Aillil continued to walk around the unfamiliar space ship. His stomach rumbled softly, but any thoughts of hunger were quickly squashed by the rolling waves of nervousness that tossed in his gut and spread up to his chest. The cloaked man finally found empty quarters and forced himself to lay down on the bed. He closed his eyes and covered them with his arm.
So much had happened in the past few weeks that Aillil simply did not know how to move forward anymore. He suspected Lews wouldn't be too much longer with dinner. The cloaked man quietly inspected the weave he was unfamiliar with that Therin had placed on him. It was strange and mostly made of Spirit, it seemed, but he didn't allow himself to use saidin on it. Aillil turned over on the bed, ignoring his hunger and trying not to let the nerves take him over completely. He thought for a while about what he had done in the castle, then tried to measure it against what he had done in the Second Age.
The taint seemed to swirl around him, and made him nearly throw up. That feeling caused a pang of remorse to wash over him. "Tamara, what have I done to us? Should I really have confessed to Lews after all this time?"
Another thought had occurred to him. He knew how Lews thought of him, but, would the man find him completely repulsive once everything was said and out in the open? His thoughts meandered back and forth like this while he lay there, so Aillil forced himself to his feet and began pacing the room, wondering where all he fit into this. Finally, he decided to sit down on the bed and wait, The silence reminded him of all the times he'd been in trouble as a lad.
Mink floated down the hall with their covered treat for Aillil. They yawned, stretched and waited a good five minutes before opening the door and floating into the room. ”Hey, Uncle Aillil. They shoved the covered plate in the man’s face before just lounging midair. ”Brought you some lafras. Just the way you and Uncle Rand and Aunt Éi figured out how to make. With Tamara’s help.”
At their quip, Mink winked and smirked knowingly. They found this person rather interesting to be around, at least the future version of him, but, right now, it appeared Aillil needed either tender loving care or a swift metaphorical kick in the ass, so, Mink decided to try both. As evidenced by the food and kind words. Now, for the more enjoyable part.
They shifted their position slightly so that they were floating next to their uncle. ”Y’know, I could tell you exactly what happens to you and Rand while you’re both in this room, buuuuuut, the Aillil I know wouldn’t be put off by the idea of a talk or a full out argument to get to the bottom of something. So what if the castle showed you some unpleasant shit? It does that to everyone.”[/color]
They rolled their eyes at the door. It seemed that their time here was up. Besides, they did technically miss half of their dinner. ”Seems like my work here is done. I’m certain Rand won’t be too far behind me. Name’s Mink, by the way. See ya around.”[/color] With that, they floated out of the room.
Rand paced outside the room, waiting for Mink to exit. He felt the worry and nervousness tumbling through the bond. Then, suddenly, those feelings stopped for a moment. He wondered if Aillil had picked up on the nervousness flowing through the bond on his side of things, or if the man was too wrapped up in his own feelings to notice Rand’s.
When Mink finally emerged from the room, they seemed impressed with themselves. They nodded and just floated off down the hall. With a sigh, Rand stepped through the door, allowing the plates to follow him into the room on threads of Air. He spotted the covered plate, and recognised the shape and smell of what was under the covering. ”Lafras? Light, that takes me back. I haven’t had one since that time that we nearly got thrown out of the Academy kitchens for being out past curfew and ‘making the kitchen into a disaster area’ as the one Mistress would have put it.”
Rand chuckled and shook his head, letting the memory pass. He wasn’t sure what to expect out of the man, especially not in this state. He carefully sat down next to Aillil. ”I don’t suppose Mink put more than one in there. No matter. I did bring you dinner though. I figured I could eat with you.” Suddenly, a memory flittered across his mind’s eye, and Rand gave Aillil an incredibly stern look. ”You will eat until you are full, or, Light help me, I will be sure to tell both Éirín and Tamara about your habit of not taking care of yourself.” Finding an extra warning necessary, Rand just barely smirked after he was done speaking.
Finally, he studied Aillil closely before he decided to just start eating his own dinner. If Rand remembered Aillil correctly, then he would eventually open up as the meal progressed.[/font][/font]
Six characters, written by five alters... What could go wrong?
There was a lot of conversations happening at once, causing the Vagabond to feel oddly at a loss as he spooned another helping of the piping hot food into his mouth. Chewing absentmindedly, observing the others with a quiet perception, the man longed for the shelter of his hood. I’ll just make a mess, though. Sighing, the hermit decided to leave himself basked in the light of the world around him. He loathed the feeling, but eating with a deep hood on was more difficult than it sounded. Another art form I’ve yet to master… The thought was bitter, though it didn’t run that deep. ”Feel free to eat and ask any questions you have of either Jen or my mom.” Mink’s voice broke the Vagabond out of his thoughts.
”If there’s somewhere else you would rather go to, let us know, and we can drop you off.” With that, they floated away towards others, leaving the Vagabond in his thoughts as he pondered the question. Somewhere else—? There was much to do. Lucia and Jason had mentioned aiding him in his research, though, which was his top priority. Until whatever unknown methods they held were revealed, the vagrant hardly planned on going anywhere. ”You are, of course, welcome to stay.” Almost as though reading his mind, Jen’s voice reached the man sitting at the table.
”We just have to help that man recover himself before we can fully help you.” The Vagabond blinked in surprise, leaning back a bit in his chair. How had she known about what Lucia and Jason had spoken of? They hadn’t had time to talk and fill each other in, as far as the Vagabond was aware of. An interesting family indeed… It seemed this ship was full of individuals with many tricks up their sleeves. ”If you do decide to go, take one of our Gummi Phones and call me when you’re ready for me to help you. No pressure.” The Vagabond turned to Jason, a look of confusion on his face.
