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Epic battle is Epic!

Hale v Crimson FTW! 0.38235294117647 38.2% [ 13 ]
Leonoka v Twins FTW! 0.17647058823529 17.6% [ 6 ]
JuCien v Xanas FTW! 0.29411764705882 29.4% [ 10 ]
Captains v AlaJi FTW! 0.029411764705882 2.9% [ 1 ]
Recruits v AnLance FTW! 0.088235294117647 8.8% [ 3 ]
Ocean Team v Juriza FTW! 0.029411764705882 2.9% [ 1 ]
Total Votes:[ 34 ]
< 1 2 3 ... 12 13 14 >
xxxxT h eB l a z i n gM a d n e s sxxxx

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J a c e § V i s t u s

J a c k § S a n g u i n e

H a l e § S a v i t a t

xxOnce blinded by light.

xxOnce lost in loneliness.

xxBut now, we can see clearly. We walk not as saviors.

xxBut as destroyers. With this power.

We will win.

[ Its a bit late, but imagine this taking place at the same time as when "Sorario Days" plays on Maki's epic post. ]

| Location - Adamitte / The City of Raine / Airship Dock |

Rumble... Rumble... CRASH !!

"... Oh come on. Does he seriously not know when to give up?" The answer came, apparently no, in the form of a final splitting crack from the roof of the thoroughly damaged Enfinitus as it burst outwards to give way to a a sprawling mass of grotesque darkness that first extended forth tendrils that covered the ship like a parasitic growth before revealing a disgusting maw lined with golden teeth that snapped out, bulging and growing by the second as if it were trying to devour the sky itself.

Jack's first thought was to run, of course that thought led him to glance backwards whereupon his eyes fell upon Shino's worldship... the two Shadowsili, his first thought was that he might be able to hitch a ride off the kid he'd recently formed a truce with but before he made his move but before he did, the mercenary realized why he had risked his life to rescue the two bounties in the first place with a rueful grin he turned back to the monstrous mutated form of Blank.

"Not thinking of running away are you... Ishida?" Jack called out to the Shadowsili behind him, not taking his eyes off the monstrous creature devouring Enfinitus in a sprawling inky mass, "If not... you know how to drive that thing right?" While battered and exhausted to the point where Jack shouldn't have normally been able to even stand, when he activated his Nexus, the explosive power of his aura seemed to have increased twin fold or more as a indomitable crimson flame covered both his hands.

| Open The Gates To Freedom! |

A seething black mass of tendrils poured down from the sky towards the insignificant figures standing on the worldship docks, standing seemingly without care Jack began to walk slowly forward with a sense of fearless resolution as the darkness rained in from all around. Click! Snapping his fingers, the red head disappeared underneath the inky flood as it crashed down upon the worldship dock in a thundering impact, almost immediately after the impact however - a second ear splitting boom echoed through the city of Raine as a flash of crimson followed by a series of explosions rushing through the black mass twisting it's already grotesque shape and blasting a clear path through it.

Piercing through the darkness, leaving behind a trail of crimson aura and jet stream, the Vengeance sliced through the path carved by the explosions and out of the debris cloud left by the clash on the docks and into the air towards the now assimilated Enfinitus and the monstrous form of Blank that covered it. "Like that's going to stop us!" A wave of gigantic inky scythes and blades rose up from the repulsive body of the creature to meet the worldship, but were stopped short by a barrage of aura crimson that lanced out from the Vengeance in a series of explosions that blasted the attacks away into oblivion.

"Alright Mr. Merc. I see what you're playing at - and I think its just about crazy enough to work." Standing on the top of the Vengeance as it dodged this way and that through the tendrils towards the Enfinitus, using his aura to root himself in place and protect himself somewhat from the stinging wind, Jack grinned and nodded, "Good to see that you finally see things my way then. Alright then... LETS GO !!" With a burst of aura energy, the engines of the Vengeance blasted to a new level entirely as it danced a path through the tangle of tendrils seeking to impale and crush it in a blaze of crimson aura explosions and ammunition supplied from the ship itself.

Lancing through the air, inky tendrils attempted to take the ship out of the air, forcing the mercenary to continuously teleport as they also sought to impale him as he fired volley after volley of aura blasts into the mass attempting to swallow them up. Suddenly a stab of pain rushed through Jack's body extracting a cry of pain as the mercenary was torn from the top of the Vengeance by a tendril impaling him through the shoulder hurling him backwards and falling, a clipping blow upon the Vengeance caused the ship itself to buckle and lose momentum slightly allowing several more glancing blows to be landed by the swarm of bony appendages and tendrils, each blow unbalancing and slowing the craft further until it went under in a seething black mass.

For a deathly silent moment, it seemed that the motley group of Shadowsilis and Mercenary had been defeated - until a series of explosions rippled underneath the black mass that had swallowed the Vengeance. At first, small pinpricks seemed to open up underneath the darkness revealing a searing light emanating from within, opening further, the wall of darkness that continued to crash down upon the ship was pushed further back and back until finally a complete gaping hole was torn through the center of the mass by the attacks of the Vengeance and as the hole opened, a final volley was fired in a flashing spear of ammunition and aura by the Vengeance.

"Alright. There's your ride. Don't screw this up Mr. Merc." Shino's voice crackled over the makeshift headset that Jack had passed Shino before they had launched themselves at Blank, the falling mercenary seemingly lost to the maw that was Blank's oozing monstrous form suddenly jerked back into action, opening his eyes and with a fierce cry; the redhead tore the tendril running through his shoulder out from his body and blasted it into tiny scraps of goo with a well placed blast of aura before disappearing in a flash of crimson as two more tendrils sliced through the air where he was seconds ago.

"This!" Appearing atop the tendril, and sliding down it further into Blank's gaping "core" maw whereupon the core of the Enfinitus worldship's remains were also located, the Jack materialized the Crimson Cannon with the swipe of his hand, his aura gathering itself to fire as the volley fired by Shino soared through the air behind him. A scythe formed of darkness tore itself from the mass of dark aura, attempting to separate the mercenary in two but only managing to slice through thin air as the redhead disappeared again, appearing on one of the aura bullets fired by Vengeance itself as it sped towards the very core of Blank's being.

"This is my message! No - OUR message!" Jack's aura rushed to gather itself around his right arm, bulging to an ambiguous shape to begin with but as more and more of his aura gathered, it began to force itself into the shape of... a rifle? Teleporting again as tendrils shot through the space he occupied only a split second ago - the round that he was "riding" slammed into a tendril with a thundering impact of aura energy, Jack appeared on another aura round, this time with the "weapon" on his hand formed completely as an antique looking rifle that crackled with unstable aura power as a huge amount of crimson aura was fed into it's chambers.

"We're tired of running away..." The mercenary flashed out of sight again and again as Jack rode the rounds closer and closer to Blank's maw disappearing as each round crashed into an obstacle with a resounding explosion. "Its about time to stand and fight..." The Vengeance rushed out from the hole it had created in the blanket of darkness, tearing it's way upwards and seemingly past the Enfinitus, while Jack teleported one last time to the last remaining round fired by the Vengeance as it closed the final stretch of distance between the mercenary and Blank's core... and the core of the Enfinitus.

" So ... FUCK YOU ASSHOLE !! "

Erupting forth in a blast that was probably about three or four times larger than a grown man in height, the beam of crimson energy disintegrated anything in it's path despite the the veritable wall of tendrils that attempted to block it's path as it ripped through everything Blank threw at it and alongside the final round fired by the Vengeance, flew home into the core maw of the monstrous creature. For a moment, it seemed like the blast had simply been devoured or absorbed, or hadn't even had an effect at all but as Jack teleported away, for good reason apparently, to be caught by the Vengeance as it rushed by overhead and away from Blank - a thundering boom that could probably be heard by every person in Raine sounded as Blank's body bulged from the inside out as if trying to hold something in.

Inside Blank's core, the blast had reached and pierced the reactors of the Enfinitus itself, causing an explosion from the inside out that would have been enough to tear up a quarter of the city if it hadn't been contained by Blank's body as a blast of aura energy lit up the sky, and could probably be seen by every resident in the city, detonated from inside the creature; tearing the monstrous Shadowsili apart once and for all and completely annihilating the worldship dock that the battle had taken place over along with a good deal of the buildings around it in an astounding display of explosions and collateral damage overkill.

Inside, the rather cramped now, cockpit of the Vengeance, Jack unformed his Nexus and collapsed against the co-pilot's seat - half on the seat and half on the ground with a satisfied grin. "You know. I don't know if its just coincidence but you and I don't make a bad combination Ishida." Flinching slightly as the final set of explosions went off behind them with an earsplitting blast, Jack attempted to whistle through a hoarse throat and curtains of exhaustion, "Also, we probably shouldn't come back to Adamite anytime soon... even with the money I got from your bounties... I don't think I'd be able to pay off that damage."
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Dapper Informer

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The mysteries of a past unknown
---The lament destruction within
------The narrow path
---------The lost prophecy of a future bathed in light

The Purpose…

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|| [] Leonoka Serakai | The Wandering Prince | Aedif, Vectiras [] ||

Things were not going as planned… Of course this was unexpected, with odds such as they had, the “House of Cards” chance that they had should have folded from the beginning. This was insane, yet he was there. He remained. It was both due to the sweet, cunning whispers of Muramasa’s blood-thirst and also due to his own honor and the purity of the righteousness that becomes such honor. His heart throbbed.


The spacing between the beats seemed to take eons, but the intensity of their beats and stress that infiltrated his body told him otherwise, the very opposite, in fact. His eyes were laid upon the two vampires from before, the ones that had stolen away that strange man. Before he had been under the influence of under-handed tactics, now things were different. He could feel his aura coursing, half in hunger for souls and blood, and half in a righteous, pure fury. He could see their auras, how twisted and corrupt they were. However, one need not see their auras to understand this, they only needed to be in their presence.

They were two. He was one. Though, he was one divided in two. The task before him was not an easy one, he had much to accomplish, he was this young child’s bid for time – time to do as they had come to do. To bring down this tyrannical monstrosity. This autocrat who monopolized the days and nights so that only night reigned. A dictator which rose up from the land and bent the world to its will. But there is a point at which tyrants are overthrown. No matter their power, the will of those who are afflicted by its rule always has the potential to rise up and meet that power – to overthrow that power. And in this predicament the key to uproot this black eye-sore was the boy at his side.

Ash, dust, sand; these things choked the air. Fiery embers floating here and there. The thunder of the raining shells could be heard all about them. This was war, this was truly hell.

With the vampire twins before him, his hand tightened around Masamune, resting at his left hip. Without looking away from the twins, Leonoka laid a hand on Jace’s shoulder.

“Go, young one…”

Jace glanced up at him with a countenance of insecurity, dropping his gaze to look upon the foot of the tower. Leonoka softly squeezed his shoulder, conveying a sense of confidence to the young boy. Jace once more glanced up at Leonoka, who had not severed his gaze from the twins, and gained a determined looked, and set his eyes on the tower again. Whereupon he stepped forth with confidence.

With Jace on his way, Leonoka now had his end of the bargain to keep. He could hear Muramasa, whispering seductive hints of murder and massacre into his ears, as Masamune took up a rich, beautiful melody of the Ancients, one he recognized as a battle hymn of the Seraphims. Adrenaline poured into his system, he could feel every pump of blood that coursed throughout his body, and the tingling sensation of excitement encroached upon his mind. However, none of this was visible from the outside.

To the vampires, not a bead of sweat could be seen, not a flinch or jitter of excitement. Even the throb of his heart seemed to be masked and muffled.

Then time seemed almost to stop - the deep breath before the plunge. And just as soon as time had slowed, it came to life once more, as a flurry of motion stirred before him. Something like smoke poured out and covered the area, marring all line of sight. But Leonoka stood. He was still and silent, making no move, budging not even an inch. There was then the sound of movement as a gleaning blade cleaved the smoke, sending it into swirls in the swords wake, it was headed straight for Leonoka’s head. Leonoka closed his eyes and ducked the blade, then it came from behind, slicing downwards. Leonoka evaded by rolling to the side. The blade was upon him once more, as it jutted up from beneath him, Leonoka rose and leaned backwards as the blade slid upwards mere inches from him. He sent himself into a back-flip, catching himself on the ground with one hand and springing away. However, this did not lose the phantom blade. It thrust towards Leonoka. As he was mid flight, Leonoka fanned his wings, braking enough, and creating enough force with which to pivot from, sending him into another back-flip. The blade passed under him, nearly missing him. As he came full circle, Leonoka adjusted himself so that could position himself to throw a kick over the top of the piercing blade, a kick directed at its wielder. However, it met nothing but the smoke. Leonoka dropped to the solid ground in a crouched position, simultaneously drawing Masamune with his left hand. It flashed out of its scabbard with a bright light and glimmered as it was brought up over his head and braced with his other hand, where it caught the phantom blade, ceasing its downward course. Though, the shear brute force behind the swing almost caused Leonoka to give way, it surprised him causing him to open his eyes and heave a small gasp. He was strong, perhaps too strong.

The blade lingered weighing down on Masamune’s edge, seeking to crush it opponent. Black sparks licked at him from over head. Masamune then began to grow brighter, brighter until its brilliance shone through the smog about it. Then Leonoka ripped his blade across the edge of his opponent’s, releasing a wave of pure light that rose up against the heavy blade taking it up from him. He then stood, and immediately an overflow of power spilled from him as two more wings erupted from his back. The spike of power, caused the earth beneath to shake and air to tremble, and a shockwave spread out in all directions from him, clearing the smoke for but a moment, but in the time Leonoka had gathered light about Masamune as well as acquiring the location of both twins, One of which coming down upon him again. Leonoka loosed another wave of light, this one greater than before, at the one that stood off in the distance, and his right hand secured the hilt of Muramasa, and was brought up to deflect the blow of the other twin. The wave sliced through the air raging towards the location of one of the twins and disappeared behind a screen of smoke, slamming into the wall of the tower – it had missed. The other twin’s blade came down once again and met Muramasa this time. His intent this time was to cast the blow aside, however, the force behind the blade was much greater than before, and barely slid off of Muramasa’s edge, landing to his side, cleaving the earth as though it were nothing. There was then a succession of blows, all coming in a flurry. It took all Leonoka had to evade or parry the blows.

But, in addition to the enhanced speed and strength, there was another phenomenon that occurred. Tendrils of blackness sprouted from the ground and ensnared Leonoka, slowing his movement and reaction time. This happened just as the vampire’s edge cut upwards to cleave him. Leonoka’s eye’s glowed a sky blue color as air about the blade hardened and solidified, catching the blade mere moments away from his head.

Their power was immense. Indeed quite the deadly combination when fighting together. He was in rather a complex situation, as his hold on the blade was waning. There were not very many options left. It had become apparent to him that he was not on par with the twins, and he could tell they were not fighting at full strength either.

“Masamune… Awaken…” the words came calmly and coldly, almost said at a whisper. But, yet, they pierced through the air, ringing true and beautifully. Just as the last word fell from his lips, a shockwave occurred, this one on a magnitude wholly unto itself. It shot out from Leonoka with such ferocity that it tore the ground asunder, and kept the smoke at bay for more than a temporary moment, as well as effectively blowing the nightmare-ish blade and its wielder away from him. Left at the epicenter of the blast stood an immaculate angel, adorned by six perfect and brightly glowing wings. They were a white that was as pure as untouched snow. Leonoka was now garbed in white gilded with gold. His horn no longer resided on the left side of his head. No, in its stead were enigmatic but beautiful blue, glowing marks. And Muramasa was no longer present.

The sheer, raw power that flowed out of him seemed to shred the air, and cause the ground to liquefy as they quaked in reverence and fear. Leonoka had not been defeated… No… The battle had just begun.

…to be found.------------
…to be revealed.---------
…to be followed.------
…to be harnessed.---
…to be known.
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Questionable Genius

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.: Lucien Von Kroenen - Aedif: Keeper Camp, Vectiras :.
Team 9-AC: Assassination and Reconissance Specialist

User Image... Lucien... Lucien, can you hear me? Please tell me you're alright...

Lucien had been lying in the infirmary for some time now, still unconscious after the battle with Xanas, but his injuries had been treated well enough that he would survive. Unmasked and heavily bandaged, the assassin appeared much smaller than usual as he lay in his bed without the bulky trenchcoat that usually accompanied him, revealing how unnaturally lean the Keeper actually was. Gradually his heart rate began to rise, his eyes snapping open and darting around to try and realize where he was. Almost instantly Lucien sat up in his bed, gripping his head with his right hand as he felt the pains of the approaching voices, and without thinking he attempted to leave, stumbling to the ground in the process.

Hearing the clamor one of the medics approached him, helping the Keeper to his feet before she tried to force him back onto the bed. "Alright, see? You haven't recovered yet, Keeper or not you need to give your wounds time to heal. Now just relax and lay back down, the others will be fine. We already won." With a smile she tried to help Lucien back onto his bed, but even in his weakened state he resisted her with ease, ripping the medical instruments from his body as he headed towards the exit. In mild aggravation the medic turned to one of the larger men on the medical team. "Hold him down. We need to administer a sedative, we can't risk him injuring himself any further."

With a nod the man ran up behind the Keeper, locking his arms behind his back with his superior size and apparent strength, the woman approaching Lucien with a needle in hand, flicking the end of the needle as she got close. "I'm sorry about this. Please don't struggle any more, I don't want to have to have you restrained as well." She moved her hand to rest it on his arm for support, but before she could make contact he appeared to vanish, the large man stumbling back from an unseen blow. As they stood there trying to locate the lost patient, a small blur passed by the oblivious pair and out of the medical tent, heading down towards the beach.

At the edge of the destroyed camp, the image of Lucien faded back into view, stumbling for a moment before dropping to his knees. Stupid... I can't keep making these rookie mistakes. Even an opponent that powerful should not have required that much time and energy to eliminate... His breathing was heavy for a moment before he let out a loud grunt, thousands of agonizing voices filling his head at once, paralyzing him in fear and agony. Each time this happened the pains only seemed to grow, and the assassin couldn't help but let out a scream as the pain escalated from the never ending torrent of voices. Then, minutes later just as suddenly as the voices appeared they vanished into silence, leaving their victim laying across the ground withering in pain as he tried to recover his sanity.

Lucien, quit your sobbing and stand your sorry a** up, soldier.

Stumbling as if it was his first attempt to stand on his own two feet, Lucien struggled to maintain his balance as his blurred vision focused in on the apparition before him. "Sir... Is that you?"

Damn right it is! Now what the hell's wrong with you now, you mopey b*****d? Every time I see you, you're sobbing like a little girl.

Giving up on standing, Lucien finally dropped into a sitting position, a shot of pain running through his body with the sudden impact. "I've grown too soft... I can barely keep up with these recruits... Sir, what use am I when I am rendered helpless halfway through every fight..."

Hmph... Typical Lucien, so focused on your every flaw that you can't even realize the impact your making on everyone around you. Tell me this... How well do you think the others would have fared had you not been at the tower? That white hair boy and that young woman could have lost their lives had you not been there, but that's not good enough for you is it... Idiot.


Cut it with that sir s**t already, I'm not your Captain anymore and I never will be again. There are new people that look up to you and rely on you for help, do I really need to spell it out for you? They... Are... Your... Team... Now...

"No they aren't, they can never replace you and the others..."

Grow the ******** up already and start realising that you can't just lie around bitching and moaning your way to happiness! You survived for a reason, I don't know what it is but accept this blessing. But fine, if you don't want to accept this, then at least try to help them... They have accepted you as one of their team, why can't you at least do the same.

Lucien could only stare into the ground as the Captain faded away, too unnerved to respond, letting the words sink into his mind. Looking up the Keeper stared towards the beach as the Militia and Keepers scurried across the sand, trying to find the other members of 9-AC to no avail. As Militia and Keepers alike passed by him, some carrying the dead or wounded across makeshift stretchers or other equipment when it was available. Maybe he is right... They aren't coming back, but there is still hope for these young ones.

