Dec 15, 2019 2:33 AM
ellie in heartless
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He'll give directions! It's a small village, and the temple's also the granary for this and some outlying settlements so is the largest building.

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She starts heading that way.

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She's able to get out of earshot before he starts hammering again, fortunately for everyone's collective sanity.

The temple isn't particularly grand, nothing like even the most modest of fairy buildings. It's stone, with tapestries inside and woven rugs and scenes carved into the walls, and a woman in an undyed robe washing the floor.

"Oh, hello and well met, stranger!" she says. "I haven't seen you around! Are you a traveler?"

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"Are all humans so stupid? What else would I possibly be?"

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She's a bit more wary, suddenly. "Well, we get immigrants, sometimes," she says, evenly, "Or people who don't customarily travel. Still, is there something I can do for you?"

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"Well, we have a few. I can't give them away, but I can show you them, and copy one onto a wooden board, if you need it."

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She frowns, but heads back, bringing out two large wooden plaques, some clay tablets, and a blank piece of wood - as well as a second, older woman, who is somehow a bit more vibrant, and who regards Shade calmly.

The priestess can point out their village, and the other nearby villages, and the paths to important places, and then can transfer whatever map-portion seems most needed?

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What are the important places?

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The market clearing, the freshest stream nearby, good hunting grounds, the broader paths that lead to the main river, and farther clusters of people and villages.

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Of those, she's interested in the paths and the further spread villages.

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Then a map covering just those, with the smaller paths not detailed, can be transferred magically onto the wooden board for her.

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Hmmm.

She sticks the board into a bag and walks away.

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The temple people seem subtly relieved to see her go.

She isn't accosted on her way outside of town.

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How do these people not have any paper at all? It's ridiculous. She was doing them a favor by turning their hearts to a useful purpose, putting them out of their misery.

If they really don't have any books at all, she'll probably need to talk to someone to find out what they know about heartful magic. Ugh.

She's definitely not in the mood to do that now. How far out are the furthest villages on her map?

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Miles; it could easily take her until sundown to get there.

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Maybe the walk will clear her head. Somehow, she doubts that it will. She's still simmering.

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And, a good ways from the village, when the sky above is streaked in shades of dying orange and yellow, there's a girl in an incredibly vibrant orange dress sitting on a tree branch over the path, looking out towards the sunset, though she twists around when Shade comes into sight.

Her saturation's off, in the way of someone who became Heartful after a while without a heart. She has human coloring, mostly, but there's a spryness to her they often don't have - and, of course, the fabric of her dress is far more cleanly manufactured than the typical rough-woven linen or hand-worked leather of human clothes.

"Hello!" she calls, cheerfully.

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"Are you a fairy also?"

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"Hm." She sits on the branch so she's facing Shade and kicks her legs. "I haven't seen any other Heartful fairies while I've been here. Did'ya steal someone's heart?"

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"I have taken many hearts. To use in artifacts."

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"Aw. I miss my artifacts kinda, but Heartful magic's neater. Still, if you were making them, it's sad you lost them."

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