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Thread: [M] Anima Mundi IC (Namingtoohard and Headwrapper)

  1. #361
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    As he walked with Shallan after saying their goodbyes to Clair, Mec was content to tread along silently. The cool night air was refreshing after being perched in the "crow's nest" for a time. It flowed gently, gentler than a slow river stream, and helped to carry the weight of the day's tiredness. Shallan's warmth at his side was a welcome contrast, like finding a sun-warmed spot when swimming in cool waters. Even if Mec was not particularly ardent about finding beauty in silent moments, he could not help but wish for this particular moment to last.

    He carefully pondered over his companions words, letting them soak in as he reflected on his own feelings. "Liberating... That's a good way to describe how it feels," he said. His steps slowed somewhat as he spoke. "I never thought the prospect of living like this would be so appealing. You can just get up one day, and leave behind anything that bothered you. No need to force yourself to dwell on the past."

    Memories of the old shop presented resurfaced. Mec already had the revelation before about how absurd he must have been to be content with being stuck behind a counter most of his days, but such a concept never lost its profoundness. There was some security, but there was so much more outside of those walls that were his for the taking. The sights, the smells, the people. Maybe rather, a particular person.

    Without giving it a thought, perhaps due to the night's drinking, Mec reached down and took Shallan's hand in his to give it a gentle squeeze. "You know, I don't remember why we ever stopped being friends back home. But, I'm sorry to have let it happen. And don't say it wasn't my fault, since I know for a fact it is. It wasn't like I even had friends at home, just my parents when they weren't traveling."

    The kings all hate the ace.

  2. #362
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    Shallan slowed to match Mec's new pace as the two of them began to speak, more than content to relax and take her time. The night was still young, at least by the standards of Convittas, and it was a lovely evening besides. The gentle evening breeze was soothing against her skin, and seemed to help relieve the general haziness that had been brought about by the wine she had consumed. All in all, it seemed the perfect moment for this sort of conversation.

    "I don't think we ever really stopped being friends. Not well and truly. More just...fell out of touch for a little while" she'd answer, a small smile flickering across her face. She squeezed his hand subconsciously, not so much as thinking about the gesture. "Besides, I could've taken steps to remedy that problem at any time. Gone out of my way to approach you. So I'm just as much at fault as you are." Despite her words, there was no sense of malice in her tone. No accusation. It was a simple statement of fact - nothing more and nothing less.

    At about this point, their stroll was briefly interrupted as Shallan stumbled slightly. An unfortunate side effect of the alcohol, or just general clumsiness? Regardless, she'd lean heavily on Mec's arm for a few moments as she tried to stop herself from falling, before finally recovering her balance. She'd throw him a quick glance, a wry smile on her face, before muttering a quick thanks and an assurance that she was fine. When they had resumed, she'd speak up once more.

    "Do you ever...wonder what your family ended up making of all of this?" she asked, speaking gently, as if suddenly hesitant. Shallan knew all too well that she was treating on sensitive ground here, despite the urge to ask. "Wonder what they were thinking when the came home to find the shop damaged, the journal gone, and you both missing and wanted?"
    Last edited by Namingtoohard; 02-20-2019 at 03:42 AM.

  3. #363
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    Mec dwelt on how differently things would have been if he and Shallan stayed in touch during all that time back home. When Mec began to show signs of his magical prowess, would it have made things less stressful had he been able to confide to a trusted friend? It was entirely possible Mec would have remained silent, even then. It would never have stopped the events that lead up to the exodus from Ozette. Alas, it seemed what had passed had passed, and there was no sense dwelling on it at all.

    Suddenly, Mec felt a quick tug at his arm as Shallan stumbled. Quick to react, he tensed his arm as to give his companion a sturdier support to hold on to. "Are you alright?" he asked, turning slightly to observe his friend once she regained her balance. He cautiously watched his friend's face as she finally steadied herself. Truly, he felt content if he had to wait all night for Shallan to regain her bearings, as if he had an endless pool of patience for her. It seemed strange to feel that way, but Mec could think of a thousand reasons why it was justified.

    Once back on their little stroll, Shallan posed a question of her own. Mec hardly so much has hesitated before replying. "I've thought about that every day," he said. "My biggest hope is that they're safe. I'm worried that people will accuse them of being sorcerers themselves, and who knows how far they'll go to seek some sort of justice. Hopefully they are able to just rebuild the shop and continue on without paying me too much thought.

