Unexpected Intoxication

Kendall breathes a sigh of something akin to relief when the door rustles shut behind Margot and he is left alone. He had not been alone for several Turns, and after the silence and solitude of Maeve's Vigil, the unrelenting bustle of the ship combined with his lover's constant company had suddenly become exhausting.

He sits for a space, sipping his wine as he stares at the unchanging view through the porthole and listens to the sounds of sea, crew, and wind. Mind wanders, though no coherent thoughts make themselves recognizable for a long while. As peace returns, he acknowledges to himself that it wasn't Margot's company he found so exhausting. Not really, if we was to be honest with himself, though her leaving him alone was a gift that he appreciated. Anyway, he wasn't tired; he was…sad.

Setting the goblet down in its place, Kendall gets up and opens up the chest of his belongings that Rory had wedged into the tiny cabin. There was barely enough in there for three full Turns, but his servant did know to always keep certain things on hand for his master. The Chaos Lord didn't have to look far before he found what he sought: sketchpad and drawing pencils.

The swaying of the ship on calm sea was barely noticeable to him as he settles himself on the bed with back propped against pillows and wine near at hand. Notebook resting on his knees, he closes his eyes and centers himself, letting the image of what he would draw form itself in his mind's eye. It is no surprise that a certain beloved face becomes almost immediately recognizable, familiar from long Cycles of acquaintance, yet strangely changed and warped by recent choices.

Opening his eyes, Kendall begins to draw. His sadness flows through him and onto the paper as Diona's face emerges from the tip of his pencil. Yet no matter how much he might want to memorialize her as he would rather remember her — the laughing, loving face of his youth — the face his pencil produces appears broken and warped, marred by the artifact that had torn her very soul asunder. The image on paper captured not just the physical appearance of face semi-covered in exquisite mask, but the sense of barely-contained power, the fractured mind, the pain of containment spells, and the sense of… fading. She had admitted it took effort for her not to be consumed by the power in her eye. How long would she be able to hold against that?

Broken, breaking, cracked and departing. The pain of saying good-bye. Those are the things the paper records as Kendall loses himself in the world of his art. But his silent communion with the Multiverse's painful realities is broken when the door to the cabin unexpectedly rustles open to admit his servant and Margot. The princess walks hesitantly and with mincing steps, her eyes closed, leaning heavily on the servant.

"Rory, what is this about?" he asks, his tone sharp. Margot hears pages in a book rustle and the swish of clothing as he stands.

"Your pardon for the intrusion, m'lord," Rory's voice next to Margot is calm, relaxed, soothing for both Princess and Lord. "The princess has encountered something that did not agree with her and is feeling ill. It would be wise for her to lie down for a time."

Her body was failing her, fine and gross motor functions disintegrating, and she keeps her eyes closed with labored breathing. Pearls of perspiration clung to her temples. "Bbbbb…" she stutters. "Bbbllla…Brriezzzz."

The rest of the conversation between servant and master are lost to her as all coherent thought bubbles away, leaving her in nothingness. So she doesn't really feel it when she is lifted up into her lover's arms and carried to the bed. After laying her down, Kendall loosens her clothing while servant wets a cloth to lay on her brow. Rory then departs to fetch some supplies, leaving Lord alone with Princess.

When awareness returns somewhat, she can see the canopy of leaves and flowers above, and can sense Kendall's presence next to her even though she can't seem to turn her head. She gradually becomes aware of cool cloth on her forehead and tender caresses against her cheek. Fingers make the smallest of movements, the first indication that she has reclaimed some mastery of consciousness. Swallowing is difficult and her lips feel afire, as if a thousand shards of glass pierced the tender flesh.

"Wine?" she whispers.

The bed jiggles as he stands. The wait seems interminable between words and action, but then Kendall speaks as though from far away as though her ears had been stuffed with cotton.

"Here, my sweet." An arm around her shoulders lifts her up into a sitting position, and he holds a goblet to her lips. He tilts the vessel so that the liquid barely reaches her lips, and trickles into her mouth at a sedate drop by drop. The spicy scent of his hair fills her nostrils, overwhelmingly strong, almost drowning out the flavor of the watered wine that wet her tongue.

She sips carefully, trying to swallow and not be turned away by the pungent scent; her grimace reveals her discomfort. Lashes finally part so she can search Kendall's face for clues as to how she had ended up in care. Memory is fragments and her body felt like it had been dismembered and then shabbily attached all backwards and inside-out again. "I— What?"

