Sep 22, 2021 5:16 PM
Naima and Elie
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"Yeah, well. Don't try to prevent that and you're not much of a friend at all, are you."

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"Most of the friends I've had wouldn't have dared." 

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"Yeah, well, see point A. Not that I've done any better. - which is gonna sound like an insult to you, now, right, because I don't know how to talk. Ugh. You know you're allowed to just ignore the fever rambling, if it gets tiresome."

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"Not really. I mean – I'm not tired." 

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"Really.

 

"Do you have another Mount, or am I not even inconveniencing us by collapsing here."

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"I don't,  but I left a few spell slots empty this morning, just in case. ...We can sit for a little longer, if you like. I don't know that it'll make much more of a difference." 

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"Yeah. I guess I probably won't be any less exhausted any time soon.

"I guess I feel a little better, though. Very marginally."

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"That's good. I'm glad. I'll start preparing the spell now, then." 

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Then she can wait for the spell, and they can get back on the horse and head out. All she has to do is stay on the horse. She thinks she can manage that.

 

They're not far from the edge of the forest. In a few more hours the trees open up at the mountains, and then it's just a matter of heading south until they come out at the mountain pass into Nex.

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"Let's camp here and try the pass in the morning. You should get some sleep." 

Not that Élie isn't dead on his feet, but he doesn't want to give Naima the chance to push back. He doesn't have the energy to think about watches. For all he cares, Felix can do it. If another dinosaur comes for them in the night that's just how it's going to be. 

 

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Yeah, she's not even going to try arguing anything. Her brain is barely working, so right now Élie is going to need to do the thinking for both of them.

If they're still alive in the morning, they can try making it through the mountains. She drifts in and out of consciousness. There are mountains, and then there are fields, and then there are people; she thinks she might move on and off of the horse, at some point, but she doesn't remember any of it very well.

When she next wakes up and stays up, she's in a bed. A real one. Still feels terrible, but she thinks the fever might have broken.

She goes looking for Élie.

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He's in the other room, entertaining a gaggle of children with some minor illusions. 

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...awwwww. How is he always so cute with kids.

She feels kind of weird interrupting that. She'll... wave, and he'll see her at some point.

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He's in the middle of a Galtan fairy tale about a clever orphan and an a wicked ogre who lived in a floating castle made of clouds when he notices Naima walk in. He waves back and turns the gesture into some illusory sparkles, to general delight, peasant children are delightfully easy to please. 

When he's done, he walks over to her. "Are you feeling better?"  

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"Well, I - still feel like I got run over by a horse recently, actually, but - yeah. Not boiling anymore, which in my professional opinion is a good sign. Thank you for - you know."

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"Don't mention it. Maybe in a hundred years or so, we'll be even." 

Right, she probably wants to know where they are – 

"This village is called Kisumu. I don't think they get many wizards out here, they were happy to host us in exchange for some general mending and such. I did tell Mr. Nazari – that's him out there, it's his house we're staying in – that you could look in on his youngest daughter who has measles. When you were up and about." 

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"Yeah, I can do that. How bad is it, should I be looking in now?"

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"I'm no expert – I don't think she's in immediate mortal danger, but you never know, she's little and these things come on fast. She's over there" – he gestures at a little straw bed in a corner. "Have you cast remove disease on yourself yet?" 

 

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"No, I haven't actually tried preparing spells at all yet. I don't think I need them for the girl. I have stuff in my pack for measles, I see it more often than whatever kind of jungle fever this is. - are your hands any better?"

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Eeeeeeeeyeh. 

"They're hurting less." 

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She taps the back of one - gently - and hexes him.

"We'll get a regenerate in Quantium. Just to be sure they've healed right."

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"That's alright. At this point I'm almost used to it." 

Naima's right – the little girl turned out to be an easy case. He tries not to be too obvious about watching her while she works. She's so good with children. Most people aren't, especially the ones who think they are. Naima doesn't bother with condescension or baby talk – she treats them like people, which of course they are. She's so patient. He's always known that, of course, he's seen her with Rahim, but it's different, watching her with an older child. He wonders, suddenly, if he'll ever have any children of his own. 

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She wants to take a few more days in Kisumu, partly to sleep off a little more of her illness and partly to check whether she really has cured the little girl. She has. After that, she's well enough to ride a phantom steed again, and getting to Quantium is - well, not pleasant, but hardly life-threatening in any particular dimension. She thinks a lot, while she's riding, now that she can think again. She doesn't particularly make conversation. She's too worried that she's going to mention one of the things she's been thinking about, and it wouldn't be right, diving into conversations about - them, the future, whatever she's learned from this experience - while he's still any amount of dependent on her.

When they make it to Quantium they can sell the cuffs (probably even for an appreciable fraction of their actual value, given that Quantium is one of the best places in the Inner Sea Region for magic items and therefore has some number of people who have any idea what they'd do with them). And then they can buy a regenerate, and Élie can have his hands again.

"So. Is that better, then?"

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"I feel like a new man!" 

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"I think you're probably about the same man you were before this whole mess happened." 

- oh wait that sounds wrong in some way. Hm. She's not very sure how to make it sound right.

"So, we - catch a ship back to Sothis, I guess? Chew out Catherine and Shawil for being useless?"

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