Where Home Resides

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Nemaisare, Jan 30, 2015.

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  1. The whistle was long and sharp, sliding upwards before dropping abruptly. Silence answered it, so it sounded again, with the same result. The man responsible for the noise sighed and wiped at his lips, a nervous habit. He still wasn’t used to creeping about in the dark, for all he should have been. Wolf, on the other hand, was a natural at it. Then again, being a dog, it came with the territory. And the beast had once again managed to outpace him by some distance. Must have found someplace civilised though, if he was keeping quiet. That, or he was out of hearing range. Either way, he’d be along sometime, sooner or later. Probably later if he was too far away to hear the whistle, and his feet were tired. So… He’d wait for him right where he was. No point approaching strangers in the middle of the night, and if there weren’t sturdy roofs nearby, then he may as well find a tree to sleep under.

    Cialdan did just that after a moment’s pause to look around. The weather seemed as likely to turn chill as to turn wet, and the ground was strewn more with rock than soil. It would make for unpleasant weather and a lumpy bed, but he tried his best anyway, choosing shelter over the risk of sap on his clothes when he found a heavily boughed pine and crawled under its branches to curl up on the fallen needles beneath.

    His stomach was empty, he could feel it complaining about that, but it was too dark to be fiddling around in his bag. Not that he didn’t already know what was in it, nothing that would bite, thankfully, but there were a few small pieces that might fall out and be left unnoticed if he wasn’t careful. Besides, he’d gone hungry before, a night without wasn’t going to kill him, though it might make his rations last longer before he had to rely on Wolf for dinner. He didn’t trust the kindness of strangers. Not in the lowlands here. Dangerous enough skirting the edges, if he was caught here and found out, they’d probably kill him just as soon as feed him. Either way, he wouldn’t make it back home. But this was as much his land as theirs. More, really, since they’d taken it by force and he’d not wanted to give it up.

    So, he might have been skulking, and he might have been risking his hide, but it was his own hide to risk, and he couldn’t work the magic he needed to if he didn’t know the place he was trying to effect. Worth the sacrifice.

    Wrapping his cloak around him, Cialdan set his back against the trunk and used his pack as an impromptu pillow. He had to shift it around a bit before he’d moved most of the hard lumps away from his head, but it wasn’t perfect. It never was. For all his years of travelling, he’d never once found a bed more comfortable than his own straw mattress. Maybe he just forgot about its lumps while he was away from it…

    He was just settling into a doze, drifting further towards sleep when snuffling and scuffling stirred his wariness awake and he reached a slow hand towards the knife he’d rather stupidly left in his boot, where it was little use to him unless he could reach it. But he needn’t have bothered. The warm body that wriggled itself in between his arms was no threat. Though its breath stank, and he pushed the dog away with a grimace. The end result had him hugging Wolf’s rump, which wasn’t much better, but at least the enthusiastic beast had stopped wagging his tail as soon as he was settled, and Cialdan could go back to drifting. His fingers absently sliding down the sturdy back to dig themselves into the coarse fur around the dog’s neck. Better than a warm blanket, the dog’s presence let him relax and he was asleep within minutes, trusting that it would alert him to anything strange or dangerous approaching. Tomorrow… Tomorrow they could keep going together, find where Wolf had been, figure out where to go from there.

    After breakfast…

    The light was still spreading, creeping after shadows, when he stirred awake and stretched stiffly. Wolf had moved away sometime in the night and was chewing at his paws while he waited. Now and again he lifted his head to glance, not at his master, but at the pack beneath his head, where the food was. He knew what he wanted, he did.

    Cialdan huffed at him, but sat up and started to arrange their breakfast anyway. With the sun up, it was time to be moving. He tossed the meat to Wolf and chewed on a roll stuffed with sausage and cheese as he used his free hand to brush the needles off his clothes and worry at the sap he’d known would find its way onto his cloak. When he was satisfied he was needle free, he swung the bag over his shoulder and set out again, in a westerly direction. He didn’t follow any road, and wouldn’t even if the way was rough elsewhere. Strangers walked on roads, and he had no plans on meeting any, if he could help it. He didn’t want strangers to have faces, or names.

