keep picking up strays. As for my kind, the strong survived. It would be rather difficult to bring along those two. They offer little use, take up resources, and make it much more difficult to hide and move. It’s dragging around very dangerous dead weight. A war is no place for them.” Xandar said very coldly, before looking back to where the group was and running a hand through his hair. ”However, how much better are we if we simply kill them? If it was my decision, a swift death to them both would be better for both parties. Almost a mercy to them, really. But if my Queen demands it, I will protect them. We can take them along, at least for now, until other options arise. If we do keep them, Faeril better keep those two thieving street rats under control and not get us all killed or worse.” he muttered the last part out, gripping his neck to where a collar would surely be placed on him. ”Above all lives, the safety of my queen comes first.”

She shouldn't be, she knew in her heart she shouldn't be, but the corners of her lips turned up with the slightest smile at Xandar's remarks. A small wave of relief crashed over her in knowing that someone else saw what she saw. The child may need to be killed. She was beginning to feel crazy for thinking it much less saying it. But she wasn't the only one.

Fatima sighed and tried to run a hand through her curls but only found the mess of knots. How appropriate to the situation. A mess of knots. She detangled her hand from her head before she spoke again. "Let's say we were decided on keeping the child, I have not made the decision yet to be clear. But let's say we did, how would we ask him? If he were to say no then… we would need to take care of him. We could not say join us or die though. It's not very sporting."

“War is no place for them, huh? This war will involve the whole of Terreille. So, what will those with no place in a war do, roll over and die?” Jandar commented with a shrug. “But I get what you’re both getting at,” he waved a hand dismissively, preemptively deflecting unneeded bickering. “I don’t see why we shouldn’t just be upfront about our dilemma to the kid. He joins and cooperates or he dies, it’s that simple,” Jandar stated. “Not sporting to tell him exactly that? Then what would you call killing him? What a joke,” he scoffed. Fatima visibly winced as if she'd just been slapped.

“Well, if it comes down to it, I frankly don’t mind, just try not to get so muddled in your means that your ends cease to be valid, Queen.” Jandar rolled his shoulders, uncomfortable with the direction things were starting to go in. They’d all made such a mess in this town already, and now they were collectively getting tripped up over a pair of unwitting thieves? It seemed fairly senseless to him. As Mikhail had said, and as he himself knew very well, Jandar’s own actions with SaDiablo had been the most reckless and were the ones most likely to have dire consequences for them all. So, if they were killing anyone for being a risk, shouldn’t he be the first to go? The Warlord shook his head, smiling wryly at his thoughts. It seemed like the Dea Al Mon’s words had got to him more than he’d imagined possible.

Xandar pinched the bridge of his nose, listening to the conversation turned into a small argument. All this trouble over a boy. And the one who was defending his life was the most argumentative. As much as the Warlord Prince didn’t want to kill innocent children, the life of one is worth ultimately less than the life of several. ”A battlefield, Jandar. The men come to the battlefield to protect children, but if you’d like to hand one a battle axe and tell him we’re thinking about killing him, go for it. You’d make a wonderful father.” He chuckled, running a hand through his hair.

Stretching his shoulders he looked at his Queen, who seemed conflicted on how they were going to approach this issue to the child. ”Alright, frankly I’m done bickering, and there’s no right or easy way to do this. Nobody is wrong here. It wasn’t our fault we were put into this mess with those thieves. If we need to compromise, we can take the child to one of my contacts that we’re heading off to. He’d be displaced far enough and in good enough hands, that if he were captured for information, it’d be too late otherwise. It’s not far, lower risk, and then we’re done with him. But if he causes more trouble than he’s worth, the decision will be much easier next time.”

There it was, she was being offered the light at the end of the tunnel. She perked up, her face beaming with the possibility. "Would that really be okay? You could do that Xandar? I think that would be a grand middle ground. Thank you!" She crossed the distance between them and threw her arms about his waist in a hug. "That should work." She removed herself from his person and looked to Jandar. "I am glad you have not yet experienced the full evils of our world. I know it will not last, with your staying with us, but I am glad you do not yet know it."

