Eden Goes Pop!

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Eden Parker
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Eden Goes Pop!

Post by Eden Parker » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:35 pm

Video Message Extract__08.03.2015__001000100010__R9X278T1

Hi mom! Hi dad! Hi everybody! This is Eden and I’m here in Rhy’Din! I arrived a few days ago and went from the Spaceport in Star’s End to a place called the Rhy’Din Welcome Center! The people at the Welcome Center were really nice! They gave me coupons!

Eden holds up an open coupon booklet for the camera to see.

This one is for “dry cleaning.” I do not know what that is yet, but if I need it, I will get 50 coppers off my first visit!

Everything here is pretty expensive. A lot more than we thought it would be. And it doesn’t seem like people trade for things like they do at home. I don’t think I will be able to start magic school right away. But the Welcome Center is helping me find a job! And they already found me a place to live with three other girls who arrived around the same time I did!

I miss you already! You can reach me here at the message center in Star’s End! I’m sending you the digital address! Can’t wait to hear back from you!

Okay! I love you! See you next Sunday!



Video Message Extract__21.06.2015__100001000010101__R9X278T1

Hi! It’s Sunday! Everything has been going great at the diner! I like all the regulars and I think they like me! They give me extra money at the end of the meal! Isn’t that so nice!?

I found this place where people compete in different kinds of fighting. It’s just for fun so it’s not dangerous or anything, but even though I haven’t started magic school, I can practice my magic in the magical duels! It’s pretty hard because I don’t know what I’m doing, but the people are really nice!

I’ve also been doing the fist-fighting which has been really fun. It’s just like playing around with you guys! I’m small so I take all the big people by surprise! I might even try to get a job there!

Can’t wait to hear from you! I miss you!



Video Message Extract __22.08.2015__0100010101010001__R9X278T1

This is something called a hula hoop. Hooooolah! That’s how you say it. Hoooooolah! Look!

Eden steps back from the camera in the middle of the message center and demonstrates with the hula hoop. For ten minutes. Without stopping.


Video Message Extract__03.12.2015__000010110000__R9X278T1

I got a new mentor at the Duel of Fists! Her name is Hope and she’s really good! She’s been teaching me a lot. She makes me swim all the time! I think I’m going to get really good at this! Or at least I’ll try!

Okay, miss you! I hope my messages are getting through!



Video Message Extract__16.03.2016__111100010__R9X278T1


Are you sure you’re using the right address to reach me? I’m going to give it to you again just in case! Okay! I love you! I’ll see you next Sunday!


Video Message Extract__24.07.2016__100100101000010__R9X278T1

I went to my first concert last week! It was a date! I made a special friend. His name is Cory and he’s really funny and fun. He took me to the concert! The music was loud and people were dancing and there was a huge crowd! I don’t think Robin would have liked it very much but Max would have loved it! Oh, and we got to watch from backstage!

Cory is a picture taker. He writes about the people who fight at the dueling venues where I work and fight. He’s really good! The concert was our first date. Dating is what people call it here when a couple steps out together.

Jinny, she’s the person here at the messaging center, well Jinny told me that this is message number 68 from me. I still haven’t received any messages back since I got here last year. Jinny checks for me every week. But everything is okay, right? I mean, I’m pretty sure nothing bad has happened, but I don’t know if you’re getting my messages or maybe if I’m just not getting yours or what is happening at all!

If you’re getting this can you try to maybe message me back? I think everything is okay, but I would think it better if I really knew somehow. I miss you all a lot and I would very much like to hear it from you.

Okay! I love you! I’ll see you next Sunday!
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Post by Eden Parker » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:41 pm

“Cory! Cory! Cory!”

Cory’s door wasn't locked since he was expecting her, though the way Eden was attacking it you'd think it was. He got up from the couch and opened the door. “Hi! What's all the excitement? Come on in and... then kiss me.” He put on his silliest sideways grin for her.

“I got my messages from my family!” She let her shoulder-bag drop to the floor, then bounced up and into his arms like she always did, arms wrapping around his shoulders and leaning up for a kiss.

“Really!? That's…” He was immediately cut off by the kiss which had turned his words into a groan. When they separated he just picked up where he left off, “...great, honey! Come tell me everything!”

Eden bounced her way towards the couch. “Jinny helped me put them all on a thing, so I can look at them on my phone and always have them!” She fished her phone from her bag, then fished out a smaller drive while Cory hopped up on the couch next to her. Her brow furrowed as she concentrated. “Okay, so I put this thing in here, and then it should pop up here--”

“So, they sent you lots of pictures? Or maybe videos! That would be excellent, because you could hear them as well as see them!” He placed his hand on her leg, and leaned in even more when she started to get information off the drive.

“Videos!” When she opened the little folder that appeared on her phone, the drive held over a hundred videos for her. Two years worth of video messages. “I already watched a bunch of them!” She thumbed through them and picked one that was recent, then waited while it loaded on her phone. Her lips parted to say something more, but she was cut off by the video starting playback.

Video Message Extract__08.12.2016__10001111101__R9X278T1

There were three men piled together in front of the camera, one of them leaning back as if he just pressed record. They were all big guys, much older than Eden, suggesting that these were among the oldest of Eden's six brothers. Unlike Eden, they all had light colored hair in the sandy to chestnut brown range, and unlike Eden's very dark brown eyes, they all had bluish-green eyes. Overall they just looked very different from her. Except for their warm smiles.

