At the Edge of the World

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    Egon feared when he would have to pull away, but he knew the guard was right. It was getting colder by the second and he didn't want to get caught on this road by a crowd of people leaving the fairgrounds. Pulling at her hand, he stepped back and brought her with him. "You're right, let's go." Egon held Anfrih close to his side as they continued on their way towards the nearest village.

    Once there, Egon went to the stables first, placing a hand on the wooden gate as he peeked inside to check on their horses. He wasn't wary of them running off, but he wouldn't put it past some poor sod to do something to their horses while they were gone. It had been a few hours and just because he was somewhere he had never been before didn't mean people here were magically more welcoming to his kind. He followed Anfrih into the tavern, but the pair went straight up the stairs towards their room. He was far too tired to think about a drink, instead all his body was craving was a warm place to sleep.
    Verris brought her hand up to cover his his, her fingers softly running over his as he caressed her face. "Then I should get going, before it gets too cold." Before he could step out of her way, the princess grabbed him by his shirt so he couldn't and pressed another kiss to his lips. She knew later in the night she would probably lie awake in bed and dream of him and come the morning, she would be wondering if all of this had been made up by her own imagination. When their lips broke apart for the final time, Verris took in a deep, trembling breath and just let her hand drop to his, before stepping away from the fence and pulling him in the direction of the the shore.

    She was fighting the urge to wrap her arms around him and tell him that she loved him by the time they arrived, but she didn't think that was a very good idea. "I don't think I'll see you again until I'm ready to leave." She glanced across the sea at the the academy looming in the distance before turning her attention back to Geralt.

    @ katahdin
    February 7th, 2020 at 06:02pm
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    Anfrih remained huddled into his side as they returned to the inn, waiting for him while he checked their horses before heading inside and right up to their shared room. She realized she could probably have something to eat, but she was more tired, and the thought of curling up in bed with Egon was more tempting. Once inside the room she changed out of her dirty clothes, stepping into the bathroom for a few minutes to use a washcloth to scrub some small areas of dirt from her skin, although she didn't bother with a full bath, having taken one yesterday. Once that was done she pulled on the shirt Egon had given her that first night in the tavern, it becoming her go-to sleep shirt, before she crawled into bed, not bothering to put on the pants she usually wore.

    Once curled up on her side of the bed she looked over at Egon, holding her hand out for him after a moment. "Come to bed.."
    Geralt returned her kiss, fighting the urge to pull her back in when she finally broke it. He followed her to the shore, squeezing her hand tightly when they finally arrived. "I'll be here, waiting. I promise." He said as she spoke about her escape, squeezing her hand again before leaning down to kiss her one last time. "It's late, you'll be missed.. You should get back before anyone notices."
    February 7th, 2020 at 07:55pm
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    Egon had fallen into a chair by the fireplace, kicked his shoes off and sat like a rock waiting for Anfrih to come back out of the bathroom. He had started a small fire by the time she had finished, his eyes lingering on the shirt she wore.

    He stood on his feet and undressed the rest of the way, before crawling into bed after her and pulling her to his bare chest. "I hope you had fun tonight." Egon shifted around in the bed until he was comfortable, before shutting his eyes and letting his fingers run through Anfrih's hair.
    The princess pulled her hand away from him reluctantly and nodded, before whispering her goodbyes and disappearing into the darkness.

    Upon managing her way back to the academy, Verris was terrified to discover Tissaia and a couple other members of the brotherhood waiting on her outside of her room. "I hoped you wouldn't do this." Tissaia spoke, as if heartbroken over Verris' betrayal. "It's clear your picking the Witcher over your covenant and we just can't let that happen. Not after how much we've taught you."

    Verris didn't even have time to react, to try and runaway or scream, or anything. Masked men appeared behind her, grabbing her arms in their hands and forced her down the hallway, following Tissaia and the others to her unspeakable torture.

