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    Rewrite the Stars

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 485
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,938,969

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 25th December 2021, 10:53 am

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Mercury sat in complete silence, staring numbly at a spot on the floor of what could only be called her prison cell. Khelben’s ship wasn’t terribly big, but given his position as a Collector it was unsurprising that he had a brig of sorts, a place to put people like her. Her hands were still cuffed behind her back. She had spent quite a bit of time attempting to access her magic and break free of the bonds, only to come up short. Her powers were nowhere to be found, and she couldn’t help but wonder if this despair was what Vandrad had been feeling after Sabine’s attack. She had thought she couldn’t feel any more powerless than she had felt trying and failing to find Vandrad, but apparently she had been wrong. She couldn’t even access her slayer ability to eat her way through metal and her other elements, the bindings completely sterilizing her in that regard and robbing her of the chance to free herself.

    Her biological abilities were still more than active, of course. There was nothing magical about that so it was hardly hindered by what Trinity had done. She knew Khelben was on the ship. She couldn’t read his vitals like she could the fully organic beings from Earthland, but she could still locate his presence from his heat signature. He’d been in one spot for a very long time, so Mercury could only assume he was asleep somewhere else on the ship. It gave the woman plenty of time to think, and while at first she had been forlorn over the circumstances, that had not taken long to change.

    Oddly enough, it was Scourge’s words that were ringing in her ears, the Dread Master encouraging her not to give up if only because Vandrad never would. And didn’t she owe that to the prince? After everything that had happened, all the truths that she had hidden from him, all the horrible things that he’d forgiven her for, she had to at least fight for the opportunity he had given her. As Scourge had told her, now was not the time to give into despair but rather to focus all her determination on finding a solution – and there was always a solution.

    Even if that solution was paying Hell on the way out the door.

    After a while, Khelben did finally start to move. Soon enough he wandered down to find her sitting on the cot in her cell. Her hard gaze flicked up to him as he paused in the doorway. “You’re finally up.”

    “I’ve been up for hours.”

    “How are you feeling?”

    “What do you think?”

    Khelben’s question for concern had been posed more toward her state after whatever magic Thana had imposed on the Xocili, but Mercury flung the inquiry right back at him regarding the whole situation. He sighed softly, supposing that at the very least that meant Mercury wasn’t suffering from any lingering ill effects. “I’m sorry. About everything. You know I don’t want to do any of this, but–”

    “Then don’t. You can still turn around and take me back.”

    “I just can’t risk that, Mercury. You know I can’t.”

    “All we need is time Khelben. You saw what Vandrad is capable of. What I’m capable of. The Nazru won’t mobilize until they feel they have every advantage, and that gives us the time we need to prepare. Vandrad wants to help us. His family will help, too. Don’t you understand, Khelben? We can be free.”

    “So you did tell him what we are then?” A frustrated growl rumbled from his lips as he rubbed his forehead. That was certainly going to complicate matters.

    Unwilling to be cowed, Mercury stood and approached the bars to her cage to look at him more closely with defiance in her eyes. “Yes, I did. I told him everything, right after I ripped that chip out of my neck. We can do this, Khelben! We can save everyone that’s left with their help. You just need to give it a chance.”

    “You think I didn’t give it a chance?” he asked her, his voice still gentle but more stern than before. “I was there, Mercury. I fought through the entire war, watched millions of our people die until there was next to nothing left. I saw Xocil burn to the ground while we in the military gathered as many survivors as we could and escaped in the flotilla. And then I had to watch again as they hunted us relentlessly through space, determined to finish the job. The war lasted for nearly ten years. You weren’t even born until it was nearly over, but I lived through every minute of it, so don’t talk to me like I haven’t done everything I could.”[/i]

    “I’m not saying that you could have done more,” she pleaded with him, doing her best to keep her frustrations swallowed so she could do her best to appeal her case to him. “I know you did everything you could and more. I know you lost nearly everyone you ever cared about, and fought tooth and nail for survival, and it wasn’t enough. But now we have resources at our disposal, powerful allies that could be the turning point in freeing us from oppression.”

    “And by resources, you mean magic?”

    “Yes.”

    Khelben stared at her for a long moment, his face lined with the slightest frown of frustration. Finally, he shook his head. “Magic is… phenomenal. Dangerous, even… but we don’t know if it would be effective against the Nazru’s defenses or not.”

    “It’s worth a shot!”

    “Is it?!” he asked, losing his temper just a bit. “What happens if we charge in with your friends just to find that their powers are as useless as our weapons? Do you really want to risk their lives on an untested theory? On a hunch?”

    “I would rather die fighting by their sides than continue to live like this! Than continue to be forced to aid and facilitate the destruction of billions of other people the same way our home was destroyed! You may have had to watch our home burn, but I have been the one with my boots on the ground condemning other planets to our fate and forged into being just as much of a monster as the Nazru!”

    “And I am tired, Khelben,” she told him, the sorrow and anger fierce in her eyes as she stared at him. “I am tired of living this way, and I refuse to do so any longer, no matter the cost.”

    “Even the cost of what’s left of our people?”

    The look she gave him was more than enough of an answer. “Not if I can help it… but we have lived as slaves long enough. The Nazru can take almost everything from us, Khelben, but they cannot take our ability to choose whether we live in fear or die with pride and honor.”

    “And exactly what good does dying with pride do? Death is still death, Mercury, and I am not willing to risk what little we have left on a very slim, statistically improbable chance that things might change.”

    “Then you’re just a coward.”

    The silence lingered in the air, the tension between them thick as the two stared off at one another, Mercury recalcitrant and Khelben incredulous. Looking her right in the eyes, he carefully told her, “Yes, I am. And you should be, too. I empathize with where you’re coming from, I really do… but your plan is reckless and it’s just going to get us all killed. I can’t allow that. I’m sorry.” He turned to leave, pausing only briefly in the doorway. “We’ll be at the flotilla in three days.” With that, he walked out and left her once more with her thoughts.

    Her thoughts and her anger. She knew that trying to bring Khelben around would be difficult, but she hadn’t expected him to be so stalwart against even entertaining the idea. Surely if Vandrad had been there to have the conversation with them, as they had originally planned, the prince would have found some way to bring Khelben around to his senses. As surly and antisocial as Vandrad was, he was much better with his words, and she truly felt that Khelben would have given it more consideration if he got the chance to see first hand just how much she and Vandrad were capable of.

    But that window had come and gone. Mercury had given it her best shot, and he refused. That only left her with one option: escape. Three days was plenty of time for her to study him and his ship. If she could make even the smallest opening to get free and take him down, she could lock him up long enough to turn the ship around and get back to Earthland. Scourge would hopefully have made some headway on Vandrad’s whereabouts by then and they could sit Khelben down and make him see reason.

    She just had to be patient.

    WORDS: 1514 | @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 : 544
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,110,031

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 25th December 2021, 12:41 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars RJtajUnz_o
    The du Wolff manor was as active as it had ever been. Even during the several balls and galas that were hosted within the large building, it was safe to say that they were still more contained and less noisy than the entirety of the Bellum grounds. Themesycia had organized every single resource she had and her siblings had done likewise. The result was numerous men and women setting up tents and camp over the grounds, establishing a base of operations on par with a military complex. Even with the hard bite of winter clinging to the air, several enchanted campfires and bonfires had been set up to keep the air warm and keep the people moving. It was all hands on deck and no one was willing to slow down until Vandrad had been found.

    The grand hall had been fortified into a debriefing zone, tables set up all over the floor with chairs and benches lined up beside them. There was very little free space on the surface of the tables; papers, folders, holographic displays took up residence on the flat surface and displayed all sorts of information for anyone to read. Near the steps that led to the upper platform was the duchess herself, garbed in casual wear that looked more militaristic than her usual attire. Her eyes were dark, circles bending deep into her cheeks from a lack of sleep or rest at all. How she was still standing was a question no one could answer but, then again, the rest of the du Wolffs didn’t look much better. Ever and Simon had been at her side the entire time, acting as her foundation and aids throughout the last day or so. Bartrand, Ophelia and Cecilia were out, using their connections through their friends to see if they could uncover anything. Dudley was at he and Ever’s place of business, organizing volunteers to help with the search. And Gren had been in and out of the hall, taking new information and running down leads before returning.

    The former Knight was in the hall at the moment. He tossed down a packet of information, growling in frustration as he tried to rein in his anger. Placing his hands on the table, he braced himself and closed his eyes, breathing slowly through his nostrils. Themesycia noticed him and, pulling herself from her own place of woe, walked over. Her hand slipped down on top of his, reaching underneath the big paw and gripping it. He lifted his head enough to look over at her and sighed softly. “You’ve barely had any rest in the last week, Themmy,” he muttered.

    “Speak for yourself, big man,” she replied back softly, giving his hand another squeeze. “Take a moment and breathe. If you go back out in your state, you’re likely to pop someone’s head off.”

    “And I’d do it too if it could bring Van back,” was the dark response.

    Themesycia stared at him for a moment. “We’ll find him. Our son is far too stubborn to be taken in, even at his weakest.”

    Gren looked at her once more and then nodded softly. He wrapped his hand around hers gently.  “Here I am, makin’ this all about me. And yer the one that’s pro’lly hurtin’ the most.” His other hand reached up and gently cupped the duchess cheek.  “I’’m sorry, Themmy.”

    It was a truly endearing moment, one that they hadn’t probably shared since the night they had even conceived Vandrad. In spite of everything, it was a singular instant of peace and understanding between the two parents. All of that came to a screeching halt by the sudden sound of something teleporting in -- someone that was not expected.

    To say that Themesycia and Gren were both on edge and, apparently, prepared was the understatement of the century. In the few microseconds between them sharing a look and a moment and them appearing in their next spots, they had somehow both armed themselves. The duchess’ hand gripped an odd looking handle, something that hadn’t been on her body at all before, and from its guard erupted a crackling black blade of energy. Gren had funneled all of his magic into one hand, crafting an extended blade of sorts made of lightning. Both of them had flew from their spots and reappeared before the intruder, weapons held mere inches away from his neck as their gentle features had hardened into untrusting, near-murderous stares.

    “Well, you all are more on edge than even I anticipated,” Scourge replied coolly to the weapons held against him. The rest of the room had come to a standstill as well and as his eyes swept over the faces, he could see several other members of the du Wolff team prepped and ready to attack as well. “Mayhaps I should introduce myself first before we get to the mutilating?”

    “Do so willingly or not, either way, I’ll learn who you are and why you felt bold enough to intrude upon my family’s home,” Themesycia told him, her tone cold and sharp.

    “Well I’d rather we keep things from getting messy… or rather, any messier than they already are. As I’m sure Mercury has already informed you, I’m Scourge… a member of the Dread Masters.”

    “And why the hell are you here? Aren’t ya supposed to be meetin’ with Mercury?” Gren growled, his electric blade crackling a bit fiercer.

    “Yes. And in fact, I did. Everything seemed to be going just right until a certain dark mage by the name of Trinity showed up and decided to kidnap her.” Better to come right out with it than dawdle and accidentally anger the two more.

    “What?!” Both Themesycia and Gren snapped at the same time. Their weapons drew a bit closer and Scourge, instinctively, took a step back and held up a finger.

    “Not at mine or any other Dread Master’s behest, I assure you. Somehow Trinity got the drop on us and cuffed Mercury and… drugged her, by the look of it. I had half a mind to try and save her but she was already fading out enough. So I… chose to play the role of ‘evil cult member’ and buy into Trinity’s offer of information, so that I could gain some valuable knowledge. And then she escaped.”

    “You let her take Mercury?!” Gren hissed. It struck him more personally than expected, Scourge noticed.

    But he kept his stance and finger posed and up. “As I said, my original intent was to rescue Mercury before she was taken away but given that she was nearly unconscious already, I could not guarantee her survival, let alone her safety. Would you rather her be brought back dead?” Scourge directed his question as Gren, meeting the fiery gaze evenly. The posed query was enough to simmer the former Knight down, if only by a level or two. “I thought now. As much as I’m sure she believes I betrayed her to Trinity, I used the opportunity to get answers -- namely, where Vandrad is.”

    That caused a shift. “How? How did that woman know where Vandrad is?”

    “Complicated question that has a complicated answer. But believe me when I say that she had no reason to lie and she told me that Vandrad was not on the planet anymore. In fact, it seems he’s not even in this universe. He was attempting to reactivate his magic and he, instead, activated something else. And that threw him somewhere else and according to her, only he can bring about his return. Oh, speaking of returns…” Scourge gave a small wave of his hand and opened a magical portal. From it emerged Bandit, instantly transported from his place in Iceberg to there with nary an instant passing. “This bird is quite furious about his master’s kidnapping. I believed he would find some kind of relative calm around familiar faces?”

    “Bandit,” Gren said the bird’s name, doing his best to summon the avian to him. After all, he was one of the only ones that Bandit seemed to get along with.

    “What else did you learn, Dread Master?” Themesycia continued the interrogation.

    “Mercury was kidnapped by another member of her race, one named Khelben. I’m not privy to how much any of you know about Mercury’s true descendancy but I’ve hardly the time to play coy for her sake. She is from beyond this world -- an extraterrestrial if you will. Her people are slaves to another race called the Nazru, who sent Mercury here to scout our planet for conquest. If any of them refuse orders, the rest of their people will die. Nasty bit of business. He is planning on taking her home… wherever that is, it’s beyond the limits of our world.” Scourge gave a small shrug. “I did what I could to learn about where they were headed, if only so you lot or Vandrad, when he returns, will be able to launch a rescue mission. But I’ve no directions -- only that it’s somewhere out in space.”

    The room was silent for several moments as the weight of the passed information hit everyone in their own time. Though Scourge noted that not many looked truly shocked to learn that Mercury wasn’t human. “I didn’t know ‘bout no Nazru or nothin’... but he’s tellin’ the truth about her race.”

    Themesycia looked surprised. “Gren. How?”

    “It’s a long story…”

    “And one that I’m sure you don’t need me hearing. So as much as I enjoy having my neck in a vice, perhaps I should make my departure?” Scourge interrupted.

    “Who said anythin’ about lettin’ you go? Yer a Dread Master -- one of them that put my son’s life in danger. As far as I’m concerned, maybe we should keep ya a prisoner as well?”

    Scourge tilted his head to look at Gren squarely, his brows raised a little. “Guilty by association is your mindset, is that it? Or has Mercury just left you all in the dark of all the efforts I’ve put into trying to find your son? Or even save your son -- considering he is only still alive because of my timely intervention. Think what you will about my intentions but do not doubt that I have set myself apart from the rest of my order when it comes to Vandrad. And if you truly wish to complicate the matters, well… you better make your move quickly. Because I won’t give you a second opening.” His eyes bristled with annoyance as he met Gren’s stare head on. It seemed that Scourge was willing to take a lot of mouth over his allegiance and his actions but only to a point. And it was evident he had no intention of becoming a prisoner.

    Themesycia looked between the two men slowly, considering her options. Then she pressed the button on her weapon, the blade shrinking back down into the hilt. “Very well.”

    Gren turned to look at her. “Themmy?”

    “He’s right -- Mercury told us as much. Whatever spat is occurring between your order and his, it does not concern me or the welfare of my son. Scourge has done what he can to keep my son alive and track him down and he’s even provided us some answers. He deserves clemency, at least for the moment.” She gave the former Knight a firm nod. Gren inhaled deeply and then, with a snort, dismissed his own electric blade.

    Scourge reached up and made a show of checking his neck for marks before smiling evenly. “Thank you, duchess. You are truly as worldly as everyone says you are.”

    “This is the second time you’ve come into my home without invitation. There will not be a third. Am I understood?” Themesycia replied to his comment coldly.

    “Clear as day. Though Trinity insisted that all we can do is wait for Vandrad to return, I intend to keep looking for shortcuts to bring him back. After all, it seems there is a ‘space’ ship that we must chase after and I want to give our dear prince as much of a headstart as possible.” He gave them all an eloquent bow. “I wish the best of luck to you all.” And then, raising his fingers to his head and flashing a smirk, he disappeared as swiftly as he had appeared, leaving them to deal with the news he’d brought.




    When Vandrad’s vision cleared again, he found himself somewhere familiar. The world had been exploding around him, the planet cracking and giving way beneath his feet. In that last instant before he was swallowed up by oblivion, he had emptied himself of his magic once more and sought to touch the strange source that had brought him to Rhaegar in the first place. But it wasn’t just for himself -- he’d wanted to save all of the people on the world, the inhabitants that he’d discovered were his people as well. And then he’d been surrounded by the overwhelming sound of ferocity and he’d believed that he’d failed.

    Yet here he was, standing in the training room in the Fairy Tail guildhall. His eyes snapped around, wide and unbelieving to the familiar sights. His hands reached up to his face and found the thick beard still present on his jawline, signifying that he hadn’t been lost in a dream or a vision. His memories were real, Rhaegar had been real… and he had somehow done the impossible. Of course, as he spun around to scan the entirety of the room, he couldn’t see where the people of Rhaegar were. Had he successfully brought them back over? He’d figured if the power within was some kind of spell, it would have a limited range on both activation and culmination.

    But his concerns for that were washed away as the reality of what being back actually meant hit him. He had no idea how long he’d been gone -- the time dilation was too thin to estimate. While he’d been on Rhaegar for a month, there was no telling how much time had passed here. Minutes? That couldn’t be right; the stuff he’d left on the bench was gone. Days or weeks most likely. He had to get to Mercury and to his family. He had to let them know he was alright, so they could stop whatever scorched earth policy they were enacting. He knew them all far too well to assume that they had remained passive in the time he was gone. What was, perhaps, the most uplifting feeling to the prince was the sensation of his magical energy returning swiftly. The ethernano in the air filled his body once more, revitalizing the struggling magic organ and peppering it with new particles. It was all the evidence he needed to know that he had well and truly recovered his fighting form again.

    His magical aura ignited as he exploded off the ground. He burst through the ceiling of the training room, uncaring to the damage at the moment as he directed his body to aim at Bellum. And then, pushing even more magic into his velocity, he scorched away, breaking the sound barrier and letting out a thunderous bang. He had no idea how quickly he traveled, his mind already focusing on Mercury and his family. Soon enough the sight of his family home appeared and he arched his body to descend downwards. Once more, he burst through the ceiling, crashing down onto the ground as he landed with such force, it dented the crystal beneath his feet. The room, which had been filled and active, came to a standstill as all eyes fell on the war-torn son of Bellum.

    Themesycia, who had been at one of the tables, was on her feet in seconds. “Vandrad? Vandrad!” she called out as she leapt over the table and ran to him. She came to a stop in front of him, her hands on his shoulders and arms as she looked him over. He was still bleeding from Xavier’s knife but already that was beginning to heal. “You’re back. Y-Your magic is back!” She was so relieved, she threw herself upon him, wrapping her arms around his neck. “I’d thought I’d lost you, boy.”

    Vandrad wrapped his arms around her. Despite the secrets held from him about his lineage, he couldn’t deny seeing the face of his mother again had already lifted his spirits. "It’s good to see you too, mother,” he said softly. His eyes snapped up, looking around the familiar sight of the Silver Wolf Ace. Yet he didn’t see her anywhere. Slowly he pulled back. "Where is Mercury? Is she out somewhere still looking?”

    Themesycia swallowed hard. “No, darling, no I’m afraid not. She was searching for you but she was kidnapped by Khelben.” She watched the ire roar to life in the prince’s eyes. “He’s taking her home… back to space.”






    Words: 2813/2813 | 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 : 485
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,938,969

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 25th December 2021, 5:48 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    In the center of the screen sat Mercury. She was dressed in the clothes that she had been wearing the night that Vandrad had been attacked, the ones that Everance had conjured for her so she could clean up the remnants of the slaughter she’d imposed on Sabine’s family. By the look of the background, she was in her room at Silver Wolf, the lodge’s ornate wood trimmings and nature inspired furnishings around her. The Xocili sat for a long moment staring somewhere off screen before she chuckled lightly. “How do I even begin this?” she asked herself, shaking her head lightly at her own silliness.

    “It’s been almost two days since you were attacked. You’re still in the hospital as I record this message, but they plan on discharging you today – if only because you’re a stubborn ass that refuses to play nice with the doctors.” She smirked lightly at the camera for a moment before her gaze drifted off again, the smile on her face lingering. “It’s still hard for me to believe everything that’s happened. I’ve spent my whole life believing that I would never find myself in a place like this. A place where I could feel hope, and peace… and love. I didn’t really have a word for it until you said it, but looking back now I can see that I have loved you for a long time. And I knew the word, I just didn’t know what it felt like… not just to love someone, but to be loved by someone.”

    She looked down at the ring on her finger briefly, her soft smile speaking volumes to the happiness she felt. There was a quiet squawk from off screen as Bandit flew down landed on her shoulder, the Xocili reaching up a hand to pet him absently. “I haven’t really gotten the chance to thank you yet. I’m sure I will in the months and years to come, but… I think I need to say the words out loud for myself, if only to know where to start when I talk about it with you. I know… I know it wasn’t easy… to hear about who I really am, and why I came to Earthland.”

    Her head dropped slightly, a sad countenance coming over her as she searched for the words to say. “I’ve wanted to tell you so many times, but I was afraid. There are a lot of bad things that a person could do that’s forgivable, but the things that I’ve done… I can only imagine what you must think. What your family will think. All of you mean more to me than anything else I’ve ever had in my life, and the thought that my past… my up until recent present, really… would jeopardize any of that… well, it terrifies me. That’s why I asked for a few days before we tell them the truth.”

    “And the truth is that not even I know how many horrors I’m responsible for. My rank is as a Scout, and my only job is to report my findings about the planets I visit back to the flotilla so the Nazru can decide whether or not they will invade. But once my job is done and I’ve gathered everything there is to know, I don’t stick around. I move to the next planet and carry on, ignorant of what happens to those I leave behind. Willfully ignorant… I’m ashamed to admit. I’ve never wanted to think about it because for as much as I’ve truly been desensitized to murder and abuse my entire life, the thought that I might be responsible for countless death and destruction the likes of which my own people suffered, on behalf of those who have tormented us for over three decades… it’s enough to make my stomach churn.”

    “I have you to thank for that, I think. And I mean that as a good thing. Before I came to Earthland, I’m not sure I ever truly cared. Maybe a part of me did, a part that I had to learn to bury a long time ago to the point where I couldn’t even recognize it even if it presented itself. But it wasn’t until I forced myself into your life, much to your chagrin, that I really started being able to put words to the feelings and thoughts that I’d never allowed myself exposure to. When you’re a slave, you just don’t question the universe and how it operates. When all you’ve ever known is fear and war and… loneliness.. It’s hard to ever think that things could ever get better.”

    “But being around you, spending time with your family and learning what it meant to have people care for me and accept me and protect me, even when they didn’t know anything about me… I did start to question things. You make me stronger in a way I never thought I could be. And it made me start to dream about something different, even if I knew it would result in heartbreak eventually. I couldn’t help myself. I started thinking about what would become of you.. Of your family… of Mythal and Serilda, Silver Wolf and Fairy Tail… after my mission was complete and I moved on, what would happen to you? And I didn’t… I didn’t want to be the cause of that.”

    Taking a deep breath to steady herself, keeping her emotions under wraps, Mercury continued. “So, I started to pull back on my duties. It was unconscious at first, sending in my reports but leaving out the odd detail here and there. But the more time I spent with you, the more infrequent I became about doing my work. I knew they would send someone for me eventually, but I didn’t really care. All I wanted was to draw out what I had a little longer, to let myself believe, if only for a brief fleeting moment, that I could live the kind of life I never dreamed of having. Love, marriage, children.. Stability and safety… And as of this moment, my dreams have come true. And I am so greatly looking forward to finally letting go, of giving in and taking the stand to change my future. To choose to have a future… with you. Even if I outlive you by a thousand years, every minute spent with you is worth it… Though don’t think I haven’t considered asking the Order if they have any more of those immortality granting lacrimas laying around, just so I can be a thorn in your side for a long, long time to come. Wouldn’t that be something?”

    She chuckled lightly, a bit of her impish nature returning at the mental image of driving Vandrad up a wall for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Then, her expression sobered once more. “But the truth is that it’s not as simple as declaring me a free woman and walking away. I know our intent is to talk Khelben around when he eventually comes for me, and if there are any benevolent gods in the world they will grant us the favor of being able to persuade him that we stand a chance. But it won’t be easy. Khelben is a lot older than I am, by a couple hundred years. He’s lost nearly all of his family, and he’s scared of what will happen to what remains of us if he allows me to rebel as I have. And I don’t blame him. I’d probably feel and act the same way if our roles were reversed. I can only hope he will listen to us.”

    “But for all that has happened, and as much as I know that you would never allow anything to happen to me, I just can’t… I can’t shake this feeling like the worst is yet to come. Maybe it’s just my cynicism showing through, a paranoia built on a lifetime of having to look over my shoulder and find the threat in every shadow that surrounds me. And while I have complete faith, as many of your religious texts call it, that you will stop at nothing to uphold your promise that I will never be a slave again, I can’t help but think that should something happen to me, by the time we realize it it will be far too late for me to say any parting words.”

    “So, I thought it prudent to take a moment while there was some peace and quiet to record this message for you. And if you are listening to this right now, then it means my worst fears have come true, and Khelben found a way to get to me, because this message will only reach you if I travel beyond a certain distance from the planet. I would love nothing more than to leave behind something for you that will help you locate the flotilla so you can come find me, but the fleet is always moving and I truthfully don’t know where it is at any given time. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to point you in the right direction. And even if I did, I know that space faring vehicles are nearly impossible to come by on Earthland, and the resources you do have available to you may not quite be advanced enough to get you as far as you’d need to go to reach me. So chances are high that you won’t be able to follow after me.”

    Mercury looked back up at the camera once more, her eyes locking on his through the screen. “Just know that if this comes to pass, and I find myself having been taken, I will do whatever it takes to make my way back to you. If there is even the slightest bit of an opening to find my freedom again, I will take it… or I will die trying. Because I refuse to live a life of bondage any longer.”

    “Just please promise me that you won’t hold this against Khelben. I know you don’t like him, and honestly neither do I… but he’s really not a bad person. He just needs a little guidance and encouragement, like I did.” After a moment she smiled, the uneasiness of the moment shed for something more relaxed. “But of course, I’m just being silly. With any luck, you’re never going to see this recording and I’ll just stew in my own foolishness for being dramatic enough to film something like this in the first place. But on the off chance that this recording has the unfortunate duty of being sent to you, I’ve included the coordinates where you will find my ship. It’s the only thing that I’ve ever really had, and in the event that I disappear I want you to have it.”

    “I love you, Vandrad. And I can’t wait to be your wife.” And with a final, wistful smile, the recording ended.



    It had been two days since Mercury had woken up on Khelben’s ship. She had been biding her time, careful not to stir any waves until she knew she had a clear shot at escape. She did her best to be cordial, even if she hadn’t quite let go of trying to convince the older man to let her go. A few times a day she tried to plead her case, and each time he told her no, growing more frustrated and tired of her relentless insistence with each conversation. Despite this, he did his best to treat her well. He really only kept her inside her cage when he was sleeping or wanting to focus on something without having to worry about keeping an eye on her, but as long as he was awake and present, he let her roam about the small ship with him – even if he never removed her handcuffs.

    The Collector had brought more than just Mercury along for the ride as well. It had not taken her long to find the small stash of magical items that he had stowed away on the ship, likely stolen from Silver Wolf. Items to present to the Nazru as offerings of peace and servitude, probably in the hopes of sparing the rest of the Xocili from punishment on behalf of Mercury’s betrayal. A few of them were weapons, but he was careful to keep those out of her reach.

    For the most part it was a quiet trip. Mercury did her best to get Khelben to talk to her about.. Well, anything really. Mostly Xocil. Anything that might cause him to lower his guard and become more susceptible to her persuasions. Unfortunately, he was not so easily won over. A staunch military man that was stuck in his ways, he easily saw right through most of her tactics and shut them down before she could even really get started. It was beyond frustrating, but Mercury was determined to stay her course and be patient, even if she had to grit her teeth to the point of grinding them to do it.

    It was on the second day that Mercury found an opening that she was willing to take. They had been beset by a sudden meteor storm, and Khelben had needed to rush to the cockpit to fly the ship manually and take evasive action, leaving Mercury in the main part of the ship. At first all she could do was sit and try not to get knocked around too much as the ship tossed her this way and that. It was a truly harrowing situation, and while she trusted that Khelben had the means and experience to get them through it, that didn’t make it any less dangerous. How ironic it would be for them to come all this way to not even make it back to the flotilla, and only to die at the treacherous hands of outer space.

    But it was while the ship was jostling to and fro that Mercury noticed it: The cabinet where Khelben stored his tools. Normally he kept it locked while Mercury was out, but he had tried to shut it in a hurry once he realized the impending storm was on its way and it had not shut properly. With a quick glance toward the entrance of the cockpit, she threw herself to her feet and did her best to make her way over to the cabinet without having her hands free to catch her if she fell. She had to use her head to push the door open all the way, her eyes quickly scanning the tools for anything she could use until she found something that was small enough to fit into the lock of her handcuffs.

    Dragging it out with her teeth, she stumbled slightly as the ship rocked and she had to fight for balance. Then, she dropped the tool on the workbench and turned around so she could try to grab it with her hands. A sudden lurch in the ship caused the item to fall off the table and go rolling across the floor. With a growl, Mercury ran after it, throwing herself to the ground and squirming until she could get hold of it. From there, she shove the tip of the item inside the hole for the locking mechanism of the cuffs, trying to stay calm and focused as she fiddled with the device. “Come on, come on…” she whispered to herself.

    “Hey, what are you doing?!”

