Day 071: First And Last
Summary: Luther and Galle deal with the results of the celebration. They do not deal well.
Date: 7 August 2016
Related: The morning after Dragonslayer Party.
Luther Galle 


Galle's Dwelling, Tondc

This small corner of the Hood is obviously dedicated to someone with a serious green thumb. While the metal and wooden house is modest and even, dare they say, quaint, it is merely the necessary dwelling surrounded by plantlife. Medicinal flowers and herbs grow in organized beds, they clumped together according to their needed growing requirements. There are also small beds of vegetables and berries that are scattered throughout. Climbing flowers twist their ways up the windows and doorframes of the house, and there is an entire wall of flowering vines that bloom violet in the late spring and early summers.

The house itself is a single-story dwelling made of corrugated metal and cedar slats. It is actually quite impressive — but those who knew Galle's houman know that he had dabbled in carpentry during the quieter peacetimes between the two Ice Wars. Windows are mismatched, salvaged from Old Earth structures. The door is handmade and intricately carved with flowers and vines, and a peekhole window is set in its center. Inside, the house has board flooring and high ceilings that show off the rafters. There is a front room that is dedicated entirely to an impressive kitchen, a dining area, and a place to curl up beside what looks to be a salvaged woodburning stove. Just behind the front room is the sleeping room, which is a smaller room with nothing more than a bed and a large chest that holds Galle's assortment of clothes.

71 Days After Landing

Luther usually wakes with the dawn. Of course, he's usually in the Warrior's barracks or a tent or a bedroll somewhere, not a relatively luxurious bed, and he also doesn't usually have a raging hangover. When the sun streaming through the nearest window strikes his face, Luther recoils as if it were a hot iron. Groaning, he starts to stretch… and finds himself entangled in a jumble of pleasantly-curved limbs. Well hello. A smile stretches slowly across his face, his eyes still closed, and he starts to chuckle… and then memories of the night before come flashing back, and he stiffens. Sloooooowly prying one eye partway open confirms his memories, and he starts to try to wriggle backwards carefully… only to find out that his arm is trapped beneath Galle. Apparently, he'll have to gnaw it off.

Galle groans softly when the body snugged beneath her begins to move. The single motion of her head bobbing forward a bit causes her entire sense of balance to get knocked off kilter, and she feels her stomach give an uncomfortable jolt. She isn't sure what she expected, but the bed feels like hers and the soft birdcall beyond the window sounds familiar. It is the extra limbs that throw her off. Her own memory is not as quick as Luther's, because she is pulling herself onto her elbows before she realizes exactly what and who is beneath her. Her eyes open a crack, and then flutter open fully when she finds herself staring at Luther. She recoils back, rolling off his arm. She realizes she's naked, and immediately is groping the blanket up around her bare torso. Being without her clothes only further confirms her suspicions… "Luther," she says, voice surprised — and a but accusatory.

Arm trapped under your dead friend's houmon's naked body, head bounding, stomach trying to revolt, dry mouth, and stolen covers? Luther's morning keeps getting worse. But at least Galle's grasp for the blanket confirms that yes, not only is she naked, but he is too. The tone in her voice — the accusation that he hears more than the surprise — causes him to wince a little, and he holds up his hands, mumbling, "I can explain…" and then he stops, "…no… no I can't." He really wants to get out of bed, but instead he flops down onto his back, covering his face with his hands. In the light of morning, there are several bruises on his body that weren't there when he was treated after the assault on the mountain, most notably his right shoulder and the left side of his abdomen.

Galle's head is swimming from being upright. Lying down was so much better. But she steels herself against giving in and flopping back alongside him. She holds the blanket up around her, trying to find a sense of modesty in a reality where there's no take-backs. Her elbow comes to rest on her knee, hand holding her head as her head protests once more. "We had sex," she says flatly. "We were drunk, and we had sex…" She hesitates, keeping her eyes closed. "Why are you even here?" She has not yet noticed the bruises, but give her a moment…

"Yes," Luther admits. And again, "Yes." And finally, he groans his way upright, facing away from her to sit on the edge of the bed, the motion neatly displaying the tattoos climbing his spine and the long claw marks on either side of them. "I don't know… I was… I was going to walk you home," his usually-smooth voice rasps with the pain of a night of mouth-breathing through drunkenness. "And you couldn't walk, so I carried you. And then…" and then he kissed her. Luther drops his head into his hands, murmuring, "I'm sorry…"

As if mirroring him, Galle sits upright on the opposite side of the bed. She casts one glance over her shoulder to him, carefully considering his back, and then looks away. This leaves her back to him — all red tattoos and graceful lines. She stares at the opposite wall, trying to get her mind to stop spinning. His retelling of events draws her eyes shut, and her own head bows slightly. He kissed her, but she kissed him, too. Several times. Her body shivers slightly, and she wraps her arms tighter around her middle. "Why are you sorry?" She says, words roughly whispered.

