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Trials and Travels (Semi-lit)

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Luna took in Aketsu's information with downcast eyes. So, some of the others had it worse than she did. She hadn't lost anyone important today (at least she hoped she hadn't), but she knew that Isis, Z'fan and Nerio would be more than heartbroken. Hadn't Battle just been talking to her last night about influencing minds? Now she wouldn't know if he had noticed that he had been right. She didn't know how long Loren would be able to hold up against the enemies; his mind had seemed split that morning, and even she couldn't predict what he would choose to do. It was enough to make her worry for their safety, but the immediate danger was small. Only the next few days would show them what he his choice would be.


At least they had won, right? All their efforts, injuries, and death had not been in vain. There was something to be shown for all they had done today. She finally looked up again to see a horse standing beside them. Aketsu held out a hand to help her up onto the horse. She stood up slowly and shakily, keeping her balance by leaning her weight on her cane. All of her injuries were on her right side, so she looked at getting on the horse as a challenge. She took Aketsu's hand and, with a deep breath, swung herself up onto the horse. It took her a moment to adjust, but she found her balance and looked down at Aketsu.


"Thank you," she said again. "Are you sure you'll be able to make it back okay, too?"

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Eirikr let the reigns sit in his hand for a moment. Wincing he pulled himself up onto the horse. When the horse reached the new campsite he got off just as gingerly. Still quiet he walked to the clearing and stood there in the sun. Then Eirikr remembered the shadow blade in his hand. Should I break it or leave it as is? Making a decision he inverted the blade and stuck it blade first into the earth.


"My father once said to me that death was not the end," said Eirikr quietly, speaking his thoughts out not caring who heard. "He said that Death was just another path... One that we all must take."


Eirikr fell quiet then not knowing if he should keeping talking or be his quiet self. He let out a loud sigh before turning away from the sword. He had a feeling Aketsu would want some questions answered. Eirikr decided he would wait and let Aketsu come ask him, hope fully before the bodies were properly interred. He planned to leave directly after the internment was done.

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Kai waited for the others to arrive at the new campsite that the horses had brought them to. He dismounted as quickly and fluidly as he could with only one arm, and stood in the midst of the camp, waiting to speak until most of the others had arrived.


"Alright, everyone, I'm glad to see all of you back, mostly in one piece." He nodded, his voice and stance firm, "I know that you've all suffered a great loss today, each of you, and myself, though mine is not as great in comparison. We will grieve, we will bury our dead, but first each of you is required to take care of your own wounds and the needs of your bodies, and that includes a meal, and sleep. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow."


Kai motioned back towards the direction of the battlefield, "we will clean this place up. Each of our friends, and each of our enemies, will all be buried. Eirikr and I will handle the enemy burials and anyone else that wants to help, tomorrow morning. Each grave must be six arm lengths deep, and two across, and each body must be searched for identification so that a name can be left for each man who died today."


"We do this because we are not murderers, we are soldiers, and we respect our enemies because they, like us, are fighting for what they believe in, for their loved ones, the difference is that we won, and they are dead. We honor their sacrifice as we do those of our own, our friends, and family, who have died this day." Kai looked from face to face at each of them in turn. "It will be time consuming, it will be hard work, but it is that which separates us from barbarians and savages. If any of you don't feel it within yourself to help with this, then tomorrow morning I want you to pack your things and leave, bring news to our homes, and save your souls."


There was another reason for burying enemy dead in such a noble fashion. It was healing, psychologically and emotionally healing. It could be the ting that kept you sane, that allowed you to deal with the emotions inside you. Everyone had to participate in some way, they had to do it together, or they would never be able to face another battle with any unity. Kai hadn't been taught this, he'd experienced it. Once before he had killed in battle, a few times to protect the monastery from raiders. They were all given proper funerals, and he dug the tombs of those who killed his fellow monks and friends. He didn't understand why, he hated the very idea, he's rather burn their bodies and be done with it. But life was sacred, all life, and no one who had fought against them, had done anything to merit such disdain as a mass grave, or a mass burning. Their families would want to honor them, and so they would mark the graves, one by one, the valley would become a valley of tombs.


"Tomorrow, after we have our own funerals, each of you with the exception of Eirikr will search bodies and write their names next to them if they can be found, Eirikr and I will follow behind you and dig the graves and cover them over, then create stones with their names on them. That way their families can come and remember them, when the war is over, to do anything less would be less than human." Kai closed his eyes and took a deep breath, and, for the first time since he began, he allowed himself to look as exhausted as he felt.


"Isa, we need a fire for the cooking, Eirikr, we need some earth tents, our others are soaked through from the rain. Luna, Noe, you two start on cooking, anything will do, Z'fan, Nerio, start tend to yourselves and then begin tending to the wounded as best you can while we work. Yuaki, gather our gear and take inventory of what we've lost from the horses to our supplies. Everyone else, help where help is needed, Aketsu, I need to speak with you in private. Are there any questions?"

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~Aketsu and Yuaki~


Aketsu nodded to Luna's question and grasped the horse as it walked back towards the camp. Aketsu was more than relieved to see everyone there he expected to see. Isa was there too, and he felt refreshed when he saw her. He noticed the blood on her torso and approached. Without a word he sat next to her and put an arm around her, turning his eyes to Kai as he spoke. He could immediately tell that Kai had steadied himself and would be fine. His entire arm was gone, but he was alert. Aketsu was glad; he'd never admit it, but with so much loss he didn't think he could lead by himself for the day.


Isa had disappeared in a flash of light before Yuaki could even comfort her, and so Yuaki stood in the field of death for a while. She sniffled because it stunk. Then she looked down at a dead guy beneath her. Purely out of curiosity and because she felt a bit awkward, Yuaki bent down and searched his neck until she found his tags. Sumei Otan. Of course she had no idea who he was, but according to his tag he was thirty-two years old. She shook her head and tsked at him, as though he could hear. "Shoulda stayed home. You had at least twenty good years left of you." She then let out a little sigh and stood. "I'd bury you, but I'll leave the mass-burial to the guy who's good at it," this referring to Eirikr. She had been quite impressed when he had told them to surrender and die--she hadn't ever seen someone do that before or heard of it. But it was efficient, if not exactly the Light Alliance's way of dealing wit things. Of course, Yuaki was used to dealing with things differently from the Light Alliance. Both sides had monkeys, both sides had monsters. Even the neutral cities had monkeys and monsters.


Yuaki sighed and bit her lip. She was almost glad Isa had disappeared; she didn't feel her comfort would have been sincere in the least, as she wasn't feeling much pain at all. The only thing that was bothering her was Kai, and his situation. But she knew that there were things to be done and she had to do them before she thought of it too much. A snort from behind her made her turn and see her horse start to walk back in the direction of the camp. "Hey!" She jogged carefully between bodies to get to the horse. It eyed her without much care; apparently it had decided its job was over and its friends were getting fed without it. Yuaki crawled onto its back (far too tired to jump as she usually did) and kicked it to make it trot. She arrived at camp just in time to hear Kai begin speaking.


Yuaki's eyes darted to Aketsu for a moment and she frowned. He didn't seem to be taking the situation as well as Kai. Then again, it seemed to her that she and Kai were the only ones who really had their heads on at the moment. Not that she could blame the others, but she didn't feel particularly close to anyone in the group and so couldn't understand their losses. Even if her best friend Isa was to die, she wouldn't be able to grieve much; Aketsu would take Yuaki's place in grieving. He would grieve enough for two people, or so she assumed. She hadn't really thought of it before, but Aketsu had taken enough of Isa's heart to make Yuaki feel Isa didn't need her much anymore. That didn't mean she was jealous or anything... oh, it was so complicated, she decided not to think about it. She'd sort it later, she decided.