    "As for what they thought, well... I wondered about that too. I'm still not quite sure how well they would have taken the stories, or the damages. My father might be able to remain stoic, prepared to patch up the shop and move and move on, but I'm sure my mother will not take it very well." It was evident Mec had thought this through before from his preparedness to answer. Absolutely, one of the biggest tragedies in the whole ordeal was his parents losing their only offspring. Mec wondered how his parents would fare without an extra body to man the shop as they traveled for goods and who would assist them when they grew old.

    "I'm sure you've thought about the same things, haven't you?" he finally asked.

    The kings all hate the ace.

  4. #364
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    Despite her attempts to stifle it, Shallan grimaced at the thought of how difficult things might have become for Mec’s parents. Before today she hadn’t even considered the possibility that they had been targeted solely for their association with him, but as soon as the words left his mouth she knew it to be a valid concern. The idea of a grieving mother, too, seemed to tug at the heartstrings. Shallan had always thought herself an empathetic person, but the pain of losing a child - regardless of whether they were dead or merely lost - seemed beyond her reckoning. Whatever despair she could envision likely paled in comparison to the reality.

    Even so, a wry laugh slipped from Shallan’s lips when Mec returned the gesture, asking about her own mother in turn. He was right, of course - this matter she had thought about extensively, and felt as if there was little ambiguity to be had. She didn’t have to worry about any harm befalling her own mother at hands of the other townsfolk, after all. Even if there were other factors to consider.

    “Oh, I know exactly what my mother would be thinking” she answered, sounding far too certain. “She’d likely call me stupid, or a fool, or pig-headed, for risking my life on such a gamble. She’d be smiling while she said it, though. Glad that I’d gotten out of that small little town, gotten to see more of the world, and decided to do something with myself. That I’d made a choice, even if she didn’t necessarily understand or agree with it.” It was a naive answer, Shallan knew. Merely what she had chosen to tell herself, and not necessarily the reality. Truthfully, the woman was probably beside herself with worry. At least, during the moments she was lucid enough to grasp the full reality of her daughter’s new situation. That wasn’t the perspective she had chosen to focus on, though.

    “Honestly, if anything, I’m worried for her. Lord knows how she’ll manage without me there to..” she started, before trailing off. She’d throw another sideways glance at Mec then, giving him a smile. “Well, you know”

    “I like to think that they’re still cheering us on, though. Both your parents and mine” she offered. The girl turned her gaze skywards again, trusting Mec and the grip she had on his arm to make sure that she didn’t run into anyone or anything. “That they might feign disgust around the rest of the townspeople, for their own safety, whilst secretly glad that we managed to escape. That they’re happy you got away, that you’re still alive and out there somewhere, despite the fact that you’re a mage”

  5. #365
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    Mec was quiet as he pondered Shallan's words about her mother. It would be difficult for her to suddenly lose her daughter, and have to care for herself. In a more lively town than Ozette, it might even be dangerous to live alone like that. Hopefully the gentle and peaceful nature of the town would keep her protected. A small notion of guilt hovered over Mec as he considered such thoughts, feeling that he was responsible for driving Shallan's decision to leave in the first place. He knew the best way to deal with such guilt was to channel it into his efforts to better learn his powers, and use them to help people Maybe someday one of those people would be Shallan's mother.

    "You might be right," he finally said. "Parents' love is not exactly sensible or logical. It's very unique in how unconditional it is." Mec studied their surroundings deliberately as they continued about their stroll, cautious of any ears that might be too close. It was natural to learn a certain level of caution, after what he had endured already. "I suppose I'd never understand it unless I have children of my own. So they say anyway."

    After wandering the town for a while longer, the pair eventually returned to Midir's shop to turn in for the night. They spent the next few days planning for their departure, consulting with Midir and Clair as needed. They became better acquainted with some of the members of the troupe through the various interactions that took place during that time. Midir was generous enough to supply them with some provisions and additional clothing, assuring them that whatever expense would be returned to him in kind. Olenna had her ways, after all.

    Despite some protest, Midir was also able to help Mec refine his new way of influencing people by using his powers. The poor man would often awaken in the afternoon, only to find Mec raring to solicit a lesson. However, the end result proved fruitful in the short amount of time Mec had to train. The effect was nowhere near as powerful as the one Midir seemed to invoke effortlessly around him, but it would suffice on weak-minded or unsuspecting victims, or those that were overly trusting.

