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located in Norr, a part of The Gift: Chapter Two, one of the many universes on RPG.

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Faera awoke the next morning with a pounding headache that threatened to split her skull at the seams. A pungent smell alerted her to the presence of something herbal beside her bed, and she correctly assumed both that Tala had left it there for her and she was to drink it. Fumbling around until she found it, Fae just managed to avoid spilling the contents on the ground and sat up, pulling the cup closer towards herself and tucking her knees to her chest. Every motion was a little more painful than she figured it should be, on account of the fact that moving her head at all tended to set it off.

Still, she braved the agony and tossed her head back, downing the foul-scented contents in the space of two swallows. It tasted slightly acrid, and she wondered for a moment why her sister would ever concoct such a brew, because there was no way she enjoyed it either. Just as with everything else, a dark elf's taste-sense was especially acute, and there was no mistaking that this was something Fae would rather not drink again if she could avoid it.

She began to understand within a few minutes of consumption, though, as the fuzz slowly cleared from her mind and she was able to move without shooting pain at least. She wondered what exactly she had done to earn this sort of unpleasantness, but all she had were vague recollections of the night before that mostly involved music, Beelzes pushing something at her, and possibly a conversation with Duran? She could not remember about what, and of everything she remembered, this seemed the most likely to be fabricated, since she had never had particular occasion to speak to the druid before.

Troubled by the fact that she could not figure out just what had happened, Fae dressed and did what she always did when she was uncertain about something: she sought out her sister. It wasn't hard this morning; she needed only to follow her nose. As it turned out, Tala wasn't too far outside the tent, looking after a pot of the same stuff, and apparently handing it out to random passers-by. The wisdom of this was lost on Fae. Though she had known her older sibling to use this concoction before, she was until today unaware of its effects. Did many other people awake with headaches this morning also?

She offered Tala a small smile before settling down close to her sole living relative, close enough that she could feel the mild radiation of body heat from the latter. If her sister had not been actively moving, Fae probably would have leaned against her shoulder, but she didn't want to impede whatever she was doing. Instead, the blind elf listened intently to the talking going on not too far from them. She was a bit late to the conversation, but was able to figure it out for the most part. The news surprised her, but the larger implications were for the most part lost on her. She did not quite yet understand things like morale and what spies said about security. Obviously, to have one was bad, but if she was gone, wasn't the problem mostly solved? She hadn't known Iriana much at all, and Talae had told her that often, spies were supposed to be people who didn't seem like spies, so she didn't know if how people had felt about her honestly made much of a difference.

Still, it was a bit unsettling to think about, somehow.




She had dreamed of Ecclavaria the previous night. To say that Neira was unsettled by this would perhaps be an overstatement, but she knew that it was not a simple coincidence. She had not had that part of her life invade her subconscious mind in a while, at least not enough to manifest on the plane of sleep. She knew it was because she was in the process of essentially restructuring her mind, and a few things were bound to slip through the cracks, at least at first.

She had located what Xeron left there, but she was presently working around it. She wasn't going to deal with that until she was damn ready to. In the meantime, she threw on her leathers and then her robes. A bit warm for this time of year, perhaps, but she preferred the slight obscurity of movement provided by the loose garments. That and she didn't much feel like parading around in skintight leather all day. If she wanted the sort of attention that tended to garner, she'd find some other, more entertaining way to get it.

Neira made sure all her things were in order before stepping outside into the sun. She was up a bit earlier than most, but a few people were muttering of the traitor that had been discovered the previous night. Frankly, she thought, a dead traitor was the least of their problems, but she wasn't going to bother correcting anyone if they chose to dwell on something she could not bring herself to care about.

Instead, she sought out the solitude of a clearing away from the majority of camp. When she set her mind on something, Neira was nearly single-track in its pursuit, and right now, she needed to be stronger in just about every way. It was not a desire that found her often; most of the time even the dangerous battles were not enough to ignite it, but being so thoroughly done in on an individual level had triggered the personality traits that made her self-classification actually more appropriate than it would seem. Monk: one with absolute devotion to the betterment of body and mind. Weapons were extraneous and unnecessary. All she needed was her own strength, her own will. She was a weapon, she required only a target.

The old sage's words rang clear as day in her mind as she began with the standard physical exercises. Strength, flexibility, fluidity, speed, balance. The fundaments only grew more important as time wore on. She had grown arrogant and lax in the past few years, and she knew it. There were many things her teacher's doctrine, and her own, would allow her to be. Self-interested was one of them, as was self-assured; hell, even disdainful if she truly wished it. Arrogant was not. The line between it and confidence was one she had to be mindful of.

The emerging sun warmed Neira's joints and assisted in their loosening, so by the time she finished her opening round of stretches, she was feeling quite ready for the exercises in strength and precision that would follow. Just as well; she needed to exhaust herself and push her limits, now and every day in the future. She would not lose a second time.