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Trials and Travels (Semi-lit)

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Kai smiled as he perceived Isa's heart rate slow a bit and she even smiled, still her mood quickly returned to as it had been. It seemed everyone was on edge and seeing Isa like this drove one thought into Kai's mind 'fix it'. It was the natural response, like a deep seated need in his soul, a need to fix it, to make everything better again. Every time Noe brought her troubles to him, indeed every time he saw any of his friends in need, he was drove to find a solution and implement it. But in his first few months of marriage he'd quickly found that fixing the problem, being all logical and providing possible solutions, was the last thing Noe wanted from him.

 

She wasn't incapable of thinking for herself. It wasn't like she didn't have any ideas of her own. In fact she wasn't even asking him to share his. She wanted him to be there, to help her through the emotions of the problem so that she could move on to the logical side. It was the opposite of how he worked through things himself. Everything had to be ordered and logical, then the emotions could enter in. But as her husband, he'd worked hard to provide for her needs and break free of his own patterns. Noe told him that it was like this for most females, and he made that assumption now with Isa.

 

"Your father doesn't listen to you, I know it's frustrating." He paused, allowing her to help him up though he did most of the work, very few people could lift him and all his sand. "You feel like everything is going back to the way it was, that no one learned anything from what happened a year ago. You don't like being ignored, especially when you know you're right."

 

Kai paused, it was a gift of his that Noe had helped him develop, the ability to understand how others felt. Ironic because he had such a hard time himself expressing his own emotions. But right now, he could feel the underlying current beneath all the frustration in Isa's mind.

 

"But that's not what bothers you. You don't want to think of the real reason that this hurts you so much, none of us do..." Kai paused, "Did all of our friends die, just so that things could get worse? Did they die in vain? Do their sacrifices mean nothing to those who sent them?"

 

Kai lowered his eyes and his voice, "they were voices for peace along with ours, now silenced, dedicated to our cause to the last, a cause that is now further than ever from being made reality."

 

Kai crossed his arms, not sure how to express even how he felt about that. He could say it well enough in words, but the emotions behind it were still a grey fuzz, far less clear than the emotions of those he knew best.

 

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have brought it up, I didn't mean to make things worse." Kai lifted his gaze to meet Isa's eyes, "I just don't want them to be forgotten. I don't want to forget those days, no matter how much it hurts to remember. Because if I forget, then their voices truly are silenced."

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Prince Jahanshah

 

Jahanshah didn't flinch or glance when Aamina appeared; he was so used to her presence that he was more often surprised when a day would go by that he didn't see her. He continued rubbing the blade of Daedureth, although the sword appeared spotless already. Even so, its dark blade refused to shine in the sunlight.

 

After a moment Jahanshah realized that Aamina hadn't spoken yet and he vaguely wondered why. He stole a glance at her, but she was staring across the arena like usual. He often allowed himself to wonder what she was thinking. He had noticed with some pleasure that she had become much more organized and in control of her own emotions in the last year. Not that he had been tracking such things, but compared to the first day he had met her, she had grown a lot.

 

“I apologize for missing yet another speech. The stones are able to carry the sound; even through the stone, your presence grows.” Jahanshah allowed a small smile to touch the edge of his mouth. "Emotions, not statistics, appeal to the masses. This speech was purposely made short, to simply remind the people of what we have been facing recently."

 

“Are you waiting for the queen?” At this Jahanshah turned to look at Aamina once again and gave a slight nod. "I wouldn't wish to rush her. There are so many things to prepare and finalize. Although the ancient beast-men hold much wisdom, Queen Zillah must still make every final decision. When she summons me, we'll speak about the current plans and any significant reports from her spies and assassins. I'm certain we'll be sent out again, even if the rumors of these so-called 'Guardians of Peace' turn out to be false. However, if they're true, we will have to greet these Guardians and see what they want."

A rare bit of sarcasm laced Jahan's voice; he doubted any meeting with the rumored-Guardians would go down without force, but the final decision of what would be done was up to the Queen. Her wisdom always amazed Jahan. It didn't really surprise him that she was wise, but her choices were often things he wouldn't have considered as a first-choice, and yet her plans were always flawless. He knew he had much to learn before he was ready to lead an entire Alliance, but the Queen had many years remaining and so Jahanshah had no worries. He simply kept himself busy, emerged in the political and social aspects of the Shadow Alliance at all times.

 

~~~

 

~Mythyr~**~**~**~

 

"...and that is how I got my first penny-whistle! Who knew an instrument could be so much trouble, right?"

 

Mythyr Gwron Baine was walking beside Julian Sivett on a small, dark trail that led to Whisper. Since they had begun walking, there had hardly been a lull in their conversation, even if Mythyr was usually the one talking and asking questions... and singing, and playing his whistle and lute, and reciting poetry to random travelers that occasionally were [un]fortunate enough to be heading in the same direction as him, towards Whisper. Mythyr and Julian were both traveling there for similar reasons and had joined up along the way, quickly becoming something close to friends. Now they had almost reached the Shadow City, and for the past fifteen minutes Mythyr had been walking... on his hands.

 

The closer they got to the city, the more of a sense of doom Mythyr got. Yet it was a good sort of doom as he saw it; it was doom that doomed one to service and freed hundreds of others. For reasons many couldn't understand, he hadn't just joined the military but had dedicated his very soul to the Shadow Alliance. The process of dedicating one's soul was little more than symbolism, but to him it was real enough and anyone who asked about it could see it in his eyes. He had no regrets. Anyway, the food was great.

 

"Julian!" He flipped to his feet, as his arms were getting tired. "Looks like we're almost to Whisper! Hey, do you think we'll actually get to see Queen Zillah? I only met her once before, and it wasn't a very pleasant meeting... but once we understood our differences a little better, she decided not to kill me. I think she's really a nice person, under all those layers of Queen-ness. What do you think? Have you ever met her?"

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Isa

 

Isa listened to the ever perceptive Kai who never seemed to be afraid to speak his mind. Ever since she had met him, tact was never one of his more prudent qualities, making him someone that she trusted; he didn’t lie. He knew that she needed help getting through this and it was really between him, Yuaki and Aketsu that she trusted her mind with. Noe she only trusted because she could throw her pretty far if she so wished.

 

He nailed everything right on the head. Her father wasn’t listening at all. No one was listening to those that had been right on the forefront of the entire field of battle that they were going to start. Leith was dead, Ayama, BattleMate and her mate. Her father had experienced this same sadness, so why did he wish, and why did the Queen wish, to force this sadness upon others? He continued on, knowing what was truly in her heart, for it was in the hearts of the others.

 

A soft exhale left her when Kai spoke about those that had died. She and Noe had been raised with Ayame, grew up with Leith, and had classmates that passed away as well as friends that they had made on the road. Nothing compared to having the feeling of life wrenched away from you. “Yeah.” She whispered before wiping away the large tears that were falling from her eyes.

 

“You don’t have to apologize Kai. You are right. It’s not just me that’s right, it’s everyone…the Guardians of Peace. There are those that have seen what we have seen and still they won’t listen to what is going on. Then there are those that haven’t seen it and wonder what the big deal is.” She glanced in the direction of Blaise, a person to whom she would forever be connected to as a ‘star sibling’. He had mentally stated something earlier about her being rash and fighting to stop fighting. He was much like Kai in his lack of tact at times, but he was brutal.

Maybe she truly was arrogant. She wasn’t meaning to, but had to find a way to protect her people from the onslaught that was being proposed.

 

“Oh well. I think that it is time that we each returned to our respective loves that await us. From what I can see, Noe is waiting at my room, and Aketsu is in his room. Shall we?” she asked Kai awaiting for him to take the lead. She didn’t want to talk much about this any longer. She was sure that Noe had heard something and Aketsu had probably met with the same struggles as she had in their meetings.

 

Viara – V

 

V allowed herself to wake up for another few minutes before people really began to pour through the entire building. It was about time to go out for a ride and make sure that she was ready to face the day. Only about two hours were left for her to eat and do as she wished until it was time to finally join Lord Jahansha’s team and become the woman that the Jahfar was planning for her to be. As an assassin, she was valuable, as a person? She wasn’t so sure. The constant mood changes made her unpredictable, but at least Viara understood the importance of her job.

 

As V walked to the cafeteria to get her meal, prepared by herself so as to avoid any poisons again, she thought about how Viara reacted to situations. She confused people with her cuteness and often made sure that she was the center of attention. It was a great distraction tactic that V never considered. Cute just wasn’t her thing.

 

However, if you needed someone to get the job done quickly and efficiently without any worry to the causalities, she was your girl. Her heart was hardened to death just as her mind was hardened toward warmth for others when in the mind of V as she was now. A small headache began behind her eyes, signaling that Viara wished to speak with her.

 

V picked up into a run to the stables where she quickly requested her favorite horse, a large racing stallion by the name of Victros. He was relatively calm for her, but would attempt to kill anyone that approached besides V, Viara or the old stablemaster. When he was saddled by the stable master, he pranced out into the open just as the headaches were getting worse.

 

“Hya!” V spurred Victros down the road. “I said later not now!” She shouted into the air.

 

“So? Riding is fun! Wheeeeee!” Viara squealed in delight as she rode down the road as fast as Victros would let her.

 

Aamina

 

She half grimaced, half smiled when Jahan stated that emotions appealed to the masses. It was something that never understood for the emotions of happiness, love and joy were so far gone, that the only emotions she understood were hatred, anger, and fear. Of course, she did ‘love’ the prince and the queen, but that was a different love. Not the one that was born innately. “Emotions…” she mumbled to herself.

 

When he began to speak about the queen, Aamina began to grin. Meeting with these so called Guardians of Peace would be a meeting indeed. From the information that she had been receiving, they were a small number even if their group might contain two legendary children. No matter though, they were strengthened in numbers, training and overall skills. Their cohesion was better than most as well thanks to the fact that they were all required, on pain of death, to work together.

 

“A meeting I shall be glad to have.” She smiled darkly before considering what the prince said about the Queen.

 

“M’ lord, you do know that she would make time for you if you would but ask.” Aamina looked at the prince curiously. He was always this way with the queen when the queen herself was always asking Aamina how the prince was doing, what he was doing, and how his development was coming. Of course, some of this was as a queen checking on the training of her star pupil and successor, but other times, there was a hint of motherly tenderness when it came to the young lord. “I am not sure if this is my place or not sire… However, you do realize that she views you as a son and does not treat you as a task master like she does others.” Aamina’s face grew hard as she spoke. “Her tenderness in regard to you is like something that a true mother would give to her children.”

 

Emotionless. Remain Emotionless. Aamina stated to herself before she looked at the prince. Aamina hadn’t had trouble with memories for quite some time. “You are her heir. Do not hesitate to consider her to be your mother and ask of her what you will. She would give you the world, and will.”

 

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Julian

 

Laughing at Mythyr's antics, Julian didn't have a bored moment from the time they had joined up. The songs he sang and stories he told were ones he had never heard before, having grown up in a stately area, then lived in a homely town in Metallum. His new companion puzzled him, but he greatly enjoyed his company. The two had much in common; the Light Alliance had done them both wrong. Made them suffer. Now, they're traveling towards a similar fate; servitude to the Shadow Alliance. Julian didn't know if he wanted anything more than to do his part in defending his own kind.

 

Another similarity he and Mythyr share is their light-heartedness and the ability to see the bright side of things. Julian, despite the the gap in their ages, feels some sort of a connection to the young traveling performer. And in another sense, he wants to protect the young man. Having fallen under hard times and suddenly abandoning the regime he lead for the majority of his life, he seems troubled and nervous. It's natural, but it seems a different kind of nervous. Of course, Julian was worried about this new path, thought he was learning to accept the new trail.

 

"Julian!" He flipped to his feet, as his arms were getting tired. "Looks like we're almost to Whisper! Hey, do you think we'll actually get to see Queen Zillah? I only met her once before, and it wasn't a very pleasant meeting... but once we understood our differences a little better, she decided not to kill me. I think she's really a nice person, under all those layers of Queen-ness. What do you think? Have you ever met her?"

 

Julian looked up towards the city with a small smile. "Mmm, looks like. Maybe we'll meet her, who knows. She might want to talk to us, or maybe we'll be sent to Lord Jahanshah. He seems kinder than the Queen, to be sure." He shook his head regarding the last question. "No, I haven't met her. Spent most of my life in the outskirts."

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**Jahanshah~~~

 

“M’ lord, you do know that she would make time for you if you would but ask.”

 

Jahanshah frowned slightly and paused the cleaning of his weapon. He stared at Daedureth, as though expecting the sword itself to answer Aamina. He had a feeling he knew where the conversation was going, and it troubled him.

 

“I am not sure if this is my place or not sire… However, you do realize that she views you as a son and does not treat you as a task master like she does others. Her tenderness in regard to you is like something that a true mother would give to her children.”

 

Jahanshah clenched his jaw and swallowed, putting Daedureth back in its sheath to cover for his facial expression, which he was trying to keep emotionless, neutral. Failing, at that; a slight confusion and uncomfortable frown remained. “You are her heir. Do not hesitate to consider her to be your mother and ask of her what you will. She would give you the world, and will.”

 

Jahan finally turned and looked Aamina in the eye. He hadn't felt like this for a while and he didn't like the feeling. His first defense mechanism was to tell Aamina that it wasn't her place, that she had no right to state what the Queen felt or what she would or wouldn't do, or how Jahanshah was supposed to respond to her. But he recognized the denial involved with such an action and it wasn't Aamina's fault. He stared at her a moment more, then pursed his lips and gazed off in a random direction.

 

"Aamina, the only problem with that... is that I've never had a mother." He spoke rather slowly and carefully, as though to make sure he said nothing he didn't have to. "More accurately, I've never been someone's child. I suppose I can admit to you, I don't know what the Queen desires in regards to... our relationship. I don't know exactly what a 'mother' is, not the mother she might have had." He wondered if that made any sense. Physical affection, family life, even childhood friends were all rather foreign to him. He hadn't been totally isolated, he had just been kept busy. His entire childhood he had been treated like an adult and screamed at by his dearest 'mother' when he had misbehaved or acted childish. She told him that was her way of showing love; she had made him perfect, legendary, prepared to take on things most people his age wouldn't dream of. Her and a distant father, kept quiet and solemn by Lady Vanna; that was what Jahanshah knew of love.

 

He sighed quietly. "All I want is for her to be happy. Queen Zillah, that is. After all she's been through... it must be hard, having to go to war again." Suddenly he brightened as an idea came across him. "Aamina! You know how to do everything, right? Organize papers, talk to people, make arrangements... you know what the Queen would want as a mother, yes? So maybe sometime when we have extra time, you could teach me... if that's possible... however that works, if that would make her happy. You're someone's child, so you know better than I--"

 

The last sentence came out before Jahanshah could stop it, and he almost choked trying. He didn't know that much about Aamina, but he knew she didn't have a family anymore. Suddenly he felt like an idiot. And as any wiseman would say, that's what happens when you talk too much. Maybe Lady Vanna was right.

 

"I mean, you... the Queen. You know her better than I," he managed to say. He honestly had no idea if Aamina would be hurt by memories of her family, because he had no idea what it was like to lose someone close. In that way too he felt alienated from the Queen and Aamina, and it bothered him whenever he thought of it. He tried imagining it, tried imagining losing his ties to the queen forever. He imagined fighting alongside her brother, who must have been a great man, and watching him fall. But he knew it wasn't the same as being there.

 

