Journal of the Rising Sun ((IC #4))

World’s End Tavern: Role-play and Fan Fiction
1 2 3 19 Next
((OOC #3:
Journal #3: ))


Azshara. Dusty earth and smoke filled the air, and Kel, she looked nothing more than hurting and tired. In pain. But to any good at reading faces, she was hating herself. There was some internal conflict, and not a minor one at that. Her lip was bloodied, but the wound there was clearly self-inflicted, and she still chewed on it. Her fingers played with the true silver band on a chain around her neck, her eyes distant. With white knuckles, the paladin gripped the ring and held it, clinging to it as a child might a favorite toy, or a drowning man might a life preserver, and bowed her head, her tears marring the burnt earth at her feet. Her shoulders shaking with suppressed sobs, she tilted her head up enough to stare at the sky. New dawns.

The dusky light was by no means enough to illuminate her features, and her face seemed strangely shadowed. The inner radiance he seemed to have had for so long faltering and failing, leaving her cast in shadow.


A good question. Where was Shadow? And would she actually show up? Again, Kel squeezed Nic's wedding band, and then dropped her hand to Cy's. She didn't really, at that moment, look like the blood knight she was, nor a noble. Just a woman, broken and hurting, in an emerald dress that had no sleeves, leaving her scarred arms for all to see; her pain and past written there.

Flaming, the hippogryph descended. Perhaps not the best mount for someone who wanted to be sneaky. Despite her name. Shadow was anything but sneaky. In fact, she didn’t even wait for her mount to touch ground before she was flying through the air towards Kel. She missed pouncing the woman, however, instead tucking her body into a roll to absorb the impact of flying off of her mount, least she break her neck.

“Ow...” Shadow shook her head as she sat up, dazed, but unhurt. Clad in dark leather with her ears folded beneath a black mask, it was hard to distinguish her features other than the glitteringly bright eyes which looked up at Kel. The monk then stood and went to embrace the woman, finding it a rather easy task as they shared the same height. Nothing awkward or strange here. Not for Shadow.

“Kel!” she sighed. “I’m so sorry... I just... And the thing. And the paladin. And...” she trailed off with a soft whimper. Everything had to be so complicated, and Shadow had been forced to make two very hard choices. “This is Shadowless all over again...” she realized in a soft voice, nearly whispering as she pulled back suddenly to look at Kel.

Kel shook her head and squeezed her friend against her, not daring words, as her whole body quivered. When the monk pulled back, Kel let her, tugging at imaginary sleeves on her dress. There were, of course, none.

Meeting the monk's eyes, Kel managed, in a small, broken voice, "What is...? Nic and--" her voice broke, and she stepped back a pace to slide to the ground, her back against a rock, drawing her knees up to her chest.

Slowly, Shadow shook her head.

“Me, making a bad choice. I think...” Shadow replied in a soft voice. “Kel, when I was with Rath... I was cheating on Shadowless. I never told him that I didn’t want to be with him. He had to find out...” she shrugged. It was in the past, but she had to admit her mistakes.

“When that paladin told me Nicias was alive, but barely, my first thought was that he would want to see you. And I didn’t like that idea. You, with how things have been going... And him, needing a reason to keep going in life... So I wanted to keep you two apart as long as possible, and that wasn’t even my call to make...”

Shadow winced as she plopped down in front of Kel, her legs crossing out of habit. Slowly, she leaned forward, pulling her mask down. Despite her obvious youth, she wasn’t unscarred. A jagged mark ran from cheek to jawline on the left side of her face, and she looked about a fraction distraught as Kel was, even though she wasn’t the one hurting, and was hardly personally involved. And yet, she was distraught, upset, and the guilt and shame of her life choices was written plainly on her face.

“So let me make it up to you. Talk to me...” she didn’t mention Ratheron’s report of how things were going. That wasn’t needed. Not here, not now. She wanted to be a friend before a guildmate, a subordinate.

Kel’s voice was flat. Emotionless. Toneless, and worryingly so. Shadow didn't know her before, before Cy, after Nic had disappeared, before she hauled herself out of that pit of depression, but she said little enough, and written across her face is, for any with a mind to look, the signs of that depression.

"He found me at his grave. Snuck up on me. Asked me why I mourned the living."

What might on a better day pass as a grimace flickered across her features, "I tried to hit him. With a plate glove on. How could I have guessed it was really him? I thought he must have been a ghost. Half expected my hand to go through his head, and then he caught my wrist."

Kel shook her head, "I broke. I didn't know what to do. Still don't. Well. Halfway. But that comes later."

She stared at the scars on her arms, and her left hand played idly with the hilt of a simple, serviceable dagger that clearly came from the empty boot sheath, "And I told him the truth. I told him about Cy. I told him about me. And I told him I blamed myself, and the mistakes I made before, for driving him away.

"I told him I thought that what had happened between Cy and I while I was still married to Nic broke our marriage apart. I told him I remembered what he said to me right before he left, 'I don't need your help.'"

With a shuddering breath, Kel fell silent.

Shadow began to rock slightly, listening. Not bored, but anxious. She didn’t like Kel’s depression. The things that the paladin had admitted to her had scared her once before. Now, seeing it, she worried even more than before. Slowly, the woman curled up as well, remaining upright as she hugged her own knees to her chest while allowing her gaze to drop. Thinking.

“And what did Nic have to say about it? Or did he say nothing and walk away?” she spoke in a softer tone.

Kel didn't seem to answer the question for a moment, "He never yells. Not really. Not at me. He was hurting. He didn't know it's been two years. He thought he was gone a week. He wanted me to break it off with Cy. And then..."

She took a shuddering breath, "He left."

The tip of the dagger left the earth. Kel absently thumped the hilt on her knee, her face blank, but contemplatively so. Worryingly so.

“There are three parts of life...” Shadow spoke slowly, then. “The past, the present, and the future. The past is full of mistakes, errors. It reminds us how we’ve hurt people. People we care about, people we want to see hurting, and ourselves... And it’s always the easiest thing to see. What has been done and cannot be taken back, no matter how hard you wish to change it...

The present is a muddled mess. The things closest to us...” she drew a hand up and brought it closer to Kel’s face, a finger outstretched as if to touch the bridge of the woman’s nose. If Kel followed the movement, her vision would blur trying to follow the gesture. “Are hardest to see...” she withdrew her hand without touching the paladin.

“And then there is the future. A jumbled knot of what ifs, what might bes, and worry because it is something we believe we have complete control over. And, unlike the past which we can never change and the present which constantly slips through our grasp, tomorrow holds a fresh new day for us to write upon... Which makes it all the harder to face.”

Shadow closed her eyes for a moment.

“So... I think that, for right now, you need to stop thinking. Absolutely not one thought. Not about the past, the present, or the future. Not about anything or anyone around you... I think this could be good because you’re thinking so much... too much. It makes it hard to focus on one thing at a time. And you need to be able to focus to see the right answer...” she drew her finger back up, but didn’t point it at Kel. She simply held it in the air where it could be focused on.

