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Shiress goes to talk to Mathias about something on her mind.

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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May I Have A Word? (Shiress)

Postby Gossamer on April 16th, 2022, 1:22 pm

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50th of Spring, Late Afternoon, 522 A.V.


The building just north of the Syka Commons and past the Mercantile was not necessarily a full cabana. It was more of an Overwater Ranchero though most of it sat securely upon stilts on the land. It did house, however, one of the most expansive decks ever. It was built for entertaining guests of all sorts, with an array of chairs, fire pits that were lofted off the wood to keep night goers a bit warm, and an overall welcoming feel to it. There were tables for eating. And most importantly there was an array of gear for all sorts of fishing.

Mathias himself, the owner of the home, was an avid fisherman and a bigger socialite. He loved to combine the two past-times and hang out on his deck half the night catching his supper… and to be honest feeding a whole host of other people from his catches. The latest to benefit had been the children at the children’s pavilion. And since he cleaned the fish himself, he used the entrails and heads to bait traps for crab and lobster so there was always an excess.

His cabana had no doors. And people were free to drop by at all hours in case of emergency or the need for someone to talk too. He had an expansive library that people often borrowed from. And Stu kept Mathias in beverages, both fine and crude, so thirsty throats could be wetted as talk occurred. Bards played for him. Poets read for him. And the man was always ready to give a fishing, crabbing, or lobster lesson to anyone that dropped by. One didn’t need an appointment or to make an announcement. One just had to realize they might not be the only one there.

Tonight though, things weighed heavily on Mathias’ mind. He sat alone on his dock, contemplating the funeral pyre they’d lit earlier and the ashes they’d scattered when the fire had cooled. Murder in Syka. It was a first and something he was not terribly thrilled with. In fact, if one knew him well enough, they’d know that he had a quiet fury burning in him because he knew…. he just knew… that this was supernatural.

The Gods were going at it again and they were turning Syka into their battleground. He’d personally vetted every single settler here, and they were all to a man and woman good hearted people. They even had children now, and that gave him hope for the future of the Settlement. There were young people here too, which meant families were forming and loyalties forged. And because he was a priest of Xhyvas, he saw the possibilities for his little Settlement and its importance in the future.

He saw the strongest of them all… the best possibility in his mind… endangered in this season’s happenings. Syka was going to be the next stronghold of magic for the people by the people. It was going to be a place for mages to grow and flourish. People could come here from all over and take training. More than eighty percent of its population had some sort of magic and every single person here tolerated it. And from that magic would grow incredible leaps and bounds in technology. They were in the old Suvan Empire, sure, but Mathias saw the possibilities and all the strongest was that here the ancient ethics and well-being of Alahea could rise again.

He got up then, at that thought, and went into the cabana and brought out two wine glasses. Yes, it was possible that she wouldn’t come. But he rather thought she might. So he set them out, poured both glasses full – because if she came it would be soon – and waited.

Scarred, living a life of servitude, one of their newest and most damaged members was about to show an incredible act of courage and take things into her own hands to simply preserve a dream she had for her child to be raised in a place where he could run free and grow into his own powers without chains on his body or chains on his soul. And if she did that, she’d likely pass Kilhala’s test for the Goddess was always seeking those that would weigh the good of the group over their own individual passions even if it was for selfish reasons like the love of a child.





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May I Have A Word? (Shiress)

Postby Shiress on April 16th, 2022, 10:08 pm

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Shiress sat alone on the bed in her room, bottom lip wedged between her teeth, looking pensive, maybe a little nervous, too. She was a lot nervous, actually, as the plan in her muddled head swirled and danced behind her eyes, playing out every scenario, every possibility, and every single word in a future conversation that could probably go wrong. For some strange reason, She found herself more nervous about talking to Mathias than she had been the day the very real God of evil and chaos had come strolling into the room she was sitting in.

Shiress barked a laugh into the empty room, then winced, rubbing at her still painful throat. Sighing, she rose from the bed, attempted to tame the tangled locks on her head, and gave up the second time the hairbrush got stuck. She really should take advantage of the Protea's outdoor shower, with its warm water and sweet-smelling soaps, but Shiress knew she'd end up not going with any more dawdling.