The Rogue
Shino Ishida - Raine, Adamitte - Vengeance, The Lifestream
"Yeah... You just keep thinking that, and I'll just keep ignoring you. Dumb a**."

User Image"You know. I don't know if its just coincidence but you and I don't make a bad combination Ishida. Also, we probably shouldn't come back to Adamite anytime soon... even with the money I got from your bounties... I don't think I'd be able to pay off that damage."

Half-smiling Shino turned his head to the mercinary, satisfied by the explosion that rang out behind the Vengeance that signaled the demise of Blank. "Yeah, whatever... We're both good at killing things, I get it. Just don't get too comfortable Mr. Merc, I'm not exactly fond of you, so try not to do anything abnormally stupid or aggravating." As the Worldship Dock grew smaller in the distance, the small Worldship beginning to pass through Adamitte's atmosphere, Shino withdrew the excess metal that had been used to create weapons and ammunition for the battle. Most of this was transferred into the hull in order to repair armor plating that had been damaged by Blank, leaving the rogue with nearly half of his previous rings. "Damn, that a*****e just wasted six months of collecting." With a sigh he routed more power to the engine, sending Vengeance bursting into the Lifestream above Adamitte.

Lifting his hands from the controls, Shino allowed the craft to drift as he stood from the seat, stretching his arms in front of his body. Walking to the entrance to the cockpit he glanced into the next room, making sure that Neera was still safely resting where he had left her before the battle. "Seeing as I'm stuck with you for the time being though, know any good places where we can rest for a while, I need a break from all this s**t." Casually he walked back to his seat, placing his hand over a panel as he spun the seat to face forward, bringing up a small map of nearby planets, many of which were marked with a red skull and crossbones. Sarcastically he turned to Jack with a grin. "Just don't pick anything that will get me killed... And try not to bleed all over my seat, alright?"
User Image• Ѷεcтϊгαș →
• ϓαηɱεϊ →

If the condemning sound of rain makes you sad,
I will become your gentle shield
Don't ever stop believing
I pray... that a small miracle
Will reflect in your eyes
I won't run away from fate; I'm by your side.
No matter how sad your dreams are, I don't mind
I pray... "believe" and rip up the darkness of the cold memories

★ Ⓨ Ⓐ Ⓝ Ⓜ Ⓔ Ⓘ ★
✿ do you have any fruit juice ? ! ✿

¤·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.☆ [ Island of Aedif, Vectiras ] ☆.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·¤

"Get ready Mei...HERE YOU GO!" Kaito released his grip on Mei's hand, and she was suddenly swooshing through the air at high speed. She flattened her wings against her back to project herself like a bullet, and halfway to the ground changed her form into that of a tiger, fuchsia and black stripes making a blur in the air as she launched onto the Nith below. Yanmei wasted no time tearing through them with tooth and claw. She was so completely occupied with them that she didn't so much as glimpse Kaito. She wasn't fighting long before she heard him yelling, though. Her sensitive tiger ear twitched, and even among the din of battle, she raised to her head to locate her friend.

Kaito was standing a short distance away on the sand, and with her sharp vision, Mei could see from here - he was crying. Mei reverted to her stable form and took a step towards her friend, concerned. She didn't have time to stand still, however; a Nith charged her from the side, and Mei jumped nimbly out of the way, forming her aura hammer at the same time. The instrument suddenly became huge, and she bashed the Nith away.

"Sukai...WHAT DID YOU DO TO SUKAI!!" screamed Kaito, his voice ringing out across the beach. Yanmei's fox ears flattened against her head, her eyes glancing in Kaito's direction as she fought off more Nith around her.. What was wrong? Mei glanced around briefly. Where's Sukai...?

"K... Kaito...?" whispered Mei, pausing in her fighting. The Nith around her had stopped too, as if frozen in awe or fear of the boy whose pulsating aura saturated the air around him, turning it a deep blue. A hush seemed to fall across the area.

The wind picked up, sending sand out in all directions as it spiraled around Kaito, ruffling his clothing. A blue feather from Kaito's wing blew into Mei, and quickly, without thinking, she grabbed it and stuffed it into a pocket, keeping her eyes on Kaito while dodging another Nith and retaliating with her hammer. What was wrong with Kaito? Mei stared in awe at the huge column of aura that flowed out of him. Kaito... was that strong all along?

There was no way for Mei to help him now, other than fight by his side. She didn't know where Sukai went, but.... But Sukai is made of his own aura, right? So... she can't just disappear... right? As Kaito battled Angel, Mei tried to stay near him, beating away any Nith that got too close. She fought alternating between animal forms and her usual form (where she used her hammer), since she didn't have a strong enough Nexus to keep it active for too long a period.

At some point, Kaito and Angel moved off into the distance to fight, and Yanmei lost sight of them. She chastised herself under her breath and was trying to fight through the Nith to go after them when she heard a loud cry from across the sand.


Her ear flickered, and she focused her sharp green eyes on the source. Through the fires burning on the darkened beach, Mei could see it was a young girl, perhaps Mei's age or a little older, corned by some Nith. Mei assessed the situation, and quickly realized that the girl wasn't a Keeper, or a Cryasili at all, for that matter. To defend herself, she was holding a cooking pan out in front of her and trying to bat away the Nithlings.

Launching herself into the air, Mei sprouted wings and flew over to where the girl was screaming for help. Yanmei landed on top of a hungry-looking Ghoul, then proceeded to dispatch the rest of the surrounding Nithlings. When she was finally rid of them, Mei pushed the girl into hiding behind a rock, glancing behind her shoulder for any additional Nith, and whispered, "What are you doing here?!" Anyone not a Keeper, militia member, fighter, or Cryasili should have been back at the village.

The girl was shaking, her hands wobbling as they gripped the frying pan tightly. She stuttered, "I-I was helping to prepare food for the fighters this morning, a-and... they..."

Yanmei nodded. "It's okay now, you're alright," she whispered in a comforting tone. "Just stay here for now, and I'll hold off the Nith until we can find a safe passage back, okay?" The frightened girl nodded and pressed her back against the rock, and Mei stood to face the Nith once more.

. . .

A resounding boom shook the air, and Mei looked up from her fighting momentarily. Even from where she was, she could see the lines of white-gray aura split through the Tower and burst up into the sky, spreading across the darkness and dissolving it in a wave of white. One thought flashed through Yanmei's mind as she smiled breathlessly, looking up at the sky and squinting from the sudden burst of light.


So he'd managed to get there - the plan had worked, then! But Mei soon realized that something was amiss. Jace's aura spread out into the sky, but faded out after a certain point. Mei could see the ships hovering outside of Vectiras - reinforcements. Why weren't they coming in?

The tower. The tower was still standing.

Mei slid back in the sand, panting. She'd been fighting full-on for the better part of the morning now, and she was beginning to tire. How much longer could she keep this up? Clambering back behind a rock to sit beside the girl she'd helped from earlier, Yanmei looked out to the black tower that still stood in the middle of the sea, cracked and weakened but somehow still there.

Mei looked at the still-standing tower and thought she understood. The reinforcements couldn't get in, because the tower was still standing. The girl swallowed, a sinking feeling settling into the pit of her stomach. What would happen to them now? If that was their plan, and it didn't work... how could they possibly stop the tower?

Shakily, she wiped her forehead with the back of her hand and took a deep breath. Was it really... the end for them? Had the Nith really won?

"I'm scared."

Yanmei turned to the girl next to her, the one she had saved earlier. She'd learned her name was Alyssa, a tourist visiting the islands. She'd been at the beach that morning helping serve food and treat the wounded, and had gotten separated at some point. The girl was pretty, with blue eyes and light brown hair, and, now that Mei saw her up close, was probably only a year or two older than Mei herself. She wished she could say something reassuring to her.

Mei looked away from the girl and directed her line of vision straight ahead. "I am too," she finally managed, her voice hardly above a whisper. "But... we've come this far, so... we can't just give up. Right?" That's what she wanted to believe, but... a flicker of doubt settled in Mei's heart, threatening to kindle a fire that would burn away her hard-earned resolve. She tightened a fist at her side.

"But there's really nothing we can do now," said Yanmei, standing up, her face shaded by the tall rock structure beside her. For a moment, she only looked away into the distance, the wind slowly stirring her hair. One of the jingle bells on her ponytails jingled slightly.

"... except fight." She looked back at the girl and smiled. Alyssa watched with wide eyes as the fox-girl turned and walked back into battle. She wondered how one person, such a small girl, could become so strong-hearted.

Despite the fear inside her chest, despite what the battle was looking like and how the odds seemed, Mei walked back out onto the battlefield with one clear thought in her mind: Fight. There was nothing else left to do, now.

Yanmei didn't really believe this was the end. She didn't believe it because Jace had said they would stop the Nith, and no matter what, she believed him. She believed in him. And as long as she had that, she wouldn't give up. She would protect her home until the very end. Just like her dad did. Just as Jace was doing.

x x x boys like girls x x x
{ the streetlights they will guide me to where you are }
x x x on top of the world x x x

"Hey, STUPID!" taunted Mei, flashing a toothy, fanged grin at a nearby Nith. The two Blades turned and narrowed their eyes at her, forming long swords out of dark energy. Yanmei pulled a jingle bell off of her belt and tossed it up in the air a few times, catching it in her upturned hand in a casual motion.

"Wanna see a cool trick?" The fang of her grin glinted under the gray sky, and the Blades rushed forward. She threw the jingle bell at them, but this time, instead of sparkles, an explosion threw sand in all directions, and Yanmei ducked her head to keep it out of her eyes. One of the Keepers had modified it for her at the last minute, and surprisingly - it worked quite well.

Next, a squad of Nithlings charged forward towards her. Mei steeled herself. A swirl of pink aura sparkled around her right hand, forming a shape and materializing into her infamous giant hammer. In her hand, it grew to five times its size and hardened into a heavy black mallet.

"Promise me something, okay? Promise me you'll come see one of my shows some day? Soon? Pinky promise!"


Mei dodged a Harbinger attack to the left, shutting her eyes as she went sliding down into the sand. The Nithlings jumped after her, and she grit her teeth as their claws reached her arms and their teeth, her ankle. Mei kicked them away before doing a backhandspring back to her feet.

Jace, I promise...

The hammer smashed through the Nithlings, sending their dark life-energy scattering into the air. Mei gripped her weapon tighter, palms sweaty, and stood facing her enemies. The Nithlings were dispatched for the moment, but the Harbingers were just warming up. She had to get rid of them quickly, before they had time to gather enough energy for a very strong attack.

Feathery white wings shot out of Yanmei's back, sending a storm of feathers around her.

I promise I won't give up!

"You lock pinkies, like this. This means it's a real promise, and no matter what, you gotta keep it. Kay?"

The Harbingers both fired shots at her, but Mei jumped out of the way at the last second and took to the air, soaring over them. The creatures weren't fast enough to follow her, and when she came smashing down on them from behind with a very heavy, large hammer, they weren't ready for it. Their dark energy burst out all around her, obscuring her form for a moment before she broke through the dark glow, cheeks flushed and veins full of adrenaline. She slid to a stop in the sand, covered in the muck of Nith.

I promise I'll live... with no regrets!

From behind her, one of the Harbingers rose up shakily again, not completely exterminated. Yanmei didn't seem to notice it as a cannon formed from its body, gathering negative energy to fire its weapon. It aimed its weapon at Mei from behind, and fired.

I promise I'll see you again!

The shell of dark energy whirred through the air and hit, causing an explosion that sent up fountains of sand. When the sand cleared. Yanmei stood, alone and with the last traces of pink aura swirling around her hand. Nearby, the Harbinger was already disappearing into the air, dissolving into orbs of negative energy that made their way back to the Lifestream.

The shell the Nith had fired had just missed its target - the most it had hit was a stray strand of hair or two, because at the very last moment, Mei had moved her head out of the way. At the same time, she had swung back her arm and smashed the Harbinger with her hammer, all before the dust had cleared.

Still, it had been a close call. She was tired now, but she'd have to be more careful.

Leaping back up into the air, Yanmei tried to find the best place to put herself into battle again. The downside of being up in the air was that it left her highly visible, but Mei didn't think of this. She glanced back to the rock where Alyssa was hiding to check on her, and was glad to see that the girl was still safe.

The worry cost her. In the three seconds that she was distracted, a Gourd down below spotted her and aimed his canon in her direction. With all the chaos on the beach, Mei didn't see the attack coming. A potentially fatal error.

Without even knowing what hit her, Mei was suddenly flipping through the air with a sharp pain in her right shoulder. Her wing had been hit, and she spiraled downwards, plummeting into the sand and tumbling a few feet before coming to a rest. She groaned and pushed herself to her knees, looking up slowly. Gathered around her was a whole group of Nithlings and Ghouls. Ahead of her was the Gourd that had shot her down. She thought it almost looked smug.

Mei growled and stood slowly, eying the creatures cautiously from the sides of her bright green eyes. In her hand, her aura flickered and shaped itself into the hammer. She winced when it became solid in her hand, flinching at the pain from the wound in her arm. Biting her lip, the girl faced the Nith before her.

"You know what?" The Nith closed in more tightly, calculating, and Mei tensed her muscles. "I'm tired of looking... at your ugly faces!" Mei swung her hammer, meeting two Nithlings midair as they jumped after her. She dodged an attack from the right, diving down into the sand and gritting her teeth as a Nithling sank its fangs into her ankle. "This... is... MY home!" The hammer swung across them. "Not... YOURS!" Finally, Mei reached the Gourd, and she swung right for its crystal. "It's never been yours! So... so GET OUUUUUUT!!!" The crystal shattered beneath her hammer, sending fragments of Nith energy in all directions.

As if on que, the remaining Nithlings and Ghouls all launched themselves at her. From beneath the pile of squirming Nith, growls and roars could be heard as Mei transformed and battled them with all she had.

. . .
x x x ayumi hamasaki x x x
{ i'm lost in a maze with no exit }
x x x game x x x

Panting, a beautiful golden-furred tigress stood amongst an area strewn with the bodies of defeated Nith. With a glow of pink aura, Mei returned to her usual form and sank to her knees, trying to catch her breath. She felt like she'd been fighting for hours on end. All the aura use was taking a heavy toll on her, especially since she wasn't used to fighting with it as the Keepers were.

In her normal form, the little fox girl looked small in the battlefield, lost among all bigger fighters. Her body was covered in scrapes, bruises, and cuts, and her costume was looking a little worse for wear. She was covered in red and black blood, and there was so much Nith blood on her body that she could hardly recognize where her own wounds were.

Yanmei looked down at her hands. She'd never felt so... filthy.

Mei looked up. High over Vectiras' deep blue ocean, the Preposterous was levitating as a multitude of auras poured into it. Yanmei thought it looked like a rainbow, and that it was one of the most beautiful things she'd ever seen. Her breath was taken away for just a moment. What the purpose of that was though, she had no idea.

The fox demon's reprieve was short-lived. A loud scream echoed over the sand, and Mei's fox ears instantly recognized their source. "Alyssa!"

Wings sprouted out of her back again, and Yanmei took to the sky - it was faster that way. Up ahead, she spotted Alyssa's still form in the shade of the rock where Yanmei had left her. Mei gulped, fearing the worst. Standing in front of Alyssa was a Night, a tall humanoid-shaped Nith with weapons of dark energy. Mei aimed for him and ducked down her head.

The momentum of the tackle was fairly strong, and the two went tumbling down into the sand. The Night got up first, and started making his way towards her as Mei coughed, spitting blood and sand out of her mouth. Shakily, she pushed herself up from her knees and stood. The shadow of the Nith fell across her, and Yanmei suddenly felt afraid of this huge tower, this thing that was so much bigger than her. Her aura sparked in her hand.

Clang! Sword met hammer, and Mei pushed against the Night's sword, trying to keep herself grounded. Slowly, though, she was sliding back, her feet slipping through the sand. Mei gritted her teeth, her aura crackling around her and lashing out against the Night's own aura. But no matter how hard she pushed back, she just wasn't strong enough. No... I can't... She just couldn't do it. Mei slipped back a few more inches, and suddenly, it broke.

Her hammer dissolved into aura and shattered.

To Mei, it all happened as if in slow motion. She watched the fragments of her own aura fly backwards, over her, past her, through her. She saw the Night raise his weapon, saw him bring it down towards her, but her feet were stuck. She couldn't move. It was like seeing things in slow motion but having to react in real-time.

Mei squeezed her eyes shut, and the blade came down in one fierce stroke. Rather than feeling anything, though, Mei could hear an eruption of squeaks and cries fill the air before her. She opened on eye cautiously. Could it really be -


The little marmoset was attacking the Night fiercely, chittering and clawing at any surface he could find, sinking his teeth into the tough "skin" of the Nith. He was hardly doing damage, but he at least provided a momentary distraction. That is, until the Nith caught Buki by the tail and flung him across the beach. Mei gasped and watched with horror as Buki landed against a rock, chittering agitatedly as he tumbled into the sand.

"How dare you," spoke Mei darkly, turning towards the Night. "No one..." In her hand, the flashes of her aura reignited, sparking and crackling with new intensity. "NO ONE MESSES WITH MY MONKEY!!!!!!!!" Mei glowed with aura, and the hammer in her hand suddenly grew to massive proportions, taking on spikes this time.

Sword and mallet clashed again, but this time, Mei was ready. This time, she would win.

. . .

Dropping to her knees, Yanmei took a moment to catch her breath. Her hammer disappeared, the aura returning to her body, and she wiped a hand across her forehead. The Night was gone... but there were still more enemies on the battlefield to dispatch. Mei didn't know if she could go on at all - she felt exhausted, completely spent.

A familiar prickly feeling tickled Mei's shoulder, and she looked over to find a chirping Buki-Ya at her ear. "Bu-Bu!!" exclaimed Mei happily, hugging her friend to her cheek and showering his fur with kisses. She inspected him for injuries, and was happy to find that he had none, besides being a little sore in some spots. "You are one crazy monkey, you know that?" said Mei, laughing.

Just then, the ground trembled. Tremors shook the beach, and the very air seemed to tremble. Yanmei looked up to see the giant worldship -which now had wings and giant tailfeathers. She watched in awe as it smashed straight into the tower. With a resounding boom and crash, both fell down into the water, sending sprays of ocean and sand up into the sky.

As this happened, the blackness in the sky began to peel back, and true, pure sunlight filtered down over Vectiras like a blessing. Tears sprang up in Yanmei's eyes. "We're saved..." she whispered, relief washing over her as the skies swelled with reinforcements and troops began to flood the beach. "We're saved, Buki!" Once again, Jace had done it - no, not just Jace... they all had done it, Kaito and all the Keepers, the militia and their Hiashin captain, the new recruits.... her father. Everyone. Working together.

As the reinforcements landed and took back the beach, Mei looked up. The clear blue sky had never been so beautiful.

. . .
x x x ayumi hamasaki x x x
{ though I wasn't sad at all, tears fell down
because your feelings sank painfully into the scar in the depth of my heart
and changed it into tenderness
x x x jewel x x x

Lucien was being watched.

From several feet away, a pair of auburn eyes watched him intently, following his every move, watching as he sat down in the sand. Sneaking through the maze of legs that traversed the beach, the stalker quietly moved up behind Lucien and began inspecting his clothing, looking for pockets or anything that might seem remotely interesting. This was all done in a very casual manner, is if monkeys often did this to people and this one was just making his rounds.

"Buki-Ya, what in Kiva's name are you doing?!" called Mei, scolding the marmoset lightly. She made her way across the beach, arms full with a large pile of little juice cartons - the individual kind that come with little straws glued to the backs. After making sure that Alyssa was alright and sent back to the village safely (she hadn't even been hurt, really - just passed out from fright), Yanmei had helped with clean-up at the beach, hoping she would find Jace or Kaito in the process. So far, though, she hadn't seen them - or her parents. So she was having juice.

Yanmei let out a sigh as she made it to Lucien's side. "Sorry about that, he's just really... curious," explained Mei, smiling at the man apologetically. She didn't know who he was, but he had a rather handsome face, and Mei thought she would definitely recognize him if she'd seen him before. Judging from how tired and bruised he appeared, Mei guessed he was one of the Keepers.