“That’s my first suggestion.”

Kel seemed to be morbidly amused at that, but he nodded nonetheless. The dagger that was in her hand was no more, rather the paladin flipped the blade deftly, not sparing more than a fraction of her attention for it, "And just how do I do that?"

Three times more she flipped the knife, before it slipped, a curse quietly slipping out of her mouth as she felt the blade slash through fabric and run a deep, but not too threatening, gash down her lower leg.

Clapping her hand to the wound, the paladin focused for a moment, clearly expecting some result, but the telltale sparking of Light never appeared.

“By clearing your mind,” Shadow winced. She reached her own hand out slowly, carefully, first to take the knife and set it next to herself, then to set her hand next to Kel’s. Rather than a spark of Light or the harmonious flow of nature, it was a soothing mist which escaped the monk’s hand. Shadow’s very own energy manifest, sparking and dancing, rejuvenating and fresh as it was drawn from the monk’s very own essence and made into a healing spell.

“Harder to do when you have lots of skull demons in your head, but you have to learn to not listen to them. They cause doubts, fears, pains, worries. But they’re relatively harmless if you pay them no mind. It’s when you let them control you, let them win, that they become dangerous. The Fellowship is in desperate need of a steady, strong leader. Now more than ever. We rely on each other, even when we’re apart, because we know we can trust each other. Right?”

Shadow’s eyes lifted back to Kel’s with a small smile. “It’s the same with the assassins I know. They relay information and trust in each other. Pure, blind faith drives them. They obey their leader, no matter how...” suicidal... “rash he can be. They believe he will lead them to victory. The only other option is too grim to think about, even for assassins. The Fellowship has to work like that right now. So, we’ll start with you, our leader, our core, and our faith.

And to do that, we have to start from the beginning. Focus.”

For a brief moment, Kel was silent, and when she spoke, it was soft, she sounded hurt and broken, "Shadow. The Light is not mine. I lost my faith in myself. Without that, I am not much of anything." She grimaces, "I need you to help me find my faith in myself and my choices."

Shadow gave Kel the strangest stare at her words before speaking just as softly. “Kel, the Light was never yours to begin with...”

She snorted. A bitter sound, all things considered, but for the most part she was bitter right then, "That isn't what I meant." She holds up a hand to demonstrate, "It was a part of me. I lose faith in myself, I lose the ability to shape my faith physically. Without that who am I?"

"No. Don't answer that. I'm broken. Hurting." She stares at the new scar, a thin line on her leg, "But you all are why I don't give up. I may be a hopeless old woman, but I am who I am because of you."

“This is the problem with people this side of the Portal... or even my own family,” Shadow ran her fingers through her hair, only to catch on her ponytail. She removed the binding, letting the uneven strands flow freely about her shoulders as she sighed. “Let me start off with this... The Light doesn’t define you. Your connection with the Light need not waver. Doubts are uncertainties placed on our own shoulders and it’s your own head getting in the way. The Light has never abandoned anyone who reached for it. It doesn’t forget. The Naaru don’t forget...”

Shadow took a deep breath, not certain how to explain this, to describe it. What she grew up with, where, how. Her philosophies seemed so foreign to this world, she hurt desperately for people like Crow and Kel’tira who deemed themselves fallen and fell into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Shadow held herself, lest she reach out and give the woman a good, hard shake. It made no sense to her.

“Let me try to put it this way. You are who you are. That is what allowed you to bond to the Light. Who you are may change, but...” she pointed to her own chest. “It’s what’s in here that gives you the bond. You’re just shaken, you’re not broken. Your perception is the filter, and you’re clogging your own potential, basically. It’s like if a runner falls and twists her ankle, then never recovers. Not because she didn’t heal properly, but because she lives in fear of falling again, so never runs full speed...”

Shadow rubbed her face. Rath could do this sort of thing so much better!

“The Fellowship isn’t your strength, right now. It’s a crutch for your bad ankle!”

Now she had lost herself. Great.

Softly, Kel spoke, "Shadow. It is a bit different, what you do and what I do. The light comes to me because if my faith in myself. My certainty that what I am doing is the right thing, no questions asked. If I doubt myself a bit? I can still wield the Light. If I fall into this, this depression? I wanted to kill myself. I could have. But I would have left you all behind. That thought hurt more than anything. I lost my faith, and until I find my faith, I am lost in a way, as well."

"I suppose I owe you the whole story," she finished with a sigh.

“No, it’s not about what you do or I do... I grew up knowing true Light, true faith, true compassion, true love... not this warped crap that seems to be everywhere,” Shadow looked away, wincing at her own words and tone. “Sorry. But please, I want to know everything...”

She laughed, and then fell silent abruptly. Her features fell into tired lines of stress and old pain. Her voice was soft, low, and pained, “I’ve made mistakes. I won’t deny that.” She almost half-laughed, “I’d be the last person to tell you I’m perfect.”

“I’m not, Shadow,” she continued after a pause. “I am, depending on who you ask, a cheater. A b*tch. A decidedly controlling guildmaster, and, among other things, not a good wife.”

She laughed bitterly, holding up a hand and staring at her fingers, willing the Light to flicker into being, “I made a mistake. I had Nic, and Cy and I... I don’t even know now. It hurts still. I don’t know how it happened, save that it should not have. I kissed him. Once shouldn’t have happened, and I have no excuse for what almost was between us. But he stepped back. I stepped back, and we both said no more. That that would be it. And it was. But that didn’t stop the fact that it happened. I told Nic the truth. He went off, and almost got himself killed.”

“That was,” she sighed, “The second time I lost faith in myself.”

Shadow looked away, though at least now she knew that there something she had in common with Kel. There were also things that weren’t the same. She had never told Shadowless. The man had figured things out on his own. In retrospect, the idea of running and hiding from an assassin seemed stupid at best, suicidal at worst. She drew a hand to her throat, remembering when the man had grabbed her, almost choking her to death for her betrayal.

The pain in his eyes.

“You married again,” she spoke slowly. “Even though you believed Nic to still be alive, you married again. Because that’s who you were. Because Cyaer lost his wife and because you believed you were alone. The Fellowship wasn’t enough for you, was it?” she sighed, trying to imagine if she lost Ratheron. Would she remain faithful to him until her own death? Would she eventually try to find love again? She realized that it was stupid to even think about it, because she wouldn’t know. She would never know.

“Kel, you’re scaring me,” she spoke finally, in a soft voice. Perhaps because she realized something, then. Her eyes shifted, not certain if she ought to say anything. Guiltily, she knew that she was already keeping another secret from the paladin, but it would be alright.

“I think this is what Ratheron meant. What love can do to people. The bad side of it. I didn’t want to ever be led to believe that love could cause this kind of devastation. But now, Kel, I’m wondering. Can you even survive if you have no one to love? Could you lead without a partner next to you?” Shadow’s eyes set back on the scarred, older woman. “Have you become half of a person who needs another half?”