Luther doesn't answer at first, shaking his head as the rest of the night before plays through his head — with varying degrees of blurriness. He starts to push himself to his feet, and then his stomach revolts further, and he drops back to the bed, pressing one hand to his gut and the back of the other hand to his mouth. After a few shallow breaths he can move the latter to grumble, "I… uh… I don't know. I mean… Timore…" And he glances over his shoulder, the red ink trailing up and down her back catching his eye and drawing his gaze in.

The name of her dead houmon causes her shoulders to tighten a bit. She stares down at the floor, dark hair curtaining both sides of her face. She breathes out a slow breath, and then nods in a slow, deliberate manner. "Timore is dead three years now, Luther… he can't hear your apologies, nor would he understand them." She sniffs hard, looking up as if gravity will help keep the threat of tears in her eyes. Then she shakes her head. "It's done, yes?" She glances over her shoulder now, steady blue eyes meeting his as she catches him staring. "A moment of foolishness between two friends?"

The initial response from the woman starts to prompt a response from Luther, but the sniff that follows draws his eyebrows up in concern, "It's… it's not that," it's that and, "it's, I don't want you to think…" The normally-confident, normally-controlled, and normally-cheerful Warrior is none of those things right now, and it shows clearly in his hunched posture and halting speech, "Yeah. It's done." There might be regret in the agreement, or it could just be filled chalk full of awkward. "Foolishness. That's just what it was…" it sounds like there's a 'but' there, but he stifles whatever it might have been.

Galle looks away when she feels her own regrets, returning her gaze down to her hands — still stained from the anise. She scratches lightly at her knuckle before she starts to rub her hands together once more. When he agrees, she can almost hear those unsaid words. Catching the corner of her lip between her teeth, she worries at it for a long moment — an awfully childish thing, and something she rarely does unless she is completely disarmed. "Out with it," she says finally, words breathed more than said. Then she repeats, "Out with it, Luther."

Luther was actually stifling two things, and it's the first that he responds to, half-turning toward her as he admits, "I don't want you to think I forced anything… I don't want to have forced anything. Or have taken advantage…" And then he throws up his hands, making a sound of disgust and annoyance at himself, and then immediately winces and holds his forehead. And the other part, the other part he stifled? '…but it was good.'

Galle shakes her head, but it is a slow and halting motion as her own head throbs. "Nothing was forced," the healer finally says softly. That is all she says for a long moment before she slowly begins to ease to her feet. She is not steady, and must brace the wall as she tries to find her center. She continues to hold the blanket around her — though it genuinely does little for her. "Neither of us are in a good state to talk about this… I need… we both need food… and tea." And a time machine.

Her words, however pro forma they might be, do take some weight off Luther's shoulders. Some. There's still Timore, and memories, and… something earlier too, a flash of memory from… Polis? Doing his best to rub the pain out of his head entirely unsuccessfully, Luther agrees to Galle's suggestion without moving his head, "Yeah… food. Water. Tea." And a time machine. He finally pushes himself up, staggering over to where his pants were dropped the night before and pulling them on once more… and then he can see right out to the little house's open front door. At least the lantern burned out some time before dawn, but the door… wide open. "Uhhh… oops." And Luther carefully steps to one side, to the wall, so he's out of view of the door. Now, however, he's between Galle and the door.

Galle is carefully twisting the blanket up in a way that could be a toga-style dress, all knotted and secured so she can have both hands available. Only then does she notice his alarm, and leans forward a bit to get that clear shot through the living space and ou tthe door. She grimaces immediately, and narrows her eyes on Luther like this is all his fault. Then she sighs heavily, and steps carefully around the platform bed. When she comes up to him, she presses past with a kind of nonchalance that hides her own embarrassment. "I'll get the door… if you could please gather up your things."