~~~

 

~Mythyr~

 

Mythyr nodded distractedly to Julian's replies. He felt a grin pull at the edge of his mouth, but he tried to keep a straight face--he had learned that guards of Whisper didn't like smiling customers.

 

Whisper was a funny city. You didn't really see it until you almost ran into it. If you were a lost enemy, a spy of some sort, it was too late for you at that point; you were noticed long before you noticed. The city was almost invisible, yet not at all; to watch it appear in front of oneself was almost impossible to describe. It was never invisible, always there, yet until a certain point one would not notice it. Mythyr knew a song with a verse about a flustered Shadow Alliance messenger who always ran so fast to deliver messages he ran right into the walls of Whisper before noticing it. Now Mythyr finally quieted, staring intently into the shadows of the great forest that surrounded him.

 

"It should be somewhere here," he said quietly. He looked at Julian again, smiling slightly. "I've never met Lord Jahanshah. I hear he's kind of short. Is that true?" Mythyr thought it'd be pretty funny if it was true. He knew Jahanshah was really young, only fifteen or something, and that blew his mind. How could the Queen put a kid in charge of what would become one of her deadliest Elementian forces for the war? He must be one smart squid, Mythyr thought with amusement. He could just picture someone half his height running around telling professional assassins how to do their jobs. The thought widened his grin as he awaited a reply from Julian.

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Luna

 

Luna had absolutely no interest in eavesdropping on any meetings, let alone the one that was nearing its completion. Even though she could turn off her telepathy at any time, there was always so much tension radiating from the room it was almost as if she had never switched it off. Instead of putting herself through any unnecessary stress, she calmly strolled through the garden. Her cane lightly tapped the ground with each step. Because of her injury from the year before, she now had slight limp and an actual need for the use of the cane. It worked out quite well, actually. Her grip was much tighter on the cane, and there was no chance of her accidentally letting it fly against random walls if she lost control of her powers again.

 

The time she had spent healing had also created time for her to reflect and learn. What she had done on the battlefield had remained a mystery for quite awhile. She had tried again and again to imitate its effects, but it never seemed to work. As hard as she tried, she just couldn't force someone to obey a telepathic command. It was frustrating, but one thing was certain: she could do it.

 

As she continued to walk around the garden, Luna finally felt that enough time had passed for the meeting to be over. She slowly opened her mind, feeling out the other presences around her. Immediately she picked up the presence of Blaise. She faltered for a step, then continued walking. His presence nearly shadowed everybody else's, but what made him even more interesting was that Luna knew he could reach back at her. At least his attention is focused elsewhere she thought as she found Yuaki, a few servants, Kai, and....Isa? She seemed distressed. Luna turned off her telepathy and paused her steps. Even from that little blip of emotion she had sensed from the Princess, she could tell that the meeting had not gone over well. Luna knew better than to pry for that kind of information. She would be told about it all in due time. Besides, she didn't need the stress; there was already more than enough conflict between light and shadow for her to handle at the moment. Trouble was boiling all around them and maybe Isa had found the tipping point. Of all things, Luna wanted to hold off on knowing that for sure.

 

Edited by BlueApollo

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Blaise

 

Blaise heard the conversation between the two servants; his mind was clear and it was loudly thought. He let out a huff, the cast a glance over at the pair, straightening his back and donning the blankest expression he could come up with. "Blaise Sivett, the legendary Star Child..." What a title. He was proud of the recognition he received for his achievements, but simply being a legendary was no cause for being something special. And with all the talk about the Princess being like him, he expected an impressive display from her, as they were being compared.

 

Taller? How does that have anything to do with what I'm capable of? he thought to himself, slightly cross. He'd heard that one before, of course. Though no one had previously dared say it aloud.

 

The girl's thoughts were unguarded, and he took a peek at her current mindset while clenching his teeth together to avoid being heard. Once in, he nearly released yet another haughty sigh. No, the princess and I lead very different lives, think very different thoughts. I should know, I've heard them. I've-

 

A sudden throb in the back of his head regained his focus on the present moment, causing him to grimace, and he realized he was still looking over in the direction of the servant, Yuaki, with a cold expression. Though she was now casually staring back at him. Narrowing his eyes at her, he rose, replacing his notebook in his pocket, thinking of finding the quiet library again, where he might be able to read in peace.

 

 

 

Julian

 

"Ah, we'll find it. Though, if we wander around in circles for a long enough time, maybe someone will come out and drag us inside."

 

Julian scanned the woods, then looked back in the direction he assumed the city to be located. The darkness that hid the entrance blended in with the shadows the thick branches of the trees cast, but he knew it couldn't be that far now...

 

He glanced to Mythyr, whom had adopted a less enthusiastic expression, but grew happier with each passing second. "Uum... Possibly. I mean, he's a middle aged teenager, right? I didn't really start growing, growing until his age. But, he's pretty impressive for a kid. I mean, practically half my age and already leading an army.

 

The training they must have subjected him to amazed Julian. To be on the level that he was at his young age was astonishing, and he always admired that. His own abilities with his element constantly mocked him; for some reason he was simply stuck at this stage, as if he were no longer able to progress. But maybe the young prince would be able to teach an old dog new tricks. Just maybe...

Edited by Silver_Voices

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Kai nodded, instinctively taking Isa's hand in his, the one hand he had left, as he gladly lead her back in the direction of Aketsu and Noe. It would do them both good to be around their significant others. That and regardless of the sadness of his earlier statements, Kai couldn't keep his surprise for Noe completely out of his mind. Even as they began walking back, he caught himself wondering if he'd remembered to clear the sand off the walk way before he left last night.

 

Still his mind was not absent enough to forget a reply. "That sounds like an excellent idea." He gave Isa's hand a little squeeze, "you know that you have Noe's and my full support, whatever your final decision."

 

They walked for a short distance before they were forced to part ways as Kai continued on to Isa's room and Isa move a bit further down the hall to Aketsu's. "I'll give Noe my best for you, and Isa?" Kai paused for a moment with a small smile, "promise to get some sleep mmm?" He hadn't wanted to say anything earlier, but she looked as tired as she probably felt, at least to him. And he knew she was stubborn enough to ignore her body's need of sleep until a time that was more "convenient" such a time that he was convinced would be too late in coming.

 

Bowing once in respect, Kai turned in to Isa's room hurried inside. Noe was the first thing that came to his sight and he rushed up to her, embracing her with both arms. The embrace had two effects, first it was to show her how much he'd missed her and loved her, and second it put him in close contact with her body and allowed him to feel her stress levels quite literally. That would tell him if now was a good time to be excited and happy or supportive and calm. He hoped for the former but expected the latter. Either way, he was confident in his plan to change her mood before the end of the day.

