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message 1: by Kayleigh (new)

Kayleigh (kayleighkingwrites)

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Cadence lay stretched out on her stomach at the very edge of the pond, chin propped up in her hands as she stared out over the water, not really registering anything she saw, absorbed in her thoughts. Ever since she'd met Spencer on the shifters' territory and discovered that he--a werewolf, no less--was her mate, she had practically been thinking of nothing else. She felt as though her world had been turned upside down. Nothing made sense. Her mind was a jumble of thoughts. Colors and sounds clashed together in a whirlwind of unintelligible chaos. She wanted to be with him but she couldn't. He was a werewolf, and werewolves were responsible for her mother's death. How could she love a werewolf? It would be the ultimate betrayal to her mother.

Her dilemma had consumed her every thought over the past few days until she felt trapped, walled in. So she'd come out here to try and clear her thoughts. Water always helped her. She was a water caster, so of course she had a certain love of water. It always helped her feel calmer, more cool-headed.

Cadence had been avoiding everyone--including Legion, which she felt guilty for. Poor Legion, she had enough to deal with already. Caden hadn't wanted to dump this problem on her as well. At least, that was the reasoning she gave herself. Maybe the truth was that Cadence had just been too self-absorbed over the past few days.

message 3: by cecilia (new)

cecilia Nellie sat at the edge of the pond, her feet resting in it. She was sitting with one long and pale leg crossed over the other, barefoot. Her converse and socks were somewhere in the grass behind her. The earth had been beckoning her, it seemed. But that was just her. There was a thick leather-bound book resting in her lap, in Latin. It was at least a thousand pages, and the pond was one of the few places Nellie could concentrate enough to think. She came here all the time, especially when she couldn't stand to be around people anymore. She may be nice, but sometimes she snapped.

This book in particular was about the element of earth; her element. She had already read it a million times at least, but she read it over and over, as if there was some important detail she kept missing each time. Nellie knew there wasn't, but if she kept telling herself that, maybe she could read it more and more. The more Nellie read the information, the better she'd know it if it came down to it. Nellie flipped yet another page, the Latin words providing an extra challenge. She had a copy of it in English, but she tried to push herself to learn as much as possible out of one experience.

Nellie let her feet dangle in the water. She had been trying to get as much learning as possible done recently, but she didn't know why. Nellie kept asking herself why she seemed to think she had to know everything, but in reality, that was one of the few things that she didn't know about herself. Nellie was one of those people who always knew the answer to questions. So when she didn't know, like now, she tried to find it as soon as possible. And this was that attempt. She always came to the pond when she needed to think. The balance between elements was reassuring.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Cadence stretched out a hand, trailing her fingers in the water, lifting her hand and watching the drops plink back into the pond, one by one. A flick of her wrist and the water rose into her cupped hands. She spread her fingers and let the water fall, then sat up with a sigh and looked around.

The water had worked its magic on her, and she felt steady, grounded, for the first time in days. Before she had felt like she was standing at the edge of a cliff, trying desperately not to fall as the wind did its best to push her over. Now she felt like she'd been pulled back from that cliff edge. It was still there, the perilous drop waiting hidden, but she felt less unsettled than before. Her problem had not been solved, but she was able to push it to back of her mind, at least for now.

She hadn't been paying attention to her surroundings previously, but now she saw a girl a little ways from her, also seated at the edge of the pond. A caster--Nellie McDermott. Cadence was the lead battle caster, but Nellie was a peacekeeper, so she wasn't under Cadence's command. Nevertheless, Cadence had recognized her instantly. She always tried to remember all her fellow coven members, even if she wasn't particularly close to them.

Thinking that maybe some conversation with a fellow caster might cheer her up, Cadence raised one arm in a wave and called, "Hi, Nellie."

message 5: by cecilia (new)

cecilia Nellie played with some of the dirt on the ground, making it fly up and into her hand, and then down and back to the ground. She had even gotten so bored with her book--she practically had it memorized, that she started drawing things in the dirt. Without touching it, of course. She'd used her powers to make it move the right way. It was actually pretty challenging, as she couldn't mess it up in the slightest.