With his attention on his headache, roiling stomach, and roiling emotions, Luther doesn't even notice when his hand brushes up to the small of Galle's back as she passes him, "Right. Yeah. I'll get out of…" oh, he's touching her back, even if it's through the blanket, "…here."

Galle is stalled in her movements out of the bedroom when his hand touches her back. She looks up at him, puzzled. "Luther," she says softly, and then she clears her throat. "I'll get you something for your head. Silver is bound to be swamped at the Healing House." She then finishes squeezing past, stepping out into the main room. She is quick to approach the door, ducking out to grab the lantern before shutting it with a soft click. She rests her forehead for a moment on the door, letting her own dizziness subside. "If you would put some water on the stove," she calls back, not lifting her head yet, "that would be helpful."

There's a mad moment, with her looking up at him and his hand just barely touching her back, where Luther considers kissing her again. Sadly, the rational part of him now outvotes the drunk part of him, and he just nods, ducking his head a little. As soon as the door clicks shut, he steps out away from the wall, moving over to pull on his pants first, hopping into them in a manner that is entirely disagreeable to his head and stomach, "I'll be alright. It's not the first hangover I've had. Or even the worst." Shirt and boots are snagged with one hand, her dress in the other, and then he comes out into the main room, setting his boots and shirt in a chair and folding her dress over the back of it before he heads to the stove, "Of course. You know… I can go to the Barracks. Get breakfast there." There's a reluctance to his words, that he passes off with, "But I want to make sure you're okay too." A kettle is filled from the water container, and set atop the stove, and then he crouches before it, opening up the front to poke the ashes to life and feed a few more pieces of wood into it.

Galle just stays there for a moment longer, colors still swirling against the interior of her eyelids. She then straightens up slowly, looking over her shoulder to him once he has filled the kettle and stoked the fire back to life. Her expression is thoughtful, if not a bit uncertain. Then she clears her throat, and lightly shakes her head. "I'm your Healer," she says firmly, "You would have been here this morning, asking for an elixir regardless of…" What happened last night. So she waves him to a seat, and steps from the door to a large cabinet, which she opens to reveal her own stores of herbs. She grabs for various herbs and a small tincture bottle, before closing the cabinet door and stepping to the table. She finds his knife there, and her cheeks color immediately as she remembers why it is there. She immediately pretends the weapon is invisible, and works on preparing the tea in a small cloth bag.

"And who looks after you, Galle, while you're looking after everyone else?" Still crouched before the fire, the crackling flames reflecting off his face and bare torso, Luther looks up to her as she crosses the room. Finally, he closes and shuts the stove door with quick touches of the handle to keep from burning himself, and then pads to the table on bare feet. His shirt is pulled over his head, and his dreadlocks pulled out from under the cloth, and then he reaches for the knife just as her eyes fall on it. When her cheeks color, he quickly snags the knife back, slipping it into the sheath sewn into the right thigh of his pants. "…regardless of…" His lips tighten a little, but he makes himself say, "…mistakes we made."

His question goes unanswered, but the way in which she cracks the root before it is ground up shows that, perhaps, it stings to think of the answer. She doesn't look up as she works, focusing on the hypnotic way that preparing the tea soothes her. She grabs for coarsely-made ceramic mugs from the shelf above the table, not looking at him until both pouches are tucked away inside them. His expression draws a slight frown on her lips. Her fingers tap unconsciously at the mugs. "Yes," she agrees quietly, her eyes falling away again. "Mistakes."

When she agrees, Luther lets out a tiny little breath, a barely audible sigh, and pulls out a chair, settling down into it. He's silent for a long moment, watching her hands work at preparing the tea. Something in the way her fingers curve around the mugs causes him to shift in his seat, and then he leans forward, bracing his elbows on the table and resting his forehead in his hands. Yes, headache. That's better to think about. And very immediate too. Evade, evade, new subject! "Like spitting fire twice while I was drunk. I'm lucky I didn't burn my beard off."

Galle doesn't look up until Luther has his head resting in his hands. She watches him obliquely, trying to make sense of what is happening. While the kettle warms, the Healer moves around the table in a series of long strides. Her blue eyes wander down his back and take note of the bruises that she disregarded earlier. She touches the exterior of the bruises out of pure instinct. His new subject draws a soft scowl from her. "Twice? Who else were you trying to impress?" Not that Luther's first fire-breathing trick was meant to impress anyone. With a more nurturing hand, she gathers up his dreadlocks into three gathers and braids and knots them together in a slow, but precise motion. This gets most of the locks off his back so she can feel along his ribs to make sure the bruises are not connected to a deeper injury. There is nothing else behind the focus. Move along.

