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  1. #21
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff eased into the room and gave Declan a relieved smile before sitting awkwardly on an overstuffed chair across from the bed and placing the bagged food on the tv table beside it. He could see that Clare was down for the count - and also that she was still breathing. Declan's injuries must have been pretty serious. Pepper wiggled around until she was touching both people on the bed and had her chin on the musician's lap.

    "Hey, I am glad I was around to help. You look like you're feeling better and I'm sure Clare will be on her feet soon. I can really only guess what happened...um, you see, ah." How did he say this without either telling Declan more than what Clare might want him to know or making Declan feel super bad?

    "Well, Clare told me that she was a healer and well, sometimes, to heal people, Fae have to give up some of their own health to make that happen. Don't worry, she'll be okay! She just heals better than you would have and well, she loves you a lot. I mean, a lot. There was no way she was going to give up on looking for you and once we found you, nothing I could have said would have kept her from healing you."

    He paused, realizing he'd just gotten pretty personal. Riff took that moment to grab the bag off the counter and hold a wrapped loaf out to Declan. "Sandwich?"
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  2. #22
    Declan McDermott



    Declan's brow furrowed when Riff revealed that his seemingly miraculous healing had come at Clare's voluntary expense. He was about to protest that she shouldn't have done that - but it was a hard case to make, because if he was honest with himself, he knew that he would have done the same thing for her if it had been in his power. He had been willing to die for her back at that warehouse, so could he really argue that she had no right to take a risk for him in return? Sure, he didn't feel great about it, but he had to acknowledge that it was her decision to make... and she had made the same one he would have if their roles were reversed. He only hoped the other man was right, that Clare really would ultimately emerge unscathed.

    He nodded when Riff said Clare loved him, relieved to have his belief confirmed. Thanking Riff for the sandwich, he absently began eating, barely tasting the food but appreciating the filling of his empty stomach. "I know she does," Declan said. "I mean... I thought she did, and I still think so. Those men at the warehouse said she didn't, that she couldn't love me because I'm just... well... human. But I know her. I... suppose that sounds crazy, saying I know her when I didn't know about any of this. The... you know... Fae stuff..."

    Declan still wasn't quite sure how to talk about any of it. He wasn't used to a life that included immortals. He would have to learn quickly, he supposed.

    "But that's just external stuff, right? It doesn't change who she is. I know who she is, human or not. I believe that. And I love her too. Very much. Do you think... is there any way this could work? A human and a Fae? We can't be doomed just because of that, can we?"

    He had an engagement ring in his suitcase, waiting for the right moment. This wasn't how he had envisioned it, not at all - but he still wanted to put the ring on Clare's finger. He still wanted to marry her, if she would have him.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 09-10-2018 at 08:56 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  3. #23
    Iphigenia



    There was nothing Iphigenia could do but watch her daughter's downfall helplessly. She'd received word from her other two children who were on the way to rescue their sister the moment they knew that Clare was in danger, and theoretically Iphigenia was acting as the command center taking a bird's eye view and providing instructions, but in practice it was all of little use, and she was frustrated to be so far from the action when so much was at stake. Leaning over her scrying pond and peering desperately into the water, she conjured the images as quickly as she could, but they were fuzzy and disjointed.

    Iphigenia saw Declan's abduction, and heard his captors betray Clare's secret. She saw her other two daughters, Alessa and Erin, stopped at some sort of roadblock as they tried to make their way from the airport into the city to help - but she wasn't overly worried that they would be found out. All of the women who had taken the alias of Murphy as a surname were well practiced at hiding themselves from humans. Her daughters wouldn't give themselves away. That vision distracted her, though, and when she managed to return her focus to Clare, it was too late.

    In this latest vision, Clare was lying motionless on a generic hotel bed. All the skin that her mother could see was covered with bruises, and two men were sitting over her - Declan, and some other that Iphigenia didn't recognize - talking, presumably about her. Iphigenia couldn't quite make out the words, not with how well the room was warded, but Clare wasn't moving. It wasn't clear if she was breathing. It appeared that despite the best efforts of her mother and sisters, Clare was already dead. Declan had killed her for being what she was... and it looked like he'd made her suffer quite a lot in the process.

    Iphigenia began to cry silently, wrenching sobs that shook her whole body and huge teardrops that disturbed the scrying pond's smooth surface, even though she made no noise.

    Once again, just like at the end in the Drowned City, Iphigenia had been forced to watch helplessly as humans tormented her children. Just as then, she was powerless to protect those she loved.

    When she had composed herself well enough to speak, Iphigenia concentrated on the water again, this time to reach out to her other daughters. She steeled herself, then haltingly relayed the terrible news about their sister's fate.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 09-17-2018 at 07:55 PM.

  4. #24
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff was enjoying his sandwich much more than Declan, but still had the wherewithall to nod along with him as he declared his faith in love. When asked if he thought a relationship could work between a human and Fae, Riff had to laugh. He nearly choked, but he had to laugh.

    "Of course it can work! Love has always crossed boundaries. People used to think people with different skin colours couldn't be in a real relationship - and look how crazy that seems now! Man, if you love her - and I know you do - and she loves you - which we both know she does - then why not?"

