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Trials and Travels (Semi-lit)

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~Aketsu~

 

Aketsu had lost track of the main members of his group and had started attacking the main army. This had mostly consisted of large bursts of tear gas and such sweeping through the army, then returning to Aketsu and being bottled again. But the time came when he had to go in close-combat and use his sword as well as his wind. He hated it, hated the blood splattering about... but Ayame was dead without mercy, and it was the fault of the enemies. They could have aimed to injure or disable, but they had aimed for his heart. Dark skies, bolts of lightning, giant waves of water, an unhuman scream, the cry of the wind as Loren fell from the sky... Aketsu had all but lost it when the army was suddenly split in half. From where Aketsu was, he suddenly heard a faint but desperate breathing... in his head. It was random, but it was from Luna. He immediately turned and was able to see her in the distance. Although Aketsu wished to see what Eirikr had planned, wished to find Kai and the others, wished to follow the shadow creature somehow and find Loren... he knew Luna had to come first. He was not willing to lose another member of his team.

 

Aketsu used the wind to rush in her direction. She was far in the distance and the enemy was searching for her, but for the moment she was out of sight. Luna? Luna, I'm here, he thought calmly. As he raced in her direction he was noticed by soldiers, but not before he took out another of his vials and released it into the wind in their direction. As always, his precise control of air allowed him to only surround them with the chemical and not harm Luna or the others. Almost immediately the soldiers began staggering as though they had drank too much, and they let out startled cries as they fell. But the air could only cover so much ground, and Aketsu had to hurry. Ten seconds later he reached Luna. She looked pretty awful, but she wouldn't die. "Take it easy," he said as he picked her up much as he had picked up Isa the day he had met Kai.

 

"We're going to be fine." Famous last words? Not for Aketsu. He had broken his concentration on the gases in the air and they had begun to spread naturally, but it hadn't been much in the first place so it wouldn't affect anyone else who breathed it. Aketsu used several bursts of wind to get himself as far from the enemy as possible into a forest area. Careful to keep his own breathing as steady as possible, he set Luna down behind a large tree. "Rest here," he said. He had seen the despair on her face before and wondered if it was because the others were failing, but he chose not to think that way. "You've done well. You've saved lives." With that he turned and ran on the wind back towards the battle field.

 

Yuaki had just been deciding out of desperateness that now might be the time to use her element when suddenly she saw the twins. They were helping her! The nearest soldiers were impaled by swords and Yuaki drew her sling to attack further ones. She had only released two stones when suddenly Leith or Neiro (she couldn't tell which) was yelling at her to go, and there was a huge clear path of water. She hadn't even finished telling her horse to charge before it began running; it had sensed her urgency and seen the path. Still, Yuaki slammed her heels into its sides, urging it to race forward as quickly as it could. It did, and within seconds she was out of the fray. She heard a pained cry and glanced back to see one of the twins had been stabbed through. Her eyes widened in shock, but she turned back to the direction she was going and leaned forward over Kai, gripping her horse's mane. She wanted to turn back, wanted to do something, but she forced herself not to. That wasn't what she was supposed to do.

 

The battlefield was almost 75 yards behind her by the time she pulled the reins. She dismounted before her horse had even stopped and she carefully brought Kai off with her. She tore off his shirt with a knife and searched quickly for external wounds. She then felt his pulse and found it fairly steady. There were no real external wounds except for minor burns near his right arm... er, where his right arm used to be. It was bloody and signed and blackish and smelled awful directly on his right shoulder. Yuaki grabbed her water canteen and poured some water on the wound. Oh, did it ever look awful and painful. Her horse snorted and looked in the direction of the battlefield. Yuaki carefully put her canteen to Kai's mouth and let a little water trickle in. Then she put her left hand on his right stub and squeezed just a bit. Shadows left her hand and worked to feel the wound, showing her where she could best seal it. Due to the lightning it wasn't bleeding out, but it would still need to be covered from infection. She had carried cloth with her just for this purpose and carefully wrapped the wound, using Kai's neck as a support for the bandage. "You dummy," she mumbled, "you're awfully reckless for an engaged man."

 

When she was done she stood, mounted, and started at a lope back towards the battlefield. She left her water next to Kai and left his burnt shirt there as well. As she loped back, she searched desperately for the twins with the intention of at least saving their bodies from the fray. To her surprise the army was split in half, and Eirikr was fighting the trapped half.

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Bloody hammers. Maybe I should have thought this out first.

 

Eirikr grabbed a sword from a fallen soldier using it in tandem with his pick-guard. He could feel himself failing as the soldiers hammered away at him. There were just to many for one guy.

 

"Your just as emotionally dead and murderous as the light alliance itself. Their crimes will be revealed, you cannot stop us." Said the Shadow Militia's commander. It was the same one who had blown the whistle signaling one of those flying beasts to take Loren. Just then a glare of light blinded the soldiers. Eirikr had been hoping to use that as a chance to perhaps clear his way when he fell. Two hammers hit his stone breastplate simultaneously, cracking it. As the soldiers closed in for the kill Eirikr focused for one last act.

 

"I care not for the light nor the shadow. I care about protecting Terra. We wanted to stay out of this fighting but you had to start it all up again. You had to force us to choose sides. If I die today then you won't escape either," spat Eirikr. With one last defiant gesture a stone spike emerged from next to his impaling the commander. It punched through his armor, obliterating his heart and pulverizing his lungs.

 

"For Terra," growled Eirikr as he blacked out. Then his stone armor exploded outwards. The shrapnel cut down swaths of soldiers. The stone barricade likewise exploded. The fragments flew with such force as they tore through their mail with ease, shredding the poor soldiers. Only the spike upon which their commander rested, dead, remained intact.

 

Eirikr heard people yelling. His name seemed to come from everywhere. He saw and heard no more.

Edited by Nasa13

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Sky blushed a bit when she heard what the elderly couple say about her and Marc as well as half of their group being her and Marc's kids. She was glad that she and Marc were starting to look like a couple and she glanced over at him to see what his reaction was to their words and saw that he was happy as well along with being worried. She wondered what he was worried about as she reached over and gently touched his arm to let him know that she was there as well as telling him that everything would be okay. Then as she had her attention be in front of them once again, she heard Betzalel's amused thought in her head about how many kids she and Marc were going to have. She didn't answer the thought but blushed a bit darker in response to it. She was still looking ahead of them but now with very red cheeks.

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Isis stood behind the group as they fought. He watched them fight for a moment, some rising to the top and others falling. He stood on a high point, overlooking the battle. His first instinct was to rush head long into battle and help them, but he held his ground. He glanced at the little bottle Aketsu had given him. He had placed it on the ground. It was time to release the trees.

 

He closed his eyes and connected with the plants of the area. Protect me... he pleaded. Then, lifting his arms, he sent motion into all the plants around him. With his eyes closed he realized he wouldn't be able to see anything, but that was probably for the best. This way, he wouldn't be as tempted to stop the connection with the plants. He would have to depend on the wisdom of the oldest trees to lead the newly released army into the battle. He prayed they would be safe, and that Zepheena would be safe. He also hoped they would maybe pick up on his emotions and keep her safe.

 

The trees stretched their leafy limbs and set forward with a good will. Their roots shot out of the ground and burrowed into the ground in the direction of the battle. The strong trunks and branches were ready to crush some bones. The thorny bushes traveled in a wall, creating a barrier behind the moving plants. Some grass grouped together and began carrying the tiny green bottle towards the middle of the battle field. The vines and long crawling weeds went ahead to tangle, trip, or strangle any unfortunate soldier who got in their reach. Nature was fighting for their own.

Edited by Silver_Voices

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The loud noises of the city from above had faded into soft murmurs as Aoi manoeuvred quickly through the shaded alleys of the city, moving away from the main streets that bustled with activity. Aoi had rather travel through the alleyways than to merge in with the crowd. The end of the alley path he had taken opened to the area of the city that was nearer to the entrance, and Aoi peered out, holding his coat up to his head as he glanced around. The same movement of monochrome heads filled the main road; Aoi could see kids playing and parents talking, but the road was almost as busy as can be. He glanced around. There was a group of travellers that were making their way through the crowd.

 

He spotted it. What he was looking for. Who he was looking for. The reason he was in the city in the first place. He grinned to himself as he slipped into the vast moving crowds of people and made his way towards the group: a bigger group than he had expected, until he stood directly behind the group with a boy that seemed like their leader who was walking on the side of them. He reached out and grabbed the boy in the group, who was walking, by the arm, and pulled him back suddenly.

 

“It’s been a while," He whispered in his ear, "Jahan.” He then let go of him and smiled, falling behind them as if he had been with them all along. He might not recognize him; Aoi had changed a lot since the last time they saw each other. It would be amusing if he didn't. But not that he'd bet on that. He was sure a smart kid, that young lord.

"You sure want to escape formalities, kid? I hope I won't have to introduce myself agian." He brought his arms up to rest behind his head as he walked along leisurely behind them.