Without saying another word, Mei sat down next to the man, dumping all the juice boxes either on her lap or in the small space between the two of them - as if she'd actuallyy come there with the purpose of bringing him juice. All Mei knew was, this man looked like he could use some juice and company, and she happened to have both.

"Here," said Mei, handing him a juice. "Drink these, they'll make you feel better," she said with a cute smile. She sat another one on his leg, then picked one up for herself, unwrapping the straw and poking it through the little hole with practiced ease. She took a long sip, then swallowed and let out a sigh. By now, Buki-Ya was rummaging through the pile of boxes, himself. Mei opened one for him and gave it to him without the straw, which he eagerly drank from by licking the little hole on the top of the box.

"So what's your name?" asked Mei, sipping again. "I'm Yanmei, and that's Buki," she explained, glancing at the marmoset. Buki chittered, then went back to pushing on his carton and licking up juice. "You must be a Keeper, huh?" said Mei, though the tone of her voice didn't really make it sound like a question.

Mei looked out at the water. "I live on this island," said Mei with a small smile. For some reason, saying that made her feel both proud and a little bit sad. Was it because she knew Jace and the Keepers would be leaving soon? Was it because she knew, somewhere deep inside, that maybe she wished she could go with them? Mei pushed the thoughts aside, too tired to worry about them. "It's usually prettier... than this," said Mei, focusing her eyes on the ocean in order to avoid looking at the wrecked beach around them.

Mei drew her knees up to her chest and became quiet for awhile, watching the waves crash on the shore. The water looked dark and murky... Probably from Nith blood, thought Mei with distaste. Her eyes began to close, and Mei was suddenly overcome with how tired she was. She rested her chin on her knees, wrapping her arms around her legs.

Reaching into a pocket, she pulled something out and turned it over between her fingers, admiring it in the sunlight. It was Kaito's bright blue feather, the one she'd caught from the air earlier. She held it gently but securely in her palm, fingers folded gently over it to keep it safe. "I hope Jace and Kaito are okay..." murmured Mei, interrupting herself with a yawn. Her mind was becoming foggy; she closed her eyes, listening to the calming sound of the waves. Without realizing it, her head had tipped over and was now resting on Lucien's shoulder, her soft ear pressed to his skin. "If you see them..."

Exhaustion washed over her like a wave and pulled her under, into the silent realm of sleep, and Yanmei never finished her thought, or her juice. Kaito's feather was still in her hand.

there will be sunshine again after the r a i n . . .

☀ ☂ ☁

Breathing calmly, I looked at you
Who had fallen asleep, so exhausted
The sweet, unprotected profile
That no one in the world but me knows

User Image

. Ν . Σ . Σ . R . Λ .
† . t h e . c a s t a w a y . [ h e a r t ] . †

{ooc - sort of flashback, but Neera doesn't remember any of this.}

x x x ff6 x x x
{ she was walking to escape a hidden past }
x x x death on the snowfields x x x

The hot Leadeaux sun burned down over the countryside, making stark shadows on the dusty road that stretched between distant towns. The air was heavy with heat and silence, the space above the road bright and wavering under the sun. Not a sound shook the stillness enveloped by the air.

Upon that dusty line of dry, barren road, a single figure walked slowly. In the distance, the form was shaky among the heatwaves, but as it drew closer, the image took the shape of a small girl, perhaps only eight or nine years old. She was all alone on that road, unprotected from the cruel sun overhead. For a long way behind her, her small barefoot footprints left marks in the dust.

The girl's breath was dry and ragged. Her throat was parched and her mouth hot; her tongue tasted like sand between her teeth. She stumbled, tripped over a pebble, caught herself. The little child pushed on, kept going. Her eyes were empty and tired, her vision bleary. How much longer...?

She had no home, no family. She had never known her father and her mother...


The girl tried to swallow, but her throat was too dry. A single tear welled in her eye, but she could hardly cry, she was so dehydrated.

A few miles down the road, she collapsed into the dust and lay still, unable to summon the strength to get back up again. Her eyes remained halfway open, and she watched a beetle crawl past her in the dust. The minutes ticked by. She didn't know how long she lay there, only knew that she couldn't go on anymore. She would die here... but perhaps she deserved this, she thought.

The child closed her eyes, which were the color of anthuriums.

Clouds began to roll in overhead, casting a gray shade across the land. Seeing them, Father Nightroad quickened his pace. He didn't want to get caught traveling this long road in the rain, after all. He was making good progress, and didn't even notice the small set of footprints in the dust next to his.

Nightroad put a hand up to shade his eyes and squinted into the distance. There was something by the side of the road - what was it? From here, it just looked like a dark shape. But as Father Nightroad drew closer, he realized it was a person. A child.

The priest rushed to the little body, then stopped in his tracks. He hesitated for a moment, looking down at the little lump of ruffled, dirty clothing. This child... was strange. He knelt down next to her and pushed back the silvery hair from her forehead, creasing his brows at the odd color. Even stranger, though... his fingers reached out tentatively and fell upon the hard protrusions at the crown of her head, lost among the silver strands. They were smooth beneath his fingers, even the tips of them.

Sensing his touch, the child stirred gently, her eyes fluttering open. Father Nightroad blinked in surprise once more - even the color of her eyes was unnatural. Where had this child come from?

The girl stared at him for a few moments, blinking slowly. She looked worried and confused, but looked away and closed her eyes again, too weak to keep them open.

"Are you alright...? Can you stand?"

The girl made no reply, didn't even move. Shuffling, the priest slid off his cloak and put it around the little girl, clipping it at her neck and putting the hood up over her head. He lifted her small body up from the ground and placed her on his back, leaning forward so she wouldn't slide off.

It began to rain.

. . .
x x x ff7 x x x
{ somehow she'll find a way to keep living }
x x x nanaki searches for truth x x x

Dim morning light filtered through the window, catching in the dusty white curtain that drifted lazily in the breeze from outside. The tiny room was filled with cool air and the distant sound of a bird's chirping. It was sparsely furnished with heavy, dark wood furniture, roughly hewn but sturdy. There was a small dresser, a quaint bed with a green and white quilt, a night table, and a wooden stool at the bedside.

Someone was sleeping in the bed. The small form rose and fell slightly with every breath. The girl stirred, turned over gently, and blinked her eyes open. For a few moments, she stared hazily at the ceiling, rubbing her eyes. Then, suddenly, she sat up, looking alarmed. What is this place? She scratched her ruffled silver hair. Where-?

The door opened, and the girl froze, a look of alarm on her face. A young priest stood at the door, a tea tray balanced in his hands. The girl stumbled back out of bed, landing on the floor with a thump. Ouch- The child winced, rubbing her tailbone.

"Oh, be careful," said the priest gently, setting down the tray. He stepped forward slowly and bent down, offering a hand and a kind smile. "It's alright, you're safe now." The girl stared at him, blinking. Carefully, she put her hand in his, watching his every move with wide eyes. He helped her stand, then sat her back down on the edge of the bed. "Here, you should sit and rest." He took a seat at the wooden stool by the bedside, and the little girl stared at him quietly.

He was a tall man, probably around 6'3", wearing a simple priests' robe and a dark blue mantle. His head was shaved bare. He looked young, but his face seemed mature in some way, as if he'd seen many things in life. A small pair of thin glasses were perched upon his nose, giving him a slightly comical appearance.

The girl continued to stare at him, and finally the priest cleared his throat and spoke. "I'm glad you're finally awake - you slept a whole day," he said, standing and going to the tea tray he'd set on the table. He began to pour two cups. "I found you on the road when I was walking back from the countryside, so I carried you back. You seemed really tired..." said Nightroad. He wanted to ask more, like where she came from and who she was - did she have parents? A home? But he held back, deciding now was not the best time.

"Who are you?"

The young priest looked up at the girl and smiled. "Ah, pardon me," he said, looking embarrassed at forgetting to introduce himself. "My name is Ambrose Nightroad. Father Nightroad, if you would." He smiled, handing her a steaming teacup. "Here, have some tea."

The little girl took the cup from his hands and sniffed it delicately before sipping it. She sucked in her breath, wincing and blowing at the cup. Ah, hot!

Ambrose sat down on the stool and sipped his tea in a refined, practiced manner. "Now then, what would your name be?"

The girl looked up from her tea. "Me? I'm-"

"Ambrose." The pair of tea-drinkers looked up to see a man standing in the doorway.

"Ah, Father Krugerly," greeted Ambrose amiably. Krugerly stared at the girl on the bed warily. "Would you like some tea?"

The man shook his head and glanced at Father Nightroad, then looked back at the girl. "I see our guest is awake..." He smiled, but it wasn't a warm smile like Father Nightroad's. It was cold, and seemed forced. The girl didn't smile back.

"Yes, she is indeed," said Ambrose in his usual cheery manner. "I suspect she'd been through a lot," he continued matter-of-factly, sipping his tea.

"Indeed," said Father Krugerly quietly. "Father, shall we speak in the next room?"

"Of course," said Ambrose, setting down his tea and adjusting his eyeglasses. "Please pardon me, little miss. I will return shortly. Don't go anywhere now!" said Ambrose, smiling. The girl's gaze followed them out the door.

When they were gone, she finished drinking her tea and sat back on the bed, leaning against the headboard. So... that man had picked her up from the road, then? She sighed and looked out the window. She had been sure that was the end...


The girl looked down, alarmed, and put a hand over her stomach. She suddenly realized something - she was very hungry.

After some time, Father Nightroad returned to the room. The girl sat up in bed.

"I'm sorry for leaving you here. Some things... needed taking care of," he explained. The girl was staring at the bowl and bread in his hands. "Ah, I thought you might be hungry," he said, handing her the bowl. "It's just some plain vegetable soup, but..." The girl was already gulping it down, shoveling the vegetables into her mouth with a spoon between slurps of broth. "My... when was the last time you ate?" said Ambrose, more to himself than anything. The silver-haired girl swallowed the last of the soup and started on the bread.

Ambrose sat on the stool across from her. He might as well say it now. "In any case... it took some persuading, but I've convinced the others here that you should be allowed to stay until you're well enough to go home," he smiled.

The girl stopped eating for a moment. She looked up at him, then lowered her eyes. She picked off a piece of bread, then put the rest of it down. The room became so quiet they could hear the birds chirp outside.

"You... don't have one, do you?" The girl refused to meet his eyes. She turned and looked out the window, biting her lip to fight the urge to cry. But it came nevertheless, and suddenly the little girl was sniffling and rubbing tears out of her eyes.

Ambrose smiled gently. "There, there... it's alright. I thought as much." He leaned forward and wiped the wetness off her cheek. "Well in that case, we'll just have to convince them to let you stay longer!" He pushed his glasses up. "I'm sure there's plenty you can do here to help out. When they see how useful you are, everyone will want to keep you. We're just a bunch of old geezers here, we need all the help we can get." He smiled. "Who could resist such a cute little girl, anyway?" The child squirmed and blushed, still sniffling.

"But," he started emphatically, "There is one requirement that you must always remember here. And that is..." The girl held her breath, waiting. "We only take in people who know how to smile. So, first, I must test you to see if you are capable of this important task," said Ambrose, sounding official. His face was completely serious. "So?"

She swallowed. Finally, a tiny smile broke out on her face, and she laughed a little. Ambrose dropped his act and laughed with her. "Alright, you pass. Now then... what would your name be, little one?"

The girl looked up at him and smiled shyly.


. . .

Because she had nowhere else to go, Neera was allowed to stay at the church. She resided in the bell tower, and had her own room there - a bed made out of straw, a thick quilted blanket, a small lantern. It was a quiet existence, but she accepted it gratefully. Whatever past she had left behind her on that road, she was glad to get away from it.

Of course, she was given duties in exchange for being allowed to stay there. Every morning, noon, and night, she rang the bell to announce the time of prayer. She got up early to cook breakfast for the priests who lived in the giant church. She did the chores around the entire place, sweeping floors, cleaning rooms, dusting stained glass windows. She was also taught to mend clothing, and over time became very good at cooking, sewing, and cleaning. The church also ran a small clinic, and when injured people came in, Neera was sometimes brought to help. She learned how to treat minor injuries and bandage wounds, what signs to look for, how to recognize symptoms - over all, skills that would come in handy in her future.

There were rules, though. She couldn't go outside at all, especially during the day, and especially not into the town, Creolis. She had to always wear a hood over her head to cover her horns and silvery hair. When she helped people in the clinic, she had to keep her eyes down and not make eye contact. And no one could ever know that she was living in the bell tower of the chapel.

Through it all, Father Nightroad stayed by her side. She bonded closely with him, more than anyone else in the church, and he became like a father to her - the father she'd never had. They always enjoyed each other's company immensely, and every conversation was full of laughter and smiles.

In that place, when she was with him, Neera sometimes forgot all about her past, all the horrors she'd went through, all the wretched things that had happened. Father Nightroad taught her how to open up to people again, how to be kind to them, how to live. It was he that taught her how to start over.

. . .

It was a bright, sunny day about a month after Neera had been brought to the church. She was in the bell tower as usual, mending a robe that had come undone at the hem.

"Knock knock," called Ambrose, even though the door was open.

"Father Nightroad!" said Neera happily, her eyes brightening at seeing him.

"Good morning," said Ambrose, smiling. He sat down and they talked for awhile, Ambrose more upbeat than usual.

"What are you planning?" asked Neera with a small, mischievous smile.

"Planning?" laughed Ambrose. "Why would I be planning anything?"

"I dunno, said Neera. "I can see it in your eyes when you smile. They twinkle whenever you're up to one of your plans," she smiled.

"Oh goodness, you make me sound like a schemer," smiled Ambrose. He was quiet a moment. "Have you ever been fishing?"

Neera looked at him. "Fishing?" She blinked, then laughed suddenly, going back to her sewing. "No." She looked up again. "Why?"

"Oh, I was just wondering... do you want to go to the river today?"

Neera's smile slipped off of her face. "The river...? But, Father... you know I'm not allowed to go outside." She looked down at her mending, though her hands had stopped working.

"Oh, that's just... I mean, that's more like a guideline that an actual rule..."

Slowly, Neera's eyes rose to meet his. They both smiled.

x x x ffx x x x
{ back into the sunlight }
x x x bisaido island x x x

Neera laughed as she bounded through the tall grass, her bare legs tickled by the blades. It felt wonderful to be outside once again, to see the blue sky overhead, to feel earth between her toes - like being alive again.

"Let's go Father, hurry up!" called the little girl, shouting back to Father Nightroad.

"I'm cominggg! Wait, don't get to far ahead!" He huffed through the grass after her, two big fishing rods and a box in his hands. She laughed and skipped through the grass towards the water.

At the river, he showed her how to fish, and they sat and talked. When Neera actually caught one, he made her throw it back into the water.

"But why?" asked Neera, watching curiously as he tossed the little fish back into the river.

"Because we're not going to eat it. You must learn to respect nature, Neera. Waste not."

The little girl nodded. "Mm. Okay."

By the end of the day, though, she had tossed back four fish, and he none. He'd caught nothing.

"Looks like I won!" giggled Neera, pulling her hood into place as they started up the road back to town. The sun was just beginning to set, turning the sky a brilliant orange.

"Now, now, it wasn't a contest-- ooh, look!" He stopped by the road and reached up into a tree, plucking something from its branches.

He tossed it to Neera, and she caught it in her hands, blinking curiously. "It's an apple."

"Not just any apple," said Ambrose, taking a bite of his. "The best apples on Leadeaux!" he exclaimed through a mouthful.

Neera bit into hers. "Oh, it's delicious!" The continued walking, both munching as they went. "Are apples your favorite food, Father?"

"Why yes they are," grinned Ambrose. Neera smiled up at him. There was something nostalgic in his eyes, but she didn't ask.

. . .

One night, Ambrose was going to bed when he heard the sound of crying from the bell tower. Instantly worried, he rushed up the tall staircase and entered Neera's room, where the door was always open.

"Neera?" He held he lantern forward. She was sitting in bed, crying. The little girl looked up at him and sniffed. "Neera, is everything okay?" He sat on the edge of the bed, placing the lantern on the floor. "Come now, what's wrong? Shhh."

The little girl leaned forward into his arms, and he held her, patting her back. She continued to cry for some time until finally, she stopped and leaned back. "I... I had a bad dream," she said quietly.

"A bad dream? Oh, Neera... don't worry, it was only a dream. Whatever it was, it can't get you now."

Neera sniffed. "My lantern went out." It was a new moon that night, and the room would have been completely dark. Ambrose nodded, understanding.

"Are you afraid of the dark?" Neera didn't answer, just swallowed. "Here, how about I set a fire for you in the fireplace. Is that okay?" With his own lantern, he lit the fireplace. The room warmed quickly. There had always been a fireplace in the room, but Neera had been told not to use it before. This was an exception.

"I'm afraid of... that dream," said Neera at last, staring at the fireplace. The scariest part of it was, it wasn't just a dream - the things she had seen had really happened to her. They had been real. The girl shuddered. "I'm afraid of being alone, in... in small, dark places."

Ambrose smiled sadly. "Why don't you try to go back to bed? The fire will keep burning, and I'll stay here until you fall asleep."

Neera looked up. "Really? Promise?"

He nodded. "Promise. I'll even tell you a story."

The little girl lit up. "A bedtime story?!" Father Nightroad smiled.

The story was about a girl who lived in a tower. She was the daughter of the previous king, who had died of old age. His throne had been usurped by another man since the real king had no heir. But the new king was a tyrant to the people. He locked up the old king's daughter, and she had to work in the huge castle all day long, forced to do the chores. She was never allowed to go outside.

Her best friend was another servant of the castle, an older man. He sometimes brought her back things from the outside. One day, he brought her back an invitation to a ball that was taking place that night. The girl hadn't been invited, but if she had the invitation, she could get in. The ball was being held because a prince from a far-off land was visiting. The new king's daughter wanted to marry him so that they would have an heir to the throne, since the new king had no son.

The girl dressed for the ball and got ready, disguising herself with a mask so that no one from the castle would recognize her. That night, she attended the ball and met a boy who she spent much time talking to. Since it was a masquerade, she had no idea who he was, but by the end of the night, they both knew that they liked the other very much. He asked if he could visit her from then on, and he did. It wasn't until later that the girl realized he was the visiting prince. After some time, the two were married, and since the girl was the daughter of the rightful king, the tyrant king was forced from the throne, and the two restored the kingdom to peace and happiness.

"The end." Neera was sleeping silently. Ambrose leaned down and kissed the girl's forehead gently. This obviously wasn't the first time he'd come up with a bedtime story. "Some day, your prince will come to save you, little one," he chuckled. Of all the cheesy things to say. If she had been awake, she would have laughed at him. He stood and tucked the covers back over her shoulders, then looked down at her for awhile, a nostalgic look in his eyes. Ambrose turned and left, leaving the door open.

. . .
x x x yato yuria x x x
{ I spent the sleepless night just sighing
and before I knew it, morning had come
x x x sayonara x x x

Some weeks later, Neera was sweeping the chapel floor. She'd taken to doing it late at night since she couldn't usually go out in the day anyway (except days when Father Nightroad snuck her out). Since she didn't like being alone in the dark, it was often hard for her to sleep. On those nights, she cleaned.

To pass time, she began to hum. A simple song, something her mother had used to sing to her when she was small. Soon, the words came back to her, and her voice gathered momentum. She began to sing out loud, the words echoing quietly in the empty church.


She looked up, paused her sweeping. "Oh, Father... Why are you awake?" She blushed, thinking he'd heard her singing.

"I'm sorry, I couldn't sleep so I was on my way out to the garden for a walk."

"Oh, I see..." She moved the broom a little against the floor.

"Neera, was that you singing?"

"Mm, yeah..."

"Ah, alright. I thought it was an angel. Guess I was right." He smiled and patted her head, and she laughed, her small voice like a bell.

. . .

On a clear evening one day at the river, Neera and Father Nightroad were sitting on the bank. Ambrose was reading, and Neera was sitting with her shoes off, bare feet stuck in the cold water. She watched the light sparkle off the river.