    The Lycan left out the bit about Clare asking the same question - and all the examples he could give Declan about how many mortal-immortal couples he knew. Examples didn't matter when you were worried about one person in particular. He felt it was best to stick to the basics. Still, it wasn't going to be all roses. Riff hated to take the focus off the relationship, but he had to start making a plan to keep the pair safe.

    "Listen, though, Declan. Before you start thinking too far ahead about the future, I'd like to know more about who you were dealing with back there. I mean, just how many of them know about Clare? Is it safe for you to be in an apartment rented to you by name? I can protect you - I just kinda want to know who I'm dealing with."

    The last bit may have sounded somewhat hilarious - Riff wasn't exactly an imposing figure. He was long and thin, his limbs tended to turn strange angles as he moved them about. He was unshaven, unkempt, and smelled like Pepper. The dog, not the spice. Still, he had a lot of energy about him and his insides were twisted into a coiled spring as he tried to plan how to get his new friends safely on with their lives.

  5. #25
    Declan McDermott



    "I don't know!" Declan replied, feeling once again like he was fumbling around in the dark. "This is all new to me, this Fae stuff, and I have no idea how..."

    Belatedly, he realized that even though he might not have much immortal knowledge, he could at least make a start on the problem with simple common sense.

    "Wait... no," he corrected himself. "I know Clare doesn't think it's dangerous to use her name. It's on our apartment lease, her teaching credentials, her bank account, her passport, her plane ticket, this hotel - she put her real name on all of it. I mean... um... she at least put the same name on all of it. The same name she uses back home. And she didn't think it would cause a problem."

    Now that he thought about it, an immortal member of the elusive Fair Folk probably was not given the name Clare Murphy at birth. She used that name consistently, though, at least.

    "Things are kind of different back home. I'm not saying it would be a good idea to go skipping down the road screaming at the top of your lungs that you're Fae, but Fog Islanders aren't going to be inclined to pry too deeply about things like that. We have a lot of traditions about the Fair Folk, and most people would just... stay out of it, I guess, and live and let live. Clare is probably pretty safe back home. I guess she thought no one here would know, and I have no idea how those guys found out - or even exactly who they were."

    Thinking aloud, he added, "When I found out about all this, my first instinct was to cancel the rest of the tour. That we'd be safer back home. I don't think that's a good idea, though. It would draw too much attention. We'll have to come up with some excuse for me missing the show tonight, but that's no big deal - it would be a rare band who never missed a single gig. Stuff happens; audiences expect that. But if we canceled the whole tour... well, it would raise a lot of questions. Questions it's probably best to just keep our heads down and avoid. By the way, if you don't mind my asking... you must be Fae too, I guess? And that's how you know about all this?"

    Because surely there couldn't be that many other humans mixed up in these immortal matters.

  6. #26
    Alessa Murphy-Quigley and Erin Murphy



    "Pull over!" Erin said suddenly out of the blue.

    "Come on, Erin," her oldest sister Alessa replied. "We're almost there! We got stuck forever at that roadblock and now that we're finally--"

    "PULL OVER!" It was an imperative, and from the tone in Erin's voice, Alessa knew this wasn't something to be trifled with. She pulled the car to the side of the street.

    "Something from Mom?" Alessa asked, and Erin nodded.

    Of the three sisters, Erin was by far the most gifted in clairvoyance and clairaudience - what the humans would call being "psychic." Their mother was even more mentally powerful. Because of Iphigenia's aversion to human technology for communication, the easiest way to get in touch with her daughters from a distance when the sisters were together was to send the thought to Erin to find a source of water they could use to communicate with her at her scrying pond. Nearly any still water would do, so Erin poured water from the plastic bottle she'd purchased in the airport into a shallow plastic bowl they'd brought along for that purpose.

    "Hello, Mother," Alessa said. Her heart was already heavy at the sight of her mother's solemn face, dried of tears now but puffy from the brief time she'd allowed herself to cry.

    It was the worst possible news. Clare was dead - appeared to be dead, Iphigenia was careful to emphasize, but none of the three held out much hope. Not after what they had seen of how humans treated immortals, especially when they had Fae at their mercy.

    "We'll pay him back, Mother," Erin vowed. "We'll get him back for everything he's done to Clare. I promise!"

    Alessa, silent and brooding now, nodded her agreement.

  7. #27
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff nodded along as Declan worked out his theories. He was right - if Clare had been using the same name this whole time, she must have thought it was safe. If anyone would have an idea that things were safe, it was a member of the Fae. How else had Clare known that something had happened to Declan so quickly? No, these guys must have come straight out of left field - and have done their homework. Declan was also right about 'going on with the show' as it were - anything else would raise far too much suspicion, though Riff was dangerously close to conflict of interest there - he still really wanted to see the band perform, after all!

    When Declan posited his last question, Riff almost didn't want to answer, but at the same time felt that the man deserved the truth from him. Of course, the fact that Declan seemed okay with his girlfriend being Fae didn't mean he'd be totally chill with a stranger in his hotel room being a Lycan...

