Once a former abbey, the building now serves as a pub that’s popular for co-eds and football fans alike. Its business is hopping thanks to the atmosphere and the customer service provided by owner-operator Kara Viridian.
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by: Coraline Larson
The cold crushing wave of a fresh panic attack loomed over her like a falcon about to dive for an unfortunate rabbit. Cora's small frame trembled with anxiety and fear, desperation spiking her pulse and tightening her chest until she was certain she was going to suffocate. Her vision had started to blur with tears when a gentle touch on her hand drew her attention suddenly. She flinched at the unexpected touch but in a moment her hand turned underneath his and gripped it as if it was the only thing keeping her head above water in the raging sea of panic.

Cora looked up at Tristan, her misty green eyes red-rimmed, tired and bloodshot, and searched his blue-green gaze. It had been so long since they had been together... She wasn't the same girl he had known anymore. Would he still be so concerned for her after he found out the things she had done? He wanted to know where she had gone just now, but could she really tell him? Her jumbled thoughts were momentarily derailed by the return of the waitress with their waters, though Cora ignored the new beverage for the moment.

"I'm not the Dark Lady anymore." She blurted out the sentence seemingly out of the blue before she could think of a more coherent way to articulate what she wanted to say to her friend. Cora winced and tried to explain herself, her voice soft and pained. "I don't... the Dark Lord... there was a- a compulsion... some sort of magic or-or-or legillimency or something h-he put in my head t-to make me... make m-me what I was..." God, she hoped he understood her rambling. But she couldn't stop now to explain better or she would never get all of it out.

"Twi-twisted my... my everything... m-memories, emotions, ev-even my thoughts... until I was n-nothing but what he w-wanted. A weapon. H-his faithful p-p-pet..." She let out a pitiful, quiet sob and tried to stifle it in the back of her free hand as her eyes filled with tears. Cora looked up at Tristan, her expression showcasing just how lost, alone, and vulnerable she felt as she whispered, "... I broke it. I br-broke what h-he did to me and it's... it's awful..."
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by: Tristan Viridian
Her eyes held something different in them. Something beyond The Dark Lady, beyond Coraline...she was broken. Bloodshot grey-green orbs met his with an unfathomable sorrow and his heart wrenched. Tristan gulped and gave her hand a gentle squeeze. His hand never left hers but he did utter a polite thanks to the waitress who dropped off their requested beverages at the table. It wasn't until she disappeared again that he let his body relax, hoping that would help her in turn.

Tristan's eyes narrowed in concern as he let her say her piece; He took in her words with a quiet nod and didn't break his gaze upon her, even if she chose to look away. Her stuttered speech, her trembling, her meek demeanor... this was all foreign territory. "I see..." He said. "If it was anything I said...I'm sorry, I didn't mean to."

As it was clear she was going to start crying, he found himself getting up from his seat, sliding into the booth next to her if he let her, and he draped an arm over her shoulders for comfort. Only if it was welcome, of course. If she wanted him to move or leave, he would reluctantly abide her wishes. He sat there beside her and let the silence settle for a beat, before fetching his billfold from his coat pocket. He set down a couple of notes for the drinks, covering both of them and left a fairly hefty tip for the waitress and bartender before looking over at her with an idea.

“This might be a long shot, but would you care to join me for a stroll? Might help to get some fresh air, in the city, outside of this stuffy little place.” It wasn’t an insult to the bar, it was just getting busier as they sat here and given the delicate nature of their little meeting, he figured she’d prefer something a little freer. “Don’t worry, I won’t be too devastated or anything if you want me to just up and leave.” He offered her a small smile, dipping his head low to find her eyes again.
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by: Coraline Larson
'He's not saying anything... he's going to leave and he probably should too. Look at the way he's looking at you; he's disgusted. You're weak and he can't stand the sight of you...'

Anxiety and the lingering tide of the barely-avoided panic attack drove her thoughts into a dark spiral of self-deprecation and disgust as the raven-haired woman watched her friend's reaction. His eyes narrowed at her when she finished speaking and she couldn't stand to keep eye contact with him any longer, looking down into her untouched glass of water in shame. Whatever he said in response to her jumbled explanation was lost in the diatribe her mind had spiraled into as her anxiety rose again. Maybe he was telling her he was leaving. She wouldn't have blamed him if that was the case. Cora didn't know what she had expected from her estranged friend but when he stood up and moved she fully expected him to head for the door to leave.

Instead, he slid back into the booth with her and... hugged her? His arm came around her slender shoulders in a gentle gesture of comfort, drawing a quiet sob of relief from the trembling witch. Cora turned slightly into his hug and tentatively wrapped her arm around his middle in return, desperate for any sort of comfort and reassurance she could find. The silence that settled between them was almost more soothing than anything he could have said to her and helped Cora focus and breathe through the last vestiges of the panic attack. When Tristan moved to grab something from his pocket and paid for their drinks she assumed their reunion was over and he would leave, but she was surprised by her old friend once again when he asked her to go for a walk with him to get some fresh air.

