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The music seemed to be washing into her limbs, making her soul dance.  She didn't know what was happening, but she couldn't control it if she tried.  Michelee danced around in a circle in the middle of the dense forest.  It was a forest that she'd been afraid and lost in a few minutes ago.  The fear had disappeared, and in its place was a sense that everything was going to be alright.  Her long nutmeg colored hair was flowing around her, like the skirt whose hem touched her ankles.  She closed her bright blue eyes, and just allowed the music to wash over her as she spun around.  She almost fell, and her hands reached out to find something to hold her steady.  Her gloves prevented her from feeling the bark of the tree underneath her fingers, and for a moment she wanted to drag her gloves off and feel the roughness of the bark.  This snapped her out of her fugue briefly.  It just wasn't like her to want to take off her gloves.  The fear came back, and her hands shook a little as she looked around to see she was in the deeper, darker part of the forest.  

"Where am I?  What is going on?" Her voice sounded far away, and she noticed that the music was getting louder in her head.

Soon it started to overtake her mind, and she began to feel that lovely feeling of rightness that she'd felt before.  It seemed she was being drawn into a definite direction.  And the feeling was to the point where she didn't care what was happening.  She just wanted to follow the music.  

In the distance stood a gorgeous willow tree.  It seemed to shine like a light was encompassing it.  The music throbbed in that direction, and Michelee's booted feet danced closer to the tree.  Her satchel was flopping clumsily on her shoulder.  She wanted to set it down, but something stronger told her that she needed it.  She just couldn't think in this moment what she needed it for.  The tree was right in front of her now, and she reached for it.  It seemed to be waiting for her, and her gloved hand leaned forward to lay upon it's surface.  Michelee was surprised to find that no matter how much she leaned in, she wasn't able to access it.  She kept leaning though, and soon she fell.  Fell into the tree.  There was no trunk to stop her.  No bark to scratch her gloves.  There was only space, as she tumbled down, down, down. 

She fell onto a soft patch of grass.  There was no tree around.  The music had stopped.  The light was different.  Her tiger sense of smell could tell that the scents in the air were even different.  She wasn't in the same place.  She'd fallen..... somewhere else.  She felt disoriented, and more than a little afraid.  Now what had she gotten herself into?  

@SteamWarden

Edited by Mickey Flash

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A lone portal is seen the forest. Nothing more. The noises coming from the portal is of blades clashing and war cries. Inside the portal is a warrior wielding a large one handed axe fighting creatures much larger than him. As the ensuing battle dies down the victor exits the portal, not a single scratch on him. The warrior looks around the new land he is in, keeping his axe in hand, as the portal closes. 

"Why would you send me here mother? What is the purpose of this portal." 

As Ragnar looked around he started to hear music. It seemed incredibly foreign but oddly familiar. Similar to the music of his home. Slowly he put his axe away and followed the source until he got into seeing distance of a willow tree. As his steps drew closer he saw a person. The person wasn't someone he didn't recognize nor was it a person. It was the spirit of his wife. The spirit held her hand out, beckoning him to come dance again. He couldn't believe his eyes... He couldn't believe this.

As the music got louder, the music started to take its effect and Ragnar took the hand of his lost wife and began dancing with her. The dance the two danced was slow and elegant. Seeing his wife and dancing with her again made Ragnar relive old memories and smile. Only time he smiled was when he thought of his wife. As they danced, they came to be by the willow tree. The dance neared its end. Ragnar's back was to the tree. As the two was finishing their dance, the spirit hugged him before pushing him hard enough into the tree to cause lose his balance.

As Ragnar fell into the tree he went through it, not into. No branches, trunk, roots, leaves, nothing could stop him from falling. As he fell he wondered if this was his afterlife. If instead of him winning that battle he suffered mortal wounding with all the adrenaline pumping through his veins that drained him of blood. As he landed however, he landed hard onto a patch of grass, near another person. The wind escaped his lungs causing him to cough roughly. 

'Was that a dream?'

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Michelee had been laying on her back, looking up into the sky and wondering what she was going to do now.  It was an open area that she was laying, trees about fifty feet away in to her left, and a thatch of buildings to her right.  There was a cottage at the edge of the trees, and there was smoke coming from the cottage.  She lay there as she contemplated if she should move.  She didn't know what had happened for her to be landing in this spot, but maybe if she just waited a moment she would be transported back to the dark woods she'd been in before.  