So, dressed as she had been for the meeting, meaning a thin, light-colored shift hung off the doctor's body like a tent, Shiress left the inn. Once she had cleared the Protea's steps, she turned right and followed along the worn path to where she knew Mathias lived, her heart beating a nervous rhythm against the confines of her ribcage. Shiress hadn't taken more than a dozen steps before the ghost of her master materialized in her path, and she moved to step around it, but a ghostly fist to her stomach caused the doctor to double over, gasping and coughing.

"Gods.." she groaned, clutching at her middle.

"Wrooong." the ghost singsong, cackling with ill intent, "where is ya going, slave? Gotta go talk to somebody important?"

Ignoring the ghost's taunts, Shiress climbed to her feet, only to take a few more steps and be knocked back to the ground with a boot to the ribs. Shiress sucked in a heaving breath and pushed herself to her hands and knees, spit and worse dangling from her mouth as she struggled to fill empty lungs with air.

"Petch off, Jordan, you're petching dead!" she panted, gagging on the bile that had surged up her throat.

"Missed the memo," Jordan's cold fingers wrapped around Shiress's long hair, hauled her to her feet, then turned her back toward the Protea inn, "Slaves only talk to their enslavers." he barked out, then shoved her back down the path she had just come.

Shiress took two staggering steps in that direction, then stopped herself, turned, and limp-walk passed the ghost with determined strides. Again, Jordan seized her by the hair, but this time Shiress lashed out with her arms, twisted free, and screamed bloody murder. Chest heaving, she opened her eyes, and Jordan was blessedly gone. After a tick, Shiress turned herself back toward Mathias's and started walking.

For the remaining short journey to the founder's home, Shiress's ghost was in her ear, taunting her with dark threats and promises of pain, but Shiress kept her eyes forward and walked, sometimes stumbled, sometimes had to pick herself up, but she kept. moving. forward.

"One more step, slave, and I'll slit your throat like I did that old bag."

"You'll have to put your son back together piece by bloody piece if you don't go back now."

"Go back, or I'll take that scrawny ass of yours until you bleed."

"That man is going to think you're crazy. He's going take that brat away from you and lock you away like I used to! Remember that, slave?"

On and on, the taunting went until Shiress, at last, had set eyes on Mathias's cabana, and she could see the man himself, sitting out on his deck. Taking a chime to check herself over, the doc leaned back against a tree, dabbing at her face and then checking the pads of her fingers for blood. There was only one new one, just above her eyebrow, but it had already stopped bleeding. Drawing in a breath, she let it out slowly and then stepped away from the tree, leaving her curse behind to yell obscenities to ears that chose to no longer hear them.

Back straight, determination front and center, Shiress closed the distance between her and Mathias and climbed the stairs to the deck, giving the handsome older man a hesitant smile as she leaned her weight against the railing to try and catch her breath.

"Alric, the man who wrote that letter, he may be able to help Syka and her people, right?" Shiress said, forgoing introductions, "If he was here, he might help, right? But he can't come because, by the time he gets here, the curses may run rampant, that's what his letter said. If there's hope, one single mustered seed of hope in that man's words, then I, we, have to try."

Shiress lifted her eyes skyward, praying to anyone that might here her to give her the strength to say what she had come to say. Blinking, she lowered her gaze and looked straight at Mathias.

"I think I may know how to get Alric to Syka before the season change."




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May I Have A Word? (Shiress)

Postby Gossamer on April 17th, 2022, 1:58 pm

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Shiress’ ghost disappeared the moment she set foot on Mathias’ deck. It would not make a reappearance until she departed the sanctity of his home.

Matthias studied Shiress as she mounted the steps and joined him on the deck. He rose to meet her, reaching down to pluck up one of the wine glasses he’d just finished pouring and offering it to her. “Take this. Have a sip or two. We certainly can make some decisions tonight. But you need to know all of it, Shiress, before you tell me what you want to do.” He said softly, his voice a deep beautiful rumble of a man who’d lived a long full life and planned to enjoy a long full retirement. He strode over to join her on the rails, another wineglass in his own hands.

“Yes, Alric may be able to help. Apparently, Mistress Hess could too. When she was prepared for the pyre, we discovered two Lykata marks on her. She followed Eyris and was deeply devoted.” Mathias informed her gently.