Shadow felt sick for asking that question. She wanted to run away from this stark reality that some people always had to have someone. Her gaze dropped again, not wanting to see the reaction to such a blunt and painful question. It wasn’t her place to ask, and she suddenly spoke again, either cutting Kel off or speaking to fill a painful silence.

“Whoever you are, whatever you’ve become, it’s like I’ve said. You have to take a good long look at yourself right now, Kel’tira. Are you who you want to be? Have you made choices that you will learn from? You would never kiss another man who isn’t your husband, would you? That’s the first question that needs an answer.”

Kel's tone was flat, "I remained faithful to him until I broke when he died. Shadow. I jumped off of a damned cliff. I would be dead, if I were not very very lucky, or very very unlucky. Take your pick. When the Horde told me he was dead, I admit, I grasped at straws. I needed to stop blaming myself. It was a combination of believing he was dead, and believing that he left me for my mistakes."

She frowns slightly, "What would you do, if you thought it was your choices that made Ratheron leave you?"

She had that tendency to answer all the questions, so she went back to jar Shadow had interrupted her thoughts on, "I could lead on my own. I may. I don't know. I don't know..."

Kel'tira Sunblaze speaks softly, "I wonder if it would be best for all involved if I left both of them," there is no doubt in her tone that she means Nic and Cy, "but then I realize that that would accomplish even less than what I already have to lose." She sighs heavily, "I've spent my life learning from my mistakes. I loved, and still love, Nic in a way, but I can't be happy with him I don't think. It will always haunt me, that question of whether or not I ruined our marriage. I didn't get the feeling he trusts me, within reason. And I don't think he ever will. Not again. And I cannot blame him."

Suddenly, she offers the monk the dagger hilt-first, "You could just kill me; that would simplify things."

Shadow took that dagger without hesitation and eyed it, thinking.

“If you could never be happy with Nic, would you be more happy with Cyaer? Could you learn to let go of your past and embrace the future? Could you live guilt free and be able to look him in the eyes when you tell him you love him? Could you honestly tell him that you do not think of your ex when you make love or cuddle or kiss?” perhaps it was something she herself had been guilty of doing, but if she was, the monk made no mention. This wasn’t about her.

“If I thought that I had caused Ratheron to leave, I would...” she trailed off, thinking. Drawing that blade close to the scar cutting across her face, she tapped the flat of the blade against her cheek. “I wouldn’t let him go. Not without knowing he loved me. Not without knowing everything was okay. I’m not someone who can sit on their hands and wait around. I spin like a top and I get out of control very quickly. It’s hard to settle me down the way that Ratheron does. He knows this and understands this. And that is what makes us work. I pull him out of himself and he pulls me back down to earth. He’s my gravity...”

She smiled to Kel, then. “Ah. Balance. I need balance in my life. Without understanding, knowledge, and trust... Without someone who can see you better than you can see yourself, it is hard. But life is worth living up until you find that person. And even when you realize that someone you thought you love... well... it just wouldn’t ever really work...” she turned that blade around and offered it back to Kel, looking a bit weary.

“I could kill you and end it. Nic would be alone, Cyaer would be alone, Ratheron would be devastated, the Fellowship would fall prey to the Firehawks, everything would explode into a million pieces and its ashes scattered into the winds. That’s not helping anyone, especially you. And I am here to try to help. I’m not very good at it. But I try. I always. Always try.”

She frowned, "Ratheron wouldn't care. The Fellowship would manage without me. Nic left. He left, and I can't bring myself to follow him, even if he would take me back. I know him intimately, Shadow. I know he's too proud for that now. And... I know he’s gone now, and honestly...? I couldn’t go back. I’m too Light-damned weak to live with him and always wonder for the rest of my life.”

Kel sounded even more bitter, if possible, “I know Ratheron suggested I talk this out with you. I just... don’t know where I should start.”

“Well, we’ve already gotten somewhere. But let me tell you something about Ratheron. He cares. He doesn’t cuddle on people or tease most people or show it that much... Hell, he says some things that are a bit over the line, but we all do. None of us are perfect,” Shadow scratched her cheek. “But if Ratheron didn’t care, he would just get up and walk away. That’s the kind of man he is. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be here. I mean, we’ve all got enough on our plates...”

She trailed off a moment, thinking about where to begin and how to point out where they had gotten. The monk tapped her fingers against her cheek, looking back to that dagger.

“To start with, you already know that you couldn’t go back to Nicias. Because of who you are, who he is, and you would always question it. The question is if you can be with Cyaer and not feel the same way. Not the same, same. But if you can continue to move forward in a healthy relationship with him. If he can trust you around Nicias, because shutting your ex-husband out, when we need all of the help we can get... or just shutting him out in general... Probably isn’t a good way to heal the wounds. Pretending that they don’t exist. That’s what Ratheron does.”
Kel, for her part, almost laughed. Almost. Gripping the dagger by the hilt again, she spun it deftly around her finger, with the air of someone who had spent her whole life playing with knives. Silence reigned for a long moment, and then another, dragging out, but not awkwardly. There was, of a certainty, thought going on behind the paladin’s closed features, and then she sighed, “Shadow. Forget about me for a moment, if you could have anything you wanted in a relationship, what would it be?”

She grunts, “Never mind. That was personal. Maybe too much so.” Conscientiousness was, in this mood, not Kel’s strongest point.

“No, it’s fine. It’s something I’ve had to think about before. First, before I decided I could be with someone and second, before I decided who I was going to be with. Probably even during, making sure I wasn’t making a mistake. Uhm...” Shadow leaned back slightly, thinking.

“Ratheron, honestly,” she laughed at her overly romantic statement. “But not who I met. Who he is. We often talked when I was training. When I was exhausted or too hurt to press on, we would sit down and discuss the philosophies of life. He learned to not trample all over me as he tends to do when I couldn’t figure something out, or when I didn’t agree with him. He let his emotions show to me, becoming less distant and more personal. He even shared his dreams with me, if I asked...”

“I need someone I can trust, who won’t make me feel stupid, but will help me. Who I can help, too. I need someone who I can depend on, who I’m not afraid of. I need these things because I realize I haven’t had them in a long time. If ever. So for my relationship, I would want these things, so that I can feel both safe with my emotions, who I am, and who I want to be, and secure with being free. Because someone who would try to take that away, I could never be with...”

Shadow frowned at herself. Her thoughts always fell back to Ratheron. And, at that, she laughed. Maybe she was like Kel in the regard of having another half she couldn’t live without. And yet...

“We even talked about the kinds of problems you have. I didn’t tell him anything in detail, you know. Just that I believe you to be someone who needs companionship,” she looked at Kel sadly at that, not because she pitied the woman, but because she felt sad for discussing such things. “Because I needed to teach him something, and I needed to learn it as well. Because Ratheron and I also ended up discussing what would happen if we lost each other...” she trailed off. Not wanting to think about such things. Life was already too hard right now.

“Even comparing my relationship now against my last one, I can’t see myself going back to that state. Shadowless would never really hurt me. He would let me free. But I never feel safe around him. And I often felt as if he wasn’t even with me half of the time that he was. Even when we were intimate, sometimes, I felt as if he was somewhere else completely. It was a lonely, painful feeling. That’s not something I want to repeat.