Hey Edie!

Everything's good here at the stead. We're all getting ready for winter here. Got plenty of water stored up.

Mom and I are busy canning like usual and getting the cold stores set up.

Everyone in town keeps asking about you.

We've been telling them how well you're doing, how happy you look in your messages. We all want to know more about your new friend. Where is he from? Does he make you laugh?

Is he being good to you? You know what to do if he treats you bad!

Shep!


One brother punched another brother right in the shoulder while another picked up with a grin.

Robin has a new friend now too. You should make him tell you about him!

We don't know why you're not getting our messages. We're trying to track down the problem, but we hope you don't stop sending yours. Mom and Dad would be really scared without hearing from you.

Alright, cutie, that's all for now! We love you! Talk soon!


========================

As the message came to an end, Cory leaned over and kissed the side of Eden's head lightly. “I guess they got it figured out then! Looks like a whole lot of messages in there.”

And there were. Most of the videos were just short sweet messages from one member of her family or other, giving her an update on life back home. It was occasionally a little like show and tell, with people bringing in something to show her. There was one where her brother, Sawyer, brought in a big fruit from the farm, and one of her brother, Robin, with a sheep (or at least it looked almost like a sheep) who he called Pinkie and said missed her. Eden’s mother and father made appearances, together and individually. They both talked about being proud of her for working so hard, both of them getting teary-eyed. Neither of them had dimples. There was one video where a very serious brother, Lock, talked about working in the medical clinic and getting nervous about delivering his first baby, and then a bunch of videos later he breathlessly talked about the experience. There was a video of her brothers Max and Shep who ended up just wrestling in front of the camera for five minutes. Then finally there was a video of Robin, holding a stuffed animal while he cried about how much he missed her.

In the end, Eden couldn’t watch them all that very first night. But it was enough. “I knew nothing bad had happened.” She smiled and leaned against Cory. “But it was a long time not to hear from them.”
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Post by Eden Parker » Wed May 03, 2017 8:49 pm

October 2016

“--for next week, please be prepared to discuss chapters one and two of your texts.” Professor Tylvern raised his voice to be heard over the bell signaling the end of the class period and then gestured towards the blackboard. The chalk erasers began wiping their way across the board in swirling patterns. “Ah, Ms. Parker, would you please see me before you go?”

Eden’s eyes widened as she finished packing up her books. The rest of her classmates in Introduction to Magical Properties chattered amongst themselves while they finished packing up and headed for the door. Chewing her lower lip, Eden made her way down the steps to the lectern, holding her knapsack in front of her, still not used to carrying the thing on her back.

Her eyes dropped to the index card Professor Tylvern held---the one she’d filled out on her first day.

“Ms. Parker, I couldn’t help noticing that your card is a little--shall we say that it is a little light on the details, hmm?”

Eden blushed, and hopped from one foot to the other. “Well, I tried to answer all the questions you asked.”

“Let’s see here then. Name--well, well yes we have that.” He drew his finger down the card. “Magical race or identity? This I see you left blank.”

Eden opened her mouth to respond, but he continued before she could say anything.

“--Magical skills, you have written ‘I don’t know.’” He raised both brows, peering at her over his glasses. “Now does that mean you have none, or you don’t know if you have any?”

Eden blushed and hopped to the other foot again. “Well, I don’t know which ones I have, but I do have some!”

“I see.” Professor Tylvern looked at her a moment, then back at her index card. “Previous magical education. ‘None.’” He looked at her again, then set the card down. “You are a bit of a mystery, Ms. Parker.”

She reached back between her shoulder blades to scratch an itch while nodding her head. “That’s why I’m here! See--I’m the only one in my family who can do magical anything, and there’s not even anyone on the planet I’m from who can do anything magical, so they sent me here to learn about myself and learn magic and I’ve been here an entire year and I’ve been saving money cause school is so expensive but then Cory told me that I could get something called the scholarship which would help me pay for it so I applied and they gave me one and so here I am finally starting school!” She beamed her dimpled smile at the professor.

He looked at her over his glasses again, then chuckled low. “I see. Why don’t we talk about those magical skills that you do have, hmm?”

“Okay! I can make things appear. Pink things.” She held up her hand and conjured a small sparkly pink floating heart. “And only pink things.” While the professor watched, the heart exploded into a shower of sparkles and dissipated. It was her favorite demonstration trick. “And sometimes when I try to move things or do magic to something, the thing turns pink.”

“I see.” Professor Tylvern clicked open his pen and started writing things down on her index card. “Anything else?”

Eden hopped from one foot to the other, shifting her knapsack so she could reach behind her to scratch between her shoulder blades again. “Umm.” She shrugged. “I don’t think--oh! I never get sick.”

“You never get sick?”

“Yeah, I heal super duper fast, and I never get sick.”

“That is a special skill indeed.” Professor Tylvern smiled at her. He wrote on the card again, and then looked back up at her. “It appears you are on a magical journey, young lady. We will do what we can to unravel the mystery, hmm?”
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Post by Eden Parker » Fri May 05, 2017 7:48 pm

Late October 2016

“The thing is, I've been having a little trouble at school.” Eden pulled a smushed up pillowcase from her shoulder-bag. The pillowcase was full of feathers, nearly all of them pink---the usual shade of things touched by her magic. “I'm supposed to turn a white feather black. But--” She thrust the bag towards Cane, holding it open like a trick-or-treater, but showing him that the vast majority of the feathers in the bag were pink.