Since their first day fishing, Father Nightroad had taken her outside several times. Most of the priests still hadn't realized that he snuck her out, and those that did simply turned their heads the other way. She was just a child, after all.

"Father, do you have any kids?" asked Neera suddenly, watching a fish jump.

Ambrose looked up from his book, a laugh at the corner of his mouth. "Kids?" He let the laugh loose, and Neera looked back at him and smiled, though she wasn't sure why it was so funny. "I'm a priest, I can't have kids."

"Priests can't have kids? How come?"

"Well... it's because we take a vow. A vow of celibacy."

"What's a vow?"

"A vow is a promise."

"What's... sell-ba-see?"

"Celibacy," smiled Ambrose. "It means... you decide not to have children."

"But I thought you liked Children, Father Nightroad." From the bell tower, she'd always seen him going to the orphanage down the road, carrying food and supplies, blankets that had been donated. She saw him play with them on the street sometimes, or give them trinkets. Apples, usually.

"Yes, I do like children..."

"So don't you want any?"

"My duties as a priest come first, and because I've promised, I've got to keep my promise. Understand? And besides... that's why God sent me you." He patted her head.

"Hehe!" Neera smiled brightly, glowing. Somewhere along the line, Father Nightroad had stopped being just a Father to her... he had become a father, too.

. . .

One night not long after that, Neera was sweeping the chapel when she heard someone crying. She stopped her sweeping and went towards the back door of the church, which led into the small courtyard and garden. She crept out slowly and looked around the corner. In the moonlight, she could just make out a figure sitting on the bench among the bushes.

"F... father?"

Ambrose looked up at her, and she could see the wetness on his face. She went to his side, her face a mask of worry. "Father, what's wrong?" She swallowed and tried to keep from crying herself. Father Nightroad was always so strong, always smiling... to see him hurt just felt so... wrong.

He swallowed and shook his head. He tried to smile for her, but it quickly disappeared. "It's alright, Father Nightroad." She crawled up into his lap and curled up against him, sharing warmth against the cool night air. "Whatever it was, it was just a bad dream. It's gone now, and it can't hurt you. Shhh."Looking down, she noticed a folded-up photograph in his hand. It looked like three figures together, but she couldn't tell in the dim light. Neera decided not to ask. Remembering something, the little girl did the only thing she could think of - she began to sing to him.

Neera didn't know that, like her, his nightmare had once been real. She didn't know, would never know, that Father Nightroad's wife and daughter had died long ago, on the day he became a priest.

. . .

At least fourteen months after Neera started living in the church, she learned of a thing called "The Day of Penance." For the followers of Father Nightroad's religion, this was a day when everyone went into the church and, in a small, separate room, confessed their sins to a priest. The priest, with God supposedly acting through them, then forgave the person their sins and they would be able to go on to paradise when they died.

Neera was too young to really understand the whole religion thing, but since she was staying at the church they made her pray with them, and of course she had to at least take on the semblance of following their religion. So, when The Day of Penance came, most of the priests expected her to confess. Some of them (only the rare few who hadn't ever warmed up to her) expected her to have some horrible secret, too. Father Nightroad, of course, believed their idea of her was all wrong.

"You don't really have to if you don't want to," he told Neera inside the chapel. The people had all come and gone for the day, and even the priests had confessed to each other already. Neera was alone in the chapel with Father Nightroad now, kneeling in prayer before the altar. She swallowed, her mouth feeling suddenly dry. She'd heard that if she didn't confess her sins, she would be punished eternally after she died. That frightened her.

"It's... it's okay, I'll do it."

They went to the confessional, a small room with a screen between where the priest and confessor sat. And so it began.

At first, it was easy. Neera stalled by telling of little things she had done at the chapel. She had lied once or twice when she said she'd finished her chores and hadn't. She'd stuck her finger in the pudding once to taste it before it left the kitchen.

"All right. The Lord forgives you. Do you have anything left to confess?"

Neera was quiet, her mind spinning, searching for something, anything - some small thing to confess, to take up more time...

"I... um..."


The confessional was quiet.

The next sound Ambrose heard was the sound of crying. "Neera?" he asked, feeling alarmed. He went around the screen and knelt before her, looking up at her tearful face and placing a hand on her shoulder. "What's wrong?"

"F-father," she sobbed. "I've... I've done something horrible..." she croaked. Crying harder, she pressed her face into the front of his robe.

All of the bad memories - all of the things she'd seen, the things she'd done, the things done to her - came welling up inside. They filled her up with a cold, dark, empty feeling, and spilled over, creating an ocean inside of her... an ocean of regret.

"What is it, Neera?" asked Ambrose gently, smoothing her hair. He still couldn't believe that she was capable of doing anything really bad, but he was starting to fear what she might say.

She wiped some tears from her eyes and tried to speak. "I..." she let out another sob, and wiped her eyes again. She felt like there was a rock in her throat, and she couldn't push the words past it. She just couldn't say... she couldn't...

"Remember, Neera, whatever it is, the Lord will forgive you, no matter what," encouraged Ambrose. Neera nodded and leaned forward, putting her mouth next to his ear. She whispered something.

Ambrose's eyes widened, and he felt a chill. He shivered despite himself as the blood in his veins went cold. He took a deep breath, then quickly made the sign of the cross over the girl. From a small vessel on the table, he sprinkled holy water on her, then put his hands together and said a quick prayer.

"I didn't mean to though," cried Neera, repeating herself over again as he prayed, "I didn't mean to..." She continued sobbing and repeating those words.

Ambrose pulled the girl into a hug, feeling her small frame shake. "It's alright, Neera. God forgives you. God forgives you."

She knew, but for some reason, in that moment, it wasn't what she was concerned most about. "F-father... will you forgive me...?" She looked up at him, her eyes still filled with tears.

He felt his heart breaking, and, on his knees, he hugged her again, rocking her back and forth. Father Nightroad closed his eyes briefly to hold back his own tears. "I already have, Neera. I already have."

. . .
x x x ff9 x x x
{ one of us is an uninvited guest }
x x x deliverance of heart x x x

Three or four months later, the church in Creolis had a guest. His name was Bishop Oswald, and he was the newly-appointed Bishop to the area encompassing Creolis. In other words, he had authority over the church. Since his ordainment as the new Bishop, Oswald had decided to visit all the churches in his area of authority and check on them - to make sure they were in "running order" and nothing was out of place.

Neera was told to clean extra-well that day, and she did. In the evening, she worked in the kitchen with a few other people to create an appealing dinner. Over her time there, she'd become quite good at cooking, so she usually planned out most the meals, especially the important ones. (All they ever ate was soup, usually. But on special occasions she would get to make them other things.) Tonight, she'd been given charge of dessert, and she planned to bring out her - and Father Nightroad's - favorite one.

Apple pie, of course.

When the dinner was over, the dessert was served. Everyone was eating quietly until Bishop Oswald suddenly spoke.

"This..." began Oswald. He stopped and looked down at his plate. Everyone grew silent, holding their breath. "This is the most delicious apple pie I have ever tasted in my life!" A collective sigh of relief went through the room. They wanted to make a good impression, after all.

Down the table, Ambrose smiled knowingly at his slice.

"Who made this pie?" asked Bishop Oswald, looking around the table at the other priests. "I certainly must meet him. Absolutely," said Oswald. He was a somewhat rotund man, who apparently liked his sweets.

The priests at the table shot a few nervous glances at each other. How would Bishop Oswald take Neera? Obviously, they hadn't let anyone see her for a reason - hadn't let her go out of the bell tower because people... well, people would do what they had done to her before, in the months she'd been wandering before Father Nightroad found her. They would persecute her, fear her, punish her for being what she was. They would run her out of town, a "demon." Would the Bishop understand? He didn't know Neera as the priests had come to know her.

"Well?" prompted Bishop Oswald, still wanting to know the name of the pie's maker.

Father Nightroad stared down at his pie, no longer smiling. A foreboding feeling had settled into him, and not even the taste of his favorite food could replace it.

One of the priests spoke. "Sir, we have a... servant of God who works here in the church. H... he made the pie." First of all, there weren't supposed to be any females working in the church at all, child or not.

"Ah, how wonderful. May I not meet this man?" The priests glanced at each other.

"He... he may be asleep right now... sir..."

The Bishop laughed out loud, his voice booming in the chapel. "Asleep? Hah! You must be kidding! Heheh... Well, in that case-"

"The servant is certainly not asleep, sir. And of course you may meet... him. I'm sure he'd be delighted and honored." The voice that spoke was laced with frost. The table went quiet. All eyes looked to Father Krugerly. Ambrose's mouth became a stern line. "Please, allow me to fetch our famous little pastry chef for you," spoke Father Krugerly smoothly, his smile nearly venomous.

There was quiet as he left the room towards the kitchen. A few moments later, he returned with a baffled-looking Neera, who stopped just behind him in front of Bishop Oswald. "Bishop," said Krugerly, smiling slyly. He grabbed Neera's shoulder and pushed her forward, pulling her hood off at the same time.

The ten-year old girl stood in front of him and looked up, blinking, her two horns in full view. She glanced back at Krugerly, worried, then smiled hesitantly at the Bishop. Had the priests really changed their minds? They'd said before that she shouldn't let him see her, just in case, but Father Krugerly had said differently.

Making the best of things, she attempted to smile and make a good impression. "I'm glad you liked the pie, sir," she said quietly, speaking as best she knew how.

The Bishop's fork clattered noisily on his plate as it slipped from his hand.

Neera was sent up to bed before too big of a scene could be created. The Bishop had turned a deep red after Neera spoke to him, and had looked around at the other priests incredulously. Father Nightroad had swept down and whisked the girl away, carrying her up to the bell tower before things got too nasty.

"I'm sorry, I think I scared him," said Neera. "Why did you all changed your mind? I thought you didn't want him to see me?" Father Nightroad was silent to this question.

"He's from a different part of the country, he just doesn't know..." He smiled, but his eyes were worried. "Don't worry, we'll make him understand," assured Ambrose. His voice didn't sound convincing. "He'll be gone soon anyway. Get some rest, okay?" He bent down to place a kiss on her forehead.

"Father Nightroad... why is everyone always scared of me?" Neera peeked up from behind the covers. Ambrose smiled and stroked her head.

"People are afraid of things they don't understand, that's all. I'm not afraid of you," he offered.

"So you understand me?"

Ambrose smiled and ruffled her hair. "Go to sleep." He exited and went back to the table, where the priests were arguing over her fate.

"You bring a CHILD into this church - a GIRL, no less! I've never heard of such a thing!" His voiced boomed. "How long has she been here?!"

"About... eighteen months or so, sir..." said a frightened-looking priest.

"E... EIGHTEEN?!" He formed the sign of the cross. "God have mercy on our souls. And what happens when she turns into a woman? What then?" he demanded.

"Sir, we were hoping to... ah... find a home for her... before then." They had been trying, ever since they found her. But no one wanted her. Who would take in a demon, after all?

"This is the most foolish and disgraceful act of sacrilege I have ever witnessed in my life," said the Bishop, shaking his head. His expression darkened. There was a pause. "You must kill her."

"B-but Bishop-!"

"Bishop Oswald, with all due respect, we CANNOT do that." Ambrose entered the room, back from putting Neera to bed.

"She has horns, for goodness' sake! exclaimed the Bishop. "Red eyes! Silver-"

"Bishop, we are all children of God! Regardless of what she looks like, all people have sanctuary within this chapel," said Ambrose, his voice stern. "That is the law of-"

"That THING is not a person," spoke Bishop Oswald loudly. "Much less a child of God," he whispered distastefully, as if he was spitting something from his mouth. "It is an abomination. As simple as that."

Ambrose stood quietly, fuming, shaking. "Sir-"

"Bishop Oswald, I completely agree with you," said Krugerly, standing. "That child was trouble from the day she came into this church."

"Nonsense, she's done nothing but help us! For all these months, she's done nothing but serve-"

"She is merely a demon biding her time, and before long, the devil will possess her body and commit unspeakable acts of God-knows-what," said Father Krugerly.

"The girl dies," said the Bishop with finality. The room was flooded with silence. "Tonight."

"Sir, I beg you to reconsider," urged Ambrose pleadingly, desperately.

"You, Father Nightroad, will do well you remember your place in this church from now on. If you do not cooperate with my orders you will have your license as a priest revoked, and you will never be allowed into the church again," said the Bishop briskly. "You have until midnight. I will go prepare for this... event. It must be done quietly. Bring the girl to the chapel in three hours. If you do not... this church will be disbanded." The Bishop strode from the room, his robes swirling behind him.

. . .
x x x utada hikaru x x x
{ good bye for now... sounds a lot like good bye forever }
x x x final distance (music box) x x x

"Neera. Neera, wake up."

Neera blinked sleepily and looked up to see Father Nightroad at her side. "What? ...unh? Father Nightroad...?" She rubbed her eyes. "What's going on?"

Ambrose drew in a shaky breath. "Neera... Neera, do you trust me?"

"What? Father Nightroad?" She sensed the anxiety in his voice and sat up in bed, suddenly awake.

"Do you trust me?" he repeated.

"Y-yes... Yes, I trust you, of course."

"Okay. Then... listen carefully." He swallowed. "Neera, you have to run." He handed her a small bag with a few things inside, then began pulling her out of bed, throwing a cloak over her shoulders and head.

Neera's heart beat faster. "Run? Run where? Why, Father? What-"

"Shh, quiet for now. Come with me, there's not much time." Neera followed him down the steps and to the left, which was the opposite way that she usually went. They traveled down a dark corridor until they reached a solid wall. Ambrose looked left and right, then pushed up a tapestry. behind was a small opening that lead into a secret set of stairs.

A secret passageway...? It almost seemed like something from Father Nightroad's bedtime stories. Neera would have been excited if she wasn't so scared already.

The passage took them out of the dark church and into the street. Father Nightroad pulled Neera's cloak over her head and picked her up, carrying her on his shoulders. One last time, thought Ambrose sadly.

They stopped at the town gates of Creolis, and he let her down. "Follow the road South and stay off the path as much as possible - travel in the woods, under trees. When you reach the next crossing take a right until you find the river. Keep following it South until you reach the next town. Once there..." he sighed, as if unwilling to tell her the next part.

Neera was shaking her head no, unable to believe this was happening.

Ambrose continued. "Once there, seek out a man named Jarred Longblandt. Tell him Ambrose Nightroad sent you. He'll help you. But Neera," he warned, "be very careful."

Neera nodded slowly, trying to take it all in. "B-but... you're coming with me... right?"

Ambrose swallowed. "No, Neera. This time... this time you have to go alone. I have to stay here to make sure..." He hesitated. To stop them from coming after you... But he couldn't say it.

Neera shook her head, tears in her eyes. "No... no, no, no, I won't go," she said, starting to cry. "I won't... I c-can't..." The ten-year old sniffled, her shoulders shaking.

"Neera, I promise. We'll meet again some day, all right? Once this is all over, I'll come find you." He forced a smile on his lips. "All right? Will you wait for me?" His breath came out in clouds in the cold night air, and Neera could see the tears sparkling in his eyes beneath the full moon.

"Will you do this last thing for me?"

Last... thing? She didn't want it to be the last thing. But Neera nodded silently, still sniffling. She wiped a hand across her face.

"That's my girl," said Ambrose. He placed a large, gentle hand on her head, and Neera suddenly ran to him, hugging him tightly. In that moment, he could have sworn that he was holding his daughter again, the one he had lost so many years ago. Ambrose looked towards the sky, towards the millions of sparkling stars, towards the green-blue glow of the Lifestream. Thank you, God... Thank you for giving me my daughter back, if only for awhile...

"Neera, there's something I must say, and you must always remember it. You, as much as anyone else on this planet, have the right to live. You have the right to live, and no one else should be able to decide that. No one has the right to decide that. You... you must live."

"I will always love you,"
whispered Father Nightroad finally, barely audible. He slipped the ring off of his finger and pressed it into her hand, folding her fingers around it, then kissed the girl's forehead and pushed her forward gently. "Go, hurry. Neera, go... and promise me you won't look back."

Neera looked at him one last time, then turned and began walking, the tears freezing on her cheeks. Thirty steps down the road, she stopped and turned her head to the side, hesitating.

Go, and don't look back.

Biting her lip, she forced herself to look forward, and continued on. When Neera was very far down the road, she stopped at last. She looked back.

From this distance, she could just make out the shadow of the town gate. Father Nightroad was gone.

"I love you, too... father." whispered Neera, tightening her fingers around the silver ring in her palm. She turned and walked towards the edge of the dark woods.

Ambrose Nightroad was the closest thing to a father she would ever know.

† † †

n u m b l y, I gather the remnants of my emotions ...................... and, [searching for redemption], I........................

..fall into [a light sleep] ...................... on a { l o n e l y } night

I'm beginning to learn the designs of { s o r r o w } .

......the hiding away of your [warm presence] .......................... makes me { f e a r } the overflowing darkness.

so long ago, I threw away my brightness

and like the light from the morning sun, it can never return.

† † †
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» Tactical Awesome Action! «
― Team 9-AC Espionage & Covert Ops Specialist ―
June Yakushi
Infirmary,Beach, Vectrias

[Happy New Year everyone! Short post is short. I'll probably add more to it later if I manage to find any inconsistencies. xD]

The Keeper sat on the end of the bed, lighting up a cigarette with a Zippo. Her greatcoat, boots and Judgment were taken away by one of the medical staff; she glanced to her right, where Lucien was lying unconscious. He suddenly bolted into a sitting position, clutching his head as if he had a horrible migraine. He tried to get up and leave, despite his weakened state. The medics have swarmed around Lucien, trying to get him back into the bed, though he disappeared into a black cloud of smoke before they could do so.

June watched the commotion; absent-mindedly taking drags on her cigarette and prodding the stitches on her lip and eyebrow. The mask was still prone to breaking. A nurse tapped her shoulder and said scowling, “You shouldn’t do that in here! Besides you should get some rest.”

“As you wish.” She got up, walking towards the exit barefooted.

“Hey, hey! Come—“

Before the nurse could finish, June had already left the infirmary tent, clad in only her flightsuit and bare feet.

The Hyralvine militia and the other Keepers were busy clearing the beach of corpses and rubbish. June crushed her cigarette butt on a piece of scrap metal, then grimaced and rubbed her temples. Note to self: Take aspirin. Amongst the trash, an icebox was partially buried by the sand. June plucked it out like a vegetable and opened it, taking out a bottle of champagne. It was still cold. She pulled out a knife, plunging it into the cork and twisting it out. She put the bottle to her lips, wincing as the drink seeped through the stitches.

Lucien was sitting in the sand, clearly exhausted. Mei and Buki sat next to him, offering boxes of orange juice.

"I live on this island. It’s usually prettier…than this,” Mei said, slowly drifting off to sleep, "I hope Jace and Kaito are okay..."

Her head fell against Lucien’s shoulder. June walked over to the group and helped herself to some orange juice, which she poured into the champagne bottle to make a mimosa. “Haven’t had one of these in a while. You want some?” June asked, proffering the bottle to Lucien. Buki-Ya suddenly jumped on June’s shoulders and rummaged through her pockets.

“Damn monkey!” June tried peeling the nosy marmoset off of her, but then he grabbed at the champagne bottle, keeping a tight grip even as the Keeper tried shaking him off. Eventually the little tug-of-war caused June to spill the champagne on the sand.

“Ugh, damn it. Waste of good champagne.” June let out an exasperated sigh, then unzipped her flightsuit down to her waist, letting it hang, exposing her bra. She lay down in the sand as sleep quickly took over her.

So, what will it be? Fight or Flight?.......
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[K]aito [A]zure
[海翔 アズレ]

Keeper Team 9-AC - Vectiras, Island of Aedif
Lost in the darkness,
Silence surrounds you.
Once there was morning,
Now endless night.

