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 The witch and her cat, Katherine
Lise Andorsdottir
Posted: Feb 28 2012, 03:34 AM


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Joined: 22-February 12



Lise was back home again, visiting her family. She'd finished her chores and lessons early that day, so the old wizard was giving her the rest of the evening to herself. At the moment, she was in her room, flipping though an old spell book.

Her mother came in then, said she was going to visit the fur trader who'd just so recently come into town. Lise nodded, not really paying much attention. Her mind was far too caught up in the dusty, yellowing pages of parchment in front of her.

"Lise, Lise!"

She looked up. Her mother was standing over her, her arms crossed. "I said you're coming with me. You need a new cloak, the one you already have is hardly warm enough for the oncoming winter."

"But...but..I'm almost-" She began. then she caught the look her mother was giving her and sighed. Very well.

~*~


Lise could hear her mother as she spoke with the fur trader. Small talk mostly. Bragging about her brilliant daughter who had managed to apprentice herself to a wizard. Not only that, who had been clever enough to bind one of the Ljósálfar to her will!

It had been an accident really. She'd gotten lucky. She didn't say anything though. Why ruin this? Her parents were proud of her.

Lise stood off to the side and watched. She sighed, and began wandering off. she passed by a break in the city's wall where the forest had started to reach inside. She caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of her eye.

"Gwyn! Gwyn!" she whispered, recognizing the fae immediately. True, he didn't like her much, and she liked him even less, but at least arguing with him would give her something to do.

Gwyn turned to her and scowled. "What?" he hissed. was it just her, or did he sound...sulky? That was strange...she'd have to look into that later.

Just then Lise looked up. she heard her mother calling her. She sighed.

"Gwyn. Cat." She said.

"I hate you. I really do. Did you know that?" The fae said. He did as he was told anyway. He didn't have much of a choice.

Lise walked back over to her mother, a little black cat walking about ten feet behind, as though he didn't even want to be associated with the girl.
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Katherine Argante
Posted: Feb 28 2012, 04:27 AM


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“Katherine, wake up.” Her father’s insistent knocking at the door roused the young girl from a fitful sleep, the sun streaming through the open window. She sat up sleepily, and rubbed her eyes, watching the dust as it flowed through the beam of light, like little snowflakes.

“I’m up, Father.” She called out to him, as she stood up from the bed, before she stretched out. The door opened, and he strode in, looking around the room, before focusing on her.

“Why do you sleep still, child? We need to go. I am meeting with some of the locals, and you agreed to accompany me. Please, find some clothing, and hurry. I don’t want to be late today.” He grumbled, and stormed back out of the room. Katherine glared after him, and walked to the wardrobe which she’d hung her nicest dresses in, and went through the motions of putting the dress on. It was more elegant than need be, but she knew her father loved it when she was dressed up. Once she was dressed, she wrapped the silver wolf fur cloak her father had given her around her arms, and followed him downstairs.

“I am here, Father. Where is it we are going today?” Katherine spoke, putting a smile on, so her father would be pleased. His beaming grin as he practically showed her off was proof that she was almost his pride and joy.

****************


The woman went on about her daughter, and how proud she was of the magical girl. Katherine could hear her from the other room; she’d chosen to not actually witness the trading deal. The girl unintentionally rolled her eyes; her mood sour since that morning. She felt a little betrayed, by the Alder King. He’d kissed her, he’d come to see her, and yet he ended up rejecting her. But no one was to know of that; that was a secret that lived within her, and in her diary.

When she heard that the mother had actually started talking about the furs, Katherine shook herself out, pushing the emotions out, and walking back into the room with her father, and the middle-aged woman. Wrapping her cloak tighter around her, Katherine looked around. The air here felt different. It wasn’t like home. It’s like the air was supercharged. It had to have been the magic. For a moment, she thought she saw something in the corner of her eyes, but when she turned to look, all there was to be found was a shadow. There was another presence in the room, that felt familiar, but she ignored it, and moved to stand by her father.

“Ah, and here is my daughter, Katherine. Impeccable, isn’t she?” Her father gloated, and returned to business. Katherine curtsied slightly to the woman, and smiled. “Nice to meet you, Ma’am.” She spoke softly, and looked around the room, watching a girl come back out into the room as well, from another door. This must have been the witch.

