Minor Details

Harold listened to the grim portents that fell from his peer's lips with a growing frown as he glowered at the sinister ring of flowers. His brows furrowed at the mention of the otherworldly beings that stalked the woods. "The Fae ain't taking my firstborn, no matter what they're planning to do."

Harold had heard some of the murmurings behind his back, the rumors and wild accusations of what exactly happened in those dank tunnels. Of who, or what, had sunk their dark influences into his child...spirits of the grave, or beasts from far in the woods, to fiends from the deepest pits below. No matter what the source, it led to nothing but plights and tribulations for the town, all thanks to that little one still growing in Mary. Considering rumors only grew more wild the further away they were from the subject, he could only feebly struggle to disprove anything was amiss.

In all honesty, the axeman's gut had gnawed on many of those brief autumn nights, when he'd still had the luxury of sleeping by Mary's side, wondering if the woman in his arms and the child she carried were the same as before that night. Reginald was symbol enough of what could become of those violated by other-worldliness. "There's gotta be a way to keep Mary and our baby safe...right?" The normally solid tenor of confidence wavered as his gaze went from the other gents with him back down to the azure floral harbingers of doom.

Vincent's tone sent a shiver down Fionn's back.
It didn't matter that he, like the Vincent, was gifted with the same power and used to touch upon energies those without the gift could hardly understand: Sometimes, Vincent was just creepy.

After contemplating Vincent's words for a time, Fionn cleared his throat. Glancing at Harold, he tried both reassure the soon-to-be father and keep a possibility - however dreadful - from becoming a certainty in their minds. "Let's keep an open mind - and not jump to conclusions; the Fae aren't the only denizens of the forest.
Moreover, we do not know how Fae and Pixies regard each other..."

The young mage fell silent. Frowning, Fionn bent down and studied one of the blue flowers more closely.
After a couple of moments, the young mage continued, though more musing to himself than addressing anyone.
"No. I can't see flowers being connected to pixies... as subterranean creatures thriving in darkness and shunning the light, I can't see them associated with a plant needing light. But it had been pixies that had abducted Mary...
Why flowers - and why daffodils ?"
Fionn again fell silent, then straightened and glanced at the others, his gaze finally coming to rest on the other mage.
"Vincent, has Cassandra taught you herblore ? Is there any specific significance to daffodils ?"
Other thoughts and questions remained unvoiced, as Fionn wasn't ready to speculate about them yet - or they were too far-fetched, for now. Was there a rivalry between fae and pixies and the former exerting their influence to hinder the latter's plans ? Were the flowers a portent from Amael, a warning of danger for her followers - or a form of... protection ? There was also Braxidezil - though what interest the dragon could have in this matter - and why should he choose such a strange approach ?

Maurice finishes his slow lap of the building as Fionn asks Vincent about flowers. He sighs and shakes his head wondering why he, who isn't that keen on all this magical craziness, spends so much time around these two who just seem to attract it like dead meat attracts flies.

All the foot prints that he spotted just seem to veer near and then wander off, seems only them and slightly touched Reggie had actually paused here for any significant length of time. Maybe he should have did the same but as decisions had been made years ago and no point crying about them.

"No one unusual been here that I can see. Just a few people wandering past. Why don't we go check and see how Mary is doing before we go doing any too deep thinking. "

He doesn't wait for a response but steps over the ring of flowers heading for the house.

The long-haired magi was not swayed from the responses his remarks garnered. In fact, he barely acknowledged they were said only after Maurice had returned and suggested they move inside. The comment to change the subject seemed to awaken Vincent from his stoic slumber.

He turned to Harold, who was significantly perturbed by the revelation, his voice suddenly much softer than it had been in awhile. No matter the tone, Vincent was still cryptic. "Harold, if a man builds a fence in the morning around his livestock, does his neighbor assume the man will then butcher all of the cows that night?"

