Fairy Tail RP

Would you like to react to this message? Create an account in a few clicks or log in to continue.

• Patch Notes •                 • New User Guide •                • Guild Information •

    Rewrite the Stars

    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 - Page 2 Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 10th January 2022, 1:13 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars - Page 2 MkPvAydM_o

    A spoiled surprise was well worth the price of being able to supply room and board for people that so desperately needed -- and deserved -- it. Themesycia had been holding onto the reveal of her little future plans for quite some time, happy to let it build up until she could finally unveil it. And while it was still sooner rather than later, nothing gave her greater joy in knowing that it would be able to provide home and stability to the Xocili, and possibly the Rhaegarians. There were a lot of details that would most likely have to be ironed once the du Wolffs made the transition to living on the island but that was hardly worth worrying about at the moment. For now, the duchess watched in amusement and satisfaction as the very large problem that had been put before them was already answered before it became too much to handle.

    Mercury was gracious for the opportunity, saying as much in words. The Silver Wolf Ace needn’t say more than that, as Themesycia more than understood what it would mean to her and her people. And for the duchess, it was enough to know that she was helping her future daughter in law and the rest of the Xocili. She rose to her feet along with the rest of the group and embraced Mercury as she came around, holding her tight against her body. Then she was released and the Silver Wolf Ace was moving to address the rest of her people. Using her magic to create a microphone and speakers, she took a moment and then began to speak in her native tongue. Vandrad’s translation device provided a clear understanding of what was being said but unfortunately, it didn’t have an output for the rest of the du Wolffs to understand. But at the same time, they seemed to comprehend the meaning behind the words, each of the older family members nodding and offering gracious bows when they were referred to. Surprisingly, Mercury had a lot to say, though that may have just been her nerves trying to clear as much information up as possible.

    Once she had finished, she lingered for only a moment, as if she was making sure she had covered everything and then gave them all a nod. By that time, Everance had used her magic to craft a gateway, dressed in ivory and gold, that she activated to transport them to the island. The Xocili people were led through to their new homes, with the du Wolffs following after. While they certainly wanted to explore for their own reasons, the entire du Wolff clan made sure to wait and help where they could in getting Mercury’s people established in buildings. It took some time but it went smoothly and without conflict. In fact, the people were rather conservative in their choices, taking buildings that fit their needs rather than going for the larger, more elegant homes. It spoke to their culture, as their mindfulness of necessity over extravagance was put on display. As the Xocili people settled in, the rest of Vandrad’s family had a mind to explore the island some more. For the prince though, nothing sounded better to him than a shower and going to sleep and considering how exhausted Mercury looked, he felt she needed it even more than him.

    He practically carried her home, bringing her back to his room and showering with her for a brief time. The woman was still ripe from her injuries and the hot water didn’t hold back its sharp sting but she still managed to get through it. Afterwards, they both seemingly melted into the bed with the Silver Wolf Ace passing right out once she was comfortable. For Vandrad, it took some time, his mind afraid that he would close his eyes and when they reopened, she would be gone and he’d be back on Rhaegar. It hadn’t even occurred to him that it had been days since he’d slept. Eventually his anxiety settled and his eyes fluttered closed, drawing him down into a deep, heavy and needed rest.

    When he awoke in the morning, he was still home and Mercury was still with him. He couldn’t tell what time it was but he was sure it was later in the morning. His body refused to get up at its normal time, completely thrown off by his departure into another realm. For a long while he just lay there, telling himself to accept the fact that he was, in fact, home and that he was with Mercury once more. She awoke soon after, clearly still wanting to sleep and the prince had a mind to let her take it. But there was the matter of his family and her family that needed tending to and while he was more than happy to stay there all day and write off the entire day, it probably wasn’t wise. Eventually he suggested that they get up and take care of the responsibilities that were on their shoulders and while she wasn’t happy with the idea, she seemed amenable enough. He put on a simple t-shirt and a button down shirt over a pair of slacks, dressing himself casually for once.