“I’ve had a lot of time to think about it, anyway. Shadowless was fun, exciting, chaotic, and stirred up my old life. Ratheron is Ratheron,” she laughed. “And I never thought I would sit down at sunset and end up watching the sunrise with someone because we would spend all night talking. Or sleeping until the late hours because it just felt so comfortable to be still next to someone. The old me would have thought that boring. So... I guess what I’m saying is... I want a relationship that evolves with me. And I have that.”

Kel seemed to speak more to herself, but it was a slow conversation, “Nic, at first, it was everything I dreamed of. I’d been hurt before, and Nic... he snuck up on me. I didn’t see it coming, but now, looking back, I wonder how I didn’t. It was in the small smile on his face, when he looked at me, the way I could catch his eyes lingering on me. The tone of voice he spoke to me in, gentler or even kinder, than anyone else. And then one day, it just... snuck up. It was two days after he; Quill, a huntress; and I took on the yeti that had killed Kara Vaelia.”

She slipped, clearly, into a memory, “It was the first time I’d really seen him fight, but that wasn’t even the tipping point for me. It was afterwards. I’d gotten very good at distancing myself from the pain, and the adrenaline helped, but I knew, still, that I wouldn’t get very far without help.” The paladin paused for a moment, her hand trailing along her abdomen, tracing where the scar was under her dress, “I’d lost a great deal of blood. Nic loaded me on my charger and wouldn’t leave me behind. I’ve no doubt I would have died that night, were it not for him. He didn’t leave. He stayed with me all the way back to the Undercity. I never seemed to get over owing him for that.”

“I think it really hit me that night, when I asked him if he would stay there, in the Undercity, with me, and he said yes. That was what settled it in my mind. Two days later... I don’t know now even. I felt so young again. I told him, flat out, insomuch as flat out is a stuttered mumble. He understood. He stopped me, he turned me around, and he kissed me, then and there in the Hall of Respite, and that is a moment I will never forget, and never want to.”

She rubbed her temples, “What I’m trying to say is this. Nic and Cy aren’t the same. I don’t want them to be the same. I moved on. I made mistakes. I don’t deny that, but for what it is worth now, I loved Nic. I still do, and always will, but I can’t be happy with him, and I think I know him well enough to know he would never be happy with me either. And now all I wonder is if we could still be friends.” She made a wry face, “Cy is a long story. Nic was with the military. He would leave for weeks on end, and it ate away at me. I loved him, and waited for him. And then...” She stopped abruptly, this was, clearly written across her face, painful.

“You could never ask a man to stop for you. Ratheron is many things, I can sympathize with that. But...” she frowned, thinking. Then, she shook her head. “I’ve already cheated once, myself. So...” she shrugged it off. “So now you know another thing about yourself. You need to keep your man close to you. Or rather, he needs to be the sort who is willing to be close. And there, again, lies another important part of who you are, what you want, and what you need out of a relationship...” Shadow smiled faintly, trying to remain calm and focused.

“Are you starting to see, yet? How all of the facts are already here, you just need to be able to find them. Learn how to... well... see them...” Shadow silently hated herself for how easy it was to do. But, since she could and had dissected her own feelings, it was a bit easier to handle Kel’s.

Kel laughed softly, not a sound of amusement, not truly, but one of tired acceptance, “Starting to, yes. I can’t see them, though, Shadow, maybe because it’s my own life, and when I look back, it is difficult not to focus on my failings. My shortcomings.”

“Taking time out of your day, each day, to reflect on your life and your time so far is a good way to start,” Shadow mused. “It’s made me very grateful for what I do have. It makes me worry a bit, too, but I’ve learned the secret to handling my negative feelings.”


“Laugh it all off. One day we’ll all look back on this anyway and be able to have a good laugh at how silly or naive or stupid we were, anyway!” she giggled. “That’s why I laugh. It helps the pain and the confusion. And then I feel better about having been able to laugh.”

The paladin smiled almost, tiredly, but it was an almost-smile more than any other not-a-smile had been, “Laughing helps. Chocolate helps.”

“A hug from a friend helps. Talking to someone wiser than you helps. I sure can’t keep up with Ratheron half of the time. He makes me feel stupid. But I also feel like I learn a lot from him,” she shrugged. Back to her boyfriend, once again. “Sorry, I don’t know a lot of people in the guild, I can only talk about him... That, and I think you would smack me if I suggested going to Shadowless for anything more than what’s going on. Or Eve. And both of them... No. Neither of them would be of much help, either.”

Without warning, Kel stood, winced as something in her back popped, and stretched, leaning against the rock and shading her eyes from the Azsharan sun. Something in her face spoke of pain, but a bittersweet pain, her voice was soft, “No, probably not, but I wouldn’t smack you. I don’t tend to do that... I just wish it was all black and white sometimes. No grey in between. No fuzzy blurring between right and wrong. I,” she sighed here, “Walk a very thin line. And wouldn’t you know, I’ve fallen off before.”

She grasped for the metaphor, and then shook her head, sliding back to the ground, dislodging Terrence from her shoulders in the process. The fox yelped, took one look at Kel, and launched himself at Shadow, Kel watched idly, and spoke again, “If it weren’t for a number of people here, in the Fellowship, I’d be dead. Flat out. Nic. Cy. Sol. Auxi. I am not entirely proud of where I’ve been, nor am I entirely happy with my past, or the possibilities of my future, but I am not the one that matters here. You all are. The Fellowship.”

“I trust Cy with my life. More than that, I trust him with the lives of the Fellowship, whom I value above myself. I need his stability, his presence by my side, to hold me together, and, simply, I do love him,” she continued, “And I know that even through all of this, the pain, the fear, the threat of the Firehawks, Cy will always be there for me. It’s a sense of security that I was never aware of with Nic. Not to say it wasn’t there, I just hadn’t lost anyone to know that I need that peace of mind. Now I know, now I know what it’s like to have lost someone, and to have to move on, and Nic’s coming back has torn me apart in so many ways. Especially now.”

“Nic...” Shadow trailed off, thinking. She had caught the fox, and ran fingers through his coat eagerly, if a tad bit rough. “Nic was a good lover for you. But not the one that you need, in the end. Cyaer is what you’ve been needing and wanting, the one you can trust. But this conflict isn’t one you can lean on anyone else for, in the end. You can talk to me. You can talk to Cyaer. You can talk to anyone. But when it comes to matters of the heart, we can only offer our insight and clarity. Perhaps it’s time you take up meditation to reflect?” a helpful suggestion, if nothing else. Shadow smiled a bit wider. “To find peace with yourself before you can truly come to terms with what this is. Nic is your friend. You don’t know it, maybe he doesn’t know it... but you have to be a friend before you can be a lover. And, hopefully, you can be friends again. But there’s a difference between how you treat a friend and how you treat... well...”

Shadow trailed off, thinking about it.