Edited by lachrymation

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Luna

 

Luna's pace began to slow. There weren't as many soldiers around, but the fatigue was starting to set in again. Her last burst of adrenaline was wearing off and she was starting to feel the pain in her shoulder and ankle again. Then she started to hear a voice calling out to her. It sounded distant, so far away. She could barely tell who it was, but it was enough to keep her moving. Just a few more steps she kept repeating to herself. Suddenly the winds were moving around her again. Her initial thought was of Loren as she was hoisted into someone's arms. He was okay! They were going to be fine! She looked up into the man's face and remembered the voice that had been echoing in her head the past few moments. No. It was Aketsu. Loren was gone. He wasn't anywhere to be seen. Captured...maybe even dead. Luna wanted to kick herself so badly. She could have prevented his fall if she hadn't used up all her energy on that one stupid trick. She could have easily pushed all those bat creatures away earlier, but no, she just had to learn a new power right in the middle of battle. It was enough to make her want to scream, but she didn't believe she even had enough energy left for that.

 

Before too long Luna was set down beside a large tree, far from the fray of battle. She couldn't even hear the thoughts of the soldiers any more. Aketsu was gone before she could mumble something about her gratitude. She finally chanced a look down at her leg and sighed. Her foot was turned over ninety degrees, laying limply at an angle and throbbing in pain. Well, at least she would have a legitimate use for her cane now. She closed her eyes and remembered Aketsu's words. Rest... It sounded so wonderful right now. She closed her eyes as her mind relaxed into a quiet state of unconsciousness.

 

 

((I'll edit Renzo in later))

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((No coloring, but you need to read it all anyways. Zepheena is going to be busy, or have to teach Isa wink.gif ))

 

 

Noe opened a hole in the storm and looked down. This wasn’t right. How did Kai? Her eyesight was keen as she looked down from the pitch clouds and could see that Loren was being taken away. Eirkr seemed to be handling things there though but Leith and Nerio…

 

She was torn and decided to try something with her new abilities that she had guessed were from her father. With a grim smile, she dove out of the clouds trailing the precipitation behind her. With a concentrated thought, she made her storm follow her and develop into more tornadoes and a wind storm. The wind wouldn’t harm Aketsu because it was his element, but it would throw their enemies off balance. If she did that then the others would have an advantage. Her eyes closed as her bird-like maw opened and a scream of defiance came as her talons reached out in front of her. Lightning flashed and thunder answered as she dove through the ranks tearing at men with her claws and setting tornadoes loose in their ranks behind where her friends, no, her family was fighting.

 

No matter what, she had to maintain the storm above and she had to keep those tornadoes closing in on them from behind. The wind came down from the mountains beside them and pressed the men into a large compact area which was causing turmoil as the young elementians tore through their ranks with unpraralleled strength. Noe was amazed at how all of them had grown. Isa was able to fully unlock her abilities, Aketsu was strong in his wind, stronger than ever! Everyone was doing well and there were plenty more that were injured but what surprised her was the large amount of men converging around Battlemate and Leith and Nerio. She had to choose. Now. To see if Kai was truly dead or help her friends. At this time, she couldn’t do both or she would pass out form the emotional and elemental drain.

 

Noe decided to do what she needed to do and that was help Battlemate. She could feel his mind gently pressing on her own and she accepted his mind. A quick conversation of what to do entered her head and she started to act upon it.

 

Isa looked to where Kai had been dropped off ange swelling up within her. This wasn’t right! Too many dieing and she couldn’t bear it any longer. She flashed to Kai and was surprised to find that he was still alive. “Zepheena! “ she shouted above the roar of everything going on. Hopefully the girl would see Isa waving her hand and come to Kai, if she didn’t, well, Isa wasn’t strong enough to carry Kai. She plaed her hand on his good arm and sighed. “I’m sorry.” She muttered then flashed into the sky to get a glimpse of what was going on. With shock, she realized that Noe was trying to herd the men back towards Battlemate, but for what, she didn’t know. Instead of going against the young woman, Isa dove into the fray, bloodying her sword quickly and repeatedly. Men started to turn from her dangerous blade but those that were more experienced provided her a challenge that caused her to start to gain various scratches and bruises. But! The men were being corralled back to Battlemate who was now being joined by Z’fan and her plant beasts for the one large one had been taken down into several different beasts. They towered above the soldiers and killed them slowly.

 

Battlemate looked at the men pressing back to him. Fighting him and trying to fight those around him. He had no idea how many men there were, but he had to do this to make sure that these younglings survive for that would mean a change for their world. At least for his. He glanced at Z’fan with tears in his eyes as she looked his way.

 

“Creevian NO!” Z’fan screamed saying his real name for once. To those that had studied their history, Creevian was the name of the son of the first king of the young land of Element. He had aged to a very old, very very old age before disappearing and never coming back into the world again. He had been lost to time and most thought that he had still lived but only those that were in the great forests that belonged to Natura knew where he had been. To be honest, he had been living alone near a small lake in the forest. He, at that time, was trying to learn how to hone his abilities and become the best that he could be. It took a long time, but he met Ayame and the man suggested what Creevian do for himself. With Ayame as his instructor, Creevian flourished as a half mer-man half human. Ayayme encouraged him to embrace his water loving side and Creevian soon developed completely into a Merman.

 

After a time, he came out of hiding but underneath the name of Battlemate which was given to him by his first love and only love, the great-grandmother of Queen Lyra, Viosa Yilan. They had fought together without even knowing of who they were to their country and just learning to love one another and themselves. It didn’t take long for Queen Lyra to find out who they were and the two became her guardians. When King Aslano stated that he was trying to find experienced guardians for the children, she mentioned them and told them to go.

 

Battlemate looked longingly at his wife of almost two hundred years and let tears fall from his eyes as he took a deep breath and looked up at the sky. The only way for these men to be dwindled down in their numbers was to kill himself. He had made several black holes before, but they were small and designed to hide small amounts of mass, but one as large as he needed, would kill him and destroy him as well. With a deep breath, he raised his arms to the sky feeling the blades puncturing his body and causing him to cough up blood. He let out a roar of pain but above him, there formed a dark circle that whirled with violet power.

 

Before long, the men around him were being sucked into the vortex and disappearing without a trace. Battlemate started to faint and pass out as the last of the men around him were sucked into the vortex and Z’fan raced to his side cutting through the men that had surrounded her tried to kill her. Her eyes were filled with tears as she arrived to his side and held him as he died, and faded into non-existence along with the vortex.

 

Leith and Nerio had paused like all the men around them as they watched what was going on. The power of the vortex hadn’t touched any of the young elementians, just the “bad guys” and touched them pretty hard. When it was time to battle again, the noticed that the number that was remaining, was far less than what had been there earlier. The only bad thing was that Nerio happened to turn around at the wrong moment and a he heard his brother step into his place. The blade punctured his heard and in slow motion, Nerio turned around and caught his brother. Nerio couldn’t breathe as his brother formed a water shield around them even as he was dying. “You idiot. Fight!” his brother said and then quickly stated that he loved him and wished him to continue on.

 

Nerio stood up and using his experience in defense, formed a shield bubble above the men that had just killed his brother and quickly sunk the shield into the ground, crushing them into a pulp.

 

Isa was shocked with all that suddenly happened. She couldn’t understand how everything had happened but she noticed that Leith was dead, kai was dead, Battlemate was dead and Loren… Loren? Eirkir was helping him and doing a very good job of it even though there was hardly a man around him now save for a few generals. It was difficult to think that where there had once been a small city’s worth of men, there were now only possibly 100. But they didn’t have to do anything now because the trees that Isis had been controlling were already killing them.

 

Noe looked at what had happened and felt her heart swell and her eyes swell with tears. A piteous cry came from her as she landed beside kai’s dead body feeling horrible because she knew that it was her lightning that had killed him. She kept her storm active to wash away the blood, but cried herself as she leaned her head down to Kai’s chest, her beak barely touching him. She didn’t dare change back to a human form because of her lack of clothes, but she cried heartily. His arm was gone and he was…no…he wasn’t dead! Noe creened gently in his ear trying to get him to wake up. “Kai?” her words sounded odd coming from a bird like mouth, but she did her best and laid down beside him and gently prodded him. “please…don’t die….” Today, they had all lost Ayame, Battlemate, and Leith.

 

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"What's this? Everyone, look who's decided to show up!" Master Wu opened the door to find Kai standing, looking slightly dazed, in the doorway. "Well come on in boy, better late than never I guess." Wu yanked him inside and shut the door behind him.

 

Kai blinked several times, still trying to see where he was and what was going on. Alll he could see were people, everywhere, above him, around him, beneath him, but all seated at a large banquet table that was everywhere... and nowhere, at once. And everything was so bright, he tried to shield his eyes.

 

"Kaimaru!" a voice that he knew was his sister's... but... he couldn't remember having a sister, caught his attention. Then he saw her, and his mother, and father. They were closest to him, with Master Wu standing behind him and there were others, other monks, other people, and he recognized them all, but didn't know how, or from where, but there they were and he suddenly felt them embrace him, even Master Wu, which was odd for the old man, he was usually so stoic.

 

"Where... am I?" He managed, and suddenly two birdlike creatures swooped out of the sky and landed beside him. One he recognized as Ayame, and the other, slowly changed back to her human form, and it was Noe! But she was older, now fully mature, and... "Noe... what..."

 

But he didn't manage to finish the sentence, because Noe took her landing and turned it into a flying tackle, wrestling him to the ground she kissed his face several times and smiled down on him. "Nice of you to finally arrive Kiki," she winked at him, standing and pulling him to his feet with an effortless jerk.

 

Kiki... his mother had called him that, when he was very young, but how did Noe know all this? What was all this?

 

It seemed finally that the others realized he was still confused, and it was Master Wu who finally spoke as he more or less stared at them all, still trying to put it together in his head.

