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Rated: E · Other · Fantasy · #2038421
Karen takes care of Caspian.
         She took the bags to the wash tub, and using the usual guild formula of cleaning agents washed all the coins and gems, watching for any fizzing that would indicate a surface coating of some kind. There was none to this assassin’s mild surprise. It looked like the Viceroy was going counter to the rule of royal assassination: kill the assassin. That the men had tried to attack her was due to taunting on her own part. A few of the stones dissolved, but there were enough quality costume stones floating about society that aside from this process, only a gem-dealer could sort the fakes from the real. She kept a small purse of coins for herself, and put the rest back into some other sacks. She gave some money directly to the housekeeper, for running the house. The housekeeper took the sacks of money and put it on account with a moneylender, bringing the receipts to Karen. The sacks the money had come in were laundered ant put away with the spare sacks kept for whatever. Once the money was dealt with, and all her other gear needing no further attention, Karen turned to her tack and cleaned and oiled it.
         All this was accomplished before lunch.
         After lunch she took the antidote for the soporific nerve toxin that the housekeeper coated her drinking glass with, washed her hands, and went up to Caspian. She wore thick leather gauntlets this time. Her first obstacle was Cyrril.
         Karen entered the room. Caspian was at the point of coming around, while Cyrril stood on his chest watching her enter, growling sub-vocally. She pulled the blankets off Caspian, and on top of Cyrril, carrying him into the corner of the bed. A whiff of a bedridden body went past her. While Cyrril dug himself out, she grabbed Caspian’s feet and pulled them off the bed, turning him around some. Cyrril climbed out of the blankets at that point, and launched himself at her face.
         Karen was waiting for this. As he reached her she blocked him with her left hand, and caught him with her right. He hissed and spit while clawing and biting at her hands and wrists, trying to get through the gauntlets. She held his body firmly while he squirmed and struggled to attack her.
         Her response was quick. She psionically projected to him an image of him on the mantel watching, or in a cage.
         Cyrril paused then continued to struggle.
         “All right, the cage it is.”
         She started to turn to take him down stairs to the birdcage down there. Cyrril stopped immediately. He hissed, and looked over at Caspian for a moment. He then relaxed, as much as he could. She looked over at Caspian, who was watching thought groggy eyes. She knew he would not have any strength for a few more days, but his mind would be active. She looked back at Cyrril.
         “You are going to behave now, aren’t you.” She wasn’t asking. “If you don’t you are going into the cage.”
         She set him on the mantle, and withdrew her hands. Cyrril fanned his wings, and turned hissing and snarling at her in indignation, but made no further hostile move. As she moved Caspian, Cyrril continued to scold and chitter at her.
         She sat Caspian up, and he gave her an accusing look.
         “If they can’t handle themselves by now, our work has all been for nothing anyway.”
         She sat down beside him, pulled his arm over her shoulder, and put her other arm around his waist. His bed and clothes would at least need a good washing, if not burning. She stood, and took him to his feet, holding his whole weight, as he could not support himself. She started talking as she took him downstairs.
         “I had to shut off all your voluntary muscle control, and higher mind functions. This always takes several days to recover from. Until then, you are an invalid. Right now you stink, and are going first to the outhouse, then to get a bath.”
         She had him to the top of the stairs, and readjusted her grip on his arm and trousers. Cyrril had followed and perched on the banister, still scolding. She started carefully going down.
         Caspian noticed that she wore loose clothing that did not show her figure. Or any potential weapons. Caspian tried to ignore her, but found he could not. Her handling him was mildly embarrassing. In the days previous, they had been walking side by side, and even holding hands and talking relatively freely. Caspian did have some experience with sexuality with others, but had never bothered with a long term relationship himself. In the last few days around Karen, Caspian had realized he never let himself out long enough to attract someone, or be very attracted to someone. But origin of the current situation aside she was attracting him, and attractive to him. So what should he do about it?

         It took most of a week for Caspian to get his strength back, in which time he was in peril of his old way of life - being the single academic and farmer. Growing up in his parent’s tower he never had much familiar contact with anyone; his parents are/were good people, but lousy parents. Caspian was also still afraid for his life around Karen, on top of his growing attraction to her. The former frustrates because he can’t solve it. The latter frustrates because he has no idea of himself how to treat her in the way that he is feeling attracted to her. He never recognized that side of his parents, and never paid attention to this behavior in anybody else.