As she was laying there, she started to feel a little bit lazy.  She was starting to relax, feeling like she'd been through an ordeal and needed to soak in the sun.  The sun wasn't too bright here, but it was nice and warm.  As she felt her eyes start to close her vision was blasted with the sight of a male appearing from thin air, falling in her direction.  It looked as if he was going to land atop her, and she quickly rolled out of his way.  He was large, and landed with an 'oof.'  More than likely that was the same noise she'd made when she'd landed in the spot.  It was strange to see someone appear out of nowhere, and Michelee wondered if more would be falling from the sky.  

She had rolled onto her hands and knees, and she crouched low in alarm.  Her tiger roared from inside, wanting to get out and take over.  But Michelee wasn't that afraid.  She would not allow her tiger to come out and kill this male, even if he did look intimidating.  She noted his largeness again, which made her feel small and weak in comparison.  This stiffened her back, remembering she'd taken lessons in the martial arts to defend herself against someone exactly like this.  Someone about twice her size.  She sat up, primly dusting her skirt before standing to her full five foot one inch.  That inch was important.  

The male was carrying a large and heavy looking ax.  It was covered in blood.  He had some blood on him too, and the healer in her wondered if he had been hurt in some way.  There was a smattering of blood across his neck, as if a spurt of blood had hit him there.  There was no torn skin underneath, so she could only assume it was not his blood.  He had hurt or killed someone else.  This made her frown, deciding he was one of THOSE males.  The males who liked to battle and kill.  She was the opposite, with her healer instincts always being the first thing she turned to during battle situations.  She also tried to keep from being around danger, because there was nothing more dangerous than her tiger when she was let loose.  

Still they were now in a similar situation, and she didn't know how to get out of it.  In her mind it was better that they work together than not to.  She cleared her throat, then said, "Hello."  She stared at him for a second, and was unable not to mention, "You have a little blood," she motioned toward her own neck area with her gloved hand, "right around here." 

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Three words rang in his ear. 'Where is she?' It was a question he asked himself many times. The better question to ask now is, 'Am I dead?' Seeing one's dead wife in spirit form, dancing with her and being pushed into a seemingly endless abyss raises a few questions. 'Was it real?' 'Where am I?' 'What just happened?' More three worded questions sprang forth into his mind. As his mind raced he didn't even notice the small girl standing beside him until he heard her voice.

'Hello. You have a little blood right around here.'

Ragnar's warrior and beast instincts took over immediately and he rolled onto his hands and feet, taking a runners position. The girl was small and seemed nonthreatening. Then he caught a glimpse of buildings in the background. It was possible the girl just lived in the buildings and saw him on the ground. After he gave it some thought, he relaxed a small bit and picked up his axe, standing to his full six foot five. Slowly the girls words rang back in his head and he realized that he most look incredibly threatening, especially having foreign blood on him.

"Where am I?" He truly didn't know. One minute he was dancing with his wife's spirit in the forest and the next he's being shoved and landing on the outside of a town. "Do you live here?" He was hoping if she lived in the town she could show him to a tavern or an inn.

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The male had jumped at the sound of her voice, and she was frozen for a moment.  It had looked as if he were going to attack, but then when he saw her he relaxed.  She understood his lack of alarm.  She was tiny compared to him, and she was female.  To top all that she was a healer, so she had a natural disposition not to harm.  This was who she was.  But it wasn't who her tiger was.  She always wanted to warn those around her not to relax, to always be on guard.  If her tiger were to emerge she would not be able to control her.  She would be helpless and unknowing, until she found out later that someone had been killed.  This had happened to her more than once and she hated those times, and felt that she was a very bad person by association.  

The male then asked her where he was, and if she lived here.  These would be the first questions she would ask if she were in his position too.  It was too bad she didn't have some good news for him. 

"Sorry, I fell from the sky just a few minutes before you did."  She sighed and thought it best to tell her sad little story.  "I was travelling with a band of gypsies, and they tried to steal what was in my satchel.  I ran away from them only to get lost in the woods."  Her face took on a thoughtful look, as she described the next part.  "Then I heard this wonderful music.  It made me dance, which I usually never do.  And then I was falling into the trunk of this beautiful tree.  I landed on the grass there," she pointed to where he'd fallen.  "Then soon after you fell from the sky.  Now here we are," she gestured to the land around them. 

