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[[Continued from Somnium]]

Thalia showered after she'd spoken with Calvin, and if it didn't improve her mood it at least left her feeling less groggy. She scribbled a note for Aylin -- Meeting a friend at Filevsky, back soon, T -- and then forced herself out the door before she changed her mind, heading for the metro-station. She played music the whole journey, sat looking down at her lap, avoiding eye-contact and conversation. Her apartment was near Filevsky -- at Bazhenov Square, to be precise -- so the journey didn't require that she pay attention. Instead she studied her nails, stripped of paint for the first time in forever. Like someone else's hands.

At the park, she wandered for a while before finally picking a spot by the curling river. She could hear the shouts and laughter of kids nearby, but couldn't see them. Trees lined the bank on the opposite edge of the wide river, bright with Spring growth. A few sunbathers dotted the distance, but there was no one close. For a while the isolation almost numbed her.

She stared at blankly across the water.

Her hair was still damp, pulled up and wound into a knot on her head. Loose tendrils frizzed about her sombre face, stirring like a dandelion in the wind. She had nothing of her own at Aylin's, so had borrowed clothes; cropped jeans and a loose, flowery blouse. A pair of sandals, too, though they pinched; they lay in the grass beside her, her bare toes digging into the grass. It was cool and dewy against the soles of her feet.

The sun was cold but bright, sparkling bright off the river. The comparison only amplified her sense of the light within. It was there all the time now, hovering. Almost beautiful, if she didn't fear it so. Bottling up the emotions, she rested her forehead on her knees, and waited. She'd messaged Calvin where she was; the wallet lay in the pile with her shoes.
"Rivers are veins of the earth through which the lifeblood returns to the heart."
[Image: thal-banner-scaled.jpg]
 | Sothis Lethe Alethea | Miraseia |
Calvin headed to the park - a nice facsimile of the forests outside of Moscow that it tried to emulate. The air smelled of new spring. The scent of fresh grass and trees was calming in itself. People nearby sat watching different animals awake from winter. Others sunbathed or watched their children play. The fear that had once put a stench in the air was muted here. It seemed that some people had moved on.

Calvin walked, trying hard not to wander. It was easy to do here, but he had a purpose. Thalia was waiting. Calvin wasn't on duty, so in lieu of his uniform, he was wearing a pair of blue jeans and a red Wisconsin Badgers Hockey t-shirt. Calvin pulled out his wallet and double checked the location Thalia had given him.

Calvin saw her soon. Thalia had isolated herself from others and was sitting facing the river, although her head was buried in her knees. A pile with a pair of sandals and her own wallet sat next to her. He posture showed something was wrong and her scent did as well. There was fear there, almost hidden by the scent of the soap she had used in the shower.

Calvin approached, not trying to be sneaky. He didn't want to scare Thalia. He spoke softly as to not disturb her. "Hi Thalia,"
he said, giving an encouraging smile. "Can I sit here?"
Thalia lifted her head at the soft sound of her own name. Light patched her vision after the darkness of closed eyes, until it cleared enough to see his face. He wore a kind smile; one she tried to return, but the lift of her lips felt wooden. She knew she probably looked a state; pale faced, swollen eyed. But at least she was a clean state. That was an improvement over a few hours ago. "Hi. Sure"
She absently pat the grass, returning her gaze to the water. Discomfort tightened her chest, because he was bound to ask her what was wrong; he was a nice guy, that's what they did, and she was a shadow of the person he'd met at the market; she knew that. But there was no answer she could offer a stranger. Not without ripping apart at the seams, revealing all the crazy. She was determined to hold it together. Cleared her throat a little. "So was there something I can help with?"
"Rivers are veins of the earth through which the lifeblood returns to the heart."
[Image: thal-banner-scaled.jpg]
 | Sothis Lethe Alethea | Miraseia |
Calvin smiled and sat down. Something was definitely wrong. Nimeda had been right. For a few moments he looked over the river. He contemplated how to start.

"It's not how you can help me. It's how I can help you,"
he said. "And before I tell you that, there's something you need to know and understand."
he sighed.

"The world recently discovered that there are people with extraordinary abilities. Magic is just one of those. My abilities are quite different. You see, my abilities are connected to that of wolves. I have better eye sight, a greater sense of smell, and believe it or not, my natural eye color is golden. One of my abilities though is to enter a world of dreams. As far as I can tell, it's different than normal dreams. If you get hurt there, you get hurt here, and if you die there...well...yeah."

He paused, and faced her. "I know it all sounds crazy, but it's true nonetheless. That dream world was where I met Nimeda."
Another pause. That was what he had first called Thalia when they had met. "She looks just like you, but besides the fact that you exist knows little about you. It's quite different because anyone else I've met who can go into the dream remembers themselves clearly. You are connected to her though. She knows you haven't been sleeping much lately."

Calvin turned his gaze back to the river. "She knows something is wrong, and so asked me to come see if I could help. That's why I'm here."
He faced her again. "What's wrong Thalia."
She was content with the quiet; let the sound of the water take the edge from her nerves, waiting for the breeze to lift her consciousness away. At first Thalia continued to stare out across the river as he spoke, but her attention soon hooked on the honesty in his words. Her gaze turned slowly to watch his face. Rapt. Large grey eyes drank in the strangeness of his story, and it was not disbelief that rose in her chest, but a kind of wonder. For a moment, at least; then she thought of her sketches, the many wolves, a grave in the woods, and a creature. Her fingers brushed her throat, then lower; an absent rake of three fingers. She shivered and folded her hands back in her lap.

