aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - Chapter 9

Chason was shaking his head, and he had gotten half to his feet. “You guys don’t know her at all. I don’t know how you can think that she’d be in any way involved with something like hurting another student! I mean, really.”
“Chason-” Nilien began.
Lorque talked right over her. “Just...

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 9.1

Chason was shaking his head, and he had gotten half to his feet. “You guys don’t know her at all. I don’t know how you can think that she’d be in any way involved with something like hurting another student! I mean, really.”

“Chason-” Nilien began.

Lorque talked right over her. “Just listen for a minute, okay? When Nilien went out to the woods, she had a tracking spell on her that she knew was there. She thought maybe she could - find out more about who was tracking her. But then Ember saw someone, and the tree fell almost on top of her!”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.14

“I like her, too,” Chason agreed easily, and with none of the undertone some of the boys back home might have managed. “You seem like nice kids - I mean, nice… Uh.” Augustin was glaring at Chason, oh, no. “Come on, I am older than you. I mean…” He shook his head. “I like you guys. This club, the way you take care of each other. It’s all very nice. I can imagine you guys - and me, really - sneaking around, looking into interesting - oh.” His nervous smile suddenly turned into a frown. “Oh, no, Nilien.”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.13

Oh, no.

Nilien swallowed. “Person, a person tried to kill me. I mean - I wasn’t really…” She didn’t like talking about that but otherwise she was going to get into deep water. She looked at Ember for help.

Ember, of course, was absolutely no help at all.

People are trying to kill you. Doesn’t everyone know that?

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.12

Riva looked suddenly excited. “I do! I have three, actually. So we could put everything we know into the book, and nobody but us will be able to read it! Oh, that would be fun! Think about it! She was nearly bouncing. “So, we could put in the story of Nilien, and being a Wild Rune, and then we could talk about what Ember told her, and compare it to what our familiars first said to us, and then-”around slowly, looking at the room with new eyes now that they’d cleaned it up and showed it to other people.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.11

“It’s all ours,” Nilien agreed.

Heldira had her own secret club? And Chason didn’t know about it? She met Lorque’s eyes; her roommate smiled a little as if to say see, I told you so.

Since Nilien had been the one saying that Chason was trustworthy and Lorque had been arguing the opposite, she didn’t think that one deserved a response. Instead, she spun around slowly, looking at the room with new eyes now that they’d cleaned it up and showed it to other people.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.10

Nilien turned around to stare at Chason.

Somewhere behind her and off to her left, she could see Lorque, already taking the role of hostess for Riva, doing the same thing.

“Who?” Augustin was still a little behind on things.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.9

“Do you think they’ll all come?”

Nilien didn’t mean to be nervous, but people had been so strange here. She was pacing back and forth in the small space between her bed and Lorque’s. “Do you think they’ll like it?”

“We wouldn’t have asked if we didn’t think they’d like it,” Lorque pointed out, “and if they don’t come, it’s their loss.”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.8

“I think we should just call it the study group,” Lorque opined. “Nobody gets nosy or interested in a study group.”

Nilien looked around. They’d been talking about Ember, but where was her familiar?

“It should have some sort of dramatic name,” Augustin countered. “Like ‘Augustin’s Army.’”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.7

Nilien took in her friends’ reactions one more time. “It’s a pretty fun list,” she agrees, “even if it’s still pretty short. But - if I tell you something, swear not to tell anyone else?”

She hadn’t made Riva or Augustin do that, but then again, she knew Riva and Augustin better, and their only questionable friend was Istore. She was pretty sure Istore wasn’t trying to kill her.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.6

“Hey! I’m nice” The voice came from behind Lorque and Nilien and, as one, they tensed and turned around. Not Istore, not Istore… Chason was looking indignantly at them.

Phew.

“We were saying Istore wasn’t - coming up right behind you,” Lorque ended unhappily. “Hi, Istore, did you get that math problem figured out?”

“I did. What’s wrong with you? You look like you just ate a lemon.”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - Post frequency update

(From Cal:)

Sooo y’all might’ve noticed how it’s been a crazy erratic posting schedule around here lately. I want to apologize for that, first; can’t go into details without going into My Personal Life but I have been dropping the ball a lot.
That, plus talking to Lyn a bit about her...