”Gummi—Phone—?” Tilting his head a bit, the Vagabond scratched at his disheveled hazelnut hair, his dull green eyes blinking lifelessly. He had never heard of such a thing. Lucia’s voice reached him as well, causing the Vagabond to turn in his chair to find her. He wasn’t used to talking to this many people at once. Truthfully, his head was spinning a bit. ”The monk was on my home world, which is where we’re going.” For a moment, excitement gripped the Vagabond, causing him to forget the half eaten plate in front of him. Pressing his hands on the table, he leaned forward in earnest before his face faltered a bit at hearing the ‘You’ll see when you get there’ that Jen delivered.
For a moment, the Vagabond grimaced. Too many worlds have been thrown out of balance… It was a troubling reality, but one he lived in. Other than his own research, that was his main goal, too. With a newfound firmness in his heart, the Vagabond met the eyes of those around him, his voice determined. ”I’d be grateful to come along—thanks, er…for having me.” He faltered towards the end. He still wasn’t used to all of the socializing. He had hoped to say something cool at the end, but honestly it felt a little lame, falling from his lips with a different taste than he’d hoped.
Oh well. A small grin emerged on his lips. He was thankful for the company.
Aillil stared at the covered plate while Mink spoke. They seemed to be an interesting person. He listened very carefully for once, because he didn’t want to mess this up again. Mink mentioning all of them together and recreating their favourite snack made him immediately flinch. He wanted to be done with time and dimensions. He didn’t want to be messing with patterns anymore. The cloaked man simply kept staring at Mink, waiting for them to get to their actual point, who didn’t seem to be the type to win someone over with sweetness.
Aillil kind of wanted to get to know Mink better, or to at least warn them of their power and how to be careful with it, but then they said the one thing that made all of the spinning in his head just stop. He chuckled slightly ”Well, you are rather sharp. I suppose you could send Therin in here on your exit, then.” Not too much longer after he spoke, Mink floated away and out of the room.
Quickly, the cloaked man lifted the cover to look at his dessert. He noticed that were exactly two pastries on the plate. Just as he was about to grab one of them, though it was tempting to grab both, he felt that Lews was about to enter the room, so he dropped the cover and placed his hand at his side. He supposed the bond had its privileges, though, it mostly seemed more annoying than not.
Aillil’s gaze flicked from Lews to the food hovering in midair before lowering to the ground. He felt doubly hungry, then realised that the bond was likely once again sharing Lews’s feelings with him, too. The cloaked man bent his head lower as Lews spoke. Feelings seemed to be complex things for Aillil, as gratitude and shame seemed to tumble around inside him. Still, he quietly nodded after flinching yet again at the threat of what would happen if he did not eat and took the plate closest to him. ”Mana’suq’asa, Therin. I guess you did manage to teach me some manners. There are actually two lafras on that plate. You probably deserve to have both.”
Usually, the cloaked man wouldn’t have noticed how a phrase like the last one he spoke sounded, but, this time, he actively looked away from Lews. He managed to start eating without looking at the man he felt strongly for, hoping that the bond wouldn’t further betray him. The chicken dish tasted exactly like he thought it would, which both made him smile and tear up. ”I did my best to stay away from you so that you could live. So that your rebirth would actually succeed. It nearly didn’t when you were on that mountain in the cold. The Second Age’s version of you forced me to rest for a week. I’m sorry that I failed you, Therin. And now, here I sit, the truth of it finally out, and yet, nothing changed. I’m still the thing that’s destined to come between you and those who love you and acted on it first. The thing I don’t want to be, Therin.”
Realising what all he had said, Aillil quickly cleaned his plate and forced himself to lie down and turn away from Lews. He could feel the tears welling up inside him, and, bond or no bond, he didn’t wish to disgrace himself any further by having his dearest friend have to care for him emotionally as well.
Rand smiled at Aillil softly before taking bites out of his own food. He simply allowed the man to speak. He knew exactly what the man felt as he sat there, trying to explain everything. After the man had paused the first time, Rand took the opportunity to speak. ”For starters, Aillil, I’d say we’re well past the point where you need to call me by my last name out of formality. Secondly, I would be happy to share the lafras with you instead.”
It seemed his words didn’t reach Aillil in time, though, because he was soon going off down the path of memories that seemed to both hurt him and serve as a reminder. Rand also finished the rest of his food and closed his eyes, feeling the shame and nervousness of his friend tumbling through the bond. Finally, a heavy sigh passed through Rand. ”That explains it, then. I thought your sudden coldness toward me then was strange. I am truly sorry, Aillil, that I didn’t realise any of my feelings soon enough.”
When the cloaked man turned away, Rand didn’t face him. He very nearly stood up and left, but, the raw pain eminating from Aillil made him pause. Carefully, Rand moved the plate of lafras out of the way. He first knelt at the bedside and then found his arms reaching for the man until Rand found himself holding Aillil tightly against his chest. ”It’s in the past. It’s okay. It’s safe here.”
Rand found himself gently running his hand through Aillil’s hair. He kept his other arm wrapped around the man. He suddenly realised why Aillil still felt heavy, despite the truth finally being out. ”Light, Aillil, how many times have you…” Rand shook his head, not sure he wanted to know the answer to the question he was about to ask. Instead, he decided to tackle the other parts of what Aillil said. ”Furthermore, you are not a bloody mistake, raichora’al arkadinara. As for Tamara, I suspect she already knows. Blood and bloody ashes, I suspect the only ones who couldn’t see what was happening are laying in this bed right now.”