 

"I see, sorry everyone, we'll have to wait a bit longer, he's not fully here yet, he's just visiting." Surprisingly everyone seemed happy about that, and they smiled at him and all at once said goodbye. "Come on, back to the feast! I'll show him out the door."

 

Only Noe walked with the two of them... though... it seemed more like they were flying, until Kai saw the door he had walked into on his way here, then Master Wu opened it and faded away, only Noe was left.

 

"Noe... am I? Are we?"

 

"Dead?" Noe finished his question and shook her head, "no love, death, is just the beginning, now get back where you belong, you're breaking my heart you big lug! Wake up!" And with that... she shoved him out the door and into... nothing...

 

Kai felt himself falling, and then there was the world, a huge round, green and blue jewel perched in its place in the sky, then he was in the atmosphere, then he could see the battlefield, rushing up to meet him, and his body... and... Noe!

 

"Noooooooooeeeee!!!!" He called out to her... and then he hit his body, hard, and it hurt!

 

 

As Noe whispered into his ear he suddenly sat straight up with a huge gasp, like someone who hadn't been breathing for a while, and he started to cough, drawing in quick gasps of air. The memory of what had just happened came flying back to him, the battlefield, the war, Noe... "Noe!"

 

Kai suddenly reached up with his arms... arm... noting that his right was now missing, small price to pay he figured, and grasped Noe around the neck, hugging himself to her.

 

"Don't worry," He said, leaning into her body as she cried, or perhaps it was just all the rain water, "I'm not going anywhere, not yet, I promise. I love you!"

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"I see some of the men... they tried to run... some even surrendered. But they were butchered, they have committed a grave crime." Spoke an older-man, appearing to be in his mid-sixties. Even though he was older then the rest of the men in the army, his skills and combat prowess was not diminished by age. He was Marshal Ulyanovsk, a young veteran of the previous war between the light and the dark. His stern look softened with sadness as he watch the remaining soldiers trying to save themselves, only to be cut down like animals. He knew that their loved ones would suffer like that as well, if they showed no mercy to his soldiers... neither will he. "Pay evil unto evil, right Laurence?" Asked the Marshal as he turned towards his 'bodyguard', a younger man with a milky white eye. He was only thirty years old, but he was one of the best solider Ulyanovsk knew. The raging storm above the battlefield even reached him, though it was old a windstorm compared to what the men below were suffering. "We must report this to the queen, the people must know about the cruelness of the Light Alliance." Spoke Ulyanovsk as he got on his horse. Laurence followed suit, but just before they were about to take off, one of the shadow-riders gently landed down.

 

"Status Report Recruit?" Asked the Marshal as he motioned his horse to turn towards him. He noticed that the bat creature had something in his claws, and was making sure it didn't crush whatever it had. "My whole unit got wiped, I left because I got orders to take 'him' out of here." Spoke the rider as the bat-creature moved its claws slightly, revealing an unconscious... boy? The Marshal was slightly wide-eyed, they were still using kids to fight their battles? At a second look, he noticed his white hair... a wind elementian. "Seems he got hit by one of the lighting bolts from that insane storm. He doesn't look like he's going to last long without medical treatment. He was also responsible for taking out the machines we got from Aero." Explained the recruit as he kept his mount in line. The Marshal closed his eyes for a moment before sighing. "Get him on Laurence's horse, he'll drop him off in Cumulus." Ordered Ulyanovsk, motion his head to his companion. The recruit did just take, he got off his creatures, and slowly got Loren onto the horse.

 

Five minutes had passed, while Laurence was busy wrapping lotion wraps on the exposed skin, the Marshal was filling out a report for the recruit. "Your new orders, get this report to the queen as fast as you can." Said Ulyanovsk, he had to head back to whisper to finalize the war plans, but the rider could get there faster with the bat. "At once sir" was all he said before he got the bat again and took off into the sky. Once he was in flight, Ulyanovsk got on his once more, and the both of them began to gallop towards Cumulus. Even though it was rather cold of him, he knew the boy had information, and he was only worth saving because of that.

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Noe listened to Kai’s heart and she heard it grow in strength as he started to come awake. He jumped upright making her silver eyes jump open. “Kai?!” She almost backed away in surprise and shock but instead, he wrapped his one arm around her neck causing her feathers to fluff out. She looked like a small chick compared to her father and how big he had been, but she was still large. An alarmed squawk came from her as he held her close because she knew that he was in pain.

 

However, when he stated that he wasn’t going anywhere, she started crying harder. It was a weird sound, but something that tugged at the heart. As a bird, she could cry, but she couldn’t express herself completely which is where the storm took part. She allowed herself to cry because now that she thought about it, they had lost Loren as well. He had been hit by a freak chance of lightning and had fallen to the ground. What had she done?

 

Nerio bent down to where his brother was laying amidst a few bodies of the other soldiers and with an odd show of tenderness, leaned down and kissed his brother’s forehead. With slow movements, he gently moved his arms underneath Leith’s neck and legs as tears coursed down his cheeks mixing with the rain that still fell from the sky. He was stabbed in a few places, and cut in a couple more, but right now, he had to carry his brother…

 

It took him a few moments to do it, but he reached the knoll where they had camped and laid his brother down on the ground and stared at him, his fists clenched beside him. He could hear Noe crying in the background and the terrifying wailing from Z’fan. So, her husband had been the famed lost First Prince of Element. That would make her the first Queen of Natura which explained her advanced and beyond mastery of the plant element.

 

As he stood there, he knew that he had to avenge his brother’s death, but he deserved a proper burial. They had no bodies to bury for Ayame and for Battlemate and they couldn’t find Loren’s deceased body either. Only one to bury. His tears came anew as he stood there in total shock of the situation.

 

Z’fan sat there for a moment, holding on to the dagger that Battlemate had left behind before disappearing and clasped it to her chest. It was a crude thing, but it had beautiful gems set on the hilt which was made a hard wood. It was a gift that she had given him many years ago. As the realization of he mate of over 200 years was now gone, she started to cry harder than she ever had before. The only others that were as old as she and her old mate, were the dark shadow beings across the ocean and the late Ayame. She was truly alone now. But her aloneness couldn’t stop her sorrow of losing Creevian.

 

“Creevian!” she screamed into the sky and an eerie, high pitched, and sometimes low, animal like cry filled the air above the storm which was now slowly starting to abate. There was no longer hail or tornadoes, just rain without thunder and lightning. “Why?!” She shouted at the ground as she allowed herself to pound it once or twice. Sobs racked her massive body which started to grow in the rain. Her legs were no longer small, but rather large like that of an oversized octopus. She controlled herself though and shrank back into her smaller form and still sobbed away her sorrows.

Isa stood amongst a ring of carnage and felt herself crying. Why? Leith was gone, Loren was gone, Battlemate was gone and Ayayme was gone. She had killed so many men and her body and sword stank of blood. She would never get that smell out of her nose or her life because it was something that would stay with her always. “Aketsu?” she called out wanting to be with him. They would comfort each other, but then again doing that while Z’fan was mourning the loss of her mate may not be the best idea. There was so much to process. The deaths that she caused, the deaths that happened, everything was too much!

 

Noe leaned back from Kai slightly and turned her head so that she could look at him fully. Her wings were extended over him so that he wouldn’t be rained on anymore and she looked at his charred stump of an arm, another sob coming from her. She felt sorry for him for she didn’t know what he could or would do about the entire situation. “So many dead. I’m just so happy that you didn’t die.” She said and allowed herself a moment to cry about Leith. He had always been her big brother and now he was dead too. Father, brother, both dead. “Leith is dead and so is Creevian.” She said assuming that Kai had just heard what Z’fan had just screamed. “No one can find Loren either…he was hit by my lightning.” She sobbed and closed her eyes. “I’m so sorry.” She whispered.

 

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((Wow. Lots happened while I was trying to get this written. Pretend it happened somewhere in the middle of the battle.))

 

((No coloring, but you need to read it all anyways.  Zepheena is going to be busy, or have to teach Isa wink.gif ))

((biggrin.gif Too late. I'd already made up my mind.))

 

Zepheena was trapped in a little alcove near the base of the cliff. With no weapon except her tiny dagger, she had no way to defend herself. Whenever someone came close she simply sucked their energy away so they wandered away, discombobulated. She heard Isa shout out her name, but she couldn't see where she was, or what was going on. She peeked out and saw the trees moving by, and she thought this was her chance. She scurried out of her little hole and dodged through the trees, avoiding the stray arrow or blade.

 

Her hood had fallen, causing her hair to whip behind her in frenzy as she ran. It caught on something, and she fell onto her back. Her breath was knocked out of her and she gasped for air as she looked up into the face a mean looking soldier. He looked down at her with no pity, only disdain in his eyes. She looked at the soldier and him studied him closely. She looked deep into his eyes and her fears were confirmed. Both sides were fighting for what they thought was right. This war would never end. Neither side would ever surrender. "You have no right, Light Elementian." She closed her eyes and only just barely heard his last words. "You have no right to live."

