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    Questions and Answers

    Vandrad Ragnos
    Vandrad Ragnos

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Traveller of the Multiverse
    Position : None
    Posts : 297
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,652,438

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Energy Monarch
    Second Magic: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Magic:

    Questions and Answers - Page 2 Empty Re: Questions and Answers

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos on Thu 28 May 2020 - 21:04

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Questions and Answers - Page 2 RJtajUnz_o

    Vandrad wasn’t sure what kind of answer was going to come his way. Mercury had been far more receptive to his questions and talking about where she had come from in recent weeks but he wasn’t sure if this was in the dangerous territory she always alluded to. Considering how she had reacted from the moment she was injured, he believed that the waters were quite thick with peril. So he could understand if she opted to just shut down and refuse to answer anything further. It was still her life and even with startling revelations being obvious, she didn’t have to answer anything she didn’t want to. And considering how he had already bungled trying to ease her worries and subvert her panic, he imagined the last thing she wanted to do was open up to him.

    But he still made a conscious effort to explain how he was feeling, as pitiful as it sounded. The Prince had never sounded less sure of himself or obstinate against his feelings. He was in the thick of an emotional whirlpool, all while trying to keep a level head as she was the one that was injured after all. If he could at least make her understand what he had been doing, then he’d be fine. If this is where their partnership had progressed to, only to end, at least he would know that he’d managed to explain his reasoning for his words. He awaited her thoughts, as she processed everything that had happened in the last full hour. When she finally did speak, she assured him that physically she would be fine; her body was capable of healing injuries of that nature quick enough. Yet she continued, opening herself up and admitting that in the grander schemes of things, she wasn’t going to be fine. Before he even thought it, she explained that it wasn’t his fault, as it involved her nature from far before they had even met one another.

    She seemed to still be toiling away at her explanation, trying to find some kind of starting point and building from there. Vandrad still wasn’t sure how much information she was going to willingly give, despite the discovery of her anatomy. His inclination was to believe that if she gave him anything, it would be semi-detailed but fully lacking complete and utter exposure. She spoke up once more, diving right in and naming the place of her origin; a planet called Xocil. It wasn’t that simple though -- apparently her home world had been destroyed before she was even born, overrun by an invading force. Her race became game for the invaders, brought to the cusp of being extinguished. By the time she was born, none of her family was in the picture. Mercury had somehow managed to survive, claiming that even at a year old, she had ‘slipped through the cracks’.

    There was a lot there to unpack, no more so than the idea that she had seemingly subverted the rest of her species's extinction almost by luck. It wasn’t impossible -- a lot of instances similar to that occurred with mere chance and fortune provided what would otherwise be considered a miracle. But it didn’t sit right in his stomach; if anything, it felt like she was giving him a blanket cover to appease his curiosity but a lot of other details were hidden. That was fine with him; not because he didn’t want to know more but, even now, he understood there were parts she couldn’t talk about. Her revelation of her not being okay overall made him understand that the danger of her situation wasn’t just in hiding her race. It just happened to be a tipping point that would, more than likely, determine her fate. And she didn’t have quite the positive outlook on it.

    Her continued words only backed up that feeling. She explained that growing up had been akin to participating in war. There was no place to run or hide to and anyone that offered salvation was swiftly dealt with. She believed that there were more of her kind but she’d never encountered them. And the finality of her last sentence, the belief that time was the only hindrance to her and her people’s ends, spoke on a grander scale. She spoke as if her life was without a deeper meaning -- or rather, her growth and development had been purposeful based on outside definition. Vandrad was no stranger to hearing that kind of bleak view of the world; it was a notion that slavers beat into the enslaved to force them to understand their world. Granted, he didn’t completely commit to that conclusion -- it was entirely possible that the death of her race had painted a hopeless future for her as well. But her words, from every open, emotional interaction they had ever had, were piecing together slowly in his head. The notion that she was an alien of a dying breed were quite the large fragments to fit but they helped better paint the image of Mercury, the woman beneath the mask.

    He would never force her to explain more than she wanted or needed to. He wanted to know more -- the way he avidly and intently listened to her every time she spoke was enough evidence that he was intrigued. But until her wall was open enough to accept him fully, he wouldn’t push the limits of his queries into an uncomfortable place. He could tell that lying to him put a burden on her and she said as much a moment later, though she clarified that that was a learned aspect and hadn’t been present from the beginning. She had never meant to have any attachments while on Earthland, their continuous adventures merely a circumstance of entertainment for her. She had realized that his abilities offered her opportunities to complete tasks she needed finished and the added benefit of getting on his nerves had cemented her goal to pursue him in amusement.

    Her emotions were acting up again; he could feel them ebbing off of her, as well as the slight tinge in her voice as she spoke. Rather than becoming just a fleeting memory in her life, he had persisted -- remaining far longer than anyone else had. He’d been several reasons to cast her aside or just outright kill her and yet here they were, still working together and certainly not dead. In the end, he had become a staple in her life, which made it all the harder to continue lying to him. If she had told him the truth, if she had let down her guard, then he would be at far more risk than he already was. She should have pushed him away months before it got to the point they were at the moment.

    Yet she couldn’t -- she had absolutely no desire to distance herself from him. Once she’d come to grips with how she felt, their bond was too strong to break. But she couldn’t tell him that she was an alien, because then everything would change and she was enjoying the ride too much. Now that he knew, she was convinced that everything they had, everything they were, was going to become different or, as she put it, be lost altogether. It was a defeatist way of looking at things that once again spoke volumes to her tragic past.