The touch to his shoulder causes Luther to hiss softly, just a touch of pain around the bruise. It also causes him to turn his head in his hands to look over to her hands, and then up the tattooed length of her arm to those startlingly blue eyes. "Hmm?" Only then do her words register, and he lets his head fall back into his hands as she begins gathering up his hair. There is something comforting… intimate about the gesture, and it's not until she starts feeling along his back that he answers through a soft groan that's one part ache, three parts 'that feels nice.' "Sage wanted to do a fire dance. Seemed like an appropriate way to light the brands." The bruises is just a bruise, although he twists slightly to open the left side of his ribs, gesturing down with one hand before it braces his head again, "The side's worse, but still just a bruise. Sparring."

"Of course," Galle replies with a snort when Luther mentions Sage. She does not speak again until she has fully looked over his bruises. "You'll live," she reports. Then she begins to step away, turning to fetch the kettle. She takes a thick mit of cloth from a hook near the stove, and uses it to grab the hot handle. She keeps to the ritual of preparing the tea, sweeping back along the rough floors to the cups opposite of him. She fills them with a spiral of steam, and the bitter smell of the dandelion mixes with the softer scent of peppermint. "It will be bitter, but the bitters help the alcohol move through your system… You will need to drink the entire cup, and then eat fatty foods and drink lots of water today." Her words are prescriptive, said in the tone of a Healer. She sets down the kettle on a plate, and then gently moves one cup in front of him so he can inhale the steam while it steeps. Her frown has returned in full force as she watches him.

Luther sighs near-silently again when she steps away, spots of lingering warmth burning on his arm and back. "Of course I'll live." There is a grin behind the words, even if it's not so bright as his usual cheeky smile. "I would be an insult to the clan if I let a few bruises and a hangover bring me low." He looks up enough to see her hands working at pouring the tea against the backdrop of her blanket-clothing, and then looks down again. Looking up from behind his hands, the mischief can be seen dancing in his dark eyes, "I have had hangovers before, Galle. Even when I haven't had a Healer to fuss over me like a…" his mouth was leading him to 'like a worried houmon,' but he reins in the words before they can get free, changing them to, "wayward Second." And there's that flash of the skinny girl in Polis again for some reason, and his cheeks heat with remembered embarrassment, thankfully behind the shield of his hands.

Galle scowls at his cheekiness. She has her own cup neatly cradled in her hands, taking her own advice to breathe in the steam. She shakes her head slightly. "Fine then… if you do not require my assistance, there is the door, Luther kom Trikru." She nods her chin to it, in case he has forgotten. "If you do not need me, then I should see to people who do." There is something new in her normally harsh, chiding tones. She actually sounds a little hurt. She sets down her cup with a soft clank, and then moves around the table once more, grabbing up her dress a she does. She leaves her tea to steep, striding back toward the bedroom.

Luther collects the cup, cradling it under his face… and his eyes go wide at her sharp response. He hurries to set his own cup down, rising to his feet with a haste that sets the chair to clattering about before it settles onto all four feet again, and causes his head to swim. His left hand reaches out for her upper arm as she comes around past him, "Wait… I'm not… I didn't mean…" He's usually much better at this, and he scowls at little at his own failure to make words work as they should. "I'm sorry. I'm happy to sit down and have some tea with you. Someone's gotta make sure you take care of yourself too." Oop, that wasn't supposed to slip out, even with the cheeky grin that replaces his scowl.

Galle attempts to evade that touch to her arm, and it graces at her shoulder instead. She does pause a bit, dress held tightly in her hands. Her mouth is set in a firm line, and it only deepens when he carries on about someone needing to take care of her. "I have done just fine with my own care for many years, Luther." Three years, in fact. "I do not need to be cared for." She shakes her head then, continuing her retreat. "Finish your tea, or don't… but you're right… I should be seeing to my duties." That shoulder is cold, very, very cold. She steps into the bedroom, disappearing around a corner so she is out of sight.