"I wonder if someone lives in that cottage over there," she muttered, almost to herself.  Her hands had landed on her hips, as if she was contemplating the occupants of the cottage in disapproval.  She then took the opportunity to secure her satchel over her arm, and looked back over to the male who'd fallen.  "My name is Michelee, by the way.  And you are?"  She didn't give him her hand to be shaken or kissed.  She wouldn't have him kiss her hand, because she wasn't a lady born for starters.  And she wouldn't shake his hand either.  This reason was the main reason for why she wore gloves, why she kept a distance, and why she made no move for contact.  She had a problem with touching.  

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Ragnar listened to the girl, who he found is named Michelee, and heard how she ended up here. It's a bit unfortunate she didn't live in this land but that means they could find out where they are together. Get some answers. He went to start talking until it hit him they both heard the music, a tree, and both ended up falling into the tree. It's not every day two people have the same story of how they ended up in a different area from their previous location which seemed to be the same location. 

When Michelee mentioned a cottage, Ragnar looked around as he didn't see it initially. It was true. A cottage with smoke coming from it. He heard her questioning on if someone lives in the cottage. She made herself quiet but he still heard it with his wolf like hearing. "There's smoke. Someone's bound to live there. If not then it wouldn't hurt to go in the opposite direction. More buildings, more chances of people." It made sense. Smoke isn't normal to have come from a house unless the house itself is on fire, which this one wasn't. Smoke means fire, fire generally leads to man. Unless this place was a ghost town then they were screwed.

'My name's Michelee, by the way. And you are?'

He looked down at Michelee as she introduced her self. He noticed she didn't hold out her hands. It might be because he has blood on his free hand and his other hand is covered by metal. Quietly he introduced himself. "The name's Ragnar." He figured he'd leave out his full proper introduction as many people don't seem to care much for who his father is.

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The things the male was saying was pure common sense.  Michelee liked someone who dryly delivered their common sense thoughts.  This made him seem less complicated, and more easy for her to understand.  It was the people with strange thoughts, and constant ideas that had nothing to do with the moment that she didn't feel comfortable with.  She had enough to deal with when her own strange thoughts got in the way.  She didn't need someone spouting poetry for no reason, or asking her a million personal questions (things that had happened to her on her travels).  

He gave his name, and she nodded.  This was her way of acknowledging the fact that he gifted her with the knowledge of his name.  She wasn't an overly social person, and didn't encourage closeness from those she just met.  Hell, she didn't encourage closeness from those she'd known for years, and old habits were hard to break.  "I think we'd be safer if we went in a pair, instead of separately."  Then she stared at him for a moment, and she decided to be fair when she said, "Or I would be safer."  She knew he would be thinking she was insisting that he could protect her where she couldn't protect herself.  But actually this was her very subtle way of letting him know that he would not be safe with her.  If it looked like they would be travelling together for a while she'd tell him about the tiger.  But for the moment she decided to keep her personal business to herself.  

"Let's see if the cottage has someone home, shall we?"  She smiled at him then, and it was one of her kind, 'I'll be happy to heal you' smiles.  She started walking in the direction of the cottage, not waiting for him to join her.  If he didn't join her, than it would be for his own protection.  If he did join her, then he might intimidate anyone who thought about doing her harm, which would be for everyone's protection.  She would let him make this decision.  

She wasn't even slightly winded as she walked quickly to the cottage, and that was the tiger blood in her.  She could walk for hours, days, months. without food or water and she still would not be tired.  The door was ajar when she came to it, and it made her hesitate to knock on the door with her gloved hand.  Had the cottage been broken into?  Then she heard a voice, sounding weak and old, from inside.  

"Come inside, child.  I don't have the kind of time that you do."

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Ragnar looked at the cottage and the trees. This land was definitely different. Wondering what the air smelled like he breathed in but stopped when he smelled something odd. He smelled the scent of another creature. It wasn't entirely creature but more of something similar to person and it was feline. He couldn't tell where the scent came from as he smelled other things of the like but he knew this scent was stronger. Something else that was stronger was the scent of ash. Probably from the cabin. 