"We will clean this place up. Each of our friends, and each of our enemies, will all be buried."


The statement didn't surprise Aketsu in the least (though Yuaki raised a brow). He hadn't expected to do anything less, but he didn't look forward to it or want to do it, and he had planned on putting it off a few days. But as Kai spoke more of its importance, Aketsu realized that putting it off any more than they had to would be wrong. He side-glanced at Eirikr and frowned. He couldn't understand Eirikr's methods, but now he was able to at least try to understand where the man was coming from. He was from Terra, and he was fighting for Terra. Terra was a neutral city, and the Shadow Alliance wanted to ruin that. They wanted to start a war, and Eirikr was doing what he thought best against that. But his methods had so shocked Aketsu and were so against anything Aketsu believed in, he had found it hard to even accept that Eirikr was on their side.


Yet he felt extremely grateful to the other man; he realized that without Eirikr they could very well still be fighting and have lost several others. They might have lost. So although the methods were uncalled for, the sacrifice and duty was something Aketsu appreciated deeply. Not that he'd let Eirikr know that. He turned his attention back to Kai as Kai told them what to do. Tend to the wounds, then eat. It was simple enough. As Kai didn't mention his name, Aketsu sensed what he would say and was right; Kai wished to speak to him alone. He took a deep breath and took comfort in Isa's presence. Her wounds weren't life-threatening. She would live.


"Yuaki, gather our gear and take inventory of what we've lost from the horses to our supplies. Everyone else, help where help is needed, Aketsu, I need to speak with you in private. Are there any questions?"


"Nope," Yuaki said loudly. She slid off her horse and brushed her hands off. Taking inventory was what she was good at, and she was glad Kai knew that. "Hey Eirikr, you can come help me when you're done making those tents." She smiled at him, remembering the way they met and how funny it was when Isa interceded. Nice of her too, but still funny Eirikr had though of Yuaki as so much younger than he. She wondered if she really looked that young and for a vain moment decided that looking too young was better than looking too old. Then she returned her mind to the present and began unpacking her horse to search its things first. She'd then work horse-to-horse and check supplies before searching the rest of the site for things that survived the rain. She noticed the shadow-sword stuck in the earth near Eirikr and she raised a brow but said nothing and returned quickly to her work. Yes, inventory taking... this was important...


Aketsu sighed quietly and stood. He had wanted to speak with Isa, to at least comfort her and tell her everything would be okay... but that would have to wait. He noted that Kai hadn't waited. No, he had walked back with Noe and had spent his jolly good time with her too. Of course Aketsu had been stunned to see her in her new form, but the news of Ayame being her father made the shock fade quickly. He wondered what Kai's kids would look like. But as soon as he wondered it he mentally slapped himself and forced his mind to return to the present. No time for jealousy, only leadership. No time for pity, only work. He felt rather dumb for treating Kai that way in the first place, as Kai was the one getting things organized... and he was missing an arm.


Aketsu released Isa and walked away from the main camp, leaving her to do her job as he did his. He stopped about twenty feet from the main camp and sat down on a tree stump. He glanced sadly at Isis and Leith, and watched for just a moment as memories of their loved ones faded. Then he simply sat quietly and waited for Kai.

Edited by LadyNatasha

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Eirikr grumbled when he heard Kai's orders. Why did they have o leave the burials for tomorrow. I think I'll try to get a head start tomorrow morning. Before heading over to begin on the tents he returned to the sword he had planted in the ground. He got down on one knee and pulled out of his pocket a fine chisel. He began to carve out a short message on the blade under the hilt.

Here in this valley

Lie the many dead

May they return to their cities

Be they not judged by their leaders

But by the lives they lead

Before returning to camp Eirikr formed the stone around the blade so it appeared as a sword driven directly into stone, like from the old legends. Finished Eirikr got up and wandered over to the others. He began to form the tents from stone. He kept count in his head of the living and how many tents he had made. The tents were bigger than the originals and a bit roomier.


"Hey Eirikr, you can come help me when you're done making those tents." Eirikr looked over at Noe, who smiled. He couldn't think of anything to say so he nodded to her and kept working on the tents. He could only guess at what she might want. Most likely to help with taking inventory and nothing else. Dang it Eirikr stop thinking like that. You've got nothing she could care about. And so when he finished with the tents Eirikr walked over to Yuaki and laid a hand on her shoulder.


"What did you need," he asked her.

Edited by Nasa13

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Jahanshah had barely finished speaking to Aoi when Aamina and Betzalel brought to his attention a new problem--Marcus had been recognized. He frowned and nodded quietly. Inwardly he wondered if the group should just casually split as though they had traveled here together but were not actually traveling together. But he decided perhaps it would look more natural if they all casually (and quickly) headed for the Inn. So on they went. Jahan strode forward but didn't exactly lead up front. He knew it would look suspicious if a fourteen-year-old was leading a bunch of adults. They turned left, walked forty feet and turned right, followed a short path and arrived at the Summer-Sky Inn. The Inn was the most popular one but also one of the more expensive ones. It was the kind the wealthy traveler would use, but not one that the filthy rich would use. The Inn had large light-blue doors that seemed to glow with warmth, but to the left and right of the door it was foggy. A cute little show of power from a Weather Elementian, for sure. There were two seemingly bored stable-boys waiting outside the Inn. When they saw customers they perked and smiled, but studied the group carefully. "When you're ready I'll take your animals and give 'em bedding in the back." Of course they would; it was their job.


Jahanshah, who was not riding (he had dismounted before they reached the gate), shifted to look at Betzalel. He tried sending Betzalel a message, although he was quite sure Betzalel already knew what to do. Since you look the oldest, you and Marcus should order the rooms. I will have the others unload our supplies here and then have the horses taken to the back. He flashed a glance towards the inside of the Inn and was glad to see that currently only the Inn-keeper and a woman who appeared to be his wife were there. Unless you think we were followed. Jahanshah wasn't sure what they would do if Marcus was found out. They'd certainly have to pretend to be unaffiliated with him in the least. Perhaps he could find a decent disguise... otherwise, he would only be a burden.




~Yuaki Xa~


Seven bags dried meat, four whole loaves of bread that weren't soaked, three oranges and seven apples, two extra filled jugs of water. Okay! That's it for the food. Now for extra weapons. Yuaki had already gone through clothes and had found that only a few items of clothing had been ruined or lost; for the most part, everything was accounted for. They would be stopping by Cumulus soon enough and could restock, though she had already decided that maybe only she and one other should enter the city. Although the city itself was neutral, it was often used by members of both Alliances and although fighting wasn't allowed... well, spying wasn't directly prohibited. Spying. Such a funny word.


Yuaki was so absorbed in her own thoughts that she flinched when she felt a large hand on her shoulder. She turned and saw Eirikr, then remembered that she had asked him to help her. She blushed just a little, as she hadn't expected him to greet her in quite that way.


"What did you need?"


The blush disappeared and she smiled. "Actually I was hoping you could help me take inventory of and check the quality of our remaining extra weapons. It's just a few daggers, several knives, a sword or two and a whip." Yuaki wasn't even sure why she had decided to pack the whip, as such a brutal weapon was seldom used in combat anymore. But perhaps it was merely to display the quality of the thin, tight rope that was beaded with little metal shrapnel meant to hook onto and shred its target. The pieces of shrapnel were small enough not to break any posts they would be attached to, but large enough to rip through flesh if given the opportunity. Honestly she had just brought it as a novelty, sort of, mostly. She wiped a bit of sweat off her brow and subconsciously brushed her dirty hands off on her clothes (she had taken off the leather torso-armor and had a black common shirt on now).


