Two Hearts One Beat – Chapter 109


Side A – Yasgrid

The nervous energy which crackled from Kayelle’s eyes to her fingertips was a new look for her. As they enjoyed an early dinner together though, Yasgrid saw that it had always been there within her. Kayelle simply held it in check, at all times, as their mother had shown her. It was fitting, and perhaps unsurprising, therefore that it would be concern over Naosha M’Kellin’s disapproval which had cracked Kayelle’s robust facade.

“I found another Trouble,” Kayelle said. She said it quietly, without force or expectation, as though she was commenting a minor bit of weather.

“Found and fought?” Yasgrid asked. She kept her excitement from her voice. Kayelle was searching for her center before her meeting with Naosha. Sisterly rivalry would have compelled Nia to poke and needle, but Yasgrid didn’t need to compete for Naosha’s affections.

And neither did Kayelle, if Yasgrid guessed correctly.

“It wasn’t much of a fight,” Kayelle said, lifting a small piece of fruit on a skewer from her plate. “Endings is getting easier to use.”

“I think this one puts you two ahead of me,” Yasgrid said, raising her glass for a small toast.

“Three,” Kayelle said. “There was one last night. I didn’t want to wake you.”

“There were two last night,” Yasgrid said, offering Kayelle a gentle if slightly mischievous smile. “I didn’t want to wake you either.”

Yasgrid wasn’t throwing the contest of which M’Kellin sister could end more Troubles in Kayelle’s favor. Kayelle was legitimately a talented wielder and adept at looking in places others didn’t think to check.

Yasgrid had seen a similar sort of piercing awareness in Naosha’s eyes. It was a talent that Kayelle seemed to have practiced more than Nia, for all that Nia was bright and clever in her own right.

Yasgrid’s own success in hunting Troubles had come less from the sort of incredible alertness the M’Kellin’s displayed and more from being able to view her surroundings and the events which transpired from the perspective of someone quite removed from the norm for the Darkwood. 

In part, that kept her more alert in general. She hadn’t learned to filter out the mundane things which the Darkwood Elves were routinely confronted with so she saw more than they did, even if less of made immediate sense to her.

Beyond that, her history and perspective also gave her a different set of blind spots than Kayelle or any of the other people around her. As a result, it wasn’t that Troubles couldn’t hide from her. It was that they were trying to hide from the wrong sort of person. 

She just hoped that made her the right sort of person to sort out not only the mystical Troubles which plagued the Darkwood, but the less dramatic ones which threatened to just as thoroughly destroy the brilliant and courageous woman sitting across from her.

Side B – Nia

Nia decided it wasn’t fair to call Belhelen the sister she wished she had, mainly because before she’d swapped lives with Yasgrid, Nia had only ever wished she for the sister she had to go away.

“How can you only have one pair of boots?” Belhelen asked as she jogged in front of Nia, leading them both to a cobbler who could remedy the situation of Nia’s lack of footwear in time for the Shatter Band’s departure.

“I don’t know! I mean, I can only wear one pair at a time right?” Nia said, privately shaking her head at Yasgrid’s lack of wardrobe options as well.

“I kept meaning to pick up another pair!” Yasgrid said silently to Nia, projecting herself beside them as they ran. “There were always other things to do though. Practice. And stuff.”

Nia knew Yasgrid’s heart since the organ in question was presently beating in the chest Nia wore. Yasgrid’s procrastination had deeper roots than a simple lack time or funds.

“You’re undergarment collection is, and I’m quoting your mother here, ‘a sad pile of blah’, end quote,” Nia said silently back. 

“Of course she’d say that,” Yasgrid replied. “Her closets are packed to the ceiling. And sometimes it’s even with clothes she hasn’t stolen from someone else!”

Nia suppressed a chuckle. The image fit too well with Osdora for it to be much of an exaggeration on Yasgrid’s part.

In truth, Nia wasn’t concerned about the sparseness of Yasgrid’s collection of garments, under or outer. If anything it was delightful to lounge around in the same clothes for a couple of days at a time. Deliciously slothful, just as she’d dreamed it would be, but had never been able to experience while at home.

Even when that home was her own. 

Moving out hadn’t exactly come with the longed for freedom since she’d moved only a few trees away and hadn’t purchased her little dwelling on her own.

“What sizes are your feet?” Belhelen asked, as though it was something everyone would know as a matter of course.

Even before Yasgrid replied, Nia knew what her answer would be.

“How the heck would I know that?” she said to Belhelen simultaneously with Yasgrid saying the same words over their link.

“Ms. Shoemaker is going to kill me,” Belhelen said and picked up her pace even further.

“What?” Yasgrid said. “My feet are feet sized! I just try on boots until they fit.”

“Your current elf feet are size 4s if it comes up,” Nia said, laughing at the thought of Naosha M’Kellin allowing her children to be unaware of any of their proper garment sizing requirements.

The thought of picking out new clothes and shoes for Yasgrid put a smile on Nia’s face. If they weren’t sprinting to the shop she might even have looked forward to it as a chance to be creative with a whole new palet. She’d never imagined dressing up a Stoneling body and hadn’t given it much thought so far but the possibilities were intriguing.

And maybe she could pick up something special to wear for Margrada. Something elegant and enticing. And maybe a bit risque. 

Nia blinked, shaking her head at the direction her thoughts had turned.

Buying nice clothes? And alluring ones too? She wasn’t just turning into her mother, she was turning into both of them!