    Mercury looked up to discover that in her efforts to chase after her makeshift lockpick, she had rolled right into the field of vision of Khelben where he sat in the cabin, easily able to see her with just the quick turn of the head. “Fuck!” Her only saving grace was that he was still needing to focus on navigating the storm and couldn’t afford to walk away from the steering wheel until they made it through the other side. So Mercury kept at it until she felt one of the locks give way, a surge of power running through her as she felt her magic available to her disposal once more.

    Pushing herself to her feet, she rushed to the storage box where she knew he was keeping Mercy and easily broke the lid off, her ability to manipulate metal as strong as ever. By the time he had gotten them through the storm and put the ship back on autopilot, Mercury was standing with her gun pointed at him. “Just sit out and talk this out with me,” she told him as he stepped into the room, his own sword drawn. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

    “Then you should have stayed put..!” With a growl, he came at her, using the large flat of his blade to block her incoming shots and push himself up to her. They fought for several minutes in the enclosed space, Mercury doing her best not to utilize her magic in fear of doing something that might rip the ship apart by accident – or of causing him any serious injury. However, while Khelben may not have been a mage he was still a soldier, and he had been fighting far longer than she’d even been alive. It did not take long for her to realize that he had the clear upper hand in a fisticuff battle, and if she wanted to ensure her freedom she was going to need to take more drastic measures.

    “Sorry about this!” Reaching deep inside, her body began to crackle with electricity as she powered up a shot, being careful to be precise with her aim so she would hit Khelben and nothing else.

    His eyes went wide as he saw what she was doing. “Mercury, STOP!”

    With a growl, she launched the blast at him only for the most peculiar thing to happen. Just as the bolt was about to send enough volts into him to cause him enough temporary paralysis for her to gain the upper hand, the magic instead hit some kind of magical barrier. She barely had enough time for her eyes to go wide in shock before the blast ricocheted violently away from Khelben and scorched a deep line straight through the side of the ship, carving open a hole to the void and shorting out everything in its path. Horrified, Mercury reached into her magic once more and quickly summoned enough metal to patch the hole with, giving them a firm seal that once more protected them from the vacuum beyond the ship’s walls.

    Before she could turn to see what other damage she could fix, Mercury found herself being slammed up against the wall, her hands quickly and expertly locked back in the cuffs that prevented her from accessing her magic once more. “NO!”

    With a growl, he hurled her forcefully on the ground where she fell hard on her side. “Did you think I would be stupid enough to not take measures to protect myself after the last time you attacked me? What in the void is WRONG with you?!” he screamed at her, looming over her in anger. “Are you trying to get us killed?!”

    “I’m TRYING to get you to open your fucking eyes!” Mercury spat back, rolling on the ground in an attempt to nurse her bruised hip. “We have a chance to get our lives back, and all you want to do is cower in your boots!”

    “At least I’m not running around like a reckless, selfish brat that doesn’t give a damn who else gets caught up in the consequences of my actions! Do you not care about your own people? Is that it?!”

    “You know what, Khelben? No. No, I really fucking don’t!” Mercury’s stress and anxiety had finally pushed her past her breaking point, having been so close to freedom once more only for it to be robbed from her once more.

    Khelben was looking at her very much like he was hoping he hadn’t heard her correctly. “What did you say?”

    “I SAID I DON’T FUCKING CARE ABOUT ANY OF YOU! Why should I?! You talk a big game about needing to keep everyone’s safety in mind for the survival of our race, but what has ANY of our people done except sit there and accept their place at the Nazru’s heels? I’ve never even met another Xocili before you, so tell me, Khelben: Why do I owe any of you ANYTHING?!”

    “Because we are all you have left, Mercury!”

    “Wrong! Vandrad is all I have left, all that I have ever had, and I will never stop fighting to get back to him, just like he will never stop trying to find me!”

    “I’ve had just about enough of your childish naivety! I’ve tried to be as considerate as possible in all this, but you refuse to be obedient, and I will not tolerate it any longer!”

    “Oh please, don’t threaten me a good time!”

    “If you don’t start listening to me, I–”

    “You’ll what?” She demanded to know, looking him square in the eyes with the fire of hatred. “You’ll beat me? That’s hardly much of a threat when I’ve spent my entire life being abused. You’ll hand me over to the Nazru? You’re already planning on doing that anyway, like the gutless little lap dog you are!”

    “Shut up!”

    Mercury smirked at him, the cruel, mirthless expression of a woman who had lost all touch with composure and was now far more interested in just getting under her captor’s skin for the sake of pissing him off. “Aw, did that hurt your feelings? Are you going to run back home to your masters with your tail between your legs? I bet you’d do just about anything for a cookie and a pat on the head.”

    “Would you stop it?”

    “Did you even try to protect your family during the war?” the lavender haired woman continued, needling him further even as his ire raised to the point of being incessed, his hazel eyes near crazed as they bored into her. “Or did you just roll over and show your belly at the first sign of conflict, even while your friends and family were gutted from head to toe like stivoks, primed and ready for the feast?”

    “I said SHUT UP!” he roar, pulling his arm back and backhanding her hard across the face, sending her flying right back onto her back with a loud crack as her skull hit the hard floor.

    Even as she shook off the dazed feeling, Mercury started laughing. “You know, if the rest of our people are as bitchy and whiny as you, it’s no wonder we wound up in this predicament. We probably deserved it. If the rest of them aren’t willing to fight to the death for your freedom, then they deserve to be slaves. You deserve to be a slave. Just like everyone who died before us deserved what they got. Were your parents wimps, too? Is that where you got it from? I’m sure they’d be so proud if they could see you right now. I bet your dad would just be beside himself with pride, and your deadbeat of a mother would–”

    Mercury wouldn’t even get the chance to finish her sentence before Khelben’s hand was wrapped around her throat, lifting her off the ground by her jaw and slamming her so hard against a wall that it buckled beneath her weight, even without the use of magic. Then, as she started to laugh once more, the strangled sound coming out despite his chokehold on her face, he pulled her back only to beat her against the wall again, and then a third time until he finally dropped her face first onto the ground. Even as he heaved with rage and adrenaline, she continued to cackle, spitting blood out onto the ground next to her. “Are you sure you’re even a Xocili? Cause you make for a really convincing Nazru.”

    Something snapped in him, then, his anger brimming to the point where his vision went white. Losing all track of himself, he wasn’t even consciously aware of his own actions until the deed was already done, his senses returning slowly to find himself kneeling over where she lay in a bloodied, exposed heap, doing her best to curl into a ball and fold in on herself. The evidence of his sin was all over them both, and all he could do was look down at her with a horrified expression while she stubbornly fought back her tears, refusing to give way to him even through the heinous act he’d performed upon her. And as reality came crashing down around his ears, he fell back and stared in complete and utter shock and disbelief at the aftermath of his crime. Her words came back to him in that moment, the Warlord’s warning about the consequences of his actions and the inability he would have in correcting the wrongs he had made.

    …what had he just done?

    WORDS: 4188/5702 | @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
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    Posts : 544
    Guild : Fairy Tail
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    Experience : 2,110,031

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 25th December 2021, 7:54 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars RJtajUnz_o
    How was it that he had escaped a planet on the brink of destruction and stepped into Hell itself?

    There was a lot of information that had to be thrown at Vandrad in a very short amount of time. As much as anyone wanted to know about his time in the other dimension and what had transpired, storytime was hardly the first thing or anywhere near the top of the list for Vandrad. From the moment that Themesycia had told him that Mercury had been kidnapped by Khelben, there was nothing else that mattered to him. Much like the Silver Wolf Ace had done, Vandrad’s first steps were to investigate the places where she’d been last before her taking. He went to the Silver Wolf guildhall and asked around, not receiving many answers beyond what his family had already told him. At some point, he realized that he had, once again, disappeared with very little said and hadn’t left a means of communicating with him. Mythal and Serilda were being notified of his return, along with the rest of his family and no doubt when he returned to Bellum, he would have an entire audience wanting to see him with their own eyes. If only he could work up the emotional ability to care at the moment.

    But it was better not to cause any further worry. He returned to Fairy Tail and went to grab his equipment. It was there, while he was gathering his things, that he discovered something logged onto his network. A message of sorts. To be fair, there were several messages from people reaching out to him but only one that had Mercury’s name attached to it. Once more the rest of the world was forgotten and he nearly threw the video on screen, insisting that it played immediately. His heart nearly skipped a beat when she appeared in front of him once more, garbed in the outfit that she had been in at the hospital, when they had become engaged. He listened in silence as she reminisced on the event and the sudden realization of her own feelings and thanked him for what he had done for her, though he truly felt like he had done very little for her. She spoke her truth to him, circling back to the things she had finally confessed to him about her past and what she had done and why she had come to Earthland in the first place. She touched upon details that she hadn’t really had time to get to -- what her position had required her to do, what the results of her actions had been -- things that perhaps he had understood deep down but hadn’t had the chance to confirm with her.

    She spoke of not caring about anything really before she had met him, a statement that rang true with him as well. Most of his life had been one continuous path forward, never looking back, never making friends, always pushing to the next challenge with barely a care or concern. One could argue that war had muted him to his feelings but the truth of the matter was, he’d been dead inside before that; war was just a comfortable space to keep himself completely empty. It was ignorant, he believed, to make such lofty comparisons when Mercury had been a slave, a prisoner without choice or option, but the similarities were still there in spite of it. Her life had changed when she met him, met his family and discovered people that would fight for her, protect her and care about her well being. It allowed her to think about the possibilities of where her life could go, even if her bleak upbringing practically forced her to understand that it would all come crashing down in the end. But the guilt that she had been suppressing manifested as she worried what would happen to this planet and its people.

    It was because of those feelings that she began to shirk her duties. It started small but became more common as time marched on and she spent more time around him. She knew what the consequences would be but she just wanted to live in the fantasy for a bit longer, just enough to get her fill and see what the other side promised. And in the end, or as far as the video had reached, she had found a dream. A future with him and his family was all she wanted and she had achieved it and she joked about forcing him to become immortal just for the sake of keeping him around longer to torture. She’d be in for quite the surprise once he found her again, that was for sure.

    But she knew it wasn’t just as easy as stating she wasn’t a slave anymore and moving forward. With oppressors it never was and Khelben had been under their thumb for far longer than she had. He had been broken by the enslavement, jaded to believe that there was no way out and in charge of putting down those that opted to take a stand. She hoped for the best but she couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was coming -- a premonition he wished he could have prevented from passing. She’d been worried about something happening to her and never being able to pass along any words for him. So she had recorded the message for him, just in case, wanting to make sure she had insurance. And it was programmed to activate if she got a certain distance away from the planet, meaning that Khelben had taken her and she was more than certainly off-world.

    And worse yet, she didn’t have a way of tracking down her location for him. He’d expected some kind of insurance plan on her end but she didn’t have a means of knowing where the flotilla was or would be. Worse than that, his world wasn’t nearly as advanced as the rest of the galaxy. They had limited means for space travel and there was no telling if they could even prepare something to travel as far as they would need to go. As far as she believed, once she was taken, then that was it. And with that in mind, she promised him that she would find a way to get back to him or she would die fighting. He’d opened her eyes to what freedom could bring her and she would never allow herself to be put in a cage willfully again. She even asked the impossible of him -- to find a way to forgive Khelben for his actions. As she saw it, he just needed to have his eyes opened, like she did. After a moment she admitted she was probably being silly and would have to live with the silly idea that she had recorded such a message. But as one last piece of insurance, in case things do go bad, she provided the coordinates to her ship. It was the one thing that she could call hers before arriving on Earthland and she wanted him to have it.

    He played the video over and over again, numerous times until he lost count. He wasn’t even aware of the tears trickling down the side of his face as he listened to her words, her voice, watched each little tweak of her face or smirk on her lips. Half a year he had gone without seeing her, robbed right when he’d bypassed his greatest emotional challenge. And when he finally found his way home again, she had been stolen from him. There was no word to describe the ache and anger that ebbed in his heart. The last time he watched the video, it was presented in Bellum, pulled up on a much larger screen for the entirety of the du Wolff family and his closest allies to see. He’d nearly voted against it internally; it was her goodbye video to him and in his greed he just wanted to hold it close. But that, in his eyes, was admitting defeat. That was taking her words and allowing the idea that he couldn’t get to her take root. Such an action was not in his nature and he was not about to devolve now, not when she needed him most.

    And, truthfully, his family had a right to know who it was they would be trying to help him rescue. They knew Mercury had a secret, even better than he understood, but they didn’t understand the true weight of it. As the recording came to an ending, Vandrad’s gaze lingered on the screen as the room remained quiet. Only after a brief few moments did his gaze dare to move. The entirety of his family was there, of course, including Gren. Mythal and Serilda had been waiting when he returned, along with Saffron, surprisingly. His eyes took in their faces one at a time, watching as they processed everything.

    “Gods…” Mythal muttered. “I mean… what d’ya even say to that…?”

    "Ideas. Solutions. We don’t have time for anything else,” Vandrad replied.

    “We understand that, Vandrad. Trust us; we understand how much this hurts and how much you wanna get this goin’. But this is… it’s a lot. Even more than what Scourge told us.”

    The prince’s brow ruffled in anger. "Scourge? What the hell does that bastard have to do with this?”

    Themesycia stood up carefully. “Darling, relax, please,” she encouraged him gently. “You rushed off so quickly, you didn’t give us a chance to tell you anything. Scourge was helping Mercury look for you. Now I know how that sounds but it’s true. He was using his resources to try and track you down and he was sharing whatever he found with Mercury. He was there when she got taken… by Trinity.”

    Names upon names that sparked nothing but pure rage for the prince were being passed around right after the other. The air was palpable with his fury as his hands tightened into fists. "And what, he just stood there while she was kidnapped?” he hissed, a menacingly low sound.

    “Well, it seemed she had drugged Mercury. He felt it more prudent to get information about your whereabouts and who was targeting her than endangering her life by trying to save her. Think what you will about his actions prior to this or his allegiance to the Dread Masters but he came here, to our home, to tell us what happened. I know of no man that would bravely and stupidly wander into a lion’s den and kick the cubs before the lioness but he did just that. The only reason anyone would do such a thing was if they were telling the truth.”

    “He was tryin’ to make sure Mercury stayed alive long enough for you to get her. I… believe him too, Van. He was tryin’ to do right by you.” Gren spoke up, owning up to his own misjudgements from before as well.

    Vandrad glanced over at Gren and after a moment, relaxed a bit. Scourge had been earnest in their discussion, about wanting to protect humanity and work with Vandrad. And from a tactical standpoint, it made sense that he would lay the groundwork for a rescue rather than risk the hostage’s life recklessly. As much as he hated to admit it, he probably owed the Dread Master thanks. "What did Scourge tell you?”

    “A little bit about Mercury’s people, the Xocili and their past with the Nazru. Not as much detail as she provided herself but enough to confirm to all of us what we already assumed -- that she was not from this world.” Everance explained calmly.

    That hardly surprised him. The way they worded things, approached things with Mercury -- they understood she was not one of them. But then again, none of the du Wolffs were truly human either, were they? That was neither here nor there at the moment. “Before we get too far into this discussion, I want to make something very clear, Vandrad,” Everance continued, turning in her chair slightly to look at her nephew. “This does not change the way we feel about her. She has some guilt and she has done some heinous things but one can hardly blame her. These Nazru have imprisoned her people and poisoned them against each other and to the rest of the galaxy. Whether she believes it or not, she was forced into this… and now she is breaking herself free of her shackles and taking back her life. If anything, I believe I love her a bit more for it. If there was a sliver of fear that we would disown either her or you over her past actions, dismiss it.” It was a genuine statement and as he looked at her, she gave him a warm, genuine smile along with it. His eyes scanned over the faces of the rest of his family; his cousins, his uncles, his mother and his father and each one of them had the same look on their face.

    He couldn’t deny that there had been the smallest of fears but that was his own ill-bred cynicism. “Same thing here, Vandrad,” Mythal spoke up, giving his adoptive brother a nod. “Hell, I only want to help her more now. All those years, bein’ forced to go from place to place, havin’ to numb yourself so you don’t kill yourself with the guilt. No one deserves that.”

    "Thank you,” he spoke to them, making sure he looked at each one in turn. "I appreciate that.”

    “There is no need to thank us. Now,” Everance said, clapping her hands together. “Since her kidnapping, we’ve made some preparations but unfortunately, without much to go on, they aren’t much.”

    “We have access to a space faring vessel that can travel long distances but without a direction, it’s essentially useless. It’s primed and ready though -- we made sure of that,” Mythal explained about the preparations that he and Serilda had made.

    “Then we need something that can track their direction. Perhaps we can utilize some of our magic sensory arrays and tweak them to scan for particles that have left the atmosphere at an unusually high velocity?” Dudley wondered.

    Tracking. "That’s it,” Vandrad said, eyes widening. He spun on his heels and grabbed his equipment, lugging it onto the table. Nearly ripping open the bag, he pulled out several articles of armor and machinery before finally finding what he was searching for. The original tracker that Mercury had given him, nearly two years before. She’d told him that it would lead him right to her and it had; he’d even used it once to follow her. His fingers found the power button and flicked it on… to nothing. The power was still viable but it wasn’t giving him any information.

    “What’s that?” Themesycia asked.

    "Mercury gave it to me years ago to track her. But it’s not picking up on her… because she’s off planet. It would be far beyond its limited range. I need something to bolster it, to expand its radius, something like…”

    Her ship. No doubt it was rife with advanced tracking and locating systems that would reach far beyond the borders of their world and into the stars. His eyes snapped up. "She gave me the location of her ship. If I can splice this into the ship’s computer, I would be able to track her. It’s more advanced than anything else we have on this world but she’s been educating me on how to work with some of her technology. Then I can fly it right to her.” It was almost too good to believe.

    “Wait, you can’t just get in a ship and fly off to fight these-these Nazru all by yourself. That’s suicide.” Gren started to interject.

    “Then he won’t. We’ll prime the other ship we have and we’ll follow after them. Launch a full scale attack,” Themesycia cut in.

    “If the Nazru are as advanced as they seem to be, they’ll be more than ready for one unarmed civilian spaceship. We’d be vaporized before we even got close enough to matter,” Ever added her thoughts.

    “Then no ship. Serilda can move through space without them knowin’,” Mythal said, gesturing to his fiance. “Her magic is Voidwalkin’. She can open a portal back here as soon as she finds them and lands and let the rest of us through. We’ll be on their territory before they even know their under attack. We just need a direction for her.”

    "Then I’ll program this so that it can track her rather than the ship. And Serilda, you can open us a path there directly.” Where there had been almost no hope, they’d found a means. And with it, an enemy that Vandrad had no intention of letting see any side of mercy. "I have the coordinates. I’ll head over there and get to work.”

    “Dudley and I would like to join you, Vandrad. If there’s technology to be tinkered with, you know your aunt and uncle are always eager to partake,” Ever stated.

    “And the rest of us will prepare. Once Vandrad has the tracker, Serilda can set out. Then we will be ready to go to war,” Themescyia stated confidently, the former general coming out. “ Whatever these Nazru are…”

    “They’re about to learn the punishment for taking one of our own.”






    Words: 2908/5721 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


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    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 26th December 2021, 10:44 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    To say that the truth behind Mercury’s mission hit them all heavily would be quite the understatement.

    The moment they’d gotten the call that Vandrad was back, Serilda and Mythal had dropped everything to get to Bellum as quickly as possible, only to find that the prince had already run off to find Mercury before his family could even tell him everything they had learned. At the very least it had given them time to gather everyone, the entire lot of them waiting in anticipation for him to return. It was a relief to see him, even if he looked as though he had been gone far longer than the better part of a week, considering the full face of hair. Wherever he’d run to, whatever he’d found in trying to find her, it had clearly done a number on him as he looked as though he’d been crying.

    It would not take long at all for them to learn why. Hooking his scouter up to a larger screen, the prince elected to share with everyone the video that Mercury had recorded for him, and the horrifying truths that she had to share. The room was so quiet that it was damn near deafening, each one of them having their own visceral reaction to not just the news what she had been doing the last several years of her life, but what she had lived through.

    At first, no one said anything at all. What was there to say? But they needed to move forward and luckily Mythal took it upon himself to break the tension. And just like that Vandrad was off once more, demanding ideas and solutions for moving forward, determined not to waste any further time. It was sentiment they all agreed with, but Gren was quick to pull his son back from the ledge, encouraging not to jump into anything without all the details. The mention of Scourge raised Vandrad’s ire as he sought answers on what the Dread Master had to do with the current situation.

    Themmy laid out the summary for him, detailing how Scourge had been working with Mercury in an earnest effort to find the prince, and how they had been caught off guard by Thana. This, of course, only enraged Vandrad further as he accused Scourge of doing nothing while Mercury was kidnapped before his very eyes, yet even that assumption was quickly dashed. Scourge had done all he could to protect Mercury, and unfortunately saving her life meant he had to let her be taken. But, he had not left empty handed, getting as many details as Trinity was willing to divulge to him before she disappeared with the woman in tow.

    It was a lot to take in, and no one would have blamed the prince if his fuse continued to blow short with stress and anger. Yet, he proved himself the better man, compartmentalizing his frustrations for the moment to focus on the facts that would allow them to move forward. When he asked what all Scourge had relayed to them regarding Mercury, Ever admitted that it wasn’t much. Vague details that Mercury had covered in her video only moments ago in greater depth. But then, his aunt took a moment to catch Vandrad attention, looking him in the eyes as she assured him that Mercury’s past changed nothing about how they felt about her. She was still family, and if anything she was endeared to them all the further for choosing to fight her fears and stand up for herself.

    Mythal chimed in with agreement, expressing that he was all the more inclined to do what he could to help her now that he knew what sort of oppression she had faced her whole life and the sort of habits she’d had to build just to survive – a numbness that the darkness slayer was all too familiar with. Serilda reached out and took her fiance’s hand, giving it a squeeze even as she met Vandrad gaze. “Absolutely. And the truth is, we’ve known she wasn’t human since the day you two first stepped in my office. I was able to sense right away that her body didn’t match the atomic composition of a human, but she never brought it up so… we assumed – correctly, it seems – that she didn’t want to talk about it. But no matter her past, she has proven herself to us a thousand times over, and we are happy to repay the favor of protecting her where you both helped us protect Mythal.”

    The prince took the time to look over the faces of his family standing there, as well as Saffron. The blonde looked a little out of place in the crowd, and there was no mistaking that a lot of what was being said around her was going way over her head. But she was there, and by the grim and determined expression on her face she didn’t intend on being left out. She said nothing, but her violet eyes locked with Vandrad’s when he glanced her way and she gave him a single nod to let him know that she was right there with everyone else.

    Vandrad thanked them all, and with a brief dismissal of their need for his thanks Everance got to work on ushering them forward toward a game plan. In his absence his family had taken every stride they could think of to be ready to go once Vandrad returned, but they were still left at a loss due to the fact that they had no idea which direction to head in in order to find her. Mythal confirmed that they had secured a space faring vessel, but without guidance it wouldn’t be of much help. Dudley chimed in with ideas on how to triangulate the trajectory of which Khelben’s ship might have exited the atmosphere so they could track it, and that was when something seemed to come back to Vandrad.

    He scrambled for his bag, practically tossing the contents out this way and that until he withdrew a small device of advanced make. He explained that Mercury had given it to him years ago so he could track her down, and it seemed the prince had kept the device all this time. Flipping the switch, they all waited with baited breath to see what would happen, only to find nothing. By his own words, he theorized that when she had made the device it had only been with the geography of the planet in mind, not something that had been crafted to guide him out beyond the stars. It had the function he needed, but not the range.

    Thankfully, Mercury may have inadvertently provided him with a solution. She had left him the coordinates of her ship, which was most certainly going to have the capability of universal navigation. He may not have been as adept as Mercury was with Earthland’s technology, let alone that of a highly advanced alien race, but Mercury had been teaching him over the last year or longer and he seemed confident that he might be able to make something work with whatever he found there. All he had to do was install the tracker in her nav system and he could use her own ship to get to her.

    Except it wasn’t that easy, as Gren pointed out. Vandrad was strong, but they knew absolutely nothing about what he would be up against and it was entirely possible that he would be signing his own death warrant by going in alone. Themmy chirped up to suggest that he could use the ship to guide the rest of them on the larger vessel, allowing a full scale attack. Yet that too had its faults, as the ship they had prepared was not designed for war. They would surely be vaporized before they even got close enough to get to her.

    And thankfully, that was where Mythal had a new solution: Serilda. She didn’t need a ship to travel through space. The voidwalker could get there night undetected and sneak them all on board before the Nazru even knew they were being infiltrated. “Yes,” Serilda agreed, sitting forward in her seat and all too eager to work with the plan. “I can travel through space on my own much faster than we would move in a ship. The only thing I need to know where is I need to go.”

    “And I’ll stay here,” Victoria offered, the Seal – much like Saffron – having been sitting back and observing quietly as everyone pitched their ideas and came up with a game plan. “Serilda and I are telepathically linked. No matter how far she goes, I will be able to communicate with her instantly. That will allow us and her to keep everyone up to date in real time, so we can be ready the moment she gets there to let us through.”

    And like that, they had the workings of a very plausible plan. Vandrad announced his intention to make with all haste toward Mercury’s ship so he could get started on making the necessary adjustment to the tracker. Everance and Dudley volunteered to go with him, to put their own engineering skills to Vandrad’s aid. Everyone else would stay behind to prepare in any other ways they could, with the duchess of Bellum declaring in no uncertain terms the type of reckoning that these Nazru were in for as retribution for kidnapping her future daughter-in-law.

    Oddly enough, it was Saffron who finally chimed in at that moment. “I know this is going to sound totally out of left field, but I actually think I can help get some intel. I happen to be buddies with a couple extraterrestrials myself. Long story, but they’re both intergalactic bounties hunters so they’ve been around the space block more than a few times. If anyone can help us get more information on what we’re walking into, it has to be them.”

    As soon as everyone fanned out, Saffron was already on her phone sending a message in the group chat she had with Hosrius and Grubar, asking if they were free for a call to help with an emergency. Once she was able to get them both on the phone with her, she turned the volume up on her phone and set it down on the table where everyone else who wished to join the conversation could gather around to do so.

    “Hey, I’ve got you guys on speaker phone. I’m here in Bellum with Vandrad’s family.” While neither of the aliens had met Vandrad before, they were both well aware of who the blonde’s mentor was as he had come up in conversation plenty of times in the past. “His fiance is missing. Turns out she’s an alien like you guys, and she was taken off world. Do you guys happen to know anything about the Nazru..?”


    Zemenar sighed softly where he stood behind the door to the room beyond. It had been a long time since he’d been put into the position of having to actually fulfill his duties as the Enforcer. The last time had been when Argon and his followers had led their attempted coup against the Nazru, managing to somehow free themselves if at the cost of many other Xocili lives. He didn’t really blame them for it, as much as he wanted to. Stress and trauma affected everyone differently, and where some were willing to lay down and do whatever was asked of them in order to survive, some were defiant to their last dying breath. There was no right and wrong, but that hadn’t meant there weren’t consequences, and Zemenar had been forced to hurt a lot of his own people that day.

    And now, years later, here he was again. Khelben had been sent out over a year ago to get an update on a wayward Scout and had unfortunately found reason to bring her in. The Collector had prostrated himself at the feet of his overlords, bearing his update on the events he had discovered and informing them that he had brought both the runaway Scout and samples of the phenomenon known as magic that he’d procured for their direct study. From there, Zemenar had been summoned with instructions to meet with the young woman while Khelben stayed with the Speakers of Yuuzhan to demonstrate the trinkets he had brought with them.

    Steeling himself, he opened the door to the interrogation chamber to find Mercury slumped forward in her chair, awake but emotionally unresponsive to the world around her. While her feet were bound to the legs of her seat and her torso was strapped to the back of it, her arms were locked behind her by shackles that he had been given very clear instructions not to remove due to the supposed power that they were holding back from her grasp. It seemed like overkill to him. At the moment, she wasn’t striking him as the type of woman that was about to get up and start killing anyone. If anything she looked all but dead, a great weight pressing down on her pneuma to the point where she didn’t even care to turn her face to look up at him.

    He observed her quietly for a moment before shutting the door behind him. Then, he wordlessly took a chair from the side of the room and set it in front of her where he sat down and put himself on her level. “Do you know who I am?” he asked her gently, his voice kind, if sorrowful. The man waited patiently for several long beats to see if the woman would respond, only to be greeted with complete and utter silence. Indifference, even. Normally the Xocili he had to interrogate were frantic with panic, weeping and at the end of their ropes with fear, but not this one. She was numb, detached to the point of dissociation, if he had to hazard a guess. Whatever she had been through to bring her to this moment, it had scarred her more deeply than he’d seen from one of his people in quite a while.

    When it was obvious she had no intention of speaking, he adjusted himself in his seat, hanging his head in resignation. “This is how this is going to work: I’m going to ask you questions. If you answer them honestly, then I’ll do what I can to keep your suffering to a minimum. If you don’t comply, I will be forced to torture you until you do. I have no right to ask anything of you, but please… I’m begging you to not make this harder on us both than it has to be. Can you do that for me?

    Nothing. Her gaze didn’t even consider flicking in his direction, the woman so lost in her own mind and thoughts that he may as well have not even been there. Zemenar took a moment to study her, his amber colored eyes searching her features for anything even remotely familiar looking. Ever since the night where Argon had somehow managed to sneak aboard the flotilla to meet with him, not a day had gone by where Zemenar didn’t fear that he might be called upon to fulfill the promise he’d made that night. He’d never gotten the chance to meet Argon’s daughter. Like many others, she had been hidden away either shortly before or after birth along with many men and women that had been tasked with trying to keep their future generation protected. His own wife had been among that number, while Zemenar and the other men and women of the military had stayed behind to hold a defensive force long enough for the others to flee.