"Maybe you could help with the armor too, though we don't have much of that. If you're not good at sharpening and checking the quality of weapons then you could just help me organize. Currently the weapons are rather scattered." Yuaki had the sacks, bags and sheaths of the extra weapons scattered around to her right. She had pulled all supplies off the horses and organized it before checking the quality of anything, so she had just finished looking through travel clothing, food and medicine. To her right were the weapons and armor that had to be looked at, including the weapon she had used in battle and her torso armor. She had already cleared her blade of any blood or gore carefully, as she knew was respectful and important after combat. Respectful to the fallen and their living allies, and important to avoid disease of any sort.


Yuaki shrugged, realizing she was perhaps coming off as a bit demanding. "I just thought that your job was short enough maybe you'd have time to help out. But if you're busy, you don't have to." She offered him a smile and turned to pick up the first of the daggers, a very simple steel one with a narrow blade. She was curious as to how Eirikr was taking the battle. He seemed surprisingly experienced and undaunted by the bloodshed, for being only nineteen or so. It made her wonder if Terrans were just tougher in that way or if he really did have some sort of practice with real combat. Yuaki had seen him carving something into the shadow blade and wondered if it was a threat, a promise, or just a summary of the battle. Such weapons had been found in various ruins or unburied during excavations in the past, and they were rather treasured in museums.


As Yuaki herself was undaunted by the bloodshed and the fact that she had killed many in defense of her allies, she found that perhaps Eirikr would be the best company right then--someone to talk to that wasn't going to break down crying. Not that she wouldn't immediately be willing to comfort her friends if they needed a shoulder to cry on, but she would gladly accept the company of someone who didn't feel emotionally drained just then.

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Isa had woken up halfway to the camp with a mighty headache. She knew that she had to grin and bear it for the sake of herself and for the sake of the others. Everyone was hurting and no hurt was greater or lesser than the other for each caused pain. When the horse laid down on the ground, she slid off to the ground to lean against a tree and thanked the horse profusely. Once she had thanked him enough, the gelding ran off to where the other horses were getting their sustenance from Viosa. Not only did they have apples and carrots, but a lot of fresh green grass untainted by the blood from the battle.


Her eyes were closed until she felt someone sit beside her. With a slight shift, she looked to see her beloved Aketsu beside her. A smile crossed her lips as she leaned her head on his shoulder staying silent for there was no reason to speak. Everyone was in mourning of what they had had to do to live and to save their fellow men in each of their homes. Her heart ached for those that were dead for their families and everyone involved with them, but there was something in the back of her mind that told her to be calm and relax.


When Kai started to speak, Isa sat up from Aketsu’s shoulder and held on to her ribs as she listened. The blood had stopped but a little bit came out every now and then when she shifted too much as was to be expected. He spoke about them burying their enemies and she actually understood what he was saying. To be honest, she was glad that he had suggested it for she would have never thought of it. Despite her usually selfish ways, there was something about death that made her want to consider everyone involved but only because she knew what it was like to lose someone important to you.


After Kai was finished, Isa felt Aketsu leave her side and she looked up at him. Before he walked away completely, she gently kissed his cheek despite the grime that was there and went to where there was a clearing. She couldn’t move that fast and it seemed that someone else had noticed that. Someone that she was now even more so jealous of even though she pushed the thought from her mind.


Noe walked beside Kai and made sure to stay there even as he dismounted from his horse. He was wise in all that he was saying even though she thought that it was rather unwise to start the next day. The very fact that he wanted those that were injured working, including himself, made her give him a disapproving chirp/growl. She stepped in front of him before he could move off to see Aketsu. She could look him in the eye now at this height and made sure that he understood that he had better not harm himself or tire himself out any more than he already was. “if you do yourself anymore damage, love, you will have an earful in more than just a human tongue. AND! I will sit on you until you pass out just to make sure you don't move for a bit if you overexert yourself.” She said firmly, a spark in her eye.


Once she was sure that Kai understood, she looked around at the camp. Yuaki and Eirikr were doing inventory while Nerio moved about making sure that the horses weren’t injured and started to sort out the food that they would need for meals that evening. The only person that was moving around aimlessly, or so she thought, was Isa. But then again, she was charged with getting wood for the fire and starting it. Noe walked up beside her carefully to make sure that she didn’t startle the girl. “I’ll get the firewood.” She said softly. It was obvious that Isa was about to protest that she could do it on her own, but she moved away swiftly to keep her from saying anymore. With the small grove of trees where they were, it wasn’t surprising that Noe was able to find lots of different branches and dry mosses. She grabbed what she could with her wings and beak then carried it to where the fire would be. Using her claws and beak, she moved the stones around into a circle with the help of Isa and sat back on her panther-like haunches.


It took a moment, but Isa was able to concentrate enough sunlight to cause a fire. Why she hadn’t thought of that to start a fire to keep the army separated, she didn’t know. She was able to create light where there was none except for when battling with a shadow elementian because that was a total absence of light even from the human body. It was strange, but she feared the day that she would have to fight a Shadow Elementian ((little does she know that her best friend is one)).

Once the fire was started, Nerio started to move towards the fire with what he had gathered for the food. It wasn’t anything wonderful like what Tractus had prepared so skillfully, but it was sufficient and rather handy. The taste of it would be… he paused in thought as several herbs grew around his feet by the fire. When he turned, it was to see Viosa standing there looking at the plants around his feet. It was easy to see that she was wanting him to use them to season the meat and vegetables that were in his hands. “Thank you your highness.” He stated quietly. He knew who she was and he was sure that Aketsu and Isa did, but the others? He wasn’t so sure. The meat was already cut into pieces and the vegetables were as well which made it easy to throw it into a large pot that they carried for stews. A good, warm, hearty stew would hearten everyone.

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As Croes began to make his way to the market square, he began to look around for a certain group. As he made his way through the alleyways, he caught sight of a boy, around the age of fourteen. Right behind him was a young couple and girl their age. Their physical appearances matched the reports his superiors at the debriefing. After giving them some time, he followed them from the shadows. He had guessed they were going to the Summer-Sky Inn. He didn't like that place, the people and stuff were too stuck up, and they threw him out after defending himself in a drunken brawl... that he may or may not have started. Still, that was six months ago, he was sure that nobody remembered him. He saw that the oldest of the group tilted his head ever so slightly to the right. He was looking at him from the corner of his eye. He didn't react, but merely turned his head forward as the group stopped at the Inn's front door.


"Since you look the oldest, you and Marcus should order the rooms. I will have the others unload our supplies here and then have the horses taken to the back" Betzalel heard the Metal Child's thoughts, and merely nodded his head as he got off his horse. The horse looks almost pleased, that it got to live another day. "Unless you think we were followed" Spoke Jahan again. Betzalel merely gave a smile as he turned around, saying "Oh we were followed alright." Betzalel merely draw a knife from his boot, and threw it at the man with precision.


Creos saw that the man who noticed him threw a knife at him, and merely drew one of his Katars, deflecting it with a flourish. He saw the man drawing his sword and charging at him. He only had enough time to draw his other Katar. Soon, sparks were created as the two men clashed with one another for ten seconds. It only stopped when both men had a blade at their unguarded spots. "Hello Creos, its so nice to see you." Said Betzalel, with a smile on his face, if slightly psychotic. Ceros remained calm as he chuckled softly. "Lord Betzalel, Its a pleasure to finally meet you." Said Creos as both men pulled their weapons away. "Sorry about that, had to make sure you were from S.A.I. Most men wouldn't had the reaction time to deflect a thrown knife." Spoke Betzalel, this time Creos heard the words in his mind, which surprised him. Betzalel led him to the group, with a toothy smile on his face.