Luther grimaces as she brushes off the concern, hunching up his shoulders and looking back down to his tea. "Yes, you have. And no, you don't need it. You're right." It's the easiest course of action at this point, no matter how much he might want to argue that she doesn't need to look after herself. His fingers push his teacup around on the table, and then he gathers up his wayward chair again, settling down into it and lacing his fingers around the cup so that he can breath in the steam.

Galle sits down heavily on the chest tucked against the wall. She looks over her stained gown, fingering the soft, thin fabric thoughtfully. Here, where he cannot see her, she lets her emotions roll through her. Not one for tears, she merely lets her own sorrow and regret bubble in her belly where it makes her own nausea twice as worse. She says nothing, leaving a long silence there while she focuses on pulling herself together. This includes a lot of mental chiding and scolding.

Mental chiding and scolding. There's a whole lot of that going on in the little house. And some self-blame. A whole lot of that at the table. And trying not to think about the fact that Galle is changing on the other side of the wall. Or at least, that's what Luther assumes she's doing. Eventually, he takes a testing sip of the tea, grimacing at the taste, then takes a bigger sip. Yup, it's bitter. Then again, it's a nice bit of self-flagellation. She's also been in there a long time. His head comes up, his mouth even opens to ask if she's alright, but then it closes, and he looks down to the tea again, one dreadlock slipping free of her nice loose braid and falling across the table.

When Galle finally emerges, she is dressed in a new gown and a long, sleeveless vest. This one is a soft blue and quite old based on the thinness of the hue. The vest is a simple brown with leather hemming and pockets at the sides for sensibility. She is weaving her hair together in a fishbone braid, and then tosses the finished tail down her back. She returns to her own mug, and removes the pouch of herbs with a quick motion that barely burns her fingers. She does the same for his mug, and then focuses on draining the liquid in her own. Silence apparently seems to be the theme now, as the Healer remains quiet as she focuses on her mug.

Oh, right. You take the herbs out after they steep. Luther has the good grace to look a little sheepish as she removes the sachet from his tea. "Thank you." And then its back to the tea for Luther. Sip, sip, and then he notes, "So. This is just the second most awkward morning after I've had. This one time, in Polis, when I was a Second, oh… what was her name again…?" And that's where he trails off… because he has a nagging memory of what the teenage girl's name might have been.

"Mmhmm," Galle replies to his thanks. She is busy with her tea when he starts to recall his early Second days. Something hits her strangely, and she is looking up to stare at him across the table. "In Polis?" She asks, tone uncertain. "I didn't know you spent any time in Polis." She frowns deeper. "I suppose this is also the second most awkward for me… I had flirted with this scrawny Second while Komfi and I were visiting Polis… he was training to be a warrior." Pause. "Well, too much rose wine, and…" Then her own story trails off, and she is frowning at Luther, head tilted slightly. Her own memory nags her…

"Oh shit." Luther doesn't swear. His grandfather always said it wasn't dignified. But still, oh shit. He sits up straight in his chair, setting down the cup quickly enough that the tea sloshes up toward the rim but doesn't quite escape. He desperately thinks of something funny to say, something to defuse the situation, but what comes out of his mouth is, "I wasn't scrawny, I had just gotten my growth spurt."

All it takes is that last statement for Galle's memory to go from hazy to crystal clear. Why hadn't she recognized the way he smiled, or the broadness of his forehead. She is pushing back, and frowns deeply at him. "No… no." The Healer shakes her head. Then she scowls. "And I was skinny?" That is apparently a great insult to a woman who is quite pleased with her curves. She turns away, holding onto the sides of her head as she does. "Flame… we've done this… twice…"

"You were." By Luther's tone, that has changed, and for the better. And then he realizes that that could be taken way the wrong way, and hastens to add, "I like the way you turned out." Oh shit, that's not any better, considering what happened last night, and he drops his head into his hands again, groaning aloud. "Twice. My first and last." Ever, his tone suggests. Drama king. "No more alcohol."

Galle looks both insulted and complimented at the same time — which is probably something only someone like Galle can pull off. She crosses her arms indignantly at her chest, which she knows from experience is also a way to show off those curves. She watches him punish himself, and takes a small sliver of joy in that. Though she snorts at his bemoaning. "You are certain to find someone else to bed, Luther… I will not be your last." Then she scowls slightly. "But, yes… my first and last." Two can play at this game.

