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Ink Fox

Forget - Me - Not

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A small side story began by

@ianthine and myself,

Anyone is welcomed to pop in


It had been atleast two nights since her fateful meeting with the priest. It was an uneasy feeling to the demi-gorgon having lingered so long in one place. She was used to constantly moving, --always escaping from imagined hunters she anticipated could be after her any day now.  --but things were different now, --felt different now. Things had changed inside of her and thoughts of a deity that could watch over and protect her soothed her anxiousness. Still her wandering feet, scarred with miles of dirt road, had taken her to the outstretches of the farmland just at the base of the hill. Her mind and body were at odds, muscle memory compelling her down the long stretch of dirt road. --but she wasn't leaving... she just needed to stretch her legs, didn't she?  It was a lie she was telling herself. A sore feeling panged in her chest. She was a coward-- 

Halting in her mindless walking, her grey eyes caught a speckling of blue in the lush green fields that flanked the road. She crouched near the edge, looking at the tiny cornflower colored buds. Five healthy green sepals held eye fetching blue petals aloft, --bright yellow nestled at the center of each flower like a precious jewel. Slender fingers outstretched to graze the soft foliage. It was simple things in nature that made her feel at home. The rural town she had been staying in was loud with life. People  going about their days, hustling and bustling. Xildara felt out of place here, and not only for her startling appearance that overcame her at night. Daytime held some respite for the woman, luckily her features remained humanistic during the day, but there was still an odd animalistic air about her that seemed to draw attention.  

A soft chiming caught on the breeze drew her attention from the tiny flora. Xildara glanced down the road, intrigued by the soft tingle of metal upon metal. --what she saw made the woman blink in disbelief.  Familiar bronzed features and long burgundy hair that fell in dark waves shivered memories to the forefront of Xildara's mind. "Teha...?" The name fell from her lips in a whisper.

Down the road, coming towards her sauntered a figure she had seen once before in her life; when things had become their darkest. Golden eyes punctuated a stern yet stunningly beautiful face, which was supported by a strong and graceful frame. Her eyes held the same luster as the golden trinkets decorating the woman's wrists, neck, ears and bottom lip. The woman regarded Xildara with cold eyes and nodded her head in Xildara's direction politely but continued on without an ounce of recognition in her features. Xildara's eyes welled up, hurt at first, but she suddenly realized why Mateja had acted as a stranger. Mateja had never seen Xildara in her human form. --of course she wouldn't recognize her at first glance. 

Mateja seemed to be headed for the village of Coth,  leaving Xildara with an uneasy decision.  Staring back at the long lonely road and then towards Mateja's slowly shrinking form; Xildara decided this was a sign and turned to follow after the woman. She wasn't sure what she'd say to Mateja, or even if she should tell the nomadic woman the truth, but Xildara knew she had to meet her again, in some way-- 

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Coth. Such a peculiar little town. It had been target of some of the most fabulous rumors as of late, and the sorceress wasn't one to keep away from rumors. More so when they talked about better times for the town, and better lives for the villagers. A new God, one that answered. Mateja wanted to find out if these miracles were actually so, or if this was work of a powerful sorcerer. Though, a part of her really wanted it to be true. 

The attention the town had brought wasn't all positive though, and that was the other reason why the sorceress had directed her steps towards Coth. Bandits, thieves, lowly people wanting to take advantage of such vulnerable targets. It made her blood boil. She knew about war, about famine and death...and she did not want that for the Cothines. 

Golden eyes shifted to the road in front of her, and she could already see the quiet town at the distance. From here, it didn't look much different from the many places she had visited through the years. Little homes, busy market, honest people doing honest work. Her mind wandered back to her home for a split second, and the woman couldn't help the tightening of her chest, nostalgia wrapping itself around her like a familiar shawl. A frown deepened on her stern features, forcing her thoughts back to the road. 

 But the energy...the energy here in Coth definitely felt different. Stronger. Magic was present here, and Mateja could feel it on her fingertips. 

It was then that she heard the faintest of gasps, and a pair of eyes piercing at the back of her skull. The sorceress lifted her gaze to meet with eyes of silver. A young woman looked at her as if she'd seen a ghost, and the sorceress knitted her eyebrows together for a moment. The town wasn't used to strangers, then? If they were so put off by a traveler like her...or perhaps...so scared were they of thieves and bandits and this young woman believed her to be so? The thought made her shudder, and for a moment she wanted to approach and soothe the nerves of this girl, but the moment had passed and she had only nodded to her before continuing with her business. It was better to show her actions instead of telling her intentions. 

It wasn't long till she reach town, and unlike what she was thinking, she wasn't received with contempt or distrust. People were kind when she approached with a small nod and a greeting. For a moment she strolled around the market, talking with merchants, asking about the morale in town, about their defenses and their troubles. She learned about Father Constans, a man she knew she would need to talk with soon. She heard about a group of bandits attacking at night, and she heard about the splendor of the green fire that now seemed to be an integral part of town. 

And in every step, she felt a presence not so far. Lurking. Watching her. At first, Mateja believed it to be a curious child, but as she walked through the intricate alleyways, she realized this was someone who was not just curious about the new face in town. She walked in a slow pace, her shoulders stiff, her hearing alert. Timid footsteps followed her, and in the corner of her eye she could always see the petite silhouette of a woman. 

She took a turn, and stopped abruptly, feeling her follower crashing against her back.

"Why are you following me?"

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The young demi-gorgon did her best to keep up with the nomad as Mateja made herself familiar with the place right away. It was fascinating to watch her, --Mateja had a way of easily communicating with others that Xildara often found hard to grasp. Even now the demi-gorgon couldn't muster up the courage to just go right up to the tribes woman and greet her. Instead Xi hung back, shrinking behind stacks of crates or attempting to look nonchalant in the quickly moving background of the market place. A few stray sheep seemed to enjoy blocking Xildara's way, and were slowly putting distance between her and her target. The silver haired woman grumbled and scuttled about the meandering livestock, hurrying to catch pace.

Mateja's line of questioning seemed to have come to an end as she turned and headed into the narrow alley that lined the back of the growing market street. Xildara hot in pursuit swept after her as quietly as possible --but the jig appeared to be up when the young woman nose-planted right into a sturdy yet feminine back. Mateja-- the sly sorceress; was onto her. 

"Why are you following me?" The sorceress asked. It was a perfectly deserving question. One that Xildara had neglected to come up with a plan for answering. Panic crept into Xi's features, and then fell blank. 

"I --uh..." She looked like a thief or a mugger. Xildara was surprised Teha hadn't slugged her by now. "--Y-You look new in town..." Xi stammered. Well duh-- Xildara's heart sank. she was making a fool of herself. It was time to rethink strategies. She took a deep breath and put on the most disarming smile she could muster, --which was more awkward then disarming.

"--I just thought you looked a bit lost, and needed some help?" The inflection of her voice pitched at the end making it sound as though she was trying to convince herself of her own lie. Though she held a mostly composed veneer, inside she was squirming at how stupid she felt. --Just tell her who you are! Idiot!! 

Xildara squeezed her eyes closed for a moment, pushing back her inner dismay. "I could help show you around if you'd like?" The demi-gorgon was shocked at how easily lying came to her, and she managed to do it this time with a more convincingly innocent cadence. 

 

@ianthine

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