Katherine looked at her, and looked to the small creature that walked behind her, and she shook off the feeling of eerie familiarity again. “Nice to meet you. I am Katherine. I have never met a witch before. We don’t entertain magic in Loegria, so it’s an honor.” She spoke, moving away from the adults, who were haggling prices on a cloak similar to the one wrapped around Katherine.
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Lise Andorsdottir
Posted: Feb 28 2012, 05:01 AM


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Lise came back into the room at the tail end of The fur trader introducing his daughter. She watched him and her mother begin talking business and sighed. She should have brought her book with her. Or maybe have taken longer with her lessons that morning. Maybe then she wouldn't be stuck here, so bored

Gwyn came walking in a few moments later and curled up near the door. Honestly, if cats could sulk that's what he'd be doing, Lise was sure of it! She rolled her eyes. What was his problem? Well, she could think of several things actually, but he'd never acted this way to her before. Usually he'd fight back more. Not...well...mope.

She looked up when the trader's daughter walked over and introduced herself. So did Gwyn, only to turn around to face the other way, still curled up. Still sulking.

"'M Lise." Lise said. She shrugged off the girls comment about it being an honor to meet a witch. "There are many magic-folk in Runegrove. It's like we grown on trees around here. Of course, considering where we are it's not all surprising."

She glanced over at Gwyn again. "And that's Gwyn." She said. The cat looked up a bit. Lise was sure he would have given her a death glare if he were able to. "It's probably best if you ignore him. He doesn't really like people."
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Katherine Argante
Posted: Feb 28 2012, 05:20 AM


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Katherine smiled, and nodded at the girl, Lise. She watched the cat curl up in the corner, almost depressed, and she smiled warmly. “Still, I find it an honor. I haven’t much time to explore. All we are doing is trading.” Katherine’s kindness was undeterred, and she faced the girl fully, her smile unwavering, now that she was out of the way of her father’s gloating.

Speaking softly, she looked at the girl in front of her. “He claims he wanted a companion for this trip, but I swear his aim is to set me up with someone.” Her words weren’t harsh, but she kept her voice down, as if it was a secret only they could know. “I have experienced magic before, only twice.” She nodded, and walked a little towards the window, before turning around to face the girl as she introduced her cat.

“He is adorable. It’s a shame he doesn’t like people. I love animals. I’d love to pet him.” She smiled watching the cat. She couldn’t shake the feeling of familiarity, as if she’d met the cat before. But that was impossible; it was her first real day in Runegrove, and he was the first cat she’d seen.

“Tell me, can anyone do magic? Or is that something that few people can do?” Katherine inquired, turning her attention back to the blonde girl in front of her. It was an odd question, and Katherine wasn’t sure where it had come from. She had never thought of it before, but the last couple weeks had her thinking.

“Maybe, we can walk? He looks like he’d like some fresh air.” Katherine smiled, nodding towards the corner where the cat lay. “I’d like to see more of this beautiful city while I’m here, not just the trades of my father.”
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Lise Andorsdottir
Posted: Feb 28 2012, 06:02 AM


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"Oh, that's unfortunate." Lise said, "Runegrove is really an interesting place if you've got a chance to look around." She sighed, her mind beginning to wander off as she looked for something else to say. she wasn't really good at holding conversations with other people usually.

The other girl started saying how she thought her father had only brought her along with him in order to set her up with someone. Lise smirked at that. She listened as the girl spoke some more and nodded. "Oh, you have? I've heard about what's happening in Loegria, my mentor talks about it, about the magic coming back. He says that if it weren't for his responsibilities here he'd be down there right now studying it. Ummm...what happened with you exactly?"

The girl had already walked over towards the window though, and was cooing over Gwyn. Why did everyone do that? it only served to make his ego worse. Gwyn wasn't preening himself this time though, as he was usually wont to do when others complimented him. Instead he just sat there, curled up and staring at the wall.

"Pet him?" Lise asked. She laughed. "Oh, I don't think His Royal Highness would appreciate that at all, would you Gwyn?" "I will not be treated like a house pet." he'd once said to Lise. Gwyn looked up and gave Lise an annoyed sort of meow before going back to sulking. She rolled her eyes.

