Ema often told her to avoid letting the waters bring her close to the place that felt 'the strongest'. She'd taught Laine how to read the way the magic could flow in and out of the very soil like the earth was breathing; had told her of the place where it breathed the loudest but never had Laine ever felt it before. She knew the spots where the water became a hungry beast. The taste of it in her mouth would shift when she came closer, and heeding the advice of the only woman that Laine felt could be called 'Mother', she had never let the current pull her any closer. There were those from this place that smelled of the sweet tang of something that Laine could never fully picture in her mind, but she would never go to this place.
At least, that was what she thought she would do.
But currents on warm, lazy summer days were made for just floating on, and current could be wicked things as they made up their own minds on what they wanted to do, regardless of the snoozing creature bobbing on their surface. It wasn't until the breath that she pulled into her lungs started to bring with it that strange spice that it snapped her awake and Laine could feel her scales catching on the stones of what was not a riverbed beneath her. The river was emptying out here, becoming less of itself while still holding a fierce current, and Laine had unfortunately drifted much further beyond her comfort zone than she had ever before. The green in the trees here was different. Everywhere she looked vibrancy glowed back at her. Splashing against the current, Laine righted herself until she could sit with her tail tucked comfortably at her side and debate just what her next move should be. The sun had warmed her scales as she'd been floating away her day, but the water rushing about her middle felt a little cooler. With a sigh and a resigned shake of her head, annoyed at her own stupidity for letting the river carry her away, Laine did her best to shift up to the bank and hoist herself up.
A moment reprieve, and a cast around to fully observe her surroundings, and not too far from the spot where she'd chosen to sit with her tail that could very much be described as that of a fish, dangling down where the tips could drift in the flowing waters of the creek, was someone stood on a bridge who could mayhaps had witnessed something drag themselves out of the water that only minutes ago they'd been floating along in.
The stranger to her hidden part of the forest seemed to be relaxing as they talked. There was no denying that she was knowledgeable in the ways of magic, at least enough to be able to counter Laine's suggestion that the frog could be used to make someone beautiful with a suggestion that it could be more than just one outcome. Poor frogs were like eggs for an omelette; sometimes things had to be broken to make better things. At least, that was how Laine saw and understood the world around her. Mice ate the bug, hawks ate the mice...Everything linked together with it's own purpose and as such the frog had the purpose to become part of something mystical as it joined with the other ingredients in whatever potion called for the flesh of the amphibians. Just as Laine was linked; this stranger had their own links. Best get them back before a new chain finds her instead.
"Not making any potions right now. I was listening." She did not elaborate further, instead let her eyes and her head fall back onto her shoulders to demonstrate what she had been doing when Emilia had come upon her. Soft breath in, held, and then out long and slow through parted lips until the deep rumble of the very ground beneath her feet vibrated up through her entire being. The inherent magic in the forest was intoxicating; breath taking; and so very calming. It wasn't as vibrant as some of the deeper places, but even here Laine liked to imagine that she could feel the very world turning beneath the bare soles of her feet. When the question came if she had seen other's 'spark' before, Laine brought her eerie eyes back to focus on her face and gave a warm smile and gentle nod. "They come to seem Ema in secret," she said, holding a slender finger to her lips conspiratorially, as if what she was saying was to be their little secret too. Ema shared very little with Laine about the world of magic beyond their own deep woodland home. She had, after all chosen to lock as much of Laine's other half away as she possibly could, lest the little fish spark too much herself. "I tried, but it hurts," she admitted with a shrug that seemed more like resignation than disappointment. An 'oh well' raise and drop of her shoulders than feeling any displeasure at knowing she was unable to access the same abilities as those spellcasters that drifted in the periphery of her world.