At that, Rand smirked and allowed himself to chuckle slightly. He instinctively moved around to face Aillil, which reminded him of the way they would often crawl over one another in a wrestling match. Seeing the tears forming, he wiped them away with his thumb. ”I don’t care about what happened back then. You talk about that when you’re ready. For now, what’s important is that we get you Healed. It’s equally important that we’re together this time. I couldn’t tell you back in that castle with the state you were in, but, I can now, so I will. Ye mashi asa, Aillil.” After he spoke, Rand brushed his lips against Aillil’s, wanting to kiss him as passionately as he could in order to prove what he had just said.
Jen smiled in approval at the Vagabond’s decision while heaping seconds onto her plate. ”Well, now that that’s settled, welcome to the family, more or less.” Her gaze flicked to Jason, who seemed to be staring at his lover. She then winked at Lucia. ”Looks like you might have a different kind of apprentice for once, sis. At least, that’s my recommendation, since it looks like Jason’s going to be occupied.”
Jason squeezed Conri’s hand, hoping that they could be patient until after dinner, at the very least. It seemed Jen had noticed his gaze and no doubt guessed their intentions. ”Well, what can I say, nothing like a bit of risking your life to remind you to take your time with other things. Besides, the two of us do have a wedding to plan.” He smirked and kept eating.
Lucia smiled as she nodded, grateful for the others words. "We'd be happy to have you. If you'd like a tour of the ship, feel free to let me know. After all, we'll be here for two days."
Six characters, written by five alters... What could go wrong?
The Vagabond’s plate was mostly cleared, though his thoughts gave him pause when it came to finishing it. He was curious as to what the home world of these ‘Celderatians’, people he had never even heard of until today. It was also his first time on a ship quite like this one. The whole experience was rather exciting, he had to admit. ”Well, now that that’s settled, welcome to the family, more or less.” Jen’s voice caused the Vagabond’s vacant stare to shift towards her. The woman moved on to teasing Jason, though the vagrant hardly heard. Family—? How long had it been, since he had even heard of or thought of that word?
”We’d be happy to have you.” Lucia’s voice cut him out of his mystified wonder. ”If you’d like a tour of the ship, feel free to let me know. After all, we’ll be here for two days.” The amount of time meant little to the Vagabond—who usually spent weeks holed up in his makeshift ‘lab’ in between explorations. The Gummi Ship was certainly far more spacious and luxurious than his base, that was for sure. Nodding, the Vagabond scraped the remaining food from his plate into his mouth before thanking Jen for the meal.
Pushing himself up from the table, the Vagabond pulled up the hood of his unbuttoned steel grey coat, finding shelter in the shadows at last. ”A tour’d be nice—“ His hooded gaze shifted around the room. ”It’d be a lie if I said I’m not curious…”
Aillil found himself trembling while Lews spoke. His tongue moved across the roof of his mouth as though he was trying to get used to the name before he dared speak again. He hated the idea of offending the man. The trembling stopped when Lews started to ask a question and then stopped himself.
Aillil flinched when he finally recognised that the man he'd loved for so long was actually holding him. And comforting him. Suddenly, the twisted nature of the tainted saidin kicked in. "Over three thousand years of not being able to touch the Source! Countless lifetimes rolled up into one only to watch you die over and over again! The first time your blood stained my hands, I couldn't stop throwing up for a month. Now, I just want to have this end. I'm so tired, Ther--Lews. So tired."
Despite Lews wiping away his tears, more seemed to be streaming down Aillil's cheeks. He had wrapped his arms around Lews's waist and somehow managed to bury his head into the man's chest. The trembling came back, along with fear and bloodlust, until, with one simple phrase from Lews, it stopped and went quiet. Aillil stopped sobbing in time to raise his head and look at Lews right before their lips brushed.
Aillil felt a warmth spread through his cheeks, and then pressed his lips against Lews's. Any other feeling seemed to be dulled by this moment, and the cloaked man had to fight to keep himself from losing control. It felt like a dream he was going to wake up from. Something that coulldn't be real, and that made Aillil want to be in the moment more. He finally stopped himself and moved his lips away once he realised his tongue was trying to slide past his teeth and into Lews's mouth.
The cloaked man found himself short of breath, and then noticed that he was studying Lews's face. Then, the gravity of what he'd nearly done hit him, and Aillil shrank back, blushing furiously. Ye ithelai, Lews. I...didn't mean to, but, burn me, I've...wanted to for a while. Not that the reason excuses what I've done." Trying to explain himself just seemed to make the blushing worse.
Conrí looked at Jason when he felt his hand being squeezed and smiled slightly. At the mention of a tour, he simply quipped to his love, "The only tour I want is the one to our room." The wolf boy winked and then noticed his sister shifting uncomfortably in her chair.
"Y-yes, I think rest is the best idea, though...it seems I might have a room to myself for the night." Éirín attempted, rather unsuccessfully, to hide the blush from her cheeks. She could feel some sort of elation from the bond, at least, from Rand, and she wasn't sure that she wanted to pry what was going on out of him if he did manage to find her in her room later.
Rand couldn't help but smirk at the man in his arms, even as he held him tighter in response to the sudden pulling back. "Ailill," his tone was amused as he lifted a hand to his friend's chin, lifting it until their eyes met, "ithelai'na." With that, his lips met Ailill's, and this time he didn't hesitate to deepen the kiss.
When he needed to breathe, he did so relunctantly. Staring into Alill's teal eyes, his tone was now tender. "I don't care what you've done or how you've done it. We're here, together, and that's all that matters to me."
