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Whispering Death (part 8)

The night had dragged out so slowly for Drina, her hands amply dealing out her tarot cards into a simple splay. It was another typical reading, making it harder for her to act neutral. Glancing towards the tent entrance, she hoped that someone would come to release her from her prison in hopes that she could head to the main event soon. Although she was anxious to perform in front of hundreds of people, she also felt insecure and timid. Never in her past had she done anything to the likes of what she was about to do tonight in front of another living being. Any time she had played with her powers in the past was when she had been alone and hidden from eyes to pry. Most of it was spent in the wild forest near her little village. Deep within the thicket, she had made a little hut where no one could find her. Stealing candles and incense, she would then commune with the spirits in hopes to appease them into leaving her be.

Only after years did she learn to tame her ability, and shortly after her parents had passed that she suppressed it entirely. To boldly state the way she had in front of Mr. Gafrald was only because she grew cocky while putting up a front. Now she needed to put her money where her mouth was. While she read off the fortune to the older lady in front of her, the flap behind her opened and a young boy held his hands up to flash 10 at her. In ten minutes she was to make her way to the main tent in the center of the festival. Giving a small nod in reply, she returned her focus to finish reading quickly.

“And you will find the man of your dreams. Look in the fall after the last leaf has fallen. I am sure you will know by then. Now I usually take questions, however, my time is up. I am needed on the stage. Will you be attending the performance?”

The women looked offended by her abrupt reading, changing quickly to excitement at the mere mention of the seance. “Oh yes! I have never been to one before. We haven’t had something like this in over 30 years.”

Drina had suspected that the last time someone had been here would have been from her family. They used to travel around before she and Ocan were born. It had stopped after Drina’s ability had become apparent. Still, she offered a smile while standing up to help escort the women out of the tent. “Then I am sure it will be the talk of the town, and you can say you were there.”

They both laughed, although Drina’s had been a well-practiced and rehearsed laugh. After saying it to each and every client of hers, it had become a habit and skit. The moment she stepped past the fabric’s edge, Drina dropped it and quickly turned to gather her things. She had no time to waste and needed to start preparing herself mentally. Pulling out a small mirror within her satchel, she placed it on the table after cleaning up her cards. Next, taking out a small bottle of red paint, she dipped her pinky into the liquid and brushed it on her face. From her mid-forehead to the tip of her nose, the color stood out drastically. Taking a candle from around her, she placed it in front of the mirror. It had been a while since she had practiced the spell of protection and while she stared at the flame she took a shaky breath in.

Lightly chanting, she watched the flickering of the candle flatten out into a straight point. Unblinking, she continued to stare off into the light, looking past it and through the window of the flame. The color of the flame shifted, the middle of it beginning to darken while the orange circle around it. In a slow counterclockwise motion, it began to spiral, quickening as she began to speed the chant up. Drina’s eyes burned and sweat began to trickle down her temples, yet she persisted. It was nearly complete while the spiral squished into a flat spiral, slowing down as it moved. The moment it had touched the base of where the wick had started, the flame snuffed into a puff of white smoke.

Blinking several times, Drina stopped chanting and sighed with relief. The smoke had floated slowly towards her, smudging the paint along her nose. Like a white powder, it softened the drastic paint on her nose and gave a soft red taint to her skin. Drina watched the mirror's reflection of the process, completing her spell once the smoke dissipated. Taking out her eyeliner, she fixed her makeup to give a smokey appearance around her eyes. Although the spell was necessary for not only herself but for everyone else around her, the makeup was mostly for dramatic flare. With another dab of the red paint, she drew sigils on the back of her hands and on her stomach.

Using the small mirror as she took a few steps back, she adjusted her clothing. Her pants had been loosened to flow more as she stepped, but her top had to be altered more. Taking her wrapping, she removed the portion covering her torso, and instead fastened it to drape down along her back. The sigil needed to be exposed, meaning a whole lot of skin she was not used to uncovering was now available for all to see. Placing her hands on her hips, she groaned in discontent. “Well, at least if it doesn’t work out, I can look good while doing it.”

Kneeling back at the table, she placed everything back into her bag and wrapped it around her to leave. Stepping out from the front of her tent, she took a moment to take in the fresh air and look at the moon as it brightly shone above. She only had a little amount of time left to meet backstage. Thankfully the pathways were barren. Everyone had made their way to the event of the night. Smirking, she walked off with an even pace, not quite in a hurry to arrive on time. Passing by several of the other gypsies and travelers alike, she noticed several of them gaping in awe. Greeting them in a partial bow, they returned the acknowledgment with a smile. It must have been a while since they had seen an outsider from their bands, especially one who was well acquainted with their customs walking amongst them. It gave her a bit of courage to strut with pride.

A call from behind her shattered that just as quickly as it came, causing her to turn with surprise.

“Drina! Hey!”

