Erogenous Enigma

NC-17 War of the Millennium[OPEN]

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Discussion Thread

 

Seyerna kneeled, the ground sloshing under her feet, soaked with blood and layered with entrails. With steady hands she pulled the limp corpse up and as gently as she could manage pulled it over her shoulder, it had been a male, his body bigger than her own and yet her demonic strength had no trouble carrying the extra weight. She walked, walked away from the chaos, from horror scene behind her. It would take her hours to complete this task but it was one she would never leave unfinished. Several yards from her on either side there were others pulling corpses from the mess, taking them to where they would be buried. Allies would receive their own graves first, enemies would be put in a mass grave, only because they'd argued her out of giving everyone individual graves. For almost twenty minutes she'd insisted no one was evil in death, only silence remained, only a body with a fleeting soul a soul that was as white as everyone's always was. Life corrupted people, they were not born corrupted, but as she stared out across the massacre, red eyes that mimic the blood gazing across the field and feeling very little but obligation and duty, she really did wonder if Saori might be the exception to that. 

 

Many of her soldiers were working at digging graves as other's carried the corpses. She carried them because it seemed to disturb a lot of people to have to touch the dead bodies of their fallen companions: some couldn't stomach it, other's simply didn't have the mental capacity to do it and walk away 'okay' or as well as okay was in this messed up world. The many individuals around her were of various species, some elves, a few humans, a demon or two, even nymphs were helping to gather floral to grace the deceased. They had all had their turmoil from Queen Saori, the woman had somehow effected all their lives, some of them forced from their homes, other's attacked for seemingly no reason, many lost family and loved one's due to Saori's disturbed sense of humor. 

 

She hoped into the hole that would become this soldier's grave, carrying the corpse and delicately lying the body down, crossing the man's arms over his chest and then jumping back out. Many lives were lost and the more she fought the more she wondered if this was a losing battle. There weren't enough of them to raid the capital and take out Saori, but at this rate they would all die out or submit to her rule. Technically they had won this battle... but at what cost?

 

Hours passed, the many bodies were laid to rest and Seyerna spoke softly of their bravery, great men and women stood around, some of them crying, other's seething in rage. She knew their misery, their pain as if it were her own, but she'd grown so numb to it, rarely did such physical reactions overtake her. Madness lingered at the edge of her mind, keeping her from feeling pain for the most part. Most of them didn't know of her 'handicap' and she never intended to let them know that she could go guano on them, not that it happened often, only once every few centuries did insanity take over her logical mind. She had help keeping her own demons at bay with methods most would stare wide-eyed at. 

 

They left the graveyard, Seyerna lead them back to their 'base' essentially a hole in the mountain. It was a massive network of caves, some of them dug out further to allow for larger groups of people, small houses were built inside out of stone or into smaller branches of the caverns, the place was it's own little town. Seyerna couldn't help but wonder if the efforts were in vain with this last battle that had eaten away so many of their numbers. They avoided towns and cities, most of her soldiers were outlaws, and Seyerna herself was considered high priority, wanted alive if possible. So their travels went through the dense forests, a tedious task even for her demonic self, it was often so thick it was physically impossible for many species to travel through, one always needed a machete to cut down the thick foliage to even stand a chance. At the base of the mountain it cleared up, but climbing the steep mountain was another task all on it's own, but that was the point, it was not an easy place to get too, a place Saori didn't know about and could not easily break into.

 

Once 'home' the soldiers disburse, seeking loved ones that had remained in the safety of their caverns, other's seeking sleep, religion, or just a simple bath, which is where Seyerna was headed, the many layers of blood layering her pale skin, much of it from carrying dead companions felt hot and disturbing. She wasn't a self glorified queen, she did not place herself above her soldiers and so her little stone house was as modest as everyone else's, though many of them told her she should have a throne, she told them she had no time for such things. She had been teased on more than one occasion that she would come home from battle and they will have built her one. Dear god she hoped not. 

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The child sat beside a pool of still water, shaded by the canopy of trees above her. She looked down into the glassy reflection of her own face - expressionless in that moment. ‘Peaceful’ would be the closest anyone could come to describing her, big brown eyes studying her self with unreadable emotions. This innocent seeming little girl. Alone in the wild of a wood that knew carnage and battle only a few short hours ago. 

Ráijá’s ears still echoed the sounds of the frey for her - replaying the unwanted memories over and over again. The soldiers she had seen grappling for their lives - fighting for a cause greater than themselves. She could recall the not-too-distant past of her own misfortunes, when she watched flames and iron tear through her own ‘Family’ of forests. Ráijá wondered what it must be like to have a human or elven comrade struck down at your side. She imagined that it would be the same for them as it had been for her. Hell. Pure Hell. No wonder they fought against the wretched Queen.

 

Ráijá had heard two names of two Queens. One that she had known from personal heartache; Saori, who frightened her. And one that she had only heard on the lips of warriors who pushed back against Saori; Seyerna, who Ráijá knew only as the symbol. She had seen the pale woman once or twice, but this could not be the rebel queen that the soldiers raised their swords for? From what Ráijá knew of queens was that they were great, magnificent creatures - elegant and draped in fine things. But then, all Ráijá knew of queens what what she had seen from past sovereigns - and Saori was her most recent study.

The nymph child was curious about this Seyerna. Either she was a strong enough symbol that brought people together, or she was indeed more magnificent than the queens before her… but Ráijá couldn’t exactly describe how.

 

Her eyes shifted up from her reflection in the pool. The forest had gone quiet. Before, Ráijá could hear the heavy trudge of the aftermath of the battle. The shovels that buried those the revolutionists had lost. All was silent.

In a flurry of hair and gossamer, Ráijá was up and moving through the trees. Her feet carried her swiftly across the soil, her hands hooking and swinging her small body around and over obstacles that seemed to shift ever so slightly to allow her passage without too much effort. Then she stopped. She peered through the brambles of a thorny bush into the desolated clearing that used to be a meadow. Empty.

Her eyes searched the tree line - but the warriors had all gone. 

 

There was a shudder of the foliage far to her right, and the thrum of a bear as it scavenged what was left of the blood-soaked field. Ráijá slipped out of her hiding place, and cooed to the creature. The grizzly turned it’s attention on her, startled at first, ready to defend. but only for a moment - until it looked into her face and saw itself there. The child felt her toes sink into the mud, she wouldn’t look down to see if it was rain or blood that dampened the earth. Instead, she padded forward until she could feel the hot breath of the beast on her cheeks, and feel the thick curl of its fur in her fingers.

Once Ráijá was sure the bear was her’s, she pressed herself in close against it and wrapped her arms around it’s neck. She felt the sorrow of that place around her, and knew. Ráijá knew that she wanted to stand for something.

 

The trail of the the surviving victors was not an obvious one, but Ráijá knew the floors of her home well. She rode atop the bear, watching for signs of the rebels, and guiding the creature with murmurs and coos that felt natural to a nymph such as her. When their path turned them upwards, towards the feet of the spiny mountain range, Ráijá slipped off the creature’s back and walked at its side. She stopped, and the bear sniffed the air. She could feel the creature tense. They weren't alone. 

 

She must be close.

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It was a smell that he was familiar with, a smell that had been ingrained on him that day. But Raion didn’t shy away from it, instead he followed it, determined to get to its source. Today, Raion was following the stench of death, the stench of a battle hard fought but currently abandoned. But it wasn’t just the smell he was following, that only worked over a short distance, he was also following the rumours of dodgy men in back alleys and workmen short on money. The evidence was not concrete, but Raion dared not speak the people who could give him definitive answers for they would try and kill him on the spot. ‘Try’ being the operative word. Raion was confident he could escape, while killing as many as possible, but that would serve no further purpose then to scatter the streets with corpses. And going by the scene now spread out before him, the rumours had been correct and this day had seen more than enough death to fill it.

 

It had no doubt once been a meadow, perhaps beautiful in its appearance, but now it bore the scars of recent battle. Hundreds of layered trenches were scattered across the field, inches deep where soldiers had trampled to clash weapons with their enemies. From where Raion was stood it was clear that the Rebel army had had its back to the tree line, the state of the meadow on one side spoke of a more hazardous approach to warfare while the tracks in front of Raion spoke of an organised mass, beating their way forward over dead bodies.

 

Raion stepped into the field, his boot sinking to the ankle in the mud, and strode forward silently until he stood roughly in the middle of where the guessed the initial clash of men had happened and circled slowly. A battlefield after its cause told a story, and Raion had been taught since birth to read the scars and read the battle as if it were playing out in front of him. The words Raion took from the scars beneath his feet spoke a strange story that surprised him with its conclusion; the rebels had won this battle. What Raion also found strange was how clean the battlefield was in regards to bodies and remains. In the days when Raion was constantly in battles, his kind had left the bodies of their enemies to fester and rot; a message to anyone else feeling the will to fight against them. But that was not the case here; there was the unmistakable stain of blood on the ground, with various trampled parts Raion figured to be innards, but there were no bodies in sight.

 

If the rebels won this battle, it means that it was the rebels who buried the dead; both friend and foe alike. Raion thought as he left the centre of the meadow to seek out the tree-line that would lead into the forest. So, it seems she may be the correct choice after all. Raion found the tree line but didn’t enter the forest immediately; instead he started walking along the edge of it until he had left the battlefield behind.

 

What he found was what could only be described as a graveyard, no doubt for the recently deceased caused by the battle. Raion could see that there had been a number of single graves dug, evidenced by the makeshift headstones, but also that a mass grave had also been dug. For their enemies. Raion thought, running a hand through his scraggily hair. So she is not as benevolent as the battlefield would suggest, leaving her enemies piled together in a hole in the ground. Raion quickly counted the single graves and made an estimate on both sides’ casualties. He figured that both side had had loses, the enemy slightly more than the rebels, but the rebels had lost a large portion of their forces. Something Raion guessed could not be sustained through another battle of similar proportions.

 

He glanced up at the tree line and saw where the rebels must have gone; hiding the tracks of an army, however small, was no easy feat. But he was impressed nonetheless as he dived into the forest in pursuit of his target. He tightened the rope that held what seemed to be a loose bundle of cloth to his back and pulled a middling sized hatched from his leather belt. The forest before him was thick and would be troublesome to get through without cutting a path for himself; even if he was following someone else’s that had clearly been hacked away.

 

Eventually he reached the bottom of the mountain, mercifully leaving the thick foliage behind him, and Raion frowned at his next task. He carefully walked up and down for a time, sniffing the air around him. This time he wasn’t following the stench of death but instead its aftermath; blood, sweat, the smell of wearisome soldiers travelling home. It was not strong, but it was there and Raion could just about figure out the direction before heading off. He figured the rebels had built some sort of base on the mountainside and if he followed his nose he would eventually either find proof that a camp had once been there, or better yet, the actual camp itself.

 

Raion pulled the hood of his tattered cloak further forward and cast his face into its shadow. Climbing the mountainside would not be a fun task for anyone.

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Snow fell softly to the ground, adding more frigid layers to the home hidden in mounds and hills near Mount Voltus. The petite creature stared out with wistful eyes longing for anything more than snow. Yvanes felt the cold breeze and huddled further into her heavy covering searching for warmth. Reflecting on her past, she thought of her many years in exile and the cause behind all of it. The wicked face loomed within her memories and her blood began to boil. Years of turmoil and struggle flitted through her mind, anger poisoning her soul. Her hands glowed with negative energy, the blackness spreading up her wrists. Remembering that she could not let hatred consume her, the elf calmed herself restraining the darkness that lurked within her.

 

She was once a high priestess, revered by many, hated by none. Many came seeking her for assistance and guidance. There was never a creature who felt they could not approach her and ask for her aid. It was not long before she found herself in the presence of that vile mistress who claimed the title of queen. Lost in her thoughts, her soul hummed with the dark pleasure of one day gaining revenge, a dark aura beginning to crawl up her body once again. It was not until a soft voice interrupted her state of mind. Pointed ears twitched as she concentrated on the sound. Clearing her mind completely, Yvanes envisioned an area littered with the remains of men and women, their blood sinking into the soil corrupting it even further. Pained by the image Yvanes almost missed the sound again but upon hearing it focused harder; searching for the source.

 

Coming to the source Yvanes eyes snapped open, her hand flying up to her mouth in surprise. On the battle grounds she had seen one of her own. This was not unusual of course but it was what the young elf spoke that caused such a stir in her being. The Young elf had pleaded for her help by name. It had been so many year since the exiling sentence; Yvanes had grown to believe she had been forgotten, just a whisper in the trees. Yet there off in the forest a young one pleaded to her. 

 

Gathering supplies for a long journey Yvanes contemplated the consequences of being found out of exile by one of the Queen’s watchers. Death would surely be an option. Hearing the soft echo of the young one in her mind Yvanes decided it would be worth the risk. She would just simply have to remain covered and out of sight for the most part. It wouldn’t be a difficult task truth be told. There were only a select few who would remember who she was and the chances of them still being around would be slim to none unless they have learned to live hidden within the kingdom safely. 