    Slowly, after a moment, Vandrad walked over and sat himself down on the bed, as close to her as he could get without invading her proximity. He set down his armor, his devices, the new clothes -- all of it wound up on the floor in a small stack. "You may recall that I tried to kick you to the curb, did tell you to get lost and tried to kill you, almost all at the same time,” he said softly, a mild-mannered joke despite the fact that he spoke it with full, serious honesty. "I continually fought against you remaining in my life as well, unwilling to let you breach my defenses and determined to rid myself of you. I failed at doing that and frankly, I’ve had a few moments of self-hate over my failure of it all. But I wouldn’t trade this bond for anything else in the world now.”

    "I’m not going to pretend to understand the ramifications of this discovery -- but I can imagine they are steep, based on what you’re saying. But I refuse to accept that you won’t be okay moving forward. Not that I don’t believe you nor respect the walls you have up but frankly, whatever problem you have is my problem as well. It’s the result of you forcing yourself into my life and attempting to use me for your own benefit. Now you’ve caught a reliable ally that will stand with you until the end. I’m not an idiot, Mercury -- I know what your intentions were. And if we’re being honest, all I was doing was using you to try and better myself. I even told you as much. This… bond wasn’t built on a stable beginning like many others are. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t viable; I would argue that it’s even more so.”

    He took a moment to correlate his thoughts before he continued. "I don’t know what changes are coming because I imagine they are coming from beyond the veil of this world. But you’re not going to lose this, us. If anyone tries to take it away, then we’ll just kill them like we do any other enemy that’s come against us. I know that is a shrewd and bullheaded way to look at things but I stand by it. I’ll fight for this. I’ll fight for you.” Finally, after what felt like eons, he managed to lift his gaze from the ground and look at her face. "Together we’ll weather whatever comes our way. And we’ll be stronger for it.”







    Words: 1679 / 8238 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 259
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,649,162

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Gunblade Master
    Second Magic: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Magic:

    Questions and Answers - Page 2 Empty Re: Questions and Answers

    Post by Mercury Arseneault on Mon 1 Jun 2020 - 17:40

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Hope was a fleeting feeling, or so Mercury had learned throughout her life. The few times when she was younger that she had attempted to find the silver linings in her life despite her circumstances, they had been swiftly cut from her. The Nazru had done an excellent job in conditioning her to fear them, to respond and live her life under the thought of their constant tyranny with subservience. That was greatly in part to the fact that they had captured her at such a young age. The Xocili people aged rather quickly, reaching adolescence at eight years and adulthood at sixteen -- though once they hit adulthood, they lived for hundreds if not thousands of years, barring tragedy. So even though Mercury had only been a little over a year old when they found her, she was further along cognitively than most species were. Old enough to listen and understand, learn and obey, but not quite old enough to really be forming her own decisions or interpret the greater ramifications of what was happening to her.

    And because of that, she had rather easily been molded into the perfect tool, manipulated into believing that she was helpless against her fate and powerless against those who had taken away any future she might have otherwise had. So very quickly she had learned to let go of the notion that things would ever get better, because it was easier to endure it in resignation than to get her hopes up only to come crashing back down. Here on Earthland, though -- outside of the immediate watching eye of her superiors -- she’d been able to relax and go a little wild for the first time in her life. To actually live and not just exist, even if only temporarily. Mercury had let the sense of freedom go to her head, and had gotten attached not just to Vandrad but to the planet itself. Silver Wolf was the closest thing to a stable and secure home she’d ever had, outside of the one that Themesycia had given her in Bellum, which she hadn’t really gotten the chance to spend much time at yet. But she’d still been here long enough to get comfortable, and now reality was crashing back down around her.

    She spoke at length about some of the more disheartening parts of her past, giving him insight into the true nature of her atmosphere growing up, and in typical Vandrad fashion he remained silent throughout, listening intently to what she had to say. Mercury had never felt so exposed before, which was saying a lot. For a moment after she finished, he didn’t say anything. What would he say? She’d probably be stumped in his shoes. She certainly had been when his mother told her about his own past. But soon enough he moved over to her, sitting on the bed near her and relieving himself of the burden of his clothing and gear. Mercury didn’t shy away from him. If anything, she was happy that he had moved close, but she still didn’t have the guts to look up at him yet.

    When he did start talking, he reminded her of the time he very well did try to kill her and get her to leave him alone. Despite the seriousness of the topic, there was some light humor to it as there generally was whenever the subject was brought up between them. But Vandrad reiterated that he’d fought pretty hard to keep her out of his life, both physically and emotionally. He’d failed to do so, and admitted there were moments where he wished he had been more successful, but that was a fleeting feeling at best. He valued the relationship they had and wouldn’t give it up for anything. He didn’t know what laid ahead for them now that her secret was out -- or at least, one of her secrets -- but he did believe that her dejected outlook on her future wasn’t the only type of future she might have in store for her. Not now that he was in her life to help her overcome those obstacles.

    The prince knew what her intentions with him had been at the start. He wasn’t an idiot, and she knew that. She’d known it since the beginning. But his intentions at first really hadn’t been any better than hers had. Whatever their relationship was, it had not started out even remotely healthy or stable. There was no reason either of them should have reached this point of emotional intimacy or trust. But they were still here nonetheless, and Vandrad had no intentions on backing down from helping her live a full and free life. Her problems were his problems now, as far as he was concerned, and that was just the price she had to pay for shoving herself into his life to begin with. He didn’t know what lay ahead for them, but he told her with certainty that she wasn’t going to lose him. Not over this. In fact, he told her that if anyone tried to take it from them, they’d just kill them. An aggressive stance, but not one without merit or efficiency.