"This is Creos, he'll be helping us in Cumulus" Said Betzalel, before he backed off slightly and let Creos have the attention of the group, if however short.

Edited by Lore_Master

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Luna was absolutely relieved once she felt the presence of recognizable minds. Isis, Yuaki, Kai, and so many others were such a comfort even though they had not been separated for too long. The horse stopped beneath her and she began to take in their new camp as Kai gave orders to everyone. She caught her commands just as she was thinking about dismounting the horse. Looking down, the earth seemed a lot farther away than it had been the whole way there. With a sigh she stood up in the left stirrup, lifting her right leg over as slowly as possible until it was aligned with her left leg. Then resting as much of her weight as she could on her left arm as her hand held onto the saddle, she jumped down and landed on her left foot. It looked slightly awkward, but she was back on the ground without any further aggravation of her injuries.


Food...food... she began to think when she remembered her task that Kai had given her. There had to be food in the packs that one of the horses was carrying. Looking around she was able to locate one that had a bunch of vegetables and an oilskin filled with water. Vegetable soup, then. She sat near the center of the clearing and focused on a pile of sticks. With the battle over and some of her energy regained she thought she could use the practice for her telekinesis. It had been working fine out in the field (even though her job had been a rather destructive one), so she had no worries about any negative impact from it now. Plus, a resolute calm had fallen over her. It was the quietest her mind had been in months; so peaceful that she kind of wished something like this had happened earlier. Within minutes a fire was lit and she was gently lowering the vegetables in the boiling water as she sat in her quiet vigil. Her shoulder throbbed as her thoughts wandered to how both of her injuries would infringe on her. She could always learn to use her telekinesis to support her injured leg, but that just felt like cheating, especially since she had a cane that would easily suffice once her shoulder was healed enough. She finished dropping in the vegetables and let the stew boil as her thoughts continued on their own path. The slice in her shoulder was deep. She knew that she had been lucky that it had not gotten to her bone, but it would still prevent her from lifting anything on that side. She shrugged out of her jacket and stared at the blood-stained fabric. It would take ages to wash out the maroon dye and return it to its normal dark shade of blue. Maybe she should just get a new one, one in a lighter color so it wouldn't be so clear that she was a Space Elementian.

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He was still amazed how demanding women could be. Eirikr tried a smile back at Yuaki before pulling out a sword from the bags. It was beautiful, the way it caught the light was nice and it had very little damage. He gave it a few practice swings before sitting down. He tested the edge of the blade with his thumb, removing his right glove to do so. His left hand stayed gloved, keeping his mark hidden. Satisfied somewhat with its edge he pulled out a whetstone and fixed it before sheathing it.


"So, what do you hope to gain from this venture," asked Eirikr at last pulling out another weapon, this time a dagger. He wanted to know more about his new traveling companions. With each blade he examined, Eirikr gave each a few practice swings, checking for balance speed and weight. Soon he came to the whip. Raising an eyebrow he turned to Yuaki.


"What in the name of the gods is this," he asked her, holding up the whip. He was surprised and almost exasperated as to why anyone would bring such a thing along.

Edited by Nasa13

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Yuaki was quite thrilled that Eirikr indeed did know how to sharpen weapons and test them for balance. In her early years at the Academy, most people had found the skill pointless and boring since they somehow managed to believe some great fantasy where their weapons were always perfect and if ruined would be resupplied... of course, no one in her current group was like that, because the people who were like that hadn't graduated. Still, it was nice to meet someone who knew how to handle weapons and cared about them.

"So, what do you hope to gain from this venture?" A strange question, Yuaki thought, and she was careful as she thought of an answer for it. She had to remember that Eirikr probably wasn't well informed (Kai and Aketsu--guys in general--tended to leave out details, she decided) and didn't probably know much about the Sola Academy. She chuckled and was about to answer when Eirikr spoke up again.


"What in the name of the gods is this?" Yuaki turned in surprise, wondering what in the world he had found--a dead toad among the swords? What? Where did that come from? How did I get to the subject of toads, and--oh, my whip. She smiled, not at all embarrassed or defensive that he had found it. "It's called a 'whip,' " she said simply. "It's a very special whip I was gifted sometime two years ago for saving someone's favorite sword from its impending doom. Long story," and she laughed quietly to herself.


A baby-faced rich boy about Yuaki's age had lost his father's sword, a family heirloom he had just been given, and the sword had in fact found its way into the hands of bullies. The young man had begged Yuaki to use her charm to get it back. He had only asked her because he didn't know her and didn't want to ask anyone he knew, and Yuaki happened to be walking through the area with a nice sword of her own. Instead of using her charm she had challenged the bullies to a duel and had defeated them. She had always been a natural with the sword, and it helped that she had been new to Sola that year and still fought in a more 'shadowy' style that the 'bullies' weren't used to defending themselves from. She had returned the boy's sword and he had made her a whip (nowadays he is indeed a rope-maker of the finest ropes). Simple as that, she had her prize. She had never really used it before except in private practice.


Back to the present, she did notice the exasperation on Eirikr's face and she found it rather odd he would be so put off by the weapon. Sure, it was an awful and painful thing that tortured more than it killed, but it was just a stick and some rope and metal. The power of evil was in the user. "I've never used it before," she said, not sure why she said it. After all, what did she care what he thought of her motives? But she did, so she elaborated; "I don't know why but I just felt I should bring it with. It's special and I didn't want to leave it back in Sola where someone who doesn't know better might get their hands on it. Feel free to give it a few swings if you want."


Deciding that was that, she took out another dagger to sharpen and changed the subject by addressing his earlier question. "I'm not really hoping to gain anything from this venture but a greater sense of who I am and a peaceful world for my future. Truthfully I wasn't even assigned to this mission, but Princess Isa invited me and I couldn't turn down my best friend. Before this I was a servant at the castle in Sola, and I worked with the weaponsmiths to help the students of the Sola Academy perfect their weapon-usage and care." She paused for a moment, thinking of what she'd be doing right now if she hadn't gone with. Yes, it had all been planned in her mind, everything she would have done, but that had all changed and now her life was occurring without planning, step by step. How could she have known three days ago she would be fighting a giant battle against her own distant relatives? There was no planning left, only action.


"I don't regret coming, though. As I said, I think we'll all learn more of who we are and what we're really fighting for." But enough spotlight for me. "What about you? What are you hoping to gain by joining us?"

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The hospital was a place that Naomi'd be anyday. It was hardly clustered, and the places were always clean, giving her a sense of good health. Her father was working late again, and her mother had told her to get him dinner so he'd be able to eat in between shifts. "There's been an injury," Her father said, and he stood up to put his medical book away. "Would you like to help out?"


The door at the end of the hallway and Naomi entered cautiously after he father into the room. The bedsheets were ruffled, and there was a man lying on the bed. There were terrible cuts and sores on him; burns that looked like they were just inflicted. Gasping, she clutched her father's arm. The man seemed to be unconscious, but she couldn't help but feel what they would have felt like if he was awake. Her father

led her to the side of the bed and asked her softly, "Do you think you can get me some Solucus for the burns?"


Still hiding behind her father she nodded and held her hands out. She closed her eyes, concentrating. The plant: Green. Silky, velvety leaves. Blossoms, small and white florets; brown centers. Short, thin vines sprouted out from her palms. The leaves popped out and the buds opened. Her dad grinned, and she plucked it from her palm and handed it over to him. Her palm was back to normal; there were no holes in it.