 

Taking a thick forest green cloak, Yvanes pulled the hood over her bright red hair, hiding her eyes in the shadows. Gazing at the stretch of land before her Yvanes judged it would be about nightfall of the second day before she reached where she was headed. She could probably make it in less time if she hurried and did not rest. With a determined spark in her eyes Yvanes ventured of her snowy terrain and into the forest, hoping to make it as quickly as possible.

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A robed man walked down the mountain.

Over a narrow path through rough terrain and past steep drops he went down the mountain. Towards the tunnels and the rebels who called this mountain their home. Although the entrance to the tunnels was hidden from sight there were other ways the man could find his destination. In this case the sense of power was enough. Within the mountain now resided a being with power and possessing power himself the man could use his arcane skill to find her.

 

Rumors had been going around in the western reaches of the kingdom that a dragon had left its hold in the Burning coast and had flown westward. Although he had been seen crossing the narrow sea the reports of a city burning never came. People were mystified where the dragon had gone as it had not been seen for days, and yet the explanation was simple enough. Dragons have a keen sight and can fly at night without difficulty; the fact that they so rarely fly at night is because they never had needed to fly at night. And this morning, after days of travel, the dragon had landed high on the mountain that hid the rebels and as the first rays of light revealed the brilliance of his copper scales and vermillion red wings the dragon crawled out of sight, a few moments later a robed man began his descend down the mountain.

 

As the man in his gold and red robes reached the edge of the woods on the mountain slopes he found another path leading further east towards the entrance of the tunnels. This path had been used more recently and more often from the looks of the tracks. No doubt they had patrols that would keep an eye on the entrance of their base and the forest beneath. If a patrol would come they would see a man with a pale complexion and with the jet black hair reaching past his shoulders. Clad in the scarlet and gold of a pyromancer, and wielding a staff like a wise man from Soron, an appearance worthy to hide a dragon. The reason he took on this disguise was both for the practicality of the size and for discretion. He did not doubt the reaction of the rebels would be amusing if he appeared before them in all his majesty and power, but it would also complicate his tasks when they would become hostile. And if rumors of a dragon sighted on Voltus would reach the capital there would be dire consequences indeed.

 

Although he knew where to start looking for the rebel base it still took him a while to reach the entrance. In the rugged terrain of mossy rocks a lot could be hidden from sight. However from here the smell of man was easy to track, and soon he found the opening.

At the entrance two guards held watch and began with the ritual of their trade as usual. That’s far enough! Who are you? Why have you come here?†one of the soldiers called out to him.

The two held their bows at the ready, suspicious of this stranger who had come from not from the forest below but from the mountain. With a calm tone the dragon in disguise responded.

“I wish to speak with the one called Seyerna, you will find her and you tell her Cirith has come to deliver a messageâ€

 

In that moment when he spoke his true name a whisper went through Cirith's disguise, and for the briefest moment an amber eye too big to belong to the man standing before them looked back at them. It sent a shiver through the two and they complied.

Normally the man would have denied he had even heard of Seyerna, the two soldiers would have captured this stranger who had found their secret hideout. Although they did not realize why, they were on some level aware of the danger if they refused this man. They exchanged a hesitatant look at each other and one of them hurriedly went inside to find Seyerna, still thinking he saw something very dangerous in that stranger, but never remembering what.

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Seyerna had been sitting in the underground spring with a dozen other females, all of them chatting aimlessly to each other and to her, though Seyerna's was hardly paying attention, instead she dozed off around the company of her trusted companions. They all seemed to hoard around her as if she were the life of their private party though she spoke not a word, one girl was even sitting in her lap, another was brushing her hair, and someone else was sitting under the crook of her arm. Each of them she had known prior to the war, she didn't mind bathing with the newcomers, but she was never so relaxed around them, she couldn't help but consider the possibility of them turning on her and the rebels. 

 

She sensed one of her closest friends approaching, Ai, an elf who was one of the few people who was as old as she was that she associated with, but Ai was a gentle soul with disturbing powers that made it difficult for her to get close to people. Ai's ghostly pale hand just barely tapped Seyerna's shoulder and one red eye cracked opened to peer at Ai's delicate features, platinum blonde hair hung down to her hips that had bright red tips as if dipped in fresh blood, her eyes were violet, and she had the structure of a pixie. She was dressed in a silk white robe that hit high on her thighs, a soft brown booties protected her feet. 

 

"A man named Cirith is here and demands to speak with you, Mistress." Ai's voice was as if a flower was being brushed across your cheek, so soft and gentle she was difficult to hear for normal individuals, often times no one heard her and she was regularly ignored, though never intentionally. The name rung familiar to Seyerna a dragon if her memory served true. She made it a point to know names, whether they be her enemies, or allies, she liked to know people. 

 

The girls climbed off of her as she rose to stand, stepping out of the water Ai offered her a towel and followed her out of the small enclosure back to her own stone 'home.' It wasn't much, mostly just the private bedroom that her mate and her shared, though it was a rather large bed, simply because they often had one or more of Seyerna's 'charges' stay with them. Many of the victims Seyerna had rescued lived in a village far from the capital a ways south of Garreth's Wall, but some of them liked to remain close to her and had taken up residence in the rebel camp, some were fighters, happy to lend their blade, other's weren't so skilled with a weapon and stayed at base to feed and care for the masses. Often times after rescuing a girl she would spend days or weeks, sometimes even months if need be, staying with them alone, giving them personal care, away from society, usually traveling aimlessly through the woods, sort of like therapy to help them through their own personal trauma; so it wasn't surprising they grew attached to her. 

 

Her mate sat at a table by the bed, his halberd resting on it as he ran the whetstone over the blade over and over again until it shined. He was human, or mostly human, his story on how he survived so long was complicated, some pestered her about it and she would oblige but usually it only brought them more questions, other's just accepted that he was the only one strong enough and stubborn enough to put up with her. He was a white mage, his powers could easily burn her, but her's could burn him just as easily, coitus between them was tricky and everyone always knew from the sparking of their polar opposite powers. She didn't care, and neither did he; his emotional spectrum was about as wide as a blade of grass, he simply didn't care about most things, or people, he told her in the past that when she was ready to die he would follow her. It was the way of most demons, you either die fighting your betters, or walk to your own death, because it wouldn't come on its own. He just didn't have any attachments in this world and he had been 'existing' far longer than herself. 

 

Ai curtsied to him, and he merely nodded, barely giving either of them a seconds glance, but Seyerna was not put off or alarmed by his aloof attitude, it was just his nature. Seyerna opened the armoire and pulled out clothing, her girls made her clothes because otherwise Seyerna would simply tie strips of leather around her womanhood and go about life, modesty was a trait that was lost to her, and she had trouble remembering to be modest around her many human rebels, the males would leer at her and it was only then she'd realize she needed more clothing on. Many races didn't show the amount of modesty that humans seemed to require, save her mate, Sage, as he barely qualified as human anyway. Ai helped her lace up the side of her leggings and her boots, and once Seyerna covered her bust with a laced up halter and was preparing to meet with the newcomer, Ai stopped her and demanded she cover more flesh, unknowing of this 'Cirith's opinion on exposed skin. Seyerna rolled her eyes, but acceded, pulling on a duster that laced in the front and still showed a line of midriff. Ai was obviously still not pleased, but did not argue further. 

 

Walking through the base she could hear the many whispers of this newcomer, many spoke of his eyes, oh how word spreads. From the brief descriptions she was getting she was certain it was a dragon but no one knew what he wanted. Did anyone bother to ask? She wondered. As she made her way through several people approached her, walking with her, asking questions she did not yet have the answers. One asked where her weapon was and she scoffed at him, she never wore a weapon to meeting with a newcomer, it gave a bad impression, of course there was also the fact that she had plenty of self defense in her claws alone. 

 

The rebels were a suspicious lot as the 'aught to be, and as such the two guards remain standing, simply staring at him, not allowing him into the camp, or even making conversation with him. Though they were leery of him, they did their jobs well. She was more concerned about the fact that none of her skulking guards had noticed him traipsing through the woods and told her of him long before he arrived. She would have to check on them once she was done speaking with him. 

 

Dragon's who could masquerade as humans was not quite the same thing as an illusion, an illusion is making something appear different, that is to say if Seyerna were to make a tree appear like a flower and someone went to pluck it they would run into the tree. Dragon's changing shape was just that, it was a peculiar kind of shape shifting where the dragon could actually change size, it was heavy in magic use. While Seyerna was not a shapeshifter she did know quite a bit about dimensions using dimensional shifts to create more foolproof illusions and changing somethings size required playing with dimensions, though most people didn't know that's what they were doing, more commonly shapeshifters changed shape into something that was still the same in mass. Seyerna's scholarly side liked to pick apart magic, it taught her a very in depth understanding of it. 

 

Seyerna had no shame in eyeing the human figure before her, she looked at him from head to toe, impressed with the level of skill required for his human form, though she did wonder how big his dragon state was. The bigger the dragon, the more dimension fucking required. With a respectful bow of her head she met his eyes, "I am Seyerna, and I hear you have a message for me." She stated simply, no softness to her voice, but there was a soft quirk to her lips that made her appear non-threatening, as was her intentions, though if he weren't a dragon a human or child would most likely still see her as the big scary demon. She was just over six feet tall and this made her quite a bit taller than the average female, and her eyes were still the color of blood, something that alarmed most people. 

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Ráijá had paused for a long while, her hand planted firmly on the shoulder of her new fierce friend. She listened to the shudder of the branches around her, and wondered if the eyes that watched her silently knew what she was. A grin curled in the corner of her mouth as she turned her face towards the grizzly who shifted uneasily at her side. Her fingers stroked it's soft fur, reassuring and supportive. How silly this mighty beast was, thinking himself unsafe in her presence. But then, Ráijá stiffened, herself. After all, there were many things more mighty than her - she'd always known they existed. Even if she'd only come close to encountering once or twice in her long life. But what would bring such beasts into her wood? And why would they bother with her?

 

"They wouldn't," she murmured aloud to herself, making the bear's ear twitch towards her. She stroked his side again, leaning in closer with a smirk playing on her face, "I'll have to find them." she said simply. drawing a finger to her lips as if she wished the bear would keep it a secret.

 

Ráijá gave a fleeting glance to the unnatural silence of the canopy, where she was fairly certain she was being observed. She stepped forward, letting her hand glide out of the warmth of the fur and knew that her companion would choose to follow or flee. She would not coerce him either way. He was an intelligent thing, and did not deserve to be pressed into a hike up a mountain towards hunters against his will. And yet, she felt comforted when his hot breath washed over her back, and the gentle thud of his paws sounded on the earth behind her. Though Ráijá was not defenseless, it was reassuring to have the might and majesty of a grizzly at her back; particularly when she knew that those she sought were not yet her friends.

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With his ascent into the mountain paths becoming clearer, the cluttered trees of the forest giving way to thinner and sparser trees that would eventually disappear completely, Raion continued on without so much as a change in his breathing. He was still following the dwindling smell of weariness as a guide and using what he took to be the tracks of the rebels leading up into the mountain paths. Raion came to a sudden stop and lifted his head slightly to angle his nose towards the air. A new smell had become clear; a smell he was vaguely familiar with. He stood still for a minute, focusing on this new fragrance before realised that it had been mingling with the other smells he had been following, but it was not part of them. But that wasn’t what made if familiar to him, Raion was sure he had smelt the same thing many, many years ago.

 

It had been in the forests of Tanglewood, where Raion had been travelling alone. Stretching the definition, Raion could say that he had met the owner of the fragrance before. A glimpse of a curious figure behind the trees, a flash of skin as she darted behind him, Raion had not sensed any danger from her and so left her alone. Eventually, she had obviously become bored of him, or had had other things to do, because she disappeared back into the trees. Raion was pretty sure that the fragrance he smelt belonged to a Nymph.

 

Raion picked up his pace and suddenly he spotted her through the skinny trees, in accompaniment of a grizzly bear. The bear seemed to sense Raion coming up behind him, although the girl showed no reaction until the bear turned around to face this new creature in front of him. Raion came to a stop with the girl looking at him and the bear starting to show its fangs. However, as soon as he lifted his own head to stare back at the bear, the animal lowered its hackles and turned his head to the side in confusion. Raion had the genes of the king of the hunters running through him and the bear could sense that, but it could also smell the human in him, leaving him confused.

