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    The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro]

    Nero
    Nero

    Administrator- Moderator- Developer/GFX Artist- Main Account- Mythical VIP Status- Demon VIP Status- God VIP Status- Dragon VIP Status- Knight VIP Status- Regular VIP Status- VIP- Mythical- Gain An Artifact- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- God Of Ishgar- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Guild Master- Custom Slayer- God Slayer- Demon Slayer- Legal Guild Ace- Neutral Guild Ace- Z-Rank- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- Wanderer- Eevee- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Job Creator- Working Together- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Teaming Up!- Limited Edition- Idolize- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- The Completionist- Guild Creator- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Obligatory Beach Episode- Shipped- Sticking Around- Loyal to the Bone- Dank Memer- Fan Artist- Taskmaster- Halloween gfx'ers- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Fan Art Contest Participant- Haiku Contest Participant- Lineage Making Contest Participant- Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 6- Veteran Level 5- Veteran Level 4- Veteran Level 3- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Get A Pet!- Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Tertiary Magic- Supreme Grand Master [5000]- Grand Master [2000]- Master [1000]- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- Christmas Event Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Advertisement Achievement Badge- Tournament Participation Badge- Cookie Achievement- Cupcake Achievement- Rainbow Hero- Summer Special Tier 4- Summer Special Tier 3- Summer Special Tier 2- Summer Special Tier 1- Summer Special Donor- Summer Special Participant- 1 Year Anniversary- Player-
    Lineage : Assassin's Shadow
    Position : None
    Faction : The Rune Knights
    Posts : 11578
    Guild : Guildless
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Age : 25
    Experience : 3,283,767

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Infinite Arcana
    Second Magic: Vox Universum
    Third Magic: Disciple of War

    The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro] Empty The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro]

    Post by Nero 8th July 2021, 12:22 pm


    The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro] 9hjimib

    The streets of Era hadn't changed much in the time he had been away, and yet, they were a sight he believed he had forlorn forever.

    The faces passed by, some of them smiling and laughing, some of them stern and determined, and others simply remaining calm and serene, but they all had something in common. They were untouched by the horrors of the front lines, ignorant to the embers of conflict that were slowly rising into an inferno once more, unaware of the prospect of war. Shen couldn't blame them. That was what the armed forces of Fiore were for, after all, but it left him reflecting on what exactly it was that the Knights were fighting for. Was it to protect Fiore? Or had the skirmishes between the forces of the Council and those of Pergrande simply been a necessary sacrifice to gain political leverage, to obtain good favor with the leadership of Bellum? The young man was willing to bet that it was the latter, that much was clear, but as it was always the case, the politicians, the council, everyone would proclaim that it would be the former, and the masses, uninterested in the matters that had transpired so far from their homeland, would readily believe what was presented to them and raise little skepticism. Shen couldn't help himself but despise them all for it a little, but he quickly shelved that emotion. They couldn't be blamed. It was simply how the world worked. If there was anyone to blame, it would be himself. The young man sighed inwardly, keeping his gaze firmly affixed to the plateau not far in the distance.

    Shen tried to keep his thoughts centered on the goal in his mind. He had spent considerable time and effort on returning to this place, after all, the stride that took him towards the Headquarters of the Rune Knights filled with newly found and unwavering purpose. The past few months had not only been arduous, but the grueling march back to Fiore had also been a task nigh impossible, and yet, here he stood again, alive. He had to do this. Not for himself, but for them.

    The path he was treading on reminded him of the one he had walked 2 years prior, the same steps leading towards the same building he had sought out back then. It all seemed so different now. He saw the Rune Knights and the city that surrounded the HQ building in a new light, but the same could be said about the country as a whole, the Council, and himself, too. "The difference a change of perspective can make, huh?". The thought overcame him, a sense of nostalgia quickly being washed away by the sadness of tragedy. There would be no going back now.

    It did not take the young Knight long to climb the stairs, an athletic feat compared to the way he had ascended the plateau the first time he had come here, of course. The feeling of nervousness that had reduced him to a mumbling mess the last time was forever lost. How he wished that he could just return to those days, when the world seemed like it was in order. Once more, he repeated the phrase inside his mind. There was no going back. Never. The only way to go was forward.

    Maneuvering the familiar location was easy enough. Not much had changed, but the air here was different than on the streets. You could tell that, along with an overall increased vigilance and combat-readiness, the events that had occurred weighed heavily on the shoulders of a select few Knights, and their comrades, naturally, could tell as much. It was only understandable that such a thing would make a man question things. You could see the consequences of that time in their eyes. The glow within was gone, and wherever their gaze would fall, one felt like they would pierce right through you. Shen understood where it was coming from. His eyes, after all, were weary all the same. And yet, Shen had to respect them. They remained with their brothers and sisters in arms, which, of course, was the sole reason why Staff Sergeant Kadokawa had returned from the battlefield. That mountain pass in Pergrande had been the site of a massacre, but for the sake of the other Knights, for the sake of Fiore, there was no way he could abandon those who remained. He wouldn't make the same mistake twice. He had sworn this much to himself, which was why, even after the passing of time, even after a perilous journey, he was here once more. He knew his destination, and there was no changing it.

    With a confident demeanor, he found his way inside the HQ like he had done many times before, navigating the all-too-familiar halls as if it was the most natural thing in the world, towards a certain office. He paid no mind to the few knights that stopped as he passed them along the way, two of them even whispering among each other. Had it really already been two years? So much had happened since he had stumbled in here for the first time. Briefly, he wondered if one could find humor in the way that life had treated him, but he didn't find it funny, at all. Perhaps a perspective detached from his own could find some irony in this? What a pain.

    There was no doubt that the events of the past months were written on the young man's face. He appeared thinner than before, his eyes conveying a fundamental lack of rest. The only part of his original Rune Knight uniform that remained was the black winter coat he had worn back then, the rest lost to the difficulties Ishgar had put on his way here. Not to mention the fact that he had never managed to get the blood out of the shoes he had worn back then. Instead, he had gathered together an assortment of rather un-knightly clothing, a pair of jeans and a black shirt, the most striking difference perhaps being the change of his hair color, not to mention the fact that the same had gotten just a bit longer.