Now that's just not fair. His eyes drop to her unbound chest when she crosses her arms, and then he tears them away, back down to his teacup. Clearing his throat, he rubs at his face with both hands, then brushes the still-stray dreadlock back with the others. After a long moment, a long, long moment, he notes, "Well, at least the second time was only the second most awkward. I… uh… sorry for slobbering so much the first time."

Galle drops her arms and turns away again. She stares out one of the colored windows high in the wall, breathing out a deep exhale. Why, by the Flame, why? She had been doing so well, on her own. The casual glance over her shoulder to him catches that brush of his dreadlock, and she looks away again. When he finally speaks up, her shoulder rolls slightly. "You have improved," she says, words escaping her filter before she can stop them.

Luther is just taking another sip of his tea, and her words cause him to splutter into it. Setting the cup carefully down and wiping his mouth, he clears his throat, glancing up at her for just a moment, and then down to the tea again, "There was really only one way to go." Pause, pause, don't say it, don't say it, "But thank you. So have you." Damn it.

Galle starts to chuckle, but it quickly tapers off into awkward silence at the returned compliment. Her mouth tightens a bit, and she merely cradles her cup. She turns slowly, but only to stand in profile to him. Her head lifts, eyes meeting his across the length of living space. She hesitates, and then offers a gentle nod. "There was really only one way to go," she says, using his own words. She finally finishes her bitter tea, and sets the cup aside to be washed. She brushes her fingers along her arms as if chilled, and then nods. "Luther…"

Profile is nice. Meeting of eyes is nice. Draining of tea… right, it's that time in the awkward. Luther finishes off the last of the tea, grimaces harder than he did for the alcohol last night, and then steps up alongside Galle to set his own cup beside hers. Whoops, got too close. His voice has just a little bit too much husk to it when he notes quietly, "…it's time for me to go." Evidently, he thinks that's what she was going to say.

Closeness does seem to be both a good and bad thing. Her throat feels abruptly tight, and the lump there hard to swallow. When he fills in the space, she shakes her head as if that wasn't what she was going to say, but she doesn't refute it either. "Yes," she finally admits in a hush. Her arms stay folded, hands tracing the tattoos of her arms. For a heartbeat, it seems as though she might be leaning up to him as she had done the night before, but then she merely re-secures his dreadlock with the others, and takes a small step back. "Time to go… and once you step out that door… what happened stays in the past." And perhaps forgotten, buried away again like memories of Polis.

Luther's head ducks ever so slightly as her face tilts up toward his, one hand falling off the counter to clear the way between them… and then she reaches for the wayward dreadlock, and he lets out a breath, nodding, "In the past." Disappointment reigns supreme behind the stoic Trikru mask, but Luther nods again, stepping back, "I'm feeling better already," he lies. Well, at least the headache feels better. The churning in his gut… that feels worse. He takes another step back, reaches out a hand for the door, and then, opening it, notes, "Thanks for the hangover tea, Galle."

Galle frowns as he agrees, but that is all that shows of her own disappointment. Both disappointing each other, and neither realizing how disappointed the other is. Typical. The Healer just nods slightly when he speaks those words, door open for others to hear. "Let the others know that I will be around later to see to their idiocy." The words carry their normal bite, but the moment he is out of sight, she is slumping against the counter and looking around the room.

Luther ducks out the door, "I'm sure they're looking forward to being told just how idiotic they are." His words don't have their normal charming snap to them, although the grumpiness is pretty typical. The door closes behind him, and he leans back against it, just for a moment, his eyes closing. And then he remembers he's now out in the Hood, in full view, and he pries open one eye, shading it from the harsh morning sun with a hand, and steps out into a hungover village.

When the door closes, and Galle is alone, the Healer also closes her eyes and sighs. Memories flood her in that quiet moment, and not all of them about Luther. She shakes her head before the wallowing starts, and sees to the herbs and cups and kettle. She goes into the bedroom, sees to the linens and the dirty clothes. She remembers then that her shoes are somewhere in the market, and she will have to hunt them down. As she picks up a fallen sheet, there is a soft clink of metal against the floor. She pulls aisde the sheet, and spots the necklace of leather thong, nuts, bolts, and predator teeth. She sets aside her bundle, squatting down to retrieve the necklace. She lets it roll through her fingers, dropping heavily onto the bed. She sits there for a long moment, and then shakes her head with a self-deprecating curse. She sets the necklace into her clothing trunk, firmly telling herself she will return it, perhaps giving it to a Second to give to Luther. Yes, that will sort that out.

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