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The Fateful Heart



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Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:33 am
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soundofmind says...



The Fateful Heart
by @Carina and @soundofmind


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if from this world you wish to part
then first you must open your heart
but if you don't and so refuse
then you have two options to choose
find your way back now on your own
or part ways and stay lost, alone
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:11 am
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Carina says...



Evaline dreamed that she was in a field under the sun.

Real sun, not the fake one she was accustomed to, or the cloudy sun that never wanted to show itself.

It was rather nice. Warm. Serene. But really warm, like hot.

Her eyes flung open, but the radiated heat still surrounded her. For a few seconds, she laid there in tranquility, realizing that the feelings of warmth were real and the sun was real and wow it was actually really hard to open her eyes all the way—

She suddenly sat straight up, eyes widening as she realized she wasn't in the bunker.

Where was she? How did she get here? Was this an ambush? Or an attack?

Feelings of dread and panic rose up at the back of her throat as she scrambled to her feet, darting her eyes around for somewhere to hide. There was a bush right next to her, and without hesitation, she jumped right in.

"Who are you and what do you want?" she shouted out loud to her kidnappers. Because that was what happened, right? She was kidnapped? Somehow?!

Evaline waited some moments, but the only response she received was the chirps of birds and the rustle of leaves flowing in the wind. She waited some more, but still, no response. Slowly, she peaked her head out from the leafy twigs, but there was no one in sight. After letting her heartrate come back down to a normal level, she cautiously stepped out of the bush and dusted herself off from the burrs and leaves stuck on her hair and clothes.

This made no sense. Why bother kidnapping someone if you're just going to dump them in the middle of the woods? And judging from the bright sun and the greenery of this place, she must be in a totally new continent. She wondered which one it may be—maybe the same one Mel was from? She did describe it sort of like this, but she couldn't remember exactly which sector it was from.

As Evaline was brushing off the twigs, she realized there was a note in her pocket. She snatched it out and began to read it:

if from this world you wish to part
then first you must open your heart
but if you don't and so refuse
then you have two options to choose
find your way back now on your own
or part ways and stay lost, alone


She read it once, then twice, then folded it up to put it back in her pocket, only to unfold it to reread it again.

What did this even mean? Clearly it was meant for her to find, but she was still piecing together the motif. Why kidnap her and give her this ominous clue saying she had to find her way back on her own? And "open your heart"? What kind of tacky advice was that?

Evaline ended up crumpling the note in frustration before putting it back in her pocket. She had no idea who did this, but when she finds out, there was going to be major consequences.

Not knowing what to do or where to go, she started walking down a beaten path.

~ ~ ~


Okay, so Evaline admits she's lost.

Many hours passed since she woke up, and the sun was beginning to set. It would have been an awfully pretty sight if she didn't know that nightfall was about to occur. She was hungry, thirsty, exhausted, and so very lost.

In fact, while walking down the path, she swore she saw the same tree before; it was hard to miss since it forked into two trunks at the bottom. When she saw the same tree a third time, she used a sharp rock to mark an X on it. But still, she walked down the straight path, and she was still passing it.

This has got to be someone messing with her. What kind of power was this? She had never seen anything like this before, and ordinarily she would be impressed, but at this point she was just angry.

At least, that was a few hours ago. Evaline ended up giving up and walking in the opposite direction, and it seemed to be a perfectly normal path. As she walked further, the woodsy area was becoming more like a forest with thicker trees and mysterious wildlife. The path even winds around as the elevation became hillier.

Dusk was falling. She had to find a place to rest, but most importantly—food and water.

~ ~ ~


Are wolves attracted to berries? was her thought as she heard a howl and saw a pair of glowing yellow eyes looking back at her several strides away. She was glad to find and forage some berries, although she had no idea if these were poisonous or not. She didn't get to test that theory either as the wolves started to growl and walk towards her.

Evaline immediately turned and ran away, feeling adrenaline pulse in her veins as she sprinted in the dark, hoping to not run into anything. With each heavy step, she could feel the berries fall out of her pocket, but hunger was a lower priority than being eaten alive.

After a few minutes, she stopped to catch her breath, feeling her heart thump loudly in her chest. She hated this. She hated feeling powerless. She hated wolves and now she hated sun and trees.

But most of all, Evaline hated not knowing what to do.

She wanted to scream and maybe pinch herself awake from this terrible dream, but then she held her breath, because the same yellow eyes appeared in front of her. And behind her. And to her left.

