Isla bites her lip, staring out over the road where the witch had departed. There’s nothing around her but the sound of the river and wind through the grass.
She decides, after a long moment, that she might as well listen to the witch’s advice. Sure enough, in the spot pointed out, there’s a wide patch of dark plants under the shade of a large willow tree, many of which are distinctly blue with broad leaves like the plants the kid had shown her yesterday. She reaches out to touch one–the stem is rough, and it makes her fingers slightly numb. With a grimace, she pulls her hand back and rubs her fingers to bring the feeling back into them. She’s willing to bet a lot that these plants, whatever they are, are poisonous.
She glances back downstream, looking for wherever Lucian went.
“Lucian?” she calls out. “Lucian!”
Continue reading “04.24 – Echoes in Spirits”
Isla opens her mouth to protest that she definitely isn’t a witch, only to quickly realize that maybe it’s not the smartest idea to say that directly to a witch with scales and fangs.
“I, uh. Thanks,” she says instead.
The witch sits on an old tree stump to eat her food, and Isla stands awkwardly, unsure of what to do. Obviously, she shouldn’t upset the witch, or she might end up getting double-cursed, but she probably doesn’t want to get too friendly, either.
“You may sit down,” the witch says after a long silence. “Stay a while and chat. Goodness knows I do not do much of that.”
Isla’s sure she can guess why.
Continue reading “04.23 – Words of Wisdom and Witchcraft”
Isla stares at the empty space where Em was only a moment ago. “If they weren’t human, then what were they?” she asks, her voice still a bit strained.
“I don’t know,” Lucian says. “But I don’t think they’ll be back for a while.”
Lucian nods and pulls Isla along down the street. “I’m guessing that light show means they didn’t have a body. It’s a lot harder to kill things that don’t have a body to be killed.”
Continue reading “04.22 – Riverside”
Lucian glances out the window. “Sunrise is pretty soon. If you’re awake anyways, we should get out of here.”
Isla shakes off her thoughts of the witch and nods. “Okay. Where do we go?”
“Let’s check the abandoned house again,” Lucian says. “The kid lives around there. If we follow them around, we’ll probably find something out about whatever they’re cooking up. If they’re doing anything like that.”
“We’re going to stalk someone?”
“We’re going to tail someone who definitely has your memories, Isla,” Lucian says. “And who’s somehow tied to this town’s messed-up time problem. I’m pretty sure we’re morally in the right, here.”
Continue reading “04.21 – Stakeout”
Lucian sighs, then slowly gets to her feet. “So what do we do now?”
“I could…get rid of your artifice marks,” Isla says.
Lucian shoots her a look. “Isla, you told me earlier today that you couldn’t do that. Why are you so gung-ho about it now? Were you just being an asshole earlier? Is that how you get your kicks?”
“No, uh,” Isla says. “I mean…”
“You’re not helping your case,” Lucian says.
“Well…” Isla takes a deep breath and rolls her sleeves up so Lucian can see the broken lines on her arms. “Using magic is doing this to the artifice Aurel put on me.”
Continue reading “04.20 – Bare Heart”
With difficulty, Lucian pushes herself up into a sitting position. She rubs her eyes. “Sort of,” she says. “I feel like shit. What’s going on?”
“What happened to you?” Isla asks. “I tried finding you for hours after you left and you were in that creepy house at the east side of town. What happened?”
Lucian groans. “I…I don’t know. Sol felt your memories and we followed some kid there, and…I don’t know. I went upstairs, I think, but I don’t…I don’t remember anything after that. Isla, what happened to my shirt? What were you doing just now?”
Continue reading “04.19 – Nighttime Conversation”
Isla waits. She waits a long while–though maybe it just feels that way. Before long, she’s pacing back and forth, trying to work off some nervous energy.
“You okay, there?” Solanus asks. “You sound kind of nervous.”
“That’s because I am,” Isla says.
“Oh,” Solanus says. “Carry on, then.”
Continue reading “04.18 – Reparation”
Solanus has difficulty moving in Lucian’s body, and Isla ends up having to do a lot of the work. Given Lucian’s weight, it’s not anywhere close to easy, but at least she’s not dead weight anymore.
“Do you know where Lucian’s stuff is?” Isla asks. “Did she drop her bag somewhere?” She glances around the room some more, and sees the canvas bag thrown under a desk. She picks it up as they shuffle past and slings it over Solanus’s shoulder. “Okay, let’s go.”
“Yeah,” Solanus says. “It’s been less than five minutes and I already feel like shit.”
The two of them get out of the house without too much incident, except for Solanus tripping and falling halfway down the stairs. Since she doesn’t seem hurt by it and nothing’s broken, Isla counts that as a success.
Continue reading “04.17 – Refuge”
Power surges down Isla’s arms with a feeling like white-hot fire, burning her inside out. She grits her teeth against the pain, and continues to pull on her magic. A small, dark pink flame forms in the palm of her hands.
“Lead me to Lucian,” she says, and the finding-spirit in her hand flashes once, then flies off towards the east side of town.
Isla follows it.
Continue reading “04.16 – Lost and Found”
Continued searching lands Isla at the northern edge of town, within eyeshot of the river for which the town is named, tired and with no hints as to where Lucian could have gone. She sits down on a crate, feeling thoroughly demotivated. It’s well into the afternoon now, and she can hear the clamor of people setting things up in the distance. Something for the Lighting tonight, and Isla wonders if she should even bother going if she can’t find Lucian.
“Hey,” someone says, and Isla looks up. It’s a kid, maybe sixteen years old. They’ve got wavy brown hair and a round face that seems somewhat familiar. “Are…are you okay?”
“I just lost my friend,” Isla says.
Continue reading “04.15 – Cold Trail”