Posted on August 28, 2017 at 07:10:54 PM by olive
Olive's shoes shushed along the runner in the tower's corridor, her dread growing with each passing second. While she'd heard enough rumors to know the approximate location of King Arthur's final breaths, there were no visible signs of his passing anywhere in the tower, and she had only that growing sense of discomfort to guide her. She cursed her temper; it was usually fairly slow to flare but bright and hot when it did, a quick flash that burned those around her before she could help it, and that she almost always regretted. Danny really hadn't been at fault; she wasn't even sure what answer she wanted from him in the first place. And now, because she couldn't hold her tongue in check, she was alone in a place she very much did not want to be. She paused, her pulse throbbing in her throat, and cast a careful glance around. There was no one nearby, for the moment.
"Your Majesty?" she whispered softly, alert for any sign of movement from the corner of her eyes; sometimes spirits - especially the freshly dead - were a bit shy, appearing there long before she could see them fully. She cleared her throat, cast a nervous glance over her shoulder, and spoke a bit louder. "King Arthur, are you there?"
Still nothing; she worried her top-heavy lip, wondering what to do next. Should she proceed further? Surely that creature in the dark would somehow know if she didn't check each and every place, and what would happen to Alder if he did? She took a tentative step forward, drawing up short when movement caught her attention from the corner of her eye. She paused, her entire being focused on that tiny wisp of white. It was too small, though, and the presence was almost assuredly feminine. She knelt down a bit, as she would to greet a small child, and turned slowly. The spirit peered anxiously out at her from behind a post. She was small and delicate, pale even for a ghost; soft blue veins were visible beneath her pallor, her eyes too big in her small face. She had the look of someone terribly ill, far too sick for her age. Her nightgown was in an older fashion, a pale pink with little bows; it was clearly secondhand, worn soft in places.
"Hello there," she said softly, holding a hand out to the spirit. The clock ticked away in the back of her mind, but she shoved it away to focus on the little girl. "My name is Olive. What's yours?"
The little girl shook her head, pointing to her throat and wincing.
"It hurts to talk?" she surmised. The ghost nodded, daring to take a small step away from her cover. "Do you have something you'd like to tell me?"
The girl bit her lip, edging nearer to Olive. She held out her hand as if to stroke Olive's long dark hair; her own was pale, probably blonde or even white, and shorn short, probably for ease of care when she took to her sickbed. Pretty mouthed the girl, and Olive smiled at her. She held still, her approach the same as it would have been with a small, frightened animal.
"Thank you, yours is lovely too," she said gently. The girl beamed, her gap-toothed grin full of youth and sweetness. .
"Do you know about the King's death?" The spirit could have been lonely, but her appearance here, when Olive had called for the king, seemed like too much to be a coincidence. The girl paused, cocking her head to the side. She drifted over to the wall, crouched low. Olive followed her, mimicked her stance.
"Something here?" she asked, running her fingertips along the crevice where the wall met the floor. Something soft brushed her fingers, and she worked at it for a long moment before she could pull it free. A feather? It was dark and streaky, charcoal gray. "Is this-?"
She looked up, found the child gone. Olive frowned, running the feather over her fingers. Why had the girl thought this would be important? Children often saw things that adults didn't, but... Her hand froze. Hadn't the king's familiar been a bird? Could it be...? Olive popped to her feet, tucking the feather into her pocket.
"Thank you," she whispered. A small hand appeared from beneath one of the tables, waving goodbye. Olive hurried away, increasing her speed to get as far from the tower as she could manage. She had to find- Oof! She rounded the corner, running straight into Torram. He was covered in sweat and dirt; she recalled belatedly that in his constant search for gainful employment he'd been helping to bury the dead left in the wake of the pirate attack.
"Woah, you alright, Oli?" he asked, grabbing her upper arms to steady her. "You look like you've seen a ghost."
"Ha ha," Oli replied. "You're done for the day, right?"
"Let's go home, I have something I need you to take a look at..."
"Okay?" he said, giving in as Oli grabbed his arm and began dragging him out of the Castle.
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