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A T L A S
Form: Human




His shadow floats upon the earth,



Atlas watched her closely as she swung around the bar in her sultry way. Vanity was always doing that, tempting him without even trying. Her red dress drawing in his gaze, nearly as distracting as those golden eyes of hers. redirecting it from the many types of alcohol he had been observing. It seemed she had already decided on what to make.

Watching carefully as she mixed the various ingredients together, Atlas concluded that he was completely ignorant to what it was Vanity was making until she told him. Taking the glass from her and clanking it against her's, he'd reply in kind. He sipped from the glass, it was light and refreshing. Just the thing, she knew him well.

He leaned even closer, basically whispering in her ear. "My tribe is mostly scattered now. After an attack such as the one I suffered, they did what they do best and went into hiding. It will take some time, but don't worry. It is safe." Atlas was referring, of course, to the Skull. He leaned back again, taking a much larger swig from the glass, and it began to drip on his bare chest a bit. "This is delicious.", he said, a wide grin appearing on his face.


Casting a song from the north.
She should have hated him. She should have turned away in disgust and told him what a terrible person he was for revisiting the night in his mind as often as he did. For Wanting that experience again so fiercely. For the time's he'd found grown up fangs and mouths to be out of place on his neck. Pleasurable as they still were - mind numbingly so - it wasn't ...... it wasn't the same.
Doyle needed to hear it. He couldn't let his guilt go, not after this long, not after holding onto it so dearly. He didn't deserve anything better then repulsion and it felt like rejection that Kai would accept him.
It was still more then he'd have gotten anywhere else. Doyle was absolutely sure of that. He'd never told anyone his story. He didn't think he'd ever would. If anyone had asked her question his answer would have stopped with the fear and logic. But she'd been there, she knew. Not all of it, he didn't think. Maybe not even most. But she had seen him and Neirah together and knew ... knew something of who they were. He didn't have to admit out loud what he'd done. The words would have never come out, and it was only by avoiding it that he let himself talk. To talk without being judged was.... too good to be true.
He didn't want to think of her as one of the bad guys. Not when she'd brought him a bird and kept her neutrality. Not when she was one of the few people who made sense and didn't convolute everything pointlessly. Not when it was so rare to find a familiar face. ... He didn't. He didn't think of her as a bad guy. He couldn't. But what kind of person could meet a confession like his and respond with softness?
Doyle couldn't meet her eyes for more than a second. There was too much rawness in his own to hold a gaze.
All the things she didn't say just made them louder in his own head.
"It was my fault, though." His hands came to a slow stop as he finished gutting the pheasant. He just stared, though, expression hidden by the brim of his hat. "I didn't have to hurt her - I let it happen. She fed on me and I pulled away. I told her I couldn't again and if I hadn't, she wouldn't have gone lookin' for someone like him."
Kai might have been there but she .... she didn't understand.
He'd known a lot of kids in his life. Most of his healin' for the little ones, because they were the only people who had someone Love then enough to chase down the rumor of magic in desperation. He'd seen a lot of children with a lot of grief-stricken parents, same as him. He couldn't remember all their names now, not even all their faces there were so many. Kids, brushed with death, who couldn't talk to their parents about any of it. Not when their parents were the cause of so many of their problems. But their savoir? He'd had to many heart-to-hearts, heard to many secrets.
Adults don't give children nearly as much credit as they deserve. They feel like adults, need the same. Just without the sheilds and experience. Neirah had been what, 10, maybe 12?
She'd needed someone to make her feel Worth it. Special, and noticed, and loved. Someone to tell her it was ok - she was ok. That she deserved better then a back room in bar that was always falling apart surrounded by adults who didn't notice when she disappeared for a couple nights. She'd dressed in schoolgirl costumes for attention from adult men and that wasn't about blood. He'd seen it all to many times before. A result of neglect and sexulaization. Trying to find your self-worth from being lusted, because it was the only way anyone ever got anything. She'd been so broken, and such a good girl. Sharp, and holding on to that happiness despite all the odds. A girl like that ends up dead, in jail, on drugs or prostituting if no one saved her.
He knew that. He knew that from the first time he saw her. And damn it, he'd wanted to save her. No one should live like that. No one that young should have so many problems.
A gentle word, a reassuring hug. It wouldn't take much. Just humanity. Just one person to not slash her self esteem.
He'd endeared himself to her. He was so close to helping.
But she Kissed him and he'd been disgusted with himself. Not her, never at her. He couldn't do it again, not then. Not when looking at her shook his body and heated his skin. Not when it felt like pure lust and he spent hours dwelling in it at a time.
She hadn't seen his reasons. He tried to keep them from her, else she see him like every other man who came to her for fangs and short skirts. All Neirah had seen was a man who'd told her she was Good, and who smelled like fear and disgust once she touched him. It would hurt anyone. But a girl, a preteen girl who'd been treated like Loli her whole life? Who had been seen as a human for the first time, only to be hated?
