A Hunted Bird

JP with White_Caribou and Cindy

The air felt colder and more energizing as they had walked back which elevated Shalia each time. The fresh air filled her lungs and left her body in a sense of calm. Her duty was not yet complete, but one step closer to true achievement. The treaty was solidified. A new meeting was arranged. Justice was served. For tonight, that was enough.

Once they reached the room, Shalia immediately went over to where she had been sleeping and sat down. The injured man had remained seated in his corner, awake and nursing a cup of water from dinner. Soon she would let him know that the Ozainae did not go without punishment for their attack. She was much less concerned about his injury after learning he was patched up promptly, and noted that he was indeed taking it like an Aghul. He had surely seen much worse than a stab wound before.
But what now? With the outcome of the evening, she was elated and it was clear with the slight satisfied curl in her lips and the flushing of her cheeks, the eagerness in her movements. She slipped the coat off her shoulders and set it aside in thoughts of the whole wild day that passed.

~I…don’t think I’ve been this way in a while. Not to this extent at least. Is it pride or just my worries tricking me into thinking it is?~

Luckily, Islana had something in mind to fill the time out. A confession, maybe?
She gestured for the woman to sit on a pillow not far from the bed. Clearly it bothered her and she should at least be physically comfortable; poor girl had already been interrogated enough. Both she and her bird were distressed.

"I'm all yours...ears...whatever that old saying is." Shalia spoke with a small shake of her head and rolling eyes, then turning her full attention to Islana.

There was an involuntary ever so slight moment of hesitation but then Islana went and sat down. This conversation would have happened eventually, there was little doubt of that, it just was much quicker than expected.

"I cannot be certain, as it was for a very brief moment, but I think I might have seen the man that injured me and poisoned my friend earlier, at the market."

Letting those words be absorbed before moving on with the harder part.

"I think I should tell you why he's after me." Another breath, this was always difficult.

"The short version is he's a bounty hunter. There is a bounty for me from a lord in Torja. My former owner. I'm a runaway slave."

It felt very strange saying those words to the woman that currently owned her. She hoped, by now, that Shalia would realize there must be more to it.

"Would you like to hear the longer version of the story?"

Shalia had thought she could no longer be surprised, yet here she was clearly dumbfounded. This woman had run away from a life in chains only to be thrown back into them once more. A knot twisted in her stomach like an angry fist, suddenly knocking out all the good thoughts. Her eyes glimmered with a sense of hurt like a wounded deer--not that she had been wronged, but because of what she had unknowingly done to hurt the younger witch. Islana's obedience...her adaptability...it really was second nature.

And she had retraumatized the damn little bird.

"I-it's very possible he made his way here, tracking you. Bounty hunters have always been, uh...relentless. You don't forget faces like that, the ones who...harm you."
She struggled to find the words in slowly responding to what the redhead had said. Shalia's voice was soft as a whisper with a sense of guilt, and yet she could not form a proper apology.
"Yes, I'd like to hear everything."

The damage had been done. All she could do for her now is listen.

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