"No, sparking doesn't matter!" With a chirp, she spun out and away, dancing on the soft loamy soil away from Emilia while she thought on what would be the 'safest' way. For her, that was bringing her feet to splashing in the stream once more, and she was about to motion to be followed before she stopped and turned back to the one with two legs. "Safest for me will not be easiest for you," she admitted solemnly, nodding to herself as she took in the other woman with her clothes that certainly would take too long to divulge of. Any submerging they did could also ruin the contents of Emilia's basket, and run the risk of losing the precious frog. No, they could not take the easiest route out of the forest. "My safest would be the river," she pointed a claw where the stream turned and would undoubtedly become a river as it headed towards the more urban areas of Willow Creek, as if that would explain why she found the river the easiest way to travers the forest. For a mermaid, though, it was. As a crow could fly above obstacles, Laine knew the winding path that the flowing water took that could bring her to anywhere that she wanted. "Can you take the river, else we will have to walk the long way."
Spooky day was fast approaching, and beneath the industrial cloudy skies of Evergreen Harbour there were plans underway on just how to celebrate the coming festival in just right the manner. The creaky, old and abandoned carcass of the quarry building could have so much potential if enough people could put there heads together and build something magical. Maybe igniting the locals interest in the old and forgotten places of the harbour could breath life back into the area.
No one seemed interested in Knox's helpful suggestions, however. His mom would smile sweetly and pat him on the shoulder and offer up encouraging words about how not to give up, and to keep his chin up. Then she'd move off to go and work on some project or another of her own and that would be the end of Blossom's contribution to anything Knox tried to accomplish. At least she paid a little more focus on him than Mary.
Shaking his head to rid the cobwebs of reminiscing thoughts that were crawling into place, Knox cast his gaze up towards the shadows clinging to the corners of the ceiling of the dilapidated old warehouse. It could certainly be considered very spooky in here; especially in the late afternoon as time drifted on towards the evening where the sun sank down beyond the horizon. The soles of Knox's sneakers squeaked on the floor as he wandered deeper inside, looking around for anything that could be considered useful. Residents and none-locals like the out of the way spaces to leave their unwanted things behind. There was an abandoned shell of a refrigerator laying in a pile of trash just outside the main entry way to the old quarry building that Knox had passed on his way inside.
Maybe at night, this place could become a creepy haunted house if it was cleaned up just a little. Unlike someone, Knox knew he was no entrepreneur but even he could see that the space looming around him had potential to be something. A little bit of pop culture to bring in the people, collect a few donations towards the reconstruction of this space and this could be something beautiful. Perhaps a garden; or a creative space blooming with art on all the walls while people gathered around a quaint little coffee space to get their caffeine fix. So much could be done - if only he could get the people to rally beneath his banner and agree to at least sign his petition to just do something with this forgotten space. Just like all the other spaces dotted around the harbour, if he was being honest with himself.
Also, if he was being honest with himself, he kind of wished that he had brought a flashlight with him, as on the walkways above he could swear he could see movement. Unease settled in, creaking in his bones as he spun around to try and see if there had actually been someone following him inside and his mind wasn't just playing tricks on him.
Emery couldn't say just what an secret laboratory should look like. He could image; movies had certainly helped in forging a picture of cold steel and flashing lights. He expected machines with blinking lights and endless rows of beakers and glass canisters. A Bunsen burner brightly burning away, boiling a bubbling bright liquid within a glass beaker. Or perhaps something more gothic; a large medical table with a figure beneath a white sheet that looked vaguely sim-shaped with wires disappearing under the fabric. Giant tesla coils and an unfortunate hunchback with a speech impediment cooing a "Yeth marth-ter" as they shambled about duteously following the orders of the mad scientist that cackled evilly as they slammed down a comically oversized switch. The dusty place Emery had encountered was as far removed from a secret lab than he could ever imagine. As Dax leaned in closer and Emery looked up at him with wide eyes that with each inch he came closer became more of a blur.