Of course she'd run to Gabe right after. Gabe would always tell her she's beautiful, smart, funny, worthy, grown up. Gabe would love her. Gabe would need her.
Everyone wanted that.
"If I'd been there she wouldn't have needed Gabe. He was only able to hurt her because I wasn't there to take care of her when I said I would be. No one else cared, but I said I would. I'd told her she wasn't bad for what she was, and she believed me. And then I go and ******** it up by makin' her feel like a monster. Gabe might have been huntin' her, but he wouldn't have shamed her for what she did. He wouldn't have told her no. She needed someone like that, someone to just accept it. If I hadn't been so Selfish she wouldn't have found him."
He should have been that person. Doyle liked her. He cared for her.
Saying it now, the word 'friendship' tasted oily and rancid. As if someone his age could ever really be friends with someone her age. Maybe they couldn't. She wasn't a daughter to him, not he a father to her. She wasn't a progeny or apprentice, he wasn't a teacher. He wasn't a favorite uncle. But he'd have looked out for her, built her up. With no ulterior motives. He liked spending time with her, just talking. She had something to say and no one to listen. He saw somethin' in her. It hadn't been wrong or weird before the bite. It'd been ... healing. For both of them. They needed what the other person could give.
And suddenly that chaste relationship, where something romantic never even came close to crossing his mind, turned sexual.
He shouldn't have told her to stop. He should have been what Gabe was to her, and protected her feelings no matter how he felt. If she'd felt loved by him ... he could have kept the boundaries. It was the grown up's job not the Hurt the younger one. That wasn't a hard task, it took someone sick to Want to hurt them.
Doyle hadn't left her a choice.
It was his fault.
And as he spoke the words sped up, taking on a sharpness. A frantic desperation that turned the low murmur into a shredding whisper. His fist clenched over the knife, turning his knuckles white as he stared at the carcass.
With a deep breath he picked up the bird, coming over to Kai's side of the counter to put it in a dish. He took down her bird, all clean and ready for cooking. Setting them aside he washed his hands, glancing over his shoulder at Kai for a moment and scowling, the wheels in his head turning painfully visibly. For the second time that night he watched the blood go down the drain, hands turning red to pink to tan, pulp and gore under his nails.
"I don't know what separates me from him anymore," he admitted so quietly that his voice would have been lost to the hush of the water if Kai had human ears.
"Everyone's got their favorite flavors. Vanity's not mine, all that sultry and prowling. The only think I'd want her for is fangs, but even that ..." He shut off the water and moved down to the cutting bored. They had a surprisingly well stocked fridge. Guess that was expected since they catered to people who had a less selective diet. He'd grabbed a bit of everything that looked good. Potatoes, mushrooms, seasonings at random. Pretty much the only way he knew how to cook was to take whatever you had left over, wrap it all in foil, and leave it over an open flame. The nice thing was this worked for pretty much everything. Birds especially. He started cutting absentmindedly.
"It wouldn't compare. The result would be the same, the pleasure it exchangeable. Their just kisses, any vampire can give them. But it'd be anonymous and impersonal. There would be no..." he choked on the word. A quick glance at Kai showed surprisingly dry eyes. Still haunted but Doyle's composure was something of a marvel. He refused to show any weakness with the same bull-headed irrationality that he refused smiles.
There had been vampires sense her. One more appropriate.
The only way he could think to compare it is going back to one night stands after you'd been married for years. Once you find someone you grow used to, you know what they like, they know what you like. There is the risk of everything getting boring but even if you stray to find adventure again... it's not as fun relearning the steps with someone else. All the messy starts and awkward exploration. It's empty. There isn't a connection, and that's what people want. Not the pleasure, not the escape from monotony. A connection, even for just a short time.
Vampires weren't his thing. He'd never date one, he wasn't that kind of guy. The romance and mystery and power was lost on him. They didn't Need him, and he couldn't be of use to them. It wouldn't be equality and balance. And he wouldn't get any more from them then they would him. Too very different worlds. She could look just his type but at the end of the day he .... he missed having a Home. Someone to bed down with. Someone ... nice and boring. Bad girls were a mess he didn't need. Didn't want. Let the younger wolves play that game.
Neirah had been a child, not a vampire. That was connection he got, he understood. There had been something between them. Not romantic, but touching just the same.
His body wanted the pleasure. Followed the fangs around the room, and try as he might the images kept popping into his mind. But he'd been around long enough to know things like that will always leave you feeling empty in the morning.
In his mind the hands were always smaller, the fangs didn't cut as deep. There was something to connect too.
The flooding of endorphin's and melded Child, and Vampire, and Lover all into one thing. Where the three overlapped lied ... emotional fulfillment. Everything else fell short.
"The intentions don't matter. The circumstances, or who hunts who. I wouldn't take those excuses from anyone else. I did my part to leave he broken. And now the thoughts in my mind are the same ones in Gabe's." He closed his eyes for a moment, the chopping paused in mid motion.
"The fangs are only half of it."
He didn't even know if h said the last part out loud.