Jason's grin grew at his love's quip, eating the last few bites quickly. "Well, if that's what you want, then I'd be happy to oblige." Squeezing again, he suddenly stood and pulled, hoping to pull Conrí off his feet and into his arms.
Jen giggled at the antics before noticing Éirín's discomfort. Thinking quickly, she opened a link using her Telepathy to the girl. "Hey, if you want to hang out wih me, I'd love to get to know you better. I've also got a bar in my room if you like that." Still smiling, she stood and gathered the plates to place in the dishwasher.
Lucia was tired of nodding, so instead she gave her sister her thanks before standing and smiling at the others. "Alright, go rest you three. It's been a long day, and you've definitel earned it. Conrí, I'm sorry I wasn't there with you, but I really am proud of you."
Motioning to the Vagabond, she left the kitchen only to pause a moment later with a sheepish look. "Oops, almost forgot." Looking up, she made sure her voice was clear. "Aura, set course for Celderat and take off with max inertial dampening and no warp, please."
A moment later a feminine yet robtic voice issued from the ship's speakers. "Understood, User Lucia. ETA, forty-six hours."
Satisfied, Lucia turned back to the Vagabond. "So, now that we're actually off, is there anyplace you'd like to see first? There's several living ares, bedrooms, and bathrooms, and there's also the bridge, tactical roon, and simulation center."
Six characters, written by five alters... What could go wrong?
As the hooded man waited for Lucia, he was stunned at the ship’s voice command feature. To think…technology has come this far—! It truly was astonishing. Unfortunately, things like that went far above his head. I almost forget how long I was gone… Lucia’s voice brought the Vagabond back to reality. ”So, now that we’re actually off, is there anyplace you’d like to see first?” For a moment the man thought, but truly he had no real pref— Wait. D-did…she just say— There was a simulation center?! Is that even possible—? It seemed voice commanded ships weren’t going to be the only astonishment for him on this vessel.
Astounding. To think, an area where one could simulate experiences inside of a spaceship. Just how sci-fi was this getting? The Vagabond coughed a bit, regaining his voice. ”Er—the simulation center sounds…interesting.” He was regaining himself. For a moment he had gotten a little too excited. Despite most technology going over his head—he still knew what a ‘simulation’ was. ”I’m very curious~” With that, the Vagabond straightened himself, waiting patiently for Lucia to lead the way.
Truthfully, beneath the shadows of his deep hood, there was an enthusiastic grin on his face still.
Aillil suddenly shivered when he saw Lews smirk. Despite his efforts to get space between himself and the man holding him, Lews seemed to just hold onto him tighter. Then, Aillil felt the fingers under his chin and audibly shuddered when he was forced to look into those blue-grey eyes that had somehow not changed, despite the passing of the years. The cloaked man was about to protest with another weak excuse of why they shouldn't be together, but then, the phrase in the Old Tongue nearly caused his blood to turn to ice. Before he could react to what was finally starting to come through the bond on Lews's end, Aillil felt their lips touch again. This time, though, there wasn't hesitation on either of their ends, and, before he could really think, their tongues were touching and moving around.
When Lews pulled out of the kiss, Aillil felt the regret and very nearly pulled the man back for another kiss, but, then he realised that he was panting nearly as much as Lews was. Taking a few more breaths and a moment or two to let the words really sink in. He instinctively started rubbing Lews's cheek with his thumb. Then, the worry and paranoia from the taint seemed to kick in again. "I understand, but no. That's not all that matters. This stupid maddness that I spent so long running from found me. I know what other versions of you did to me when you were mad, and, the Light can burn my blood to ashes, but, I won't hurt you. The Pattern has got to be scorning me for playing with the threads so much, because this is the third time I've gotten close enough to you to tell you how I feel, the longer version of it, and yet, if the Pattern hasn't doomed me, then Tamara likely will when she finds me with you like this, because I doubt either of us could go on hiding now."
Aillil very nearly started crying again. His body suddenly felt like it was on fire now, and it ached in a way he didn't know it could. He yearned to be with Lews, which they both clearly knew, but, he couldn't figure out how it all lined up. "I-I need to find Tamara before I can be Healed, because, without her forgiveness, I can't be worthy of such a thing. I left her to die that day, Lews, so I could try to save you right before...that mountain."
At this, the cloaked man really did begin to cry. Thinking of how hard he'd tried, only to fail when it mattered most, mixing with the taint clouding his mind, left Aillil curled in as tight a ball as he could manage while Lews held him. "Mashi,Lews, Inde...Dyumi sora ye mashi asa a'ada'don an cuibeyar, raya dival chalindin, but I'm so afraid of losing you that I feel like a Light-blinded fool for coming in between you and your others whom you love like this." Finally, Aillil stopped crying and his breathing steadied, but he still felt unsure of himself, despite wanting to just keep kissing Lews like he had been before all of the anxiety hit. His heart hammered in his chest, and he felt his eyes moving back and forth rapidly.
Conrí let himself be pulled into Jason's arms, grinning with anticipation at his love's remarks. He blushed slightly when Lucia complimented him and apologised for not being there with him. But, the wolf boy simply shook his head. "No need to apologise, Ma--Lucia. I wouldn't have fallen down too easily, and, I'm grateful that you are able to take pride in my actions." The would be king looked expectantly at Jason and leaned toward his betrothed playfully, "So, are you going to show me how good you are at piloting a ship now?" He winked.
Meanwhile, Éirín had started fidgeting in her chair, clearly trying not to pay attention to what was happening with her bond to Rand. At Jen's kind offer, the wolf girl caught herself nearly exhaling loudly in relief. "Gods, yes, I could definitely use the company and the drink." With that, the priestess stood to her feet and waited for Jen to lead the way to her room as the ship started to take off. It was bound to be an interesting two days, to be sure.