Kaito stood, his attention on only one thing. Angel. He could not hear, nor see, nor did he even care about anything else in this single moment. Noises fazed to nothing around him, for him time seemed to only engulf him and his enemy. She was his enemy...she killed Sukai...now she must pay. Kaito's aura poured out into the open being absorbed into anything and everything. Kaito's tears themselves had begun to change color as they absorbed his aura changing normally clear liquid into blue drops of pure unfiltered aura. Kaito's own now furious eyes locked on Angel and in a quick second he was running, running straight towards Angel.

It was almost scary the difference of both presence and power Kaito gave off right now. It was as if he was limited normally, and it was truly frightful that this could be something the Kaz Kami would have to deal with later. Angel could feel the difference. She had underestimated her opponent, this small child was a bigger threat then she had imagined. Her power didn't seem to be doing much against this boy, how was that even possible? She had never met with such a being before...her own natural enemy.

Things were not going good, she was caught off surprise and now had this boy with such a killing intent heading straight for her. There was only one thing she could do, slow him down and run. She had been separated from Lance retreat was the best option. Next time...next time she would be more prepared. For now though...she would have to retreat and take her punishment afterward. With this decided her unemotional figure took off heading into the forest and away from the beach, Kaito hot on her tail.

First things first, she had to separate him from his friends fighting on the beach as well. It was hard enough dealing with him as it was. Taking off her repressing aura on the others also gave her more power to focus on containing Kaito's uncontrollable one. The forest also made things easy for unlike the beach there was a lot more places to get in his way. Kaito's voice could be heard yelling at her, but she paid them no attention. It seemed her escape attempt had angered him, but it also served it's purpose. Kaito was cut off from the others, and even she could feel that his aura was slowly dispersing from that massive blob...not fast enough though. She needed to slow him down and leave. She couldn't fight this way.

Kaito's wind had turned dangerous now turning themselves into sickles that cut and sliced anything it touched. Kaito even managed to send a few wind sickles her way releasing some of his aura to her. Angel managed to dodge them save for one which grazed her arm leaving a decently sized cut. Nothing dangerous but it still hurt like hell. Her emotions were still as stones though not giving anything away. It was time. Stopping she turned and faced Kaito. As Kaito closed in dark aura suddenly began to form and as soon as Kaito got close Angel countered sending her own aura into Kaito. The single moment the two auras clashed Kaito was pushed back by the force as Angel manipulate even more darkness into Kaito's form.

Slowly, slowly Kaito's aura began to shrink, his breathing was heavy though it didn't seem to stop him from moving forward, her death still in his thoughts. Seeing her chance Angel shot another bit of her darkness into the angel before running. Kaito had lead himself to his own defeat when he lost his ability to think straight. His only focus was to attack and he forgot to defend, it was a miracle that he was still alive. Seeing her form grow further made Kaito curse himself as he worked to get his body to move which had seemed to decide to no longer listen to him. "No...no...I'm...not...finished...yet..." Kaito growled though his aura had now dispersed completely being sucked up into something above.

Kaito couldn't really understand. He just wanted Sukai back...Sukai...she would probably have scolded him for not doing what he was told. He wished...he wished he could see her again. Kaito's wings had turned nearly white, a few specks of blue here and there, his wing tips shown a deep dark black though, product from him absorbing Angel's deadly aura. Kaito fell to his knees, Angel now totally gone, his body had gone limp, stressed to the near breaking point just from his own aura release and now with the dark aura he was exposed too. Kaito could feel the darkness begin to take over, his vision blurring then going black. At the last second though...he thought he could see Sukai forming before him. Sukai... was Kaito's last thought as he collapsed onto the dirt, lost in the middle of the forest.

Lucky for Kaito what he saw really was Sukai...a very weak version but Sukai none-the-less. It was especially lucky because without her it was highly likely that anyone would have even found him. During the fight Kaito had traveled well away from the beach. Sukai didn't take any time lingering as she instantly bolted into the air and towards the beach the moment she formed. She could feel Kaito's link with her was small, a single thread which showed how weak he was. Sukai needed to find help and find it fast. If anything ran into Kaito he wouldn't be able to protect himself, and not even Sukai could help with the tiny aura Kaito still managed to have.

As soon as Sukai reached the beach she found the closest people searching the beach for survivors, and began leading them (who were quite confused) back to Kaito. Once they were there they picked the boy up and began to hurry back to the closest medic tent. Even without medical knowledge they could tell something was wrong with him. His breath was shallow and his limbs limp like noodles. Within a half hour the villagers finally made it to the beach and were on the homestretch. Kaito carried on one's shoulders past by Lucian and the small group of keepers as his carrier headed straight for the medical tent. One of the two that had come had spotted the keepers from their uniforms and stopped letting the other carry on himself.

"You're keepers right? Be sure to inform your Captain that we found an angel boy in the forest quite a ways from here, his condition doesn't look good so we're taking him to the medics...if it wasn't for his bird I doubt we would have found him at all," the man murmured quietly before turning to leave to help search once more for any survivors. Kaito was out of his hands now.

If I could reach you,
I'd guide you and teach you
To walk from the darkness
Back into the light.
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fall into [a light sleep],

........ it encompasses my very being

................ I never carry out my [ p r o m i s e s ] .

........................ so long ago, I threw away my brightness

................................ and like the light from the morning sun, it can never return.

........................................ it lies beside this cold h e a r t, frozen

................................................ so completely mindless that it persists {.forever.} xxx

- - » [location.] onboard Vengeance, The Lifestream.

. Ν . Σ . Σ . R . Λ .
† . t h e . c a s t a w a y . [ h e a r t ] . †
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{ ooc - More flashback-ness~ Again, she doesn't remember this. :c
Final part will be in Cumo's post. c: }

x x x ff7 x x x
{ sneaky sneaky sneaky sneaky }
x x x electric de chocobo x x x

Neera peeked through the tall grass of the meadow, squinting her eyes at the strange machine that lay out in the sun in plain view. She narrowed her eyes at the bright red... thing.

What on Leadeaux is that thing?

The twelve year old girl was sneaking around the woods outside the town of Pansa'ier. Sneaking... it was something she'd become very adept at over the past few years. That, and stealing. Which, coincidentally, was something she'd be doing a lot of very soon.

Early that afternoon, she'd been traveling through the woods towards the town when she'd heard voices. Alarmed that anyone was even out in the woods this far, she'd ducked behind a tree. Then she'd seen two people - a man and a boy - walking through the forest, going deeper in. They were dressed very strangely, and the man, a small white stick hanging out of his mouth, was talking to the boy rather loudly and occasionally smacking him on the back in a "manly" fashion. Neera raised an eyebrow at them, then walked into the woods after them. Intrigued, she'd followed them until they came to what she could only describe as a large shiny metal thing. It looked like some sort of steam contraption from the north, but she had never seen anything so bright and... oddly-shaped. It had wings, and mirror-like windows, and a set of steps leading inside. Neera had watched the man and boy walk into the big red thing. She waited. When they finally went back out again - she watched them go into the woods - she crept closer. And so there she was.

Glancing both ways to make sure the coast was clear, Neera started up the stairs that had unfolded from the red ship. She climbed on all fours, carefully balancing herself to make sure she didn't fall, then entered the cabin.

The inside was nothing short of a mess. Neera walked in then stopped, taking it all in. There were empty glass bottles everywhere, some with alcohol still in them. There were also piles of discarded pizza boxes, stray used cigarettes, magazines that Neera had no desire to look at, and other random miscellany and trash strewn about the inside. Most of these things were new to her, and she spent a few minutes just going around and looking at them. She sniffed at the smell. This place... could use some cleaning. But more importantly - was there any food?

She wandered about the ship, drifting from the cockpit to the main cabin to various rooms. It was quite a large ship, and Neera had to say she was impressed - the North, which she assumed was where the ship was from, was more advanced than she'd known.

Not that it mattered to her. All she wanted was some food, maybe a little clothing (money if she was lucky) - anything useful that she could find. Then she'd be out of there. This place was messy, but maybe there was something useful... somewhere. She scratched her head and started looking, pushing pizza boxes and bottles aside. After a few minutes, she looked in the next room. She didn't want to take too long, after all - the owners might come back.

Neera opened a door and went through. Her eyes sparkled suddenly.


It wasn't just a fridge, no - it was an entire kitchen! Her mouth watered at the thought. This was better than expected...! She ran to the fridge and threw open the door... and stopped. She frowned. Did these people only eat cardboard boxes and alcohol? She opened the box carefully and peeked inside, where she discovered a cheese-covered bread with what looked like sauce beneath the cheese. What kind of strange food is this...?

Well, she was wasting time here. She had to find edible food fast, and scram. The girl shuffled through the pantries and cabinets until she found a loaf of bread and - amazingly - a few fruits. There were other things in the cabinets, but bread was the most available thing and she didn't have time to waste. Stuffing these items into her pockets until they were full, she put another loaf of bread in her mouth to free her hands and, at the last minute, went back for a few of the boxes in the fridge. She tasted a bite of the cheese-sauce-bread before committing to it, but decided it was safe enough, and took three in her arms.

Back in the main cabin, she stepped tentatively over the bottles and boxes and scattered magazines, back to the stairs that led outside. She looked back before heading out, feeling a little bad. She felt guilty - she always did - but there was no other way to survive. Not being who she was. Not with the options she had. She started down the stairway.

"STOP! THIEEEEF!" a voice bellowed. Neera froze, then looked out to the right. A tall man - the owner of the ship - was barreling towards her at full speed. Her eyes widened.

Shoot! Caught! She leapt down the remainder of the stairs and - although it was a shame to waste good food - threw the three pizza boxes at the man to try and stall him, then bolted in the opposite direction.

"You won't get away... SO EASILY!!!!" Neera glanced behind her to see the man gaining (his legs were longer although she was a good sprinter). The more surprising thing, though, was that he was holding the boy in his arms and still running that fast. She gaped.

"Well, kid, go get 'em! HaHA!" yelled the man, swinging his arm back in preparation for a throw.

"Dad, no- UAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!" The boy, swung from the back of his jacket, was tossed forward like a bowling ball. He went flying through the air - right for Neera.



Fruit went everywhere. The bread flew out of her hand and landed in the bushes some twenty feet away. In the grass, Neera lay flat on her back, groaning, the breath knocked out of her. She grimaced, then blinked and looked up... right into the face of her assailant. The boy blinked at her, his face inches away. He had a green eye, and an eyepatch over the left one. His head was covered with disheveled red hair from which sticks and leaves stuck out. They blinked at each other for a few seconds, then the boy seemed to realize where he was and scrambled off of her. Neera coughed and took a deep breath, grateful to breathe again. Despite herself, she felt her cheeks flush with embarrassment. Awkward.

The boy rubbed his ribs and looked back at the man who appeared to be his father. They looked similar enough, thought Neera, glancing up at them. The man didn't look so old himself, maybe thirties or forties - the boy, probably the same age as her, or a year or so older. She looked back and forth between the two of them.

"Okay okay. You throw me -one- more time and I'm -seriously- goin-..."

"Always acting so selfish boy... Cons-"

"Consider other people? -You're- telling -me- to consider other people?"

"Here it goes with the sarcasm and selfishness again, sarcasm is the currency of the intelligently bankrupt you know m'boy~ But yes. Consider. Consider my needs, she would have go-"

"Your needs!? YOUR NEEDS!? You -hurled- me at her!"

Neera stood up and dusted herself off. If those two were going to occupy themselves arguing, maybe she'd be able to sneak away... She glanced at the both of them, then started to back away slowly.

"Hey. Where do you think you're going, missy?"

Neera blinked. "Um-" Before she could run, the man grabbed her by the wrist and started dragging her back to the ship. "Hey-!" protested Neera. "What are you-?!"

"Letting you go would be a violation of the Intergalactic Federation protocol for unaware planets."

"Wh-what?!" Neera tried to pull away, but he was far stronger. But what was he talking about? This guy's crazy!

. . .

On the ship, Neera was sat down on a couch in the main cabin. At first, she was questioned - who was she (Neera), where were her parents (don't have any), where did she live (wherever she could). But the conversation quickly degraded into another argument between the boy and his father, and Neera sighed, putting her chin in her hand.

Through all of this, the most amazing thing to her was that... they didn't seem afraid of her. At all. The horns, the eyes, the hair - they acted like it wasn't even abnormal. As if they'd seen it before, so much that they were used to it. Neera looked at their strange clothes again. Where were these people from, anyway?

As they argued, Neera slowly slipped away down the couch. She would pretend to be looking at something on the floor, then move a few more inches, then a few more. Every once and awhile she would glance up to make sure the boy and his father hadn't noticed. But they were quite occupied with each other.

"Well then... there's only one solution to this..."

"Wha- ... What are you doing w-... Oh no you won't! I didn't let you hurl me into her just to have you shoot her! She hasn't done anything wrong!"

"Boy. You must be getting soft or something... She stole from us!"

"Dad. You steal. All the time."

"But she stole from -us-! -Me-. JED. SANGUINE."

"And you tell me to consider other people... "

"Besides... what else are we going to do? She could get us in trouble with the Keepers again if they found out kid."

"And we're not going to be in trouble if they found out that we murdered her!?"

"You can burn the body, after you shoot her of course~"

"-I'm- going to shoot and burn her!? Ga... gah! Do it yourself at least damn it!"

"Alright then! It's settled! Help me get her outside, don't want nasty stains all over my new carpet mmm?"

"W-wait what!? Hang on!"

"Ohhhh~ so now you're just changing your mind now are yo-... wait..."

Jed paused mid-sentence and squinted at the couch. He then whipped his head around, searching the room. "Hey, where'd the little girl go?"

Jack turned and looked at the couch. Empty. She wasn't even in the room anymore. "What-?! You! You let her get away!"

"I told you to watch her!"

"You did not! I thought you were watching her!"

"No, YOU- Ugh, nevermind!" barked Jed, cutting himself off to keep from going into an argument again. "Let's just go find her, come on."

. . .

Neera stood in the bright, shiny glow of the kitchen (okay, not so bright and shiny - more like dirty and in need of a good scrub), looking around. What to do, what to do...? She'd come in because she was still hungry, of course - but... another idea had gripped her as she'd slid past the door. The man and his son had seemed hungry, too. Maybe... maybe if she cooked them something, they'd let her stay for dinner...?

The girl smiled at the idea and went to the fridge, then began rummaging through whatever random items she could find. What was that phrase she'd heard once?

"The way to..."

She pulled out some potatoes and set them on the counter.

"The way to a man's heart..."

She opened a jar of pasta sauce, sniffed. Ugh~! Neera turned her head away and blinked her eyes. WAY past rotten. The expiration date on the label read three months ago.

She dove back into the fridge. This... was going to be harder than she thought.

But something about it felt nice. Being able to help people, for once. Neera lived as a thief because she had no other choice, but that didn't mean she enjoyed this life. In fact... she hated it. She hated always having to steal from others, taking what wasn't hers. She hated having to rely on people for help. Not only that, but the group of thieves she was part of wouldn't allow her to not steal. She had to bring something back several times a week, or she would be expelled from the group. It was a pressured life.

If only... if only she could escape from this place. But she had nowhere to go.

"Ah, right," said Neera to herself. The way to a man's heart... the way to a man's heart is through his stomach! She wasn't sure of the truthfulness of that statement, but the least she could do was make dinner for these people after trying to rob them.

. . .

Having searched half the ship already, Jack Sanguine and his father, Jed Sanguine, burst into the kitchen. The smell of cooking food is what had tipped them off.

"Found you at last, you little-"

"Ah, you're just in time," said Neera, looking back at them and smiling. She' put her long hair up in a ponytail and, somewhere in the kitchen, had found a red apron with a picture of a yellow chickie on the front. She had oven mitts on both hands and was holding a ladle. Actually, she looked quite at home.

Neera set down her ladle and put the cover back on the soup pot, leaving it on the stove to keep warm. Pulling off her mitts, she carried two bowls (brimming with hot, delicious soup) over to the table and set them down. "Dinner's ready!" She smiled happily, indicating the soup bowls with an open palm.

Both of their jaws dropped at the same time. They were silent for a moment. Neera beamed quietly at their reaction.

"Aww..." said both Jack and Jed in unison, melting a little at the girl's generosity. Seeing a twelve year old girl cooking like that was just... far too cute. They stood there a moment, then suddenly bolted, rushing towards the table. Immediately they began fighting over the bread and anything else that had to be shared between them, slurping at their soup hungrily.

Neera sighed, feeling a stir of happiness inside of her. She was glad for that, because it was something she hadn't felt in awhile. She went back to check on the oven, in which she'd started backing a pie. Neera watched the crust turn golden slowly. An apple pie... She hadn't made one of those since...


She blinked and stood up, her happiness ebbing. Not since she'd left the church almost two years ago. Father Nightroad... she smiled at the thought of his face, although she still missed him every time she thought of him. Absently, the girl fingered the heavy silver ring that hung at her throat. She felt comfort in feeling its weight there.

Worst of all, though, was the feeling she got when she thought of what he might say if he saw her now. Stealing for a living... that was a sin, she knew. But she had been damned from the beginning, hadn't she? A demon, a child with red eyes and horns. Did she belong anywhere at all?

"Man, this stuff is delicious!"

Neera turned back and smiled, glad for the distraction. "Oh, you like it? I'm glad! There wasn't much in your fridge or pantries, so... I kind of had to put together whatever you had." Neera poked her two index fingers together shyly. Truth be told, it was all random vegetables and spices, plus whatever potatoes she could find that weren't already growing into plants. She'd combined them artfully, however, remembering her skills, and they'd blended together in a well-balanced taste.

"By the way..." started Neera, bending over to look into the oven. "I threw away half of the food in your fridge. And some of that nasty alcohol." she said matter-of-factly.

The eating stopped, and it became noticeably silent.


It was a good thing no one was out for a walk in the forest that night, because their voices echoed through the meadow outside.

"It was spoiled! You couldn't eat it anyway!" came Neera's retort.

High in the sky, the stars were shining and the Lifestream was glowing. And life... went on.

"But why is the rum gone?!?!"
† † †

n u m b l y, I gather the remnants of my emotions ...................... and, [searching for redemption], I........................

..fall into [a light sleep] ...................... on a { l o n e l y } night

I'm beginning to learn the designs of { s o r r o w } .

......the hiding away of your [warm presence] .......................... makes me { f e a r } the overflowing darkness.

so long ago, I threw away my brightness

and like the light from the morning sun, it can never return.

† † †
PyroXTech's avatar

Questionable Genius

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.: Lucien Von Kroenen - Aedif, Vectiras :.
Team 9-AC: Assassination and Reconissance Specialist

User ImageResting rather peacefully at the edge of the Keeper Camp, Lucien gazed off into the distance, lost within thought. The battle was over now, they had accomplished the impossible, but the realization of the death still haunted him. So much blood spilled on the blood and in the sea, the blood of innocents and defenders, the blood of the Nith and Shadowsili, it mattered not to him in the end. There were just more voices to torment him, each one pushing him closer and closer towards insanity and death, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. Distracted by these thought he did not appear to notice the marmoset searching him for anything interesting, at least not until he heard a voice scolding the creature.

"Buki-Ya, what in Kiva's name are you doing?!" Snapping out of his daze, he lazily turned to face the fox-girl as she carried an armful of juice cartons across the beach, causing the Keeper to raise an eyebrow in slight confusion. "Sorry about that, he's just really... curious," It was just then that he noticed the small monkey out of the corner of his eyes, looking over his shoulder for a moment before he turned to meet the smiling girl. "It's alright, he didn't cause me any trouble."

Without any warning the girl approached him, sitting down and dropping the juice into her lap and into the space between them. "Here. Drink these, they'll make you feel better," The fox-girl placed a juice box on his leg before taking one for herself, Lucien nodding his head in thanks before unwrapping the straw and inserting it into the box. He slowly sipped the juice, each drop seeming to burn him a little on the inside, but it was better than dealing with dehydration. "So what's your name? I'm Yanmei, and that's Buki," Finishing the juice, he crushed the carton in his hand, tossing it back over his shoulder. "You must be a Keeper, huh?" Turning to face the girl Lucien gave a bow, at least as much as one could while sitting. "It's nice to meet you Yanmei and Buki, my name is Lucien Von Kroenen... And yes, I am a Keeper."