    The morning mists of late autumn curled around his feet as he went through the trees, and they quickly swallowed Wolf’s grey form. The dog didn’t know where he was going, but then, neither did he, really. So, they moved slowly but surely, Wolf covering more ground than Cialdan, until late morning found the dog bounding back to its master playing with a bit of wood. Curious, he called him over and took the stick from his mouth only to find that it had been worked by hands, shaped and carved. So, there were people about. Of course, the lowlanders seemed numerous enough that you couldn’t go far without running into one or another of their settlements, but he’d thought he was close enough to the border to avoid any town large enough to have craftsmen. Either he was losing his sense of direction, or they’d moved closer than anyone else had thought.

    Frowning, he waved the strut in front of Wolf’s muzzle. “Where away, boy? Let’s go.” Whether or not he could make use of this settlement, he at least needed to mark its place and size for his future explorations, so as to avoid any trouble. And note any changes between now and whenever he returned. It was always good to know how bold your enemy was growing. If they wanted to take any more land…

    With a bark that was more breath than sound, Wolf spun at the command and led Cialdan a ways off the course he’d set. The trees thinned as they went, the dog patiently stopping every few yards to let its master catch up and then springing away again. The mist, however, clung to the soil with a greater tenacity than he’d come to expect of the sodden air. The sun was up, no clouds in sight, but it struggled to disperse the mist. It tried to tug at his ankles and hid stones that turned underfoot, the weather was ever against him. Still, eventually, he made out a stone wall in front of him, just as Wolf leapt over it and vanished.

    Tumbled in, he found when he reached it. Not a field barrier, but a toppled house wall. The roof had rotted away, and the stones were starting to grow moss. But not much. He didn’t need to look farther to know what Wolf had found him. The low folk didn’t make walls out of stone. They used brick and mortar. Or wood. This was an old homestead of an Erre family. Abandoned when the war was lost, or, more likely, while it was still being fought. He sat on the wall, leaning against a section still more upright than not, and whistled Wolf back to him before tossing the stick. Without any evidence, he couldn’t have said if it was time or the people of Regalia who’d turned the house into a ruin. With no one to visit it, there’d been no one to look after it either, to change the roofing when it started rotting, to block the cracks or close the door against the weather.

    He and Wolf stayed there through noon towards evening, as he half-heartedly tried to set as much right as he could. There was no real point to the work, they’d not be staying, but he couldn’t help wanting to at least clear away some of the vegetation and make use of the hearth one last time before the house vanished into the grove. Old traditions were hard to let go.
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  2. It was always the crack of dawn, when Summer woke. Her father always insisted that it was her name- rising to greet the morning sun, and thank it for our season of harvest. In truth, it was the rooster. That beast hated her. Her father could laugh all he wanted, whenever she would grumble. But that creature had no right crowing at the crack of dawn, at ten in the morn, at noon- That creature had no right crowing at all. But crow it did, vociferously. Her only pleasure in the world come morning, was giving that damnable rooster a quick kick. She rarely hit, but listening to it's squawk of protest as it flapped away was enough to tide her over to the morning...

    Or at least until breakfast.

    "Breakfast!" So started her routine, A bucket of slop for the pigs- and a quick step back to avoid getting mud on her skirts as the three pigs, speckled with black, rushed for the trow. A scattering of seeds for the chickens, and another dirty look for the rooster- who eyed her right back. Hay for the horse, as old and swaybacked as she was, and last but not least, grass for the cows- with a pail for the milk, some to make the mornings porridge, and some to churn into butter.

    Summer brushed her hair out of her face, hair like the suns rays, and grabbed her pail of milk. The door creaked, as she pushed her way through the old wood, and the bucket sloshed as she dropped it- with no amount of finesse- onto the worn counter.

    "Father! Milks ready!" She waited a moment, though there was really no point, before stomping to the door with a sigh. Open the door, fingers between lips and whistle! She was only confident that her father heard her when his laugh rose over the barley. He would be in soon, and she had breakfast to make.

    And just like that, the morning was half done. Summer shared a fine breakfast with her father; porridge with just a drip of honey, courtesy of the bees from the neighbors farm. Then she helped with the watering, the weeding, the caring. By noon she was sweating, and grateful to run down to the creek for a wash with the other unmarried girls.... Well, almost grateful.

    There were always whispers, when she arrived. Poorly concealed laughter, and looks of condescension- or worse, pity. Because she was still unmarried at eighteen years.

    "Oh, there must be something wrong with her!" Summer mocked, in a girlishly high pitched voice, and a flutter of her hand as though she were about to feint. "Why, don't let her touch you, you might catch her disease."