Ordinarily she would have been questioning this strange formation, because if she didn't know any better, she would have thought they were herding her. But after hearing them growl again, she didn't hesitate to run down the only open path available.

She ran and ran and ran, tripping a few times and running into branches and twigs, but she didn't stop. She didn't even stop when the howls of the wolves were no longer audible. She couldn't stand to see another pair of haunting yellow eyes again.

There was a ditch up ahead, and Evaline dove right in, dirt rising everywhere.

She coughed as she breathed heavily in and out, trying to catch her breath. It seemed safe here. She could probably hide from the wolves at this point. Maybe, just maybe, if she closed her eyes and went to sleep, everything will return to normal, and she wouldn't feel as hungry or thirsty...

Then she heard something move. It wasn't a sound like critters passing by some fallen leaves; this was a human movement.

On the dirt. Not far from her.

Panic and survival mode kicked in again as she instinctively scooted away, but she knew she didn't have the capacity to run any more.

It was pathetic, but there was only one option: to hide.

She burrowed herself against the wall of dirt, dread creeping in as she practically prayed that it was just an animal and nothing to worry about.
chaotic lazy
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the queen of memes
—yosh

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—Atticus

saint carina, patron saint of rp
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Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:57 am
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soundofmind says...



James took in a slow, controlled breath as he shifted to see who was there.

He'd heard them long before they noticed him - it had been hard not to. They'd been trampling through the forest; breaking branches and bursting through the underbrush with the graceful silence of shattering glass against stone.

But he knew why they were running.

He too heard the wolves in the distance, though for him, they were further away until the person drew them near. For him, it was easier to stay put instead of risking drawing attention to himself and his horse. There was a long list of things he was worried about in this wood, and he didn't need to add a pack of hungry wolves to that list.

There was already a stranger added to it. Just now.

He squinted in the dark, trying to judge their build. At first glance, they didn't look exceptionally strong or exceptionally large, but a lot of people looked average in the dark, and James's eyesight was less than perfect. He could make out the long hair though, that shadowed their face.

He could tell they were trying to hide. As if they didn't loudly announce themselves when they slid into his hiding place.

He was grateful, though, for their silence. They probably couldn't make out his features in the dark and more than he could theirs. The only thing they both knew was that they were both human, and he could only wonder what they were doing out in the middle of the woods, this far out from civilization, running from a pack of wolves.

James knew he had his reasons. But there were only a fw reasons for anyone to be this far out alone, and few of them were good.

Understandably, he was wary. Not just because the the intruder was unknown, but because he wasn't in any condition to defend himself right now.

At least, not without great discomfort.

He shifted his leg so it was tucked a little further behind him, and he grit his teeth and held his breath to keep from making any noise when he sat up. Right now, they didn't know how vulnerable he was, and if he could feign competence at least until he figured out who it was, and why they were out this far, he hoped he'd be able to figure things out from there.

Elliot was close by, just a few feet away, hidden among the trees. Sleeping, hopefully, but he'd probably woken up to all of the noise.

After a moment of silence hung in the air, James broke the tension.

"Who's there?" he whispered.
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:31 am
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Carina says...



Some moments passed and the person next to Evaline didn't seem to react or say or really do anything. Time blurred by as she allowed her heart to return to a normal pace and her breathing slowed and quieted. It seemed like it was only the wind keeping her company. Maybe what she heard was her imagination...

That was what she thought until she heard them whisper, anyways.

It was a simple question: who's there? She could ask him the same thing. She didn't know who this person was, but from those two words alone, she knew he was a man who was not far from her at all.

Evaline felt a wave of panic return, and she only had a split second to think: fight or flight? The answer was neither—because after a day of exhaustion and running away from the wolves, she was too tired to do both.

And so she did what she knew best: to defend herself. Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot she could defend herself with.

Immediately after hearing him whisper, she scooted away and proceeded to throw big clumps of dirt and rocks at the general direction she heard him. She tried to be as quiet as possible, trying to repress any grunts that came up while digging her hands in the dirt.
chaotic lazy
—Omni

the queen of memes
—yosh

secret supreme overlord of yws
—Atticus

saint carina, patron saint of rp
—SilverNight




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Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:36 am
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soundofmind says...



A wad of dirt pelted him in the arm. Hard. James lifted his arms and hands to protect his face, trying to suppress a hiss of pain as he did so.

"Hey!" Another hit him in the ribs. Another clipped his head. "Stop it! I'm not going to hurt you!"
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:48 am
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Carina says...