She began toward the encampment, walking backwards so she could still keep her boys in her sights. "I will let the child know of our decision. Thank you both for your help." She turned then and scurried off.

Location: Sharon, Shalador

Fatima heaved a sigh. "Jandar, we can discuss these things with the boy later. For now let us return to camp, hmm?" She turned her eyes on the boy. "Why don't you go with Mikhail. Stay close to him. And don't let the words of my boys bother you too much. You and I shall talk soon." She reached out to pat his head, like Jassen would have done when she was a child, but stopped as she remembered the boy was afraid of her. She retracted the hand with a thin smile and went back into the camp.

Xandar surprised her with his talent. She could smell the beginnings of something delightfully delicious. She did not have the time to sit with them just yet though. She spared only a moment to praise the Eyrien male. "You've got me absolutely astounded," she told the man. She briefly laid a hand on his forearm and offered him one of her lopsided grins. "A man of the world. I'm quite impressed and excited to give it a try." She did not linger though. Passing Dareen and the Sceltie, with a slight nod to both, Fatima approached the place where Faeril slept.

It was dark inside as the beginnings of daylight crept through the broken windows. Her feet stirred up dust that had settled on the floor. She could see where Faeril and Xandar had passed through the house before her. She followed the trail, the scent of rotting wood growing stronger as she reached the center of the house.

Stairs creaked as she ascended them. She kept close to the wall, nervous they might give way to her weight. It was not long before she reached the place where Faeril curled to rest. Her wings covered her and she actually looked just as pissed off in slumber as she did waking. Fatima giggled and approached the woman. Crouching, she gently reached out and brushed a hand over one of the fingers of her wing. "Lady," she said softly. "I must speak with you."

The stirring was slow, rippling over the leather surface of the wings. One blue eye tiredly opened, as Faeril looked at the Queen. “Lady… I hope this is serious.” She whispered, her voice hoarse as her wings moved to fold against her back. Sitting against the fireplace, she studied Fatima. The Hayllian was looking like she fell into a bush.

"Would I dare wake you otherwise?" She asked in a teasing tone, her lips twisting into an uncertain smile. "We have visitors. Or intruders, depending on whom you ask." She paused to look out the balcony doors. "A boy and his dog. Did you see them in your web?"

Faeril yawned sleepily, turning what she was told over in her slowly working mind. “I did not see Jandar, nor Mikhail, but they are drawn to you and you to them. Can you deny that?” The Black Widow pointed out. “The only concrete thing I got was power. Dark power that makes me think we have a chance to stop this madness.” She sighed and shrugged with a slow lopsided smile. “The tangled webs we weave rarely give a straight answer.”

Of course they didn't. That would be too damn easy. Her mention of dark powers sent trails of ice and fire through her veins as Fatima remembered the touch of the dark jeweled man. The Queen killer. She rubbed her temples, attempting to massage him away.

"They want you to wipe his mind, make it so he doesn't remember us. The dog too. It talks. While that may keep us safe it won't keep the child safe. You know what I mean, don't you?"

Faeril gave a groan and shook her head. She hated admitting weakness, but she could not lie to the Queen she served. “I don’t have the strength.” She admitted, then her eyes narrowed. “A talking dog?”

"I thought that might be the case," she responded with a nod of her head. She lowered her hands to her knees and allowed her bottom to touch the floor before stretching out her legs. She leaned back, propping herself up on her hands behind her. "Yes. It… er… He can speak, as on a thread. We can hear him." She tapped her forefinger against her temple.

Faeril’s eyes narrowed. “Have you heard of Kindred? The goodly spirited creatures of legend?”

She shrugged, "In stories. Books. I didn't think there were any in Terrielle."