An amused snort escaped him before it could be reined in. His eyes rose to meet hers somewhat apologetically, and he took the bag gently from her grasp. “But,” he went on, finishing the sentence for her. “You pinkwash them instead. Good job.” Was he teasing her? When she was coming to him for help? Yes, yes he was. Maybe he was more sibling just now than teacher.

Eden giggled at herself. It was, after all, something of a ridiculous problem to have and she knew that. Plus she was used to getting teased by her brothers. It didn't faze her. She lifted her shoulder in a little shrug. “It's just that my professors keep talking about reaching the source of your magic and learning to control it. And with all the other students they can talk to them about the specific kind of magic they have and how it works and with me they don't know what to say to help me and it's very confusing.” She frowned, reaching behind her and beneath her jacket to scratch at her back.

Frowns looked entirely out of place in Eden's expression, so much so that it wiped the teasing grin right off Cane’s face. To their left in his gym was a three foot thick, blue foam mat beneath a set of white straps that hung from the ceiling. Cane began to drift in its direction, his eyes on the handful of feathers he'd fished from the depths of the pillowcase. “If I recall correctly, yer parents can't help ya with that question either. Right?” He dropped down onto the edge of the mat with a soft grunt, setting the pillowcase in his lap and replacing the feathers.

“No one in my family can do the things I can do,” she confirmed. Eden followed him to the mat, moving to sit next to him.

Cane recalled the smiling faces of her family members in the photos she had shown him. A thought occurred to him. “Were you adopted?”

She lifted the strap of her shoulder bag up over her head and set it on the floor next to the mat. “What's adopted?”

“Mm. It's when a person takes in another's child and brings it up as their own. Not their flesh an' blood offspring, but family nonetheless.” Cane leaned back a little, propped up by a hand, and stared up at the ceiling for a moment. Hopefully he wasn't opening Pandora's box by bringing this all up. “I asked 'cause it didn't appear as though ya share any of the same physical traits as yer family.”

“That's cause I'm the only girl.” Something about the words---the way she said them quietly and off-hand---suggested it was something she had thought often but rarely said aloud. Eden’s frown deepened. She sat there a moment, her face unusually tense with concentration. “Where would they have gotten me from?”

Alarms bells went off in Cane's mind that had him backpedaling quickly. He hadn't meant to upset her. “Well, now, I don't really -- it was jes' an observation. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, all right?” He reached over with his free hand to pat her leg gently, a soothing sort of gesture that was meant to convey he was there for her and things would be fine. “If ya want, there're things I can do that'll give ya answers. I can tell ya who, what, where, when, how.” Why was not usually something his magical skills could divine.

Eden nodded, barely, at the touch of his hand on her leg. There was a place, somewhere, in the back of her mind that maybe always knew that she was something of an odd fit. But until Cane had explained the word 'adopted' she had never had a way to explain it. Eden sat there for a long time. Maybe it made her weak---although she rarely thought in those terms---but she wanted Cory.

She nodded finally and turned to look at him. “Could you?” Then she hastily added. “I can pay for it, if it's a test of some kind.”

Cane was already watching her profile carefully for further signs of distress, so when she turned to look up at him, they locked eyes. Three whole seconds suspended in thoughtful silence. Then he blinked and looked down at the pillowcase in his lap. “Yeah. Yeah, we can do that. I'm a man of many talents, but this is my biggest claim to fame, so to speak. I've spent more time practicing etiological blood alchemy than most humans have been alive. It's a test, yes,” he confirmed, nodding. “Fully comprehensive. How long it takes will depend on how radical your biological makeup is. But you'll have the answers to all yer questions when it's done.” Cane passed the feather-filled pillowcase back to Eden, glancing back up at her face, hoping she'd catch his drift.

Eden nodded slowly. She didn't know what a lot of those words meant. She reached behind her to scratch at her back again, but his passing her the pillowcase interrupted the movement and she reached to take it from him. She pushed to her feet. “Okay.” She'd heard the word 'blood' there. So she stuck her hand out and down towards him as if he was just going to do something to her right there.

Now it was Cane's turn to frown. “You all right, cher?” He reached out to touch her wrist, gently signaling he didn't need anything from her right this second.

“Oh.” She blushed a little and smiled. She brought her hand back to hold the pillowcase to her chest. Her smile was a little weak, but it was there. “I want to go home.” Where exactly that was maybe wasn't entirely clear.

He exhaled a quiet breath through his nose, concern softening into an apologetic smile. “How 'bout'cha go on, then? Give that fella of yers a call. Get yer mind off things fer now. We can set up a time next week fer you ta come to Panacea. Bit more of a sterile environment than here.” Cane's smile turned sly, teasing. He winked at her. “Then we can get things going, yeah?”

“Monday?” Eden nodded and smiled a little more, starting to return to her old self, but she was a little eager. Her eyes hung on him while she stuffed the pillowcase back into her bag.

Cane gave a singular, decisive nod of affirmation. “Monday.” He pushed up from the mat to stand as well, arms spreading in silent offer for another hug. “I got this, cher. Don't you go frettin' none.”
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Post by Eden Parker » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:12 pm

October 2016

“I'm a little worried about you, wallaby.” Cory frowned as he started to tug off his rain-wet clothes in the bathroom. “You're still itching, and I thought that would be gone by now.” He thought it would be gone the next day.

