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Waking : Fables : Legends of the Fawn Pt.4

Karas returned to the Circle building agitated and disappointed with himself. He desperately hoped he hadn’t left things badly somehow between Thalia and himself, but as always clung to his creed that he would not give up. He paced briefly and considered returning but with her warning of things being complicated with her father thought it would be better to let her visit with Hallax go uninterrupted.

“Back to work I guess.” He growled quietly to himself and made his way to the door that had remained firmly sealed since Frost had returned. He leaned back against it in frustration. “Presia?”

“If I let you in a moment will you promise not to be a nuisance?” Her voice came as almost a whisper through the wall as the door opened a crack. As he stepped inside cautiously Presia continued her conditional invitation. “Only for a moment, Karas. Lord Frost needs his rest.”

“He looks dead.” Karas covered his mouth after he let the thought slip out. Nei was unmoving and pale. He instantly regretted the words when he saw how the words hurt Presia. She would undoubtedly have struck him if it did not involve leaving Frost long enough to do it. “I’m so sorry.”

“He is better than before.” Presia gave him a scolding glance before brushing her fingers of her Master’s forehead. “I didn’t invite you inside for this. I’ve seen something troubling.”

“Do you ever see happy things?” Karas sighed and hung his head. He had been hoping for good news when she opened the door, but instead he was greeted with the sight of a corpse like Third and bad tidings. “What?”

“Keep your calm, Karas.” Presia warned. “My focus has been elsewhere, the vision was hazy, but something will soon test the unity of this Circle. In particular, it will test you.”

“Is he…” Karas came closer and hunkered down in front of them. “Are you sure he is gonna wake up?”

“Yes.” Presia nodded and waved him off. “Now go.”

“Good.” Karas grinned on his way out. “I need someone to make sense of your rambling.”

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Waking : Fables : Legends of the Fawn Pt.3

Hilda recovered and with Hallax at her side delivered a healthy baby girl that they both instantly fell in love with. She complimented their love for each other with a stunning blend of their features, a soft brown fur ran down much of her back to her deer-like tail, the same covered her much of her lower legs and forearms. Still spotted like a young doe and cooing in her mother’s arms the young Thalia was a small miracle that was already leading to celebration outside.

“What is wrong?” Hilda paused as she watched Hallax run his finger over a small white blemish in the fur on Thalia’s collar bone. He seemed to be stricken with terror over it, but he snapped out of his odd focus on it and smiled at her. “Are you okay?”

“She is beautiful, Hilda.” Hallax smiled so wide tears poured down his cheeks. He wished they were truly happy. He wished he could have this moment with his family untainted by the knowledge of what he had seen. The demon’s words had been weighing on his mind. Talon had told him he had already repaid him; that he would one day collect. Now he understood all too well. While saving Hilda, Talon had marked the child within her and claimed it as his own. Hallax leaned over his wife and child and hugged them tightly hoping he had not damned them all with his love.

“I am sorry.” Hallax started to weep as he remembered the day so clearly. They had all danced around it for so long, calling him savior and protector. Now it was time to deliver the grim news and give the one who would claim her a name. “After so long. I hoped perhaps he would just let it go…”

“Papa?” Thalia had known for almost her entire life that the moment was coming. Her father had spoken of it often enough. Claimed before her birth she would one day have to serve the savior that spared her mother. “Is that why everyone is so worked up?”

“You seem so calm.” Hallax insisted again sadly. It was heartbreaking to know he was denying his child the rest of her freedom. “I should be comforting you. I don’t even deserve your forgiveness for my selfishness.”

“Papa. You loved my mother and there is nothing selfish about love.” Thalia hugged her father tightly. Silently apologizing to Karas that she may never see him again as her heart slowly broke upon realizing he may not be the only one hurt by that fact. She still smiled and confidently wiped her father’s tears, she wouldn’t let him see her suffer and add to his grief. She felt a pang of guilt as she spoke as if she were lying to herself. She had known her whole life was meant for this moment and she was resolved to face it, but now there was doubt. The tiniest seed of rebellion in her. She wanted to run. It wasn’t fear that drove her the sudden change of heart, it was far more selfish. Thalia was falling in love and as she admitted it to herself tears ran down her face. “You’ve prepared me well for this. Don’t be upset.”

“Oh, my dearest child.” Hallax burst into tears. He embraced her and rocked her soothingly. He had hoped all his preaching would have saved her from the pain of heartache. “I know that pain all too well… My wish to save my own love will now deny you the chance at yours.”

“Don’t be silly father.” Thalia straightened herself out of his embrace and wiped her face. She refused to leave him with more guilt then he was already feeling. “I’m simply going to miss you. Now tell me the story again. This time don’t leave out the details. I need to know this demon.”