 

She felt herself being pulled up by her hair. She didn't care. She sensed her journey coming to a close. She felt her feet lift from the ground as the man held her up above his head. Suddenly she was being hurled away, then her body was bashed against some rocks. She gasped in pain and gritted her teeth, but didn't cry out. She realized her end would be a painful one. She lay sprawled on the floor of the valley, then she was covered in the shadow of the soldier. She heard him say something, but she couldn't make out what it was. He kicked her in the abdomen, making it hard to breath. She coughed hoarsely, and spat out some red liquid. As she opened her eyes, she saw the sword plunge downward toward her stomach, and a terrible pain shot through her whole being. She choked on her own blood as it trickled down her throat, her body shaking. She couldn't move, she could hardly breathe... He withdrew the sword and she watched him stalk away, letting her bleed to death.

 

She extended her arm just enough to touch a passing plant. Isis... He would be heartbroken. He would blame himself. The pain slowly subsided to a dull throbbing, then nothing at all. Thought became slower, harder. She grasped a blade of grass as it passed and pulled it up by the roots. It wriggled then slowly stopped moving. She crumpled it up in her fist and sighed, hoping Isis would find it and realize it meant that she'd miss him. "Goodbye, Isis..." She let her eyelids shut, but her mind's eye was filled with images of her life, and all that she and Isis had been through together, and what she dreamed could have been. When the dreams stopped, so did her heart.

Edited by Silver_Voices

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Kai let go of Noe's neck, seeing that it was uncomfortable for her, and lay gently back down on the ground, assessing his body while she cried, while it rained, and as the blood of hundreds soaked slowly into the ground around them. He knew his arm was gone, he'd realized that before hitting the ground and being knocked out, he'd realized he was going to lose it back on the pillar, when he'd lost all feeling to it, right before he turned the pillar into a superconductor. The open wound was the only place his sand hadn't been, and so that part of his body was charred, cauterized by the electricity, good, he wasn't bleeding then, he would be fine... in his definition of the term, being alive and able to continue the mission.

 

He had a sharp pain in his right elbow, unfortunately he knew the arm that the pain meant to be in... was gone, which made it slightly comical but mostly uncomfortable and a little disturbing.

 

His body felt relatively better than he had expected, all things considered, he felt well enough to stand, though he remained laying under Noe's sheltering wings. He found her even more beautiful in this form, and was happy that he hadn't lost his ability to appreciate beauty, even after everything he'd just done, and seen. He had been prepared for this, mentally, physically, the death, the lost loved ones, he had expected it, and was surprised that they'd lost as few as they had.

 

But he felt guilty about being at peace, while everyone else was heartbroken. True, he felt the loss deeply, of each one of them, especially of Loren, though he was technically MIA. But what could have been done about it? He had told the others that most of them would probably die in the end, but he knew it hadn't sunk in, they were young, all of them, even him, and perhaps none of them had witnessed death like this before, though he had, twice.

 

He closed his eyes for a moment, pulling himself back to reality. There was work to do, and two arms or not, he had a job, and this was the most important time to be doing it.

 

He sat up again, pulling his legs underneath him so he could reach up with one hand and place it gently on Noe's cheek, the bird equivalent at least. "I was dead, I think, for a moment. I was at a feast... I don't know where, but you were there, but older, and your father, and Master Wu, and... my parents... But you said I couldn't stay... and threw me out, telling me to stop breaking your heart and wake-up... Then I found myself back here."

 

Kai leaned forward and wrapped his arm around Noe's shoulder, pulling himself shakily to his feet before he found his balance again. He found his balance and widened his legs, allowing himself to brace Noe a little, he could tell she was tired. "Come on, others need help, we need to take care of our wounded, bury the dead, and rescue the missing." Kai kissed Noe's feathery cheek, "I will have the luxury to cry later my love, right now I'm needed, go back to camp and find yourself another set of clothes, then, if you feel up to it, you can help most by calming this storm, it will brighten everyone's spirits... and if not... it will make our job easier."

 

Kai spoke softly and gently but his words seemed a bit cold, he couldn't allow himself to feel the pain of what had happened, not yet, not until he was alone, and the others were taken care of. That was the duty of a leader, that... and taking responsibility for the deaths of those he lead and giving them a proper burial.

 

He took his arm back to his side, and waited for Noe to respond. He wouldn't leave her until he knew she was alright and ready to act again. The last thing they could let happen is allow this to cripple them. Sorrow was one thing, and love was another, but right now both could be used for the better or the worse by the ones feeling them the most...

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When Eirikr sat up he almost passed out again from the pain. He felt like he had been tenderized for a barbeque. Then he remembered he literally had been pounded by quite a few hammers. Every muscle in his body was wound tight and burned as he tested for broken bones. Luckily his bones were all in one piece.

 

After he put his pick back together Eirikr stood up, using the pick as a crutch. As he wandered through the carnage he stumbled on bodies, but mostly from his legs. He saw a soldier hurl a girl from her hiding place.

 

"Murderer," growled Eirikr as he slung a sword into the soldiers back. The soldier collapsed as Eirikr turned his attention to the girl. She was dead, that much was obvious. He collapsed to his knees next to her. Eirikr began to rummage through her pockets hoping for some way to identify her. After finding nothing he decided to get her back to camp. She was bleeding from her wounds but Eirikr cared not about getting his cloths dirty, they were filthy as they were. He picked her up so it looked like he was helping her walk back to camp then continued on. He called to the only people he knew the names of.

 

"Kai, Aketsu, Noe, Yuaki," he cried as he entered the trees near camp. His cargo was getting heavy and wearing him down. "Help me here. I found her after a soldier killed her. The murdering rat is dead. Do you know her?"

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((edited on Jahanshah))

 

~Aketsu~

 

They surrendered, but they died. Surrendered to Eirikr, but he crushed them. The King of the Forest died, the King of the Skies died. Some young wife had just had a baby boy and couldn't wait for her husband to come back so they could name him together, but the husband was dead. Some beautiful, innocent, happy young woman was braiding her friend's hair and talking in excitement about how her man was due to return home in four days and they'd get married... but she was wrong. He too was dead. A little girl skipped and sang about her older brother who took care of her since they were orphans, but unbeknownst to her she was now alone and he was gone forever. Some mother was praying to who-knows-what that her only son, the one that took care of her since she was widowed many years ago, would return home so she could kiss his cheek again. But her hopes were in vain. He was one of the thousands of dead Shadow Soldiers lying unidentified among the masses. They all were. Aketsu trudged through the carnage, staring at nothing at all and stepping wherever his feet placed themselves--be it in a body or on a head, he didn't notice.

 

Z'fan screamed something. Or maybe it was Noe, or maybe both of them, or maybe Ayame from his grave. Aketsu stopped and stood where he was, and it took him several seconds to realize why he had stopped. He blinked and looked down and found himself in front of one of the dead Shadow Elementians. He vaguely wondered how this one had died, then saw the broken neck among the splat; this was the one Loren had knocked from its Shadow Creature. Oh yeah, Loren was missing. That was a problem, Aketsu knew, but he wasn't sure why or what to do about it. As a leader he had to do something, and he intended to do just that. Whatever that was. He knelt down next to the body and began to unstrap the chest armor. It was nice armor, and he decided it would fit some member of his team well. He looked up, trying to remember where he had been going. Neiro was carrying Leith in the distance, and Aketsu vaguely wondered why Leith wasn't walking.

 

The sword was nice, too; Aketsu took the shimmering black blade from the Shadow Elementian's side and put it in the holster of his own sword which he had somehow lost during the battle. He then dropped the armor, wondering why he had picked it up in the first place. Then he trudged through the sludge in the direction of Neiro; he was going to ask Neiro a question, though he couldn't quite remember what the question was. Oh well, something told him he'd remember when he got there. It took him a minute to get out of the main bodies to where he could move faster towards camp. He didn't hear Isa call him and didn't notice that Noe's cry wasn't human. He was near to camp when suddenly the sound of his name brought him out of his state of mindlessness.

 

"Kai, Aketsu, Noe, Yuaki," the voice cried. Aketsu blinked as the names registered faces, and he finally looked up to see Eirikr. His eyes widened in horror as he saw who Eirikr was carrying. "Help me here. I found her after a soldier killed her. The murdering rat is dead. Do you know her?" Aketsu limped over--a leg injury? How'd I get that?--quickly and took Zepheena's body from Eirikr. Oh, she had been murdered; whoever killed her hadn't just stuck a sword through her but had beaten her like she was some sort of toy. Her face... she had suffered in pain while dying and probably hadn't fought back. Why? Isis... Aketsu looked to the skies. "Why her?" His throat was dry and his voice cracked. "He'll never forgive me. By the shadows, look at all the blood..." he stared at Zepheena's gouged and wounded midsection for a moment before setting her down. Then he turned to Eirikr and stared a moment. His fists hardened. Without hesitation he sent a left-handed punch flying at Eirikr's chest. His original intent was Eirikr's face, but at the last moment some sort of sanity had caught him and changed his fist's direction. The punch was weak, however, and had no real spirit behind it.

 

~If he hits, it's not likely to do more than surprise Eirikr. He'd let his fist sink back to his side and walk away if Eirikr didn't react.

 

~If Eirikr somehow stops him, he doesn't seem to resist or react much at all.