    ///


    Verris awoke in her bed the next morning, slowly looking around the stone room, blinking a few times before she fully came to. Shooting up in bed, the covers falling from her body, she looked down and screamed. She was unrecognizable. The girl scrambled to her feet and moved over to the mirror to take in her new appearance. Her chestnut brown hair was pitch black and much shorter, hanging right above her shoulders. Her freckles had been erased from her pale face and her soft pink lips had been stained a deep wine color and her pale eyes were now an unnatural vibrant shade of crimson.

    What did they do to me?! She stared down her body in terror, knowing she had to leave now. The princess could see all of the outward changes they had made to her, but what could she not see? What was hidden? A violent pain coursed through her head and all she could do was close her eyes tightly as she grimaced. Behind her eyelids, she caught glimpses of the torture she had endured the night before. Knives and fire had kissed her skin, but no scars remained.

    Getting dressed and throwing on a cloak, Verris rushed out of her room and through the halls, only being cautious enough make sure she wouldn't be stopped before she was free of the academy. Once outside, ran for the ferry near the shore, knowing only to run to Geralt. Would he still be able to tell it was hers? Could she convince him if he didn't? The princess was running to quickly to slow down long enough to grow fearful of the what ifs. She could deal with her worries when and if they actually came to pass.

    @ katahdin
    February 8th, 2020 at 05:56am
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    Anfrih smiled gently as he moved into bed with her, curling into his arms once he'd gotten comfortable, one hand resting against his chest over his heart while her other gently brushed through his curls. "I did have fun. Did you?" She asked softly, stifling a yawn as she adjusted the blankets around them, wanting to make sure he was comfortable and warm. Who knew when they'd be able to have a warm bed to sleep in after the next few days.

    Letting out a content sigh she pressed a gentle kiss to his lips before snuggling into the blankets with a yawn, closing her own eyes as well. "I love you, Egon.."
    Geralt had barley been able to sleep the night before, something making his sleep restless. He woke early and was pleasantly surprised to see that Anfrih wasn't already downstairs, glad to know that she and Egon had made up and were sleeping in. He'd been picking at his breakfast for an hour or two, practically counting down the minutes to when he'd get to see Verris again when a stranger came running into the tavern, crimson eyes wide and panicked. He would have ignored them, accept when he caught their scent panic flooded him too, recognizing it anywhere.

    "Verris." He said as he stood, quickly moving over to her, taking her by the arm and guiding her upstairs to his room. Whatever had been done to her had obviously been against her will, and if they knew about her sneaking out.. Geralt would have to get them all off this island, fast.
    February 8th, 2020 at 06:11am
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    dezz (100)

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    Verris was relieved when Geralt took her arm, knowing it was her. Tears were burning her blood red eyes and she was trying her best to blink them away as he pulled her up to the room he had rented the night before. The princess found it hard to speak, swallowing around a lump in her throat when she heard him close the door to the room. They were completely alone, but even that wasn't enough to bring her comfort right now.

    "They... They caught me when I returned from the festival." She wiped at her eyes, sitting down on the straw bed. She could still feel their hands all over her, could still hear the spells they had changed repeatedly, felt the agonizing pain. Tissaia had thought this would change something, make Verris unable to return to Geralt, make him reject her, make her loyal... But it really had just tortured her.

    @ katahdin
    February 9th, 2020 at 07:58am
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    Geralt had moved quickly to begin packing his things while she was speaking, not that he had much to pack. But they needed to leave, urgently, before that bitch mage realized that Verris was gone again. If they'd done this to her to try to keep her there.. Who knows what they'd do to to her if they caught her again. Once his bag was packed and his armor strapped on, he moved to kneel in front of her, gently resting his hand against her cheek. It was clear he was furious with what had happened to her, but he still looked at her with the same softness in his eyes as he had the night before.

    "I'll get you out of here, Verris. I'll bring you someplace safe." He promised, leaning up to press a kiss to her forehead. "I have to go wake Egon and Anfrih, and then we're leaving. If you want any food for the road, take the coin purse in my bag and go order what you want." He said before standing, pressing another kiss to her forehead before heading out of the room and down the hall to Egon's room, banging hard on the door for a moment before simply barging in.