    But the truth was that there were a lot of children on board that ship when the Nazru had finally caught up to it. Dozens, if not hundreds of kids between the ages of fourteen and pre-birth, and there was no telling how many of them had and had not survived that fight. Looking at the young woman before him now, however, he had to say that she didn’t really seem to look too much like his friend. That being said, he didn’t allow himself the chance to study her for too long, his own personal fears and insecurities nagging in the back of his mind and reminding him that he could only do his job if he didn’t allow himself to fully humanize the one before him.

    “I’m told by the reports that you were collected after confirmation was received that you had inherited particular abilities native to the world.” He scanned the documents in his head, searching for the keyword. “This… magic. Can you tell me about that?” Once more there was silence. Zemenar waited for a long moment to see if she would respond, though he already knew she wouldn’t. He wanted nothing more than to give her a chance, to give her the time she needed to come to her senses and keep him from having to take drastic measures, but the longer he waited with no acknowledgement the more he began to understand that she was not going to give him a choice. “I know how scared you must be, but..”

    Zemenar stopped, his voice trailing off as a sound bubbled up from her throat. A laugh. It was strangled and coarse, like she either hadn’t talked in days or had overused her vocal chords recently to the point of straining. He held perfectly still as he looked at her, not wanting to dissuade her from speaking up, and after a moment he was rewarded for his patience. “I’m not scared,” Mercury told him evenly. “What is there to be scared of? Death? Death would be a blessing, but even then I already know that they want me alive, so you won’t kill me. The worst you can do is hurt me… and what could you possibly do that’s any worse than everything else I’ve had to endure my entire life up until now?”

    Finally, she lifted her head to look up at him then, meeting him with tired, hopeless green eyes. “Yes, I know who you are, Enforcer. Whatever you have to do, just… do it.”

    “It doesn’t have to be that way, child.”

    “Yes. It does. Because I know what they will expect of you in order to protect everyone else, and I know that you will choose to comply because you have to for their sake. I can’t and won’t fault you for that… but know this now: I will not tell you anything. So just get started.”

    The Enforcer sat for a long moment just looking at her, his gut wrenching with a great deal of mixed emotions. Finally, he nodded. “I understand. And… I’m sorry.”

    Mercury held his gaze for a brief second more before she finally relaxed, her head once more slumping off to stare out at nothing in the distance. “I know.”

    What followed in the hours to come was beyond excruciating, but it was still nothing in comparison to what she had already been though. She screamed. She cried. Her body would not allow her not to react, as much as she didn’t want to give the Nazru the satisfaction of knowing she was in pain, but still she grit her teeth through it all. Each time the Enforcer would pause and give her another chance to answer his questions about Earthland and its magic, about Vandrad and the people that had been listed in the report among her allies, she simply refused to say anything at all. And each time, Zemenar would be forced to go back to what he was doing, his methods becoming more brutal and extreme as time went on.

    When he sensed the approach of another, Zemenar stopped what he was doing. Stepping away from the woman in the chair, he backed himself up against a wall with his head hung toward the floor. The door opened to reveal one of the Nazru, the heavily scarred humanoid bringing with him an air of confidence and self importance as he eyed the Xocili in the chair. “What have you learned, Enforcer?”

    “Nothing, Speaker Draux. She will not talk, no matter what I do.”

    “Then perhaps you are not trying hard enough.”

    Zemenar gently got down on his knees, still keeping his head down out of deference. “Please, I am doing everything I can. I’ve gone harder on her than I have any other who has sat in this chair in the past, done as much as I can without either killing her outright or rendering her completely unable to provide the information you seek. She refuses to comply.”

    The Nazru stared back and forth between the two before a cruel smirk played upon his lips. “Then perhaps you have yet to find the right weak spot. If her own pain will not loosen her lips, then maybe that of another might.” He turned to face the door once more, his intention to have another slave fetched for the purpose he had in mind, but a single word stopped him in his tracks.

    “No.”

    Slowly, the Speaker turned to look at Mercury again with a surprised expression. “No?” he repeated, visibly pleased by the attempt at defiance.

    Covered in blood and bruises, she tilted her head up to meet him square in the eyes with a weary but peaceful smile. “No. See I’m afraid that won’t work either. Hurt or kill as many of them as you like. They mean nothing to me, and there is nothing you can do, to them or to me, that will make me talk. So you're just going to have to bone up and kill me."

    He considered her for several long seconds before he smiled. "I'm sure you'd like that, but unfortunately you have far too much potential to just kill." The Nazru walked back into the room and wandered around her chair, circling her slowly. "Do you know why we seek to purge the synthetic? Why we mutilate our own bodies?"

    "Masochism? Listen, if that's what you're into I'm not here to kink shame. You feel free to be as ass ugly as you want."

    The speaker chuckled. "Some of us maybe. We do hold a very deep respect for pain. Pain is the catalyst for growth and strength, as you are so admirably demonstrating for us now. So much like you we embrace it rather than pull away from it. But no, the reason we live the way we do is simple: evolution. We have become the alpha predators of the universe because we learned to harness the power of nature itself, taught our bodies to adapt and evolve upon command, and as a result we have achieved a level of potential that would have otherwise taken us millions of years to reach, if we ever attained it at all. To put it simply, we are scientists, much like your people.”

    “But there is no evolution when it comes to the synthetic world. Technology is a crutch that weakens the natural immunities and defenses of the body, and we have lived long enough to see that over time it is the organic world that overwhelms and outlives the synthetic one. Why would we seek to weaken ourselves by becoming reliant on machines when genetics and the biological world are far superior? Computers cannot be grafted and integrated into the body, and they weaken the process of evolution by making us stagnant and lazy.”

    “And then we discovered Xocil, and the beings that were impossibly both organic and synthetic. Living computers. It was heresy to the highest degree, yet in it there was opportunity. The Xocili were ugly things with flesh as clean as a newborn babe’s, unable to scar or change their genetics to adapt to the ever evolving universe around them, and the vast majority of the tribes simply wished to purge you from existence. You were too dangerous to let live, to infect the minds of our young with fantasies of the artificial. However, we Speakers convinced the tribes to let a few of you live so we could study you and ascertain your evolutionary potential. And at first, preliminary tests seemed fruitless.”

    “But then there was you.” Gently, he brushed the hair from her neck, trailing the pads of his fingers along the thin scar that awaited there. “The young child that was able to scar, where the rest of her people could not. It was fascinating. And even though we were unable to replicate it in any of your kin, it told us that evolution was possible. We just had to keep searching for the answer.”

    There was a long silence where it seemed he was waiting for some kind of reaction out of her, some kind of revolutionary stupefaction or outrage. Instead, after a moment, Mercury blinked. “Oh, I’m sorry. I nodded off for a bit there, somewhere between longest-speech-ever and I-don’t-give-a-fuck.”

    She grunted and ground her teeth as the Nazru’s large hand clamped down tight behind the back of her neck. Mercury made a show of struggling against the vice grip, though it meant little in the end. “Perhaps you don’t want to give us answer, but the Collector gave us more than enough to work with. This… magic phenomenon, much like your people, seems to be both natural and fabricated. And while it disgusted us to allow him to demonstrate the trinkets he brought us, it did give us an idea of what was possible. Perhaps we will have to pay Earthland a direct visit to see first hand what the purest form of their ethernano energy looks like.”

    “You take off these shackles and I’d be more than happy to tutor you right here and now,” the captive Xocili offered, anger and anxiety coursing through her veins at the thought of the Nazru pushing up their timeline for conquest to something much quicker than Earthland would have time to prepare for. If only she hadn’t waited to talk to Vandrad and his family in more detail… why had she put that off, leaving them ignorant of what was eventually to come?

    He chuckled. “Actually, I have a better idea.” Withdrawing a knife crafted from bone, he cut through the back of her shirt to expose her shoulders and back. Then, he carefully began to carve away a large square of her flesh. Mercury was able to keep the sounds of her agony mostly under control as he was simply cutting her, but once he began to peel the second of skin from the rest of her body, she shrieked and screamed in unbridled torment and pain, her body burning like fire. Zemenar shook where he knelt doing his best to keep his own emotional center.

    As the monster finished, he came around to stand before her, smiling at the block of bodily tissue that was covered in her blackened blood and even a portion of the ink from her tattoos. “The tribes may blanch at what we are about to attempt, and I am sure they will view us with disgust like primitive animals… but that is why the Speakers exist. To study the heretical in order to better ensure the purity of our people.”

    “Enforcer: Continue your job until instructed otherwise.”

    “Yes, Speaker.”

    The torture went on for a couple more hours, with Zemenar doing his best to comfort the young woman before him while also being force to continue inflicting further pain upon her. It wasn’t until there was a gentle knock at the door that the session was interrupted. The Enforcer looked up to see Khelben standing there, his eyes flicking to Mercury nervously before he glanced away again, almost afraid to look at her.

    Zemenar frowned. “Khelben. Why are you here?”

    “The Speakers sent me to see if you have made any progress.”

    Both men looked to Mercury, who sat there coated in blood and trembling in her seat from the pain and shock of the last several hours. She had barely even registered Khelben’s entrance. The Enforcer shook his head sadly. “No.”

    “I finished my debrief. Speaker Draux is in surgery, and he has declared that if she refuses to comply then they no longer need whatever information the Scout is withholding.”

    Zemenar’s shoulders slumped sadly. “So it has come to this, then.”

    “I’m afraid so. I’m sorry, dad.”

    “It’s not me you should be sorry for…”

    Mercury’s head slowly rose to frown at the two men, finally deigning to acknowledge Khelben with a look. “Dad..?” she repeated, even as the Collector turned to look at her warily. “You said both your parents were dead.”

    He held her gaze for a beat. “I lied,” Khelben finally told her simply.

    At first she could only stare at him, and then the laughter hit as she chuckled herself into a small coughing fit, her voice raspy and strained. “So a coward and a liar. Imagine my surprise.” Khelben drew in a deep breath through his nostrils to steady himself but otherwise refrained from allowing himself to be baited. “I guess I’m not so worthwhile to keep alive, after all. All that big talk from that idiotic Speaker and he bitches out before the finish line. What a joke.”

    Zemenar closed his eyes, his long locks of dark plum colored hair covering his face as he hung his head sadly. “They’re not going to have you killed. They still want you alive.”

    Mercury scoffed wearily, exhaustion dragging her down and leaving her deliriously chatty.. “So what, they’re just going to have you keep torturing me? I don’t care what other tricks you have up your sleeve. Unless you plan on leaving me alone with that one again,” she spat, nodding toward Khelben who flushed in anger and shame, unable to meet her stony glare. “There is no truer torture than having to share breathing space with him.”

    The Enforcer glanced between the two briefly in confusion, studying the hostility between them and noting how visceral their reactions were to one another. He would have to ask Khelben about it later. For now, he pulled his chair up in front of the young woman and sat before her once more. “Please, I am begging you… Just talk. Just tell me what you learned while you were on that planet, and give them the information they want. Please don’t force me to do this.”

    “I’m not forcing you to do anything. They are.. And I refuse to be complicit in subjugation any longer.” Her emerald gaze was fierce as she looked at them both, consumed with passion and contempt despite her broken physical state. “Continue to bow at their feet if you want, but I am done. I have spent my entire life being nothing but a tool, a weapon forged to bring about the deaths of literal billions of people, taught to live my life without feelings or desires of my own. But despite everything, I found a home. A real home, with people who care about me enough to fight to protect me, to risk everything to set me free. I found a man who taught me the meaning of love and that I didn’t need to be controlled by fear. He taught me the strength in never giving in, and never giving up, and I intend on following his stubborn example.”

    “So you can do whatever you want to me. It will never be enough. You may break my body and drive me to the brink of insanity but for one brief, fleeting moment I had love… and I had peace… and I finally understood what it felt like to want to live, and to have someone to live for, to fight for, and to die for. That’s why you are always going to fail, here. You can break me to within an inch of my life, but I will always have those memories to hold onto and to challenge me to rise above everything else… and that’s the one thing you cannot take from me.”

    The room was thick with tension from the end of her speech as she looked at them with a palpable intensity. There was a long, long silence before Zemenar sighed sadly. “Actually… I’m afraid that’s not true.” When Mercury continued to stare at him, awaiting an explanation, he made sure to level his gaze at her as evenly as possible to make sure she understood. “They don’t want me to kill you, or even to keep torturing you. Whatever intelligence you’ve kept under wraps, they’ve decided they no longer need from you… but they don’t want you dead. You’re still too valuable for them. So instead, they… they’re moving forward with a clean slate procedure. I will have permission to use our technology to wipe the data centers of your brain and reprogram you back to your base training. You will lose all of your memories, and the only things you will know are the skills you need to continue doing your job. It is effectively a lobotomy… and once it’s done, it cannot be reversed.”

    Before their very eyes, the fire within her soul extinguished, her eyes wide in panic and disbelief. “You can’t do that…”

    “I don’t want to… but I can. And I will have to live with that for the rest of my life, but I will do it. I’m sorry, child… but I cannot, and will not, allow the rest of our race to perish to save one life.”

    As he took a deep breath and stood to collect the tools he needed, Mercury quickly began to deteriorate. Khelben watched her in sorrow and regret as she began to hyperventilate and, for the first time since she had been brought back to the flotilla, fight against her bindings. “Please! Please don’t do this… Vandrad is the only thing I have ever had. Please don’t take his memory away from me.” Tears streamed down her face. “I promise I’ll never go back to Earthland, and.. And I’ll keep doing my job as I should have been doing…”

    “It’s too late for that, now. The Speakers have made their decision. I’m sorry.”

    “Wait. WAIT! JUST… WAIT FOR JUST A SECOND!” Zemenar stopped in his approach, the tool in his hand as he looked at her. Reality was crushing her, and she was suffocating beneath the weight of what she was about to endure. “Please, just… just give me one minute. That’s all I ask. One minute to… to remember him one last time…”

    The Enforcer watched her carefully, his own eyes glistening with emotion and compassion. Even Khelben looked moved, the Collector disturbed by the truly heartbreaking event he was about to witness as moisture built in his own eyes. Finally Zemenar nodded. “One minute,” he told her gently.

    Mercury dissolved into tears as she fought to process the trauma of the moment and the fact that she was about to lose her memory of the only people that ever meant anything to her. Through her internal HUD, she pulled up her recording from the night that Vandrad had nearly died, where he had finally told her how he felt about her. Over and over she replayed the clip of him telling her that he loved her, like she was trying to burn the memory to a place where not even the Enforcer’s tools could remove it.

    “It’s time.”

    Zemenar slowly approached her and began to hook her up to the machine he had brought over. Truthfully, he was taking his time, trying to do his best to draw the inevitable out as long as possible so she could make the most of what time she had left. It wasn’t until he was almost ready that he realized she was murmuring something under her breath. With a frown, he paused to look at her in confusion as he realized she was singing. Leaning in a little closer, he tried to pick up the words.

    “Meet me on the battlefield,
    Even on the darkest night.
    I will be your sword and shield,
    Your camouflage,
    And you will be mine.
    Echoes of the shots ring out.
    We may be the first to fall.
    Everything could stay the same,
    Or we could change it all.
    Meet me on the battlefield.”


    The last stanza was barely more than a broken whisper, the lavender haired woman resigned to her fate. If she had bothered to look up, she would see both Zemenar and Khelben staring at her in wide eyed shock. “How… how do you know that song?”

    “My mother wrote it. It’s the only thing I have of her.”

    “Scylla?”

    Finally, Mercury looked up to frown at the Enforcer, the familiar name drawing her back to her senses. “You knew my mother..?”

    Through the entire interrogation, Zemenar had been calm, almost passive. Now, he looked like he was on the verge of a mental breakdown himself as his worst fears were realized before him. This wasn’t Argon’s daughter he had been torturing all this time.

    It was his own.

    Without explanation, he snapped and started quickly ripping off the attachments from his machine. “Khelben, remove her from those cuffs!”

    The Collector was staring at Mercury, his eyes transfixed in absolute, unadulterated horror. “Dad, what are you–”

    “I SAID REMOVE YOUR SISTER FROM THOSE CUFFS!”

    WORDS: 6266/12,328 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    Last edited by Mercury Arseneault on 27th December 2021, 4:42 pm; edited 2 times in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    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 : 544
    Guild : Fairy Tail
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    Experience : 2,110,031

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 27th December 2021, 12:37 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars RJtajUnz_o
    The last thing anyone expected, especially Vandrad, was for Saffron to speak up at the end of it all. Though she had met Mercury, interacted with her enough and gotten to know her, the prince had always viewed Saffron as simply his mentee. He had seen potential in her and was willing to take her under his wing and help her get her abilities under control. As cold as that sounded, it was just the way his mind processed things. He’d never considered that in the midst of training her and getting to know her, he would find himself an ally and a friend. Yet she had been there, working with them from the beginning and going out to explore her own connections for answers on where he had been. Vandrad owed her a debt, one that started by putting aside his assumptions about their relationship and understanding that they had forged something stronger. Whatever the case, she had been quiet through the entirety of the conversation, undoubtedly caught up in the midst of a very complicated situation. Yet it was she that offered something additional, as she chirped up, claiming to have a means to get them more intel.

    As she put it, she was actually friends with two extraterrestrials -- bounty hunters that have traveled the galaxy far and wide. She believed if anyone could provide some much needed information about the Nazru, it would be them. “Then by all means, Ms. Remington, contact them. Whatever assistance we can get, we’ll appreciate,” Ever spoke up, giving the woman a warm smile. As the group began to move, making preparations for what was to come for each individual, Vandrad walked over to Saffron, who was already making the call. Once she had connected, she put the iLac down on the table and flipped it to speak so everyone could hear. She let them know who they were speaking to and what the situation was, asking specifically about the Nazru.

    “Nazru? How the hell did you hear about them?” Grubar spoke up first, his voice gruff. “Doesn’t matter. I ain’t lookin’ to get my hide hunted and neither should you. Best that you just forget about them.”

    Hosrius, on the other hand, wasn’t so quick to shut down the avenue. “This wouldn’t happen to do with Mercury Arseneault, would it?” he asked, in turn.

    "That’s my fiance, the one that’s missing. How do you know her?” Vandrad asked in return.

    “She went out of her way to find me and check up on me. She wanted to make sure I wasn’t on the planet for her. After we settled that, we… spent some time together,” the alien could almost be heard sucking on his lips, cringing. It wasn’t an easy thing to tell a man that his fiance had been fooling around with others.

    “Hold on. Mercury’s been kidnapped? Well that changes everything,” Grubar interrupted once more. “What’cha want to know?”

    Well that was easy. "Any tactical information about the Nazru. Weak points, strategic angles we can use to get an advantage over them.” Vandrad was quick to jump, really wanting to focus more on what was important and not who Mercury had been sleeping around with.

    “Hate to burst your bubble, Vandrad, but there ain’t a lot that we can give. Not that we ain’t willing -- more like no one really knows. The Nazru aren’t known for leaving survivors very often, let alone prisoners. You sure it was the Nazru that took her?”

    "Yes. They are holding the rest of her people prisoner as well and using them as scouts to find planets to set their goals towards.”

    “The Nazru have slaves? And the Xocili of all races…” Hosrius mumbled softly. “My apologies, this is just… very surprising. The one constant and understood fact about the Nazru, known throughout the galaxy, is their focus for conquest focuses around non-organic technology. They hate synthetic creations and have a fearsome belief in biological superiority. There are rumors that there’s planets out there that have been visited and even parlayed with the Nazru, because of their focus on promoting their own growth naturally rather than through technology, though no one has ever confirmed that.”

    “Real ugly sons of bitches too. Their heads are so far up their asses about evolution and being the top of the food chain, they will take body parts from other species and graft it onto themselves. Uglier they are, the more important they are. As for uh… ‘tactical’ information, all we can really tell ya is that they haven’t been beaten yet. They’re strong, ruthless and from what I hear, ain’t afraid of pain.”

    "Then they’ll find a worthy opponent in me,” Vandrad growled softly. "Very well. Thank you both for your time and information.”

    “Hold on there, pal. Are you plannin’ some kind of rescue mission for Mercury?” Grubar asked quickly.

    "Yes. Why, are you going to try and talk me out of it?”

    “Hell no. I want in. Mercury’s a pal and you humies are gonna need some backup from someone who knows what it’s like to fight in space. Besides, if this is the one window that opens to actually fight and kill some Nazru, I ain’t letting it close without jumping through.”

    “While I don’t share my compatriot’s exuberance for killing, I’m inclined to agree. Mercury has been a good friend to us both and has helped us both with our own personal missions here. If you’re assembling a rescue party, we’d like to join.”

    Though Vandrad knew almost literally nothing about the two intergalactic bounty hunters, he couldn’t deny that any asset he could get was worth having. "Very well. Saffron will send you the details of where we are gathering.” He gave his protege a nod and then turned and walked away from the table.

    “Vandrad. Patty wants to help you and your aunt and uncle out with the ship,” Mythal said, walking over to the prince. “We’ve kept her hidden away ever since you told us the Dread Masters had cut her free and she’s gettin’ a bit… stir crazy.”

    "It was for her own protection.” Though Scourge had given his word about Patricia’s safety, the attack on the prince of Bellum had left everyone considering just how reliable that word was. Doctor Reeves was taken in by Mythal and Serilda, sequestered to their home and kept away from prying eyes. Though she had been more than privy of all of the events that had occurred in such short, relative time.

    “She gets that. And she’s been workin’ on some stuff even since she learned that your magic was gone, though that hardly seems an issue now. Whatever the case, I think she needs this. And if she’s with you, Ever and Dudley, well… I don’t think there’s a safer place on Earthland.”

    Vandrad considered his adoptive brother’s words and then nodded. "Very well, I’ll go and get her myself.” He began to walk away but then stopped. "Mythal,” he said, not looking back at the man. "I have no intention of taking any prisoners. These Nazru have hurt Mercury’s people, hurt her… and they have set their sights on our planet. We cannot hold back.” He finally turned to look at the Rune Knight from over his shoulder. "They must be eliminated.”

    Mythal nodded. “We understand, Vandrad. Serilda and I are with you -- one hundred percent.”

    With that final matter settled, everyone set to their tasks. Ever, Dudley and Vandrad made their way to Fiore to grab Patricia and once they had her, followed the coordinates to Mercury’s ship. It was dreadfully difficult to find and for a short time, they wondered if the coordinates had been corrupted. But Vandrad wondered if it was, perhaps, cloaked to keep it out of sight and with that in mind, they began a more extensive search. That proved the answer and soon enough, they had decloaked the vehicle and found the hatch inside. It was of a strange design -- as alien as any ship could possibly be -- but they didn’t have the time to sit and admire the delicate delineation. Once they got inside, it was time to get to work.

    It was a good thing that Vandrad had opted not to stubbornly attempt to reprogram the datapad himself. While he was the only one with any kind of experience or exposure to Mercury’s technology, that hardly made him an expert. In fact, it was Ever, Dudley and Patricia’s own brands of technological focus that allowed them to work out the details of the hardware and software. Together, working as one unit, they began the slow, meticulous process of decrypting the ship’s computer and aligning its programming to upgrade the datapad. The hours dragged on and both Dudley and Vandrad were forced to leave for short intervals of time to go and fetch food and supplies. The day waned and gave into night and the foursome carried on their work into the dark, the illumination of a fire pit serving as their only light source. But they never stopped.

    It was early morning when they finally succeeded. The datapad had finished patching through in its upgrade and as the prince turned it on, the familiar beacon alerting them to Mercury’s direction lit up. It was an uplifting moment but one that could hardly be celebrated. Ever fashioned a portal to teleport them back to Bellum while the rest of the group packed up the camp and recloaked Mercury’s ship to keep it hidden. And once they returned, the datapad was handed over to Serilda, Vandrad giving her a rough explanation of what she was looking at and reading. Once she was ready, the rest would watch her ascend into the sky above and disappear, headed off on her journey towards the stars.

    That left the rest of them with the worst part of the mission -- the waiting. Serilda would sail through the void as quickly as she could but there was no guarantee of how long it would take her to find Mercury’s location. Hours seemed like a fever dream, even a day felt like fantasy; they had to be prepared for the fact that it could take several days before the Voidwalker caught up to the Silver Wolf Ace. All they could do, all any of them could do, was prepare themselves mentally and physically for what was to come.

    It gave Vandrad time to take care of other business. Though he still wasn’t sure of his success with saving anyone else from Rhaegar, he had to make sure that he laid the groundwork in case he had. He asked Mythal to have the Rune Knights keep an eye out for strange people popping up around Fiore and beyond. If they seemed lost or were asking for Vandrad, he requested they be sent to Bellum immediately. As he saw it, he’d talked enough about the Rune Knights and Bellum and all of Earthland to the people of Rhaegar and if they found themselves on a strange, alien world, they may assume they passed over much like he had. With that settled, he went to talk to his family.

    He found Themesycia, Everance and Simon all together. The duchess was checking through the armory with her siblings as Vandrad approached from the hallway. “These Nazru aren’t fans of technology, you said, correct?” Themmy asked her son as he approached. “I do wonder how they’ll feel about lacrimasabers cutting through their ugly heads.”

    “If Grubar Waxx is to be believed, the threat of pain won’t discourage their hatred. They may just take offense that you’re wielding technology against them.” Ever remarked.

    “That’s the point, dear Ever. I want them to be angry. Enemies fight so much fiercer when they’re filled with rage… makes their defeat all the more satisfying.” Vandrad was seeing a part of his mother that he rarely saw; the bloodthirsty warrior that she kept beneath the veil of the practiced duchess. The kidnapping of Mercury had offended Themesycia personally and her anger was as palpable as it was calm and cold. Taking a moment from her violent fantasizing, she turned her gaze to Vandrad. “And what of you, darling? Are you prepared for what’s to come?”

    The prince nodded. "More than you know,” he stated ambiguously as he stepped closer. "I’m coming from one war to another, both personal and complicated in their own rights.”

    Simon’s brow furrowed in concern. “What are you talking about--?”

    "I went to Rhaegar.”

    The word struck a chord in all three of them. Vandrad could literally watch as the blood paused in their veins and their eyes widened at the mention. It wasn’t fear or anger but rather shock -- utter surprise that he even knew the word, let alone spoke about it with such personal intelligence. A secret long kept now thrown open to the light. After what felt like a century of stunned silence, Themesycia finally spoke up. “How?” she asked, her voice quiet.

    "I don’t know. It’s possible it has something to do with the Ark. All I know is that I was in the training facility at Fairy Tail, attempting to relight my magic. I touched upon… something and then I was in a desert. It wasn’t until I discovered people and they recoiled at the sight of our family crest that I felt something was wrong. I was taken prisoner by their ruler -- former ruler now -- God-King Xavier. He accused our family of cowardice, of abandoning our people when they needed us most. For that I was punished, cast into a fighting pit and forced to compete for my survival. It’s there I met family; both du Wolff and related to you, mother.”

    It was only the beginning of a long hour and a half of questions and explanations. Themesycia, Everance and Simon were, understandably, floored by every little detail that Vandrad showered light on, each one of them having visceral reactions unlike anything the prince had ever seen before. By the end, all three of them were sitting on different raised sections of the armory. They were staring at the ground, a mixture of shock, awe and sadness overwhelming them. “Rhaegar is… gone,” Simon muttered softly.

    Vandrad nodded. "Destroyed by the actions of the last Ashdyn emperor. In its final moments, I activated whatever had taken me there in the first place and I tried to expand it to include everyone on the planet. But I have no idea if I was successful or not. When my vision cleared, I was back in Fairy Tail. Alone.” He settled his gaze on Themesycia. "Why? Why did you all keep this a secret from me? Do Ophelia, Cecilia, Bartrand, Dudley know?”

    “Gods, no,” Ever spoke up, wiping a tear from her eye. “Only us three and really… only Simon and I remember our time on Rhaegar, if only barely. Themmy was still only a baby.” Taking a shaky breath, his aunt continued. “The truth is, we don’t know why or how we came here. One minute we were on Rhaegar, being put to bed by mother and father and when we awoke, we were somewhere else entirely. Father insisted that we forget everything about Rhaegar and never mention it to anyone outside the family. Over the years we tried to get more answers but they were always telling us to move on and forget the past. Eventually we stopped trying.”

    Themesycia remained quiet but Vandrad was hardly surprised by that. For the entirety of her life, she had believed her birth family had abandoned her; left her to die in the woods and saved by the kind heart of Bacchus du Wolff. Now she had to deal with the fact that the story was more complicated than that and, worst of all, the family that had watched her from afar might be gone. The prince watched her for a few beats longer before he finally knelt down in front of her, taking her hands in his. "I’m sorry, mother.”

    The duchess sputtered out a small, mournful laugh and shook her head. “And what do you have to be sorry for, darling?” she asked, releasing one of his hands to reach up and cup his cheek. “My son keeps facing more and more challenging trials and I’m stuck here, trying to accept that my birth family hadn’t truly abandoned me and freezing up.” She let out another small laugh. “I’m the one that should be sorry. If we had told you prior, if we’d given you any kind of idea of where you came from…”

    Vandrad shook his head. "I would have been better prepared for my imprisonment? Mother, it would have changed nothing. It was frustrating to learn that our family still had secrets but this one, at the very least, was beyond your control. And now one less stigma is gone from our family name; the one where you believe you were unloved and unwanted. Grandfather loved you so dearly that he took you as his own. And Cyrene understood that and respected it.”

    “Cyrene,” Themesycia repeated the name. “It’s going to take some time to process the fact that I have a blood sister… had a blood sister.”

    “Let’s not give up on hope yet,” Simon interjected. “Whatever it was that Vandrad used to travel to our home, it’s entirely possible it plucked some of our people up and dropped them here. We won’t know until we look.”

    “Agreed,” Everance said, standing up. “Luckily we have three full blooded Rhaegarians. I can use a little bit of magic to set up a seeking spell for anyone that shares similar characteristics. If they’re on Earthland, I’ll find them.”