 

~~~~~~~

~Yuaki~

 

Yuaki arrived back too late--black vortexes, screams, the death of Battlemate... and right before she reached them, Leith was stabbed with a sword and was dying. She did what she could to clear out the enemies, but already so many of her friends had died or were injured... and she didn't know where the other half were. Except for Z'fan and Isa. She noticed that Isa looked very upset and she heard her call Aketsu's name. Immediately she sensed her friend's need for comfort and she approached. Unlike the others, Yuaki had control of her emotions and wasn't even close to choking up and crying. She wasn't paying attention to the stink and crawling feeling of death or the blood that covered her legs (from her enemies--she was almost untouched). But she looked very solemn as she rode her horse up behind Isa. The horse was breathing hard and trying to find solid ground among the bodies of enemies.

 

Yuaki dismounted ten feet behind Isa and stepped carefully over to her friend. She said not a word; what more was there to say? The entire land spoke for itself. Yuaki could imagine the trees crying out, and for a moment she had a sickened feeling that something happened to Isis or Zepheena. But she put that aside; what was done was done. She put her arms around Isa in a hug, swallowing. Z'fan's crying was absolutely miserable and Yuaki knew enough history to know just who they had lost. To think--two of the three Beasts were lost! And this was in a single battle, although a large one, against no other Beasts. Yuaki was certain Queen Zillah must have had some Beastmen of her own. And now Loren was gone too, captured but not dead; Yuaki knew the Shadow Alliance would not risk losing him when he could be tortured/interrogated for information. And knowing Loren, she decided he was weak and pacifistic enough to give information. Yet this didn't bother her at all, and if Isa accepted it she hugged her friend tight.

 

~~~~~~

 

~Jahanshah~

Jahanshah took a deep breath, his eyes wide at the scene. He realized his group probably looked a bit funny, but he was too busy staring at the Weather Machine to think much of it. The Machine was huge, much larger than he had thought although he should have known better. Still, it was nothing Betzalel couldn't handle. He turned to his group. As he spoke, he was careful to use his 'child' voice, the voice he had automatically used before bonding with Daedureth. "While we're here, perhaps we should use different names." Yes, 'Jahanshah' was a fairly distinct name and anyone who studied royalty of the Shadow Alliance would know of him. Jahanshah was also aware that Marcus had a bit of a history, and although his name was more common it might ring some bells that shouldn't be rung.

 

Jahanshah began to walk forward, waiting for the replies of his group. He was already lost in his own world as he thought of a name for himself. Jahn? John? No, he didn't like the name John, and Jahn was too similar. A child had once called him Jaenha, but it was far too feminine. Maybe something completely different, like-- Jahanshah was surprised when a strong arm suddenly pulled him back. At first he thought it was Betzalel's grip, but a strangely familiar voice (far different from Betzalel's) whispered in his ear.

 

“It’s been a while, Jahan.” Jahanshah spun around, eyes wide, unsure of who in the world would speak to him in such a way--especially using his informal name (though 'twas the name he preferred). An enemy? No... recognition dawned in Jahan's eyes and he held up a hand to keep his group from taking any offensive action. Especially in a crowded city, that would be a bad idea. Yes, he recognized this person! But he couldn't quite put a name with it. His wide brown eyes searched the stranger's blue eyes. There was no hostility, only amusement.

 

"You sure want to escape formalities, kid? I hope I won't have to introduce myself again." Then the stranger gave himself away; he did what he had done so many times before when Jahanshah had first met him. He brought his arms up to rest behind his head and wore a rather smug look. Jahanshah's eyes brightened in pleasant shock and a smile quickly turned to a grin on his face. "Aoi!" Jahanshah rushed over and slammed himself into Aoi (in the form of a hug) hard enough he hoped to take the breath from the other man, but he quickly retreated as with a grin plastered to his face.

 

"I... can hardly believe you're here!" He quickly hid his excitement, as it wasn't a very 'lord-like' thing to display. But still! Aoi was the most fun person Jahanshah had ever known, and it had been oh-so long since he had seen him. Aoi had changed and grown a lot, Jahan noted; his voice was deeper, his hair was longer, his face was more square, a new confidence shone in his eyes and of course he was a lot taller. On the edge of his mind Jahanshah suddenly hoped he looked a lot stronger too, because he had a lot of respect for Aoi. No one else had treated Jahanshah like an actual friend that he could remember; he was either 'lord' or 'a child'. Now, three years since the last time Jahan had seen Aoi--he had been eleven then and Aoi had been fifteen, and still they had been friends--their paths crossed again. He was pleasantly surprised that Aoi had recognized him even without his metal skin.

 

"What brings you this way?" He was eager to know, for deep inside he hoped Aoi could help them; at least he'd even out Renzo personality-wise.

 

Edited by LadyNatasha

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Renzo

 

Renzo took in Celeste's disgusted expression for a moment before he turned to look at the rest of the camp. It appeared that the others had left, leaving him with the decision to either ride with them or sit his first battle out. Of course, he never would have opted for the latter of the two. Aamina's horse still remained, and he quickly took advantage of that opportunity. With an acrobatic leap he landed on top of the horse and turned in the direction the others had gone. This was going to be beyond fun.

 

He galloped the horse through the forest, gauging the trail ahead of him by the length between the hoofprints he glimpsed on the ground. Tracking had become a bit of a game for him when he was younger, and horses were one of the easiest things for him to follow. Their hoofprints were like beautiful signs pointing exactly where a person was headed. He smiled at the thought of some of his more...entertaining hunts. He could hear the sounds of a battle dying away in the distance and his smile faded to a scowl. Oh boo. He had to miss out on all of that fun. Oh well. What he would be doing would be sure to cause much, much more chaos.

 

He caught up with the group just as Jahanshah was mentioning something about changing names. Renzo was about to protest but instead chose to dismount his horse. Using his real name in a place like this was sure to get him captured again. He glanced down at his wrist and remembered that the cuff and chain were still dangling in plain sight. With a quick movement he hid the evidence of his imprisonment inside his sleeve, tucked away behind a layer of fabric. He watched as Jahanshah was greeted by a newcomer, but other than that things seemed rather boring. The Weather Machine was beckoning him, but as he had mentioned before, lightning must first build in the clouds.

 

 

Luna

 

Luna's eyes slowly blinked open. It wasn't as sunny as it had been before. The foliage shielded much of the sky from her view as she tried to remember where she was. Her body felt numb in her waking moments, a blissful moment of piece until she was wracked by the sudden pain that had lay dormant in her unconsciousness. Luna's eyes closed again as she took in deep breaths. The tears began to sting in her eyes. She didn't want to look at her shoulder or her ankle, but she knew if she opened her eyes again she wouldn't be able to resist. She clutched her cane, her knuckles turning white with her tight grip.

 

Where am I? was her first thought. She recollected the battle, the machines and the flight through the air, but everything beyond that was a garbled mess of images, sound, and adrenaline.

 

What am I going to do? was her second thought. With no idea as to her location, Luna's sense of direction was completely lost. She couldn't tell where anyone was because they were either mixed with hundreds of others' thoughts or they were simply out of range. Without any familiar mind as a guide, there was no way that she was going to find a way out of this forest. With a broken ankle she believed it wasn't likely that she was going to get out on her own anyway. Well, not without a lot of limping.

 

Help me! was her third thought. She sent it as a universal message to anyone that her mind could reach. She practically screamed it in her head with the hope that someone nice would come along and find her. Then she lowered her head, opened her eyes, and stared at her trembling hands as they continued to cling to her cane. She felt horrible, pathetic, and weak. This was exactly the person her father despised. She wasn't strong enough to take care of herself. How awful was that? She was completely ashamed of her desolate state, and her achievements against the machines seemed like mere blinks compared to what had happened, but she knew for a fact that she could not have done anything better. She just couldn't believe that she had been broken so easily. She was a Space Elementian, not some stupid foot soldier with a stick in her hand. Yet she couldn't help but think the way she used to hear her father think all the time. The rage and disappointment coursed through her as she waited...waited...waited.

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~Loren~

 

How long had been out? Minutes? Hours? Days? Time was a blur for Loren, sounds were a whisper, light and color were grey. He felt incredibly weak, he couldn't even lift his hand or get more then a breeze of air. From what he could see from his goggles, the grass was moving pass him. He saw the left part of an animal... a horse? He was on a horse? When did he get on a horse? "Cumulus is within sight, hang on kid." Words poured into his ear, yet they were as blurred as the world around him. He didn't know how long it took, but eventually he managed to get a blurred glimpse of another person on the ground. He saw that person was not alone, even in his state he could tell they were staring at him. His eyes closed once more, as the still world of darkness consumed his conscious once more.

 

~Creos~

 

From the time he left the Inn until now, he was in the market square. It was around this time every day he had an early, light lunch. The place he had lunch at was also a great spot to listen to gossip and rumors. Most were just from the elderly folk, more often then enough about their younger neighbors. But once in a blue moon, he got word of something that would later turn out to be valuable to the shadow alliance. As he was about to dig into his lunch, he saw two horses come in from the north entrance. On top of them were two men, one which Creos knew well. It was none other then Marshal Ulyanovsk, the commander of the entire army. He was more often then not busy with preparations for when all hell broke loose, so why was he here in Cumulus? Shortly behind him was a member of 'his' elite soldiers, Laurence. But on the horse was somebody he did not recongize... a slightly burnt boy, around fifteen, with hair as white as snow. "A wind elementian..." He mentally gasped as he saw the horses stop. Laurance got off and placed the boy's body over his shoulder. They went down the street and entered into a small hospital. Creos knew that the commander wouldn't do something unless he thought it would be well-worth it. Creos ate his food with vigorous speed as he got up and ran towards the building they entered.

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Eirikr barely caught Aketsu's fist as it flew at him. He forced it down to the Aketsu's side.