    Breakfast was still laid out and fresh when they came down, most of Vandrad’s family still gathered about the table. His cousins had taken off early to go explore the island more, their curiosity not filled nearly enough by the late night exploration. Mercury would find no response when she let Scourge know of the situation, the man seemingly occupied with something else. Vandrad practically ate his weight in food, his body needing to refuel all the missing protein and carbs that he’d been sorely lacking while away. He had noticed it first the night before, as he looked in the mirror, but he’d lose a fair amount of muscle mass. Unacceptable but understandable, given the limited supplies he’d had on Rhaegar. He would be sure to adjust for that and rebuild what he’d lost. Eventually Mercury leaned over on him and stated that she should probably go and check on her people. He nodded. "I imagine many of them had a hard time sleeping, waiting for the other shoe to drop.” Something he understood very well.

    “Yes, that sounds like a good idea. And Mercury, sometime later, would you mind working with Everance? Her Historia of Magic allows her access to Archive magic and she believes she may be able to scan your mind and craft a spell so that we can learn your native language and your people can learn the languages of Ishgar. At the very least, we should all be able to communicate and we feel it right that we learn the Xocili language as well. Not quite fair to force them to learn and not put any effort on ourselves,” Themesycia spoke up, even as she was standing on her feet.

    It was a short walk to the portal and once they were through it, they’d be back on the island. Now coated in the brilliant light of the sun, the full height and size of the town rose up above them with its grand design. Even Vandrad looked impressed as he looked up towards the palace above and around the marketplace that they’d been dropped off. The prince would stay by Mercury’s side as she wandered around and checked in, unwilling to part with her for even a moment, even as the rest of his family walked the streets and chatted with one another.






    Words: 1265/4,755 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 23rd January 2022, 10:52 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 - Page 2 Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 10th January 2022, 8:42 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Breakfast came and went and Mercury voiced that she should probably return to the island to get a status update on her people, to which Vandrad agreed seeing as how it had likely been a long restless night for many of them. Themesycia spoke up then to ask if Mercury would be willing to help Ever with a spell that would allow both the Bellum family and the Xocili to swap languages with one another, stating that while the Xocili would need to learn a couple of the languages of their new home, it was rude to expect them to do all the changing without others learning to adapt to them as well.

    “Oh! I mean, I could certainly help the rest of you learn Xocili, but by now I am sure the people of Xocil have already learned Ishgaran and Bellia from Khelben.” The curious and surprised stares she got in return from basically everyone except Gren and Vandrad told her that perhaps the rest of the du Wolffs had not been as informed about her true nature as she’d thought. She smirked a little sheepishly, scratching the back of her head. “I guess I never really did tell you much about my people. There’s a reason Xocil was singled out with exception by the Nazru, and it wasn’t just because of how advanced our technology was. We as a people are fully organic synthetic beings. Essentially, we’re living, breathing, organic computers. My blood is made of oil, my bones and veins and muscles of fleshy metal, my bodily functions run by light cues and electric currents… though I suppose that last part is true of all organic beings as well.”

    “But that’s why I am so adept with technology here. I can interface with most of it directly. All the times I’ve had my phone out to send calls or messages is really just for show. I can do all that in my head, and that was before I learned how to use magic. I operate with an internal HUD system that allowed me to scan the area around me with various radars, I can change my vision settings between things like x-ray and infrared, and I process and store information just like files in a computer that can be retrieved and reviewed at any time. Xocili can even interlink ourselves wirelessly with other Xocili to share information. When I first came here, I simply interfaced with the lacrinet and downloaded the information for every known language on the planet so that I could speak and understand all of them. It only took a few minutes. By now, I’m sure the others have done the same.”

    That would probably be quite a bit of information to take in, but at the same time she was sure that it filled in an awful lot of puzzle pieces about her personality and behaviors over the last couple years, as well as explained how she seemed to be so quick at adapting to situations and processing new information. It also likely explained why her magic – which they would all now know was slayer magic, now that they had seen her straight up eating computer hardware like Sunday brunch – had manifested the way it had.