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.5

Nilien smiled at Augustin and Riva as they came towards her. She had a secret! A secret that had nothing to do with her being a Wild Rune, or with someone trying to kill her! She found her smile growing wider and wider. They were almost here. She rose up on the balls of her feet and dropped down before she drew too much attention to herself. The last thing she wanted was Thesri getting wind of this.

“What is it?” Riva asked, the moment she was close. “Did they catch the - the culprit?”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.4

Nilien was drawing in the margins of her notes.

It wasn’t a boring class, and she really ought to be focusing, but she kept thinking about Ember, and Ember Spying on Chason.

Chason. She bit her lip and stared at her notes for a moment until she got her feelings and thoughts under control. He was nice. She didn’t want him to be involved in any of this mess! She didn’t want him to think she was a horrid spying untrusting sneak, either.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.3

“I think…” Nilien focused on the wall for a minute. When you actually got through all the dirt, there was surprisingly nice wood panelling behind it. “Well, I think this place is going to be pretty if we get a few lamps and a couple chairs down here. A very nice hide-out, though sneaking chairs down might be tricky.”

“We just need a secret club to have secret meetings in our secret hide-out,” Lorque giggled. “Did you know there’s marble down here on the floor? Some sort of mosaic. I’m not sure what yet, but it’s going to need more water than we brought down. We should get Benoir down here to help us clean.”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.2

“I like him, though.” Nilien sighed. “I don’t know. Why’s he friends with her, anyway? Even he says she’s as prickly as her badger.” She had put off the wet-mopping as long as she could; she dipped her rag in the warm soapy water and started washing.

“Well, maybe he just has really bad taste in people. I mean, I think he’s a lousy judge of character, but what are his other friends like?”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 8.1

“…And then he helped me with my homework.” Nilien’s voice was a little muffled, because she’d tied a cloth over her face to avoid breathing in the worst of the dust in the secret room, but from the snort on the other side of the shelving, Lorque had understood her just fine.

“So he might talk to Heldira, but he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with her, except that she might be a little prickly. So he’s not a good judge of character. He thinks that you’re overreacting, like pretty much everyone here except us, but he thinks that it’s horrid that you might be in trouble. And, oh, Thesri gossips a lot. We knew that part already.”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 7.13

Chason looked startled. “I mean… if you need help finding your way around the school, or, uh, making things shiny, I’m your guy. If you need to know the shortest route to classes from your dorm or where to catch a nap without anyone noticing - that’s me. This sounds like it’s something to ask the teachers about.”

“I’ve tried.” Nilien made an effort not to sound too frustrated. “They don’t believe there’s any real danger, even when they know that someone tried to kill me back home. Or they act like it’s none of my business. It’s my life!” Some of her irritation came bubbling out and her voice rose. “It’s hard for something to be more my business than my own life is!”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 7.11

I’ll talk to her. All of the ways that could go horribly, horribly wrong went through Nilien’s mind all at once. She swallowed. “I appreciate it, I do, but, ah, please, be careful? I’m not sure just talking to her is the best idea, or I would have done it myself.”

“Oh, but Heldira’s my friend. I’m sure whatever’s going on is just a misunderstanding, or something about her particularly prickly - well, everything, but sense of humor, in this case.”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 7.10

When Nilien left her magic tutoring the next day, she couldn’t immediately find Lorque or even Lorque’s friends - she had yet to manage to think of them as her friends, although Riva and Augustin were coming close.

“Well,” she murmured in Ember’s direction, “I guess we could try to find Chason.” She pulled the map out and looked. “Maybe in the dorm area? Seems like a good bet, if we missed the end of classes.”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 7.9

“The question is - how do I ask him?”

“Well,” Lorque sat down on the bottom stair. “You could be direct. ‘Hey, I think your friend is trying to kill me; could you ask her to stop, please?’ That might get a response.”