Ailill's words and actions drove a spike of pain through Rand's heart, though he took care to mask it from the bonds. Here he was, finally able to admit his feelings to the man he cared for more than himself, and yet he was apparently powerless to help him when it mattered most.
"So," his tone was sad with a hint of bitterness, "you'd be willing to give up nything we could be, just because of the others?" His hand moved once more, pulling Ailill's chin up to look into his eyes once more. "That isn't like you, Ailill. What you're suggesting isn't like me either, and I'm firmly convinced that if you don't start acting like youself by the time we get there you'll meet the end of Tamara's staff for being an idiot again. She knew about us long before I did, and looking back that camping trip makes a lot more sense now that I realize that."
Jason's laugh was loud enough to surprise even him as he carried Conrí out of the kitchen and into the halls of the ship. Without pausing once he quickly ended up before their room, at which point he gently set his love down with a wink. "I'd gladly carry you over that threshhold, but tradition says we should wait till after the wedding." Still smiling, he walked in and sat on the bed.
Jen blushed slightly as Lucia looked at Éirín in confusion, then at her with a knowing smirk. Standing quickly, she waved at the younger woman to follow her as she dissolved the Telepathy link. "Um, just for future reference when you hear me in your head you can just think at me and I'll hear it."
A moment later they arrived at her room, which was mostly pastel hues other than the dark oak furniture. A bookcase was on one wall, a dresser another, and her king-sized bed against the far wall. To the right of the door was a low counter, behind which was a fully stocked selection of beers, spirits, and liquors.
Hopping behing that, Jen pulled out a tumbler and a few glasses. So, what'cha want?"
Still chuckling, Lucia started down the halls, asuming the Vagabond would follow. "Yeah, after I accidentally broke the sim room back home we redesigned this one to use dimentional magic instead of illusion magic. The downside is that we have to have it monitored by Aura, the A.I. in control of the ship, instead of being able to program it ourselves."
A few seconds -and turns- later they arrived at a reinforced steel door. "Huh, it shouldn't be closed... Frowning, she looked at the screen next to the door to see who might be inside.
The screen showed Mink brandishing their Murgeleis Astraeus against a horde of various Heartless, eyes narrowed in concentration. Three massive tornadoes of fire surrounded them, and as she watched a dozed arrows of Light lanced out into the horde to explode on contact.
Luci took all this in easily, moving to the side slightly to make room for the Vagabond to see if he wished. "Oh, I was wondering where they went. Must still be training some then."
Six characters, written by five alters... What could go wrong?
Following Lucia down the hallway, the Vagabond glanced around as they walked. Apparently the ‘simulation center’ was create by magic rather than science, something the Vagabond found interesting. He never understood ‘magic’. ”The downside is that we have to have it monitored by Aura, the A.I. in control of the ship, instead of being able to program it ourselves.” The last comment caught the Vagabond by surprise. A.I.? Artificial Intelligence? Despite him lacking knowledge around such concepts, he had indeed heard of them. That must have been the voice I heard earlier… What a curious ship indeed.
”Hm…who built this ship, anyway?” The question was half mumbled, though the echo from the hallway aided him in volume. While they turned down the hallway, they came across a large barred door. ”Huh, it shouldn’t be closed…” As Lucia went to inspect the door, the Vagabond glanced behind them. There weren’t any enemies, nor a presence of darkness. Phew…that castle really made me paranoid. He couldn’t truly ignore the twisting feeling in his gut before Lucia moved aside to reveal a small screen.
On the screen was Mink, battling a horde of Heartless on their own. Truthfully, the Vagabond was rather impressed by their display of power. ”Oh, I was wondering where they went. Must still be training then.” His face shrouded by the deep hood he wore, the Vagabond’s expression twisted into one of befuddlement. He would never understand this type of ‘training’. As one who detested fighting, the Vagabond worked to learn how to avoid combat, rather than dive in head first.
Turning a bit towards Lucia, he crossed his arms in thought. ”They seem serious. How old are they, anyway?” The Vagabond wasn’t good at guessing ages or anything like that. Regardless, Mink seemed younger in appearance than himself, which is why he was so surprised at their honed battle prowess. Just how long have they been fighting? By their powerful attacks and the way they executed them without hesitation, he imagined for quite some time. For a moment, a pain in the Vagabond’s heart caused him to avert his gaze from the screen.
The thought of someone fighting since childhood was just…depressing.
Aillil tried to keep himself from hyperventilating when he watched Lews. He knew on some level that what he said when in the throes of the taint that he’d hurt Lews. He wanted to scream and cry in frustration at himself. When he picked up on the tone in the red haired man’s voice, the cloaked man sucked in a sharp breath. He left the question hang in the air for a bit, unsure of how to respond. Then, Lews forced him to meet his eyes again. Aillil wanted to lower his eyes when Lews finished talking, but couldn’t bring himself to.
Suddenly, what had been said about the camping trip clicked in the cloaked man's head. He remembered that the weeklong camping trip had been strange. Tamara forced both he and Lews into their own lodging, separate from hers, then, when that didn't work and made her angry, she stalked off for a day and became absolutely livid when they managed to find her. She made it expressly clear that she was going off for the rest of the trip and wasn't to be followed. ”Lews...I…”
Aillil drew in another breath, wanting to explain everything, but not knowing where to start it all. ”I made a terrible mistake, and, you didn’t see who I became since that mistake. I never wanted to hurt you, but, over the years, that’s what I convinced myself that I’d done.” He needed to take another breath to try and stabalise his heartbeat.
