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Glacia, a street in Thanstadt (Tuesday evening, Fandom time)
Kirt threw another punch, sending the guy flying into the hedge. Mark's face was battered with bruises but he was holding his own and still screaming at his opponent to apologize.

Not that the apology would do any good, since Ulrich was on the ground, having lasted a full five minutes thanks to Dinah's lessons a few weeks ago before being k-oed. He was currently being kept in a shield by Samantha, who was cleaning the cuts on his face.

"We're leaving!" Dinah yelled over the yells of some bystanders. "Now!"

[for heromaniac as various NPCs, with credit for most of the above.]

Mark shifted his footing and landed another right cross on the guy who'd started the whole thing. He may have heard Lady Dinah, but he wasn't listening. He was just that mad.


Edited at 2013-09-11 01:35 am (UTC)

"NOW!" Dinah roared, grabbing Kirt before he could land another punch, and then knocking Mark behind the knees with her TK, so he'd fall down.

"We're sorry, we're sorry, we're going, grab Ul, would you Sam, Swift? We're going, we're sorry..." Dinah was babbling, but it seemed to placate those not actively engaged in the fight, at least.

Kirt struggled against Dinah's hold for a moment before realizing who it was holding him back. His opponent just stood back, glaring and trying to breathe.

As soon as Mark went down, however, the guy he'd been fighting took advantage of the situation and kicked him in the shoulder, knocking Mark the rest of the way to the ground.

"Fuck you," the townsman spat as he rubbed his bleeding mouth with his sleeve. "You and your witchling friends. That damned half breed thief will never get an apology from me or my family."

Dinah set her jaw and gave the guy a scorching look. "Understood. And if you'd started with that instead of the fists, we might stick around, but as it is..." Okay, yeah, losing on the diplomacy front there. "We're going." She let go of Kirt to help Mark up, and gave a little TK shove to the half-circle around them, sending everyone back a step.

"Move," she muttered to the guys, and caught up with Sam and Swift and the cart holding Ul by now. "Explanations when we're outside of town." She had no idea how this got started, but seriously, how had it devolved that fast?

Samantha was driving the wagon, which meant the boys had to tend to their own wounds as they traveled.

The trip out of town was silent and not really companionable. There seemed to be a thickness in the air that wasn't being left behind with the men who'd instigated the fight. Instead it almost seemed to get worse as they traveled away from the town.

When Ulrich woke and pulled himself to a sitting position, the air almost exploded. "What happened?"

Kirt's response was a growl, and Mark... tried to lunge across his brother to reach Ulrich. "You sonnofa-"

Ulrich scooted backwards, his eyes wide as he realized Mark wasn't joking this time.


"Hey!" Dinah called, pushing back on Mark, and then reaching over to lightly smack the side of Kirt's head when he seemed about to pick off where his brother left off. "Stop it! What the hell is going on with you guys?" She looked over at Ul, who was pressed back against the side of the wagon, then over at Samantha, who had her lips compressed. "Somebody tell me what's going on, right now, damnit."

"Why the hell didn't you tell us," Mark growled. "Why the hell? After all we've been through!"

Ulrich tried to look blank. "You've known I was a thief. We were bound to run into someone I took from eventually. I wasn't always as good as I a-"

Kirt cut him off. "That's not what we mean and you know it."


Edited at 2013-09-11 04:40 am (UTC)

Ulrich's face turned sullen, shut down, and he looked away, folding his arms over his chest. To Dinah's eyes, he looked miserable and a little scared.

"You could have told us," Samantha said more quietly, still facing front. "It would have helped to know."

"Know... what?" Dinah prompted, looking from the other three to Ulrich, who flashed her a pleading look.

"That he's a damn half blood." Kirt's voice was stoney.

Whereas Mark's was dripping with bitterness and anger. "After all we've been through... We treated you like a brother, and we had to find out from a damn stranger?"

"Ohhh." Dinah gave Ulrich a sympathetic look, then glared at Kirt. "Excuse you, 'damned' half-blood? You wonder why he's worried about telling you, when that's what you say first?"

To Mark, she said, "I knew. I figured it out at Yllestad. You going to be mad at me too?"

Giving them two targets to be mad at might not be smart, but they needed to calm down. Maybe yelling it all out would help, maybe it wouldn't. But Ul needed the back-up.

"Yes!" Mark balled his hands. "What the hell. We depend on each other for our lives, dammit!"

Ulrich ran a hand through his hair angrily. He didn't want sympathy and definitely didn't want this conversation. "Not exactly something that comes up in conversation. 'Hey. I'm Ulrich. I'm a thief and oh, by the way, I'm not only a bastard but I'm also half blood.'"

"It's important to know when we're fighting for our lives," Kirt pointed out, not at all calmed by Dinah's glare.

Ulrich slammed a hand onto the floor of the wagon. "No it's not! What's so important about it?"

