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10 days ago
Current T̵̞̻̪͘ḫ̸̨̥͙͔͓̙̆̃͂͌͑͑͂͜͠ͅä̵̟͈̰̺̭̫̦̩́̈̅͂̚͠ņ̴͓̟̱̠̯͎̭̣̟̲͇̺̪́͆̽ḳ̸̨̬͔̙̹͖̂̈͒̈̐͂̑̆ ̷̖̹̯̯̂͛̒̐̉̍ͅy̴̭̭͇͍̅̊͂́͌̏͐̀́̓̕͝͝ơ̵̮̦͙̝͓̞͉̟̝̍̚͘ų̸̢̞͙̺͔̦̙͔̀͜!̴̧̢̛̻͓̹̰̤͛̇̂̾̃́̂̃̈́̀̆̏͒̕
1 like
10 days ago
@Obscene Symphony You have my sympathy but how did you do that? That looks awesome and perfectly expresses your frustration.
11 days ago
I want to role-play fluff and sweetness and softness with a minimum of drama. Problem. I keep getting ghosted before the role-playing even begins. Oh well. No fluff for me.
28 days ago
I kind of want to do a Star Wars 1x1. I want to do a Witcher 1x1 too. I just dont know if i have the energy to post an interest check and go looking for partners. What's a girl to do?
4 mos ago
There is a user that I see in checks and the status bar. I think we would be compatible, but we share no interests. Should I message them anyways?


Monday December 31, 2019


I’m LadyAnnaLee! I’m looking to get back in to role-playing. I was role-playing pretty heavily on a site called Gaia Online (I was Zigzag_Dragonslayer there) for about 2 and a half years (Late 2014 to mid-2017). I stopped because I went to technical school and my computer bite the dust at just about the same time. Now I’m done with school, have a mostly steady work schedule, and a decent-ish computer so I would like to try my hand at it again.

At the time I was role playing I dabbled in a lot a differing styles. I tried everything from to one line to six to seven paragraphs. I did big 20+ people groups to 1 on 1. I like semi advance 1 on 1 best but am fairly flexible. I do not like 18+ bedroom scenes. Blood, gore and, violence are one thing; I just don’t like writing sex. I’m okay with it being heavily implied but, time skips are my friend. I enjoy stories that have at least some sort of fantasy/sci fi element and, I adore heavy fantasy/sci fi. I try to make new characters rather than just recycling old ones and, I like to think I’m good at writing characters to fill requests.

Anyways; here’s some about me. I live in the CST time zone and work 4 ten hours shifts overnight. As such I will try to get responses up before I go to bed in the morning on weekdays, but I will be pretty active on the weekends. I try not to fuss at other people about when they post and will drop people a line if I plan on disappearing. I do not chase. If you decide to ghost me, I will just let the role play die. If you let me know it may be awhile, I will wait. When I’m not a work or role-playing I tend to watch Netflix and dabble in writing novels. My hair changes color every six weeks. It’s a black cherry color right now. I still sleep with my stuffed animal and, I own more pajama bottoms then real pants. In short, I’m not a kid anymore and, I try to be an adult. I just don’t try all the time. My favorite color is purple.

Like I said it’s been about 2 years snice I’ve done any serious role-playing. So I’m a little out of practice. I’m hoping that it’s like riding a bicycle but, would appreciate any help you are willing to give as I get back on. I look forward to joining your community. I can’t wait to join the fun.

It’s nice to meet you all.

PS. Check out my interest link here! I’m always looking for new partners!

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Well that was a question she had never been asked before. Darin’s brow furrowed as she ran her hands over the hunting cat’s soft ears. Mitaja was seemingly content with her ministrations and it wasn’t like it was that much of a chore. Darin slowly slipped down off the chair and on to the floor as she thought about Ridahne’s question. Her attention was seemingly on Mitaja as she ran her hands over the cat’s ears and chest. The deep rumbling was certainly one of the best sounds Darin had heard of. However, she wasn’t sure about a favorite scent. There were so many good ones.

After a lengthy silence she spoke, “Apple pie baking.” She paused for a moment, “Wheat growing.” She started smiling, “Sunshine. Snow. Rain.” She sighed slowly, “There are so many good ones. Fresh heather. Pine.” She found herself repeating, “Sunshine. Or rain. I’ve said this already but snow.” She used her wrist to rub at her eyes, “I’m tired.” She continued as she started rambling, “I really like sunshine. A lot of people say it doesn’t smell like anything, but I think it smells like warmth. Especially right after I got out of the water. There’s a swimming pond back home. I would go swimming and then when I got out I would sit on the bank and let the sunshine dry my skin. It would smell like … peace.