 

"Welcome back love, I missed you!" Kai exclaimed as he buried his head in her neck, breathing in her familiar scent and giving her a quick kiss to prove his earlier statement. Noe hadn't been gone for days, in fact she hadn't been gone for even one full day, but that didn't make Kai's statement any less true. If he had his way he would spend every waking moment with her, politics and national policy be anathema.

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~Yuaki~

 

Blaise Sivett. He seemed to get a lot of headaches. Now he was staring coldly back. That didn't stop Yuaki from continuing to gaze at him. Often the other servants would tease her for having no ability to read body-language, no idea when one was supposed to 'break' a stare or when one was no longer wanted somewhere. When Blaise looked like he was going to leave, Yuaki decided she was going to as well. She had some deliveries to make outside of the palace. So Yuaki darted for the exit of the garden, racing past Blaise as though running from someone. She zipped down various halls through various doors until she had come to the gates of the palace.

 

"Going out for a delivery," she said to the guards. She handed them the slip of paper that explained the delivery. After checking over the bread, spices and wine that were in the large basked she carried, the guards let her through. Cautions were even higher than normal today because of the meeting princess Isa had just attended and because of visiting nobles.

 

Yuaki exited the gate. The moment she was out of sight of the guards, she turned and walked alongside the wall about forty-feet from it. This was the fastest way to Banney's Bread House, where she was to deliver the goods. One of the cooks of the palace was old Banney's cousin, and they often send each other gifts and ideas for recipes. That was one of the reasons that the palace had the best bread ever; it wasn't all made from royal fluff ingredients, but had some of the more rugged stuff Yuaki had lived on in her younger years.

 

As she walked, she sensed something odd. Well, more accurately, her shadow did. She jumped at its sudden lengthening and she quickly reined it in. Taking a moment to breathe, she slowly walked in the direction the shadow had been attracted. It lead her to a small patch of large trees, where she saw a man. He seemed to be looking at the palace wall, as though assessing it. Yuaki's shadow was definitely excited to see this man, and she suddenly was not excited to see him. Frowning, she stepped forward. "Hey there," she said casually. "Looking for something?"

 

~~

~~Mythyr~~

 

Mythyr's grin widened at Julian's response about being dragged into whisper. He didn't doubt it, although he dearly hoped he'd be recognized. He wasn't all that distinct, but the Whisper assassins had seen him training before. His thoughts returned to Julian as he answered his second question.

 

"I didn't really start growing, growing until his age. But, he's pretty impressive for a kid. I mean, practically half my age and already leading an army." Mythyr nodded, thinking about this. It was true, he hadn't hit his growth spurt until around fifteen or sixteen. It had been terrible, being mistaken for an early-teen by girls his age. But it had been worth the wait, for even though Mythyr wasn't as brawny as a lot of people his age, his body could do anything he told it to and that was a boon. He could dislocate shoulders, knees, wrists, and shove them right back in their sockets. His spine bent in ways that no spine should be able to, yet he felt no pain short or long term. His muscles and sense of balance were perfectly coordinated and responded to his every whim. It was a gift, for sure.

 

Suddenly Mythyr stopped, staring straight ahead. After a moment of dumb silence, his grin returned. "Hey, we're here! Look at that, the maps weren't wrong after all. I was almost afraid we'd go in a big circle and end up in Sola! That... would not be good. But it didn't happen, nope! This is definitely not Sola."

 

The looming dark city was anything but Sola. To an ordinary outsider, it would have looked like something to be avoided at all costs. However, to people who knew the friendly smiles and great protection that the inside of the city brought, it was a safe-haven. It was only dark to those who had their minds stuck in the light. The gate was only about 200 yards from Mythyr and Julian, and the guards were already watching them approach. Mythyr continued onwards.

 

"The last thing I did last time I was in Whisper was kiss a lady on the cheek. I think that's the first time I've ever kissed someone besides Old Man Botto's wife. I mean, I kissed her on the cheek too... she's like a grandmother to me. Anyway! This lady that I kissed in Whisper, she was old too and had told me to weed her garden. So I weeded it quickly since I was leaving soon. Then her son came home and saw me standing in their garden, and he had no idea his mother had told me to be there! He chased me all over the place, swinging a giant axe! Fortunately he wasn't very fast..."

 

Mythyr forgot where he was going with the story as they approached the gate. He swallowed his nervousness and grinned at Julian. "Ah... do you want to talk to the guards?" As usual, the guards had solemn, dark faces.

Edited by LadyNatasha

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Isa

 

Isa followed Kai, feeling secure for once. When Aketsu wasn’t around she knew that she could go to Kai if anything was troubling her and she wished for a male opinion. Aketsu had been, and still was as far as she knew, Kai’s male tutor and companion. There were times that they didn’t get along, but they were to be brother-in-laws (she hoped!) someday.

 

Kai stopped at the intersection where rooms went in four separate ways. He was to go to see Noe, and she was to go to see Aketsu. When he mentioned her getting sleep, she felt touched, but also laughed. Only a year of knowing one another and he already knew how set she was in her ways of thinking and actions. Too stubborn to function at times.

 

“Thank you for your support Kai. And, well, when sleep becomes more feasible I’ll be sure and give it a try.” She smiled and waved at Kai as he rushed off towards her room where Noe would be waiting. The two were extreme love birds which only made her smile in happiness for the two…until she and Noe had a confrontation.

 

As she walked down the hallways to Aketsu’s room, she couldn’t help but think of how far she and Noe had finally come. Isa used to hate the little weather brat thanks to her being adopted by Isa’s father. Noe had received the same education and had come out all the better for it. She was a calm debater while Isa was more passionate. It was easier for her to get along with the political women, and Isa was able to get along more with the men. As a team, they would have been able to be a complete queen, but Isa was to be queen, and Noe, along with Kai, her advisors should her father die before she was married.

 

Before she knew it, Isa was at her beloved’s door. For some reason, she was nervous, but excited to see him. Everything was far too busy lately and she might actually have some time to sit and talk with him. Isa straightened out her dress, and slipped a stray lock of violet hair back behind her ear. Her ornate, beaded circlet was starting to itch, but she endured it, knowing that this is what she had to wear as the sole successor of the throne.

 

Knock. Knock.

 

“Aketsu?”

 

V – Viara

 

“Yahoo!”

 

People smiled around her as she rode around the town smiling and waving at people, even those that she didn’t know. Her ride was daily and most of the time, especially when V wanted to enjoy a slow, easy, ride, Viara would take over and have a blast as V watched from the background.

 

“really? You have to do this?” V whispered to herself as Viara giggled.

 

A child ran in front of the horse but Viara deftly missed the child, picked him up, and took him for a ride with her until she returned him to his family. By this time, she was well into Viara with V nowhere in sight which was irritating V to no end.

 

Viara wound down every road at a swift speed until she approached the front gates, giggling and talking to herself. Her dark armor and weapons were a stark contrast to her bubbly behavior as she approached the guards.

 

“Good morning boyos!” she called as she jumped down from her rather large stallion. The young stallion pranced behind her, but nipped at anyone that came too close.

 

“Good morning Viara!” the guards said in unison. The two at the gates allowed a small smile to cross their lips as Viara spoke with the guards in the guard house.

 

“What are the plans for today fellas? I know that I’m supposed to meet with the new team, but how about ya?” Viara stood with her hands behind her back as she bounced on her tippy toes.

 

“Well, we have several refugees that are coming in, and I think a few new team members, some students, you know, the normal.” The guard was obviously enamored with the young girl in front of him and his posture stated so.

 

“Anything that I can help w----“ Viara looked out on the road to see two travelers that were coming at the gates. She looked at the head guard who rolled his eyes, giving her the okay.

 

“Hi there!” she shouted happily as she skipped up to them. “Welcome to the mighty city of Whisper where all your dreams can come true as long as you swear fealty to our wonderful, merciful Queen Zillah.” She giggled and smiled at the two travelers.

 

“What brings you by here today?” she asked with a cutsie smile on her face. The two guards that had been standing by the gate threw their eyes to the sky before walking back behind the gate. there was no reason for them to stand there with Viara. She could handle herself for as far as they were concerned.

 

Inwardly, V groaned at the “cayyoooteness” until she noticed Mythyr.

 

HEY! That's Mythyr!

 

"Aren't you Mythyr?" Viara squealed in delight as she skipped closer to him with a grin. "Do you remember me? I'm Viara!"

 

Now my entire reputation is ruined..... If V could be seen with a desk, she would be hitting her head against it repeatedly thanks to the cuter side of herself.

 

Noe

 

Noe was looking around, hating the fact that she didn’t have some ability to tell her where people were or where they were coming from. It was annoying!

 

With a sigh, she was about to walk away when she heard footstep. Stepping back to her post she looked around, wondering where the steps were coming from. Thanks to the echoing nature of the halls, she couldn’t tell. When she turned to where she could finally hear the steps, she was officially glomped by her loving husband.

 

Surprise was first, but then an overwhelming amount of love bubbled up as she hugged her husband as close to her as she could. There was a large release of stress as she stood there hugging him, knowing that he was probably informed of the news as well.

 

“That tickles!” she giggled when Kai buried his face in her neck but accepted the love anyways. She brushed her nose against his with a smile on her face after he gave her a quick kiss. She placed her arms on his shoulders and looked him in the eye, studying him.

 

“How are you?” she asked still smiling, not really wanting to get into the knitty gritty of what had happened that morning. She could already guess as much, and was glad that her husband had been there to be with Isa.

 

Marcus

 

Marcus didn’t want to wake up. Marcus hated waking up.

 

“Why do I have to wake up?” he grumbled. Luckily for him, waking up meant getting to see his wonderful fiancées face now. The best part of every day was getting to see her before they had to go to work for the queen. Not only did he have to travel with the brat pack as a scribe of sorts, he also had his duties to make sure that the queen had every single gem that she wished as well as provide a source of income for the kingdom.

 

Oh joy.

 

“Sky, wake up dear.” He said walking to where she was, leaning over to kiss her on the cheek.

 

Aamina

 

Aamina kept eye contact with the prince until he turned away. He spoke about not having a mother to which she responded, “I know this.” She didn’t stop listening to him as he worried about not knowing how to have a mother. From what she could gain from Lady Vanna’s personality, she was a very driving uncaring woman while her husband was the more tender of the two.

 

Fortunately, Aamina knew the history of the Queen as she had had to learn it from the Queen herself. Aamina was to teach everything to Jahanshah about the Queen, so why shouldn’t she teach him the history as well. He knew part, but not all. She was going to tell him about the Queen’s mother, but he looked to have been thinking a bit more than normal, and then a light bulb went off.

 

Jahan began to speak excitedly about Aamina and praising her, making a slight flush appear on her face. She wasn’t used to being praised. It was nice to hear such compliments from the young man that she was to be beside for as long as the Queen called for. She was smiling until…

 

"...you know what the Queen would want as a mother, yes?"