    The echo of his footsteps rang with every motion of his body, and before long, a familiar door found its way into his field of vision. Still the same as always, hm? Just like he always did, he would wander up to that door, but this time, it was different. He wasn't anxious for the same reasons that he would usually be. Serilda's imposing aura of authority, which was paired with a gentle, almost motherly nature, would make him nervous no longer. The shadow of intimidation her light had cast upon him had been a more product of his childish imagination, as with most of the things that had made him nervous all the god-damn time, he realized. Instead, he hoped that she was here in her office at all, and if she was, what she would say. Shen hadn't exactly been off on a fishing trip, after all, and it was questionable if she would even accept his presence here, in the end. He doubted that she would send him away, but ... well, one could never be certain. He wondered how the international situation was, as well, but he figured that he could ask her later. There was no better way to find out than to try, though, Shen pooling together his resolve, clearing his throat, and knocking on the door 3 times, firmly, yet not overly so. He would wait for just a passing moment before speaking, taking the initiative.

    "Field Marshal, this is Staff Sergeant Kadokawa. May I enter?".



    Post Word Count: 1,296
    Personal Word Count Total: 1,296
    Thread Word Count Total: 1,296

    Serilda Sinclair
    Serilda Sinclair

    Ice Queen


    Ice Queen

    Developer/GFX Artist- Main Account- Gain An Artifact- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- God Of Ishgar- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Guild Master- Custom Slayer- God Slayer- Z-Rank- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- Wanderer- So Extra- EXP Grinder- Job Creator- Working Together- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- Teaming Up!- Limited Edition- Hired Help- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Helper- Guild Creator- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Over Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Obligatory Beach Episode- Shipped- Dank Memer- Taskmaster- Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Get A Pet!- Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Tertiary Magic- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- 1st Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Motor City Rush- Best GFX Artist Award- Player 
    Lineage : Scion of the Void King
    Position : Goddess of Conviction
    Faction : The Rune Knights
    Posts : 1160
    Guild : Guildless
    Cosmic Coins : 185
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 5,631,703

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Voidwalking
    Second Magic: Sword of Wrath
    Third Magic: Cruorthurgy

    The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro] Empty Re: The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro]

    Post by Serilda Sinclair 12th July 2021, 6:50 pm

    Seri Banner
    Conviction never shames nor condemns us.
    It calls us back to who we truly are.
    It had been several months since the battle on the border between Bellum and Pergrande. A great deal had been on Serilda’s mind since that day. The losses on both sides had arguably been minimal. Sure, Pergrande had suffered almost ten times more casualties than Bellum had, but given the vast number that made up the northern nation’s population, it was hardly a staggering number. As violent as the skirmishes had been, and as much as it had felt like war, things could have been much, much worse.

    It was still bad, however. While Serilda and Mythal had done their duties and openly participated in the front lines after the Magic Council’s call for action in assisting Bellum, something about the entire ordeal had never set right with her. There was still no firm answer on who had truly started the altercation, and while either side could be equally as culpable, every time she read over the reports she just couldn’t shake the feeling that she was missing something important, something dangerous. It felt like there was a wool being kept over her eyes -- a feeling she’d had a lot lately since the Council had put her in charge of the Rune Knights.

    And while the Rune Knights hadn’t suffered too many direct casualties, there had still been deaths and even a small handful of people that had gone missing. For the first several weeks after the skirmishes, she had expected to wake up to some kind of random note that carried a list of her soldiers that had been captured as prisoners of war, offering them in exchange for many of the Pergrande soldiers that Bellum and Fiore had captured. Yet, nothing had ever come. Weeks turned to months, and she could only conclude that they were dead or had defected. Countless searches had been performed in the areas where they had been able to check without inciting more violence, but very little had been turned up. Each loss, each unanswered disappearance, weighed heavily on the field marshal’s spirit, the disciplined but compassionate woman assuming full responsibility and viewing the matter as a personal failure on her part to protect those in her command, despite the logical part of her mind knowing that she was being unfair to herself.

    But, no loss had hurt more than that of Shen.

    The young man that had once stumbled into her office by accident, stuttering and cowering behind his numerous insecurities, had grown so much in the time he had spent with the Knights. Serilda had taken a personal interest in guiding his training, surprising even herself with how invested she had become in his efforts to overcome his hardships and to what he was passionate about. And while he had certainly experienced his frustrations, often times not fully understanding why she had chosen to send him on particular missions or to put him in charge of units when he felt he wasn’t ready or worthy, he had overall been patient with her methods and attentive to the lessons she had been trying to teach him, even if they weren’t easy to decipher. With each passing day, and the completion of each new mission, he had grown more and more, and she’d had such high hopes for him.

    So when his name had come up among the list of the missing, it had hit her particularly hard. Serilda knew that she should not value the life of any one soldier over another, and when it came down to it she truly valued each Knight and did her best to not make any of them feel like a number in a sea of faces. Yet, that didn’t stop her from feeling the loss of Shen more powerfully than the rest, from her thoughts often turning to worry over him and what had befallen him at that battle.

    As time went on, it had gotten a little easier, if only because she had other things to distract her, the first of which was her pregnancy. The border skirmishes had taken place shortly after she had discovered she was with child. Or rather, children. Her belly had grown quite a bit over the last few months to accommodate for the two girls forming within her, and despite still having close to two months left in the process she already looked fit to burst. Work was becoming increasingly more difficult, and not just because of the added weight. Her hormones were all over the place, and while she had not yet reached the point of feeling that she needed to take extended leave, she was finding herself having to take more days off than usual as her body underwent changes that not even magic could properly alleviate.

    As fate would have it, she was having a good day and managed to get into work, though she had more or less confined herself to her office and the endless mountain of paperwork before her. Xiuhcoatl, the large wolf with a thick black coat of fur that appeared to be speckled with stardust, relaxed comfortably on a dog bed in the corner. Serilda could feel the approach of an individual making their way to her door, but didn’t think much of it, assuming it was one of the generals or secretaries coming to pass along another report. She barely noticed the wolf raising her head and gently sniffing at the air and the faint but familiar scent that grew stronger as the individual drew near. Serilda was getting ready to answer with an absent minded permission to enter when she heard his voice.

    There was a brief moment of disbelief as his words failed to truly settle on her consciousness. She blinked at the paper before her, her eyes no longer taking in the words on the parchment. “Kado…” She managed to get part of his name out in a whisper of shock before her gaze snapped forward and she used her Void magic to yank the door all the way open. There he stood like a ghost, his tattered clothing thrown together from bits and pieces that he had collected along the way until next to nothing of his uniform had remained. He looked beleaguered in every sense of the word. Exhaustion seemed to pour from his body, his eyes, his soul -- the very image of a man that had faced a nightmare and survived, but not unscathed.