“I know about Alric.” He admitted softly. “He’s tied to one of our members. You won’t know her, for her curse is to be forgotten, but you have met her and been kind to her. I know her because I am a priest of Xhyvas and this curse hasn’t touched me. Nor, truthfully, do your curses affect me either. You should be comfortable here while you stay on the deck. You could even sleep here tonight, Shiress, and wake with a clear head to make your decision in the morning.” He added, offering her a bit of respite since she opted to come forward, not with a demand for help but to offer a solution.

“However, you need to know who Alric is before you decide anything. It can be important.” He said thoughtfully. “And you need to know the story of humanity itself.” He added, somewhat cryptically, though the tone said he was definitely going to clarify his words in a moment. “Once, long ago, before the Valterrian, there were noble families that lived throughout the lands. The Suvan Empire had multiple lines of royalty, but the Alahea Empire had only one. Alahea’s upper class was called The Nymkarta. They were some of the finest mages, scholars, artists… you name a profession there was one or more of them in that field excelling at it. Alric is one of the last of them. He and his cousin Lys are the two youngest left living. He is a Prince among men and if you spend any time with him you will see it clearly. It is not something he can see though. He lives too much inside his head. He’s been phenomenally gifted and currently the Gods are fighting over who will win his loyalty or ensnare his power.” He said with a voice that hinged on frustration. Then he took a deep breath and shook his head.

“At least a third of the Gods here in the world feel we are but playthings, pawns to be moved around a chessboard. A third stay out of things. And the remaining third fight to improve things and see us as allies and friends.” He explained to her. “They are constantly at each others throats, these Gods, and while it is not entirely all their fault, some of them live the whole of their long lives defending against one another. So they seek strong allies, even among the humans whom they know to be some of the most frail creatures ever to exist.” Mathias told her then took a deep drink of his wine.

“But the truth is, we aren’t weak. When we band together and protect our own, really good things happen. When we educate ourselves, we can innovate and grow in our power far faster than the Gods who blink and a hundred years go buy. That is why the Gods that befriend and utilize the loyalty of humans are often stronger than the Gods that just destroy them.” He pointed out, then got back to his true tale.

“To date, Alric has been marked twice by the light. Knowledge and Illusion has empowered him and will work with him, not against him. They will be his friends and allies, not his oppressor and slave master. But they won’t be his last marks. If he comes to Syka, he will bring his fight here as well. Though, now, I see that the fight was perhaps always here since we broke ground for our first cabana.” He added.

“We came here at Xhyvas’ bidding. He is the God of Possibilities and Transcendence. Do you understand what that word means? To rise above… to excel… to meet and exceed all expectations.” Mathias said softly. He paused long enough to take a deep drink of his wine and walked back to one of the comfortable chairs where he could prop a foot up against the rail. “Come, sit… I’ll tell you what I know.” He said, knowing it was important that he get this conversation.

Mathias waited for Shiress to sit down and relax before he continued.

“Humanity was crushed when The Valterrian struck. I don’t think most people understand what the world was full of in those days. There were wonders you can’t imagine… ships that flew through the air, not just across the water. Lights illuminated cities without fire. People were very well educated and very disciplined. These times… the times we live in now… are not so great. More of us die each year than died in decades before the Valterrian. Medicine was cast back almost a thousand years with the destruction of the world. Even today, Shiress, humanity is barely hanging on. It’s not going to survive, either, unless things change. There is to much hatred in the world. There is too much destruction and misunderstanding. The Valterrian didn’t destroy humanity. Humanity destroyed humanity and keeps doing so. Soon, there will be nothing left.” Mathias said softly.

“But this man… this man you want to bring here. He and his kind can do amazing things to change that. He has the power to raise others up and inspire similar traits in themselves that he carries in his own heart. If he comes here, which has always been a possibility since Yshul threw him in the path of one of our own, the future splinters out into a million new possibilities. If our Sykan daughter could win his heart, most of the roads of his destiny led him here. And with him here, what will come is something Mizahar hasn’t seen since before the Valterrian. There is a good chance there will be a new Dynasty founded from the old. It will start here, nurtured, and spread leading to the salvation and survival of humanity as a whole. He and his cousin are the keys. He won’t come without bringing her, and as she grows, she too will know love and produce a family of immense proportions. And like a plague they will spread out, stabilize the world, and bring a new peace and prosperity if they are left unmolested.” Mathias explained.