    Presuming they didn’t have any questions, or at least that they were content to ask them later, the couple finished up their meals and made their way over to the portal that Ever had left up between Bellum and the island, with Bandit perched possessively on Mercury’s shoulder. A quick step through was all it took for them to be on the other side, this time with a far better view now that the sun was out. The pathway leading up to the palace was enormous, the hill itself so tall that it nearly craned the neck to look at. “Never let it be said that your mother doesn’t like to go all out,” she murmured with a wry smirk. Then she chuckled and shook her head. “If that palace is what your mom considers a ‘manor’ I’m not sure I want to know what her idea of extravagance is.”

    Together, they walked through the streets, taking everything in and just generally being a presence. Mercury honestly wasn’t sure what she was doing, or what she even really needed to do. It wasn’t like she was anything to these people, really. Kin yes, but still a stranger. And the more they walked through the streets, the more dauntingly that fact dawned on her. Most of the people here were older than her, many of them by a significant amount. Not only had they known each other probably since before she was born, but even in captivity they’d had something she had never experienced: community. They had been living on the flotilla together, supporting one another through hardship and pain while she had been totally and completely isolated from her entire culture. Xocili she may have been by blood, but looking at them now, and observing the ways they interacted with one another, she started to realize she was very much an outsider that understood about as much of her own heritage as the du Wolffs.

    It didn’t help that a lot of them watched her as the pair walked by, her people curious and uncertain of the strange woman that had brought freedom and this new life upon them with such little warning. That wasn’t to say they were being rude, of course. In fact, many of them were making it a point to approach her and Vandrad both to introduce themselves – in Bellia, no less, as they had taken the time to learn the local languages as Mercury had surmised they would – making an effort to connect if briefly and somewhat awkwardly. Perhaps they sensed her own trepidation about establishing her place among her people, or maybe they just regarded her with some sense of importance due to her relationship with Zemenar, whom Mercury assumed was the only semblance of leadership the Xocili had left at this point. But, their small efforts did slowly start to make her feel a little better about herself, helping her understand that while she was a stranger for now, she wouldn’t have to stay that way.

    As far as she could tell, they seemed to be settling in okay. Nearly all of the homes were move in ready, as Themmy had promised, and there was enough there for basic provisions to get everyone started. While they were all unfamiliar with the local food accommodations, much like Mercury it would take them very little effort to connect themselves to the lacrinet to start learning what they could do with what they currently had. Most of them still seemed to be in a dazed state like they weren’t really sure if any of this was real, and that was to be expected… but for the most part they were at least going through the motions, if only because what else was there to do? The proverbially shoe had yet to drop, as Vandrad had put it, and it was a very uncomfortable feeling to have that uncertainty lingering over one’s head.

    “Mercury..?”

    She turned to look toward the sound of her name, finding her dad standing there almost a bit timidly as he looked between them both. Mercury instantly became a little more nervous as though matching his own energy, father and daughter each unsure of how to react to the other. “Hey..”

    Zemenar cleared his throat softly, clearly trying to figure out what to say now that he’d gotten their attention. After a moment, he looked to Vandrad and spoke to him in Bellia. “I’m sorry, I didn’t really get a chance to actually meet you, yet. I’m Zemenar. Thank you for what you did for us. You and your mother, and the rest of your family. All of this, it’s…” His voice trailed off as he glanced slowly around the area, taking in the disheveled sight of his people as they attempted the baby steps of the recovery process. “Honestly, it’s more than I think I’m capable of expressing. We’re all more grateful than any of us have been able to say. It’s just… going to take some time to adjust and process.”

    He looked back to Mercury once more. “I was hoping you’d have some time to… to talk. Maybe get to know each other a little… if you’re okay with that. I don’t want to impose… or make any assumptions…”

    “N-no, it’s okay,” she assured him. “I was meaning to come find you anyway. We both were.”

    That seemed to relieve some of her father’s own anxiety, the man relaxing a bit and allowing himself a small but sincere smile. “I’m glad to hear that. Even if I don’t exactly know where to start.”