Nellie sighed, all of her dark, shadowing thoughts clearing away. Thoughts about her parents, which always made her mood bleak and dreary. Made her want to go run in a hole and hide, like she had done when she was younger. Her father's death had been the end of her abuse, but she still felt unsafe, no matter where she went. She supposed it was just the feeling of being lost her whole life that had yet to go away.

Nellie looked up when someone called out to her. People didn't usually notice her, unless they were looking. She seemed to blend in with the earth, even though she was blonde. She just managed to--poof--vanish. She closed her heavy book in relief, tired of reading the same words over and over again.

Nellie set her book down in the grass next to her, the worn brown leather blending into the dirt perfectly. She pushed the dirt around a little with her finger--even though she could use magic to manipulate it, she still liked to do some things physically. She hadn't noticed Cadence sitting down the bank of the pond. "Hi, Cadence." she called. Nellie didn't really know Cadence well, as Nellie was a peace keeper and Cadence the lead battle caster, but she knew most of the people in the coven. People tended to need answers from her a lot.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Cadence interestedly watched Nellie work her earth magic. Water had walkways enchanted her, called to her in a way she couldn't really explain, and she had never wished to be anything but a water caster. But still all kinds of magic fascinated her. She had her own magic, but she couldn't help wondering at the way Nellie could manipulate the earth.

A smile ghosted across Cadence's face at the other girl's reply. It was not a real smile, but a hint of one. "'Sup, Nellie?" she replied. It was quiet here with only the two of them and the animals and the sound of water, so her voice carried easily across the short distance.

Despite the fact that she really didn't know Nellie well, the past few days had gotten to her and she suddenly wanted human company. She'd been avoiding everyone because she knew she was terrible at hiding her feelings, and she didn't want people asking her what was wrong. She really didn't want to discuss the whole finding out her mate was a werewolf thing.

She patted the ground next to her. "Join me?"

message 7: by cecilia (new)

cecilia Nellie's own ghost of a smile flickered across her lips, which she continued biting the moment it vanished. "Reading." she said softly. "As usual." Nellie was always reading. She was seldom found without a book. People knew something major was happening when she didn't have a book with her. The only time she was bookless was when she was with her father, which usually meant she was being beaten. Nellie's books were like her security blanket; without them, she felt like she was teetering on the top of a rollercoaster, neither up nor down, but feeling like she was about to puke.

Nellie had a feeling that something was weighing on Cadence's mind, and that she didn't want to discuss it. Nellie was very empathetic, always able to tell what other people felt. It was just something she did, not something she could help. Nellie gathered up her book in pale, nimble hands and walked barefoot over to Cadence, the hard rocks on the ground not bothering her in the slightest. She hated shoes; they made her feel less at one with the earth.

Nellie didn't really know Cadence, other than that she was lead battle caster. She didn't tend to get to know people; she was skittish around everyone but fellow casters. Nellie smiled faintly once more and sat down on the hard packed earth, stretching out on her back and soaking in the sunlight; she was unnaturally pale. People often wondered if she was a vampire, actually. "You have been joined." she teased in a mock scary voice, hoping for the faintest of smiles.

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

"Aren't you always," Cadence responded, a little amused. But it was true, Nellie was always reading. If Cadence tried to remember and instance where she'd seen Nellie without a book, just off the top her head, she simply couldn't. But then, Nellie wasn't one of those who people you really noticed. If you weren't paying close attention, she was easy easy to overlook. Now that she thought about it, Cadence hadn't spoken to Nellie much before, except for maybe the occasional passing greeting.

Cadence watched as Nellie made her way over barefoot and sat down. The barefoot part struck her as strange, but to each his own habits, she thought with a mental shrug. She stretched and sprawled back down on the grassy ground and propped herself up on her elbow, not at all bothered by the stiff reeds beneath her. She came here often; it was one of her favorite places on caster territory. It was always peaceful. And of course, it was by the water.

