Sep 15, 2019 1:35 AM
Emma and Ivan in Chronicle
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"And dragons are famous for inviting tourists to come in greater numbers."

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"You're not a tourist, I mean - eh, it was a terrible joke, not worth saving, I'm sorry."

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"It's all right. You didn't do it on purpose. Sorry to be- I know that's not what you meant."

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"Anyway. Where am I escorting you?"
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This? This is why her parents needed Morath, Emmalina thinks a bit wildly. She is so bad at this, even in the social situations she's been trained in. This whole- talking to people, making friends, even the bare minimum of not making a conversation Horribly Awkward for no good reason. Apparently that's just out of reach, for her, she needed practice and never got it, and now she's stuck meeting people through a dragon, and even then she goes and makes it awkward. And now it's something entirely outside her mother's lessons, they're in the middle of the woods in dragon territory outside the Caves of Fire and Night, she's been attacked by spiders and rescued a troop of knights, and she still can't even hold a normal conversation to save her life. What he said? It was a joke. She knew it was a joke, and she still- ugh. Ugh.

"I. I suppose Raxwell. If that's all right?"

Unless she goes back to her parents, she doesn't know where else she would go.
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"Can't scare me. Takes a few days, not that long. You can go ahead and ride the horse. I know a river we can go past, rinse off the cave gunk."

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"Oh, we can bathe?" Emmalina sighs happily. "Yes please. If I never wear this dress again it will be too soon."

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"I... don't have a spare dress for you."

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"And if you did, I would have questions," she laughs. "But unless the horse has walked off, I have a couple in my pack."

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"Oh, okay, then we're good. Horse, horse. Hello Morganite," he says when they find her. She has not walked off. Jann helps Emmalina into the saddle.

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On the plus side, her dress is already ripped beyond repair. On the minus side, this dress is still not designed for this saddle, and she's feeling rather self conscious about her legs. And she's still blushing from having to be lifted into the saddle; she's not used to casual contact, and there's no dead spiders to distract her. She focuses on Morganite's mane very intently and strokes the horse's neck. "Hello Morganite," she murmurs to the horse. "Thank you for the ride."

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Morganite whickers.

Since Emmalina does not seem comfortable on the horse, Jann picks up the reins and leads her along, down and away from the Mountains of Morning.

And after about an hour of walking they come to a river.

"You can go first, I'll just go behind that tree till you say otherwise," says Jann, indicating a tree, which he then goes behind.
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Emmalina cleans herself off, selects the plainer of her two dresses (riding astride wasn't easy on her first dress, and she'd like one of her outfits to come out of this intact) and gets herself tidied up. "All yours," she tells Jann. "So much better."

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He emerges. "Excellent. Behind the tree with you," he says, waving her in its direction.

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Behind the tree is actually rather peaceful. Emmalina amuses herself by starting on a daisy chain.

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Eventually Jann calls, "I'm decent!"

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Emmalina reappears, smiling. "I already knew that." She didn't have time to make a long enough chain for an actual necklace, so she's wearing the flowers as a slightly-too-large crown instead.

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"Aw, lookit you, that's pretty. Are we making jokes about my moral character now?"

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Emmalina blushes. "Why thank you." Ever the good princess, she sweeps a curtsy. Of course, since her curtsies presuppose that she is wearing an actual crown, rather than a daisy chain, this unbalances the chain forwards off her head. It winds up draped half on one ear, half on her nose, and she fixes it with a resigned grin. "You've saved me how many times now? I think I'm allowed."

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"It's true. Being rescued entitles you to a one-year subscription to making jokes about my moral character. Of course you read all the fine print."

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"Do I get extra years for the spiders?"

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"Of course! One per." He helps her back onto Morganite.

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There is some skirt adjustment that needs to happen, now that she's in a dress not torn to pieces, but she manages to seat herself after some maneuvering. Morganite gets a hello neck pat. "How long will it take us, do you think?"

She's well educated, she's a princess, she knows where everything is on the maps. But it's all somewhat vague, with a careless approach to borders, so she's good at relative distances and sizes but the practicalities of actual travel are harder.
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"Walking pace, maybe five days. Maybe better if I borrow another horse for the leg through that little bit of Linderwall."

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