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Author Topic: [Open] My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...  (Read 11178 times)

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Offline Ailla Voss

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[Open] My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« on: April 18, 2012, 03:27:56 PM »
Wrapped up in the red and white cloak bearing her sigil, she walked up her castle's steps. Her guards where behind her, spread like a fan or iron and muscle and blade. As if anyone had ever actually tried to do her harm, or she didn't wear her sword on her belt beside her coin pouch. She had been at the temple since morning, praying to the goddesses for guidance of some kind, to give her the strength to be who they seemed to be insisting that she be rather than just as she was, as she thought she was to be some day while her sister ruled Myrica. They didn't seem to desire a word with her today, or send a sign, and so after several hours she began her walk back to her home, stopping only to browse the markets a few minutes.

She stood above the guards behind her, on the top most stairs as the heavy doors swung open for her and she looked out over her city from her perch there. thumb brushing over the gift she had gotten for one of the Ladies staying at Myrica Castle, the one Melisande thought that she should wed. Even if the Goddesses weren't talking to her today, she knew she had to be strong, had to do for her people instead of just herself.

Ailla turned and walked in from the salty air to the slightly stale air of the castle, hotter in than without, in spite of all the cool stone that her booted feet walked over. She pulled her cloak off and handed it to a servant who came rushing forward with a gentle smile, and then walked to find Melisande, or perhaps the Lady she wanted to treat with her favour, if only to please her best friend and perhaps the Goddesses.

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2012, 05:40:31 AM »
She would find Melisande in the courtyard. Mel had never planted anything in her life, she had never the time to discover if her thumb was green or black. And truth be told, she had never the inclination until recently; however, she had always had a fair mind for the culture of farming and when she paused to do so she appreciated the fruits of nature's labor.

Her height provided her with the perfect opportunity to lean in and smell a flower growing on  a branch without leaning in too much. "They've stayed on later this season." She stated when she heard movement and caught her friend out of the corner of her eye.

Melisande was as put-together as Ailla was flowing. Her long dark hair twisted back and the creme-grey of her gown close and demure on her slim figure. She moved calmly in opposition to Ailla's more sensuous movements. And her head tilted just enough to take her friend in. Mel surveyed Ailla briefly, her expression bordering on polite yet it stretched into a small smile quickly enough. "You hide your mood poorly."

Offline Ailla Voss

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2012, 05:54:18 AM »
Ailla watched her from just inside the courtyard doors from whence she had come, it was cooler out of the stuffy halls, which was nice, but her hands rubbed over her bare arms as if she was cold. 'They have,' she replied, walking closer to Melisande, a soft smile forming on her lips though the trouble did not remove itself from her eyes.  Ailla's steps were steady, calm, she walked in such a way, always, that it was enchanting to watch her but it wasn't something she aimed for, with rare exception. Today, she wasn't dressed in her customary red. Her favourite, because it looked so stunning and brilliant on her pale skin, and was her house colour, but her dress today was still the same she had worn to temple beneath the bright cloak bearing her sigil.

It was white, with fine white embroidery of flowers and foxes winding it's way over her, it made her look paler, almost vulnerable, like they'd stolen her of part of herself. When she walked close enough to Melisande, she curled herself against her best friend, resting her head on her shoulder. 'Which mood?'

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2012, 06:01:22 AM »
Rather than continue on the conversation of the flowers, as lovely as they were, Melisande turned to better observe her best friend. Her smile though present, dimmed slightly in dark - watchful - gaze. Her hand reached out and closed around Ailla's wrist when her friend came close and she said nothing when the other woman pressed herself close.  She only brushed her cheek against Ailla's forehead and head, gently. "This mood that states that something is upsetting you. That you were in a temper or will be soon. The mood where you're bothered by something but will bear it for some reason or other." Melisande frowned slightly. "Did something happen with the council? I wasn't aware that you would have a meeting today." She usually was aware of such things. Not unsimilar to how she was aware on how the council could be frustrating. They placed demands on the duchess as she grew older. Rightful ones, yes, but still stressful and even intrusive.

