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Heart of the Hedge Maze [Estate Grounds - EAST]

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Eddellyn Wynterleaf

[Within Daeth's Aegis]

Wynterleaf wanted to curl up and succumb to the a dreamless sleep but they didn’t have the luxury to spend any more time in this reprieve. With great effort, she rose from the wreckage of the bed and found her bundle of clothing, a simple tunic, and a pair of soft leather trousers, both dark grey to make it easy to blend with the shadows. She dressed with an efficiency born of practicality, tucking her shirt into her pants before setting her cloak and sword on the bar and approaching the chair where Daeth lounged casually having a drink.

Everything and nothing had changed. That acknowledgment in itself felt like a physical blow. She was still mindful of the task that’d brought her to the Syltamul Estate, the promise she had made in the literal crater that was her life - to keep magical artifacts away from the mages that sought to yield them toward their own means.

It had been after the third (or was it the fourth?) round of their bed sport that she’d had a moment of reflection and made the decision to give up that vow for revenge. Not for anything that had passed between her and Daeth (not entirely) but because she was beginning to see how flawed and obsessed her reasoning had become.

The promise she’d made on the heels of her loss was just another form of avoidance. A way to replace her guilt at not loving Wynter enough, she should have committed her full self instead of giving whatever had been leftover, and the guilt for having survived when he hadn’t. But she would follow this last thread through. If the Syltamul Estate yielded none of the answers she sought tonight, and she had no expectation that they would (as very little had thus far), she would leave the Bridgeways. Perhaps make a brief journey to Tenara, there were matters she needed to settle there and then maybe on to Aniada. A year had gone by while dedicated to this trek and it was time to check in on the crew she’d organized.

But she paused too long by Daeth as she gathered her thoughts and she found herself tumbled into his lap with a teasing grin. She couldn't resist his light-hearted manner and gave a low laugh. “The dress could be fashioned into a skirt. Maybe not a replacement for your shirt but I think it would look grand on you.” His lean fingers were already set on undoing her shirt and she forgot all the reasons why they shouldn’t do this again.


Eddellyn dressed for the second time, much quicker than the first, as she didn’t have to look far for her discarded garments. As Daeth retrieved his discarded clothes and dressed, she sought the ruby necklace she had flung at Daeth. Her temper had gotten the better of her at that moment but the gem was Travion’s and her conscience prodded at her to return it to him. Finding the jewel beneath a swath of fabric, she realized couldn’t just take it back, she had to replace it with one of her own belongings - she didn’t want Daeth to scold her for reneging on her ‘payment’. Her sword and dagger would be worth a fair sum but she wasn’t eager to part with them as there was every chance she would need them before the night was over.

The only other items she carried mainly held personal value, a moonstone ring and book (forgotten was the magickal ring she'd purchased to hide her presence from detection). The moonstone was pale and clouded with grey, it was plain but old, she taken to wearing it on a cord around her neck after the loss of her hand. The book was a small journal, thick with various found items and papers stuffed inside its leaves. Reading was a constant struggle and she could barely write, but keeping track of her life events and thoughts had been important to her. 

She felt a great reluctance to trade either in place of the ruby but had to choose something.  

Before she had time to second guess her choice, she removed the leather cord and ring and set them on the bar counter and tucked the journal into a small pouch. 

As she cinched her sword belt in place, her thoughts returned to what happens now? and she tried to remember all she’d already said to Daeth this night. Did she betray anything that might hint at her feelings or her thoughts about the future? She didn’t think so but there had been times when she was lost to the heat of the moment either in anger or passion. A flare of panic threatened as she heard herself saying -I have given you all that was truly mine- had that been out loud? Perhaps it had been a mistake to do anything other than keep him at arm’s length and she would grow to regret that in time. She had to take steps to protect herself and mentally rehearsed what she would say to Daeth.

It was with a jolt when Daeth took the initiative and pulled her close by her belt, his eyes a deep amethyst as he gave her a serious soul searching look, moments before pulling her in for a kiss as if it was the last time. She had already expected as much, this was the prelude to their goodbyes, but was still unprepared for the weight of the moment as it settled in her stomach.

So she was surprised by his rough words explaining he couldn’t walk away again. That he wouldn’t let her walk away.

I have no expectations, she wanted to say, to reassure him, but he forestalled her with a raised hand as he continued speaking.

“Come with me. Please.”

It was the last thing she expected him to say and by his expression, she doubted he even knew he was going to say that until the words left him.

She rubbed her thumb across his brow, smoothing the tension that had gathered there, and then cupped his face and held his eyes with hers. It was not lost on her that the damage she had done by running away the last time still affected them both. Anything she might have said to release either of them from their connection died a swift death.

“I promised Vincen to steal the Syltamul’s business seal, in part for exchange for the dress. Beyond that, I was looking for evidence to the Bridgeways to some destruction in Kiana.” She made a motion with her hand and shook her head as if it were unimportant. “But that’s proven to be a dead end.”

He’d asked a direct question, paired with the word please (the second time that night) and she couldn’t refuse, which bode ill for her tender emotions.

“I will go with you, Daeth. Wherever your journey leads next.“

She inhaled deeply and tried for a smile but it came off as uncertain. “I promise not to disappear again, not intentionally and not without speaking to you first. And so you will always have means to find me again if you wish need, look for The Ivy Hand or Wynterleaf; there are very few that know me by Eddellyn anymore.”

Eddellyn sealed her pledge with a soft touch of her lips to his, a kiss to mark a fledgling and fragile start. Anxious to lighten the suddenly somber mood, she brushed the ends of his hair just above his ear. “I’ll admit I was upset that you no longer had your braids but the truth is, I think I’m more upset at how you are only more attractive with short hair.”


[Outside of the Aegis]

They left the Aegis hand and hand, crossing from the pocket realm and back into the worlde proper. The air was cool across her heated flesh, the night still young with only about an hour passing here while they had enjoyed the leisure of several hours. Even so, as the guest of honor, she thought Daeth’s absence might have been noticed by the nobles, but they may have been assumed he was engaged in a tryst. Her upper lip twitched with amusement, as the assumption wouldn’t be wrong though they may be surprised to learn it wasn’t one of their own.

But touching foot to the soil again brought a new awareness that Eddellyn hadn’t realized was missing until it returned. A sixth sense that stretched outward connecting to a far-off place east and some of her aches eased. The sensation was unexpected but not unwelcome and it gave her something to consider going forward. As the feeling of restoration washed over her, she sensed the other change to the atmosphere, the one that had agitated Daeth as he snapped to attention.

The night was eerily calm and scented with the smell of crushed ozone, unpleasant as it caught in the back of the throat. A shiver of premonition coursed down Eddellyn’s back, whatever was happening out there was not linked to the masquerade. She wasn’t certain what his wards were meant to do but if he was upset they were being destroyed, it couldn’t be anything good.

She curled her fingers around his hand tightly, putting her trust in him.

[OOC: To The West Garden Gazebo [Estate Grounds - WEST]]

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