"A question more suitably directed to you," he replies, his expression speculative and his eyes clouded with concern. "Rory brought you to our cabin so you could lie down. He will return soon with something to help you. Rest."

Eyes drift shut. "Dara. Black. Berries. Vine." She eventually manages to stutter out on labored breath. "Sweet. Bad."

"I see," he answers, his tone becoming darker and a frown wrinkling the space between his brows. He helps her to more wine as he contemplates her answer, turning the implications over in his mind. The cooling liquid soothes her throat from an inferno to a mere simmer. Before much more can be said, though, the door to the cabin opens again and Rory returns with Margot's maid in tow.

The manservant carries a wooden box carved all over with deadly looking flowers, which he carries over to place on the table. Desrianne's stoic expression indicates her counterpart had briefed her on the situation. The matron immediately moves to Margot's other side so she can remove the cloth on the girl's forehead to dip into fresh cooling water.

Try as she might, the princess cannot fully focus on the new arrivals and therefore returns her attention to Kendall. "Said help mood?" It wasn't clear whether she was asking for confirmation or trying to explain more. "She fell. Broken. Then better." The effort to talk was exhausting and reality blurs once more, forcing her to close her eyes. "I'm. Scared."

Kendall turns his head so that his lips are directly to Margot's ear. "Don't be," he whispers. "I am here with you."

Eyes close and she tries to tip her head toward his face. The smallest of nods is all she can give him as a sign of bravery. Lips tremble slightly and she feels moisture on her brow and cheeks, but is uncertain if it is of her making or merely remnants from the towel.

He leans her back against the pillows to make room for the maid to care for her charge. Desrianne dabs the princess' temples with the soft cloth and then lays it again over her forehead. The maid's expression is tight-lipped and stony, as though she feared what she might say if she were to open her mouth at all. Only the soothing, serene presence of the ginger manservant allowed her to remain as calm as she appeared. She clung desperately to Rory's assurances that the princess would not come to any lasting harm.

For his part, Rory spends several heartbeats looking at labels on tiny bottles in the open box before he approaches the bed with one small jar in hand. Opening it, he extracts a glass rod coated with a bluish substance, which he holds above the wineglass in Kendall's hand. Three drops linger on the end of the rod before falling with agonizing slowness — one by one — to disappear into the liquid. Servant recaps the bottle while the Lord swirls the goblet for the space of 20 beats of the heart. The liquid begins to give off a blueberry colored fume that spins in slow spirals as it rises from the surface, following the swirling motion of the liquid.

The Lord helps Margot sit up again so he can hold the glass to her lips. "Inhale first," he instructs her.

Desrianne watches, feeling helpless, as Margot breathes in slowly so as not to be overpowered by the misty tendrils reaching for her nose. The dark, bluish vapor has an acrid quality to it, though the scent itself seems only a subtle change from the normal bouquet of the wine. Even while the berries in Margot's body attempt to slow and perhaps even stop all functions, she can feel the fume as it works its way inward, attempting to wake her again. How effective it would be remained to be seen, though.

Rory puts the tiny jar back in the box and then returns to the side of the bed with his master to await further needs. He gives Desrianne a small smile, perhaps encouraging, or maybe just an acknowledgement, before becoming serene statue at Kendall's elbow.

"Inhale again, shayna," Kendall says after she takes her first careful breath, his low voice in her ear also smooth and calming. "We must see first if this will have positive effect before you drink."

Once more, she obeys, nostrils flaring a touch as she took in the pungent scent. It was not entirely pleasant, though it was not entirely unpleasant either. The grimace could have been due to any number of things; discomfort, the scent, anything really.

"What changed the wine?" she asks softly into the waiting silence.

"A nectar primarily made from juices of the belly of the lem'ya… a small creature with a remarkably stout constitution," Kendall explains. "Small amounts of other substances are added, herbs primarily, and then heated over a green flame. It is a mild remedy used to treat many minor ailments."

Margot tries to curl her lips, though the smile looks ghastly in her gaunt and pallid face. "So my health depends upon the stomach acid of another creature?" Perhaps it was shock or delirium setting in, but she found the whole of it ironic or amusing: she ingests something toxic and now must take something used to break down foods by another beast to make herself better? She could almost see the duel in her mind, the swords drawn and the wild and mighty battle fought.