Offline Ailla Voss

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2012, 06:10:24 AM »
'I spent the day at temple,' which seldom left her in such an ill mood but it explained her manner of dress, if nothing else. She did not go before the gods in her spender and wealth, it was excessive in the temple. She believed, quite strongly that it was only appropriate to go as she was, a girl, young woman. A noble trying to live up to her title when all odds and her personality seemed to run completely against it.

She needed all the help she could get, sometimes.

'Praying. Not just with Jael.' She sighed softly. 'The girl... woman, you chose, you swear to me she's good and won't make me fall on my sword for agreeing to be with her'

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2012, 06:19:51 AM »
Melisande made a slight hum, sounding rather like: Ah, though Ailla's words - at first - didn't reveal very much. It wasn't until her friend continued that her smile started to reach her eyes again but her tone was comforting and reassuring, where her fingers were firm as she gave Ailla's wrist a slight squeeze. A physical addition to her words. "No more or less a girl than either of us. She is from the country. And is not at all reminiscent of the ladies at court. I wonder what has brought on this bought of upset and, dare I say, nerves? You seemed determinedly indifferent whenever I mentioned finding you a wife."

Offline Ailla Voss

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2012, 06:31:13 AM »
'The Goddesses did not care to speak to me, Mel.' It was not, so much, that they often spoke directly but even the Priestesses had had nothing to offer her from them by word of advice. 'You will not let me make her unhappy? I do not think myself fit, and I am beginning to wonder if the Goddesses agree. I brought her a gift, on the way home. A broach. I thought I would go find her later.' though even as she says it she doesn't sound interested, just slightly sad and distressed.

'...if they le- if I die as my sister did, you will look after Myrica, will you not? And the girl? Not to wed her just to make sure she's well off, for her troubles.' Temple sometimes brought the strangest of moods to Ailla, fear, joy, love, lust, hope, crushing defeat, she had come home from there with all these and more, at one time or another. 'Tomorrow I'm going to go back and pray more, perhaps they will hear me then.' she sounds doubtful, though, perhaps more than she had ever. 'Perhaps father knows something that will appease them, an offering...'

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2012, 04:46:26 AM »
Mel couldn't touch a quart of Ailla's devoutness. She had faith. It was difficult not to believe in the Goddesses when there were plenty of acts throughout history coming from their name and priestesses. It wasn't that she didn't believe of them. She supposed it could be given to coincidence but Mel did not. Give it to coincidence. However, it was - could be questioned - a matter of whether or not she had faith because it was the norm or because she truly believed in the Goddesses. She never truly questioned it. Melisande only knew that her mother and Ailla were devout and that was that. Well, that and that she wasn't anywhere as religious into the processions as they were. Nevertheless, whatever her beliefs, she knew that the religion was something terribly important to her best friend. That was why whenever they spoke she did her best to give the matter the consideration it was due.

"The Goddesses are meant to test us." She said, easily, firmly. "What are our lives without tribulations. We would learn nothing if they gave us a response for every topic. I do. I will not allow you to make her unhappy, I promise. Just as I promise not to allow her to do the same to you. However, I know that no matter how many times I promise and how my promises may give you comfort -- you need to discover that you are capable of being happy on your own. You will appreciate the efforts of a good marriage if you find them yourself. You're stubborn like that." She reminds her, tucking some soft strands of red behind her ear.


"And hush now. Nothing will happen to you." Despite the previous self-assurance and reassuringness in Melisande's tone, there's a slight shake. A barely noticeable quaver that would be, could be, only heard by someone physically close to her. As Ailla was now. It wasn't that she believed the Goddesses would do such, she refused to even contemplate it. But as it was just momentarily thinking about it hurt. Because the closest Mel had ever come to loving a woman in that way had been with Ailla's sister. Her loss still stung. And Ailla was a different, greater love. Such a loss would rip her apart. Even 'as if' which her rational mind accepted left her nonplussed.  Unsettled, too.

Offline Ailla Voss

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2012, 05:04:37 AM »
'You don't understand,' she said softly in reply, still fretting at the idea that her deities could possibly abandon her, because even as she was a rough child she had still gone to temple and bent the knee without fuss or fight, had looked up to the priestesses like mother's and sisters and kin, though they were nothing of the sort by blood. 'I went to temple, but I felt shut out. Not just from their words, but at the heart of the temple, it's power I felt... shut off. Barred. Like coming home and being locked out of the house.' as if anyone would dare do such a thing to Ailla, but then the gods weren't just "anyone".