“Or snow. Snow is another one. I don’t know if you’ve seen snow, but if you miss heat, you’ll dislike snow. It happens in the winter when it gets cold enough to freeze. It’s rain that has frozen into a white powder. It comes down and sticks to the ground. Eventually it covers everything like a blanket. You have to wrap up in so many layers just to get anywhere. The whole village comes together to clear the roads. Snow smells clean though when it melts it smells wet. It means that spring is coming. Winter is when the world rests and then it wakes back up and snow just smells like quiet and clean.”

Darin paused for a moment as she considered that. She had just described two smells that came from the sky. She wondered if that meant anything. Ridahne had described citrus which was an earth smell; a stone smell. Darin guessed that meant just because a person was a Child of one of the elements didn’t mean they were perfect matches for that element. Maybe a person could, and did, have attributes of all three elements in them. She herself loved the smell of the sky, the feel of dirt, and swimming. She liked catching raindrops and snowflakes on her tongue and that was water that came from the sky so that seemed like both Sky and Sea. Maybe that was just her.

She continued speaking with her eyes on Mitaja, “Kids will stand outside and try to catch snowflakes, the little frozen raindrops, on their tongues. You’re supposed to grow out of it, but I never did. I never wanted to. I think that was proof to the elders that I wasn’t mature enough to know what was best. I think they kept hoping I would grow up, but I didn’t have the time to grow up. I was too busy being a nuisance and taking care of things. Ah well.” She cast a glance over at Ridahne, “Let’s see. Favorite thing to eat? Is that a safe question? I like sweet porridge. It’s usually a treat since sugar or brown sugar is expensive. You cook the oats with milk and serve it warm. I haven’t had it in a long time. A long, long time. So, it’s more like fond memory. What’s yours?”
Darin smiled softly as MItaja came over and pressed her head into the human’s hand. It seemed that the cat was quite upset with the human for leaving off the petting so come stare at the fire. Darin complied with the demand for more petting by rubbing the hunting cat’s ears. She didn’t much sound like the cats that Darin was used to, but Mitaja still acted just the same. The human supposed that meant cats were cats no matter where they came for or what their size was. Somehow that was a small comfort as Darin struggled to come to grip with what had happened at what she had done.

Ridahne’s words did not. Darin didn’t want to think about how it was a gift that she knew nothing about the man. She didn’t want to think about it becoming easier the more she did it. She didn’t want to think about the memories fading. She didn’t want to think about it becoming commonplace. Every person killed was a child of Astra. Every person was the product of both their choices and factors beyond their control. Every Person had a life and a story to tell, and now, well now no one would tell the story of the man she had killed. Maybe Ridahne was right. Maybe it was easier that she didn’t know his name. Darin didn’t think that made it right that she didn’t know. Then again, right was seldom easy.

Darin almost said that out loud. Her mouth was open. The words were almost out. Then she stopped, held her tongue, and move a small humming noise instead. She really didn’t want to fight with RIdahne tonight. There was no point. She didn’t want to end every night with a fight. It seemed that they always ending the day fighting with each other or with someone else. It was growing tiresome, and it was not a tradition that Darin want to actually start. The human looked down at the cat loving on her as she sighed again. She needed to learn to think before she spoke or did anything. That would prevent most fights she supposed.

So instead Darin changed what she was going to say, “Maybe you are right. Maybe it easier that I don’t know.”

Darin didn’t voice the rest of her thoughts. That was the part that was the human thought would cause a fight. Yet, Darin thought, she didn’t need to voice her opinion every time that it differed with something. That was a new thought. Back home she was in the habit of saying all her opinions out loud. Most of them were contrary in some ways. That was why the elders didn’t really like her. She hadn’t cared back then. Back then she wasn’t trying to make friends. She was trying to survive and keep her mother alive. She wanted the farm and she wanted to be the one to work it. Now she needed friends and to convince people to follow her.

Darin sighed again, “I’m tired Ridahne. I’m tired of not knowing right or wrong. I’m tired of being out of my comfort zone.” She laughed a little, “Besides that I’m just plain tired. I can feel an exhaustion in my bones that I haven’t felt in a long time.” She struggled to think, “I think the last time I felt this was the first harvest I worked alone that was rough. Dawn until well after dusk. I had no idea how to use a sickle. I came home covered in injuries that I had to patch up myself because my mother was lost in the memories of a man long gone. Dirty and grimy were normal.” Darin looked at her hands, “I know I’m a farmer, but I hate being dirty and grimy. I’m so glad that I was caught in the rain early. It washed away most of the dirt. I would still like soap.” She caught in memories, “There was no shortage of soap back home. I could clean whenever I wanted. Hot water was a bit of a treat, but I still scrubbed pretty much every day. This traveling thing prevents that. I feel like I’m always dusty. I hate it. Of all the physical inconveniences being unable to get the dust off is the worse.” She scoffed, “How silly is that? I have a responsibility bigger than anyone or anything and the one thing that would make it better is soap and water every single night.” She turned to look at Ridahne, “What about you? What do you miss? Not people or places. What do you miss that seems completely silly?”

