It was a breezy afternoon in the Rose Garden, the air was light, the grass was swaying back and forth. For anyone that had decided to head there today, it would be a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. The nice weather, accompanied by the beautiful scenery and endless rose bushes was quite a lovely sight. However there was one individual that didn't not want to be there at all, as his black trainers padded softly along the grass. Artemis Dagger wanted nothing more than to turn around and head home. Yet he couldn't, because he had been sent there by his guild to stand in for a counsellor that had been unable to attend. Artemis's expression as he moved across the Rose Garden was one of begrudging irritation, he did not want to do this. He didn't even like talking about his own problems, let alone anyone elses.
He wore a white shirt, light blue jeans, and his red hair was in it's usual style. He hadn't really dressed up for the job, but he hadn't worn anything intimidating either. What do councillors even wear? He had thought when getting dressed this morning, it seemed like a stupid thing to be concerned about. But still, he really couldn't mess this up, he knew Jiyu was bound to come down hard on him if he did. He spotted them, the group of victims he was supposed to be counselling. There were all sat around in a circle, it seemed someone had provided outdoor chairs for them to use. He stepped up to the group, glancing over them with a blank expression. They were a soft looking bunch, a mixture of ages, and races. There was very little unique or interesting features about any of them. Uggggh He thought.
"So basically, the guy you're normally supposed to see couldn't make it, so you got me. The name's Artemis." He said, failing to hide the lack of interest in his tone, the group stared at him. This seemed to spread into an awkward silence, during which Artemis took the chance to sit down. He sucked on his teeth, not really sure what to do next. A few seats to his right, a frail looking mousy haired guy with glasses spoke up. "Aren't you supposed to ask us about the crimes we experienced?" He said spiffily, Art dragged his crimson eyes over to the guy with a bored expression. Resisting the urge to roll his eyes, he sighed.
"Sure, does anyone want to share their experience?" He asked, the guy in the glasses stood up quickly, clearly eager to tell his tale. He introduced himself a Eric, and went on to talked about the mugging that had been done to him over a week ago. Art listened along with the group, the story was excruciatingly detailed. As a whole it was pretty dull crime, two guys had snuck up on him, one had restrained him while the other snatched his iLac and wallet out of his pocket. From the sounds of it they hadn't even used magic, had that been Art, he presumed he would've ended up walking away with their wallets and iLacs instead. When the guy seemed done, Art look around the group, still not quite feeling the whole group therapy thing.
"Someone else want to go...?" He asked dryly. Despite Eric's boring tale, the group seemed a little more comfortable now the ice had been broken, an woman stood, talking about how her house had been vandalized. Another tedious story reeled off, and so it continued tale after tale, nothing really catching his interesting amongst the group. Until finally an older woman stood up, clearly in her late sixties. Sporting a black eye, a neck-brace and a cast on her arm. Her name was Beth, and she told her tale about being attacked by a young group of female mages. Art scowled, not liking this story one bit. Young girls attacking an old lady, that was messed up, despite this the woman was surprisingly forgiving about it. Artemis wouldn't have been, he had actually gotten on with his Grandmother, she was probably one of the only nice people in his entire family. Things hadn't been so hard on him when she was alive, but having passed when he was around the age of eight, it had been a long time. It was pretty rarely for him to even think of her. "Thank you Beth," He said as she sat down, expressing a degree of politeness for the older lady. "Do we have any more stories?" He was pretty sure most of the group had talked, this was it right, he could end the session here surely?
"Um... I haven't gone yet." It was the voice of a guy, Art's eyes dragged over to him, this guy had spent the entire time of the session staring at the ground. Art was pretty sure he wasn't going to get involved. Part of him hoped he wouldn't, he could feel the negativity radiating of the guy. He could practically taste the guilt in the air, a side effect of having Morte within him. Still, this guy had clearly struggled to speak up, so it wasn't Art's place to end the session there. "Go ahead," He said, sitting back in his seat. The guy stood awkwardly, glancing around the group but not really meeting anyone's gaze, he gripped his right arm tightly before taking an unsteady breath.
"So about three weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were attacked walking home from our date. It was a mage, a pretty powerful one too. He did this spell, it like... immobilized me or something. Then he..." The guys voice broke, "He killed her, said it was his job or something...I don't know... I just... the whole time I just stood there. I couldn't do anything, she died cause...cause I-" The guy broke into a sob, Beth who was sitting next to him, reaching out with her free hand and wrapped it around his waist in a side hug. Art felt his stomach dropped, his body chilled to the core, that story... it was just too familiar. He cleared his throat, "What's your name man?" He asked, the guy wiped his eyes, sniffing as his nose had began to run. "Simon," He said,
"Simon, what happened to you...to your...girlfriend. It wasn't your fault, someone...clearly evil targeted her for whatever fucked up reason. You are not responsible for her death, nor are you to blame." He said earnestly. Art was pretty sure his words didn't mean much to the guy right now, at this stage he wouldn't be able to accept anything but his own guilt. Even if it wasn't his fault, Art knew that all too well. "Right, I think we should end the session there," The group slowly got up, saying their goodbyes to each other they dispersed. Simon got up, walking straight past Artemis another woman in the group who hadn't spoke following him, probably his mother, he didn't say a word as he passed. Art knew why, it was too soon, he was just here under obligation, probably dragged here by his family in an attempt to cope with it. A voice caught his attention, drawing his gaze away from Simon, it was Beth. "Thank you for today Artemis," She said kindly, his raised his brow, he hadn't really done much to worry thanks. "Erm, No problem" She laughed, patting him on the arm, before walking away leaving him standing there confused and mentally drained.
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