'I've never felt so cut off from them. Maybe it's because I haven't done my duty these past years, that I refused to marry. Or that they know I am poor choice for my place.'

As for the woman, Ailla sighs. 'As long as she is good at what she must be then it is no matter how happy or sad she makes me. But I will try, for you. And I will go see her after I've washed.' and had time to calm herself down because she might fall to pieces on her bride to be, if she saw her while in this state and she wasn't so sure that would end in them getting married after all.

She hears the tone of Melisande's voice and frowns, hugging her friend even tighter. She wasn't as sure as Mel was that she would survive where her sister had not, when her sister seemed more made for bearing children than she but she didn't wish to upset Melisande more. What would come, would come.

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2012, 05:27:30 AM »
She didn't. She had never felt any profound sense with the Goddesses. She was more likely to go to temple off schedule to visit Jael - mainly to discuss Ailla - than because she needed help. It was on her tongue to tell Ailla she was fretting for nothing and working herself up. Now was not the time for dismissal, even if it was meant well. Ailla was truly concerned and in short Mel didn't know what to say. So she just passed her hand down her friend's back.

Melisande certainly point out 'I've been telling you to do as much'. In fact, it didn't occur to her to say until a bit later. What had occurred at the moment was, "It matters. You should be happy." If it was anyone else, Melisande wouldn't pushing on 'happiness'. Such a fleeting emotion. However, because this was Ailla, and especially because it was this moment now, Mel did. Yes, Ailla needed to do her duty but that didn't mean that she should shut out what she really wanted. Which was, under all that fire-fanned rebellion, romance. A concept that befuddled Melisande but she knew her friend enough to know that it still did matter to her.

"I'm glad that you're trying. I know that you'll keep your word."

Offline Ailla Voss

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2012, 01:41:18 PM »
'My people should be happy, my happiness isn't of consequence.' though she stole what happiness she could find readily, she was wondering if that was just her being selfish all these years. Being the second child gave her a freedom that Melisande and her own sister had lacked. She leans back from Melisande, tries for a smile but it looks no less sad than it did before. 'Where's my sensible best friend, hmm?' she leaned over and up slightly, pressing a kiss against Melisande's forehead.

'Will you help me get ready to attempt to woo the poor girl?'

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2012, 01:50:56 PM »
"Still here but only strumming a slightly different tune for concern of you." She returned. "Wooing?" What did she know of wooing, in the romantic sense? She supposed it wasn't different than attempting to sweet talk person into a deal; which surprising she didn't have as much finesse as she would like. She knew the process and she knew how to discover what a person needed or lacked to use again - on them but the action was never her strong point. Nevertheless, it didn't have to be. All she had to do was observe and tell. No different from what she did now with other things. "That shouldn't be too difficult. Come then, to start we must change your attire and force some semblance of life and enjoyment in your face." Melisande also felt that the option and opportunity to recollect would serve Ailla well.

Offline Ailla Voss

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2012, 02:03:42 PM »
She laughs. 'Mel, your face, you look almost as though I asked you how to belly dance. I merely meant help get me presentable.' Because she certainly doesn't feel like she is now, even if there was something, though she couldn't see it herself, endearingly vulnerable and open about her as she was.

'Come on then.' She held out her hand for her friend, even as she turned to begin walking up to her chambers.

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2012, 10:57:44 PM »
"I do not." She protested mildly, only because her fingers were finding the duchess' side and finding enough skin to give it a tiny pinch.  "I know that you would never ask me the former - unless of course, you were hit on the head only to lose most of your senses - and I know just as well that I can easily manage the latter." Then Melisande, waits a beat. "It might take a little doing but I am certain that I will prevail."  She added as she grinned teasingly.

Mel walks easily next to with Ailla. No one thinking twice at seeing the two girls so close. It's likely the castle-hold had figured what her mother wouldn't. If they hadn't married  each other by now, it's likely that they never would. Not never never, just highly unlikely by this point as they'd been of marriageable age for some time now.