    Mercury knew that level of bluster would only get them so far. Unfortunately, the Nazru were nothing like what he’d ever faced on Earthland, and there was no way that she could get into those kinds of details without revealing what few bits of vulnerability and secrets she had left…. But it was a nice thought. Even if she believed that their chances would be slim at best, Mercury couldn’t deny that it meant everything to her to have someone so firmly in her corner, so willing to lay everything on the line to keep her safe and happy. To have someone that would, as he said, fight for her. She felt him look up at her toward the end, and he informed her that no matter what came to pass because of her history, they would face it together and grow together.

    Finally, Mercury found the strength to turn her face slowly up to meet his, her emerald eyes searching to validate the sincerity of his words and promises. Not that she was suspicious he was lying, because there was no wariness in her gaze. If anything, it was more a look of… pleading. A yearning for hope for things she’d never been able to have, things she’d never believed she’d find for herself. Mercury wanted everything that he was telling her could be, wanted the free and happy future that he seemed determined she could have, but was afraid to let herself reach for those things and risk being disappointed. And while they very much could try, and fail, as she met his gaze and allowed herself the chance to finally look at him for the first time since she’d gotten hurt, Mercury could see the staunch refusal to back down in his expression, his genuine desire to be by her side and to fight not just for her life but for her happiness.

    And despite everything, despite her fears and her hardships and the overwhelming reality of her existence that she’d still yet to tell him, it felt good. If anything, Mercury was surprised by how relieving it was for him to know the truth, if not all of it. It was a big step for her, a scary one that had been forced on her through circumstance, but there was something comforting in the fact that he knew exactly what she was and had no interest in rejecting her or treating her any differently. The barest of smiles touched her lips, but it was the most genuine expression of contentment that he would have seen from her to date. “Thank you, Vandrad,” she told him softly. There was nothing else she could really say, and if there was she certainly didn’t know the words. Somehow, she felt that he wouldn’t be bothered by her simple response.

    A bit of silence followed, but this time it was much more comfortable than the previous ones. The tension in the air had loosened considerably, even after Mercury pulled her gaze away once more. Her eyes caught the window and the sun that was quickly fading in the distance. It was still light out but not for much longer. Vandrad would probably have to be leaving soon if he wanted to make it home before it got too late. The thought sent a small pang of sadness through her, an obvious note against the rest of her emotions that had managed to calm themselves down. She didn’t want him to leave, yet. She didn’t want to be alone. Vandrad made her feel like everything was going to be okay, and as long as he was there she knew all her negative thoughts would be kept at bay. Once she was alone, though… It would be much more difficult to fight the darkness back.

    “It’s getting late,” Mercury told him softly. Turning back to him, she shyly said, “You can stay, if you want. We have a lot of really nice guest rooms… Or you’re welcome to… stay in here, too. With me. My bed is a little smaller than yours…” Her voice trailed off for a second, stopping herself from rambling. A slight blush rose to her cheeks. This was a lot harder to bring up than she’d anticipated. “You don’t have to stay if you don’t want to. N-not that I’m kicking you out. You can stay as long as you want, I don’t want you to feel like I’m…” Well, so much for not rambling. She closed her eyes with a slight sigh. At this point it would be less of an embarrassment to just say what she wanted.

    “You don’t have to… but I would be happy if you stayed.”

    WORDS: 1670/9938 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Vandrad Ragnos
    Vandrad Ragnos

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Traveller of the Multiverse
    Position : None
    Posts : 297
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,652,438

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Energy Monarch
    Second Magic: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Magic:

    Questions and Answers - Page 2 Empty Re: Questions and Answers

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos on Tue 2 Jun 2020 - 6:09

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Questions and Answers - Page 2 RJtajUnz_o

    There was nothing in the world that Vandrad truly feared, besides the insecurities that fed his entire background. Occasionally they would seep up when moments of great stress came upon him, such as only moments ago as he wrestled with his own self worth. The memories of his grandmother were so well and defined in his head that they truly had taken the form of an ethereal voice, constantly ready to speak up when given the opportunity. She haunted him most of the time in quiet indignation, invisibly staring at him from over his shoulder and judging everything he did. Even now he could feel her gaze at the back of his head, her upturned nose and sneer directed towards his very being. He distracted himself from it most of the day by keeping himself busy, losing himself in training and jobs and whatever else he could take on.

    But when Mercury was around, he found that voice muted. True, she had been the primary source of two great moments of weakness where she had managed to sneak in and whisper insults to him but that was expected, after he had let his defenses down and let her inside. She was an important part of his life now and because of that, he was bound to experience emotional episodes -- much to his chagrin. It would be a lot easier if he could just ignore her and push her out but by now, she had rooted herself into his being and into his family. Ousting her would be as easy as cutting his own arm off with a butter knife and that was even if he wanted her gone, which he didn’t.

    Yet he was conscious and aware of the fact that Mercury was, herself, quite afraid in the moment of weakness they were both stuck in. It wasn’t just that a secret of hers had gotten out but it was clearly something that she knew no one was supposed to know. It was so well guarded that the slightest slip of such pivotal information changed her entire emotional status. She had panicked, trying to hide her body from him. When she had explained herself, she had done so by revealing that her race was all but extinct. There were details that were true, yes -- but they all didn’t fit together right. She was intentionally leaving out information, from what he could gather -- giving out some truths to distract from deeper ones. It was a tactic that he had seen plenty of people use during war; making a small sacrifice to save the greater revelation. His belief that perhaps she was more akin to a slave seemed to harden further but without confirmation, without her telling him as such, he couldn’t pin that as a guarantee. But in the end, all that really would cause in him was a desire to free her, to give her the chance to escape her bonds and truly live her life to the fullest. She seemed to believe that there was so much of life that she wasn’t meant for -- all he wanted to do was show how untrue that was.

