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Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]

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Offline the_rabid_rabbit_bites

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Niko feebly defended himself from Kinesia’s fury – fury he privately felt was just as self-righteous as whatever the blacksmith had been screaming about when they had stopped him adding to the body count the city already commandeered this season. “Someoen would have died. I’ll take having some extra sleeping space having done the right thing.”

It didn’t do much to assuage Kinesia, and in the next tavern, they had much less negotiation power given the light was failing, and there were few inns that had not shut up shop tightly coming into the evening. Niko sensed, from Kinesia’s irritation and slightly trepid tone, that she was saying it as one of them as opposed to her should wait for the boy. Niko resigned himself to his fate. “I’ll wait for him, he is my charge, after all.” He breathed a sigh, and quietly requested Fosse guide him back outside to wait for the boy.

Outside, he took a seat on the cold, dank cobblestones, hic back leaning against the wall. He suddenly wished he had some of the leaf Tarkis so often smoked to keep his nerves calm. Not for anxiety, really. This kind of leaving of his small charge was … well, not unusual. To say he was simply going, and it did not invoke the incredible primal fear he hajd previously displayed. But still he was nervous.

Instinctively, he felt Fosse was close to him somewhere, and re reached over to touch her forearm again. Niko found himself, maybe mistakenly, seeking her physical contact more and more as he felt Tarkis disengage from the protection the giant could offer. She was not a replacement, but offered her own sense of comfort and belonging to the rotten giant. “He will be back. Whatever he is doing he will return.” He hoped.

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She could see something deep and primal cross between Silax’s eyes, a constricting of his watery yellow gaze that told a story of a surge of fear through his body. The act of self-harm was so ingrained in him the mere suggestion of doing something ‘wrong’ caused his body to prepare for savage and lashing pain. But it was also what steeled him, what made him decide that the pain was already coming.

And somewhere deep down, he valued seeing Nphepho and what she, as a powerful person of a whole different world, would do to offer strength to fight. “It’s not too much.” His gravelly whisper was choked. He knew what was coming, and he seemed rooted to the spot as he watched her solemn ritual.

Indeed, he questioned in himself. What was a good death? The nanny goat had lived long for livestock, she had died quickly and been put to use even in death. Perhaps this was a good death, before illness and neglect robbed her of what comfort she had. The dissonance was written over Silax’s face as he watched.

When Nphepho began carving the meat, he helped her skin the goat so its pelt was a singular piece and divide the carcass into portions. It was this action of helping that pushed his acceptance of her and her customs further and further from the teachings of his church. He understood the goat would return to the earth through the mechanism of consumption of the poor. Silax found himself leaning closer to her, to ask questions. “Who has taught you this ritual? No – I want to hear the answers, I don’t mind …” He questioned who, why, what would prompt such a ritual in her hometown, who would get the meat… Finally, he asked a very timid question. “What should I take away from knowing this ritual this … part of who you are?”

When they had finished the gruesome task, Silax had realised he was leaning very close to hear her, and that he was once again encroaching on her space. It seemed something he did naturally, as he felt comfort in her powerful presence. His hands and claws were gleaming with blood, but it was almost disguised on her skin. She would make the most fearless war medic, he had decided. No-one could count how many she had sustained simply by viewing her or her clothes.

When he offered her a smile, it creased around the cracks in his face. No, no matter how much he tried he still wasn’t human.