    And for Serilda’s part, her icy blue eyes were wide as saucers, the normally composed and dignified noblewoman unable to suppress how shaken she was to see him standing in her doorway after all this time. “Shen..!” she finally exclaimed, momentarily forgetting her own physical ailment and hurriedly trying to push herself to her feet. There was only a brief moment that she had to stop to steady herself, a quick reminder that she wasn’t as agile as she normally was, before she forced herself to push past the encumberment and waddle herself with as much haste as possible to the door.

    The marshal practically pulled him into the room, shutting the door firmly behind them to ensure that they would have total privacy. It was taking every ounce of will power she had to not yank him into a firm hug, the woman having to actively remind herself that it would not be appropriate for her to do so. “Sit down,” the woman instructed him, though not unkindly as she gestured to the less formal couch and armchairs to the side of the office rather than the chairs in front of her desk. Xiuh had sat up fully, the hound’s body practically shivering with anxiety and excitement as she fed off the emotion from Serilda. The field marshal made her way over to the small bar against the wall and poured a glass of water, bringing it to the younger man.

    “Drink this.” Sitting herself down carefully beside him, Serilda did her best to look him over without acting too much like a fussy mother. “Gods, Shen, I have been looking everywhere for you! Are you hurt? Do you need medical attention?” For all she knew he had already gone to see a medic first, though if that were the case she was going to have a number of unpleasant things to say to whoever had failed to report his return immediately to her. Though Serilda was chomping at the bit to get every piece of information about what had happened to him and where he had been, she restrained herself from diving into those questions just yet, keeping herself focused on his immediate needs first and not wanting him to feel cornered or pressured or anything but safe.

    WORDS: 1454 | @Nero
    Serilda Sinclair



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Nero
    Nero

    Administrator- Moderator- Developer/GFX Artist- Main Account- Mythical VIP Status- Demon VIP Status- God VIP Status- Dragon VIP Status- Knight VIP Status- Regular VIP Status- VIP- Mythical- Gain An Artifact- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- God Of Ishgar- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Guild Master- Custom Slayer- God Slayer- Demon Slayer- Legal Guild Ace- Neutral Guild Ace- Z-Rank- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- Wanderer- Eevee- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Job Creator- Working Together- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Teaming Up!- Limited Edition- Idolize- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- The Completionist- Guild Creator- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Obligatory Beach Episode- Shipped- Sticking Around- Loyal to the Bone- Dank Memer- Fan Artist- Taskmaster- Halloween gfx'ers- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Fan Art Contest Participant- Haiku Contest Participant- Lineage Making Contest Participant- Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 6- Veteran Level 5- Veteran Level 4- Veteran Level 3- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Get A Pet!- Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Tertiary Magic- Supreme Grand Master [5000]- Grand Master [2000]- Master [1000]- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- Christmas Event Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Advertisement Achievement Badge- Tournament Participation Badge- Cookie Achievement- Cupcake Achievement- Rainbow Hero- Summer Special Tier 4- Summer Special Tier 3- Summer Special Tier 2- Summer Special Tier 1- Summer Special Donor- Summer Special Participant- 1 Year Anniversary- Player-
    Lineage : Assassin's Shadow
    Position : None
    Faction : The Rune Knights
    Posts : 11578
    Guild : Guildless
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Age : 25
    Experience : 3,283,767

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Infinite Arcana
    Second Magic: Vox Universum
    Third Magic: Disciple of War

    The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro] Empty Re: The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro]

    Post by Nero 16th July 2021, 11:58 am


    The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro] 9hjimib

    Shen had expected a lot, having played the scenario in his head a few times before he had made his way here. He had been nervous, of course, prompting him to worry how exactly his return would go over. He had expected to be admonished for his extended absence or failing to rush back to the Rune Knights HQ to submit a report on the events that had transpired on the front lines. While he did not take Serilda to be the type to put down her soldiers, the young man knew she had a role to fulfill, and admittedly had very little understanding of the expectations and responsibilities placed upon her. She was, after all, the leader of this nation's military, a position of unique nature, one could even go as far as referring to it as unrivaled importance. It was what it was. Whether she demoted him or relieved him from his duty altogether would make no difference to him. He would simply have to be a little creative in his future endeavors should that scenario come to be.

    To his obvious shock, that was the exact opposite of what would actually transpire. His mouth slightly agape, he watched as the door before him was swung open with full force, his crimson eyes falling upon not only the familiar space behind it, the same office that he had stumbled into on his first day in the Rune Knights, but also the person that had greeted him on that day, Field Marshal Serilda Sinclair herself. He didn't know whether to consider himself lucky that she was indeed present, didn't whether to feel happy or let his negative expectations get the better of him, but in the end, he would not be the one to make that decision.

    It was obvious that his return after all these months had startled her, it was only natural, though that worked both ways. As soon as she stood up, it was rather hard not to notice that she herself had visibly changed to a rather striking degree, and after a few passing moments, after the information had properly registered in the young man's mind and been processed into an actual deduction, his eyes, too, widening with surprise when she, in a way that made the change even more obvious than it already was, walked over to him with all the agility she seemed to be able to muster. It was a sight that the young Rune Knight definitely had expected the least when he had knocked on her door, and as happy as he was for her, he didn't know how to properly convey it at this moment, instead keeping silent on this ... for the time being. His expression was free of any emotion, the young man responding to her exclamation only with a soft, almost weak "Hello, Serilda. It's good to see you".

    He would, of course, do as he was told, suppressing the relief and subtle feeling of joy he felt at the fact that she seemed to be in particularly good health and sitting down on the couch she had pointed at. This was not the situation for goodwill wishes, the young man mentally preparing himself for any kind of consequence that would undoubtedly arise now. His eyes would follow her movements, but for some reason, it all didn't come to be as he had planned, the woman he respected so seeming to do her best to accommodate him despite her current situation, practically ordering him to drink the glass of clear liquid she pushed into his hands. For a second the young man wondered what this was, hoping for gin, perhaps vodka, finding that, with some disappointment, it was naught more than water, still taking a few sips from the cup. Of course she wouldn't pour him a drink in this scenario. What had he been thinking? She sat down beside him, immediately beginning her questioning, though she appeared genuinely concerned, to a degree that was unexpected to Shen. Maybe it would be best to leave expectations behind for now and take things as they would come? He took a deep breath in preparation for the conversation and the direction that it would undoubtedly take, exhaling in a sharp sigh. Though the day in Pergrande's border region had passed a few months ago, the memory was more than ever-present within the young Rune Knight's mind, a sensation of deep sorrow filling his chest like a feeling of emptiness, an undefined, hazy void that seemed to swallow everything and leave behind only the overwhelming awareness of one's own loss.