 

The slits that were Raion’s pupils narrowed as he stared and suddenly the bear took a couple of steps backwards so he was stood next to the girl who had her hand resting on his fur. Raion spread his pale hands out of the ragged brown cloak he was wearing to show he was not armed while at the same time revealing his attire. He was wearing soft leather boots, brown in colour and laced up the front, with dark brown trousers tucked into the boots and tightened at the waist with a thick, green coloured length of fabric tied at the back to hide the knot. Above that he wore a sleeveless white top that had been split from the collar to about halfway down his abdomen, showing his pale muscled chest.

 

“We met before, once.†Raion said before the girl Nymph could speak. “It was brief and through the trees much as we are now. If you have left Tanglewood and come here, then I can only presume that you seek the same as I…Seyerna.†As he spoke the rebel queen’s name, he pushed back the hood of his cloak to reveal his pale-skinned face; his wavy black hair pushed back along his head and tucked behind his ears.

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Ráijá had felt the gait of the beast halt, and so she did the same; her eyes had pulled her head to turn with them as a figure stepped out of the foliage at her back. Instinctively, she reached for the fur of her companion, intending on her presence reassuring him as much as his fierceness reassured her. But the creature that now joined them was of a faintly familiar sort. Not that Ráijá had many encounters with the Tatsujin - did anybody? - but even before he addressed her, Ráijá felt a far off feeling of familiarity, like finding a face in a crowd of strangers that you recognize from another life.

“We met before, once.†He spoke, the confidence of cooperation hanging in the back of his words.

Ráijá grinned. Her expression confirming her distant memory to the Tatsujin wanderer. If there had been any doubt in her mind that she’d encountered him before now, it was gone.

“It was brief and through the trees much as we are now. If you have left Tanglewood and come here, then I can only presume that you seek the same as I…Seyerna.â€

Ráijá's eyes swept over him briefly, taking in the unusual creature that he was with a sort of wondrous curiosity. But by the time her gaze returned to meet his, she freely let her grin break into a smile and nodded her head. She paused only a moment, her smile hesitating after she'd already delivered it, contemplating something. Then, just as abruptly, addressed him as if they were already in each others confidence, "I could hear them," she began, matter-of-factly, "from my home."

Her head fell slightly to the side as an observation occurred to her, "but you're a long way from yours?" she pointed out.

Without the constant practice of conversation to exchange with other intelligent things, Ráijá was not adept at reading a living, thinking, reasoning person. But the bear beside her suddenly grew uneasy - shuffling its own weight as the wanderer before them sharpened his gaze.

His eyes narrowed, and his left hand clenched itself tightly- his own nails digging into the palms of his leathery skin. The Tatsujin remained silent as the change overtook him and fixed his eyes on a pebble at his feet. He took a breath. Lifted his gaze. Released his clenched fist.

Memories of home did not evoke favorable emotions for this wanderer.

“An infinite length, I am afraid,†he finally replied through a strained jaw.

Whatever concern the Nymph had begun to gather for the mounting tension was cast away, and not thought of again. To her, the wanderer was still cool and collected as ever - if perhaps a bit pensive and broody, she thought.

"But I did not approach you to reminisce about the past but instead look to the future.†He began to move forward, towards her. His first step tentative and testing. Whatever he was trying to prove to himself, he did, as confidence once again washed over his countenance. He stilled again as he addressed her, his manner now a reflection of hers: as though long parted comrades had once again been reunited, â€If you seek Seyerna then you are in opposition to the current reign; perhaps you seek for personal revenge or perhaps you seek to better the world. I am here to judge whether Seyerna is the one to end the sickness of this world; would you care to attend?â€

“End the sickness of this world…†Ráijá echoed, feeling out the words he’d given her for herself. Her gaze had drifted as she tried his voice on for size, but in an instant her attention snapped back to sharp acuity on his face again. “What can I call you?†she asked in reply, her face alight with an expectant grin.

She thought she saw a fleeting tremor of surprise hidden behind his stoic expression - but perhaps not. it was gone as soon as she’d noticed it, and in perfect time he gave her his answer. “My name is Raion.â€

His feet started forward again, sweeping his towering frame past her without pause, so that Ráijá had to crane her neck to watch him as he passed her. “I’m a skilled tracker,†he continued, assuredly, “one of the best in the country. But even I would not willingly contest against a Nymph in her element. The tracks left by the remains of Sayerna's rebel gathering should lead us directly to the base of their operations; a camp on the side of the mountain I would suspect. Your skills would make locating it far quicker then if I was left to my own devices.â€

As he mused aloud to himself, Ráijá had made efforts to relieve her beastly bear companion of his unease. The nymph’s countenance was adaptable and easily ushered from one mood to the next - the bear’s was not. She’d done all she could to comfort the creature, but Ráijá was more interested in Raion now, than a thing of her own element. She let her fingers slip out of the warm fur of her familiar, and trailed after the Tatsujin, running to close the distance his stride and put between them.

Raion paused and turned to face her, "I suppose I should ask the same question of you; what am I to call you?â€

Ráijá blinked as she felt for the sound of her own name - it had ben so long since she'd given it away to anyone, that the act required a moment to remember. Then, as if suddenly finding the answer to a riddle, She fixed large eyes on him and replied, “Ráijá."

A memory came wafting back to her; a reminder of the customs she had observed from her hiding places when she spied on villagers or townsfolk. Eager to practice the rituals that she had since only seen, Ráijá dipped herself into a small curtsey; her fingers fanned out the unusually clean muslin fabric she'd adorned herself with, and her head nodded a moment too late as she tried to copy the gesture she'd seen ladies use when greeting new friends for the first time. "Pleasure to meet you, Raion." she added as an afterthought - making no effort to hide her elation and watching Raion with bated expectation to have the custom returned to her.

First, Raion looked passively interested in the child-nymph’s antics, amused even - if the gentle smile that had crept onto his usually stoic features was any indication. There was a moment of stillness until it seemed to occur to Raion that she was waiting for him to take his turn. A shadow flickered in his eyes, another pang of painful reminiscence - but his control was firm this time, and the grin did not fade. He wore it as he bent at the waist, and he wore it as he returned her customary words, "The pleasure is all mine, Ráijá.â€

The Nymph giggled with glee at her success, and laced her own fingers together in front of herself in an attempt to restrain a flurry giddy excitement. She looked at him a little differently after that - her gaze holding more awe, more favor, and a new respect for this new friend of her’s.

Raion straightened, and shifted the weight of the disturbed pack that was slung over his shoulder. Then, with a fluid motion, he reached his hand up over his head and drew up his hood to hide in the shadow it cast for his face. The pleasantries exchanged, and Ráijá’s game played through to it’s end, he addressed more prudent matters, "We cannot be too careful," he advised, "regardless of where we are. I think making haste to the rebel camp would be the best course of action for the moment.â€

Eager to adhere to his suggestion and show off her own usefulness, Ráijá's gaze turned up the sloping path. Without word or warning, her hand reached out to clasp the long fingers of her new companion, ready to lead him up the invisible trail that would unfurl out of the foliage for her.

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Her mind raced as she plummeted closer and closer to the earth. She couldn’t stop the force that pulled her as much as she tried. She twisted and tumbled through the air, unable to open her wings. Her body felt like it was on fire, but as much as she wanted to she could not scream.  She could feel her wings burring away slowly in the fires rushing to earth. Pieces of her skin melted away from her flesh on her hands, checks, knees, and toes. She knew when she would hit the ground it would cause nothing but devastation when she crashed.

 

As her body hit the top of the mountain it was like an explosion burst off the tip of the mountain. Boulders and rocks flowed down from the top of the mountain almost like they were rivers. The ground should with such fierceness that anyone in the area would surely be moved to their knees. The light that came from the top of the mountain was so bright; it was as though the sun itself had landed on earth. Trees crumbled and burst into flames all near the top of the mountain.

 

As she felt her body hit, she focused on holding her body close together. She pulled her knees to her larger chest covering as much as she could with her wings. Smoke was everywhere as she moved her wings away slowly. Her body ached as she tried to move, but found it nearly impossible.  Her hands shook as she placed them to the ground to push herself into an almost sitting position.  Her hood draped over her eyes blocking them from view.  She coughed the smoke in, her lungs filling with it causing her to cough even worse.

 

As the smoke cleared she thought she could see the outline of a figure. She grabbed for the staff that was at her side as she came to a more seated position. She hoped a fight would not be necessary but she would protect herself.

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Cirith awaited Seyerna at the entrance to her encampment within the mountain, under the uneasy watch of the guards. After the first guard had done his part and relayed the message he returned with two more guards, all four had their swords at the ready and with a wary eye on the stranger.

 

The five figures at the entrance spoke not a word, the dragon waited and the men watched.

 

After standing at the entrance for a little while, Cirith could not remember how long, the leader of this rebellion emerged from her little kingdom in the mountain.

She was the first demon Cirith had seen in person, and a remarkable example at that. Her eyes spoke of power, her body language spoke of control, of domination of the situation, and a small voice in the depths of Cirith’s mind warned against great danger, for this being was strong and as he was now Cirith could not be sure of his own safety when faced against a power like this.

 

"I am Seyerna, and I hear you have a message for me."

 

Cirith replied with a calm tone, preparing for her reaction when he would reach the bad news he was bringing.

“Not long ago you sent out a call for aid, to join you in your battle against the queen Saori. Your message managed to reach our elders. After long consideration my Elder and the Elders of the other Lines have sent me here to inform you of their decision. I regret to inform you this but the Elders have decided not to aid your war. Although we understand your reasons for fighting, many of my kin would not risk leaving their lands while on our northern borders two kingdoms are preparing for war. You can expect maybe a few dragons to join your cause but I wouldn't count on it. My kin are-"

Cirith heard a deafening crash from outside and the whole mountain shuddered violently under his feet. several soldiers stumbled or fell to their knees during the first shock. Cirith looked at his host, who was quickly back on her feet and already calling her soldiers with her as she went out to investigate a brief exchange of looks with Cirith told him enough and he followed her outside to investigate, the rest of his message could wait for now.

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Several weeks back she had inquired to Nyagi - a dragon friend of her's - if she could petition the dragon elders into getting involved in this chaos that was quickly erupting into a war. Seyerna saw it as merely a matter of time before Saori directly effected the dragons and she'd much rather the dragon's be working in league with her, on the same playing field, sharing notes, then doing their own thing and possibly causing more trouble. Nyagi was an odd ball dragon as Seyerna had raised her personally, Seyerna wasn't entirely certain how the rest of the dragons would feel about civilian casualties, but Seyerna preferred to keep most combat as far away from towns as possible. Dragon's could burn down entire towns with an accidental sneeze, she'd so very much rather them be flying under her direction. Even if she couldn't 'lead' them like she does her armies, at the very least maybe they'd be open to her 'suggestions.' If they weren't getting involved at all it didn't matter, but still, she doubted how long that would last. 

 

Before Cirith finished his speech the mountain shook with such ferocity as if a volcano had erupted. Immediately her mind started working at what it could be, the mountain had never erupted into a volcano and had never showed any signs that it ever would. "Yo, two men with me now!" Seyerna hollered and they didn't waste a beat, no arguing who would go, two of them simply moved forward and stood beside her at the ready. Together they started climbing the mountain, it got drastically steeper past the mouth of their cave, and they were forced to use the foliage and trees to aid in their climb. Seyerna found it an easy task, using the tree trunks like foot holds to scale higher and higher. The elven guard was using his hands to grip the branches and with supreme acrobatic skill flinging his body around as if it were a whip, shifting into liquid motions to dance between trees. The demon guard that had followed wasn't half as graceful, but his methods no less successful, he dug his claws into the dirt, careless to the muck that coated his arms, using rocks and roots to ascend the steep mountain side. Vaguely she realized the dragon had followed, but as her mind passed to potentially alarming possibilities she had no time to consider him. At her angle she could see smoke rising up into the sky and she was starting to worry there was a fire, but the smell wasn't right, this smell was strange. The closer she got the more it disturbed her. She had only smelled this scent once before and the creature that came from it innately hated her guts. 

 

Breaching the steepest part of the mountain she took a lead ahead of her guards and sprinted the rest of the way to the smoking crater. With all the smoke even her superior eyes couldn't decipher more than the outline of a body, alive apparently as it shifted and moved. Another sniff of the air and the smoke confirmed her alarm, a damn angel. Seyerna almost about faced and went bouncing back down the hill, but curiosity always won out with her and she wanted to know why this angel had just made an explosive crater on top of Mount Voltus. The angel armed herself but was still obviously dazed, Seyerna had fought angels before but it was a bitch and she wasn't looking to start fights, so she remained in a relaxed pose, hoping the angel wouldn't just decide to attempt to impale her. Though it wasn't completely unlikely that the angel would pick up on Seyerna's demonic aura and attack without asking questions - Seyerna would even say it was likely - she still hoped not.

 

The smoke began to clear and the angel's features became visible. She heard her guards make the sprint to her location and she held up her fist, signaling them to stop, far enough away that they weren't in the angel's direct line of sight, but could jump in if need be. The elf had already drawn an arrow but was holding it lacks in front of him. The demon had his hand on the hilt of his blade but he too waited for her command. 