    Well, that was a fucking mood. “Well… do you want to hang out here, or… maybe we can go somewhere more private? You could show us the home you picked…”

    “Yes, we can do that. I’d love to show you.”

    With that decided, he led them down a street or two to a modestly sized two story home with a small yard that had space set aside for a personal garden. He gave them a small tour of the building, which consisted of three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and plenty of living space. It was a fairly quick tour, and at the end of it Zemenar invited them to rest in the living room, offering the couple the larger couch while he sat in one of the arm chairs. Bandit found a high spot in the room to roost, the crow content to sit in the nearby vicinity and preen his feathers quietly. “So, um.. Tell me a little about yourself? Or maybe you have questions you want to ask..? Everything came together so quick, and I’m sure you’ve got some answers you’d like…”

    “I suppose I do have a few, but… I don’t mind just talking for a bit, first.” Mercury couldn’t help but wonder if the first meeting between Vandrad and Gren had been this awkward. She found herself very grateful that the prince was with her to keep her grounded. “I’m second in command of a guild here on Earthland known as Silver Wolf. The guilds are… they’re different types of communities for mages, each one focused on a distinct cause or goal. Silver Wolf studies artifacts and technology, both magical and mundane. We’re a group of scientists and engineers, basically. Vandrad here is also second in command of another guild called Fairy Tail, which is an ally of Silver Wolf. They…” She frowned softly and turned to Vandrad. “Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what their goal is, actually.” Since Mercury wasn’t a member, she didn’t have knowledge about some of the darker aspects of her fiance’s guild, which they had managed to keep locked up tight enough that not even she had stumbled across such information. So she would let the prince answer that however he thought appropriate.

    Zemenar would nod his quiet understanding, taking the information in and listening respectfully before carrying on. “And the two of you, you’re engaged, is that right?”

    “Yeah,” she told him softly, finally smiling a little and looking over at Vandrad as she took his hand in hers and held it gently.

    It brought another smile of his own back to Zemenar’s face, the older man clearly happy just to know that his daughter was happy. “How did the two of you meet? If it’s okay for me to ask…”

    WORDS: 1940/8041 | @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 - Page 2 Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 10th January 2022, 10:44 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars - Page 2 MkPvAydM_o

    There was a deafening pause of surprise when Mercury revealed that she was sure the Xocili had already learned the languages of Ishgar from Khelben. Given that it had only been a few hours since they last laid eyes on the extraterrestrials, it was hard to believe that they would already be that tempered in the language, let alone master a magic that would grant them the self-same study. Vandrad and Gren shared a look, both realizing that they had been so focused on finding Mercury that they had failed to let the rest of the family know just how Mercury’s people were like. Luckily the Silver Wolf Ace took it upon herself to fill in the blanks, explaining the reason why the Nazru had hunted them down and what that actually meant. It was a rather straightforward explanation, even if the knowledge of it was vastly complicated. The du Wolffs listened steadily, truly transfixed on the information that was being passed to them. “A perfect mixture of organic and synthetic,” Themesycia wondered aloud as she looked at Mercury with newfound interest, though that quickly faded back into familiarity. “You continue to be a marvel, Mercury.”

    “As a scientist, the idea of your people evolving would be considered downright miraculous. Oh I have such questions for you!” Ever said with a warm smile, giving a small applause of excitement.

    “And of course miraculous comes in a gorgeous package,” Simon threw in, giving Mercury a small toast with his glass in hand.

    “But it does answer a lot of questions we had concerning you. Brings clarity -- but doesn’t change our opinion, mind you. We still love you as much as we did when you burst into the gala and made your grand entrance,” the duchess followed up with a small laugh.

    “Vandrad and I uh… kinda already knew. But we were so distracted with tryin’ to find him and then her that it kinda just slipped our minds,” Gren cut in, bashfully admitting the truth.

    “Well shame on you,” Themesycia said, leaning over to give him a playful smack on the shoulder. “I’ll have to think of some way to punish you.”