Listening to Michelee say they'd both be safer if they went together. It seemed odd that she said 'they'd both be safer' but it quickly changed when she said 'she'd be safer'. It wasn't much to take into consideration but it was a noticeable usage of words. He watched as the girl went ahead without and he quietly followed behind her. He didn't notice her smile as he kept his attention occupied on the cottage.

As the two neared the cottage he saw the cottage door was open and his instincts went to stay on guard. It's possible the door was open for a reason whether it be a violent one or a convenient one but he's learned his lesson of walking blindly into a random house. When they got closer to the cottage, Ragnar's instincts took him to the window to look inside. The noticeable things he saw were a half full glass of water, a fire in a fireplace and the arm of a person who was sitting on a chair. Whoever it was allowed Michelee to go inside. Not wanting to let a small, seemingly defenseless person to go in alone, he'd go in after her.

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Michelee slowly opened the cottage door, and it creaked eerily as it swung open.  She tried to see in the darkened room, but the only light was the fire light and she was standing in the much brighter outside sunlight.  She decided to take the chance to go in, as she didn't smell anything threatening from inside.  She also imagined the owner of the voice was someone of quite a considerable age, and she was right.  The old woman was sitting in a rocking chair, and she was sewing thread and needle through some cloth.  Michelee sniffed again, and didn't catch a whiff of magic or threatening scents.  She moved further into the cottage, though there wasn't much cottage to move into.  

A few seconds hadn't gone by before Ragnar rushed through the door after Michelee.  His large torso took up most of the space in the cottage.  It made Michelee feel squeezed in, and he was too close for her comfort.  With him in such close quarters what if he accidentally touched her skin?  She didn't think that he'd been hurt in the battle he'd come from, but that didn't mean that he hadn't.

"I see there are two on this journey.  Interesting," the old woman muttered.  She hadn't even looked up from her needlework.

"I'm sorry, but what journey?" Michelee asked confused.  It was hard for her to think when she was scooting as far away from Ragnar as she could.  She gathered her thoughts as she muttered, "I just was wondering where we are, and how do we get out of here?"  

"Here child, have a seat," the lady gestured at a small chair in the corner, and Michelee took it gratefully.  "I would offer you a chair, young man, but I don't have another to offer."  She squinted her eyes at them then, and Michelee wondered if she had issues being able to see.  She nodded her head, as if she were making a decision.  "I'm one of the guardians of Karmathen.  I let those that travel here know a little about the land.  There's a reason you have been drawn here.  And there is a reason you're both together.  You just have to figure out what it is that Karmathen is trying to help you with."  She went back to her sewing, as if she had said all she needed to say.  

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As Ragnar entered the cottage he instantly realized that his quicker movements was highly unnecessary. The cottage was small enough to be suitable living for an elderly but of someone like him it'd be made messy with a simple few steps. He looked down at Michelee and realized she was scooting away from him until she sat in the chair offered to her so he stepped back a few, hitting his head slightly on something. There definitely wasn't that much room with the three of them. He listened to the old woman and heard the name of the land they're in. Karmathen. Apparently she's a guardian for the land.

Quietly he spoke up. "If there's a reason we've both been drawn here then it's must lead to something positive for us. As you said it's a journey. Every journey I've been on have lead me to either riches or some other type of reward." He paused and smelled the air again, this time audibly. "And what is this scent I'm smelling? I smell a lot of nature and magic but not in the way of plants but more in the way of people." The scent of nature and magic normally meant a sacred land or nature creatures like fairies. He couldn't tell what he was smelling but the scent of feline didn't get weaker but stayed a consistent strength of smell. Slowly he came to the realization it might have to deal with the new girl he's met. 

'I need to keep an eye on her.'

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Michelee was not satisfied at all with the response of the old lady.  There was no explanation on why she had been drawn by the music, or what journey she was supposed to be taking.  Then Ragnar spoke up.

53 minutes ago, SteamWarden said:

"If there's a reason we've both been drawn here then it's must lead to something positive for us. As you said it's a journey. Every journey I've been on have lead me to either riches or some other type of reward."