"I would say not," he disagrees, taking her statement seriously. "There are many factors involved, but primarily I believe your health and well-being depend on you. As a Pattern Initiate, my understanding is that your desires directly effect your reality."

His comment summons a weak, raspy chuckle; genuine nonetheless. "I assure you, this is not a state I choose to be in." Her breathing is labored and no matter how mightily she wished to hold herself up by her own strength, she must rely on her beloved to keep her upright.

"I do not believe believe otherwise," Kendall replies. "However, once you have harnessed your power and ability, such things as this may become far less of a concern to your well-being."

He extends the goblet to Desrianne to hold while he adjusts his seat so that Margot is sitting upright against his chest instead of supported in his arms. Rory lends a hand to the process, then steps back again to await further developments. Kendall's warmth envelops her in a way the bedding simply could not emulate. Her back molds against his chest as her head rests against his cheek.

Once Margot is arranged so that her weight, slight as it was, rested against his chest with his arms around her, Kendall gestures for the maid to bring the drink close. "You should take only a small sip to begin with, my sweet," he adds.

Dim eyes flicker to Desrianne as the cup's lip is brought to her own. Slowly, she lets a few droplets of the elixir pass over her dried petals and tongue. Just as the scent of the wine had changed only slightly, so too did the flavor seem mostly the same but with an acrid aftertaste that was not at all pleasant. Once the first few drops go down, he nods to Desrianne to give a few more, before moving the goblet away.

The silence in the cabin after that is like that of a held breath. Indeed, that is what the maid does as she clutches the chalice and intently watches the young woman's face for changes or any hint of what might come next. Rory also watches the princess for the space of five heartbeats, then for the benefit of those not in the know, remarks, "It has not rejected her."

"No…" Kendall answers, the word trailing off in that thinking tone of someone still waiting.

For her part, Margot can feel…something happening, though it's hard to say what. A sensation begins spreading from her middle — not exactly warmth, but not exactly not warmth. Perhaps a shimmery sensation would best describe it, as though her insides were beginning to shiver. But only slightly, with the sensation spreading slowly.

"How do you feel, Margot?" Kendall asks after the space of 50 heartbeats.

Nothing swirling above the Princess made any sense. Words are just sounds, meaningless despite the fact that she knew what they meant. She fears to open her eyes, that the world around her would churn in a cataclysmic vertigo where everything was not as it should be.

"Fluid," she finally answers. "There is warmth and still not, there is border and still the sensation spreads. I feel…peculiar."

The young Lord gestures to the maid to bring the goblet near once more. "Very well, you must drink more then. At least half of what remains, if not more."

"I don't understand…" is all that Margot gets out before Desrianne brings the chalice to the young woman's lips. Words would have to wait until consumption was complete. The maid watches the Master for sign of when enough was so, withdrawing the glass and stepping away at his gesture.

There's a pause before Kendall speaks again. "It appears right now the remedy will be effective. Now we must wait for it to do its work. In the meantime, would you prefer to rest quietly here on your own?"

"Yes… yes… I do believe I would like to rest," Margot agrees slowly, distracted by the sensation circulating through her body. She can feel the sort of jiggly sensation spreading more quickly through her body now, but strangely, now also beginning in her extremities and moving inward. As though the boost of ingesting it much more quickly had powered it up. She can feel a spot of warmth, definitely warmth, beginning to form on her back near her left shoulder.

"Will you remain with me?" she asks.

"I will remain, and you may wish your maid to remain as well?"

"Any who wish to remain may do so," Margot replies, paying little attention to the exchange.

She lifts a hand to her shoulder, her face revealing perplexity, but she is unable to reach far enough to investigate the spot of warmth. When her hand moves to her shoulder, Kendall adjusts so that he also can have a look. Gentle fingers move across her back in a light caress. She can distinctly feel when his fingers encounter a lump on her shoulder, which appears to be the source of heat, and faintly, some pain now too.

He moves her around to lie on her stomach. "Your maid should remove your shirts, then. We will let your blood soon, I expect."

The tingly, wiggly feeling seems to be moving through her body perceptibly now, and after it had passed an area, she could feel…better. Not exactly normal, but she could wiggle her toes and her fingers again. The cottony, distant feeling of her head was dissipating. As the sensations move through her body, it seemed to be coalescing around the point on her shoulder, as though that spot on her back was a drain for the competing substances in her body.