She looked up as the girl asked her next questions. "Sure we can walk." Lise said opening the door and stepping out. "About magic...I suppose anyone can do it if they learn enough. Some people are just born with more talent than others, like an artist or a musician." She glanced behind her a moment before continuing on. "Gwyn. come." she said.
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Katherine Argante
Posted: Feb 29 2012, 02:06 AM


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Katherine did her best not to sigh. The conversation didn’t seem like it was flowing as well as those with mysterious stranger had gone. It almost seemed forced somehow, whether it was on her part or Lise’s part, she wasn’t sure. But Lise’s company was certainly better than listening to the dealings her father was trying to do.

Katherine couldn’t help but to keep looking over at Gwyn. She couldn’t shake the feeling that she knew the cat already, somehow. It wouldn’t click that it was her Alder King in disguise, but the feeling didn’t go away. “He’s adorable, even if he is grumpy.” She smiled, when the cat gave an exaggerated meow.

Following the other girl, Katherine kept the smile on her face, though she wasn’t sure how to go about telling Lise about her story with magic at home. Did she tell the girl about the Alder King? What if that upset him and he came to steal her away in the middle of the night, but not for good reasons? She pushed the feelings out, and walked through the door, leaving it open for the cat to follow them.

“I hadn’t heard that about Loegria. We haven’t had magic in many years. At least a century? I don’t know the exact number. I only hear stories from my mother and father.” Katherine started, looking at the girl next to her. “Anyway, I’m not completely sure what happened to cause it, but my mother was ill. She lay asleep for three weeks, waking only to eat. A man came by our shop, and we talked for a while. I told him of my mother, and he offered to take a look. He managed to heal her right then and there, when I took him to her.”

It was vague, but it was still true. It’d have to suffice for now. They walked in silence for a couple moments, before Katherine spoke again. “I have never wanted to study magic. I’m purely curious. How would one start such a practice?” She asked, looking over at Lise.

“And how long have you had Gwyn? Has he always been like this? He seems to not like me too much. I hope it isn’t me. I do wish I could hold him. I love cats. They’re usually so loving.” She half-sighed, though she carried a smile on her face, and she looked around at all the buildings as they passed them slowly.
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Lise Andorsdottir
Posted: Feb 29 2012, 02:54 AM


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Lise listened to the girl's story, facinated. "Oh! What do you think he was?" she asked. She'd taken special interest in Fae lore since she'd first met Gwyn. Ever since she'd taken his name from him and he'd said, "You might use this name to command me, but you will never know it's full power until you understand it completely." She thought it had something to do with who the Fae really was, though she was no closer to finding that out. Even when she invoked his Truename he chose to tell her things only in riddles and half- truths.

"Do you think he was a Fae? or just a wizard? He sounds too mysterious to be a human wizard if you ask me. Seelie court maybe? Or one of the Ljósálfar...er, what do you call them so far south? The Twyleth Teg! That's it!" She blushed, realizing all she'd just said. "Er...sorry. This kind of thing fascinates me. I probably shouldn't pry so much. But that's only one incident. You said you've seen magic twice."

There was a long, awkward silence then, and Lise turned her gaze away and looked back over at Gwyn, embarrassed. The cat was acting oddly. Usually he kept about as far away from her as he could manage. But today he seemed rather unsure of himself, sometimes wandering closer to the two, sometimes allowing himself to fall back.

And then the girl asked about how one went about studying magic. "Books." Lise said. "I've been studying magic since I was a little girl, of course I was always talented. I started off by reading books. I only got myself apprenticed just a couple of months ago. I want to study in Albion though, that's the best place. I've heard it's about as rich in Magic as Loegria is barren." Her eyes widened, realizing what she'd just said, and her hands flew to cover her mouth. "Oh! did I just say...I'm sorry...I'm not really good at this talking thing..."

She was glad of the subject change, even if it did lead back to Gwyn. Lise shrugged, "Oh, not too long. A few weeks now I suppose. Don't worry, it's not you, he doesn't like most people. I wouldn't say he's always been like this actually. He's usually less...shy...I guess? But he's never been very..." She stopped speaking, noticing Gwyn had finally decided to walk with the two. If that wasn't strange enough, he was actually mewling up at Katherine, as if asking for her attention. Begging.

"Loving." Lise finished.