    Still, he pooled together his mental fortitude and pushed it aside. He had come here filled with purpose, after all, and he owed Serilda that much. He opened his mouth and spoke, his tone and demeanor very much different from the young man that had come to the Rune Knight HQ two years ago, full of anxiety and uncertainty. His voice was steady and calm, though there seemed to be a subtle hint of an undeterminable emotion within. His eyes sought Serilda's without hesitation, his eyes still lacking the glow they had shown within not long ago. "Don't worry about me. I'm not injured". It was the unvarnished truth, of course. Shen's body had undergone drastic changes since then, and while he physically appeared to be very much the same person, his face, his build, his stature all remaining the same, apart from the obvious change in hair color that had been brought about by the side effects of his magical evolution, he had turned into something that was unrecognizable when compared to his previous self, or rather, his spirit and the associated arcane essence of his being. He was, ergo, in peak physical condition, even if his somewhat run-down state didn't exactly make that obvious, and while his body was more than fine, his condition said nothing of the mental scars he had incurred.

    Just like before, Shen would seize the initiative and continue talking, trying to steer the conversation in a direction that was at least somewhat more optimistic. "What about you? You seem to be doing rather ... well for yourself, Field Marshal". Despite his state, he forced a weak smile. "I suppose I owe you my congratulations, Serilda". The attempt at distraction was shaky at best, and Shen knew that the moments he dreaded could only be staved off for so long. Before more than a couple of seconds could pass, before she could respond, the young man would change the subject. "You're probably wondering what took me so long, huh?". He disregarded the fact that he was probably being a little bit too informal with the person who was technically his boss, but he couldn't help himself given the situation. It wouldn't be an easy explanation, but if she wanted to hear it, Shen was prepared to give her the full timeline of events, should she ask for it. "Fair warning, it's a bit of a story...".



    Post Word Count: 1,172
    Personal Word Count Total: 2,468
    Thread Word Count Total: 3,922

    Serilda Sinclair
    Serilda Sinclair

    Ice Queen


    Ice Queen

    Developer/GFX Artist- Main Account- Gain An Artifact- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- God Of Ishgar- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Guild Master- Custom Slayer- God Slayer- Z-Rank- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- Wanderer- So Extra- EXP Grinder- Job Creator- Working Together- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- Teaming Up!- Limited Edition- Hired Help- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Helper- Guild Creator- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Over Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Obligatory Beach Episode- Shipped- Dank Memer- Taskmaster- Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Get A Pet!- Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Tertiary Magic- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- 1st Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Motor City Rush- Best GFX Artist Award- Player 
    Lineage : Scion of the Void King
    Position : Goddess of Conviction
    Faction : The Rune Knights
    Posts : 1160
    Guild : Guildless
    Cosmic Coins : 185
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 5,631,703

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Voidwalking
    Second Magic: Sword of Wrath
    Third Magic: Cruorthurgy

    The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro] Empty Re: The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro]

    Post by Serilda Sinclair 31st July 2021, 2:59 pm

    Seri Banner
    Conviction never shames nor condemns us.
    It calls us back to who we truly are.
    If Serilda noticed his own look of shock when he saw her, it didn’t show on her face. In truth, the field marshal was so overcome by the sight of him that it completely slipped her mind after all this time that when they last saw one another she had not been pregnant. Or at least, they had not announced it to the general world yet. She ushered him inside and closed the door, fetching him the drink that she had figured most appropriate. He looked worn down and for all she knew he hadn’t had anything substantial to eat or drink in quite some time. Her mind was instantly on taking care of him, wanting to make sure he wasn’t at need for anything, for while her job as marshal was to be a leading source of militaristic and political influence, she had always done her best to try and take care of her soldiers first and foremost. After all, without them, her army wouldn’t really live up to the term.

    She sat beside him and asked to his physical wellbeing, to which he assured her he had no injuries. He looked different, and not just physically -- though there was a bit of that, as well. His hair had completely changed color though for the moment that wasn’t the most important note. What stood out to her more was the tiredness in his eyes, the slight droop of his shoulders, the uncharacteristic sense of calm that all seemed to speak volumes about what he’d been enduring the past several months in his absence. It was a weight that was quite familiar to Serilda. Indeed, it was familiar to many whose careers and duties revolved around war and bloodshed, a weight that Serilda had always hoped to never see upon the pupil that she had taken a special interest in yet had always known he would have eventually with the Knights.

    There was an attempt at small talk, with Shen asking as to her own wellbeing and congratulating her on her pregnancy. Despite the situation, Serilda smiled softly. “Thank you, Shen. It’s been a rough few months for a number of reasons, but… it has not been without its silver linings.” A lot had happened to lead to where she a Mythal were today, and most of it had been harrowing and horrific, not to mention difficult to explain. But even if she took the time to fill him in at some point, it would not be right now. Her concern was with Shen for the moment, and she had utterly zero interest in deflecting from his own troubles. “And please don’t worry about formalities right now. Serilda is fine.”

    It seemed Shen could sense her desire to learn what had happened, as only a moment later he admitted that she had likely been wondering as to his whereabouts all this time. Shen forewarned her that it was a rather lengthy tale, but that did nothing to deter her. “Then you shall have my full attention.” Turning toward her desk at the back of the room, she used her magic to depress the button of the intercom that sat upon the sleek wooden surface. “Valorie?”

    “Yes, my lady?”

    “An urgent matter has come up. Please have my appointments for today rescheduled, and do not forward any calls or allow any visitors to my office unless it’s an emergency.”

    “Understood, ma’am. I’ll make sure it’s all handled.”

    “Thank you.” The link was severed with a gentle click and the field marshal once again returned her focus to Sergeant Kadokawa. “Please take your time, Shen. The rest of my day is yours.”