She faced Nellie, giving her her full attention and smiling faintly at her comment. Cadence tried to always give her full attention to those she was speaking to. Otherwise, she felt, she was being rude. Of course, if she was trying to get a certain message across, she would bend that rule. "So, Nells--can I call you Nells?--what's the book about?"

message 9: by cecilia (new)

cecilia "Point made." Nellie said, noting Cadence's slight amusement. She was surprised that Cadence had even noticed her at all. Nellie was one of those people that was always overlooked. Why should people pay attention a simple teenage girl who'd been broken too many times? No one did, and she was okay with that. Nellie set her book down beside her, the worn brown leather cover blending into the dirt perfectly. It was as if they'd been made of the same material.

Nellie had left her shoes over where she was sitting earlier, which was fine with her. She hated shoes with a fiery burning passion. Now barefoot, she let her feet dangle in the water absentmindedly. She'd never really cared for water, except for necessities. She supposed it was just because of all the times she'd nearly drowned. Nellie had always preferred solid ground under her small, pale feet than water, which was fleeting and unstable. Or at least in her opinion, it was. Nellie often had odd opinions.

Nellie propped herself up on her elbows, glad she'd gotten a faint smile out of Cadence. She smiled faintly at her question. "Yeah, Nells is fine." she agreed, exhaling slowly. That was what her mother had called her. Before she'd killed herself, at least. "It's an element book. This one's earth. It's about the history of the element, how to use it, and more." she let her pale skin soak up the sunlight. "And it's in Latin."

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

((Sorry for the late reply! Got caught up in stuff.))

Cadence idly trailed one hand in the water. Nellie had smiled at her question, if only faintly, but Cadence thought she felt rather than saw some intangible, momentary sadness in the other girl's expression and in her voice. Not wanting to pry, however, she merely asked, "You know how to read Latin?" That was pretty impressive. And the book wasn't a short picture book or something like that, it looked quite long and dense, not to mention incredibly difficult to read.

Leaning forward, Cadence glanced down into the water. Without any particular effort at all, mental or physical, she smoothed the surface of the water until it held her reflection as clearly as any mirror. One glance at her image in the water distracted her from her conversation with Nellie. Cadence knew she wasn't doing so well, what with not being able to really sleep for the past few days and hardly having an appetite, but she looked worse than she'd initially realized. Her eyes, which were normally an almost golden shade, shifted colors as they always did when she was agitated. She had dark shadows under her eyes and her flaming red hair was tangled.

Shaking herself from her thoughts, Caden turned away from the water and looked back at Nellie, hoping she wouldn't give her a partial truth or lie to save her feelings. "Nells, tell me the truth, how bad do I look?" If just her thoughts of Spencer affected her this much, how could she even consider the option of trying to live without him?

message 11: by cecilia (new)

cecilia ((it's fine. I've got like three notifications coming at me every second, so my replies might be slightly delayed. :) ))

Nellie let the pond water lap at her toes gently. Cadence's question caught her slightly off guard. Was it really so uncommon to be able to read Latin? She'd been reading it since she'd learned to read English. Right after she'd learned to read Greek. She supposed it was just because her mother grew up bilingual, and Nellie had always had a certain fascination with languages. She'd always loved how some of them could be rough and harsh, yet beautiful, while others were soft and lulling, like a lullaby. Nellie's odd fascination with just about everything that required her to think often unnerved people. She'd learned the hard way that extreme intelligence was frightening. "Yeah. I can read Latin and Greek." she admitted softly. "And one day I'll learn to read Russian." she didn't know why Russian, but she'd always wanted to speak it for some unknown reason.

Setting the book in her lap, Nellie flipped through the worn, thick pages covered entirely in black ink, minuscule words, and little space between them. "Is that such an odd thing? To read Latin?" she pushed her long, light blonde hair out of her face, which was relaxed and thoughtful. "It's an honest question, I mean, I've never really talked to many people, so I wouldn't quite know." she said honestly. It was a sad truth. Nellie had never really gotten to know people well enough to know what languages they could and could not read. Only she cared about things like that, it often seemed.

Cadence's question startled Nellie slightly. She didn't quite know what Cadence looked like normally, but she could tell for sure that this wasn't it. There were dark shadows under her color shifting eyes, and her hair looked tangled and forgotten. Nellie paused a moment before answering. "You look like something's seriously bothering you." she said thoughtfully. "Like something dark or different is weighing on your mind so heavily that you can't think about anything else." Nellie had always been good at reading faces. And that was exactly what Cadence's expression looked like to her. "But not too bad. Though you're asking the wrong girl. I'm not exactly up to date on what does and doesn't look good."

