"Where's your family?" Alora abruptly swiveled around to look at Islinn. She planted one hand on Loki's broad rump to steady herself.
"Any relatives at all?"
Alora turned back around. The more and more she thought about it, the less she liked the idea of dropping Islinn off somewhere. Bards, she had discovered, were nothing more than meddlesome people with a tiny bit of musical talent and no lives of their own. They riffled through her escapades with all the glee of a rat in garbage and lived so far up her crack that every breath she drew was a ballad.
Her purchase of Islinn and the routing of Behrin would make it impossible for the girl to slip away unnoticed once the bards warmed up their quills. And there was always the chance Behrin would find her again no matter where Alora dropped her off.
"This just gets better and better." She thought dismally. She turned around again.
"No. One of my biggest regrets right now is having no friends. Guess I'll never be voted Harvest Queen."
Alora gave her a long, contemplative look.
"Okay. Know any complete strangers who wouldn't mind having you dumped on their steps?"
"Why did you buy me?"
Alora was quiet for a moment. Why indeed?
"Because...because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I thought I was helping you out."
Islinn bit back dark laughter. My god, what had she looked like up there for The Twiceborn to think she needed her help?
"I think it was more like a big dog in a new yard." Islinn heard herself say. Horrified by what had slipped out, she stared helplessly at Alora, who frowned, puzzled.
"Well...you know...a dog in a new yard. He...pisses all over everything not because he wants it but just to make sure no one else will want it either."
"Is that so?" Alora replied slowly. She stared at Islinn. "Dog in a yard huh?"
Islinn nodded. She didn't trust her voice.
"Pissing all over everything." Alora repeated.
"It's really just a theory." Islinn wrenched her eyes away from Alora's brooding gaze and stared down at the ground.
Alora turned back around and sat there for a few moments. Truth was, she didn't know what to say. People either kowtowed to her or ignored her in their own panicky way. This was like being on the other end of her own tongue and she wasn't quite sure if she liked it or not.
"Big dog in a new yard." She mused. It did have a ring of truth. She turned and looked back down at Islinn. The girl stood motionless, head down, and Alora realized just how much sharing her theory had cost her. The sight made her want to burst into laughter, not because the theory was funny (though Alora had come to the conclusion that it was in spite of its truthfulness) but because of how fucked up her life and everyone's perception of it was.
("Why have you been cast into the UnderRealms, Islinn?" The great demon clarioned as he sat upon his flaming throne.
"Because I accused the Great and Mighty Twiceborn of being guilty of the Pissing Dog Theory." The girl whimpered before being tossed onto the Blood desert to burn for eternity.)
"Hey. Look at me." Alora's voice was soft.
Islinn glanced up as though expecting a blow. Alora tried to smile, though she knew her blood-encrusted features weren't very reassuring.
"It's an interesting theory. Not true. But...interesting."
Islinn nodded slow,thinking things over.
"Then why did you buy me?" She asked, her jaw set. Alora slapped her hand down on Loki's rump in frustration. He jumped then stood and rolled his eyes, wondering what the holdup was.
"I don't know. How's that? Contrary to popular belief, I'm not blessed with all-knowing, all-seeing clairvoyance okay? I pretty much ride along fat, dumb, and happy and do stupid shit like everybody else. I'm not driven by little imps of wisdom whispering in my ear. I make mistakes,all right??"
"Then you're saying I'm a mistake?"
A small voice inside Islinn's head kept telling her to shut-up but she mentally plodded on. It had been a phenomenal day with its breadth and width far beyond her comprehension. It had washed over the top of her like a rogue wave, pulling her down, spitting her out, and taking everything in between. She no longer had the capacity for prudence.