 

Aamina nodded, hiding the discomfort that she felt. She knew what a loving mother wanted, knew what she would sac—

 

"You're someone's child, so you know better than I--"

 

Without even thinking, the earth in front of Aamina, towards the arena, cracked open and rippled at the same time. Her face showed no emotion however which was probably more frightening than her showing emotion. Ignoring all parts of her that were once a little girl, once a young child bouncing around her loving parents, hugging her siblings and feeling their love, she turned to the prince with a slight smile as she straightened out the earth in front of her.

 

“Was someone’s child sire. Was. Do not worry though, you are free to say anything around me m’lord without any need to hold back.” She took a small breath and let it out, ignoring the glow of the gem around her neck, signifying that it was ready to be used since she was inwardly in a moment of turmoil.

 

“I was someone’s daughter when I was younger. I can teach you how to rely on the Queen as she wishes you to, and help you learn the love that she wishes to give. Her only fear is that you would refuse her because of the treatment of your own mother.” Aamina continued to look the prince in the eye, her own void of any emotion other than the pleasure of being able to help the prince.

 

If the prince were perceptive enough, he would be able to see the little girl within Aamina, still mourning over the loss of her parents, siblings and possibly her older brother that she adored. The little girl that hid away in an earthen core, never free to cry, never free to scream out the injustice of it all until it was time to train or fight. Then she would appear and force her anger into every deadly movement.

Edited by LoveLost

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Skylar

 

Sky grumbled a bit when she heard what Marcus said before hearing his footsteps coming closer to her bed. "I don't wanna," she said in reply before trying to cover her head with her covers but then just gave up and sat up while also stretching a bit.

 

When he kissed her on the cheek she kissed him back and then asked curiously, "What's on the agenda today?" She knew that they would have to go to a meeting with Jahansah later, or at least she thought they did, but didn't know what they could do before then and before Marc had to leave to be a scribe for another group of people.

 

She didn't think that she had to go anywhere but that could change unless she was allowed to go with Marc on his jobs. She would just have to wait and see about that, though. She could also just go out and practice her power a bit more or go on a run with Artemis too if she felt like it. Maybe they would do that if they had time before they had to leave to do whatever they had to do for Queen Zillah or meet with Jahansah. She just wanted to do something fun with her fiancé before they had to go to work.

Edited by Dragonpelt

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Lucius

 

Lucius had found it. The perfect place to sneak a look at the castle from over the wall. It was a large patch of trees and it was far enough from the more populated area of the city. He'd guess it was like a little park so if he was careful about his surrounding he'd be able to do his task easily. First came the task of finding the right tree It's not like he was the best climber of all time either. Then checking around for people, which came much faster than he thought when someone came walking towards him. The person coming his way was a blue haired girl carrying around a basket. He'd have ignored her if it was not for the frown she had on her face while looking at him. When she spoke directly to him he sighed.

 

Not especially, is it against the law to admire a wall while standing near big trees?

 

He turned around to face her after putting a bit more energy into hiding the red of his eyes, better safe than sorry. Even if he was a bit nervous it didn't really show, he was used to hiding what he felt so that he could pull tricks and get away with it without anyone knowing the seemingly as confused person was the culprit all along.

 

Why the big frown? You know that if you frown too often it'll be stuck on your face on day. Would it not be a shame to ruin such a pretty face?” He said with a smile to try and lessen the atmosphere.

Did you need something or may I return to my hopefully not illegal staring of the wall?

 

He was unsure about the girl and the more she stayed the more she gave him a strange feeling. He was unable to put his finger as of why though...

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'How are you' The question was something that Noe asked him often but the question itself was misleading, at least in his mind. It had taken Now a few months worth of explaining and training to help Kai finally realize that she wasn't asking 'how are you?' like someone passing by on the street might nonchalantly ask it. She didn't want him to say "I'm fine," or, "doing well," or "ah, I'm alright." No, the question meant something completely different to her than it had meant to him, at least in the beginning of their marriage. There were many ways that the two of them had discovered in which they seemed to speak different languages.

 

It had been a strain on their relationship at times, but ultimately the time that each one took to learn from and understand the other and communicate with them openly proved to be a solid foundation that allowed the rest of the relationship to flourish.

 

So Kai immediately corrected his initial reaction and translated Noe's question into "what has your day been like and how do you feel about it emotionally?" She wasn't interested in a bullet point list of everything that happened, she wanted to know how he was feeling. That was how it should be, even he knew that. Still, it wasn't easy for him to discern how he was feeling and answering took a moment.

 

"Well, I went to the meeting, after I got up and ate and did... stuff..." Kai allowed Noe to slip out of the embrace and settled for holding her other hand in his good hand. "I think I'm a little sad that things don't seem to be going as we had hoped, even after all this time." Kai paused, looking down at the ground for a moment and shifting his feet before he met Noe's gaze once more.

 

"Angry," he admitted, "I try not to be. But I think about you, working so hard in so many ways to help Isa win over the nobles, and all the hardship they put you both through... and it makes me angry at them. I can't help it." He grinned sheepishly, "I feel angry with anyone who makes your life more difficult than I think it should be. Which is not at all, by the way," he added with a smile.

 

Kai bit his lip, it was a tell he had when he was hiding something. He was absolutely terrible at keeping secrets, especially from Noe, even if they were in order to surprise her. It just wasn't in his nature to be anything but open with those he was close to. So he'd finally broken down a month ago and told Aketsu all about the home he was working on, and Aketsu had actually come out to see it and made some good suggestions. Aketsu was also Kai's accountability partner that Kai wouldn't give in to his desire to tell Noe about things until today, well... until this evening at least. Still, being so close to that time... his promise to Aketsu and to himself, was being put to the test.

 

"How are you doing love?" He asked, trying to give her the burden of replying before he lost it and told her everything. The plan was to take her on a walk through the woods, before they had a chance to need to go to the small flat that currently served as their home. "We could take a walk later if it would ease your mind, give us a chance to talk, just the two of us?" Kai couldn't keep the mischievous smile off of his face, but he hoped she would interpret it simply as his desire to get her alone and away from everyone after a day in which both of them had been around others and away from one another.

 

Kai eyed Noe carefully, her reaction indicated that she hadn't bothered to stop at the flat before coming here... which was good, since he'd already moved absolutely everything out of it and taken it to their new home in the woods this morning. He figured she would have been a bit more alarmed if she'd noticed that before coming to see him.

Edited by Rakashua

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Jahanshah's expression changed to surprise when the earth split. He frowned and glanced at Aamina. Was she angry? She turned and smiled, yet he didn't like the smile much. As she spoke, he noticed her gem was glowing; now he knew he had said something wrong. It didn't bother him more than to simply frustrate him, as he knew he couldn't make it right and Aamina wouldn't respond to any apology except with another 'you have the right' talk.

 

“I can teach you how to rely on the Queen as she wishes you to, and help you learn the love that she wishes to give. Her only fear is that you would refuse her because of the treatment of your own mother.”

 

Jahanshah met Aamina's eyes, although his look was now more grim. "Nevermind," he said quietly. He paused a moment, turning his gaze to Daedureth. "I'll learn on my own." His voice was back to its regular, unexcited self. "It seems rather silly, learning to 'rely' on someone. Yet I already rely on her... I rely on her for everything except for what she desires apparently. And I do not regret the way I was treated by Lady Vanna. But that's nothing you have to worry about anyway. Though, I do wish to see Queen Zillah soon... I suppose I'll request an audience with her. I don't wish her to have any tension regarding my status."

 

Jahanshah's stubborn nature took its turn; he wouldn't accept help because his view on the situation had shifted. Initially it was he who had asked Aamina for help, but the way she had responded had frustrated him further due to his own lack of understanding of how he perceived she might feel, and in a twisted knot of over-thought circles in a mind that had too many compartments to think in, it eventually lead him to the conclusion that relying solely on Aamina for such 'training' was not the best idea. Although, he didn't doubt Aamina knew what the Queen desired. He also didn't accept help because in his eyes it suddenly looked weak, and he had been trained to hide weakness. Sensitivity to life and emotions weren't weaknesses in themselves, but displaying them was weak... yet every normal citizen seemed to. Jahanshah pondered this a moment, then offered a half-smile to Aamina.

 

"Please do inform Queen Zillah that I would like to meet with--" he paused a moment thoughtfully. "Oh, just come with me. I'll to speak to her myself." He turned and beckoned over two guards who were warming up to practice in the arena. They rushed over and bowed. "If anyone comes looking for me here, tell them I'll return soon enough and they should wait." With that, Jahanshah began walking towards the Palace of Whisper.

 

~~~~~~~~

 

^_Mythyr_^

 

Mythyr had no sooner offered Julian the pleasure of speaking to the grim guards when suddenly he noticed that the guards weren't so grim any longer and had been joined by a bubbly young lady. Mythyr stopped immediately, stunned by the sight of her golden hair. It almost seemed to glow compared to everything else in the dark area.

 

“Hi there! Welcome to the mighty city of Whisper where all your dreams can come true as long as you swear fealty to our wonderful, merciful Queen Zillah.”

 

Mythyr stuttered over his words, caught off-guard once again by her even-more-golden-glowy eyes. It took him a moment to recognize her, as she was acting much different than how he remembered her. For a moment he wondered if she'd had one too many failed poison tests... or maybe he had, and was now seeing things. "V-V-Vi--"

 

"Aren't you Mythyr?" Mythyr's jaw hung slightly when she skipped right up close to him, her joyful eyes staring at his own red eyes. "Do you remember me? I'm Viara!"

 

He stuttered and blinked a moment more, trying to form words and decide what to say. It had been months since he had seen Viara. He figured either she hated him and was about to kill him and was only putting on an act, or she was having a very, very good day. Whatever the case, the sheer joy and aura of freedom that cascaded from her hit him like a stone wall, and he was dumbstruck a moment.

 

She remembers me.

 

"Ahh... hi, Viara, I remember you," he said, grinning and scratching his head out of habit. He suddenly regained his train of thoughts and took a step back from the bubble of joy. "Good to see you--I mean, you seem to be doing really, really well!" In an attempt to un-distract himself, Mythyr indicated Julian with a sweep of his hand. "This is Julian Sivett. He's on his way to join up with the Shadow Alliance Task Force. Th-that's where I'm going, too."

 

~~~~~~~~

 

~Yuaki~

 

Yuaki's frown only deepened when the stranger commented about admiring a wall while standing near big trees. He looked completely serious and innocent, yet his reply to her question seemed suspicious in itself. After all, she hadn't brought up the big trees and the wall. Or maybe that was his point? Now she was confused. She looked him over; dark hair, dark eyes, not much taller than herself, probably in his twenties. He looked confident and relaxed, like he knew exactly what he was doing. Space? No. Well, maybe. But somehow his posture and behavior didn't say 'space'. More likely no element at all.