 

"Clear your mind. Don't descend into the hazy trance of post-battle," said Eirikr putting his hand on Aketsu's shoulder. "We need you alert. Especially now, with Kai wounded."

 

He stopped to pull the shadow elementian blade out of Aketsu's sheath. "Be careful. Try not to loot too much. It can often be the sign of a broken man."

 

Then he walked away. He found a rock and sat on it, just as his legs buckled. He had something to say, but he needed everyone together first. He looked around and saw one of the twins who had confronted Noe when he had first arrived. The boy was kneeling next to the body of another person. He painfully got up and hobbled over.

 

"What was his name," asked Eirikr as he sat down on the ground.

Edited by Nasa13

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"I... can hardly believe you're here!"

 

Aoi laughed when Jahan crashed into him. He was stronger, and almost bowled him over. Aoi stepped back to stable himself and almost bumped into an elderly lady who was crossing the road. "Whoops, sorry, lady." Aoi apologized, then turned, ignoring the grandma's comments. "Look what you made me do, kid," he teased, carefully choosing not to say his real name out loud. Aoi was slightly amazed that Jahan wasn't wearing his metal armour, which almost made him not able to recognize him. Then Aoi mentally slapped himself. Stupid. Like he'd be inconspicuous with the thin metal covering him that practically told them he was their enemy. The boy hadn't changed; he was as eager as he was three years ago, just older. He sure didn't look like he was any older than he was three years ago; he still had that young face and short stature.

 

"What brings you this way?" Aoi could hear the curiosity in his tone, and amusingly smiled to himself, slightly contented that he would care. Aoi knew it was a great benefit to have the young lord's respect, and he was indeed sure that he was able to maintain it. Sure, it wasn't uncommon for him to be wandering around, for he was a traveller. Jahan wouldn't know that he was affiliated with the Shadow Alliance, although he himself was most likely a big part of it. "Why do you think I'm here?" He replied with his usual indirection.

 

Not letting Jahan reply, he pulled him closer with a sudden gesture and whispered into his ear, "Let's just say... I have the same business as do you. I was to find you and accompany you, from..." He paused, not sure what to call them, "Them. No complaints, I hope?" He smirked, a demeanor that he often had. Others could mistake it for scorn, but Jahan would know: it was pretty much another reflex for him.

 

He glanced forward and changed the subject subtly. "You've got a bit of a crowd here going on, kid. Now... who are the rest of you people?" He commented, then pulled back his long, orange hair to tie it back in a loose ponytail as he let his eyes run over the backs of his friend's companions. A man on a horse... A couple, it seemed. Another with a horse. One with a familiar back. Aoi narrowed his eyes. Could it be...

 

"You'd have to introduce me, then?" He turned back to Jahan, his expression switching to one of pure interest. "After all, we'll be spending some time together... and you'll have to trust me, don't you think?"

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~Jahanshah~

 

"Why do you think I'm here?" Jahanshah realized his question was probably rhetorical; Aoi was there because he was a traveler, and travelers got around. Jahan didn't know much about Aoi's history, but he didn't really care. Aoi certainly wasn't a criminal like Renzo. But still, the question got him thinking. Aoi's eyes held more than just the eyes of a mere traveler.

 

"Let's just say... I have the same business as do you. I was to find you and accompany you, from... Them. No complaints, I hope?" Understanding dawned on Jahan's face, although surprise surely showed along with it. Last he had known, Aoi hadn't been with either Alliance. But now, if Jahan wasn't mistaken, Aoi had joined the Shadow Alliance and was sent to do work in Cumulus. To do the same work Jahan's group was doing! It seemed to good to be true and Jahan grinned as Aoi smirked.

 

When Aoi mentioned the crowd, Jahan felt compelled to look back at his group with something close to pride. He knew that all of them were very capable and talented, and already he had forgotten the morning's little scuffle about Renzo. But introducing the group in public would be dangerous, and Jahan decided official introductions would have to wait until they had their Inn-rooms checked out from the Summer-Sky Inn.

 

"You'd have to introduce me, then?" Jahan turned his expression back to Aoi, all too happy to introduce his friend. "After all, we'll be spending some time together... and you'll have to trust me, don't you think?" "What's not to trust," Jahan said immediately. He almost regretted the rashness in his voice, but he saw nothing but honesty on Aoi's face and Daedureth wasn't acting up. Jahan suddenly remembered that he wasn't allowing Daedureth to act up due to their incognito status, but oh well. He was certain the sword wouldn't have sensed any lies on Aoi's breath anyways. "But yes, introductions." He turned to his group; the smile from his face was gone, replaced by his normal monotonous look of mild disinterest and curiosity both at once. He almost addressed Betzalel by name but instead mostly faced Betzalel, for he thought Betzalel would most care about and be able to judge who Aoi really was. As he spoke his eyes flashed to Aamina once, as he was curious as to what she thought of this.

 

"This is Aoi Palin," he said quietly. "I met Aoi... three years ago, I believe, when he was traveling the area near Metallum and I was traveling with my mother to see the palace of Whisper for the second time. While my mother was busy arranging events I learned a thing or two about traveling from Aoi." In turn Jahan had tried to teach Aoi some things about being royal, but he had only been eleven and hadn't been very good at explaining things. Though he'd never admit it, he had been terribly bored with his mother hovering over him and repeatedly telling him how grand Whisper was, so he had spent as much time as possible in Aoi's presence. As an eleven-year-old 'Legend' Jahanshah had been awed that Aoi hadn't treated him like some sort of deity, and this had prompted him to spend even more time with Aoi.

 

Now Jahan turned his attention to Aoi once more. "I'll introduce them all to you once we have our rooms in the Summer-Sky Inn. Some of them are best not introduced in public." Jahan's eyes swiveled towards Renzo automatically and he realized that Aoi probably would soon recognize Renzo and need an explanation. But for now, the Inn awaited. Jahan resumed his leadership role and began walking. "We best not stand in the way of the gate. This way." He had studied the maps of Cumulus carefully so he would have the way to the Inn memorized. He still had the layout and escape routes of the palace drawn in the metal on his stomach, and he mentally ran a finger over them. It was time to get to work.