    He would have to wait to truly push her in that direction fully but he could take small steps. The biggest one was letting her know that, no matter what, he was on her side and right there with her. He knew nothing of whatever danger lay in the stars beyond their world or what had already infiltrated their planet but he was confident that together, they could overcome it. Vandrad was made stronger by her and he liked to think that he reciprocated that feeling in her as well. With a partnership as bonded as theirs and their singular, magical strengths -- there was very little they couldn’t accomplish. He expressed as much to her, trying his best to find a verbal path that would give her the best assurance, despite his inability to weave poetic words like others. Vandrad never claimed to be a scholar but he was a simple, honest man and he spoke as true to his heart and beliefs as anyone could. And luckily, it seemed to work; the smallest smile she had ever shown came to her lips, as his words instilled a sense of confidence and belief in her. She thanked him for his dedication and he gave her a soft nod. Then, thinking better of the motion, he reached out and slid his hand into hers, weaving his fingers among hers and holding it whole-heartedly.

    Quietness followed the exchange of words, as he continued to hold her hand in his. The hour was the last thing on his mind, as he wondered to himself what he could do to help her further. No doubt the heavy revelation from the day was still going to weigh on her mind, at least for a little while. One of her most guarded secrets had been literally torn open for him to see, providing him a peek past the curtain. Not only was it terrifying for her but it must have been terribly embarrassing as well, the Prince not providing much help by trying to lighten the mood. He was still pondering on that thought as she spoke up once more, pointing out that the day was starting to wane. Indeed, as he glanced out the window, he could see that the sun was already starting to sink below the horizon. On his stare, she told him that he was welcome to stay, as Silver Wolf had a bevy of guest rooms he could use. If that wasn’t appealing, she offered him the chance to stay in her room with her, though she remarked that her bed wasn’t nearly as large as his. She stopped there, clearly trying to work herself through her thoughts as he stared at her, wide-eyed. She countered again, saying he didn’t have to stay if he didn’t want to but she wasn’t kicking him out, he was welcome to stay as long as he wanted and on she went before she cut herself off.

    Gods, she was still a mess. Though he refused to say it outloud, he did find the display adorable in a sweet, shy kind of sense. Mercury so often wasn’t timid so when she had moments of it, it was precious and… cute. He absolutely hated that he found it as such but the fact remained that he did. After sighing and deciding to throw caution to the wind, she finished her thought by stating he didn’t need to stay but she would like him to. "I wasn’t planning on leaving unless you asked me to anyways,” he answered her rambling simply, giving her a reassuring squeeze on the hand. The trauma she had gone through wasn’t easily rectified so he had planned on keeping her company until she told him she was good. It seemed that his staying there would be the better alternative anyways. That worked fine with him.

    After all, something had been churning him, seeded from his previous internal debate. Given how much she had been forced to open up to him, he was weighing just how much he was willing to repay her kind. There was a lot about his life she knew -- and arguably more than he even understood -- but there were still things he had kept close to the chest, unwilling to talk to anybody about. It still wasn’t a topic that he lightly thought of and one that he had locked away and refused to vocalize since its occurrence. But seeing as he’d been given a hefty, eye-opening glimpse into her world and brought her inner truth to the surface, there didn’t seem any reason for him not to show  the same kind of exposure.

    "My scars,” he said softly, making it obvious that he was changing the topic to something else. His tone was soft and low, a lot of his normal confidence gone and a tinge of vulnerability taking its place. "All of my life, people that have seen them believed they were from battles or wars or enemies. And I was happy to let them think so -- I never discussed them beyond a mere sentence or two relaying that same idea.” He took a deep breath slowly through his nostrils as he prepared himself, unlocking the mental chest and cracking it open to bathe himself in the dark memories. "The truth is they are wounds that were inflicted at the hands of my grandmother. When I was young, somewhere in my early years, Themesycia was greatly involved in the politics of the Bellum court. She was also an officer within the military, an honored soldier within the ranks of the magic army. My father was back here in Fiore, living his life without the knowledge of my existence. Taking care of me was left up to a woman named Yuna Beneluve, an employee of my family with whom my mother intended to marry. She was a… lovely human being. She cared for me as if I was her own child and truthfully, even at that age, I was excited over the prospect of her being my mother. But she was sentimental and couldn’t see the darkness in people. When my grandmother wanted to spend time with me, she found ways to convince Yuna I’d be fine in her care. And when we were alone… she abused me. She used her magic, some kind of… manipulation magic, to tie me up with rope. She would cut me with knives while she insulted me -- calling me weak, pathetic, a useless cur that polluted the family name. Then when she was done, she would cast a spell over me to hide the injuries, threatening me with worse violence if I ever spoke a word of it.”

    His head dropped slightly in shame. "I was too young and too stupid to stand up for myself. I was terrified of her and no matter what I did, the beatings kept coming. But one day Yuna came to check on us -- something willed her to find me out. And when she found me tied up and bleeding, she lost her mind. She screamed for Simon as she launched herself at my grandmother, tackling her and wrestling with her. My uncle managed to get me untangled and started to leave but I wiggled free of him. For the first time in my life, I was scared for someone else’s life beyond my own. I knew that witch would find a way to win and when she got her opportunity, she pulled a sword from the wall and stabbed Yuna with it. She was dead before she hit the ground and I just… lost it.”