She bounced into the bathroom and offered him his clean and dry pajama pants to change into, then immediately reached to scratch her back again, her smile fading a little. “I haven't really been paying attention. But I guess it is itching more than it should.”

“You haven't been... Honey, you normally heal overnight, but you've itched in that spot for the last several days. Either you're being exposed to something every day, or there's something else going on.”

Eden tugged on her t-shirt, pulling it away from her back and then tried to look behind her as if she could see her back that way. She turned in a circle. When she realized that wouldn't work, she turned back to Cory, pulling her shirt up to her shoulders and showing him. “Does it look funny?”

In fact, it did look funny. The skin between her shoulder blades had a red blotchy rash, the skin just slightly raised in an uneven pattern, stretching from beneath the nape of her neck down along her spine to her mid back. It was obvious she had been scratching too---the areas she could reach were redder and puffier.

“You've got a rash.” Cory turned her so that her back was to the mirror, then went to find a hand mirror. He held it up for her so she could see. “It looks pretty bad babe. I think you need to get it checked out.” The worry was evident on his face when she looked at him. “I know you're supposed to see Cane tomorrow, but maybe you need to see a doctor too?”

“But I've never been to a doctor before.” She looked at the hand mirror, her head tipping to one side. Then she let her t-shirt drop again. “Maybe it'll go away tomorrow?” She looked up at him, her dark eyes wide with uncertain hope.

“Maybe it will, but if it doesn't, or if it comes back. Promise me you'll get it checked out?” Cory reached over to her, and touched her face. “I know it's hard to think of something happening to you when you've never been injured or sick for more than a day. Maybe that's what's bothering me about it.” He followed his words up with a kiss. “I love you, and would rather have it be nothing than something.”
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Post by Eden Parker » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:45 pm

Still October 2016

“I'm not sure the stuff you got at the school was doing any good.” Cory took the new ointment Cane had given Eden as he sat down on the bed beside her. She stretched out on her stomach so he could see her back. The rash was getting worse. It wasn't spreading, confined to the center of her back between her shoulders, but it was redder than before, and the raised splotches were more bumpy.

“It’s not spreading though!”

“No, it’s not. Does it hurt, honey?”

“Yeah. A little bit.”
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Re: Eden Goes Pop!

Post by Eden Parker » Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:17 pm

November 2016

“What's wrong?” Cane stood in the tiny apartment’s living room wearing a no-nonsense expression that was neither worried nor uncaring. He was simply all business in that moment, gaze trained on the pair of bodies across the room from him as he closed the door.

Cory's eyes went wide, Cane’s arrival coming faster than expected. Not that he wasn't glad to see the man. “She's got open sores... well maybe deeper than that. It's much worse than the rash we've been treating.”

“Hi Cane!” Eden tried to sound bright and normal, even as she sat stiffly on the edge of the bed, half-tucked into Cory's backwards robe. But she could barely smile.

Cory knew his limitations, maladies from magical places was something he had no knowledge of from reading or experience. It was why he had insisted that someone be called. “It's highly unusual. She normally heals in a night, but this has been going on for weeks.” He wasn't looking at Cane, Cory's eyes were only for Eden.

What little smile had been there disappeared as Eden jerked forward suddenly, as if trying to escape the pain, crying out into the small room. As she bent forward, her back came into view. There were four red open sores, between her shoulder blades, forming almost a perfect square. But the pain seemed to be coming from more than the sores. The pain was bone deep. Like something was happening. Eden breathed heavily, her forehead glimmering with a pale sheen of sweat.

Cory let Eden rest her head against him, combing his fingers through her hair as he did all he could to ease the pain she was feeling. He looked up at Cane. “I'm glad you're here.” Worry creased his brow. She had never been like this with him, no matter the extent of her injury. “Just... help her please.”

She wasn't dying, that much Cane could tell immediately. It softened the set of his jaw somewhat by the time he crossed the room to join them in the bedroom. Cory was given a curt nod hello before Cane fixed the whole of his attention on the pink-haired bundle of energy doubled over on the edge of the mattress. He knelt down on the floor beside her and pressed his palm against her sweat-slick forehead.

“Eden,” he said evenly. “May I touch you?” He was touching her then, so it was obvious he meant to get permission to touch her back specifically before doing so.

Eden raised her eyes, managing to focus them on Cane. They were wide like they so often were. But not out of enthusiasm. Not this time. “It hurts.” She didn't know how else to express it. But she nodded to Cane. He could touch her. Then she managed to tug one arm free, trying to shake her hand out of the super long sleeve of Cory's robe so she could reach for Cory's hand without knowing exactly where he was.

Cory took the hand that appeared from the sleeve of the robe in his, prepared for whatever Eden needed from him. Even if it was simply to squeeze his hand until he could feel knuckles rubbing against one another. “Everything's going to be okay. I'm right here.”

“It hurts.” She couldn't seem to stop saying that. Eden's eyes found Cory's. She tried to smile for him too. But she squeezed his hand awful tight. She tried not to move because she knew Cane was looking at her back.