    WORDS: 611/2065 THREAD TOTAL: 4533 | @Nero
    Serilda Sinclair



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Nero
    Nero

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    The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro] Empty Re: The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro]

    Post by Nero 12th September 2021, 2:39 pm


    The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro] 9hjimib

    Her reply, which was given in a characteristically soft tone that mirrored her expression, acknowledged the hardships of these past months, the red-haired man coming to the swift understanding that, unmistakably, things back home must've been similarly harsh based on the situation the continent of Ishgar found itself in, though she also spoke of silver linings. That was to be expected, of course. After all, the woman before Shen expected her first child, a most joyous thing, anyone would agree. What followed next, however, was something the young Rune Knight had dreaded the most, Shen watching in silence as Serilda swiftly rearranged her undoubtedly busy schedule. Not only did he not wish to burden her thus with his presence here, this also meant that he definitely had to recall the events of that day and the months that had followed. The pain, the sorrow, and the depression that had come with it were still something the young man suffered under at a nigh constant, but there would be no way around it. The Field Marshal had already made sure of that. He had figured that this would happen, he had mentally prepared himself for it, but he had still clung to the faint possibility that she wouldn't wanna hear the story. Well, he'd come too far to run away from it all now, despite the fact that it would be most convenient for him. At least, that was what he felt.

    "Alright, then" was all he managed to reply initially, not looking Serilda in the eyes, his gaze instead fixed upon the now half-filled glass of clear liquid before him, his tone devoid of emotion, devoid of life as he spoke. His mind relived the events that had transpired near Pergrande's borders, images of a frozen mountain chain passing before his inner eye. He would remain silent for a few more seconds, contemplating how to begin telling of what had happened to him, but Shen soon arrived at the conclusion that no amount of flowery language could change the harsh truth.

    "Sergeant Bradley, Corporal Sherman, and the rest of the Privates are all dead". His gaze didn't move when he spoke those words. He wasn't sure if Serilda knew that already or had known them personally, but he didn't expect her to. Shen, however, had clung to the Sergeant and the Corporal. They'd been more than a team. He couldn't call them anything but his friends, his only friends, and the small group of three had become a common sight in the Rune Knight HQ. The empty oculi sat in their sunken sockets wandered groundward, falling even more than before. He couldn't look Serilda in the eye, an overwhelming sensation of guilt overcoming him immediately after finishing this one sentence. 12 men and women, including himself, had made up the detachment Shen had led as a Staff Sergeant, 3 squads of 4, and not a single one, with the exception of the young Rune Knight, had survived the encounter with Pergrande's armed forces. Shen was certain that their deaths were his fault. His throat felt like it was being constricted from one moment to the next, and the red-haired mage choked down his emotion with an audible gulp. "I don't know if other Knights found their bodies. We were way behind enemy lines, after all, but if you haven't already, then ... I suppose I should let their families know".

    Shen closed his eyes. If he hadn't done so he would have succumbed to the tears that began forming under his now closed eyelids. His already lifeless posture portrayed the burden that weighed on him, the young man's face vanishing in the palms of his hand, his elbows on his knees as he slid forward a small distance. Like this, he took a deep breath, finding his way back to a facade of composure, turning towards the woman, now seeking her gaze again. "Yeah ... I really fucked that up. I'm sorry". His mouth moved on his own, and he spoke without thinking. It wasn't really the best thing to say, nor would apologizing to her make any difference. Hell, he doubted she even wanted to hear an apology, but it was what it was. He'd never been good with talking to people, and evidently, the young Knight hadn't necessarily gotten better at it.

    Nonetheless, he would continue, frequently averting his gaze as he continued to explain to the Field Marshal what had transpired. "We were patrolling the mountain passes near Bellum's border when a snowstorm hit us. Guess we were stranded in hostile territory, so I didn't wanna risk it. We tried to make it back to camp, but ... looking back, we got lost and wandered further into Pergrande than we ever should've". The young man paused briefly, trying to find the right words once more. It was difficult enough to simply relive the memories that had led up to the tragedy, knowing what followed after, and describing them aloud was a different matter entirely. "When the storm got worse we made contact with an enemy force, most likely a forward recon team. The Pergrandeans, they ... ambushed us. Before I knew it, bullets were ... everywhere ... and-", Shen would pause once more, though this time, when that image passed through his conscious thought again, he couldn't stop the tears, his face, expressionless throughout the explanation, remaining eerily still as two visible streaks rolled down his cheeks. His tone, however, had changed, a dejected, quiet "Fuck" slipping out from between his lips. This little slip seemed to be all that was needed to break through the so carefully constructed facade of composure, Shen's expression twisting into an agonized grimace, as his voice, heavy and laden with sorrow, would echo through the office space again.

    "I- I couldn't do anything, Serilda. I was powerless. This shit is all my fucking fault".



    Post Word Count: 984
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    Serilda Sinclair
    Serilda Sinclair

    Ice Queen


    Ice Queen

    Developer/GFX Artist- Main Account- Gain An Artifact- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- God Of Ishgar- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Guild Master- Custom Slayer- God Slayer- Z-Rank- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- Wanderer- So Extra- EXP Grinder- Job Creator- Working Together- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- Teaming Up!- Limited Edition- Hired Help- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Helper- Guild Creator- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Over Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Obligatory Beach Episode- Shipped- Dank Memer- Taskmaster- Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Get A Pet!- Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Tertiary Magic- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- 1st Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Motor City Rush- Best GFX Artist Award- Player 
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    The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro] Empty Re: The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro]

    Post by Serilda Sinclair 3rd November 2021, 6:34 pm

    Seri Banner
    Conviction never shames nor condemns us.
    It calls us back to who we truly are.
    It took a moment for Shen to gather himself, and Serilda made no effort to hurry him along, more than content to be patient and let him take his time. When he did finally speak, he cut right to the chase, informing her that the members of his squad had all perished. Serilda’s expression did not change to show any emotion one way or another, more focused on letting him get the events off his chest. He expressed that he didn’t know if they had found the bodies of his companions or not, considering they were behind enemy lines, but he reckoned it was on him to let the families know what happened.

    He apologized for supposedly fucking up, which of course Serilda did not agree with but for the moment she said nothing, not wanting to interrupt him as he explained how they had been patrolling the mountain passes along the border when a snow storm had left them stranded. Not wanting to risk unknown, hostile lands in severe weather, they had elected to try and return to Bellum but had only gotten lost and wound up further inside Pergrande. The storm continued to get worse and eventually they ran into members of the Pergrande militia that he suspected was a recon squad. The enemy team had ambushed them, and with zero warning they found themselves under heavy fire.