Kallistiae's avatar

Toothsome Reveler



Kai was no stranger to Guilt.
She'd spent half of her life running from it; blood stains on a hardwood floor, half covered by a dirty rug. Empty bedroom in an empty house left to rot on a lost street corner. Grey eyes clouded with lust above, and the streaks of gold that had bleed into them like lightning. Eyes that turned away from her at the last, to stare at a figure crumpled in the grass, bloodied and carrying her bullet in its skull. Empty room in a house too big, with a can of fresh baby-pink paint in the corner that they'd never gotten to use.
She knew Guilt. She knew that weight, and the pain of it sitting on her chest, weighing down her shoulders. That shadow in the back of your mind that keeps you up at night, staring sightless into the dark until you were certain you were lost in it.
She was silent as the old cowboy spoke, and when she had finished, she was silent a moment longer, her face pressed into soft lines of thought.

She considered everything he said, turning it over and over in her mind; if she had simply leaped into the fray, declared him innocent and guilt free without a though...the conversation would have been over. It would haven been impersonal, and even a little cruel, to listen to his confession without really hearing it, without at least considering the weight that he bore and the possibility that he might be guilty. To just dismiss it would not have been the reassurance that she needed.
She knew that.
Once upon a time, Doyle had sat on the back stoop of an old bar and listened to her fears with neutrality. Back when Kai had still been worried that she was one of the Bad Guys, rather than knowing that she was.
He had listened, and he had given all she had needed to hear - an honest opinion, without bias.
He had not tried to ease her fears with pretty, reassuring lies.
Neither would she subject him to that now.

"Of course you pulled away, Doyle." she responded after a long pause, her voice still soft in the strangely quiet air of the kitchen, as if even the room knew to silence those small little noises that they tend to make. The purr of the heater, the hum of the refrigerator - all strangely muted by their low conversation. "What else could you have done? In good conscience, could you really have gone back to her and opened another vein to her?"
Gold eyes looked up at him with that same kind of softness in her eyes.
He had been given a choice that was no choice at all. Either lose a little more of his soul, a little more of his resolve, every day..or else keep her at arms length.
What else could he have done, really? He had been put in a position that was impossible to win.
Damages, no matter which path he took. He had taken the one that he had thought was the best. No one can do more than that.