 

“Why the big frown? You know that if you frown too often it'll be stuck on your face on day. Would it not be a shame to ruin such a pretty face?” Yuaki's frown lessened despite herself, although she didn't respond to the complement. She looked again at the stranger's features. He was built like someone who got around a lot. His clothes were dark and plain. Somehow, in some way she found frightening, he reminded her of herself.

 

“Did you need something or may I return to my hopefully not illegal staring of the wall?”

 

Yuaki felt something slither up her back under her clothing and quickly suppressed it. The shadows... her shadows... they were excited. Although it didn't show, she had to forcefully suppress the shadows. Why were they so excited? She thought perhaps she should leave; now was worse than ever to be discovered as a Shadow Elementian, for King Aslano was persecuting them more than ever. If she was found out, she doubted even Isa could change the King's mind. After all, having a Shadow Elementian in the very palace... for certain she would never be allowed to leave again. Yet this outsider--he had her attention now, and she was certain she could keep control of her element. His very words seemed suspicious to her.

 

"Actually I do need something, if you have time," she said quietly. "Could you help me carry things from this basket to the Banney's Bread House? Sticking bread and wine and spices all in the same basket isn't the smartest idea, I don't know why they didn't send me with two. If you'll just carry the wine, that would be nice... unless there's some fascinating aspect of the wall which you'd like to introduce my unseeing eyes to." There was no sarcasm in her voice. Sheer honesty, as always, and no undue trust or criticism.

