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  1. #31
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Knowing the answer to the sisters' questions and that Declan was innocent, Riff had relaxed almost immediately. He waited patiently for Erin to come to her conclusion and breathed a sigh of relief when they too knew something of healing magic. That would certainly improve Clare's condition. He didn't detect any movement in the hallway or anything that might indicate that someone was concerned about the ruckus. Of course, it was the afternoon and people generally weren't lounging around their hotel rooms at this hour.

    When Erin addressed him, Riff shrugged casually. "No trouble." The compliment on the dog resulted in a wide grin on his part and Pepper seemed to sense it too. Her ears perked up and she went toward the sisters to give them a sniff over. "Thanks - her name is Pepper. Her owner is Fae and she misses her a lot, so she probably wants to give you a good smell - reminds her of home. I'm Riff. Just came back to the room here to see how Clare and Declan were getting on. Also, I was hoping to figure out who was responsible for this in the broader sense - I want to make sure they...well, all of you, are safe."
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

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  2. #32
    Alessa Murphy-Quigley and Erin Murphy



    "It's jerks who were responsible--" Erin began, but Alessa cut her off.

    "True, but not a helpful answer," the older sibling said. "They call themselves the Cold Iron Brotherhood. They've been around for a long time... and they've been enemies to our clan for just as long.

    "That's why our mother hates Declan so much," Erin piped up, but Alessa impatiently shushed her again.

    "I'm sure that Riff doesn't care about our family politics. The bad thing about the Cold Iron Brotherhood is that they're utterly relentless. They'll eventually come back. The one positive, though, is that they operate completely as independent cells - they're afraid of Fae mindreading and brainwashing. Frankly, that is within the capability of some of our people, but the Brotherhood greatly exaggerate it. Anyway, these cells don't share information for fear of the Fae getting ahold of it, so it's unlikely anyone other than those who were specifically following Clare had information about her."

    "It's not all good news, of course," Erin counter-interrupted, seeming to want to be the one relaying the important information for once. "If someone found out about Clare once, someone else eventually will the same way. But there should at least be a... what's the word...?"

    "Reprieve?" Alessa suggested, but Erin shook her head.

    "A break," Erin said with certainty, scratching Pepper's ears affectionately. "There should be a break."
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  3. #33
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Cold Iron Brotherhood. Of course. He'd almost call them a cult. It was not a pleasure to be working against such a dogged, perverse group of people, but hey, he couldn't choose their enemies.

    "I may be able to find some leads on how they found Clare. I took their cell phones - removed the GPS, just so you know - there might be something on them we can use. At the very least, we should be able to figure out if we took out the whole cell."

    He fished the phones out of his knapsack and passed one to each of the sisters. He started flipping through the contacts again, looking for repeat numbers.

    "I have the numbers of both those phones here, but I'm not sure what the rest of them are. Could be car rental agencies and hotels for all I know. Not that there's a lot of history on these burners. Declan, you got a phone here?"

    Maybe by running a few numbers, they'd get a clue as to what led CIB here. And from there, he could figure out how to protect them all.

  4. #34
    Declan McDermott and Clare Murphy



    It hadn't been Declan's intention to carry a burner phone - he had never been the kind of guy who needed a burner phone - but that was basically what he had by default. Since cell phones from home didn't work in Europe, it had made sense for the two of them to pick up cheap travel phones so they would be able to stay connected while they were on the move. Now that it had come to this, Declan realized a relatively anonymous phone might be a good thing to have. He passed it over to Riff.

    Before Declan had a chance to comment further, Clare began to stir. Declan hadn't expected her to recover so fast, but it seemed that the extra boost of healing from her sisters had speeded the process along. Her eyelids fluttered, and she began to struggle against the blankets covering her. This distressed reaction didn't surprise Declan; it was how Clare normally woke up in a strange place, terrified and ready for a fight. He knew some past trauma must have caused it, but she had never volunteered that information and he had never felt it was his place to ask. He just took his normal route of offering comfort.

    "It's okay, Clare," he said soothingly. "No one's going to hurt you. It's just me and your sisters and your friend Riff here. You're safe. I promise."

    Clare opened her eyes, stared at Declan, and tears immediately started forming. "I'm so sorry!" she said, struggling to breathe through thick sobs. "I'm so sorry I ruined everything. I was so happy and I just wanted to keep being happy. I never meant to hurt you. I just wanted... And now I wrecked what we had, and it was so great, and... I'm so sorry--"

    "Hey!" Declan said, gently wiping the tears from her cheeks. "I don't mean to interrupt you, but can I just say a couple of things before you go on? I think it'll help, so here goes. I still love you, Clare. This doesn't change my feelings for you. I'm not leaving you. I told you no one was going to hurt you - including me. I'm not going to inflict pain, not even the heart kind. You and I... we're still okay. You're safe with me. Does that make this a little easier?"

    She was too shaky to speak. Clare just nodded, then buried her face against Declan's chest, still trembling hard. He rubbed her back in a smooth, rhythmic motion. Obviously those Cold Iron bastards had no idea what they were talking about. It was clear how much she loved him, how much he meant to her and how afraid she'd been of losing him. Declan didn't know exactly where they would go from here, but he was confident that their future was meant to be a shared one.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 10-17-2018 at 06:09 PM.

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