As her father retold the tale once more with the facts left in place Thalia went cold. She knew her father was still speaking but she could no longer hear him. She could hear nothing but a slow pounding in her ears as the room started spinning. She knew Talon had protected the glacial plains long before they were Drifa; despite everyone’s careful attempts to never mention his name, somewhere deep inside she must have locked away the thought that he was the savior. She started to distract herself with logic before her lightheadedness made a fool of her. If she had only a week, most of it was going to be spent walking. Tonight, she was going to take care of her father.

“Okay.” Thalia said finally and got to her feet. She took her father’s hand and pulled him up. “Tomorrow is the dawn of a new adventure, but tonight we celebrate. All will be well.”

“Thalia…” Hallax smiled at the strength he recognized in his daughter, her mother’s strength. “All will be well.”

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Waking : Fables : Legends of the Fawn Pt.2

“The last time I came here with you it wasn’t exactly well received.” Karas felt uncomfortable suddenly. He had plenty of dealing with Hallax and the other fawns over the years, but since the first visit with Thalia it was always on his own. “This may not go over well. I should probably let you take it from here.”

“They seem to be out doing themselves tonight.” Thalia was too concerned over something else to be worried about his reception. She noticed the fires burning bright for so late in the season of the midnight sun and the songs were unusually celebratory and bright. Still she had saved time thanks to his talents and didn’t want to drag him into anything unpleasant. She smiled and squeezed his hands as she stepped back to start off toward her familial home. “You may be right. Thanks again.”

 “See you when you get back?” Karas waved cheerfully, but felt like something was strange about her suddenly. She seemed distracted and worried upon arriving and he hoped he hadn’t over stepped and ruined things with her.

Thalia turned and smiled to see Karas off but continued her trek into the unscheduled celebration. Children were running about laughing, what seemed to be an endless feast was underway, there was singing and story-telling. As she searched the crowd for her father she caught bits of the latest gossip. Their savior had visited. Thalia sighed. A culture as old as theirs still held on to very strange ideas. She had grown up with the utmost respect for their ways, but with a healthy understanding that most of their ‘gods’ were in fact demons that now; and probably always, walked around just like they did. Not something worth bowing down to in Thalia’s opinion. An opinion largely instilled by her father who taught her from a very young age to be wary of demons. It was her father that had her attention now. “Where is he?”

Hallax was as much a head of their kind as there would ever be, yet he was absent from this celebration. Thalia grew more and more worried and found herself running to his home with her heart in her throat.

“Papa.” Thalia practically fell through the door and found her father quietly weeping by the fire. She rushed to his side and embraced him.  “What is wrong? Why aren’t you with the others?”

“He said I have a week.” Hallax looked up sadly at his daughter. “I just want time…”

“Papa?” Thalia shrugged. “What are you talking about?”

“Thalia, I have told you before…” Hallax sighed heavily. What did it matter now? The time for caution was over. “The story of your fate.”

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Waking : Fables : Legends of the Fawn Pt.1

“So, are we in a rush?” Karas smiled hopefully as Thalia leaned beside him. “Or can I convince you to spend some time with me?”

“With you?” Thalia stuck out her tongue and shook her head to mock the idea before nudging into him with her shoulder and laughing. “As long as you don’t mind saving me the long trip.”

“Of course not.” Karas was delighted to have more than just travel time to spend with her. Most of their outings were too brief as far as he was concerned. “Are you hungry?”

“How about snacks.” Thalia suggested quickly before it became another invite to dinner. It wasn’t that she didn’t think about it from time to time, but she had a life time of her father at her ear and there was no easy way around his beliefs. “Maybe go sit by the water.”

It wasn’t long before they were people watching and sharing Thalia’s snacks. A chill in the air made her shiver and Karas wrapped his right arms around her to keep her warm. The gesture made them both flush and as pulses raced they slid closer. The moment ended before it began however with the laughter of nearby children.

“Look.” One of the older boys laughed. “The Second is horny.”

“Very funny.” Karas sighed and waved them off. “Go home you little brats.”

“Karas…” Thalia felt terrible for him. He tried to brush it off like it had not hurt him but as he stood and offered her hand he was looking away rubbing at one of his horns. “They are just kids.”

“Yea.” Karas pulled Thalia to her feet. “Mind if we just take a long route up north? We can talk on the way.”

“I happen to like these.” Thalia reached past Karas’ face and ran her fingers back along the dark horns. “They make you unique.”

“Thank you for that.” Karas hugged her tightly and lifted her before he shifted away from public view. “And for not just shutting me down. I know I was pushing my luck.”