    It was here that Shen finally lost his gumption and emotional stamina, finding himself struck by what Serilda could only assume was a flash of post traumatic stress disorder as tears began to stream down his emotionless face. The dam broke and the young man swore, releasing himself -- if unwillingly -- to the anguish and sorrow that he had been fighting for months as he lamented his inability to protect his team. Serilda’s heart broke for him in that moment, her chest twisting in physical sorrow at what he had witnessed and endured.

    She sat there for a moment, struggling between her position as his boss and the professionalism that was expected of her authority, and the personal connection she felt she had build with him during the time that she had directly invested in his career and training. While Serilda had always done her best not to show favoritism to any Knights over others, she couldn’t deny that being a part of Shen’s growth as a soldier and being personally involved in much of the instruction of his magic had caused her to form a more familiar relationship with the young man, making it difficult for her to decide what was an appropriate response.

    Ultimately it was her humanity, rather than her status, that won over. She reached out a hand and set it very gently on his back, giving him ample opportunity to pull away or provide some sort of indication should he not wish to be touched, in which case she would of course withdraw her hand. “As difficult as it may be to hear, this was not your fault, Shen,” she told him softly. “As soldiers, we are all subjected to the very real possibility of losing our lives in war, though of course we always hope that will never prove to be the case. The moment that the Council ordered for me to mobilize the Knights to the border, I knew that not everyone would make it back.. And each one loss is something that I’ve had to deal with -- that we’ve all had to deal with -- ever since. War is a senseless and ugly truth, and it can be difficult to navigate the fall out. I know how you feel.”

    As the one who had issued the deployment orders, Serilda had spent the last several months feeling just as much a sense of responsibility for the lives lost in the skirmishes. The protection of the men and women under her care had always been her utmost priority, and unfortunately the very nature of the job they performed meant that it was impossible to completely shield them from harm. She had been preparing for losses like this since the day she had agreed to take over as the Field Marshal, but that hadn’t made it any easier to live with the reality once it came upon her. Mythal was experiencing much the same. They both had been directly involved in the fighting as well, and their adoptive daughter Grappa had been grievously wounded before their very eyes. Hell, Serilda had only just found out about her pregnancy not long before the skirmishes had broken out, and she’d had to knowingly go into battle carrying the daughters in her womb that she had spent most of her adult life believing she would never physically be capable of bearing.

    But she couldn’t tell Shen how to feel, and she knew it would take more than words to help him recover from something like this. It would take time and patience.. Assuming he was ever fully able to recover at all. “I wish there was something I could say that would bring you comfort. I know what it feels like to have to watch someone you care about die, to bear that suffocating weight of knowing there was nothing you could do to stop it. That sort of pain, it… it can live with you for a very long time. It took me years to find the strength to grow past it, and for a while it was so bad that I dissociated completely at times. There are large chunks of time from a number of years ago that I simply don’t remember because I was incapable of coping with it…” Serilda’s gentle voice was very quiet as she touched briefly upon some of her own previous traumas without going into too much detail. After all, she wasn’t looking to give him a sob story or make the situation about herself. Rather, she was hoping to help establish a connection with him, something that would help him understand that he was not alone and that she truly did understand the nature of the grief that was plaguing him.

    “I am not going to sit here and solicit advice to you that you haven’t asked for. We all handle things like this differently, and even though I understand how you feel I would never presume to understand how it is affecting you. But if you ever want or need to talk about it with someone who has been down a similar road, please know that my door will always be open.”

    She paused there for a long moment, giving him time to feel his emotions and let it all out. After a couple minutes had passed with her simply being a silent presence beside him, Serilda spoke again. “We did find their bodies. Once Mythal and I got back to our temporary headquarters in Bellum and the reports started coming in, I realized that we had no word of you or your squad. Mythal immediately sent out the Reaper Squadron to try and track you down.” Shen would know that Reaper Squad was a unit of Spec Ops soldiers that Mythal personally oversaw, a group of recon agents within the Knights that was so elite that their identities were not known to most of their fellow soldiers. “They managed to locate the place where you had come under attack, though by then the Pergrande team had long since moved on. The only one that was unaccounted for was you…”

    Her voice trailed off briefly as Serilda allowed herself an uncharacteristic moment to let her own emotions rise to the forefront. Before she knew it, her own eyes were filling with moisture, soft tears rolling down her cheeks as evidence of just how much Shen’s disappearance had been plaguing her. “I’ve wanted nothing more than to go out and look for you myself, but I couldn’t step away in the midst of the fallout. The most I could do was commit every spare resource I had in trying to track you down, and it was infuriating to sit here and have to wait for news. I am so sorry that I couldn’t be out there myself turning over every stone trying to locate you, and I hope you can forgive me for that. But after all these months, I was convinced that the only thing we would find was another body…”

    She turned to look at him, her face wet with moisture despite the otherwise calm countenance that she carried. “I cannot tell you how relieved I am that you are still here with us, and that you managed to make your way back. Even if you are broken and bruise, and even if there is a long road ahead with all of us grasping to cope with what happened… I have no words to express how glad I am to learn that someone I thought I lost managed to make it out alive. We have lost far too many of our comrades already… and as much as I try to be attentive to the needs of every Knight, I would be lying if I didn’t say that your disappearance has been the hardest for me to deal with.”

    WORDS: 1542/3607 TOTAL: 7059 | @Nero
    Serilda Sinclair

    [/color]


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    Nero
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    The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro] Empty Re: The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro]

    Post by Nero 15th January 2022, 5:24 am


    The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro] 9hjimib

    Shen didn't move away when he felt Serilda's supportive touch on his back, his eyes, still wet with the remains of tears gradually blinked away, turning towards her when she spoke. The comfort and gentleness she radiated were something that the young man found some comfort in, he realized, a little bit of solace that served to somewhat soothe the bleeding scars of his torn psyche. On a deeper level, in the depths of his mind, he realized that, naturally, she was right, that what she was saying to him was an objective fact, but his consciousness rejected this fact. He had been there, he had seen what had happened, had heard the cries of pain, the agony and despair brought about by the actions of Pergrande and his own lack of an appropriate response. Almost as if in a reflexive reaction, the blame naturally seemed to fall back on him from his own perspective. Being confronted with a different perspective on these events was harsh, and even harder to accept, the young man turning away his gaze only to return it to her when she continued to speak, his pupils wide with realization. He didn't speak, didn't want to interrupt, simply listening in dumbstruck awe.

