Oct 25, 2020 6:47 AM
Karl, Masque, Rae and Nova return to Kirkwall
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"Somewhere safe to stay and people who need our help. I think that'll work wonders for everyone," Karl assures Blaise, though he doesn't quite feel it himself.

This was supposed to be the start of his new life.

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"For what it's worth, they promised an angry Ilska that they'd bring him back in one piece."

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"I hope they respect that. And if they don't I won't be standing in her way."

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Cia brightens a little at that. "They certainly seemed to." Beat. "Oh, I'm sorry, I- we shouldn't have kept you standing on the doorstep, come in, we're quiet at the moment, thankfully."

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Karl follows her in, almost regretting that they're quiet. Throwing himself into something to distract him would be welcome. 

As if anything could distract him. The absence of Anders gnawed at him painfully.

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Blaise brushed a hand briefly against Karl's elbow - he knows he can't replace Anders, but he wants to remind Karl that he's not alone, try and make him feel better somehow.

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"I was making potions and poultices," Cia says, and it's an offer. "Better to get them done while we're quiet."

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Karl smiles at Blaise, thanking him for the small touch. It does help that he has friends- family, around him. 

"I'm afraid I only know the Circle's way of doing it, though I would be more than happy to help."

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"Well, I guess I get to teach you if you're doing something the wrong way," Cia says lightly, and ey's obviously trying to tease.

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That does make him grin. "I love learning new things," he says, and steps up beside em.

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"Me too," ey agrees, and sets about showing them the way they do things here.

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Karl is happy to follow eir lead.

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And they fall into something of a routine, with Raeli and Defiance coming and going, bringing back game and herbs from their trips out to Sundermount.

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And every so often, there's something from Ilska, a spark of mana, when Karl or Cia's getting particularly tired. Although if she notices she's doing it, it's not obvious.

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Karl begins to put two and two together, what with the way Ilska always seemed to make him and Cia feel brighter when they were running low. He wondered if Anders knew she was a mage. He wondered if she knew herself.

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And then one day, a boy came bursting into the clinic.

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Cia immediately turns eir attention to him. "Are you okay?" ey asks hurriedly.

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He's a little out of breath. "Lirene- sent- me." He sucks in a deep breath.

"The Deep- Deep Roads- expedition- they're back."

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"-Anders?"

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Ilska tosses an apple to the boy. "C'mon, let's head up."

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Karl jogs to catch up with them, feeling his heart swell. This time, this time he'll be there.

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Raeli and Blaise follow after them, taking a moment to blow out the lantern, closing the door behind them.

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It doesn't take them long to make it up to Hightown, Cia and Ilska thrumming in anticipation and anxiety.

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There's a buzz of activity around the Merchant's Guild, and Cia might spot a few faces that were there the day Anders left.

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-Ey does. But ey can't see Anders.

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