"Let my blood?" she asks, certain she misheard his words. And yet, even before the question was complete, Desrianne begins undoing the princess's jacket. "What is happening to me, Kendall?"

He takes a deep breath and releases it slowly as he ponders his answer. "Without speaking to her directly, I can only guess what the Lady Dara gave you, based on what I know of the ship and your description. Most likely, those berries are kr'rr. They act as a…stimulant if you will, one that can cause drunkenness.

He leans back against the headboard with hands clasped in his lap. A faint smile brings a lightness to his expression and brightens his eyes.

"That itself could have been entertaining, perhaps, but the berries had an unexpected effect on you, no doubt because of your Amber or Fae blood. Or they may not have been fully ripe, or overripe." He waves a hand, as though not too worried about the state of the berries in question.

"The lem'ya nectar seeks out the substance in your body causing you ill, and is concentrating it into one place. Happily, this location is not your face or somewhere else undesirable. Once it has concentrated there, I will cut you to release the bad blood from your body. Problem solved."

Margot didn't know which she should be: irritated, embarrassed, incensed, mortified, grateful. Was it an act of innocence or treachery that Dara gave her the berries? Why was Kendall suddenly so glib about the matter? Was there genuine reason for concern? Was she truly in danger or was it just a case of indigestion and sour stomach?

"Since the cure is so minimal in application, I suppose there is no need to work myself into a froth," she comments sourly, lying upon her stomach and pulling a pillow to her chest. But she was frightened and she **did* question and the one she trusted most seemed to think nothing of it. That was a wound far more scarring than whatever blade he would bring to her flesh.

His head tilts, that familiar expression of faint puzzlement coming over his face as he discerns that she's dismayed about something. "It would appear so," he answers her statement. "It is always possible that introducing another substance into your body would only worsen or complicate the situation. Or have no effect. The lem'ya nectar's effectiveness is cause for relief."

Her clothing now thoroughly removed, Margot lay face down on the bed with the sheet draped over her back. Desrianne takes the clothing to the other side of the room to be stored as appropriate, and Rory assists her with that chore, which kept them both busy for a time. Once away from Lord and Princess, Rory murmurs another reassurance to the maid, that all would be well, in spite of the obvious distress at the notion that Margot would be bled. It was almost…Medieval.

A smile finds Margot's lips despite her distress. "I suppose sooner or later I was bound to find something that did not agree with me." She thinks for a moment. "Will there be a dreadful scar? Or a great deal of pain?"

"I think not," is the Lord's reply. "And yes, you have imbibed quite a large number of Chaosian delicacies since we encountered each other in the Hall of Mirrors. It is not surprising that something would prove distressing to you. I encountered some foodstuffs in Amber that proved to have unpleasant side effects, as well."

With the two servants out of the way, he moves once more to sit next to Margot on the side of the bed. He pushes back the sheet so he examine the growing knot on her back. She could feel it growing, or she felt as though she could. It felt hot and painful and like it was swelling to monstrous proportions, that it would soon be larger than her head.

Margot flinches as the sheet brushes the knot, releasing a small whimper. "How can 5 berries produce something so painful and vile?" she asks in dismay.

Another smile takes over his features at her question. He lays the sheet back over her shoulders and then lies down on his side facing her, moving his hand to comb through the hair at her temple with his fingers. "How indeed? The berries are. Only in concert with some other influence do they create other things. How is it that you would join with the berries in creating something painful and vile?"

It can be hard to tell sometimes, but it seems like he might be making a joke.

An arched brow is her response, though she can't hide the twinge of amusement in her puckered pout. "To say such things when I am hurting…Am I to understand by your words that I need not be frightened any more?"

Something else crosses her brow, reflection dark and deep even as her face tried to relax. "What did Rory mean when he said, 'it did not reject her?' That sounds like your remedy has choice in whether to harm or heal."

Kendall pillows his head on his other arm. "Like all things, the nectar can help or harm, given the proper circumstances. I would not say it had choice, implying conscious decision. Yet it did not react adversely to you within the first 10 heartbeats of ingesting it. Unlike the berries you ate earlier, which typically cause only small harm, but rejected you with great enthusiasm."

Margot thought on his words for a moment, taking them for face value. Still, he had not answered her first question, the one that she was most interested in. "Why did you not address my first question? Are my concerns … merited?"

He thinks on her question, which in truth he had merely forgotten to address in the wake of her second question. But, the answer to this one was devilish, at least to his mind. "I would say there are few situations that do not warrant at least some measure of fear, my sweet," he begins, but trails off as he stares at her with a distant expression, as though pondering a sudden thought.

"Would you say you have lived a life without fear?" he asks suddenly.

"No. But, I have tried to not let fear dictate my decisions or my path. There are different sorts of fear… I don't understand what is happening to my body and that is distressing. I could barely breathe and I feel as though a dreadful trick was played upon me. A test that I failed."

Her answer left him just as puzzled as he had been previously, no closer to solving the riddle the princess presented to him. His expression is briefly of one who has been forced to put aside a new theory and is pondering if he has another one. Not at present, though, so he turns his attention to her words.

Margot's shoulder aches, hot and pulsing. "Dara made some dreadful comment about how Hellmaidens didn't require the berries to lighten their mood, that they had no effect upon their kind. But that they would fare well with Chanicut blood." The smile in her eyes fades. "Mine must be too weak to enjoy even that amount of pleasure."

"Hellmaidens require only the letting of blood to lighten their mood," he remarks, his tone dismissive of the Chaos Lady's words. He sits up so he can move the sheet and look at the knot on her shoulder again. "Weakness is often merely a matter of perception. But to return to your original question, while there is never complete certainty, I can say with some confidence that all will be well very soon."

Finished with their tasks, Rory and Desrianne return to the other side of the bed. At their approach, Kendall pulls the little knife from his sleeve. "I think the time is now, Rory," he says to his servant, who nods.

"Desrianne, you may sit here with the princess," the red-haired servant gestures to direct his cohort to sit on the bed opposite the Lord near the Princess's head. Leaving her there, Rory fetches an empty bowl from the cupboard and another small vial he had already selected from the carved box. Two cloths are added to the supplies, and for good measure he also brings over a bowl of the refreshing cleansing bathing water. The bowl of water and one cloth are given to Desrianne, the empty bowl placed next to the princess, and the vial unstoppered.

Kendall idly flips the tiny knife across his knuckles and into his palm as this all occurs, first one hand and then the other, back and forth. This is the first time she had ever seen him do anything remotely fidgety beyond occasionally toying with a wineglass. His expression is abstracted, staring into the middle nothingness as though the dexterous hand movements occurred on a different plane of consciousness.

"This is a mild sedative, Princess," Rory tells Margot as he leans over to pour a few slow drops onto her skin and then uses a finger to spread the salve over the swollen and painful area.

Margot closes her eyes, her jaw tightening as she bites back a yelp. Her body betrays her as the shock of pain shivers down her spine. The reflex of bile splashing against her taste buds only force her to clamp teeth tighter. She swallows the acrid taste of foul wine and acid, pressing her face deeply into the pillow so no one could witness the contortion of her face.

Desrianne makes an involuntary noise at the back of the throat in sympathy with the princess's discomfort. She reaches over to grasp one of Margot's hands in hers, holding it tightly, a therapy for both of them. This was all so… so…"difficult" didn't even come close to it, and the maid resisted the strong urge to give voice to warring emotions — a jumble of worry, anger, reassurance, disgust, sympathy, and love.

The needles of pain prickling her back from Rory's careful fingers begin to fade, though she can still feel the sensation of movement. As the pain subsides, some of the tension eases from her body, though Margot's fingers still held fast to Desrianne, whether out of fear or pain or just a need for companionship was anyone's true guess. Finished with that task, Rory backs up to leave space for his master.

Kendall returns to the present, resting his hands in his lap as he looks down at Margot. "This is normally is much simpler when the subject is Chaosian, particularly a shifter," he explains to her, his tone taking on a soothing quality again. He brushes fingers of one hand tenderly against her neck, the other still holding the knife, and leans over to press a kiss to her hair.

"What I will do, in a way, is… act as stand in for those things, for you. You have felt my essence within you before, so this will be similar, though still likely strange to you. But trust me when I tell you that all will be well, my sweet."

"You know my trust is yours alone," she whispers from the fluff of the pillow.

He simply nods and gives his attention to her back. The warm fingers of his free hand rest against skin adjacent to the knot of ickiness gathered on her shoulder. For a time, nothing happens, and Desrianne shifts restively at the delay of…whatever was going to happen. She didn't relish the idea of seeing her Poppy's blood spilled, and only by dint of great self restraint did she not question the lack of bandages or other equipment nearby.

But inwardly, Margot does begin to feel something happening. After 20 beats of the heart, she notices, somehow within, the sensation of Kendall reaching toward her. It was like what had happened after their climb up the cliff face, but…not as deep. Where before he had healed and granted her energy though out, this time the sensation is far more distant and focused.

As he finally lifts the knife, Rory moves forward with the empty bowl, and Margot can feel the cool glass against her side as the servant places it handily near. She also feels the incision, somewhat, more like a line of pressure against her skin and a popping sensation as it penetrates. Once more her body tenses into the most rigid, immobile posture that any of the onlookers had ever seen Margot take. For all her ticklishness, it was possible not even such an attack as that would make her flinch.

The blood that seeps out from the tiny wound is thick, dark, almost purplish. It does not run out freely like a flesh cut would normally. Already stained with her blood, Kendall's little knife traces a line along the surface of her skin without cutting, merely drawing a line of blood down to the bowl that Rory held steady.

And the blood that seeped out followed the line, even though it led upwards along her shoulder rather than trickling down to pool in the indentation of her spine. Within Margot's body, it felt almost like a tickle under her skin, and she becomes aware that Kendall is…humming to himself. Very, very softly, as he sometimes does when he's is thinking or concentrating. The sensation of trickling on her back feels ticklish, as though something was crawling across her skin before plishing faintly into the bowl.

A shriek erupts from Desrianne. She pulls her hand free from Margot to cover her mouth in horror and to stifle another shriek. "What in the Name of the Unicorn?!" she asks from behind her fingers, aghast. Try as she might, she cannot tear her eyes away from the blood droplets that crawled across Margot's skin like amorphous creatures forging a path along a barren frontier.

"What? What is it?" Margot cries, jerking her head up to stare about wildly with heart racing. Her head swivels to stare up at Kendall with frightened eyes.

The Chaos Lord's eyes flick upwards to meet the maid's with the cold intensity of a blizzard, fixing the poor woman in place. "Please remain calm, Margot," he directs the princess, and though a chilly undercurrent reflects his irritation, his tone remains even. "I am merely helping the process along, and making it far less messy than it otherwise would be. Rory—"

The manservant nods, taking up the thread of explanation so the Lord can return attention to his effort. "As you already know, Princess, the berries acted as a toxin in your system," he says, for the benefit of both women. "Why or to what ultimate effect, we do not know, but to treat it, as m'lord has said, the lem'ya nectar has concentrated the toxin in one point of your body. This makes it easier to release and remove."

Margot's face returns to the pillow, pale fingers knitting together over her dark hair; only a single pocket allowed her to breathe.

"We are almost through, shayna," Kendall says quietly for her benefit, finally releasing Desrianne from his stare to look down at the princess instead. Indeed, the swollen bulb that to her had felt as large as a watermelon had in truth been hardly larger than half of a golf ball. Not that she would know one way or another.

Rory continues. "Once concentrated, releasing the contaminated blood is a simple thing. Had you the ability to alter your body as we of Chaos may, you would decide where to locate the toxin and would possibly assist with its removal. As you cannot, m'lord is controlling the blood letting instead so that you do not lose more than is necessary. Telling the blood where to go is a side benefit."

"Is all of that from her consumption of the berries or will this become a routine for the Princess?" the maid asks in a muffled voice, still with hand over mouth.

"Unlikely," Rory answers after some thought. "The princess has enjoyed a wide variety of foods from the Courts already, and you yourself have not suffered ill effects, either. It is likely that part of your education, Princess, will involve sampling a variety of foods over time, in order to establish what foods are and are not wise for you to consume. Also, to give you some familiarity with them so that you may make knowledgeable choices of what to eat and what to avoid. I suspect this sort of learning is no different than what Amberite children do as they grow. The only difference is that you are learning at a later age."

Margot continues to lie still as the strange operation winds down to its conclusion. She supposed her reaction was similar to an allergy. Yes, she would simply have to avoid those berries all together in the future.

"Shh," Kendall shushes them all at that point, noticing the blood had begun to move more freely, no longer dark and thickened with toxin. He exerts his will over her flesh to close the small cut on her back, sealing it over as though it had been made weeks ago instead of mere heartbeats. At Rory's nod, Desrianne dips her cloth into the small basin of water and begins wiping away the trail of blood and other evidence of the minor surgery.

"There now," he adds, finally moving his hand from her back to stroke her hair. "All is well."

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