    “In that case, it would be better for Ever and I to stay here while the rest of you storm the Nazru ship. Best not to leave Earthland unattended if a new group of aliens has been unceremoniously dumped on the planet and since we two have some slight history and memories with the world, it would be more beneficial this way. Besides, I’d just get in the way in active combat. I’m far better suited for schmoozing.”

    His humorous comment earned him a small chuckle from the gathered family members. As Themesycia took a deep breath and steadied herself, Vandrad met her gaze. "No more secrets though. I’m tired of them and all they have done is complicate things. We should tell everyone.”

    Themesycia nodded and smiled softly. “I hope you know how incredibly proud I am of the man you’ve become. And… how well suited this beard is on your face,” she said, giving his facial hair a gentle stroke.

    The prince snorted. "Don’t get used to it. The moment we have Mercury back and we’ve annihilated the Nazru, I plan on getting myself back to my former look.”

    “You say that but I imagine Mercury may have a thing to say about that, given her affection for Gren’s beard,” Simon said with an impish grin.

    “Trust me, the beard is just the cherry on top of the sundae worth appreciating about that man,” Themesycia replied as she finally got to her feet. “Now then. I believe you two have some spells to work up then?” The duchess was back to her form, easily slipping into her duties with ease and grace.

    “Yes ma’am,” Simon stated, taking Themmy’s hand briefly to give it a peck and then departing.

    Vandrad watched them leave before turning back to his mother as she spoke. “You understand that this will not be easy, correct? It will not be as simple as arriving there and pushing through paper soldiers to find her. What has been shared paints a very real picture of a combative, violent apex race that has never been dominated. Surprise may be on our side but there’s no guarantee that victory will be. We have to earn that… but it may come at the cost of those that come with us. We just don’t know.” Themesycia reached out and placed her hands on his arms. “This is going to be one of the hardest challenges you or any of us have ever faced.”

    The prince met her stare head on and gave her a firm nod. "I understand, mother. But that doesn’t matter. No challenge does. I would go through anything, fight any impossibility, to get her back. And I’ll do everything in my power to protect her and everyone else.” He didn’t care about the danger that they were facing -- he’d faced danger before. No matter how powerful they were, no matter how much stronger they could be or how many could attempt to overwhelm him, he wouldn’t stop. The only ones that would be dying would be the Nazru and he would walk across their corpses, carrying his bride, as his first wedding gift to her. He’d promised she’d never be a slave again.

    And the Nazru would pay for daring to try and make him a liar.






    Words: 3507/9228 | 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
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    Posts : 485
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    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Gunblade Master
    Second Magic: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Magic:

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 29th December 2021, 9:20 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Sister?

    Mercury could only sit there with a dumb expression while Zemenar and Khelben scrambled to remove her bindings, the former frantic and the latter shaken. Even as the Enforcer pried off the wires from his machine that he had hooked to her, Khelben undid the straps around her torso and legs. Then, he pulled the keys to the shackles out of his pocket and fumbled to unclasp her. The moment the cuffs were removed it was like she could breathe for the first time, her magical energy surging through her core. Gasping lightly from the sudden rush of adrenaline, she sat there in the chair with wide eyes that slowly glanced up at Zemenar where he stood there, staring at her with tears in his gaze. Her father.

    “Mercury… I am so, so sorry…”

    It was the first time he had used her name since the interrogation had started. Honestly, Mercury had concluded at some point that he had purposefully gone out of his way to not learn her name. She hadn’t blamed him. In that kind of situation it was easier to detach oneself from the torment by doing whatever it took to compartmentalize and dehumanize, so the fact that he knew it now without needing to be told it was everything she needed to know. That and how surprised Khelben looked that Zemenar had pulled the name seemingly out of thin air.

    “When?!” Khelben demanded of the older man, caught between a rock and a hard place of shock and anger. “This whole time… why didn’t you tell me?!”

    Zemenar opened his mouth to speak, but Mercury quickly cut him off. “No time for that. We have minutes at most before someone comes to check on the commotion we just caused. Where is everyone else?”

    “The Xocili are confined here to the mothership. At least, the ones that are on the flotilla. There are a lot that are out in the field like you were, though.”

    “Any way to round them up without anyone getting hurt?”

    “I… I don’t know. Probably not unless the Nazru were distracted.”

    “Then I guess that’s what I’m doing. You two get everyone together. I’ll make sure no one follows you.”

    “Are you crazy? You can’t take them on all by yourself!”

    “No, you don't get to suddenly act like you care about me and my wellbeing.” Mercury turned her fierce gaze on Khelben who flinched and shrank away from her in intimidation. “Just shut up and do what I tell you to do. Get everyone together as quickly and quietly as you can and wait for me.”

    Without waiting for a word of argument, she left the room, picked a direction, and disappeared down the twisting hallways. Mercury had never been on the mothership before, but she knew what she was looking for, even if she didn’t know where it was. The various ships that made up the flotilla were all interconnected by the Rulxor – the massive plant whose thick vines and foliage were overgrown throughout the vessel. She just had to follow the path of the vines back to the source, and in the meantime make sure that neither she nor the rest of her people were caught. With the flick of a wrist, she summoned dozens of drones that immediately spread out ahead of and around her throughout the ship to help her make sure she didn’t accidentally wander into any Nazru.

    A few minutes and a massive explosion later, Khelben and Zemenar waited anxiously in the moderately sized room where they had gathered everyone, feeling very much packed in and exposed. There were a few hundred Xocili in the room, nearly all of them confused and on the verge of panic, keeping calm and quiet only at the serious behest and insistence of the Enforcer. A couple minutes after the mysterious detonation had rocked the ship, Mercury strolled into the room.

    Zemenar looked like he could have passed out then and there from the relief. “What did you do?”

    “I blew up the Rulxor to temporarily disable the life source of the ships in the flotilla. Between that and the several layers of walls I put up surrounding this spot, it should take them a bit before they can reach us.”

    “How did you…?”

    Ignoring him for the moment, Mercury brushed passed Zemenar to keep her focus on more pressing matters. Tapping into her energy, her bright prismatic aura roared to life around her as she walked toward the exterior wall of the room. All around her, her people backed up in a mixture of shock and wonderment, the whole room going deadly silent as they observed her determined march. With a growl, Mercury dug deep and unleashed her spell, her palms pointed toward the window. Before everyone's eye, a sizeable ship began to materialize as she utilized every element of her magic to craft a new vessel large enough to house everyone present. Hushed whispers broke out as the Xocili pressed toward the window to get a better view even as Mercury ground her teeth and focused on finishing what she had started. Once the ship was completed, the magic began to funnel toward the window as a vacuum sealed gangplank formed an access point up against the hull of the mothership. The spell complete, Mercury reared back a fist and punched a hole through the hull and into the covered walkway.

    As her aura dissipated for now, she turned back to the others in the room with her. “Alright, everyone on board! We're getting you all out of here.”

    “Wait, who exactly are you?” called out a voice in the crowd that she couldn’t quite pinpoint.

    It was a fair question, as much as Mercury wanted to growl over wasted time, but they were valid in their distrust after everything they had endured over the last few decades. “My name is Mercury, and I am – was – a scout. But I am done living as a slave, and so are the rest of you. The impossible feat you saw me just perform was done through the use of something called magic. It is a natural phenomenon on a planet I was scouting called Earthland, and I learned how to harness and use it myself. I know all of you must be scared and confused, but right now I don't have the time to answer all your questions, so I am just going to need you to trust me. Zemenar and Khelben will get you on board. The ship is preset to reach Earthland, and to a place known as Bellum. When you get there, look for Vandrad du Wolff or his mother Themesycia. They will get you situated."

    With that, she walked through the parted crowds once more, heading back toward the rest of the ship. Zemenar followed after her before she could leave. "Wait! You're not coming with us?"

    “"I'm going to cover your retreat. Just get them out of here."

    "I am not going to leave you here to die!

    She stopped and turned back to face him  and the rest of the room, her face set in grim defiance. “"Here are your options: either you leave and get everyone else out of here to live another day, or you stay and die with me. That's it. Draux took a piece of my body and he is having it grafted onto him as we speak. I don't know if his body will accept the transplant or not, but the universe cannot afford the Nazru adding magic to their list of assets. I want nothing more than to get on that ship and leave streaks of space dust in my wake so I can get back to my fiance and live my life, but I don't have that luxury right now and I am not going to waste time standing here arguing about it. So leave if you need to leave. I won't hold it against anyone. But I am going to fight, and if I die it will be on my terms, as a free woman."

    Mercury would wait for several beats as her father and the rest of the room stared back at her in silence, giving them a chance to respond to her ultimatum. When no one said anything, she gave her father one last look, her expression softening for just a moment. “"I'm glad I got to meet you… dad. When you find Vandrad, tell him I love him." And with that, she turned and walked out of the room, leaving the rest of her people behind to escape and live another day.

    It was time to raise some hell.

    She tried to run a thermal scan to figure out where Draux was, hoping to find a room where someone was obviously laid out for a surgical procedure. Unfortunately, the mothership was huge and her retinal scanners could only break through so many layers of walls and foliage at a time. Even sending out her drones to scout the area would take more time than she had. So, she decided to improvise. Stopping at a wall where there once was a computer hub, before the Nazru overtook the ship and destroyed everything, she slammed her fist through the wall and to the wiring within. It was shut off, but still relatively in place and hooked up to the rest of the ship. All it needed was a little power, and Mercury could provide that.

    Channelling her energy into the wires, the electricity on the ship jumped to life for the first time in almost three decades. It took little more than a breath before Mercury had tapped the lines straight into her consciousness, using them to get a readout of the entire ship and accessing all the electronic and mechanical devices that once used to be present, including security cameras. From there, she searched through the feeds of whichever cameras were still able to function until she located the surgery room. Draux was still on the table, but it was clear by the body language of those inside that they knew something was wrong and they were trying to finish up. Too bad Mercury didn’t intend on letting them.

    Draux was several floors beneath her, so Mercury raced off in the general direction of where he was, hoping to find a set of stairs or some other way down. As she turned down a hallway, a group of Nazru came running in her direction. As soon as they saw her, they drew their organic rifles and took aim. Mercury barely had enough time to slam to a halt and raise up a protective shield of metal in front of her, the thick titanium stopping the blasts of plasma from reaching her, though it did erode some of the shield like some kind of acid or lava. As the Nazru paused to blanch in surprise over her ability to materialize metal out of thin air, a phenomenon that they didn’t know how to react to, Mercury capitalized on the opportunity by hurling the titanium plate at them with a growl. It smacked into them hard enough to knock them over, though not as far as she would have liked.

    Not giving them the chance to collect themselves, she warped the metal until it was wrapped around them like a tortilla before shooting a bolt of electricity at it. What would have severely incapacitated any other living being seemed to be only a temporary hindrance as the Nazru initially roared in pain before they started gritting their teeth through it and fighting to resist. Mercury wouldn’t stick around long enough to see if they would make it out or not. She had one job right now, and that was to get to Draux and eliminate him as soon as possible. There was no time to try to kill every single Nazru she came across along the way, not when all of them had such high resistance to pain and injury that it would take forever to take each one down.

    Instead, she threw herself past them and continued to move forward, doing her best to evade more groups of Nazru along the way. Unfortunately, that was easier said than done on a ship where she was outnumbered a thousand to one, and before long she found herself cornered in a large central room cut off on all sides. With a full body flex, she conjured a set of mechanical armor around her body, the magical protection tanking most of the plasma fire that was being sent her way. However, she was still pinned and on the defensive, and there was only so much damage the armoring would be able to take before it disappeared, the woman having to use a lot of her energy just refueling the spell and keeping it alive, even as she felt the presence of even more Nazru pouring in from all around.

    Except it wasn’t the Nazru. Mercury was shocked to see the Xocili people charge into the room from behind the Nazru, her father and brother among them, wielding not just whatever weapons they had managed to get their hands on but also the magical items that Khelben had stolen and brought back on board with him. The sudden turn in the tide left her momentarily speechless as she took her turn to be the one staring in wonder. Then, she grinned wide, her anxiety over the situation relieved by a tremendous amount, despite the knowledge that pretty much all of them had just elected to die with her, preferring to fight in one final stand rather than run. As bittersweet as it was, she couldn’t help but be proud.

    Rejuvenated by their efforts, she roared at the top of her lungs and once more her aura burst to life around her, causing the room to shake and rattle. All around the room, dozens of different machine guns materialized along the walls and started targeting the Nazru, providing everyone back up and keeping their targets from knowing where to focus. Determining that she needed a weapon, since she had yet to locate Mercy, Mercury summoned her lacrima bow, the ornate white and black weapon materializing in her hand. Using it to channel elements from the lacrima core she had installed in it long ago, an arrow of laser light manifested in the rest of the bow. The Xocili pulled back the notch, took aim, and began firing off shot after shot.

    While the Xocili certainly weren’t overwhelming the Nazru in any force, they were holding their ground. Unfortunately, the Nazru greatly outnumbered them and Mercury was having a hard time breaking away to get to Draux. The fight had raged on for several minutes before Mercury sensed something coming up from below the room. Within seconds, the floor burst open as Draux launched himself up and landed next to the opening. A chill went down Mercury’s spine at the sight of her own tattooed flesh seamed onto his exposed chest, the scarred creature turning with a smile as he took in the battle around him.

    “Hey ugly! Looking for me?”


    At the best of Vandrad’s aunt, Saffron got her friends on the line. Grubar dismissed the situation almost immediately, telling them straight out that he wasn’t interested in playing with the Nazru and encouraging them not to engage in whatever it was they were thinking. It was Hosrius who spoke up, surprising all of them by asking if the situation had anything to do with Mercury. Saffron tilted her head in confusion even as the prince asked how Hosrius knew his fiance, to which the Jirian admitted that Mercury had apparently sought him out to vet him as a threat before they wound up spending “some time together”.

    Well, that was uncomfortable. Thankfully, Vandrad didn’t really seem to care about that, much more interested in pressing for more information after Grubar finally caught up with the rest of the class, confirming that he, too, knew Mercury. “What the fuck?” Saffron muttered in complete bewilderment, her voice loud enough for most of them to hear but not so loud as to really interrupt the conversation. Grubar went on to explain that there really wasn’t much they could tell about the intergalactic conquerors, if only because there were very few survivors out there that could pass along reliable information. He questioned if they were sure that it was the Nazru, to which Vandrad assured him it was the truth and that they had the rest of Mercury’s people under their thumb as well.

    Hosrius seemed utterly floored that the Nazru had slaves, particularly the Xocili. He went on to give a bit of what little background information was known about them, while Grubar described them as being horrifically scarred creatures that took pride in their grotesque forms that had been earned by stealing body parts from other creatures and grafting them onto their bodies. Saffron made a grimacing face at the thought. Outside of that, the only real information that was rumored about them was that they were nigh unbeatable and had a high tolerance for pain. To the surprise of no one in the room, that did little to put Vandrad off, the prince confirming that if pain was what they liked then that’s what he would give them.

    He thanked them for their help and was about to end the call when Grubar spoke up once more to ask if they were planning a rescue. He insisted that he wanted in, the Stengar more than happy to throw his own weight into the fight for the sake of helping Mercury, who he claimed was a friend. That, and the thought of being able to knock a few Nazru off the census was too good an opportunity to pass up. While Hosrius wasn’t as inclined to violence, he expressed a similar interest in assisting in the rescue mission, informing them all that Mercury had been more than helpful to them both while they’d been on Earthland. And just like that, there were two more bodies added to their party.

    Saffron nodded at Vandrad’s instructions for her to give the pair what they needed to join the others. “You got it, boss,” she said, picking up her phone. “I’ll text you both the coordinates for the du Wolff estates. Grab whatever you need and head on over.”

    From there, Mythal let Vandrad know that Patty wanted to help with the mission as well. The engineer had been going stir crazy in their house the last few weeks, and as a result had needed to find ways to keep herself busy. The director figured the best place for her was assisting the others in getting the tracker to work, and Vandrad agreed, stating he would collect the woman himself. As he turned to go, the prince paused to take the time to inform his brother that, in light of the Nazru’s crimes against the Xocili and the threat they posed to Earthland, he did not intend on showing them mercy. Mythal assured him that the two Rune Knights were of similar mind, and Serilda nodded. “These creatures will not live another day to threaten anyone else. Not so long as any of us have a say in it.” As far as she was concerned, not only was this battle about to happen far outside of her jurisdiction, meaning that she would not be bound by any sort of red tape, but some dangers were simply too risky to let walk.

    After that, everyone would have some time to make preparations as it became quickly apparent that getting the tracker to work was going to take some time. It wasn’t until the next day that Vandrad and the others finally returned with the device. Serilda had been resting in another room, preparing for what was sure to be a long journey, but she joined everyone in the main room quickly once she was summoned. Taking a brief moment to learn how to read and understand the item at Vandrad’s instruction, she thanked him and made her final preparations to leave.

    Serilda turned on her heel and walked toward the center of the room where there was a bit more open space. With the crisp snap of a finger, ten men and women appeared before her in two rows of five, the nephilim dressed in sharp, ornate armor of white, black, and gold, very much the epitome of a royal army. The group snapped to attention as one, clicking their heels to the floor and standing in perfect parade rest as they looked to the field marshal for instruction. “Generals,” Serilda greeted them, falling into military mode with her own hands clasped behind her back.

    “Ready the Bloodletters for war. We will soon be launching a rescue mission to retrieve one of our own that was taken by the enemy: a species of tyrant not native to our world. They seem to be of the impression that they are the apex predators of the universe, untouchable and free of consequence. That illusion ends today. There will be no prisoners taken in this battle. Your orders are to kill all Nazru with extreme prejudice, and to protect any Xocili people you come across at all costs. We will brook no quarter, and I expect each of you to instruct them on the true meaning of conquest. Mythal and Vandrad will brief you on what to expect and what to look for. Defer to them and to Victoria for additional orders while I am gone. Dismissed.”

    The generals saluted her in unison before relaxing, the generals watching along with the others as Serilda gave one last nod to Vandrad, her fiance, and everyone else. Then, she launched herself into the air, through the atmosphere and up into space. As the presence of the void grew stronger, so did her power and energy, the woman drawing from infinite reserves of void to bolster her speed and stamina. Taking only a brief pause to orient herself in the right direction, she burst into a race as fast as she could go in the direction the tracker indicated.

    By the time she got close, over a full day had passed. Even despite being constantly fed by the ultimate source of her power for the entire time of her travel, Serilda was exhausted by the lack of sleep during that time, her body beyond weary, but she refused to stop for rest. There was no telling how much time they had, and she did not want to risk even a couple hours of rest that could be the difference between saving lives and being too late. So she pushed through her enervation stubbornly, checking in with Victoria every so often to let everyone know how the trip was going and to get any updates from them as necessary along the way, though at this point there was nothing left to be done for those on Earthland except to wait for her.

    Finally, the flotilla was in sight. “To arms, everyone,” Victoria announced, summoning her poleaxe to her hand and standing at the ready. “She is nearly there.” It was only a couple minutes later where Victoria frowned, her head slightly cocked as she listened to whatever message Serilda was relaying to her. “Be ready to step into active combat. It appears the Xocili people are currently in the midst of rebellion, and the battle has spread throughout the mothership.”

    Moments later, a void portal opened to finally allow them access to the ship trillions of light years away. The atmosphere they would step into was that of what was once a proud ship of advance alien design that had been entirely overrun by thick, gnarly vines that – to anyone with the ability to sense such things – would seem to possess a more potent life force than that of other plans on Earthland. It wasn’t necessarily sentient, and it didn’t seem to react to their presence, but it was certainly alive. The area was lit not with electricity but rather glowing bulbs that ran along the surface of the vines, cloaking the room in yellow-green shadows. The rest of the ship looked completely dilapidated and in a state of severe disrepair. The sounds of battle could be heard nearby, and it would not be difficult to sense that there were multiple sources of magic being utilized throughout the chaos.

    Serilda stood there in one of the hallways, bracing herself against a wall as she trembled and shook with fatigue, doing her best to not collapse right there. She had pushed herself almost to the point of burnout, yet she knew she couldn’t stop yet. Summoning up her determination, she conjured hundreds of her Bloodletter soldiers in a blink, the army immediately breaking out at the orders of their generals and rushing into the fray. Then and only then did she stop and allow herself a moment to truly catch her breath, nodding to everyone to indicate that she would rejoin them shortly.

    At the same time, Saffron stepped on board with a spirited grin, rolling up her sleeves. “We’re keeping count, right?” she asked Grubar and Hosrius as she slammed her robotic fist into the palm of her flesh hand. “I’m keeping count. Let’s go fuck up some shit!”

    The fight was on.

    WORDS: 1000/13,328 & 3247 to start new job | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    Last edited by Mercury Arseneault on 23rd January 2022, 10:46 am; edited 2 times in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    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 : 544
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,110,031

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 30th December 2021, 11:45 am

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars RJtajUnz_o
    All they could do was wait. A frustratingly simple and yet equally complicated measure that required each individual to exert a modicum of focus on anything else but wondering when the other shoe was going to drop. Serilda was sailing through the cosmos at the fastest speed she could manage, sacrificing rest and comfortability for the sake of providing a means of transport. Mercury, no doubt, was fighting against her binding and trying to find her way back home, despite being who knows how many lightyears away. And yet all Vandrad could do… was wait.

    If anyone else was an empath like him, they would feel the radiating frustration and anger within the prince. He held it at bay with masterful control, capable of keeping up a conversation with any amount of people around him. But there was the biting, scratching need to do something or else he was going to lose his mind. It was a nagging sensation that he couldn’t quite shake; he’d been commander of numerous battles at that point, including the last six months of his life. The perils of conflict and the thick tension that clung to people’s souls before the battle didn’t impress upon him much. He was always cool, calm and ready. But with Mercury… there was no denying that she was both his strength and his weakness in equal measure. She pushed him to be better, to improve himself in every aspect but if she was in danger, if there was nothing he could do to help her, he never felt more weak or powerless. But that was love, or so the folklore and songs would say.

    Rather than stand around and steam, he decided to do something constructive. After all, he’d only come back to Earthland in the last day or so. Ethernano had refilled his body with a fresh supply of magical energy but there was no telling what damage had been rendered to his core. Cyrene had healed the physical injuries but after patching his flesh and organs, he’d never attempted to access his magic. In truth, he was scared that he’d try and find it completely empty, which may have been true on Rhaegar. His body had, somehow, managed to generate its own ethernano and allowed him moments of power but they were fleeting and limited. And even then, Vandrad had felt a diminished level of strength in his abilities.

    He made the trip out to the courtyard and planted himself on the covered pool. Snow had fallen in recent days, so there was a fresh covering of the white powder all over the grounds. That didn’t stop all of the people that his family had recruited to try and find him; plenty of tents and camps were still erected and being used, as several of them had remained behind once learning that Mercury was lost as well. Alone in the cool winter day, Vandrad crossed his arms over his chest and looked inwards, even his head tilted up towards the gray sky. He’d forgotten what it was like to feel fully empowered -- his magical core bristling with energy and rejuvenating his body. The curious part of him almost desired to look deeper, to sink past the blinding power of his magic and search for that strangeness that dwelled below. But the last thing anyone needed was him accidentally dropping himself on another planet, another realm and leaving them with more fear and questions.

    Instead, he just leaned on his usual magic… that and the Ark. He’d felt it reconnect once he returned to Earthland, the unbridled rage funneled against the immortal beings of existence. It was surprising how well it connected to Energy Monarch, crafting a pool of resources that he could draw from and utilize. And with the training he’d received from his mother, he’d found a means to control it, so long as he had a target to focus it on. After a few more brief moments of internalization, Vandrad dropped his hands to his sides and tucked them there. With a soft grunt, his Empowerment took over, his instincts pushing it to the maximum level he could attain. He was surprised then, as he lifted a single arm and took in the aura surrounding him, to find gold rather than blue.

    It was as he figured. The time spent with a damaged core, followed by a residual growth that he had sparingly used, had diminished some of his strength. Like any good muscle, he’d trained his magic to grow and increase its ability through grit and conditioning. With so much time leaving the muscle unstrained, it had lost a lot of its strength. A shame but one that he’d prepared himself for, though it left a bitter taste in his mouth for what was to come. He’d hoped to be operating at the same level he’d been prior when he went into the battle against the Nazru. With all they had learned about them, he felt he needed whatever strength he could spare. Magical energy crackled around his fingertips as he formed a ball of compressed power, hanging just above the palm of his hand. If he was truly set back as far as he believed he was, then there were two positives he could take away from it.

    One, he still felt stronger than he had when his current Empowerment was all he had. No doubt reaching new planes of magical superiority had strengthened his core overall and the decline, while significant, still put him in a dangerous place if anyone were to misjudge him. The other, and arguably most importantly, was his understanding of how his magic evolved. He knew it was tied to his emotions and when pushed into a corner, Energy Monarch broke through its limits and entered new realms of strength. If the coming battle was going to test him as much as he believed it would, then there was an opportunity to utilize it to his favor. After all, he was already fuming and that had resulted in the crimson breakthrough of his Empowerment. If the Nazru proved themselves capable of pushing him to his limits, then it was possible he could achieve what had been lost. And that would hopefully be enough he needed to guarantee their destruction. He released the air he wasn’t even aware he’d been holding in his lungs and, with it, his Empowerment.

    Within the halls of the du Wolff manor, Themesycia watched her son from the window. He’d taken a moment to transform into an all-too-familiar state and then returned to his base. She assumed that he was beginning to understand just how much power had receded from him from his injury and exile back to her homeworld. She sighed softly, crossing her arms and beginning to enter her own form of meditation. But it was at that moment that Victoria spoke up. The Seal had been relatively quiet; she’d given them updates from Serilda sparingly but other than that, she’d been solely focused on her connection to the Rune Knight Field Marshal. But there was no mistaking a call to battle. The duchess practically tore the window off the hinges opening it up. “Vandrad!” she called out to him. She needn’t say anymore than that -- he would know what it meant.

    Quickly the rest of the boarding party gathered. It was Gren, as he stood amongst everyone, who took a moment to look around and take in the absolute ludicrous nature of their group. “So we’re about to cross who-knows how many miles to land on a spaceship… to fight evil aliens and save other aliens. And we’re doin’ it with two different alien bounty hunters, the mother of my son, who is also an alien from a different dimension, my son who is half alien, their family that is also part of that bit but one of them is half-giant, my adoptive son who is half-angel and has a Seal within him and my soon-to-be-adoptive daughter in law who can fly through space without issue.” As he rounded up the entirety of the party, he looked at Saffron. “Yer not like half dragon or anythin’, are ya? Seems like bein’ a plain ol’ human is a rare commodity.”

    “You are the descendent of a mad cultist who created a magic to capture the power of gods and demons. One can hardly call you plain, darling,” Themesycia remarked to him, giving him a teasing smirk as she double checked her lacrisabers. Once everyone was set, they all formed into a group, prepared to launch themselves into whatever portal Serilda would eventually open up. After a moment, Victoria frowned, a truly concerning look for one awaiting news from the other side. But she clarified her change in demeanor a moment later -- it seemed that the Xocili people had begun a rebellion and were actively engaging the Nazru in combat. It meant that their drop in would be mid-conflict. “That’s our Mercury,” Themesycia said with a nod, reaching out and giving Vandrad a small tap with her fist. She’d said that, no matter what, she would bring fire and brimstone upon the heads of her enslavers. And the Nazru were fools for giving her any opening to do so. It was hard not to be proud of her. And now they would be going to join her, as the portal opened up before them. It was safe to say that no one paused even a moment before rushing through the rift, transporting themselves trillions of miles away.

    If there was ever a view that was more alien, Vandrad had never seen it. Though they were certainly on board a space-faring vessel, it looked as dilapidated as ruins on Earthland. Thick vines were interwoven through the metal, nature having overtaken synthetic. Each tendril was brimming with life energy, very much living and in control over the machine beneath it. The only things that provided any kind of light were glowing bulbs that ran the length of the vines, naturally forming pods of illumination. The sound of battle was not far and, perhaps more interesting, was the distinct release of magical signatures -- not just Mercury’s.

    “I thought the Xocili and the Nazru didn’t have magic?” Bartrand asked, honestly confused.

    “If they sent Mercury to Earthland to study magic, no doubt she grabbed some magical weapons to haul back,” Gren explained.

    “And whatever she had gathered, no doubt Khelben retrieved. We have no idea which side possesses the weapons so be on guard. I’ve trained all of you children on how to use magical barriers for years now -- I expect you to make me proud today,” the duchess rounded out the theory and then turned her attention to Bartrand, Cecilia and Ophelia. Unlike Vandrad, the cousins had only seen conflict during hunts and predetermined matches. They didn’t understand the weight of war, even if they put on brave faces saying otherwise. Each one of them gave Themesycia a nod, understanding.

    Mythal went over and put an arm around Serilda to help stable her stance. Once she had summoned forth her army of Bloodletters and sent them to the slaughter, he gently eased her down to rest. “I’m stayin’ here just to make sure Seri doesn’t need to defend herself while gettin’ her strength back,” the Director explained, even as he activated Hopebringer off the hilt of Curse. Darkness flooded out from his hand and covered the ground before it shot upwards and produced a terrifying looking tome. As it opened up, more darkness spilled out from its pages and formed a circle around himself and Serilda, effectively acting like a magical moat that would lash out if any enemy rushed at them. “Lux. Go with Vandrad and when you find the battle, turn the lights out on the Nazru.”

    In a flash of light, Lux appeared just beyond the scope of Mythal’s weaponized darkness. “Now that sounds like a good time. Look at these little things; I bet they are gonna get so confused when I take the spark out of them,” the Lightbringer remarked as he floated close to one of the bulbs, miming at it.

