Sep 15, 2019 6:02 AM
Veron steals an Anise
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"Oh, excellent. I'll drop them off there, then. I disarmed all of the traps in the cave, but I recommend giving it a day before sending anyone to look at it, I haven't checked it over for lingering magic artifacts and dangerous whatsits. There might still be something risky there. Should be perfectly safe tomorrow, I just wanted to get the cultists squared away before I finished clearing out the place."

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"...Alright. Ah, thank you very much."

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"You're quite welcome!"

He locates the jail, then has a brief conversation with the jailer. The bewildered jailer watches as Veron unrolls his portable hole and drags out two (still unconscious and very well bound) cultists. After verification that these are indeed known members of the cult, they are summarily tossed into prison.

This job complete, he makes a quick detour to buy important child transportation supplies. A spare set of clothes, a properly sized bedroll, a canteen, her own backpack, enough food for her (candy included) - that sort of thing. He has the money for it.

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His shopping done, he gets to the less fun portion of the trip to town. He could just walk away from here without telling her foster parents what happened to her. It'd be easy, even. Nobody would stop him, and nobody would probably even bother coming after him, especially after how he handled the cultists. If this were a few years ago, he probably would have done it. It'd be easier.

Now, though - well. It's not the kind of person he wants to be. So even if this conversation won't be very pleasant, he goes and knocks on a door for the second time today.

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The same woman opens the door.

"Yes?" she asks, blinking in surprise.

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"Hi again. I solved your cult problem," he announces. Like he's saying that he cleared an annoying stump from a farmer's field.

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"I see," she says, not sounding like she believes a word of it.

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That's fine. She'll figure it out eventually. "Your daughter having already once been kidnapped for use in an evil ritual, I think it might be best if I made sure she got somewhere where that's unlikely to happen again."

Which is a perfectly reasonable argument as to why he's taking the child away. Not the one he cares about, but not a bad one.

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"...Excuse me?"

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"Well you see," he says, reasonably, "I said I'd make sure she would be safe."

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"If you think you have the right to remove a child from her legal guardians because you said something, I ought to give you an education in the law."

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"Ought you," he repeats, pleasantly.

And then all at once the pleasantness drops, and the man that is standing before her is not ordinary at all. The air has gone cold and still, and the shadows around them both darken. His eyes glint a dangerous hint of blue, and there's something unspeakable in them. These eyes have seen Hell, they have stared down a power so great that she can barely comprehend it, and he did not flinch. He did not lose. It is suddenly very clear that this man was not joking about handling the cultists. The cultists were nothing in comparison. This man is not someone to be trifled with. He looks at her, and it's not the gaze of a human staring back at her, it's something else, something more. And he has judged her and found her wanting.

"I saw the bruises. I saw the way she flinched in fear when she asked if I was going to take her home. I don't give a fuck what the law says, you are never touching her again."

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The woman squeaks in terror and stumbles backwards, barely catching herself enough to land in a sitting position.

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Then the something more is gone, and he's just a man. He smiles at her again.

"Do we understand each other, ma'am?"

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"Please get out of my house."

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"Certainly. Thank you for your time. Have a pleasant evening."

And then he turns and leaves. He could have pushed further, pressured her to say that she wouldn't ever try to pursue Annasarelle again, but he's pretty sure he doesn't have to. That was enough. She'll swallow the story he gave her and vomit it back out to the community to save her own reputation, like the self obsessed coward that she is. Maybe she'll be brave enough to call him names in the safety of her own home, but that's as far as it'll ever go. He's all right with that.

His business in town concluded, he returns to the cave.

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Where Saskia is patiently walking Annasarelle through a second cantrip; Mage Hand, a spell that creates a weak spectral hand that can exert some force upon the world. Together with prestidigitation, they give an aspiring wizard plenty for practicing the finer points of aiming one's will in arcane magic. The theory and memorization can wait; these simple cantrips can help her be sure that whatever later spells she learns will be properly aimed and controlled.

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Annasarelle is delighted. There are new things she can do! And nobody can take them!

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Aw.

"You're taking to wizardry well," he observes, smiling.

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"she's a very good student!"

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"Thank you!" Annasarelle says, beaming at Saskia.

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"you're welcome."

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Veron considers the two of them while fishing out some of the acquired candy from town.

"Would you like to have more wizardry lessons, later? Saskia might not have the time for it, but I could probably find you another teacher if she can't. If you'd like one."

Eight's a bit young for it, but not too young. He sort of wants this child to be assured of her own ability to keep herself safe. Considering.

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"All right."

Candy has been fished out! Annasarelle may have a caramel thing. Would she like a caramel thing?

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