Bridling Fire:6Mature


My head hurt a bit and while I didn't see in twos or anything more than ones, I found it incredibly hard to walk in a straight line once the shock wore off and left me to fend for myself.  Fortunately we mostly rode; there were settlements in the mountains we planned to pay visits to, so the plains and hills and Momentum's quick-paced walk kept my mind off my missing eye.

And Felix.  He helped too.

My tent stayed packed and remained unused for longer than it should have, as I was ordered to share lodgings with Felix so that I wouldn't get much chance to roll onto the bandages and mess anything up.  There was something weird about Felix that allowed him to have an assface side and a bestfriend side and still just be Felix (and also watch me sleep without there being too much creepiness).  I didn't think of him any differently, and for some reason it wasn't weird or awkward when he didn't bother to hide his worry for me.  Or rather, hide the fact that he maybe sort of possibly cared a little.

But I still couldn't walk in a straight line.

"Lyric, I need your advice on something..."

The tent flap let in a crack of daylight as Kylar pushed it out of the way, his bow strung and in hand.  I didn't move; I was propped up against the tent's support while Felix crouched in front of me to take off my current and probably unnecessary bandage.  My last bandage.

I don't know what I had expected, but the unchanged inky blackness was not it.  I suppose I had been waiting for veiny red light to filter in where my eye was, but there was nothing.  In the past few weeks when my bandages had been changed, the sun hadn't risen yet and I hadn't even been fully awake.

I could feel my face harden against the disappointed expression I knew would show otherwise.  Felix's face didn't change at all, but I could tell he didn't really know what to expect any more than I did.  I avoided his gaze.

"What do you need, Kylar?" I asked, looking around Felix to the tent's entrance.

"Oh, uh.  Sorry if I'm interrupting, I just need to know how to deal with Jacie giving Rowan a hard time with Bane's mane."

"What's wrong with Bane's mane?" asked Felix.

"I think Rowan's trying to braid something in it and Jacie's freaking out."

I face-palmed.  "I'll deal with it."  Before Felix could protest, I grabbed Kylar's shirtsleeve and dragged him out of the tent with me.

The majority of us had gravitated toward the suddenly fascinating fallen pine we had camped by while Jacie and Rowan went at each other's throats on the other side of the clearing.  Bane, Rowan's blue roan Newfoundland pony, stood tense behind his rider.  Tempest paced restlessly behind hers.  The two humans were in a heated debate about whether or not it was acceptable for Rowan to braid a clump of russet feathers into his horse's mane.  Rowan's argument was that he had found them and could do with them what he wanted, while Jacie fought back with the fact that they rarely found feathers and they were needed for fletching arrows instead of foolish decorations.

"We find and hunt birds all the time.  You can find some more."

Jacie bared her teeth.  "Stupid, we only ever find and hunt the small birds!  You can have the little feathers because I can't fletch arrows with them, but I need those big ones because those ones are really good on arrows."

I cut in.  "Rowan, how many feathers did you find and where?"

"There was half-eaten falcon over by that tree.  I got six good feathers from it, the rest were either torn and bloodied or just not there," Rowan said, somewhat warily.  His snarling eyes never left Jacie.

"Bring me to it," I demanded.

He nodded.  We picked through the trees toward the place he said he found it.  It was not far, which was good, and Kylar followed with a hand between my shoulder blades, but I managed not to trip hugely save for a few stumbles.
The site in question was patch of dirt under an autumn olive bush, in which lay the dead bird.  It was impressively large, or had been, as it was now only red and black matter covering pink bones.  Stained and torn feathers were littered over and around the carcass.

"Jacie!" I yelled.

The white of her hair appeared uncomfortably sudden; she had come up on my bad side.  "What?"

"Get those feathers, you can wash some and take the biggest pieces from the rest.  Rowan, give her two of your good feathers.  You can keep the other four."  I crossed my arms and glared.  Jacie dropped with a growl and began picking up the feathers.  Rowan seemed to be trying to get a better look at my missing eye, which had not been re-bandaged.  "Got it?" I said, baring my teeth at Rowan with impatience.

