Title: Exeunt

Fay. Or Evie leFay. Whichever it used to be, it isn't now. Not anymore. When the Crimson Blades asked for recruits' names I answered with Crow. I suppose there's not much point to hiding my past... Beside my obvious interests in arcane magic, there wasn't much to hide. Who would care to know the trivial things that made me who I am? You would need to have a lot of time on your hands and zero worries to pick at normal people's pasts. That's probably why I like Shayla. We don't ask each other questions, but if we feel like divulging something intimate about ourselves we will.

Maybe a part of it is hiding or running from something. But one reason why I chose a new identity is that I wanted to birth myself anew. A new me, a better me, who from then on never ran away and stood up to whatever ugly bastard who stood in her way.

I felt I had finally achieved that. As I made leaps and bounds in my magical learning from what I gleamed off Brynn and books, I grew care free and thirsty for adventure.

(( Ellis' Fire ))

Things I should say, things I could say, and things I might actually say... They're all swirling, fuelled by my nervous energy, and shooting in diametrically opposed directions off my cranium like the sparks of my Magic. Brynn is wrong; I can understand what he says, well, the gist of what he bothers to tell me. But this isn't about magic... This is me, and the chaos in my mind hurts. But even if I take the kind of focus I apply to magic and try to fit it to the situation I have here, it just hurts me more. The truth is that there are multiple ways to go about responding to Gwynn's desperate, outraged shouts right now. But nothing I could say would ease or change the fact of the matter... Ellis is dead, and it is my fault. There is nothing I can do to change that.

Oh god... I swallow the ill feeling threatening to jettison off its anchored port in my stomach—thinking of boats all of a sudden makes it worse, however. I visibly wince.

I and my one other companion had arrived late and watched him get brutally beat and gutted. I was so shocked at the absolute, merciless savagery of the enemy that I had wasted precious time that I could have used to shorten the distance between me and... damn it. "Shit, that's..." "ELLIS! NO!" The memories are still fresh in my mind, but I must not falter or show weakness. "Lann, he's not moving. Why isn't he moving, Lann?" "Crow... Crow, stop. No amount of ergs we stuff in him... or-or healing corona will bring him back. He's gone—I'm sorry, Crow. We were too late." "No... I can't... I can't go back without... I can't..." If it weren't for Lann's strong, moral foundation, I probably wouldn't have even come back at all. But we spent a bit of time recuperating, not only physically, but emotionally. The bitter warmth and salty tears as we held each other, needing that physical comfort to assure us both that someone was there.

Gwynn's waiting for you to say something. She's not done yelling at you yet. I snap myself out of it before I start appearing catatonic.

The atmosphere in the Mercenary Outpost has become uncomfortably thick and tense. No one dares speak. Out of the corner of my eyes—my eyes have not left Gwynn's since she approached—I could see Ceara, other mercenaries, hell even the most annoying guy in town glancing uncertainly between the two of us.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry I wasn't fast enough, not strong enough." I unconsciously cradle the arm I had injured, broken and burned in the fight. "I'm sorry for not being smart enough, as I should've realized sooner what Ellis was getting into with his investigation." I search the crowd for Lann, but he's not there. He's probably mending the heavy injuries he sustained as well—certainly his were worse than mine. "I'm also sorry for bringing danger to my comrades for my inadequacies."

I end it sounding diplomatic enough, but that doesn't match the wide and watery eyes that stare unseeingly ahead. I don't quite pay attention to the world around me anymore as Aodhan interrupts and Gwynn storms off in a tempest of sorrow and anger. Captain Aodhan disperses the crowd of onlookers and turns to me saying something about the Inn, so I leave the Mercenary Outpost as well. In a very different manner to the previous departure, I exit with a light and smooth step, like a ghost. People avoid me.

Lann is at the inn, I belatedly remember, just as I enter the doorway and see Tieve tending to a partially-aware Lann. Having shared an intimate moment already with Lann while a hysterical mess, I don't particularly feel like making a mess of myself again at the moment. For one, Tieve's here, and Lann needs to seriously be looked at—oh, hell, so do I. Though it's not as noticeable, and for some reason I find myself hiding it under the dark long sleeves of my Broken Ash robe (which is actually now broken, ironically). Have I mentioned I love this robe? Brynn is a genius. I may ask him to craft me spares.

I'm not being sarcastic or mad. I'm serious. It kept together for some of the worse hits, and the sleeves were still intact! Only the front was ripped open, though for decency's sake I did a quick repair before going to the Mercenary Outpost to report.

My eyes drift to the topless Lann laying on the bed, and to his heavily bandaged body. The bruises alone are enough to convince me that now is not the time to talk. He needs to sleep that kind of injury off. With my silent examination over with, I avert my gaze to Tieve, who interprets my look to be an enquiry.

She supplies her prognosis that agrees with mine, "The worst of his injuries have been taken care of. All he needs is to rest and take it easy for a while." Her face is sombre, but still beautiful, a look that always had me wanting to cheer her up in the past. "Are you alright, Crow?"

"Yes...thank you, Tieve." I reply with a wan smile. "I'll be back in a bit."

A groan escapes the bed Lann is on, and there is some hasty shifting as he attempts to sit up. "Crow-" But Tieve gently presses him back down, and he complies out of pain. "Wait!"

I gesture haphazardly in his direction as I quickly exeunt.