    "Verris was attacked when she returned to the academy last night. She's escaped again, but we need to leave, now." Geralt explained, barely paying any attention to how Anfrih and Egon were wrapped in each other's arms as he spoke, before storming back out to leave them to get ready.

    Anfrih had woke at the second or third knock, groaning tiredly as she rubbed at her eyes, but when Geralt barged in she squeaked in surprise at the sudden intrusion, tugging the blanket over her bare legs quickly and shoving Egon to get him to wake up a little faster.
    February 9th, 2020 at 06:02pm
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    Verris sat still on the bed for a few more moments after Geralt left the room, doing her best to blink away the tears in her eyes. She stood up, grabbing Geralt's bag and digging around inside of the leather for the coin purse. She tossed his bag over her shoulder and left the room, pulling the hood of her cloak up over her head. She hurried down the stairs, gripping the coin purse tightly in her hand, though when she stood in the middle of the tavern, staring at the counter, she quickly pushed it back into Geralt's bag. Her stomach was tied up in knots and her hands were shaking violently from her nerves, she knew there was no possibility of eating anything at the moment.

    Trudging outside to the stables, Verris walked inside, finding Geralt saddling up Roach. "Where are we going to go?" She kept her voice low, feeling a mix of guilt and terror. It was all her fault that they would be chased now and she fully expected for Geralt to berate her at some point, to tell her he told her so, to tell her that she should've done everything she could to stay in the castle. He had been right and she hadn't listened to him, but still, she would rather be here with him now then locked up in a castle.
    It didn't take much to wake Egon, already stirring from Geralt's yelling, Anfrih's hand shoving into his shoulder surely did the trick. He grunted, pushing himself up on his elbows, barely hearing a word the witcher had yelled at him. "What is going on?" He rubbed the sleep from his eyes, pushing the hair from his face. "Attacked?" He grumbled, looking up at Anfrih after watching Geralt storm from the room.

    He fully sat up in the bed, giving himself a minute before pushing himself to his feet. He groaned, stretching out his back, not expecting to be woken up so soon. Still, in a sleep-deprived confusion, Egon turned to pull his shirt on over his head, before grabbing his bag. "I didn't expect to be leaving so soon... Do you want to go check on your friend? I can gather our things."

    @ katahdin
    February 10th, 2020 at 06:42am
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    "Somewhere safe." Geralt simply replied once she'd arrived, taking his bag from her quickly, although he paused long enough to press a kiss to her forehead before turning back to Roach. "I only have the one horse, so you'll have to ride with me." He said apologetically as he finished preparing everything, moving over to do the same with Egon and Anfrih's horses. The quicker they could get out of here, the better. He'd still not decided exactly where he'd take them, but he knew he'd have to think of something quickly. Perhaps Egon would have a suggestion. He'd want to keep Anfrih just as safe as Verris, after all.
    Anfrih slid out of bed almost immediately after Geralt left, tugging off her sleep shirt to get dressed, buckling her belt and strapping on her armor as Egon finally stood from bed. She'd begun to gather her things when Egon offered to do it for her, the girl looking up at him worriedly as she nodded. "Yes.. Thank you, Egon." She murmured, pressing a quick kiss to his lips before hurrying out of the tavern as she pulled on her cloak, rushing to the stable. She spotted Geralt easily enough, but the woman he was talking to was completely unfamiliar, and she was about to ask where Verris was when it dawned on her that the woman was Verris. "Ver!" She shrieked, rushing forward to wrap her friend in a tight hug. "What did they do to you? Are you alright?"
    February 11th, 2020 at 02:43am
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    Verris had barely moved to raise a hand to Roach's side, wanting to greet her for the first time when she heard Anfrih shout, causing her to flinch. She didn't have enough time to even react before her friend had enveloped her in a bear hug. Relaxing, Verris smiled, slowly wrapping her arms around her friend, before looking up at her, "let's not talk about it, ...not here, not now, anyway." Verris swallowed around a lump in her throat before slowly glancing towards Geralt and then back to Anfrih. She didn't want to bring those memories back to the front, she didn't want to speak of the terrors she endured when every time she closed her eyes she still lived them. "I am fine, that's what matters."

