Jaisa Bavie hadn’t come out of xer room yet, but it wasn’t anything unexpected. Xie’d not had the energy to leave xer bed for the past two weeks; missing and rescheduling xer appointments with the queen over and over.
But Distro didn’t mind. The poor thing had been through so much. She was surprised Jaisa had wanted to meet with her so soon. Xie’d only just arrived in Canis, after only Scara-knows-how-long stuck on Night Magic. Xie’d been in a right state, too. Barely able to speak; xie’d only just gotten enough information out for Distro to know to send help to the farms.
She still wasn’t sure exactly what had happened to the poor seces, or who exactly had held xer prisoner, but from what she understood it had been a powerful group with their eyes set on Ferraset. So, of course, she’d sent twice as much power to the Land of Night Magic’s government to help find and thwart the threat.
And word to Setani. Setani had always been better at understanding incoherent babbling about “summoning rituals” than she’d ever been. Though Distro was only half-sure she’d left to go help figure out what was happening. It was impossible to tell what that girl was doing most of the time and there was a very real chance she’d just headed back to Heck’ne again.
At least Cran had listened and sent his valenor to help protect the waters.
‘Do you want me to do the frown?’
Distro snorted with surprise and turned back to the young felinic. She’d forgotten she was having her portrait painted. ‘If you like, Penel. As long as I look gay.’
‘You always look gay, your majesty,’ said Penel. ‘You exude it like an aura. I admit I’m jealous. How do you do it?’
‘Years of practice,’ Distro felt herself grinning. ‘But perhaps I can give you some pointers?’
‘Perhaps,’ Penel’s eyes flashed impishly as she washed the paint from her brush. ‘Anyway, seeing as you’ve moved around, now seems like a good time to take a break with this. I’ll go get some food and then we can continue?’
‘No. I think I’ve had enough for today,’ Distro replied. ‘I’ve got a few things I need to do.’
‘Serious things that make you frown?’ Penel asked, giving a playful shake of her head and click of her tongue. ‘Tsk, tsk. That’s not very swag of you.’
‘Don’t tell me what’s swag!’ Distro retorted. ‘I’ve been swag for over two thousand years!’
‘You’ve been a lot of things for over two thousand years,’ the girl teased as she scooped her things into her bag. ‘But swag is not one of them! Should I come back tomorrow, or….’
The queen twitched an ear as Penel’s gaze shifted and she fell silent. There was a raspy whimper and Distro turned to see a wide-eyed seces shivering in the doorway.
‘Good evening, Jaisa,’ Distro greeted gently. ‘I’m glad you’re awake. Are you alright? Do you want to sit down?’
Jaisa’s eyes followed Distro’s hand as she motioned to the armchair beside her own, but the seces just stood in place.
Penel shifted from foot-to-foot for a moment, biting her bottom lip, before letting out a breath and holding out her own hand. ‘It’s alright, Distro’s cool. You can relax.’
‘No,’ Jaisa finally whispered. ‘No, I can’t relax. They’re still out there.’
‘You’re safe here, Jaisa,’ said Distro. ‘I promise. Come sit down…. Penel, could you please get Coi’Lili?’
‘Oh, yeah, sure,’ Penel adjusted her heavy bag on her shoulder and slipped out of the room past Jaisa.
Distro figured it wouldn’t take long for the scribe to show up. He was as quick on his feet as he was with his hands. It would be good to have him in the room, and not just to write down anything important Jaisa said— He was a comforting force. Avio always were.
‘Jaisa, come sit down,’ Distro repeated.
Jaisa’s gills lifted and xie let out a cry as xer freckles flashed brightly with distress. ‘No— No I can’t!’
‘I have to— They’re out there! I have to stop them and— And I—’
‘—You’ve done enough,’ Distro interrupted. ‘You don’t need to worry anymore. I’ve sent my guards to Night Magic to stop whatever’s going on.’
‘It would take a thousand guards to stop them!’
‘Well, good thing I sent two thousand, then,’ Distro stated, patting the chair next to her. ‘Two thousand and fifty-three, to be exact. Plus, I told a few friends who are sending their own support. Have you heard of Cran?’
‘The— The valenor king?’ Jaisa blinked, xer shoulders dropping as xie finally gave in and stepped towards Distro. ‘Yeah. He— He helps fund the farm.’
‘Yes. He…. He buys a lot of medicine. Healing weeds, mostly. For infection.’
‘I see. He would, wouldn’t he? With all the tussles his people seem to get in. I’m not surprised,’ Distro helped Jaisa into xer seat as the door opened again. ‘Ah, Coi’Lili, perfect timing.’
‘Distro, it is good to see you once again,’ the avio grinned. ‘And hello to you, dear blue one. Have you eaten today, Q?’
Jaisa shook xer head, then blinked as xie was presented with a container of yellow mush. ‘What— What is that? Is that some sort of fish?’
‘It is scrambled egg,’ Coi’Lili responded. ‘Not my own I promise. But from a chikchik! My own chikchik. Her name is Dancing’Puddle and she is very healthy.’
‘I’ve never seen egg like this before,’ Jaisa admitted.
‘Ah! Yes. You would not have because you are an ocean-dweller,’ Coi’Lili confirmed. ‘Well. It is a very tasty meal. Full of many nutrients. It will make you feel stronger very quickly. Eat it.’
‘Th-Thank you,’ Jaisa took the food and slowly picked at it. Xie looked unsure about xer feelings for it, and after xie was about halfway done xie pulled a face so bewildered that Distro couldn’t help but chuckle.
‘It’s a strange taste after a life of seafood, I’m sure,’ she said. ‘When we’re done here I’ll have Coi’Lili take you to the kitchen for something more familiar, how’s that sound?’
The corners of Jaisa’s mouth twitched in a weak smile, and xie nodded and put the eggs down. ‘Thank you.’
‘Do you feel better, after food?’ Distro asked. And, when Jasia nodded, she let herself smile. ‘Good. Very good. Do you think you’re ready to tell us about what happened?’
‘I…. I guess,’ the smile fell from Jaisa’s face and xie gripped xer shirt. She worked xer fingers over the worn fabric and swallowed before glancing up at the queen. ‘People need to know, I know. But I— So many people were asking questions, and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to tell all of them, over and over. I don’t know if I’m strong enough.’
‘That is why I am here,’ Coi’Lili took the seces’ hand in his and gave it a squeeze. ‘When you are ready to say it once, whether that is today or tomorrow or next month, I will write it down for you and make copies for everyone who needs to know. And then you will not have to say it again unless you want to. Does that sound good, Q?’
Jaisa let out a breath, which squeaked through xer gills. ‘Yes. Yes, that would be good. Thank you.’
‘Do you think you can tell us, now?’ Distro asked. ‘If not it’s okay. We understand.’
‘I…’ Jaisa took a deep breath, xer eyes trailing the floor. ‘I think I’ll feel better, getting it out.’
‘Okay. When you’re ready, then.’
Another deep breath, which was let out with a loud sigh. ‘I was working on Ferraset loading crates into to ships for export. It wasn’t my usual work I— I usually work in the harvest, but Gial was sick and the boss needed someone to replace xer….’
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