It was a way to get to know Ridahne better. It was a safer way to get to know Ridahne then that first night. At least this was slightly pointless, and Darin needed the distraction. Maybe if she was distracted her appetite would return. Maybe she would actually be able to drink something. She wasn’t feeling good at all and still wanted to throw up. She needed something to take her mind off of her current train of thought before it consumed her completely. It was a sudden topic change, but somehow, she didn’t think that Ridahne would mind that much. There was nothing to mind. If Ridahne didn’t want to talk about this she didn’t have too. Darin wouldn’t press at all.
I felt like I should let you know. I've been posting so much because of the holidays. Now that they are over my work schedule has returned to normal. So I will be returning to being a weekend poster. Thank you for understanding.
Darin supposed that made sense. It actually made a lot of sense. She had known from the moment that the chickens had hatched that most of them would wind up as dinner. The ones that didn’t were layers and breeders. Even they were dinner at some point, so Darin supposed that she should amended her previous statement. All the chickens, all the ducks that didn’t fly away, all the pigs, even the horses were killed at some point. People though, people weren’t supposed to die of anything less than old age or accidents. Yet she was now guilty of changing that fact for one person; a person that she knew nothing about. For all she knew he was just taking a job to get paid. Darin knew that she never would know. She really shouldn’t worry about it, but she couldn’t help the circling thoughts.

Ridahne’s story didn’t really help either. The fact that she hesitated did. The fact that it was just for her then as it was for Darin now helped. The fact that they had known that it was a monster did not help. Darin knew nothing about the man she had killed. Did he have a family? That was dumb. He had parents. Did he know them? Did he have a spouse? What about kids? By The Tree Darin hoped he didn’t have children. Yet, as she kept reminding herself, she had no way of knowing anything about him. He knew that she was struggling with killing him. He hadn’t mentioned anything to convince her not to do it. Maybe he thought he couldn’t. Maybe it he was trying to make it easier.

Suddenly she stood up. She was shaky for a moment, but she did regain her balance. Darin then walked over to the fire. She stood staring at the flickering lights with her arms wrapped around her chest. She couldn’t take it anymore. She was tired of her thoughts just running in circles. She couldn’t take this guilt, this questioning, this fear that she had done the wrong thing. She couldn’t take not knowing anything about him. She couldn’t take the fact that she couldn’t handle it. She couldn’t take the fact that she wasn’t sure she wanted to handle it. Darin almost wanted it to haunt her. She didn’t even know his name.

Her voice was quiet and unsure, a question she wasn’t sure she should ask, “Does it still haunt you; that first one? What about the more recent ones, the ones that lead you to me, do those haunt you? Or does the image of their faces go away when it no longer matters?”

Darin wasn’t sure what she wanted the answer to be. She almost wanted to know that one day it would be easier; that one day she wouldn’t care that she didn’t know his name. She almost wanted to forget him and move on. Still there was a part of her, a part that felt bigger or more important, that didn’t want to forget. She had told the Eija boy to burn the bodies; to let them be forgotten, but Darin wasn’t sure that she wanted to forget. She wasn’t sure they really deserved to be forgotten. Besides if they were forgotten the lessons that their story had to teach would be forgotten as well. Darin wasn’t sure what lessons there were, but there had to be some. Maybe she would feel better if she knew what they were.

The Seed-Bearer slowly sank onto the small stool by the fire with her gaze still on the sparks, “I don’t even know his name Ridahne. How do I cope with that?”
Darin looked back up towards the sky as Ridahne mentioned that the Eija would come during the night. It wouldn’t be this nice. At least she didn’t think it would be. The rain was due to continue though the night and late into the next afternoon. It would start to slow down in the morning, so she might be able to make it to the stables in the afternoon without being completely soaked. Of course, that all hinged on whether or not Darin got enough rest tonight in order to regain some of the energy she had lost today. She wasn’t going anywhere as long as she still felt as weak as a newborn kitten.

It also depended on if the weather actually did what Darin thought it should do. She wasn’t sure why she was so sure that the downpour would last until midmorning and the drizzle would continue until almost evening. She wasn’t the best at predicting the weather back home, and there she knew something about the weather patterns. The Seed-Bearer didn’t know anything about the weather patterns here, yet she had thought about what the rain would do with barely a second thought. It was almost like she knew what was happening in the skies of Astra. Though that did make sense. She was The Seed-Bearer. She had held the rain back for just a few minutes. It made sense that she knew how the sky would move.