    The things that he had seen, the things that he had experienced, Serilda had, both directly and indirectly, experienced dozen-, if not hundredfold.

    The truth of this sudden insight, formed from her revelation that she, too, struggled with everything that had happened, shook Shen to his core, a tremble running down his spine as he swallowed. How had he not realized? He wasn't the only one who had to go through this. Of course, she knew... knew how he felt, knew how he struggled, and in that context, her words carried considerable weight. In an obscure way, he felt that he could and should accept what had happened to him, and even though was easier said than done, even though it was devastating to feel a whole world, previously intact and permeated with so many emotions and memories, crumble to ashes, it was reality. The world had changed... he himself had changed.

    In this singular instant of realization, something inside him clicked like a switch had been flipped. Something that had stirred within, a realization, perhaps, an ethereal, unformed truth had taken shape, awoken, filling his mind and body with something akin to a rush. Why? What was this feeling? His hands, fingers bundled into tightly strained fists, were shaking, subtly, lightly, but visibly so.

    "No,-", Shen concluded reflexively when she had finished presenting her perspective, the forceful and direct exclamation of the word followed by a much softer repetition, "-No... I appreciate your advice, Serilda. I came here because... because I figured that you would know what to do where I didn't, and I suppose I was right".

    He had to live with the fact that they had died. He had to live with the fact that he alone still remained here. The illusion had to be shattered, the unshrouded truth swallowed like a bitter pill and metabolized. The patient had to assimilate this substance, this poison, and grow resistant to it in order to survive. Shen tucked out the corner of his right-hand sleeve, using it to wipe the still present marks from his cheeks and eyes. The time for sadness and self-pity, he knew, was now over, and though the sorrow was still evident on the young man's face, a newfound emotion rose from within him, something that he had a hard time placing, a tight feeling that seemed to constrict his chest, his heart sending rippling beats of his pulse through his entire body. Was this what loss felt like?

    The fact that they had... found what had remained on that battlefield from that day consoled Shen somewhat, and while the thought once more threatened to make him choke up, his breath standing still within his constricted throat, he understood that it was a last measure of dignity for his fallen comrades. He repeated the words from earlier inside his head. "You have to accept it", he thought, repeated anew more forcefully, "You have to accept it". He could appreciate the truth of the matter for what it was. A tiny, albeit real relief.

    He was unaware whether the inner struggle was visible in the way he held himself, but he nonetheless managed to force out a meek "Thanks. I know that... it... probably wasn't very easy to locate them". The tone contained much more than those words spoken aloud, but the contents of his spoken word did not portray the entirety of his meaning, indeed, conveyed emotion incapable of being captured by word alone.

    When she continued anew, however, he suddenly found their positions reversed. Serilda, with the same tears that he had lost not long ago, professed her pain to him, and instinctively, without any thought, he would now be the one to extend a similar gesture of support to the one she had offered earlier. What she said fit neatly into the reality that so harshly confronted him. He-, no, they all were still alive, still here.

    "Serilda-", he began, his expression and tone changing. This emotion he had been feeling, it surged up again, this time bringing with it some diffuse clarity, "-there is nothing to be sorry about, nothing to forgive. You did your duty and I understand that". The words he had chosen were sincere and free of any blame, but a twinge of guilt found itself into his flat tone as he spoke. He'd caused some trouble for her, it seemed.

    When she finished speaking, Shen could once again rely on that feeling of comfort she appeared to instill so easily. "It wasn't easy... for both of us, huh?". For the first time in a while, Shen felt the urge to smile, a corner of his mouth pulled up by her words ever-so-slightly as he spoke anew. "Thank you, Serilda. I- ... I appreciate your help. I really do". This kind of exchange... it wasn't new to him, brought him back to the times he had spent with his friends. The smile vanished, though the emotion from before returned, the feeling of constriction, of rushing blood stronger now than ever. These two people here, both torn by the struggles of war, apart from their positions as Rune Knights, he realized, were friends, too. "I'm just glad to be back... and-".

    Ah. Finally, he understood. War. That was what it was. That was what this emotion, an unwavering resolve, was coming from. A resolution yet unspoken, but existent, found its way into his thoughts.

    Emotions in turmoil by the sudden thought, a sudden influx of memory, he would raise his voice again, the flat tone of emotionless apathy somewhat replaced by a twinge of vigor-suffused shock. "I- I was in Pergrande for a while, stranded and unable to use magic. I, well, learned a few things about them", he recalled his experiences after what had happened on that day. "The people of that nation, they're-", he paused, tried to process his time there and condense it into words, but didn't quite know how to express it. "Insane" was the word he would have used reflexively, but he stopped himself just short of it. Was that really what it was? Ultimately, they were still human ... weren't they? He decided to rephrase it. "They hate us. They hate all mages, and anything magical with such an intensity that it's frightening, and-". He paused anew, feeling himself slip away into rambling and trying to keep himself coherent. "-I think they're preparing for something big. They weren't messing around".

    He stopped talking, gave it another thought, debated the conclusion he had drawn from what he had seen briefly, but he knew that he had to present his findings to her. Who else would believe him, who else held the relevant authority to make use of this warning?

    "Serilda, I think something is happening in Pergrande. I think they're arming for war. A real war on a scale this continent hasn't seen in a long time".



    Post Word Count: 1,358
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    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Serilda Sinclair
    Serilda Sinclair

    Ice Queen


    Ice Queen

    Developer/GFX Artist- Main Account- Gain An Artifact- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- God Of Ishgar- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Guild Master- Custom Slayer- God Slayer- Z-Rank- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- Wanderer- So Extra- EXP Grinder- Job Creator- Working Together- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- Teaming Up!- Limited Edition- Hired Help- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Helper- Guild Creator- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Over Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Obligatory Beach Episode- Shipped- Dank Memer- Taskmaster- Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Get A Pet!- Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Tertiary Magic- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- 1st Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Motor City Rush- Best GFX Artist Award- Player 
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    Character Sheet
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    Second Magic: Sword of Wrath
    Third Magic: Cruorthurgy

    The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro] Empty Re: The Cost of Lives and the Price of Purpose [Shen Reintro]

    Post by Serilda Sinclair 27th April 2022, 4:33 pm

    Seri Banner
    Conviction never shames nor condemns us.
    It calls us back to who we truly are.
    It was difficult to be in this position. Certainly not as difficult as the position that Shen was in, but that didn’t make her own part in this conversation any easier. Serilda wanted nothing more than to be able to have the right words to ease his heart and his pain, but it was a childish notion, an idealistic fantasy that existed only in a world where sorrow and grief and guilt could be cured with little more than a verbal bandaid. The things that Shen had experienced would haunt him for a very long time to come, potentially for the rest of his life. With the right help and resources it could certainly become manageable to the point where it wouldn’t hinder him on a daily basis, but as with all traumatic encounters there would almost certainly be times down the road where the memories would come back like a cancer to feed on his mind and heart when his guard was down, forcing him to relive the pain anew.

