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She could not help but watch Mordred move, much as it pained her. But it was just as much where he moved, and what he touched, as it was the movements themselves. The dust he disturbed on the furniture reminded Thea how very long ago it had been, that Tristan had said something about bringing her here. "I keep it next to my bed. I'll have to show you sometime.” She couldn’t remember what he’d been talking about; they’d been drinking, and wearing masks, and until Thoth had played the role of reality reasserting itself, everything had seemed perfect. That suggestion had sounded so fitting at the time, so right, as sure as sunrise. But he never had shown her, or brought her here. And now he never would.

Was she angry at him, she wondered? Did she have any right to be angry, that he hadn’t seen what was so obvious? That she’d ended up alone?

It was a relief when the King faced away from her, out the window.

It’s not his fault you are alone, Thea reminded herself, watching the trim back of the King from demurely lowered eyes. She wasn’t sure who’s fault it was – perhaps it was hers. But that was a subject she would not discuss here, not with Mordred or anyone, and certainly not when the King appeared to be…opening up to her. His voice, with its beauty and that hint of vulnerability, struck a chord. He was like a musician, she realized, expertly plucking just the strings he wanted, drawing whatever mood he wanted from her. Was it magic, or magnetism? She felt the pull of him, but also an instinctive wariness. A whiff of disbelief. How can you miss him, and say you’re unsure, while calling for his head?

But she did not say this. She would never. Her eyes were soft with feeling when he looked at her, like still pools.

“You have plenty to worry about, without worrying about me,” she began, tensing a little as he took her hands. There was a tiny…spark between them, where he touched her, and then…Alethea’s breath slowed, deepened. What was that? It was like she’d tapped a current of something, and could feel it moving beneath her skin. She stared at their hands, the barest crease forming between her brows. At the edge of her thoughts, everything had grown suddenly quiet, but she hadn’t even realized before that there’d been something there. It was like when she’d walked beside a quiet wood, and then the breeze had died, and the birds had stilled, and suddenly the wood seemed loud compared to the silence that replaced it. In her mind, she looked out at that emptiness and felt…

safe.

“Thank you,” she breathed, meeting his gaze with a look that was uncharacteristic – direct, curious. What had he been saying? Her fingers tightened minutely over his. “To be honest, I would feel safer if were better able to defend myself. When the castle was overrun I felt…I felt trapped. Useless. I don’t want to feel like that again.” Her voice had the subdued timbre of a confession, of a request she was afraid to make, and feelings she was afraid to admit. She hoped the hint of hunger there was merely eagerness. “If there is someone who could train me, a little…”


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ooc: in case that was confusing, she just tactile mimicked the mind blocking (and maybe some emotional suggestion? Up to you!)

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