Nilien took a bite of her food. Things seemed less tense than they had been yesterday, and now that she was wearing a uniform like everyone else, she did a better job of blending in. Maybe people would forget she was a Wild Rune soon.

She stopped with her fork halfway to her mouth for a second bite. Someone had poisoned her — or, at least, that’s what she’d been told. She’d gotten poisoned. They’d tried to kill her and failed. What was to stop them from trying again?

She leaned down to pet Ember between the ears. “Do you know how to check for poison?” she whispered into one of those big red ears.

Ember leaned into the petting and closed its eyes. Mmm. Nice petting. Are you worried someone will try to kill you?

“Well, of course.” She wrinkled her nose at the familiar.

Ember pried open one eye to look at her. You are here now. You have me.

“Yes. That’s why I’m asking you,” she hissed.

“Is he being cranky?” Lorque leaned over to peer at Ember. “Don’t like the stone floors?”

“Yes,” Nilien lied. Istore had just sat down and she didn’t want a lecture on how Weeds weren’t susceptible to poison or something equally dubious.

Blaming me, are we? Ember jumped up into her lap and glared at her.

“I’m sorry.” Nilien looked away, hoping her face wasn’t showing her embarrassment too clearly. “No,” she whispered to Lorque. “I just…”

Everyone was looking at her, or at least all three of Lorque’s friends, Lorque, River, and Ember — and, she noted with chagrin, Riva’s otter. She put her face in her hands. “I was poisoned,” she muttered quietly. “That’s how they tried to kill me.”

“That’s right!” Lorque shook her head. “That’s not silly, why are you hiding it? It’s clever. Once you’ve had a few magic classes, you might be able to do it yourself, but I can do it now. And tell your familiar it doesn’t have to be so prissy about everything. It’s okay.”

Ember turned its glare on Lorque, but Lorque seemed not to notice at all. “Thanks,” Nilien muttered. Augustin looked like he wanted to ask questions but couldn’t come up with anything that didn’t sound ghoulish.

“Of course,” Riva murmured, possibly having less qualms about such matters. “The book I read — that makes sense. It’s awful, of course, but it does make some sense.” Her smile almost looked apologetic.

“I’m glad it makes sense to someone,” Nilien muttered.

It makes perfect sense to me. Ember butted its head against her shoulder. You have me now.

Lorque stared at Nilien’s food for a moment. “No poison,” she announced quietly. “It’s perfectly safe. Well, except the beans, but that’s just because they always taste awful.”

4 thoughts on “3.2

  1. I’d like to have her ask Ember if he(?) knows how to do it, but the wording of the options seems to mean “Ask Ember if it knows how Lorque did it.”

    (Just noticed as I wrote that:
    Ask Ember
    Ask, Embla

    1. Familiars have no gender or sex, but you can call it ‘he’ if you want!

      *edit* I’m not sure how I could have made the wording clearer, with the character limitation, and I think “how Lorque did it” and “how it is done” are functionally equivalent. Sorry for any confusion, though!

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