“There will always be a delicate line, I suppose. Because men are men. Because our memories influence us. I’m kind of simple. I am black and white. I just am not very clear to many. Nor to myself. I’ve come to terms with my past, I can face Shadowless. Not proudly. But I can face him. And I don’t cower. That’s a place you need to be in before you can say this is all said and done. But you can get there. I believe it.”

For a brief moment, Kel smiled, a real smile, none of the half-faked things, but it faded quickly, “I know. I know. I need to find that balance. I need to not... alienate... Nic. I need to explain to him my reasoning, but he won’t sit and listen. He doesn’t realize that I still care, and deep down, I still love him, we just... don’t fit anymore.” To illustrate a point, Kel laced her fingers together, and watched Terrence squirm in delight as Shadow’s hand found a particularly itchy spot on his back.

For a long moment, there was, again, silence, “My past has this nasty habit of coming back from the dead.” Her voice was dry, and it was, clearly, a poor attempt at humor.

“I think Nic just needs some time. Best to not pressure him into this. Once you find your peace with Cyaer, he’ll know. And should be able to support you...” Shadow hoped, at least. Her fingers danced along that spot in the fox’s soft pelt. “As with Nic, he needs to accept that this is what has happened. And the two of you will one day be able to find your resolution with each other. And begin building a new friendship. Believing that things will go back to the way they were is insane, I know...” she shook her head. “But that’s why it’s important to take things at their own pace, not the pace you want it to be. Think of it as starting new instead of starting over?”

“Back to the way it was?” Kel shook her head, “No, I know enough to say that it will never be the same as it was before, that would be asking too much of him. Of me. I don’t think the two of us will ever be lovers again, I don’t think he trusts me that much. And at the moment?” She pauses, watching Terrence squirm, and then deftly nab Shadow’s sleeve in his teeth, munching contentedly, or trying to, “I don’t know. At the moment, I cannot look beyond the next few days. The Fellowship will start moving to the Eastern Plaguelands, and I will join them there. Nic... We need him and Tyrael to help us. However much I may not like it.”

“Tyrael...” Shadow paused, thinking. She spoke slowly, carefully. “He’s not a bad man. He’ll come around, if he hasn’t already. I was scared of the person you said he would be, especially if he was around Eve. She was made to destroy the undead. By herself. She would ruin anything she felt unfit like it was a toy and toss it aside. Living or dead. She can be that kind of person...” the monk paid little attention, not caring so much about the leather sleeve of her armor as she frowned. “But she deems him fit and fine, healthier than he ought to be, given the circumstances. I keep the right to reserve judgement, myself...”

Shadow smiled up at Kel, thinking of how Tyrael had bowed to her. Had flirted with her. And how Eve had jerked the man’s ear in response. Oh, how things were weaving, growing complicated. That smile turned into a grimace as she thought of Shadowless and how everything about him always just -had- to be that layer of complex.

“Oh, so that reminds me. I should give you Ratheron’s report.”

Kel nodded slightly, a small smile had spread across her lips, and then faded, focusing her attention seriously on the monk, "Alright, go on."

“Well. First, he wanted to let you know that the supplies have all reached Windrunner Spire,” she raised three fingers, and ticked them down as she recounted each fact. “And that they’ll be sent to the Enclave.

“Fae’s uhm... Aunt wants to meet. Ratheron will meet with her himself and will report on what he finds out. She’s offering help, but she’s a Blood Mage and he’s suspicious of ulterior motives and Blood Magery,” she ticked down her second finger and shuddered.

“Third...” Shadow looked away at that. “And, I’m sorry. I know I said I would set you and Shadowless up to talk about things, but he went off and decided to pursue House Firehawk’s best assassin to take him out. His name is Selethen. But Shadowless will be back... So unless anything insane happens, you can just assume that there’s one less risk, alright?”

Shadow smiled back to Kel, fully trusting in her ex-lover to be able to not only take care of Selethen, but talking as if he’d be back before anyone knows he was really even gone.

Kel nodded slowly, and else again, whistling for Terrence who left Shadow's arms with a leap, bouncing around Kel's feet. Gathering the energetic fox in her arms, she smiled slightly at Shadow, "I just want to say thank you."

“Mmm? Oh. You’re welcome. Anytime,” Shadow gave a small smile in response. “Maybe one day I’ll be wiser and be able to talk without tripping over myself. Until then... Sorry for the rambling!” she laughed at herself, trying to dispel the nervousness.

Kel grinned slightly, and set Terrence down, hugging the monk suddenly and tightly, "Rambling is alright."

Shadow squeaked but returned that embrace. “Thank you for not hating me...” she whispered softly.

The paladin frowned slightly at that, but released the monk, “How could I hate you? No. Don’t answer that. Go on, shoo. I have things to think about.”

Smiling at Kel, Shadow dropped into a formal bow before making her way back the way she had come. Her hippogryph dropped to the earth and the monk slid back into its saddle. After a running start, the beast opened its wings and took the sky, soon taking the young Sin’dorei out of sight.

Rolling her eyes, Kel regathered Terrence and installed him on her shoulders, stroking his fur as she mounted her dun colored wyvern and she too, took to the skies.

The wind wove its way through the meadow, coaxing the grass into a musical rustle and stirring the dry, dusty ground into small brown clouds that rose up like a host of insects then settled back down again. The sky was painted a brilliant myriad of colors with the setting sun—violets, pinks, and darkening blues offset the golden yellow orb, blanketing it in the hush of night as it slowly sank out of sight.

The woman with the brown hair was leaning against a tree looking out over the grassy knoll. Not far away, her husband was poking the fire, preparing to cook the evening meal. Peace had settled over her, replacing the worry she had had when Orgrimmar had literally yanked her from Townlong and stuffed her in the dark recesses of Orgrimmar. She had been without contact to anyone for a little over a week with only vague details as to why. It had been particularly frustrating. Now, she was free to roam, but only if she stayed out of sight.

As a search and rescue operative, she knew what it took to find someone. How little pieces could leave a trail for people to follow. As an intelligence operative, she knew what it took to move through an area without leaving a trace. Combined, she was fairly certain that she and her husband could remain undetected for some time, but not indefinitely. Eventually, they would have to surface for supplies and in doing so, would risk leaving a crumb that could be followed.

Absent were her journals. They were locked away in a corner of Orgrimmar that only a handful of people knew about and none of which contained any clue as to where she and her husband were. It had taken a lot of leave them behind as they held her life as she knew it. The fear that she might forget everything again always weighed heavily in her heart. She only had her traveling bag with her, containing the necessary items to ensure her survival. She was quite certain that her friend would keep them safe. He, too, had left Orgrimmar for parts unknown. They would eventually catch up when all of this was finished.