"I live on this island, It's usually prettier... than this," Lucien was no stranger to Vectiras, but he knew better than to interrupt her now. Even though she appeared to be speaking him, the Keeper could she was distracted by something, following her gaze out to the sea. They were quiet for a moment, until she reached into her pocket and pulled out a blue feather that probably came from Kaito, drawing his attention back to the fox-girl as she spoke. "I hope Jace and Kaito are okay..." Mei let out a yawn that cut herself off, the tired girl slowly resting her head onto his shoulder as she slowly drifted to sleep. "If you see them..."

Lucien let out a quiet sigh when she had finally fallen asleep, glancing at her momentarily before he spoke quietly to himself. "Rest now Yanmei, I assure you I will find Kaito and Jace..." Turning his head to face forward, he returned his gaze to the ocean. Kaito... Jace... Yanmei... Trill... Why must the innocents always be drawn into battle, their blood need not be spilled by the vicious and the damned that we are destined to face. They do not deserve such a death...

Just when he though he could finally get some peace and quiet, another Keeper approached from behind, grabbing a juice to pour into whatever liquor she held in her hands. “Haven’t had one of these in a while. You want some?” When June offered him the bottle Lucien waved it away, he wasn't a big fan of alcohol, it dulled the senses along numerous other things. “Damn monkey!” With a mixture of confusion and slight humor, the Keeper watched as June wrested with the monkey over the bottle before it was sent crashing to the ground, spilling the contents all over the ground. “Ugh, damn it. Waste of good champagne.” Before Lucien could say anything, the female Keeper had unzipped the upper portion of her suit, slidding it down to around her waist before she laid down to sleep next to him. That was weird...

Relaxing once again, the Keeper was interrupted several minutes later by a man who had been carrying a stretcher from the beach, one that carried the angel Keeper, Kaito. "You're keepers right? Be sure to inform your Captain that we found an angel boy in the forest quite a ways from here, his condition doesn't look good so we're taking him to the medics...if it wasn't for his bird I doubt we would have found him at all." Lucien nodded. "Very well, I'll inform him once he returns." As the man left the Keeper turned to Mei, nudging her in an attempt to wake her up, knowing she would enjoy knowing that Kaito had survived the battle. "Yanmei, if you can hear me, there's somebody who wants to see you. He's waiting for you in the infirmary."
xxxxxxxxxx»»»» my name is . . .

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Jace : ~ : Vistus x↘↘x the hopefulDAWNx ↘↘xxxxxxxxxx

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tracking location . . . Vectiras, Battlefield Ruins
"Everything is precious to me... That's why... that's why I can't lose !! "
    ☆ t h o u g h t s x i n s i d e → o o c
    xD... Hale.

....................................................... n e x u s . . . deactivated .......................................................

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Can you hear my voice calling out
Through the darkness, trying to shout.
Trapped within the void of the night
I call out for the light . . .

xx......................................... All Hale The Captainsxx.........................................

"My, my. I think Captain Hale would love this."

And Joshua was definitely right on all counts there, soaring in from across the ocean like a arrow from a bow, the Keeper Captain launched a swarm of tendrils that stabbed themselves firmly in the sand as anchors, slowing him down and eventually bringing him to a stop so that he could witness the magnificent sight of the Preposterous' rise. "Pretty colors... Don't miss now guys~" He would have contributed his own aura to the brilliant multicolored mass that imbued the Preposterous with new life but from the looks of things, as his opponent appeared again in a void of black light; crimson eyes fixed upon him with killing intent, it looked like he was going to need it.

Hale grinned, the feral features of his madness returning to his face as he did, "You're not one of them." Surrounding him from all sides, Crimson's floating blades darted in to impale Hale from all sides striking with a impact that sent sand spraying in all directions as a small explosion was set off in the center of them by Crimson; an indistinct blur speeding upwards into the air and out of the blast indicated the captain's escape from the attack, as if expecting it; Crimson followed suit instantly, a split second behind him in the air.

Despite following almost instantly after him, the distance between Hale and Crimson was considerable as they both flew through the air like wingless birds. The air began to rapidly thin as Crimson set off a chain of explosions in the air, hurling him closer and closer to Hale as he seemingly landed and jumped off each explosion towards his target. Lightning quick, he thrust his blade through the Captain as he flashed next to Hale with a unexpected burst of speed... or had the captain seen it coming? "Oooo~ impressive." There was something wrong, the blade had gone through him! Why was... why was it going through him like he was some kind of shade? Giving Crimson a maddened grin of glee with a face that was half hidden in shadow, Hale grasped the blade with a hand from the other side of his body that the blade hadn't gone through, his opponent struggled to try and retrieve their weapon and escape but it seemed like an invisible set of hands held him in place onto the blade with a bonecrushing grip.

Pushing the blade "out" of the shadowy side of his body, Hale's dark colored side shimmered and seemed to solidify as he grasped the blade with his other hand before several bandage-like shadows materializing from his body which rapidly wrapped themselves snugly around Crimson and his blade before forming a small platform at Hale's feet with what remained, leaping off the platform, Hale attached himself to it by a thin set of shadow tendrils. "Keep all hands and feet inside the ride at all times please~!" Spin. Spin. Spin. Spin. Spin. Spinspinspinspinspinspinspinspinning... Gradually building up in speed, the Captain and his opponent quickly became a blur of inky black before, at the apex of his spinning speed, Hale slowly releasing his attachments to Crimson as he spun, first releasing his own hands so that Crimson was bound only by the bandages and invisible "light shadows" causing the Kaz Kami to be distanced by Hale spinning in a larger circle around the maniacally cackling captain who finally then released the bandages and shadows, releasing his opponent flying across the air and at the World Eater tower.

Almost straight after releasing his opponent, the captain detached his own tendrils from the platform which melted away into shadows that rushed after it's owner who was flung across the air after Crimson. Bang! Hale blinked, SHRK! he blinked again, going cross eyed as he stared at the blade that had just sliced from the top of his head to the bottom of his body as Crimson had stopped his flight and rebounded at the Captain at extreme speed using a set of explosions before bifurcating captain. Time seemed to slow as the captain was split in two but... where was the blood? Glancing back, expecting to see a bloodied mess falling through the air, Crimson saw what normal people would have probably dropped their jaws at.

Hale... or specifically, both halves of Hale were holding hands as the shadowy half of him grasped the other half of him and began to rapidly spin him around before releasing him, sending him flying back up at Crimson. SMACK! Zipping through the air, the half of Hale struck his opponent with a fierce flying kick as he soared past, winded and stunned; the Kaz Kami failed to notice the thin string of light that was attached to the half of Hale as he soared by, dragging the other half of him up through the air as well who threw a brutal face to the face at his opponent, but they weren't done yet.

As he soared past, the shadowy half of Hale spun in the air, latching onto Crimson with his hand after throwing the punch, stretching inhumanly, the arm seemed to bounce him back elastically as well while the tendril that connected the two halves dragged the other half back where they recombined, spinning the dazed Crimson around with both hands. "I'd love to fight you again sometime..." As both halves connected properly the captain drew his head back and delivered a vicious headbutt that hurled the Kaz Kami back onto his path flying towards the tower, the headbutt seemed to be so vicious actually that Hale's face actually split in two again before the rest of his body did.

"And maybe next time. You'll be stronger, with a reason to fight next time!" Both halves yelled, each speaking one word at a time before they joined hands, one half spinning the other through the air again and hurling him forwards, before being dragged through the air after his half by an attaching tendril. But this time, as they two of them both went into flying kick stances, the attaching tendril broke off and instead; their aura(s) shone and formed the outline of the other half of their body as they flew through the air, slowly forming the other half of their body; one body completed covered in shadow and the other body white like snow.

xx......................................... Triumphxx.........................................

Kind captain and insane monster, their inspiring white and infectiously crazy black auras melted together into one as they began to circle around eachother, becoming a spiraling spear of black and white outlined in purple piercing through the air towards Crimson and the Tower behind him while the Preposterous sailed through the air on beautiful wings of aura.

......."This...! Is...! PREPOSTEROOOOOUUUUUS!"

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxCRAAAAAAAAAASSSSSHHH !!

Punching a hole straight through the tower, the two Hales melded back into one who then deactivated his Nexus, taking a moment to catch his breath; the captain looked back cheerfully, retrieving his somewhat cracked and broken glasses from his pocket and putting them on so he could enjoy the view of the tower falling. They'd done the impossible... And it had just been their first day too. "Well. I'd say that's a good icebreaker for the team... wouldn't you?" His shadow, seemed to grin and nod in agreement, the "pair" continuing to watch until the last remnants of the tower crashed into the ocean before giving eachother a "high five" and walking towards the smoldering ruins of the ship while the big guns arrived, arms slung around eachother's backs like old comrades.

Wearily climbing up the ship's destroyed sides, the captain tread nimbly across the rooftop of the ship until he seemed to locate something, kneeling down he punched his hand through the metal, shearing through the thick plates like they were paper... although to be fair to whoever designed the ship, the armoring had already been half destroyed. Grasping the inside of the plate, Hale gave a great heave, lifting up a chunk of the ship's top and hurling it away with a bang to allow the light of day to seep down into the ship properly and onto the face of the unconscious militia captain who lay below. "The sun is nice isn't it~? Enjoy it... after-all... you made it all possible." Hopping down into the ship, where sparks still crackled at various panels and many emergency lights still blearily flashed, the Keeper captain landed next to Mattheis.

"Maybe we should start designing ships specifically made for hurling at World Eater Towers. It seemed to work well enough~. Anyway, hold still, this could tickle." His shadow focused itself around his right arm and hand as he touched it upon Matt's forehead, spidery tendrils of aura raced down the hand and onto Matt's body, covering the wounds that oozed an unnatural looking black blood (which Hale cocked an eyebrow at) to stop the bleeding at the very least. "... Can't a man ever sleep around here?" For a moment there was silence, the two Captains both taking eachother in properly, the standoff was broken by Hale as he extended a hand to pull his fellow captain up. "Not yet. Your crowd awaits, and besides." Crrrkk... A loud groan followed by a snapping sound signaled the collapse of several supports barely managing to hold the roof of the smoking Worldship together, crashing down all around them, Hale's shadow deflected several pieces of the crumbling debris away from the pair as they did.

"This isn't really the best place for a nap. I mean. I've had worse but this is a health and safety issue waiting to happen." Helping the Militia Captain make his way out of the remains of the Preposterous and World Eater Tower, supporting the captain while they made their way across the rapidly fading island left behind by the Tower; Hale made one last detour to a small figure laying unconscious on the sand, face looking peacefully up into the clear sky that he helped create. "Jace huh?" Sitting himself down next to the boy, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the ocean was closing in with every passing moment, Hale picked out a small stick from the sand and poked the boy curiously with it, if Jace felt it - he showed no signs of stirring.

xx......................................... Returnxx.........................................

"You and Mattheis. Thank you." Hale whispered, his voice containing much more seriousness than it usually did, before sliding his hands underneath the unconscious shadowsili's body and throwing him across his shoulder like a small white and black bundle before returning to Matt. "Well then. We wouldn't want to keep everyone waiting, lets go."


"My my. What a mess... well. I guess we did it in the end..." Joshua muttered to himself as the last of the Nith forces vanished from the face of the world, that's how it always went, they were never able to completely win - at the end of the day, the Keepers had won a battle but the war was still going on throughout the Collective. Sighing, the communications officer turned to the icy foundations that lay around him; Telosia's handiwork.

"Junior Captain? You can wake up now... You wouldn't want to miss their entrance would you?" A nearby Keeper blinked, "Whose entrance sir?" Joshua didn't even have to answer, as if just on cue, two figures appeared on the horizon making their way over slowly - one of them carrying a white haired boy on his back. For a moment, Jace stirred as a deafening cheer came from the crowd before quickly fading back to his dreams - dreams of a time not too different from the present yet from another time entirely.

User Image

The only reason Im here is just because of you
Behind you, taking your cues
But now its time for me to find out all the things only I can do . . .
For the answer has been here all along - in this beating a u r a - h e a r t

.................................................................. ☁ - ☁ - ☁ - ..................................................................
It's not like I need somebody telling me where I should go at night ................................
Don't worry, you'll find somebody - someone to tell how to live their life ....................... I've had enough of who they want
'Cause you're so perfect, and no one measures up ......................................................... Why would I let them make up my mind and be mislead?
But all by yourself, you're all messed up ......................................................................... I'm sick of you judging me

User Image

R . a . i >>>>>>>>>
x [ "So. You got a problem with that?" ] x
☢ ☠ ☢

<<< t-Gen zepto [16th gen.] >>>
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx▃ ▅ ▆
Light Up the Sky
« » 2:04 [|||||||||||||||-------] 3:32


xxxx⇨ G.P.S. tracking// Island of Aedif, VectirasUser Image

- - - - - - - - - - - - ✁ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

{{ LOLOL sappyyyyy Rai pooost… wth is thiiiis. D888 }}

The sky was dark, but the island of Aedif was lit up with the brilliant flashes of multiple auras, all combating the Nith together. All standing side-by-side…

And then there was Rai, battling in her shakily-refurbished MPV on the far side of the shore. She hadn’t really meant to, but the fighting had gradually separated her from the others and isolated her in a secluded area of the beach. She knew it was a bad idea - if she got into trouble, it was unlikely anyone would see her to come to her aid. But it was too late for that – Rai was now surrounded by Nith, and the only way out was to fight.

Twin rockets launched out from the arms of the MPV, lighting glowing paths until they hit their Nith targets, creating huge explosions that flashed beneath the dark Vectiras sky. Rai grinned through her cracked windshield. Her machine was already pretty banged up, as was she herself, but she paid no mind. She was running on adrenaline by now, hot blood pumping through her veins. The controls were smooth and familiar beneath her fingers as her hands moved over the levers and buttons.

If I die here…

A shell of energy hit the side of her vehicle, and Rai spun around to face a wall of Nith, the creatures closing in on her. She gritted her teeth and jumped back, outmaneuvering them as she fired more shots from her guns. There wasn’t much ammo left, though. Soon, it would be the end of the line. And yet, even if this was a suicide mission… maybe that's what she was prepared for.

If I die here… it will be worth it.

She felt like she’d been fighting for so long. Not just today, but… her whole life, really. Fighting just to live. If it was that hard, maybe it would be easier just to let go now, surrender to the peace that came after everything… as long as she went down fighting the enemy, that was fine with her.

”Had enough yet? Try this one!” Rai fired a series of missiles towards her opponents, watching as another row of Nith disappeared into energy and floated back to the sky. But behind them were many, many more. And now, she was out of ammunition. Rai wiped the back of her glove across her mouth, clearing blood away. She couldn’t run – she was surrounded. And the conversion feature of the MPV, the one that enabled it to transform into a fighter jet and back, had been disabled since the ship had been damaged.

Long, sharp swords emerged from the arms of the MPV, and Rai plunged into the ranks of approaching Nith, going in for hand-to-hand combat. Small explosions quaked all around her as shells of dark energy hit her ship, but she kept fighting, pushing herself to the limits. By that time, she didn’t expect to make it out alive.

As Rai faced the prospect of oncoming death, she began to wonder. Who was this person she’d become? She used to think she was sure of who she was, but now… she wasn’t so sure. After how far she’d come, to Krux, becoming a mechanic, making a name for herself (a somewhat infamous one at that), things had seemed steady, if unfulfilling. Then she’d found Tristan again, and for awhile, life had been… well, beautiful. He'd always been the friend she never deserved, the one that opened her eyes and showed her how to live when she forgot. He had cared so much about... life. He'd had such high hopes for people, believed in them in a way Rai couldn't.

And then he'd died... For nothing.

She faced the world from behind a mask to avoid it, but… when Rai asked herself what she was living for, what she was fighting for, she found…

She just couldn’t answer anymore.

All Rai knew was, she would die fighting for him. She would avenge his death if it was the last thing she did. That was all she had left to do. She would go down giving the Nith hell.

Disregarding the danger she was in, Rai launched forward the meet the row of Gourd Nith in front of her. ”Haaauuuuuughhhhh!!!” The arms of the MPV reached out as the shadows combined and grew into one large entity, a few Harbingers melding into the being as well. Rai’s eyes narrowed. A Ravager… A Ravager was forming. For several minutes, the two bodies struggled, one of shadow and one of mechanical parts and gears. They stood face to face, arms locked in a vicegrip, neither able to gain the upper hand. Inside the cockpit of the MPV, however, Rai was beginning to shake. She was giving all she had, but the exhaustion was beginning to overcome her. There was a loud creak, and the right arm of the MPV buckled and snapped, sending a wave of pain through the girl’s body. Her scream was lost in the loud series of clanks that came from the right side of the MPV. Picking up the vehicle, the Ravager tossed the MPV across the sand like a toy, and Rai was knocked to the side of the cockpit from the impact. Sparks flew around her as the cords in her spine were ripped painfully from their metal ports. There was so much noise that again, she couldn’t hear her screaming – she wasn’t even she if she was or not. Everything was such a blur, the pain so intense that it felt like nothing, just a tingling numbness, white hot through her body.

Rai blinked through the excruciating pain and looked up to find her machine pinned to the beach, the Ravager overhead staring down at her. A huge fist punched through the glass over her MPV, showering her with fragments that bit through her skin like a thousand stinging serpents. The hand reached into the cockpit and grasped the girl’s ribcage, trying to crush her between its massive shadowy “fingers.” Rai struggled in its grip, stretching her arm out as far as it would go, reaching for something on the dashboard. Inside her chest, she felt the dull snap of cracking ribs, felt the pain pierce through her lungs like white fire. Tears streaked her face but she kept reaching. She knew what she was planning would kill her, but she didn’t care. As long as the Nith was evaporated with her.

Her vision began to flicker and blur as suffocation slowly set in, the darkness of the Ravager curling up over her head. She couldn’t see, but she felt her fingers close around the small switch that they’d been searching for. Beneath the veil of shadows, she grinned. Her last message was to the Nith. ”See you in hell,” she whispered.

A huge white explosion shook out where the MPV had been just moments before. The missile had been fired at such close range that it had impacted the Nith immediately, damaging the MPV and evaporating the huge Ravager that had held Rai, as well as most of the nearby Nith. The MPV was thrown backwards across the sand, burnt and smoking, damaged beyond repair. When it finally came to a stop, a few more explosions rang out from the machine, sending more smoke into the air. In the shadow of the burning MPV, the body of its pilot rested in the sand, bruised and covered with blood.

She’d done what she came for.

. . .
{ you still have all of me }
---my immortal---

“…he’s dead.”

The mechanic stared, unable to move. Somewhere, something cold settled within her, but she couldn’t even shiver. Her mind reeled with the words, their meaning spinning through her over and over again, closing in on her. She felt like she was suffocating; she couldn’t remember how to breathe.

“Rhiannon… I’m sorry.”

She half-blinked, her mind recognizing something that shouldn’t have been said. She wanted to punch the captain, wanted to yell at him. Don’t call me that, she thought, but she couldn’t say it. She couldn’t summon the strength or courage to tell him. Only Tristan is allowed to call me that. She tried to push the words up through her throat, but her lips didn’t move. She couldn’t feel anger, or resentment, or even sadness. She only felt… cold.

“We searched for the body, but… there was nothing left. This is the most we could recover.” The captain took her hand and folded her fingers over a piece of hard, bent metal. With that, he gave one last look at her, squeezed her shoulder once, and walked past her out the room. She heard the door close behind her.

Rai remained standing for a long time, staring at the empty space before her. Her mind felt numb. After several minutes, she opened her hand and looked down.

Tristan’s bent, scorched dog tag rested in the palm of her hand. Someone had tried to clean it off, but the blood had left a stain. Shaking, Rai fell to the floor of the ship and sat, her knees suddenly weak. She desperately wished for it to be a dream.

. . .

The graveyard was empty. It was a bright, sunny day, the sky blue and cloudless, the kind of day Tristan used to like so much. They had walked together in the park on days like that, laughing over silly things together, making fun of the captain or the officials they worked with. Tristan would talk about the bright future he saw ahead. Rai would say he was crazy and punch his shoulder, then start a chase through the fields until they both collapsed onto the ground, breathless.