“The problem is, the Gods don’t want this… not all of them. If he comes here, he will bring enormous danger to Syka. The happenings this season are in a way because of this possibility. A God wants this place soft targeted, vulnerable, and able to be easily subverted. That’s what this attack is. Look how you are holding up this season… you are weak, exhausted, not perhaps making good choices. That is everyone here. We walked into this season the strongest Syka has ever been. We are currently, half way through, all but drinking from a poisoned well and wide open and vulnerable for whatever attack is planned next. That’s what you do in a war. You make sure the enemy ‘acquires’ a load of poisoned food or ‘commandeers ‘ a wagon full of blankets covered in small pox. You want them sick and dying so you can walk through the gates of their town and take it over.” Mathias explained. “What you want to do as a doctor is bring in medicine to curtail the small pox or cure the food poisoning before it lays everyone flat. That’s a noble choice and a good measure. But will your enemy let you bring, as a doctor, that cure through the lines? Maybe? But you need to be very swift and very clever about it.” He added.

“And the light can’t help. They really can’t. If they openly act, it declares a public war openly then its no holds barred. It’s already a war and everyone knows it, but so far its in check. The war is simply over humanities survival. This place… if the influence of these royals happens… will grow. It will start small though… a safe haven for mages and a very progressively educated population. Myrna did her work well prepping this farmland for this kind of crop. There is food everywhere thanks to her. Our supplies won’t be compromised and we won’t be taken down by a lack of food or water. The weather is in favor of us. And we have more and more humans every season that can thrive in the jungle. And in doing so they are discovering some of the old ways… some of Pavena’s secrets.” Mathias smiled. “And once those are discovered, your people will move forward in leaps and bounds.” He added.

“So… that’s the whole of it.. the truth of possibilities out there. If Alric doesn’t make it here, Syka will slumber a while longer, grow slower, but everything will still happen eventually… if we survive. This current attack is just one of many to come, Shiress. But each time we survive one, I see us growing stronger… and with this strength will come an awareness of the population. And aware eliminates blindness.” He said thoughtfully, his voice tinged with hope.

“Now… how do we get Alric here? And as the one person who can at this very moment represent the voice of humanity and speak for them all…. What does humanity actually want to do?” He asked, half turning in his chair to study the woman.

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May I Have A Word? (Shiress)

Postby Shiress on April 18th, 2022, 12:04 am

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Shiress accepted the glass gratefully from Mathias and immediately lifted it to her lips, taking a long sip, her eyes going wide as the flavor of the wine surprised her. It was smooth, sweet, and possibly the best wine she had ever tasted. Shiress had nearly half of it drank with just her first sip but quickly lost interest in the delicious drink and slowly lowered the glass, fixing Mathias with a shocked gaze.

Shiress knew that anyone that looked upon Mistress Hess's body with half a mind would see the woman's death was intentional, but to find out that the motivation behind the deliberate act was to seemingly thwart the efforts to remove the curses from Syka's people was...Shiress didn't know how to feel. Shocked? Disturbed? Horrified? Idiotic? Here she was trying to figure out a way to get yet another Lykata marked into a city where someone may have just been killed for having the same. Shiress could almost feel the color draining from her face at the realization and could do nothing but stare mutely at the wine glass in her hand as Mathias continued to speak.

The man's invitation to take sanctuary in his home for the night took a chime to register with the doctor. When it did, Shiress jumped at the chance of a restful night, stammering out, "Yes, I would very much like that, thank you. That's very kind." she paused, then added, "My son, though, he is with Shade my.." what exactly is Shade to her, a guard, companion, guardian? "..friend and I would need to send him word so he won't worry."

The thought of the monk on babysitting duty for the night sent a fleeting smile skittering across Shiress's lips behind the wine glass, but a whole night spent without the ghost's tortures was well worth taking the brunt of Shade's ire at having to watch Ian all night. And, at a later time, Shiress would definitely have to revisit the realization that she did, in fact, trust the monk enough actually to keep her son.