    Soon enough, the morning that was scheduled for Mec and Shallan's departure came. They were ready early that morning, as they had agreed to meet with Clair's troupe shortly after sunrise. The air was cool and fresh, and a sprinkle of dew covered anything it could, gleaming like small diamonds spread throughout the town. "Well darlings, seems that your big day has finally arrived," Midir announced as he lead them out of his shop. He had yet to sleep, unwilling to ruin his night schedule to prepare for that day. "I hope you've enjoyed Convittas, and good luck on your travels. Olenna will take good care of you both if you keep your faith in her."

    The kings all hate the ace.

  6. #366
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    The next few days were ones of preparation, though Shallan's method of doing so was rather different than that of her companion. Unable to assist in any real capacity when it came to Mec's lessons, she occupied herself with the more mundane aspects of planning their trip. Going out shopping, packing and repacking their things, trying to sort out their cover stories, and generally trying to make sure that they were prepared for most of the possibilities the next leg of the journey could throw at them, if not all of them. The small and easily overlooked essentials that could prove the difference between a pleasant journey, a miserable one, and one that ended in disaster. She wasn't particularly worried, considering that they wouldn't be travelling alone this time, but better safe than sorry, and it gave her a way to fill in the days.

    When the day finally came, Shallan marched out of the shop with Mec and Midir, before turning to face the mage-turned-shopkeeper who had opened his home to the two of them. Despite the more questionable aspects of his lifestyle, their stay, and the things he had encouraged, Shallan found herself smiling as the two groups said their goodbyes.

    "I don't think we can thank you enough for giving us a place to stay, and teaching us as you have besides. Hopefully Olenna gives you something for your troubles, though" she offered simply. "In any case, so long. Maybe we'll see you around, one day" she finished. An optimistic thought, admittedly. It was a nice one to part on, though, for that exact reason.

    After they had finished saying their goodbyes, they would finally leave Midir's home behind for the final time, heading for the square where Clair had instructed them to meet. The walk proved a relatively short one, but undeniably pleasant. An enjoyable chance for them to take in the sights and sounds of Convittas one last time, even if they didn't have the opportunity to linger and enjoy any of it in full. Shallan picked up a random tune from one of the performers and set to humming the melody herself as they strolled.

    When Clair's wagon finally came into sight, it was accompanied by a flurry of activity. Semi-familiar faces ran back and forth as they hurried to pack away all of the troupe's equipment, breaking things down as much as possible and storing them for the journey. Shallan was quick to assume that they had refrained from doing so last night because they had decided to put on one final show...and had either been too tired afterwards, or too busy celebrating. Shallan herself waved at a few of the members that Clair had already introduced them to in passing, before glancing back across at Mec.

    "Maybe we should offer them a hand. Go find Clair to let her know we're here, and ask if there is anything we can do to help" she offered simply. "It seems like a good way to start getting to know everyone...or get in their good books, at the very least"
    Last edited by Namingtoohard; 03-31-2019 at 09:53 AM.

  7. #367
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    Mec grinned as Shallan made her suggestion. "It doesn't look like we're going to be given much of a choice anyway." He spotted Clair swiftly weaving her way towards them. Even as she hurried through the cluster of actors and stagehands she was graceful, never bumping into a single person.

    "You're here!" the woman exclaimed. Without a a second thought, she used two hands to push Mec towards a particular direction. "Go help the guys get the wagon ready. And make sure they fed Charlie proper! He's got a long walk ahead of him!" She then took Shallan's hand. "Let me introduce you to the ladies!" she said cheerfully as she pulled Shallan with her towards the group of female Misfits gathered a short ways away. Among them was Ella, the one who had rudely dismissed Mec the first night he relieved Clair's curse. She looked distinctly different without her heavy makeup. Her lips appeared much thinner, and her cheekbones, while present, were hardly visible.

    Clair introduced Shallan to the group. Many of the girls seemed excited about the idea of a new addition to their group, expressing so in different ways. Some were even bold enough to quickly approach Shallan and stroke her hair, commenting how they wished their "hair did that" and offering to help groom Shallan's hair just for the fun of it. Even Ella seemed to take some interest, although it was not obvious if it was feigned or genuine.