 

The angel's wings were singed, and parts of her skin were seared away. The pieces clicked into place in Seyerna's mind and she resisted the urge to laugh, "A fallen angel? And here I thought that was the one TRUE myth." She didn't speak in a demeaning way, her words only expressed her own disbelief. "Look, I don't know if you're anything like the rest of the angels I've encountered considering you were apparently kicked out of the house, but let me assure you I've got an army less than a mile south of us who don't give a damn if you're heaven sent, most of them will scoff at your wings and say you're a harpy. I'm one of two people in the cave below us who know how to identify an angel and I guarantee the other is most definitely on my team. So how about you not try and strike me and I'll see if I can't get some food in you and save what's left of your wings." Seyerna offered, not sure how the angel would respond to her, the last one had barely let her spit out two words before attacking.

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Luna slowly got to her feet listening as her eyes began to focus. Her hood stayed covering her eyes only exposing the tip of her small nose along with her soft beige lips. Her wings spread wide, not in a hostile way but almost a a large stretch. They stung in agony. Her wings were another appendage, like a second set of arms, the feathers were like hair, not hurting in a devastating way, but it still stung as she moved them lightly making a small breeze. Her toes grabbed at the dirt that was made from her entry, small amounts mixing with the blood coming from them. She pulled her hood back slowly.

 

 She did not recognize the voice but as her eyes adjusted she could see the creature that stood before her. A demon.  She had not fought a demon in centuries, she wasn’t sure how many still roamed the earth and in plain sight for that matter.  Demons could not be seen by angels because of the laws of no interference with humans. If a human accepted a demon into their life then they had damned themselves and would be punished when the time came.  Angels simply despised there kind. The way they possessed humans like objects and cattle, using them for food, sex or whatever other pleasures they took of them.  She smirked raising her eyebrow slightly while taking in the site of the creature. The demons aurora was one she did not recognize. It was different than the ones she had seen before.  It perplexed her judgment. At the moment her head and body throbbed with pain and fighting a demon of this magnitude would be nearly impossible to manage.

 

She spoke, her voice strong, she wouldn’t let a demon see her weakness. “I can see the creatures you hide below the edge and I don’t appreciate being approached with threats.  As for our help, where it is a generous offer I do not trust creatures of your species to simply just help one of my kind with nothing to gain.  So what is it you want from me? To manipulate and use me for my value until you grow bored of me, or to simply slaughter me and enjoy what treasures you find among my remains.  Angles don’t fall for any simple reason. I have broken the laws once and I am not afraid to do it again. What is the worst they can do now?â€

 

She grabbed her staff at her side and punctured it into the ground causing it to rumble beneath their feet. “I will not be used.â€

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Seyerna stood there for a long moment in silence rolling the angel's words around in her head, eventually she shrugged and responded, "You're right, I was considering how useful you'd be against Saori and was hoping if I filled your belly and showed you the various species who have united under this common threat I might be able to persuade you to help the many defenseless families who can't stand against Saori's wrath. With that said though, I wasn't considering forcing you to help, any more than I tried to force the dragons in this war, speaking of which I wonder why Nyagi didn't inform me of their declination herself." Just like that Seyerna's mind had jumped to a different top and she was already turning away from the angel, her little display of power having not intimidated the demoness in the least. Seyerna didn't have the time to baby the angel, and she wasn't going to start a fight, since the angel hadn't struck that told Seyerna the angel didn't intend to start anything either and so she began walking away. She moved between the guards, who were baffled at their leader's obvious disregard as she so blatantly turned her back on a potential foe. 

 

"Ya know, it just occurred to me I don't have any centaur friends. I wonder if Ai knows any...." Seyerna wasn't talking to anyone, more thinking out loud as she rubbed her chin in a contemplative way. Seeing Cirith standing just behind her guards seemed to draw her attention and she stopped her march back down the hill. With a moment’s thought she glanced back over her shoulder toward the angel, “If you do change your mind though I believe the girls are cooking beef…†She turned back around and proceeded to mumble her herself, “I wonder if angels eat beef… too many religions to keep track of… do they conform to a religion?... hmm…. Does this mean some human actually has it right? Or maybe they’re just a winged species who happen to specialize in the perceived ‘pure’ powers…†Seyerna continued to mumble on to herself asking questions of no one in particular and not waiting for some mystical answer before inquiring about the next one.  

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Ráijá’s unbridled joy caught somewhat off guard, it was not a reaction he could have expected of her. He was surprised; enough so that when Ráijá stepped forward and happily grabbed his hand, Raion travelled a couple of steps before jerking to halt and pulling his hand free of her smaller, child-like one. He lifted the hand to his face and stared at the open palm, the rough leather-like skin marred with tiny scratches. The last children his hands had touched had been the broken bodies of his race on the ruined remains of the Tatsujin homeland.

 

Ráijá’s touch reminded Raion of the days before Saori even came to power, of the days when the Tatsujin had been the strongest warriors ever to grace a battlefield. His open hand slowly closed until he held a fist in front of him, the tendons in his wrist pulling tight as he clenched harder and harder. Raion’s eyes couldn’t leave it as he tried to control his emotional unbalance, willing the layers of control he had in place would hold.

 

Fighting in battle was in Raion’s blood, literally beaten into him from birth to now. To keep himself hidden from Saori and her twisted mind, he had abstained from battle and kept a low profile. But now he knew that he had held on for too long, the chains holding him back would soon snap and he would attack the closest thing to him; in this case the child-nymph Ráijá that stood before him. Raion’s eyes were wide as he tried to loosen his fist, to open it back to a palm and continue with Ráijá up the mountain. Raion was not convinced he was winning that particular inner battle.

 

Although not really looking at her, Raion could see Ráijá stood in front of him, her wide eyes locked curiously on his closed fist. She seemed as focused on it as he was for a beat before her eyes slid to his face with apparent concern for him. Raion’s own eyes slipped off his fist and focused with a predatory gaze on Raijia, the slits of his pupils narrowing with his prey in sight. He spread his thin, bloodless lips to reveal teeth like swords as his mind whirred through the motions it would take to kill the girl. It would not be difficult, he suspected, as she was too innocent to think he would attack and he would use that to his advantage.

 

With the element of surprise and the notion that she wouldn’t run immediately, Raion calculated he could move faster than her and if he dashed forward with full speed, angling slightly to allow for the girl to jerk back in surprise, Raion could see his hatchet buried in her rib cage. Once that was done, he would need only to grasp her tiny head in his free hand and twist the hatchet violently to spill her guts to the floor in front of her. Then with a quick step to the side, releasing the hatchet as he did, and gripping her around the neck, he could use his other hand to lodge in her mouth and allow him leverage to pull upwards; tearing her head free of her body.

 

Even as his battle hunger whirled through these steps, Raion’s rational mind fought against surrendering to such an action. Luckily, his attention was suddenly diverted by a ferocious growling from behind him. The slits of his eyes widened to take in the surroundings as Raion spun around and dropped to a low crouch; feet spread wide and one hand on the floor for balance, his other hand already pulling his hatchet free from his belt. The large bear was already charging noisily towards him, large teeth showing behind raised lips and heavy claws digging into the soil beneath its feet. Raion bared his own teeth and held his weapon ready in his hand, low to the ground.

 

Dealing the bear would be even simpler then killing Ráijá; all that would be required would be to twist to lodge his shoulder underneath the animal's jaws and then straighten his legs to lift upwards. The bear would then naturally move to its hind legs and attempt to attack with its razor sharp claws. But by the time it was doing that, Raion would bury his hatchet in the side of its head, as far as it would go; killing it near instantly.

 

But even as Raion started to twist to initiate his defense, the bear suddenly skidded to a halt in front of him and let loose a mighty roar. Raion wasn't perturbed by this action and immediately leapt forward with a swinging blow that would finish where Raion had planned in the first place, in the side of the bear’s skull. As his arm moved through the arc, Raion's mind suddenly wondered why the bear had stopped in the first place and he glanced over his shoulder to see Ráijá stood behind him, hands raised in front of her like a defensive movement and clear, confident eyes. Eyes that should be showing fear or pain as Raion killed her beast. The blade of the axe stopped a millimeter from the bear's skin, brushing lightly against its fur.

 

"Thank you, Ráijá." Raion said, slipping the hatchet back into his belt and standing up straight. "If your eyes had not been so clear, I would have killed the bear without further hesitation and become a beast. I am not a beast." Raion said and moved back towards Ráijá, reaching his hand out for her to take. "I am a warrior who can tell the difference between my enemies, and a child and her friend."

 

With the prelude to smile itching on her face, Ráijá reached forward and took Raion’s hand again, seemingly unperturbed by what had just passed. “Good.†She said, a clear note in her voice telling Raion that although she looked like a child, she was still deadly in her own right. As she tightened her grip reassuringly around Raion’s hand, she glanced back at the bear and then back to Raion with a sly grin appearing on her face as she did. “Am I going to have to keep you two separated?†she asked in what appeared to be an attempt to copy a mother berating her children. Still with a grin on her face, she stepped again in the original direction of travel.

 

Raion couldn’t help but be impressed as they walked, Ráijá’s command over the forest made their travel that much easier and also covered their tracks a thousand times more effectively then the rebel army’s that had proceeded them. He thought they were probably doing the rebel army a favour, as it were, covering what little tracks that had left in their wake.

 

As they moved, neither of the pair spoke out, clearly absorbed in their thoughts. But the silence did not last long as the sound of an explosion thundered down from the top of the mountain, accompanied by the ground trying to throw them off its back. Raion’s had to pull free of Ráijá’s hand as he was thrown sideways and grappled against a tree to prevent himself from falling over. He looked up at the peak of the mountain to see a pillar of smoke rising into the sky while a river of rocks cascaded over the side; towards them. One such rock, perhaps three times the size of a man, bounced down the path in a straight route to where Ráijá had ended up after the shockwave and the look on her face told Raion that she would not be able to react in time to dodge. With a burst of speed, he intercepted the rock with a shoulder barge and knocked it flying off course where it crashed into the trees behind them.

 

“Are you ok?†he said to Ráijá before looking back towards the smoke at the top of the mountain. “What was that?†the sound of the explosion was still ringing in his sensitive ears. “This does not bode well; that tower of smoke will be visible for miles. If Saori herself does not come, no doubt soldiers in her steed will. We must make haste to the rebel camp immediately.â€

 

Ráijá seemed to be slightly dazed as Raion glanced back at her, but she still managed to speak. “That was…†she stopped as if to find the right word. “…wrong. All wrong.†She added more confidently. “That was not a quake.†She said, looking up to the black plume that stood against the blue sky. Soon she nodded as if just hearing Raion’s suggestion of moving as quickly as possible to the camp. “Quick.†She affirmed. Without wasting any more time, she had whirled off at a pace more vigorous then before. She did not attempt to reach for his hand this time, instead using both of hers to apparently aid her in weaving the forest before her. The trees bent quickly out of the way, their trunks groaning angrily at her force; thickets parted like nests, clinging defiantly until she forced them apart. Raion noticed that she did take care to hide their tracks as she had done before, but remained unconcerned; if someone could get that far without a trail, then it wouldn’t make much difference anyway.

 

They moved with enough speed, rising higher with every step, that soon enough a pair of soldiers appeared on the path before them. Raion immediately dashed forward to get ahead of Ráijá and stand between her and the guards. One was clearly human, a long sword clasped drawn in his hand, while the second was an Elf with a bow in hand, an arrow notched and ready to go. They were obviously not surprised to see them and Raion guessed that there had been watchers previously and a message had been passed forward to the guards.

"We are here to see your leader, the rebel Queen Seyerna. Would you be so kind as to take us to her?" Raion spoke politely and with a slight air of command. It was a tone that usually worked in getting what he wanted with low level soldiers. However, the pair on front of him were clearly on edge from the explosion from earlier and didn't attempt to move.

"There is no such person here." The Human said, pointing back down the path with his sword "I suggest you turn around and head on back to where you came from."

"On the mountain top, then?" Raion said and took a step forward and instantly, the Elf had the bowstring drawn to his cheek and the Human had his sword grasped in two hands. "I will warn you now; if you attempt to attack me or my partner, I will have no option but to retaliate with force. My safeguards are on tender hooks at the moment, so I cannot guarantee your lives."

"Is that so?" The Human said "Well, I've got a warning for you; take one more step in this direction and we will attack."

"As you wish." Raion said and took a step forward again. Instantly the Elf loosed his arrow directly at Raion's chest. Raion didn't panic though as his left arm appeared out of his cloak and caught the arrow on the scales running down the outside of his forearm.