“It would definitely get a response,” Nilien muttered. “I think I might get slapped. And I don’t really want him to slap me. Hrrm. I could be sneaky, like I was asking about Heldira’s familiar. Just slip it into conversation… somehow.”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 7.8

“Maybe they used a lamp, although playing marbles by gas-lamp seems like it would be stranger than this room is to start with.” Lorque delved back into the corners, but she could only explore the dusty room for so long before she circled back to Nilien once again. “So what are we going to do?”

“I’m doing my homework and wondering what this room was used for. I mean, who makes a supply closet secret?”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 7.7

Lorque brought her copy of Chason’s map, which was quickly growing full of notes and annotations. Nilien felt like she was in some sort of mystery story, sneaking through the halls trying to look ordinary.

Because of that, and because of the notes they were making on the map, they took longer than they might have, stopping to chat about trivial things whenever someone passed them and making hurried notes on anything Chason’s map didn’t already have on it.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 7.6

“I don’t know what I was expecting,” Nilien muttered at Ember. “Nobody believes me. None of the adults,” she clarified. “You have been wonderful.” Ember seemed to be easier to handle the more praise Nilien heaped on, so she figured she’d keep piling it on until it got her bitten.

They​ will believe you when they need to believe you. Ember brushed against her legs. You have done what you needed to. Now, they need to make their decisions and you need to focus on yourself. Do boring homework. Brush me. Important matters.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 7.5

Nilien hesitated, looking at the letter. “Could I come with you? It’s just, it’s my first letter from my old school…”

“Well, I certainly would return it to you, but yes, if it will make you feel better, come along.” Vaudelle held the door for Nilien and Ember, and they strolled down the hallway, down another hallway Nilien had never been down, to Headmistress Draufer’s office.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 7.4

Ember walked around the bed in a circle a few times. We are talking to Professor Vaudelle because…?

“Because Lorque wants me to talk to someone, and I don’t want to talk to Heldira, especially considering your report on her familiar.” Nilien made a face. She didn’t think it followed that a familiar was all that like their person - she wasn’t that much like Ember! - but it did seem like a bad sign all around if Heldira’s badger had chased off Ember.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 7.2

Lorque shook her head. “I have no idea why you’re willing to pretend that something isn’t up. I mean, you’re the one that came back from the woods all bashed up-”

“But we know that wasn’t Heldira. Or, at least, we know it wasn’t her magic,” Nilien protested.

“Still! That just means she’s working with someone else. So she put a tracking spell on you - at least twice now - someone’s trying to kill you, someone has nearly succeeded in killing you at least twice, and you’re still acting like Heldira might not be bad? Is Chason that good-looking? Because his maps are nice, but they’re not all that impressive, not enough to risk dying for.”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - Planned Hiatus I Totally Forgot About

I asked Lyn to give me advance notice if she’d need a hiatus for something and I guess she gave me TOO much advance notice because I completely bloody forgot. At least the chapter conveniently just ended?
Anyway, Marked will resume on Tuesday. In the meantime, I’ll be doing a...

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 6.12

​​Benoir shifted from foot to foot. “Well, when all you really want is a place to hide, it’s not bad.” He shone his torch around the area, lighting up the shelves. “It was a lot more useful my first couple years, before I found some of the other passages.”

Nilien gave the space another look. “Maybe there’s something interesting in a corner,” she offered. “Have you ever searched around down here?”

“Not more than enough to look for more doors,” he admitted. “I couldn’t find any, or any switches.”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 6.11

“There are more passages? Oh, that’s so neat!” Nilien bounced a little. “I’d like to see-” she really did have to get back to Lorque and tell her about Heldira’s familiar “-at least one, now? Maybe the rest when I have some more free time? I spend so much time just trying to get caught up,” she explained apologetically. “And that’s before the whole mess with magic!”

“You seem like you’re pretty bright. I’m sure you’ll pick it up quickly enough,” he assured her. “All right, let’s see. From here… we want to make a right at the next intersection.”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 6.8

The next few days of classes went by quickly. Nilien’s ankle and her scraped knees healed faster than she would have thought possible, but she took advantage of the few days of limping and discomfort to spend most of her free time sitting down, studying and catching up.
In her regular classes,...