”I’m so sorry. Right after you...were convinced to break up with that bitch of a woman by my hand, I stepped into a portal, and, what I saw there convinced me to stay away from you. You...you broke the world, and then, I had order to uphold, my feelings for you or maybe save the world. One, but never the other.”
The cloaked man paused for a moment, wanting what he’d said to sink in. This talk had been a long time coming, but, he wasn’t sure that he could get through it all right now. Still, the idea of being hit over the head with that staff and the realisation that Lews, of all people, likely deserved the truth, pushed Aillil forward. ”I haven’t acted myself since that day. All those years ago. There’s more. Like the fact that I never was from your world, but, as memory serves, I am basically a demigod from another reality. I...exploited such things to save you and become the closest thing to a Creator your world has.” Once he finished speaking, the cloaked man snuggled closer to Lews, a bit calmer now that most of it was out.
”So, yes, I love you. However, it’s taking everything I have in me to stay here like this. Like I’ve wanted to since we were kids, all because of one misguided decision on my part.” Finally, Aillil whispered, ”Please, just don’t leave me, Lews, because, I’m terrified that you will. I’m scared that I won’t be good enough again and be forced to make another drastic choice.”
Taking one last moment, Aillil cupped his hand under Lews’s chin and pulled him into a kiss, doing his best to push away the invasive thoughts that the corrupted saidin swirled into his head. He held his head still, but allowed his genuine feelings to flow through the bond before deepening the kiss. When he finally couldn’t keep track of what was going on with his tongue, Aillil gently pulled away from Lews, whispering, ”Tusa souvraya shukri.” He closed his eyes and licked his lips before trying to make his plea clearer, ”Drachora mia, graendo.”
Conrí laughed right alongside Jason, stealing a kiss or two as he was carried to their room. When they stopped, the wolf boy needed to steady himself slightly, but he followed his love to the bed and sat next to him. The would be king smiled back at his fiance. “So, is there anything else we should plan for the wedding tonight, or, do you just want to try pinning me to the bed with that gravity spell again?” He winked at Jason, his voice light and playful.
Éirín blushed when she realised her error and simply nodded when she followed Jen down the hall. The wolf girl made it into the room fine enough, but she was trying her best not to just look in the direction of Rand and Aillil’s room. She studied the selection of the bar behind Jen and then smirked deviously. ”Something that’s going to make Rand understand his mistake for not properly making sure things were a little more private before he chased after Aillil.”
The priestess's grin twisted into something slightly darker. "Something that will make him black out drunk through our bond while I remain completely fine."
Rand held Ailill as he listened to his true feelings and reasonings at last. He refrained from interrupting to refute or comment on any, and his patience was rewarded with another kiss.
Then Ailill spoke the Old Tongue, and his request drove everythin else out of his mind. "If you're certain, Ailill. Hold still, please."
Drawing on both untainted saidin and this realm's magic, he Delved Ailill's mind for the taint. Immediately he was struck by the amount of dark thorns pressing into the man's mind, the web both massive and expansive.
Distantly he assured Ailill that he would fix it, and by weaving Light and Healing together he began.
The process was simple enough. Use the Light to pull a thorn away, Heal the spot it was, and hold it in place while he moved to the next. With so many though the process became tedious, and by the end nearly required the maximum amount of flows he could handle unaided.
Nearly thirty minutes passed while he was doing this. Such focus was needed that he barely noticed, and his bond with Éirín was masked to the point of near non-existence. Finally, he removed the last thorn and allowed the web of taint to dissipate with a sigh.
Releasing the Source, he collapsed onto the bed before smiling weakly at the man. "It's done, Ailill. You're free."
Jason didn't even need to think twice about the choice his love had given him. Everything was already planned, and they had just survived something that most people simply wouldn't have. Still, he pretended to agonize over the decision or a moment before breaking character with a grin and a tackle. "I think I'll go with Option C, where I kiss you until you can't think straight. Not that you ever really have, since you're not straight at all." Still grinning, he lowered his lips to the wolf king's.
[colorblue]"Based on what I know of thos ebonds you're gonna have to get just as drunk or more if you want him shitfaced. If that's what you want though,"[/color] Jen's grin turned wicked as she reached not for a professional bottle, but what appeared to be a large mason jar containing a faintly reddish liquid, [color-blue]"the you want Loki. This stuff is the strongest I've got, and tastes great too."[/color]
Pausing for a moment, her smirk only grew. Then she quickly reached for a bottle of whiskey, a bottle of rum, and bottles of five different colors of liquors. With a surprising display of skill she mixed the various alcohols into the tumbler and then glass, layering them as she went. She also drank some of each as she went.
Once the Loki was all that was left, she poured two shots of it. One she drank, while the other she infused some Light into before dropping it into the glass. The tension broken, each of the colored mixes strted to swirl about, somehow not blending but instead giving the drink the appearance of a rainbow light show.
Satisfied, Jen pushed the drink to the other end of the counter, though her words were slurring a bit. "I give you: a Bifrost. Bit of everything, and by the end you'll feel like you've traveled the Nine Realms." Clearly he had consumed more than what was in the glass.
Abruptly she hiccupped and lost contol of her powers for a second. Somehow a Corridor of Darkness opened under her, and she looked surprised before she fell through. The portal closed the instant she was clear.
Sometimes Lucia forgot that her family's life wasn't typical for even other warriors. This was why she looked confused at the Vagabond's tone and aura for a moment, then understood as she remembered thaat fact. "That's a bit complicated, actually. They're from 20 years into the future by now, and they were 15 when they first appeared a month ago. They're timeline had everyone else on this ship die when they were 7 to the god that we killed with their help two weeks ago. That reset their timeline to a peaseful one, but they never forgot their original."