The Black Widow raised a pointed brow. “Do you have a better explanation?” She asked softly. “My Lady, even if I could I would not lay that sort of spell upon a child’s mind. It is… damaging if it is not done right. Mikhail’s own mind is being healed from one such and he suffers from it.”

"I only have two choices before me then. We take them or we kill them. What would you do?"

“I cannot condone the killing of children and certainly not Kindred.” Faeril stated softly, “But you are the Queen, not I. In all that I know, of what my ancestresses wrote on them, Kindred are… upfront generally in their intentions. Though to be fair, those passages were few and I have not looked at them in many years.” Hesitating she gave Fatima a pleading look, conveying her wish that Fatima would not seek their death yet that was not the question she asked. “What does the overgrown rooster say on the matter?” She questioned in reference to Xandar.

In earnest, she didn't want to kill the child or the dog. But their safety, the safety of those in her charge, could be jeopardized if they were to tag along. "I do not know what Xandar thinks. And you should be nice to him. He's a good man." Yes a Queen killer but a good man. "I suppose.. I should speak with my Court and get their feelings on the matter." Kindred. Child. Would she be forced to enact violence against them? Would she be a monster to keep her boys safe. She rubbed dirty hands over her face.

“Fatima, Lady.” Faeril gripped her wrist in an iron grip. “I will watch the boy closely myself if that will weigh in your decision.” There was deep pain there in her voice, in her eyes of some long ago loss. Not that Faeril would share it.

She jerked her face up to meet Faeril’s eyes at the touch of her hands. She gave the woman a watery smile. Her words did help. "Let me think on it a bit. I'll talk to the men. Come down to breakfast when you are ready. I would like to leave soon." She removed herself from the woman and made her way back down to the campsite.

Location: Sharon, Shalador

The little dog was cute and sweet. She was hardly surprised at the paws against her leg and she smiled. She liked dogs, quite a lot. They were good and honest beings. Well, more honest than people most of the time. She reached down a hand and scratched the fluffy beast behind his left ear. "I think if you were to try and herd them they would maybe cook you. They do not know you. If you go to camp quietly and behave you can certainly have more food. And the pets are no charge." She chuckled a little before becoming distracted by her moody Eyrien.

She frowned at him. What had she said about grumping? She had done enough grumping for them all in the past seventy two hours. The time for grumping was over. Action now. Doing. Something. Getting the hell out of dodge. Move move move. She shivered at the thought of the black jeweled prince. They had to get away before he could be their undoing. She shook her head and watched Xandar's retreating back for a long moment. He was a darker jewel than she, but she felt less fear around Xandar - even at their first meeting, than she had for the black jeweled ruffian. And the touch... The way her skin thrilled when she had touched Saetan. She shook her head again, this time to dislodge odd thoughts and complicated feelings.

She came back to the real world toward the end of Jandar's speech to the boy. What was this now? Why was this? She crossed her arms over her chest and puffed out her cheeks. "Come now, camp. Legs moving, come along." She approached Jandar, pushing at the small of his back while she smiled kindly at the boy. "You too, come along. We need to take a look at what you've stolen from us. And you need a good meal in your belly." She needed to keep the boy near. She had to talk to Faeril. Realistically there were only two options for the boy and his dog. Either they kill him now to spare him the torture of the Queens. Or they take him with them... to spare him the torture of the Queens. Even if Faeril wiped his memory, should anyone ever suspect his involvement with them he would never see a kind hand again.

It saddened her that she would have to make this harsh decision. Children didn't deserve this. But Mikhail had made the mistake of chasing him... of talking to him... This child was now their responsibility. And Fatima held his life in her hands. She didn't want to, but it was forced upon her now.

First, she needed to speak with Faeril.

Location: Sharon, Shalador

Fatima grinned broadly as she righted herself to her feet. Satisfactory, that was all she could ever dream of being. High praise indeed. The little doggy tickled her heart with all of its honest joy. She crouched down to show him her hands, that he might sniff them and gather her scent. The way the small beast just danced and wiggled made Fatima want to just roll around in the dirt with the thing. She had not anticipated the little voice which bounced its way into her mind though.