 

~~~

 

~Aketsu~

 

Knock. Knock.

 

“Aketsu?”

 

Aketsu flew off his windowsill and to the door in an instant. He carefully opened the door, a warm smile already on his face. He had planned to go see her, and here he had gotten lost in thought and lost track of time.

 

"Isa," he said before quickly giving her a gentle kiss on the hand. He then took both her hands and looked her in the eyes. She was so beautiful--everything about her was perfect. She was fiery, passionate, not timid or frightened to show her opinion, and yet she was elegant and knew when a situation required humility. The questions she often asked Aketsu about political situations were well-thought out, and Aketsu loved spending hours collecting as much information as possible to return to her the most well-rounded answers she could possibly give the council or anyone. Yet still both King and Council sat divided. Some favored Isa's spirit and knowledge of course, but others (to Aketsu's great anger) still saw her as rather a child.

 

"You look beautiful, as always," he said as he gently brushed back a loose strand of hair from her cheek. He could tell by her elegant wear that Isa had come almost straight from the meeting. "Come in." The room was clean and large, and the window let in a gentle breeze. The King had been generous enough to allow Aketsu a new room after his family was put in charge of New Aero... and, of course, when the King had given Aketsu and Isa his blessing. But despite how much he loved her--he certainly planned to ask her in the near future--Aketsu did not feel it right to ask Isa's hand in marriage when a war was brewing. Kai and Noe had chosen to marry, yes, but they did not have the same positions and responsibility as Isa and Aketsu. Although they too were Guardians of Peace, they would never have as much involvement in the war as Isa and Aketsu would have to. Although Aketsu wished to take Isa's burdens upon himself as much as possible, he did not feel it was right to marry at such a time as then. In a way, he felt it would disrespect Leith, Ayame, and all who had fallen during the last war.

 

Once they were in the room, Aketsu shut the door simply so that they could say what they wished. He sighed quietly and smiled. "Isa, if the world would pause in all its endeavors for three days and in that time you could go anywhere in the world, where would you want to go?" His smile widened as he awaited her answer, his golden eyes staring at her rainbow eyes.

 

Aketsu cared more for Isa than he did for the results of the meeting; he decided to let her bring it up first if she wanted to. If she didn't, there were many other things they could talk about, a whole world of other things. The meeting was over and what happened happened; nothing would change it now.

Edited by LadyNatasha

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Lucius

 

He was rather enjoying looking at the girls change of expression at every comment he said. He seemed to confuse her with his comments which pleased him quite a lot and the best part was when she stopped frowning so much after his silly joke. Never grew tired of this though it lacked side consequences for his taste. Being looked over though was less pleasant, his physical characteristics didn't really help him blend in either. Usually too much blackness to people's likeness around here it seemed. He then felt something, very faint, coming from her. It felt familiar somehow. There was no way it should though... she looked like she was from Triton or something and he never interacted with anyone from there. He'd let it slide since to question would be to forfeit his cover, no matter how weak it was, and that was a bad idea.

 

When she asked him to help her carry her luggage he took a longer glance at it. Bread, spice and wine. Smelled better than the bread he had earlier too. Having nothing to do and having been found out he might as well comply and act nice.

 

I would love to introduce your unseeing eye to this wonderful wall, but what made it so special has ran away with your arrival. It ran quite fast too. Doubt we'd catch it even if we wanted to.” He said looking in a random direction as if there really was something that had ran off and he had lost sight of it.

 

He then extended his hands to receive the wine. “Well since I have no business here now anymore, maybe I can help you, though I have no idea where that bakery is.

 

The name of the bakery was a bit familiar since he had passed his day looking around and learning where everything was, but he'd rather just follow her than try to find the way himself. Who knew, maybe he'd find what about her was bothering him.

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Julian

 

The girl came bounding towards them, causing Julian to freeze in his tracks for a moment. He hasn't expected something so cheery and bright to emerge from the looming gates of Whisper. A glance to the side told him that Myther was as shocked as he was, but it seemed as if he was trying to form a word, which wasnt really working for him.

 

When she announced that she knew Mythyr, the young performer seemed flabbergasted, stumbling over words then suddenly silent. Wondering if he had forgotten a question was aimed at him, Julian almost nudged Mythyr just before he found his tongue.

 

"Ahh... hi, Viara, I remember you. Good to see you--I mean, you seem to be doing really, really well! This is Julian Sivett. He's on his way to join up with the Shadow Alliance Task Force. Th-that's where I'm going, too."

 

Upon being introduced, Julian dipped his head for a moment, letting a pleasant smile replace the previously puzzled expression. Before he realized it, his mind immediately shifted into a proper etiquette mindset.

 

"Viara. Pleasure to meet you." He glanced between the two, brow slightly furrowed. "If I may, how do the two of you know each other?"

 

Isis

 

Isis let out a puff of breath and swiped the back of his hand over his brow. The bakery was one of the places Isis most enjoyed himself. The smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the air, the smiles of the city folk as they come through the door. On other days, he'd help out at the florist's, keeping the flowers practically glowing and suggesting beautiful bouquets to his fellow tentative males who wished to wow that special someone. Assist the young ladies who came to simply admire the roses, or the occasional girl who came to admire him with the roses. No, the bakery was a more relaxed setting. While he loved tending to the plants, he just wanted to see people smile. After all he saw; the carnage of the war... It was one of the few things that brought him joy.

 

Humming quietly to himself, he slid a loaf into the oven, then brushed his hands of flour. A dust cloud floated up, breaking up the sun's rays that shone from the window. Shaking his hair from his eyes, he tucked a stray strand into the hair net that kept the whole green bunch back in a bun. Stepping to the back room, he searched the shelves for a box of cinnamon. Soon, the kids would be making their daily visit, and he usually had a plate of assorted cookies waiting for them, out of his own pay. Though, he couldn't seem to find the cinnamon. Banney had said that he was expecting a delivery this afternoon, so maybe he had run out of some ingredients and had sent out for more. Since he had made the chocolate chip cookies earlier that morning, and the bread wouldn't be finished for good while, Isis had nothing to do but wait by the door for the delivery as Banney dealt with the customers at the counter. Leaning against the wall, he whistled, quietly, alternating his gaze between the sky and the passing crowds.

Edited by Silver_Voices

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Marcus

 

Marcus looked at Sky who was obviously just as unwilling to start the day as he was. Fortunately, he had thought of that and quickly boiled a few cups of coffee so that they could sit and wake up slowly. He sat down beside her on the bed and handed her the cup.

 

“Well, Jahanshah is supposed to be meeting with us with the group and then that’s pretty much it until the queen gives us anymore work to do. It’s not much, but it’s enough in my opinion.” He stated while looking out the window at the hills that surrounded their area within the Whisper part of the forest. It was such a beautiful sight.

 

“Gosh I’m great.” He said aloud and waited for Skylar to react to the comment.

 

Noe

 

Noe looked at her husband, watching as he responded. He released her from his grasp, much to her displeasure, and held her hand. The warmth of his rather large hand was nice as it engulfed her petite hand.

 

For Kai, he seemed upset which was abnormal. She loved her husband dearly and to see him truly upset was a frightful thing; she never really wanted to be in the room when that happened. Here, as they walked, it seemed as though he was frustrated underneath it all.

 

Of course, sadness would be a huge play in it all thanks to the turmoil that had occurred at the war that she never, ever wanted to remember, but was forced to see behind closed eyes whenever she went to sleep. Just as she had expected, the meeting had resulted in a continuation of the war. Even her husband was upset, no, angry as he just stated.

 

And angry while thinking about her as well. Noe couldn’t help but allow a small smile to cross her face as Kai spoke about how he was upset about how it made things more difficult on her when her life was difficult enough. A small giggle escaped during his comment about how he thought that her life shouldn’t be difficult.

 

The saddest thing, was that her life wasn’t exactly difficult, just frustrating. Her adopted sister had the difficult part and she was touched that Kai was even worried about Isa. She and Isa were better friends than they had been, but to hear that she was close to her husband, meant the world to her.

 

Noe had been looking around as she listened to Kai, until he stopped talking. It was then that she looked at him and noticed him biting his lip. He had done the very same thing the night that he had officially given her engagement band. It had been made out of glass so as to be less of a conductor of electricity just as all of her anklets were. Plus, they were all gifts from him.

 

She was about to ask him what he was hiding when he asked her how she was doing. Before answering, she took a deep breath to gather her thoughts and answer him in a succinct manner. Then he suggested going on a walk that evening. Since there was nothing for them to do until everyone was gathered at the castle, it sounded like something that they should just go ahead and do, but knew that she would appreciate it more in the evening.

 

The nights were her favorite because of the moon and the stars. They were always so mysterious and wonderful, not to mention romantic. “A walk later this evening sounds wonderful my dear.” She said and ducked underneath his good arm so that she could be closer to him as they walked down the halls.

 

“I think a walk would be a good way to get everything off of our minds. And to answer your question, I feel defeated, disgusted, angry, confused, and worried about everything that has gone on today. It’s all very aggravating when I walk in to the meeting room after finding out that the reason that I had been sent out was to keep me from being in the meeting. Isa had no other support since you have not been officially inducted as the King’s son-in-law. I just can’t believe that Aslano would do something like this. I know he lost many friends, but to continue the bloodshed and vicious cycle…I just don’t get it.” She looked up at her husband before watching where she was walking.

 

Isa

 

Isa smiled as soon as she could see Aketsu’s face. Knowing that he was there, made the rest of the world suddenly disappear. He grabbed her hand to kiss it which was something that she found embarrassing for it was such a show of tender love, that she couldn’t help but feel adored and much like the princess that she was.

 

He was the man of her dreams. Someone that was kind, loved her for who she was, didn’t hesitate to giver her an opinion, and above all, respected her as a human being, not as a princess. He was intelligent, and took care of his family. He stayed with her and supported her. Aketsu was the love that she had always wanted and she couldn’t forget that.

 

As soon as she was in the room with the door shut, she took one step towards Aketsu and hugged him tightly to hid the blush on her face. Warmth spread through her face as she considered the fact that he called her beautiful, well, lovely to be exact. That didn’t matter.

 

When she pulled away, Isa felt much, MUCH better than she had earlier even when kai had offered comfort and advice. There was nothing like a warm hug from the one that you held closest to your heart.

 

“If I could choose anywhere in the world, it would be right here, next to you, in your arms.” She said, laying her head on his shoulder. “If I were to be realistic though and actually choose a physical place, it would be the Three Sisters Islands. You, me and no one else just existing on those islands. But, it wouldn’t matter where it was, just as long as I was with you and away from the infernal councils and my father.” She said hopefully. If there was a way for him to make it so that they could go back in time and spend three days together, that would be wonderful.

 

Aamina

 

Aamina was confused now. The prince had asked for her help, which she happily offered, and now he refused it. He must have thought that the earth cracking was because of him. She didn’t mean to harm him, or insult him, she really didn’t!

 

Aamina followed behind him silently for a moment before she approached his side, worry quite evident on her face. He was frustrated, angry looking which almost frightened her. “S-sire.” She stated knowing that she never stuttered like that. For her, she was always straightforward and direct with her statements, not caring whether or not they insulted someone.

 

“Please, I didn’t mean to anger you or frustrate you. I was merely offering my assistance should you require it.” Aamina looked at the young lord hoping for a change when they finally reached the Palace. She couldn’t believe it had taken her that long to gather the courage to talk to the one person that she normally didn’t have many problems talking to.

 

Before she could utter another sentence, shadows crawled between them, around them and almost through them. Daedureth was allowing shadows to crawl and intermingle with the shadows that took shape as the Queen of Whisper, Zillah.

 

With her deep, blood red eyes, raven black hair, and pale skin, Zillah could have been mistaken as one of the gods of death if she so chose. However, the smile and kindness that appeared on her face is what confused many of her intentions.

 

“Children!” She said in a loving tone. She looked at Aamina who was obviously worried, then glanced at one of the advisors that appeared beside her. With a thoughtful nod, she knew that this was either a time where she could interfere, as she so loved doing, or a time where she could leave it alone to fester. Since she knew that Jahan would never bring up the subject again, and Aamina would never bring it up, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

 

“Come with me.” She said in tones that were both happy, sad and mishcevous as she carried them both, with her shadows, to her own personal room. It was a rather ornate room with a large living area where she now held them. She was glad for the sturdiness of the room for she was sure that Aamina may, in fact, loose it. Because of this, she sent her guards out of the room, not wanting Aamina to be harmed in any way, shape or form.

 

With a gentle push from shadows, she forced the two children into a large chair facing her.

 

“From what my shadows and advisor tell me, it seems that a gentle subject has been broached. Due to this subject being a matter that will either tear you two apart or bring you closer, I wish for it to be out of the way as soon as possible so that the matter can be decided.” She looked at Aamina who was sitting without allowing herself to touch the young lord. It wouldn’t matter though, Aamina would soon be trembling.

 

“now, Jahan, since you asked Aamina to allow you to learn how to be a son, learn from her you shall. To learn, or ask for help, is not a weakness. If you do not accept help, especially help that is so willingly offered despite the pain it causes, is foolish. Do you see how worried she is?” her tones were gentle, comforting even. She glanced at Aamina who was indeed worried about the young Lord not accepting her help. “are you worried Aamina? And what are you worried about?”

 

Aamina knew that she couldn’t hid a thing from the Queen, therefore she took a small breath and spoke. “I am worried that the Prince doesn’t want my help. For, if he does not, then I am of no use.”

 

The Queen smiled and then decided it was time to start the story. “Now, as to the pain that I mentioned earlier, you are going to watch something that was drawn from someone's mind, many, many years ago.” With a wave of her hands, the shadow in the room flooded a circular area that looked the view from a child: sounds even came from the shadows.

 

As this small child ran around the room, she looked at everyone around her. They all smiled at her, and from the shift at the bottom of the shadows, she smiled back. Laughter filled the air as she helped her family move the earth. This little girl moved the stools around so that she could get up to the counter until she realized that her arms were too short to climb. She then used the earth to raise her to the counter so that she could help her mother make the meal.

 

As they were preparing the food, someone knocked on the door. Of course, the little girl was helping her mother at a high point so she was told to stay. The little girl quietly watched her mother as she went to open the door. The door swung open to reveal several soldiers that were holding a warrant for her families arrest. Her older siblings all rushed towards their mother asking what was going on. When the mother refused the arrest, the soldiers took a hold of her.

 

The little girl looked at them, wondering what was going on. When they noticed the earthen symbol on her arm, they took a hold of her, only to have little hands tear their arms away. From behind the soldiers came a rushing sound as someone sent gems running through their skulls. An older man, with the same reddish hair as the woman that was still in the grasp of the shoulders, came rushing into the house with a younger man that looked exactly like him. The younger man had the children gather behind him, but as soon as the guards knew who had killed their comrades, they attacked everyone.

 

The little girl tried to help her mother but a sword was quickly run through the mother, spraying blood in the little girls’ eyes. The same was done to every family member except for the older brother. She did her best to help him and lead him away from the men that were chasing after them…she had to get away.

 

By this time, just as the queen had thought, Aamina was trembling in the seat, her hands clenched in her lap.

 

“There’s more.” The queen whispered, looking at Jahan to see his reaction.

Just as Aamina’s history states, the queen showed what had happened in the mountain range, every moment from the view of Aamina who was afraid, scared and worried for her brother. It showed how she had fought and killed the men that threatened her family. How she had nearly turned on the men that had tried to help her and how she had to watch as she was carried away from the brother she loved. It showed the tears that eventually fell from the eyes of a five or six year old girl.

 

Aamina stared at the screen, ignoring the bright glow or the necklace around her neck that flashed for a moment, then quickly dissipated. She was still trembling, and her nails had cut deep grooves into her hands that now bled onto her armor.

 

“My sweet son, do you understand who this girl is? This girl in the image will be able to teach you many things. Above them all, she will teach you how to be a son to a mother that does love you.” The Queen looked at Jahan and before he could respond, she appeared in front of them, squatting so that she could meet his eyes.

 

“You wanted to have an audience with me, what is it that you wished to ask of me? You know that I would do anything for you.” She knew that he would be distracted from what had happened, but she had hoped that he would still speak with her. The boy couldn’t be spared the hardships of life and if Aamina were to be his constant companion, he should know just as much about her as she knew about him. Of course, knowing Aamina, she would never open up to the young lord thanks to an annoying persistence that she was to be his helper, and nothing more.

 

V – Viara – V

 

Viara smiled and giggled at Mythyr as he stumbled over his words. It was always something that she found quite funny when people were caught up in the transition that was V and Viara. Of course, within her, the real her, not the shield, was arguing to be let out and stop the foolish nature of Viara, but of course, Viara was sure that she was in the right by letting people see that she could be happy.

 

“Of course I am silly! I feel like the world is bound to change for the better every waking moment.” She smiled and spun in a circle making the real V blush inside. And when Mythyr stated that he was going to be a part of the task force, she grabbed his hand joyfully, gushing about how happy she was that they were going to be on the same Task Force. When Mythyr mentioned someone else, a sharp pain behind her eyes began as she smiled at him, still finding it rather funny that people found it so strange for there to be such a happy woman in the halls of whisper. Before Viara could do anything more foolish than she had, V released Mythyr’s hand and in a split second, she was a completely different person.

 

She bowed back with a more mature, womanly smile on her face. Her stature changed from one of a giddy girl, to one of the stature of an adult knowing how to act.

 

“I’m terribly sorry. It seems that you were caught in an experiment. For that I greatly apologize. However, I have to admit that the surprise on both of your faces was rather hilarious.” She smiled and chuckled slightly before turning to the guards who were snickering: They knew that Viara, and V, were one in the same, but she would never tell anyone who didn’t already know it. When she did so, they quickly hid within the gate walls.

 

“To properly introduce myself, I am V Justus, Third Rank Assassin of the Queen’s personal Shades, Apprentice to Master Assassin, Jahfar.” She bowed deeply at that point, then stood up, looking each of them in the eye.

“I am assuming that each of you were summoned by the Queen, therefore I shall take you to where we are to meet the others.” She said her statement leaving no room for question.

 

“Please, this way.” Her words were courteous, but she didn’t seem to allow that kindness to go any further.

 

As she walked past the guards, they watched her closely, to which she lunged at them suddenly, making many of the jump. She giggled much like Viara and waved farewell to them leaving the guards muttering about how they wished there was a balance, or how they wished that they could get along with that girl better.

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Skylar

 

"Then maybe we could go for a ride along our property before the meeting if there's time to do that," she said before she was handed a warm cup of coffee which she took gratefully. She usually didn't drink it but this morning she had a hard time getting up so she needed the caffeine that it gave to her. "Thanks love," she said with a smile after taking a small sip of the caffinated drink and kissed him softly on the cheek.

 

She then looked out of the window at the hills that were outside their window while resting her head on his shoulder. She loved to see beautiful sights with her fiancé especially the sunrise and sunset.

 

She then heard what he said last and said in reply and agreement, "Me too. In fact, I feel more than great; I feel fantastic and extremely happy." All that she said right then was true especially since she was engaged to be married to the most wonderful man in the world.

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~Yuaki~

 

“I would love to introduce your unseeing eye to this wonderful wall, but what made it so special has ran away with your arrival. It ran quite fast too. Doubt we'd catch it even if we wanted to.”

 

"Uh-huh," Yuaki said skeptically, gazing in the direction the young man had looked. There was nothing there, she was sure of it. Or was there? No matter. If there was, it couldn't have been important. Very few things were important to Yuaki, and she was keeping them all in check currently.

 

Yuaki picked the four large bottles of wine out of the basket and walked towards the stranger as he offered to carry them. "So you are new here. Thought so. Who taught you to blend in?" Sarcasm laced the last sentence; the stranger before her couldn't have been a regular traveler. She didn't know why he was there and it didn't matter too much so long as he wasn't trying to sabotage her life. Not that there was much about it to sabotage; she was still a servant (although Isa had offered her to be free of the position, Yuaki enjoyed working with her hands and didn't mind the title), and still had no family close by.

 

As Yuaki handed the bottles over to the stranger, the pull was suddenly stronger and very familiar. Yuaki looked sharply up at him, and he surely felt it as well...

 

~~~~

 

~Jahanshah~

 

“S-sire.”

Jahanshah turned in surprise to Aamina. The frustration from earlier faded from his face and concern replaced it. “Please, I didn’t mean to anger you or frustrate you. I was merely offering my assistance should you require it.”