"Yes'm," he said warily.  We left Jacie and went back to camp.

"I need an eye-patch or something."  I was in Felix's tent again, speaking before he could scold me for running off.

"Uh..  Yeah.  Good idea," he said.

I raised my eyebrow.  "Is it really that bad?"

He shrugged.  "It's a matter of opinion, so get a mirror and see for yourself."

I crouched by my bag and dug around until I got ahold of the little hand mirror I carried to make sure I had nothing totally embarrassing about me when I went out to bark orders.  Looking in it, I saw that where my eye once sat was a gruesome site of purplish scars that overlapped in one spot to form what might have once been an eyelid.  I grabbed my stomach and dropped the mirror back into the back, suddenly nauseous.

"Definitely need an eyepatch.  My face is disgusting."

"That's one way to put it.  I'll see what I can do."

I wasn't normally bothered by Felix's lack of sympathy, but I was a little bit annoyed now.  I pushed it away and stood up.  "Thanks."

"No need.  Here, I wasn't planning on using this any time soon.  We're going someplace warm, right?"  He was holding out a scarf.  It wasn't particularly attractive, but probably it was more so than my face.  I snatched it from his hand.

"Suck it up, I said thanks."

He shrugged as I struggled to wrap the scarf so that it effectively hid my eye socket.  With Felix watching, I gave up shortly and simply took scissors to my hair.

"Woah, wait, Lyric, what the hell are you - "

Snip.  Locks of black and red hair fell at knees so that my bangs matched my sisters, minus the prettifulness.  It was kind of messy, but it got the job done.

"There," I said proudly.  "It just tickles a little."

"Lyric... Your hair..."

I turned around.  Felix was looking at my hair as though I had just burned it off.  I was a little confused.

"'Da hell's your problem?"

"Lyric, you look so different.  You didn't have to cut your hair, I could have helped you with the scarf or something..."

I couldn't help but blow up just a tiny bit.  "It's HAIR, Felix.  I'm missing my effing EYEBALL.  If I'm gonna change, I might as well go all-out.  I was getting bored with my hair anyway."  I got up and stormed out.

"Jacie!" I barked when I got to her tent.

"What do you want?" she answered,  fletching arrows on her floor.  "And what did you do to your hair?"

"I'm bald, can't you tell?  Geez, I just cut the bangs.  But I need you're help."  Ugh, she was almost as bad as Felix.

"Whatever.  What do you want?" she asked again.

I explained my wishes and she looked at me with a reluctant and a haha-you're-actually-stupid-enough-try-this expression on her face.  I glared until she realized I was serious.

"Whatever," she repeated.  "Your hair."

About an hour later I marched proudly back into camp, the sides of my hair shaved off and the remaining cut short enough to stick up in a black, wind-blown-looking mohawk.  The front was a little bit longer than the back, and fell down a little swoop that covered my missing eye.  I was quite satisfied by the number of astonished stares I received from my team.

"Problem?" I asked.

Felix's jaw dropped as I stepped into his tent.  Of course, then he surprised me completely by saying, "wow.  I really like it."

"What?  I- Oh.  Thanks."  I laughed.  "I expected a rage to commence."

"Close but no cigar, darling.  Did Jacie do that?"

"Yep," I said.

"I want one."

"BITCH PLEASE THIS IS MY MOHAWK!" I burst out.  "You can get like a mullet or something."

"Ew," Felix said.  Pause.  "Please?"

"Fine.  I don't care."  I ducked out again and made my way over to the horses with the intention of just chilling with my other half.  Momentum didn't seem to care about my hair, though he sniffed me before I got too close, just in case.  I patted his face.

"Hi Momo," I said.  I played a few assorted horsie games with him for a few minutes before boosting myself up onto his back by means of a tree stump, since I didn't yet trust my sense of balance to mount all by myself.  I lay across his back, my head on his neck and my feet crossed at the ankles and resting on his butt.  We dozed.

The End

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