Grace explored 'her' room - she assumed it was supposed to be hers, due to the strange decorating. She doubted he would decorate a room in pink for himself, and the room obviously hadn't been lived in. She walked to the window and peered out, noting that, though there was no screen or glass, there were no insects in the room. Her eyes dropped downward, a feeling of despair entering her mind. It was too far. And even if she did manage to get down, where would she go? She couldn't see any other buildings anywhere, and she had no idea where in the world she was. She could walk for miles and miles until she starved or died from exhaustion and not find anyone.
She heard a sound in the hall and turned away from the window to see the elf coming back.
The elf (ignorant that it was carrying one of Alex's spell books) handed Grace the paper. It waited to see if Alex would speak through her, but instead simply bowed. knowing it would be unwise to speak her own language.
Alex was busy looking through Grace's distinct memories, wanting to find out what kind of stuff she drew. He was curious--art had never seemed very interesting or important to him. He switched his cystail ball to look at Grace in real time now--he was excited to see her draw.
Grace took the 'paper,' confused. It looked like a book. It felt thick, more like parchement. Oh well. The tooth didn't feel too bad, and she didn't particularly care about defacing her captor's things.
"Thank you." She told the girl, flipping the book open to try to find a blank page. The contents were...odd, to say the least. She'd never seen anything like it.
Normally she drew scenes from around her; people going about their daily lives, her friends, her family, pets, trees, and basically anythign else that popped into her head. Usually, she was inspired by the subject of her drawings. This time, the actual paper inspired her. It was just begging for drawings of dragons, nymphs, and de.mons.
Alex didn't have time to wonder where the elf got the strange-but-familiar-looking paper, he became entranced by the girl's artwork. It seemed to simply flow from her, pure inspiration. But he had to get a better look--trying to see the intricate details from his cystal ball was starting to hurt his eyes. Time to use THAT pretty little spell...He thought, casting invisibility on himself. He began to sneak up to Grace's room, trying not to be very loud.
((Artist-speak. :p Tooth is the surface texture of the paper, the rougher the paper, the higher the tooth. Different tooths are used for different mediums. High tooth is better for charcoal, chalk, and graphite, and low tooth is better for ink. It's always the first thing I feel for.))
Grace sat crosslegged back in her spot between the bed and the nightstand, against the wall, and produced a mechanical pencil from her pocket. The small, cramped space felt like her drawing spot at home, and the whole ritual was calming. The smell of the graphite, the feel of the 'lead' being ground into tiny flecks of dust, the black smudges on her fingers, all made her forget momentarily that she had been kidnapped and forced into an unfamiliar and strange place.
A dragon, muscles bunched, wings half-outstretched, took shape on her page, looking as if it were about to leap right off and fly away. The page she'd found was completely blank, so she filled it. The dragon was standing by a stream, one of its claws submerged, the talons digging into the stones of the streambed as crystal-clear water flowed around it. Its magestic head tipped back as if it was about to roar, or maybe breathe fire.
"A dragon..." Alex thought. He had always been fascinated by dragons, but never attempted to capture one. The faint traces of scheming danced in his thoughts, but he pushed them away for later, instead concentrating on Grace's drawing.
That lasted a whole two minutes before he got bored. And a little hungry. He flicked his finger, sending the daily command to the head elf to begin cooking dinner. He almost sent Grace's elf to tell her dinner would be soon, but decided to go up himself. Before he remembered that he was a little put off by Grace, he burst into her room and said, "Dinnertime, princess!"
Grace jumped when the door flew open again, instinctively drawing her knees up to her chest, sandwiching the book between them protectively. "Ever heard of knocking?" She demanded, retracting the pencil lead and jamming it behind her ear.
Alex felt sheepish. "Um...no?" he asked, even though it sounded like a retorical question. All his built-up confidence was gone. "So...dinner?"
Grace smirked slightly. "You know, if you want to have dinner with a girl, you could always just ask. Kidnapping isn't really necessary." She'd been terrified earlier, but the drawing had calmed her, and her captor's lack of confidence boosted hers.
Alex couldn't help but laugh. "You think this is a dinner date or something? I just want to keep you fed, i"m not going to make you come to dinner. There's plenty of dungeon cells and stale bread if that better suits your fancy," he snarled, getting a little angry at being mocked.
"So you've never heard of a joke, either?" Grace asked with a sigh. "Manners, knocking, and jokes. What have you heard of?"
Thinking he had a shot to regain some of his confidence, he grinned cooly at her. "I've heard of lobster dinners followed by horseback riding. And cut me some slack--as a despised mythical creature, I don't tend to get out much."
Grace frowned slightly in confusion. Lobster...?
"Well, allow me to enlighten you then." She said, shoving her drawing under the bed for safekeeping and standing up. "It is not acceptable to abduct people. Ever."
"Since I grew up as the subject of an abduction, it's never seemed like a big deal to me. And besides, even if I wanted to put you back, I'd have to abduct the guy I put in your place. Lose-lose situation." Alex started getting worried that she could actually convince him to do that--the guy he put in Grace's spot was a complete jerk.
Grace blinked a couple times. "Wait...you replaced me? With a he? My family can't be okay with that." How was that even possible? She disappears and they adopt some guy?
Alex, not minding to explain things since he was bored waiting for dinner anyway, got down to some exposition. "Yeah, it's not as easy as replacing a kid when they're a baby, since they don't notice the difference. All I had to do, thought, was give the guy a potent amneisa-inducing spell. Anyone who sees him will replace you with him in their memories. Sure, some things get a little muddled and confusing, but humans don't believe that stuff. They just think they remembered something wrong, or had a little too much to drink, and move on with their lives. No one's probably noticed the switch."
Standing perfectly still, Grace just stared at him for a moment, shocked. Then she crossed the room in three steps and slapped him across the face as hard as she could. "You messed with my family's heads?" She screamed, furious as she imagined her little sisters having their memories changed against their will.
Alex was astounded by what she did...but in hindsight, he knew she would at one point get violent. He held his stunging cheek with one hand, turned his profile to her, and watched her warily out of the corner of his eye. "Would you rather I didn't change their memories? Have them suffer, never knowing where you've dissappeared to? If anything it's an act of mercy, I certainly don't have to be constantly upholding a compllicated spell like that. Give me some credit, I have something of a conscience..."
"Mercy?" Grace asked incredulously, fire in her eyes. "You changed their lives, without even telling them! A person's mind is a sacred place, and barging in is worse than anything physical you could have done to us." Personally, she would rather hurl herself from a cliff than let someone screw around with her mind. That was practically ra.pe. Of course, she wasn't going to say that to him, afraid that he might misunderstand her and kill them.
"Ok, well now if we're talking about rape of the mind," Alex said, a counterargument begining to take form in his brain, "I don't suppose youve ever seen autopsy videos featuring people like me? Oh, sorry, not people. Because even though I look and act human, a few strands of DNA give you permission to lock us up and physically ra.pe our brains. But I change the lives of a handful of people in ways most won't even notice, and suddenly I'm the criminal. And please don't get steamed at me hearing your thoughts--you're practically shouting in there. I'd be like me getting mad at you for breathing and turning all my nice oxygen into filthy CO2."