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Never Before Chapter 5 - Explanation

        Rae smiled, and for the first time that day dared to believe that her situation might turn out all right.  
        As Landon took a seat, she rephrased her previous question, but this time directed it at the newcomer, desperately hoping he could provide the answers she so badly needed.  
        “Landon, where am I, and why am I here?”
        Without pausing, and specifically ignoring the imposing feline feet away from him, Landon immediately launched into an explanation.
        “Right now you are the special guest of Lord Helios, residing at the Hermit's estate directly north of the Charon woods.  Apparently you were crossing through those woods and lost your way, for I found you lying unconscious in the middle of a clearing last night while monitoring the estate grounds.  I could tell you needed help, so I immediately ran back to the house, and requested that Sir Helios open his doors to you.  From there, it is pretty simple: some others and I carried you to a spare room in the mansion where you could rest and recuperate unbothered until morning when we could properly care for your injuries.  Unfortunately, you altered our plans quite a bit by waking up unexpectedly and going on a rampage through the house.”
        He laughed as the tale came to a close, and though Rae could sense his tone was sincere, somehow she wasn't as amused as the others in her company.  Landon smiled, and Helios chuckled quietly to himself, the two very comforting actions seeming unsettling to Rae.
        “So what you just described to me is that last night, in the pitch dark, in a forest of six hundred square miles, you just happened to stumble across me, unconscious, and bring me peacefully and willingly to this wonderful establishment, where I woke up and had no recollection of what had happened to me?”  
        The smile left Landon's face.
        “Miss, what I have told you is the truth as seen through my eyes. I would be more than willing to elaborate on some of the details, but the content will remain precisely the same.”
        "Details like why I cannot recall what happened to me in the forest?"
        "I am not privileged enough to see into the past, but I would say that something that happened last night you don't want to remember."
        "Something like what?"
        Both Helios and Landon remained silent.
        Unmoved, the wary coyote turned her attention to the overgrown auburn alley cat sitting across from her.  Throughout the presentation thus far, he had merely sat in silence, nodding slightly, chin rested on his paws.  His calm and controlling posture, as well as her pure instinct, made Rae believe that there was much more to this than they were telling her.
        “And what is your version of truth regarding my situation?”
        “Miss Talin, I assure you that everything my associate has told you is correct.”
        “That does not answer the question.”
        “But it is the truth.  What I said before still stands.  I have much less information about your arrival here than does Landon.  After all, it was only through his actions that I was alerted to your presence at all.  I had no part in the affair, so I highly suggest that you take his word on the subject.”
        “Why should I?”
        “Why?  Simply put, because Landon is the most trustworthy of the entire hundred being staff at my estate!  Even more trustworthy that its proprietor, which is a feat worthy of much more praise that he receives.  Feel free to ask anyone here and they will vouch for his character.”
        Helios was smiling again, still slightly unnerving in Rae's opinion, but she had begun to accept it as part of his character.  And being that she couldn't comfortably leave this place without a definite reason for her being there, it was possible that she would have to spend an extended period of time at the mansion.  Meaning that she would have to put up with the tenants' habits until that time, not excluding the strange trio she had already been introduced to.  
        Seth had obviously scurried off into some corner to cry, or at least that's what Rae would expect from the squirrel.
        Helios, although imposing, was polite and jolly enough to be trustworthy, if only until Rae deemed her association with him unnecessary.
        And the last member of the staff that Rae had become acquainted with was by far the most likeable.  Not only was Landon near her own age and species, but he was also smart and reasonable.  At a less hectic point in her life, she probably would have considered becoming friends with him.
        Mulling over all these perspectives, Rae decided that the logical thing to do would be to stay with her hosts until she could continue with her errand.  Not her primary plan of action, but one that would have to suffice for the time being.
        Nearly on cue, as if Helios could sense her thoughts, the tiger leaned across his expensive desk, and looked Rae straight in the eye.
        “Miss Talin, if you so desire, and I could understand why you wouldn't, but you are welcome to stay as a guest at my estate.  I can tell you've been through a lot in the past few days, and if you are need of a friendly place to stay, I open my doors to you.”
        Desperately wanting to take him up on his offer, but not knowing how to respond, Rae simply stared back at him blankly, jaw twitching with words unable to be expressed.  She knew Helios was watching her, waiting for an answer of any sort and she would be rude to ignore him.  Lowering her head, merely to hide her trembling jaw, she softly and smoothly spoke.
        “You have to understand that it is not my nature to accept charity of any kind, despite the way in which it is presented.  I mean no offense, but in my experience kindness is just another form of leverage.”  She paused slightly to gage Helios' reaction, but he simply nodded and smiled in that understanding way of his.  “Despite my upbringing, I know cannot continue in my present state, and it would be foolish to try.  Helios, I see no reason to doubt you, and since you offered, I would be glad and willing to stay at your establishment.”  
        Even as the words were forming on her tongue, she knew they were not true, but other options were not looking promising.
        Fortunately, Helios didn't seem to notice the slight insincerity in her speech, and gaily clapped his hands at her words.  With a broad grin fanning his features, he stood up.
        “Oh excellent!  It has been so long since we have entertained anyone at the Hermit's estate!  I will have the staff prepare a proper room for you at once.  Surely you must be quite worn out.  Well of course you are!  Who knows how long you were out in the woods before Landon found you, or how long you had been wandering before that, I should tell the chef too, a great feast should be in order…”