This was not Michelee's experience.  She'd not been blessed with treasure, or rewards through journeys.  She has known more pain and suffering than the average person, so therefore was not keen on making some mysterious journey with no rhyme or reason to it.  Then Ragnar started to speak again, and his words jerked her head up to look into his direction.  

56 minutes ago, SteamWarden said:

"And what is this scent I'm smelling? I smell a lot of nature and magic but not in the way of plants but more in the way of people."

Was it her he was smelling?  She scented magic on him as well, and her nose twitched at the scent of wolf or dog.  She smelled this because she was part tiger.  He probably smelled her because he was part dog or wolf.  

"You're probably smelling me," she said embarrassed.  The phrase itself sounded embarrassing.  She stiffened her shoulders back, and looked him straight in the eye after that though.  "I'm a were-tiger.  And a healer as well."  She lifted her chin proudly, unwilling to be ashamed of what she was, even if she was dangerous.  "And you? I scent that you're more than man."  It was only fair that he share, now that she had.  If he didn't, it would be nothing to her.  She just didn't like feeling vulnerable, and this was her way of throwing attention off of her and back onto him.  

The old lady sewed away, and she squinted at them as she grinned.  

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The second Ragnar heard Michelee say she is of werefolk he knew his suspicions were right. The scent of feline was outright noticeable to him but for it to be such a small creature was definitely deadly. The way the girl said she was a were-tiger seemed to be proud, not shameful. However she just opened up his non-human side by saying he's more than man. There wasn't a possible way she knew he was a demi-god but a werewolf is more possible but to say she couldn't smell all of his sides, man, wolf, and god wasn't entirely out of the question. There was nothing to hide. Either she leaves in fear of him being what he is or she stays and ignores it. Better to open then seem like you're hiding something.

"Yeah. I'm more than man for sure. I'm a werewolf and a demi-god." This made him nervous to admit. Some werefolk sense danger and fight. Some werefolk don't always like particular variations of werefolk and attack. And some werefolk are incapable of controlling themselves. He wasn't sure which this girl was but seeing as she was proud to admit she's a werefolk than she might be able to control her beast. Most people take pride in things they've achieved. Hopefully she was one of them. To say he was worried is an understatement. 

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A werewolf and a demi-god.  Well that was a new one that Michelee had never heard of.  She really didn't know what demi-god entailed, so she didn't feel any extra fear at the word.  She knew werewolf, and she knew that her were-tiger had killed/hurt one or two in her time.  The tigress seemed to be fearless, and would fight anyone and anything.  She sensed no danger now, because Michelee didn't sense danger.  When she was in danger Michelee couldn't keep that tight hold she had on her inner tigress.  Her only response to Ragnar was a inquisitive look, which was mainly the feline part of her being curious.  She soon nodded at him, feeling that he might not know exactly what she was dealing with in her life, but weres had similar issues and problems to deal with.  She held no animosity toward other shifters.

The old lady cackled, and slapped her old, creaky knee.  She wiped a tear from her eye when she was done, and sighed.  "Ahhh, as fun as this is to watch, your journey just began here.  You have a ways ahead.  Here," she moved up slowly and reluctantly, her body making popping noises.  Her hand was on her back, as if to hold in some sort of pain.  She reached the hearth over the fire, and found a card with calligraphy on it.  "This is Mistress Zebba's card.  If you take this to the nearby village and show this card she will see you.  She can tell you the tasks you need to complete to find the way out of Karmathen.  She's a seer."  She handed the card to Ragnar, and smiled her empty toothed smile at him.  "So handsome," she said as she patted his hand.  

This sort of thing Michelee could get behind.  She liked that there were tasks that would lead her out of here.  She didn't know why she was so strongly motivated to leave, but it could have something to do with the fact that she didn't ask to be here.  She moved up from her chair, and bowed slightly in the old lady's direction.  "Thank you, guardian.  For all your help." 

She flinched when the old lady took her gloved hand, and fear entered her heart.  The guardian looked into her eyes, being about the same height.  "There is nothing to fear, my dear.  You will soon see that."  With those enigmatic words she let go of Michelee's hand and shuffled back to her chair.  

Michelee couldn't get out of the door quickly enough, and was hyperventilating slightly.  She took a moment to calm herself, and her tiger didn't bother to respond.  The tigress knew this was not a true fear, but one unnecessarily made by Michelee.  How she knew, Michelee had no idea, but the tigress rarely stirred when she was having one of her scared of being touched moments.