But maybe if he wouldnt believe that, then he would believe something practical.
"How much blood is in the human body, Doyle? How much can you stand to lose before you start to shut down. Organs fail, and you flatline. Even if you had gone back to feed her again, she couldnt have taken you every night. It would have killed you. She still would have needed to hunt. She still would have found someone like Gabe, or they would have found her."
Kai sighed and set her knife down, running her hands under the water to rinse off the blood and clinging feathers.
"At the end of the night, her family would have still been insane. She still would have been one lost lamb, raised in a hidden back bedroom in a beat up old bar. You couldnt have saved her from that. It was their responsibility to keep her safe, it was their responsibility to love her, and be there for her. To try and teach her what her fangs really meant. They are the ones who failed her, not you."

She turned to look at him quietly, hip resting against the counter.
"I know girls like her, cowboy. I've seen the same cities you have, the same broken lonely faces. One man with a kind word is not enough to save them when they're that far gone. What would you have done, stayed there forever with her? Raised her as your own from the back of that pick up truck?"
She reached out, the palm of her hand resting softly over his knuckles, fingers just a shade too warm for human squeezing his hand ever so gently as it rested above the knife.
It was a careful, gentle touch, with that reassuring weight that only seems to come from warmth; nothing behind it but the offered comfort of another persons touch.
"You cant save everyone, Doyle. Not being able to save Neriah wasnt your fault. That scene played out the only way it could have, nothing you can think of now would have changed it. You tried to heal her. Gabe tried to break her. And her Family just left her to wallow in their indifference. You did good, Doyle. The best you could under the circumstances. Sometimes the only thing you could. Sometimes it just doesnt work. But its not your fault."

She was silent for another long moment, but could think of no other words to add that could convince him to let go of that guilt. Her fingers squeezed his hand, once, before slipping gently away.
"The fangs are only half of it."
"I know." she replied, with a soft sort of sympathy. "I suppose it wouldnt make no-nevermind to try and tell you thats not your fault either."
It wasnt, of course. Neriah's kiss had rewired his brain chemistry in that one moment, hard wiring him to crave her. To bring him back for more.
To blame him for that would have been like blaming a mouse for being poisoned by the snake that was eating it.


Against the silence in the room, most of the ordinary noises going unnoticed by his ordinary ears, Doyle focused on the soft cutting sounds of the knife as he worked. There was a good amount to cut and pile into the dish next to the pheasants, and he made practiced work of it. You get real good at cooking when you don't have anyone else to do it for you. He liked cooking, ever since he figured out how to do it.
Of course you pulled away. Something inside him tensed, like someone had squeezed his lungs and everything was twisting around it. But his shoulders relaxed and his face went softer, draining of the torment into surrender. When the Family had found out, no one had stopped to say that. It was the obvious, the human, the Right thing to do. There was a name for the sort of person who found salvation in her little fangs and even the monsters hated them.
Of course he pulled away... And yet...
He'd been all-but roughed up for it. It was in her nature, it was who she was. It'd been wrong of him to shame her for that. And he had, despite his efforts not too. She'd been hungry and he'd been in pain. What was so wrong in feeding? She had to, to survive. It wasn't the same thing for her. You couldn't become a lo-- a lover to everyone you fed from. It just couldn't work that way.
He could have gone back. To her it was just feeding. Nothing wrong. That's the way everyone else had seen it when it happened. It's the way he tried to see it. Tried, but couldn't.