Both the guards looked surprised and Raion took instant advantage of it by lunging forward, drawing his hatchet in the middle of it, and stopping when he was stood in between the guards. They both turned to face him, the Elf already notching another arrow while the Human pulled back his sword to initiate a wide swinging attack. But Raion didn't let them get any further as he delivered a vicious kick between the wide stance of the human, sending him into a fetal position on the ground, before twisting at the waist and cutting through the Elf's bow with the blade of his hatchet. The Elf was clearly fairly well trained as he quickly dropped his ruined weapon and pulled out a long curved knife from his belt.

He didn't get any further than that as Raion quickly stepped in and buried his hatchet into the Elf's weapon wielding shoulder before delivering a sudden head butt and knocking the Elf back into the mountain wall. With another step in, Raion delivered an elbow to the Elf's throat and when the Elf bent at the waist while clutching his neck, he snapped a second elbow into the back of the Elf's head, knocking him cleanly unconscious. The Human was starting to pull himself to his feet so Raion stepped back towards him and delivered a swift kick to the side of his head, sending him to join his friend.

Raion adjusted his cloak and pack before taking a seat on a boulder that had settled next to the cave entrance. "A base within the mountain itself. I cannot say I could have guessed that without seeing it." Raion said, glancing into the cave entrance. "Well, I wouldn't want to disturb Sayerna while she is dealing with whatever happened at the top of the mountain, so let's wait here for her to return. Do you agree, Ráijá?" he looked up towards the mountain top, his features once again hidden by the shadows of his hood.

 

Ráijá remained silent for a minute, causing Raion to look back to her, noting absent mindedly that the bear was no longer with them, and saw the look on her face. “What’d you do that for?†she demanded, waving her hand at the two crumpled guards. “Seyerna won’t like use very much if the first thing she knows about us is that we beat her friends! You’re supposed to be nice to people, maybe not trust them, but at least be nice!†she jabbed an accusing finger at Raion. “It’ll be your fault she doesn’t like us; if she kicks us out.†She frowned and jabbed her finger at him again. “You’re fault.â€

 

As Raion wondered what to say to her somewhat sulky tirade Ráijá reached down and grabbed the Elf around the arm. She gave a mighty pull but she was simply too small to shift either of the heavy guards. She looked over her shoulder at Raion, a look of annoyance still clear. “Can we at least sit them up? Or stop him bleeding?†she shrugged at the wound Raion had dealt to the Elf during the scuffle.

 

Raion looked at her with a look of confusion for a second; he was not the type to show mercy to people who had just tried to kill him. He was actually surprised he had not killed them, which he didn’t hesitate to point out to Ráijá. “Look, at least I didn’t kill them. If Seyerna gets distressed because I knocked out a pair of her men, then I’ll leave and go elsewhere. No good leader would make such a fuss.†The look Ráijá was giving him told him that she didn’t think very highly of that opinion.

 

“Ok, as you wish.†He said and stood up from his rock to move over the fallen Elf. His enhanced strength made it seem like he was picking up a sack of feathers as he grabbed the Elf by the back of his collar and hauled him to his feet. He grabbed the Human while he was there and lifted both of them across to the sharp mountain wall that the entrance was carved into. Raion leant them against it in a sitting position and nudged them with his feet until they were resting their heads together. He then picked up the Elf’s knife and the Human’s sword, laying them on the ground by the rock before sitting on it again.

 

“Now, unless you want to walk up to the top and find Sayerna, I suggest taking a seat to wait for her.†He said

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She took a deep breath as she watched the demon turn away. This was highly unusual to their breed and was confused by the reaction she had received. Surely a normal demon would have attacked her for her comments and her stature. Even her aura felt different to Luna. It felt almost comforting, warm and inviting. There was still darkness to her that she could feel. It was deep within her but she could still feel it.

 

She needed to evaluate the situation she was in at this moment. Surely the creature she hated most on this planet would recognize her falling to the surface. If she did not protect herself she would be taken by this creature by force and drained for her sadistic purposes. At this moment, she knew she was not strong enough to battle through on her own. She needed to choose her allies carefully. 

 

Luna looked to the sky as the smoke started to clear. She could still taste the dirt in the air as she took the next few steps forward.  Her wings moved together, a ting of pain running through her body.  She spoke softly. “I will accept your generosity; once I heal we will discuss what I may do to help. I don’t wish to harm anyone, but to simply rid this world of those who seek to clam it for themselves.  I apologies for my hostility but our kinds have never been known to get along. May I ask for your name?â€

 

As she asked she could hear the commotion not far below. She could smell the blood as the odor moved throughout her nose. Her eyes widened as her hand tightened around her staff. Her mind raced. Could she have made it this far this quickly without her detection. Something that power, she sure she could have felt.  As she moved a little farther down the edge of the mountain she could feel it all at once. So many beings bellow her feet. It was all so overwhelming. It would take her a few moments to take it all in.  She spoke quickly “Someone is hurt, and something is below, quite possibly one of the most hostile beings I have seen before. “

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Seyerna's musings were cut short at the jerking of power at the mouth of the caves. Who had she left at the entrance? The auras weren't of Saori's though, the people the evil queen commanded all had a similarity in that they were evil. Seyerna was dark, most definite, in fact her aura was the blackest most people had ever and would ever encounter, but it wasn't evil; threw a lot of people off, most people weren't sure how to respond to her and more often than not just assumed she was evil. 

 

The angel spoke again and Seyerna glanced her blood eyes back over her shoulder to take in the recovering angel if only briefly, "Seyerna." She spoke her name flatly, the syllabus strange on most peoples' tongues who were not native to the demon tongue, which was essentially everyone because the demon tongue was almost a dead language, few demons were left that had been raised on it and even fewer bothered to learn it since it was for all extensive purposes obsolete. Her name's meaning existed only in the demon tongue, and even Seyerna could only guess at its meaning; while her mother had told her, there were no facts or text that correlated. Many of her charges merely called her 'Sey.' 

 

The auras standing before the cave had stopped, resting at the mouth. She noted her two guards' auras had damped signalling they'd been attacked and were losing. The auras were now resting stagnant no more bouncing and jerking with the signs of combat, at least they hadn't killed her guards. "I need to see to this." She realized as she said it the angel had been pointing out what she'd been sensing. Seyerna quickly bounced back down the hill easily sliding between the trees the down hill trip much easier and quicker than the up hill had been. Her last jump had actually tossed her into the heart of the trees, but somehow Seyerna barely disrupted them and landed just before the Tatsujin and Nymph. She ran her eyes over both of them, neither of them jumped to attack so she moved her attention to her guards both of them unconscious, though they were seated against the wall. 

 

"It's been a busy day." Her lips thinned into a smile baring her sharp fangs, but it wasn't predatory, instead she showed actual humor, a very queer response from a demon. "I'm guessing you're here to see me too. I am Seyerna." Vaguely she realized how unprofessional and entirely nonthreatening she made herself out to be, but she had trouble showing any sort of threatening side to a child even if logically she knew the nymph was more likely than not no child. "Now, who might you two be and how can I help you?" She moved towards them but swiftly stepped past them as she felt no threat from either of them, instead she went to the two guards and examined their injuries. Seyerna's voice echoed into the caves as she stood up and hollered into the entrance, "Someone send out Sage and Vesta!"  

 

A few minutes past, Seyerna had crouched down next to the two men and had pulled them both into a laying position. From the dark recesses of the cave a human girl came out, her hair was bright, bright red, almost orange, with her brown eyes making her look like an autumn nymph. Her clothing was similar to Seyerna's in it's natural fabrics and hap-hazardous stitching, but she showed far more modesty, covering herself completely. The most interesting part of her attire was a shining silver bow pulled across her torso, it didn't seem she carried a quiver. Her eyes immediately took in the scene glancing from the Tatsujin and Nymph, across Seyerna to the two on the ground which she swiftly walked up to and kneeled by.

 

"Where's Sage?" Seyerna stole back Vesta's attention while she began pulling away clothing from the injured.

 

"He said, and I quote, 'they'll live, bother me when it's important.'" Vesta's voice was gentle, but there was a quirk to the side of her lips showing the signs of a grin.

 

Seyerna scoffed but it quickly turned into chuckles, "Can you handle them on your own?" Seyerna's voice was still light and the hints of laughter danced along the ends of each word.

 

"They're not fatally wounded, Sage is right, they'll live without my help, but I'll have 'em all fixed up in no time." Vesta's hands began glowing with her healing magic, pure white. Vesta and Sage were the only two under Seyerna's order that had pure powers, though there were various elves and dryads who knew other healing tactics, finding those of pure power was rare in general, but finding those that would follow the command of a demon were laughable odds. Before their eyes Vesta was easily healing the injured, the Elf's flesh was swiftly knitting back together and the bruises and discoloration was shifting away as if it were merely dust being blow off. In minutes the two had regained consciousness and their eyes moved jerkily trying to find their bearings. While they both glanced at the Tatsujin with a level of anger and annoyance it was replaced in seconds as they realized Seyerna was standing there. They jumped to their feet as if they thought they could somehow fool Seyerna into thinking they hadn't just been unconscious. 

 

"Go to the hall and get food, send out your reliefs and I'll hang around until they show." Seyerna spoke to them as if speaking to a teenager with a level of harshness that demanded obedience, but at the same time a softness that said she cared for their well-being. They gave her half bows and hurried into the cave, certainly embarrassed by failing their duties, but relieved it hadn't been a costly failure. No one questioned Seyerna's offer to act as guard, she played the same roles as everyone else here, rotating through them. The only reason she took 'leadership' was because she had experience in war, and more importantly as a warlord, well that's what she told herself; the reality was that many of the individuals living under her care viewed her in a Queenly way, or at least motherly, as was the way with many of her charges, proof of this being Vesta as she moved closer to Seyerna. Seyerna looked down at the human who was almost a head and a half shorter than her, reaching out and she combed her claws through Vesta's orange hair, Vesta showed no alarm merely watched the deadly talons move through her hair in a very affectionate way. A moment past as the two shared something between them before Seyerna returned her attention, once again, to the newcomers having completely removed herself from Vesta though they still stood closer than mere soldiers would.

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"As you wish" he'd said, and no sooner had the affirmation left his lips than the Tatsujin was up and doing what Ráijá could not.

 

She took a step back, out of his way as he worked. There was little she could do, and so instead she watched him effortlessly manipulate the dead weight of the defeated guards - all the while trying to find a balance in her own mixture of gratitude and reproach. When Raion had finished, Ráijá was still standing, unmoved from her place of observation, wrestling with wether or not to surrender to a show of thanks or continue her performance of chiding disapproval for the sudden violence. 

 

Raion had settled himself once again, seemingly uninfluenced by her stubborn resolve to judge him, "Now, unless you want to walk up to the top and find Seyerna, I suggest taking a seat to wait for her."

 

Unwilling to display her uncertainty, or her lack of involvement, Ráijá swept in and moved the placement of the Elf's hands to rest in his lap. It was superfluous, but Ráijá felt she had to do something if she hoped to cling to her point and dignity. So with a look of importance, and without response to Raion, she shuffled the arms of the guards that looked like something more comfortable. All too quickly she ran out of altertions to make, and was left with only one other option; to sit and wait.

 

She didn't bother finding a rock, tree, or cavern-side that she could rest her back against, but rather plopped herself down, cross-legged in the patchy dirt, directly opposite Raion. It was inconvenient, she soon realized, as for all her stubbornness, she didn't want to meet the Tatsujin's gaze. It didn't take her long to decipher why she felt guilty. 

 

After a pause, in which she passed several fleeting and contrite glances his way, Ráijá murmured her gratitude. Her first attempt was inaudible - and so clearing her throat she tried again. "Thank you." she announced, clearly. After a beat she looked at him again, this time able to hold his gaze, "for everything." she clarified.

 

Not only was she indebted to him for his cooperation in repositioning the guards, but also for several things that had transpired since their meeting. In their so-far brief companionship, Raion had halted his very nature to appease her, had swallowed some dark haunting of his past to cooperate with her, and had stepped between her and danger twice. She was, by every measure of the word, indebted to him.

 

She tipped her head as she observed him, and felt a grateful grin curl the corner of her mouth. "You're scary," she pointed out, but with a very obvious degree of admiration in the word. It was not a slight or accusation, but more of a complimentary observation. Her head dipped even further as she considered more, and the grin growing, added, "and brave.â€

 

He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his legs and his chin on his clasped hands in front of him. He let a quiet moment pass between them before answering her, “Scary? It serves a purpose;â€

 

Ráijá straightened her skewed perception of him, interested in what he had to share.

 

“A man in battle who is scared makes mistakes. They freeze, flee, or attack too early. It allows me to strike them down before they can do the same to me. But Brave? I am not Brave.â€

 

Ráijá cocked an eye-brow, curiously.