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Looking at the card Ragnar held in his hand and listening to the old guardian compliment him. "Thank you guardian. I'll take this to her right away." He noticed Michelee leave and that she was hyperventilating after being touched. "Hmm." As he walked out the door he stood in front of Michelee a few feet away before coming to sit down in the grass. There was something he needed to ask. "You're a healer yet you're afraid to be touched. You're hyperventilating at the touch of a frail old lady. I figured you wouldn't shake my hand because of blood by hearing you're a were-tiger and a healer than that doesn't seem the case." His voice remained calm as to not induce more stress onto her. "If a healer is afraid to touch someone than how do you heal people? Magic?" Holding up the seer's card he raised a point for later. "In most circumstances, to have a seer see your future than you need touch their hands."

With a huff he gets up and turns towards the town. "If you're coming to the seer with me than be prepared to touch someone. She might make you touch my hands if it's a group thing." He slowly walks towards the town. As he walks he hears a voice in his head. The female voice that beckons him constantly finally spoke to him.

"You're going to have embrace the beast Ragnar. There will be a time in the near future you will be tasked with something difficult to choose. Do not use you're weapons."

The only thing that kept Ragnar from talking to the voice out loud was the fact that Michelee was near and that was the only to communicate to the mystery voice. Honestly he wasn't even sure if she was following as he walked whether or not she was following.

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Michelee said nothing as Ragnar gave his little speech.  The main reason was that she was made speechless.  He just pointed out her weaknesses, like a well liked child that was pointing out someone different, someone who didn't belong, to his group of friends.  There was no empathy, or understanding.  Just a blunt statement that didn't help her overcome her issues in the slightest.  It didn't hinder her either, since she would be the same no matter how much he pointed out her issues to her.  He wasn't trying to be malicious that she could tell.  It just bothered her that the first personal thing he decided to say to her was to point out that she had issues.  She thought about how she met him while he was carrying a bloody ax, and how he was also covered in blood.  He had no right to judge her.  Then she remembered how she pointed out the blood on his neck, and winced.  She hadn't been too empathetic with him either.  

She soon caught up with him, and decided she wouldn't be offended.  He hadn't pointed out something she didn't already know.  "I do a have a fear of being touched," she said dryly.  "I know how much of a weakness it is.  It doesn't mean that I won't heal someone.  I do need to touch them to heal them, and I'm fine with that if it's required."  She sighed.  "There is a reason I am the way I am.  It's kind of hard to explain unless you've gone through it.  Suffice it to say that I was raised not to be touched." 

She could have let it go at that, but words sprang forth as if a dam had broken inside of her.  "I am a feline shifter.  Touching is almost a must.  We draw comfort from touching.  How many times do you see someone pat someone on the back?  Hug?  Hold hands?  Touch someone's face?  It is a constant thing with feline weres. Everyone around me were getting to be held and cuddled.  Not me.  Not since my gifts began to manifest at a very young age.  I was held away from others.  I couldn't make friends, because those my age were discouraged to be around me.  I wasn't looked at as normal, but as special.  When I was allowed to touch it was only to heal."  She shook her head.  "Think of a child feeling the pains of broken bones, cuts, burns.  And think of that being my only source of touch.  I began to dread it, though I craved it at the same time.  It made things.... hard for me to handle.  Now I have this strange fear.  And it's not completely groundless.  I could accidentally touch someone and get their pain."  Her head came up as she looked ahead of her, not knowing if he was listening, forgetting that he was there.  It was the first time she'd voiced aloud her problem to anyone else, or tried to explain it.  "The pain stopped being such a bad thing after a while, if it meant I could have physical contact."  She stared off into space, as if that was something even she hadn't admitted to herself.  

She shook her head as if coming out of a fog.  "Anyway, I can touch someone.  It's just not easy for me.  And my heart races, and I can't breathe... I imagine it's like how a person feels before they are going into battle.  Fearful."  She turned to him now, her eyes a little curious.  "Is that how you feel when going into battle?"  She didn't know the look that was upon her face, an almost fearful hope.  She was trying to open up a little.  She was afraid she'd been too forthcoming.  

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