"Don't use so much; it might sting when he wakes up." She advised him with her soft voice, and her father waved in response, already over the man with the leaves from the herb she had grew.




When Betzalel had thrown the knife, Aoi raised his hand instinctively and was about to shoot flames, but then he had told them that he was going to help them on the mission. Strange, that another person was to join them, but Aoi didn't care as long as he was able to help in some way. He could tell that the people were starting to recognize one of the people in the group; the one with the dark, blue hair. He wracked his brain to think of who this man might be. It was hard; he had travelled a lot but maybe he had just missed things that were of importance at the towns he wasn't at.


Walking up to him, he took off his coat and thrust it towards him. "Put this on. I could tell they might know who you are, even if I don't." The coat had a high collar which could easily hide his mouth and the lower part of his face. He gave a good-natured smile, then glanced over at the rest of the group. It looks like I'm going to have to find out what these others have been up to before something I can't account for happens...

Edited by lachrymation

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"Not what I meant about the whip, but... eh," said Eirikr, wishing she hadn't explained so much. To0 much unnecessary information alongside the basic information. "I'll put it straight for you."


He paused to reach for another weapon. Seeing none to check he settled back and continued. His hands betrayed his nervousness, as they wouldn't hold still. He picked up a dagger and began to flip it over and over in his hand. "I had only heard rumors of political maneuverings. At the time it didn't concern me, I was just a traveler from a neutral city. Then I stumbled across your camp. Aketsu explained it all to me, how the shadow alliance was wanting to restart the old war. I began to see them as a potential threat to Terra. So I made my business to stop them. They wish to make the neutral cities take sides in their foolish wars. Know this, if the Light alliance threatens Terra I will turn against you. I care not for the light nor the shadow. My allegiance is to Terra, no one else."


Eirikr stopped, amazed he had broken his usual shortness of word. He thought for a moment, disturbed that she was able to make him talk. She was a servant? That's why she seems so different from the others. But what is the academy? He noticed then that some of the others had prepared some food. His stomach growled loudly, which surprised him.


"Come on let's go get some food," suggested Eirikr, holding his hand out to Yuaki. "Which reminds me; What is the Academy?"

Edited by Nasa13

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Betzalel's answer puzzled Jahanshah, but a moment later he understood what Betzalel meant; they really were being followed. He spun around as Betzalel threw a knife with blinding speed at the intruder. Jahan's first instinct was to cover his skin with metal, but something in the back of his mind (was it the way Betzalel was fighting? He didn't seem concerned) told him not to and instead he stood at the ready. The first thing he noticed about the new opponent as Betzalel charged was the giant burn-scar. Only as the two clashed steel did he take in the man's other features.


His eyes followed the two but he did not attack; not only was Betzalel handling the situation fine, but neither really seemed to be wanting to kill the other... and Betzalel was grinning? Jahan cocked his head curiously and noticed out of the corner of his eye that Aoi was prepared to fight. Finally the fighting stopped and Jahan flinched; if either man flicked his blade, the other could be fatally wounded. But Betzalel was grinning, and Daedureth was humming with pleasurable energy.


"Hello Creos, its so nice to see you." Creos. The name was unfamiliar to Jahan and he frowned slightly. Perhaps Creos was another Beast, like the ones Jahan had seen in Zillah's halls? Yet he didn't look that type. "Lord Betzalel, Its a pleasure to finally meet you." Jahan waited patiently as Betzalel approached. It seemed Betzalel was quite pleased, and the other man wasn't unnerved at all.


"This is Creos, he'll be helping us in Cumulus." Simple as that. Jahan noticed Aoi offering his coat to Marcus. A fair idea, indeed. "Welcome, Creos," he said with a small smile. He was pleased with the man's blade skill. Jahan himself wasn't too bad with a sword, but he was only fourteen and didn't have many years of experience. "If you haven't already been informed of our specific plans, we'll discuss it more when we have settled in the Inn." No sooner had Jahanshah spoke when suddenly a thin, small woman who looked about thirty came out of the Inn.


She was only an inch or two taller than Jahan. Her eyes were dark brown and her hair was black, neatly combed back. Her skin was darker than most, a soft light brown that was weathered from the sun. She stood straight and her eyes darted about the group. Her eyes rested on Marcus a moment, and her expression softened as she seemed to recognize the entire group just by looking at him. "You've been expected," she said softly. She addressed Jahanshah when she spoke. "There are rooms for all of you, on the first floor. I'll be working here until you're finished with your... 'job' here in Cumulus." By her expression it was obvious that she wasn't fully informed of their plans, for a deep curiosity and hunger was on her face. But she knew her place as a messenger and temporary worker at the Inn (she had just been hired a week ago in anticipation) and so she said nothing more of the matter. Instead she turned and glared sharply to her right, where the two stableboys had returned and were staring at Creos' face. "You two! Help unload their horses and take them to the stables to be brushed down." The boys immediately nodded and began unloading the horses that had no riders. One would notice they did not pry at all at any equipment and said nothing, working quickly under the dark woman's harsh glare. She turned back to the group and dipped her head slightly. "You have five rooms, two for the ladies and three for the gentlemen. We were too full to reserve any more for you. Follow me when you're ready."






"Not what I meant about the whip, but... eh." Yuaki frowned a bit and thought carefully of her words. She realized that she had assumed he had thought badly of her for bringing it, and that was a mistake. Assuming such things and trying to defend yourself could make you look guilty of something... or that's what she had learned from her father, long ago. She had never forgotten, as those words had come with a harsh scolding. Thinking of the man who was the cause of her birth made her shudder just a little, and she was glad when Eirikr answered her question. "I'll put it straight for you." Good, you should be proud of your choices. Unless you're a spy, you've got nothing to hide. Abstractly she thought of what a funny word 'spy' was. It was short and sounded strange if repeated enough.


Yuaki absently watched Eirikr reach for another weapon and realized with surprise that his hand was shaking, just a bit. She thought little of it though; even if he wasn't in shock after the bloody battle he had just fought, a bit of shaking was natural after hours of running on adrenaline and using elements to your farthest extents. She listened as he told of his traveling from Terra, and for a moment she wondered why he'd leave in the first place. "They wish to make the neutral cities take sides in their foolish wars. Know this, if the Light alliance threatens Terra I will turn against you. I care not for the light nor the shadow. My allegiance is to Terra, no one else." Yuaki nodded, laying out in a row the four daggers she had sharpened. "I don't blame you. I feel the same for Triton." Yuaki was about to elaborate when a rumbling caught her attention. She glanced at Eirikr and hid a smile. He was hungry, and come to think of it so was she.


"Come on let's go get some food." Yuaki turned from her daggers and was about to mention that she had been about to say the same thing when she noticed his hand outstretched towards her. She wasn't used to such courtesy and was surprised, but hid it quickly by accepting the hand that helped her to her feet. He sure was polite for a traveler, and she grunted a quiet "thanks" as she stood. Her legs were sore from gripping the horse so tightly and hoisting Kai's 200-pound body onto the animal. She still wasn't sure how she had managed that, and she was certain her arms would be like toothpicks tomorrow. "Which reminds me; What is the Academy?"


Yuaki was a bit surprised he had never heard of the Sola Academy. After all, some parents from Terra had sent their children in recent years... which made her wonder how long he had been traveling. "The Elementian Academy of Sola," she said as they walked towards the fire. "It was founded nine or ten years ago to help Elementians of the Light Alliance, as well as those from neutral cities, learn to hone their elements and use them against Elementians of the Shadow Alliance, but now its goals are more teaching-oriented and less aimed against Whisper... or they were. That'll probably change with the coming war. King Aslano of Sola founded the Academy so that the small percentage of remaining adults who could use elements could train youngsters who could also use elements but didn't have parents who could use elements and so had no one to learn from. It has since expanded greatly and accepts even those who have poor parents or orphans who have no records... and the rare duel-elemental, like Kai, though Kai didn't attend the Academy. He grew up with monks in the desert."