 

~~~~~

 

((@Blue: Tell me if I need to slow down so Luna can react more))

~Aketsu~

 

"Clear your mind. Don't descend into the hazy trance of post-battle." Aketsu gritted his teeth. Yes, Eirikr was one to speak of clearing the mind. Fool. You have no idea. "We need you alert. Especially now, with Kai wounded." A familiar sound made Aketsu alert--the sound of a sword being drawn from its sheath. It took him a moment to realize the sword was coming from his sheath. "Be careful. Try not to loot too much. It can often be the sign of a broken man." Aketsu blinked and let his eyes follow Eirikr. A moment later, his feet did too. Kai... yes, Kai was wounded, and he could possibly be in his own state of haze. Aketsu felt almost ashamed he had allowed himself to phase out, but he didn't feel gratitude towards Eirikr. He half-limped after Eirikr, but was halted in his thoughts as suddenly he noticed Neiro leaning over Leith's body. His shoulders slumped at the sight. Leith was dead.

 

"What was his name?" It was Eirikr who asked the question, and Aketsu's look hardened. "Leith. He is Neiro's twin. They grew up together and learned their elements together, did everything together." A mental cry suddenly caught Aketsu's attention, and he turned to look behind him as though expecting someone to be there. Luna! He had left her by herself! Forgetting the pain in his legs, Aketsu once again used the wind to run in her direction. The pain and sorrow in her voice echoed through his head until he finally saw her. He was slightly aware that he was starving and his arms were trembling as he stopped. He realized he wouldn't have the strength to carry her, so instead he limped over and sank to his knees in front of her. He smiled at her, his eyes sincere and grateful.

 

"You did it, Luna. You destroyed the machines. Ayame would be so proud right now. Hold still." He reached over to her ankle and felt it as gently as possible. Then he met her eyes. He wasn't the greatest medic in the world, but he did know a thing or two about setting broken bones and sprained ankles. Hers was definitely broken, and her shoulder looked rather beat up as well. Aketsu tightened his jaw, anticipating her pain. His grip around her ankle tightened for just a moment before suddenly he turned it back in the direction it was supposed to be. If she felt the need he let her scream, claw him, cry, or whatever she needed--he knew it probably hurt more than anything she had ever felt. But it needed to be done; the sooner the ankle healed in the right position, the less it would trouble her in the future.

 

Aketsu then sat back and leaned against the tree behind him, closing his eyes. No. I need to find the others, need to know everyone is accounted for. Isa came first to his mind, but his arms and legs were still weak from lack of adrenaline and all the wind work he had done. He opened his eyes and looked at Luna. Maybe she could find the others... but she was too tired, he was certain of that. So he offered her a smile, hoping somehow Kai could compensate for his own current lack of body energy. He thought of Loren, Loren who was now gone (he had purposely not mentioned him to Luna). Loren would be able to use the wind to sense the others. Aketsu knew for a fact that the wind treated Loren like its own kin. Not that wind had any mind of its own, in reality, but he had sensed its gentle power it gave to Loren. Perhaps now it would protect him.

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Isis held out for as long as he could, but his energy was just being rapidly sucked from him. The trees slowed as his body began shaking. Then, the voices in his head stopped, and he collapsed in a heap, breathing raggedly. He opened his eyes and saw the battle was over. He blinked tears away as he saw the carnage their group had caused. Bodies of hundreds lay strewn across the once peaceful area. He crawled down the gentle slope and saw the survivors, no... The warriors standing in a group. He pulled himself off the ground and stumbled towards them. A quick glance showed him that Zepheena wasn't anywhere he could see, but at least that meant she wasn't one of the many bodies he saw laying sprawled around. He took a deep breath to stop his shivering and walked towards Aketsu.

 

"Aketsu, do you know where Zepheena is? I assume she's off healing someone, but she must be worried about me. I need to find her and tell her that I'm alri-" He halted in his steps as he saw a small body laid on the ground, which had been just out of his sight a moment ago. His whole being shook as he recognized the blond hair which had been partially dyed red by her scarlet blood. He dropped to his knees and sobbed into his hand, not bothering to ask what had happened. He knew enough. His beloved Zepheena was dead. He pulled himself over to her and cradled her battered body close to his own, rocking her back and forth, as if he were cradling her to sleep. Oh, but if he could wake her... But her eyes were shut forever.

 

He closed his own eyes and let his tears flow, wishing he had held her one more time, wishing he could have told her that he loved her one more time. He gasped for breath and shuddered as he wept harder, lamenting over the loss of a beautiful, shining life that had been snuffed before it's time was truly over. They had grown so close, their friendship so strong that he had counted her as a sister. Maybe even more than a sister. He kissed her face and tasted the blood that lingered near her mouth. He realized that her death was not swift, but she had been made to suffer then slowly loose a grasp on life until she had slipped away. He blamed himself. Why had he not let Zepheena stay with him? She would have been safe... She would have been alive. But he had not listened to her pleas, instead he had swiftly decided that he was in the right. He remembered the frightened look on Zepheena's face when they parted for the last time, and he felt another pang of guilt stab his heart. Had she known? Did she know that was the last time they would speak?

 

He took her hand and lifted it to his face, praying that she could be given another chance. But he felt something in her hand and pulled it out of her stiff grasp. It was a single blade of grass. He stared dumbly at it for a moment, not understanding the meaning of this hidden message. But slowly he realized, and he curled his fingers around the plant. It was insignificant to others, but to him, it was a treasure. "Zepheena... You meant everything to me. You were my life... I'll miss you, but I won't let your death be in vain." he whispered in her ear. Her face was wet from his tears and the blood by her mouth was smudged, but he could tell that she had been at peace when she had left. He again pulled her close and for a brief moment, he thought he felt her arms embracing him back. The next moment, the feeling was gone. He clung to her as if she would crumble if he released her. He wanted to spend these last moments with her, before they moved on.

Edited by Silver_Voices

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((It's okay. I can keep up.))

 

Luna

 

It wasn't long before Luna could sense the familiar mind of Aketsu. She breathed a sigh of relief. At least her plea hadn't reached one of the enemy soldiers. Well, if it did they probably hadn't taken any notice. It wasn't like they knew that hearing voices in your head meant that a Space Elementian was around. Only the few that Luna had ever telepathically talked to even knew what her voice meant. Thank goodness for that. Her hands were still gripping her cane when Aketsu arrived, the blade still drawn against enemies. Her finger swiped across the switch that sheathed the blade; there were no threats about them now, and she didn't believe that she had the will to fight anymore today.

 

Luna had to admit that she found comfort in Aketsu's words. She closed her eyes as she listened to his praise, forcing the negative ghost of her father's thoughts out of her head. It was all a game of the mind, a sick battlefield where the old days sought to gain control of her emotions, but they weren't winning now. Funny how a few simple words could change the tide so quickly. Her father's voice was replaced with Aketsu's and everything felt like it was going to be okay. She hadn't realized that Aketsu was starting to set her ankle.

 

Her first instinct was to start screaming but she bit her lip and restrained her voice instead. She could feel the hot sting of tears in her eyes as the pain coursed through her leg. She couldn't remember if it had hurt that much when she had initially broken it, but this was nearly unbearable. She wondered if she could use her power to knock herself out, but it seemed pointless for just a few moments of respite. Instead she let a few tears fall with only a single yelp as the joint finally settled. Her hands still trembled as they gripped her cane.

 

"Th-thank you," she managed to squeak as she tried to slow her pulse to a normal level. She let go of her cane to wipe the tears from her eyes. Once they were cleared, she took in Aketsu's appearance. He looked like a complete wreck! She felt terribly selfish for having him come out so far to find her. There was no way that they were going to get back any time soon if she couldn't walk, let alone stand up. Suddenly she remembered the others. Why was Aketsu here when she certainly was not the only one injured? She remembered Loren and Zepheena and Isis and the many others that had taken to the battlefield with her. What had become of them? There was only one way to find out. Luna opened her mind to Aketsu, digging through his thoughts to see if she could scrounge any information out of him. The only thing that she got was a reluctance to mention Loren.

 

"W-what happened? Where are the others?" she finally asked. Before she even finished her second question it hit her: death. She had felt more than a few lights go out during the haze in the battle, but with all the frenzy she hadn't had the focus to understand who was gone and who was still alive. Now that her mind was a little more clear she was beginning to recognize the lights that had disappeared. She fixed Aketsu with a worried look. What were they going to do now?

Edited by BlueApollo

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~Aketsu~

 

Aketsu took several deep breaths as he leaned against the tree behind him. When Luna thanked him he gave a small nod in response. He didn't feel much like talking. Just another minute of rest, and I'll go find them, he decided. "W-what happened? Where are the others?"

 

Aketsu's thoughts immediately returned to the battle scene and he looked Luna in the eye only for a moment before looking down at his own hands. He could already tell that she knew, either by the memories he sent flooding her way or by some other force, but he felt like telling someone. "Zepheena's dead. Leith's dead. Loren... he's been captured. You and Kai for certain are injured, although I don't know the details of Kai's injury. But we won; no more than a dozen escaped. Loren was taken on one of the Shadow Creatures that could fly. I don't know where Noe, Isa, Yuaki or Tractus are." A flash of pain crossed his face when he thought of Isis. As he had left the clearing to find Luna, Isis had entered. He wish he could have explained things, but he hadn't known if Luna was alright or not.

 

Then a darkness flashed across his face. It was about Eirikr, but he didn't elaborate to Luna. He would speak with Kai about it later, if Kai was able. His mind clear, he remembered the cry he had heard on the battlefield. "Z'fan was mourning... I think something happened to Battlemate." He sighed and looked at his sword sheath, still unsure how he had lost his original sword in the first place. Not that it was anything special, but still. Then he looked at Luna and decided to summarize. His face was fairly expressionless as he spoke. "So we lost four, have at least two that are badly injured, and have only one of the Beastfolk left. But we won, and their deaths were not in vain. That army... it had to be at least a fourth of Queen Zillah's army."

 

He was about to speak more when a gentle thudding-walk suddenly caught his attention and made him turn to look to his left, Luna's right. He was very surprised to see one of the supply horses walking slowly towards him, ears forward as though wondering if it was safe to do so. He remembered that Z'fan had 'told' the horses with the supplies to stay away from the chaos. This particular horse had food and water and warm clothing, but still had room for a rider. Aketsu wondered if Z'fan had told the horses to return when the noise was over. The horse stopped about five feet back, eyes wide and alert as though it was ready to run any moment. Aketsu slowly climbed to his feet and approached it, speaking softly. The horse allowed him to take its bridle although it flinched. Breathing a sigh of relief, Aketsu led the horse over to where Luna was. "Let's get you back to camp," he said. He held out a hand for her to take so he could help her onto the horse.

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Noe closed her eyes momentarily, enjoying the feel of the rain on her wings and the soothing beat of Kai’s heart. She could hear that and the sound of air expanding his lungs as he breathed slowly. When she opened her eyes, it was because she could hear a shift in his stance. The thing that surprised her, was the determined look in his eyes about something and what it was, she didn’t know. However, it gave her strength to listen to him as he explained something about a feast with his master and his family. It was strange, but she wondered if that was the after-life trying to tell him that it was time to stay here and live to keep all of them together and bound together under leadership.

 