"I don't care about any of that!" Mark roared. "You didn't tell us! Do you know how that makes us feel? We were out there with you, backing you up, trusting you, and you never told us!"

Dinah gave Kirt a flat look, not letting herself get more than irritated. They didn't need more yelling for this. "I made a judgment call. Ulrich's abilities are barely more than anybody without magic's. Or you would've noticed them a lot sooner. If you can tell me how it would've made a difference before Yllestad-- when he had to 'fess up-- I'd like to know it. He might not have died if someone hit him with a mind-blast, but he sure as hell would've gone down in a heap."

To Mark, she said, "Ease up. This is not simple stuff to tell people, okay? When was he supposed to know he could trust you guys enough? And then not worry that you'd react exactly like this, and accuse him of not trusting you?"

Toward Samantha, she added, "I know it was rough. But it was Ulrich's secret to keep. I couldn't just share that without his permission."

Except with Momoko, who yeah, had needed to know too. Maybe that had been a mistake, or maybe she should've prodded Ul into telling everyone. Sigh.

Being in charge sorta sucked.

"It's not exactly something to be proud of, you know," Ulrich wasn't making eye contact, no. "Or even useful."


Edited at 2013-09-12 03:44 am (UTC)

Dinah nudged him with her toe. "It's nothing to be ashamed of, either. Or even embarrassed about. Any more than being illegitimate is. I thought I was too, for years. It's down to our parents, not us, and sometimes it's not even their call."

Kirt was still looking actively disgruntled, but Mark had subsided down into Hurt And Confused Face. Samantha appeared to be concentrating on steering the wagon, but Dinah didn't quite trust that closed-off look.

"Look. I get it. It would've helped if you guys knew earlier. And you're allowed any emotions you want. But don't be so judgey. This is not as easy as you think. And no more hitting. Boys."

Ulrich gave Dinah a withering look. "It is something to be ashamed of. As everyone reminds me."

"You heard back there," he tossed his head back towards the town. "And it wasn't because I stole a few chickens five years ago."

"You should hear what the Blood say about people like me. When they bother to admit we exist."




Edited at 2013-09-12 04:36 am (UTC)

"No it isn't," Dinah snapped back at him, then got her temper under control. "And I don't think Mark and Kirt think so. They just don't get what it's like, having to hide stuff for your own safety." Her voice got quieter. "Not like I do."

She looked back at the two guys, then glanced at Samantha. "I can imagine what the Blood say. Which is ludicrous, because you wouldn't exist without the Blood interacting with landens. But it's not-- it is not going to be allowed to be like that under Karla."

Her voice softened. "Which is different from not telling your friends. Do you trust them?"

Ulrich was quiet, his hand in his hair again, back to not looking at anyone.

Mark made a sound, and started to get up to jump out of the wagon. Dinah grabbed his arm. "Wait. Please."

Kirt stared at Ulrich, and Samantha finally pulled the wagon to a stop. "Did you think I'd be like the other Blood?" she asked, her voice very quiet. "Did you think I'd call you names? After all the time we worked with Kirt and Mark, and Lady Dinah and Lady Momoko?"

"Dinah," Dinah muttered. But she guessed Sam was trying to make a point, about the position Dinah held, as much as anything.

"I didn't think of it at all," Ulrich blurted. "I don't. I just try to keep my head down."

"So think now," Mark snapped. "Trust us, or don't. Which is it going to be?"

Dinah closed her eyes on a grimace, and said, "It's not like that, Mark." Although looking toward the future was a good start.

Kirt wiped blood away from his mouth, and said a bit quieter, "If you'd told us...."

Edited at 2013-09-13 03:41 am (UTC)

"What's to trust you with? You know already!" Ulrich kicked out a foot, knocking a bag of supplies off the wagon with a slightly satisfying clatter of noise. "It took forever to trust me when you knew I was a thief; how was I supposed to risk that?"

Dinah waited for that to sink in. Samantha spoke up now, and said very softly, "I trust you, Ulrich. Not because of this. Because you haven't left us. Or robbed us."

Mark's face was growing more thoughtful, if still disgruntled.

"We're Karla's commandos," Dinah said, voice lower. "Does that mean anything to you guys? All you guys?"

Ulrich groaned and rubbed his head. "Well, I never left, anyway." He grimaced a moment, then handed a small tortoiseshell comb to Samantha.

"You shouldn't drop things in front of a thief."

Edited at 2013-09-14 03:36 am (UTC)

Dinah had to facepalm at that. "Well, at least you gave it back...."

"I thought I lost this!"

"Can we just call 'time out' on all of this for a while?" Dinah asked. "Please? No hitting, no insulting, no accusing, no blaming, and no sulking?" She rubbed her head.

Samantha was glaring at Ulrich, but not without some amusement; Kirt and Mark looked torn. Ulrich shrugged.

"Super. Onwards." Gaaah!

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