But the sky today was devoid of laughter. Alone amongst the graves, she felt only pressing silence, an emptiness that weighed heavily on her chest. Now, no matter how bright the sky was, it would always look muted to her, its promising shimmer gone, the magic drained away.

The girl stood alone at the small gray headstone, a thing that to her was hardly a replacement for the living, breathing human that she had known. It almost made her laugh, how ridiculous it all was. They had never even found his body; the only thing she could speak to know, the only thing left of him, was his name and date of birth engraved on a rock. That was it.

But within her painful memories, Tristan was still alive and breathing- he was still smiling, laughing, speaking, running, holding her hand and pulling her through the city. He seemed more real in her head than on earth, now, seemed closer to the person he had been - the person overflowing with life. The person who had somehow come into her heart and opened her eyes like no one else could, reminded her that life was full of brightness. The only person who she had really trusted.

He never lied, and that's why she hated it so much.

“Damn it…” her voice was a shaky whisper. “Why, Tristan... Why…” she couldn’t finish her sentence. Her throat tightened uncomfortably, a vice grip settling over her heart. She shook as something inside of her began to break. “You… I BELIEVED IN YOU!! I TRUSTED YOU, DAMNIT!” she screamed, falling to her knees and pounding the gravestone with her fists, embracing the pain in her palms that seemed to make physical what she felt inside. “You promised me… that a person could start over… you promised me… that you’d…” a sob interrupted her, “you’d… always be there… for me…” For me, a person who never deserved all that you gave… Her ribs were sore from crying the tears she couldn’t contain, but she pushed herself against the polished granite surface. “And I,” breathed Rai, gasping at the cold Autumn air, “I…”

The tears flooded her eyes and spilled over, flowing down her cheeks and onto her lips. She felt their salty taste in her mouth, the bitterness that would be her reality from now on. Rai pressed her forehead against the cold, smooth surface of the headstone, as if trying to sink into it. She wished she could – wished she could be swallowed up by the earth and lay inside it forever, be covered up and surrounded by the sweet, sweet, darkness – the nothingness of an empty eternity.

Again, the words tumbled out of her in a whisper, a tiny voice lost among her quiet sobs. The wind stirred, and autumn leaves fell around her in a swirl, their fragile shapes getting caught in her long russet hair. She pushed her cheek against the stone, wishing he could hear her, praying that somewhere he would realize all that she felt, but not having the heart to believe he ever would.

“I love you…”

With every fiber of her being, those were the words she most regretted not telling him.

. . .

Rai woke up screaming and gasping, trying to escape the darkness of her nightmares. She thrashed in the white bed sheets of the dark clinic, her breathing erratic.

“H-hey, it’s alright, just take a deep breath,” said a nurse worriedly, rushing to Rai’s side from across the room. “Take it easy, watch that arm…” Gradually, her breathing returned to normal, and Rai sat back in bed. ”Will you be okay…?” Rai could only nod. She turned away, facing the other direction.

Out the window, she could see it was dark. A small wave of panic gripped her. Dark… Then, was Vectiras still…? Rai turned back to the woman. “Nurse… what happened? Did the Nith…?”

The nurse smiled gently. “Don’t worry, the Nith were cleared out. Vectiras is safe again,” she said, smoothing the sheets on Rai’s bed. “The sky was finally cleared and reinforcements came until the Nith were all driven out. You’ve been asleep all afternoon, though. That’s why it’s dark outside now. But the sun will rise in the morning, don’t you worry. Here, sit back. You should rest.” She picked up a few things from the next bed over, then left the room. Rai looked back to the dark window.

Her arm and shoulder throbbed with pain, and her whole body ached. Every breath felt as if her ribs were spearing her lungs. In general she hurt like the Dickens, but Rai gritted her teeth and beared it, unwilling to ask for any kind of anesthetic. Leave that to the people who really needed it. Looking down, she inspected the damage. It would appear she had been pretty barely injured, as she’d been stripped of her clothes and covered in bandages, over which a pale blue hospital gown had been put on her. Blood had soaked through some of the bandages on her legs, arms, and chest, leaving dark red splotches. Not to mention her arm was in a sling. Rai sighed. Damn Nith… How am I supposed to do my job with my arm in a sling? She tested it by moving her arm, and a searing pain shot up her bone. Rai sucked in air through her teeth, her muscles tensing, then became still. Okay, not such a good idea…

Despite it all, though, one thought kept bothering her.

Why was she even still alive?

Rai turned as a doctor in a white coat entered the hospital room. “Good evening, mister…” the doctor looked down at the clipboard in his hand and raised his brows, correcting himself, “-oh, excuse me, Miss Rhia-“

“My name is Rai,” said the mechanic blandly.

“Ah, is it. Pardon me, miss Rai,” said the doctor, apparently embarrassed by his blunder. He obviously wasn't the one who had done surgery on her - those doctors had seen that she was female. He coughed and cleared his throat. “This is a report of your injuries,” he said, handing her a paper from the clipboard. Rai scanned it as he continued to speak. “Your right arm was broken and your left shoulder dislocated, the wrist fractured. Two ribs were cracked, three broken, and your left knee was dislocated, an ankle fractured and two toes broken. There were multiple deep lacerations across your back and legs, as well as extensive bruising across your chest and abdomen. You suffered a concussion, but no major damage to the brain or skull. The mechanical piloting ports in your back were also damaged when the cords were ripped out. They’ll need professional repairing before you can pilot again. Of course, you won’t be able to pilot at all until you’re fully healed, either.” The doctor paused, letting it all sink in as he took a breath.

“To be honest… it’s a miracle you lived at all, really. You’re lucky – you should be thankful.” He scratched the back of his head.

“Heh.” Rai stopped herself from laughing outright, simply because even thinking of it seemed to make her ribs burn with pain. Sue her, but she didn’t feel very lucky at the moment. “Lucky…” Right. As lucky as someone with all of their bones broken.

"Well, you know what they say, what doesn't kill you... Leaves you maimed, depressed and with an incredibly large debt to the hospital." Rai grinned cheerily at the white-clad man, who looked back at her and blinked uncomfortably, smiling nervously

“Ahem, yes, well. We performed the necessary surgery, but you’ll need more serious care on Krux. This little clinic can only offer so much,” added the doctor, handing her more documents, apparently for the hospital care on Krux. Good thing Keepers had pretty solid health insurance.

Rai nodded. The doctor left the room, and she leaned back into her pillows. She tried to sigh, but it pained her ribs too much. She settled for shallow breathing.

The mechanic stared at the ceiling until she started counting the number of panels there. This is about as fun as… watching grass grow. She wished she could get back to her crew – wished she knew where they were. But she didn’t even know where she was on the little island, and it kind of hurt to move at the moment. Maybe she’d wait just a little longer…

Rai didn’t want to admit it to herself, but she was concerned about the safety of the rest of her team. This had been a huge battle, and a lot of them had been fairly new at this sort of thing. And just look how she herself had ended up. (Rai scoffed inwardly.) How had the rest of them faired…?

She remembered something, then. Hale. He’d been locked inside that tower, last time she was awake. What had happened…?

Was he… dead?

The dream crept back into Rai’s head then, slowly, seeping, like the crimson stains soaking through her bandages. Tristan’s death always seemed to haunt her at the worst moments.

Everything about her life had changed after he’d died. She had promised herself not to care about anyone anymore. She had promised never to cry again. She had cut all of her hair off, the long auburn locks that he had convinced her to grow out, and dyed it a bright orange. She’d closed herself off from people even more than before. All the work Tristan had done to help her slowly open up to people, all the damage he’d repaired – all of it disappeared overnight. Then Rai had thrown herself back into her work and tried to forget.

But she couldn’t. She couldn’t forget, and the regret that she lived with every day, of never telling him how much she cared for him, only flooded her more completely with every passing moment.

And now… Had she made the mistake again, in letting Hale die without ever telling him who she was? Would he have remembered her from those days on Smoke at all? Or was it just better to do as she’d been doing for so long, of pushing people away and pretending her skin was too thick for anything to hurt her?

“Hunh. Why does life keep teaching me lessons I have no desire to learn...” she asked the dim room. A few moments of silence ticked by.

“Christ, I need a beer.”

. . .
{{ If anyone wants to have their character be the one that rescued her/brought her in to the clinic after she fell unconscious, go right ahead. xD; If not I’ll just say she was lucky. x ux }}


you made yourself a bed at the bottom of the blackest hole
and [convinced yourself] that it's not the r e a s o n you don't see the sun anymore

And sepia-colored memories that were imprinted on my eyelids ....................................................................... In a distorted loophole in time
Are now on the other side of the soft light... ........................... The knife that stabbed me in the back gives me [wings]
They're still too far off for me, filthy as I am now . ...................................................................... And I keep looking at the sky
I can't return to that time ever again .................................................... In order to b u r n . u p all of the memories
When we were laughing .................................................................... Running through my entire body

I [lock] myself up, unable to even atone
More than eternally embracing an illusion
In a moment I'd choose f r e e d o m

➳ ♥ •
User Image• Ѷεcтϊгαș →
• ϓαηɱεϊ →

If the condemning sound of rain makes you sad,
I will become your gentle shield
Don't ever stop believing
I pray... that a small miracle
Will reflect in your eyes
I won't run away from fate; I'm by your side.
No matter how sad your dreams are, I don't mind
I pray... "believe" and rip up the darkness of the cold memories

★ Ⓨ Ⓐ Ⓝ Ⓜ Ⓔ Ⓘ ★
✿ do you have any fruit juice ? ! ✿

¤•.¸¸.•´¯`•.¸¸.☆ [ Island of Aedif, Vectiras ] ☆.¸¸.•´¯`•.¸¸.•¤

{{ ooc -Kaito + Mei double-post! C: Plus some mischief from Buki. xD }}
✫ - ✬ - ✭ - ✮ - ✯ - ✰ - ✱ - ✲ - ✳ - ✴ - ✵ - ⋆

"Yanmei, if you can hear me, there's somebody who wants to see you. He's waiting for you in the infirmary."

From her place at Lucien’s shoulder, the little girl stirred, one fox ear twitching in response to the Keeper’s words. "N… hunh?" She sat up and rubbed her eyes, blinked a few times, then seemed to comprehend what Lucien had said. "S-somebody… for me? … Oh!" Grabbing a juice box and jumping up, she raced through the sand towards the clinic, never even thinking to apologize to Lucien for falling asleep on him.

Buki-Ya chattered from his place among the fruit juice boxes, watching Yanmei disappear into the crowd. He looked down at the juice, considering his options – then sat back down with his juice and continued licking the sweet liquid from the little hole in the box.

After a while longer of this, the little monkey seemed to grow bored. He uncurled his tail in the air and yawned, revealing a mouthful of tiny little teeth. Looking to his right, he noticed June sleeping in the sand, and a mischievous gleam came into his little amber eyes. Sneaking over, he started poking and inspecting the various parts of her uniform, moving quietly and gently as he did so. He opened several pouches on her waist, looked inside her boots, and then went to her head and began pushing through her hair. Finding nothing of interest there, he went towards the ocean and grabbed some wet sand, which he brought back in his little claws. He stood by June for a few seconds, watching her sleep, then hopped lightly onto her waist.

Clinging to her folded-over uniform and twisting his head around, he looked down the pant leg of her battle uniform. Intrigued by how dark it was, the little marmoset stuck his head down inside and looked around, crawling in further until half his body had disappeared down the woman’s uniform leg. Disturbed in her sleep, probably by the slight pinch of the monkey’s claws on her skin, June moved slightly, and Buki went flying out of her uniform, chittering and squeaking in agitation. Once he’d hopped off of her, he glanced back and threw the grains of wet sand (still clutched in his claw) in her direction, then continued chirping and crying as he swiftly leapt up Lucien’s back and landed on his shoulder. Once there, he put his hands on Lucien’s head and, looking over him at June, stuck his long, pink tongue out at the woman in an obvious insult. Then he went back to sitting on Lucien’s shoulder contently, chittering quietly. It was apparent where his loyalties lay.

. . .

A young medic looked after the injured angel boy who was brought in only moments ago. She could tell the poor young thing wasn't in very good condition, but there wasn't anything she could do for him. The bird who had began to talk to her had perched itself right on top of the boy's bed watching over him like a mother would a child. It had caught her by surprise at first, she had seen some weird stuff, especially with Keepers involved, but it was her first encounter with a creature that could talk by itself. Well no matter, if what the bird was saying was true she had done what she could and now she had to move on to the others. Still...she gave the boy a lingering glance...it was always so hard to see the young ones like this. Sighing she left the boy to rest and set to work with another patient.

Still rubbing the sleep from her eyes, Yanmei blinked and quickened her pace down the hallway of the hospital, heart beating faster. Something was gripped in her hand. Kaito... Kaito was in one of these rooms. Seeing one door slightly ajar, Mei steeled herself before entering. It was scarier than facing the Nith, she decided - seeing her friends and family hurt, seeing the sadness and destruction and pain the Nith left in their wake.

Mei walked through the doorway cautiously and peeked inside. There was a nurse in the room bending over a bed; when she moved away to tend another patient, Mei caught sight of the first patient. She gasped.


Mei ran to the side of his hospital bed and bent over, looking down at Kaito's sleeping face. Sukai was perched at the headboard, looking tired. "Oh, Sukai..." Mei swallowed, wishing there was something she could do. "Are you okay? What happened? Will Kaito be alright? What about Angel? " she blurted, unable to keep her questions in. Yanmei sighed and sat down in the chair next to Kaito's bed. With effort, she tore her eyes away from Kaito's battered figure and looked down. She felt guilty. Wasn't it her fault he was hurt now? If she hadn't lost sight of him, if they hadn't been separated - maybe she would have been able to help him.

But then, would Alyssa have been hurt - or worse - in his place? At least Kaito was still alive.

Still, she apologized, looking up at Sukai since Kaito wasn't able to speak. "I'm sorry, I lost sight of- I mean, we were separated, and I couldn't find him again, so..." she trailed off, tightening her grip slightly on the small box in her hand.

Sukai looked up from her post by Kaito as Mei entered moving hurriedly to Kaito's side. She cooed softly to herself, then to Mei as the poor girl began to hurriedly ask questions with a very worried look on her face. Sukai could see the guilt in her face, especially when she talked about having lost sight of Kaito.

Jumping from her perch Sukai flapped slightly over to Mei, her own strength having gone down dramatically that it now took great effort to fly. Even so she waddled her way to Mei and gently rubbed the side of her head against Mei's. "There, there little one, it's quite alright. It's not your fault, if anyone's it is mine," Sukai stated softly her own voice weak. "Don't you worry too much deary, Kaito will be just fine with time. He's a strong one Kaito...much to strong for his own good. If I had known the girl would have suppressed me completely I wouldn't have gotten too close," Sukai began to explain.

Looking up at the fox girl Sukai allowed her to learn something about Kaito that some rarely knew. "You're probably confused, let me explain what happened. You see I am a part of Kaito's Nexus, I was created in order to control Kaito's aura. Kaito's aura is very unique, he has the ability to make and store a vast amount of his own aura in his wings. It's what gives his feathers their blue color. Kaito has yet to learn how to correctly use this amount of aura and so I became a limiter of sorts. The moment I disappeared Kaito's aura went out of control. It didn't help that he thought I had disappeared for good...Kaito...the thing he's scared of most of all is being alone," Sukai stated softly. "Kaito has no memories of his past, I'm the only thing he has as true family really, even if I'm just made up of his aura he still sees me as a true being. Losing me...well it made him freak out and lose his head. He chased after Angel from what I can gather and his aura spilled out everywhere nearly every last drop. Not only that when I came back I found him in this state now. If it was aura depletion it wouldn't be so bad. A day or two in bed and he'd be right as rain...but..." Sukai said pausing a moment to turn her head to look at the black tips that had appeared on Kaito's wings.

"Angel seemed to have given Kaito a parting gift of her own. This aura is so corrupt its messing with Kaito's system. It will take quite some time for me to clean it out and fix it again...even longer with me being so weak. I can only wait until Kaito can get even a bit more aura before I can work on getting him awake and his body working again. Losing one's aura...it's like losing your life force. The more you loose the weaker you get. Kaito...he has lost nearly all of his," Sukai added gently wanting Mei to understand the dangers of pushing oneself too hard. Oh boy would Kaito really get it when he finally woke up.

Mei smiled gently at Sukai when the bird came and rubbed against her. She really was a wondrous creature, thought Mei. Then the girl gave Sukai her full attention, fox ears perked straight up to catch every syllable, as Kaito's guardian explained all that had happened. When she was done talking, Mei sat in silence for a few moments, taking a deep breath as her mind absorbed the information.

So... Sukai was really just made of Kaito's Aura. No wonder she disappeared around Angel. Yanmei looked sadly down at Kaito's wings, the black tips that were the results of Angel. She was worried for him, but Sukai had said he would be alright, even though it would take time to fully heal...

Losing one's aura...it's like losing your life force. The more you lose the weaker you get. Kaito...he has lost nearly all of his.

That, thought Mei, was a scary thought. Kaito had been so close to - she pushed that thought away. Mei herself would have to remember to be careful from now on. It was a good thing Kaito had Sukai there to help him keep his Aura in check most the time, then. If he lost control like that every time Sukai wasn't around...

Mei looked down at her hands, which rested in her lap. One thing Sukai had said really struck her, and she couldn't stop thinking about it.

Kaito has no memories of his past, I'm the only thing he has as true family...

Poor Kaito, thought Mei, looking up at the blue-haired boy as she leaned forward in her chair. No memories, and no family... what a lonely life that must be. The thought was so sad that it made her throat feel tight. Mei couldn't imagine a life with no family - not when she'd grown up surrounded by such a loving one. Parents that doted on her, an island that adored her - and a circus full of friends that, in a way, had become her extended family. No matter where she turned, she was surrounded by kind people.

And yet...

And yet, there was still something lacking. What does it take for a person to feel complete? Mei sighed and stood up, going right next to Kaito's bedside. She took his hand in hers, wondering if it would comfort him in his dreams. "Kaito... you don't have to worry anymore, because I'll be your friend, okay?" she whispered. "And once you're awake, I'll tell you all about my family, and Aedif, and the circus, and all the people who live here, so that... so that even if you don't have your own memories, I'll share mine with you." She squeezed his hand and smiled, realizing that there were tears in her eyes now. "Just get better first, okay...? Please hurry up and get better." Mei let go of his hand and sniffled, wiping her eyes. She hadn't meant to cry - she was supposed to be stronger than this!

Biting her lip, Mei took a deep breath and placed the little box she'd been holding on Kaito's bedside table. "I brought him some juice, so... can you see that he finds it when he wakes up, Sukai?" asked Mei, turning to the bird and smiling. She had to keep up a brave face; it was the only way she could deal with something as hard to see as this. "I should go find my parents and let Kaito rest." She glanced back at the little angel boy one last time, then looked back to Sukai. "Thank you, Sukai, for everything. Please feel better soon." She smiled earnestly at Sukai one last time, then walked quietly out of the room. In her pocket, her fingers folded gently around Kaito's soft blue feather, the one she had caught from the air on the beach. She would take good care of it.

there will be sunshine again after the r a i n . . .

☀ ☂ ☁

Breathing calmly, I looked at you
Who had fallen asleep, so exhausted
The sweet, unprotected profile
That no one in the world but me knows

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══━┈ Єɳʈяσρʏ ┈━══
The Voices Scream :: " Bite The Hand That Feeds "
They Tell Me I'm At :: Vectiras [Beach]

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Wine spills in my blood,
And your blood spills in my soul,
You have no control.
Dead Angels speak to me sometimes,
Giving me advice that I should hear-
You have what I'm looking for
Because you're close,
Because you're near...