Cora's lips twitched upward at the corners in what might have been a smile if one didn't look too closely at it. He wasn't just leaving her after her embarrassing outburst? In fact, it seemed quite the opposite. Merlin's beard... The gentle little smile he gave her was still just the same Tristan that she remembered from their school days: always there when she needed him and right there with comfort and companionship. She wiped her eyes briefly and looked up at him again, a tentative smile blooming on her face.

"It's been twenty years since I've seen you, I don't want you to leave already," Cora answered him softly. "A walk sounds like a good idea. As long as you don't make me run after you with my little pixie stature, that is," she tried to tease him, referencing the nickname he used to call her when they were young. She had been so small and delicate, and with her penchant for yelling in Gaelic when she lost her temper.... pixie wasn't too inappropriate of a moniker. The memory broadened her smile a little as she waited for him to get up first so they could leave.
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by: Tristan Viridian
He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled a small, blue kerchief, offering it to Cora to wipe her tears. He would have done that for her, but Tristan didn't want to overstep his bounds--since he was already tiptoeing that borderline by being this close...

"Pixie!" His eyes lit up and he just laughed, "I'm sure you'll keep up just fine, I won't be walking too fast."

The night after the ambush left him with a pain in his shoulder that trailed down to his legs. He hadn't had much time to exercise or stretch to get some physical therapy in but he figured a walk would be fine. "Or you can always hop on my back and I'd carry you like we did at school. Just like old times, right?" He distinctly remembered some bully from their transfiguration class stole their wands (which were later found hanging above a broken stall in a bathroom) and changed her shoes into a couple of slimy lizards so she couldn't wear them anymore and they had a long walk in the rain to get back to her dorm. Tristan, of course, played the hero and let carried her all the way across campus in the rain, barefooted, too. His own stature had changed since they graduated--he wasn't the lanky teenager from their school days, but a muscular-built ex-soldier. The suits didn't do much to showcase that form, but he was a lot stronger than before.

He looked down to her with a wink, and slid out of the booth, fastening the buttons on his suit just before he held out his hand to assist her. If she took it, he squeezed her hand for reassurance and even let her take the lead, putting his hand on the middle of her back for stability and guidance. He looked back with a polite wave at Seamus and the waitress before opening the door for Cora, where they were welcomed by the cool breeze of the summer night.
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by: Coraline Larson
Cora accepted the handkerchief he offered, feeling more than a little embarrassed that she had shed even the few tears she had in front of him, and delicately dabbed the moisture from her grey-green eyes before handing him the blue cloth back. The jovial ring of his laughter drew her gaze back up to his face as he assured her he would take a slow pace for her. A smile softened her expression as she took a pull of her until-now-untouched water and nearly choked when he teased her about their 'old times' at school. "You right arse! I nearly choked!" she coughed lightly to clear her throat, a glimpse of her normal self peeking out in the playful scolding she gave him before taking another, more careful sip of water.

It took her a moment to recall the occasion Tristan was referring to but once she did Cora chuckled softly as well. "That bloody git, what was his name.... oh, Terrence Bentley! He used to tease me something awful," she added, her nose crinkling in distaste. "Wasn't that the time he pushed me in the lake and transfigured my shoes into.... lizards, wasn't it? Ugh, that cruel little twit...." Cora finished with a scoff, thinking about the incident and the bully in question. Bentley had been one of the bullies that had bedeviled her for, of all things, being adopted, and had frequently cornered her after their Transfiguration classes. Tristan had never stood for his friend being bullied and had often ended up as much a victim for his chivalrous streak as well, but together the two of them had always made the best of it. After all, they had each other.

Cora smiled as she followed Tristan out of the booth, taking his offered hand without even thinking about it as she stood up. Her head still felt slightly foggy in the aftermath of the panic attack and flashback so the petite woman took a moment to steady herself before heading toward the exit. As much as she didn't want to admit it, she was grateful for Tristan's steadying hand on her back while she navigated through the small crowd of patrons that had cropped up while they had caught up. The gentle gesture made her smile again as she remembered the nickname she had given him back in their school days for his penchant for such chivalrous behavior.

"Mo ridire galánta..." Cora breathed the Gaelic phrase with a soft giggle once they were outside on the much quieter sidewalk. She turned to smile at Tristan, looking more like the young girl he had known in the past than the hardened assassin he had last seen, and repeated herself. "Mo ridire galánta. 'My gallant knight'. I used to call you that when we were kids... I remember now," Cora added as they started off down the street.
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