Yuaki sat at the fire that Luna had made, as she didn't want her casual conversation to bother Neiro who was no doubt still grieving over Leith's death. She felt bad that Luna was so badly injured, but at least Luna had mind abilities and didn't always need to be swinging a sword. Yuaki glanced at Kai and Noe, and her eyes rested on Noe. A sudden rage built inside of her, and it so surprised her that she totally forgot what she had been about to tell Eirikr about the academy and the Sola palace. If anyone had been able to see the rage inside of her, they might have thought her jealous of Noe for having Kai. After all, everyone who watched Yuaki back at Sola even a day knew she had flirted with Kai quite a bit. But the rage didn't involve Kai in the least and wasn't centered at Noe, either; it was aimed towards Ayame. Some father he was, hiding himself from her all those years. Yuaki didn't have much in common with Noe and seldom ever spoke to her, but that didn't stop her from wondering if Noe herself harbored any anger against Ayame. She doubted it and put her own foolish anger aside, knowing it was directed in fact at her own father. What had brought him up, after two years of peace? Since leaving the city of her birth Yuaki had not thought of him for more than a moment and certainly hadn't thought of how his existence and choices had changed her entire life.


She smiled at how pretty Noe looked as a fluffy Gryphon and turned to pick up a bowl to get some stew. "So anyway, that's the Academy in a nutshell. Almost everyone here recently graduated from it, which is why they're all so amazing with their elements even at their young ages." She paused to scoop in some stew. It smelled really good and she smiled gratefully at Luna. Then she turned her attention to Eirikr again, eager to forget about Ayame. "So, where'd you learn to use your element?" She almost bit her tongue at the end of the sentence, realizing that he might rather not tell. But what had he to hide? Anything. Who knows? Maybe he's actually from Whisper and can't show anyone his element for fear of mistrust and persecution. Yeah, right. But her father's words came back, reminding her of who she really was.


Never, NEVER refrain from asking someone a question! If you're not willing to ask it, then you're not willing to answer it. Your job is to appear dumber than you are, if possible, and by asking questions that could be personal you'll achieve that. People will think you're so innocent, so naive that you don't even realize they could have secrets they'd rather not share. As a seven-year-old, you should be able to accomplish that just fine. Be open, be social. And get out of this room!

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Celeste had silently followed the group to Cumulus; it was almost as if she wasn't noticed in the first place. Along their merry way, they had met a Fire Elementian named Aoi, though she couldn't tell what their true intention was... Distrust started to form within her, but she wouldn't do anything until she had some clear ground to stand on. Soon, their entourage had gathered in front of the inn. Jahanshah was getting Marcus to make arrangements for them, and an employee had come to inform them of their room reservations. Two rooms for the women. Not that she was a woman... There was herself, Aamina, Skylar... She couldn't think of anyone else... She would sleep outside. It was the right thing to do, after all, since she was not worthy to sleep in the same building as the Lord. She gathered her few possessions, and walked around to the back of the establishment. She set them down, and leaned silently against the building, waiting for the new day to dawn.


((I'll post as Tractus when I have a clear understanding of what's going on with the Guardians.))

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Little by little, he was leaving the world of utter darkness, and returning to the world of light and color. The sounds started to become less blurred, his eyesight became more and more focused. The weakness in his body overall was slowly starting to go away. "Lu...na" weakly cried out Loren as he tried to lift a hand towards the young girl, thinking he was still at the camp. He collapsed into the bed, sighing. The bed was soft... too soft. He wasn't at the camp, he was somewhere else entirely. Whatever energy his brain could afford was spent thinking of a way out... he needed the raft. "Come to me... Come to me" Thought Loren as he clenched his fist in pain. Calling the wind was somehow painful for him, but he only needed it for a moment. If he remembered correctly, because part of his 'essence' was place within the raft, it was still under the same control as the wind... He hoped that he was right about that, since he had fallen asleep from the sheer tiredness his body felt.


Back at the campsite, the floating raft remained still... bobbing up and down whenever a gust of wind was felt. It wasn't very breezy today, so the supplies were still on the raft. However, even though there was still a light breeze... the raft slowly began to float away from the camp. It was moving at a snails pace, but it was still moving... heading in the direction of Cumulus.

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((Shoot, forgot to save it! It was so good too! Now this post will not be as well. sad.gif))


Naomi's father had left her to tend to the rest of the man's wounds as he had some other work to do, and so Naomi decided to check to see if they were all finished. Most of his wounds her father had did, except for a few burns that were on the man's shoulder. Callius Primanode. It was a tall plant with dark leaves and large buds that opened with a surplus of thin petals. Since the plant easily absorbed water and coolness, it was good to put on burns to cool them down. She opened her hands again and concentrated. The small plant started to grow from the middle of her palm. The stem was a light green colour.


"Lu...na" The man, whom Naomi thought was unconscious, called out weakly and startled her, causing the plant to shudder and disappear back into her palm, and she quickly ducked to the side of the bed. The man was awake. She knew she wasn't too good at handling patients that were awake; she wasn't good at interacting with them. Maybe she should just get her father and tell him that the man woke up. She slowly rose up and walked towards the door without a word. Then she remembered. At least she should help him with the burns. Turning around, she quickly grew the plant in her hand and walked back to the bed, where she placed it on the man's shoulder. "Stay still; it might hurt a bit..." She cautioned him quietly, and then dropped her hand to run out of the room to her father's office.

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Kai gave Noe a weak smile and nodded to her, then left to sit next to Aketsu, which he did gingerly, using his remaining arm to lower himself down slowly.


"Your first battle," He commented, not a question but a statement. "I had hoped I wouldn't be the only one who's been in real combat before, then again I'd never wish it on anyone." Kai continued in his normal voice, though he did seem exhausted. "We did well today, everyone, I know they won't see it that way, but it's true. There are no happy endings to a battle, and we walked away better than I had expected against so many."


Kai turned to look at Aketsu then, worry on his face, a rare expression for him to use. "How are you doing? How is everyone else? If you need to yell, hit me, scream at me, or cry, you really should get it over with, you'll explode on someone eventually if you try and act normal, I'd rather it be me, I can take it."

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"I don't quite remember where I learned my powers," Eirikr picked up a bowl and served himself some stew. He followed Yuaki as she found a spot to sit down. As he spoke he kept his voice as emotionless as it usually was. "As a boy my ability to traverse the tunnels of Terra seemed natural. As I got older I began to be able to command the stone better. Eventually I became more alienated from the rest of Terra due to certain events and my temper." He paused and wondered if he should tell her more. As he ponered Eirikr reached down and pulled off his boots. His feet hurt after being in them for so long and the heat of the fire felt good. "My father once taught me to keep my emotions contained. He taught me that allowing my emotions to pour forth like a river at every little thing wouldn't help anyone. I guess that may be one reason for my gradual alienation."


Eirikr got up to get himself more stew, slipping his feet back into their boots. As he came back he pulled out some bread he had. He ripped it in half and offered some to Yuaki as he bit into his piece. He remembered her mentioning a name. Triton? Eirikr decided to see if he could dig a little deeper.


"So what's Triton like?"

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Aketsu didn't look at Kai as Kai sat down. Out of the corner of his eyes, he could see Kai struggling just a bit as he learned to cope with having only one arm. Aketsu vaguely wondered if Kai would ever fashion a realistic, water-proof arm to replace his missing one. When Kai was seated, Aketsu turned to look at him.