'Do you tumble around a lot? Do you play fetch? Do you like telling stories?'

She stilled and looked around. A small frown touched the corners of her lips for a mere moment. She glanced at Thom despite knowing the words had not come from him. She looked at Mikhail and then to Jandar. Nope. It had to be the dog. She smiled warmly and stood, surveying the odd pair that had come into her camp. "I don't tumble as much as I used to, never played fetch, and I love telling stories. Lots and lots and lots of stories," she said indulgingly.

Her two boys took this pause in the conversation to wax poetic on her attributes. Jandar did his best to smooth her gravity-defying waves and make her look less like some wild thing from the depths of the woods. It worked only a little. "Thanks mom," she said with prodding humor and patted the dirt from her bottom. She stuck her tongue out at Mikhail, "You say unique like it's a bad thing. Now get on, the lot of you. There is packing to do and persons to roust and adventure to be..."

Xandar joined the group in the famously dramatic way only Xandar could make look cool and nonchalant. She lifted her chin and pouted at him. She made sure to cross her arms to complete the look. "You're going to scare them Xandar. What penalty? We make you breakfast? It was time for you to be up anyway. Enough grumping. It's too early in the morning for grumping. You know I would have thought I would smell cooking by now. Bellinar has let us down, the brute. Come on, all of you now. Go go go." She waved her hands at them... all of them. She would have much preferred to speak to the boy and his dog singularly, for a moment. Unfortunately, when one traveled in a pack there was little opportunity for there to be much one-ness. She doubted there would be much of a chance any of her boys would let her talk to a stranger alone. Even if the stranger was a child. And especially if the "one of her boys" was Xandar.

Location: Sharon, Shalador

She should have been less shocked at the vehemence of Thom's reaction. She'd seen it more times than she'd like to count. It was what her kind did to other, it would seem. She put an exaggerated pout on her face and reached up to pat the wild mess of brambles she called hair. "Do I look that bad?" she joked softly. Despite Mikhail and Jandar's assurances that she was of a different sort, she knew it would do nothing to assuage the fears that were rooted deeply in the child's heart. "Jandar, Bellinar, would you be so kind as to set about getting us a nice fry-up started? It is nearly the morning so we should be leaving soon enough as it is. A little breakfast for everyone would be a grand way to start the day. See if you can roust the other please." She turned her attention back to the boy.

Cocking her head to the side she surveyed both him and the dog. She then looked toward Mikhail and silently did the only thing she could think of doing to potentially calm the frantic pair down. Her soft, white gold eyes settled over Thom's blue ones and she gave the biggest, broadest, crookedest smile she could muster. Fatima lifted both hands into the air and performed a passable front flip. Not as graceful as she would have liked but certainly nothing to sneeze at. She turned toward the boy and bowed. Her bow went lower and lower to the ground until she did a roll, flopping onto her back with a very un-lady-like "Mmmph," as she had just about knocked the wind out of herself. To end up on the ground had been her intention. To do it so hard, not so much.

Fatima sat up, rubbing her lower back and wincing. "It's been a lot longer than I'd like to admit since I did any clowning about. What do you think? Was it satisfactory?" Hopefully, that would put him at ease. Dirt all over her back and bum, her hair a crazy bird's nest and she was now in a position lower than he. And if there was one thing she knew about bored little boys, it was that they all managed to somehow be spectacular little gymnasts. Or at least they all thought they were. This would make her less scary... right? But then again, the Queens had a way of drilling the fear of... well... Queens into people.

