19 - Threshold of the Tamed

I'm not sure if this is even going to work, but as Camden said, it's worth a try. With Gerald I had the bullet to help me aim. With Faun, I'm not sure where to start. I don't have a memory to record and I don't have something of his, so how do I find him? I can recall him clearly enough, at least. Sandy hair in a feral cut, robes much like mine that Ebrellin-i had me dress him in. There's a certain way his jaw is always set, a sort of clench. His eyes never stop looking out across the room, and never leave me if I'm anywhere near him. The cell is empty of anyone else but he and I, and we're safe in that privacy. He would be sitting near the corner, awake and quiet, too still for the chains to even rattle.

I realize that he can see me at about the same time I realize that I'm recording him even while not being there, even without a guide. I don't pause to think it over or to question it. I just keep going before I lose the secret to this trick. I look around the cell. Nothing's changed. I look down at myself. ...Nothing to see. It's no surprise that Faun can see the invisible, though. Cats are the same way. And then there's Faun himself.

He looks the same as before. It's only been a short while, I remind myself. He looks a little more mussed when it comes to his hair, but that might even be more natural for him. He looks up, over my shoulder.

"You're with more of the upholders of the Law." He scents the air. His head tilts just a bit. "It seems Chire Camden is one of them. I suppose he is well, as are you?" I nod, before I remember I'm not visible. He percieves it anyways. "Good. I want to be out of this place soon. If that hasn't already been provided for, then you'd better see to it, Lyric." There's a firmness to his voice that I'm not used to.

"I..." I sigh. "I'll do what I can. I'm not an Armed. You know that well enough already. I'm trying to do as much for you as I can, but I'm afraid that if we don't take our time and make it subtle...I don't want to get my brother hurt, or get us into a position where we can't help you at all." To my surprise, he takes that rather well.

He gathers himself a bit, then looks at me again. "Sit down." I blink, then decide I might as well. It seems odd to, since I'm not really there. He waits for me to do so, then goes on, "Are you near my mother?" I nod. "Have you seen her yet?" I shake my head. He looks away, his face going blank. He's thinking. "...Tell me of her, after you do. Tell me how she fares, and if the King still treats her kindly. And...pay heed to the animals there. Be careful, most of all. Don't let yourself get caught writing things like this."

I didn't even realize he could feel me writing.

"Of course I can feel you writing, same as I can see you or read your name in your face. Humans are so unobservant. I wish they could percieve more. Maybe then..." He makes an odd little shrug. "No matter. Keep an eye on the Peacock King, most of all. He is not worth your trust." He lets out a long sigh, almost pants, then draws his robes in closer to himself. "I miss my furs," he murmurs, "they smelled of my forest and of those I watched over. Even those of the High Court didn't divest me of my furs when I entered. Even there I was treated with dignity. Especially there." He sinks a bit, drifting off.


His eyes snap open, lock onto me, and for a moment he's entirely feral. Then he remembers who I am, and settles down. I see the ghosts of black marks across his cheeks before they vanish. "...Go. Cages tire me. Go and come back soon, and free me." His words taper off into a mumble. I watch as he sinks into sleep, curling as he does. I don't break away for awhile. There's something too entrancing about looking at his face while he's asleep. It's not human, but not animal either. All I can see in it is peace.

* * *

Camden watched me write that, was obviously pleased while I did so. He could tell it was going smoothly. I'm sure he would have liked to read what I wrote, too. I was even getting ready to hand him my journal when Jenny looked up sharply.

"The King of this region is coming. Look as you should."

After that there was no time for him to look over my writing. I stowed away my journal, got myself dressed and worked on my hair while the rest of our little camp assumed their proper poses. Jenny rode out on horseback just as I saw the Peacock King come toward us. She gave what looked like a salute to him on her departure, and he waved her on.

Camden sketched a complex bow, Rachella echoing it somewhat jerkily before looking to the luggage again. She was just a bag girl in the King's presence, after all. I stepped forward and made my own bow, though I had no idea which protocols I should have been following by that point. Being out on the trail out in the country makes it hard to think of the analogous situation for a King's Court.

Ebrellin-i smiles after I bow, making his own mock-bow in reply. I'm a little thrown off by how happy he is to see me. His eyes skirt upwards, tracing along the clouds in the sky above us. The corners of his mouth still remain pricked upwards. "I hope that it has been a pleasant night for you all here, and that you greet the day warmly." He bows his head. "And I have given hail to the Dragon for our group. Do not be alarmed if you feel him brush up against your mind when you enter the valley. He is merely being friendly." He turns then, robe trailing behind him on the soft grass. "Come. We may walk in, horseless. Even your student, Chire Camden. Or is she going to be training long?" His glance at the Armed is very odd. It doesn't quite betray whether the King suspects something, but there is definitely the element of a challenge to it.

Camden sighs, smiling slightly and shrugging. "Young students can be wild and impetuous. I decided it best that she run it off this morning, and join us after lunch. Do you object?"

The Peacock King cocks his head. "...No. I do envy the young for their energy, but the Valley is a place of peace. Perhaps she will come to enjoy that aspect after she's had her exertions for the morning. With that said...please follow me, if you will."

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