Circle of Calm

Shalia had been seated near Islana but positioned further back from the fire than the others gathered around it. She had enough of the heat for one day, fire was not what she wished to surround herself with during a time of much needed rest. The robe and scarf had been peeled off her body until only her strappy leather, hide, and fur amalgamation of garments covered the woman. The air hit her exposed skin like it was being inhaled sharply into every pore, the wave of cool and relief that reminded her just over in that direction was homeā€¦but it felt much farther away than it was. And it was a great leap.

Close enough to hear the conversation Islana had started, Shalia listened intently, gathering the information, eyeing the body language of the slave and the priests. If she missed anything important, Islana could surely fill her in if asked. After all, she would witness firsthand the supposed glory of this woman when she met Sister Locust face to face--just another bothersome thought plaguing her.
Yet, it offered a powerful boost of confidence simultaneously. She, Shalia Nix of the Aghul, was going to speak to the Prophetess of the Sand Horde. She, the Voice of Winter, would trek through the perilous desert and compel the raising of a legendary army. She, in her mortality would look into the eyes of someone thought immortal and walk away with a treaty that would shape the continent.

How she would accomplish it was uncertain, but that would come to her eventually. It had to. And she was halfway there already.

At Islana's next question, she quietly stood and moved away from the campfire, walking to an open area still in the bounds of their temporary camp, but removed from anyone else as much as possible. Finding a suitable spot, she crouched down and held her middle and index fingers on each hand at her sides, touching the earth. Carefully she twisted her arms around to form a small circle of ice on the ground and it crystallized under her touch with a light crackling. Her lips moved in hushed, unintelligible whispers with a white flicker across her irises as she casted. There under the stars she seated herself, crossing her legs and taking in a deep breath.

~Peace, at last.~

What appeared to be flakes of snow rose from the circle boundary as if falling in reverse, fading away at the level of her head.
Both hands rested on her thighs in balled fists, and once she was settled, her eyes fell to a half-opened state, radiating an icy-white glow. The area within the circle was covered in a sheer frost, the lingering mark of cold on everything it touched.

The behavior was practiced and perfected, like a ritualistic meditation. The effortless creation of a soothing shell that reminded her of the most important thoughts--why she was here, what this was for, who she was. Thoughts that compelled her forward. This circle was her piece of home in a place like this where she could regain lost strength in the cold of the night. Where no one dared to interrupt whether out of fear or respect. The days would be long and tiring, but at least she could anticipate this moment each evening after if everything was in her favor, granted that rarely happened on its own.

The conversation the three at the fire held was valuable, and neither that or the display of magik brought any negative feelings on Shalia. In fact, it filled her with glee to think that she could manipulate the air and water, too, but limited amounts. She had her skills. They had theirs and no doubt better in those area than her. Islana had her unexplored gift. All witches touched by the odd energy called magik, drawn together in this place on this night and not as foes. Seeing more types of casting continued to be a fascinating journey.

Witnessing Islana with her looks of wonder at new experiences like the camels-- which Shalia herself had had some issues with dismounting properly-- or the little brown 'date' made her smile along with the slave's talkative bursts. It made Shalia remember a time when she would approach the unknown with an excitable eagerness similar to the redhead's. Maybe she could be that way again, the pup teaching an older dog tricks she once knew. Or at least try.
Though, the dark haired woman quickly grew tired of talking after so many days of only that, and now she desperately needed to distance herself from the chatter and crackling fire to recharge. Center herself again. Commune with her magik and her god. Nestle into the comforting darkness, relative quiet, and isolation she had adapted to for years.

And so she did.

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