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Latin and Greek. And she was planning on learning Russian. To Cadence, that seemed pretty impressive. She spoke English and she'd never really given thought to learning more languages, much less an ancient language like Latin. "It is rather unusual," Cadence admitted. "But unusual doesn't mean it's weird or strange. I think it's pretty cool that you can read Latin and Greek." She watched Nellie for a moment. Personally, she thought it must be lonely, spending more time reading than you spent talking to other people. Cadence was a people person. Friends were important. Without friends like Legion in her life, she'd be lost.

She sighed, idly twisting a blade of grass between her fingers. Nellie had read her mood pretty well. Everyone could always read Cadence's mood well; she sucked at hiding how she was feeling. This was exactly why she'd been avoiding everyone she knew for the past couple days. If Nellie, who she barely knew, could tell that something was wrong with her, then someone she knew well would see it right away. And then she'd have to explain just what was going, and she didn't really want to talk about the What. "I kind of...have some stuff going on at the moment," she said finally. Not an explanation, really. "It's not a big deal." Understatement.

((Sorry I'm responding so late, I've just a lot of stuff going on and I'm going to be really busy for a week or so. I'm not sure how often I'll be able to respond.))

message 13: by cecilia (new)

cecilia ((It's fine :) ))

Nellie smiled faintly. "I had an unusual upbringing, so it's not that odd, all things considered." she said softly, tugging on the long sleeves she was wearing. They never felt long enough. No sleeves would ever feel long enough to cover up years upon years of emotional turmoil and physical torment her father had induced upon her. It was entirely his fault that she didn't feel comfortable enough around people to really open up to them. He had sparked the fear in her that said people would do nothing but hurt her. So she'd never felt quite lonely, with only her books. She knew that was what Cadence was thinking. Everyone thought it. Everyone thought she was a lonely little girl who did nothing but read, yet she never felt lonely. In books, there were far more nice people than there were in real life, and since Nellie had been taught to fear people at a young age, she didn't quite mind the fact that books were her only real friends. Nellie didn't need people, she needed books.

"It's not a big deal," Nellie repeated Cadence's words thoughtfully. "I don't think that's quite the case." she said, closing her book and setting it on the grass beside her. For once, she was content to talk to Cadence without a book between them. "You look as if it's bothering you much more than you let on," she said softly. She wrung her hands, inhaling slightly. Did she really want to say what she was thinking. "You know, if you have something weighing on your mind..." she trailed off, unsure if she should finish her sentence or not. "I'm always ready to listen." There. She'd said it, for once, she was offering to talk to a person. That was a huge step for her. "You don't have to, I mean," Nellie added hurriedly, not wanting Cadence to feel pressured in any way. "But, you know, if you want, I'm always listening." As soon as the words left her mouth, she was glad she'd said them. Nellie already felt as if her personal walls of distrust were coming down, brick by brick. She stared at the dirt beneath her, writing Latin words in it without touching it herself. Thinking about it, that was often how she dealt with her problems: watching and working from a distance. It was interesting for her to think about.

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

There it was again, Cadence thought, that flitting shadow of sadness. Maybe she wasn't the best with emotions, but she wasn't blind. She could tell Nellie was thinking of something painful, something she maybe didn't want to remember. An unusual upbringing, Nellie had said. Maybe Cadence was imagining it, but she thought she heard an undertone in the other girl's voice, a hint at some hidden away pain. She opened her mouth to ask what Nellie meant by 'unusual' but thought better of it and stayed quiet.