    The princess flicked her eyes back up to Anfrih, wondering if her friend found her shocking to look at. She didn't just look different, she felt different. Verris could feel the magic coursing through her veins, and even if she hadn't wanted to be subjected to the enchantments, she wouldn't take any of it back.
    Egon took his time gathering their bags before following Anfrih out of the tavern. With a bag on each shoulder, Egon came trudging out of the inn with an exhausted look on his face. The bed they had been sleeping on had seemed to become less and less comfortable with each passing night and now the witcher's back was really starting to feel it. Stepping into the stable, he dropped his bags down next to his horse, eyeing the strange woman that Anfrih was hugging, and if he had acted on impulse he might've said something, but the girl's scent told him it was the princess. He, too, was curious what had happened to the young girl, but he found it better not to ask.

    Instead, he stepped towards Geralt, his eyes still lingering on the girls as he spoke, "what's the plan?"

    @ katahdin
    February 12th, 2020 at 06:52am
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    Anfrih clung to her friend, frowning when Verris spoke. It was easy enough to see that she was not fine. That she was far from it. But Anfrih also knew that it wasn't the best time to ask about it, that Verris was still upset by whatever those monsters had done to her, and that it would be unwise to bring it up now.

    "I'm sorry I wasn't there... I should have been there to help you." She spoke softly, feeling the guilt settle on her shoulders. Once again she'd failed her princess, had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was useless, and was surprised Verris even wanted to be near her still. She looked up when Egon arrived, glad to see he had their things, but could tell that he was grumpy about being woken up so early. She knew his back had been bothering him too, and she hoped that their ride wouldn't make it worse.

    Geralt was finishing saddling Anfrih's horse when the other Witcher arrived, helping him strap the bags onto the back before letting out a frustrated sigh when Egon asked what his plan was. "Don't know. Get as far away from here as possible." He explained, double checking the straps before moving to do the same for Roach. He couldn't afford any mistakes. "We need to go somewhere safe, but I'm too pissed to think straight. I was hoping you'd have a suggestion."
    February 12th, 2020 at 07:11am
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    Egon crossed his arms over his chest and thought, one place coming to mind. Though, he wasn't sure if Geralt would take him seriously or not. "Let's just get away from these isles, head back towards Temeria. At least put some distance between us and the witches. Probably will have to sleep in the woods tonight, but we can think about where to go from there."

    He could tell Geralt just wanted to run, ride as far away from this island as he possibly could. Egon didn't want to bring up Kaer Morhen now, preferring instead to suggest it later after his friend had calmed down and maybe had something to drink. Geralt could either think it was a good idea or laugh in his face, the mere idea of taking women there...

    "Do not apologize." Verris frowned, narrowing her eyes at her friend. "I chose to stay someplace no one could follow. What has happened, I can only blame myself for. Don't carry that." The princess spoke with a firm voice, hoping to make Anfrih understand her. The last thing Verris wanted was for Anfrih to feel guilty for something she had brought upon herself.

    "Anfrih, come on." Egon motioned her towards him, grabbing his horses reins before quickly mounting the beast.

    @ katahdin
    February 12th, 2020 at 07:36am
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    Geralt noticed Egon's hesitation, wondering what the Witcher wasn't saying, but he had to agree that they needed to put as much space as possible between them and the witches. He nodded in agreement, moving over to Roach, mumbling an apology for making him carry two people, before moving over to Verris. "Time to go." He stated simply, lifting her easily onto Roach without much effort before mounting the horse behind her, waiting until he was sure that she was settled before riding out of the stables and away from the islands.