“It’s not you.” Thalia kissed his cheek before she politely struggled out of his embrace and took his hand. His patience over the years was admirable but her own was wearing thin. She just had no idea how to begin explaining her predicament. “Karas, Its very complicated. My Papa…”

“I was going to take you home anyway.” Karas was still reeling from the soft press of her lips on his face. He did not like the sound of defeat in her voice when she mentioned her father and it was easier to smile and shift the conversation away from things that made her uncomfortable. “We can catch up later.”

“Thank you Karas.” Thalia nodded and smiled sadly before she took his offered hand; a moment later hugging him for warmth in the snow filled breeze near the fawns’ home. It was strange to be feeling disappointed after refusing him for so long, but she had her reasons. She had accepted completely that her loneliness was inevitable; that her father’s tales were law and she was not free to fall in love or to even have the company of another soul to pass the time. It wasn’t until the persistent courting of this awkward demon that Thalia realized how profoundly lonely she actually was and when she saw her own sadness reflected in him she made a quiet decision to herself that she would try to reason with her father on this visit.

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Waking : Fables : Talon Pt.2

So many years had passed since Talon even gave it a thought. As Lucifer left he could remember it so clearly. Man was still so frightened of the unexplained and their fear made them brutal. The few packs of creatures that attempted to live alongside them took a great risk and it so often ended badly. Talon was there to protect them.

 Even among humans there were some who rose above the fear and hatred and among the beasts those more trusting than others. And in rare occasions friendships blossomed. In even rarer occasion. Love. It was beautiful to witness. The lovely human girl and the fawn as they fell for each other during the long midnight sun. Neither cared for what the other lacked, they just enjoyed each other. The girl was charming enough in fact the fawn had brought her into the village countless times and she had been accepted as family. Hallax and his Hilda. Inseparable. Still she would always have to return home and it was during one of those partings that their perfect love was tested. Hilda was with child and though she tried to keep it secret from her family, by the time she returned to Hallax too many of her village knew.

“They will come for me Hallax.” Hilda had struggled to make the journey north and was weak with fever. “I shouldn’t have come.”

 Hallax and his family assured her it was nonsense. They would protect her and the child. She could stay with them always. But they knew she was right. The humans would come. They feared what a child between them could be. They had never approved of Hilda’s frequent visits and made her life at home very difficult to make that clear.

 Hilda’s pregnancy was difficult and made worse by the coming trouble, but Hallax stayed by her side. Never once letting her feel alone even when the humans finally made their way north.

 By the time they arrived they were little more than an exhausted pack of mutts. The angry mob that began the journey had just lost its fuel over the months of harsh travel as the northern darkness of winter gave them no warmth and little light. The fawn gathered to meet them and as they did so they were joined by their guardian.

 “It’s unfortunate that you made this journey for nothing.” Talon stood unmoving between the two factions and stared down the humans. “If you leave now, however, you can keep your lives.”

“Not with one of us held hostage by those beasts!” One of the mob shouted.

 “I am no hostage.” Hilda struggled even to stand but with Hallax’ help she moved forward on the icy plain to state her intent. “And if you think them beasts, then I am not one of you.”

 Hilda fell to her knees in pain. Hallax panicked beside her as he saw blood spilling around her legs.

 Shouts from the mob accusing the fawns of dark magic urged them forward until Talon swept his fingers across the ice in front of them forcing them back with a gust of wind and ice. He barked his orders to get the girl to shelter before he approached the startled humans.

 “These creatures are protected.” Talon paced in front of the fear struck mortals. “This is my last warning. You leave here and never return or I will have your lives.”

 They left with little argument and the fawns retreated back to shelters. In one such shelter Talon found Hallax trying to comfort his wailing wife as she grew more pale.

 “Lord Talon.” Hallax spoke with a trembling voice. He was young but would be well loved and strong among his kind. “I have no right to ask this. It was our love that brought this trouble…”

 “Why save you all if it is only to grieve?” Talon came to the woman’s side and laid his hands on her stomach. He felt the life inside fighting as much as the mother’s life slipping away. He quickly healed the wounds and helped to calm the child inside the womb as he listened to the others scrambling around him for water for the woman as her wails turned to relieved gasps. In that moment he could have walked away, but it just wasn’t in his nature. He had to have something for his trouble. He worked his magic to ensure it. He made certain Hilda was well and could survive the birth then stepped away to let Hallax and his family tend to her.

 “If there is any way I can repay you.” Hallax smiled at him with tear filled eyes.

 “You already have, sweet Hallax.” Talon smiled. “And one day I will collect. Make sure to keep it safe until then.”

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Waking : Fables : Talon Pt.1

“You borrow my Third and returned him broken.” Talon voiced his displeasure with Lucifer without hesitation when he arrived. “I do hope you intend to compensate for this loss.”

