Stitched Omens, Pt.1

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Relentless, a nuisance in fact; Syreene couldn't sleep knowing she was being watched from outside her own apartment by one of Cabil's acolytes. For the duration of his mission, the once anticipated weekend of solitude turned into charting how many times she could spot the stalker through her windows—unsubtle, untrained, and very interested in Syreene's humdrum activities.

An exhausted yawn escaped her lips, her walk to school crowded by the morning commune. "For once, some privacy would be nice. No overprotective brother, no creepy amateur watchdog, and no—" She stopped, her doleful eyes looking east, the temptation to pursue Dovve pawing at her. It's been a week since their falling-out, closure still unsatisfied. "No! I told myself I wouldn't go see that man again! And I'm gonna' stick to that promise, dammit! But... "

Curiosity, courtesy, or just a need to rekindle a lost relationship? The young elfin dropped her shoulders, standing there, split between two decisions. A displacement of perspective kept her on edge, unsure of her opinion of him. There was no denying the flutters in her chest, the jitters in her gut. And maybe those feelings alone should be reason enough to trail east. 'None of this makes any sense. Could I be over-thinking this? I mean, he was there for the most part, trying to protect me. It was a heat of the moment thing for me to say; I don't think, no, I know he couldn't have killed them. Then again, memories don't lie. I watched him transform with my own eyes. Merciless, ripping a ruin in red. But that night when I saw him again for the first time in years... I didn't know who he was then, but... that feeling, that same feeling of trust from long ago took me in. I didn't imagine that. I couldn't. Wanting to be in his arms, to soak in every inch of his gentle warmth, to touch his'

Flick, her shoulder sunk back, the aggressor glaring at her coldly. "Hey, knife ears, why-arya standin' in the middle of the walk for? Keep it movin'!"

The human passerby spat, his insult rolling off Syreene's broken daydreaming. Patting her reddened cheeks, she shook her head, feet motoring school-ward. "What am I doing? Drooling over this guy? Get it together, Sy! Kess, no, Narus is just a priest! Just a simple, common clergyman! He is not my guardian, he is not an adversary, and most importantly, he is not an infatuation!"

She bucked her knees together, sighing in surrender. "Ugh, curse my psyche..."

Time skipped by, the walk allowing her an ample amount of time to rack up some nerves. She couldn't let loose; palms sweaty, chest heavy, last night's spaghetti. Her stomach turned. "It's just Kess! I'm sure he'll forgive me."

"Hello?" The grand doors slammed shut behind her, its echo penetrating the sanctuary's emptiness. Perhaps the training grounds, her next best bet just down the courtyard. But instead of a warm smile greeting her upon entry, a pair of stark eyes studied her up and down. "Morning, Marvi. Is Ke—, I mean, is Father Narus in today?"

She cradled the bundle of scrolls to her chest, and answered indifferently, "Sorry, he won't be in the temple for a couple of months. He's preparing for his yearly voyage to the south. This year, he is traveling early. If you are here for training, he informed me to direct all clientele to Father Lutherick."

Syreene read Marvi's message, both spoken and unspoken. It bothered her, unsure why she was so suddenly rancorous. But what troubled her the most rendered Syreene speechless; he's leaving? "S-so then, he's still here? Can you tell me where I can find him? I really need to speak with him."

"He wishes to be alone before departure. Besides, I don't think he would want to talk to you."

"What? That's it?! He's just going to leave me again?! I came here to apologize, and instead I find out he's so pissed from what I said, that he needs to give us more space! Are you sure he's leaving for a couple of months, and not a couple of years?!"

"What you said? Child, what you did was far worse." Her voice shook.

"What?" Syreene remembered having a minor hysteria, but nothing more. Her elfin ears twitched, a faint noise from the parallel corridor drawing her gape to the man in white hauling a suitcase.

"Marvi, I am leaving, make cer—" Narus spotted Syreene from a distance, a bewildered gaze shared between them. He cleared his throat, trying to pick up his words. "Marvi, may you leave us?"

The priestess stopped to his side, a hand on his shoulder as she whispered in discretion, "I won't stray far." She left, the woman's defensive disposition falling on Syreene's ears. He sat on the stone hedge along the garden, his inviting smile beckoning her to do the same.

She took his side, her doleful eyes beckoning him as she fiddled her thumbs. "I am sorry Kess, for blaming you for what happened that night. I was out of line, angry, confused. I guess I wanted an answer so badly after all these years that I jumped to a false conclusion that you did it." She lowered her head, turning away in reflection. "Something in me knew you couldn't have. Ever since you brought my brother home, and I saw your face for the first time in years, I felt love, not hate. I didn't put the two together then, but, you saved me that night, just like you saved Cabil."

"My sole purpose was to protect you, Syreene. I would never hurt you or your loved ones in such a vile, inhumane way. You need not seek my forgiveness, but I ask for yours. That evening when we stumbled upon foreign land, the evening I, transformed... "

"Please, Kess—"

"—Syreene, I must." He erected himself, his stance stern and serious. With his back to her, she could only imagine the pain he was feeling reliving that night. She drew to him, his hands immediately taking her shoulders. "It hurts me to recall my brutality, but I must assure myself it will not happen again."

"Kess, I—"

"—Kessire."

"...Kess—" A finger to her lips interrupted her recitation, the elfin startled by his gesture.

"My name spoken by your lips alone triggered the beast that laid dormant inside me. As you would imagine, I still lack full control of it. This was a fail-safe bestowed by your father not meant to be directed towards you. If I should exhaust my strength, Kessire would allow me to salvage demonic blood with little resistance. But because of my premature hatching, Darith didn't give me much time to manipulate it. His untimely end also gave me little time to learn about the world I was to protect you from."

"So, you're a construct of my father? Then you aren't a Dessarian?"

"I am a humanoid-lycan hybrid, but I draw my strength from demonic blood. That night, my hunger took control and I fed on elfin, and almost you." He dropped his arms defeatedly. "I know it has been much too many years to be asking for your understanding, and nothing I could do would reciprocate what I've done, but I never wanted to attack you. It took everything in me to withdraw, long enough for you to escape." The priest offered a hand. "Perhaps we can make amends, and start anew?"

Syreene slapped his hand away, leaping into him with a tight embrace. Suppressing her tears, she burrowed her head into his chest, his stroking fingers down her hair bringing her at ease. "You've been lost in my life for too long. Promise me you'll never leave my side again."

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