    After the small humorous conversation came to a close and Mercury remarking that she should go and check on her people, the entirety of the group went through the portal to the island. Once there, they were treated to the glowing sight of its expansive city, rising up over the main road and topped, like a crown, with a palace at the top. Mercury murmured to Vandrad about the extravagance of it all and wondered what it would be like when Themesycia went all out. "You’ve seen it. My engagement party,” he reminded her. "Though even then, I imagine that was her holding back just to mess with me.”

    “Oh you’ve no idea,” the duchess chimed in, having overheard Vandrad’s portion of the conversation. “Those were for women I didn’t care about at all. Just try and imagine the size and grandeur of the one I’m going to throw for you two. That and the bachelorette party.”

    "We don’t need any bachelorette or bachelor parties, mother,” the prince was quick to cut her off.

    But she was having none of it. “It is hardly about need, darling,” she shut him down and then changed the subject, so that he couldn’t protest further. “What you’re seeing up there isn’t actually the palace -- or rather, it’s not fully. It’s part of the communal flower garden I had put in up there; think of it like a large, grand gazebo of sorts. A metaphorical and literal crown upon the city below, christening it and its people. The manor is just beyond that. A bit smaller than the one in Bellum but I also had it built into the side of the mountain so it goes down several levels. Oh, just you wait until you see the club I have put in there.” The duchess was absolutely brimming with excitement, the sensation washing over her vibrantly and glowingly. It was clear that getting the secret off her shoulders had been a godsend, allowing her to showcase her love letter to her family and to the people she hoped to help.

    As the rest of the group walked a different path down the street, Vandrad and Mercury stuck together. The Xocili people were out in force, having begun to adapt to the living situation that had been gifted them. It was clear that the Silver Wolf Ace was unsure how to feel or act around her own people and if Vandrad recalled correctly, she really hadn’t spent much time around her own race. The prince stayed close, keeping her hand in his to provide support. A few of the Xocili approached them as they went, introducing themselves and proving that they had, in fact, already adapted the native language by speaking it fluently to the pair. There was an unfamiliarity in them about their situations though. They had settled in, that much was obvious, but there was the lingering dreamlike state that they all shared. Each one of them didn’t seem to truly believe that they were there, that the joined nightmare they had all been part of was over. And who could blame them for thinking like that. Only time could heal that wound and help all of them adjust and move forward.

    Mercury’s name was spoken and there stood Zemenar, a ball of nerves and anxiousness that swiftly infected the Silver Wolf Ace, leaving the father and daughter unsure of how to proceed accordingly. Deciding to pivot slightly, he turned his attention to Vandrad and introduced himself, as they hadn’t had the time to make any origination of one another. "Vandrad,” he said, offering his hand to the man. Zemenar thanked him for his family’s actions, stating that the entirety of the people were grateful for the gifts and care, even if they were still learning how to appreciate it fully. "No need to thank us. My mother… well, my entire family has always been charitable and welcoming to those that deserve it. And there’s little doubt you and your people deserve it.”

    Zemenar looked back to Mercur, wondering if he could take a little of her time to talk with her and actually get to know her. The Silver Wolf Ace was happy to, having intended on meeting up with him anyways. Though unsure of how to properly advance beyond just the idea, Mercury suggested that they could stay in the street or go to the home that Zemenar had chosen for himself. Opting for that choice, he brought them a few streets over to his home, taking the time to give them a tour, as the buildings were still as new to Mercury and Vandrad as they were to the Xocili. Once they had finished, they came to rest in the living room, the engaged pair on the couch and Zemenar on one of the armchairs. Still unsure of how to go about it, the man asked Mercury to tell him about herself or to ask questions -- really whatever she was feeling.

    The Silver Wolf Ace admitted she had a few but felt she could provide some information before getting to that. She spoke about her position within Silver Wolf and what guilds were and stood for and what Silver Wolf itself had established as its goal. She mentioned that Vandrad was also second in command at Fairy Tail and admitted she didn’t quite know what Fairy Tail’s goal was. "It provides a home for those that don’t know where home is. Though it is a guild for those that wish to fulfill mercenary work, it is also there to protect their own. Not as aggressively as it did in the past but still, to a point.” he explained to the two of them.

