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Sending

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Jester got in the habit of using the Sending spell the Traveler had taught her while they were on the sea, during those long weeks of travel that seemed almost never-ending. It was good way to end the day, sending out a message or two out as the sky grew dark. It made her feel a little less alone.

Oh, she didn't do it on the nights when they were all exhausted, with her magic drained from fighting or running or healing or whatever else she had been doing throughout the day. But on the slow nights, the ones where she hadn't used any big spells and she had plenty of magic to spare, those were the ones when she'd find a nice quiet place to talk with people who were far away.

It was mostly her mama that she would speak to at first, giving her updates on what they were doing and letting her know that Jester was fine. And then she realized that if she could talk to her mama using magic, just because she missed her, then that meant she could talk to other people too. So she started sending messages to Kiri as well. And then Calianna. And Shakäste, when she realized that it was, you know, an option to send messages to lots and lots of people.

It was nice, talking to them. Almost like they were actually there beside her and not far, far, far away. It made the world feel a little smaller, in a good way.

Sometimes Jester would send a message to the Gentleman. He never replied, not in words, although she would occasionally hear a huff of what she thought was amusement in her head. Well, probably amusement. It might have been annoyance. But he never asked her to stop, so she considered that to be a reply in its own way. She didn't know if he was really her dad, but she kind of wanted to keep talking to him. Just in case.

And so she settled into a pattern. Whenever she had the magic to spare, she'd find somewhere to be alone for just a few minutes and simply talk to whoever popped into her mind first.

The first time Jester used magic to send a message to Molly, she didn't quite realize what she was doing until it had already happened.

She wasn't entirely sure what it was that made her think about Molly. Maybe it was the moons. They were both full, a rare occurrence that didn't happen often, and the night sky was almost as bright as the day thanks to both them and all the starts. It was very pretty. And sparkly. Kind of like him.

And, well, she's gotten used to sending messages to people around that time of day. Maybe that's all it took, habit and memories.

Whatever the case, the words slipped out before she even realized she was saying them. "Hi Molly," Jester said quietly, her gaze focused on the night sky shining above her. "We're on the sea. It's very pretty here. I think you would like it." She sighed. "I wish you were on the ship with us."

It wasn't until she felt the familiar buzzing at the back of her head letting her know that she'd cast a spell that she realized she'd used Sending.

"Oh," Jester said, blinking in surprise. "I didn't mean to do that."

There wasn't a reply, not that she'd been expecting one. A tiny bit of her might have been hoping she'd get one, maybe, but she wasn't expecting it. The magic was still expended, though, which... was a little unexpected. Maybe it was normal for the spell to go through even if the person she was sending to wasn't really out there to hear it. Caduceus could probably tell her, if she asked. He knew a lot about things like that, all of the various types of magic that came from being a cleric.

But, well, a part of her didn't want to ask him. If she asked, then Caduceus would tell her the truth. He was like that. And she kind of wanted to keep letting herself think that it was unusual, like a sign or something. It would be nice to be able to pretend that it meant something special, even if it didn't really. Maybe Molly could hear her, wherever he was, even if he couldn't reply.

Jester been planning on using Sending to talk to her mama, but she didn't have enough magic left now. That would have to wait until the next night. But she didn't think her mama would mind that Jester had used her magic to talk to a friend instead of her.

And maybe... maybe it wouldn't be that bad if she sometimes talked to Molly too. He didn't have to reply, but it was nice to think that somewhere out there he was listening to her.

That he was still there in some way, shape, or form.

*

Time passed, as it was known to do. Some things changed, some things stayed the same, and Jester kept sending messages at night even once they made it back to land.

It was harder than it had been on the sea. There weren't as many days where she had the magic to spare by the time night rolled around, or – if she did – she wanted to save her spells in case things went badly while they slept. Again.

But sometimes? Sometimes she could still send a message or two.

She tended to send ones that she expected would get replies. It made things feel a bit brighter when she knew that her message had gone through and that the other people had heard what she'd told them. But sometimes... well, there were some things she didn't want to say to people who'd say something back in return. It made it easier if she didn't have to hear anyone's reaction to her words.

Some of those times, she talked to the Traveler. But with others, well, times like those were when she would talk to Molly.

Sometimes she complained to him:

"Caleb is so annoying," Jester grumbled quietly. "He doesn't listen to us. We try to tell him we're strong now so he shouldn't worry, but he still does."

Sometimes she told him about her worries:

"Fjord almost died! One moment he was fighting and then, whoosh, he was unconscious. Caduceus was really worried and he never worries." Jester paused, just for a moment, before adding softly: "It scared me."

Sometimes she told him her secrets:

"I kissed someone today," Jester said, her voice just a little breathless. She glanced around quickly, making sure no one else was close enough to hear her. "You don't know her. We met her a few days ago. But she is very pretty. And funny. You'd like her."

And sometimes she just told him about her day:

"And then Nugget appeared out of nowhere and fell right on top of her!" Jester waved her arms around wildly for emphasis, just in case maybe Molly was watching from somewhere and could see her. Anything was possible. "You should have heard her shriek. She wasn't so fancy then."

There wasn't ever any reply in her head, but she didn't mind. Not really. If she wanted a reply, then she would send a message to someone else. That wasn't why she talked to Molly.

She still missed him. But, well, he'd been gone for much longer than he'd traveled with them. And a lot of things had changed since then. They'd changed since then. Molly might not even like them now. None of them weren the same people he'd known, not even Yasha. Not after everything they'd been through.

There wasn't any way to really know, though, so she just kept sending him messages from time to time. Whenever she had the magic to spare and didn't have someone else that she wanted to talk with that night.

"Hi Molly!" Jester said, not trying to hide the hint of melancholy in her voice like she usually did when talking to one of the others. She didn't have to hide, not with him. "We're finally heading back to Zadash. We haven't been there in a long time, not since right after you left. It will be—" She felt the familiar prickle at the back of her head as the spell ended. "—nice," she finished with a sigh.

Even if he wasn't there to hear it, not like the other people she used sending to talk to, she still didn't like to miscount the words. It was better when people got her whole message. She'd gotten much better at it, but sometimes she still messed up.

Jester shook her head and stretched, getting ready to stand up and head back towards the campfire. Then she froze in place, the achingly familiar voice she suddenly heard in her head almost drowned out by her suddenly racing heart as – for the first time since she had started sending messages to Molly all those months ago – she got a reply.

"Jester? Is that you?"