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 6.7

“So, she was clearly up to something.” Lorque sat down on Nilien’s bed with Chason’s map and her notebook. “But the question is, what?”

“Hoping to find me alone?” Nilien hazarded. “Or looking to do something to the room if we were at dinner? I should really check for another tracking spell.”

She petted Ember some more, both to calm it down and to focus herself, and studied her whole body with her magic sight. “Nothing. I suppose it would have been pretty obvious if she’d shown up and then poof, I had another tracking spell.”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 6.6

“You know,” Lorque frowned. “It might be easier if we have something more to go on. Like why someone would take it. Or even the markings on it. Do you remember any except your own marking?”

Nilien wracked her brain. “No, I can’t think of anything, except-”

A knock at the door seemed to shake all the thoughts out of her mind. Nilien sighed, and swung her legs off the bed, but Lorque was already on her feet and getting the door.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 6.5

Nilien woke slowly to the feeling of a tail in her face, the last bits of a dream lingering in her mind.

She couldn’t remember most of her dreams, although she did know, much to her disappointment, that it hadn’t had anything to do with the pendant. (So much for Riva’s reading, she thought, a little unkindly.) There had been something about a mechanical goat of some sort, which had seemed very interesting, but she could not quite put her finger on any details, and there had been a woman covered in flames. Covered, but not looking like she was all that upset by the whole situation, which suggested not burning - or just that Nilien’s dreams had no desire to get messy.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 6.4

“Somewhere.” Nilien stared at Ember. “Really?”

I think… I think it is somewhere in the castle. Ember put both paws over its nose. Or maybe near the castle. My head hurts. I did not know my head could hurt like this.

She patted the familiar between the shoulder blades. “Ember says…” She looked down at her poor fox. “Well, that it’s probably in or near the castle.” The longer she sat, the more her ankle was reminding her what she’d done to it.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 6.3

“Oh, come on, Ember,” Nilien coaxed. “I’m sure you could try. Listen, Larisse - you remember Larisse, right?”

She was the enthusiastic one, Ember agreed. Rather loud. But friendly.

“Loud and friendly.” Nilien smirked. “She was, ah, one of my good friends back at my old school,” she told Lorque and Riva. “And here she says that they’re investigating the attack on me, ah, ‘like a real crime.’”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 6.2

“A letter?” Nilien bounced up, only to be reminded suddenly that her ankle was not healed yet, just improved. She moved more carefully over to the door. “I wonder who might have sent me a letter? I asked my brothers to write, but they never do…” She took the letter. “Thank you, Administrator Sirin.”

“Of course, dear.” The administrator nodded politely; on her shoulder, Bother mirrored the gestured. She turned, and they both left.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 6.1

“Pendant?” Lorque came over, staring at the drawer as if it held an answer. “What pendant?”

“Before I left my old school, I found this pendant with my things. It was something like a brass coin, but it was covered with runes, like the mark on my hand. Actually, the mark on my hand was one of the runes on it. I was going to ask someone to read it for me, but then I got a little bit distracted by everything here and forgot all about it. Except now - now it’s not here anymore.” She began pulling everything out of her drawer and stacking it on top of the dresser, shaking each piece in turn.

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 5.14

Nilien wanted to think that the walk to the dorm would be safe, but even though nobody else seemed to believe her, her life seemed increasingly dangerous. “I - yes. I’d like that, please, if it’s not any trouble.”

“Not any trouble at all!” He grinned brightly at her. “And besides, you can navigate by my map, and I can see if it make any sense.”

“Oh.” Nilien found herself smiling. “I see. It’s a test. Well, Professor Chason, let’s see how I do on this quiz, shall we?”

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aldersprig: (Marked)
MARKED - 5.13

Nilien slipped carefully off the table, testing her weight on her feet. The pain had settled in to a very dull ache that could be ignored with impunity.

“Be careful on that ankle,” Dr. Alaroq reiterated, “and come back if you feel any new symptoms. In the meantime, do try to stick to a walk when wandering places you’re not supposed to be.”

“Yes, Doctor.” Nilien smiled at the doctor and then looked down at Ember. “Where’s Lorque?”

read on...

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