    Anfrih was glad to hear that the princess didn't blame her, but she knew that she'd always blame herself for what had happened. She frowned as Geralt simply picked Verris up and rode off with her, not feeling good about any of this, although when Egon called to her she moved over to him, mounting her own horse to follow him and the others out of the barn. She'd miss the coast, but she would be glad to be away from the place that had hurt her friend so much, and hoped that they'd be able to find somewhere safe enough for them all.
    February 12th, 2020 at 07:47am
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    The four rode for what was hours, the sun rising high in the sky and then beginning to descend, casting colorful lines of purples and oranges across the sky. Verris' back had grown stiff not long into the ride and she had found herself leaning back into Geralt's chest, almost able to fall asleep.

    Egon had guided them off of the dirt trail they had been following, finding a very small clearing among the trees before bringing his horse to a stop. Nightfall would be upon them soon and they'd need to build a fire before then. Helping Anfrih down before he dismounted, he stretched, feeling several bones pop in his back.

    His horse walked away a few feet to begin grazing and the Witcher turned to Anfrih, a frown tugging at his face. "Well, now you've seen it all, the true life of a witcher. Still want to travel with me?" He laughed, feeling horrible that he was making her sleep under the stars.

    Verris slid down from Roach when the horse came to a stop, happy to be able to stand straight and stretch, even if it was getting chilly.

    @ katahdin
    February 12th, 2020 at 07:55am
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    Anfrih smiled a bit at Egon's laughter, stepping forward to press a kiss to his lips in response to his question. "You can't get rid of me that easily, Witcher." She teased before heading off toward the trees. "I'll collect some firewood, you set up the sleeping rolls." She called back to him before disappearing into the bushes.

    Geralt took a few minutes to tie up the horses after they'd dismounted, leaving Egon and Anfrih to deal with the fire. Once he was sure the horses wouldn't run off he moved over to Verris, resting a hand on her shoulder gently. "You alright? Once everything is set up you should eat something and get some sleep. We'll have to leave at dawn." He mumbled, knowing it was less than ideal, but he couldn't risk the mages finding them.
    February 12th, 2020 at 08:04am
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    Verris looked up at Geralt and nodded, tugging her cloak around her. She didn't mind where they were sleeping for the night, remembering how Geralt used to warn her of it. Still, she'd rather be here with him than alone in a castle or a prisoner in an academy.

    Verris looked over to see Egon had already laid out their makeshift beds and was waiting on Anfrih. "I'm more than fine, I'm relieved were finally together." The princess finally spoke, looking back up into his eyes, letting her hand find its way to his shirt, straightening his leather armor.

    Egon crouched down on his knees, clearing a small patch of ground free of leaves and rocks where he decided he'd build the fire. He looked up when he heard Anfrih returning, reaching out to take the bit of wood she had managed to find. He laid the branches and sticks together in a pyramid formation, before casting a small sign, cresting a flame that began to spark, lighting the wood ablaze. Egon relaxed back, looking towards Anfrih, "that should warm us up soon enough."

    @ katahdin
    February 12th, 2020 at 08:40am
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    Geralt nodded, squeezing her hand before looking over at the fire as Egon got it going, hesitating for a moment before gesturing over to the fire where they were sitting. "You should get some rest. We all should. We'll have to ride out at dawn." He said, moving to set up his own makeshift bed opposite the fire from where Egon and Anfrih were laying. He was hoping the girls would fall asleep soon and that he and Egon could talk more about where they could possibly go, but he worried they wouldn't find anywhere safe enough.