Goosebumps burst on his exposed flesh; Dax's presence almost oppressive now in the small trailer. Em swallowed, and then again when the lump didn't shift the first time. Without his glasses, Dax was just a shape, and his low voice that sounded like sandpaper over gravel was ominous in the restricted place. Emery had been wary of this guy when they'd first met out there on the bridge but that was more out of uncertainty that he wasn't going to be in on whatever was going on, or whisk Emery off to some abandoned warehouse but he hadn't been frightening in those early moments of their fateful meeting. Now, as he talked and loomed in close there was just something about the other man that now genuinely scared him. Something had happened in that lab and Dax was aware of it to the point where he could make such a judgement.
Maybe it was the military-ness about him...
With another hard swallow, Emery scooted back on his bed to try and get his vision to at least make out more of Dax, and to not-so-subtly wriggle out from under his gaze. His eyebrows shot up as he processed just what Dax had offered; help. Genuine help. With a starting point for a plan, and a direction they could move in that was more than just Emery blindly guessing at how he could even begin to find his sister when no one would even talk to him. He couldn't hold back the small gasp and then drifting sigh of relief as he came to terms inside his own head just what a blessing he was being offered. This was the first step towards progress that he had made in all the months of staying in this creaky old trailer.
Firm nod of agreement. "Bar; got it," he affirmed, placing his guitar down and hopping to his feet. One hand clutching at his towel to maintain modesty, the other made the move to unlock the door for his guest. "If you want me to look pretty then I'm going to need at least a few hours of sleep," he purred with a wide grin. Whatever strange sensation had fallen over them from a few moments ago had bled away and Emery felt lighter. Tensions felt eased more than they had been as he'd stood in the shower. It was no longer 'late' by any stretch of the term and morning would be creeping a glowing orange sunrise over the desert soon.
"It's a date," and with his free hand, he pushed Dax out onto his porch and then closed the door behind him. Before he could let his knees crumple beneath him, Em made a beeline for his bed and quickly collapsed onto the sheets.
Most likely, he would. Drake was like that. But then, if Morgyn didn't have some kind of motivation for pulling himself out of this one, maybe he never would. As always there was, there was that temptation to run away from it and ignore it'd ever happened, that Aine didn't do or say those things, that Ezio didn't get hurt like that for that reason, that everything was perfectly fine. There was a time when Morgyn could've told himself that everything was perfectly fine and there was nothing strange or questionable or traumatic in his life, especially not to do with Aine, or Ezio, or Aine and Ezio, and anyone that implied otherwise simply didn't understand.
Morgyn thought that time was over, now. Why did she tell him that, anyway? What exactly was the point of it? No. It was a stupid question, Morgyn knew the answer to it. The truth was, she wanted to hurt him. She knew better than most, Morgyn had no emotional control to speak of, and if she was going to cripple him, it'd be through his emotions. Morgyn tended to react first, and then perhaps think about it somewhere in the aftermath, but the peculiarities and semantics of emotional regulation and how emotions worked had always escaped Morgyn anyway. Still, he had a weakness. Maybe that was something he should seek to change.
He could admit, in his head, that he felt awfully lost right now. Maybe, this was one of those things he'd have to take one step at a time. Just do the next thing that needed to be done. The next thing that needed to be done was, Morgyn needed to calm down. Throwing a fit right now wasn't going to solve anything anyway, and there were other things that needed to be done. Morgyn drew a breath in, and releaed it... a puff of blackened smoke loosed with it. He'd ponder the semantics of breathing fire some other time. He'd ponder blue fire and how it worked also some other time.
"You know," Morgyn said, "you're a lot nicer than you like to pretend you are." Morgyn glanced back at Iname, a cluster of brown hair falling in his eyes. For a moment, Morgyn just stared at it, and then he ran a hand through it. It turned red. Better. "Or is this special circumstances? One-time thing sort of deal?" He could probably manage not to get used to it.
