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Harold chewed silently, his bowl diminishing quickly, sopping up every drop of fluid with his bread while trying to figure out just what it could be. Some symbol of Amael's good blessing for the coming spring? The fey coming to switch his child with a changeling? Some other being from the hidden shadows of the forest, coming out of hibernation?

Letting out a frustrated grunt, he scooted his bowl in, practically as clean as it came from the shelf. "C'mon, let's get a look at 'em before anyone else touches them. Better find a way to keep that stew warm, Fionn, I'm sure we'll be pining for a bowl of that good stuff by the time this day's done." He wasn't sure how much he could help with figuring out the driving force behind this strange presence, but if it came from the woods, at least he could blaze the trail for them with no trouble.

Maurice shrugs, "We'll if there isn't any dessert coming I guess I got time to go for a wander with you. But you won't find me picking anything that I can't use for animal bait. "

He looks hopefully at Fionn willing to be told there is desert; and when Fionn brings out the compote all he can do is shyly shrug at Harold as he waits for to come out.

Though - now, after meeting and getting close to Bianca - able to better understand Harold's eagerness and worries, the other man's wish to go investigate still caused disappointment to well up in the stocky mage. Trying to keep it from showing on his face, Fionn put a smile on his face and nodded slowly, almost hesitantly.
Before he could say anything, though, Maurice spoke up - and the mage's smile broadened, turning into a real smile instead of a forced expression to cover other feelings. "Actually..." he began before standing and retrieving a wooden box from a shelve and a clay pot from the windowsill. Removing the lid from the box and the cover from the jar, he slid both container onto the table. "...there is." His smile broadened further into a grin as he glanced at the slices of cake - gold-brown crust and bright yellow interior - in the box and the glistening, purple-red berry compote in the jar.

Used bowls and cutlery was quickly removed and fresh implements provided. Ladling generous helpings of compote into fresh bowls and distributing slices of cake took only a couple of moments more. With the subtle aroma of fortified wine rising from the compote, Fionn glanced at Harold, eyebrows raised in a silent question.

Harold couldn't help having a bit of the tension in his arms give way at the sight of confections, and noisily scooted his seat back in. "Fi, you're a foul tempter and you're a bad, bad man. And I promise not to tell anyone." He smiled softly, practically apologetic, seeing as his own frets nearly cut their companion's kindness off. Especially since he'd need the man's sharp wit and tongue to figure this out. And like hell, would he turn down one of the round fellow's sweets.

The young mage put on an expression of mock innocence, as if to say 'Who, me ?'. The expression didn't remain long, however, and was replaced almost immediately by a wide grin.
"You have to look at it from a different perspective, Harold..." Fionn began. "Every temptation helps you train your resistance, determination and steadfastness." The mage's grin changed to a smile, while he gently stirred his compote for a moment.
"And since " Fionn's voice took on a fair imitation of mage Alex' slow, soft way of speaking as he continued, index finger raised and emphasizing each word with a pendulum-like motion "learning from mistakes and failures is still learning, young man !" Fionn hesitated a moment before finishing in his normal voice "even succumbing to such a temptation serves a purpose."

Dessert demolished and dishes...set aside for now, the four young men trooped off to spend the rest of the time they could devote to a break checking out the strangeness at Portia's house. It wasn't far, off the main roads but easily accessible. The first person to see it was probably dropping something off or on their way to the next house. By now, half the village must know. The rest would learn of it by dusk.

Reginald happened to be standing there just when the boys arrived, though it would be more accurate to say that he was walking very slowly past, probably having detoured this way just to take a look as he headed elsewhere. He looked over nodded a silent acknowledgement to the four on their approach. The militiaman had been a little strange since that afternoon with the fae, but nothing worthy of serious comment. Mostly, the oddness was limited to an apparent lack of interest in sex anymore, but he was also much quieter since. He'd already fathered at least three children by then, though, and did his job well enough and without complaint, so no one cared much.

Harold gave a nod and a fluid sway of the hand in a lazy wave to Reggie. He'd pondered over that strange afternoon on homebound stormy days, waiting out a massive blizzard or violent strikes of lightning. Now that he was older and understood the wilier ways of women, he figured that the fae had sucked the stuffing out of Reginald, for succumbing to temptation. Like an empty scarecrow of the man he'd been growing into, the older militiaman was still a good fellow all around, but Harold still felt bad for him. Still a lesson learned, like Fionn said, but thankfully only through demonstration.

"So...what do you think? I ain't touching one of 'em, if you twinklefingers think it's a bad idea." The lean, solid shouldered man crouched down at the edge of the border of flowers, looking over one of the plants with rapt curiosity. He was tonguing the last bits of jammy sweetness stuck to his teeth as he wondered why the forest was sending his lady...gifts?

Catching sight of Reginald, Fionn felt, as always, a little stab guilt; ever since that afternoon, the militaman had been... different. At first, it had been attributed to the trauma of that afternoon (and whatever had happened with him while in the Fae's power), but as time passed and Reginald didn't fully recover... if he had formulated his trade more carefully, if he had persisted...
As always, Fionn sighed softly and pushed those thoughts away; Reginald had been returned to them, almost unharmed - a success rarely achieved when dealing with Fae. If that little oddity was the price, it had been a small one, hadn't it ?

The young mage nodded and waved at Reginald before turning his attention to the reason they were here instead of having a comfortably and lazy afternoon.
He shrugged in reply to Harold's disguised question and, after a last glance at the flowers, focused on the other mage. "Vincent... Will you now share the content of your vision ?"

As the others talk Maurice starts walking the circle looking at the small flowers and let his mind wander. He thought about the flowers for a moment but wasn't overly concerned nor did he try and put too much thought in to the matter. He guessed Fionn and Vincent would probably start talking mystical things which as all good and fine until you tried to understand them. Hopefully they would come up with some idea that didn't involve him having to thing about it too much. He had a full stomach and was content. He certainly didn't want a headache to ruin that. So instead he focused on keeping a nice even distance from the rings, looked for footprints of other village people and prepared to guess who else had already been to look at them.

Vincent marched towards the house with as much focus that he'd ever had. It tended to get that way when things were going in a particular direction; his direction. For all of the aloof and mysterious floating that Vincent did for most of his life, his pace could be quite alarming when he chose to use it.

Perhaps in another time or another place, Vincent would have made note of Reginald. The witchmage had had his moments with Reginald, both good and bad, but it was easy to see that this was not a statement of personal judgement. This was one man's blinders keeping another man outside the fringe.

Vincent stood at the edge of the blue daffodils with his arms clenched tightly against his chest. He stood there for long moments without moving nor saying anything. But eventually he heard his name and tried to respond with a delicate tone, one he used when it was time to discuss his favorite things.

"The flowers marched in from the woods, on their own, and placed themselves around this house. I do not need to tell you the significance of this child's birth. It will change everything, and finally the Fae have decided to acknowledge it." No matter what tone he chose to use, Vincent could never lose his doom and gloom aura...




 

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