    Summer glared over her shoulder in the direction of the river. It had been another unbearable day... So Summer had left as quickly as possible. Leaving her hair un-dried, despite the unseasonable chill in the air, and her clothes still moist from her hasty gathering. She just... couldn't stand the laughter much longer. And no matter how hard she tried- to dress like a lady, act refined, she even brushed her hair- she just couldn't attract a husband. She would die an old, lonely maid, working on her fathers farm.

    Morose, Summer kicked an errant rock into the woods, intent on visiting her favorite spot to think. At least there she would get some privacy-- there she could pretend just for a little while, that she was someone else. Someone different-

    She froze, at the growl in the woods.

    It was like her muscles had ceased to be her own. Fear held her still, as a dark form padded through the woods. She caught sight of narrowed eyes, glinting in the afternoon light.

    "N-nice doggy... wolfie..." She lowered as slowly as possible, groping for something- anything - to use as a weapon. Her hands came up empty. Not even a stick. She would find the only spot in a forest with no sticks!
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  3. There was nothing magical between the man and the dog. No special connection, or spell. But Wolf was well trained, intelligent in his own right, and though he hadn’t been expecting the stone that went whizzing past his ears, he could put two and two together to make four. The lady was a stranger walking towards his master, and she was being dangerous. Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite tell the difference between accidental luck and good aim. Nonetheless, he knew he was expected to give a warning, and he growled, hackles rising as he moved with stiff-legged purpose around the person intruding on his master’s space.

    The closer he came, the harder he stared, instinctively trying to pin her the way he would a sheep, with his eyes. They were a dark brown, in a mask of fawn coloured fur, the rest of him was varying shades of brown and grey, and one white sock. His fur was too long to be a wolf, and his feathered tail curled at the tip. But he didn’t know that was what she’d taken him for. He just knew she was getting too close.

    She stopped though, when he stared, just like sheep did, and after a moment he let it go and spun to pick up the stick he’d been carrying around for most of the morning and leapt nimbly over a fallen tree to dart a short ways down the invisible path he’d followed to get there from the ruins. He'd just paused to glance back and be sure she was staying where she was supposed to, or leaving, when his nose twitched and he tilted his head. The wind had turned, carrying her scent. It was familiar… She was the one who walked the trail he was on! That meant she knew where she was going and he shouldn’t stop her. He didn’t know her, but the place did, so she wasn’t a stranger. So he barked instead, dropping the stick and letting out just three quick warnings to alert Cialdan that someone was coming.

    Sitting at the hearth and feeding a small fire with what remained of the roof that wasn’t too rotted to burn well, the man heard and turned his head, instantly alert. He had the same brown eyes as his dog, and they widened in surprise as he realised his presence here would not be easily explained away if anyone caught him making himself at home. They’d have to be deaf not to have heard Wolf, but maybe they weren’t coming here…

    The dog barked again when he didn’t answer, a little closer this time. He couldn’t whistle back though, or whoever it was would know for sure that he was there. Quickly, he reached for his bag and slipped into place beside the doorway. Of course, there were other ways inside the ruin, with the walls tumbling as they were, but he couldn’t even be sure the stranger was coming here. Maybe they were just walking by and would be gone within the next few minutes. Wolf would watch them until they left.

    Right on cue, a third alarm sounded from the beast, closer still. And Cialdan decided he was better safe than sorry. He reached for the strength inside him and let it dance inside the fire, spelling the flames to catch the eye and grab the attention of anyone who might glance inside. Entrancing. Then he settled some more around himself and leaned against the stone, pulling its old, enduring qualities around himself, that he might be less remarkable, nothing worth noticing. With any luck, they’d be caught by the fire and he could slip away unnoticed. With even more luck, they wouldn’t bother looking inside…
    #3 Nemaisare, Feb 2, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
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  4. With her heart in her throat, Summer let out a weak chuckle. It was a dog, not a wolf. She was well enough familiar with the beasts- there were plenty of stray mongrels who lingered at the fringes of the village- and it was easy to tell from his coloring, and the length of his fur, that he was no wolf. Which made her feel silly for being so startled that she'd nearly yelped upon his bark.

    "Well, you just about gave me a fright." Summer pressed her hand against her chest, and took in a deep breath. Her heart was finally slowing- and the dog was no longer barking at her. He really was a handsome mutt, with his long fur and slightly curled tail. Even his little white sock was adorable- but Summer knew better then to pet strange beasts. What was odd, however, was how well-kept the dog's fur was.