    Anfrih smiled at Egon when she returned with an armful of firewood, watching curiously as he used his magic to light it before setting the extra wood down to the side. "That's a neat trick." She remarked, smiling as she settled down on the sleep roll next to him, stifling a little groan. "I can think of a few ways to warm ourselves up." She grinned teasingly, rubbing at her eyes triedly as she lay down, sighing as she stared up at the stars. "What if wolves come and eat us?"
    February 13th, 2020 at 12:24am
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    Egon laughed, shaking his head as he looked over at Anfrih. The girl looked exhausted as she dropped the firewood to the ground and took a seat on her little pallet of a bed, rubbing her eyes sleepily. "I have never had to worry about a wolf in my life," he hoped to assure her. He would hear them approaching long before they could even think about attacking.

    The witcher flashed his eyes towards Geralt, knowing he wanted to sit up and make up a game plan, and it was obvious how much rest the girls needed. "Go ahead and lie down, I'll warm you up later." He chuckled, turning his attention back to Anfrih.

    Verris had grabbed a corner of her sleep mat, pulling it closer to where Geralt had made his, before sitting down on it and wrapping her cloak around herself. This would be the first time she had ever slept outside, and while she did find herself fearful of what could be lurking around them, it was easy to relax when she knew who she was sleeping near.
    Once the girls had dozed off, Egon looked across the fire at Geralt, his arms laying across his knees. "You know the only real place we can take them. Kaer Morhen." There was no sense in keeping his idea a secret any longer. If it upset Geralt, surely he'd at least try to stay quiet as to not wake the girls back up.

    @ katahdin
    February 18th, 2020 at 08:28am
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    @ dezz

    Anfrih smiled tiredly at his laughter, finding the sound soothing. "You better. I'll be very sad if I freeze to death out here." She mumbled around a yawn, closing her eyes as she shifted to lay on her side, tugging her cloak around her. She'd slept outside before, when she'd been trying to find the Witchers after Verris had first been taken, but she'd never picked as nice of a spot as this to rest, or had the luxury of a fire to warm her. It wasn't long before the girl was sound asleep, face tucked into her cloak to keep herself warm.
    Geralt and Egon had waited until they were sure the girls were asleep before they spoke, the man not wanting them to worry about whatever may come up in conversation. He frowned across the fire at Egon when he voiced his opinion on where to take them, starting to shake his head to object when he stopped, letting out a frustrated sigh. Egon was right. Kaer Morhen was the only safe place on this continent for them, as much as he hated the idea of bringing them there. "You're right.. But it's at a long ride from here, and we'll have to stop to make coin so that we can get them food, or at least pay for a room in an inn." He pointed out with a friend. "That will add time to our journey, and I don't trust those mages to not already be looking for her."
    February 18th, 2020 at 03:17pm
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    Egon had squared his shoulders, lips already parting as he thought about what he would say to counteract Geralt's opposition, but when the white wolf had barred his teeth and then agreed.... Egon couldn't help but gawk in surprise.

    Pulling himself out of the shock, he crossed his arms over his chest and glanced towards the two sleeping girls. As much as he knew they had to be happy to be reunited, a plan was forming in his head. "I'd say they're probably tracking her. We should split up, Anfrih and I could stay back, try to mislead them. Give you two enough time to put a fair amount of distance between the witches and her."

    "We should find a job tomorrow, split the coin so we will both having something to eat off of, give the girls time to say goodbye again." Egon wasn't afraid of a few mages and if came to it, he'd be happy to cut a few down.

    @ katahdin
    February 18th, 2020 at 10:11pm
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    Geralt nodded in agreement as Egon spoke, his plan sounding like a decent idea. "Two Witchers traveling together draw more attention than one. And if word spreads of a Witcher and a girl staying at an inn nearby, they'll assume it's Verris and me, and not you." He pointed out, looking over at the sleeping girls for a moment before looking back at Egon.

    "Anfrih's a good fighter. Do you think she'll be able to handle herself and have your back?" He asked curiously. He'd seen her practice fighting with Verris ages ago at the palace, and knew she had to be tough to withstand all that time she'd spent in the dungeons. He wondered if perhaps Egon would try to train her once they got to Kaer Morhen, but he didn't dare ask in case it would upset the other Witcher.
    February 18th, 2020 at 10:59pm