And like the wind changes direction in the autumn, Vincent turned to Fionn and smiled, "Cassandra keeps many of her secrets to herself. It makes her feel useful." His emphasis seems to hint at some unspoken joke, although Vincent does not laugh.

The woodsman let out a troubled grunt, tempted to shake the sideways talking man, hoping maybe a straight answer might fall out, but he restrained himself. It wasn't Vincent's fault that Mary was in trouble, and it would be foolish to take it out on the mage. "Yeah...still, fences are made to mark property. And that child is not theirs, who or whatever they are."

Getting up from his squat, he took a slow, calming breath before stepping over the flowers to follow Maurice into the perimeter of the household. He strode up to the home's door and raised his hand to knock, lingering for a breath, knuckles ready to make contact. He looked back to the other three before giving a sharp trio of raps on the wood. Maybe Mary was fine, maybe the kid was going to be normal, maybe this was just some prank. And maybe he'd begin vomiting bees while he farted prophecies for Amael in the next few minutes.

He had to wait a short time, but Portia answered the door. She had a somewhat worried and unhappy expression until she realized who was at the door. Then she was all disapproval and mild annoyance. "Harold, what are you doing here? I told you, you can't see her. She's not feeling well. I'll send for you after the baby's born so you can see it. Checking back here all the time isn't going to change that or make it come sooner."

Fionn nodded to indicate that he'd heard Maurice, then, after a moment's hesitation, nodded again, more slowly, more deliberately: A silent acceptance of the hunter's suggestion.

Before he could follow Maurice's suggestion, though, Vincent replied. The words the other mage addressed to the soon-to-be father brought a frown to Fionn's features. Whether it was a frown of consideration or a one of confusion remained unclear, though, as the young mage cleared his expression as soon at Vincent continued answering his own question. Fionn listened.
And listened. And continued to, before finally realizing that there was nothing else coming, that that had been the reply.
With the silence having lengthened beyond what he'd consider acceptable, Fionn cleared his throat, desperately needing a moment longer to think of... something to say as a reply.
"Ah." was all he came up with, tho.

Harold's words provided the excuse the young mage needed to drop the topic of Cassandra's knowledge and... usefulness and Fionn readily leaped at the opportunity.
He put a hand on the squatting militaman and squeezed gently, tempted to pick up Harold's sentiment and reply with Or to protect what's inside from what's lurking outside.... But Fionn remained silent; that reply would only be comforting under a number of assumptions - there was a rivalry between Fae and pixies; the Fae had sent the daffodils to keep the child from the pixies AND the Fae were not going to demand a compensation.
So the young mage offered a silent gesture of support and comfort before following Harold to the house.

"He's not the only one who's worried and would dearly love to see that everything's alright." Fionn said, stepping next to Harold. A hint of worry brought some furrows to his brow as his mind caught up with his mouth. "If you forgive me saying it so bluntly, you look somewhat worried yourself..."

Portia's mouth puckered up like she swallowed a lemon, a clear sign she wasn't happy to have that noticed. her eyes went back to Harold, though. "You brought reinforcements? I told you, you're obsessed. She's fine, she's better off without you hovering and-" She was going to put another word on that, but Mary's voice groaned in intense pain deeper in the house.

Harold sighed exasperatedly at Portia, clearly used to hearing at least this flavor of tone, if not some of the words verbatim. He was about to point out the ring around her home when Fionn pointed out her own concern. Not wanting to seem like he was about to hide behind his companions in front of the woman, the sudden wail only motivated him further with a lurch of his heart. "Listen, Portia. What are you letting your daughter suffer for? Please, something's not right and I only want to make sure she's safe any way I can." It was a strange sight to see the man who towered over her stagger between demand and plead, practically champing at the bit to get through that door after hearing his lady in agony.

"Do you know anything at all about birthing a baby, daft boy?" Portia rolled her eyes a little and scowled. "Of course she's in pain. That's how it works. It's messy and it's painful, and when it's done, we'll let you know."

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