"It does sound crazy,"
she murmured as he spoke. And yet he was not the only one to have called her that name. A face flashed through her mind, and she looked away, troubled; unwilling to accept the connections. But she could no longer ignore them, either. She knows you haven't been sleeping. Those words chilled her, and she realised she didn't know how to process it; an added layer of inexplicable to burden her already buckling shoulders. Even her confusion retreated. Thalia's knees drew a little closer to her chest, like she might fold up and disappear, but the earnest of his kindness unravelled her.

If he hadn't been honest with his own secrets, maybe she could have walled him out; braved a stoic face, and insisted that nothing was wrong. Or at least nothing fit so share with a stranger. But the catharsis of his disclosure lingered, and the openness touched something soft in her.

Tears pricked her eyes, and she pressed her head to her knees again when they began to roll down her cheeks. The quiet sobbing only lasted a few moments before she gathered herself; she pressed her hands to her face, ashamed and apologetic. "Someone broke into my apartment,"
she said, scouring her cheeks with her palms. She found she couldn't look at him. Concentrated instead on the water. "That's how it started again. The light is there all the time now."
Admitting it made it more real; it pulsed and shifted within, just like the eddying flow of the river. "I registered this morning."
Her voice lowered, a pained whisper. "Calvin, I am so scared."
"Rivers are veins of the earth through which the lifeblood returns to the heart."
[Image: thal-banner-scaled.jpg]
 | Sothis Lethe Alethea | Miraseia |
Thalia closed in on herself. She was afraid - very afraid. A break in, yes, but that wasn't all. There was more to it than that. She had registered. It meant that Thalia was was of those with magical powers, and her fear had triggered it.

Calvin remembered his own pain. The pain that still sometimes came back to him. It had always been difficult to deal with, and it still was. Calvin sat in relative silence for a moment, processing and thinking.

"That has to be scary."
He said quietly. "It's okay to be scared. I want to help you."
he said offering an encouraging smile. "Just tell me how."
In the few moments of silence, Thalia fought to reign herself in. She was embarrassed to have burdened her problems on a relative stranger, even one who'd sought her out precisely in order to help her. The details of how he'd known... well, those things she still skirted around carefully, reluctant to give them her full attention. Her tears dried on her face. The lapping water eased the thorny knots in her mind, or at least made them easier to ignore.

"Help me? I wish I knew."
Her lips twitched into a bitter smile, but her gaze still drifted out across the river. "Aylin says the government will fix us. Or help us to be safe, at least. She's a psychologist at the Guardian - I ought to trust her, if anyone, but she doesn't know what it can do."

He could have reacted worse. At least he didn't run. But then, if he communed with wolves, perhaps he had a different scale for what constituted as ordinary. How little the world suddenly made sense!

"It's dangerous. I'm dangerous. I don't even know what it is. Let alone how to control it."
"Rivers are veins of the earth through which the lifeblood returns to the heart."
[Image: thal-banner-scaled.jpg]
 | Sothis Lethe Alethea | Miraseia |
Emily didn't stay at Cruz's long. Rachel stayed awhile though. Emily grimaced and then smiled. Cruz was a good guy even though he needed to work on his hosting skills, but it still frightened her somewhat that Cruz would hurt her little sister. She kept thinking though that she had to trust Rachel to make her own choices and live with the consequences.

Today she decided to take a run though the park to relax a bit. Her mind was still on the gala and with things happening in Africa, she once again felt that pull that she didn't understand.

Emily was dressed in black exercise pants and long sleeved shirt. The park was at least relatively calm as compared to the rest of the city. The breeze felt nice as she ran and the sent of blooming trees was calming. As she ran, she watched the people around her gauging their reactions.

A couple caught her eye, a man sat next to a woman, her head buried in her knees. The woman lifted her head and spoke to the man, her face looking worried. The protective nature of Emily made her move over that way as she held her magic just in case.

"Are you bothering her?"
Emily asked a little sternly. "Miss, is this man bothering you?"

The man looked at her, and Emily thought by the look in his eyes that it wasn't likely that he did mean her harm, but Emily had to make sure.

"No ma'am,"
the man said politely and he faced his companion. Emily waited for a response.
She hadn't been paying attention to their surroundings, and a new voice startled her. The light flooded in warm and sweet, and Thalia made a small sound of dismay as control frayed away. Her feet scrambled backwards in the grass, as though it was something she could physically escape from, though she only shuffled back a few futile inches before the uselessness stilled her. Fear rose like bile. Her heart beat shrilly in her chest, eyes wide. She glanced at Calvin, helpless. Then squeezed her eyes shut, counting breaths until the feeling went away.

"No. No, of course not. He's a friend."
Or as good as, now that they both knew the other's secret. The words pushed out in a rush, her tongue in knots. Thalia pressed her hands over her face, until the light quenched. Nothing had happened, this time. Her shoulders drooped as the tension eased, and her hands fell back in her lap. She blinked in the sunlight. "Sorry."
"Rivers are veins of the earth through which the lifeblood returns to the heart."
[Image: thal-banner-scaled.jpg]
 | Sothis Lethe Alethea | Miraseia |
((Ooc: Just double checking - did she actually embrace the power there - i.e. will Emily see the glow?))

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