"Your first battle. I had hoped I wouldn't be the only one who's been in real combat before, then again I'd never wish it on anyone." Aketsu found it a bit strange that Kai would have thought any of them would have been in a 'real' battle. They had all grown up in Sola, the safest city in existence. Even in the Academy, they weren't allowed to severely hurt or kill anyone. Aketsu assumed Kai had seen his earlier reaction to seeing Eirikr. Aketsu didn't regret it, but he decided maybe he would apologize. As Kai said they did well, Aketsu nodded. They had... but they could have done better. Leith was dead. Loren was gone. Aketsu averted his eyes to stare absently at Loren's wind-craft, which was still floating on its own.


Aketsu was forced to look back at Kai when he saw worry forming on the other man's face. He hadn't really ever seen Kai worried before, so his interest grew. Yet it faded when he heard what Kai was worried about; him. "How are you doing? How is everyone else? If you need to yell, hit me, scream at me, or cry, you really should get it over with, you'll explode on someone eventually if you try and act normal, I'd rather it be me, I can take it." Aketsu smiled then, the kind of smile he would give to a cute little child who had just offered him candy. He raised his hand in a fist, aimed it at Kai's forehead, and... flicked him. He flicked Kai on the forehead, then stood. "I'm fine, Kai," he said lightly. "And although you don't understand social norms well, you should know that only girls explode like that. And not all girls, either. This isn't bothering me as much as you think, and if it was I wouldn't take it out on a person." Then his voice lowered, becoming more quiet and distant, and once again he stared out across at the wind-raft. "There are things we could have done better. I'm not completely used to being a leader, and I feel I could have organized better." Then his look turned to Kai, almost harshly. "You, for example, should have had someone watching your back at all times. Closely, not just from a distance with an uncontrolled storm. And you know it. Because if we'd lost you as well, Kai, things would be a lot messier right now."


Then he walked away from Kai, towards the wind-raft. He hadn't quite meant to be so harsh, but deep inside he knew that if Kai had died, everyone would be a mess--Noe would, Aketsu would, even Her Highness might. But that wasn't what happened so he didn't linger on it. The wind-raft had extra supplies, which Yuaki hadn't gone through because it was Loren's personal things, such as his art. Aketsu reached the raft, stared down at it a moment, then reached out to pick up a little scroll. It moved... that is, the entire raft moved. Aketsu stopped and retracted his hand. Anyone else might have thought it a natural movement, but Aketsu sensed something about the wind... it was crying, crying out, something or someone was begging it to come to them. Aketsu had only seen the raft ever respond to one person..


"Loren!" He exclaimed. Then he spun on his heel to face Kai. "Kai, come here," he said quickly. He turned back to the raft and watched it move, then glanced at the sky. "It's... moving towards Cumulus," he said in disbelief. Then to Kai, "They have Loren at Cumulus!" His eyes hardened. "I realize we're not in the best shape, Kai, but if and when they take Loren out of Cumulus--which they will as soon as he's physically able to be moved--we'll have no chance of reaching them. We have to follow this raft." His golden eyes gazed intently on Kai. He could not, would not leave a member of their team stranded in enemy hands. He knew Loren would do the same for another member of the team, he was certain of it! But he also knew that they could be recognized in Cumulus... or most of them could.






Yuaki listened curiously as Eirikr told his story. It seemed he was a natural with his element, as many of the Light Guardians were. She was rather surprised when he mentioned he was alienated due to his temper. He didn't seem like the kind to throw a fit... then again, people could change their ways in the blink of an eye. Yuaki knew that for a fact. She thought over this as Eirikr took off his boots, and she realized that her feet felt a little tight as well. She was just a bit sweaty, too, but decided to wait to shed her boots and leather leg-guards. "My father once taught me to keep my emotions contained. He taught me that allowing my emotions to pour forth like a river at every little thing wouldn't help anyone. I guess that may be one reason for my gradual alienation."


Yuaki nodded. "Kinda sounds like my dad," she mumbled. Sort of, but rather the opposite. She wasn't taught to hide her emotions, but to use them to her utmost advantage. She mulled over this, absently watching as Eirikr went to get more stew. What made parents the way they were? Eirikr's father had some wisdom in teaching Eirikr to control emotions, and Yuaki's father had some wisdom in teacher her to use hers... but when was enough enough? When did it become control, and when was it more for the parent's benefit than the child's? She glanced at a flower to her left and decided she didn't care. It didn't matter now; the past was the past, and both she and Eirikr were currently independent of their pasts. For her, however, that could change quickly if she wasn't careful.


Yuaki accepted the bread Eirikr offered her happily. It looked like really good bread, and she hadn't had bread since they had started their journey; it molded and squished too quickly to be of much use for the Light Guardians. "So what's Triton like?" The question surprised Yuaki as much as being offered bread had. But she liked Triton well enough and saw no reason not to describe the wondrous city... though she was sure Neiro could describe it ten times better.


"It's beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. As you probably know, the actual city is underwater. Some older residents who can't use water as an element live on the edge of that ginormous lake, but almost everyone else lives underwater. It's amazing, watching fish swim by your own window and seeing all the glowing lights at night. Guests and residents who don't have water as an element use special little Re-Breathers which allow them to take a few breaths as they swim along. Each home in the city has oxygen surrounding it... it's hard to explain, but it's quite magical. Makes me wish I could use water like Neiro and... Leith." She paused a moment in memory of Leith, then she continued speaking.


"Unfortunately the fact that the population is increasing and less and less of them can use water is making the lake become more polluted each day. It's not bad yet but as you might have heard from Neiro, he and his brother were planning to use their elements and their brains to stop the pollution permanently. But King Marcio and Queen Laylia are even now in the process of making more laws to protect the lake. It doesn't help that Frigid is sitting on the other side, making sure that side is all ice."


She sighed and ripped out a chunk of the bread. Poor Leith. Poor Neiro. And poor Isa; her friend still looked rather upset and hadn't gotten a chance to talk to Aketsu (who was now doing something weird with Loren's wind craft? Huh). She decided after she ate she would go see how Isa was doing. She turned back to Eirikr. "So, what about Terra? Are the rulers fair and just?" She asked the question with a smile, certain Eirikr wouldn't swear loyalty to feeble rulers... then again, he was loyal to the city and not the rulers. Yuaki had great respect for him because of that, for that was something she herself had a hard time doing. Because of her own history it was difficult for her to look at a city as anything but what its rulers were. "I bet the city's beautiful, since you Elementians can shape the earthen buildings how you choose." Kind of like Pyra, except they used their fire.

Edited by LadyNatasha

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"You two! Help unload their horses and take them to the stables to be brushed down."


Creos then realized that two of the inn's stableboys had been looking at him... or rather, his large burn mark. He merely chuckled as he moved his hair, not to hide it... but to make it more evident. If there was one thing in the world he didn't regret choosing, it was choosing to keep the burn, even though it could have easily been removed with healing. To him, it was a milestone, a trophy... his pride and honor. To an outside without the knowledge of context, it seemed pretty strange and even a bit twisted. He would have to tell that story to them, it would suck if they felt pity towards him.


"You have five rooms, two for the ladies and three for the gentlemen. We were too full to reserve any more for you. Follow me when you're ready."


The older woman, who had told off the boys had arranged rooms for the group. He wasn't counted, since he was already boarding in another Inn nearby. "Well then, I'll help you guys get settled in." He said with a smile, he would have to wait till the woman was gone, otherwise he couldn't tell them the information...