Doyle gave her a couple shallow nods in surrender. He knew the logic, he knew it would kill him. He knew she was right. By the books there was no room to argue with anything she said. ... But by the books was little consolation. It just made it more frustrating. And hopeless.
He couldn't change it. He couldn't control it.
Normally that didn't bother him so much. Life wasn't about control, and no matter how badly we wanted too, we can't have it. there is so little that we can hold in our hands, and even less we can shape. Life happened. And when it did, it happened fast. He'd always been a roll-with-the-punches type of guy. No need to control, not even when he was young. Let it go. Learn, move on, find something worth living for. God knows his life-philosophy had been tested plenty times.
But he was drowning in the helplessness. He Couldn't help the Need for that numbness. Knowing one little bite could take away all the pain deep in his bones and the ache of muscles still relearning how to walk. The creaking and groaning of a body getting older and aged well past it's years from the life he lead. The endless depths of sorrow from all the graves he'd had to fill, not a one of them filled by someone he hadn't Loved. But a bite would spend spider webs of pleasure, and he'd feel light. The dizzying, falling feeling and a soft tongue rough on your neck. The cold, stiff feeling that starts in your fingers and toes as your body drains of blood and tries to use all it had left to keep your major organs supplied. But how the whole rest of your body burns against their cold touch. It was unique and mind-clouding. It was worth dying for and every single atom his body knew it. Craved it.
So used to helping people, he was trapped in his knowledge that this time he Couldn't. It didn't matter what he did, or how long he'd try some people were beyond saving. Such injustice in that. He could fight and fight and fight and they would still be lost. Not just Her. He knew the girls Kai did. Not the same city, not the same situation. He kept out of anything to crowded most of his life but all around the world people had problems. It didn't matter how he tried to inspire, their life had taken its course. And life time, no matter how much we want, despite all of our efforts, it will progress no faster or slower then it's liking.
He knew she was right.
That didn't make it any less hair pulling, teeth clenching, wall punching Frustrating.
There wasn't any of that pent up anger, though. He was too tired. Not from sleep or work just... worn out, all the time. Too old, too broken. Spread too thin for anything more than a shoulder slumped sigh in aqiuess. She was right. And that felt like giving up.
Doyle gave her a soft, empty eyed and sheepish smile. He'd wanted to whisk her away. He'd promised he'd stay for her. Just for her, for as long as she needed. He'd been prepared to take her for his own, seeing how badly her own flesh and blood were doing. He'd have done it for anyone, though. Who wouldn't clutch at someone in the dark to cling too, just so you weren't alone? Just so you could guide each other, knowing the other was just as scared and solitary as you?
Raised her as your own from the back of that pickup truck?
There was a foolishness in her words, though. Something painfully obvious. It couldn't have happened. Not like she said, not like he wanted. Those things just didn't. There was a reason for it. But it'd been an intention, and the innocent sort of guilt, feeling silly at his own naivety showed. A small shrug. Well, it'd crossed his mind. Apparently not for long enough for him to realize it'd never work.

How many people do you touch in a day? Stop to think about it. Meeting new people, you shake their hand. A clasp on the shoulder, or high five? Do you hug your friends hello or good bye? What about family? Do you have anyone you kiss? What about pets - do you nuzzle them even if their ill tempered cats that might claw your face? Do you pet along someone's shoulders as you stand behind them at their computer? Is your hair ruffled idly by someone older, or fingers tugged at by someone younger.
Touch is overlooked because it is such a normal part of our lives. They become almost invisible, no one ever thinks twice about a knuckle bump. It doesn't chill you to touch someone you hate so casually, or thrill you to touch someone you like. All in all we're more likely to remember someone holding the door open for us then bumping into us by accident in a crowded hallway. Everyone knows people are social creatures, but it goes deeper then grouping with friends and family.
Deny someone touch and they start to change. In undermanned orphanages during the great wars, infants would die from social withdrawal almost as often as from illness. Children who aren't touched will find reasons to be touched - even being hit is better than nothing. Without even that, the lack of touch stunts their mental development. We need it. We need it casually, and from anyone, anywhere. Need it like we need food, water, and validation.
A little hand squeeze can go a long way.
What's more, he'd spent time with lycans. Quite recently, actually. A good couple months as he got out of his wheelchair and through the crutches. All hot-as-fever skin and lots of touching. Always touching. It was Pack, and no, he wasn't part of it. But he'd been a familiar smell, and a healer for the Pack. When Kai pulled away, he reached out for her.
Rough, callused hands with wide knobby knuckles found her cheek, fingers scratching entirely behind her ears, rumpling her hair on the whole side of her head. Feathers and sticks and leaved and all. "Probably not," he said through a sigh just a little less pained then before.
He hadn't told anyone. There were vulgarities he was compelled to say. We all want to tell someone our darkest thoughts. If we didn't, we'd just forget them. But they were things he couldn't even tell himself. He'd spoken his peace, and so had she.
"Go on and get cleaned up, you had a long night. Dinner should be ready before too long."
Kallistiae's avatar