         In this week he has come to more deeply trust her in some areas; she bathes and dresses him the first two days while he is still too weak to move, and both survive the experience. She also changes his bed sheets, and otherwise sees to his comforts. In addition, she spends time helping him move and get his strength back under control. His magic is no problem but also no help in this case, unless he wants to burn his body out. Karen would sit Caspian at the table and move his joints through full range of motion, while subtly psionically stimulating his nervous system. At this same time she could sense his thoughts, but out of respect for his privacy and by trained reflex, she did not intrude on them. At the end of the day as a demonstration of her abilities, she carried him back upstairs walking up the wall.
         He got his voice back the morning of the second day. She kind of wished he hadn’t, but it shut Cyrril up. However, the little beast had been following her around of his own accord, to keep an eye on her since Caspian had told him to stop attacking.
         On the third day, he has some control but no strength yet. When she had asked if Caspian had set Cyrril on her, he honestly told her no.
         On the forth day, the old woman commented to Karen that she bickered with Caspian as a wife does with her husband, and vice versa. Karen threw a practice knife past the old woman for this.
         On the fifth day, he is out of bed under his own power, but still week. Nevertheless, he is determined to go after the Caplan’s.

         “You are still as week as a kitten.”
         He gave her an irritated look as he pulled the laces of his boots tight, and tied them. He was obviously impatient with how long it was taking him to dress.
         “That does not matter. Steven and Roxanne need help. By my trackers they should still be a day out from Skarg. If I hurry, I can get them before they get in the gates.”
         “You are sounding like Steven – needing to be in control of the river rather than simply keeping your course. They are doing something that needs to be done, and we should not interfere.”
         Karen just stood in the bedroom door watching him, her arms folded. Another thing that bothered him was her constantly watching him. Not even Cyrril was as attentive. Caspian got up bracing himself firmly on his feet, and turned to the dresser.
         He started emptying his stuff from it onto the bed. All his clothes were freshly laundered, mended, and folded. As also his cargo belt and vest. His shoulder bag had a new strap to replace the old one. His knives had all been freshly smoothed and sharpened. Sharper than they had been in years. He put the vest and belt on, and then began putting all his remaining stuff in their travel spots. The dagger went back into his boot, the long knife behind his left hip, the fruit knife on his left forearm. He hung the crossbow behind his right hip next to the bag of bolts for it, all of them freshly sharpened. The vest got packed, the bag filled.
         Thought he was not breathing hard, the effort was beginning to show. Caspian didn't care. Finally he shouldered the bag, picked up the robe and cape, and turned to his staff. He had not moved it since getting here. He could sense the null-magic field around the rock, and how it protected the field around his staff. He had not asked, but presumed that was done for a reason and left it as such until he needed to change it. This was the longest he could recall that his staff had sat in one place. He drew it from between the bed and dresser where she had put it five days previous.
         As he held his staff, its energy began to flow over and through him again. Energizing and invigorating.
         He checked his belt and vest one last time. The staff in hand, the robe and cape over the shoulder, the bag opposite.
As he turned, he noticed that Karen had gone without his hearing. As had Cyrril from his spot on the mantel. Her stealth also bothered him.
         Caspian looked around, inwardly reaching for his familiar. Cyrril was in her room, on her mantel. Karen was changing her own clothes, facing away. The images of her filtered through Cyrril’s senses were yet another annoyance.
         Cyrril had decided on his own to keep watch on her to prevent her from doing anything to hurt Caspian again. He had discreetly followed her almost everywhere. Most of the time they were together, so Caspian had no need to watch through Cyrril’s eyes. The rest of the time, Caspian had occupied himself with other things, so he did not bother to see through Cyrril then. The change of perspective was discomforting enough that he only did this of necessity.
         Cyrril had followed her into her room to keep an eye on her, and watched her strip out of her house clothes as she selected a suit to wear. She was in only her panties when she noticed Cyrril. Faster than he could follow she had picked up some practice throwing balls and hurled two at him. Cyrril crouched and leapt just over the first one as the second one blocked his movement deeper into the room. Several more balls came at him herding Cyrril toward the door.
         Caspian had moved to his right toward her door after the first brief image. The distress from Cyrril was enough to amuse him. As did the successive thumps of balls hitting the walls. Caspian called Cyrril out, and opened the door enough for the little dragon to dive through. A ball ricocheted to follow, hitting Caspian. He closed the door before more could come. 
         Cyrril darted out and behind Caspian, bounded off the wall, and back to land on his shoulders. Two balls had hit him. One in the middle of his right side, the other on a wing. He chittered in agitation.
         “That’s what you get for going into a woman’s room uninvited.”
         He went back to the end of the hall, and down the stairs.
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