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The mornings were evil. That was a known fact. Mornings before coffee however were their own private little section of hell. Unfortunately for Maya she sucked at making coffee, or coffee worth drinking at any rate, so when the morning clamor of the city rudely pulled her from her sleep earlier that morning it was a thoroughly more miserable experience than usual. Of course the bruises on her ribs probably didn’t help either now that she thought about it. She’d been jumping down onto a balcony the night before and had slipped on a freaking puddle. She’d been lucky she managed to grab the railing. Not so lucky she managed to avoid smashing into it as her feet had slipped out from under her unfortunately. Her sour expression as she remembered the incident faded as she grabbed the Styrofoam cup in front of her and took a long appreciative sip. She set the cup back on the table next to her folded cane and a second identical cup. Her eyes darted behind the blackened lenses of her sunglasses as she looked around at the crowd. The shop hadn’t been particularly busy when she’d first showed up but the early and pre-rushhour traffic was out now and the cafe was all but full up. The the opposite seat of her booth remained conspicuously empty. She knew she’d gotten more than a few stares, god knew people seemed to stare a lot more when they weren’t worried about getting caught, but so far no one had gathered up the courage to try to take the seat opposite her. The stares didn’t bother her now. Not like they used too. Still it was hard not to react to them. She probably would have done the same in their place. Her coat sat bundled beneath her where she’d put it to escape the unreasonable warmth that’d accompanied the sea of bodies into the coffee shop, and she was regretting choosing the winter leggings and long sleeve shirt she’d wore beneath it. Not just because of the heat either. People were often put off by her glasses, or her cane, but she’d found very few people could look her empty left sleeve and manage more than a couple of sentences before suddenly realizing they had somewhere else to be. It had made her uncomfortable at first. Honestly it still did more often than she would admit. This morning however she welcomed the solitude enough that she didn’t really mind. After all she’d paid an arm for it, she might as well enjoy it she thought to herself with a grim smile. She reached for her cup once more and struggled not to stiffen as someone walked from the counter straight towards her booth as if pulled their by her thoughts. She kept her face blank and slowly sipped her coffee as she watched the woman approach her. That was more difficult than usual though. The woman burned with a brilliant golden aura similar to her own. Compared to the dull aura’s of the other sleep hazed patrons made her blaze like a sun. Somehow Maya didn’t think it was just because she was a morning person. The woman was a mage. Or something else. Maya continued to sip her coffee and pretended to be oblivious to the woman that was walking straight at her, ignoring a tightness in her chest that had nothing to do with her bruised ribs….