    Mec found himself gravitating towards Shaun, being that he was the only male member of the troupe he had been acquainted with. He spent several minutes helping the dimwitted man lift items into the wagon, and tying various items around the lone donkey pulling the haul. Mec quickly realized how much weaker he was than the stagehands around him, quicky losing breath trying to keep up hardly feeling much of the weight when he assisted in moving items. When things started to slow down, one of the other guys approached him. "Shaun told me you're like some kind of doctor or something?"

    "Not exactly."

    "Don't listen to him. I brought him to Clair's room when she was sick, and she felt good afterwards!" Shaun announced proudly.

    Whatever gods are real, please smite me right here and now, Mec pleaded in his mind, shifting his attention away from the strange looks Shaun's poor wording had brought. "The illness Clair had when she was unable to perform a while back is very common where I'm from. Just smelling certain spices can clear it right up, almost immediately."

    When Clair had realized everything was ready to go, she announced it was time to go. A few people from the troupe squeezed themselves onto the wagon, but the others were content with walking alongside the wagon. If needed, the walkers could rotate with those that were able to rest on the wagon. "Off we go!" Clair announced one last time, giving Charlie the donkey the signal to move and leading him herself.

    The kings all hate the ace.

  8. #368
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    Thoroughly amused by Clair's quick arrival and intervention, Shallan was unable to help but laugh as she was towed away. The girl threw a quick glance back towards Mec as she was dragged off, and even went so far as to give him a quick wave of farewell, but that was it. The two of them were both sent their separate ways, under the pretence of helping the troupe prepare for its inevitable departure.

    Or such was the theory, at least. That belief was quickly shaken when Shallan was introduced to the rest of the troupe's women, who seemed much more excited about the prospect of a new member than she had expected. The enthusiasm with which they spoke to her and the casual, almost carefree approach to intimacy quickly proved well and truly beyond what she was used to, and Shallan quickly found herself feeling a tad flustered. In hindsight she probably should have expected as much from women who lived shoulder to shoulder with each other, and likely bathed together, but in the heat of the moment Shallan was caught terribly off guard. Still, determined to make friends, she did her best to keep up with the barrage of questions and comments that were sent her way. She said her hellos, exchanged compliments, tried (and largely failed) to remember names and faces, and accepted the invitations as they were offered. Whilst the experience felt a little overwhelming, the other members did an amazing job of making her feel like a welcome addition to their ranks, all things considered.

    Things came to a premature end when a few words from Clair reminded the girls that they still had work to do, and that there would be plenty of time to get better acquainted later. The group finally began to disperse, and Clair shot Shallan a subtle smile and a knowing wink. Before she could ask what she was meant to do, a few of the other more forward women swept Shallan away, and she found herself organising and packing costumes and stage makeup alongside a few of the others. She likely wouldn't have known where to begin if not for the kind guidance of her new friends, who quickly adopted the role of teachers. The work they were given seemed less physically strenuous than what the other half of the troupe had to endure, but Shallan quickly lost herself in the flurry of activity nonetheless.

    Things seemed to slow towards the end; Shallan's little group finished their packing early, so that there was still time for everything to be loaded onto the cart. Still, they had won themselves only a few brief moments of respite when the call to get moving finally came, and the donkey and their wagon lurched into motion. Shallan quickly shouldered her own pack and set out with them – another of the many who didn’t manage to get a space on the cart, alongside all the gear.

    She spent the early part of the morning walking with the two of the women who she had gotten to work with while packing up, chatting with them idly. The company proved rather enjoyable now that the experience wasn’t so overwhelming, and she quickly found herself coming to enjoy it. Tanya and Ashlyn quickly proved themselves every bit as friendly as they had seemed during her welcome, and the time seemed to fly by. In due time, however, Shallan found herself searching for Mec. Finally, during a lull in the conversation, she tried to excuse yourself.

    “I think I might go and check in with my friend. See if he’s getting along with everyone as well as I am” she offered. Truth be told she was expecting some kind of joke, but Tanya just nodded in acceptance, as if she had expected this.

    “I wouldn’t worry too much. Most of the people who travel with us are decent enough sorts. He’ll find someone he gets along with” she answered casually. Shallan briefly wondered who it was that she felt the need to exclude, but quickly pushed the thought from her mind.

    “Still. Wouldn’t want him thinking that I abandoned him in favour of you all” Shallan answered, grinning a little despite herself.