Gwyn, you have no shame. Lise thought, staring at the cat in amazement. If you want a girl's attention, at least do it as a man!
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Katherine Argante
Posted: Mar 1 2012, 07:39 PM


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Katherine had finished telling her story, as the two continued walking down one of the streets of Runegrove. She only half heard Lise’s question, and the first thing that popped up in her head was her mysterious stranger pulling her close, kissing her, and whispering in her ear one of his names. But he trusted her with that secret, and it didn’t feel right to her, to share that bit of information. It was hard enough to get it from him personally. But before she could respond, Lise had gone off in a talking-spree. It was the most talking the girl had done in the entire conversation, and Katherine couldn’t help but to look at her, a small smile on her face.

“I couldn’t tell you. That was the first time I’d witnessed magic in my lifetime. All I have are stories from generations ago. To see it in person was oddly plain. I sort of expected a grand show of things, with flashing lights and the like.” Katherine spoke, looking at the ground for a moment. “Last night, I thought I watched a bird change into a man. I fear I was exhausted from my ride here, but it could be that that’s something normal around here.”

Again, Katherine chose her words carefully. She didn’t know how else to explain it. But she couldn’t share that she knew the Alder King. That just didn’t seem quite right in her head; as if something kept her from telling the truth. Shrugging it off, they walked in silence, which was growing more pleasant, but still seemingly awkward. Every now and again, the padding of the cat behind them would get closer, before falling back, and Katherine turned to look. Sure enough, Gwyn would get bold and walk up closer to them, before becoming unsure and falling back, watching them both closely.

Lise was talking again, and Katherine looked up as she explained that one could study magic through books. The girl made a comment about Loegria, and a smile crossed Katherine’s lips, but Lise switched back to Katherine’s question about Gwyn. When Lise paused in her comments about the cat, Katherine followed her eyesight, and saw the cat next to her, looking up at her, as if he were begging for attention. She stopped, and knelt down, gently petting Gwyn’s back, before slowly picking him up. Watching for any signs of discomfort, she stood up again, and held him close to her chest, stroking his back lovingly.

“He certainly seemed to have changed his mind about me.” Katherine looked at him, and kissed the top of his head. “He really is a sweet cat.” She spoke, before turning her attention back to Lise.

“And about your comment; I take no offense.” Katherine couldn’t help but to laugh a little. “I have never been to Albion, though we ride to Camelot in three days’ time. Loegria may be void of magic, but it is my home. There is no need to be sorry. Maybe, if the magic is returning to Loegria, it won’t be as barren. Though I doubt it will ever be as fertile, magically, as Runegrove, or Albion.” Katherine shrugged, and nuzzled the cat in her arms a little more.

“Do you think it’s alright, if I hold him a little while? I suppose I should be asking him.” Katherine smiled, and looked down at the little black cat. “May I hold you while we walk? Or would you like to walk between us again? I’d like to hold you, but you seem to make your own choices.” She asked softly. It felt a little odd, talking to a cat, she knew he wouldn’t respond back, but with as temperamental as the cat had been, she figured he’d like to make the decision on his own. She let her already loose grip relax even further, so if he decided to jump away, she wouldn’t get hurt in the process.
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Lise Andorsdottir
Posted: Mar 1 2012, 09:41 PM


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Lise watched, dumbfounded as Katherine pet Gwyn. As Gwyn let Katherine pet her. The fae seemed to be enjoying it! He was actually purring as she picked him up. Nuzzling against the girl as she held him.

"Sweet? Yeah, I guess you could call it that." Lise said in response to Katherine's comment. She'd shifted her gaze to the rest of the city, not exactly feeling comfortable watching this rather odd display of affection from Gwyn. Especially after she'd kissed him. Knowing what he really was, that was a little too much for Lise. I could come up with several things to call it. Lise thought, Gwyn you're a disgusting old tomcat.

She didn't exactly turn back to the girl as she spoke to her, more looked on straight ahead of her, looking at Katherine and Gwyn out of the corner of her eyes. She smiled a little when Katherine said she'd taken no offense. Good then. Alright.

And then Katherine asked if it was alright if she could hold Gwyn for awhile. Lise was about say something- she wasn't sure what, maybe she'd explain what Gwyn really was or maybe she'd just say that he could be temperamental and might try to get away if she didn't put him down- but then Katherine decided to ask Gwyn instead. Well, she was right about one thing, Gwyn did make his own choices.

The girl loosened her grip on Gwyn, but the cat just snuggled closer to her, purring, his eyes shut in sheer ecstasy. Lise rolled her eyes.