 

“Bravery,†Raion went on, explaining, “is the acceptance and conquering of fear; I have never felt fear so I can never be brave.†He took his gaze from her and peered thoughtfully upwards towards the crest of the mountain they now sat on the slope of. “My lack of fear will no doubt be the cause of my death, whenever that is due to happen.â€

 

Ráijá felt something in herself disagreeing with the idea that Raion was not brave. She couldn’t believe the words he confessed to her without proof; and how could he prove that he’d never felt fear? even in it’s smallest measure. She held her tongue however, unable to find the right sentiments to argue her own opinion of him. Instead, she leaned forward to rest her own head in her hands, much like the Tatsujin warrior before her - a kind of mimicry in her awe and admiration to be a little like him.

 

It was this moment that a very unexpected thing happened: Like a jungle cat, the lean female figure of the very Demon that Ráijá and her Tatsujin companion had sought dropped from the canopy of the overhanging trees to land between them. In a puff of dirt and dust, the creature observed them with a sweeping glance. Ráijá, startled, had rocked backward onto her hands as she threw them behind herself to catch her own flinch. But with her hands in the soil reaching for the obedience of the elements around her, she stilled and watched the creature.

 

“It’s been a busy day,†The Demon murmured before delivering a casual grin of pointed teeth, “I'm guessing you're here to see me too. I am Seyerna. Now who might you two be and how can I help you?â€

 

Ráijá, despite having her assumptions confirmed upon hearing Seyerna reveal her name, kept her silence and moved swiftly to her feet. She didn’t waste any time in closing the gap between herself and Raion - the gap she, herself, and put there - and reaching again for his hand.

 

Her attention was glued to the Demon as she worked and conversed, fascinated by the creature who was called “Queen†- and yet was unlike any expectation Ráijá had for the station. Ráijá’s eyes followed the frame of the healer as she came and went, but never completely left the Demon’s whereabouts unobserved. Ráijá remained decidedly silent as the dance played itself out, watching the players and pressing herself in close to the still fledgling companionship she had formed with the Tatsujin. She wasn’t comfortable without a companion, and she’d left her bear far, far behind.

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Raion watched Ráijá carefully as he spoke and he got the feeling that she didn’t totally agree with what he was saying; she looked like she was about to speak but apparently decided against when she said nothing. Instead she leaned forward to sit in a position not dissimilar to how Raion was sat himself. Before he could comment on it, something he was thinking of doing, a figure descending from the trees with such silence that Raion was actually surprised. The figure landed gracefully in between Raion and Ráijá as if she hadn’t just appeared out of nowhere.

 

As the figure spoke, indicating that she was the one called Seyerna, Raion made sure to keep his composure; he may have been surprised by her sudden appearance, but he kept it hidden beneath the surface. Instead, he simply allowed his gaze to rise from where Ráijá had been sitting to Seyerna’s face, which bore a humorous smile. She started to move towards Raion but slid passed him without further comment, instead tending to the two unconscious men beside him. Raion moved only his head to turn and look at the demon as she called out for two people.

 

So, she is more concerned with her injured men then her potential enemies. He thought, watching Seyerna carefully. Some people might call her stupid but she has a good ability to judge the intentions of an individual by aura alone. A girl appeared out of the mountain entrance and since Sayerna asked where the person called Sage was, Raion guessed it to be Vesta. Seyerna and Vesta talked between each other, still ignoring Raion and Ráijá, until Vesta healed the two guards with pure magic.

 

Ráijá had moved from her spot on the floor to Raion’s side, away from Seyerna and Vesta, and reached for his hand again. This time expecting it, Raion lifted his head to allow her small hand to slide in, where he gently closed his hand around it. Raion glanced at her face, watching her as she watched Seyerna, but soon allowed his stare to follow hers.

 

The two guards were now back on their feet, looks of angry fear in their eyes aimed at Raion. Raion considered focusing his aura on them to settle them, but it seemed the mere presence of Seyerna did that anyway. So Raion watched as Seyerna spoke to the guards and sent them on their way. With her duty done, Vesta moved across to Seyerna and the demon queen ran her talons through the girls hair; Raion guessed that these signs of affection happened regularly as Vesta was clearly unperturbed by the action. Even when Seyerna was finished, they still stood closer than anyone else would naturally.

 

Seyerna’s attention now focused back on Raion, and Ráijá, again and Raion stood up slowly to stand before her. He didn’t let go of Ráijá’s hand, or rather didn’t stop her from holding his, and used his free hand to pull his hood down before sliding the thumb into the sash at his waist.

 

“So you are Seyerna.†He mused out loud, scanning her up and down although he had already done that while she was dealing with the guards. “I’m hoping you have not heard of me, but my name is Raion; I am one of the last few remaining Tatsujin alive.†A flash of something passed behind his eyes at his own mentioning of his race, but he contained it without trouble. “You are the leader of a rebellion I have been hearing a lot about lately, I am here to see whether that is a good thing; or whether I need to end it like I have many rebellions before.â€

 

Raion’s tone of voice did not convey any kind of threat, but instead with the confidence of truth. “The things I have heard seem to convey that you were doing quite well; but your most recent battle cost you much, did it not? Are you sure you will be able to continue as you are?â€

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Seyerna had to mull the Tatsujin's aura around in her mind, seeking memories of such a feeling, so familiar and yet so very rare. Only on a handful - or less - occasions had she encountered one of his kind. 

 

“I’m hoping you have not heard of me, but my name is Raion; I am one of the last few remaining Tatsujin alive.†

 

As her mind raced to recall the name she eventually shrugged, "Can't say that I have." Vesta was lingering close by, her attention seemed to be on the conversation but the slightest rustling from the forest jerked her attention immediately, perhaps even a brief moment before the sound was even noticeable. The sound was of no alarm though, a bird perhaps, but Seyerna never shifted and as Vesta's dark eyes moved to Seyerna, seeing her leader so relaxed at the sound she easily brushed it off and went back to 'appearing' to focus on the conversation. 

 

“You are the leader of a rebellion I have been hearing a lot about lately, I am here to see whether that is a good thing; or whether I need to end it like I have many rebellions before.â€

 

Vesta grew visibly tense at this, her eyes hardened like stone and her delicate fingers gripped the silver bow straddling her torso, but she made no motion to attack. Seyerna on the other hand seemed to show no alarm and merely smiled, either from arrogance or because she recognized his intent; it was hard to tell. "I do hope it's a good thing. Dear Saori does cause quite the ruckus and even I, as a demon, tire of her constant gruesome violence." Seyerna said this in such a way it was as if they were have a tea party, no anger seethed from her tone, no disgust to curl her lips, if anything she appeared nonchalant as if this entire war were no more than just a passing festival she had visited every year and was now only mildly interested in visiting. 

 

“The things I have heard seem to convey that you were doing quite well; but your most recent battle cost you much, did it not? Are you sure you will be able to continue as you are?â€

 

Finally, Seyerna's tone showed real emotion, her eyes narrowed, the blood red tone seemed a shade darker and the voice that followed sounded cold and cruel, the voice of someone who knew true hatred; "If even one life is lost a battle costs too much and yet I find myself without choice. They will fight, with or without my guidance, but without it they...." Seyerna's emotions suddenly disappeared back to the nonchalant, carefree appearance she had earlier. She'd just realized where her words were going and she never wanted to suggest these strangers of varied origins would be damned without her, but it wasn't like they were so much more likely to avoid damnation with her help. In the end they were in a horrid situation and all Seyerna could really offer them was hope, the reality was that Saori's armies were vast and far better trained and well suited than the people residing in the caves. 

 

"Why don't you and the nymph, whom I haven't caught the name of, come inside and eat. I promised the angel food anyway." From within the cave two men walked out - the reliefs - Seyerna had apparently known they were coming long before they were even withing hearing distance. 

 

"Goo' day, Miss Sey!" One of them called out, a satyr it seemed as he came more into view the lower goat half of his body showed in the evening sun. The second close behind, was a human, he seemed rather grumpy but still showed his respects as they both lowered their heads bowing to Seyerna. 

 

A slight quirk to Seyerna's lips, the briefest signs of a smirk. She had never conditioned them to bow to her, many of them didn't, but it still amused her those that did, still it always posed an opportunity to make them feel awkward. Seyerna sweeped towards them and lowered herself into a deep bow upon which both of them went wide eyed, confused at the display, "Thank you ever so much for coming out early. I know your shift wasn't for a few more hours, but I do appreciate it." 

 

"Humm... ahh, sure, no problem." The satyr spoke, the human was just staring with brows furrowed. Seyerna was grinning as she raised herself from her bow and cantered inside, Vesta following on her heels. 

 

Inside the caves the stream of people coming up to Seyerna never ended, they leaked out from between the stone buildings, some of them bouncing down from on top of them, all of them revering her in some positive light, more than once someone would run up to hug her, Seyerna never refused them but she did have a polite way of sending them off. There was one small blue hair child who hadn't hugged her but had simply came up and took one of Seyerna's hands, walking silently beside her, Seyerna had glanced down at the child but had made no other motion towards her. Several people bowed to her, but those that showed more formal needs mostly just came up and began speaking. They spoke to her of food rations, of weapons and armor, or the next battle, and the battle that had just past. For each person Seyerna seemed to have a different side, though they were all linked somehow in the way she spoke in her actions and tone. 

 

Vesta had wondered off by the time they reached the cavern that was apparently for feasting. It was a wide open space with the top of the cave several stories above them, the tables were long dinning style and they were all of a different style. There was an odd charm to the dirt and stone floor, many of the walls through out the caves had finger drawings carved into the soft spots of dirt, there were random chalk drawings on stones, and the dinning area was no different. Dozens of various people were seated in the room, eating away, all of them at different points in their meal it seemed, a few of them noticed their entrance and waved at Seyerna. 

 

Ai approached them, her demeanor was odd for newcomers, she seemed cold, so cold in fact, it was as if she felt no emotion at all, her violet eyes completely void of anything. She was clad in a pristine white robe which seemed almost impossible in a place made of dirt, and yet not a speck marred the cloth, only her linen wrapped feet showed signs of being a part of this world. "Shall I have food prepared?" 'Food' because people in this kind of situation didn't get to decide on what they ate, they were happy with what they got, and while Seyerna made sure everyone was well fed that didn't mean they always got what they wanted. 

 

"I would appreciate that, Ai." The pale elf nodded and as suddenly as she appeared she'd disappeared somewhere behind them. Seyerna lead the band of newcomers to an open spot on the tables and sat down, pulling the blue haired child into her lap to sit, the child showed no resistance though she didn't cuddle up into Seyerna's arms either, merely sat, her eyes the color of ice remained static on the table. 

 

In minutes a pot of broth was brought out, it was heavy with meat and vegetables, hearty food to keep warm and strong and easy to spread to the masses. Ai hadn't reappeared instead new faces had brought them food and bowls to eat from. 

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Drip drip drip....

 

That was all Livius could hear with the occasional clash of chains hitting bars of the cell that grew to be his entrapment. His breathing was shallow, slowly his eye peered open as consciousness came to him, batting his blue eyelashes to focus his blurred vision and as it snapped to perfection he gasped, letting out a pained groan at he was reminded of the hack job on his exposed back and still healing stab wounds in his ankles, his feet dangling above the red stained floor. His arms spread uncomfortably out, cuffs with chains pulling his arms up above his head.

 

He gritted his teeth, bearing the pain, revealing his fangs. His body shook from the cold breeze from the barred window that had rats skittering in and out from it into his cell where guards would squish them with their heavy boots without mercy, often partnering this grotesque act of cruelty with filthy cursing.

 

Livius was not alone, judging from the smell of sweat, piss, blood and festering flesh that would make anyone ill as he watched guards wheeling deformed corpses, victims of harsh torture, most expired quickly, humans were fragile things in comparison to supernatural beings. He only knew this much as he was one of the mythical beings himself, old and powerful despite his bloody and malnourished state. One as proud as him doesn't bow down so easily and with a Queen as corrupted as Saori she found pleasure is breaking his flesh in attempt to force him in to submission and when she did, she made him use his power against people and sometimes... His own kind then he would wake up to do it all over again. Getting more and more resistant to the many methods used on him and forcing him to submission was becoming harder and harder, torture becoming more and more hours.

 

Of course, it wasn't like this in the beginning, no, he often in his first awakening from unconsciousness screamed in rage, kicking and screaming for hours, having guards change his holding cell many time until this one, hanging up like a pig bleed out was the best solution. This was when he woke up and cried for hours, wishing to take it all back, of course nothing was that simple but in time he eventually stopped crying only to start laughing in manic depression...

 

But today he only woke up in pain, looking around for things of use, observing the guards routes, examining the slowly rusting bolt on his chain that dangled him in the air only inches from the floor. He now used this time he loosen that bolt more and more, the rusting of the iron making it more difficult as were his wounds but again, this man was far too proud to allow such imperfect metal to stand between him and a finally awaited freedom... Or death, depending on how he would escape, if he escaped and if the Queen still wished to use him. There was so many variables to think about. He rarely saw outside of the prison and when he did he was out of control, like a starved fighting hound, it was hard to focus on routes to take to get out of the castle. Then there was the issue of where his armour was, he was not leaving without it, it was from his kin, we would rather die than go without it. And finally a place to hide out. By step by step... perhaps he would get out of this place. 