 

Jahan blinked. "Oh, you didn't--" SSSssssssss--

Daedureth hissed with great pleasure, and Jahanshah forgot his sentence as the wonder of being consumed in shadows surrounded him. It was ten times better when Daedureth was there and the shadows were especially strong. Jahanshah looked up with a humble happiness as Queen Zillah appeared before him.

 

“Children!”

 

She clearly wasn't angry--actually, Jahanshah couldn't remember ever hearing her angry when speaking to him or Aamina--so Jahanshah dipped his head in respect and waited for her to speak.

 

“Come with me.” He would have come anyway, but riding the shadows was much more fun. As though remembering his childhood, Jahan's own body suddenly wanted to be rid of the cloth around it and feel only metal. Shadows seemed to move more sharply through metal and hit more suddenly, which Jahanshah enjoyed. He brought his mind back to the present as suddenly he was sitting on a large chair next to Aamina. Oh yeah, she was upset. He glanced sideways at her, but thought that perhaps then was not the time to discuss their troubles. A moment later, however, Zillah brought up the very subject and Jahan frowned a little. To him it was a mere misunderstanding... yet he knew Zillah must've known something else, so he listened.

“Now, Jahan, since you asked Aamina to allow you to learn how to be a son, learn from her you shall. To learn, or ask for help, is not a weakness. If you do not accept help, especially help that is so willingly offered despite the pain it causes, is foolish. Do you see how worried she is?”

 

Jahanshah looked over at Aamina. Yes, she was worried. No, he didn't understand why.

 

“I am worried that the Prince doesn’t want my help. For, if he does not, then I am of no use.”

 

Jahanshah's jaw dropped slightly. That is what's worrying Aamina? Jahanshah was well aware that he probably couldn't make it through a single day without her assistance with all the paperwork, all the meetings to be arranged, missions to be carried out, diplomatic letters to be read and documents to be sorted. He'd eventually learn to manage, but Aamina's help was invaluable. Did not being wanted on one subject harm her so much? He watched her, trying to understand her emotions but so far failing.

 

Then the queen began showing a story, and Jahanshah watched. It didn't take him long to recognized Aamina, and his curiosity perked. His jaw tightened when he saw the Light Alliance soldiers. Of course. He glanced at Aamina. She was visibly shaking. He had figured something like this had happened, but still the story hit hard as he watched. As he expected, the soldiers slaughtered everyone. He watched grimly as Aamina escaped with her older brother. The story continued, and Jahanshah didn't look away from it until it ended.

 

Then Queen Zillah made it clear that Aamina would be teaching Jahanshah. He looked at Aamina again. Her hands were bloody. So, it really does mean a lot to her. She has nowhere else to go, no purpose without a family. Her entire life is here. The moment was a bit awkward, as Jahanshah had never really considered Aamina's feelings. She had never really shown them.

 

“You wanted to have an audience with me, what is it that you wished to ask of me? You know that I would do anything for you.”

 

Jahanshah turned to the Queen and organized his thoughts quickly. Glancing one last time at Aamina, he turned his full attention to Zillah and spoke. "Well, I was mostly wondering if any details have been finalized concerning our mission. I noticed we have a much larger group than last time; you are sending your third-ranked assassin V, and also that performer who dedicated his soul. Despite his past, you're also asking Renzo to join us, and you've brought the distant brother of the Star Child also." Jahanshah smiled, glad to be out of the open city and into the comfortable darkness of shadows. He kicked off his boots and slipped his legs under him so he was sitting back on his knees.

 

"Also, is Betzalel traveling with us? And..." --he glanced at Aamina again-- "has Naomi Sendagile from Cumulus responded? Will the journey be safe enough for her? Last time I saw her she looked awfully sick. I think she should get out of that city and into the forest again, where Plant Elementians belong."

 

Jahanshah had studied a lot about plant elementians and water elementians, as he had those elements present on his team. He had learned that many plant elementians got one of two sicknesses if they weren't in the forest on a regular basis; either a physical sickness, such as weakness of body and voice, or an emotional sickness, where they simply could not be truly joyful and were often depressed because of the lack of foliage. But these 'sicknesses' weren't unique to plant elementians; every element had a few. A Fire Elementian might get depressed if he lived in Triton, and a Light Elementian might get sick in the tunnels of Terra where there was no sunlight. Not all elementians got sick, but Jahanshah was certain Naomi was one of them. He was also certain the sickness indicated some strong connection the elementian had to their element, and he wondered how Naomi would grow if she was allowed to constantly be around plants.

 

Naomi wasn't the only one he wondered about, though; he constantly wondered about every elementian under his charge. One thing he never left Aamina in charge of was his own people; that was his responsibility. He watched them and watched their growth. He watched for their emotional and physical health as well as he could. Being only fifteen he didn't understand everything, but if he did see a problem he could at least point it out to an older official who could deal with it. But that was one reason he constantly read books as well. He had to learn about people and the way they worked, why they responded to this and that, and how the body responded to environmental changes. It fascinated him to no end.

 

"And how are you faring, with all that's been happening? The increased persecutions of our kind, even reaching the neutral cities, the appearance of the Griffon in Cumulus, the possibility of war between Terra and Cumulus?" He finished, indicating the Queen.

 

~~~

 

*o*Mythyr-o-

 

As V released Mythyr's hand, he felt a sudden bit of coldness come from her and he took another step back in slight alarm and great confusion. When she apologized and called it an 'experiment' he sighed in relief. Sure, he had probably failed the experiment by either not acting like everything was normal or not suspecting that something was wrong, but he was alive and V was... well, normal. Although admittedly he didn't mind the other V. He realized he had made the mistake of introducing her by her full name, and that was probably not a good thing, but she seemed to correct her name just fine and didn't seem angry either.

 

So, like a good person, Mythyr just stood there with his hands at his sides, avoiding eye-contact with Julius as he tried to sort things.

“I am assuming that each of you were summoned by the Queen, therefore I shall take you to where we are to meet the others. Please, this way.”

 

As they walked towards the gate, Mythyr leaned over to whisper not-so-quietly to Julian; "Via--er, V and I trained together--well, sort of together, I mean for some of the training, last year and a little the year before--"

 

His words broke off suddenly as V lunged at the guards like a viper. Mythyr didn't jump, but he did stop and give V a bit more room. A half-bleak-humorously-not-surprised grin crossed his face as he turned to Julian. "It made it easier for both of us to train with our elements against an element we'd probably face, Light of course. Although we use our light very differently. V was definitely trained more to be stealthy and kill quickly. I prefer meeting an opponent in the open and not-quite-killing them. Actually, we'd make a great pair, but we've never been sent on a mission together yet." Seeming no longer surprised or intimidated, Mythyr raised his voice back to its normal volume.

 

"So, V! How have things been going in Whisper? By the happy faces we're passing, I'm sure the queen is well on her way to victory! Although I'm not sure I know what victory means to her. After all, she's still sending us out, even though she has armies waiting for her commands." Mythyr was trying, mostly without even trying, to gauge whether they were being sent out to assassinate people, do special tasks, or even carry out diplomacy of a sort. Having dedicated his soul to the Shadow Alliance, Mythyr was treated slightly better than most performers-turned-fighters. A common performer didn't have much respect, especially one with the light element trying to get along in Whisper. So the people sent to retrieve Mythyr for his missions usually liked to give him the least information as possible, if only to make his life more difficult.

 

In some cases only a little information could be given anyway, but the messenger for this particular mission had only told Mythyr when to show up in Whisper, where to meet his team, and the team leader's identity. Mythyr had long given up on asking for more information and always simply made due with what he was given. It didn't bother him much, for he had learned through many situations that to be bothered by a person trying to bother you was only to lose another battle, and a petty one at that.

 

~~~

 

~Aketsu~

Aketsu held Isa tightly in a hug for a moment, then more relaxed in his arms. It was a relief to see her after such a long day. He kissed her hair gently as she lay her head on his shoulder. It was always the moments that he wished would last, and the longer times he wished would fade--well, for now. The moments were his times with Isa, and the longer times were the wars and fights going on all over the continent.

 

“If I were to be realistic though and actually choose a physical place, it would be the Three Sisters Islands. You, me and no one else just existing on those islands. But, it wouldn’t matter where it was, just as long as I was with you and away from the infernal councils and my father.” Aketsu sighed quietly and smiled. The Three Sister Islands seemed like the only place on the planet where war had never struck. Hearing the hope in Isa's voice, Aketsu quickly made a few decisions and decided to organize the details later. He would make it happen.

 

The infernal councils. That didn't sound good. "Did they reach a decision today then?" He asked quietly. He hoped not, for it could only be a bad decision by the sound of it. Perhaps if they had postponed the meeting, Aketsu could be at the next one and state his opinions along with the wisdom he had gathered from elders and the historical records he had pieced together. Yet he wondered if it was at all possible to sway King Aslano, a man who had been through war and lived to tell the tale. The Guardians of Peace had seen tragedy, and that made their argument stronger. But Aketsu couldn't imagine what an extended war could show to King Aslano.

 

Still, the King's actions made little sense and bothered Aketsu greatly. He was proud of Isa, who had worked so hard to sway the opinions of some council members. They had gone from thinking of her as childish and possibly spoiled last year to seeing a blooming queen this year. They respected her, and Aketsu knew she had worked to earn that respect. She was already the world to him, but seeing her working so hard for something she cared about made her shine more brightly than the sun itself in his eyes. It lit within him a fiery passion to help her complete her goals, whatever they were; to support her through whatever happened in the future. One thing he knew was that he could not fail, not ever; he did not think it possible he could fail with Isa in mind.

Edited by LadyNatasha

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Kai held in a sigh, he didn't want to make Noe aware of his own disappointment, anger, sadness at the decision that had been reached. She didn't need another voice agreeing with her, echoing her own woes lest the two of them get bogged down in nothing else and the entire day be ruined. He only hope it wasn't already so. Doubtful. Noe was being open and honest with him as he had just been with her, and it hurt him to know how she felt and that there was nothing he could do about it. And he knew that his own honesty had dampened her own spirits. Still, honesty was so important, especially now. To be unified through hardship depended on their ability to share their souls with one another. To share their burdens and work through them together. Kai gripped Noe firmly around the shoulders as she ducked under his arm.

 

He smiled despite the situation. She claimed ownership over his body as his wife, but particularly she claimed ownership of his arm. If they were walking together, it was on her shoulders, around her, however she wanted it was hers. It had been like that so long that Kai felt weird walking by himself without Noe's shorter frame tapping along beside him. He nodded to himself and made his decision.

 

"Alright you." He unexpectedly swung Noe up into his arms with a whirl of sand and kissed her lips. He smiled as he felt her heart suddenly race both with his surprise in lifting her off her feet, and that of the assault he had just made on her face. After the passionate moment had faded Kai pulled back slightly, breaking the kiss so he could speak to the lovely creature draped in his arms. "I think that's enough reality for one day." He grinned hugely, "I've recently discovered the entrance to a land not so far away where war and strife don't exist, a land filled with animals and green grass, flowers and trees. A place with a nest fit for two love birds to be lost in forever." Kai grinned as he began carrying Noe towards the nearest exit. "Interested in taking a walk with me to this magical place my love?"