"Be good, Gwyn." Lise said, giving him a pointed look. She turned back to Katherine then. "About what you said earlier...about that man who'd turned into a bird. How close were you to the forest? Some of the Shining Ones... you know...Them, they live out there. They can do things like that. Turn into animals."

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Katherine Argante
Posted: Mar 1 2012, 10:20 PM


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Katherine couldn’t help but to smile a little when Lise seemed shocked that the cat had let her pet him. “I would love a cat of my own at some point. I should make a point to my father later this evening. He may consider it.” Katherine spoke softly, feeling the cat nuzzle closer to her, and she scratched behind his ears gently. He was a truly beautiful cat, and were it not for Lise standing by her side, she’d probably tell him such.

Her breath started to match Gwyn’s purr, slow and deep, and she continued to scratch behind his ears gently. Katherine heard Lise tell the cat to be good, and she stole a glance over at the girl, wondering what on earth there was to worry about from a cat, but she didn’t voice her concern. Katherine went back to petting Gwyn gently, as they continued to walk down the streets. “I was standing at the window of my room in the inn, and I saw this man, a very handsome man, turn into a bird, and fly off.” She spoke, again not telling the entire truth. She didn’t state where she’d seen the man, and she surely couldn’t admit that the man was inside her room. “What sorts of animals do they turn into? The bird I saw was a raven.” She admitted carefully, knowing that was as close to the truth as she wanted to let on.

“This really is a beautiful city. If it were not for my family’s shop, I could see myself enjoying living here.” She spoke softly, looking at the buildings, and the people, albeit few, who were outside. Katherine could understand. It was cold, far colder than she’d experienced in Loegria. She thought about how silly that statement sounded in her head. Of course it was colder here.
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Lise Andorsdottir
Posted: Mar 1 2012, 11:04 PM


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Lise didn't particularly want to think about what Gwyn would be doing if she weren't here right then. He certainly wouldn't still be stuck in this cat shape of his. No, he'd probably turn himself into a man, just to impress the girl. He'd probably try to charm her thinking it would be easy, after all what was he for this girl from Loegria than a Faerytale?

Of course Lise reflected, If I hadn't seen him at all earlier, if I hadn't made him come with me he'd probably be back wherever it is he goes and still be sulking. I wouldn't have to worry about this at all then!

She listened as the girl explained about when she'd seen the Raven Man. Lise thought for a moment, and then her eyes fell back on Gwyn. The fae just looked back at her for a moment, as if to say "Yes it was me, what of it?", before settling back into Katherine's arms.

Why you little... Lise shook her head. "It depends on what you run into. The ones out here are mostly Ljósálfar, you call them the Twyleth Teg in the south or sometimes, Elves. They can look however they like and take on whatever form they please. They're second only to Pwcas when it comes to changing their shape."

Lise shrugged when Katherine commented on the city. "It is nice out here." she said, "But we have to be careful. It's getting darker out now, see? That's when the things in the forest start to come out. Spirits and such. Werewolves during the full moon. Sometimes if we're not lucky, The Wild Hunt."
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Katherine Argante
Posted: Mar 2 2012, 05:27 AM


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Katherine felt Gwyn lift his head up and she looked down, and smiled, then back up at the road as he laid his head back down. He was the most adorable cat she’d ever seen. Had she known his true identity, her face would probably be flushed pink with embarrassment at the fact that she’d cuddled him so close to her breast. She rubbed behind his ears gently, and looked around. She hadn’t really been paying attention to the time, though they weren’t walking too far or too fast. It wouldn’t take a whole lot of time to get back to her father if they needed to, she didn’t think.

“Oh. I wouldn’t have any clue. We don’t have many stories of shapeshifting, at least not through my family. I heard stories of the Alder King, but nothing of the Ljósálfar, or Twyleth Teg, or Pwcas.” Katherine recanted, and looked over at her walking companion. This was all so new to her, and a bit overwhelming. Part of her was going to be glad she’d be home in Loegria soon enough, where there were no threats of spirits and shape-shifters and such. “I’ve never met anything from the forest.” She knew her statement wasn’t completely true. She’d met the Alder King, but he was kind, not like what she was describing forest things to be.

