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May 29, 2020 3:19 PM
Bruce Banner as Vanyel, from end of book 1 of "A Song for Two Voices"
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:I really appreciate that. I know my mind isn't the nicest place to be. But it's nice not being alone in here.: 

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:Of course. You're my Chosen: Nuzzle. :I'm...glad you're letting me in, Abras. Anyway – I would normally suggest sleep, but since you just slept the entire day, I'm not sure what to do. You were pretty exhausted, you might still have some rest to catch up on. Maybe we can go for a swim by moonlight and then you can soak in the pools, and see if you're sleepy again after that?: 

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:Yeah, swimming sounds good. I don't think I can sleep again yet.:

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:I'd like it if you tried to get some sleep during the night – I think you're behind on rest even if you don't feel sleepy, and I'd rather you don't end up completely nocturnal:

She follows him as he walks pool-ward. :Hmm – there's a trick I can do to help you fall asleep, if you wanted to sleep under the stars with me again. It just needs you to be in trance for a minute or two. And I can stay in rapport. Then - you won't have to be lying awake alone with your thoughts: 

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:That sounds really nice,: he says, climbing down into the pool. 

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And Yfandes will stay nearby and occasionally make conversation about nothing in particular until he's either tired or bored of swimming. 

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Moving around feels distantly pleasant after so many hours lying in bed, and after a bit he thinks he might be ready to sleep again, at least if Yfandes can help him get started. It's ridiculous to need help falling asleep, it's one of the first things every baby learns, but he'd rather cheat than toss and turn for hours thinking about 'Lendel.

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:Chosen, listen to me: Yfandes sends, leading him back in the direction of the comfy hammock spot near the ekele:Most people don't need help sleeping, sure, but most people haven't just lost a lifebonded partner, or been through a quarter of the other traumatic events that happened to you in the last few months. I'm your Companion, I want to help, and so often I can't – if getting you to sleep is a way I can, gods, I just wish I'd known to offer sooner: 

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:You have helped,: he answers, giving her a quick hug around the neck before climbing into the comfy hammock. :You've helped so much, just by being there and caring and wanting me to be okay.: He opens his shields for her and goes into trance, and alongside the sadness and the self-doubt she can feel how much he loves and trusts her.

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It's something. And Yfandes is open as well, Abras will be able to feel her love, and worry, and guilt that she should have been helping him better, and - pride, he's come so far since their first few days together, he has control of his Gifts and is so diligent about his studies and he's contributing to saving at least a dozen lives by now. 

:I love you: she sends, and then he's asleep. And Yfandes will stay half-awake, and push reassurance down their bond every time it seems like he might be slipping into a nightmare, and with any luck he'll sleep through until dawn. 

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He wakes up in the night a couple times, but never for more than a handful of seconds before Yfandes' love lulls him to sleep again. Then dawn comes, and it is, for better or for worse, a new day.

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Yfandes waits until he's definitely awake for good, then stretches. :Good morning, love. Feeling any better?: 

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:A bit, yeah.: At least he's awake during the daytime. But now he has to have that conversation with Savil. He should go find her. 

Or he could keep sitting in this hammock.

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Yfandes senses all of that, of course.

:How about a soak in the hot springs and then breakfast?: she coaxes. :Kellan says that they’re going for a ride, your aunt should be back here in half a candlemark:

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:Okay.: Or he could keep sitting in . . . no, alright, he's getting up. Left foot on the ground, right foot on the ground, stand up.

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Shortly after Yfandes makes sure Abras reaches the pools, a figure climbs down the ladder from the treehouse-ekele.

“Abras!” Moondance says, stripping off his robe and joining him. “I missed you yesterday. Are you feeling better rested?”

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"Yeah, I got a lot of sleep. Possibly too much sleep. Um. Did you hear about the night before last yet." Shit, why did he ask that, now if the answer is no he's going to have to tell him.

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“A little.” Moondance shakes his head. “It sounds as though you have picked up a pattern that I had once. I think that I unexpectedly ran myself entirely out of reserves on at least four occasions before I learned to anticipate it and - alert others that I was too tired to finish a mission.”

Moondance looks down, hair falling across his face. “It is still a difficult thing for me to say. Starwind was - not angry, exactly, but he reprimanded me a little for the colddrake incident, that I did not warn him of my fatigue that he could shield me. In any case, I have spoken enough of myself.” He reaches out a hand, tentatively rests in on Abras’ shoulder. “Do you wish to speak of it?”

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"How do you tell the difference between saving reserves for later and giving up because you don't want to do any more work? How do you tell the difference between telling people you can't do something because they need to know, and telling people you can't do something just to get out of it?"

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"...You must trust yourself." Moondance's expression is soft, gentle, almost painfully sympathetic. "Which is not easy, I am aware." A sad chuckle. "My shay'kreth'ashke seems to have no difficulty there, and neither does your aunt, but...for the both of us, I think, this is very, very hard."

He squeezes Abras' shoulder. "You must needs believe that you do care, that you want to do your best – I know this to be true, yet I also know it to be easier to see in another than in oneself. And so, if your body and mind and heart and soul are all crying out that you cannot take a single step further... You needs believe that this not your mind 'trying to get out of it', or your no longer wishing to help. It is a sign that you have tried too hard, for too long, and need to rest for a time. Which - as I have needed to be told at least a dozen times - is not the same thing as giving up." 

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Abras nods, but internally he isn't sure. It sounds like good advice, and clearly Moondance learning to trust himself is good, but Abras has mental damage he doesn't fully understand. The constant background sense of wrongness and meaninglessness hasn't made him stop caring yet, at least not about his friends. But if it did, would he notice? Would he be able to do anything about it? Would he want to?

"I hope you're right."

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Moondance definitely notices his hesitation, but all he does is hold out his arms. "Would you accept a friend's comfort?" 

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"Yes." Hugs: not subject to self-referential questions of epistemology. Also, they're nice.

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Savil gets there a few minutes later. "Good morning, ke'chara. Er, how are you? We do need to talk; are you up for that today?" 

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He can either do it and feel awful, or put it off and feel awful about putting it off and then do it later and feel awful then. So clearly it makes more sense to do it now. So why does he want so badly to put it off? He imagines Yfandes prompting him and mumbles, "Now is fine."

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