    He sighed softly. "I remember Simon shaking me awake. When I looked around, I saw a hole in the wall and my grandmother was gone. Somehow I knew that I had done something, that I had created that hole and attacked her. I even could feel that she was dead. And it felt good -- it felt right that she had been punished for her actions. But it also hurt worse than anything in the world, knowing that I had the potential to stop her and only realized it after Yuna had been murdered. My grandmother was right; I was weak and pathetic. So after that I strove to never be that idiot child again. I would make myself strong through any means possible and anyone that dared to test me would meet a poor end.”

    He turned his head up to look at her once more. "There are ways to remove scars through magic but I wanted to keep them. They are a reminder of what I once was and what I can’t be again.” Vandrad seemed like he was going to leave it there but his eyes fell to the bed. "Sometimes I… still hear her. In moments when my defenses are weak. Her voice still echoes in my head, reminding me of all the things she used to call me. I block her out most of the time but there are brief, fleeting moments she’s able to break free. I don’t… feel her as strongly when I’m with you. You keep her away.” He swallowed softly and gave a small shake of his head. "I just wanted you to… know that. I haven’t told anyone else ever about this but… I felt like you deserve it. You’re my closest ally -- you should know everything about it.”







    Words: 2125 / 10,363 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 259
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,649,162

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Gunblade Master
    Second Magic: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Magic:

    Questions and Answers - Page 2 Empty Re: Questions and Answers

    Post by Mercury Arseneault on Fri 5 Jun 2020 - 19:59

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Mercury wasn’t necessarily surprised when he reached over and took her hand, slipping his fingers between hers and holding it in earnest. It was an innocent display of intimacy that neither of them had yet to really broach with each other. They had certainly held hands before, but it had always ever been while engaging one another sexually or in trying not to get lost through a crowd. They’d never really held hands just for the sake of doing so. At the same time, the small moments of tenderness that they had shared in the past were filled with so much sincerity and caring that this new display didn’t really catch her off guard. And if anything, she needed it. Her trepidation settled a fair bit more at the reassurance of his touch, her hand squeezing his not just in appreciation but with a need to maintain that physical connection with him.

    Luckily, it seemed he had no intention of pulling his hand away, continuing to hold hers even through the soft silence that followed, as well as through her making an absolute ass of herself by bumbling over her attempt to invite him to stay. It was rare for Mercury to be so flustered that she lost her ability to speak clearly, let alone to blush, but the whole experience from the day had shaken her pretty greatly and she was well off her game. Thankfully, he elected not to tease her about it. Instead, once she finally worked up the courage to just admit that she wanted him to stay with her, Vandrad simply told her that he hadn’t planned on leaving anyway unless she asked him to. The comment was followed by the tightening of his hold on her, and her smile grew the littlest bit.

    She was more than happy just to sit with him at that point, feeling much lighter and at ease than she had in a really long time. Really, since any time she could remember in her life. Despite the fact that the choice to do so had been ripped from her control, there was something relieving about clearing the air with him regarding what she really was. Or at least, most of it. She really didn’t need anything more from him than what he was already giving her, and was content at that point to try and move on. Vandrad, however, had more on his mind. Mercury was about to suggest watching a movie or something else on the relaxing side, when he spoke up again, changing the subject to something that was completely unexpected to her: his scars.

    His tone was gentler and less confident than it had been a moment ago, causing Mercury to frown in concern. Though she probably should have realized right away where this conversation was about to go, she wasn’t thinking straight at the moment. That, and she had no idea of the history of his scars. It wasn’t until he started telling her that the marks weren’t from battle like he let most people believe that a sinking sensation began to settle slowly on the woman. Mercury had never really thought very much about the marks, assuming -- as everyone else had -- that they were simply part of his life as a soldier. Even after Themesycia had told her of her mother’s cruelty to him as a child, it hadn’t been a connection that she had put together. Afterall, the duchess had never really gone into detail about how Vandrad had been abused, just that he had been.

    So when the prince admitted that the scars were, in fact, from his grandmother, Mercury felt like her stomach had dropped out of her body. A wave of ice washed over her and there was no mistaking the look of shock on her face as the truth hit her, which thankfully would be true of anyone reacting to such news even without him realizing that she already knew most of what had happened. He would probably just assume that her response was simply from the knowledge that his own flesh and blood had abused him, which wasn’t untrue. Mercury really hadn’t known the scars’ origins, so her surprise was certainly genuine. Still, she kept her mouth shut and her eyes on him attentively as he got into the story for her from his own perspective.

    He told her about the status of both his parents at the time of his youth, and how that had led to Yuna being his caregiver. He reiterated for her that the woman worked for his family, but his mother was in love with her and they intended to be married at some point. Even now, Vandrad could easily recall how fond he had been of Yuna and how much he had looked forward to her being an official mother in his life. But even at his young age, he knew that the woman was too trusting. Or perhaps it was a truth that had occurred to him later in life as he matured. Either way, he explained that his grandmother would often find ways to convince Yuna that he would be safe in her own care while Yuna attended other matters.

    Vandrad went into a little more detail than Themesycia had, explaining that the woman had used a style of manipulation magic to restrain him while cutting him with both knives and insults that he surely wasn’t capable of compartmentalizing at that age. And to top it off, she would hide the marks afterward and tell him that the abuse would be worse if he talked to anyone about it. Mercury drew in a sharp breath of indignation at knowledge, stunned to anger that anyone would treat their own family that way, especially a child. Otherwise, she continued to let him talk without interruption as he explained that it was during one of those times Yuna had felt compelled to check on him and caught the woman in the act. She’d screamed for Simon and attacked Themesycia’s mother without hesitation, and it had cost her her life.

