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“I’m gonna miss you little My My,” Egg said, hugging and picking his little sister up to spin her around. She laughed her adorable laugh, thick black hair flying about wildly. Myra wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him close.
“Why do you have to go Eggy?” Myra pouted, cocking her head to the side like she always did whenever she was upset.
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Truth be told, I'm not sure I really want to go away.
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The autumn of Egad Northwood’s seventeenth year had finally arrived. And with it came muddied, puddle soaked roads, a dew slick forest that would soon begin to grow all shades of brown, gold and honey before they floated down to carpet the forest. The mud sucked and coated the soles of his boots even now outside the farmhouse. It was still the wee morning hours, the sun only just peeking its orange glow over the horizon so a few lanterns were still alight hanging on the front porch. On the muddy road leading out onto the country highway, a wooden cart drawn by a horse sat. At the driver’s seat wielding the reigns sat a familiar face. She had a mighty impressive scar and a bit of a limp these days, but Dayna still made for one hell of a hunter and a driver.
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Like most of the time the huntress was quiet and patient, sitting at the driver’s seat with the reigns already in hand. She wore a faded cloak of green, her tawny brown hair tied up into a bun and a scarf wrapped around her neck and covering her mouth, Dayna’s breath clouding in a white fog as it passed through the dyed wool.
After their first meeting and the fight with Fenrir, Egg had rushed her back to this very house. His mother hadn't even questioned who Dayna was, only helped clear the kitchen table and begin work saving the young girls life. Egg had sat by, helping where he could but mainly standing by, watching his mother work. It made him wonder. She could’ve been so much more, a doctor, a nurse, a healer. Instead, she became a mother.
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Now the time had come for Egg to decide what path he would take. After sleepless nights of hunting and circling thoughts he’d decided upon London must be where he'd find it. Dayna was already headed that way with an uncle living in the city she’d supposed it was her best bet at finding her fortune. In return for company along the way and provisions for the journey through the countryside (and mayhap because they'd been friends for years and trusted each other with their lives,) Dayna had agreed to let him come along.
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Egg hugged his sister close and patted her back.
“I promise I'll come home to visit whenever I can and bring lots of presents for you!” He promised, walking over and setting her down on the porch where his mother and father stood. They both placed a hand on each of Egg’s shoulders, and looked to him with more concern than he'd ever seen in their eyes. More so than when he rushed home with Dayna bloodied and unconscious in his arms. And somehow more so than the day Sol left forever.
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“London is a whole other world, my son. Play by its rules and you'll survive,” Egg’s father said concisely. His yellow eyes were thin and piercing, maybe they even seemed cold to someone who didn't really know him. But Egg knew his father, and knew he'd give up the world for his family. Egg’s mother took his calloused hand made strong from the years of hunting, and pressed it against her warm, gentle face.
“Do as your father says, but don’t ever forget to stay warm, safe, and loved. You might not always have the first two, but you’ll always have our love, Egg.” She said, tears almost threatening to well in her eyes. Egg closed his eyes, and pulled her close into a hug. He’d grown tall. He’d grown strong. His black hair had grown into a thick mop he tucked behind his ears, and the fiery yellow of his eyes had a strength reflected in the muscle rippling beneath his brown, ragged cloak and linen shirt, itchy pants and boots.
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“Goodbye,” He murmured into the crook of her neck.
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With that, and a good mess up of Myra’s hair, Egg left the farmhouse on Dayna’s wagon. The sun warmed their backs as the horse Baytime pulled the cart laden with rucksacks of sellable goods along the dirt road. They rode in silence just as they liked it, leaving only the sound of the horse’s hooves on the dirt and stone, the wooden wheels rolling over uneven ground. Eventually the road began to run alongside the train tracks. Egg hadn’t really been around here since that day when he’d been forced to watch Sol leave. There was a train station they’d passed a few moments back. The same train station Egg had sprinted to in vain. He’d watched the train leave. He’d watched Sol’s sad blue eyes go further and further away with every puff of smoke from the train.
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Egad had tried. He’d run after that train until his legs refused to run anymore, the world slipped beneath his feet and Egg collapsed onto the ground, his body refusing to move another inch. But the train had kept on going and Sol with it.
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Egg tugged the ragged coat closer for warmth, and he couldn’t help but glance to Dayna with a smirk. When he caught her eye, the huntress shrugged the cowl of her hood back and smiled right back.
“What?” She grinned.
“We’re finally doing it. We’re finally getting out of nowhere, and going somewhere,” Egg said, wrapping a hand around her shoulders and pulling her into a crushing hug.
