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04.16.2127 - The Meeting (Harrison and Emma)

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Emma followed the Deaconess from the door of the plush carriage coach to the front gate of the outer wall. She bowed her head which remained dry within the hood of the cloak. It was a miserable rainy day of early spring, and the chill in the air gave no hint of the summer to come. Acknowledging the cloth and carriage of the Clergy, the guard let the old woman and her young helper through the gate without so much as a hint in asking for papers.

A few minutes later, at the entry way to the orphanahe, the woman was berating the young child.

“I don’t care whose daughter you are, if you so much as take a toe out of line I will see to it that you are severely punished, do we have an understanding young one?” the woman scorned down from above her impossibly long and crooked nose at her.

“Yes Deaconess Myrtle, I will....” Emma started but was cut off.

“You will make your rounds and not so much as say “Hi” to any child within the orphanage, I will not be held out of the church on a day such as this by the petty foolishness of a young girl” she scowled. “Hand them each a cookie, check for sickness and meet me at this entry by 6 night-hand or I swear by all that is holy you will not see supper for a week.”

Emma willed herself not to cry. The woman had no mercy for weakness and was a silver-tongued witch who would successfully deny this entire speech should she report it.

“Now get to work.”

15 minutes later Emma had retreated to a corner of the common room, crying quietly in it. The bowl of cookies perched on a lone rickety table on the far side of the room where the children were enjoying them and wondering about the weird young priestess girl. They didn't dare go to the center of the room where the old donated wooden crates someone once called furniture was. Instead they leered from the corner.

“She hasn’t even lowered her hood!” one said.

“Did you check the symbol? She is of the Circle of the Deaconess! I didn’t know kids could be in that?” questioned an older girl.

As they whispered and wondered, Emma merely cried in the corner, oblivious to them. She hated her father, her station and her life.

Harrison felt the tension in the room as he entered. It was strangely hushed. His attention was quickly brought to the shape of a sobbing girl. The hell did I just walk into? He wondered.

Harrison scowled a bit. The other children were clearly distracted by this sobbing lass, and she was just as clearly not planning to stop any time soon. Harrison sighed. Why was nothing ever just normal?

Reaching into his pocket gently, Harrison nodded silently to the few in the crowd he called friends. They all knew Clive, Harrison’s pet white squirrel. Harrison pulled Clive out of his deep pocket, and from his other pocket, Harrison produced a small shiny quartz stone he’d found in the court yard. He gave the quarts to Clive, and looked the creature in the face for a moment. Clive took the stone and scurried off to the sobbing girl, stopping just a couple of feet away.

Clive sat up straight, took the stone from his mouth and held it out, chattering at the girl.

The girl had the exact reaction Harrison expected, she immediately stopped crying and let out a start before giggling a little. "Who are you little one, what are..." she stopped and looked over to the center of the room. There she saw Harrison standing with the group of children behind him in the corner, also looking on.

She seemed to remember herself at the moment and stood up, collecting herself and ignoring the squirrel. Her hood still up, her hands disappeared inside as she wiped her face of the tears.

“That’s Clive,” Harrison said matter-of-factly. “He doesn’t like to see a pretty girl cry.” Harrison no sooner said it than he regretted saying it… There were a couple of “OOO’s” from the younger kids. He said it as a statement of fact, not a admission of attraction.

The girl lowered her hood, a gentle, perfect face with dark brown eyes and long brown hair emerged from the hood. She was indeed one of the prettiest girls Harrison had ever seen. But he immediately also recognized that she was a girl of station, she wore it plainly on the pretty face, but was it a mask, or was it make-up Harrison wondered.

"Interesting, does that line work on all the orphan girls around here?" she said. To Harrison, the girls snootiness sounded forced, like she didn't want to be a jerk.


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