    Watching Yuna be impaled was the last thing Vandrad remembered before he blacked out, waking to Simon shaking him and a hole in the wall where his grandmother once was. He knew immediately that he had killed her, and even at that age was glad that he had done so. But with it had come a deep seeded guilt over the fact that if he had just stood up for himself sooner, perhaps Yuna wouldn’t have had to lose her life to save him. It had been enough to cement in him that his grandmother’s words about his weakness were right, and he’d devoted his entire life to never being so stupid ever again, to being so strong that he could overcome anyone who dared to challenge him. Even for a woman who had grown up under constant oppression, it was a heartbreaking motivation to live by.

    The prince admitted that the scars didn’t need to stay. He could have them removed magically, but had elected to keep them as a reminder to what he never wanted to be again. But the damage had been done, and he could still hear her in his head at times when he was feeling vulnerable. From the way he spoke about it, she almost got the sense that he heard her voice more literally than figuratively. But as he explained, those moments weren’t as loud when Mercury was around. He had managed to look up at her briefly for a moment, but now his head fell back down again, shaking it softly as he told her that he wanted her to know the truth about his past, which he’d never told anyone before. She’d earned the privilege of hearing it, being his closest ally. She knew he meant his compliment more to say that she was his friend, but it seemed even in their realest moments together it was a difficult thing for him to admit.

    As she had been when Themesycia had told her version of the story, Mercury was at a complete loss for words over what to say. He probably wasn’t asking her to say anything at all, just wanting to open up and be equally as vulnerable as she was, but at the same time saying nothing just felt… insensitive. She wanted nothing more than to wash all his pain away, but knew from personal experience that it wasn’t quite as easy as that. In fact, his past was so similar to hers in more ways that he even realized that Mercury was more than aware of the kind of mental state he lived in about it. It wasn’t so different from her own that she hid under layers and layers of confidence and lies, both of which were quickly crumbling and losing ground the more time they spent together. Even now she could remember every time she’d gone through similar exposures to pain and torture, the only difference being that she’d never had anyone around to come and save her from it. Not that she would say so, of course. Right now the moment was about him, and she wasn’t going to take away from that.

    But that didn’t mean she couldn’t do what was in her control to make sure he knew he wasn’t alone.

    “It’s not easy to block those voices out,” she told him sadly, her own gaze lost in the space of blankets between their legs. “Even when they’re no longer right there next to you, they’re never truly gone. I don’t know that they ever can be silenced completely. People like that leave an impression, and a lifetime of fighting may never be enough to overcome it.” Even without her overtly saying it, it was clear that she was speaking from a place of being intimately familiar with the type of treatment he’d received as a child, which was likely not a surprise given what she’d already admitted regarding having to fight for survival since she was old enough to walk. War was as abusive as it came, and was a traumatizing experience as a child.

    Mercury shifted her gaze to her left hand, which she raised enough that they both could see it. A subtle flex of her magic was all it took for the ring he had given her to form around her middle finger where he’d originally put it weeks back. The truth was, she hadn’t taken it off since he’d told her he wanted her to keep it. It meant so much to her, and she was afraid to lose it, so she kept it on but always had it merged beneath her flesh where know one would know about it but her, and now him. With a small gulp, she squeezed his hand more tightly and lifted it up, resting the back of his palm against her chest and holding it with both of her own hands like she were embracing a stuffed animal for comfort. Without raising her gaze, told him, “But good people leave impressions too, not just the bad ones. I never had the opportunity to understand that before, but you… you’ve been teaching me that, I think. And it’s not easy, and not always consistent but I feel like…” Her voice trailed off as she sought for the right words to convey her thoughts.

    “Like the good you’ve done in my life, even for the short time we’ve known each other, has been more impactful to me than all the ways I’ve been hurt by others in the past.I don’t look it but… if it weren’t for the fact that my people don’t scar… Well, my body would look just like yours. I know how it feels to have that fear constantly looming over your shoulder, that resignation that comes with not being able to escape that kind of hopelessness. But I don’t feel so hopeless when I have you here to share that weight. I’ve never thought too much about my future because I always assumed I didn’t have one. And maybe I don’t. We’ll only know in time, but… Your people, the Earthlanders. You have this concept I’ve been struggling to understand ever since I started learning about your gods and demons and such. A phenomenon called miracles, where things that have no logical or scientific right to exist just… happen. Knowing you has made me want to believe in those.”

    “I don’t know how people like us defeat this kind of enemy. By myself I know I don’t stand a chance. But maybe, if we keep working on it together… maybe we’ll figure it out. We’ve come this far, right..?”

    WORDS: 2146/12,084 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



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    Vandrad Ragnos
    Vandrad Ragnos

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Traveller of the Multiverse
    Position : None
    Posts : 297
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,652,438

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Energy Monarch
    Second Magic: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Magic:

    Questions and Answers - Page 2 Empty Re: Questions and Answers

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos on Mon 8 Jun 2020 - 23:02

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Questions and Answers - Page 2 RJtajUnz_o

    Opening up about his past had come effortlessly, much to Vandrad’s surprise. It wasn’t that it hadn’t impacted him -- releasing the chains and letting loose all the bad memories had certainly wrapped his form in the tender pain from before. A lot of his strength was gone, if only momentarily as he regressed to an open, defenseless man reliving the worst time of his life. If she already knew about his past, he didn’t seem to pick up on it at all. He was too caught up in the fact that he had reached a place where he wanted her to know, a place that wanted to be vulnerable around her and let her see past his defenses. It was the last major secret he kept from her -- kept from everyone -- and he had reached a point of no longer wanting to keep it hidden.