    “Mm, true enough. Come and find us later though, alright? We’ll try and save you a spot on the wagon when its our turn, but any empty room isn’t going to stay that way for long”

    With a nod and a wave, Shallan slipped away from her two newest friends. It wasn’t all that difficult to pick Mec out of the crowd, all things considered, and she quickly moved to intercept him. If he was busy with any company of his own, she would wait until a lull in the conversation to approach, and greet said company with a simple nod of acknowledgement. When she spoke, however, her words were undoubtedly directed towards Mec himself.

    “So, was your welcome as warm as mine?” she asked by the way of greeting, slipping back into the same casual manner they normally used without missing a beat. With her gaze on the road ahead and her hands gripping the straps of her pack gently, Shallan certainly seemed relaxed and cheery enough.

    “Truth be told, I didn’t expect quite so many of us to be walking. I’m starting to think our previous journey may have spoiled us a little, spending almost the entire time sitting in the bed of that wagon. My legs haven’t started to ache just yet, but it’s still early” she remarked casually. Ashlyn and Tanya were both wonderful, there was something relaxing about speaking to someone she knew after so much time spent in the company of relative strangers, even about such trivial things.

  9. #369
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    Once the wagon was set in motion, the group around Mec unceremoniously began to follow. Some quickly made their way in certain positions around the wagon, occasionally placing a hand on it as if to steer it or move it along. Others simply followed along, content with strolling behind. Not quite center of the wagon, mind, in order to avoid any stinking "gifts" Charlie decided to leave behind as he pulled the load.

    "So not a doctor, huh?" The man who had approached Mec about that same subject marched up next to him, matching strides with Mec in order to keep the conversation going. "Well that's too bad. I have this thing on my back, makes it hard to sleep on it. Trouble is, I can't get no one to pop it for me, and I can't properly reach it. It's... ah never mind actually. I'm Godrich by the way."

    With that, he extended a hand to Mec, who only needed to slightly turn his body to shake it while keeping up with the pace of the loosely organized march. Mec spoke as they released each other's hands. "Mec. Nice to meet you." The man seemed familiar for some reason, but Mec was not sure why. It was quite possible that he had seen him before while speaking to Clair, but was never formally introduced to him.

    "And likewise, friend." Godrich parted his thick red hair away from his face as he spoke. "So tell me, what brings you along with our lowly gang? As generous as our leader is, it's not often we host guests with out travel party."

    "My companion and I are just traveling northward. She happens to have a certain talent as a performer. I suppose Clair took a liking to her and those talents, so she was willing to allow us to tag along for the journey."

    "I see. Well, welcome then. It's good to travel with new companions from time to time. Fresh faces, new stories and all that. If I may ask, what takes you and your companion northward?" Godrich peered towards the other side of the moving caravan, making out the unfamiliar traveler among the women in the group from a distance.

    "Well, she wishes to travel and practice her craft, like her mother had once. I had no good reason to stay home, so leaving on a journey with my childhood friend seemed like an easy choice." Mec readjusted the straps on the bag Midir had given him for the journey, along with some supplies and changes of clothes. "How about you? When did you join the Misfits?"

    "Hmm." Godrich smiled warmly, his lips pressed together. "Well, I have been part of the troupe nearly as long as Claire has. Like her, I was basically raised by the founders of the original group. Actually, the handful of us that far exceed the tenure of the younger generation of Misfits all seem to have started in that way. I think that's why we still dedicate so much to the group. Claire would not have been able to maintain and continue to expand our recognition and reputations alone, but with a small group with the same commitment, the task is quite trivial."

    Mec hummed before nodding in agreement. "I was impressed with how popular the Misfits were in Convittas. Claire never mentioned that there were others making decisions within the group."

    "No, she wouldn't have," Godrich replied abruptly. He paused, before turning his grin towards Mec. "Well anyway, I think I've bothered you enough for now. I believe I'm needed elsewhere." He nodded towards the front of the wagon. Claire was trying to get Godrich's attention. As he walked away, Mec only then recognized the man as the actor who played as Han's, Lady Mercy's old lover.

    Mec hardly had time to let the thought settle before he noticed Shallan's approach. "I'm not sure if warm is what I'd call it," he said frankly. He gave a small laugh at Shallan's observation. "I suppose there are better investments than a few more wagons or some horses." He gently pulled Shallan's sleeve to make sure she did not step on one of the "gifts" ahead of them. "Clair did say we would be basically traveling from town to town every day. I wonder where our first stop will be. I didn't think to ask."

    The kings all hate the ace.

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