    "You don't look like a stray..." She picked her way around the dog carefully- keeping a wide distance between them. She didn't want to be too close just in case it decided she was no longer a friend. "Is your master around?"

    She hoped not, if someone else found these ruins, she could hardly use it as her thinking place anymore. She came here to get away from people, not meet them. Of course, knowing her luck, his master would be here, and would in fact be one of the village boys she'd tried- and failed- to attract in the past. Or worse- one of the village girls.

    But the dog merely stared at her, as if questioning why this great lumbering furless creature was bothering to attempt to communicate, when obviously she wasn't intelligent enough to speak dog.

    "Too true, my furry friend," She answered, to no voiced question in particular. Perhaps it was just the nervous energy left over from the encounter- but talking helped soothe her nerves. "No point asking you I suppose... Hello? Is anyone there?"

    Her words were louder this time, in an attempt to keep from startlig whoever might be lingering around. It hadn't occurred to her that the dogs bark would very well have done that. Didn't occur to her to be suspicious, or search for an ambush of sorts.

    Summer walked straight to the door, and was immediately trapped by the dancing flames. She couldn't say what was so special about them- but they were beautiful enough to drag a gasp of breath from her lips. The way the embers curled around tongues of flame- the warmth that brushed over her skin, welcome against the chill from her still damp clothing.

    The fire reflected in her eyes, as blue as the sky, and it's light crackled in her hair, making it appear almost orange. Summer froze in the door.
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  5. He could just make out the murmur of a voice from his position. He couldn’t make out the words, nor tell to whom they might be speaking. He didn’t like his chances if there was more than one person coming this way. But no one answered. A moment later, the same voice, louder, called out. He didn’t answer either. Though the question made it obvious that whoever it was knew he was there, or at least, nearby. If they’d seen Wolf, they’d know he was no stray. If they’d seen something else, it was his own fault for being careless.

    Still, he stayed quiet and waited. If he could escape notice, he’d prefer it that way. But, of course, she had to come inside. Through the door too, which either meant she was being strangely polite, or she’d known where it was. Or, he supposed, that she’d been closest to it. Thankfully, it made it easier to see her, at the very least. Certainly no threat, though he supposed there’d be a chance she could tell someone about the stranger in the woods, immediately, however, there were no weapons on her. She looked the village type, practical clothes not too worn by travelling and easily caught out by the fire spell.

    Cialdan smiled to himself as he watched her grow still, then frowned when he realised her position took up too much of the doorway for him to squeeze past. He’d been hoping to sneak behind whoever came in, no risk of breaking the spell before he was safely away. But jostling her would almost certainly manage that. And movement at the corner of her eye might too. Nonetheless, he couldn’t stand there all day, and she wasn’t going to. The spell might last as long as he held it, but that was no guarantee it would keep her attention. Just that anyone else who showed up would also be caught.

    So, he looked around, trying to judge the angle of the other breaks in the wall. There were two more, one thin, relatively high up, but farther from her sight. The other would be easier to climb over, but crossed directly in front of her. It’d never-

    From the corner of his eye, Cialdan caught a glow he’d never have expected to see in the lowlands. The source was the girl. but when he turned his head to look again, it was gone. He didn’t often question his abilities, but this time, it should have been a trick of the light, bouncing off the wall. He was seeing things. No lowfolk had the Touch. Never. It was the one advantage the Erren had had in the war, for all the good it had done them. It was why they made up stories about his people that had, more than once, made him laugh. But he’d found it here. In her. Strong enough to show itself without being called…

    Cialdan backed up slowly, staring. And in his surprise, his hold of both spells faded so that the fire was once more only fire, still entrancing in its own way, but no longer a trap. And he was readily visible if she looked. But it was only when he heard himself talking that he gave up all pretense of staying hidden. “Where did you come from then…?” The question emerged hoarsely, and he was left standing, backed against the wall as though he’d seen a ghost. For all the likelihood of what he had seen, it may as well have been.
    #5 Nemaisare, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  6. As the fire lost it's draw, several things happened at once. First a multitude of thoughts started flying through her mind, such as; why was the fire so pretty? Was her mouth open? Was she drooling? Perhaps most importantly of all: why was there a fire in the first place? She supposed the dog's owner could have- but no, then why wouldn't they have responded to her earlier call? It was all far too curious.