Withour thinking she rubbed the spot where her left arm shifted from flesh and blood to metal and magic.
Six characters, written by five alters... What could go wrong?
The Vagabond listened to Lucia’s explanation, truly dumbfounded. Not only was this conversation beginning to go over his head, but he had just now had affirmation that other timelines did in fact exist. A theory commonly used on his world in sci-fi literature, such a thing actually existing was a little shocking. Guess I shouldn’t be surprised—with everything else that’s happened. Not to mention the fact that a 'God' type being truly seemed to exist. He had never even thought other worlds were a thing before, let alone these types of concepts. Not before going to that place. Shaking off the thought, the Vagabond couldn’t help but stutter out a question on his mind. ”A—god?” He looked over at Lucia, his baffled face shrouded by the hood he wore, though the confusion was thick on his voice.
Just what kind of life have these people been living? The Vagabond’s gaze fell back to the monitor, watching as Mink battled the hordes of Heartless. I guess I’m not the most unfortunate, after all. It was never a thought he had truly believed in, but enjoyed taking solace in from time to time. Unfortunately it seemed like with this family, that was impossible. A pain stabbed through his heart as he thought of it, not of pity but of pure compassion at the thought of Mink having to witness everyone they knew dying. To be plagued with such memories... Having his own painful memories, (of course those ones weren't the ones he was forgetting) the Vagabond felt a sour taste in his mouth as he realized Mink and him might be more similar than he had thought.
He realized he hadn’t spoken in a while. "..." He couldn't muster any words. His voice felt caught in his throat.
Aillil watched Lews closely, then sighed in relief when the red haired man told him to stay still. He wanted to trust Lews, so he nodded his head and remained extremely still when he noticed his love embrace both forms of the Source. The cloaked man shivered with cold when he felt the Healing start. He still focused on being still and then suppressed a scream when it felt like something was being plucked out of his mind. Aillil groaned slightly at the second tugging, but he started to feel lighter and more like himself. He decided to lend some of his energy to Lews as soon as he felt up to it.
The pulling dulled ever so slightly over the next few moments, and, for once, time seemed to be nonexistent to the cloaked man. When Lews finally finished, he laid back in the bed, and Aillil collapsed alongside him, panting heavily. ”Thank you, and I’m sorry for taxing you so, raya dival.”
The cloaked man’s stomach roared loudly, and he grinned sheepishly. ”Should we eat something?” he asked as he picked up the plate of lafras. ”I don’t know if that will be enough, though. Also, do I get to sleep next to you until we get there?” For once, he felt like a child snuggling up to his first crush again.
Conrí grinned when Jason presented him with the third option. He laughed at the quip, then responded with his own, “Oh, well, if I can’t think straight, I can’t imagine what you think like, considering that you’re the reason why I found out I’m not straight to begin with.” Somewhat satisfied with his comeback, he pressed his lips against Jason’s.
Éirín watched Jen with equal parts amasement and horror. She wondered just how much the woman could drink, then realised that she was likely going to have to drink whatever was presented to her. The wolf girl suddenly felt that Rand was focusing on something way too intently. She didn’t blush, and, once the drink was presented to her, that focus was replaced with exhaustion.
The priestess was just about to tell Jen what was going on, when, suddenly, the woman just vanished with a surprised look on her face. The goddess tapped the bar, somewhat worried about everything going on, but then reasoned that Jen would likely be okay and decided to chug the drink like a shot. The Bifrost was sweet, cool, sour, and somewhat spicy as it slid down her throat. The burn she was expecting never came, and, Éirín started to wonder if there was any alcohol in the drink at all, until a few moments later, the world started to spin. She drunkenly staggered over to an empty bed and nearly fell asleep on the spot.
Tired as he was, Rand couldn't help but chuckle at Ailill's stomach as he sat up with a soft grunt. "Still thinking with you're stomach, I see." He had always been amused by that, though his mirth was overshadowed by nostalgia and relief at getting his old friend truly back.
His mirth shifted into amazement as he looked at the lafras. "How did the Fae managed to get these so perfect? I can understand learnng the recipe, but you remember how far that got us!"
He suddenly felt something through the bond he shred with Éirín, but moment later the only thing he felt was her asleep. Confused, he chose to ignore it, trusting that she would be safe here of all places.
Abruptly Lucia noticed the Vagabond's reaction to her words. Guilt filled her as she ralized what was happening, and her voice dropped as she apologized. "I'm sorry. I've lived with this for long enough that these things seem normal when they're anything but."
She allowed her facade to drop, fainlly revealing the worry, pain, and tiredness in her body and eyes as she gently placed her hand on her stomach. "We've all lost people we cared about this past month. I lost my arm too. On top of that, Mink exists both in that room and right here." She patted her stomach lightly.
"Jen and I are both pregnant, though our powers are protecting us for now. But in the next few days those will fade , and we'll be powerless until a few days after birth. I'm terrified that something will happen during that year. Not to mention that I just took on three Keyblade Apprentices, and want to help you too." She scoffed bitterly. "Some Master I am."
Six characters, written by five alters... What could go wrong?
Lucia’s sudden apology took the Vagabond by surprised. What surprised him even more was her sudden guard dropping, revealing the turmoil and pressure of everything she had been enduring lately. What surprised him further was that Lucia was pregnant—with none other than Mink themselves. Glancing back towards the monitor that displayed them fighting in the simulation chamber, the Vagabond wondered what effects two of the same people existing within the same reality would have.