Offline Ailla Voss

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2012, 04:32:25 AM »
She squealed, surprised at the pinch, then laughed a little, sticking her tongue out at Melisande. I might have seemed a quick change but the truth was Ailla was always easy when it came to finding happiness, even if it was just over a small thing like being silly with her best friend. 'It could be fun to watch you try to belly dance, though.' she teased, grinning.

'What do you think? House colours? Something softer? One of my fuck me now dresses... or would that scare her?' Ailla did have a whole section of her wardrobe devoted to various articles of clothing that very easily could have been screaming "fuck me now", and if often worked if the amount of bed mates she'd had over the years had anything to do with it, since most of them weren't hired hands, so to speak.

Offline Jael

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2012, 10:00:22 AM »
It was daunting, feeling Ailla's pressure and being unable to soothe those sore feelings away, it spoke of a deeper pain and a level of stubbornness that none of the other priestesses ever came close to understanding. The look on Ailla's face at the temple had shaken Jael down to her core, rattling her own faith and her faith in those wiser than her. She had little to offer when it came to these sorts of decisions. It wasn't one she had to face. Devoting herself entirely to her faith and her dearest friend. It was a physical pain to know she couldn't help in this situation. It was the only one she couldn't.

She went to the castle, intent on seeking out her friend before Ailla could let what happened that morning circulate too freely through her mind and crush her under the disappointment. But Ailla was not in her room, and without her there, Jael hesitated to stay in such an exposed manner. She chose to wait for her in the hall.

"House colors." They flattered her in more ways than one. "You'll appear imposing without being overwhelming." Ailla did have an issue with being overwhelming. She stepped from the alcove she had waited in and shook her head. as she lowered her tone. "Are you all right?"

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2012, 10:19:26 AM »
Melisande solely grinned broadly, a wide showing of teeth saved for when she was particularly pleased with something or - more typically, more recently - Ailla. She could often be found in laughter when her best friend was around. However, her response was stilled as her smile dimmed when Jael spoke. When she looked at her own face, no, in those silvery eyes. Melisande wouldn't say that Jael surpassed her but the other woman certainly was an expert at keeping her emotions away from her face; however, when it came to Ailla ... well, it came to Ailla they shared the commonality of having a weakness for the duchess. Melisande read there a deeper concern than had been on her face. "Priestess." Melisande said, respectfully, and despite the change from previous her tone was still warm. She had a deep fondness for Jael.

"You're right.  She's right." She repeated, mostly to jolt at the change in mood that had, would, occur.  "House colors have quite the affect on you."

Offline Ailla Voss

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2012, 10:27:08 AM »
Ailla almost forgot to listen to Melisande when she heard the voice of her other best friend, seemingly out of nowhere, and she stared. Face going from attempting to be brave back to stricken, terrified in a matter of heartbeats. It was only when she was asked if she was all right, she remembered to breathe, to move, and that movement was to thrust herself at Jael, much less gently than she had at Melisande. Wrapping herself around the priestess and burying her face against her shoulder. She should have waited till they were inside her room but it wasn't something she did with purpose, but rather unstoppable instinct, because if anyone could tell her what she'd done wrong, done to displease them it would surely be Jael. She knew More of the Goddesses than even Ailla for all her devoutness did.

'Did I do something wrong? Did I displease them?' her voice was firm but her body tremored with the kind of fear only those who didn't know how to be out of favour could truly understand.

Offline Jael

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2012, 11:23:16 AM »
"No," Jael was quick to assure her, though she felt unsure of it herself. The uneasy feeling in her chest tightening and growing into something ugly and terrifying.  Ailla had done nothing wrong. If the Goddesses had shut her out, only one of them was to blame, and Ailla was not that one. She caught Melisande's eyes over Ailla's shoulder and pursed her lips, understanding that she had interrupted, but unable to show guilt over it now. Melisande would have to understand that.

It would have been wrong to not come after that morning, whether it spoiled a good mood or not. This wasn't something that could wait until that night. "No. No, Ailla. No."

The hallway was silent, but Jael doubted that would last. "Perhaps we should go into your rooms?"