    Second, she finally found herself able to look away- and take a cursory glance around the dilapidated house, as she'd intended when she walked through the old warped door. She didn't know how she'd missed him- the man standing in the corner. She barely had the presence of mind to actually realize it was another person standing there, before he spoke.

    So when the words came out of his mouth, a dry croak, as though he'd gone a long time without speaking, Summer's heart leapt out of her throat in the guise of a startled shriek- she wheeled back, the backs of her legs colliding with a chair she knew wasn't there before (it had certainly been on the ground) and in a flurry of skirts, blonde hair, and wide blue eyes, Summer tumbled to the ground with a muffled groan of pain.

    It took a few brief seconds to get herself sorted out, find out which way was up again- and massage the growing bruise on her elbow, where she'd landed. By the time she was on her feet again, thoroughly embarrassed from the whole affair, she'd managed to calm her heart- and don a sheepish expression.

    "S-sorry, I... you startled me." The girl spoke with the common low-lands accent, specifically the one found closer to the sea, and not quite so close to the mountains. A gift from her father, who used to live in a small port town- back when her mother was still alive. Summer's hands fluttered in front of her indecisivley, tucking her hair behind her ears and playnig with the hem of her sleeves nervously. "I.. I came from the village, just down... that way."

    She gestured in the vague direction of the village, as if absolutely sure that any passerby would know it's location. After all, the only visitors that ever came this way were traders, hoping to stop for some food and other goods to sustain them on their journey. It was the only reason they'd survived this long. So everyone who came this way surely had to know their little settlement. "Are you... okay? You look like you've seen.. well, a demon."

    Almost as though it were habit, Summer glanced over her shoulder. Her fingers sketching the sign against evil on her chest. A bastardized version of the motions required for a shielding spell- though her people only knew it as protection against the devil.
  7. Needless to say, Cialdan was not used to being the cause of such… excitement. So, when the young woman shrieked and stumbled over herself(and the chair), he was startled himself, and halfway through the nearest break in the wall before he realised he was the one who’d frightened her, and she wasn’t doing anything back. Just… falling over. Which, he had to admit, wasn’t exactly dangerous to his health. They’d stayed that way for a moment, her on the ground and him resting on one bent leg, half in and half out of the building, staring at her while she struggled to right herself.

    A politer, less ruffled, man might have offered her a hand up and an apology of his own. He wasn’t particularly eager to get any closer to her than he had to though. Disparity in age and strength and experience aside, she confused him and was a lowlander, as likely to get him into trouble as offer a kind word. So, Cialdan simply turned back and watched her recover herself, crouching on the wall and waiting to see what else she’d manage to accomplish within the next few minutes. Surprise him, confuse him, scare him…

    He grunted at her apology. Polite enough, maybe she hadn’t realised what he was yet, though stating the obvious. There was something off about the way she shaped her words though. Having never been as close to the sea as her father, he couldn’t have placed where her accent came from, but he was familiar enough(from overheard conversations while hiding) with the accent of these parts to know hers was a little different. He wasn’t certain enough of that fact to dispute her claim that she was from a nearby village, though he was a little concerned that he’d apparently come close enough to a village for people to walk in on him. More fool him if he hadn’t noticed the fields through the trees. He’d add it to his map later, though if it was small enough, it might do for another experiment.

    The settlements were creeping in on his people fast enough as it was. This one was too close. The trouble, really, with that plan, was this girl in front of him. There was something there, he knew he’d seen it and…

    There it was again. As she offered concern for his wellbeing, or his sanity, and traced lines across her breast that made his eyes narrow in recognition, Cialdan couldn’t help it. He laughed. Incredulous.

    It was more of a low chuckle, restrained and kept quiet, but it had been a long time since he’d even let out that much humour. His expression was looser, the slow smile twitching the corners of his lips up accompanied by a spark in his brown eyes that made his amusement clear. “Nah, nah, no demon as I’ll ever see.” The joke wasn’t really funny, but he chuckled again. It was the only safe choice to take when faced with the ruin of his culture. “I’m fine as chaff, just blown in on th’wind, see? Didn’t figure I’d be seeing any folk ‘round here.”