Cane tipped into a seated position on the bed so he could take a closer look at the weeping wounds on her back. These were markedly different from the skin rash he'd initially treated. He left the consoling to Cory and didn't bother with protective gloves as he proceeded to gently prob the edges of the quarter sized holes positioned quadrilaterally between Eden's shoulder blades. He questioned Eden about the type of pain she was feeling--burning, itching, shooting--and took mental note of what seemed to hurt her most in the various places he pushed and prodded. His touch was clinical and impartial; it was warm, too, very nearly uncomfortably so.

He had Cory help him ease Eden onto her side so she'd be more comfortable as he swabbed one of the wounds, and it was then that his detached affect splintered to show some sort of emotion in the form of a hushing sound and a hand smoothing itself across her shoulder.

All in all, the exam was no more than five minutes in length. Cane put the swab into a bag he'd magically produced out of thin air and then withdrew a small box in its stead.

“Cory, can you bring me a mug of water?”

It didn't occur to Cory to ask what size mug, should the water be tap or bottled. Much didn't occur to him, other than perhaps he was being helpful to Eden and Cane. It might have been at the back of his mind that maybe Cane wanted a few minutes to talk with Eden privately. He kissed Eden and quietly promised to be back in just a minute.

On her side, Eden breathed a little easier. And the soothing touch of both men brought some comfort too. Her eyes were open wide, dry and red. She didn't have coping mechanisms for pain. Her entire body was tense. She had hold of a pillow, clutching it to her front, trying not to move, since moving only made it hurt more.

While Cory obsessed over the cup of water, Cane painted a thin layer of a special numbing ointment across Eden's tender, irritated skin. “I like ya, so I'll hit'cha with all I've got cher.” Everything in his arsenal might be overkill, but it was more than obvious that Eden had little to no coping skills, and he didn't want to risk the pain worsening after he left. “I'm not gonna cover the holes; they're not bleedin' really, so fer now I'm sayin' it's best they stay open to the air. I'd say we should pack 'em, but I... well, I kinda think yer body's attemptin' ta pass somethin' foreign.” He frowned at her back again and sprayed the second of his remedies. This would numb her up on a deeper level, as well as provide antibacterial protection. It worked quickly.

Eden tried to listen to what Cane said. And found it easier to do so as his treatments began to work. She dragged in a shaky breath, and then let it out slow, relieved to find she could breathe easier. “Something foreign?” She shifted a little, trying to look up at Cane.

Cory reappeared with several mugs on a serving platter. Different mugs, and water chosen for different reasons. He had cold and tepid, there was even a mug that had steam issuing from the top of it. If anything he was too prepared.

Canaan's lips quivering in poorly hidden amusement at Cory’s return, but he motioned for the man to set them on the desk. “Here. Mix this into the hot water an' help her get it down. I'm gonna go wash my hands.” He got up from the bed, then, careful not to jostle Eden too much. “That,” he said, peering down at the girl curled up on the bed, “will knock ya out. It'll put'cha out fer the rest 'a the night. Good part 'a tomorrow mornin', too. Rest is the best thing for ya right now, cher.”

Eden knew she had to sit up but she wasn't sure she'd be able to do it without help. Which was a very rare situation for her to find herself in. “You think I ate something bad?” She looked at Cane, her brow furrowed. She had no idea what he had meant by ‘passing something foreign.’

Cory did as requested, the tray set aside, and the mixture added to the hottest of the mugs. He emptied the contents into the water and stirred it vigorously. He brought it to Eden so she could drink it down. “I'm not sure he's saying that it had to do with eating.” Though he could understand why she felt that way. “I think that you've been under a lot of stress lately, and maybe that has a lot to do with it.”

Cane smeared his hand across his pant-leg and reached down to help Eden up. "Here." He guided her own hand across and around to touch one of the wounds on the opposite side of her back. Now that it was numbing up properly, she should be able to move around without too much issue. “Do you feel that?”

Eden started to reach for the mug Cory offered when Cane came to help her. She shifted and her brow furrowed as her fingers made contact with one of the open sores on her back. But what she felt was hard, almost bony. “What is that?

Cane sucked in a breath and straightened up, looking down at his hands. “I have my guesses,” he admitted. “But best I can figure, yer body's either gettin' rid of somethin' or growin' it.”

((Written in collaboration with the players of Canaan and Cory Sommers, edited with permission))
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Re: Eden Goes Pop!

Post by Eden Parker » Tue May 14, 2019 5:46 pm

November 2016

Eden was tempted to rip into the envelope Cane had left in her box right there in the callers’ office. She didn't know what was in it. But she also did know.

It took everything she had not to tear into the thing as soon as it was in her hands. Instead, she waited until she was home. Until she wasn’t alone. She bounded up the stairs to the door, already calling out to Cory. “Are you here!?”

“I'm here!” Cory called back from the bathroom, his shirt off, shaving cream on his face and a razor in his hand.

Eden appeared behind him, flapping the envelope, the manila color waving back and forth in the mirror. “Cane left me an envelope!”

Cory stopped what he was doing, lowered the razor to the sink and looked at Eden and her envelope. “Have you looked at it yet?”

She shook her head, moving to sit at the edge of the tub. She watched him for a moment, then slipped a finger under the flap and started to open it. Eden pulled out a small sheath of papers, letting the envelope and all of it rest in her lap. Her eyes skimmed the top quickly. Then she flipped to the next page, then the next. Then she returned to the top. “It's about the test he did on my back.”

Cory moved to sit in front of her, head tilting as he saw Eden's expression change. “Is it bad?”

