As soon as she is safely away from Pavel, Vanna’s smile melts into a frown.
Vanna: Sweet Cheline, what a DAY.
Vanna strides out across the bridge that connects the house to the smaller building on the islet. It’s a round hut of sorts, but it is clearly well-loved and carefully maintained just by the degree of light it expels, even through the curtain over the doorway.
Vanna: No coincidence… No coincidence… Oh Garth… What the hell did you mean? Were the Fata Morgana coming specifically for US? Because of my WORK? They certainly wouldn’t take kindly to a cure for seabite… for obvious reasons. But how would they have learned what I do?
She pulls aside the curtain, stepping into her chemistry lab. Hanging from the ceiling are bunches of herbs and leaves, which appear to be drying. Bottles and glass piping run along the walls as well, different colored bottles and liquids with dials and meters attached glinting in the light of the room. One banner stands out against the yellow walls, a dark blue green colored fabric emblazoned with a white bear paw with a star in the palm of the print.
Vanna: Okay brain… Let’s figure some things out…
She begins to tidy up, passing her cupboards full of flasks and graduated cylinders (with the odd shell or statue tucked in for decorative purposes) and opening a drawer full of other, similar implements. Above the drawer is a family photo and a candle that is clearly burned with some frequency. It’s clearly an old photo, as a baby Pavel - unbitten - is swaddled in an orange blanket and Vanna’s hair is so long it reaches her waist. She’s wearing a pretty orange skirt and top and has a flower tucked behind her ear. Also in the picture is a bearded man dressed in an orange robe and helping Vanna to hold little Pavel. He has an arm tucked behind her and his dark hair has the same odd pieces that stick out as Vanna’s and Pavel’s. He and Vanna have the same bright smile as well.
Vanna: Poor Princess Phaedra… She turns up dead. Lady Halea… She remarked on me being a Lodestar, and she seemed… oddly displeased.
Vanna reaches up to stash a purple box on a high bookshelf, then pulls aside a curtain to inspect the contents of another shelf. It’s crowded with bottles and vials, all filled with white liquid, like the stuff she had poured into Pavel’s cocoa. There is bleached white coral there as well and some of the bottles are labeled with dates and locations.
Vanna: And Garth is silenced - right before the Fata Morgana attack. But… they don't attack at all? Too many strange events all at once… They MUST be connected.
There are a few papers on the floor by the window and she kneels down to pick them up, squinting at the writing to determine what they are and where they belong.
Vanna: But what bothers me the most, is-- St. Gourami is two weeks away away by boat. If the princess was only found this afternoon- then… Why was Halea already--
She straightens, papers in hand, and stops immediately when she sees something outside the window. A shadowy figure, shrouded in fog, standing outside of the light from their house’s lantern. They seem entirely unbothered by the seaghosts and lit by some other light source.
Vanna: … here?