Fortunately, he wasn't so engrossed in sketching the dark tree-line that he didn't sense someone else wandering up. It was a familiar feeling, though, so he didn't startle or anything, glancing up at the trees, sketching a little more, and then he closed the book and slid his pencil into the spiraling, turning to look up at Emilia. It'd been a while since they'd spoken last. Actually, Ezio wasn't sure when that'd been. He vaguely recalled gently chastising her about abuse of needs potions. He'd be nice and not ask her if she was still abusing them. Wasn't like he could talk. Luck potions, and that. Not that he was entirely sure they worked anyway. (Needed more testing.)
"Yeah, I guess I don't get out enough huh?" he asked, sounding amused. "Just waiting for the meteor shower. And badly sketching the tree line. Did you know it's hard to add detail to something that's pretty much all black? Amazing." Well, his excuse was, he didn't do art very often. Kind of a shame, because he had a love of it, but sketching and painting, these things required tools to do it with. Granted, he didn't think Drake would complain much about buying him graphite pencils and sketch paper - at the moment, he was drawing with a regular #2 pencil and a regular sheet of printer paper - but that was beside the point. It was the asking part that bothered him. Or, Ezio maybe not so secretly felt like a drain on society. ... and Drake in particular. PFFT.
He'd never admit that.
"How've you been?" It'd been a while since they'd spoken, it was a logical thing to ask. Besides, it wasn't like he didn't want to know! And if there was something going on, maybe he could help. It was nice to do that when you could. (Emilia seemed to have an easier time asking him about certain things instead of Morgyn. Well go figure, Morgyn was a loaded cannon. A firecracker lit at both ends. You know.)
Yes, well, L was quite very well capable of simply walking out of magic realm. That wasn't the problem. The problem was, there were spells and wards and god knew what else Keisha had woven while she'd been here, that meant the second L set foot outside of magic realm, Aine would know where she was. Of course, unless the spells and wards decided to do something surprising, which was entirely possible. Magic had a way of doing what it was meant to do, but perhaps not always in the manner that was expected of it.
L wasn't sure what the most likely outcome of her leaving magic realm was, but she supposed the point was moot. Why did the spells and wards have to be aimed at her, anyway? Why not Morgyn's dumb ass? Aine would most likely be after Morgyn anyway. Or Simeon was male! But no! Had to be her. Well, she was the weakest. Things like this happened to the weakest she supposed.
"There are worse things than death," L said, waving a hand. And she'd trust no one but Morgyn to trip into them, but she supposed Hella was right, and she was overthinking and worrying too much. Aine was a problem, that was all. L didn't know the details, she just had a feeling Aine had something to do with that accident a few years ago that'd killed Kaiou. One of her better students, actually. Iname would've been just as good as he, if he'd been allowed the time and the space, but he'd disappeared not long after. No one asked questions. It was better that way. Those that were in a better position to be asking those questions could do so without also fielding the public.
L wasn't terribly good at PR, but she was enough to know she was dreadful at it.
Vampires? That seemed to catch L's attention, because she immediately turned to look at Hella in interested befuddlement. Vampires shouldn't - of course, they were never very good at dying in the first place, save choice situations that were primarily a cause of natural selection... hmm. It was curious vampires would be having a notable problem with staying dead, given there was no reason for that. Ah, no, come to think of it there was. Certainly only a spellcaster could manage to raise a vampire, and presumably control it. And as it turned out, someone had stolen almost all of the books about vampirism that used to be in magic realm's library quite some time ago, too. (It was Aine. L wasn't stupid.)
"That seems like a problem, then, doesn't it?" L asked, smiling. "You know, I think Morgyn mumbled something about vampires the last time the idiot came and went. Maybe that was what the idiot was talking about." Yeah, maybe. Well, if L was guessing right, it had something to do with Aine, and Morgyn would be interested in anything Aine was doing. That was even more concerning, though. Morgyn also had a nasty habit of trusting her. Well, if Morgyn wanted to go down in flames, maybe that was Morgyn's problem and not hers. "I should imagine Ethren's worried about it too. Probably Ezio. At least Morgyn's not dealing with it solo. That could only end in tears. And maybe fire." L wasn't so sure it was a great idea to tell the woman there was a psychotic necromancer ex-sage somewhere out there. They had a reputation to maintain.