    Grubar was chuckling as he loaded up his shotgun, standing next to Hosrius who was already unfolding his sniper rifle. They could practically feel Saffron’s excitement as she asked about keeping count. “It ain’t fair to keep count, Saff. Your number will be so pathetically small compared to mine,” Grubar teased as he cocked his gun and laid it over his shoulder.

    “I think now is hardly the time to take tallying into consideration. But in the spirit of competition, I hope you both understand how woeful your chances are against me,” Hosrius chirped in, smirking as he looked between the other two.

    Despite the slightly chipper attitudes of the three, Vandrad was focused forward. He could feel the pulses from each magical release, the dissipating ethernano already moving to recycle itself within him. He felt Themesycia and Gren walk up on either side of him. “Can ya sense her?” the former Knight asked.

    Vandrad nodded. "There’s a lot of magic being used in the same area but… I can make out her signature. It’s in the middle of it.”

    “Then best we not leave your bride waiting,” the duchess replied coolly. She pressed the buttons on her lacrisabers, igniting them to life. One as black as any darkness Mythal could summon and another as crimson as freshly spilt blood.

    It did not take them long at all to find the battle. As they rushed into the outskirts of fighting, Lux zoomed over Vandrad’s head and settled into a glide beside him. “So lemme guess, Van the Man. We want the creepy bug-looking things to be the confused ones, right? Not the other ones?”

    Vandrad only gave the Lightbringer a firm nod, far too focused on the approaching bodies. Lux grinned as he soared up higher, just for the Earthland fighters to go crashing into the mix of combat and add themselves to the fray. The Seal got up as high as he could, looking over the sheer number of bodies that were in the midst of fighting. “Talk about outnumbered,” he quipped to himself. He reached out and took hold of one of the bulbs on the closest vine. “Let’s see if they act like the cockroaches they look like.”

    Rather than turn the lights out, Lux went in the exact opposite direction. Utilizing his rejuvenated magic, he targeted the entirety of the rebelling group, including the Earthland crew, and cast a spell that shielded their eyes. But for the Nazru, every single bulb above and around them would suddenly grow in brightness tenfold, then twentyfold. To the naked eye, the entirety of the ship had become one giant glowing beacon of light, as Lux hypercharged the natural flowers with his own magic. And all he could do was cackle in amusement at his own clever audible.






    Words: 2,499 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 23rd January 2022, 10:45 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 485
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,938,969

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 1st January 2022, 12:55 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    “I am one hundred percent human,” Saffron assured Gren with a wry smirk. “Unless you count the robot arm. Then I guess I’m only like.. I dunno, eighty-five percent human? Though I wouldn’t say I’m plain. I mean, come on, have you seen my hair?” She flipped the luxurious, curly blonde locks lightly with the back of her hand.”[/color]

    Victoria, amused by the conversation despite the quickly approaching moment of battle, eyed the older Ragnos man with a devious grin. “Is this a bad time to tell you that Serilda is actually that one that has dragon’s blood? So I guess that means you have a son that’s half angel, another son that’s a demi-god, a future daughter-in-law that’s an alien, and a second future daughter in law that’s part dragon. And where you are the direct descendant of the founding leader of the Dread Masters, Serilda is a direct descendant of one of the original leaders of the Order of Souls: Kuroryu.”

    She left him to ponder over that little tidbit as she turned her focus back toward Serilda, even as Saffron reached out and patted Gren on the arm as if in consolation. It was only a couple of minutes later before Serilda finally opened the path for them, the woman looking on the verge of collapse, which was no surprise. She allowed Mythal to physically support her while she essentially air dropped an entire full sized army on the ship, the immortal soldiers rushing ahead to start doing what they could to turn the tide of the battle. Once everyone from their end was through, she closed the portal, not particularly keen on having any wayward Nazru making their way back onto Earthland. Then she finally allowed herself to relax as Mythal insisted that he would stay with his fiance for the moment just to make sure she could recover in peace.

    At this point, it was assumed that everyone would more or less split up into smaller groups so they could cover more area without getting in one another’s way. Knowing them the best out of everyone else there, Saffron naturally gravitated toward Grubar and Hosrius, teasing about the three of them comparing their tally sheets after the battle. Both men shot the shit right back at her, with Grubar laughing about how pitiful the human’s numbers would be in comparison to his, and Hosrius informing them both that neither of them would stand up to his prowess. “Ha!” the blonde laughed, thoroughly and amused and invigorated by the challenge. “Look at the two of you trying to act all tough when all you’re gonna do is shoot at these things from a distance. The only guns I need are these bad boys right here.”

    Raising her arms, she flexed her biceps, showing off the admittedly toned and rippled muscles of a hand to hand fighter. “So clearly, that means my points are worth double whatever you sissies earn.” With a grin, she winked at them both before racing off down a hallway without warning, forcing both of the bounty hunters to chase after her if they didn’t want to fall behind. As she came around a corner, she spotted a young Xocili woman fighting a losing battle against the Nazru that had cornered her. Without breaking her stride, Saffron hurled herself at the ugly creature, cocking back her mechanical arm. The Nazru only had enough time to turn and look at her in surprise before her fist met his face, sending him stumbling back several meters.

    She flashed a winning grin at the woman she had just rescued, giving her a very brief once over. “Hey there.” Then, she turned to the Nazru as he finished recovering, the creature eying her and the new challenge she posed with curiosity and excitement. Speaking a touch more loudly than she necessarily needed to, very much like someone trying to break a language barrier by condescendingly talking to them like they had the intelligence of a child, Saffron told him, “I don’t suppose you speak Ishgaran? No? Okay, well I’m going to beat you.” Pointing to herself, she threw a couple mock punches and then pointed back at him. Then, she gestured to her robotic limb. “With this arm. Like… almost exclusively.”

    He seemed to get the picture, at least if his cavalier grin and the way he stretched his muscles in preparation for a fight were any picture. Taking up a fighting stance, Saffron cocked the chambers of energy bullets in her wristband and synthetic arm, much like one would with a gun, before she and the Nazru met one another head on in what was sure to be quite the boxing match.

    Meanwhile, in the heart of the battle, Mercury was squaring off against Draux. The large Nazru turned to face her after the woman called out to him, a pleased smile on his face. “I was looking for you, actually. This little rebellion of yours is admirable, but pointless. You have shown us that magic is a natural energy that we can harvest, and since we know where to find it.. We don’t need you anymore. I was going to at least spare the rest of your people but it seems they wish to share your fate.”

    “Let’s get something straight, Speaker. You may kill me and the rest of our race today, but I will not allow you to continue living long enough to learn how to really use the energy you stole from me.” Adjusting her stance, she dismissed her lacrima bow and swapped it out for a large mechanical sword with a long blade made of razor thin light. “And the Nazru will never set foot on Earthland.”

    The opponents rushed one another, their swords clashing together as they exchanged blow after blow. They hit one another several times, but between Mercury’s defensive spells and Draux’s natural resistance, they both found it difficult to really injure the other. Unsurprisingly, the Nazru didn’t utilize a lot of active magic as he didn’t have the training for it like Mercury did, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t using parts of it subconsciously. Her first suspicion of this started when the lights of the Rulxor suddenly flared up bright as the sun, causing a temporary pause in the chaos of the battle as nearly every single Nazru faltered and flinched in pain as their retinas burned from the bright light, even as the Xocili blinked in confusion at the mysterious happenstance… Yet Draux not only seemed unbothered by the sudden increase in light, but he seemed invigorated by it nearly as much as she was.

    And as the fight raged on, the theory seemed to be more and more accurate as after a while she started noticing that not only were her spells not causing him much harm, but it almost felt like her energy was being sapped from her bit by bit. While she was starting to wear and slow down, he seemed as fresh as when the battle had started. She needed to find a way to win this fight, and fast before he drew too much power. As if sensing that Mercury needed an opening, Zemenar emerged from the battle with a large gun that he’d stolen from a fallen Nazru, the organic rifle firing off bolts of molten plasma at the Speaker and drawing his attention away from Mercury briefly. Without missing a beat, she lunged in with her sword, aiming to divorce his head from his body and end his threat.

    Instead, a sharp pain ripped its way through her abdomen, stopping her in her tracks. Mercury looked down in shock at the prismatic javelin of light that was penetrating her stomach from front to back. She had been so fully on the offensive, so focused on the fact that he hadn’t been casting any spells yet, that she had been completely unprepared for Draux to actively use a spell, catching her completely off guard. She gasped and let out a pained cry as he ripped the weapon out of her, the Xocili woman crumpling to the floor as black blood began to pour out of the wound at a faster rate than her body could recover from.

    “MERCURY!!” Zemenar raced over and fell to his knees beside her. Ripping off his shirt, he frantically pressed it to the wound and started applying as much pressure as he could, tears running down his eyes. “No no, please..!”

    “So that’s how it works, does it?” Draux asked, spinning the javelin lightly in his hand and examining the energy weapon casually. “I have to thank you, Mercury. It was long since thought that we had reached the peak of evolution, but this little discovery of yours has shown me how much potential we still have in store for us.”

    With a roar, Zemenar picked the particle rifle back up and started emptying the clip into Draux. A few beams managed to find purchase before the Nazru erected a barrier of light around him that stopped the beams in their tracks. Then, reaching toward the Enforcer, he held out an open palm and clenched it into a tight fist. Straps of electricity snapped up from the ground to ensnare the older man, who cried out in anguish as his body twitched violently under the heavy voltage.”[/color]

    “Dad!!”

    Draux raised his brow. “Dad? Fascinating! All this time we thought that collector welp was your only child, and here it turns out that one of those children aboard that sanctuary ship was one of yours. What a touching reunion.” He continued to watch Zemenar with a smile, even as the Xocili fought against his bindings with surprising success, the man driven by the kind of power only a parent with a child in danger could harness. He grit his teeth and pushed forward, ignoring the searing pain from the lightning to raise his rifle and keep shooting at the Speaker.

    Unfortunately, it did little good, the bolts easily absorbed by the shield spell even as Draux stepped toward them. Reaching down, the Nazru knocked the gun out of Zemenar’s hands and doubled down on the lighting, holding the Xocili so tight he could no longer move. Then, he pressed down with his heel on Mercury’s injury, causing the woman to shriek in agony. “You really were the most successful of our Scouts,”[/color] he told her. “It’s a shame to have to put you down, but rest assured that I will remember your name fondly when I recount the tale for future generations of Nazru about the Xocili wretch that enabled our evolution a thousand fold.” Raising his spear, he held it over Mercury, aiming to plunge it through her heart.

    WORDS: 1796/5043 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    Last edited by Mercury Arseneault on 23rd January 2022, 10:47 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    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 : 544
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,110,031

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 1st January 2022, 2:41 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars MkPvAydM_o
    “A little bit o’ metal ain’t gonna make ya any less human,” Gren replied to the younger woman, flashing her a grin. And that was enough of a satisfaction until Victoria decided to speak up, focusing her attention on him. She informed him that Serilda was the one that actually possessed dragon’s blood and gave a revised rundown of his connections, including the fact that both he and Serilda’s families were descendents of the leaders of the Order of Souls and the Dread Masters. “Funny how these things work out, isn’t it?” he asked, almost absent-mindedly. After all, what were the chances that the Sinclairs and the Ragnos had found their ways to one another, once more, but finding romance over violence. Even if Mythal wasn’t a born Ragnos, it was still his name, his family.

    Once on the space station, there was little else to do but prepare for battle. Mythal set up his protective barrier around Serilda, so she could regain some of her exhausted strength. Grubar and Hosrius, arguably the only two naturally comfortable with space and battling in it, were loading up their weapons as Saffron tried to make a competition out of the coming conflict. Both of them were quick to chastise her chances, giving into the spirit of competition and she laughed at their insinuations. She insisted that because she was going to be up close and personal, putting up her physical display as proof, her points were going to be worth double. “Aw look at the little humie, thinking her big ol’ muscles mean her points count more. Do you even know how a shotgun works, blondie?” the Scengar remarked, flashing her a grin as he twirled the weapon in front of him. “I gotta get in nice and close too. So I guess that means my points count as double as well.”

    “Now hold on, you two. Getting up close and punching a body is easy enough for anyone to do. And a shotgun requires very little tact, more requiring an ability to shoot in one direction. But the expertise it requires to nail a headshot on a moving, fighting target is something only the finest of fighters can master. As such, I believe my points cost triple,” Hosrius was quick to make his own points for his own personal handicap.

    But Saffron wasn’t listening. In fact, she was already halfway down the hallway by the time both of them realized she was gone. Not intent on leaving their shared friend to the solitary woes of meeting the Nazru head on, they shot each other a glance and took off after her. By the time they rounded the corner and found her, she had already found one of the Nazru -- with two others running in to help their comrade. “Tenpiswo si confn, wux nurh malai!” Grubar roared in his native tongue as he broke into a full charge. Surprisingly, the Scengar increased his rate of speed dramatically, barreling past Saffron’s melee and ramming into one of the back Nazru. He hit with such force that the creature was sent hurtling backwards, sailing through the air and crashing into the back wall.

    The other Nazru turned to fire at Grubar but was knocked off his stance by a sniper shot to the head. Despite the perfect accuracy, it seemed the bullet had only pierced a few inches deep, not nearly enough to kill the tough creature. It was already shaking its head and adjusting its aim, thriving in the fresh pain… when things began to feel cold. It barely had time to comprehend the chilling sensation swiftly rushing over its flesh, turning living material to frozen meat. It opened its mouth to say something but was overwhelmed by the frost, its entire head encased in ice. Another loud sniper shot rang out, this one ripping through the frozen head and shattering it to pieces, dropping the body where it stood.

    “What the hell?! What kind of shots are those?!” Grubar called back to Hosrius.

    “Frost magic enchanted. Mercury set me up with them,” Hosrius called out as he approached, already reloading his clips.

    “Yeah, not the only thing she hooked ya up with, I bet--” Grubar was grumbling to himself but was interrupted by the Nazru he had tackled. It had returned, hurt but still well within its means to fight. It returned the favor by charging out from its crater and slamming into Grubar with similar force, knocking the Scengar back several meters. “Tough bastard!” Grubar insulted the creature, despite the amused and thrilled grin on his face. Roaring once more, he charged at the Nazru, which opted to meet him head to head. But just before impact, the Scengar whipped up his shotgun, using it as a bludgeon to knock the creature off course. Then he took aim and unloaded a blast into its chest. The Nazru was knocked back a few feet and the majority of the pellets made impact… but once again, it was not nearly enough to kill or even incapacitate the creature. It was already marching back towards Grubar when it, too, felt a strange sensation. But rather than freezing one, it was suddenly treated to a wild case of explosions. The entirety of its thorax was reduced to ash as the pellets detonated, ripping the creature to shreds. By the end of the show, it was somehow still alive but reduced to fragments. Blood and gore caked the walls and floor around it as it struggled to get back up, an impossible task made only more inconceivable as Grubar stood over it and double tapped, loosing another shotgun blast into its head. As he turned and walked away, another devastating explosion rocked the area. “Now then, where’s the rest of them?” he asked as he continued forward, chuckling to himself.

    Lux’s trick proved beneficial for the approaching Earthland group. As each individual separated and formed up into separate parties, the blinding light provided ample opening. Themesycia stuck with Bartrand, Ophelia and Cecilia, slicing her way through several Nazru with her lacrisabers to establish a fighting ground. From there she coordinated her nephew and nieces, offering instruction when she saw they needed it and calling out where aid was needed. More than anything, the duchess sought to make herself the most deadly target, swinging into open combat to take the Nazru’s attention and provide the Xocili people with the opening to strike back. From there she took charge, knowing ahead of time that the language barrier would prevent them from communicating with words but instead used hand signals to direct Mercury’s people into forming a line. Ever the combat leader, her presence and grace upon the field of battle would inspire hope and courage to keep fighting.

    Gren stuck near Vandrad near the outlier of combat, staying at his side to help fight through the Nazru. It was clear that the prince was focused on one priority -- finding Mercury. His hits came at full power and rarely intended on killing an opponent. He would strike for limbs, breaking through the hard shell of the Nazru and rendering legs and arms incapable of use. It provided the Xocili with the advantage to jump in and finish off their opponents easier. But it became apparent that Gren was needed with them, his ability to use magic capable of saving more Xocili lives than ending the Nazru. And as much as he wanted to be there to help Vandrad with Mercury, he also understood that the prince, himself, would get to her without issue. So in the end, he fell back, melding back into the chaos and joining the fight wholeheartedly.

    The use of magic was throwing Vandrad’s senses for a loop. With the recent return of his ability to even sense magic, he hadn’t rediscovered his ability to hone in on specific magical pulses and block out the rest. Yet another aspect of his body, mind and magic that he would have to retrain. His eyes were constantly moving back and forth, his head on a swivel as he practically looked through the Nazru and Xocili around him, his body engaging in enemies more on instinct than on true focus and intent. But the entirety of the world disappeared as a single pained cry lifted above the rest, the agonizing scream that was so familiar he felt his blood freeze. His head swung around to look in the direction, now walking with more force. Each step cracked the metal beneath his feet and the air around him was growing intensely hot and electrified. One Nazru rushed at him and Vandrad quickly slammed his fist into its stomach, breaking through the thick armor almost with ease. Yet the alien, still plenty capable of fighting, swung in at his face, its knuckles crashing into the prince’s forehead. Fresh, warm blood ran down from the open wound on his brow but all that seemed to do was make Vandrad even angrier. The Nazru pulled its hand back and then watched, no doubt in surprise, as the blood rushed back up and began to pool over the prince’s forehead in a symbol -- the letter M. An instant later, Vandrad’s Empowerment overtook him, his golden display of magic becoming so thick and powerful that it began to rip away at the Nazru in front of him. Opening his hand within the torso of the alien, Vandrad unleashed a vaporizing wave of magic, atomizing its entire torso and dropping head and limbs to the ground with a bloody splat.

    He was wasting time with pests. Once more his gaze fixated in the direction of the cry, his hands reaching back behind him and taking hold of the objects he had stored on the back plate of his armor. The explicit sound of electricity ripped through the air in front of him, along with the sounds of something firing off. And when he heard another familiar shriek of pain, the world fell silent completely, save for the sight at the end of his tunnel vision. He could hear it through his scouter, the monstrous Nazru mocking Mercury, even if he couldn’t see her. But he could see the spear, the one made up of what felt like magic. And its end goal was no doubt to bury itself through the Silver Wolf Ace.

    Vandrad moved faster than even he understood. It was almost like time had come completely to pause and he blinked in and out of existence around each battling figure. But the moment the spear began its descent, the shaft would be cut in twain. A moment later, a thunderous boom would shake the entirety of the battlefield as the reactionary concussive blast from Vandrad’s impossible movement caught up, sending a shockwave all across the space station. Vandrad stood, not directly next to the fallen Mercury but in front of the man that had been overtaken by the electric attack of the Speaker. The prince had his hand out, the bolts of lightning streaking across the limb, no doubt causing immense pain to Vandrad even as it tore away at his armor and battlesuit. But his focus showcased no signs of the agony, his eyes staring at the Nazru with such ferocity that there lacked a word for its intensity. A thousand exploding suns didn’t burn nearly as bright as Vandrad’s anger, the cyan orbs seeming to morph and give way to flashes of red and even silver. His hair was glistening gold but every few seconds, the appearance of red would streak over portions of the spiked tresses.

    "You dare threaten my wife,” he growled as magical energy rushed out from the electrified limb and countered the streaks of lightning; dark, deformed bolts of dreadether gnawing away at the pure electricity. "You pests that call yourselves pursuers of evolutionary superiority but steal your benefits from others. True evolution is taking what is given you naturally and making it stronger. No, you Nazru are nothing more than thieves -- insects with a penchant for adapting what isn’t yours. Everything about you disgusts me and I will not suffer your existence any longer.” With a roar, Vandrad unleashed the full force of his countering spell, forcing the tendrils of lightning together into a focused blast. It was aimed for the Speaker’s body, intent on vaporizing him where he stood.

    As he cut the connection to the spell, he brought his hands together. His free hand had been holding the Dread Curve; the matching blades that Mercury had gifted him almost a year ago to the day. Rearming his other limb, he held both weapons at the ready, entirely certain that one blast would hardly be enough to take down the monstrosity.






    Words: 2125/4,624 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 23rd January 2022, 10:47 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
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    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Gunblade Master
    Second Magic: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Magic:

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 1st January 2022, 5:05 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    She couldn’t die here. Not like this. Not while Draux still lived and harnessed her magical energy, not while the Nazru planned on invading Earthland. She was going to have to tackle this problem here and now, even if it meant the end of herself and the rest of her race. They had all chosen to stay and fight, and each of them would know what the likely cost of that choice would be. The likelihood of any of them walking away from this had been slim, each of them deciding that it was their responsibility to make sure no one else suffered the desolation they had been living in, even if they had to die to make that happen. So as Draux stood above her with his spear, bidding her farewell, Mercury smiled wearily back up at him, using the last of her energy to make sure that the final blow would be the spark that lit the fuse of the bomb she was crafting within her armor.

    Yet, that finishing blow never came. So quickly that she couldn’t even process it, the spear suddenly snapped in half, the spell dissipating as Draux blinked in surprise at the man that stood before him. Zemenar gasped audibly in relief as the flow of the electrical restraints were cut from his body, leaving him free to move once more even if his body was still twitching and seizing lightly. He managed to look up at his rescuer in awe, the shorter man radiating with such anger and energy that Zemenar’s sensors couldn’t even properly track his vitals. Draux’s electricity was rippling over the man’s body, surely causing him a great deal of pain, and yet he just stood there, the color of his hair flickering between gold and red.

    It took Mercury a moment to truly process what was happening. Her vision had already begun to grey as she forced herself to focus on the man squaring off against Draux, looking familiar and yet not. His face was covered in a thick layer of facial hair to the point where at first she thought it was Gren, but he was too short and Gren was not capable of going blonde. “V-Vandrad..” Mercury instantly burst into sobs as her anxiety alleviated itself almost immediately upon seeing him. She had no idea how he had gotten there, but there he was all the same, wielding the very weapons she had made for him nearly a year ago.

    Vandrad unleashed a blast of his magic before taking a ready stance for the retaliatory blow that was sure to come. Grunting with the effort, she tried to roll over onto her stomach so she could get to her feet to help him. White hot pain nearly blinded her as she was swiftly reminded of her mortal injury, and she felt herself being pulled back to the ground by Zemenar, his eyes frantic as he once more tried to put pressure down on the wound. “Stop moving, you’re going to make it worse!” he told her. This was bad. He had only just gotten his daughter back, uncertain all this time if she was even alive, and now he was about to lose her again. Her body was trying to heal the injury but she was losing blood faster than her natural healing abilities could keep up with. “Help..! Someone please HELP!” Zemenar roared desperately, tears rolling down his cheeks.

    In an instant, he found three elaborate garbed soldiers standing guard around them as a tall, older woman with crimson leather armor and white hair took a knee beside Mercury. Raising her hands over the fallen woman’s body, Mercury’s body began to glow in a crimson aura as before Zemenar’s eyes his daughter’s wound began to heal. “I’ve got her, Vandrad,” Victoria told the Bellum prince, assuring him that he could focus on the fight before him without having to worry about the state of his fiance.

    Meanwhile, Draux emerged from the cloud of energy that Vandrad had attempted to vaporize him with, stretching his neck and shoulders without looking too much the worse for wear. It was clear that he didn’t really understand what Vandrad had said to him, though there was no misunderstanding the fury in the Earthlander’s gaze. Yet, Draux didn’t seem too intimidated. “You carry Xocili technology, but you are not one of them,” he spoke in his strange tongue, his gaze noting the red blood dripping from Vandrad’s face. “You must be the one that my slave got so attached to. You’ve come a long way to die.”

    Raising his bone sword before him in one hand, he extended his other and conjured a spiked flail on a chain in the other, the weapon charged with prismatic electricity. Draux gently and comfortably began to swing the business end of the flail around. Then, he took the initiative to start the fight. Swinging with the flail first, he would alternate between weapons as he tested the prince’s defenses and reactionary time, aiming to keep him moving. Then, once he had an opening, he would swing the flail in an attempt to wrap it around the blade of one of Vandrad’s swords. If he managed to catch it, he would yank back on the chain to either pull the weapon out of the prince’s grasp or to pull the Earthlander closer, following up with a second swing of his own sword.

    WORDS: 908/5951 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    Last edited by Mercury Arseneault on 23rd January 2022, 10:47 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    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 : 544
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    Experience : 2,110,031

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 1st January 2022, 5:58 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars MkPvAydM_o

    The armor that Vandrad had created for battle, one of his most recent models, that Mercury had personally helped on and oversaw its vast technological improvements, was shattered. Draux’s magical power was strong as it ripped through his protective layering, breaking it and causing fragments to crumble all around him. The pain was nearly blinding, causing his muscles to quake and shiver as the synapses and focal points were overloaded. And yet Vandrad looked like he experienced no pain, stared with the same passionate hatred that a man with an advantage over his enemy should have. And when he countered it, corrupted it and sent it back into the Nazru, he rid himself of the ache, even if it left him less protected than he was before.

    Of course he heard Mercury say his name and sensed her trying to get to her feet. But she quickly was overwhelmed by the injury in her, collapsing into the arms of the man that the prince had just saved. There was nothing he wanted to do more than to rush to her side but he lacked two important things; the ability to heal externally and the advantage. He may have had the look but there was little denying that the Nazru would be back momentarily, most likely trying to comprehend what had just happened. He needed someone to get there and help out, to offer some kind of healing. His first thought was Serilda but she was too drained from the flight. The second, ironically, proved to summon the very namesake. Before the man was even able to finish his cries for help, three Bloodletters appeared and Victoria was there, kneeling down and using her own magic to aid the fallen Silver Wolf Mage. She informed him that she had it from there and after glancing over his shoulder for only a moment, he gave her a nod. As much as he hated to admit it, he owed both Lux and Victoria a lot for their efforts.

    There was still the matter of this apparent leader figure. With the ebb and flow of constant battle around them, including allied forces, Vandrad could go all out. He put both the Earthland group and the surviving Xocili at risk if he were to unleash the full brunt of his power. Still, he was surprised to see the Nazru walk out of the smoke, merely stretching his neck as if he’d barely been affected by the attack. The spear he’d been wielding before was made of magic… which meant he’d found someway to access it himself. If he was tough before, that would only serve to make him harder to put down. He spoke again, recognizing the weapon design in hand but not the man in front of him. After consideration, most likely the crimson mark upon his head, he assumed correctly that Vandrad was the one that Mercury had grown fond of and remarked about the distance he had traveled to die.

    A smug, sneering smirk tugged across Vandrad’s face. All it took was a slight flicker of his eye to activate his headset and turn the universal translator that Mercury had helped program outward. As he watched the monster raise its sword and summon a magical flail, the prince snorted. "I’ve been told that you thieving pretenders enjoy pain. I couldn’t help but grasp the opportunity to see just how true that was. But I do have a question…” he wondered aloud, even as the Nazru began to slowly, tantalizingly, swing the flail, swirling up the waters to what was surely going to be one hell of a chaotic fight.

    "Do you feel fear, insect?” Whether spurred on by the question or merely wishing to shut up the Earthland native, the Nazru began the fight by swinging in the barbed ball. Vandrad expertly adjusted his footing and swatted the flail away with one of the swords, making sure to hit the ball end rather than chain. The bone sword followed after and the prince blocked it, countered it and went on the offensive, refusing to let the beast take full advantage of combat. It was a hard and quick back and forth, each one of them testing the other to see where there could be weak spots and openings. And to the Nazru’s credit, he found one, swinging the flail and wrapping it around one the Curves. With the sword trapped, it was very easy for the alien to pull and yank Vandrad off his feet.

    Of course, it was an opening that Vandrad had planned. As the sword swung in, Vandrad pivoted his body to curl around the blade, while at the same time releasing the entrapped weapon. He pushed magic behind him, boosting the momentum that the Nazru, himself, had purposed upon the prince and used it to attempt to drive a fist into the monster’s jaw. He released another blast of energy by opening up his fist, a weak puff of magic that would vaporize a lesser creature but, at most, would annoy the Nazru. But it served to send Vandrad up above the Speaker, the prince backflipping in the air before coming to a stop. And then a loud, powerful burst of magic erupted from his feet and sent him spiraling down towards the Nazru. If he connected with it, the hit would serve as a ground-breaking tackle, driving the Nazru through the metal floor and down into another level of the space station. If it missed, Vandrad would still have opened up a passage downwards and hopefully dropped the creature down with him.






    Words: 935/5,559 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 23rd January 2022, 10:47 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 485
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,938,969

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 1st January 2022, 7:39 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Draux seemed pleasantly surprised by the trinket that Vandrad used to be able to communicate with him, despite the object being a piece of computer engineering. In truth he was all the more excited to fight, and to put the bold warrior down to show him the true supremacy of the Nazru.

    So the fight commenced, with Draux leading the charge. He swung with the weapons to get a feel for Vandrad’s reactionary timing, to find that the short, spiky haired man certainly knew his way around a battlefield. Over and over their weapons clashed, each one keeping a careful pace and keeping an eye out for weaknesses in the other. The moment Draux saw an open spot in Vandrad’s guard he lashed out, ensnaring one of the weapons and using it to yank the prince toward himself. Vandrad quickly countered by tossing himself over the bone blade that was streaking toward him, letting go of his own weapon and using his now free hand to punch the Nazru in the jaw.

    The hit was solid enough that Draux stumbled backward several feet, giving more than enough of an opening for Vandrad to unleash his blast of energy that sent him soaring into the sky only to come careening back down. Grinning wildly through the pain, Draux held his ground as Vandrad came down on him, tanking the tackle and allowing them both to crash through several floors of the mothership before they came to a rest. The Nazru rolled to his feet more quickly than a creature of his size should have been allowed to, Draux waiting for Vandrad to get to his feet as well so they could both be ready to keep going.