    Zemenar turned the topic to them, confirming that they were engaged. As Mercury validated his assumption, the older man asked about how they had met. Well, that was complicated. How did Vandrad put this graciously? "We were tasked to complete a job together. She saw how I… was and it amused her so she decided to keep coming around. Over time, we formed somewhat of a kinship, an equally measured partnership. That became something even more after that,” he explained, glancing over to Mercury and giving her a slightly impish smirk, even as he squeezed her hand.

    But there were some things weighing on his mind and before they got too deep into any kind of formative conversation between father and daughter, he felt he needed to clear the air. "In regards to my… near actions yesterday,” Vandrad said, his humor disappearing momentarily. "I wish to apologize. I know that Khelben was only acting as he thought it right to protect all of you. I was still caught up in the emotion of seeing Mercury again so I jumped to conclusions and almost made a hasty mistake. I sincerely beg your forgiveness.”

    Once that small, very serious bit had cleared, he continued. "And the Xocili people are truly welcome to stay here or travel elsewhere in the world. Whatever you all desire to do is yours to embark on. The du Wolffs charge no payment for housing and protecting you. But should you remain here, I just wanted you to know that my family is… different than most families. They are very familiar, very… flirtatious.” How does one explain that his family was made up of whores? "They are caring, generous and well intentioned. But they can get rambunctious. Just let them know what you are and aren’t comfortable being around and they’ll adjust accordingly.” Vandrad had a sneaking suspicion that, now that the dread had begun to filter away, Themesycia would be yearning to throw a more jovial feast to welcome the Xocili people. And he and Mercury knew very well how his family could get.






    Words: 1661/6416 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 23rd January 2022, 10:53 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 - Page 2 Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 12th January 2022, 5:42 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    “Bachelorette party?” Mercury asked curiously, not immediately familiar with such events even if she understood the individual terms associated with it. Mercury had been to two weddings in her time on Earthland, one for a complete stranger and one for Mura, but she had very little exposure to the engagement process of the whole affair and the kind of things that happened leading up to a wedding. There were some things she had picked up from Serilda and Mythal, but the truth was that the other couple was often so busy with other things that they really had not gotten to plan much of their own wedding yet, the date continuing to be pushed off as more things came up that they had to address.

    As Vandrad insisted that neither of them needed such parties, Mercury quickly looked up some brief details about what typically happened at such affairs. It did not take long for her to make a mental note that she was definitely going to have one, and she would do everything in her power to make sure Vandrad did too, if only because she knew that would annoy him. Themesycia informed them that the large building they were seeing at the top of the hill wasn’t the palace, but rather a communal garden for everyone to enjoy, while the manor lay beyond it – a building she described as being not quite as big as the home in Bellum but having been built right into the cliffside. It also apparently had a club that rivaled the one in Bellum. “Now that I’m going to have to see… Maybe for my bachelorette party.” Mercury gave Themmy a wink.

    After that, everyone went their different ways with Mercury and Vandrad moving along the streets of her people until her father found them. He took a moment to introduce himself to his future son-in-law, shaking the hand when it was offered to him. After a brief moment of them awkwardly deciding how and where to tend to their long overdue reunion, the trio moved to Zemenar’s new home and got themselves situated. Vandrad explained a little about what Fairy Tail stood for after Mercury gave him a moment to fill in those blanks for her, and soon enough the topic had moved on to something that Zemenar likely was far more interested in learning about: the couple’s engagement.

    Vandrad gave some brief details of how their journey had started, though it was obvious he was trying to word things in a more tactful and delicate fashion. She smirked up at him when he was done, squeezing his hand back and adding, “That’s his polite way of trying to say that he was grumpy and antisocial and I’m a relentless pest. He didn’t really want much to do with me after that first job, and I didn’t exactly give him much of an option. Us becoming a thing was… honestly the last thing either of us expected, but here we are.”