Entropy and Lance warred on the sandy beaches of Vectiras, beast to beast. Blue fur flew, congealed blood dripping in globs on the soft grains before wounds healed almost instantly. The two were on even footing, the swift minds of inhumans clasped in the chains of a brutish, instinctual mind. Lance had more control over the instinct, however, not being the product of an animal and a man melded into one. Instead, he was the beast, and the beast was him, one part of a whole whilst Entropy was in twain.

And it most certainly didn’t help that Dementia was screaming in his head, individual voices breaking out in the darkness. They had names, or so it appeared… Zuriel, screaming for blood and driving away any shred of sanity. Two without name, echoes of each other. Naiet, a soft voice, reassuring… The one that would whisper in the dark to murder… And one other. Zero, whom rarely spoke, but whose presence was always there, heavy, making it hard to think, especially as orders were screeched and hissed and snarled from other tongues in his mind.




A snarl ripped from his throat, and Entropy lunged forward, sharp-toothed mouth gaping open, his canines longer even in this form. Lance pulled away, however, and the blue-furred wolf’s fangs only snapped harmlessly into loose flesh. A yelp of pain, and a vigorous movement, and Lance was twisting and lashing, trying to throw Entropy off.

Finally succeeding, the other beast flew across the sand with a small bark of irritation, sand spraying into the air as paws dug into the soft particles, bodies throwing against each other, heavy thudding sounds as well as the wet rip of tearing flesh filling the air. Panting, gasping, snarling and growling, the two warred on the beach, a private battle at the edge of the larger one.

They were so absorbed in what they were doing that the spike in aural energy went unnoticed, as did the ship that departed. That is, until it collided with the tower. It was then that Entropy rounded, humanoid eyes in a wolfen face widening. It crumbled, it crumpled… It was going down, the tower was going down.

And as far as he knew, there was only one whom was crazy enough to try such a thing, the idea only enforced by the absence of the person in question. He tensed his muscles, the battle all but forgotten as he leapt, ready to charge to the rescue and save his precious master. Other plans were in mind, however, as a heavy weight fell on his back, the vertebrae cramming together harshly as his nerves lit on fire in response. A snarl came as response as Entropy squirmed, struggling to get out from under the offending creature.

All he succeeded in doing, however, was to expose his throat and stomach. Lance let out a short, barking growl, as if in victorious laughter, but was interrupted, his muzzle lifting and ears flicking forward, as if hearing some unseen call as the tower crumpled, the sky clearing to let in brilliant sunlight. With one last snarl, he tore into Entropy’s skin with his teeth and claws, causing little lasting damage, but the pain still stuck in the hybrid’s skull. Especially as the last of his Aura leaked away, shifting back into his normal shape.

Lance was gone at this point, but the hybrid didn’t notice, rolling over and burying his face in sand, protecting his sensitive eyes from the light. A hiss escaped his lips, echoed by others of his kind, though they stopped their cries in awe as veritable rainbow of color arced over them, protecting them from the offending sun enough that they didn’t…well, crisp as fast. As fast, that is – of course they still did, and it would be a b***h to heal later, but they weren’t writhing in agony like a certain half-breed was.

It was like watching burns progress, without fire, on a high-speed camera, only a little…off, due to the fact that his skin was already dead. The flesh did not redden, but gained on a slightly bluer color, which grew darker and darker, as if a very large burn. As this happened, sand grinding in the wounds Lance inflicted before departing, Entropy struggled to get to his feet, and by the time he got there, the front of his body started burning.


It was largely on his legs and hands, neck and face, but as anyone knows, those are some of the worst places. His torso and arms, hidden beneath the straightjacket, was largely fine, though sun lashed through the holes of the worn fabric. A high-pitched whine escaped his throat as he stumbled across the sand, his eyes blearily focused on the medical tent, his pupils sucked in so much that they were mere pinpricks.

He had gone no more than ten feet than blisters rippled across his skin – invisible one moment, there the next. Stumbling again, he fell to a knee, his mouth dropping open in a howl as the sand scraped across the burn, catching the attention of a surprisingly unoccupied medic – most likely on his way out of the medical tent to fetch another victim, finding one a short distance away.

The young man rushed to the hybrid’s side, gathering up the dry-skinned beast as the third degree burns began to set in, the skin splitting and cracking. The medic, seeing this, grunted and dug his feet into the sand, breaking into the most he could manage – something a bit slower than a run.

The second they were in the shade, Entropy’s eyes snapped open and the process reversed, albeit much more slowly than it had advanced , especially slow for most Corpse healing times. There was little to do beyond toss him in a bath. Cool water was usually suggested for burns, but his skin was cold enough that it was chilled in but a few moments, a great help to the hybrid as he sat there, shuddering and hatless, his hair soaked so that it dripped in his face.

Ears flattened against his head, tail soaking in the bottom of the tub, covered in only a (now wet) straightjacket, Entropy could almost be considered cute, and it was said more than once in hushed (and some not-so-hushed) voices.

He was too tired to care. All he cared about at the moment was getting up his energy and smoothing out his skin enough so that he could shift and run to his master. It seemed, however, that he wouldn’t have to go far to find Mattheis, as cheers rose up from those around him. Eagerly, the monster leapt up from the tub, his ears pricking, and several pairs of spare hands reached out to try and shove him down.

xXMaster Is HomeXx

He ignored this, however, strong enough to do so, and leapt out of the tub, tripping over his own toes a little bit as he charged for the door. A single hand, however, reached out, and gripped his straightjacket, hooking into the fabric.

“HEY. I don’t care where you go, but get some goddamn pants on.”

Grey and violet eye turned downwards to the dripping black and blue straightjacket which fell just below the point that would make him “decent”. A pair of soft pants were shoved into his arms, and quickly he yanked them on, barely getting them over his hips before he was charging across the sand, eyes bright, ears pricked, tail streaming behind him until the point where he stood a few feet in front of Mattheis, where it began wagging furiously.

The sun beat down from overhead, but, lashing around his body in glowing green, were zeros and ones – Entropy’s Aura, protecting him from the agony he had been in just a short time before. That was forgotten, now, replaced by an expression and a demeanor that any dog owner would know.

That one where, no matter how long you were gone, it seemed like your dog thought you were dead, but ohboyohboyohboy, here you are! Safe and sound. Or, at least, mostly safe and sound. In this case, the worry of death had been a reality – who knows how the resilient Captain survived not one, but two crashes in a day. It didn’t matter, though, didn’t process in Entropy’s mind. Dementia was silent now, replaced by Entropy’s thoughts in his own head for the first time since the battle had begun.

Ohboyohboyohboy, he’s here! Safe and sound!

Well, not quite, but you get the idea.
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|| [†]Telosia Lightwing | Junior Captain: Team 9-AC |Beach wreckage, Aedif - Vectiras [†] ||

”Tellosia…. Telly…? Calling Miss Lightwing… TELLOSIA!”

The voice came to her, seeking her consciousness through a labyrinth of deep sleep. As the last call finally bowled its way into her mind she came alive with a start.

There was nothing but darkness as her wide eyes strained to discern anything from the shadowy room around her. There was a familiar giggle from somewhere just in front of her.

“Tellosia, I’m right here,” the voice said as a hand was laid on her tense shoulder. He shoulders relzxed as soon as her foggy mind was able to recognized the voice.

She exhaled a sigh. “What time is it?” she said.

“Late, but that doesn’t matter… Come, get ready,” a handful of garments were tossed on her, “I want to show you something…”

“Oh geez, Marna… “

Her eyes opened to witness a world on fire, filtered through the blue hue of her safehold. Suddenly despair caught her. Her normal peppy, happy-go-lucky attitude slipped away from her, in the face of such darkness how was there to be any hope… She could not possibly fathom how to hold onto hope anymore. She slipped back into unconsciousness.

Tellosia Tendiel Lightwing… It is the decision of this council that you be found guilty of aiding in the practice and practicing magical arts that are forbidden by this academy and by the laws of our land… The penalty is expulsion from our academy and exile from all of Valla.”

“But Fath-!”

“Enough! The ruling is final…”

“As for you Marna Nimreldiel…”

Again her eyes opened, observing the world through the blue hue of her nexus. Her mind was clouded in darkness. The Darkness… It seemed so ominous. So formidable. How were they to overcome it. Her eyes adjusted, their blue irises expanding and contracting in the light, adjusting to see clearly.


Her eyes shifted to where the tower had been, and it was no more. Its suffocating grasp on the planet had been released.

We did it…? WE DID IT!

“Junior Captain? You can wake up now… You wouldn’t want to miss their entrance, would you?” Joshua’s voice murmured into her ears through her icy entombment. Her eyes shot to the horizon, and two distinguishable forms arose from it, backlit by the sun. Excitement swelled within her.


Instantly the pillar she resided in shattered into a fine dust that was carried off by the wind. Blue tendrils leapt out of the small blue orb that was left and snared her arms, lowing her carefully to the ground. She had been completely healed, save for her garment, which was still suffering from a gaping hole around her mid-section.

As she reached the ground the tendrils released, but she collapsed, being that she was not quite recovered from the after-effects of her nexus’s healing. Nonetheless, she popped right back up, and was down again in an instant, as she clutched her swimming head. She waited for everything to cease moving before she got up again, this time much more steadily. Then she attempted to run towards the two shimmering figures, but failed and dove right into the sand. It seemed that her motor skills were still coming back to her. In frustration she pounded the sand as she pushed herself up. Then a wonderful idea popped into her head.

#0066FF]I’ll just teleport to them! at once without a second’s hesitation, she spoke a monosybalic word and disappeared. However, apparently due to her abrupt end of her restoration “cell” she was still a bit delirious, only being able to comprehend due to the adrenalin that forced her brain to move. As such, she had not quite calculated the distance and position very well, and thus appeared over head of the two, no three, persons. She immediately began to fall, on a direct impact course with the trio.

She flailed about in the air, hoping beyond all hopes she could fly at this very moment, but, alas, her hope was, indeed, beyond all hope as she fell right onto of Captain Hale and Captain Hiashin. Her abundant cleavage somewhat cushioning the impact with Captain Hale, but Captain Hiashin was not as lucky as Telosia’s knees collided with his head.

[OOC: Might add more, just at this time my brain is not in a writer friendly mode… I’ve tried to edit this piece, but it always seems to work best when I actually post is and then review it… /shrug Oh well. At least there’s something to go off of from this one… Nothing about her cutiepie yet, haven’t figured out how to get there just yet… ]
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Oh the Despair…
---Oh the wondrous Despair!
------Will it be yours?
---Oh please let me make it yours…

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|| [†] Varreka Serakai | The Scorned Princess | L.R.W.M 00 Class, SkyRazer, Slaughtscape – Zaros [†] ||

“Hey Frank?”



“FFFFFFFFFU! God damn it, Pierce! Could you be any louder? This is stressful as is, don’t go scarin’ anybody like that! We’re already spooked as is…” Frank replied. To his partner behind him. Frank was a hard-faced man, with plenty of experience behind him, and the scars to prove it. He’d been in the Slaughterscape for so long now that he’d become something of a renown figure. But, as it the case with most everyone who enters Zaros’s slaughterscape, he was always looking for higher acclaim.

“Sorry, man… But, I mean, that’s what I mean…”

Frank quirked a heavily shredded eyebrow, and gave Pierce a side-long glance over his shoulder, “Come again?”

“I mean, we’re all spooked, no one has ever done what we’re about to do and come back to tell about it… So, I guess what I’m saying is: Should we even be doing this?” Fear was evident in his words, his eyes, Frank could even smell it fuming from him. To tell the truth, even he, the mastermind behind the whole operation, the fearless leader, was wracked by fear’s icy touch.

“Look. The Slaughterscape is basically one big horror house, what’s this place to the entirety of the Slaughterscape?”

“But Duuuuude,” Pierce whined, “Nobody’s ever come back from this place. If the Slaughterscape is a house of horror’s then this place is a ******** mansion of horrors!” Frank couldn’t really argue with that. He had heard the stories as well, just like everyone else who had been in the Slaughterscape for any amount of time. But if they were to conquer this place, the wealth and glory each and everyone one of them would gain, would be astronomical.

“Heh, if you wanna leave, I’m not keeping you… It’s better to have one less person on the team then to have a jumpy vet, actin’ like a greenhorn and getting’ us all killed…” Frank said, “But just think of the money that we’ll rake in from doing this, and think of what will happen to our reputation…” he tried to persuade his wing man, but he could see that it wasn’t working all too well, “Also, we’re the most outfitted group that's come out here, from what I’ve heard. We have the best of the best with us. As well as the best gear and items money can buy…” Frank saw Pierce relax a bit, but he could tell that he wasn’t quite convinced, “Oh, and don’t forget about the chicks that’ll be flocking after us when we get back to the safe zone.” Frank smirked as he envisioned just what he had said, and observed Pierce do the same thing. He was sold now.

“Frank, come in.”

Frank’s fingers went to his headset, “Frank here, what’s the situation?”

“We’re in position, where are you guys?”

“We’re in position as well,” his eyes scanned over to the solitary, seemingly empty ship that lay stranded in the middle of an open field. “Wait for the signal, then let all hell break loose… Remember the back up plans if s**t gets heavy…”

“Got it.”

Frank and Pierce moved closer to the edge of the clearing, bearing heavy weapons and training them on ships side door. Frank could make out the black figures against the side of the ship, twenty or thirty of them present and waiting. Pierce began to do his thing, chanting a strange set of verses in an outlandish tongue. He paused and looked over to Frank, “Dude this s**t is ridiculous, that door has like a bagillion seals on it, but I think I’ve bypassed them all.” Frank nodded, and then gave the signal.

Two shapes from each team that was positioned on each side of the door, shifted to the front of the line and channeled barriers, while the rest the team readied up. Frank brought up his panzer, it was an old model, but it still packed more of a punch then most else he could find. There deep hollow plunking sound as the missile shot out of the tube, and blazed towards its target. Pierce snapped his fingers and the door swung open, just as the was about to make contact.

There was a huge flash of light, and fire immediately poured out of the door way as the missile detonated. As soon as the fire died away the two teams flooded into the ship weapons bared and ready, as they set out on their mission. Frank and Pierce were now also making a break across the open expanse to the ship. Bringing up two machine guns and Pierce put quick wards of protection about both of them.

The ship was unnervingly silent, like a curse tomb for the damned. Frank put two fingers to his head set again, “Maintain radio silence, unless absolutely necessary. Once the charges are set get the hell out of the ship, if you meet any resistance… Mow’em down…”

Frank and Pierce traveled through the eerie empty halls without meeting any resistance, they were making their way to the captain’s quarters. Team one shuffled through the halls intent on their mission. They came to the first location and set a charge down, then were on their way to the next place. There was sound behind them, nothing but something that sounds like movement, a few of the team at the back stopped and looked towards the sound, it had originated from where they had just put the charge. They flashed their lights over the area but the charge was missing. One of them called for the group to stop. Another one when forward to take a closer look at the area where the charge was placed.

“Well, that’s freaky…” he whispered in a hushed tone. He stood up and turned around, “Well, do we have another on-“ then at that moment, in a blur, shadowy figures popped out the ceiling and walls about the guys, grabbed onto anything they could and then retreated back into their places of origin, tearing the guy apart in the process.

“HOLY ******** s**t!!!!!” one of them screamed. There was an eerie gap of silence, as they all stood there glancing everywhere and anywhere, weapons shifting here and there, following their jumpy eyes.

Then a shadow seemed to fall from the ceiling, humanoid, but definitely not anything of the living. It dove right onto some unfortunate guy, biting the back of his neck as it fell on him. Someone behind him brought his gun up in amazement and terror and unloaded into the figure, but as he did so, a figure jumped up from the floor onto his back and plunged his fetid hand into his back and began to tear into him.

There were cries of horror and pain mingled with gunshots, that echoed through the whole of the ship. The resounding sounds reached Frank and Pierce, and they turned about with a start, and their hands shot to their head sets.

“A team!? B Team!? What’s happening?”

There were crackles over the radio, conveying intermittently sounds of machine gun fire and screams.

“Frank! Frank what the hell is this place!? Get yourself the ******** outta he-“ and then nothing but white noise came in over their earpieces.

“What the hell just happened man?” Pierce said, the fear he had a moment before was reemerging with renewed strength.

“I don’t know, but whatever happened, we gotta be quick, I don’t want to spend a nanosecond longer in here then I have to,”

“But, dude! Did you hear that!?” Pierce said frantically, “We need to get the ******** out of here. Like that guy tried to say…”

Frank said nothing. He just remained silent, thinking. Then abruptly he began moving again – moving forward. Pierce threw up his hands in frustration and then began to run after him. They reached a corner and halted. Then something began to make a sound. It sounded almost like laughter. It was hollow and shallow breathed. Then there was another voice that joined the first one, laughing as well – or wheezing, it was hard to tell. Others began to join in the chorus of laughter, until the hall was filled with the sound. Both Frank and Pierce jumped off the wall and frantically searched all about them for a source, but it seemed to be coming from the very walls themselves.

[******** man… I can’t believe you got me into this…”
Pierce said. Then there was a flash of a shadow that jetted from the ceiling to Pierce and then into the floor. Not even giving Pierce of Frank enough time to cry out in surprise.

“PIIIIIERCE!” Frank cried out at the floor, and in return the laughter increased, “YOU MOTHER ******** COWARDS!” Frank cried out as he unloaded his machine guns into the walls, ceiling and floor. The laughing had died away, leaving him in an eerie silence. Frank quickly changed mags, and was ready for anything, so he thought. Then shapes peeled away from the walls and ceilings. Masses of them, hundreds of them. His flashlights revealed them for what they were, ghouls, zombies, what have you – they were an undead horde. Franks eyes went wide, he couldn’t believe just how many of them there were, or that they even existed there in front of him.

One of them stepped forward, “Cowards?” it wheezed.

Frank instantly opened fire once again, sending bullets ripping and tearing into the horde’s undead flesh, but they still stood. Then the laughter began up again, sporadically at first, but then all of them had joined in. Frank, wide eyed with fear, backed away from the mass of undead, and ran around the corner and into an open room. There was a dim light that came into existence from behind him as he turned to see if the mob had followed him.

He was stricken with fear as once and stiffly but gradually turned his head to see where the light was coming from. He could see a figure backlit by the light moving towards him, the silhouette. At first the worst was running through his mind, but then something drove his attention away from danger, and escape. Something made him feel comforted, even though his instincts were screaming for him to run. The intensity of the light grew, setting an ambient glow that revealed the room, and the person before him. It was a woman, a strangely becoming woman. She stepped towards him with an aura of confidence. When she reached him she began to circle him, peeling his shirt off as she did so.

“My, my… What big muscles you have there, Frank…” the strange woman said. But he did not reply, he couldn’t he just watched her. The more and more he watched her, the more mesmerized of her he became.

“Nothing to say?” she pouted, “Not even a single peep?” she said with a more daring tone, “Oh, I’ll have you making all sorts of sounds here pretty soon…” she said with a devilish seductiveness. She caressed one side of his face with one hand, and then moved in up and around so that the crook of her elbow hanged from the back of his neck. She brought his head down a bit for a passionate kiss. They lingered in their lip-lock for some time before they parted. Then, Frank grabbed hold of the woman’s waist and picked her up setting her on him, “Ooh! What a forward man you are…” she said as she wrapped her legs around him, and then began pawing at the right side of his chest, while one arms was still wrapped about his neck. They locked lips again, as if drawn to each other like magnets.

Then all of a sudden, Frank’s whole body became rigid, He detached his lips from hers and looked down at his chest, to find her hand embedded into it. She then tore her hand out, and Frank began to go limp.

“What a nice heart you have here Frankie dearest. Big, Strong. Look! It’s still trying to beat…” She said as she offered his heart up to him to look at before he passed from living to dead, which was mere moments.

Frank hit the floor lifeless, at the feet of the woman. Her seductive, entrancing demeanor instantly changed to one of indifference and coldness, as she let the heart fall out of her hands, beating still.

“Ian? Get us out of this place… It’s become so boring here…”

“Yesss, Lady Serakai, of course.”

The ship then began to be set into motion as its long unused thrusters came to life without a hitch, and propelled the ship from Zaros’s Atmosphere and into the Lifestream.

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