    Smirking, he turned his head without taking his eyes off Vandrad to spit a wad of his blood on the ground. After a moment, the spot began to sizzle lightly as the acidic ichor ate away at the steel beneath their feet. In fact, if any of his blood had gotten on Vandrad, the prince would likely notice the same thing happening. He would also notice, thanks to the point blank blast Vandrad had fed him before, that the Nazru’s bone armor had a large hole scorched out of it. There was just enough of his flesh peeking through for Vandrad to see the distinct markings of Mercury’s tattoos in the place where Draux had peeled the flesh from her body and grafted it onto his own.

    “You ask me if I feel fear. What have I to fear? Death?” Draux chuckled, tossing his weapons aside. “Death is the most natural order of all living things. Pain? Pain makes me stronger. Fear is a burden of the weak… like the Xocili, who have cowered and groveled at our feet for decades, stunted by their reliance on machines and computers. When stripped of those things, what did they have left but their own frail bodies? Even in injury, they fail to adapt, their hideously clean forms only ever reverting back to their natural states instead of growing tougher.”

    “And you may claim that our abilities are stolen… but that doesn’t make the process any less evolutionary. We simply learned how to control it ourselves, taking the collective advancements of biology around the universe molding it at our command.” Flexing his muscles, his body shifted and morphed to allow for several quill like digits to protrude from beneath his flesh among his arms, shoulders, and face. At the same time, prismatic electricity sparked to life all around his body. Then, he would rush Vandrad to engage in combat once more, this time without any weapons in his hands.

    Throwing several punches, Draux unleashing bolts of electricity with each strike and using the charged energy to ensure that Vandrad never landed a strike without paying for his efforts. Every once in a while he would lash out with the quills, and Vandrad would find that the more he was pricked by them the slower his body would feel, almost as though they were releasing some kind of paralytic agent into his bloodstream…

    WORDS: 685/6636 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    Last edited by Mercury Arseneault on 23rd January 2022, 10:48 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    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 : 544
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,110,031

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 1st January 2022, 8:35 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars MkPvAydM_o

    His punch hit squarely, the force of which was enough to send the Nazru back several long feet. That gave Vandrad the opening to unleash his blast of concentrated magic and then finish up the combination by tackling the alien through the floor. Firm steel bent beneath the weight of the crashing pair, each impact louder and more destructive than the laast. Finally they hit a solid enough surface, once their momentum had slowed down. They hit hard and separated, Vandrad popping backwards off a single hand and getting back into a defensive position. The Nazru seemed amused at the turn of events and turned his head to spit out his blood. Before it even impacted the ground, the prince was treated to several different spots of burning. A quick cursory glance was all he needed to confirm that the blood that had tracked on his upper arms and shoulders from the alien was doing the damage. His healing was fighting back the severe injury but that didn’t offer any salve for the sizzling of his skin. He activated one of his magical barriers and sent the liquid splashing down to the ground, ridding himself of the irksome sensation.

    At the same time, his eyes locked onto the flesh beneath the bone armor. There was no way he was going to mistake Mercury’s tattoos, seemingly grafted onto the alien’s body. Another ripple of anger ran through his body, his hair once more in flux as it became overwhelmingly crimson before turning to gold. It was then that the Nazru spoke, now directly referencing Vandrad’s own words. He wondered what point there was to fear for him; he was perfectly understanding and accepting of death and he only foresaw pain as a means of getting stronger. As the Speaker saw it, only the weak coveted fear so wholeheartedly and directly named the Xocili as its followers. Their reliance on technology had made them weak -- made everyone weak -- but the Xocili especially as without material growth, they were nothing but frail and pathetic. And as he saw it, taking the benefits from other organic races was organic, as it improved upon their abilities by attaching more from others.

    Vandrad was silent for only a beat before he began… to laugh. A raucous, malevolent laugh that caused him to straighten, if only slightly. "I see,” he said, his words continued to be translated. "A zealot then. No fear of dying and no fear of pain. But hatred for those that rely on material improvements, disgusted by machines and those that embrace it. And yet so blinded to the fact that those you consider weak are evolving. Never understanding that creation begets creation, save for those too idiotic to create of their own accord. And so the Nazru, reaching the peak of their evolution, take from others superior to them to make themselves feel worthy. And those that embrace technology -- why, they’re slipping past the hardships and becoming something more. Something you can’t fathom. I see it now… thank you, Nazru.”

    “You do feel fear. Your fear the Xocili.”[/color]

    Rejuvenated by the revelation, Vandrad met Draux head on. Storing the single Curve he still had, he charged in and countered the Nazru’s fists with punches of his own, strength clashing against strength. The crackling, sharp magical energy that was passed over to the prince was met with grunts and grit teeth, Vandrad pushing back by bolstering his physical strength with his own magic. The cuts and stabs upon his arms and torso from the quills did little damage and were ignored up until he began to feel his limbs turn sluggish. Realizing that the barbs were most likely poisonous, he altered his fighting stance to avoid said attacks but already the ailment was beginning to have its effect. His strength was beginning to wane and his magic with it. Finally he was too slow to block a punch and was knocked back several feet, sliding to a stop and then falling to a single knee.

    Panting, he growled as he attempted to push himself to his feet again. His hair shimmered and then lost its Empowerment, as his magic was instead focused on trying to heal the damage and cure the poison. In a moment where he should have been completely off guard, as his magic was already dwindling fighting against the agony, something else happened. For a brief, silent moment, it seemed Vandrad had completely seized up. And then something completely new overtook him. A shimmering aura of magic, blue-whitish in color, wrapped around his entire body, outlining him in the odd glow. All of the world seemed to bend in towards him, as if the very fabric of reality was his guard and shield. His head lifted to look at the Nazru and his eyes had gone completely silver, glistening in the low light of the lower level.

    Before Draux could even move or speak, Vandrad was gone, having reappeared behind the Nazru. Once the monster turned to put up a defense or offense, the prince was already back on the other side. A flurry of punches, so swift that even Vandrad couldn’t see them, shot out and attempted to slam into Draux, shattering the bone armor that protected him. Vandrad, as patient and as calm as he could ever be, stood his ground until another strike came at him and then seemed to fold around the attack, his body phasing through the physical before he lashed out with a kick to the stomach. There he caught sight of Mercury’s flesh imposed on Draux’s body once more and his rage returned. The calm state was swallowed up by crimson flames and with a roar that sounded both like Vandrad and like some wild beast, the prince’s Empowerment returned, restoring him tenfold and pushing his magical power even higher. Now cloaked in red, his hands shot forward, brimming with magical energy, and pierced through Draux’s torso, fingers wrapping around the stolen flesh.

    With a hard jerk of his entire body, he would rip it off of the Nazru, spraying an arc of blood away from him. And as the fragment of flesh splat against the ground nearby, Vandrad would already be turning, already summoning the scythe from the Ark and swinging it vertically up into the open wound, burying the magically infused blade deep into the monster’s torso. "You know what else is the natural order of things?” the prince hissed. "Extinction.” And with that said, he powered through the rest of his swing, slicing the scythe upwards in an attempt to divorce the Nazru in two from torso to head.

    And somewhere, trillions of miles away, a particular Dread Master paused in his research. As his magical senses went haywire, a pellet of blood fell upon the book he had been perusing. Curiously, he reached up and touched his forehead and, when he drew his fingers back, he found blood. “Well then," Scourge said with a grin, looking up towards the ceiling. In the dim light, the same Brand of Marka that emblazoned Vandrad's head could be seen. “Welcome back, Vandrad."






    Words: 1190/6,749 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 23rd January 2022, 10:48 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 485
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    Experience : 1,938,969

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 2nd January 2022, 1:12 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Draux tilted his head as Vandrad began to laugh at him. The Earthlander reiterated his words, voicing his understanding of the Nazru’s culture and their disgust for machinery. But then he added to it, accusing Draux and his people of being blind to the evolution of those they considered weak. Yet the Nazru were stunted by their peaked evolution, so desperate to matter – as Vandrad saw it – that they began stealing from other species to further their own growth. Meanwhile, there were other species that were flourishing leaps and bounds with half the effort. His conclusion was that the Nazru do feel fear, specifically for the Xocili.

    The Nazru wouldn’t get the chance to respond as Vandrad quickly closed in for battle once more. The two went head to head, Draux using his magic to damage the Bellum prince for each hit he landed, and Vandrad using his energy to increase his strength, gritting his teeth through the pain to continue pushing forward. The pin pricks from Draux’s quills went ignored until it was far too late. Vandrad’s body began to slow down, his strength sapped as his muscles began to seize. He attempted to adjust his stance to keep from being hit any further but the poison was already setting in.

    “I do not fear the Xocili,” Draux explained as he began to have a comfortable advantage in the fight. “Their very existence is an affront to the organic way of life, but there was conflict amongst the tribes about what to do with them. Yes: conflict. You see, most of the tribes wanted to eradicate the Xocili outright, but it was my tribe – the Speakers of Yuuzhan – that saw their potential. We were willing to recognize them as organic beings, disgusting as they were. We compromised with our brothers and sisters by turning what remained of Xocil into slaves where they could still serve a greater purpose. So you see, if it wasn’t for us, the Xocili would have been completely wiped out a long time ago.”

    Seeing his opportunity, Draux landed a hit square on Vandrad’s chest, sending the Bellum prince skidding back several meters until he fell to a knee, the poison well and truly starting to sink in. This battle was over, or at least that was how the Nazru saw it. Yet the moment his guard was lowered was the moment that Vandrad somehow moved more quickly than Draux could even process, the Earthlander suddenly right behind him as though he had disappeared from one spot and reappeared in another. Eyes wide, he turned to defend himself only to find Vandrad gone again. A sharp pain crackled around his body as his armor shattered, leaving his tough, scarred skin exposed.

    And as he felt Vandrad’s hand grasp the newly grafted flesh on his chest and rip it off, the fresh wound still tender from the surgery, Draux growled deep in physical anguish before he found himself being impaled by an energy scythe. There was only a moment of shock on the monster’s face before he started chuckling deliriously. Vandrad spoke his parting words and promise of death to the Nazru, who only smiled. “Yes. Extinction… this is the way.” His final words sounded very much like a religious creed, and even as the scythe finished its journey through Draux’s body, his head rolling from his shoulders and onto the ground, the expression on his face was one of satisfaction and pride.

    Meanwhile, several floors up, Victoria was finishing up her healing spell on Mercury. “There you are. You’ve still got quite a bit of recovery to go, but you won’t be dying any time soon, child.”

    Indeed, Mercury still looked as though she had been spending the last several days being beaten and tortured, mostly because she had. There were dark bruises covering her entire body, along with a number of cuts and burn marks. The patch of skin that had been removed from her shoulder was still raw and would take a long time to heal, even with magic. Her own black blood coated her in patches from head to toe, the biggest concentration of which was her stomach, and she still very much ached all over, but she was breathing steadily and her vitals had strengthened.

    Zemenar wasn’t entirely sure what had happened, but the specifics did not matter to him at that moment. He reached out and took Victoria by the hand, ignorant to her immortal nature, and squeezed it tightly, placing several firm kisses of gratitude upon it. “Saum arkoun, saum arkoun..!”

    Victoria didn’t need to speak Xocili to know when she was being thanked, and while the audacious act of familiarity threw her off and disgusted her to a point, she managed to keep herself underwraps. After all, it wasn’t like the man understood anything of her nature. “Yes, you’re welcome,” she told him, gently prying her hand away from the man. He didn’t seem to notice the seal’s discomfort, latching onto Mercury and pulling her into his lap where he could cradle her tightly, tears still streaming down his face.

    “Ba? Ba!” Khelben limped over to the group, sporting a deep wound in one of his legs along with several burnt patches where he had been singed by the Nazru’s rifles. He was eying Victoria warily as he approached, uncertain what to make of the strange woman and the guards that had suddenly appeared to assist in the battle. “Mercury, tae mnoussa teangnih chea norna?”

    Whatever he asked Mercury, the question went unanswered as Zemenar reached up and pulled Khelben down holding his daughter in one arm and his son in the other, kissing them both shakily on the forehead. Victoria glanced around to take in the rest of the room, finding the battle quickly coming to a standstill as one by one the Nazru were killed off by the conjoined efforts of the Xocili and the Earthlanders. Victoria glanced up to the three Bloodletters standing guard around them and ushered them away. “This battle is over. Go help the others wi-”

    Her voice cut off as she looked out of the window just in time to see a ship drop into view. It was followed by another, and another, and another until the space before them was filled with hundreds of organically made space faring vessels, each one large enough to host thousands of Nazru. And as each ship turned toward the flotilla, they began firing off charged of plasma that rocked the mothership violently, the rest of the Nazru force clearly more than willing to sacrifice whatever remained of their own people to ensure the destruction of the Xocili.

    “EVERYONE EVACUATE!” Victoria roared. “BLOODLETTERS, GET THESE PEOPLE TO MYTHAL AND SERILDA, RIGHT NOW!” She knew none of them would understand her words, but between her commanding presence and the insistence of the royal army, the Xocili people began to retreat in the direction they were being guided even as the Bloodletters continued to fight off what remained off the Nazru on this floor. Seri, I’m sending everyone to you. There’s a massive fleet outside. We need to get these people off this ship right now.

    As Serilda surely relayed the message to Mythal so they could get a passageway back to Earthland opened, she turned to the trio before her. Reaching down, she hooked Khelben by the arm and easily hauled him to his feet. “Move!”

    She moved to do the same with Zemenar, who was trying to get up while carrying Mercury, but she was fighting him stubbornly, wresting from his grip until she was on her hands and knees on the ground. “Yeung trauv tow..!” Zemenar insisted, practically pleading with Mercury, trying to get her to stand up.

    Instead, Mercury steeled herself before slamming her fist into the floor, ripping out a chunk of metal and defunct wiring. Before all of their eyes, she began to eat parts of the ship like it was Sunday brunch. Khelben and Zemenar both stared at her in horror while Victoria blinked at her in surprise as the knowledge dawned on her that Mercury was a Slayer. Once she had consumed enough electronics to give her a substantial boost in power, Mercury dug deep and let out a feral growl, unleashing her magic and forming a barricade around the mothership in the form of thousands of shields of light connected by metal receptors that held fast to one another as it kept back the onslaught from the other ships for now. “Get them out of here!” she instructed Victoria through gritted teeth.

    “I am not leaving without Vandrad..!”

    WORDS: 1444/8080 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    Last edited by Mercury Arseneault on 23rd January 2022, 10:48 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    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 : 544
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,110,031

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 2nd January 2022, 6:06 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars MkPvAydM_o

    What the hell was that?

    Vandrad stood above his defeated foe, the magic scythe still gripped tightly in his hands. As he caught his breathe, his chest heaving up and down from deep gulps of air, his mind was already returning back to several seconds ago. The Nazru’s poison had been overwhelming his body, forcing his limbs to freeze up and his magic to run dry. His willpower had been trying to push through it, even as he dipped his hands into the magical reservoir in his body and found only droplets. His anger hadn’t been enough to carry him past his limits and it surely hadn’t granted him a new source to draw magic from. In that moment, he had nothing… and an odd calmness had overwhelmed him. He’d begged for something to grant him power, anything to refill his reserves and give him one last boost to finish off the Nazru. And then he’d felt odd, like he was both in the world and out of it at the same time. He had watched himself, practically behind glass, as his body had removed itself twice from reality. It hadn’t been a matter of speed; he had quite literally bent the very fabric of existence around him and exchanged his placement. And when he had attacked, it was like the matter of the universe was behind him, guiding his punches with speed and strength he couldn’t even comprehend.

    He’d only broken out of the reverie thanks to the sight of Mercury’s tattoo. His anger had sparked again and then his magical core was refilled, the poison flowing in his veins gone. With a roar he had pushed his Empowerment to a new place. And something, some distant voice he couldn’t recognize or place, had told him to target the flesh. That had proved the defining moment, tearing away the Nazru’s source of magic and granting the prince the literal opening in which to drive his scythe. He didn’t even care that the Speaker seemed overjoyed at the prospect of elimination, his own zealous views overwhelming reason. It didn’t matter in the long run; his body was split down the middle and his head lay on the ground, grinning. Disgusted, Vandrad slammed his foot down onto the detached skull, splattering its contents all over the metal floor. But what of that form, that power that had been guiding him?

    Questions for later. He hardly had the time for an introspective narrative; not when there was a literal war being fought several levels above him. But as he was turning his gaze to the gaping holes in the floors above, something out in the open space before him caught his attention. Ships, additional, similar looking ships were appearing in the void, dropping out of whatever means of quick transport they possessed. One by one they popped into existence, turning their attention to the flotilla. The dark space lit up as cannons flared to life, sending bolts of compressed energy towards them. The volley slammed into the ship and caused it to shake. Vandrad barely had time to crouch down and slam his hand into the ground so that he didn’t fall over. A bolt slammed into the station near him and caused the entire floor to crack and give way, no doubt weakened from the battle between himself and the Nazru. Steel plates snapped and soon enough the entire floor was starting to fall inwards.

    He didn’t have time to play around. They needed to get the Xocili people out of here as soon as possible. Clearly the rest of the Nazru had very little care about sacrificing their own people for the sake of wiping out their former slaves and the attacking force. Dropping his Empowerment to conserve his magical energy, he teetered over with the floor for a moment before he pulled up from his grip, using a burst of magic to send himself leaping up. As he landed on the floor above, he utilized the same burst to send himself up once more, repeating the leapfrogging level by level.

    He arrived back on the original level just as Mercury was insisting that she wasn’t leaving without him. Lux had zapped himself down behind her. “I’m going to check on Mythal. And, you know, make sure none of those bugs try to escape to Earthland. That’d be a whole different mess, you know? Here’s a little gift, chica,” the Lightbringer said, pulling back his magic from the light blossoms and funneling it into her, giving the Silver Wolf Ace a boost of power.

    Vandrad landed on the ground in front of Mercury, watching as she used her magic to create shields around the ship, even with her injuries. "We need to get everyone out of here,” he stated.

    “Agreed. That includes you two,” Gren said, racing up to the group with Themesycia, Bartrand, Cecilia and Ophelia in tow.

    "No,” the prince replied coolly, turning to look out the windows. "We said no survivors. The rest of those ships need to be destroyed.”

    “And how do ya plan to do that? This ship is gonna go and after that, we’ll all be chokin’ and dyin’. Best to retreat and prepare ourselves for a battle another day.”

    "The next battle will be them invading Earthland. There’s no telling the countless lives that will be lost in that case. You know that as well as I do, Gren. This is our only opportunity to take them out before they cause any further damage. And I can mold my magic to keep myself alive in the void.”

    Vandrad had a point. But still. “You ain’t gonna be enough, Vandrad. Yer strong but yer also just comin’ back into your magic.”

    It was then that Victoria spoke up, suggesting a wild idea. As Serilda was capable of using and manipulating the void, she could easily fabricate a spell that could destroy the ships. "In that case, we’ll do it together. Adding our power together would guarantee they are wiped out, right?” The Seal voiced her support of the tactic. "Then that’s what we do. I’ll be the receptacle for the spell. That’ll give Serilda enough energy to open a portal back home for the two of us. In the meantime, the rest of you need to evacuate.” He turned and reached out for Mercury’s hand. "All of you.”

    With their tactic decided, the group rallied whatever remaining Xocili were still standing around and led the charge back to Mythal and Serilda’s position. There they would find the Director, having opened a massive portal of darkness directly to Earthland. Vandrad walked over to Serilda and met her gaze evenly. "Are you ready for this?” he asked simply. And once she had given her answer, he gave her a nod.

    Finally he turned to Mercury, his stoic visage softening. He walked up to her and took her in his arms, pulling her tight against him and giving her perhaps the most passionate kiss he’d given her to date. He held it for a long beat, relishing the feel, smell and taste of her once again, adrenaline pumping through his veins as he finally had her back. He finally, reluctantly parted from her. "I’ll see you shortly,” he told her softly, resting his forehead against hers.

    Somehow he found the energy to part from her, walking back over to Serilda. He slipped his arm around her back, supporting her as she activated her magic and slipped them through the ship’s walls without causing any damage. Once in the void of space, his magic wrapped around him in a protective barrier, supplying him with a bubble of oxygen, so Serilda didn’t need to cast any additional spells and use up any more of her magic. Above the flotilla they would float, Vandrad’s senses sharpened to the station and waited until the last person had passed through Mythal’s portal. And once it closed, he turned to Serilda and nodded.

    The idea of a unison raid was something that Vandrad had studied and understood, the rare feat taught to him at a young age. It was considered a very complicated and very difficult cooperative spell to cast, usually resulting in catastrophic repercussions for those that couldn’t sync correctly. Luckily for Vandrad and Serilda, they had an understanding with one another, having spent plenty of time around the other. There was also the advantage of Vandrad’s magic, being as flexible and capable of adapting to every source of magic in existence. It was because of this that when the two focused their magic together, hands out and facing the entirety of the battlefield of space before them, the deadly combination formed the perfect symbiotic spell. Each one of them funneling power into the spell, with the prince adding in the arguably more dangerous force of dreadether to it. They each envisioned what they wanted to happen, what needed to happen, to rid themselves of the threat of the Nazru for good.

    And when the spell reached its critical point and erupted, it was unlike anything Vandrad had ever seen before. He watched, in awe, as the space before them seemingly folded in on itself. Like a piece of paper being collapsed over and over, the Nazru ships and the flotilla were squashed together, slammed into one another, flattened into pictures of their former selves. A gaping hole, darker than the void of space around it, opened up and swallowed the entirety of the area, instantly removing all of the ships and sending them to a place they could never return, if they were even still alive. The prince watched with cold ambivalence, raising his head slightly in the direction of where the Nazru fleet had once been. They never knew what hit them and as painful as he imagined it had been, it still had been far too good for them. Those were his last, parting thoughts before Serilda opened up a portal and brought them back to Earthland, back home.






    Words: 1670/8,419 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 23rd January 2022, 10:49 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 485
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,938,969

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 3rd January 2022, 6:33 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Lux offered Mercury a bit of his energy, recognizing that she would benefit in being able to eat it and get some of her strength back. Mercury accepted the offering, swallowing the light magic down and feeling the surge of a second wind. It was more than enough for her to cast a large enough net around the mothership to keep it from being blown into space dust. At least, for now. Really it was more buying everyone time to get out than anything else, though Mercury made it very clear she wasn’t going anywhere without Vandrad.

    Luckily the prince rejoined them right around then, giving Khelben very little time to process the fact that Mercury had said Vandrad was there before he saw the man standing before them. A rush of abject terror and anxiety filled him as he did his best not to maintain eye contact with the Earthlander. In fact, he was doing everything he could to draw as little attention to himself as possible, completely unaware that the prince could sense his emotional strife. Thankfully, Vandrad seemed more preoccupied with the evacuation plan than with seeking revenge on the Collector for having Mercury kidnapped, though there was no doubt in his mind that it would not take long for his consequences to catch up with him.

    As Gren, Themesycia and Vandrad’s cousins rushed in to join them, they began to tackle how to handle evacuating versus tackling the remaining Nazru. Gren tried to insist that they needed to fall back and regroup to prepare for battle another time, but Vandrad insisted that if they didn’t tackle this here and now then too many more lives would be lost on Earthland later. He insisted that he could use his magic to warp a breathable atmosphere around him, but as Gren pointed out that didn’t mean that Vandrad would have the strength to take down the entire armada that awaited him outside, not while his magic wasn’t back up to full strength yet.

    Mercury was about to suggest that a retreat, while not ideal, was the only real option when Victoria spoke up. “Then pair up and combine your magic with Serilda’s,” she told the prince, gesturing through the window toward the emptiness of space. “The infinite emptiness beyond the walls of this vessel is her playing ground. It’s nothing but pure energy and untapped power for her out there.” Vandrad considered the idea briefly before asking the Seal if his and Serilda’s powers combined would be enough to completely destroy the fleet outside, and Victoria nodded. “Yes, I believe it will be enough. If she were not exhausted from the journey here, it would be no matter at all for her to utilize her Void magic to obliterate every one of those ships on her own with little more than a thought. Add your power to hers, and together you will be an unstoppable force that they cannot defend against.”

    Victoria was sure of the strategy, which likely meant a lot considering that she had been playing at war far longer than most mortals could even fathom being alive. Either way, her word was more than enough for Vandrad, who voiced that he could make sure that they would have enough energy to cast the spell and make sure they could still portal back to Earthland when it was said and done. But first they needed to get everyone else out, and according to him that included Mercury. Victoria nodded and set to helping with the evacuation as she contacted Serilda to update her on the plan.

    Fighting back severe fatigue, not just from the last spell she had cast but also from the last several days of torture and anxiety that she had been experiencing, Mercury shakily took Vandrad’s hand and used his help to get to her feet. “Okay,” she told him softly, not thrilled with the idea of leaving him behind even for a moment but trusting that he was going to take care of things where she no longer had the power to. The group raced back to Serilda and Mythal as fast as they could, with Victoria leading the charge so she could swiftly dispatch any stray Nazru they ran into along the way so the others could conserve their strength. By the time they got to the rendezvous point, Mythal had a portal of darkness opened up to Earthland, and between him, Lux, and Serilda they were ushering people through without letting any Nazru sneak by.

    As the group paused, Zemenar and Khelben swapped to assisting with the evacuation, the collector using his own exposure to magic to assure the Xocili people to trust their strange allies and make sure no one was left behind. Meanwhile, Serilda approached Vandrad. She still looked exhausted but she was not giving in to her weariness, not while there was still work to be done, and while she was a bit slow on her feet there was nothing but determination in her gaze as she nodded to Vandrad. “Let’s end this.”

    When the prince finally turned to Mercury, she had to fight to keep from breaking down again in front of him, hardly unable to believe her eyes that he was standing there. He closed the distance between them, pulling her tight against him and kissing her like they’d be separated for months or years rather than days.The Silver Wolf Ace clung to him tightly, knowing she needed to let him go so he could finish the mission but physically unable to bring herself to part from him. Ultimately, he was the one who had to break away, resting his forehead against hers and assuring her that they would only be separated for a moment longer. She nodded. Then, before she left she used a little bit of her magic to conjure a small drone camera that hovered beside him. “They need to see this,” she told him gently, knowing that she wouldn’t need to explain why. After so many years of living in slavery, it would be hard for many of what remained of her people to accept that the Nazru were gone without seeing it with their own eyes.

    With that they parted, though Mercury practically needed to rely on Gren physically steering her through the portal to carry her feet across the threshold. When they got to the other side, she found herself standing in the main hall of the du Wolff manor, which was currently filled to capacity with confused, frightened, and exhausted Xocili. Without letting go of Gren, Mercury waved her hand and summoned a large monitor from which they could witness the stand off between Vandrad and Serilda, and the Nazru fleet, which was still firing upon the mothership and utterly clueless to the evacuation and the pair floating out in space before them. The Xocili went silent as all of them turned to watch the screen in uncertainty, none of them truly prepared for what they were about to watch. Taking hold of Themmy’s hand with her own, she clung to both of Vandrad’s parents tightly as she kept her emerald eyes glued to the monitor.

    Serilda allowed Vandrad to hold her up by her waist as she manipulated the void to allow them passage through the mothership’s walls and into deep space. Together, the pair of them floated to an idea position and waited for everyone to get out safely, with Mythal and Lux, Zemenar, and Khelben being the last ones through. When Vandrad nodded to indicate it was time, Serilda closed her eyes and drew in a deep steadying breath, opening her body to the void and the unending power that awaited her there. Performing a unison raid was no easy task, but she and Vandrad both felt that they understood one another well enough to pull it off. They just needed one spell between them, and Serilda had just the one in mind.

    Holding her palms forward, she opened her eyes and concentrated all of her energy into one spot, absorbing the Void space at an exponential rate. A small black dot formed before her hands, barely visible against the black of space were it not for the small ring of stardust that was circling around it. As Vandrad added his own energy and dread ether into it, funneling the spell with his own destructive power, Serilda continued to funnel the Void through her limbs at a far greater rate than she ever had before until her body began to glow. Before Vandrad’s eyes, and before all those gathered to watch on the screen back in Earthland, her pale flesh darkened as black dragon scales harded into existence along her skin. The scales each glimmered with various specklings of pink, purple, and blue like stardust, her body very much looking as though entire galaxies were moving within her as the outline of her body took on a dark, wispy form like smoke.

    When the spell finally reached it’s apex, Serilda’s eyes shot open and she unleashed a feral roar that could not be heard through the emptiness of space, though Vandrad probably felt it. She released the spell and it exploded into an absolutely massive black hole. Before the Nazru would even have time to blink, their entire fleet was compressing in on itself as the very atoms of their existence collapsed in upon themselves and were sucked into the hole’s spiraling center. The spell itself lasted only for a second or two, but by the time it disappeared the entire Nazru armada was gone without a trace. Riding the high from her newly discovered Abyss form before it completely sapped her of her strength, Serilda opened one last portal back to Earthland and hurled the two of them through it.

    The second they appeared on the other side, the dragon state melted away and Serilda collapsed, completely and utterly drained to the point of unconsciousness. Anyone capable of taking such readings would be able to confirm that her vitals were strong and she wasn’t in any danger, she had just used up so much energy that her body could no longer keep her awake, and she would likely be asleep for at least a day if not longer. The Xocili people were in a complete state of shock, many of them holding on to one another for comfort as they attempted to process the phenomenal and impossible feat they had witnessed. As for Mercury, she barely waited long enough for Vandrad to pass Serilda off to Mythal before she flung herself at him in a full body tackle, wrapping her arms tight around his neck and weeping without restraint into his shoulder, the woman openly wailing so hard that was practically losing her voice and choking on her snot.