Darin’s attention was recaptured as Ridahne brough up the man who’s arm she had cut off. Darin didn’t want to talk about that. She didn’t even what to think about that. She had killed a man and didn’t even have the courage to do it directly. She forced him to bleed to death and called it a mercy. Ridahne seemed to think that she was some sort of saint, but Darin just felt like a fraud. She was supposed to be preventing evil; not causing slow and torturous deaths. Why couldn’t she have just killed in in a single moment? Instead she had pretended that he had had a chance of escaping and finding help. It made Darin nauseous. It was a good thing she hadn’t eaten all day, or it might have made a reappearance.

Darin had no intention of talking about it, but she found her herself speaking, “Backup I raise my chickens from the time they hatch until the time they are dinner. They grow to trust me for food and water. I cannot count the number of times I nursed them to health and though sickness. I did the same for the pig. I raise them. I convince them to trust me. I love them and they love me.” She took a deep shuddering breath, “Then I kill them; slaughter them so I can eat their meat for energy, use their bones to make tools, use their feathers to stuff my mattress and pillows. It tore me up each and every single time, yet I did it without a second thought.” She clung tighter to Mitaja, “This though, this was different. He wanted me dead. I don’t know why, but he and his friends wanted me dead. He was a stranger; not a friend I’ve known since birth. IT should have been easy to just take off his head or stab his heart. But I couldn’t. I didn’t have the courage to kill a man flat out so instead I tortured him first.” Darin slowly turned her head to look Ridahne in the eyes, “That man is dead because of me and I know it. I had no choice but to kill him and I know it. I did have a choice in how to do it and I deluded myself into thinking I was showing him a mercy when I didn’t just kill him out right.” The Seed-Bearer was sure, “There was no mercy in what I did. He suffered because I couldn’t do what needed to be done. I can’t afford to make that mistake again.”

Was in wrong of her to feel no guilt for the killing part? Darin wasn’t sure. She just knew that it really was either him or her. She was just glad that it was her. She felt guilt like she had never before for making his death last longer than it needed to. She should have just killed him while she had still been there. Maybe her logic was faulty. She wasn’t sure about that one. Still, she had killed innocent things that had done nothing to her with barely a second thought. Why had it been so much harder to kill a man that was trying to kill her? Then again it didn’t seem right to just kill a man that was tied up. Still, if Darin had left him, he may have actually managed to escape and then gone back to deliver a report. Maybe she should have given him a less severe injury; one he might of survived but left him unable to escape. The problems with that was that she wasn’t sure what that might be and the Eija might have just killed him when they found him anyways. Darin wasn’t sure, and if she couldn’t figure out the answer to this dilemma how was she supposed to figure out the difference between good and evil? She wasn’t sure and that disheartened her.
Darin cringed as she heard Ridahne say that all the other Eija needed was to see her gear. That meant she had inadvertently created an enemy. They hadn’t shown up at the door demanding to let in, so that was some good news. Did they even need a door in order to get in? The door might mean nothing to them. Would they just kill Ridahne without asking questions first? Darin wouldn’t put it pass them. Maybe the rain was keeping them from doing anything. Darin cast a quick glace up at the roof. Maybe she could keep the rain going for a while. Darin mentally scolded herself. That’s what got her into this shaky mess in the first place.

Darin’s voice was quiet, “There was a, well I think he was an apprentice. He was in the stable cleaning your blades. He said he had been told to look at your things by his master when he saw your bloodied blades. He said he was going to put them back when he was done. I didn’t want to cause a scene, so I left him too it.” She struggled to remember the details, “When I spoke in Azurei he said I spoke like a “Long time visitor.” He said the man with the” She paused as she struggled to word the next part. “The man who’s hand I cut off is dead. They are all dead.” She remained silent for minute before giving her head a brief shake, “Anyways they probably know who you are.” She shrunk into herself as she buried her arms into Mitaja’s fur, “I’m sorry.”

This was a disaster. The Eija, and there were at least two of them, knew that Ridahne was considered a traitor. They were going to do something about that. Darin had wanted to avoid any Azurei styled confrontation for a while yet. There was going to be a fight and Darin had no idea if Ridahne’s blades were where they were supposed to be. Darin shakily got to her feet. Using small steps, she moved toward her sickle was waiting for her. She had it with her while she was taking care of crops. Whoever had carried her back here must have delivered it as well. She grabbed it and then held it out to Ridahne.

She explained, “I know it’s not yours, but it will have to do until the rain stops and I can get yours.”