    But the way he came spilling out of his mouth, lacking moments of introspection and deep thought to properly articulate his words, showed just how long this moment had been waiting. Subconsciously, his mind had been preparing the story for whoever earned the right, breaking open the mold and showing the scars deep within his psyche and soul. And in truth, speaking it out loud released a lot of weight on his shoulders he hadn’t realized he was holding. He could feel the chains of his own self-doubt and criticisms, spurned by the phantom voice, alleviate their tension and lift off of him. His body felt new and lighter, like locks and strains that had been part of his form had finally opened up and allowed his spirit to flow even fuller. He wasn’t sure if that was whatever form he had taken on in the hellscape or simply the release of information but he finally felt right. He hadn’t realized how wrong his body had felt for so long until it was no longer corrupted.

    He didn’t need her to say anything -- he had told her because he wanted to share with her. Vandrad wanted to counter her moment of weakness with one of his own, so that they both could gain something and grow closer for it. It was the only proper way he knew how to offer condolences for her agony, as his ability to talk empathically was only slightly better than her own. He was just happy to have successfully told his tale without fumbling over it and losing his emotional advantage. It was like reopening a wound that never properly healed and such pain could cause agony he wasn’t comfortable showing to anyone. Vandrad prided himself on having kept himself from crying for several years at this point, refusing to lose his foundation that had certainly stunted him to a point. But he didn’t care -- he never allowed himself to sink that low, especially when anger was an easier alternative to weeping like a child. Or perhaps that was yet another influence from the ghostly voice, who had always chastised him for crying as a child.

    Whatever the case, his story was told and he was simply content to have it out in the open for her. He wasn’t sure what her response or reaction to it would be but nevertheless, he had been open and honest with her like he’d never done before. Moreso, as the confession of how she kept the voice at bay had slipped out beyond his control. At this point, he had grown accustomed to his words coming out without much thought, his heart and soul opting to speak out of turn. At this point, fighting against it was pointless -- it had happened so many times now that it was more commonplace than uncommon. But the reason he had shared with her, despite their bond, was the feeling that he was sure she would understand it on a personal level. It was only a few moments after he had finished speaking that she confirmed as much, agreeing that the voices one heard were never easy to ignore. As she spoke on the topic, of the challenge of overcoming such nagging sounds that truly never faded, it was obvious he had been right -- she understood him exactly.

    He let out a small relieved sigh, somehow finding comfort in knowing that she was right there with him. Her left hand came up slowly so that he could see it, his brow twisting in curious confusion. A second later and brief use of her magic revealed the ring he had gifted her upon her finger, rising up to wrap around the digit. It seemed that she kept it on at all times but kept it under wraps with her magic, so that it couldn’t accidentally get damaged or lost. She brought his hand closer, wrapping her own hands around it and holding it tight to her chest. He stared at her as she spoke, her own gaze averted. She reminded him that decent people were capable of leaving impressions as well. She hadn’t really encountered that before until she had run into him, as he had been teaching her something along those lines.

    She paused to collect her thoughts before continuing on the same train of thought. He’d managed to make such an impact on her life that all the negativity, all the harshness from her past, was minor in comparison. She’d been hurt before and she stated that her body would look as bad as his were it not for her healing capabilities. She understood fear and hopelessness and feeling weak but she didn’t feel those as strongly when he was there to help her with it. She didn’t truly believe she had a future ahead of her but she’d come to hear about ‘miracles’ and because of his influence, it seemed she had started to believe in them. There wasn’t a whole lot of hope in her words but there was a glimmer, Mercury believing that if they work together, there was a chance.

    And the sad truth is, Vandrad didn’t consider himself that good of a person. In the grand scheme of a person’s morality, he generally fell in the harsher gray areas. All he had ever done was be honest with her and the more he bonded with her, the more he wanted to help make her stronger alongside himself. But it was more than that, wasn’t it? Even as his eyes slowly fell to the ring on her finger, there was an understanding there that had been present for weeks now but he’d managed to keep under wraps. Confronted with the trinkets once more reminded him of the last time he’d even set his sights upon it. His mother had taken it out when he was in his late 20’s, explaining that it was Yuna’s gift to him should she pass early in life. She had hoped he would hang onto it and give it to the woman he would eventually marry, a woman that he would eventually love. The Prince had scoffed at the idea, calling it a pretty bauble and nothing more. He insisted it had meant nothing to him and was more than willing to part with it should the opportunity arise.

    It was far easier to say that than to allow himself to feel the pain of Yuna’s loss once more. But something had urged him to fetch the ring that night, all those weeks ago, and present it to Mercury. And now, seeing it upon her finger still, knowing that she was guarding it and protecting it with such cherished means, broke the dam that he’d been uselessly trying to repair time and time again. He’d come to understand that he cared for her, that he personally cherished her like a close friend. But the more time he spent with her and the more he looked back on times they had spent together, the understanding that there was something more built further in his mind and heart. Somehow he’d fought against the notions and sensations and odd feelings, denying them as hard as any one man could accomplish. But with all coming at him at once, in one giant wave, it was too much to stop. The knowledge that he not only had feelings for Mercury that were romantic but were something he’d never expected hit him hard. He understood that, at his core, this was what could only be described as love.

