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by: Citlali Separa
“The body may have been the same but it was not the spirit Matt is asking you to save,” she said simply, “That is the problem I am discovering with this world. Despite all the magic and strange things that happen around you… Muggles, magic users, shifters. You all only accept what you can see. Now, turi, I tell you again with nothing but honesty. That woman you are saving did none of those things.”

Citlali glanced at the aggression on Matt’s face and swiftly stepped between them, her back to Matt so she was in Orion’s face. “Turi. It means brother in my language. You take the form of my people through magic. It is a difficult magic to learn and a harder skill to master. For that my people believe you are to be honored as no different from us.”

She positioned herself, not as predator but as buffer between a protective male and his mate and Orion, the hostile outside force. She was sure the boy wasn’t even aware of the danger he was putting himself in. “You clearly believe Matt’s honesty has been compromised. But will you trust me? I have no reason to lie to or for any of you. I do as the spirits tell me. They tell me these people are good. Just as you are. Please, turi, help her,” she pled.
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by: Orion Burgess
"I-I don't even know you..."

The boy fumbled, making Henrí look up from his work due to the growl it elicited from Matt. He eventually caved to Citlali's reason. Almost everyone did, Henrí rationalized. The healer knelt on Cora's other side as began working with quick and efficient hands, doing three times the work with a wand that Henrí had been able to do with his knife and hands. Before long, Orion was sealing the surgical wound and waking Cora so she could take the pain medications necessary.

"Here. Bone mend potion, my own brew that works faster than skelegro, so you won't re-break. And pain killers, again my own brew. They won't knock you out...draught of peace, and some ginger candy...Helps the stomach settle all the potions."

The last sentence came with a small flash of a smile. Orion wanted out of here as soon as possible, but if he was going to help, he was going to help, dammit.
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by: Coraline Larson

An unexpected warmth was spreading through her body suddenly, bringing with it a feeling of safety and coziness. In the abstract purgatory of unconsciousness, the feeling was almost like floating in a warm, soothing bath. But wait... sounds were beginning to filter back into the numb oblivion of her mind now. What was happening?

Cora's eyes blinked open with a breathless whine as she regained consciousness and the pain of her injuries crashed violently over her. She groaned and tried to curl up against the agony in her chest and torso but several sets of hands kept her still. Tears in her eyes made it difficult to see the people the hands were attached to but all three appeared to be male; who was here with her now? She remembered, vaguely, the male shifter who accompanied the priestess and Matt was here too, but who was... No. No, that wasn't possible. He wouldn't be here. Couldn't be who she thought it was, that didn't make sense.

Cora obediently took the potions the young man explained, the stiffness in her body relaxing as the injuries began to heal and the pain was dialed back dramatically. The witch took a shuddering breath and tried to focus on the healer who had helped the armored shifter treat her wounds, growing more nervous as the certainty of his identity grew in her mind.

"... h-how... why?" She couldn't seem to find words to speak at first. With a slight shake of her head Cora tried again, her voice barely a whisper and sounding so very lost and confused. "How are you here? Why would you help me?"
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by: Matthew Cox
Matt stroked Cora's cheek tenderly and leaned over her to kiss her, upside down.

"Because I asked him to," he whispered.

Orion reached out to push Matt back, but a tanned hand and a black armors hand with silver claw tips reached from either side to arrest his motion. Matt slowly looked up with his off centered and unseeing gaze, expression dark. The mutant said nothing, but Orion didn't recognize that look from the man he once knew.
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by: Citlali Separa
Citlali hovered behind the group, looking down at the woman’s prone figure. Po’s lacings were still holding the cracks together. If she had more energy Citlali would have placed a seal on them too. At least until the girl had healed from her physical injuries. Whatever spirit lingered in her seemed to enjoy the host’s suffering as much as inflicting it on outsiders. That would be a problem. Most parasites strived to keep their hosts alive but if this one was so powerful it could live autonomously then that complicated matters. This pair… Their spirits would be difficult to help and heal.

Snapping out of the spirit world, her dark eyes settled on Henrí. “Turi. It takes a very brave man to come between a protective Garou and their mate. Or, at least, a foolish one. Allow them a moment. Her life was in danger. He needs the comfort as much as she does,” Citlali said softly. She nodded to Henrí signalling for the elder man to release the young cat.

“Thank you Orion. I understand this may have been difficult especially for a stranger to ask. You have a good spirit. I hope that you find what will heal those small fragments of pain you hold onto. You, of course, have my assistance should you ever wish for it.”
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by: Coraline Larson
Matt's lips brushed against Cora's tenderly, bringing a brief moment of peace to the witch. The familiar comfort of his touch did more to calm her than all the potions she had been given, especially amidst a group of strangers and people she expected to harm her. When Orion reached toward them she flinched in anticipation of a blow that never landed, realizing the two shifters had stopped the young man. After Citlali had spoken Cora turned her attention to Orion as well.

"...I know I... I have no right to your help," she started softly, "...but thank you for giving it..."

Cora looked up at the younger man earnestly. The Dark Lady's memories of threatening the boy during their last encounter surfaced in her mind, bringing with them the emotions of the psychotic assassin too. Pure gleeful malevolence at the fear in the boy as her knife just barely pricked the delicate skin of his throat. Cora shivered and tried to push the thoughts away, desperate tears of guilt and shame forming in her misty green eyes as she looked at Orion.
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by: Orion Burgess
This was by no means the Dark Lady he had met. It appeared that Matt and the woman were right.

"I...you're welcome. May I use your potion nook and supplies? I can make some medicines that will support your breathing for the next few days. And if you tell me how you got into this situation, I might be able to help with that, too..."