    She had magic in her, that shielding spell had lit something on the inside, just a little. Likely no one else would have noticed, certainly, no one who didn’t have the Touch themselves would see a thing out of the ordinary. If one could call demon protection ordinary. By the nine heavens, it hurt to see people using what they didn’t know. What they’d stolen. “Doing it all wrong besides. That’d not even protect you from a pinch.”

    Now he’d gone and done it, sticking his foot in his mouth. But if she didn’t know how to tell Erre from lowlander, how would she know the difference between true spell and different traditions? Besides, it was best to be sure, he wanted to see her do something real, besides glow out of the corner of his eye, then he could say for sure if he wasn’t seeing things.
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  8. Summer stared at the strange man in front of her. His... skittish instincts certainly hadn't been expected. In all honesty, perched half-in half-out of the building as he was, he reminded Summer of the nervous cat who sometimes took shelter in their barn. Ready to bolt at a moments notice, but reluctant to leave for one reason or another. Warmth, she figured mostly, but sometimes she would leave a little bit of milk behind. She'd hoped to be able to pet it, one day, though it had never let her come closer then to the top of the ladder in the loft before leaving. That was exactly what he looked like. He looked as though if she took one step closer, threatening or not, he'd be gone with the wind.

    Good. Her mind said. It's what he gets for trespassing on your thinking ground. But.. it would seem an awful pity. After all, if he simply just 'blew in on the wind' as he'd said, then he had to come from the south. There was nothing north but the mountains- and for the life of her, Summer couldn't place his accent. If he'd come all this way, only to be scared off by a not-so-little girl... Summer flushed.

    It hadn't occurred to her before... what with her rather abrupt entrance, and his rather... skittish appearance- but Summer was alone. Alone, with a man she didn't know, in the woods where no one would find her. Villagers didn't come round this way, claiming the place haunted. If his intentions were less then stellar... She would be defenseless. Her sudden trepidation was blown away by his laugh. It didn't seem nefarious, certainly. Though she didn't quite understand his words.

    "Doing it wrong...? Doing what wrong?" Summer glanced down at herself, her expression slightly horrified. Was she wearing her dress wrong? She'd done that before, after leaving the river in a rush. The laughing hadn't subsided for weeks. No, her dress was fine. Was it her hair..? Her hands unconsciously lifted to straighten her hair- the blonde locks were dryer now, with the fire at her back crackling happily. No, no. She looked absolutely fine. Mystified, she looked back up at the stranger. 'That'd not protect you from a pinch.'

    Her lips parted in a small 'o' as she caught on. The sign, the one her father- heck, every person in the village- had taught her whenever they spoke of demons, or the unnatural.

    "I don't think it's supposed to work." Summer sketched the sign out again, more carefully this time- though it was certainly no more improved, just clearer. "It's a silly superstition." A silly superstition that never failed to make her heart pound with fear, at even the thought of encountering one of the beasts the villages often described. She couldn't even imagine seeing something so horrifying, the ghostly apparitions always nothing more then an indistinct shadow in even her wildest dreams.
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  9. Ha! What did she think he’d meant she was doing wrong? Dressing? What would he care about that for? Cialdan leaned forward as he rested an elbow on his knee, adopting a proper posture for shaking a finger briefly her way. “What’s the worth’f any action it don’t do a thing?”

    He tsked and shook his head. “Silly, sure, I’ll buy that, but don’t mean it ‘asn’t purpose, ayuh.” Briefly, the man rubbed at the scruff growing into a beard on his chin, pausing to pick out a nit and flick it away. “Gie you a lesson free, I will.” His smile grew as he slipped back into the room, stretching out and holding up his left hand. “Off hand’s always better for keeping safe, makes you think about what you’re doing, eh, put more effort into it.”

    With that bit of advice, unsolicited as it was, he traced a similar pattern on his own chest, as she seemed mostly familiar with that method, and made sure to do it slowly. A triangle within a circle, one point for each shoulder, and the forehead and a line to draw them all together. It wasn’t all that difficult to remember, which was probably the point. A protective spell that took too much effort to remember or enact wasn’t going to be protecting you very well. Between each step, he held his hand up to show her which finger he was using, the middle one for the points and the index for the circle. Then he repeated it all together and finished with a slight flourish that left his hand palm down at his side.

    As Cialdan knew what he was doing, there’d been no power involved in his effort. The action was an empty one. He was hoping she’d try to copy him. With her ignorance, if she did have the Touch, there’d be some sign of it reacting. If he didn't see it this time, then he figured he could safely say there was nothing there.
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