“Do you think we should head back now? My father would be worried, if he’s heard the stories of those forest creatures.” Katherine voiced, her words quiet, and a little nervous sounding. Instinctively, she held the cat a little closer to her, not enough to hurt him, just to protect him, much like she wish she’d had her mysterious stranger to hold her and protect her. And he could too, he was magic. Certainly he could protect her from the other things that Lise described. So he’s a Twyleth Teg. If I ever see him again, I will certainly ask… She speculated, in her head, imagining him there before her.

Before she could stop herself from asking, Katherine blurted out, “And tell me… What is the Wild Hunt?”
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Lise Andorsdottir
Posted: Mar 2 2012, 02:18 PM


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"Mmmm....Yeah, probably should head back." Lise said. "Usually there are wards placed around the city walls, but recently a lot of those were...umm...broken. It takes weeks to place them back up, so yeah. We'd probably be safer back inside." Lise stared at the ground as she spoke, shuffling her feet along. She could feel herself blushing. She didn't like talking about it, the fact that she was the one that brought down most of the city's wardings.

She stopped walking and turned to stare at Katherine for a moment when she heard the question. "You have stories of the Erlking but you don't know what the Wild Hunt is?" she asked. She ran a hand through her hair and was silent for a moment as she tried to figure out how to best explain. She'd heard stories of the Hunt since she was a little girl, and disappearances in the city were usually attributed to them. They were the nightmare that haunted the dreams of all the children in Runegrove. She never thought she'd ever have to explain something like the Wild Hunt to anyone.

"The Hunt..." She began. "The Hunt is one of the main reasons the wards around the city walls exist. They're pretty much what the name implies, a Hunting party made up of the Shining Ones, and they're led by the Erlking." She bit her lip, hesitated and glanced quickly over towards the forest. "It's an ill omen to see them." she said, her voice dropping to a whisper, "If you see them, it could predict your death. And if you get in their path they're supposed to kidnap you and steal you away to Álfheimr... that is...The Otherland. I don't know what happens after that." She paused a moment. "Sometimes, after a night when the Hunt's rode through, if the wards weren't strong enough, we find people dead. The look in their eyes..." She shuddered.

Lise felt someone watching her, and she turned back to Katherine and Gwyn. Sure enough the cat was staring at her. If cats could look betrayed, that's the expression that would be on Gwyn's face right then. The cat jumped down from Katherine's arms then and began walking, keeping as far away as the magic binding him to her allowed.

Lise looked up towards the sky then. "C'mon." She said, "Best not be out here too long after dark."
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Katherine Argante
Posted: Mar 14 2012, 01:01 AM


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Katherine didn’t know all of what Lise was talking about, but she trusted the girl who was next to her. Her acquaintance seemed to be shy, or embarrassed about something, but Katherine had always been bad at prying information out of people, so she kept silent as the Lise spoke.

When Lise questioned the fact that Katherine hadn’t heard the stories of the Wild Hunt, Katherine looked at her, as they stopped walking, heading back to where they’d left from. It wasn’t something Katherine remembered hearing about, but her sister and she hadn’t heard the stories for many, many years; not since Katherine was a young girl. It could very well be that the stories had just been lost in the years. Part of Katherine wanted to shift slightly, embarrassed that this was something so touchy; yet it was something she was apparently supposed to know…

The one part of Lise’s story that caught Katherine’s full attention made a shudder run through her spine. ”…led by the Erlking...” The mysterious stranger, whom she’d invited into her home and into her life, was the one who led the Hunt? Katherine held back the urge to shake her head and tell the girl she had to have been wrong. There was no way that could be the same person, or Shining One, or whatever he went by. If seeing him predicted her death, what did that mean for her? She’d kissed him, fallen for his charm, maybe even felt for him. Katherine didn’t know exactly what to think, but one thought ran through her head; what if she were to actually see him again? What would she say? What could she? It wasn’t like she could just say she’d heard he was a murderer from a witch in Runegrove. That could anger him, or upset him.

As if the cat sensed her inner turmoil, Gwyn jumped from her arms and moved away from them. Katherine sighed softly, missing the comforting little creature in her arms, but she simply let her hands fall back to her sides.

“I suppose you’re right.” Katherine whispered back, afraid that her voice would give away the hurt she was feeling. “My father will surely be worried about me.” She spoke, before quieting herself once more, to think about how nice the stranger had been to her, and how he was now supposed to be the opposite of the kind gentleman she’d grown to know.
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