Her thoughts turned to the problem at hand. First and foremost, she didn’t know much about what had happened, only that the Firehawks had forced the Fellowship out of Silvermoon. In her mind, that was no great loss—Silvermoon was not a favorite place of hers—but the whole idea did not sit well with her. There was something amiss there: The Sunblazes were a prominent family and were in control of the Fellowship. One would have a hard time just kicking the leader of a house that was in good standing out of the city from a political standpoint. Add in the fact that Silvermoon was very rigid in regards to maintaining order, the whole notion seemed absurd. Something else had to be in play there; perhaps the Firehawks had an ally in the House of Sunblaze? Was Sunblaze not in good standing? Admittedly, she knew very little about the workings of the noble houses; it was something she had pointedly ignored. She added her questions to a growing mental list for when she saw Kel’Tira next.

The other thing that gnawed at her was the idea that the Firehawks not only wanted to take control of the Fellowship, but kill off the members. Taking control of the Fellowship was a political ploy but killing people off just because they were members? The whole idea was inane and sociopathic. To the point that she wondered just how they managed to drive out a prominent house and had the support they needed to keep the Fellowship from entering Silvermoon. If the Fellowship had heard about the plan, certainly others had as well and she could not imagine this sitting well with anyone who was sane. There were other large houses in Silvermoon and Eversong, wouldn’t they stand up and take notice of the Firehawks? Wouldn’t they get concerned as to what was happening and wonder might they be next?

A dark thought came to her: if one or more of the other noble houses got nervous enough, they might try to take care of the problem themselves. After all, a good assassin was only a bagful of gold away.

Also inane was the idea of the Firehawks wanting to kill off people in the Fellowship and Silvermoon allowing them to stay within the walls. It was doubtful that this was still a secret and if so, it wouldn’t be for long. Certainly someone in the Fellowship would have spoken up that they were being hunted when they were being forced out or soon thereafter. Whether they had or not, she intended to make certain that someone on the outside knew aside from her team in Orgrimmar, who was pointedly staying out of this political mess. She couldn’t blame them.

She wondered what Silvermoon had been told when the Firehawks forced the Fellowship and the leaders of the House of Sunblaze out and what idiot was in charge to believe it. Most blood elves were not complete fools and she wondered if someone’s silence had been bought. Which brought her to another point: were the Firehawks still in Silvermoon? Did they go underground? Maybe all the Fellowship needed to do was wait until the Firehawks imploded on themselves. And were all the Firehawks involved?

In the end, she had a whole lot of unanswered questions. Hopefully, she would soon be able to speak to Kel and get some answers.

The stars were now visible in the sky, the sun having ceded day to night. The pink tones were gone, replaced by dark blues and violet. It would not be much longer before the sky was black and covered in a million twinkling stars. It promised to be a clear night, the vast heavens open for stargazing. She turned her attention to her husband and a smile came to her face. For the moment, they were alone and she would enjoy this beautiful night with him before things got really rocky.

There appears to have been a page torn from the back of the journal, what it detailed or depicted is unknown.
From my journal pages:

A large ink smudge appears to have been done across the top of the page, the paper is thin, and some of the ink can be seen on the next page.

Kel'tira and I have been talking and I am finding it so much of a relief to have an open dialogue with her. I hope we can maintain this openess as we move forward, for I fear things will only get more complex and complicated as time passes.

The tension I see in her face, and her eyes, as well as some outwards signs, such as her chewing her lower lip. She worries herself over something, but has not told me what it is. And I cannot help wondering what it is, and if I could aid her in resolving it.

The headaches have returned, perhaps I should have Azmos take a look at me after all this Firehawk mess is cleared up. And I am not sleeping well either. Perhaps it's all the tension and worries of what is going on, I sure hope so.
Her spirit, her drive, and her eyes, Light those eyes, draw me in closer and closer. I try to stay away, I don't want to hurt her, but I find I want her in my arms, I want to feel her lips against mine.

I meditate, and I feel the Light burning inside me, it moves within me like a living thing, nothing at all like what I have been taught in the academy. As I learn and grow in life, I can feel the Light's power growing and pulsing within me. It is a friendly warm feeling...almost like a lover, yet I do not sense a jealousy of Pfaedra. On the contrary, I feel an intense acceptance of her and my desire to be with Fae.

We are in Revantusk, and I held her close in my arms, and I kissed her, not a friendly peck of a kiss, but one of passion and desire, and Fae returned that emotion back in her kiss. I hesitate, for I want to be a gentleman, however, I like how she clings to me when we kiss, and how her lips taste on my own.

Light, I want Pfaedra so much!
We had been a part, for we had items to exchange and sell. I waited for her by the dock.

Then I saw her riding up the planks, towards me, and in my eyes she was...a vision. And I realized just how much I had missed her...her smile, her hair, her eyes...her.

When she dismounted she came to me, and hugged me, and I held Fae in my arms once again. I'm sure she heard my heart pounding in my chest, even through the armor, and she sighed and placed her head on my shoulder. She told me that it was good to back in my arms, and kissed me.

My mind was in another place, and I only heard her mentioned she liked to hear that too. And I focused on what she had said, and as I held to me, I looked into those beautiful teal eyes of hers, and told her I loved her. She was surprised, and managed to say "What?" before my lips were upon hers, and I kissed her passionately.

I told her I loved her. Pfaedra, I do love you. My heart has finally given words to the feelings that exist in deep in my chest for you.

I love you, Fae. You have enchanted me, and I am yours, Madame Mage.
Friday, a week ago...

Kel'tira Sunblaze was tired. She was sprawled on one of the terrific boughs of Nordrassil, flat on her stomach, Terrence nestled in the curve of her side, a small huffing noise emanating from the fox every so often. The paladin's world, devoid, for the moment, of words, seemed to pass in leaps and bounds at times, and at other moments it felt as if it was creeping by terribly slowly. There was little enough to be done. She had met with Shadow. Spoken with her. And now all that remained was...nothing.


Cy was not nothing.

A long sigh escaped Kel's lips. A soft moan almost. Nic.

She also, she realized belatedly, had told Solorin she would make a time to meet with him, before all of the chaos surrounding her once-late husband’s return. And now? Now she couldn’t think straight. She needed solidity. Stability. Something that she knew, deep down, that she would be entirely unable to find in the short term. Terrence barked half heartedly at something and nuzzled deeper into the loose dress Kel wore.

Thus, the paladin’s attention was distracted from her morbid thoughts at least briefly. Her red hair was damp with the morning’s dew, and the dress she wore was sleeveless, emerald fabric clinging to her frame neatly. Tanned and freckled skin showed, and Kel couldn’t bring herself to care about the scars on her arms that showed in the green light filtering through the leaves. She held her hand up in front of her nose, willing her fingers to flicker with Light.

They would not.
Cyaer stood looking out the window of the house that his wife and he were staying, hiding from possible assassins of House Firehawk. His hand touched the pane of glass, reaching out, searching for Kel’tira, wanting her back, needing to see her, his heart aching in his chest. Tears filled his eyes as he thought of her out there, alone, her heart in turmoil.