A quiet chirp of curiousity and alarm came from her as Kai started to stand up. He had to be careful or else he would harm himself even more. She wanted to argue that he stay there, but she knew that he was an Earth Elementian and unmovable if they had their mind set on something. When he lifted his weight from her, she promptly placed her beak around his wrist and gently moved it back to where he would be able to rest on her. The agility in her neck surprised her, but at least it showed that she was strong enough to hold him for the moment.

 

He mentioned something about finding another change of clothes and she shook her head firmly in a negative manner. “I will calm the storm, but I can walk with you. If I were to be in my human form, I would be exhausted.” She said knowing that this body was stronger than the other and she could help more in this way.

 

Nerio started to clean the blood from his brothers armor and body with his abilities to make sure that his brother was buried in a proper way as a noble. The decorative weapon on his brothers hip, a jeweled whip, was cleaned as well until there wasn’t a single spot of dirt or blood left. He didn’t hear the footsteps behind him when someone walked up so he jumped slightly when Eirikr asked a question. It took Nerio a moment to figure out what the question was as he hid his tears in the rain. “Leith. Leith Oran. We…together, we were to inherit our family’s land in Triton. Just like Aketsu said.” He smirked. They had wanted to help out the water life more than their city had and one day rule Triton together to bring it underneath a more philanthropic government. It was a foolish idea, but an idea none-the-less.

 

Isa looked and when she heard Eirikr call out to Aketsu, she was able to spot them and the deceased body of the young and innocent Zepheena. She started to tear up but instead tried to flash to where they were. It took longer than she had expected to only get halfway which frightened her, but she was able to see Aketsu try and hit Eirikr. It made her frown, but she understood. To hit at something to destroy something to get your frustration and anger out would help. But he couldn’t accord to do that especially since he was one of their leaders.

 

Her mind felt pressured for a moment then she realized what was going on. It was Luna! She hadn’t seen her at all during the battle once she jumped down onto the machine. Where was the girl? She attempted to try and call her mentally, but couldn’t since her thoughts were so crazed and insane from the battle. She wished that Aketsu had some sort of mental ability so that she could see if he was alright, but decided to leave him be to let him help Luna.

 

With that figured out, she walked over to where she could see everyone and noticed Isis near her. A saddened look overcame her as she watched him bent over his best friend. He would need time and they would need to leave him be until they were able to gather again. To see a fellow Light Elementian though…her mind whirled with the traditions of the Light Elementians that they used when death happened in battle. It took her a moment to decided and moved over to Isis then placed her hand on Zepheena. It was a technique that could happen if the situation was right and only death had occurred. Otherwise, it seemed that the element itself understood the situation and wouldn’t activate. With a deep breath, Isa slowly started to hum, and a glow appeared around Zepheena.

 

Light divine of gods and men

Come with us to see again.

Let our hearts rise above

The torture of death and love.

Heal the hurt and strife

Of a beautiful ended life.

 

Light divine, of gods and men,

Come with us to see again

The life that was lost

And the endless cost.

 

When her whispered song ended, it seemed as though everything that had happened between isis and Zepheen popped up into a hologram. She ahd no idea how this worked or why, she only knew that the Light masters of old were able to do it only when one of their comrades had passed. Most of the time, the Light stayed strong and hers was, but it was staying strong without her even controlling it. It was an anomaly so she was able to walk away after laying a comforting hand on Isis’ shoulder. She would do the same for leith, and did and watched as Nerio smiled at the hologram as tears coursed down his cheeks.

 

With that done, Isa stopped moving and just stared. Her body was tired, her mind and emotions were spent. She had caused the death of so many fathers, brothers, uncles, nephews…what had she done? She was a murderer now and all would see her as she saw herself. The death, the blood. As she looked at the face of a soldier she felt her body slowly start to sink down to the ground where she sat slightly dazed before she realized that she had been lacerated several times causing blood to slowly leak from her body. She didn’t much care, just knew that she had to sit down. One of them, was a stab between her ribs by one of the more experienced soldiers, but it didn’t pierce anything, just hurt like the dickens.

 

Z’fan raised her body from the ground with the help of grass because she was very tired. It would take the sun to replenish her. With her body slowly but surely rising to a sitting position, she looked around and realized that she had been selfish. There were more than just her beloved dead. The little girl, Zepheena was dead. Loren was missing, the one that Ayame spoke over. Leith, the strong but quiet one. Her beloved. They were dead, although Loren she wasn’t so sure about. She could still feel his presence in the earth more than she could feel her own presence at the moment.

 

Her legs slowly shrunk back into easily manageable octopus legs that made her look as though she were still in the ocean, flowing from one place to the next. When she stopped, it was with the horses who nickered at her warmly. “We must make camp for a small amount of time.” She stated to them and they willingly followed her to a place away from the battle where she would start to set up camp. The smell of the blood and filth dissipated once she stepped outside of the valley. For a moment, she was glad that her speed as a beast person allowed her to make the horses gallop to keep up with her, but then it meant that she would have to be speedy in setting up at least two tents for the injured.

 

The place that she chose, was underneath some shade trees which they would need to keep them from being seen from above. Near them, was a little plains area where they could bury the bodies. Setting up the two tents didn’t take that long, and the other horses had joined her by that time. Once she was sure that everything was taken care of, including a fire, she ran back to where the others were, pushing her body.

 

When Z’fan arrived back at where the others were, she could feel the rain starting to slow and within moments after that, the wind stopped blowing except for a natural breeze and the clouds completely disappeared. In it’s place, was a valley, full of sunshine which not only started to re-charge Z’fan, but also revealed the total devastation of what had happened.

 

Instead of dwelling on the subject, Z’fan, or for those that wish to remember, Viosa Yilan, moved towards those that she could reach easily. Once the hologram of Leith and Nerio had finished, she gently prodded Nerio until he was atop a horse and his brothers body on another horse that was tied to Nerio’s saddle. With a whispered word, she sent them on their way while also handing Eirikr the reigns of one of the calmest horses. “Once you get on, she will go to where I have told her to.”

 

Z’fan sent a horse to where Aketsu and Luna were to make sure that they would be taken care of. It didn’t take long for the horse to arrive there and whinny back to Z’fan as well as snuffle the nose of the horse that aketsu was holding. The horse nodded slightly now that it knew that Z’fan was going to give them wonderful treats.

 

Isa was next in the group, but only after Z’fan had placed Zepheena’s body on a horse that was tied to one with another saddle for Isis. She gave him the same message that she had given Eirikr so that he wouldn’t be confused as to where to go. With everyone except for Kai, Noe and Isa taken care of, she walked to where Isa was and looked down at the girl who was now looking up at her. She had grown in a way that Viosa would never wish on anyone. “You have learned today little one.” She said as Isa passed out for the first time in her life (or second). Z’fan picked her up and placed her on the horse that was actually Isa’s horse and sent the horse to the campsite with strict orders to not let her drop at all.

 

Her steps were starting to slow even if it was just a continues undulating motion. “Younglings…” she stated to Kai and Noe. There was a horse for Kai and one for Noe, but it seemed that Noe was now just as her father had been. Seeing a gryphon made Z’fan start to cry until she moved over to Noe and stroked the feathers atop her head. “You both have done well.” She whispered and looked at Kai’s arm. She placed her hand on his shoulder and watched as various plants grew up to his arm and formed a bandage that would help clean off the soot and charred flesh as well as numb the area.

 

“Come along.” With that, she left a horse for Kai and told the other to go to the camp to guard the area. It was the largest horse, the one that had belonged to Battlemate.

 

Aamina looked at the newcomer with disdain. who was he to think that he could talk to the young Lord whether or not he was friends with him. She kept silent through the whole ordeal and even turned away from them for a moment to watch the crowds. If anyone noticed who they were, they didn't seem to really make a big fuss about it which was nice. She didn't care about knowing this new person's name, but still caught on to it. It was Aoi. She glanced at Marcus who looked tense with all of the people around and some of the started to whisper. With the earth at her beck and call, she heard what they were saying and it was as Marcus had probably feared when they were walking into the town. They were talking about him. "My Lord." Aamina stated as she pushed her way between Aoi and Jahanshah so the boy would look at her. The spiny gem around her neck glowed momentarily until she knew she had his attention. Her dark brown eyes held a warning that they should move faster than they had been. "they have realized whom one of our members is and are gossping about his presence. I suggest we move to protect you as well as our company." She said calmly. for her young age, she showed no emotion, not even worry. Just a calm acceptance of the facts and what was going on.

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Betzalel

 

Betzalel didn't have his full attention to the group, instead he was making mental notes. How many guards Culumus had on active duty on any given day, the probability of getting the gate system jammed, all sort of things that might prove useful. It was only when he heard the metal getting excited did his attention full turned towards him. Another strange person had came up to them, and he seemed to remembered the metal child. He listened into their conversation, apparent the stranger, Aoi, knew the Metal Child when he was an actual child. What struck him was him saying he had the 'same' business as them. He was about to say something when Aamina mentioned that one of their members had his presence discovered. "Damn it... Aamina is right, we can talk later... we need to leave now." Said Betzalel with slight anger in his voice. Not even ten minutes into the city, and the plan was under threat!

 

Creos

 

As he made his way into the building, he saw the Marshal following one of the doctors. He was carrying the wind elementian, the Marshal's bodyguard merely followed behind the both of them. Once all three entered into the empty room, he silently crept up to the door as he began to listen into their conversation. "I'm just surprised he still has a pulse... crashing into the ground after getting hit by lighting tends to be lethal." Said the Marshal, Creos would recongize his voice anywhere. "We'll get a plant elementian to heal the burns and bones, but it doesn't seem likely he'll be conscious for at least another day." Said the doctor, he wasn't asking any questions... It seemed like he was a doctor for undercover shadow alliance members. "Do your best doctor. If he has any information, he's worth saving." Said the Marshal once more before Creos heard footsteps, he bolted away from the door and went into the lobby as both the Marshal and his guard walked from the room. When they got into the lobby, the Marshal nodded towards Creos before the both of them left. After they were gone, he merely waited for a few minutes before leaving. He needed to find the group and tell them about this news.

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Sky stopped her horse when she saw someone come up to them, or more specifically, to Jahanshah. She then listened to their conversation before hearing all that Jahan said about the newcomer, Aoi, and smiled while nodding her head in acknowledgment to him. She then started her horse walking again after the former started to walk and say that they had to get to the inn and no longer block the gate anymore. She also heard what Aamina said about some of the townspeople recognizing who Marc was and that they were talking about him. So that's what he was worried about earlier, she thought to herself as she continued to ride her horse after Jahan. I hope we'll be able to make it to the inn without them recognizing the rest of us.

 

((if Jahan didn't start walking yet after LN had Jahan say "this way", then I'll edit the parts of Sky following after him out))

Edited by Dragonpelt

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