    WORDS: 1806/9886 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    Last edited by Mercury Arseneault on 23rd January 2022, 10:49 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    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 : 544
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    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,110,031

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 3rd January 2022, 7:47 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars MkPvAydM_o

    Vandrad had seen a lot of transformations in his time -- most of them his own. But what overtook Serilda was unlike anything he’d ever witnessed before. The sight of the shimmering, ethereal scales that overtook her, turning into a woman made up of the cosmos, was shocking to say the least. And he couldn’t tell if it was something that was a natural occurrence to her or something as new as what he had been experiencing in a short time. Whatever the case, he couldn’t afford to expend any concentration or focus on it, turning his attention fully to the combined spell and saving the questions for later. After all, Mercury had brought forth a small camera to display their power to the rest of the Xocili people; to wipe out the threat looming over their livelihoods for who-knows how long. Rumors and words wouldn’t be enough but the vaporization of the Nazru, once and for all… that would be a good start.

    Folding space was different; in fact, all of Serilda’s magic was different. In a way, it made him feel more connected to the living world, despite being in the empty vastness of space. As the spell reached its peak, the two wizards formed the hole in space, a dark, vast emptiness that acted as a portal to nothingness. The Nazru most likely wouldn't know what hit them, the sensations overwhelming their bodies coming so fast and swift that it was over before it even sunk in. It was like flipping over an entire portion of space, spinning around like a hidden door and replacing what was filled with starships with empty space once more. Vandrad let out a sharp gasp as he felt the presence of hundreds of thousands of beings disappear in an instant and then, before he could truly comprehend it, they were back on Earthland.

    It was lucky he had his arm around Serilda, as the moment their feet were on solid ground, she was collapsing. Her transformation quite literally melted off of her, releasing the natural form of the Rune Knight from its power. The prince dropped to a knee to steady her, ensuring that she didn’t slam into the ground. Mythal was at his side in a moment, his arm snaking under his fiance. “I’ve got her,” he said softly, giving Vandrad a nod. The prince nodded softly and gently eased himself away from the couple, only to have himself nearly tackled to the ground by Mercury. He was so worn and tired from the battle and the combination spell that he almost completely spilled backwards but somehow he managed to keep them both on their feet. Vandrad wrapped his arms around her tight, clinging to her even as she howled in tears and cries.

    "I told you,” he said softly to her, as his arms squeezed her against him. "You are no longer a slave.” Even if she had been taken back to the space station, even if the Nazru had gotten their claws on her once more, he knew his words had rang true. The moment he heard that the Xocili were fighting, were rising up against their slavers to go out swinging, he understood that Mercury had taken his statement as law and had made it her own personal commandment to follow. And finally, after so long, he had her in his arms once more. He was too overwhelmed in his own emotions to even feasibly accept all of the feelings rolling around inside of her.

    There was a collective sigh from the Earthland group, even as Mythal and Gren tended to Serilda. The Field Marshall had exerted so much magical energy over the last day that there was little doubt she’d need to sleep for that same amount and then some. Despite the Xocili people being crammed inside the walls of the du Wolff manor, there was a peace ebbing off those that had journeyed so far to free them. His cousins, who had seen their first real battle, were practically vibrating with excitement and adrenaline, chattering with one another in the corner. Themesycia was standing near the porch windows, brushing blood from her brow and searching for a rag in which to clean the hilts of her weapons. And the Xocili were, no doubt, trying to wrap their heads around the fact that the Nazru were gone. It was a sensation that Vandrad knew he couldn’t comprehend -- most of them probably couldn’t. They were free… they were safe.

    Well, most of them were. Vandrad had sensed the anxious, fearful emotions radiating off of the man back on the ship but he had made the conscious choice to ignore it, for the sake of saving everyone they could. But now that they were away from the danger, away from the Nazru and finally back on Earthland, there was little doubt that there was one last thread that needed to be snipped. “Well, it seems your mission was a success,” Simon said as he walked in from the upper hallway and looked around the literal gathered party. “I trust everything is all settled then?”

    "Almost,” Vandrad spoke up. Gently he turned Mercury, one arm still wrapped around her and holding her tight to his chest. His other arm came up and pointed directly at Khelben. Though diminished and drained, the prince willed his magic to the extended limb, palm flat out, as magic began to combine in front of his hand, the flickering ball of light growing increasingly brighter and deadlier. The prince’s hateful stare was pinpointed on Khelben. "One of the last things Mercury asked of me, in her goodbye message, was to find a way to save the blame from you. But you sent that murderous psychopath after her, dragged her back to that hellhole and allowed those monsters to get a taste of magic. You are unforgivable… and you are not worthy of continuing to live.” The prince’s fury was quiet and cold, his voice hardly raised above it’s normal octave and yet still menacingly large and tense. All the eyes of the room would be drawn to him as his spell continued to coalesce into a dangerous orb.

    Then, with a loud, heavy sigh, Vandrad dropped his arm. The magic dissipated from his palm and fizzled out helplessly. "But you are not mine to punish. I’ll leave that to Mercury and to your people.” Letting his glare remain on Khelben for a moment longer, he finally looked away and wrapped his other arm around Mercury once more.

    “Well… my son is very protective of his fiance so I hope you’ll understand his taken offense at her endangerment,” Themesycia said, having laid her lacrisabers down on a nearby temple and walked back to the center of the room. No longer the warrior and general, her poise was straight and contained, once more the duchess and politician. “On behalf of the du Wolff family and Earthland, I welcome you, the Xocili people, to our planet. I understand you’ve been through a trying time so might I suggest I have our cooks whip up some food and summon some of our best healers? I’m sure there are injuries and empty stomachs that need tending to.” Themesycia was always ready to jump in and play mediator, an expert at bringing out her charm and reconciling differences. “Simon, darling… if you wouldn’t mind.”

    “Not at all, my dear, not at all,” Simon remarked, catching the wind of adoptive sister’s mood and working with it, as he always did.

    “Mythal, my love, let’s get Serilda up into one of the guest rooms. She’s earned herself a nice, long rest,” Themesycia said to Mythal, walking over to help him with the unconscious Field Marshall.

    As everyone was moving around them, Vandrad finally pulled away from Mercury -- but only far enough to inspect her. The injury in her torso had been healed thanks to Victoria’s abilities but it was still there and would certainly take some time to recover fully. His hands roamed over her shoulders and arms, checking for additional wounds. The spot where the Nazru had peeled her flesh off was tender and raw but it would heal in time as well. "You traveled thousands of lightyears away to try and get rid of me. Someone should have told you to try a bit harder,” he joked tiredly, giving her a small, cheap smile.

    He reached up and cupped her cheek. "Are you okay?”






    Words: 1413/9,832 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 23rd January 2022, 10:49 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 485
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    Experience : 1,938,969

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 6th January 2022, 6:58 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    There was nothing better to Mercury in that moment than the feel of Vandrad’s arms wrapping around her and holding her tightly as she wept into his shoulder. He whispered to her a confirmation that she was no longer a slave, words that he had first spoken to her only about a week prior. It had been hard believing it back then, and even now the world felt too surreal for it to be true, but she knew it was. And there were no words she could think of to properly convey how grateful she was, so all she could do was just hold him tighter, practically melding her body against his in her desire to never let him go again, unaware of the way her father watched the two of them softly from afar.

    She didn’t even pull away from him as Simon approached, remarking about how things appeared to be successfully settled. Except there was still at least one loose end, or at least as far as the prince was concerned. He adjusted his stance slightly to keep Mercury held against him as he freed one of his hands, conjuring an orb of violent energy and aiming it at Khelben. The man’s anxiety peaked again as the attention was turned back on him in an unmistakably threatening manner, and he looked like he was about ready to piss his pants. But, to his credit, he remained where he stood without moving out of the way or cowering. No matter his fear, he understood that he had rightfully earned Vandrad’s ire and deserved to die.

    The prince informed him that one of the last things Mercury had asked of him was to forgive Khelben. However, as far as the prince was concerned there was no room for forgiveness after what Khelben had done. Between Trinity, Mercury’s kidnapping, and the subsequent result of the Nazru getting a brief hold of magic, Khelben had quite the laundry list of offenses to answer for, and he didn’t deserve to live. And the honest truth was that Khelben… agreed. There was almost a sense of peace as he stood there, accepting his face and the relief it brought.

    At least, until his line of sight with Vandrad was blocked. It took Khelben a second to fully process as his father gently and silently stepped out in front of him, using his own body to block the charged spell. Zemenar didn’t say a word of defense for his son, understanding Vandrad’s anger and making no attempt to justify any actions taken or invalidate the prince’s desire. But he did stand in the way all the same, gently looking up at Vandrad with the wordless pleading in his eyes of a broken man who had already lost so much. Tears dripped slowly from his eyes, exhausted from nearly three decades of tyranny and persecution, and wanting nothing more than for the bloodshed and death of his people to stop.

    “Dad, please don’t…” Khelben begged his father in their native tongue, his voice quiet but not so much that Vandrad wouldn’t be able to hear it. The younger man tried to move his father aside or step around in front of him again, but Zemenar was having none of it as he kept Khelben behind him and wordlessly committed to his stance of taking whatever bullet was meant for his son – after all, it wasn’t like Zemenar didn’t deserve death a thousand times over, himself. Or so he believed.

    Whether it was Zemenar’s compassion for his son that save him, or the prince merely honoring the request of his fiance, Vandrad finally dispelled his magic and dropped his arm.He informed Khelben simply that the collector’s fate was not Vandrad’s to decide, but rather Mercury’s and the rest of the Xocili people’s. Khelben seemed… not quite sure how to take that. The last thing he had been expecting was mercy, though the term really only loosely applied in this case. Mercury’s eyes only met his briefly before she turned away to bury her face in Vandrad’s shoulder. “I’ll deal with him later,” was all she said. Khelben’s fate was the last thing on her mind at the moment when all she wanted was to pay attention to Vandrad.

    As Zemenar slowly relaxed, Themesycia spoke up in a more cordial, if somewhat formal, tone to convey her hopes that they understood the reasons for Vandrad’s behavior. The enforcer frowned lightly, looking to Khelben for translation. He could understand what Vandrad was saying because the prince’s universal translator was still active, but Themmy’s words were foreign to him. His son didn’t interpret the first part of the duchess’s words, but that was mostly because he knew that they were really meant for Khelben more than anyone else. “I do understand, your grace. It is his right.”

    From there, Themesycia turned to greet the Xocili people as a whole, welcoming them to the planet on behalf of Vandrad’s family. She expressed her sympathies for the ordeal their people had lived through, not just that day but the last several years, and aimed to get them back on their feet starting with food and medical attention. What she got in return was hundreds of uncertain stares, not unlike what Zemenar had been making moments ago. Realizing he was the only one in a position to do so, Khelben nervously cleared his throat before speaking up and translating the duchess’ words for his kin. Once they understood what the plan was, the collector looked to Themesycia once more. “I will work on getting them educated on both Ishgar and Bellia,” he informed her simply, so they would not require a translator to communicate with anyone in the du Wolff manor.

    From there, everyone began to fan out with Simon working on organizing the relief efforts for the newly freed slaves while Themesycia helped Mythal find a place for Serilda to rest properly. The Xocili people started wandering in the direction that they were being escorted, with only Zemenar lingering for a brief moment as he looked to Mercury with a conflicted expression of longing. Finally, at the gentle and soft behest of Khelben, he turned and left with the rest of their people, giving the couple their much deserved privacy.

    Vandrad slowly pulled back without breaking their embrace, his eyes checking her over to inspect her injuries. She looked like she had been well and truly tortured, even before the wounds she had sustained in the battle. By this point her crying had mostly subsided, though she still looked weary and melancholy as his hands checked her. He did his best to lighten the mood a little as he teased her for failing to get rid of him, despite her best efforts. She laughed tiredly, despite herself, her drained but genuine smile brightening up her features if only a little. “Look who’s talking. You propose to me and then two days later you get cold feet and literally disappear off the face of the planet,” she quipped back.

    Mercury leaned her face into his hand, her expression softening at the touch as he asked if she was okay. She didn’t answer right away, doing her best to process her emotions and give him an honest answer. Finally, she sighed softly. “I don’t know. I will be, I think. So much has happened this last week, and most of it happened so quickly that I… I don’t think most of it has really… hit me, you know? You were gone and nothing I could do was enough to track you down… and then the next thing I knew I was being dragged back to the flotilla and… and everything that happened there was just…”

    Her voice trailed off, the Silver Wolf ace unable to find the words to properly sum her experiences out in space. Frankly, she didn’t really want to relive any of it right now anyway. Shaking her head a little, Mercury looked back to him with sadness in her emerald eyes as she reached up her own hand to his face, her fingers and palm softly caressing the thick, foreign forest of facial hair that awaited her touch. “Where did you go?” she finally asked him. “And why do you look like you were gone for so long..?”

    WORDS: 1389/11,275 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    Last edited by Mercury Arseneault on 23rd January 2022, 10:50 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    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 : 544
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    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,110,031

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 8th January 2022, 5:40 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars MkPvAydM_o

    There was a long consideration by Vandrad to simply unleash his magic, condensing it into such a thick beam that it would strike Khelben and vaporize him on the spot. He was surprised, then, when another one of the Xocili stepped forward and put himself between the traitorous insect and Vandrad’s attack. The prince’s gaze shifted ever so slightly to meet the older man’s eyes, his empathic abilities immediately picking up on the older alien’s bubbling emotions. There was utter and complete exhaustion weighing him down, along with years of sadness and pain. It wasn’t hard to figure out that this man was related to Khelben, which created a very complex awareness in Vandrad. This was the man that had cradled Mercury so close and tenderly on the ship, had regarded her with overwhelming relief at her salvation. Family members.

    Khelben and Mercury were family. That was the only thing that made sense. And that meant that this man was somehow related to them; older so no doubt an uncle or even a father figure. It wasn’t a great look to be holding out a magical attack in the face of one’s future father-in-law but, at the same time, Zemenar had been the one that had put himself between the prince and justice. Still, there was little denying that the older Xocili had had enough of death. The pain in his eyes and the ache in his souls told a thousand stories of watching so many of his people die and now here was Vandrad, one of their saviors, looking to wipe out another one. And as much as he believed that Khelben deserved this fate -- far more than even he truly understood -- there was also little denying that the right to bring down judgement and punishment wasn’t his. He knew nothing of their rites and laws, if they even had any left after the enslavement by the Nazru. At the very least, Khelben’s actions would be weighed by a jury of peers and not by Vandrad or any from Earthland.

    This magic dissipated from his hand and he dropped the arm to his side. He commented on the injustice it would be if he dealt any kind of punishment and left Khelben’s fact to the Xocili, giving the older alien one last look and slight nod, affirming that his words were law and he would seek no further action against Khelben. Themesycia thought it appropriate to step in then, playing peacekeeper and offering the opportunity to the rest of them to get some much needed rest and sustenance. Unfortunately most of her words were lost in translation, as the Xocili had no understanding of either the Ishgar language or the particular vernacular of Bellum. That left it up to Khelben to play translator; a role that he clearly took seriously and did interpret her words to the rest of his people. He also assured everyone that he would make sure to get them educated on the language of the world. She nodded politely, deciding to follow her son’s judgement and treat the man without hostility, especially given that he was one of the sole means of translating any questions or concerns.

    The crowded room began to thin out, as the du Wolffs attempted to help out both the Xocili people as well as Mythal and Serilda. Soon enough everyone else had left and the only two left in the room were Vandrad and Mercury. The prince pulled back slightly, enough to look at her and then give her a quick quip, if only to lighten the mood. She chuckled, the Silver Wolf Ace understandably exhausted and worn. She insisted that it was him that had cut out early, proposing to her and then disappearing only two days later. He snorted in amusement and gave a small shake of his head. But afterward, he reached out and held her face in his hand, cupping her gently, as if he didn’t even believe she was there. She melted into him and as he asked if she was okay, she took a long moment to ponder it. Understandably, it wasn’t an easy question nor did Vandrad expect a simple or positive answer. She had gone through more than he even understood, that much he could feel radiating off of her and judging by how she looked, she had been tortured and abused by the Nazru. Finally she spoke up, saying that she wasn’t sure but believed she would be at some point. A lot had happened in such a short amount of time and she hadn’t really had time to process even singular events, let alone most of the last seven days. Everything had hit rapidfire, from his disappearance to her being captured and dragged back to the flotilla to the revolution that had resulted in the end of the Nazru dominance.

    What could either of them say? Vandrad had only gotten there in the latter half of the event and he was so focused on saving her that nothing else was strong enough to impress upon him. Finally she lifted her gaze to look at him, her eyes worn and tired but still bright emeralds in the natural light coming in from the windows. Her hand reached up and touched the unkempt beard on his face, fingers running through it as she asked where he had gone and why she felt like it had been a long time. "It was,” he told her honestly, her eyes darkening slightly at the memories flooding back. "I was trying to… stubbornly trying to reactivate my magic. Hoping that I could just pull it out of me by sheer willpower. I… did something. Activated something, I think. I don’t know what it was or is. But I was overwhelmed with this strange sensation and then I was in a desert. Two suns were above me sand dunes were all around me. When I finally found civilization, they had me arrested. They recognized the du Wolff crest upon my back.”

    He took a moment to breathe in, understanding that he had a lot to explain. "It turns out my family comes from this planet called Rhaegar, through a different reality. They lived there before a revolution overthrew the ruling family, who had become tyrants. But then Bacchus and Beatrix, along with Simon, Ever and an infant Themesycia, somehow came here. My grandfather and grandmother insisted that they try to forget about Rhaegar and move forward here on Earthland. They didn’t know what else to do so they kept it a secret for their sake. I was thrown into these fighting pits by their emperor, Xavier, for betraying his family. His father was the one trying to overthrow the tyrants and was killed in the revolt. While there, I met more du Wolffs as well as other members of Themesycia’s family. One of them healed my injury. Seems her story is a bit more complicated than she had been told either. And apparently we’re immortal as well -- I found that out because they had been ruled over by Xavier for two hundred years.”

    "It was then I realized there was a time difference between the two different realms. I escaped the fighting pits and rallied the rest of the people against Xavier in a long, six month revolution of my own. Near the end, we found out that the world was going to die -- something the last rulers had put into action in case they were overthrown. In the last minutes before it died, I somehow reactivated the strange thing that brought me there. I tried to bring everyone from Rhaegar over but… I don’t know if I was successful. When I returned, a week or so had passed here and you had been taken.”

    Vandrad sighed softly as he pressed his forehead against hers. "I went half a year without seeing you. And all I wanted to do was get back to you through whatever means I could. But now I’m afraid I’ve activated something new. I don’t know if it’s related to the Ark or not. But something else happened when I was fighting that Nazru. I entered some kind of state where I could feel the air, the world… all of reality. It felt like it was directly connected to me, like it was bending to my will. I shook it off but… there’s no telling what will come of it.”






    Words: 1407/11,239 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 23rd January 2022, 10:50 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 485
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    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,938,969

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 8th January 2022, 8:05 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    She told him as much as she could at that point, not unwilling to go into more detail but physically unable due to how exhausted she was. Words were hard enough for her on a normal day when it came to her feelings, the lavender haired woman having gone her entire life without any kind of stable upbringing to help her learn how to process such things. As always, Vandrad understood where she was coming from and did not pressure her into saying more than she was ready or capable of, content to just hold her close and be there with her.

    So instead she asked him a couple questions of her own, wondering what had become of him and why he looked like he had been gone far longer than a week. Trinity had answered some of those questions already of course, but Mercury had already passed out by then, so whatever answers she had provided Scourge had been the only recipient. A cloud of emotion darkened his expression as he admitted that he had been gone for quite some time. He told her how he had been trying to reactivate his magic by his willpower alone, but instead he had activated something else, something that he had never used before. It had overwhelmed him and then the next thing he knew he was on a completely different planet, surrounded by deserts and multiple suns, with a civilization that had him arrested on the spot for the family crest that he carried.

    He must have seen the frown on her face, not that she was hiding it. But before she could wonder out loud how complete strangers recognized his tattoo, the prince informed her that his family was not native to Earthland, but rather they had come from a planet in a completely different universe known as Rhaegar. Just before arriving to Earthland, a civil war had broken out among their people as a group of rebels fought a tyrannical noble line, and it had been the wish of his grandparents that their children put their planet of birth behind them for good. But it was because of his connection to his allegedly traitorous family that the planet’s ruler, a man called Xavier, had thrown him to the fighting pits as penance for the death of Xavier’s father.

    And it was through that journey that Vandrad met more of his family, including one that healed his injuries, and he learned that he and his family were immortal. Mercury could only stare at him quietly, the implications of his words not truly settling as she simply did her best to listen and take the information in despite her weary and traumatized state. But that knowledge, along with the fact that Xavier had been ruler for nearly two centuries, had been enough for Vandrad to understand that there was a difference in the passage of time between Rhaegar and Earthland, with much more time passing in the former. He managed to rally the slaves together against their ruler only to learn that the planet was on the brink of destruction, a parting gift of spite from the previous rulers.

    Somehow in the midst of all that he’d managed to purposefully trigger the same magical ability that had lead him there in the first place, returning back home. He tried to save the rest of his people and bring them with him as well, but since there was no one with him when he returned he wasn’t sure that he had been successful. But, it had only been about a week in Earthland’s time since his disappearance, even though Vandrad had spent six full months fighting for his life and leading a rebellion on Rhaegar. That was the moment when Mercury’s breath finally caught in her throat, sorrow coursing through her veins as she realized how long he had been separated from her. He touched his forehead to hers gently as he told her the only thing he wanted was to get back to her by any means necessary, but whatever ability he had unlocked clearly had him wary. He wasn’t sure if it was some new feature of the Ark.

    Likewise, something else had awoken in him while he had been fighting Draux, something that clearly had him worried. He had entered some kind of trance state where he was completely in tune with his surroundings on some kind of level that he couldn’t really explain, like reality itself was bending to his will. He managed to work his way out of it, but there was no denying its presence, and surely it would come up again someday. Mercury was quiet for a long time as she took in his words, her fingers gently running along his beard as she thought.

    “I don’t know about what happened with Speaker Draux, but whatever ability it was that sent you to Rhaegar… it wasn’t the Ark.” Gathering her thoughts and trying to figure out where to start, she back peddled a bit to give him the short and skinny of her own journey during his absence. “I was working at Silver Wolf when Saffron texted me to let me know you weren’t in the training room when she got there. She had checked with everyone but wasn’t able to find you, so she reached out to me. She knows it’s not like you to be late for training, and it was weird that all your stuff was in the room still… it didn’t take us long to figure out something had happened.”

    “I contacted your parents and Seri and Mythal immediately, and we all pooled our resources to try to find you, but there was just… nothing. Not a single clue, no explanation… I finally went to see Seri in Era after I had exhausted nearly all of my options, and while I was there Victoria revealed that she can see memories of a person through their blood. I had kept Sabine’s head because it has some of the Engineer’s tech in it that I wanted to study, so I pulled that out hoping that I could track down where the Dread Masters were operating, and I wound up, uh… sort of blowing the base, and the mountainside it was a part of, to ash.”

    A slight blush hit her cheeks as a small, somewhat sheepish smirk tugged at her lips. Then, Mercury continued. “I had been hoping to find the Engineer or Scourge while I was there, and I wound up finding both, though the interaction wasn’t… quite what I had been expecting. Maker tried to hide it but when I asked where you were it was obvious that it was the first he had heard of you disappearing, and that was when Scourge revealed himself. He was looking for you, too, and had also suspected the Engineer. There is tension between them, and it was not an act. I could tell that much. He does not trust Maker – that’s the Engineer’s name, by the way. I actually know who he is. I can get into that in a bit, but… Scourge wants him gone, and he believes the leaders of the Dread Masters are not as in control over Maker as they think they are.”

    She frowned slightly then as she recalled a bit of her interaction with Scourge and some of the things he had said. “Honestly, I don’t think he is as committed to the Mastesr as he presents himself. Maybe to their cause, but not to them. It’s clear he does not respect their leadership… but for whatever reason, he was earnest in trying to find you and make sure you were safe. About a day after I blew up the base I returned to it, because Sourge had offered to meet me there if I came up empty handed, and we talked for a while. He was burning up almost every resource he had, like we were, trying to locate you and also had no answers. But I did learn a few things from him, including that he has been sneaking into the public areas of Fairy Tail to observe you.”

    Surely Vandrad would be about as thrilled to hear that as Mercury had been. “Apparently, he had been in the main hall when you disappeared. He told me that he had felt strange energy around you and then you were just gone. He even managed to get into the training room to confirm it before Saffron got there. Whatever energy you used, he said that it was not the Ark. He said that he would have known if you used it, and told me a bit about what it is and how it works, though I am sure he hid a lot of details about it. Honestly, the way he was talking, it… it sounded like he is connected to you somehow.” Mercury frowned in thought again, drawing up all the details that Scourge had revealed to her that day. “He had been able to sense you exerting yourself and trying to use your magic, and he said that he would always know any time you used your Ark magic, but what you used in the training room was completely foreign to him.”

    “It was at the end of our meeting when Trinity appeared out of nowhere. Thana… whatever the fuck her name is. Neither of us sensed her at all. I just stood up to leave and was completely overcome with a sudden sense of vertigo. It was like… like how you feel in a dream, where the world around you is blurry and sluggish, and you aren’t sure what is or isn’t real… and before I knew it, she had locked me up in cuffs that cut me off from my magic and was holding me hostage while I was just trying to stay conscious. Scourge was going to fight her. I know he wanted to… but I was completely helpless, and he knew that. She offered him information in exchange for taking me away without a fight, and he agreed. I know how that sounds, but as much as I don’t trust him I think the only reason he did it was because he knew I would probably be killed if he tried to attack her. Whatever answers she gave him, though, I didn’t hear. I had passed out by that point, and by the time I awoke it was on Khelben’s ship.”

    And that was a memory she wasn’t quite ready to relive. A strong wave of anxiety and panic started bubbling beneath the surface before she stubbornly stamped it down and skipped over the trip itself, instead getting into what had happened when they reached their destination. “I don’t know how long I spent being tortured. It’s all.. Kind of just a big blur. The Nazru made Zemenar do it. He is… was... designated as the Enforcer… He’s also…” Her voice trailed off for a moment, the words strange upon her lips. “He’s my dad.”

    Mercury let that thought settle for a moment before carrying on. “He didn’t know who I was the whole time, but the moment he realized… that was it. The Nazru had instructed him to wipe my memories so I could be retrained.” Soft tears rolled down her cheeks at the recollection of what had very nearly happened to her, the lavender haired woman sniffing gently to keep her composure. “But he figured out who I was and he freed me instead, and had Khelben take off the shackles that were keeping me closed off from my magic. By then, Draux was already having my skin grafted to his body and I knew he was trying to gain access to my magic, so I got the two of them to round up the rest of our people. I made a ship for them to escape on and told them to come here and find you, and told them I was staying to stop Draux before the rest of the Nazru could start to get magic as well. But they… they stayed to fight. All of them. They had the chance to leave without being followed, and they all stayed to help me instead.”

    “And then all of you showed up…” Mercury looked up at him. “I don’t know how you managed to find me, or how you got to me so quickly, but if it weren’t for the rest of you showing up when you did, we all would have died. I was already as good as dead, and I thought I would never see you again…” She closed her eyes and pressed her face to his once more, her nose cradled against his own as nuzzled him softly. “I was so scared, not knowing where you were or if you were safe… and I missed you so much…”

    WORDS: 2153 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    Last edited by Mercury Arseneault on 23rd January 2022, 10:51 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    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 : 544
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,110,031

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 8th January 2022, 9:27 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars MkPvAydM_o

    Surprisingly, Mercury had some answers about the newfound ability -- or rather, she was able to provide answers to what it wasn’t. As Vandrad finished his thought, Mercury revealed that, while she had no clue what had occurred in his fight with Speaker Draux -- the Nazru he had fought -- she knew that the power wasn’t from the Ark. His brow furrowed a bit in curiosity and confusion, earnestly surprised she had any evidence on the matter. As she took a moment to collect herself and prepare what was sure to be a lengthy story, she brought him back to when he had first disappeared. Apparently Saffron had been the one to find his stuff and had been surprised that he would have just left it. After exhausting her immediate resources, she had called Mercury and they had rightfully assumed that something had happened. Once that was concluded, the Silver Wolf Ace had got in contact with the rest of his family and Serilda and Mythal and the hunt was on. But unsurprisingly, it had come to nothing.

    Eventually Mercury had gone to Serilda and Victoria had revealed that she could read memories through someone’s blood. Luckily the Silver Wolf Ace had kept Sabine’s head, for the sake of experimenting on it, given that it contained some of the Engineer’s technology. Through the Seal’s power, she had managed to find the Dread Master’s base and… destroy it. He looked unsurprised that she had opted to go scorched earth on the establishment, wanting to send a heartfelt message to the shadow organization. Her intent had been to find the Engineer and/or Scourge and had been granted the opportunity to encounter them both. But it seemed that there were complications. Firstly had been the fact that the Engineer was as surprised to discover that Vandrad was missing, though he had attempted to play it off. The other was that Scourge had shown up, also looking for Vandrad and looking to point the blame on the Engineer as well. There was a veritable rift between the two that Mercury could see and authenticate. She also knew that the Engineer was someone called Maker, whoever that was. It seemed that Scourge had absolutely zero trust for Maker and was doing what he could to get rid of him.