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If their relationship was a recipe, the bone-crushing hugs was the key ingredient. Dayna had gotten used to it, eventually. Then again, considering Egg was her only friend she’d had to adapt to the habits of the tall farm boy. About town when the two would sell their wolf pelts and dead birds, the bakers woman would oft ask when they’d marry. The first time the sweet, plump woman asked they’d nearly died of pure embarrassment. The second time she hinted at it, Dayna hadn’t been able to look him in the eye properly. They knew the way the village folk and how their own parents saw them. A young woman and man, good looking and well known amongst it was almost expected of them to fall in love. In a way they sort of did. They had the kind of closeness only a friend could offer. Not a love found in the closeness of heart or flesh, but the closeness of soul. It was an odd closeness, but one that was as appreciated as it was needed for the both of them. And so as they grey older the two friends became the happiest couple in the village.
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The journey was long, cold would’ve been incredibly lonely if it weren’t for Dayna. The occasional farmer would pass them, tugging a stubborn donkey along or a lonely cart filled with bales of hay.
On the first night of their journey, they spent the night at a nomad’s camp. A gypsy by the name of Emmers led Baytime through the camp, her dyed cotton and satin rippling like a river of bright blues and pinks in the evening breeze. Egg couldn’t help but think to himself how the gypsies reflected the home they brought with them. The tents of every colour imaginable, to the great bonfires reaching their fiery tongues to then night sky to the singing that revibrated throughout the cool air. Judging by the look in her eyes, it was all just a wash random shapes and smells and a warm place to the spend the night. But to Egg, it was a flash of life. Of new colours. Of new sounds. He’d glance into a tent, and see a single frame of a person’s life. One glance was all it took. A mother suckling her new-born babe. An old woman stitching a young boy’s wounds. A family, sharing a meal. Once, Egg could’ve sworn he even saw two women…kissing, but he couldn’t be sure as he’d torn his gaze away immediately.
In return for a sheep-skin cloak, a half-drunken song by Dayna’s nightingale voice and (what felt like) an entire tree loped into firewood by Egg they were given food, a place by the fire and were welcome to the stay the night. By the time all that there was to eat had be eaten and all there was to drink had been drunk, most had left for the warmth of their tents and lovers. Dayna and Egg however had remained by the pit of the fire, in which not much else remained but dying embers. With every glowing breath they took, the fainter they became. And the fainter they became, the more sleep threatened to take Egg under. They both slept beneath a heavy woollen cloak Dayna’s father had given her for the journey to her uncle’s. Warm and very much asleep she lay nestled against him and his tattered coat. Not wanting to wake her, Egg did his best to subtly reach inside his pack lying beside the thick blanket they’d lain down.
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He hadn’t really taken much, as he didn’t have much to take. His eyelids were heavy and mind fogged with dreamy thoughts of sleep, but Egg still managed to hold the copper locket up to the fading light of the embers. The locket was in the shape of a heart, with the words Myra Northwood etched into it. She had one exactly like it, but in polished silver with Egad Northwood etched into it instead. The man that his mother could’ve…. should’ve married had asked what three things she wanted most. She had said she only wanted three things. A son, a daughter and a loving husband. He had these lockets made, so Egg’s mother had one just like it with Laura Northwood etched into gold. And then she took those lockets, and that young lords heart and never gave her own in return.
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It was a stolen love that had brought this shaped metal between his fingers. But it was a true love for his family that made him keep it, put it around his neck and tuck it beneath his shirt and let sleep drag him under. The next morning, they woke early, and Dayna didn’t question his obvious reluctance to leave but made it clear they were leaving regardless of the pretty colours. And leave they did. On the way to London they juggled between camping with others or by themselves are on the off occasion even manage to find themselves an inn to stay in. The way was harsh, cold and gave them nought but stiff hands, limbs and broken lips, but they made it to London all the same.
The dark outline of the city could be seen in the grey, cloudy gloom of the horizon. It was the smell that hit them first, a sour mix of horse manure, smoke and something foul. The dirt road turned to grey cobblestone, and the once lonely path become one of every kind of stranger imaginable. Neither lords nor ladies set foot in the stinking outskirts, only the common folk and those without a coin to their name made their way across the cobblestone bridge over the filthy waters and into the city. Into the streets they went, each filthier than the last. But Egg didn’t care, oh, he couldn’t’ve cared less about the stench of the lamp-lined and alley-cat plagued streets.
There was life here, a completely different palate to that of the countryside. His yellow eyes were filled with such bemusement and childish wonder that Dayna have him a look that simply said, never seen people before, eh?
Egg smiled and nudged her shoulder, knowing very well that she felt the same. And despite herself, the cold, freckled girl couldn't help but break a small smile. Egg couldn't help but notice the people on the street side, and how they seemed to stare at the both of them.
What's so fascinating?
“Yellow eyes and a woman driving the cart, Egg,” Dayna sighed, quiet but clear.