    Perhaps it was the idea that, despite everything she had said prior, it seemed she wasn’t as dead set against defeat and loss. There was a small bit of hope for her and perhaps, possibly, them as well. His hand squeezed a bit tighter around hers as he turned on the bed to move a bit closer to her, reaching up with his other hand to caress her cheek. "And we’ll go further. Together,” he told her softly. Then he leaned in, pressing his lips against hers softly yet with intentional desire. His flowering emotions had become too much to resist and he was acting upon them, having found the one person he never expected he would ever see. A woman he cared for, trusted… and loved.







    Words: 1535 / 11,898 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


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    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 259
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    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Gunblade Master
    Second Magic: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Magic:

    Questions and Answers - Page 2 Empty Re: Questions and Answers

    Post by Mercury Arseneault on Tue 9 Jun 2020 - 2:19

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    The depth of her words surprised even Mercury as they spilled from her mouth. And despite them being her words, she really didn’t understand the heart of what she was trying to say to him. She just didn’t have the context to know her own heart. She’d never cared about anyone before, not even really herself. She’d always been so reckless with her own life and her actions, because what was the worst that would happen? She’d die? Death would be a relief. The only reason Mercury hadn’t committed suicide by this point was because she just didn’t care enough to bother. There were a few other reasons of course, but that one was arguably the most pressing. She really, truly had never had a reason to live before, but Vandrad… he made her want to live, and it was overwhelming.

    When his free hand came up and took her cheek, she finally looked up at him again. Like the moment they had shared back on the porch of the house Themesycia had given her in Bellum, Mercury turned her face into his palm, resting her cheek against the limb. He didn’t say much in response, but at this point there were little words that could follow what had already been said, nor follow what hadn’t been said. He simply assured her that the two of them would continue to press forward and go further than either of them once believed they could, side by side. Then, he leaned forward and kissed her, the first time they’d shared such an act since Bellum. While Mercury wasn’t totally ready for it, compared to all the prior times her surprise barely lasted more than a split second. Even if she wasn’t expecting it, she recognized by now that it was what she wanted, and because of that she responded almost immediately by resting one of her hands on his chest over his robe and returning his passionate kiss in kind.

    By the time morning came, the two of them were tucked comfortably in Mercury’s bed, with the Silver Wolf mage on the inside of the bed next to the wall in the little alcove. She knew he was more likely to wake up before she did, so it had made more sense to her to let him sleep by the other side so if he got up but didn’t wake her right away, he could feel free to do a small morning workout or even surf around on her computer or play on the piano. The keyboard had a thick headset on it that kept any sound contained, so he wouldn’t have to be worried about waking her in that instance. Once she was finally awake, whether after he’d been up for a bit and decided to rouse her or if he woke her up when he was ready to rise, he’d notice she was a lot more personable than most other mornings thus far, even in comparison to how much better she’d already been in recent mornings. She was still groggy of course, and definitely not a morning person, but Mercury roused herself a little quicker and more willingly than before. A quick pot of coffee was made from the little device she had in her room and soon she was ready to go.

    Vandrad decided to stick around for a bit. It was the weekend, so rather than send him home she figured that day was as good as any to get him started on some Engineering lessons. Mercury couldn’t quite get him into the labs yet because that still needed to go through an approval process, but the accommodations she had in her room were sufficient enough for what they needed for now. So, they spent a few hours going over the devices and gear he had made, with her having him show her in great detail all that he’d managed to put together. She was very impressed with the work he had put in, and was free with compliments in all the places he’d more than earned them. Once they’d gotten through his overview, she got started giving him some tips and ideas on how to improve them with suggestions for better materials to use or different ways to wire the devices together that would channel the energy more smoothly, and for longer periods of time. He would learn quite a bit more about her during the process as well, with her freely giving a lot of information on the types of materials and tech her people were capable of, and even letting him examine Mercy in depth.

    But all good things came to an end, and eventually the price did need to leave and return to Magnolia and his own guild. Mercury was sad for him to go, but her spirits were much lighter than the night before and there was a certain sense of peace in knowing that things were fine between them. More than fine. They were better than they ever had been, and she was still a bit high on the unexpected relief that had come from him discovering her secret. Vandrad knew what she was, now, and it hadn’t scared him off or caused him to pull back. If anything, it seemed to have made him want to keep her all the closer. She walked him down to the foyer to see him out, lingering with him in the doorway to bid him goodbye. She wouldn’t keep him too long, of course, but she did draw out the farewell long enough to quietly thank him again, to verify their plans for the next day, and to send him off with one more quick but soft kiss.

    She waved as he flew off, not even bothering to hide the small smile on her face. Mercury couldn’t recall a single time in her life prior to this where she’d ever felt this happy, this hopeful. It was honestly a bit silly, and she knew that, but the feeling was there all the same. Shaking her head a little at herself, without losing her expression, she retreated back into the building and shut the door behind her. On her way through the lobby toward the labs, her eyes caught Khelban, who was lounging on one of the many sofas in the common area, reading a book. She didn’t really think much of it, nor of the fact that he had been distracted by his book enough to be looking at her as she’d come back inside -- after all, a lot of interesting things had transpired between them during their last job together. She merely gave him a playful wink from across the room. He shot her a wide, teasing grin and then she disappeared down into the labs.

    It wasn’t until after she was gone from his sight that his grin smoothed out into something more deep and pensive, perhaps even suspicious. Khelben glanced back at the door where Mercury had seen Vandrad out, replaying the scene he’d observed in his head and analyzing it. After a moment, he closed the book and tossed it back on the table he’d picked it up from -- he hadn’t been reading it anyway. Then, he headed back up to his own room…

    ...his head full of plans.

    WORDS: 1222/13,306 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



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      Current date/time is Mon 13 Jul 2020 - 19:42