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[This post contains graphic content.]

 

The capital of the Kingdom of Loryn was a dingy place, urchins ran about stealing from food stands or picking pockets of those that knew no better, their feet and hands were dirty, their faces so caked in mud their identity and species could sometimes be hard to determine. The people were overall angry and grumpy, taxed beyond recognition with barely enough coin to support themselves. Most of Loryn’s citizens were humans and races that lack the means to take on the wilderness alone. Most demons had joined Saori’s cause with only a few who found her unappealing; when most people thought of demons they thought of two groups, Saori and her armies, and the lone demoness Seyerna who for reasons unknown had been a vigilante force against all of demon kind even before Saori, but only since Saori has Seyerna’s name become wide spread. Deep in the allies of this broken city her name could be heard, murmured among the forsaken; it was against the law to mention the rebel Queen’s name, to even make a vague comment about her could be punished brutally, but of course, all knew of Saori’s sadistic desires, she would find any excuse just to torture.

 

So, it came as no surprise when the evil Queen walked through the streets that the people scattered, hiding wherever they could, which was ridiculous simply because Saori was still a demon, she never hid this fact, so they knew she could smell them or sense them; their softest breaths echoed in her elongated ears. There was something so wrong with the world when the most beautiful of creatures were the most evil. Saori was just that, beautiful and saturated in her own cruel powers. Her hair was like midnight, shining blue, her eyes the color of violets that seethed with dark powers misting from her eyes, the pupils slightly silted like a lizards. She never hid away in a ‘human’ form like most demons did, of course, her ‘true’ form wasn’t that much different, she had small horns that were smooth and had the texture of leather that wrapped around her elfen ears, claws that curved around the ends of each fingers, stained black by unknown means, inside her mouth were two delicate fangs that were barely longer than the rest of her teeth, smaller than a vampires and most demons. She was not a normal demon, her breed was very rare. All of these little ‘normal’ demon traits more often than not went unnoticed when faced with the one detail that blatantly signified her breed: her wings. Saori’s wings were hardly wings at all, they appeared to be a black mass of magic that took the shape of wings, but they were so dark they were almost opaque – almost. The black masses reeked of evil, darkness, dripping of a strange kind of magic that was almost forgotten in this world. Saori was a dimensional demon, more commonly known as a dimensian, some demons didn’t even recognize them as demons, they were physically much weaker than the average wrath demon. They had one very powerful advantage: they could bend time and space to their will, transcend dimensions at a whim; this made them unpredictable and extremely deadly.

 

On this warm evening Saori was clad in barely more than a metal bikini but the citizens wouldn’t see this as her magical wings were wrapped around her and draped over her form like a cloak, the only parts of her visible were her cruel smile and killer spiked heels that clacked loudly on the cobblestones. Dozens of her demon guards gathered around her, armored in bone and metal, many of the bone fragments still identifiable.

 

As she made a round through the city she came back to her castle, the massive structure she had erected specifically for her, completely stone, with massive walls and grand halls. Hundreds of people had died in its creation and most of them were thrown into a mass grave simply to keep the stench out of her home base. As beautiful as the structure was, decorated in the most macabre art, her favorite part was the dungeon, the ceiling was not as high, the walls not all coated in tapestries and paintings, but she much preferred a painting of fresh blood anyway. She took the outside entrance, she loved the feeling of fear that radiated from the people and it escalated to a delicious degree when they saw her head toward the dungeons. Her guards were quick to open the door, practically climbing on top of each other to be the one to aid their Mistress but also to avoid being directly in front of her, a level of fear keeping them a distance from her.

 

She sent the many guards away as she delved deeper and deeper into the dungeons; the prisoners were huddled in their cells, hiding against the corner, curled into tight little balls, those that weren’t bound at least. The smell of blood, urine, and defecation was thick in the air but Saori seemed able to focus on only the blood, her heart racing faster with her disturbed excitement. As her heels clicked on the stone floor she could feel the prisoners trembling in anticipation, their fear tangible in the air, but most of them would be lucky, she would not prepare a mass torture on this evening for her attention was for only one. The clicking of her heels grew louder and faster as her steps became less calculated and more bouncing with her excitement, already the sense of flesh beneath her delicate claws was drawing her to clench her fists and purr in desire.

 

Livius busied himself with the slow, agonizing turn to the rusty bolt above his head, exhausting himself and making his ankles and exposed back bleed from the continuous fast movements to create momentum for the twist. He groaned in pain, his bound hands shook from the pain and exhaustion; he was never feed to a healthy state to slow his naturally incredibly fast regenerative healing. So he was thinner and easier to exhaust. He panted, his rich royal blue hair draped down on both sides of him all the way down to his bottom, it was dirty and knotted from dried blood on the tips though.

 

His pale yellow eyes were full of a raising temper his pupils were like pins from nervousness and lack of nutrients versus the fear that ran around in the dungeon.

 

The violet of Saori’s eyes glowed from beneath her cloak of magic, sharp and bright with her emotions. She finally came to a stop, her heels echoing throughout the dungeon as she stared through the bars at the bound creature within. Saori raised her head and the magical wings that had been shrouding her face seemed to fold back and expose the waves of dark hair and glowing eyes. Her body shifted forward, the sound of her heels didn’t echo again as she seemed to glide forward not even touching the barred door, she simply phased through it, her power over dimensions allowed her to deny all physics including that of a solid, metal, bar door. A moment passed as she breathed in the spriggans blood dripping off his ankles… so delicious….

 

His pointed ears twitched to the sound of familiar heels on the cold stone floor and he turned himself around to yet again conceal his plan of escape, it squeaked slightly for the rust rubbing together and he waited, looking down at his feet that bleed, he looked away slightly in disgust and more so when the Queen stood in his cell, his 'neighbors' cowering back from the bars. He looked at the Queen with unwavering dislike towards her, saying nothing, only sporting a frown with dark blue eyebrows and piercing yellow eyes.

 

“Hello, my delicious little pet…†Saori’s voice came out on a purr, dark and in different circumstances: extremely erotic. Her heels began clicking again as she moved closer to him, fearlessly she raised her hand, the magic shrouding her parted as if split with a knife to reveal a pale life of skin. With an almost delicate touch she traced his jaw, being careful to avoid getting to close to his mouth, drawing a line from his neck down over his chest. Her touch quickly grew vicious as the slightest shift of her finger had her claws drawing a line down his torso, the blood seeping from between the layers of skin to paint her black nails a new color of bright crimson. The sight of Livius blood drew all her attention and she showed physical joy from this as she moaned darkly, not even trying to hide her desire, biting her lip in a most suggestive way.

 

Livius gritted his teeth, growling at Saori as she run a finger across his face, showing his sizable fangs at her before a staggered breath with sharp short sounds of pain came from his lips, much like yelps, but weak from his exhaustion. Blood ran down to his naval, separating the next to run down a leg and between his thighs and he only glared at the woman before him further before speaking boldly with a weak, if not sore voice. ''Bored I see.''

 

“Oh, well that won’t do, I’m sure I can find us some entertainment.†Saori’s wings unraveled from around her, revealing her sleek body, the metal of her bikini shining in the torch light, bejeweled in dark gemstones. Her torso was covered with little more than cups that cradled her ample bosom so they almost spilled over the shell, held to her form via chains that wrapped around her neck and torso. A slim piece of fabric slipped between her thighs to hide her groin, held up by matching chains. The boots that had posed such threatening clacking all through the city and dungeon reached her knees and matched the bikini in jewels and metal. Over one shoulder was a decorative pauldron for it certainly couldn’t offer much in the way of protection considering she was nearly naked.

 

The demoness all but danced around him, shifting her body like liquid, flaunting her figure before the tortured man before disappearing out of his vision. Her body always seemed to be phasing in and out, like she was blurry, her power over dimensions always lingering at a moment’s notice to pull her from the world and this made her appear unreal, like a phantom.

 

Livius watched the woman, not impressed, his temper ever rising, a flaw he would admit to not liking, mostly at times it would be deemed inappropriate to release it or times like these... where it would most likely make things so much worse. His frown deepened, all that played in his mind was the bolt that he needs to unscrew to get out and this woman was halting this taste of freedom and he so desperately wished her to at least put armor on. Guess that is why he is in chains so he couldn't hurt her rather naked form, naked in his opinion and very unprotected, most impractical.

 

Her curled claws returned to his skin, this time at his shoulder, though she didn’t draw blood this time she did leave a red welt in her wake. Closer and closer her hand drew to his back, his torn up, mutilated back, still in ribbons from previous torture. Saori trembled at the sight of his back. Gently she grazed the pads of her fingers over the loose pieces of flesh. “Are you ready to play with me, pet?â€

 

He tensed as claws went to his shoulder, he only looked forward, his shaking from the pain, exhaustion and what he despised at this moment, rage. He was shaking so hard the chain the dangled him in the air shook violently and his breath got faster as dull pain hit him from the red lines of irritation left on his shoulders before letting out almost whimpers from a wounded animal, his ears dropped in response, his back was red, bloody and inflamed making the slightest touch or breeze feel like scolding hot water being ran over skin, melting and blistering the skin away. His response was one of his rage. ''I am not your damn pet! Fuck you!'' He now started to struggle, trying to give himself momentum to swing back and forth, letting out pained groans as he moved his ankles and his muscles on his back. You had to give him credit for his guts to pull this shit though, and countless times too. Every time actually, the man was like a rock, unmoving and only moved if forced... Perhaps he himself was entertainment for the Queen for this reason. Why she gave twisted sense of affection towards him and hit him into shape, just like a feral dog, he was just missing a collar.

 

His outburst drew her to stillness, he couldn’t see the response that took place, the carnal desire that shook through her, biting her lip so hard a single drop of blood welled up before it was caught by her tongue and drawn between her thick red lips. Saori was ever patient, waiting for him to stop his violent shaking. Inevitably, he eventually did, Saori had kept her hands to herself throughout his ordeal and merely watched as speckles of blood were flung from his back and spattered her naked body, each drop sent a chill through her.

 

Livius panting his body shaking now from pain and exhaustion; his mind whirled in between kicking and screaming while the other part wanted to give up and shed tears but he did neither, only went silent after breath returned to normal, still his form shook. He looked to one side where a prisoner, scared, as he was couldn't help but watch and all Livius thought was the man was lucky to have a floor to sleep on where his arms felt as if in any moment they could be dislodged from place.

 

Livius hung still for several long moments, Saori intentionally keeping him in suspense. The next moment her claws straightened into vicious points and she delved them into his back reaching for his core, for bones, for the feeling of meat lodged up under her claws. Saori groaned at the texture of his insides wrapping around her fingers as she wiggled them between the ribbons of flesh.

 

He was distracted at that moment, a man mostly of thought but rarely revealed them but he surprised himself at this moment as his attention was stolen back with a screeching scream of pain as Saori ripped her way into his back, deep, claws scratching against his ribcage and spinal cord, touching nerves that made him only rise in volume. He never screamed like this before... Was he losing himself? Was he... becoming broken? The thought made him shed tears that rolled down his cheeks, turning to crystal and dropping onto the floor as small wisps of life essence itself with a luke warm glow to them. He lowered his head, shaking, convulsing from the pain with cries of pain that occasionally added to the small discarded crystallized Spriggan tears.

 

Saori’s claws stopped moving but she kept them embedded in his back, her entire body was covered in a thin layer of sweat and she had her forehead rested against his shoulder. The sound of heavy footfalls bounding down the hall was the only thing that drew Saori’s attention. Reluctantly she raised her head and watched down the hall as a figure came into view, a currier, a personal currier at that, someone she kept around for the sole purpose of delivering her messages at her whim. Her violet eyes were dark and the mass of her eye was indeterminable from the glow the emitted, so bright now with her passionate emotions.

 

“My Queen, a single soldier has returned from the battle… the others were lost. Sey-“ The currier was cut off as Saori hissed at the mere sound of Seyerna’s name.

 

“Don’t ever speak that degenerates name to me.†She growled as she slowly began extracting her claws from Livius back, deciding she needed to speak to the soldier before she killed him for his failings. As her fingers slipped free more blood poured free from him, the sweet smell of spriggan blood was so very unique, and so very rare, she did hope to keep him for some time, so it was just as well she not torture him too hard.

 

Livius screamed, his legs involuntarily kicked around, his dark blue claws digging into his own hands making his blood run down his arms, it was red yes, but it had a golden glaze, or shimmer to it, it could be used - if enchanted correctly - to make you resistant to an element of your choosing or if done incorrectly a deadly poison, unless that was your intention.