Darin just hopped that she could actually get Ridahne’s blades. She had no idea if the Eija would steal them or not. She knew that she wasn’t thinking went she let the one boy clean the knifes. Well she had been thinking. She didn’t want to cause a scene. That may be a moot point at this point. It didn’t seem honorable to steal from an injured person, but Darin would be the first to admit that she didn’t understand Azurei honor at all. It was confusing, because she thought Ridahne shouldn’t be considered a traitor, and she was fine with it. So, Darin didn’t know what was going to happen.

Well, that wasn’t entirely true. She thought Harris, or one of the other workers she had been with, might give her a warning. It might not be a quick warning, and the two of them might not have a lot of time to get out of the village, but they might get some warning. Darin wasn’t sure if that would be enough, but she would take what she could get. It would have to be enough. Darin wasn’t sure that she wanted to be run out of the village just yet. The Tree was right. She was making friends here, she hoped. She almost wanted to see what direction it took her.
Darin instinctively wrapped her arms around Mitaja. The hunting cat was just so warm, and she was so cold. It was easy to burry her hands into the thick fur in a desperate attempt to regain some feeling into them. Darin wasn’t sure why she had started moving in the first place, but now Ridahne was moving and that didn’t seem like the point at all. There was no stopping the warrior now. The human reluctantly removed her arms from the cat when the Elf returned with the water and bread. Darin took the cup of water and took impossibly tiny sips of water. She was still shaking, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been. It was a combination of having something to do and the fact that she was no longer freezing.

Darin looked up in shock as Ridahne described her dream. It was odd that the warrior had had a dream about something that she hadn’t seen. Then again, The Seed-Bearer wouldn’t be surprised if The Tree had sent a message to Ridahne to make sure the Elf knew to ask. It was probably a good thing. Darin wasn’t sure that she wanted to talk about it. There was already so much in this village to worry about. Speaking of which Darin needed to tell Ridahne about the other Azurei in the village. The ex-Eija would need to be warned that current Eija were nearby.

Darin carefully put her still mostly full cup down and returned to hugging Mitaja, “That’s exactly what happened.” She vaguely gestured to the roof above them, “Rain like this, when it comes down in torrents with barely a pause, can hurt crops. It will pound them into the ground before you can even blink.” She swallowed weakly before she continued, “So you have to cover the crops with stakes and waterproof canvas. It’s hard work and I was helping as best I could. We got most of it done before the rain really got started. Then when it did, we started having problems.” She sighed as she dropped her hand to absently pet Mitaja’s ears, “So I stopped the rain while the others finished the job.” She let out a groan, “It was heavy. I felt like I was physically holding the water. It was terrible.” She grinned tiredly, “But we got the job done. So, it was worth it.” She flopped down to stare at the ceiling, “But everyone working saw me so I don’t know who else knows.” She paused as she turned to make eye contact with Ridahne, “Including the visiting Eija.”

With that Darin fell silent. Saying just that little bit had left her feeling even more drained. She needed to drink more water and eat some of the bread, but she just wasn’t feeling it at the moment. She continued to absently pet the hunting cat as she stared at the ceiling. So much had happened today that it felt like a lifetime ago. By The Tree, so much had happened since she met Ridahne. That was a little more than a week ago, yet it seemed like an eternity. Why did it seem like so long? Darin sighed yet again. At least she and the warrior were now able to sleep in the same space. So, thank The Tree for small favors.
“That was dangerous Darin. I can’t believe that you did that. Do you understand how unbelievably stupid what you just did is?”

“I know. I know. I get it. It didn’t feel smart while I was doing it. It doesn’t feel smart now. It feels super dumb.”

Darin wasn’t entirely sure were she was. She was pretty positive that she was dreaming. The area was sunny, bright, and warm. Darin was dressed in an outfit reminisce of the outfits that the Workers from The Farm wore. She was barefoot and her shirt was untucked. Her hair was just a little longer than she would like. Across from her was a person that looked like Ravi. It wasn’t though. The Tree had picked a form that Darin’s exhausted mind could comprehend. It spoke with Ridahne’s voice and dressed like her mother. Darin watched the odd from pace back and forth. To say that The Tree was livid at the human girl was an understatement.

The Tree continued its rant, “The weather is not something you can just manipulate to your whims Darin! It’s dangerous. Gardeners before have died trying to call rain or push snow away. Yes, the sky will listen to you, but the sky is more temperamental then the stone and the sea.”

Darin scoffed, “Not by much! Trying to manipulate any of them means the odds of disaster increasing dramatically. I saw the memories. I’ve got that. I didn’t realize I could do it so soon. So, I’m just surprised it worked.”