Evaline stopped throwing the pellets of dirt at the man, instead deciding to scoot farther away from him before settling on a spot she felt was far enough.

He said he wasn't going to hurt her, but how was that supposed to be believable? She just met this man and she doesn't even know where she is.

She paused where she was, impulsively deciding to not pelt this man any further. She couldn't see anything, but it was comforting to be lie back along the cool dirt wall and just forget about things.

"Who are you?" she whispered back after a long pause. Evaline closed her eyes, trying to concentrate on any other noise around her and also willing herself to shoo the dehydration headache away.
chaotic lazy
—Omni

the queen of memes
—yosh

secret supreme overlord of yws
—Atticus

saint carina, patron saint of rp
—SilverNight




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Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:03 am
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soundofmind says...



James brushed some of the dirt out of his hair and squinted into the dark, watching as the figure cowered away again, and thankfully stopped throwing dirt at him. The voice sounded feminine, from what he could tell. And scared.

James let out a slow sigh.

He couldn't exactly tell them who he was - at least, not the name on the posters - and there was no way he was telling them his real name. Not while he still couldn't see them. He wanted to empathize because they did sound genuinely terrified, but until he knew for sure this wasn't an elaborate trick he wasn't going to let his guard down.

"Yoen," he said. "I've been camping out here for a while, now."

Already, he was crafting a story in his mind to explain everything. But trying to explain all of his wounds would be difficult without drawing suspicion.

"Are you lost?"
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:21 am
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Carina says...



Evaline could lie, but was there a reason to? She was lost, and it wasn't long ago that she was seriously considering if any of this was real because she felt so hopelessly lost and confused.

"Some—" she began, but it came out scratchy and dry. She cleared her throat and started again. "...Something like that."
chaotic lazy
—Omni

the queen of memes
—yosh

secret supreme overlord of yws
—Atticus

saint carina, patron saint of rp
—SilverNight




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Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:29 am
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soundofmind says...



Things started falling into place, slowly.

She was out here unprepared. His eyes were starting to adjust in the dark, and he could barely make out the shape of her clothes. She wasn't dressed for a trip through the forest, and she didn't have any supplies on her. He wondered how she even made it out this far. She was probably hungry, thirsty, tired, all on top of being lost and alone.

After taking in a deep breath, he decided to lay his suspicions aside and give her the benefit of the doubt. She had every reason to be suspicious, and if she had been running from something or someone... well... it was possible she could be a mage on the run.

That would make a lot of sense, actually.

"Okay," he said quietly, glancing back into the trees, where Elliot was. "I can help you. You probably already found out that it's not the safest out here. My horse is just in those trees, over there." He pointed, though he didn't know if she could see.

"I'm going to get up and walk over there and return with him. I have some supplies, and you can get some food and water. And a blanket. It will be getting cold soon. I can't force you to stay and wait, but I promise I will be back in just a moment, and I'll do just what I said. No more, no less."
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:57 am
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Carina says...



Evaline hugged her knees to her chest, trying to focus on the outline of Yoen. He definitely didn't look scrawny or small, so she was unsure if she would be able to fend for herself if he turned to be aggressive. Although, at the same time, he seemed genuine and sincere in his offer to help her. But why? What did he have to gain by helping her?

She was able to vaguely see what direction he pointed at and she looked over, squinting at the dark. She was skeptical that there happened to be all the supplies she needed nearby, and all he had to do was walk over there and grab it. It screamed of a trap.

Plus, did he say horse? Now this just seemed like a deranged joke.

But what other choice did she have? She had no food, no water, and no supplies for the night. If tomorrow was going to be anything like what she went through today, she did not know how long she would be able to last without outside help.

"Okay," she finally mustered up quietly.

He slowly stood up and walked the direction he said he would. Evaline also got up on her feet, slowly taking several strides the other direction. If this was going to be a trap, she wanted to make sure he wouldn't jump up to her.
chaotic lazy
—Omni

the queen of memes
—yosh

secret supreme overlord of yws
—Atticus

saint carina, patron saint of rp
—SilverNight




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Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:11 am
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soundofmind says...



Walking was painful, and James was struggling to hide it. His steps were slow and deliberate, and he noticed the moment the woman got up, following behind. He kept an eye on her in the corner of his eyes.

He didn't think she would try to attack, but he couldn't rule it out.

He stepped up the small incline of the ditch and slipped through the cover of two bushy trees, to where Elliot was resting. The moment James came through, Elliot's snout was in his face, sniffing. James had to push him away, grabbing for his reins and untying them from the tree.

