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  1. "We got nothing but time, do we not?" Mateja answered with a spark on her golden eyes and a playful arch of her eyebrow. She squeezed the girl's shoulders affectionately, before taking a step back, shaking her head lightly to brush away the gorgon's worries. "No, I got out of there with my life. A few scars remain,-" she pointed at the long gash on her side, "-but, seeing you here, and well, and free... it makes it all worth it." Then she asked if she was moving to Coth. The mirth melted away from her gaze, her face scrunching up unconsciously at the thought of staying in a place for long periods of time. No...she had had a home, and that home was gone now. All that was left for her was to wander, to help people, to do something. To have an impact. "I...am not sure yet." Mateja didn't want to break the hopeful expression on the younger girl's eyes, but... "The rumors of the green fire brought me to Coth. I admit I am curious to know more of this God and his miracles." A part of her wanted to know about herself...about her magic. What it meant...if it was connected somehow. "There also has been talk of bandits and outlaws. If I can help take care of that to make the town safer, then I'd do anything in my power to do so." the sorceress added with a nod. "What comes after that...well, only the spirits now, yes?" "But you keep mentioning Constans. Was he the one who helped you? I am glad you have found a place for yourself. That life has been kinder to you."
  2. Xildara was quiet, her expression unreadable, as she stepped ahead of her, her back to her. The girl's frame was small, and she looked so vulnerable even now, even when Mateja couldn't see the expression on those eyes. The nomad opened her mouth to ask about it, had been about to step around the girl, search for her gaze, when her soft voice broke the silence between them. The pyromancer froze in place, a concerned frown knitting her eyebrows together. She listened intently, the girl's voice heavy with memories, but at the same time light with yearning for something better, for some hope. The pieces came together with each word that left the girl's lips, like a golden thread stitching the parts together until the complete scene was seen. And once again, Mateja was that young sorceress, finally free from the shame and guilt that war brought upon survivors, searching for herself. During that time, all she had wanted was to help others in ways she hadn't been able to do as a soldier. She wanted justice. She wanted a place people could be free. She had wandered for so long, stopping in small villages to help with the reconstruction of homes after attacks and raids, or just to help with the little chores some of the villagers couldn't do on their own. She was eager, and there was so much to do. She had stumbled across word of men finding some kind of rare crystals, very valuable, in a nearby village. Rumors said they mined them from a small cave only they knew of. If she could only convince them to give her some of those in exchange of work, she could bring them back to the poor villages, help the people. And so she had promised herself she'd find them. She had traveled for weeks, through forests and mountains, and with little clues and tips she had received from people around, the young sorceress had come across a hidden cave deep in a mountain range. She had been ecstatic, hopeful, and relieved. What she found in the cave, though... filled her with an unimaginable rage, that to this day still burned. She did not find the crystals, as the stories went. She did found a girl, all skin and bones, so hurt and weak...and so scared when she approached. She could remember the flinch when she reached out a hand, and it haunted her. A gorgon, the girl explained. Scales covered her skin, and serpents covered her head instead of hair. She had never seen such a creature...but the look she gave her...it was all Mateja needed to know this was not right. This creature had feelings, had hopes and dreams, had thoughts and yearnings, just like her. And she was being stripped from it all. For...what? For some coin? It wasn't but a heartbeat, and the sorceress decided to set her free. She had told her to run away when the men arrived and noticed their golden goose was gone. And she had burned the place down with the wrath of justice. And now...that girl was here. It was her. There was no mistake. "But you...look so different." she said lamely, golden eyes wide, her stern facade completely gone. And then...the tiniest smile curled at the corner of her lips as she stepped closer to the girl, and wrapped her arms around her in a tight embrace. "It doesn't matter. I am glad to see you well." She loosened up the embrace, pushing her back a little to get a good look of her. "Of course it is you. Have you been well?"
  3. Xildara. The name echoed inside of her mind, slipping into the deepest corners of her subconscious. It kept slipping her consciousness, just twisting like a snake in her hand, unable to keep or grasp the familiarity of it. She knew she had heard it before sometime in her life. Perhaps a long time ago. It was not a common name, that was for sure. Not from these parts of the world. A foreigner. And for a moment, she wanted to know more about this girl's story. What did she gain by helping her now? Giving her a tour through a town she was unfamiliar with? But then those eyes. Those gray eyes that plead. That begged her. Eyebrows furrowed once again, golden eyes shifting back to the road in front of them. They had reached the bottom of the hill in no time, Mateja seeing the old building she could only imagine was the church looming in front of her. The answer to her questions just in front of her. But turning back to the girl...she knew there was something she was not saying. Something she was missing. And then it came back to her, raising to the surface of her consciousness like a forgotten treasure. The memory of shiny scales, of serpentine hair hissing, of a curled up frame, cowering away from the world...from all the hurt suffered. The thought of that fated encounter made her chest tighten. The injustice of it all, the cruelty of it all. She hadn't been able to bear it. She had been young and rash back then...blind fury had guided her back then. She had had no mercy, no pause for those men... Those bastards had gotten what they deserved. And that gorgon girl... Mateja hoped she had found her footing in this world...that she had found kinder people... "It is a pretty name. Not common." Golden eyes shifted back to the young woman in front of her. Mental calculations told her the gorgon girl would be...around this age right now. But...it was impossible. Was it? "I knew a Xildara once... many years ago."
  4. With every passing minute, the young woman before the traveler seemed familiar. Perhaps it was the way she gesticulated, how her hands move as she tried explaining the town in front of her despite it was obvious she was just as new in Coth as Mateja was. Perhaps it was the way the voice raised an octave or two when she got nervous, when she mentioned something and stammered, backpedaling. Perhaps... it was the stoney eyes, so expressive, so wide and big, like they could swallow her whole with just one look. There was a hidden story to those eyes... a story Mateja felt she had heard before. "Constans?" Her golden eyes shifted back to the young woman, and back to the conversation, eyebrows arching slightly. "Is he the one making the miracles?" she asked. If so, then that was the man she definitely wanted to talk about. Before she could ask to be taken to this man, Xildara was kind enough to mention she'd take her to the church. So, he was a man of faith? "The green flames...you've seen them, yes? Would you say they have helped this town? Where do they come from?" Magic was inexplicable; it came from nowhere, from the most unimaginable places. In her case... the little sparks of fire were with her ever since she could remember. The crones from the village said she had been born in a red moon, and it was an omen for bigger things. An omen of the great dragon. Things hadn't been simple though...and those dreams of magic and heroes mostly disappeared with the war and the scars it brought upon her little town. Her little town that was gone now. Magic had come back to her life though... Fire was her specialty, but...green fire was new. Green fire was something she had never seen. Had never even heard about before this. And it was something she definitely was interested in. They passed the bakery, the young Cothite explaining the small stalls to her. And then..."The butcher..." Eyebrows arched at that, and Mateja couldn't help the little rasping of her throat at that. "Actually, the tannery." She stopped, as she looked at the girl. "You're newer to the town than you let on, hm?" She wasn't angry or offended by the slip. Just curious. What was the girl's interest in her? "What is your name?"
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