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Jun 24, 2021 6:58 PM
teenage suranse serg lands on a traumatized liri
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There is a room.

The room arguably escapes being a cell by virtue of its furnishings. The furniture isn't fancy, but it's fairly high quality, bed a sturdy wooden frame with a simple mattress, one each of pillow and blanket, a dresser, desk and chair. It certainly seems more like the kind of room someone lives in than the kind someone is imprisoned in. But the walls of the room are solid stone, and the door is thick wood and locked from the outside.

On the bed there is a girl, seventeen at the oldest, liberally bruised and weeping like she finds the idea of air in her lungs anathema.

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—and now on the floor there is a boy, tall and pale and dark-haired, curled up into a shivering ball. He does not have any clothes on. When he appears, the air ripples like water; frost forms on his skin and spreads across the floor.

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It takes her a few moments to react to this, looking up to see him, and then another minute for the crying to quiet down and for her to get out of bed and go over to him.

"Are you--okay?" she asks, mostly not crying (there is a distinct catch in her voice).

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He uncurls enough to look up at her in confusion, and has to take a few incoherently-mumbled tries at answering before he manages intelligible words in a language she speaks.

"I—what—where am I?"

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She shrugs miserably. "Probably the north. We were between Estelamis and Teseata when I was taken, and I don't think he took me very far."

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"...I don't... that's not..."

He's still covered in frost - cold enough that it's kind of uncomfortable to be near him - but he doesn't seem to have noticed. The motions of speech offer scattered glimpses of long pointed teeth; a frustrated shake of his head reveals long pointed ears under his appallingly messy hair. Following the theme, he has fingernails like claws, short but sharp.

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"If that's not what you meant then I don't know what you did mean."

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"Those aren't—places," he says, struggling to communicate. "This isn't—I'm not—"

He snarls under his breath. The coating of ice on his skin flashes into flame; being a few feet away from him is like standing next to an open oven. Then it subsides, and he's sitting in a puddle with steam rising from his skin, staring at his hands in helpless confusion.

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She nibbles a lip, distracted a little from her misery by the puzzle he presents. "I--don't know what a place would be, then? The empire doesn't really have a name, there aren't any other countries to compare it against. Where are you from?"

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"—Aluvanna. But I—"

He curls inward again, ducking his head and wrapping his arms around his knees. Frost collects on his skin and the floor around him. The air resumes being uncomfortably cold.

"—I—fell. Out—out of the world, I think. It was all—kind of a mess—"

He's trying very hard, and failing very badly, to sound normal and casual and not at all traumatized by this experience.

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"Out of the world? --This world is called Rahne."

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"...Suranse. Is—was—mine."

The frost recedes as he calms down a little.

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"I'm sorry. Losing everything is--the worst thing."

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He growls again, under his breath, but there's no matching flare of fire.

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"Not really."

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"Do you want a hug?"
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He looks up at her in total bewilderment. (But the frost recedes a little more, and the air reaches a reasonable temperature.)

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"--I just--I don't know what else to do--hugging helps, sometimes."

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"People don't just... offer to hug me," he says. "Or. Didn't."

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"Everyone I ever loved was murdered a few weeks ago. I--I don't--have the things that make people not offer to hug strangers right now."

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...he blinks at her. "Oh."

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"...yes, all right, hugs, why not."

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He can have a pretty girl weeping and clinging to him, then.

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That's—

 

—wow, that's a thing that's happening, isn't it.

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It is very a thing that's happening.

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