“I think--” She turned the page over, then turned it back. “--it says I'm growing wings.” She looked up at him, confusion in her eyes.

“I see.” Cory thought about it, how her back looked now, how things had started. It made sense in a way, why else would the holes be so geometrically perfect. “That seems like it might be right, love.” He nodded at her firmly, then took hold of her hand so he could bring it to his lips. “This is good news though, right? It means that it's not some kind of strange disease, or maybe a parasite.” He'd been worried about that last one.

“I think it's good.” But her brow was deeply furrowed. She turned the page. The first page was the results. The following pages had information on different kinds of wings. Feathered wings, membrane wings. Wings that could flap. Wings that could flutter. Wings that could disappear. Wings that could tuck away. Eden was growing increasingly pale the more she read. She looked up at him, her eyes wide. “But I don't want to fly.”

“Just because you have them, doesn't mean you'll have to fly.” He knew that she was afraid of heights. The repercussions of having wings and flying hadn't really occurred to him until that moment. “There's plenty of beings with wings that don't fly Eden.”

“There are?” Her brow was furrowed in the deepest worry possible. She let the papers drop in her lap. He was right. She should be relieved. She wasn't sick. She wasn't sharing her body with some gross parasite.

But she wasn't really herself anymore, was she?


((Written in collaboration with the player of Cory Sommers))
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Re: Eden Goes Pop!

Post by Eden Parker » Tue May 14, 2019 7:23 pm

November 2016

“Would you come with me?” Eden reached for Cory’s hand.

Video Message Extract__08.11.2016__100111000010__R9X278T1

Edie, we know you had some hard questions for us in your last message. Our answers aren't easier, and we wish we could be there to tell you in person. Eden’s parents sat side-by-side in front of the screen, her mother glancing nervously at her father.

He took over. Nothing we're about to tell you means that you aren't our daughter, or that we love you any differently than your brothers. You're ours and you always will be. And we hope that even when it's all done, that you feel the same.

Eden’s mother picked back up. It's true that you're not our biological daughter. Many years ago, before you were with us, there was a crash on our planet, deep in the woods. A small ship, more like a pod. There were no survivors. But for you. You were just a baby. We tried to trace the shuttle, but it was far from its origin and no one ever responded to our messages. And so you became a part of our family. A foundling. Our little girl.

We know you want to know why we never told you. We understand that finding out this way is not--not the best thing we could have done, it's not what we ever wanted, but--

Eden's father eased forward, setting a hand on his wife's knee and took over. But there were circumstances surrounding the crash that worried us for your safety. We talked about it often, we talked about it with your brothers, and we thought it was best--we thought that you would be the most safe if we kept it a secret, even from you, until we absolutely had to tell you.

We're certain the people you were with were not your parents. Even when we sought information about the crash we were careful and hid your existence. Because when we found you in the ship--when we found you as a baby--you were in a cage.

We know this is a difficult thing to learn. There is a part of us that wishes we could have protected you from this for the rest of your life. We still wish we never had to tell you. We love you so much. You're ours. You're no different than your brothers. Her father looked intently into the camera, then looked over at her mother.

We don't have any other answers for you about who you are, or who your parents were. We know you're going through something so difficult and we wish we could be there with you. If you have more questions, we'll answer them as honestly as we can. Anything we can give you, we will give. We love you Edie. Her mother looked at her father. He nodded. Then they both tried to smile a little before her mother leaned forward to end the recording.

The screen went black.
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Re: Eden Goes Pop!

Post by Eden Parker » Tue May 14, 2019 7:57 pm

Moments later, November 2016

Eden sat there, her brow furrowed. She didn't move and didn't say anything. She just sat there.

Cory sat quietly too, giving her time. He still held onto her. Eventually he leaned his forehead against her hair. “It's not what you expected.” He wasn't sure what to say. He just knew he had to say something and it had to begin somewhere. “It was kind of brave of them though, and it shows exactly how much they do love you.” He was doing his best not to make this about her differences, but her sames. “What are you thinking?”

Eden wasn't sure what she was thinking.

Actually, she was sure, but she was afraid to admit it. Afraid to speak the words aloud.

“Maybe I don't want to know,” she finally said, her voice a whisper, “anything else about where I come from.”


((Written in collaboration with the player of Cory Sommers))
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Re: Eden Goes Pop!

Post by Eden Parker » Sun May 19, 2019 7:23 pm

Video Message Extract__12.02.2017__0001100001111__R9X278T1

Beakley's starting to get really big! Eden sat in front of the camera, smiling. In her lap, wiggling, puffing, and preening was a baby hippogriff, about the size of a large chicken.

He's getting pretty big pretty fast, so I have to stable him at school soon. But I wanted you to see him one last time before he gets too big to bring in here.

Eden looked down at the pet in her lap, one hand keeping him corralled safely, the other scritching beneath his chin. When she looked up, she was trying again to smile.

I know you've probably been worried cause I haven't been sending too many messages. But I'm okay. You don't have to worry.

I've been trying not to think too much about the things you told me. I don't even think I know how to start thinking about it.

Beakley squawked in her lap and then started to scramble up onto her shoulder. She reached a hand up to support his hindquarters so his talons didn't wreck her shirt.

I wish you were here to help me. Somedays all I can think about is going home.

But it's not just that I want to go home. It's that I want to go back to before I knew all the things I know now.


Beakley snapped at Eden's ponytail as she shook her head.