The Tree stopped pacing to look at Darin, “You’re right. You shouldn’t be able to do anything to speak to the sky yet. It’s too soon.” The Tree resumed pacing, “It’s only a matter time before stone and sea follow. You need practice before you do any major workings.”

Darin sighed as she nodded, “I will add that to the list of things I need to learn and practice; along with blade work and horse riding and making friends.”

Suddenly The Tree was right up against Darin with a grin on Its face as It looked Darin dead in the eyes, “You managed to make friends today! Harris respects you.”

Darin took a step back as she scoffed, “That was just because I managed to stop the rain. I can’t do that every time.” Her arms came up to wrap around herself, “I still need to learn how to make proper friends.”

The Tree let out a laugh, “It’s not that. You stayed to work.” It shook its head, “But you won’t believe me. I know you won’t. Learning to trust yourself; that should be on the list of things you practice.”

Darin sputtered, “You shouldn’t be here. Not like this. It will drain your power faster.”

The Tree raised an eyebrow, “And now you are lecturing me?” It smiled as It shook It shook Its head, “I suppose that’s fair.” It cupped Darin’s face in Its hands, “I’ll be going now. Just promise me you’ll be careful when calling on the sky, sea, and stone.”

Darin nodded, “I will. I promise.”

The Tree’s smile deepened, “I supposed that’s all I can ask.” It leaned forwarded to place a kiss on The Seed-Bearer’s forehead, “I love you dearly.”

With that The Tree was gone and Darin was left alone. The human reached out towards the empty space, “I love you.”


Darin woke with a start and looked around the cabin. She wasn’t sure what time it was or how long she had been asleep. Talyn and Konie were missing. She was sitting near the fire. Her clothes were damp, but not completely dry, so she couldn’t have been sleep for very long. She could still here the rain outside, but it was slowing down. Darin shakily stood up as she moved towards her collection of things. She wanted dry clothes. She needed to check on Ridahne. She also needed to check on Tsura, Talbot, and Taja. She couldn’t stop her hands from shaking. She found herself slowly sinking to the ground near Ridahne’s cot. She couldn’t see straight either.

Absently she muttered, “I don’t feel so good.”

She was willing to bet that she was running a fever. Even though she just woke up she still felt exhausted. She supposed that was because she has just held up who knew how much water. The only reason why she wasn’t still asleep was because she hadn’t tried to change the weather. She had just paused it for a moment. Trying to send the rain away might have killed her. Calling on the sky was a skill every Gardener before her had had. They just couldn’t use it as quickly as she could. Even though Darin’s mind was fuzzy she had to wonder if that meant anything.

Darin let out a sneeze as she went a head and laid back down where she was. The bare ground wasn’t very comfortable, but she didn’t have the energy to move back to the sleeping mat by the fire. Right here would have to do. Darin sneezed again and this time her already pounding head pulsed at the movement. She wanted to just curl up and forget the world, but she was so tired of being wet. Plus, she needed to check on Ridahne and the animals. With a groan Darin rolled over to her stomach to try and push herself up. It was a failed endeavor since her arms felt like overcooked barley.

She collapsed with a groan, “I guess that’s what I get for biting off more than I can chew.”
Darin took several deep breathes as she stared up at the sky. She couldn’t afford to panic in a place where there were Eija she didn’t know. She had no idea how they would react if they discovered who Ridahne was. Darin wasn’t sure she wanted to find out. For all she knew they would take it as a chance to kill her friend. They might put the pieces together and realize who she was. That would lead to a completely different set of problems. Those were also not problems that the young human wanted to think about. There were too many variables that she didn’t know what move to make. Darin had never been very good at chess.

Darin was pulled from her slow breathing as the smell of the air changed. Slowly she opened her eyes as her head deliberately moved towards the direction, she thought she should be looking. The dark clouds on the horizon confirmed her thoughts. It was going to rain and judging by the speed of the storm heads it was going to be soon. Darin looked around to see others pointing at the sky in the same direction. They looked worried. The young farmer quickly put the pieces together. There were crops that were in danger. If something didn’t happen soon, they would be damaged.

Darin quickly walked up to a group of what looked like farmers to listen, “We need to get the crops covered! Rain of that magnitude will hurt them!”

They were speaking in Elurin, “We know that Oscor. We just don’t have enough people or enough time to cover everything. We need to prioritize.”

Another man spoke, “The wheat in Alin’s fields and the beans in Marcon’s.”

Everyone was nodding as the second speaker continued, “Agreed. If we have the time we’ll move to the carrots in Gigi’s.”

Darin found herself matching the language, “What other crops are there?”

The second speaker, clearly the one with the most experience, eyed her as he answered, “The garden patch in Jerone’s and the orchard.”

She asked a follow up question in surprise, “No rye?”

The man shook his head, “We grew wheat this year.”