 “He will likely recover.” Lucifer assured him. “He was given the gift of the Vicern.”

 “Vicern?” Talon was suddenly puzzled as he was intrigued. “That would mean he was in Eden.”

 “Yes.” Lucifer grinned. “It also means that he has survived thus far. Give him time. Nei will recover.”

 “Answers then.” Talon insisted as he stood. “What was so important that I had to risk the twerp to begin with? And what is lurking in my city? They claimed to be friends of Frost.”

 “Let both matters go, Talon.” Lucifer stepped to the desk and leaned onto his fingertips. “Nei can share with you his tales of heroism when he wakes if he so chooses. As far as what lurks in your streets, it is harmless for now. Likely waiting on Nei’s recovery as you are and will move on once he wakes. Go entertain yourself with something else.”

 “And what would you suggest?” Talon scoffed. “I have only this office to keep me busy.”

 “Aren’t you the source of some local folk tales?” Lucifer laughed. “Go stir something up.”

 “With no reprimand?” Talon grinned.

 “You know which lines not to cross.” Lucifer nodded. “Now don’t bother me again over Nei. Presia will take care of him.”

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Waking : Fables Pt.2

The reserves of Greenland were protected even before the world became Tsuriai. It was largely protected by nature itself, harsh climate and isolated locale made it ideal to protect some of the creatures who decided to brave the world of humans. Talon had been charged with protecting it. As time went on, Karas joined him in that task. When Lucifer set up a new world the task of protecting the reserve fell mostly to Karas.

 One of his visits to the icy lands led to an encounter that would forever change his life. He happened upon a young girl with lovely brown curls heading toward a protected village of fawns in the reserve. Karas pounced in front of her and smiled hoping at once for her to return the smile and for her to do something foolish and give him a chance to stretch his legs for a change.

 “Out of my way, demon.” The girl huffed impatiently.

 “You have no place here.” Karas grinned at the flush her frustration brought to her face and decided to see how pink he could make her. “Human.”

 “I have every right to be here.” Thalia walked up to him confidently and slapped him across the face. “Now step aside. My father expects me.”

 “Father?” Karas rubbed his face as he sniffed at her. “Half-breed?”

 “You find that distasteful?” Thalia walked on without paying him any mind. “Some protector you are.”

 “You know who I am?” Karas caught up to her and fell in step beside her. He was suddenly excited by the fact he was recognizable after such a short time appointed to the Circle.

 “Second of Drifa.” Thalia droned on with a tone that suggested she was unimpressed. “Before that you helped protect the creatures here. Though you clearly don’t know them very well.”

 “Thalia!” Hallax exclaimed as he rushed at his daughter. He was not entirely thrilled to see she had arrived with a demon, but it wasn’t the one he had to worry over so he kept his distaste to himself and greeted the guest. “And who is your guest?”

 “Not a guest, Papa.” Thalia sighed. “We just met on the way. He is not staying.”

 “Charming girl, Hallax.” Karas teased. “I guess that’s the human half showing.”

 “We do not speak ill of the dead here.” Hallax answered sadly.

 “You should go.” Thalia turned and slapped him once more. “Before you offend someone else.”

 As some of the other fawns nodded in agreement Karas realized his sense of humor had crossed a line and he felt more than a little disgusted with himself. He bowed to Thalia and her father. “My apologies. I will take my leave.”

Breakseal

Karas saw her by chance weeks later on the streets of Drifa and ran right over to her. He had rushed in so quickly and hadn’t thought of a word to say and ended up standing there stupidly as she shook her head.

 “You are in my way.” Thalia smiled. The demon in front of her seemed to be sincere and despite her fathers’ warnings she was intrigued by his stumbling attempts to approach her. “Again.”

 “I wanted to apologize properly.” Karas took her hands suddenly. Warm soft fingers that squeezed his in return. “I really didn’t mean to upset anyone. Let me take you to dinner.”

 “I don’t really date.” Thalia laughed. This demon was so adorably awkward she couldn’t help but like him. “I’ll tell you what though, I was going shopping. You can hold the bags.”

 “Deal.” Karas wiggled all twenty of his fingers in agreement. “And I am sorry. I wasn’t thinking.”

 “Don’t worry over it.” Thalia smiled reassuringly. “My family is a little superstitious and my father doesn’t have much trust for demons.”

 “I thought the fawns were on good terms with us.” Karas shrugged and crossed one set of arms as he fell into a comfortable stride beside her.

 “We are.” Thalia paused a moment wondering if her fathers distrust was contagious. She shook off the momentary shivers and continued. “With Papa, it is personal. I suppose it should be my torch to carry as well. You will just have to try and prove us wrong.”

Breakseal

 

“I will never stop trying.” Karas smiled and waited for Thalia to finish her shift.

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