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Renzo was not liking the looks he was getting from some of the citizens of Cumulus. As he tailed the group on their path to the inn, he kept glancing over his shoulder to see the curious stares of the people. There was little chance of his fame finding a place like this. He knew stories of what he had done had made it to Triton and Univerum, but Cumulus seemed like a podunk little town compared to the two. There was no way they would have enough connections to know who he was based on glances. Of course, if he tossed the name around a few times he was sure to get in trouble. At least they were in a weather city, though. He didn't look that different for them. His skin was slightly paler than that of anyone living in Cumulus, but his light-colored hair made him look almost exactly like a Weather Elementian. It had infuriated him to no end when people used to confuse him with one of those low-lifes, but this was not the place for him to lose his temper. He continued on behind the group, the horse he had ridden clopping along behind him.


Once they stopped in front of the inn his paranoia diminished slightly. The fuss focused on Marcus as they tried to hide him from the sight of the other patrons. Taking this as a warning sign for what may happen to him if he was discovered, he pulled his cloak out of his pack and pulled the hood over his head to hide his features. Then he let one of the stable boys take the horse away as he gave the area one last look around. It was all so...dull, absolutely nothing compared to Electra. Where were the grand buildings? The amazing vehicles? The filthy aristocrats and even filthier plebeians? He had barely taken the time to examine cities beyond Electra as the technological goldmine had become a playground for his many exploits, but he had expected better of a place so similar to that of the City of Lightning. If all they had to boast about was some stupid weather machine, then Renzo was going to be sorely disappointed.


He caught a glimpse of Celeste just as she turned around the corner of the building. Looking back at the rest of the group Renzo could tell that they were too busy to take too much notice. A second later and he could tell what she was up to. There was no way she was going to stay in the inn tonight, especially after he had noticed her submissive behavior around Jahan. There was no point in him staying at the inn, either, considering his reputation. If he were them he knew that he wouldn't want to share a room with a criminal, and he didn't like them enough in the first place to even consider such a possibility. So, with a turn of his heel he quickly followed the young Water Elementian.


"I don't think it's the greatest idea for you to be out here all alone, don't you?" Renzo asked tauntingly as he walked towards her on the other side of the inn. "A young girl outside an inn during the middle of the night? Now what kind of message do you think that would send? I don't think that's too difficult to figure out." He paused beside her then leaned against the building. "Of course, I would never think of doing anything like that. No, you're far too boring. I doubt you would even scream. Admirable, yes, but that's definitely no fun for me." He sighed for dramatic effect. "Now, Celeste, you'll catch cold out here. I hate the sound of sneezing. It's dreadfully noisy and makes people sound stupid and weak." He pulled a blanket out of his pack and casually tossed it over to Celeste. "Take it before you get sick and annoy me even more."



((That was a lot longer than I planned on...oops.))

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"I don't think it's the greatest idea for you to be out here all alone, don't you?" Celeste sighed. Renzo... She silently turned to the figure. "A young girl outside an inn during the middle of the night? Now what kind of message do you think that would send? I don't think that's too difficult to figure out." What?! Did he know? Of course not... I've never told anyone! Calm down, calm down... "Of course, I would never think of doing anything like that. No, you're far too boring. I doubt you would even scream. Admirable, yes, but that's definitely no fun for me." She slightly smiled at that. He sighed for what she guessed was dramatic effect. "Now, Celeste, you'll catch cold out here. I hate the sound of sneezing. It's dreadfully noisy and makes people sound stupid and weak." He pulled a blanket out of his pack and casually tossed it over to Celeste. "Take it before you get sick and annoy me even more." Celeste let the blanket fall. She then looked at him, with the utmost deadpan expression she could muster, and said, "You have me all wrong. I don't want to spread my dirty laundry, and I'm sure that you don't wish for that, either. Now," she said, picking up the blanket, drawing the water from it, and keeping it in a separate container, "just leave me be..." She gave him the blanket, touching his bottom lip, and continued, "and I'll leave you be. Do you understand?" She smiled at him now, and she turned to try to walk into the night.

Edited by gistofeverything

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Isis' world was like a dream. He got up, ate, grew some trees and made himself a shelter of weeping willows. Throughout the day no one spoke to him and no one bothered him, so he just did what he thought would be useful. He pulled as many fruits from the trees as he could and put them in a pile for someone to pick up if they bothered. He continued silently, not speaking to anyone, not looking at anyone. It was as if he were a spirit or a ghost. But he felt followed, haunted. Whenever he looked over his shoulder the only thing he saw was the whipping ends of blood soaked blond hair.


He shook his head and turned back forward. It was just his imagination, that much he knew, but he couldn't get the feeling out of his head. After looking around for a moment, he went back to the battle field, just to say goodbye.


He found her in the same position he had left her, sitting up, supported by a large rock. He knelt by her side and held her hand, now cold and stiff. He swept her long hair behind her ear, revealing her sun mark. It looked dull and colorless, like everything else in the valley. He pulled a section of hair from her hood and found her dagger in the cloak pocket. He cut off a long strip and tucked it in his bag. Then he stood, and as he stood, the ground slowly became covered in tall grass, and flowers shot up. He lifted Zepheena's body up into a standing position and placed a weeping willow seed by her feet. He speedily grew up the tree, causing it to grow around Zepheena, enveloping her. He sealed it off and stepped back, observing his memorial for her. He put a hand on the bark and pulled out the dagger once again. He carved into the bark, "Here lies Zepheena, the Light Elementian." He sighed and dropped the knife on the ground, allowing the still-growing plants at his feet to cover the dagger and entangle it in their roots. When he left, he glanced back at the tree. It seemed to glow with a strange light. Maybe it was his imagination, maybe not. But he left the memorial feeling peaceful and serene. When he got back to the camp, he immediately retreated into his willow tree shelter and began growing flowers in a small circle. He didn't know why he was doing that, but he decided he would stop when someone interrupted him.

Edited by Silver_Voices

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"I never liked politics," mumbled Eirikr. Or water for that matter. As it was Eirikr had practically no swimming ability. He never had seen a reason to learn how. "As for Terra... it has it's own kind of beauty."


Eirikr paused, he didn't want to reveal everything about Terra. There were things that should naturally remain hidden, such as personal things. "Terra is completely underground so it depends on shafts for light. Only some of the structures in Terra are made of earth. Those are usually only a few stories tall. The taller ones are made of stone. I doubt any other city has stone work that can match it. The tunnel system around the city is extensive. Part of the city is carved, not built, into the side of a mountain for the few people who actually live outside the tunnels. That's where most outsiders usually pass through. Only the more reclusive or the outcasts, alongside mushroom farmers, live in the actual tunnels themselves." He stopped and smiled. There was little way anyone could fully comprehend just how wonderful Terra was without seeing it. He was sure the other cities were just as nice, but he still loved Terra more. It was one of the two cities who had managed to stay out of the last war, mainly due to it's location. Plus the leader, Lord Gerald, was careful to avoid taking sides even with some in the city asking that a side be chosen.


Putting his bowl to the side Eirikr decided to answer her about Terra's leader. "Terra has only one ruler, Lord Gerald. The Lord Gerald is a just ruler, he's a strong leader and his punishments aren't excessive. Most everyone is happy with him and we have lived in relative peace, away from these wars. Unfortunately some citizens are unhappy with our neutrality. It's one of the situations Lord Gerald has to deal constantly aside from the quarries and tunnel cave-ins. He knows what he is doing and has been able to keep everything running smoothly."


His talking ended Eirikr retreated into his usual quiet self. He stared at the fire intently, pondering his future both during and after this new war.

Edited by Nasa13

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