But we can't go back. I can't go back.

Anyhow.


Eden took a breath, steeling herself.

I have to tell you about something that's happening to me.

I don't know when it's happening, but I know it will.


The thing is I'm--I'm getting wings. I'm growing wings.
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Re: Eden Goes Pop!

Post by Eden Parker » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:17 pm

Video Message Extract__28.02.2017__101000011100__R9X278T1

Still no wings yet! I don't know what they're waiting for. I've got the buds on my back still, but nothing's happening! I guess I have to be patient.

Video Message Extract__13.03.2017__0110000110000001__R9X278T1

Being an adopted is a pretty normal thing around here. Everyone says nice things about it if I tell them. But I just don't understand what it means for me. I don't want to be different from my brothers, but I am. I know I am. And soon everyone is going to know it.

Video Message Extract__20.03.2017__10100111001010__R9X278T1

Why didn't you tell me? Maybe did you think that I wasn't smart enough to understand it? Or too weak? Cause now every time I feel sad about it, sad or confused, I feel like I'm failing you in exactly the way you always thought I would. And it just feels very unfair!

Video Message Extract__02.04.2017__1000111__R9X278T1

Does everybody know? Did they always know?

Video Message Extract__23.04.2017__0110000110110001__R9X278T1

I haven't told anyone here. About how you found me. Only Cory. I don't think I like being a secret.

Video Message Extract__15.05.2017__111011100000__R9X278T1

No wings yet. Maybe they'll never come. Maybe I am human. Just like you.
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Re: Eden Goes Pop!

Post by Eden Parker » Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:25 pm

May 2017


The world was slow. Very slow. Eden could see everything. The gnats tracing abstract patterns above the grass. The bluebird slowly stroking the air with her wings. The gentle sweep of Cory’s eyelashes as he blinked. It was beautiful. But she wanted it to stop. She needed it to stop.

She couldn’t make it stop.



It was a beautiful spring day, the sun shining bright. Eden bounced with enthusiasm as she made her way towards the stable, a sack of Beakley's favorite treats draped over her shoulder. “It really feels like spring today, doesn't it!?”

“I thought it would never fully arrive.” Cory bumped his shoulder against Eden playfully. “I bet Beakley's going to be so happy to see us!”

Whether the juvenile hippogriff could smell Eden and Cory or the treats they carried wasn't clear---maybe it was both---but he was there at the front of his stall, poking his head over the latched door to greet them. Eden smiled brightly. “Hi, Beakley!”

Cory worked the door open to let her in with a lead so they could take him out to play and exercise. In passing he patted the beast. “He's getting so big! I wonder when he'll be big enough to give rides.”

“You think he's ready to fly?” Eden asked with wide eyes while she patted Beakley's neck. It was a breathless question. The idea of flight was terrifying. Plus, what if some day Beakley could fly away and never come back. At least if that happened, she was certain Beakley would be happy wherever he ended up. In the meantime, the hippogriff who Eden could only think of as a baby snuffled her hair and nipped at the drawstring on her unzipped hoodie.

“I dunno,” A small shrug moved in time to Cory's words.

“Well maybe just a run today. You ready to go for a run, Beakley?” Eden pulled an apple out of her bag and held it out while Cory secured his lead. Tentatively beginning to follow Eden out of the stables towards the paddock, Beakley cawed in response.

As soon as they were out in the open space, Beakley spread open his wings, as if he were stretching them out, and then folded them back again.

Cory turned to look the hippogriff in the eyes. His hand rose to the catch on the lead. “You ready?” There was an excited look in the animal's eyes when Cory slid the lead free and stepped out of the way. “Go for a run! Run Beakley!” He chuckled a little as Beakley took off.

Eden giggled, leaning on the paddock railing as she smiled happily. She hung the snack bag on one of the posts while she watched Beakley bounding around the large pen, his gait going from a trot to a full on run. “I wish I could run as fast as he could!”

Cory took up a lean too, the same one he often took when they were here that was half looking at Beakley and half at Eden. “Can you imagine being on him when he does though?”

“Only if he promised not to fly.” Eden said it with a smile, as if she were certain she could obtain just such a promise from her pet.

In the paddock, Beakley continued to run the circuit, enjoying the freedom of the outdoors. As he started to pick up speed, he stretched out his wings, as if testing them out, getting just enough lift for his legs to occasionally leave the ground.

Eden straightened in surprise. “Cory! Cory!” She patted his arm nonstop in excitement.

He could have seen it without the patting, but to be honest he barely noticed it. That arm which she was patting, found itself around her. “Look at him go, Eden!”

“I know!” Eden jumped up and down with enthusiasm, beaming with pride at Beakley. He was running around and cawing his own enthusiasm too. “Go Beakley!” The hippogriff ran past them, near enough that the resulting wind ruffled Eden's ponytail.

With Eden giggling behind him, Beakley aimed for the far rail on the opposite side of the paddock. With wings outstretched, Beakley got just enough air to get a clawed foot on the top rail and propelled himself out of the paddock.

“Uh-oh…” Eden’s enthusiasm immediately began to drain. Beakley turned to look back at them, his head tilting as he looked from them, to the rail he just leaped. He cawed once in surprise, then again as he looked at the open green pasture ahead of him. And then he took off in a run.


She was screaming. She knew she was screaming. But she couldn’t hear it. She could see Cory saying something, his lips moving so slowly. But she couldn’t hear that either.

