Addergoole
Prelude: Mea

Mea walked the halls in the dim light maintained through the night, humming softly to herself . Others in this situation might have crept stealthily, or slunk in shame, but not her. So she was coming home from Rozen's room in the dim pre-dawn hours, so what? She wanted people to know. She wanted Finn to know. Her best efforts to get his attention, to maybe inspire even a little bit of jealousy, had come to naught. Sleeping with the enemy, now, he couldn't help but notice. Her Keeper of two years prior had long been the archnemesis of her current crew.

He wasn't that bad, though, really. Certainly not the monster his reputation created. Being Kept by him hadn’t been the greatest experience of her life, but it wasn't the torturous ordeal some would expect. At least the sex was good; and plenty of it. Sure, she didn't have much - any, really - say over when, or how. Or occasionally with whom; she dimly recalled an evening of being passed around as a party favor, with Baram, Ardell, Ib, Shadrach, Meshach... she didn't remember who else. All in all, though, it had been a decent year.

She'd avoided Rozen the next year, as she became more attached to her new crew, but tonight she decided it was time to look him up again. It hadn't been the same, she thought, frowning and scuffing her feet as she walked. People said it was better under the bond; maybe that was it.

An obstacle in her path interrupted her reverie. That was odd; some sort of sculpture, it looked like. A man, frozen in ice. Not a bad-looking man, she thought, licking her lips as she circled it. A bit like that Asian beefcake in her Statistics class; actually, on closer inspection, very much like him, too much to be coincidence. Who would sculpt him? More to the point, who would make something like that here, in the hall, and leave it half-finished? The figure was distinctly visible in the center, but excess ice remained in jagged chunks and peaks jutting out from the main structure. She peered into the heart of the ice...

She gasped, shaking her head to clear it, and looked again. He had blinked! What kind of... oh, God. Oh, God.

“I'll get you out of there, Taro. Somehow...”

She needed heat. She could shape it, melt the ice, if only she had something hot to draw from... Well, Smitty always said she was the hottest thing around.

“Qorawiyay kwxe,” she began to chant, using her own body heat to fuel the spell. “Qorawiyay kwxe, qorawiyay kwxe” Cold, that was cold; and wet? She glanced down at her feet, standing in a quickly spreading puddle. That wouldn't do.

“Abatu yaku, abatu yaku.” That was better, the meltwater was being destroyed, but the thaw was slowing. She had to maintain both spells at once. Difficult, especially as the melt involved none of her better Words, but she might be able to do it. She had to be able to do it. “Qorawiyay kwxe abatu yaku, qorawiyay kwxe abatu yaku.” Time passed interminably while she chanted, shivering in the sudden cold.

Finally Taro burst free from the diminishing ice, muscles flexing impressively, then collapsed to the damp ground. She knelt beside him, watching his chest heave with each labored breath. "Taro? Taro, are you okay? Say something...” Healing, he needed healing. She'd never been very good at it, much to Dr. Caitrin's frustration, but she understood the principles. “J tlacatl, jasfe tlacatl a Taro cy'Akatil.”

He coughed, spitting up ice crystals. “Dragon,” he panted. “Regine.” He struggled to his feet, only to fall against the Director’s door, thumping his fist on – nearly through – the thick wood.

“Dragon?” She blinked, confused, and sat down heavily. Everything was so bright, suddenly, and she had such a headache! And she was so hungry. Right, from the magic. Much more magic than she was used to wielding. She couldn't think straight, she was too cold.

“Not here,” he muttered. “C’mon.” With exaggerated care, he lifted her to her feet, his fingers barely brushing her. “Can’t leave you here.” Stumbling like a drunk on Sunday morning, he headed for the stairwell.

She trudged after him, calling out, surprised to hear her own voice as only a whisper. “Hey! What happened? What dragon?”

“Monster,” he muttered. He paused at the stairs, waiting for her, his eyes travelling to her neck briefly, before he glanced away. “A monster took Emrys and that girl.”

“Oh... we should find Luke? Or Regine?” That was right, wasn't it? It was so hard to tell. Her own breath came heavily in the cold, her chest heaving in a way she knew was most distracting, had used to her advantage before. Now, though, it was just so hard to keep moving.

He frowned at her. “Regine,” he nodded. “But …” They were down the stairs, somehow, and he was leaning heavily against a suite door. “You first.”

“Me first?” She blinked again, uncertain. "What about me?"

He opened the door – it wasn’t her suite, she knew that much – and gave her a shove. “Go in,” he mumbled. “Eat. Rest. Be safe.”

That sounded good. Very good, actually. She acquiesced, stumbling into the suite.

From the doorway, she heard Taro’s voice, as if rather far away. “Feed her.” A pause, and then more softly, “Please?” The door closed behind her, leaving her looking at a pretty blonde girl with moth wings and silver antennae. Alisha. She and Mea had never really gotten along… and the girl was frowning softly at her.

“Is this your suite?” she asked, leaning against the wall.

“I live here,” she answered softly. “Sit down.” She gestured imperiously at the armchair. “What’s wrong with you?”

Mea sat heavily in the indicated chair. “Cold," she whispered. "So cold. Hungry. Tired.”

Alisha’s hand touched her wrist lightly, and then there was a blanket draped over her. “Stay awake for a minute, and I’ll get you some food.” She sounded gentler now, less prissy.

“Food,” she agreed, curling up in the blanket. She heard a few beeps from the kitchen, and then, a moment later, Alisha was bringing her a bowl of soup.

“Careful,” the girl murmured. “It’s hot. What were you Working, to wear yourself out?”

“I... Taro.” She sipped the soup carefully, frowning. “I think I saved his life.”

“Oh, well, that would explain it. Get some sleep. I’ll tell your crew you’re here when someone’s awake to let them in.”

She ate a bit more soup and slipped off into dreamless slumber.

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