 

He continued to release tears, his wounds visible but too brutal for a Spriggan's regeneration to really have him recover from it on his own, medical attention would have to come to light on this to coax the healing process to become faster again as well as keep it from becoming infected. His blood ran down the back of his legs to his toes at a steady flow, pooling slowly with the glittering Spriggan tears swimming in the red, coating them, their warmth making the blood thicken as more tears joined the pooling of blood with taps and slight splashes on the cold stone floor. Livius gasped for air, only to let it out in a shivered expression of pain.

 

Saori’s heels clicked angrily across the stone as she moved across the room unaffected by the Spriggan’s heaves of pain and shifted through the bars, “Have someone gather his tears and check his bindings, also make sure he doesn’t bleed to death.†The currier nodded and bowed so low he could see only his own shoes and the stone floor.

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The breeze was cool as it swept across Luna’s face. Every inch of it being covered by the cool feeling as she watched Seyerna quickly move down the mountain to help her companions bellow. She spoke her name in a delicate whisper, listening to it to see if she could find a familiarity in its language. It was the old language of demons. One now that was barely spoken. This brought Luna to the conclusion she had made earlier that this was not a normal demon. She was from a different time than the ones she had faced. This proved that Seyerna was not only a unique creature of her species but that she had been “born†before Luna had been created. It was possible that Luna was still in her previous life when Seyerna had been “bornâ€.  She wanted to learn more of the demon, and of her creation if at all possible. The only way this was going to be possible was if she followed along with the group that was below her feet. 

 

Delicately her feet traced the ground, barley making a sound, or movement in the mountain. It was almost as though she glided down mountainside, her movements of a true angel, soft movements of grace and poise. Her staff was no more than a simple stick for balance.  If a human should look to the mountain, they would simply see a young soft woman with a walking stick. Those who were more saw the delicate wings holding together, trying not to move, burns covering her body, and the smell of flesh, blood and ash in the air.  

 

As she reached the mouth of the cave she heard Seyerna mention she had invited her once more to a meal.  She spotted the small creature that had assumed the form of a child. She knew better though that this was no child, she could tell by her aura exactly what she was. She smiled delicately as she tapped the side of her staff, causing it to move into a smaller size, about the size of a scroll which she attached at her hip.

 

The other man in the room she knew by name. She had seen him before, signatures such as the one he had did not come along often. She found it interesting that even someone of his caliber would be involved in this situation, but sometimes a pure evil such as Saori had brought many together. She said nothing to them and waited for them to confront her. She was in no shape to start any fights and under no circumstance was she willing to start a fight under a newly created allies roof. Though she still not trust Seyerna fully she did not agree at all with Saori.

 

 Luna did not understand how heaven could let such a creature as Saori roam throughout the earth. Could the angels not control a beast she was? Luna was not privy to all the information that there was on Saori, however she did know she was a unique and severely dangerous demon. For what reasons she was unsure, but the one time she was allowed privilege to feel her aura, it frightened her. Luna was never frightened by any creature before in her life, but this one’s power and presence of evil, had her almost buckle to her knees. The pure evil she felt within her was almost unbearable.  She remembered her last day in heaven pleading with the elders to please end Saori, to do something to stop her madness, but they simply stated that Luna’s demands were unnecessary and she would be dealt with in time.

 

The dirt felt cold on her feet as she walked through the tunnel leading to where they would be dinning. She looked at the creatures that came and went. She felt the stairs of many as she walked past. Some seemed to be shocked more than others. She could feel the pull of one and particular. She looked over her shoulder to a small creature that looked to be a demon. It stared at her with what appeared to be horror on the poor souls face. She felt guilt was over her knowing the creature quit possibly from its nightmares now strolled through its only safe haven.   It was hard for her to imagine being someone nightmare, but she knew it was a large possibility she could possibly cause problems for Seyerna. 

 

Suddenly there was a pain shoot down her spin, someone or something had decided they needed to touch her wings, a gasp of pain escaped her lips a little louder than she had wanted to release from her lips, causing some silence in the room. This was exactly what she did not want. She turned to see the small demon who has been staring at her earlier. He was much shorter then her, his skin a pale blue color, his eyes grey, and glowing with small tears. Luna knew he just wanted to feel them. It was not a experience that one of his species would have. It was not out of ill nature, only curiosity. She whispered softly “It’s okay little one, they are just sore right now, maybe another time.â€She nodded her head lightly. She did not wish to touch the child with her hands. Some demons burned just at the touch of an angle, and she wanted to show no signs of hostility toward something that was so simple. She sat at the end of a table away from the others, not out of anger or hostility, but that she did not want to hurt anyone by mistake. 

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"Why don't you and the nymph, whom I haven't caught the name of, come inside and eat. I promised the angel food anyway." 

 

Ráijá observed the demon with a sideways glance, holding her ground and tongue despite all her hints. Upon the entrance of the satyr, Ráijá felt her heart shrug off a layer of wary uncertainty. Here was a creature closer to her element than any others she had glimpsed so far - and if he was so jovial with Seyerna, then perhaps Ráijá might consider trusting her sooner than expected.

 

Then the moment arrived that the Nymph child would have choose: abandon her comfortable freedom of the outdoors and venture into the dark caverns of the mountain, or face solitude again and forget the ambitious notion of standing at the side of the rebels against the dark Queen Saori. 

 

Her hesitation was not subtle, and her grip on Raion's hand had not relinquished any of it's hold. If her fixation had not been so resolute, Ráijá might have noticed the soft tread of another creature padding into their vicinity. But as it was, the child nymph would not see the Angel until she glided past on elegant strides, training after the wake of the very power all these beings had gathered to follow.

 

Her grip tightened momentarily on Raion's hand, hoping to draw comfort from his presence. It worked a little. She felt a kind of friend in him that she hadn't felt in a long time. Tentatively, she took a step after the smooth gait of Seyerna. Not as eager as her initial charge up the mountain- not in the slightest- but there was bravery in it.

 

Their purposeful pace through the darkening tunnels brought them further and further from the humming life that Ráijá was so familiar with. Here, in the burrowed earth, the Nymph had little sway over the landscape around her. But though her resources for defense and familiarity grew fewer rapidly, she seemed unperturbed. Curiosity had stolen caution and fear from her. Her wide, glittering eyes drank in the faces of the cave-dewlling rebels that came to sate their own questions. Ráijá couldn't glimpse them fast enough, and as her memory listed off the names of races she hadn't considered for many years, she found herself still fascinated by the diversity and unique forms life could take. And though she was not shy about her wandering gaze, she couldn't help but notice her attention stealing momentary glances at the angel in their party - the strange creature of light and grace. 

 

Ráijá studied the shape of her - eyeing the damage done to the plumage of the wings on her back, and she wondered - no. she knew: this was the cause that had rocked the earth and broken the mountain apart. This was the power responsible for the great quake she had felt. Envious, Ráijá watched as a child her own size stretched a dauntless hand out to brush the feathers nearest him. The Angel winced, and for a moment, Ráijá expected the youth to be chided for its carelessness. But the soft words of the angel were not harsh or cruel. Ráijá, could only look on, her fingers squeezing Raion's comforting hand again as she observed the exchange.

 

Then, their narrow path suddenly fell away and opened up into the great long hall, full of light, laughter, and warmth. Ráijá's face turned upward, marveling at the uneven arch of the stone as it gave away freely to surrender itself to whatever purpose these people would need of it. Ráijá quickened her pace, and when her gait brought her to the end of her arms reach to continue her grasp of the Tatsujin's hand, she relinquished it without pause or hesitation. Ráijá had scampered ahead of the party by a few paces, still reveling in the majesty of the earth-sewn cavern they now nested in. She had never been eager to burrow into the depths of the earth - she had always preferred the open field or blanket of the forest - places where flora and fauna were abundant and at her fingertips. And though her abilities would be limited in such a stone hardened place like this, the nymph was still awed by the great and raw essence of the earth she learned her tricks from.

 

Ráijá let her eyes sweep over all the details she could drink in. Balling her hands together at her chest, she lit up with wonder for this new thing that was being shown to her. She traded smiles and waves with several strangers, eying whatever odds and ends they carried in their arms for a moment, trying to work out for herself what purpose they were set to. Like a game, she invented her own theories, and moved on to guess the next riddle before she could be assured of her solution to the first. Her feet had joined her gaze now, and Ráijá began to wander. She darted like a mouse from place to place, poking her nose in on whatever was interesting there.

 

A few of the denizens spoke to her, but Ráijá did as she had always done when a villager or one of the city folk had sought to ask her their own questions; she smiled an open-mouthed, laughing smile, giggled, and scampered away to find something else to gawk at. Never did she offer them her own words, and never did she stray too far from the sight of Raion. In fact, the third time she remembered to glance back at their small party, Ráijá turned her feet towards them too.

 

They had gathered at an empty place at one of the tables. As the strangers took their seats, Ráijá returned to them, watching a pale elven creature as she dismissed herself from Seyerna's presence and moved into the kitchens. Her pace slowed as she watched the shape of the elf dissapear, and then she noticed two things: the glassy-eyed child that perched herself on Seyerna's lap, and the self-isolated position of the angelic creature who had joined their party.

 

Ráijá was torn. Two opposing desires tugged at her, demanding attention. She was fascinated by the addition of the angel - but so, too, was she entrapped by the empty gaze of the creature that looked her own childish age, seated on the lap of the Rebel Queen. Ráijá blinked between the two options for a moment; but only a moment. Then, with absolute resolve, she paced toward the only answer to her present motivations. Seyerna.

 

"Hello." Ráijá's voice was clear and resolute, but despite all her intentions, her eyes were not trained on the Rebel Queen, but rather, the child seated in her lap. It was the first word she had spoken in this place; indeed, the first word spoken in the presence of Seyerna - and perhaps it was that very fact that had caused Ráijá to devote her conversation to someone nearby, but not her, directly.

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The trek took longer than she had anticipated but following her instincts she had finally come across the location where she had envisioned. The stench of the battle still lingered in the air, filling her senses and clouding them. Shaking her head at the sight Yvanes bit her lip, her mind replaying the dismal events that occurred here. She couldn’t stay out here in the open for long however. Closing off her emotions the priestess shut her eyes focusing on the young elf that had been here not too terribly long ago. His aura was still present. In her mind’s eye she could visualize the trail he left, his aura creating a pathway for her. It wasn’t unusual for Yvanes to be able to see the aura of her kind. What was unusual was the other aura she noticed. She hadn’t seen that specific trail in quite a while. Flashbacks passed through her mind bring back near ancient memories.

 

A young elf no older than a few seasons was running around, her fiery red hair whipping behind her figure. Her mother called out her name, warning her to be cautious. The young girl just giggled, she knew this area quite well. Her and another spent many hours playing in the trees. Red eyes glowed from the shadows and a wide grin spread over the young elf’s lips.

 

“There you are; I was worried I wouldn’t see you today. Are we going to play today; it’s your turn to choose the game.†The young elf didn’t get to take even a step towards her friend; her mother had pulled her away, shielding her view. “Yvanes do not go near that creature. Have you no sense. That’s a demon. Elves do not befriend demons.â€

“But mother, she’s my friend. We play every day…†She was cut off though with angry words that spilled from her mother’s mouth. “You cannot be friends. You do not understand now but there will be a time when you will fight against her. We’re leaving now.†Dejected the young Yvanes lowered her head, muttering under her breath; “I’d rather fight at her side than against her.â€

 

Another memory flashed in taking the place of the first one. She was much older; Yvanes had just started her priestess training. She had become very skilled at healing those around her that the tribe had asked her to take over for the previous healer. While she was out gathering supplies she had noticed an odd fainted aura. Her curiosity got the better of her and she followed the trail. Moments later she had come face to face with those red eyes again. It had been so long she feared that she would have been attacked. But seeing the kindness in those eyes Yvanes ran to her, throwing her arms around the woman. They met almost every day after that meeting. It didn’t matter her species, Yvanes would always consider this girl a friend.

 

Tears flowed from her eyes as the memories faded away. After all these years what she had once said was coming true. She would fight and she would fight at her side. Wiping the tears away Yvanes found a new sense of encouragement. Focusing on the two aura trails Yvanes adjusted her cloak and hurried in the direction they went off into. Surprisingly the trails didn’t go very far. Not even an hour later Yvanes found herself at the entrance of the rebel camp. A small grin tugged at the corners of her lips. She had finally made it. Her happiness however did not last long as she realized her slight confusion of the area. Spotting a person who appeared to be a soldier Yvanes walked over to him, keeping her hood over her face as precaution.

 

“Pardon me sir; I was wondering if you could find Seyerna and tell her Yvanes is here to see her.†She watched as he ran off and hoped that at the very least she would be remembered by the female demon from so many years ago.

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