As the Founder continued to speak, his tone adopting a more serious note, Shiress's attention zeroed in on the man, and she listened intently to his words.

To hear that Alric was of special lineage wasn't as much of a surprise to the doctor as it perhaps should have been. Just in the short time she had spoken to Alric as a patient at the Redynn, Shiress had been moved, even then, by the man's gentle spirit and kindness, but even more so by his readiness to help a stranger without knowing or caring to know, what, or who, it was troubling her beforehand. Alric had made an impression on the doctor, and by the sounds of it, she hadn't been the first and wouldn't be the last. Seemingly, even the gods themselves were queued up and jostling for the man's attention.

A dozen questions danced on the tip of Shiress's tongue. Still, she remained silent, riveted, only giving Mathias a shake of her head when asked if she knew the meaning of a word. When Mathias strolled away, then asked Shiress to join him, she did so quietly, taking the lull in conversation to sip at her wine. Still, as the man began to speak of the time before The Valterrian, Shiress sat her glass on the table, forgotten there it would remain.

She hadn't had many, if any at all, conversations about the pre-Valterrian, but Shiress had had glimpses into the past. However, those glimpses only credited the great destruction the Valterrian had caused and not the quality of life before. To have lived in such time, though...Shiress didn't have a broad enough mind even to begin to imagine a time when great ships sailed the clouds or when medicine healed the sick and cured the diseased. It all just sounded like...magic to her ears. As if the world had been run by powerful magicians and illusionists and couldn't possibly have been real, but she believed Mathias. Even as Shiress wondered how the man could possibly know all this, she did believe him.

Mathias spoke on, and Shiress listened, only flicking her eyes up once to meet the Founder's gaze when he referred to her as being the representative of the voice of humanity, then immediately found her fingers resting in her lap exceptionally interesting. That sounded like a title Shiress wasn't sure she wanted but was even more certain it was one she didn't deserve.

She remained silent a long while, Mathias's question hanging in the air between them like a fog, until, finally, Shiress drew in a breath and lifted her eyes.

"Humanity wants to live," she said, having to fight the shrug her shoulders so desperately wanted to add to her statement. "Humanity just wants to live and thrive and be happy. See their heirs alive and happy, and their heirs and theirs." Shiress shook her head, so far out of her comfort zone that her teeth warred with her bottom lip, "Humanity isn't concerned with the gods and their bickering and wars." she grimaced, giving Mathias an apologetic look, "I don't think they do. I mean, half or more of humanity doesn't even know about the god's bickering and wars. I didn't." she shrugged.

Shiress paused, thinking, trying to recall all the questions that had surfaced while listening to Mathias.

"Will bringing Alric here, taking him out of Sunberth, will that somehow put him in even more danger? I mean, is he somehow safer in Sunberth?" Would Shiress somehow become a target? It was a valid concern, but she didn't voice it yet.

Shiress didn't see how anyone was 'safer' in that horrible place, but so far today, she realized that she didn't know a lot about a lot of things. "The gods don't want him dead if they want him and his...lineage, right? Would they not protect that vested interest?"

Oh, gods, she wasn't making any sense. Giving up on that line of thought, Shiress decided to get to why she had come.

"You said Syka gets stronger and will keep getting stronger if we survive. Mathias, these curses are working. Whoever cursed Syka's people they are winning. I'm dying." Shiress's voice shook, but her eyes remained dry, determined, "I don't know if my son will have a mother this time next season, and I bet you know of others that may not be here either. Maybe due to their physical state, or maybe due to their mental instability." she shook her head, "I just don't think that Syka will be the same if we wait."

Straightening her back, Shiress gave another one of those skyward prayers.

"I know Sunberth. I was enslaved there for many summers, and I know the place where Alric works." Shiress's eyes fell, and she looked pensive, "I would never have thought in my wildest nightmares that I would ever set a toe back in that place, but this community you have created, that you love, needs Alric. My son needs Alric."

Shiress met Mathias's gaze, "Get me on a Wind Eagle, get me to Sunberth, and I will bring Alric back with me."