Cy stepped slowly away from the window, and looked at the breakfast preparations he had made. He wiped the tears from his face, as he made to light the fire to begin cooking the food. She may be on her way, and a hot breakfast would make her feel better, he thought. And even as he went through the motions of cooking for her, his ears were perked to listen for her arrival. And he found himself looking towards the door more times than he could count.
Kel sighed, rising from the branch and whistling. Her drake, magnificent as always, was not with them anymore. She had gone to Silvermoon early this morning, and left him there, as well as retrieved a few small things from her home. In silence and in darkness, no one but Dan had recognized her, and he too had pretended not to notice her. A small blessing in the world of pain she currently lived in, and one that she took to heart. A nod, that was all, between the armored hunter and the hooded Lady of the House, and then she slipped into the bedroom, gathering the things she sought after.

The drake had been left there, and now, to her whistle, came a much less obvious wyvern. Tawny skin and wings blended neatly with the wood beneath her feet, and Kel swung herself into the saddle neatly, the split up the sides of her dress allowing the motion, the warm Hyjal air on her bare arms strangely soothing as she caught Terrence and installed him around her shoulders, and then nudged the wyvern off of the branch, plummeting towards the ground so far below for uncountable moments before the creature snapped his wings out and scooped the air underneath him, gliding down to the ground.
The trout had cooked up well, savory and light with the scallions adding their flavor, however Cyaer ate it woodenly. Barely noting the taste or that he was eating anything at all, the man sat at the table, across from an empty chair, eating the breakfast mechanically. When he finished, he gathered all the bones, guts, and debris together to dispose of them. The hole was small and deep, and Cy concentrated on the small chore to step away from the concern and worry of Kel. As he filled it in and tamped the ground down around it, his thoughts returned to his wife.

When he stepped into the house, the silence surrounded him like a blanket. Then he started to unbuckle and remove the armor he had put on so meticulously only an hour or so earlier. He rummaged through his old worn out backpack, and removed his fishing outfit, a simple leather loincloth. He put it on, then suddenly dashed from their temporary home, and rushed down the path towards the lake. His powerful legs carried him quickly to the water’s edge, and he jumped far into the cold lake.

There was a tension building up between them, Cyaer felt it in the pit of his stomach and helpless in doing anything about it. Cy’s heart was telling him one thing, and his mind was leading him in another direction. Twisted, stretched, his nerves were on edge, and he could see it in her as well. If he couldn’t find release from it, he feared what he might say or do.

Then, they sought each other, and agreed it was time to talk. They cherished their honesty in communicating with each other, and this would push that to the limits.

Gently, the wyvern deposited the paladin on the ground, and, with none of the usual brisk assurity, Kel walked slowly towards the house, pausing in the doorframe, looking for Cy, and then slowly stepping into the open, her hands by her side, folded neatly into her dress in what was clearly an effort of will to keep them there, off of her arms and the scars that she was so self conscious of.

Gently, she spoke into the silence, her voice cautious, but a hidden, disparate note in the words, “Cy...? We... We need to talk.”

Cyaer moved from the bedroom into the main room, where his bride stood, his voice was soft as he looked into her eyes, seeing the distress of his heart reflected there, “You are right, love, we do.”

Cyaer held Kel’tira in his arms, while she sat in his lap. He wanted her to feel secure as he held her, his hand trembled as it moved slowly up and down her arm, the feel of her skin calming him as they talked softly amongst themselves. She would allay his fears, just as he would embrace her to say he was there for her.

She leaned against him, her head on his shoulder, enjoying his touch for a long moment, "I spoke with Shadow. I just needed to talk things out with someone who wasn't emotionally invested in all this."

Kel's voice was gentle, "Cy, I'm not leaving."

Cy’s voice was husky and emotional, “I...I...had hoped that would be your decision. I won’t play stupid knowing how you feel and felt about Nic. I had just hoped that what we have together, Kel’tira, would be enough.” He softly kissed her forehead.

She reached up, cupping his head in her hands gently, running a thumb over his cheek, "I... What Nic and I had... It's not what I need. It used to be,” she looked like this was hurting to say, to give voice to her fears, and worries, and still not be able to let Nic slip away. “I need someone I can trust to trust me. And I get the feeling I can't do that with him anymore. I need someone who will be by my side, through anything..." She trailed off, clearly remembering Velin. It showed in her eyes.

She hesitated, and opened her mouth, then shook her head, not saying anything else.

Cy looked into her eyes, his eyes searching her own, then he closed his eyes, remembering his father. And nodded his head slowly, his voice was quiet, “I am that someone, Kel’tira. I love you too much not to be there when you need me.” Cy opened his eyes and looked into Kel’tira's, whispering, “Always.”

Kel met his gaze, knowing that he understood her. Knowing and realizing that she could probably do terrible things, and he would be there for her, if not as a lover or a husband, as a friend. That, she decided, was the largest difference between him and Nic. She didn't say anything else, but pulled his head down closer to her and kissed him softly, a promise there.

Cy returned her kiss tenderly, his arms embracing her warmly to him. He knew this wasn’t over, that there would be more to come, yet he trusted Kel, and he had faith in their love. And as he held her in his arms, he sighed deeply, wanting only to stay this way for as long as he could.

She snuggled against him, reveling in the sense of security, and she sighed heavily, realizing that it couldn’t, and wouldn’t, last. But she would not be the first to speak and break that silence, leaning against her husband, humming softly, no melody, just harmonic notes, not a happy sound, nor a sad sound, simply as she held him, and was held by him.

Cy began to gently sway just enough to move to the side and back, simply enjoying having her in his arms and moving with her there. His lips tenderly kissed the top of her head, and he leaned his cheek against her head, and embraced her close to him.

He would be her shield, he would protect her as best as he could, and he would be that strength that she would need. And he had sealed that vow with one word - Always. He had not made that promise lightly, but had thought it through several times, without know where her heart lay, only knowing where his own heart lay.

Cyaer picked her up into his arms and lightly kissed her lips, then moved into the other room. He kicked off his shoes, and enjoyed her arms around his neck as he held her. His voice was soft and low as he looked into her eyes, “Kel’tira, I know there will be more further down the road, this talk we have had answers some doubts I have worried about for sometime. However, I want you to know how much I love you, how much I believe in you, and have faith in you. I trust you with my very life, and I have entrusted my heart and love to you forever.”

She smiled up at him, her eyes gentle and warm, and nodded softly, her features less tense than they had been in the days since Nic had returned. She didn’t move for the longest while, and when she did, it was to slip down from his arms, brushing away the tears in her eyes brusquely. Standing in front of him, she smiled vaguely at him, finding a small amusement in the fact that they saw eye-to-eye.

Her voice low, she spoke, “Cy, I’ve made mistakes. Light knows I will keep making mistakes. I am not perfect, not by a long shot. I love you, and...” She sighed, dragging a hand through her short hair, “I need you to know that.”

Cyaer had watched Kel’tira as she slipped from his arms, and looked at the tanned and freckled shoulders and arms of his wife. He listened, and thought he understood what she was saying. He shook his head slightly, and whispered huskily, “I know, Kel.”

She nodded sharply, strangely grateful in that one jerky motion, and offered him her hands, cupped together, clearly intending for him to take them, “You know, Cy, I wonder sometimes why you chose the path of a rogue instead of a paladin.”