Toothsome Reveler



Kai was a creature of touch. Physical contact, in so many different kinds of ways. Soft touches, a brush of her fingers over a shoulder, warm skin of a bedmate against her back, wet splatter of blood and the crunch of bones against her knuckles. Kai operated on touch, as much as any lycan. Perhaps even more than some.
She hadnt always been that way. Once, she had shied away from the softest of touches as if contact with any other living creature might have physically burned her.
It still wasnt clear if she had simply outgrown that, or if it was her Blood that had changed her habits. Either way, she had long ago adjusted to those little touches she caught herself giving all the time. A touch of fingertips across a shoulder or hip, the tendancy to lean idly against strangers, or stand a little too close without realizing it, without meaning to.
She'd had to conciously adapt her behavior on more than one occassion, for those crowds that had not been acclimated to a lycans sense of personal space. She'd eventually learned just to do it automatically, though she did ocassionally forget.

What she wasnt used to, was being on the recieving end of those small, seemingly meaningless moments of contact. The brush of knuckles, hard and calloused across her cheek caught her off guard, and with a small jolt she tried to remember when the last time she'd actually been touched was. Not just a brush of fingers when a bottle was passed, or the bump of shoulders on a crowded sidewalk, but the last time someone had intentionally, with any kind of purpose no matter how small the meaning, reached out and touched her.
She had been here for days, and with a small, strangely painful twinge, she realized that Doyle was the first one to touch her since she'd arrived. Maybe in longer.
Maybe much longer.
She hadnt realized how gaping that absence, until just now, when her whole body wanted to lean into that touch, like a body trapped out in the cold will instinctively lean in to the warm glow of a fire.

Small fangs glinted behind her lips in a quick grin from behind loose strands of hair and feathers that Doyle's careless old fingers tangled in front of her face.
"Go on and get cleaned up, you had a long night. Dinner should be ready before too long."
One corner of her lips twisted in a smile as her hands came up in a futile gesture to try and smooth her hair back down into some semblance of order.
For some reason she couldnt quite pin down, everything from that one careless gesture to the way he told her to get washed up for dinner...made her heart ache - but in a warm kind of way that was impossible to explain. Like reading something beautiful, but heartbreaking..and yet not quite.
It was a strange, longing sort of heart ache, like yearning for the warmth of a fire in mid january. Or that feeling after a long day when all you want is to crawl into bed under your favorite quilt and close your eyes to the world.
She would have basked in that one touch like a house cat basks in a solitary square of sunlight from the window, spilled onto the carpet; but she couldnt.
Kai did have some social graces after all.
"Go on and get cleaned up..."
The little wolf gave a crooked, teasing little grin from behind her hair, unable to resist chirping "Yes, Mamma" back at him.
She didnt bother trying to rhetort that she WAS clean - it would have been futile.
Not only was there dirt clearly visible on at least 5 different areas of her exposed skin, but her hair was threaded through with dirty feathers and there was mud on her toes still from her run through the damp earth last night.
Kai was practically never clean.

The little wolf turned on her heel with one last grin, headed for her room to get washed up as she'd been bid, pausing only to snag a pastry snack from the pantry before running off, before she could be scolded for spoiling her appetite.