"Thanks, Nells," Cadence said to her, letting out a breath and giving Nellie a smile -- a real smile this time, not just a hint of one. Truthfully, she was more than a little surprised at Nellie's offer. She could tell it wasn't something she was used to offering. It wasn't a secret that Nellie didn't talk to others much, even those in her coven, and the fact that she'd worked up the nerve to offer to listen to whatever was bothering her meant a lot to Cadence. "That's really sweet of you to say. I'll remember that." It seemed to Cadence that it had taken Nellie some courage, and Cadence couldn't help wondering what had happened to her before that made her so unwilling to get close to others. "Earlier," she began cautiously, not wanting to scare Nellie away, "you said you'd had an unusual upbringing. What did you mean?"

message 15: by cecilia (new)

cecilia Nellie sighed and leaned back on her elbows. She closed her eyes against the sun, hoping it hadn't been too obvious that she'd had a few dark moments in their conversation already. Normally she was bright in a quiet, controlled way, but when the subject of her parents was breached, she got dark very quickly. Once more, she started fiddling with the dirt without touching it, a nervous habit of hers. "Your welcome," she said softly, returning Cadence's smile with one of her own--a half smile that was simply the curving of her lips. Her smiles almost never reached her eyes. Her eyes were always sad and dark. No, every half smile someone saw on her was faked to some degree. "I try to be sweet," she added, letting out a shaky breath. That had taken a lot of confidence. Not only offering to hang around someone but to hear them talk about their problems was hard, yet Cadence looked like she needed someone she could talk to. Nellie knew the look in someone's eyes when they needed help. She'd worn it all of her life. Helpless people called to her.

The question about her upbringing made her freeze, the relaxed expression leaving her face for a fleeting second before returning, slightly forced. "It's a long story." she said slowly, closing her eyes and letting her hair fall in her eyes. "I guess there's no true definition of 'unusual'..." Nellie began thoughtfully. "But I can tell you if there was, it'd be my childhood." Honestly, she didn't want to say anything more than that, but she would if she felt like she should. If being the operative word there. Nellie never told anyone about her past. No living soul knew what she'd been through. Living soul.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Cadence felt rather than saw Nellie's mood shift when she asked her about her childhood. Cadence could tell it was a sensitive subject for her. Nellie had returned her smile, but Cadence could see it wasn't a real smile. Her expression now seemed consciously forced instead of natural. She felt suddenly sorry for Nellie, too afraid to let others get close to her, having books as her only friends, not really noticed by even her fellow coven members. For Cadence it was different. She missed her mother, yes, but she didn't let it control her life. And the problem she'd currently been worrying over was something she could deal with. Talking to Nellie had helped her lighten up a bit. She didn't know exactly what she would do, but she'd figure it out, she told herself. It'd all work itself out.

But Nellie had offered to listen to Cadence's worries. This was the first real conversation she had ever had with Nellie, but Cadence felt like she owed her at least that much. She could repay the favor. Nellie looked to her like someone who could use a friend -- even if Nellie herself didn't know it yet. "You can talk to me about it, if you like," she offered softly. "You offered to listen to me; I'll listen to you." Her gaze fell on the Latin words that Nellie had written in the dirt using her power. "It helps, sometimes, to just talk and have someone listen to you."

message 17: by cecilia (new)

cecilia Nellie bit her lip, knowing that Cadence had noted her mood shift. That was impressive; not many people could catch the ever so subtle change in her expression, the darkening in her eyes. Not many people could see the way her smile faded to nothing ever so slowly, so those who could were always special. She tugged on her sleeves, wishing for once that she could have long enough sleeves to feel like her past was covered up. She wanted to know that every dark thing that had ever happened to her was now buried deep in the earth, not just sprinkled with dirt in a measly impression of a grave. That was the only reason her father had gotten a proper funeral. If Nellie hadn't wanted him gone so badly, he wouldn't be buried at all. But telling her story would mean pity, which she didn't want in any way, shape or form. After all, how could people not pity a girl like her who'd been broken beyond repair to the point where she thought books were safer than people? To the point where she felt safer on the top of a roller coaster than she did next to another person? How could people not pity someone like that?

Nellie's breath caught in her throat at Cadence's offer. Cadence clearly had no idea what she would be getting herself into if she wanted to hear her talk about it. She'd be here for the next seventeen hours or so, just sitting in silence while Nellie would try to muster up the strength to speak. Honestly, Nellie wasn't sure if Cadence actually wanted to listen to her or if she was just returning the favor, praying she would decline and leave it at that. Still writing Latin words in the dirt, she bit her lip--which she'd destroyed quite a few times just chewing on it in thought--and flipped through the pages in her book. "It's a really long story. One you probably don't want to hear if you want to sleep at night again."

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