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2012, 12:28:50 PM »
Ailla's words and actions cut her in her heart, a quick slice and she left confused and open. She didn't know how to make this better or how to fix this. Melisande didn't understand how this mattered to Ailla, she could try but the only person who might was someone as truly devout as her best friend, or someone as intune to the Goddesses as Jael. Melisande couldn't figure out how to empathize but she could sympathize. She could in a way, understand, the concept of wanting to please someone so much if not the emotional feeling of being shut out. Her mother had never gone that far with her eldest child.

Melisande could also do look out and damage control. It was what she was good at. They lucked out in no one passing by the corridor but she knew that wouldn't be for long. Jael's eyes met hers but she said nothing, only moving closer to her friend. She placed her hand lightly on the small of Ailla's back to grab her attention. It wouldn't do for anyone to see the duchess such. She was about to tell them to move but Jael already spoke, and she nodded, looking into the other woman's eyes. "Take a few more seconds. I will get the door." She pressed her hand in firmer, before dropping it and moving toward Ailla's room, to make sure no one else was up ahead and double check that her room was settled for the redhead's comfort.

Offline Ailla Voss

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2012, 12:47:45 PM »
The simple reassurances don't go without heeding, but truth is how she felt this morning couldn't be so easily repaired with a few sincere words. And only when it was mentioned did she consider what it might look like, not her throwing herself at Jael, no one so much as blinked at her doing that, but the emotion behind it, the look that must surely be on her face, the tone of her voice to match it. She swallowed, and nodded. She felt Melisandes hand and pulled away from Jael just enough to turn her head slightly, watching. Once the door was open she pulled away more so that she might walk but her hand refused to let go of Jael, and as soon as they were all behind the doors she leant back against Jael, and held her hand out for Melisande.

'I'm sorry, it's so...' Not stupid, but by the same she can't help but think it must seem that way to others. To Melisande. 'It's never happened before.'

Offline Jael

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2012, 01:04:01 PM »
Jael caught Aille's hand with gentle pressure. She wouldn't leave. Mad dogs could possibly tear her away, but that didn't mean she wouldn't fight. She ought not even be there, truth be told, her rotation had not yet ended and she was certain she would hear about it. One day they would simply lock her in her quarters and bar her window if she wasn't more careful, but even they must realize that this was a crisis, one that would not have ended simply because Aille had left them. She was more than within her rights as a priestess and a friend.

She wound her arms around Aille's waist and extended her own hand as well. This was no longer a moment for words. This was a moment for calm and free-flowing affection and physical proof there was nothing wrong.

Jael kept her body still and relaxed in the face of her own anxieties. Anxieties both old and new. She knew Aille had done nothing displeasing. It was an irrefutable fact. A constant. It didn't make sense for this to happen now. It wouldn't make sense even if it had happened later.

"It isn't your fault."

Offline Melisande Banik

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2012, 01:33:29 PM »
She turned the sheets down, having done it one or twice before and having seen the maidservants done it over hundreds, therefore, it was simple enough. When the door shut and Ailla reached out for her, she took her friend's hand and moved closer to her. Mel squeezed the slim fingers, "You have nothing to apologize for."

Offline Ailla Voss

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2012, 01:30:00 AM »
Ailla pulled Melisande as close as the other woman would let her, wanting to be pressed between her two safety nets, her best friends, probably the only two people, aside from her father and the Queens that really cared she still lived to draw breath.

'I must have done something, Jael, I must have. They have never left me so alone, even the women had no advice to offer, the Priestesses.' the women whose feet she would practically kiss if they but asked it of her, had left her to be in such a self blaming state, unsure of her own worth, not just as Duchess but in life, in general, she felt she must barely deserve to breathe if the Gods or their priestesses felt she ought to be shut out and left on her own. Even though she was allowed into the temple they may as well have bared the doors and thrown the key into the sea.

Offline Jael

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Re: My care is like my shadow, laid bare beneath the sun...
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2012, 03:45:12 AM »
"You haven't, Ailla. Believe me. You have done nothing wrong." Jael held her tight and sent a swift prayer that this would resolve itself in a fast pace. There was little Jael could offer now beyond simple reassurances. Those wouldn't be enough.

 


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