    As the Silver Wolf Ace thought back to it, she continued, expressing her doubt at Scourge’s true allegiance to the Dread Masters. He seemed more in line with their cause but not their way of leading. Whatever the case, he made a genuine attempt to try and find Vandrad and wanted to ensure his safety. It seemed that he and Mercury had struck a kind of alliance over the matter, as he had offered to meet up with her if she had come up with nothing. Upon returning and meeting again, they had reviewed their efforts so far and Scourge had, apparently, revealed that he was capable of disguising himself and hiding among the public areas of Fairy Tail. The prince scoffed in annoyance, sneering slightly as he glanced askance. He’d told Mura a thousand times that the guildhall was too open, too exposed to people slipping through the cracks, especially after the attack from Elysium. But the guildmaster had assured him that they had the best technology and magical engineering to prevent such things. But Energy Monarch was an entirely different beast.

    As it was, Scourge had been at Fairy Tail the day Vandrad had disappeared. He’d sensed a strange energy and then discovered that the prince was gone. He’d even infiltrated the training room to confirm his suspicions and made his escape before Saffron returned. But as the Dread Master had put it, the new power wasn’t part of the Ark, as he would have been able to confirm if it was tied to that. Mercury surmised that both Vandrad and Scourge were connected somehow, something that the prince was beginning to assume as well. The Dread Master had the Energy Monarch magic, a rare feat in and of itself. Perhaps there was something else tying a thread between the two of them?

    Whatever the case, the end of their meeting came to an abrupt end when Thana imposed herself on the two of them. She had taken them both by surprise and apparently poisoned Mercury with some kind of magic, enough to make her weak so that the dark mage could get up close and slap anti-magic cuffs on her. Scourge had made an attempt to fight at first but once he had analyzed the situation, he had chosen to take Thana’s offer of answering questions instead. By the time the questions and answers came though, Mercury had already passed out and only awoke again on Khelben’s ship. "She told him where I was and told him that Khelben was taking you back home. The first thing Scourge did after that meeting was to come here and relay the information to everyone here. From what I’m told, it was a very… tense meeting. But his words were genuine and his effort to put himself so vastly at a disadvantage by appearing before my family means that he felt delivering the news was more important than his safety. He also returned Bandit so that he was around people he recognized. He told a story exactly similar to yours about meeting Thana and after going over it myself, I understand why he did it. With you being as weakened as you were, he couldn’t chance attacking without hurting you. It was a risky move… but one that paid off, it seems.” It didn’t earn him any real trust but it painted the Dread Master in a far different light than the first impression Vandrad had got. Perhaps his belief about protecting humanity and sharing the gifts they took from gods and demons was genuine as well. It was still insane but the thought seemed authentic.

    Mercury fast forwarded to her time being tortured but there was a moment before that, where her emotions went haywire with anxiety and panic. Vandrad felt it and, of course, wanted to know the reason… but it was something she would have to reveal to him. If it was causing her that much distress, he had no right to ask about it. Nonetheless, she spoke of Zemanar, the older Xocili he assumed, being an Enforcer, which he imagined was the one who bore the whip for the rebellious. And as she revealed, he was also her father. Vandrad had assumed correctly about the familial connection between her, Zemanar and Khelben, though the finer details weren’t clear yet. In either case, the older Xocili hadn’t known who she was until the end and one the truth had come out, he had acted in rebellion. Apparently he had been instructed by the Nazru to wipe out her memories, an action that took Vandrad by surprise and filled him with rage. All that effort she had made to break off her chains and they were going to rob her of it, just like that? Whatever Serilda and he had done to the Nazru was still far too good for what they deserved.

    Zemanar freed her, with Khelben’s help and Mercury had attempted to act quickly to save the rest of her people and stop Draux and the rest of the Nazru. She had even constructed them a ship using her magic so that they could escape and get back to Earthland. She would stay behind and keep the Nazru from getting their hands on magic directly, sacrificing herself so that the rest of her people could live. But instead they had chosen to fight, following in her footsteps and uniting against their oppressors. They’d given up their chance for guaranteed escape and charged into conflict openly and without batting an eye.

    And that’s when the Earthland group had arrived to back them up. As she saw it, they were the reason that the Xocili people hadn’t been wiped out. As she pressed herself against him, he leaned into her, his arms about her tightening a fraction as she remarked about being scared of not knowing where he was and missing him. "Your ship and your datapad. Ever, Dudley, Patricia and I combined our knowledge and decrypted your ship’s mainframe and patched the astral charts imprinted in your ship’s computer into the datapad. That gave us a direction. Then Serilda flew out into space, utilizing her ability to control the void, and gave chase. Once she found the flotilla, as you put it, she opened a portal back to us.”

    He smiled softly. "Victoria told us we’d be walking into a battlefield. I had no doubt that you were causing a ruckus. And I’d be damned if I was going to let you fight all by yourself.” After a moment, he sighed. "And while I’m sure we will have a moment of peace, I am afraid it will be fleeting. My instincts tell me that the Dread Masters will know I have returned and will seek to make a move, guided by Scourge or this Maker character. We should relish what little downtime we have to catch our breath. And reconnect with loved ones we didn’t know we had.” It was clear that he was talking about Zemanar; as a long-lost father, it was clear that there would be a lot to talk about. And it was safe to say that Vandrad knew a great deal about reconnecting with fathers that had been absent for all of one’s life.  "But maybe rest and food first? You look dead on your feet.”






    Words: 1606 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 23rd January 2022, 10:51 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 485
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,938,969

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 9th January 2022, 1:02 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    She gave him the rundown as best she could, considering how much had happened and how tired she was. Surely more details would come out later, but for now it was enough to give him the general overview, as long as it was. And he filled in a few spaces for her as well, informing her the information that Thana had passed along to Scourge and how the Dread Master had immediately brought everything to the du Wolffs at the risk of his own life, along with bringing Bandit back safely. Mercury’s heart dropped. “Bandit…” she whispered, clearly having had so much on her mind that she hadn’t even had a chance to think about the poor bird since her return. She would have to find him after all this. Either way it seemed that there was no doubt that Scourge’s intentions with doing what he could to protect Mercury were genuine, and none of them harbored any ire with the man for letting Thana get away with the kidnapping.

    Likewise, Vandrad also explained how they had managed to find her. Apparently, he, Ever, Dudley, and Patricia had put their heads together and managed to decrypt enough of her ship and the tracking device she had given Vandrad years ago to widen the device’s range enough to find her. Mercury looked confused for a moment, clearly trying to figure out how he’d found her ship. Then it dawned on her. “Oh stars, you got that cringy message I recorded…” Well that was embarrassing, though she supposed it was a good thing she had wound up recording it when she had. If she hadn’t made sure he could find her ship, chances were that she and the rest of her people would have died in their final stand. Instead, the four of them had managed to put together a working device that Serilda could use to get to the flotilla and get everyone else through. Mercury couldn’t imagine how long Seri must have been travelling, though it would explain a lot about why she had fully collapsed after her unison raid with the prince.

    And apparently Victoria had warned them in advance about the rebellion, which was of little surprise to Vandrad, who smiled at her and teased that he wasn’t going to let her fight without him. But then he sighed, admitting his suspicion that the Dread Masters would not wait long to make a move now that he was back, whether due to Scourge or Maker. It meant that they were going to have very little downtime, and as such he felt it was prudent to not let the moment for rest pass them by and to use it to reconnect with long lost loved ones. It was obvious that he was talking about her father. She was quiet for a few seconds, the revelation of having family still not having truly settled on her fully, but she did eventually nod in agreement. She wasn’t even sure where to begin with something like that.

    Thankfully, Vandrad suggested that it was not an endeavor she needed to face right there and then. He suggested food and sleep first, which sounded like a dream come true. “I feel dead on my feet,” she admitted. Granted, it was easier to talk about moving along than it was to actually put her feet to motion, and as her brain slowly started to catch up to her she gave him a curious look. “So, wait… if your family isn’t originally from Earthland, and they are ‘immortals’... does that mean for you? Your dad is human, but Themmy…” While she was having trouble asking it outright, it was clear what she was trying to get at was whether his lifespan would be more like his immortal relatives, and her own.

    Presuming he gave confirmation of such, or at least of the possibility for it, Mercury would hug him close as a sense of joy washed through her over the news. They had never really talked much about the differences in their lifespans, the topic having always been too awkward to bring up considering what they had both assumed was true: that Mercury would long outlive the prince. It hadn’t made her any less willing to spend the rest of his life with him, even though she’d always known that she would have to watch him grow older and die while she carried on, but now that was not something she would have to worry about.

    It was enough of a relief to put her back to at least some form, as she pulled back and smirked lightly at him. “Good. That means you’re stuck with me for a long time to come. And I hope you realize you’re keeping this, by the way.” Tugging lightly on his beard, her smirk grew to an impish smile. Then, she leaned forward and gave him a long, gentle kiss.

    When they were finally ready to move on, she would walk beside him with her arm linked in his and her head resting on his shoulder as they made their way outside where everyone was gathered and the house staff were hard at work whipping up an impromptu meal. Mercury wasn’t outside for more than ten seconds before a familiar cawing noise pierced the air. “Bandit..!” She pulled herself away from Vandrad to look in the direction of the sound, the bird frantically flapping his way over to her until she could catch him out of the air, holding the feathered creature close to her chest and doing her best not to crush him. He struggled mightily, but only so he could worm himself up enough to pick and preen her face with his beak. “Yes, I’m okay you bossy little bastard.” Her tone was softer than her words would otherwise imply, the woman genuinely happy to see that the feisty avian was okay and happy to see her. She would have to thank Scourge for getting him back someplace safe. Honestly, she would have to thank Scourge for a lot of things.

    Before she even entertained the thought of food, though, there were others in the immediate vicinity that she needed to express her gratitude for. Mercury took the time to find each member of Vandrad’s family, giving all of them a long, tight hug and thanking them for their efforts in finding and rescuing her and her people. The gesture of affection lasted the longest with Themmy and Gren, particularly with Vandrad’s father. She also made sure to thank the others that had helped in similar fashion, including Mythal, Hosrius, Grubar, and even Saffron, who seemed a bit thrown off by the familiarity but managed to roll with it well enough.

    Soon they had meals to put in their bellies. Mercury ate more than she thought she would, her body in need of a great deal of nourishment after everything she had gone through. She grew steadily more tired as she ate, surrounding herself with the du Wolffs and the others that had been a part of trying to find both her and Vandrad, happy for some semblance of normalcy as relaxed chatter broke out among them, starting with Saffron and Grubar teasing Hosrius about the little challenge they had issued among each other at the start of the fight. The tension seemed to ease from there, with Mercury finally starting to feel a bit like her normal self as she smiled and laughed.

    But it wouldn’t take long before sleep was starting to become a necessity, and her gaze finally panned out to the few hundred of her surviving kin where they talked quietly among themselves in small groups, still clearly trying to take in their new surroundings and freedoms. A few of them were rising to the occasion in quicker spirits, but the kind of trauma her people had endured for decades was not something that any of them would heal from quickly, if ever, and there was very much a cloud of uncertainty lingering around them as they were surely contemplating their futures.

    Finding a bit more energy, Mercury turned to Vandrad and his mother. “What should we do with them?” she asked, taking it upon herself to make sure the Xocili people were seen to for the night. “Zemenar and Khelben can stay at my house, but there’s a lot of them and I don’t even know where to begin with getting them settled… for tonight, and moving forward…” Themmy had a large estate, but not that many guest rooms. Mercury knew it was a lot to put on them by asking for their help with such a large feat, but she had no one else to turn to. That, and knowing the du Wolffs, they would have just been offended if Mercury had denied them the chance to continue helping where they could.

    WORDS: 1482/3635 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    Last edited by Mercury Arseneault on 23rd January 2022, 10:52 am; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    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 : 544
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,110,031

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

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 9th January 2022, 5:09 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars MkPvAydM_o

    "Oh, I got that message. And I fully intend on keeping it forever, if only to hold over your head,” Vandrad gave her a genuine smile, feeling far more comfortable in teasing her than before, now that their anxiety and adrenaline was beginning to settle. Plus, it was rare for Vandrad to get any ‘ammo’ to use against her, the Silver Wolf Ace often coming out the benefactor of advantage in their near constant rivalry. But as much as it was considered cringy, her message was the sole purpose that he had been able to find her and utilize the means in his world to get to her. Otherwise, there was little doubt that her and her people would have been wiped out, though if he knew Mercury, she probably had an ace up her sleeve to guarantee the Nazru suffered for it too.

    But the prince made a point of making sure she understood that they weren’t out of dangerous waters yet. As he saw it, they had just launched a successful but exhausting rescue mission. If he were in his enemy’s shoes, he would be planning to launch some kind of attack at them sooner rather than later, to take advantage of their weakened state. With that in mind, he wanted to make sure she understood that she should take full advantage of the downtime they have to start building connections, especially with her newfound family. It took her some time to process that and finally when she did, she gave him a nod. But he also made sure she understood that she didn’t need to run off and start awkward talks right at that moment. She had earned her rest and upon pointing that out, she admitted that she felt as worn as she looked. Yet she paused after a moment, her mind still sorting out all the details that he had poured over her in a short amount of time and she looked up at him, curious about his race’s apparent immortality. She wanted to know what that meant for him, given his mixed heritage. "I truly don’t know,” he said. "Cyrene, my mother’s blood sister, seems to believe that it matters very little the percentage of Rhaegar blood I have in me -- I will inherit the innate ability to stop aging. At the very least, I’ll most likely live for a very long time.”

    They’d never openly discussed the fact of his mortality. Before he understood where he came from, he’d understood that he would continue to age, while Mercury remained young and vibrant as the years marched on. Even before they had confessed their feelings for one another, there was an understanding that their partnership was finite and that the prince would eventually pass of old age. Now, that lingering concern was gone and Mercury wrapped her arms around him and held him tight, her jump to joy resonating out of her so brightly that Vandrad was nearly overwhelmed with it. It was good enough news to set her back to a semi-normal form, smirking at him and teasing the fact that he was stuck with her longer. And on the matter of sticking around, she stated that his facial hair would be staying. "Stuck with you, yes, that seems to be the case. But the beard goes away after some time. I will graciously allow you a few weeks to enjoy it before I rid myself of it. It is far too cumbersome and itchy.” Whatever her response to that was, she still leaned in and kissed him fully, the prince returning it in kind. In spite of everything that happened and how long he’d been without her, it felt good to be back on a partially normal plane of existence in their relationship, even if it was far more serious than before.

    Having had their moment of peace and reflection with one another, the pair moved outside to where the Xocili people were being tended to by the du Wolff family. Themesycia was organizing several people all at once, having grabbed Khelben and forced him to stand by her side so that he could translate what she was saying. The house staff and the other gathered people were organizing fire pits all over the yard and food was being carted out on carts while tables and chairs were being set up all around. Interestingly enough, the tents that had housed most of the volunteers had been taken down, opening up the entirety of the yard into one flat space, minus bodies and pits. As Mercury heard the familiar cry of Bandit and rushed over to embrace him, Vandrad walked over to Gren, who was sitting by one of the firepits. As he approached, the former Knight reached behind himself and then brought his arm forward, tossing one of Vandrad’s lost swords to him. “I figured ya might want that back,” he said with an easy smile.

    "Thank you,” the prince offered his gratitude as he tucked the weapon back on his back sling, matching it up to its brethren. Mercury did her rounds to the du Wolff family and the rest of the Earthland group; taking the time to thank them properly and embrace them for their efforts. Vandrad went about helping to light the pits as the Silver Wolf Ace spoke to each person, taking a special amount of time with Gren. By the time she had finished talking to everyone she wanted, the cooks had all but prepared a feast for everyone. Food was passed onto plates and everyone was told that there was still plenty of food for second and third helpings. As everyone refilled their empty bellies, the conversation kicked up, with several people finding their joy and humor once more. Hosrius was treated to some abuse from Grubar and Saffron, as he had come out on the short end of their contest, but he took the jabs in stride, chuckling and congratulating Saffron for her brilliant display of fighting prowess.

    But the evening was already beginning to settle into deep darkness and with food now occupying space, it was safe to say that several dozens of people were getting tired. Mercury looked downright ready to pass out where she sat but managed to find a bit of energy to turn to Vandrad and Themesycia and ask about the Xocili people. She stated that Zemenar and Khelben could stay at his house but there were far more people than the estate could handle, what with the villagers occupying the houses down in the town. It wasn’t just a matter of where they’d be staying that night but rather for the foreseeable future. Vandrad had been wondering that as well, as he doubted there was a policy on nomads from the stars within Bellum’s governing body. IF anything, he worried that the Cardinals might see the Xocili people as people to experiment on, something the prince refused to allow.

    “Luckily,” Themesycia spoke up as she finished her glass of wine. “Fate is seemingly on our side in that matter, though it does spoil quite the surprise.”

    "Surprise?” Vandrad asked, his brow knitting in confusion. In fact, all of the other du Wolffs looked just as surprised at the duchess for already having something planned out and prepared.

    Themesycia smiled easily as she pulled out a small pictograph device and tossed it idly into the middle of the table. The device chirped to life and a holographic image popped up above the table, creating a high definition picture of an island. It was hard to judge the size of it exactly but given the outline of several hundred, if not thousands, of buildings constructed on the cliff sides on what could only be assumed was the northern side and the massive fields on the southern side, it was remarkably giant. “Believe it or not, I have thought ahead to a future where I don’t need to be involved in the political world. I had hoped to retire and set up a place for refugees from Pergrande, Desierto and yes, even Bellum could come together and be safe. This is an island in the southern sea below Desierto, an island that’s been owned by the du Wolff family for some years now.”

    “You purchased an island?” Ever asked with a chuckle. “And here I thought father was the extravagant buyer.”

    “I’m surprised you never told me that. Or any of us,” Simon spoke up.

    “It was meant to be a surprise, as I said. I know how hard you all work, especially Simon, to stay within amenable means of the Bellum hierarchy. And while I’m thankful for all that Bellum has given and granted our family, there is no denying that its policies and views are changing beyond that of what our family might support. Slavery is not something I condone, no matter who is the one holding the chains. I wanted to provide a new beginning for not only us but however many people needed it. Construction is mostly complete; there’s still several buildings that are nearing completion but there should be enough housing for the Xocili people. And, if Vandrad’s hopes are true, the survivors of Rhaegar.”

    “Wow!” Ophelia said, very clearly excited. “How many buildings are there?”

    Themesycia tapped her finger against her chin. “Hmm… I think it was somewhere in the one hundred thousand, though I can’t recall the exact number. That includes a palace at the peak of the island for the us, the du Wolff family, though it really is more of a manor. I wanted to construct a large garden that could be shared by all the people that ended up moving there.”

    "Mother…” Vandrad spoke up. "This looks more like the building block to a nation, not a retreat or a retirement project.”

    Themesycia was oddly silent for a moment, not quick to declare the assumption incorrect or not. With a wry smirk, she shrugged. “One could see it that way. Perhaps some part of me wanted to build something different than what’s already been put in place. A true kingdom that is governed fairly and justly and provides for the people rather than takes. But maybe that’s just the wine talking.” She chuckled. “Whatever the case, I can provide coordinates and Everance can construct a portal there. The magic power grid is already complete so every home that is already finished will have power and is already furnished. With any luck, your people will feel comfortable and safe,” Themesycia said, looking at Mercury.

    “And somehow you can afford all of this, even with the amount of jewel we donate yearly?” Simon quipped, flashing his adoptive sister a smirk.

    “Darling, father taught me how to invest correctly and get the most out of our jewel. And I’ll admit, I’ve learned and crafted my own tricks to ensure a positive upswing. Though admittedly this project has put us back several million jewel… but I may have pulled our donations to Bellum’s government a bit to pick up the slack.”

    “Crafty as ever, our dear Themmy,” Ever said with a grin.

    The duchess gave a small nod before looking back at Mercury. “So… shall we let your people know that they will have true homes to rest in tonight?”






    Words: 1884/3490 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 23rd January 2022, 10:52 am; edited 1 time in total


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    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
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    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Gunblade Master
    Second Magic: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Magic:

    Rewrite the Stars Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 9th January 2022, 8:40 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Well, it was only a matter of time before Vandrad got something truly juicy on her, and she had quite literally spoon fed it to him herself. She smirked up at him, amused despite how embarrassing the video was, the woman completely unaware that he had shown it to his entire family and the others who had gone on the mission with him. Not that the message being public knowledge would truly bother her in the long run. She had meant every word and it had been fortuitous on all of their parts that she had taken the time to do it. Plus it was rare that Vandrad got a moment up on her so it was worth letting him have it.

    She asked about what his heritage meant for his own lifespan, and the prince admitted that he wasn’t entirely sure, but according to his aunt, he only needed a little bit of Rhaegarian blood to inherit at least some kind of long lifespan. The news that Themesycia had a full blooded sister didn’t go without notice, Mercury’s brows raising in surprise. But for now, she left the topic alone. Surely there was a lot of details that they both needed to go over with one another, but for now she was content to just be with him and to know that there was promise of a long life to come between them. He conceded to being stuck with her, but put his foot down about the beard, informing her that he would allow her a few weeks to enjoy it before he shaved it off. The look she gave him very much read we’ll see about that as she leaned in and kissed him.

    The atmosphere outside was busy, with a number of people pitching together to get the area set up enough for people to eat comfortably. At first many of the Xocili had stood there not really knowing what to do and not wanting to be in the way, but it didn’t take long for many of them to try to pitch in where they could. Even if they couldn’t outright communicate with the Earthlanders just yet, it was easy enough to use hand gestures for simple tasks, and before long preparations were all set with the help of Khelben who apparently had been volunteered to translate as necessary beside Themesycia. He was a nervous wreck beside the intimidating woman, but hid it well, allowing himself to be caught up in the task he had been given and using it to keep himself distracted.

    Finally, they all had their meals. There was something to be said about the healing capabilities of food, and how much a full stomach could really help with one’s stress and mood. It allowed them to all come together and fully relax until it was time to get some real rest. Unfortunately, that would be easier said than done for her people, and while Mercury didn’t consider herself a leader of any sort outside of Silver Wolf, she did feel some responsibility for her people given that she was the reason they were all here to begin with. So she’d posed her inquiry to Themmy and Vandrad, knowing that the efforts of getting her kin settled long term might take some time but hoping that perhaps there was some quick makeshift accommodations they could use in the meantime.

    The question of housing apparently had a far easier solution than any of them had realized, though. Themesycia spoke up to admit that this was one place where luck would truly come through for them, though it meant spoiling a surprise for everyone as she admitted that she had purchased an island some time ago and had been outfitting it as a retirement place for herself and the rest of the du Wolffs, a place where refugees could seek safe shelter from persecution, no matter where they came from. She even pulled up a holographic photo of it for them to see, and judging from the scale of everything the island itself was quite large.

    Her adoptive siblings teased her over the purchase and the fact that she had kept it from them, but Themmy merely shrugged it off by reiterating that it had been meant to be a surprise for all of them. She was thankfully for their time in Bellum, but the family had never truly fit in within the country’s political structure, and the gap between their differing moral views seemed to grow wider with each passing day, particularly with slavery. She wanted a new beginning, and apparently the construction was more or less complete. There was still some work to be done, but the vast majority of the homes were basically ready for Mercury’s people to move into. Not just them, but perhaps the Rhaegarians as well, should any of them have managed to make it safely to Earthland with Vandrad.

    After the duchess gave a little more of a rundown of the layout and what all awaited them there, her son eyed her curiously before openly stating that the island seemed less like a retirement locale and more like the beginnings of an independent nation. Themmy didn’t confirm this fact, but neither did she deny it, simply telling him that she understood how one could see it that way, and that perhaps that was what it could become someday. After all, a place where they could set their own rules was more than ideal. Whether or not that was the case, it was talk for another time as Themmy suggested that she could give the coordinates to Everance who could get everyone there through her magic. From there it was just about the Xocili picking their new homes.

    As Simon and Ever teased their sister once more about how she’d managed to tuck enough money away for such an endeavor, Mercury contemplated the next step before them. She remembered how overwhelmed she had been when the duchess had given her a home. The Xocili could only imagine that the rest of her people would feel equally as moved by compassion the likes of which none of them had experienced in years, if ever. Themmy’s question brought Mercury’s attention back to the table and she gave the woman a soft nod. “Thank you so much…” A simple word of thanks seemed barely enough to convey how much the gesture truly meant to her, and what it would mean for her kin, but by now Themmy knew that Mercury wasn’t great at knowing what to say in situations like these. Just as Mercury knew that her heartfelt gratitude was all the duchess really needed.

    As they stood, she came around the table and gave Themesycia another tight hug, holding to the woman for a long moment so she could really impress how thankful she was for everything the duchess had done, not just for her but now for what was left of her people. Then, she slowly turned and regarded the Xocili people from afar, a slight trepidation building in her as she accepted that she was going to have to be the one to deliver the news because of the language barrier. With a slight gulp, she found a spot to stand that was raised up a bit where everyone could see her, and summoned a microphone with a couple speakers so that her voice would carry across the open field.

    “Can I have everyone’s attention, please?” Mercury asked in her native tongue, waiting a moment for everyone to quiet down and look at her. “I’m sure many of you are wondering where you’ll sleep tonight… among other things. A lot has happened, and… it will take some time to get used to the change. And there will be a lot more changes to come, but for now all you need to know is that this planet, Earthland, is your new home… if you want it to be.”

    She gestured to Themmy. “This is her grace, the Duchess Themesycia du Wolff of Bellum. She has recently revealed to me, and the rest of her family, that she owns a large island that has been outfitted to serve as… a permanent community. She has graciously offered for us to live there. Each of you will be allowed to select from one of many vacant homes to make it your own with whatever family each of you may have left. I know that sounds like a lot.. And it is. But I can assure you from personal experience that this offer comes without strings. This family wants to take care of all of you… just as they have taken care of me for the past couple years.”

    “I just want all of you to also know in advance that there is a possibility we may not be the only ones occupying this space. I don’t have all the details… even if I did I don’t think I’d have the energy to get into it right now… but there may be more refugees from the du Wolff’s original home joining you there, eventually. Please be patient while we all do our best to adjust. If there is something you need and you’re not sure how to get it, just find Themmy. Or her siblings Lord Simon and Lady Everance,” she added, taking a moment to point out the other two head nobles for everyone. “...Or Vandrad and myself, I suppose. Just don’t be afraid to ask. There are a lot of resources available on this world, and thanks to magic many of those things are not difficult to get.”

    Well, this was turning into a speech. And the more Mercury talked, the more uncomfortable she seemed to get, not exactly used to being in this kind of position. What she wouldn’t give for the grace and eloquence that Themmy and Serilda had in these kinds of situations. Shifting uncomfortably, she moved to get things wrapped up. “In just a moment, Lady Everance is going to be using her magic to open a gateway to the island. It will work exactly the same way as what you used to get from the flotilla from here. I’m sure everyone here will do their best to help answer questions and get everyone settled, but for now pick a place you want to live and just… get some rest.”

    She lingered awkwardly for only a moment before giving a hasty nod and stepping down from the spotlight. Not long after that, her people were teleported to the new island, and housing assignments were under way. While it was not necessarily a quick process, it was a smooth one. What Khelben had told her about their culture before the invasion must have been true, because the Xocili did their best to try to be mindful of each family’s needs, none of them picking anything that was overly large or extravagant for what they needed. They also all picked homes mostly in one district, keeping close to one another and leaving space so that the other refugees that might be coming in would have their own area where they could feel comfortable surrounded by their own people as well.

    Mercury only stayed long enough to ensure that they didn’t need her before finally allowing herself to be whisked back to Bellum for the night. She forced herself to take a very tired shower with Vandrad in his room, grimacing through the sting of her wounds in order to wash all the blood and grime and… other things… from her body. Then, she dragged herself into bed and latched herself to Vandrad, finding comfort and rest in his arms at long last. She fell asleep nearly as soon as her head hit the pillow, and she was so worn that she had a dreamless sleep that was peaceful and restful with no nightmares, thankfully.

    For once, Vandrad not only let Mercury sleep in but he slept in with her, both of them beyond tired from their own trials. But given that she didn’t want to leave the Xocili alone and confused for too long, she allowed herself to be dragged out of bed with no complaint whenever Vandrad suggested that it was time to get moving. Thankfully, she had moved at least a few clothes into Vandrad’s room some time ago, since her staying with him had become a frequent occurrence since even before they had opened up to one another. She put on a long, colorful skirt that seemed to be covered in mathematical symbols and sported a slit up to her thigh. She also put on a small black top with a strap that reached to a collar around her neck, and another strap that wrapped around her stomach, leaving the rest of her shoulders, arms, and torso exposed. Completing the look with a pair of black leather boots that reached to just beneath her knees, she combed her hair and brushed her teeth before heading out with Vandrad to find his family, and presumably some breakfast.

    Once she had her standard cup or two of coffee and some food in her stomach, Mercury was feeling much more awake. She was still tired and probably would be for some time, but she had decidedly more energy than the day before and her wounds were healing quickly. Serilda was still fast asleep by the sounds of it, but that was no surprise. And while she had a feeling that Scourge was probably already aware of Vandrad’s return, now that Mercury was feeling much more like herself she figured she owed it to the man to make good on their agreement to communicate with one another about the prince’s status. So she formulated a quick message in her head and sent it to him.

    Vandrad is back. As am I. I don’t know when he got back to Earthland, but he found me and brought me back yesterday. I meant to message you right away to let you know, but… there was a lot going on. I’m sure you understand. And I am sure you had already sensed him by then, anyway. Thank you for all your help, and for taking Bandit back to Bellum. While I can’t say anyone here is necessarily ready to trust you, I can tell you that your actions meant a lot to everyone here. While she wasn’t ready to be friends with Scourge just yet, he had earned her open honesty in this and she was more than willing to give it to him, if only as a sign of her gratitude.

    Once that was done and breakfast was settled, she leaned her head against Vandrad’s shoulder. “I should probably go check on everyone and see how their night went…”

    WORDS: 2466/6101 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    Last edited by Mercury Arseneault on 23rd January 2022, 10:52 am; edited 1 time in total


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      Current date/time is 24th January 2022, 10:42 am