Animus Lost

Manners Forgot

Quinlan decided to go talk to Arkh. Really, it was the Scary Horse part of her that wanted to hang out with him. She knew that, but no one seemed to want to differentiate. According to her favorite friends, she was just Quinlan-plus-different-but-still-Quinlan. It made explaining herself difficult sometimes, but luckily they didn’t often ask her to.

Some vague part of her brain thought to knock on the door, but by the time she realized why, she was already face-to-face with the startled Orc she was looking for.

“Hi!” she walked excitedly across the room while Arkh hastily set a glass container and dropper down on the table. Before she consulted the Fey portion of her sensibilities, Quinlan greeted Arkh as she often did. She placed her forehead on his chest and shoved him.

Arkh wasn’t exactly prepared for her affection, and his arms flailed wildly for something to hold onto while he fell backward with a yelp of surprise. Quinlan followed him to the floor and was giggling so much that she didn’t notice Arkh’s irritable expression or his weak attempts at detangling himself from her.

“What… What?” he started, frustrated, then lapsed into silence, impatiently waiting for Quinlan to explain herself.

She didn’t. “What are you doing, Light Rider? You never chat with the mercenaries anymore.”

Arkh finally gave up on trying to get up, and grudgingly allowed Quinlan to cuddle him on the floor. With a huff, he answered her question, “I was with Goldie a moment ago, you just missed her. Wait, what’s a Light Rider?”

“Oh I love Goldie. How is she? She didn’t get hurt, did she? Oh I bet she’s fine.” Quinlan was rambling. She’d pause for a moment, but just as Arkh took a breath to answer one of her questions, she was off again. “When was the last time you bathed? You smell awesome. Have you figured out Goldie’s bear thing? What are you doing this evening? Do you want to have dinner together? I always liked eating with you, but you never eat with the group anymore. It’s not like they hate you for being a Blood mage. Even Sky Goat, and he really has every reason to hate you. Goldie will get over it. How have you been sleeping? I don’t really sleep with you anymore because I like to sleep with Sky Goat and you’re so little I think I’d get cold…”

His fidgeting was fruitless, she just moved with him or flat out ignored his feeble attempts to shift away from her. “What’s that in that jar? Can you show me some Blood Magic?”

“No.”

Arkh took advantage of Quinlan’s surprise and unraveled his limbs from hers. He stood quickly and pretended to focus on his work-table. He hunched his shoulders away from her, fully aware of the fact that he was pouting like a child.

“Well, since I guess this got serious, I have to ask you something.” Quinlan wrapped her hands around Arkh’s torso and rested her cheek gently on his back, between his shoulderblades. “What do you know about Halton?”

Arkh grew still, then jerked, trying to twist around to face her, but she seemed to have expected it; she held him still and spoke to him softly. “I’m not accusing you of anything, I just need to know what you know.”

She didn’t let him go until he relaxed. She finally gave him a little space, but watched him through her thickly lashed, clear blue eyes. After a moment Arkh sighed and answered her, “Only what Nameless has told me. I haven’t exactly had time to visit any libraries since I’ve met him.”

Relaxing a bit, Quinlan returned to his side and picked up one of the glass containers. “Seriously, though, what is this?”

Wide eyed, Arkh reached out to retrieve the expensive glass beaker from her grip. He rearranged his things for the sole reason of giving himself time to adjust to her rapid topic-changes. She was as bad as Goldie, except more difficult to distract. Finally, he felt like he could answer her with an acceptably friendly tone of voice, “It’s actually poison from Goldie. I’m working on an antidote in case anyone is accidentally bitten or otherwise infected.”

As if right on cue, Goldie opened the door, already talking, “Hey, Blood Mage, did I leave my belt in here?” She walked in, smiling and waving at Quinlan, who returned her greeting in kind. “I think I might have taken it off in here while… THERE IT IS.” Goldie spotted the battered leather belt on the table among Arkh’s equipment, and shouldered her way between Arkh and Quinlan to reach for it.

Obviously, Quinlan had to do something about that, so she bit her. Hard. Goldie wasn’t wearing any armor at the time, and Quinlan’s broad, flat teeth sank deep into her bicep. Goldie was so surprised that she flailed her arm around in a useless panic, knocking over several of Arkh’s things, and immediately backed up a few steps. Arkh had his hands up in the air and gaped at Quinlan, speechless.

Tears welled up in Goldie’s eyes as she rubbed her bruised shoulder. “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?” She tried to talk louder than usual to cover the quivering sense of betrayal in her voice.

Quinlan was unphased. “You deserved it. Are you hungry? Let’s go get lunch.”

Still clearly hurt, Goldie couldn’t help but accept since she really was hungry. She nodded, and Quinlan put her arm around her shoulders.

“I’m in the mood for some delicious apples, and I bet you’re still craving fish, right?” Quinlan led Goldie out of the room, leaving Arkh standing open-mouthed and flustered, “Since the place we went to this morning didn’t have any and you had to settle for eggs? Gross. I asked around a bit and found out where we can go. Should we get the guys? Nah, let’s just have some lady time. I know you get this a lot, but I really love your eyes. HA I bet you thought I was going to say hair. But seriously…”

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