“I'm guessing they don't see that every day?” He said under his breath.
“Aye,” She muttered, staring straight forward.
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And so they ignored the prying, wondering eyes of the common men and the ladies wrapped around the crook of their arm and made their way to Dayna’s uncles. It was a simple two-story house, a bleak mix of dark brown and a washed, faded green tiled roof. They pulled to a stop out on the curb, and Egg began to unload the sacks of grain and material as Dayna searched past the alleyway between the other line of houses and around back of the house. As he placed the sacks and crates onto the curb, Egg couldn’t help but whistle.
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None of them are used to my yellow eyes, this…is a chance to start anew. A new home in a whole new world with my closest friend what else could I ask for - ?
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The sound of a loud scuffle from the alleyway cut his thought short. Shouts bounced against the walls of the alleyway and the sound of a struggle was clear.
“Dayna!” Egg cried, dropping the burlap sack in his arms and charging after the shouting voices. He leapt a pile of sludge and muddied puddle water and skidded to a halt arriving at the mouth of a private terrace out back of the houses on the main street. Dayna stood against a wall, a cut on her forehead covering half her face in crimson, her breath rapid as she was half-blinded by the blood and pain. Three men, all dressed in rags of filth circled around what looked to be an old man in a tattered black trench coat, kicking and shouting curses at him. The white haired man managed to raise his head for but a second, long enough to spot Egg. Bleeding and shaking at the beating he was receiving the old man managed to reach underneath his coat and toss a revolver across the cobblestones and over to Egg’s feet. Egg looked to the gun for a moment and then to Dayna, wounded and in no way to fight back. In a split second he made a decision, and picked the gun up. With shaking hands, he aimed the revolver at the ragged men.
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“Oi! Let him be!” Egg cried, awfully too aware that he had no idea how to use a gun. His cry got the attention of the youngest of the lads, a filthy brown haired mongrel that quickly alerted the rest of his presence. They fanned out, away from the old man. There were a few moments of silence that seemed to drag on for an age, everyone in the terrace fixated on the man with the gun. Before Egg could think of what to say, Dayna out of nowhere threw herself at the brown haired thug, knocking him to the ground. The man in the trench coat acted on this opportunity and attacked the longhaired thug by him. The third in the centre went to attack Dayna, but with fire running though his veins Egg leapt forward and pinned him to the ground. The young man struggled furiously beneath, heated with anger and smelling of the same filth that ran in the waters. Egg held the thin boy down easily enough, but Dayna was already on the ground being kicked around whilst the man in the trench coat was just holding his own against the other thug with an ugly scar running up his throat. Sweat beaded Egg’s forehead, a struggle brewing and clouding his mind of what the bloody hell he was meant to do.
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I have to keep this stinking guy down but Dayna…I – what about that old guy? I don’ think I should put it past them to kill the poor guy…bloo’y hell, I don’t – I don’t know what to – to do I –
The spindly boy beneath him gave a sudden jolt, jerking violently in an attempt to get free. It took Egg aback, send a new wave of clouding fear and stress that blinded him more and more every second.
“J-Just stay still dammit!” Egg pleaded, trying to keep him down with one hand but distracted by Dayna’s pained cries. He tried his best to keep the revolver steadied, but with one hand occupied it was a struggle to even hold it properly.
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What happened next, Egg never intended. The gun slipped and on instinct Egg shifted his hand and tightened his grip sharply, and in doing so, squeezed the trigger. The gun had already been readied to fire, by the old man Egg supposed, in an attempt to defend himself by scaring them off. But the bullet that fired and shot through the spindly boys head and blew out his brains was no bluff. The other two thugs looked to their dead friend and after a moment of realisation and sharp intake of breath, they bolted. Egg still sat atop the corpse, a soft pillow of blood and brains forming beneath his head so that he might sleep peacefully. Droplets of blood patterned Egg’s face, tears of crimson falling silently.
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The farmer’s boy’s hands were suddenly weak, the revolver slipping from his hand and falling to the cobblestones. There were no words to describe what Egad Northwood felt inside in that very moment. None but a single word, - nothing. To imagine that nothing existed would send anyone’s mind into a loop, but that was all that was inside. His mind that had once been aflame was now frozen, not by ice but as if in time. He was stuck in that single moment of time, a defence for his mind so that he might not collapse into absolute panic and anarchy. A defence against the moment Egg would realise that he had taken another human beings life. A thin, thin glass wall against the flash-moment of him realising the fact that this boy had a mother, a father too and perhaps a brother or sister. His mother had beared the pain of childbirth, suckled at his mothers teat and grown from a small boy and faced the tribulations as any to get to this point in his life. Up until this moment until the light dissipated like the early morning fog melting away in the light of day.
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