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show me all the scars you hide
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No matter how hard she tried to calm down, it still felt like her heart was trying its damndest to escape her throat; she could feel the pulse pounding in her temple, at her throat. Without her consent her eyes lifted again, devoured him, sought herself in his face and eyes and frame. The desire for a connection was painfully strong, desperately seeking some sort of sign that what she'd been told was true, that this man was really her father. Her lips trembled, so she firmed them; her hand shook, so she clasped them together before her. Then she froze as every part of her being went quiet to hear his voice. Her mind strained, wondering if she'd heard that sound before. Not since she was born, perhaps, but before? She swallowed, shifted a bit anxiously. Glanced towards the guard, then back at her father, and fought the urge to run away. She wasn't even really sure why, but there was a part of her that was beyond nervous, and wasn't completely sure how to handle how she was feeling.

But she was here now, wasn't she? And her mother hadn't raised a coward. She lifted her chin a bit, forced herself to form words.

"Um, yes, I... I'm sure this is a bit of a..." she bit her lower lip, tucking a strand of her long dark hair behind her ears and daring to drift a bit closer to the bars. "Surprise."

"Okay, that's like the understatement of the year," she muttered, blowing out a long slow breath. She winced a bit as the baby shifted, resting a hand on her belly as she considered how best to try and explain. "Um... It's a long story. Before the floods came, I guess, my mom - um, Birch - and I got pulled through a portal. Like how some people come to Shaman?"

She paused, sucking in a breath and cocking her head to study Jacopo again. "I grew up in a place called Knell. Time passes differently there, I guess. It's been months here, and sixteen years there. Almost seventeen. We... my sister Cypress and I, that is, just got back. N-not exactly sure how, but... here we are. And then Torram said... maybe we should meet so... um..."

"Maybe not that long of a story," she murmured. At least, not that part of it. She shifted anxiously, smoothing her dress again. What would she do if he didn't believe her? What if he told her he didn't care, or made the guard take her away? Almost worse, how was she supposed to tell him the rest? What if he asked about Birch? Or... maybe she shouldn't have mentioned Cypress?


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