Poet spoke of his sister easily, without any of the pain that Inigo had been expecting. He didn’t want the older wolf to dredge up unhappy memories… but as he spoke of her, Poet only smiled.
Inigo glanced in his direction, but ultimately kept his eyes forward, watching where he was going- a necessity in this close, tangled forest- and keeping his senses alert for signs of the plant. It was difficult to do as his friend launched in his description of Kytes, however, as Inigo tried to pinpoint similarities between the wolf Poet described and the one that he had known. He knew the scent that clung to his coat was predominantly hers- she was the one who had been closest to him when he was in the caves, with all her obvious affection. Inigo blinked, trying to picture her as this jovial, clownish wolf that Poet described, seeing instead the shy, meek wolf he had been acquainted with. Admittedly, Inigo had known her only briefly. She was still a stranger to him, and he little more than an escort for her. If she only showed that side of herself to those dear to her, then Inigo would not have seen it. He couldn’t remark on it, but he nodded all the same, features pensive.
She was a storyteller. A liar, too. The corners of Inigo’s lips pulled back slightly in amusement. He knew the odd duality of that, how easy it was to lie or spin a tale, whether to entertain or to deceive. Skills he had not utilized in some time. Was Mari a deceiver? Had she spun a story here for herself, becoming someone other than who she had been before she’d come to the valley? It seemed plausible, if only because of Poet’s certainty that it was her scent he smelled. What other explanation could there be?
What was in a name, anyway?
Inigo looked back to Poet as he continued on about his sister. That sounded more like the wolf he had met… and yet she’d not hesitated to throw herself over him when she thought he needed protecting. He remembered that with more than a little embarrassment, but the emotion passed quickly. Mostly, he remembered the look on her face at that time, when she’d been drawn toward that tree…
Inigo was silent, waiting to hear more. Poet seemed to be done speaking, however, and Inigo smiled a bit, not catching onto the older Warden’s melancholy.
“She sounds like a wonderful sister, Poet,” he said quietly, encouragingly, and he felt a little melancholy of his own that he kept it from coloring his mien. “I would’ve liked to know her.”
And maybe I do, he thought. He didn’t know what else to say, and glanced over his shoulder at Apollo, wondering if his trademark snark would assert itself here, wishing for something to lift the mood, but uncertain that sarcasm was called for here. Still, anything beat silence. After a while, Poet stepped forward, his attention on something ahead of them. Inigo was glad for the chance to focus on something other than his roiling thoughts. He spotted the flowers a few seconds after Poet brought them to his attention, and Inigo darted forward, stopping once he reached the foliage.
“That’s it!” he said, grinning as he looked down at the cluster of delicate white flowers. Inigo pushed his nose into one of them, breathing deeply. “Need to dig up the roots…”
He began to scrape at the base of the plants, seeking to free the roots from the ear. It would take a few minutes to do without damaging them. He could have fallen to silence during his task, but he decided instead to tell Poet what he knew of the wolf they were seeking. Not all of it was good. But Inigo wanted Poet to know what he was walking into. Inigo didn’t look up as he spoke, mismatched eyes trained on the task at hand.
“When I first met… Mari, she was… sleepwalking, I guess. I was taking shelter from a storm, and she just wandered up to me. I wouldn’t have thought it odd, only… she wasn’t really coherent. It was like her body was moving while her mind was still asleep. She was trying to talk, but I couldn’t understand her. And she knew I was there, but she wasn’t really seeing me...” He wasn’t explaining it very well. “She laid down after a bit and slept-” curled right up against him, no less- “and when she woke the next morning, she had no idea where she was, or what had happened. So I took her back home…
When we got there, one of her friends, Willa, suggested giving her valerian root. Said it’d happened before, that she’d… tried to jump into the pool of water in the caves. Mari didn’t remember that, either. The root is meant to help her sleep…”
Wila seemed to think it would help. Inigo didn’t know how effective it might be, but he’d told them he’d get it. Inigo kept scrabbling gently at the dirt, freeing the roots with his claws.
“She didn’t know me when she saw me again, on the range- after she suffered the head injury. She didn’t know her friend Willa, either, when we found her. I thought taking her back would help her remember…”
Inigo breathed out a sigh, looking askance at Poet. It was something that had been nagging at him since they’d left. If Mari really had forgotten who she was…
“She… might not know you either,” he murmured.
He kept digging.
Apr 12, 2016 10:54 PM — Post #12
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