”I’m terrified that something will happen during that year. Not to mention that I just took on three Keyblade Apprentices, and want to help you too.” This woman certainly was shouldering countless responsibilities, burdening her without mercy. ”Some Master I am.” At this comment, the Vagabond turned back towards Lucia, shaking his head as he sighed. ”You should feel some responsibility, but don't beat yourself up over it.“ His tone wasn’t condescending, just sad. Resting a hand on Lucia’s shoulder, the Vagabond pointed at her with his free hand. ”As for what lies ahead—”
Releasing the woman’s shoulder, the Vagabond rested his hands on his hips, his shrouded gaze a mystery. ”You certainly are taking on a bit too many tasks, it sounds like—“ His tone wasn’t one of scorn or judgement, but held a slight hint of compassion. ”—but you don’t sound like you’re giving up~” The Vagabond pointed once more at Lucia, his tone playful and carefree. ”I suppose since you’re allowing me to add to your burdens, the least I could do is take on some of yours.” The Vagabond offered the hand he had extended for a handshake, the sealing of a bargain.
”How ‘bout it—we can help each other with these weights we’re carrying.”
Aillil smirked at Lews's quip. His mouth started to water when he looked at the fried dumplings. His stomach growled again. "Light, Lews, I just had my brain messed with. I'm allowed to be hungry, burn it." He playfully snatched both of the dumplings away from his friend. He felt like a child again, in some ways, especially when he threw one into his mouth without thinking and held the other behind his back. "They seem to have knowlege of the future, as they mentioned you, me, and Tamara all recreating lafras, which we clearly haven't done yet."
"Jus' becawse I'm hungee dozent mean I can' fink with other parts a me." The cloaked man swallowed his food after his return quip and chuckled. He caught himself staring at Lews, thinking about how the red haired man still looked somewhat like the person Aillil had known, and then, with a start, felt heat rise in his cheeks. "I-if you want the other lafras, it's going to have to cost you something." Despite his sudden bashfulness, Aillil found himself giving Lews a devilish smile.
Éirín forced herself to stay awake after what had to have been a short nap. She still felt the room tilt, even though she was lying down. Still, she wanted to make sure she could have a laugh about this later. She staggered toward where Jen had been and tried to recreate another Bifrost for herself.
The wolf girl wondered when Jen would be back, then hoped she wouldn't be too mad when the spilled liqour was seen. She sighed, frustrated that she'd chugged the first one amd decided to take twice as long with this one. It didn't look as pretty as Jen's, but it would do the trick. As she drank, the room did more than tilt. Once she finished, she started to stagger out of the room and followed what sounded like sobbing, until she found Lucia and the Vagabond outside a steel door. "Yo, Luza, waz up? Do I needta do to ya what Jen did ta me?"
The implications of Mink holding even more knowledge of the future than they let on was too much for Rand to concider at the moment. Instead, he chose to focus on the more immediate issue of getting the other lafras from Ailill.
"Something, hmm?" His smirk grew as he stood and moved toward his refound crush, movements deliberately sensual. "Well, I can think of a few things to pay you with..."
He trailed off as he felt what could only be Éirín waking up again. Suddenly the sensatio of far too much alchohol even for him came through the bond, and he swayed dangerously before steadying himself on the closest thing to him.
Of course, that thing happened to be Ailill's shoulders.
Words slurring, Rand attempted to apologize. "S'ry 'lill. Éirín must've had m're to drink than she could h'ndle 'nd it's makin' me drunk too." Somehow he found that fact hilarious, and his laughter nearly toppled him over even with his hands on Ailill's shoulders.
Normally Lucia would have been mortified to let anyone outside of her family see her cry. She hadn't even been able to cry for most things her entire life until four years ago. Yet, not only did she not mind now, she actually took comfort in the fact that both the Vagabond and Éirín were trying to comfort her.
Smiling undsteadily, she tried to calm herself as she wiped the tears from her eyes and responded to the man before her. "Thanks, Vagabond. That means a lot, and I'll take you up on that. Sorry about the crying. I've been more prone to it since I transitioned to this body and wasn't under the whole 'tought guys don't cry' BS anymore."
THen she turned to Éirín and finally noticed the state she was in. "Éirín! Why are you completely pissed?" She snapped her fingers as a thought came to her. "It's Rand and Ailill, isn't it. Come on, let's finish showing the Vagabond around and then we can talk about it, okay? I know a thing or two about polyamorous relationships."
Putting her hand on the girl's shoulder, Lucia turned to the man again. "Anyhow, I doubt Mink will be done any time soon. Is there anywhere else you'd like to see?"
Six characters, written by five alters... What could go wrong?
Conrí: Okay. *cracks knuckles* I looked over things! I'm likely off to get tea and food, and then, I'll try to...y'know, be a decent student, lol.
Mar 7, 2019 17:12:26 GMT -5
Conrí: But, I'm so happy about all the new activity! Great job on such thoughtful characters, everyone! They will be fun to RP with.
Mar 7, 2019 17:13:25 GMT -5
Mega: *dances in celebration*
Mar 7, 2019 20:27:47 GMT -5
straxeragous: so, a while back Hood and i were on another kh rp site on devientart. and we may have sent this places link to our friends that we still keep in touch with so they can join.
Mar 8, 2019 0:52:56 GMT -5
Conrí: Awesome! Thanks, Hood and Strax!
Mar 8, 2019 10:32:04 GMT -5
Alma Taschner: Been a long while since I did stuff here. Currently considering the idea of coming back and making a new character.
Mar 19, 2019 0:32:43 GMT -5
Alma Taschner: I know I won't be using this old version of Alma if I do.
Mar 19, 2019 0:34:13 GMT -5