Location: Sharon, Shalador

It was the usual clamor to bed. Deciding watches - Fatima offered to be the first but it seemed Xandar was determined to be as such. She would take the last then. She would do her part. Of that she would ensure. She could not allow herself to be some useless twit of a Queen. And she'd already done enough damage. With a soft sigh she found a dry, quiet corner of the broken village to rest herself. A decaying hut that was far enough away for the solace of solitary but close enough that the men did not throw a fit about it. She sat a while on her blanket and studied the odd flute she had found earlier. She liked holding it in her hands. It felt... soothing. The ridges and notches in the wood allowed her fingers a slight insight to the history of the object. She considered the day as her hands moved over the flute. She considered her wrongs and what she would do going forward. She thought about their plan and what steps she needed to take to ensure the safety of the odd troupe. Of her Court, though it was no where near complete. And she thought about the person who would be a part of it. The dangerous, black jeweled Queen killer that was undoubtably hers. The thought of him caused her to shudder and she vanished the flute before rolling herself up tightly in a cocoon of blanket.

Sometime later she awoke.

Not from sound or trouble.

Not from some sixth sense or the tingle of Craft.

It was because she had to pee.


Fatima took some time to untangle herself from her safe haven of cloth; she had managed quite the knot around herself. Once free she did her best to tiptoe out into the wilds of the night. She didn't want to go near the camp, she needed quiet. And a tree to lean against. She found the perfect spot and whilst relieving herself she began to overhear voices.


She did not wish to be caught with her pants down, quite literally, especially if it were an enemy. Hurriedly Fatima finished her business and righted herself. Trousers in place, shirt tucked in, and no dribbles. She carefully made her way toward the voices, her bare feet avoiding branches and rotting leaves. Softly, calmly, precisely. As she came upon the scene, it was not anything she could have imagined. There was Mikhail and Jandar. Bellinar. A child. A dog.

Bleary eyed, tired, dressed men's clothing and her hair a fantastic, alive mess which stood out at odd angles from her head- she was the perfect picture of what we in these parts call 'a hot mess.' Not at all Queenly. But she managed to keep her air about her, the birthright that would never allow her to seem as anything but what she was. She was a Queen. She allowed herself to be less conscientious of her tread and approached the group just in time to hear clearly - " she’d be just as supportive as Mikhail is."

"Supportive of what?" She inquired in a voice cracked and raspy from disuse. She cleared her throat and continued in a voice more normal to herself, "What cute pups, could someone tell me what sort of misadventure has transpired while I slept? I always seem to miss the fun." Her tones were intended to sound jovial and joking. The air here was thick with tension and she would not allow that to fester.

Location: Sharon, Shalador

There was something comforting about the simple bickering between Gennar and Faeril. Xandar's low rumble soothed her nerves. Odd that his voice, the voice of another Queen Killer, could be something that made her feel safe from another Queen Killer. She smiled wanly at Mikhail. It was sweet of him to say as such. But she was a stupid fool for letting her heart lead her feet. Damn, damn and double damn - she should not have gone. She could have gone the entirety of her life without having met the black hole which was SaDiablo. She stared into the flames, watching as they danced against the encroaching darkness. There was the pop and sizzle as sap boiled in the heat. She was in a daze and it was only the sloshing of the drink that brought her from her reverie.

She stared at the flask in shock and then a broad, crooked smile made its way to her lips. "Thank you," she said as she accepted the container. She took a quick swig and found, to her disappointment, only ale. "Haven't got anything a bit stronger, have you?" she inquired jokingly as she handed the container back. She did not want to be greedy.

Fatima drew her legs to her chest and looked around at the others. They were waiting on her... weren't they. She sighed deeply as she rubbed her temples. Tough decisions. That was what it meant to be a Queen. She'd spent so long running from this kind of thing. Ah. Well. "Lets sleep this evening and we'll leave at the break of dawn. I don't wish to stay longer than necessary. We should also set up a watch system, except for Faeril. It is important she regain her strength. Let's be sure that we can leave at a moments notice, keep most things packed away." There, did she say that in a Queenly way? No questions in her voice? She hoped so.
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