Darin nodded in understanding, “How can I help?”

There were murmurs of protest that the man silenced quickly with an upraised fist, “Can you pound stakes?”

Darin was honest, “Not as fast as some, but I know how to protect crops from rain.” She was earnest, “I can help if you let me. I want to help.”

The man nodded slowly. He wouldn’t turn down offered help, “The wheat in Alin’s field.”

Darin nodded as another man ran up with a cartful of stakes, “I’ve got the stakes Harris! Alin’s coming with the canvas!”

Harris, the man answering Darin’s questions, nodded, “We are heading to the wheat. Let’s go!”

Darin followed the crowd as they rushed to a collection of fields. There were no houses nearby. It was easy to see that people lived in the village and came out to work their fields. Based on what Harris had said Darin was willing to bet that it was more of a team effort to grow the crops. Alin’s field was his responsibility. Quickly they got to work. At first, they paired up. Darin was paired with Harris and she followed his instructions exactly. She held the stakes in place as Harris hammered them into the ground. The stakes were a good 2 feet taller than the wheat crop. They placed stakes every three feet. Others were going the same. Once the entire perimeter was done lengths of canvas covered in beeswax to waterproof them were cast over the field. Darin was on of the people in the middle of the field tying the lengths together. Others were tying them to the stakes. There were gaps, no solution was perfect, but the damage to the wheat would be minimal. Darin was exhausted when they were done, but she gave no indication of that as they moved to beans. It started raining during the carrots. The work became more earnest and more desperate.

They finished the carrots and Oscor had to yell to be heard over the wind, “We aren’t getting to the garden field.”

Another man hollered back, “I’m staying to finish the job.”

Harris pointed out, “The orchard is older; older than some of our grandparents. It will be fine. We only have the garden field left.”

Oscor, and a few others, shook their heads, “I’m not staying out here to be soaked. You stay if you want.”

A few of the younger men left as Darin and the older ones watched them run off. Harris turned to her and asked, “What about your young visitor?”

In response Darin moved to a cart and grabbed a stake, “There is still work to be done, and I will dry.”

Harris’s sunbeaten face cracked into a smile as nodded at her, “Aye. That’s true enough lad.” He repositioned his hammer as he headed towards the last field, “And the sooner we’re done the sooner we can get back to hot soup and warm ale.”

Darin returned the smile with one of her own. It was slightly manic, “I just want dry clothes and a warm blanket.”

The men laughed with her as they got back to work. The mood wasn’t exactly cheerful as they pounded stakes into the ground around the peas and spinach and lavender, but it had lost that desperate edge. The urgency was still there and gave way to despair as the rain began to torrent from the sky. Darin swore in the tongue of her home. It was growing hard to hold the stakes. Her hands slipped more than once as Harris dropped his hammer. He was lucky that it didn’t fall on his foot. The rain only got harder as the wind increased. Darin was finding it hard to see as rain soaked her and her fellow workers to the bone.

Darin let out a groan of frustration as she lost her grip again. For a reason she couldn’t explain she threw her hands up to the air as she craned her head towards the sky to scream, “STOP!” She spoke in the tongue of her home, “FOR ONE MOMENT JUST STOP!”

And stop the rain did. The Seed-Bearer suddenly felt like she was holding the weight of a thousand barrels of wheat and rye as countless water droplets hung in the air like perfect diamonds forges by deities themselves. There was a sudden silence as the wind was suddenly silenced. It was a good thing Darin was one her knees already or the pressure would send her toppling over. She was already exhausted and could no longer hide it well. Her breathing became erratic. Then Eluri stood and stared at the sky, the garden, her, in pure shock. They were stunned motionless.

Darin grit her teeth as she practically spat in Eluri, “Not to be rude; but can we please finish this. Rain is heavy.”

Harris was the first to move, “Yes! The stakes!”

With that the men were cast into moving again. Darin was worked around as stakes were finished and the canvas casted into place. They moved though the midair droplets with only a few finches. They finished as quickly as possible. They then looked at Darin as if they were waiting for something. Darin wasn’t sure why they were just standing about. They still needed to do the orchard. She wished they would hurry it up. Her arms had started completely extended, but her elbows were slowly bending. She had no idea what she was doing, but it felt like she was physically holding the rain.

A man seemingly older than Harris figured it out, “The orchard is older than me lad, and older than my father. Let the water go. It will be alright.”

With a shout the Seed-Bearer dropped her arms completely. The wind immediately continued rushing. The rain quickly followed. The already soaker workers were soon drenched to the bone. Harris reached out a hand towards Darin and she took it. He helped her up, but the moment Darin let go she careened forward. Harris let out a shout as he rushed to catch her. Darin looked up at him as he braced his hands on her shoulders. Her hands gripped his forearms. She desperately tried to find her footing, but the ground was more mud than dirt and she was exhausted. Her eyelids were heavy and the next time she closed them she didn’t open them. Harris simply responded by swinging her into his arms.