She couldn’t hear anything.



“Uh OH!” Beakley was loose, and running. And he was steps away from disappearing into the forest. “Call to him, Eden!” Cory reached into the treat bag and pressed one of the apples into her hand. “Maybe he'll come back for a treat?”

Eden grabbed the apple and broke in chase after Beakley. “Beakley!” Eden could run fast, but not as fast as Beakley could! The baby hippogriff seemed entirely uninterested in the apple and Eden, and instead was relishing his new-found freedom and heading for the woods. Eden watched with alarm as the distance grew between them.

But just when it looked like Beakley was going to be gone for good, a loud POP! cracked across the open lawn and Eden disappeared.

In the blink of an eye, she reappeared at Beakley's side. A barely visible pink haze was left hanging in the air behind her. Her hooded sweatshirt was in tatters. And there, stretched out behind her, were large translucent wings.

The wings were symmetrical, mirror images on each side of her back. Silver veins stretched out along their curved expanse, creating the translucent panes. The wings were entirely unique---reminiscent of both Tinker Bell-style fairy wings and dragonfly wings. They were neither too large, nor too small for Eden, rather they seemed a natural part of her. Even seeing her with them for the first time, it was immediately difficult to remember how she looked without them.

But the sudden change startled both Eden and Beakley. The two skidded to a stop. Beakley eyed Eden for a long moment, then quietly cawed. Eden looked back towards Cory at the paddock. “Cory!”

Cory rubbed his eyes. But before he could say anything, there was another pop! Eden disappeared again, leaving another one of those pink hazes in the air before reappearing a few yards away on another part of the lawn.

When she reappeared near him, Cory tried to close the distance between them. They were gorgeous, her wings, gossamer, and opaque enough to see through, if a little unclearly. His fingers rose, reaching to touch her, “They're beautiful, just like---”

“What?!” It was all she managed to shout before she was ripped away again, her eyes wide with surprise.


She could see the world in exquisite detail. The slow dance of life that she had never noticed before. The rolling flutter of the leaves on the trees. The dust floating upwards into the sun’s rays. A bumblebee drunkenly looking for a flower to call home. It was all so slow. But she felt like she was tearing through it. She felt like she was flying. And it was the worst thing she had ever felt before.


Beakley thought it was a game. He cawed at the sight of her whizzing and popping all about the pasture. And then he started to give chase. The young hippogriff pounced and leapt, chasing Eden like a cat chases a firefly.

All Cory could do was watch as Eden went from place to place never really giving him time to call anything back to her before she was gone again. “Eden!”

Beakley trounced around the lawn trying to find the flitting Eden. A pink haze traced her path this way and that across the open space.

There were occasional bursts of sound from her, at first her high pitched squealing, and then it sounded like she was giggling.

Unable to catch up, or even know where she'd appear next, Cory stopped in the middle of the lawn. To him, it looked like Eden was playing with Beakley.

Eventually Beakley got tired of the game and he trotted over to Cory, lowering his head to bump his shoulder before looking on to watch as Eden tried to stop her whizzing about. Beakley got an apple for his trouble, and a lot of crooning about what a big boy he was now combined with plenty of scritching. “You can do it, honey!” Cory called it out, though she likely only heard every other word or so.


She knew she had changed. She knew that she was fundamentally different than she had ever been before. This is what she had been waiting so long for. But she just wanted it to stop. She wanted it to stop.


Eden would have reached out to grab Cory on one of her passes if she had been more confident that she would come away with all of him instead of just a piece of him. That frightening thought was more than enough to keep her hands to herself.

Stop, she told herself. Stop. And so she did. Like finding the correct gear, she was suddenly there again, her limbs moving at normal speed, the world back in real time. She stood still for a long moment, breathing steadily, making sure that she could hold onto herself. Then finally, she breathed a giggled sigh of relief and turned towards Cory.

The hooded sweatshirt she'd been wearing was all but disintegrated, but for the cuffs around her wrists that had inexplicably turned from gray to pink. She was left in her tank top, one of the several low-backed ones she had bought when her wing buds had first appeared. Her wings protruded perfectly from that opening in her clothing, seeming to float gently on the air in their own slow motion, lining up with the beat of her heart. She smiled at Cory, eyes still wide with surprise and uncertainty, and a little breathless. “I have my wings.”

Cory kept one hand on Beakley's halter, the other swept around Eden and pulled her in close to him. He pressed a kiss against her forehead and spoke to her soothingly, his lips brushing along her skin. “You have your wings, and they're amazing.”

In his arms, her own holding onto him tight (just in case!), in the bright light of the spring day, she allowed herself one moment of the insecurity she had been suffering with for so long. She squeezed her eyes shut, since she couldn't see them anyhow, and whispered. “Are they pretty?”

“They're gorgeous. All silver and lacey.” It was the best way Cory could describe the veins of silver that ran through her wings.

Eden breathed another little sigh of relief, her eyes welling with tears. Beakley lowered his head and bumped her shoulder. When Eden turned to look, Beakley opened his feathery, hippogriff wings wide and held them there outstretched. His dark, avian eyes looked at her intently, as if he were trying to tell her something.

Eden stood there a moment, then stepped closer so she could press her cheek to his feathered neck. “I know, Beakley. You have wings too. I know.”


((Written in collaboration with the player of Cory Sommers))
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