    "Actually, no. I have a lot of Fae friends, though. I used to live with a lot of Immortals and we all got along like family." Riff was bordering on waxing poetic about home, but he knew that as nice as it was to talk about it, he was really just delaying saying what needed to be said. He took another breath. "See, I knew Clare was Fae not because she told me, but because I could smell that she was. I'm a Lycan."

    He stopped to allow that to sink in before continuing,

    "I hope that's cool."

  8. #28
    Declan McDermott



    For a brief instant, Declan felt the instinctive fear of a man who had gone most of his life thinking werewolves only existed in stories, and then had recently been told by those in authority that they were not only real but posed a grave danger to humans.

    That was only an instant, though. Once the initial shock of the surprise had passed, Declan realized he was being stupid. This man had helped Clare save his life, after all, and had shown no sign of being the slightest threat to them in the time since. And besides, it would be an unreasonable prejudice to assume all Lycans were all bloodthirsty killers. Humans had plenty of methods of killing too.

    "Of course it's cool," Declan said with a smile. "I've never met a Lycan before, so you caught me by surprise, but it's--"

    Without warning, the door burst open. Declan was shocked a second time within the space of a minute, but Riff would likely be even more so, because even Lycan hearing and sense of smell would not have been able to detect anyone outside. That was because Clare's wards had been protecting the room, and had finally been torn down after a magical barrage.

    Declan moved instinctively to shield the still-unconscious Clare from the intruders... and then he saw who it was, and was overcome with relief. "Oh, it's great to see you!" he said to the two women who had entered the room. "Riff, these are Clare's sisters, Alessa and Erin..."

    He let the sentence trail off when he saw that his potential future sisters-in-law were staring daggers at him and had not relaxed their battle-ready stance.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 09-25-2018 at 06:55 PM.

  9. #29
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Declan's fear had already been palpable, his concern for Clare was so intense and beautiful that Riff hadn't minded the smell. Still, he couldn't miss the skip of the man's heart beat and the way his eyes widened. And then...Riff was pleasantly surprised, but then again, not so surprised. He knew Declan was a good guy the minute he laid eyes on him. He didn't get much time to admire that, though, as the door suddenly opened wide, banging into the wall behind it. Pepper lept off the bed, barking and snarling at the two women who appeared in the doorway.

    Riff didn't quite share in Declan's relief, however. He put a hand on Declan's shoulder equally to keep him from going toward the women and to put himself into a guarding position. These were some very angry Fae. He remembered Clare mentioning that her sisters were on their way, which meant that he could imagine exactly what they were picturing here. He extended his other hand toward them, open palmed, mustard running down his thumb and all.

    "Hey now, she's okay. She's just worn out from the healing, that's all. C'mon Pepper. Shush now." He called the dog as he backed himself and Declan further into the room to give the sisters a view of Clare on the bed. Clare was clearly breathing, so hopefully they could move past this initial scare before someone called the cops on them for disturbing the peace.

  10. #30
    Declan McDermott



    It had not occurred to Declan that meeting up with the Murphy sisters might be anything less than cordial. Unlike their mother, who had been cold to the point of rudeness the few times he had spoken with her - Clare said it was because Iphigenia disapproved of her daughter dating a musician, though Declan now wondered if there had been more to it - Alessa and Erin had been friendly and welcoming, easily accepting him into the fold once they got to know him well enough to trust him with their sister.

    Now, though, the atmosphere was tense. Following Riff's lead, Declan held up his hands and stood aside.

    Alessa slammed the door shut behind them, and she and Erin both carefully inspected Clare. Obviously Clare was bruised and battered, but Declan had done what little he could to make her comfortable, propping her head up with pillows and tucking the blanket around her. She looked like a person sleeping peacefully - albeit with injuries - rather than someone who had been tossed aside following an act of violence.

    "Did you do this?" Alessa demanded angrily, and Declan finally caught up.

    "No...n-n-no... of course not!" he stammered, more shocked by the idea than by the fact that he was being confronted by angry Fae. It hadn't occurred to him that anyone might suspect he would lay a hand on her; that was just too alien to his nature.

    Without a word, Erin grabbed both of Declan's hand and scrutinized them, analyzing them front and back as if she could read answers in every crease and freckle. Declan had never seen anything like this, so he just let it happen, unsure of what she was looking for - unaware that any acts of violence he might have committed would be written there, clear to her Sight with Fae magic. After a solid three minutes, Erin dropped his hands.

    "He's telling the truth," she said. "Clare's alive and he didn't hurt her. Sorry, Declan." Alessa didn't exactly join in the apology, but she looked a bit chagrined.

    "Oh, um... it's okay," Declan said awkwardly. "I know you just want what's best for Clare. Thanks for looking out for her."

    The sisters each put a hand on one of Clare's cheeks, and offered a little healing magic to speed her recovery. The sisters had gifts in different proportions and with different specialties - Clare with healing, Alessa with combat, and Erin with seeing - and the other two wouldn't be able to do as much as Clare could, but every little bit would help.

    "I assume you helped?" Erin asked Riff. "If so, thanks. Sorry about the abrupt entrance. Oh, and cute dog, by the way."
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 09-27-2018 at 08:53 PM.

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