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Lucius

 

When she took out four bottles he thought he'd end up with his arms much more full than he thought they would be. Still he had to do it now since he said he would. As she closed in on him she started the fearful chitchat, small talks that could very well hide questions in them that would compromise him.

 

I am new here yes. This is quite a town. As for your 'blend in' what can I say? I traveled around a lot before I came here. It help not to get yourself in trouble with the people by accident.

 

As she gave him the bottles something suddenly felt... not wrong, but there was clearly something and it was coming from the blue haired girl and that something he was pretty sure he knew what it was. Shadows. He was pretty sure it was yet... she had blue eyes and hair. The was she was suddenly looking sharply at him though, he had a feeling his first thought was the right one. Was she worried he had sensed it? From this close, uncontrolled shadows were not that hard to sense to those used to them. He still grabbed the bottles and smiled at her like nothing happened other than the slight pause he had and her sharp look she gave him.

 

Do you have something else you wanted to say? If not should we not get going to the said bakery? I'm sure this delivery is important to the other person.” He moved to let her pass first and show him the way.

 

She probably knew what he was... if she was a shadow elementian like he thought she was then he could probably talk to her, but there was the risk of her exposing his identity and that was bad if he didn't have something to threaten her with he'd be done for, meaning he'd have to run away and he didn't want that right now. He didn't know if SHE was know to the people around her. If she was then it would never be a good exchange weight to remain safe from Sola.

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~Yuaki~

 

How could I be so stupid?

How could I not notice before?

 

“Do you have something else you wanted to say? If not should we not get going to the said bakery? I'm sure this delivery is important to the other person.”

 

Why is he here? Why would they send him? Who would send him? No one did. He obviously has no idea who I am, but I don't know him either. Duh; I don't know any other shadow elementians. Has he been sent to ruin everything? An assassin? No, he wouldn't have let himself be discovered. A spy? That would be silly. He's too obvious. Could he really just be a traveler? There isn't much he could ruin at this point, unless he told everyone...

 

Yuaki gave the stranger a small smile and walked back to retrieve the basket she had set next to the tree when getting the wine for him. "You talk funny," she said as she picked it up. Then she walked past him. "This way. It's right in the middle of town."

 

She walked at such an angle that she could see him but still lead him to the Bakery. As they entered the open town she should have felt more comfortable with the presence of people, but she felt more tense as though walking with him would get them both discovered. Yes, she knew it; he was a Shadow Elementian. Did he know it of her? She didn't look Shadow, but she hadn't been able to hold back the shadows very well either. He was good, good at hiding things. So was she, but she had been here for years. He was new. At least, new to Sola. So, a spy? Too obvious... the cycle of thinking continued.

 

When the bakery was in sight in the distance, Yuaki saw Isis waiting outside. Suddenly she didn't feel ready. If the man following her was someone sent to thwart her either to Sola or Whisper, she had to know. She had lived peacefully in Sola for three years. She was not ready for all of that to be lost, especially since the Guardians of Peace were about to take off again. She wasn't going to miss that, she had to be with them. So Yuaki quickly and suddenly moved behind a town building, out of sight of the streets and people. She expected the stranger to follow. Oh, that's right; she didn't even have his name.

 

Assuming he follows, she glanced around quickly before saying, "Who are you, and what are you doing here?" Not wanting another smart answer she quickly put in, "Don't you have any idea how wanted your kind is?"

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Lucius

 

To be said he talked funny only made him smile more. Small talks usually ened up being that way when he was in it for too long. When she picked up her basket and showed him the way. He simply followed her. He knew he had been discovered by her, though he was pretty sure it was only thanks to their similar powers, since she was always keeping an eye on him and not acting any different once near people. He himself simply followed, looking at her and a bit around just so he would not get lost after the delivery. When they got closer to the bakery though he was surprised when she suddenly entered a small alley away from it. It was so sudden he had almost missed. He slowly followed after her, having a feeling it might not have been about anything concerning that delivery. He felt questioning or trap, but at least the second he could escape rather fast.

 

As expected it came, the questioning. "Who are you, and what are you doing here? Don't you have any idea how wanted your kind is?" And he knew she meant business this time because she was not cutting around the edge anymore and being clear about knowing about him. He took a minute before answering her. He knew it might be best not to lie, but the temptation was rather strong.

 

Don't you mean OUR kind and yes I am rather aware of how hunted I am, the people here kind of made that clear just by looking at me thought I can still pass a someone for Univerum for the sake of my travels.

 

He took a deep breath and looked at her, not smiling anymore.

 

My name is Lucius Issen and I really am traveling. Thought I'd see how it is on the other side. Now I think I've been rather cooperative with you here, but if you plan on selling me out I won't stay this nice. I didn't come here to sabotage anything, but I will if you force me to.

 

It was a real threat. He still didn't know who'd he'd fight for, what the Light alliance was fighting for. He wanted the luxury of revealing himself when he thought the time was right, not the first day he stepped into Sola, they'd have his head for sure!

 

I still don't know your name miss blue hair, ain't it supposed to be rather rude to ask without giving it first? Maybe you could help me get to know this place better? Who knows maybe I will end up as a friend rather than a threat?

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Blaise

 

Blaise quickly retreated a step as Yuaki dashed by him, and released a huff at her impudence. Her behavior was unruly at best for a servant, and even if she were more that just that, she shouldn't disrespect the guests of the castle. Having silently scolded her, he swept along the path that led back to the hallway. However, before he could reach the door, a young girl stepped into his line of sight. Well, young was relative, but she was still immature in many areas. He slowed his steps to a halt, narrowing his eyes at her slightly. Obviously a space elementian, but there was something about hersilhouette that caused him to pause. It'd been a while since he..... Ah, right. She was one of the other student at the academy, and fellow childhood prodigy or something of the like. Well, she never ended up being that great. But still, their parents were closely involved, politically, so he was obligated to speak to her. Advancing through a more leafy part of the garden, he emerged from it in front of her, cutting her off.

 

"Luna." His silvery yet smoky voice stated her name with a very honeyed sound, trying to coax a conversation from her. She wasn't the most talkative type, because of her stutter and utter lack of self-confidence. The doubt she placed on herself almost angered him, but he didn't care enough to get worked up about it. It's been a long time. He rathered mind-speaking, or rather, complete mind-delving to talking out loud. It allowed for no side conversations and he could easily discern a truth from a lie. I heard that you took part in the battle of last year. Not badly injured, I presume? Without waiting for an answer, he continued on. Have you heard from your father at all? It has been a while since we last spoke, and he asked of you.

 

Julian

 

Julian nodded silently as Mythyr explained, put off by Viara... or V's, sudden transformation. Her cheery personality had vanished and a dark, almost frightening one had taken it's place, making her seem a little more fitting in the dark fortress. But the idea of Whisper harboring people with Light Alliance elements made him smile a bit; it proved that the Shadow Alliance was in the right, that all people should all be equal, without fear of each other. Leaning back towards him, he quietly cleared his throat. "Do you think we'll all be going out together, then? I mean, to fight or whatever." The words still seemed strange. Him, Julian, a soldier. Fighting in the war. Not for himself, but for people, so so many people. It felt good, to know he was doing something right. Glancing towards V's bouncing gold locks, then Mythyr's grinning face, he was pretty sure he would sacrifice everything for either of them. V was a light elementian, and she didn't even have to be fighting on their side, but she was. For some reason, she cared. And Mythyr, the friend he never had. His joy and positive outlook should never be extinguished, the way his family's had. He wasn't about to let anything happen to him, or to anyone else who fought for him and his kind. Pursing his lips in thought, he again continued in silence as he followed V with Mythyr.

Edited by Silver_Voices

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~Yuaki~

Yuaki crossed her arms during the stranger's silence and bit her lower lip at his first words. Here goes nothing, she thought grimly. The can of worms had been opened; now it was time to deal with it.

 

“My name is Lucius Issen and I really am traveling. Thought I'd see how it is on the other side. Now I think I've been rather cooperative with you here, but if you plan on selling me out I won't stay this nice. I didn't come here to sabotage anything, but I will if you force me to.” Yuaki tried to avoid smirking. Now she understood better; he was Shadow, and he really didn't want to be found out. She had that on him, and he wanted to use it as a double-jeopardy token. Of course, she definitely had the advantage there. But he didn't know that. Oh, how complicated it could become! On a side-note, she thought his name was rather neat.

 

“I still don't know your name miss blue hair, ain't it supposed to be rather rude to ask without giving it first? Maybe you could help me get to know this place better? Who knows maybe I will end up as a friend rather than a threat?”

 

All of a sudden Yuaki giggled. "Miss blue hair? That's a new one." So he wasn't a spy. He wasn't a spy! He really was just a traveler. Either bold or naive, but a traveler nonetheless. She smiled brightly and glanced around to make sure they still weren't being watched. "I'm Yuaki. Yuaki Xa." There was a short pause. "Obviously you don't recognize me, but I guess I wouldn't expect you to. I don't think we've met. As for my manners, I'd point out that it's you who's invading my life, but it doesn't bother me that much now. And..."

 

For the first time in a long time, she found herself feeling a connection of sorts with a total stranger--

 

"I'd like it if we could be friends. Maybe. But first I need to make some things clear." She took a step towards him, a serious expression on her face. "First, I don't plan to sell you out, so stop worrying. I think what Sola's doing to Shadow Elementians is awful. In case you don't know, you can be arrested anywhere on Light Alliance territory for even being suspected of helping a Shadow-Alliance Elementian, whether or not you are one. If you are one, you can expect execution or a lifetime in prison. So if you do anything stupid, I barely know you." With the most serious part of the conversation over, she smiled again.

 

"Second, I really don't think anyone would believe you if you told them that I'm... well, you know." She lifted her skirt slightly and pointed at the back of her knee, where the symbol of waves was. "I'm obviously from Triton and probably could use water as my element if I really, really tried." She turned to face him squarely again. "Third and finally... you're pretty brave, coming in here. But if you're not careful, you'll get in a lot of trouble; the guards won't forever believe you're just from the Observatory, you just don't talk like those star-chasers." She paused a moment thoughtfully. "So to avoid suspicion, you should hang out with me. I dunno if you noticed by my dress, but I'm a servant in the Sola Palace, in good standing... with no element, of course. I'd love to show you around some time. Or you could run away right now and pretend you never met me, but... you seem bolder than that. Am I right?"

 

Yuaki kept a cool-and-calm exterior, but inside she was rather excited and hoped Lucius would stay. A real Shadow Elementian right in front of her, and not a bad-tempered one like she always heard they were. She had billions of questions for him--especially about Whisper! Yuaki had never been there of course, and wondered if the horrid rumors of her 'mother-land' were true.

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