Mamma. Doyle just snorted and gave an uncharistically expressive eye roll, sliding everything into the oven and working very hard at Not grunting or huffing in pain as he did so. The cold always made things worse, and bending over wasn't the easiest of tasks mid-summer. He could handle it.
It'd be a while in the cooking, Kai would have more than enough time to kill. Doyle used his alone time to check out a room he'd glimpsed but not explored, skirting the bar the whole time where he could only barely hear Ms. Vanity and Mr. I-should-really-learn-his-name-discreetly-because-he-knows-mine talking. Didn't get any words, but the tone was enough for him to pick up it was shop talk. He wasn't one to go poking his nose into other people's work. What's more ... after the conversation he'd just had .... Goosebumps rippled over his skin as he realized that for the surprising amount of humans, there were still supernatural ears. Keen enough ears to maybe pick up through the walls. They'd been quiet, barely any of that had been above a horse whisper, but he didn't know when they came inside. Any of that conversation falling on anyone's ears would be ....
The library was just as impressive as the rest of the house.
He didn't like reading, much to his puppet-master's horror and embarrassment. Book were boring, and he always fell asleep, and they were the dread of every child's school years. What's more, as he got older [which seemed to be happening a lot faster these last couple years] the harder it got to see the words. His eyes got stressed and he should probably go see a doctor about glasses but he, as a healer, was too damn stubborn to get help from any other healer. Which meant he had to either read up on how to fix eyes [because that was not even close to what he normally did], which would hurt his eyes in a fit of irony, or suffer. Which he was used to.
In the hospital, though, he'd gotten a new take on healing and metaphysics and a year and a half of not being able to adventure has a way of giving you a new appreciation for really boring activities. Like reading. He'd started Studying things. Both medicine - which he was terrible at remembering , and the occult - which he was terrible at understanding. What he gleamed from both was infinitely useful though, and slowly, even with the very limited resources he'd had, things started to weave together and whet his appetite for even more.
There was so much he wanted to read. The library alone would be a good enough reason to hang out here for months and risk the temptation of Vanity's fangs. Doyle limited himself to two books, one very old and slender in a leather back, and one much thicker and glossy and very technical looking. Checking his phone every fifteen minutes or so got to be a pain. He used to wear a watch, and missed it, but it was a weird thing he'd noticed. Ever since his near death experience they just didn't last long with him. Apparently that was fairly common - he hadn't found a reason why, in either medical Or occult books, but it rang true for him none the less. It wasn't such a problem, even the oldest phones had a clock on them. But phones are much easier to misplace then watches. He moved back into the kitchen to read and keep an eye on the pheasant as it cooked.

Doyle was just pulling it out of the stove then he heard who he assumed was Kai shuffling back. "If you ever settle down," he murmured almost absentmindedly, "make sure you mate knows how to cook. The only thing you need for a happy relationship is good food." He leaned over the birds with a knife and a fork and a reluctant humph. "My wife could have made a royal spread from a hotplate. We'll be lucky --" Well, no. He supposed it didn't matter if Kai ate raw meat, did it? "I'll be lucky," he corrected, "if it's cooked all the way. Pushing it as is, seeing as nothing caught on fire."
Unless Kai stepped in to serve herself he'd set out a plate for her. Just cuz that was gentlemanly. 'Course it was easier to be a gentlemen when you didn't have a cane in one hand at pretty much all times.
When they sat down he moved his books off the table. "What about you? I don't believe for a minute that in two and a half years you don't have adventures worth telling."
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Aurora feigned interest when she walked in to customers of the place, or inhabititants talking, before stepping into the lobby and taking a deep breath in and out. With her she held her, and her ancestors Grimoires. She was going to get down to Earane's curse if it was the last thing she'd do. First, though, a nice eat would be great. She went to the kitchen, whipping something up and took it with her to the bar, sitting down at the bar and stacking her grimoires on the counter as she set her plate down and ate.

She contemplated Earane's symptoms. Agression, fear, a change in eye colour which could signify a change from light to dark. It seems she was transitioning into a dark elf. She could barely speak anymore but she was heavily sedated.

Aurora knew who was causing the choas in Earane's life. A woman named Morrigan. She was what Hera was to Hercules, a thorn in Earane's side. This woman of dark manner took what she wanted, gave nothing back. Much like the pirates code. Morrigan took the shape of a crow at most times, but the shape of a woan with blacked out eyes at other times. She had raven hair and pale ashy skin. Aurora knew she'd need to face her, and find out where Earane's lost love was hidden. She would not only heal Earane, but track down Elros and bring an end to Morrigan's taunting of Earane if Earane couldn't carry that out herself when the time came.

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