A man whispered, “Magic.”

Someone scoffed, “Don’t be ridiculous! Magic is a fiction. None of the Children have what could be called magic. The only person that has magic is.” He paused as he realized what he was about to say.”

The man who had told Darin to let the rain go finished the statement, “The Gardener.”

Eyes went wide, “You don’t think that the boy is connected to The Gardener? Do you?”

The older man spoke, “I don’t know. I know the council knows something the visitors that they aren’t sharing.”

Harris spoke, “I do not know what the council knows about him. I know that he helped us protect our crops when there were those among us that wouldn’t. I am taking him to Konie and Talyn. He needs rest and has earned my respect.”

Others nodded as they followed Harris back into the village. Others came out to see them as they came out. Questions were asked, and all the workers told the others was that they didn’t managed to cover the orchard but that the other fields were fine. No one said anything about the visitor’s gift to the village or his power. Harris walked to Konie’s and knocked on the door. He would tell the other visitor that he had over worked himself covering the crops. He didn’t know if the Azurei knew about her companion’s gifts and it was not his secret to tell. So after he was safely placed in the healer’s care Harris would leave. He still wanted his hot soup and warm ale.
Darin went over to place a gentle hand on Tsura’s nose. She wasn’t sure she wanted the male Azurei touching Ridahne’s blades, but the truth was she didn’t know how to stop him. She wasn’t sure that she should stop him. He was right. The knives shouldn’t be left bloody, but she wasn’t sure how to take care of them. The Seed-Bearer supposed that as long as he returned them, she couldn’t be upset. Darin knew it was slightly cynical, but until she saw the blades returned, she would be keeping an eye on him. He had to know that.

Darin’s Azurein was just as accented as his common, “Please make sure that you do. As for what to do with the dead.”

Darin had to pause to think about that. She wasn’t sure what to do with the bodies. Some were Eluri and some were human. Darin wasn’t sure what the customs for the Eluri were. She knew of a couple human traditions. In Lively they buried their dead in a special place call a graveyard. In her village the dead were buried in fields to help crops grow. In both places they burned the bodies of those that felt didn’t earn the honor of being buried. Darin felt the scowl etch on her face. She had no clue of they would be honored by having their bodies burned, but it seemed like a good way to get rid of the bodies.

Darin’s voice was harsh, “Burn them. If you cannot discover anything from the bodies just burn them. Let them be forgotten.”

Talbot let out a snort and Darin shook her head as she let Tsura to go check on her steed. Darin forced herself to take a few deep breaths. She needed to calm down. She didn’t know these people. Just because they wanted to kill her didn’t give her the right to hate them for no reason. She had no idea who they were or what kind of people they had been. For all she knew they had just been hired to kill her. It might not have been personal at all. In fact, she was willing to bet that it wasn’t. They didn’t care about her. They cared about The Seed-Bearer. They might not even care about that. They might have just wished for her dead so they could get paid. Darin had no idea, and now that they were dead, she would never know. She just wished she knew if they were connected to Martin and his crew. Darin guessed she wouldn’t know that either. She had so many questions and no answers.

Though she did have work to be doing. The Azurei was right. Blades shouldn’t be left a mess and she had not cleaned hers. Darin pulled out her sickle. For a moment she just stared at the blood. She had killed a man. While she hadn’t ended his life directly, he had bled out because she had chopped his arm off. She took a few shuddering breathes as she thought about that. She had never killed before. Darin could have just left him tied to the tree. She forced herself to disregard that thought. Could haves and should haves didn’t change anything. What was done was done.

With that in mind Darin pulled out a cloth and started cleaning off the dead man’s blood. She tried her best to focus on the task, but she kept stopping to just stare at the blood of the man she killed before he could kill her. Was that what her life was now? Kill or be killed? Darin wasn’t sure she wanted the answer to that. Eventually she couldn’t take it anymore. She let the sickle fall to the ground as she practically dashed outside of the stable.

Darin stood breathing outside of the building as she closed her eyes and tilted her face up to the sky. She wasn’t sure that she could do this. She had been thinking these thoughts for a while, but this was different. She couldn’t explain the difference. She just wasn’t sure she could do this. She didn’t want to kill anymore. It made her feel sick. It was almost like a stomachache but different; like a stomachache in her heart or mind. She didn’t want to do this anymore. She had to though. She was the only one who could. Apparently, she was always the only one that could. That thought was just plain depressing. Astra might just be doomed.
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