    Yet, she tried her best to bring him any measure of peace that she could, however small, actively being conscientious of the way she presented her response so as not to brush off his pain or make him feel unheard. And in the end it seemed that something in her words resonated and stuck with him as he reassured her that her advice to him was not just what he needed, but what he wanted. He told her that he’d believed she could help him, even if it was just to guide him in the right direction. The marshal gave him a small smile, her hand lingering on his shoulder for a moment longer before she withdrew the limb back to herself and told him as gently as she could that they had found what remained of the rest of his squad. A small and bitter sweet comfort, but a comfort nonetheless.

    What was surprising to perhaps the both of them was where the topic went from there as Serilda found herself overcome by emotions of her own, opening up about how anxious she had been over his disappearance and the relief she felt at knowing he was still alive and relatively in one piece. She told him that his disappearance had been the hardest for her, and Serilda meant every word, even if it wasn’t the most professional thing for her to say. Shen, in turn, took it upon himself to comfort her much the same way that she had done for him, placing a hand upon her shoulder and listening in attentive silence.

    When she finished getting her own anxieties off her chest, he assured her that he did not hold any blame on her for not being able to find him. She did everything she could with the resources at her disposal, and he understood that. And like that, the tension in the air seemed to settle a bit as Shen gave the barest of smiles, as he reflected on what the last several months had been like for them both. He thanked her for her help and expressed that he was glad to have finally returned home.

    A brief silence filled the air then as Serilda sensed that the young man was deep in thought, formulating words around his emotions and recent experiences before he finally spoke up once more. He claimed he had been stranded in Pergrande for some time, unable to use his magic for fear that he would be caught. During his time there he had really come to be intimately aware of just how aggressively the Pergrandian people despise mages and magic, describing it as a hatred so intense that it frightened him. But more than that, he got the feeling that the nation’s people were preparing for something – specifically a war, and not just some petty squabble with their enemies in Bellum. Something that would affect the entirety of Ishgar.

    The sentiment was troubling. Serilda frowned in concern as she thought over his words. “Did you happen to hear anything concrete?” she asked him, her tone not that of a skeptic but rather of a woman that knew she could only work on validating his concerns one way or another with some semi-solid intel to go off of.

    No matter what details he could or could not provide, Serilda would lean forward – or as much as she could given the current expanse of her abdomen – and rested her elbows on her knees, rubbing her temples as though she were developing a headache. “Just what I need. An international war on top of the national one I’m already dealing with.” Words that perhaps she should not have spoken in front of Shen, given how tight lipped Mythal and she had been with one another regarding their growing suspicions of the Magic Council, yet even she had her limits. She trusted Shen or else she would not have said anything at all, but there was a reason why Serilda and Mythal both had made sure their offices and home had been enchanted to hell and back to prevent anyone from spying or listening in on their conversations as of late.

    With a sigh, she straightened herself back up and looked over at him. Despite everything, her countenance softed and she gave him a small smile. “Well, let’s have a healer look over you just to make sure you’re all set. And then we’ll do what we can to start settling you back in… And maybe get you something stronger to drink.”

    Several months later, the world was very quickly descending into the very chaos that Shen had predicted. The attempted peace talks had been an absolute disaster of catastrophic proportions, leaving the nation of Joya all but completely destroyed. Serilda’s sleep had been restless as of late, the marshal plagued with anger and suspicion and guilt over the fact that neither she nor Mythal had been present for the affair, though no fault of their own. It was curious to them both that they had been almost completely written out of the plans for protecting the representatives from Bellum and Pergrande. While she didn’t know for sure that either of them could have prevented what had taken place, the fact of the matter remained that it was a possibility, and it was that very fact that had her all the more wary of those who had organized the protective details without seeking her input. And now, not only was the vast majority of the Joyan population dead, but so too was Pendleton; the one member of the Council that Seri and Mythal actually liked and trusted.

    To say that things were complicated and tedious as of late was an understatement, but there was little they could do except move forward and do their best to make sure they were not so easily cut out of future events. Thankfully, it wasn’t all bad. Serilda had given birth during the span of time between Shen’s return and present day, the noblewoman now a beaming and proud mother to two healthy daughters, Alexia and Naomi. It was an adjustment for everyone having newborns in the home, not just for Seri and Mythal but also for Grappa and Jellisha, the two older adopted twins that were also adjusting to not being the only children in the house anymore. Still, it was a dream come true to have a full home, even if things were so chaotic lately that she and Mythal had to keep indefinitely putting off the wedding to focus on more pressing matters.

    Today, Serilda had the day off and she was spending it doing some leisurely errands in Era. The town was bustling as much as ever, though there was a dark cloud that seemed to linger in the air. The general public in Fiore over all had been a bit aggressive since not just the border skirmishes, but also the events of Joya. It was understandable, considering how much of a mixed pot the nation was with immigrants from various countries around the continent that each viewed the conflict differently from one another. Enough disputes had risen in the recent weeks that Serilda had made the reluctant decision to increase the number of Rune Knights that patrolled in the major cities, if only slightly, just to make sure there would be plenty of hands available should the unfortunate need arise.

    It was while she was out and about that Serilda recalled that Shen was on duty that day. Given how hectic everything had been for her with all the meetings and discussions involving the impending war, it had been longer than she’d have liked since the last time she had checked in on him. With that in mind, she stopped to get a cup of coffee as well as something for him based on what she knew of his preferences and headed toward the area that she recalled his route being for that day. When she finally found him, Serilda approached with a smile. “Good morning, Sergeant Kadokawa,” the marshal greeted him, offering the cup. “I was in the area and thought I’d swing by to say hello. It’s not much, but I thought I’d bring you a small pick-me-up as well. Everything has been quiet so far today, I hope?”

    WORDS: 1562/5169 TOTAL: 9979 | @Nero
    Serilda Sinclair



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      Current date/time is 30th June 2022, 12:45 am