"Come on, buddy," he whispered softly, before leading Elliot around the trees.

They made their way back quickly, only because it was a short distance. James was not moving fast.

When he got back, she was still there, just standing a little further away.

He slowed to a stop when he got back to where he'd been lying down before, and secured Elliot again to a tree. He didn't know how the woman was around horses, and though Elliot wasn't easily spooked, it was best to avoid the risk.

He walked around Elliot's side and reached into his saddlebag, pulling out his canteen, a simple tin mug, and a small roll of bread, wrapped in cloth.

To get them to the woman, one of them would have to come closer. Probably. Unless he was really going to treat her like a scared animal.

He approached her slowly, stopping a few feet short, and bent over, laying the things on the ground.

"You can pour water into the cup," he said. It was at least a little more sanitary that way. "And here's a roll of bread. I'll go get your blanket."

And then he turned to walk back to Elliot.
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:39 am
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Carina says...



Evaline should have been paying more attention to Yoen when he returned, but she couldn't stop staring at the horse. There was no way that was a real horse. Right? It sounded real and, although she couldn't see it up close, it looked pretty real too... real enough that it looked similar to what she had seen in books, anyways.

Then Yoen fished something out of the bag and began to walk towards her. She shook the thoughts of the horse away and instinctively took a few steps back, stopping when she realized that he seemed to be carrying actual supplies and he wanted to give it to her.

Still, she was thankful that he stopped a few feet short before dropping them on the ground. He turned to grab a blanket, but not before Evaline finally got a better look of this man.

Yoen was actually not as tall or burly as she thought he was. In fact, he was of her stature. The thought of putting him in an arm lock before kicking his legs briefly crossed her mind. He had an uneven walking pattern; perhaps he had a past leg injury. This would make things even easier. He was only a few strides away and his back was turned. Now would be the perfect time to do it.

But...

She looked at the items he dropped. They appeared to be everything he said it would.

Evaline paused for a few moments before inching forward and bending down to take the items, letting her hair drape down past her face. She wouldn't ordinarily scarf down food and water in front of a stranger like this, but that was exactly what she did.

"Why are you so kind to me?" she asked after drinking the rest of the water.
chaotic lazy
—Omni

the queen of memes
—yosh

secret supreme overlord of yws
—Atticus

saint carina, patron saint of rp
—SilverNight




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Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:50 am
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soundofmind says...



James could hear her behind him, chewing and slurping with the earnestness of someone who'd gone without for a long time. He'd made it back to Elliot when she finally stopped to speak. He paused in his steps and looked back at her as he pulled a blanket out of his bag.

There were still warning signs going off in the back of his mind, but he was able to rationalize away most of them. If she was really trying to trick him, then she was playing the long game, and very committed to her role. But from what he could see, she seemed genuine.

She'd just stumbled into him at a very bad time.

He inched closer to her again, stopping a few feet short of her. He dropped the blanket to the ground. He was too tired to try bending over again.

"I'm repaying the kindness that was once shown to me long ago," he said. "And it's the decent thing to do. That's all."
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:05 am
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Carina says...



Evaline wanted to think Yoen was lying about his intentions, but she had a hard time trying to believe it was a lie. It has been a while since she had seen an act of kindness not motivated by personal gain, but that didn't mean these things don't happen. Plus, she seemed to be in a whole new continent. Things were different here.

"... Thank you," she said to him after a long pause. The words felt strange coming out of her mouth, and for a moment she felt a twinge of nostalgia. She reached out to grab the blanket and wrapped it around her.

Evaline still wasn't sure she could trust Yoen, but as of right now, he wasn't her enemy.
chaotic lazy
—Omni

the queen of memes
—yosh

secret supreme overlord of yws
—Atticus

saint carina, patron saint of rp
—SilverNight




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Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:12 am
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soundofmind says...



"You're welcome." James nodded stiffly and made one last trip to Elliot to get a blanket for himself.

He'd had a long day of travel, and his body was weary. He knew he was pushing himself too much, but it was necessary. It was what it took to stay safe, and it was better to be alive and uncomfortable than alive and in the hands of a bounty hunter (though not just any bounty hunter - he knew who was in his mind).

He pulled the blanket out and then walked back, a little less this time, keeping a distance between him and her. Before sitting down down, he looked over at her.

"I'm sorry if you still get cold. There's only so much I can do at the moment. I don't want to risk making a fire. It might draw in unwanted guests, like the wolves you were fleeing earlier. But if you need anything, let me know, and we'll make do."
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.








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