The offer of help was an outrush now that he wasn't reluctant anymore. Matt was still spooking him with the still, tense, almost angry vibes.
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by: Citlali Separa
Citlali couldn’t stop the snarl. That thing still seeped through the cage. If it wouldn’t put the witch in danger the Nagual would look to sealing that cruelty away too. But the way the creature’s face split, the memory was not something the witch needed right now.


The word didn’t seem to be directed towards anyone in the room despite being spoken out loud. Citlali’s eyes were unfocused but burning a hateful hole into whatever she was looking at, her lip curled back to bare her teeth in a snarl. Her burning eyes focused on the creature in a final warning. There was very little she could do with her weakened and still healing body. Po’s cage was strong enough to hold most of the creature while the witch healed.

Not good enough. Help. Po had whispered that to her. She could still hear it even though the spirit was nowhere to be found, hopefully recovering somewhere. She clenched her fist in frustration then looked down confused by the stickiness there. Right… She had bitten herself in her fit. Most of it had healed but still a few drops.

Her wild eyes focused on the woman. She couldn’t risk another trip to the other side right now but Citlali was here. She swooped suddenly, kneeling by the witch’s side. “One more moment of your trust,” she breathed before moving to her work. In her own blood she drew the symbol over the witch’s heart.

“Oc. Let it help you understand peace and truth. Your mind will be at ease should you accept this. It is not permanent but it will give you some time.”

Citlali glared up at the looming cracks, “It is all I can offer against it. I apologize for that.”
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by: Coraline Larson
"Of c-course you may... Please.. please use... wh-whatever you need," she answered with difficulty, breathing and speaking still labored. "M-my stores are... ju-just through the ki-... kitchen, b-by the dining room..."

She wanted to tell him he didn't have to help her more, let him know he didn't have to stay somewhere he clearly didn't want to be, but she simply just didn't have the strength to, her body going limp in Matt's lap. It was kind of him to help her at all, but Cora couldn't imagine Orion would want to be around her for longer than necessary, especially after her arrest and escape. When the younger man suggested she tell him how she got this bad off, however, Cora stiffened and shivered with fear.

Cora opened her eyes fearfully when Citlali snarled and lunged at her, a quiet whimper sighing out of her. The witch trembled at the expression on the other woman's face and shrank weakly back against Matt's lap, afraid. Cora flinched instinctively when Citlali reached toward her but didn't stop the shifter from drawing the strange symbol on her chest, although she did realize she was now naked from the waist up.

When Citlali was finished Cora struggled to bring her arms up to cover herself, her limbs feeling heavy and leaden, and looked up in confusion at the woman. What she had done had indeed helped ease the fear and uncertainty in her mind, but what was she talking about? Time against what?

"Please... I d-don't under-... understand... pl-please explain?"
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by: Matthew Cox
"She was challenging," Matt answered for her. Cora's discomfort at her state of disrobe had him flipping their states: Matt took off the tunic of his armor and draped it over her form. She was covered, his scars were exposed.

He watched Orion slink off quickly to begin brewing potions, but he kept his face down, looking at Cora. She needed so much comfort right now...he wanted to hold her in his arms and surround her with his strength, but she was so fragile...

"I'm here, love, and I'm not going to let anyone hurt you. I promise. Not even Sunshine..."
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by: Citlali Separa
“Oc. If you choose to accept the mark it will keep your mind quieter. Peaceful. Make it harder to hear whatever it keeps trying to whisper to you,” she explained quietly, “Yes, I can see it. That is my job. Whatever you are struggling with I will not judge. I am a priestess meant to help spirits. Whether they are still technically living or not. While I understand that most likely frightens everyone in this room beyond Henrí and myself, I hope that you understand I do not mean anything I say with disrespect or malice. Please accept the seal. It will make your healing easier.”

Citlali stopped thoughtfully then, “I do not mind answering whatever questions I may have caused over our interaction.”
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by: Coraline Larson
'SHE was challenging...'

Matt's words sent a ripple of emotions through her, none of them good. The Dark Lady was still here? No... no no no... She had broken the magic, that wasn't possible! How could she still be here?! All the fighting... all the suffering...

It was all for nothing.

That realization hit Cora like a slap in the face, despair and sorrow settling over her like a smothering blanket. She shook her head weakly in Matt's lap and started to cry again, all thoughts of listening to Citlali's explanation forgotten in the face of her own failure and what it meant, not only for her but for Matt.

Oh god... Matt wasn't safe with her if the Dark Lady was still here. He had to leave, he had to leave now! Cora looked up at Matt through her tears and sobbed in desperation.

"N-no... not safe..." Cora trembled and tried to push herself away from Matt. "If s-she's st-still here... not sa-safe for you! Pl-please... please I don't wa-want to... I don't want to hurt anyone anymore! PLEASE!" she begged, sobbing and breathless once more, her desperate pleas ringing in the warehouse.
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by: Citlali Separa
Citlali frowned at the witch. Her palm flattened over the woman's heart. "Girl breathe. That is it not going to get out any time in the near future. Whatever you did nearly eradicated it. It is a shell creature at best. There will still need to be more work done but for now Po reinforced your work so you can have some peace," she explained softly.
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by: Coraline Larson
Her head whipped weakly back and forth in despair, tears streaming freely down her pale cheeks. Cora barely heard the words Matt and Citlali spoke; they didn't mean anything. Shell or not, if she was still there Matt wasn't safe. None of them were.

"She's st-still there! N-Not safe... please! Don't... can't l-let her hu-hurt... hurt anyone... Don't w-wanna hurt anymore..." the witch continued to sob.
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