Cy gently took her hands within his own, and lightly squeezed hers. His voice was low and quiet, “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, Kel. I was raised in an orphanage, and life wasn’t easy there. I learned from the school of hard knocks, not an academy or such.”

“I don’t regret it, not after learning who my father was, or I might have been someone more like him, Light forbid. The streets shaped me at that early age, and I was more a lone wolf at that time. But my soul was forged by two women and a Fellowship that took me in, and helped make me the man I am today.”

“Two paladins, and the cornerstones of the Fellowship - Valor, Compassion, Faith, and Honor. Lofty ideals for a simple street urchin, but they touched my heart and my soul, and I found myself following those two women’s lead in how to live my life. And I have no regrets in doing that.”

After he finished speaking, Cy brought Kel’s hands up to his lips, and softly kissed each one, he looked up into her eyes, his smile warm and sincere, “Now, I am the happiest man in the world, married to a beautiful woman, and I am a nobleman. Who knew?”

Kel returned his smile softly, “You would never have turned out like he did. Trust me on that.” She squeezed his hands, and rested her head on his shoulder, her arms around his waist, “It’s not something so simple as family, love. Nature over nurture.”

“I wouldn’t,” she continued, “argue when you tell me I was born with a ‘silver spoon’ in my mouth.” She grins lopsidedly, “I was the youngest, the baby in the family, given whatever I wanted, and I hated it some days. I knew I was father’s favorite, but that didn’t stop me from slipped out and roaming the streets.”

“My best friends grew up homeless or parentless, aside from Dan, and he was a boy off the street my father took in. Sometimes I wondered why some of us were so lucky, when others had nothing. My family could not have cared less what I chose to do with my life, at the time, there wasn’t a chance of my having to play a public role in the House. I was free to, within reason, do as I wished.”

“I got careless,” she chuckled softly, “I would get in fights, I was, by no means, a typical noble’s daughter. I would live a soft life at home, and then slip out and do what I could to help the others that I counted as friends. I think my father knew what I was doing, but he never said anything, except to give me tips, and laugh. And then as I got older, I realized, and stopped slipping out as much. Stopped being so invisible in the House. Spent more time with my family, more time with my brother and sister, and then my mother. And she...” Kel shrugs, “She didn’t like what I’d been doing when she weaseled it out of me. That was what started the rift between me and my family.”

A dull laugh escaped Kel, “Father didn’t care. He had always had a place for me in his study. I grew up in that room. Lived my life in that room. After the Scourge invaded, after Treyn, I left. Left home. Mother effectively threw me out. Father knew, he didn’t argue. You didn’t argue with the Lady of the House, then, she was like a dragon.”

“And I found my sister dead. I found her, and then when I met Kara and the others, they accepted who I was. Who I am. And I took the news of my sister’s death to the House, and they accepted that, and it was the first time in a year I had talked to my father.” She grimaced, “It was almost like I hadn’t left.”

Breaking off, it appeared Kel realized she was rambling, “Sorry. My point isn’t to bore you with my past. You know most of it already. The point was that birth means nothing. I wasn’t comfortable in my own shoes as a noble until I was forced into them. I was flighty, a bit, and determined to not be forced into anything.”

“And then, when Mother and Father died, I accepted it. I wasn’t alone at that point, though, I had Nic, after all, and I realized then that there were some things I just couldn’t get out of. And that there were some things I needed to accept help on. I used to be afraid of commitment. I’m not any more.”

Cy listened to Kel as she spoke, his ears and mind attentive to what she was saying. He nodded “You may be right, Kel’tira. I am who I am by being me, if that makes sense to you? I would hope I would not turn out like Velin. And if I had never met you or joined the Fellowship, who knows.”

"Cy, Cy, Cy," Kel chuckled gently, "That's what I'm saying. I don't think you would have. I don't think that you're incapable of it, we all have a deep, dark, sadistic side. Some of us just do better at suppressing it. Velin was flawed. Sick in the mind. He had a life, a wife, and most anything he could want, but he wanted more. Aserius may well be a parallel."

Cy blinked, and nodded to his wife, “You are right, when you put it that way, I could never be like my father. I may resemble him, but I could never be him.. I have a life, you, and everything I could and would want...and I am happy, truly happy.” He smiled at Kel, and squeezed her hands again.

His smile faded though as he remembered her mentioning Aserius, the threat to their family, the Fellowship. His face and eyes grew cold as he thought what Aserius intended to do to them all. His voice was distant and steely, “So how do we beat this bastard at his game, and prevent him from taking our family and our House, love? I hate that he threatens all that we live and stand for, and most of all, he threatens you.” He looked into Kel’s eyes, and his features softened, and so did his voice, “I want him dead, is that bad of me? Like no longer around.” He smiled at Kel.

Kel chuckled harshly in response to his statement, "Not bad at all. And he is dying. Ratheron saw to that. I would like to think that this will all fade into the past now." She sighs, "I never thought I would be looking forward to the monotony of day to day work."

“Maybe I can get you out fishing some evening, or maybe a late dinner under the stars with me, just the two of us, eh?” He smiled, “After a long day of paperwork, and such, a nice swim in the ocean may be just what the doctor ordered, or the husband ordered. Or just a nice supper and a long rest?” He kissed her hands, and laid his cheek against them, “I will be there helping, you know. House business will be our business. Sunblaze business, my love.”

She held his face gently, stroking his cheek with a thumb, "Both sound wonderful. I warn you. I am terrible when it comes to fishing. Terrible."

He chuckled lightly, and smiled as he gazed into Kel’s eyes, “It’s not the fishing that you would be out there for, love, but for the sun and being together. I’ll even bait your hook for you.” Cy chuckled again.

Meeting his gaze steadily, a warmth in her eyes, Kel smiled lopsidedly, a stray strand of hair falling across her cheek. She did not say anything, she felt that there was not a need for words in that moment, but she seemed to shimmer, her eyes glinting with soft amusement, and love for her husband. The hand on his cheek was gentle, the soft contact there a soothing touch, whether for him or her it was not clear. When she did speak, her voice was soft, “I would love that.”

Cy slowly closed his eyes as her hand upon his cheek calmed his fears, doubts, and worries. She could see the tension leave his face, as it relaxed and he pressed his cheek into her hand as he tilted his head to feel her touch. Cy sighed lightly, and whispered ever so softly, “Kel, oh, my sweet beautiful, Kel...”

((4/5 >.>))
"Cy..." She murmured, softly cupping her hand against his cheek, her own features relaxing as she pulled him close to her, wrapping her arms around him, "I love you."

For a moment, Cy stood there within her arms, Kel’s love surrounding him, and healing him. He sighed softly as he savored the closeness and warmth of being held by his loving wife. Cy could smelled her delicate scent, and nuzzled her neck as he snuggled into her embrace. His arms wrapped around her and held her close to him. He had never felt so secure and vulnerable as he did at this moment.

As his head lay on her shoulder, he whispered quietly to her heart, “I love you, Keltira.”

((5/5 >.<))

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum