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Coffee Big Bite

Author: rustydragonfly
Challenge: Coffee Big Bite (10: vase, 17: hat, 20: flute, 22: sandals)
Toppings: rainbow sprinkles
Wordcount: 546
Rating: teen and up. Warning for mentions of death/parasites.
Story: Manifestations (Arc 12)
Summary: Hartavin's work is never done.
Notes: Something tells me this arc is going to be difficult...


Hartavin hated the underground. It smelled even worse than above. A few minutes with the newcomers, and she could feel the stench weaving its way into her clothes, her hair, her skin…

She called Liavik to her side, once he was done with them. She needed something a little more normal in her life, and there were few things in the world more normal than he was. He was young enough to be one of her sons, and had been a beast-hunter for a scant few years, but he had yet to fall prey to the coldness that gripped the breath of so many of their numbers. Liavik could make innards sound fascinating and exciting, for Rakaros' sake.

She was never sure if the world could use a few more people like Liavik, or a few less. But she also knew what she could use, right now.

"Where are we going?" he said, tugging on his heavy, waxed coat.

"East side. There's a few houses we haven't cleared." She pulled a scarf tight around her face, and picked up her hat from where it hung. "We've got a while before dark. May as well get on with it."



There was food on the table, and some of it might still be good. Hartavin pulled her scarf tighter, and tried not to breathe too much. Three days, and there'd be food just as good on tables far away from here, and water too.

"Sometimes wonder if we'd be better off burning the whole inside," she remarked, and realised she was taking to nobody. "Liavik? What have I told you?" Her voice was muffled, but sharp.

Nothing for a moment, and then the creak of a door, opened behind her. She turned, slowly, so as not to disturb the air. "Look at this," Liavik said, holding his find up to the light in gloved hands. It was a flute, she could see, made of finely carved bone, its white surface practically shining in the gold evening light. "Pretty, isn't it?"

"That it is," she said. "And someone's mouth will have touched it. You know the rules."

Liavik held the flute higher, staring at it. "Fwooooom," he said.



"Sandals? Who wears sandals?" Liavik nudged a pair on the floor with his foot. "Don't tell me we have to do these too."

"You know the rules."

"Aw, Hartavin! Smells enough in here as it is!"



Liavik was gone again, into the back room. Hartavin could see him out of the corner of her eye, as she examined a stout, earthenware vase for anything that might be stashed inside.

The light was starting to fade. They'd fully cleared the whole house, and had moved on to the next. There'd not be time to finish this one, but a start was a start. Besides, the more time she spent in here, the more time she didn't have to think of the newcomers. She'd have to address them eventually, but they were better off kept where they were. Better there than outside.

Liavik was still staring out of the window.

The vase was empty. Hartavin placed it back where it had been, and continued to watch him, out of the corner of her eye.

She knew the rules.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 31st, 2013 01:18 am (UTC)
Super, super curious about this arc and where it's all going! I like both Hartavin and Liavik - Liavik strikes me as a very curious guy :D
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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