Necromancers, though, tended to be interested in necromancer things. Hmm. Strange.
"Well that's a good start." Just mildly encouraging. "Maybe now that you don't have to hide it quite as much you will be able to take some time to learn how to control it actively." Not because she necessarily wanted to read minds, but because it was a part of her and she should know how to use those powers, in his opinion. It was up to her though, of course. Malachite would never push her into something she wasn't comfortable with.
"Don't be sorry, I'm glad you came here." Was what he said. "At least this way I know you're safe and can help you get settled. Things get a bit rowdy sometimes, but we take care of each other here, and there's not anyone at the Casa I'd be worried about introducing you to." People who were real troublemakers didn't tend to last very long for various reasons. Kassander and Surya were the two biggest reasons. Most people didn't play games when those two were around, they were scary.
Awesome people, and Mal loved them like family, but they were still scary.
"The circumstances aren't ideal, and I'm so sorry that you had to go through this, Rae, but you don't have to face it alone anymore." And that was the best that Mal could promise her, maybe, and it wasn't going to fix everything but it was somewhere to start for them both, maybe. But well, acceptance and somewhere safe to come into her own, those were pretty great things for anyone to have, and they tended to allow for a lot of grace in other areas. Sure, he couldn't make up for their parents being awful, but well... he'd do what he could.
Right. Other people probably did need to know about the situation at hand. There'd been enough going on it hadn't really crossed Iname's mind - not that it mattered, it wasn't as if he had a way of contacting the vampire that didn't involve just showing up on his doorstep. And... Iname hadn't been intending to leave Morgyn while the other was like this so... that option was definitely out. Still, now that the Sage had brought it back up... it was at least marginally important to follow through with.
He'd done for Morgyn and Ezio what he hadn't been able to do for himself, for Kaiou. "You're welcome." It wasn't the 'it's nothing' that Iname had originally meant to say, but it was fine. He was going to just leave it there, and not examine the bitter feeling of rage that he had sitting somewhere in his chest because they didn't both need to be so angry about Aine that they couldn't think. And Iname had done well so far focusing on Morgyn instead of himself. It could last.
He'd figure it out later.
"I'm sure Drake will understand the delay in letting him know, so take the time you need." Mildly. One step at a time, or something like that, right? This was the next major step, Morgyn calming down enough that they could go back to San Myshuno to let Drake know what had happened. And then maybe heading back to the hospital for an update, because they had just sort of.. vanished. It wasn't like there had been any other good options, letting Morgyn spit fire all over the back of the hospital would have eventually caught someone's attention.
And sure, erasing or modifying memories, making things not a big deal anymore, that was something they were capable of. ... It was also easier not to have to worry about such things.
Troi blinked. That was surprising, but then, maybe Candy just needed someone to talk to. Ezio always did say she was easy to talk to (as did Octavia), but it still was sure confusing when it happened. Troi tried not to think about it too hard. You'd think, after a while, she'd have gotten used to it enough not to question it so much. You'd think wrongly, it'd seem.
The story Candy's rambling painted was an interesting one. It seemed they'd just moved to Windenburg. The younger sister was doing okay but seemed unhappy. Okay. Well, younger sisters were finicky that way, especially if this one was still a teenager. (The teenage years were the worst.) Maybe Yuki was just young and awkward, maybe there was something to be concerned about. It was hard to say, surely Troi had no answers, but if she was afraid to ask about it, then there may never be any telling for sure.
Ah? "No," Troi said, shaking her head. "One of my coworkers lives here, and I came by to give something to her. I work in Newcrest." The hospital, to be exact, but that felt like bragging. "I didn't think you were talking too much. Sometimes you just need to talk, and I'm okay at listening. I think, though, maybe you'll only get answers to this one with time. But if your sister's young enough, sometimes they're just moody for no clear reason."
Because being a teenager was so exhausting and unfair? It sure always seemed that way.