Running ahead of Lulu and Hestar towards her was Ocan wearing a bright smile. Mixed emotions flooded her at the sight of them all, especially with the way she was dressed. Anger that Ocan was not in the hostel being protected, fear after the fight they had earlier, worry that her powers would overwhelm her sister all crashed into her as Ocan threw herself into Drina for a hug.

What are you doing here?! You’re supposed to stay out of sight!”

Ocan scoffed in a dismissive way. “I am not going to stay inside while you get to perform! Besides, I miss being able to watch you work.”

The way she sported a pout almost made Drina laugh if she had not been struggling with complex feelings. Looking up at Lulu with an icy glare, she was reprimanded in reply.

“How could you be so cruel? She just wants to support you, as do we all. Don’t be so hard on her. When do you start?”

Drina puffed her cheeks, moping in her defeat. “In just a few. I had to take some time preparing.”

Looking behind Lulu, Drina spotted Hestar ogling her, biting at her lip while she did. The look set Drina’s face on fire, something she had completely forgotten about in the presence of her sister. Suddenly feeling discomfort, she pulled Ocan to stand in front of her to break Hestar’s line of sight. “I, uh, don’t think you should all sit too close. I will warn you now, it will get very chilly quickly.”

Ocan leaned into Drina grinning ear to ear with excitement. “Does that mean I get to watch?”

Huffing angrily, Drina wrapped her arm around Ocan’s neck to pull her along her side, heading back towards the main stage. “It looks like I don’t have much of a choice. But so help me, if you cause Lulu any trouble, it will be you next I will be contacting from the spirit world.”

Ocan laughed, not taking her sister's threat seriously. They all continued to walk together and in the short window of time Ocan had with her, she spouted all of the things she had done with Lulu back at the hostel. It was as if they had never fought at all, giving Drina comfort knowing that they were ok. Still, she knew she would have to apologize sooner or later, but the contact and conversation calmed her nerves. Maybe this was what she needed all along, was just knowing her sister was nearby. It didn’t completely fix her fimble confidence, however. With the persistent tingling sensation of being watched from behind, Drina had become highly aware of her every move. Casting a glance over her shoulder, she caught Hestar absently checking her out as they walked. Lulu intercepted the look with a motherly warning look, making Drina’s gut drop. Keeping her attention forward like a child who just got caught, Drina could hear Lulu vocally giving Hestar shit.

“Honestly, you two.”

Finally arriving at the tent, Drina paused to kneel in front of Ocan. In a low enough voice where only Ocan could hear, she whispered to her.

“Are you sure you want to be here?”

“Yes. I have never seen you use your power like this. I want to be here for it.”

Drina took a long deliberate exhale while looking at her sister's face. Reaching into her satchel, she dug around for a crystal and placed it within her hand.

“Listen carefully. If it gets too overwhelming, hold this in your left hand and channel it into the crystal. I can deal with it later for you. If this is not enough..”

Ocan flicked Drina on the forehead, breaking the frown on her face. “Lana, I will be fine. Don’t worry so much about me.”

Drina looked over at Lulu, considering her sister's words. Hestar watched with confusion yet something in Lulu’s eyes made her wonder. It added further suspicion that Luly nodded with understanding in reply. Puzzled, Drina didn’t get a chance to question Lulu when Ocan pulled her face back to her.

Please be careful.”

Smiling, Drina held her hand, rubbing her thumb against it. “I always am. I love you.”

I love you too.” Flipping back to the common tongue, Ocan shouted in a cheer. “Go show these folk what you are capable of!”

Drina stood up with a laugh, standing back from her sister. Lifting her arms, she motioned at how she looked, slightly turning side to side for Ocan’s approval. “What do you think? Too much?”

Ocan scanned her, reaching around her to remove the fabric around her that hung down around her back. Grabbing her satchel as well, Ocan slung it around her shoulder, stuffing the extra clothing within it as well. Stepping back she took a second look at Drina’s further exposed midriff. It took everything in her not to catch Hestar or Lulu’s expressions as her sister nodded with a smile. “There. That's better. You can see the sigil clearly that way.”

Drina’s face fell as she looked down at her stomach, touching at the bottom of the shirt wrapping. It was separate from the secondary wrap Ocan had just removed. “What are you talking about? It didn’t cover it in the first place.”

Instead of replying to her, Ocan gave her a wink instead, rushing to stand beside Lulu quickly before Drina could stop her. Clicking her tongue, she leered at Ocan for her slyness while catching her glancing Hestar’s way with a grin. She just wanted to get her to expose more for Hestar’s sake, but there was no more time to argue with her.

Drina turned to Lulu with a sigh. “I’ll meet up with you at the hostel after. I will be a little late collecting my pay for the work tonight.”

Lulu nodded and before Drina could walk off, she spoke up. “Won’t you be cold?”

Drina smirked confidently over her shoulder. “Don’t worry, I won’t feel a thing.”

If there was one thing she knew she could deal with unhindered, was the effects of her own powers. The cold was the least of her worries.

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