        The tiger absentmindedly began strolling toward the door, continuing to ramble on about arrangements and random elements of Rae's presence.  He seemed to have completely forgotten the two canines left sitting in his study.  
        Rae however was in no mood to be forgotten.  She had been with Helios downwards of twenty minutes, and in that time only two of her questions were actually answered.  Standing, Rae followed after Helios, clearly verbalizing what was on her mind.
        “I'm sorry sir," she spat out as though it was poison, "but you have not answered all of my questions.  And a good 'host' would not leave until his guests are properly cared for."
        Helios turned directly around, ignoring the bitterness in her voice, and simply stated "Miss Talin, you are exactly right.  I am very sorry, what else do you have to ask me?"
        “For starters: why did you see it fit to lock me in a cell and program a hologram against me?”
        At this point in the conversation, Helios became very tense.
        He shrugged off his cloak of good will, and suddenly became very cold, slitted eyes flashing defiantly.  
        “It was not, and never had been my intention to present you with that cruel welcoming present.  I made it specifically clear that you were to be treated as a guest, and an honored guest at that.  Some of the more free-willed servants in my employ might have taken that statement as an unwritten threat, but I assure you that was not my intention.  And I can also guarantee you that anyone who I find associated with that prank, and anyone else in the future who tries to impede your stay here will be dealt with severely.”
        With that encouraging outburst, Helios turned his back to Rae, and walked out of the study, kindly ending their awkward conversation.
        Rae stood speechless.
        Landon sidled up next to her, a smirk on his face.
        "You'll begin to realize that Helios has a very peculiar personality.  That's just his way.  One minute he's doting, the next defensive.  Don't get me wrong, he's a great Lord, but one must first become accustomed to his habits."
        "I don't plan on becoming accustomed to anything here Landon."
        "That might incredibly hard Miss, considering how seriously Helios takes his guests' comfort."
        "You'll begin to realize that I am used to living life my own way."
        "Really, Miss Talin?  And how exactly is that?"
        Delicately taking a step back from Landon, Rae placed her demands.
        “First, I am not particularly fond of formalities, so you may dispense with the 'Miss' comments.  If you have to talk to me, call me Talin, or nothing at all.  Second, even though I am now officially staying here as a guest, I have never before been waited on, and I will not begin now.  I don't care if Helios is the king of the daytime sky, I refuse to accept special treatment.  I can and will manage on my own.  Third, that I am staying here does not mean that I have any sentimental attachment to the people here.  The only reason I am accepting his offer to stay here is because I am in too much pain to walk properly, so there will be no rumors otherwise.  And lastly, I wish that no one question me about how I came here, my motives for staying, or my past, for I will lie.  That being said, I can not be held responsible for my actions if anyone at this estate disregards what I have said."
        Rae stated all this with a straight face, just to hide the pain she felt inside.  The life she lived was a harsh one, but it was for her own benefit.  Any attachment she had could be used against her, to hurt her and those around her.  One of Rae's many lessons during her childhood had taught her that bonds were like rubber, they grow and grow, but despite their strength, in the end they will always snap, leaving behind only pain when they did.
        Having waited patiently for Rae to finish her comments, Landon took her by the arm and escorted her out of Helios' office.
        "I am sorry Miss Talin, for I would like to honor your words, but guests at the Hermit's estate will be treated as such, not ignored.  I can assure your privacy and hopefully dissuade others from spreading rumors about you, but that is all I can do.  I am afraid that your other requests will not be fulfilled, and you will have to suffer while you are treated like royalty.  If you need anything, a servant will never be far off, and Helios and I can gladly be disturbed to come assist you."
        With that, Rae was placed in the delicate paws of two finely dressed hares.  Rae fought them, and struggled to get out of their grasp, but despite all of her most valiant efforts, they succeeded in caring for her every need.  By the time the sun was red in the sky that day, Rae had been bathed, groomed, had her wounds tended to, fitted in a fine silk robe, and had received more than her fill of "Hermit hospitality."  By that night, she was completely worn out, and it took all of her cunning to convince her hosts to have dinner sent to her room, naturally the best room in the house.  
        Rae ate her dinner silently, hungry enough to ignore what could have been in it.  As she sat in her room, expensive robe thrown gracelessly to the side, Rae pondered what had just occurred.  Her brown coat no longer clung to her body, but was recognizable as fur.  Her hands and feet had been expertly tended to, and sported fresh white bandages.  She nearly felt contented due to the excellent supper and posh bed chamber.
        The comfort she felt made her uneasy.
        Rae knew not of affection.  She only was aware of the fact that Helios had opened his house to her, without reason, and without need for payment, and that type of kindness was foreign to her.
        And so all that night she lay awake in her bed with multitudes of foreign ideas in her mind, conflicting with everything she knew was right.
Chapter five, and wow! It didn't take me five months to write! :lol:

It's a little shorter, because nothing drastically important happens here. Just a tiny bit more insight into Rae's past, and a jarbled explanation of how she got where she is.

Hope you like it.
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Retard-Beef-Face Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2007
I like th story - The picture though ... I'm not peticualerly fond of the yellowish-green color...

Good luck on the story... It sounds nice so far... :nod:
PixleRelish Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks. I really appreciate it. :)
And as for the picture, I'm not that fond of it either, but for the chapter pictures I'm running through the spectrum, so I had to use that color eventually. :\
colonel-strawberry Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2007
Haha yeah, s'been awhile! Nothing wrong with shorter though, and it was all good :nod:
PixleRelish Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! :aww:
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