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May I Have A Word? (Shiress)

Postby Gossamer on April 18th, 2022, 2:45 am

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The older man nodded to Shiress as she accepted his offer for a snooze out on his deck that night. “I’ll make it an open invitation in case you need it again when you get back.” He added, seeing how much relief his offer held in Shiress’ arms. “You can bring little Ian as well in the future.” He extended the offer neatly. He could see the condition she was in and that she did indeed need a break. He felt for her, but also knew that she battled her own ghosts. That was the nature of the curses he’d seen in Syka this season.

They talked on… and finally Shiress found her voice and spoke for all of humanity. He nodded to what she said, noting the firmness in her voice. He was glad she was so decisive and didn’t hesitate in her answer. It made him more inclined to stick his neck out. He wasn’t acting on his own, which would be traced back to Xhyves. But instead, he was acting on behalf of Shiress… one of his newest settlers. “I’ve just skimmed the surface to their wars, too. There is a whole lot more you’d see if decide to properly look. This won’t be the first battle, Shiress. This is just the opening volley on what is going to be a very long war.” He said, then listened to more of what she had to say.

“Alric will be in danger wherever he goes. They know he’s in Sunberth now. It’s very possible bringing him here will buy him a bit of time and safety. He has no time and no safety in Sunberth. But if he acts against what is affecting Syka now, even in a small way, then it might bring attention on him faster than attention would normally fall. But make no mistake, Shiress, anywhere he goes he will not be safe… at least not for long. But I suspect he knows that if he has any common sense. At least here, he can be surrounded by allies. That’s what we should all be to each other. That’s what Syka was founded to be.” Mathias said softly, then offered Shiress a wry smile at her next words.

“There are far worse things than death. Alric is already well aware of a few of those things. His father is as well. And from what I know from Xhyvas, Ionu took a stand and stood at his side to prevent another fate from befalling him. We can only guess what will happen from here. You must act. Alric must act. Decisions must be made. And when those points in time pass, more will be clear. As of now, we are all just swimming in a frothing sea with no land in sight.” He explained, then nodded to Shiress’ next words.

The woman had a lot to say and it surprised him somewhat because Shiress had seemed so … damaged… when she had arrived. He had certainly pegged her for a healer that was in desperate need of healing.

Shiress was right. These curses were killing people, in a hundred ways. And Shiress was indeed correct that if they weren’t dying in body, they were dying in spirit. Randal and James were prime examples of that. Randal was running as wild as the Innkeeper, and James dared not set foot on a ship again until the curses were overcome. Mathias was powerless to assist them. But in this… in this request Shiress was making, he could indeed assist.

“Okay.” He said softly, nodding, thinking of her plan. “They are scheduled to be here by the 65th… no later. If I know their route correctly, they will eventually be in Sunberth by the 75th. It will take some convincing, but I can have you leave with them that day. Depending on which rider it is leading them, I can either get them to fly you directly or at least not linger. You’d have to travel lightly. There will be four or five eagles with them for they were bringing us a big load of glass first. That means they will have to return … another ten days at the latest. You’d be back by the 85th. I can bargain for you to ride to Sunberth… and three of you to come back. You, Alric, and the young girl. But he’ll have to travel light as well. And he will have to absolutely agree to come. Tazrae told me about him early on, and I know about their place together in The Outpost. Have him move all his belongings to The Outpost and he can fetch them at his leisure once he gets here. Tell him it’s going to be until next season that the Eagle Rider's return. So, if he comes, it will be for the rest of the season. He’s welcome to stay on as long as he wants, but I can only get him one trip back on the next trade drop with Wind Reach. This will be a one-time offer. If you can’t talk him into coming, Shiress, you climb back on that bird and come straight back. Ian needs you.” Mathias said.

“So be ready. Fifteen days… this place will be in chaos. But you’ll need to eat, sleep, and rest.” He said, concern laced into his voice.

“Then you’ll have to ride. And trust me, Shiress, a Wind Eagle isn’t the easiest mount.” He said softly. Mathias would be there for any more of her questions, in case she had them. Otherwise, he'd teach her how to bait a crab pot or two and fetch a comfortable pillow and some blankets so she could settle in under the awning and be warm even if it decided to rain.



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