    The smile on Zemenar’s face was soft and content, the older man just happy for something good happening. “Well… congratulations to you both. Who knew I’d be getting my daughter back, and my freedom, and also getting a son-in-law all on the same day?” He chuckled quietly. “When is the big day?”[/color]

    “Oh, uh… we haven’t really gotten that far yet. We only just got engaged about a week or so before Khel… before I was brought back to the flotilla.” Well, that topic was a great way to ruin the mood. The atmosphere sobered up slightly as Mercury did her best not to talk about Khelben in a tone that would come across as back talking about him to his father. The two Xocili shifted with some slight discomfort. Thankfully, it was Vandrad who elected to forge ahead on that topic in a manner that surprised Mercury, as the prince apologized about his treatment of Khelben the day before. As Vandrad explained it, he was running high off of adrenaline and emotions and very nearly made a very bad mistake, even asking for Zemenar’s forgiveness.

    From there he explained that the Xocili were welcome to stay on the island and make it their new home if they chose, or to move and travel as they desired. They would never be asked for reimbursement for housing or security, as the du Wolffs were more of the mind that they should be providing for those under their care. However, Vandrad did want to give them a heads up that his family was a bit more promiscuous than most cultures were accustomed to, and that if it ever got too much he wanted the Xocili know that it was appropriate to draw lines in the sand and set boundaries that would be respected.

    “Oh. Well, uh… thank you for the advanced notice. That is definitely different from what our people have experienced in quite some time. I don’t think it will be a problem, but I’ll try to keep an eye on them and make sure they feel comfortable speaking up if any of them are put off by it.” It was obvious that Zemenar perhaps didn’t quite get Vandrad’s insinuation about his family, but surely it wouldn’t take too long for him to figure it out, so for now they left that understanding where it was.

    “As far as Khelben is concerned…” The older man slouched a little in his seat, a downcast countenance taking him over. “I understood your reasons for being upset. He did, too. The type of position he was placed in is not easy, and I’m afraid I only made that harder on him.” Zemenar stopped for a moment to collect his thoughts, building himself up to touch on a topic that was not just painful but painfully fresh. Fortunately for him, he had been alive for quite some time and he didn’t require as much forethought to sift through his emotions as his much younger daughter. “I don’t know how much Mercury told you about the structure the Nazru put on us. We had a number of different responsibilities. Scouts, like Mercury. Collectors like Khelben who were sent to retrieve Scouts that weren’t performing their duties efficiently. Watchers, whose job it was to receive reports from the Scouts and alert the Nazru of any suspicious activity.”

    “I was the Enforcer. My job was to… process… any rebellious members of our people and keep them in line. The Nazru wanted me to handle it a particular way, because they got a sick enjoyment out of not just hurting us themselves but making us hurt each other.” A small tear trickled its way down his cheek, and Zemenar allowed it to stay without wiping it away. “Most of Mercury’s injuries were… put there by me, I’m afraid.

    “I wasn’t always in that position; there used to be another Enforcer before me, but a group of Xocili attempted and succeeded at escape, and while I am eternally grateful that some of them managed to make it out, the rebellion did not go over well for the rest of us. A lot more of our people were killed that day as examples, including the former Enforcer, and I was placed in that position in his stead. It was made abundantly clear to me that any further outbreaks would result in them finishing the massacre they had started. So when that happened, I made sure Khelben understood that he needed to operate by the book without exception. The last thing I wanted, the thing I feared most, was having one of my own children in that chair in front of me.”

    The large man continued to cry silently, the tears dripping slowly down his face as he miraculously continued to speak in a calm and controlled voice. “I never told him he had a sister. When Scylla… my wife… when we learned she was pregnant, it was not long before we tried to gather up as many women and children as possible and send them out on a sanctuary ship ahead of the rest of us, hoping to give them a head start and keep them off the radars. Khelben was in the military and fighting far away from me. By the time I saw him again, the ship Syclla had been on had already been attacked, and I knew she was dead. I never knew what had become of the child she bore. Enough time had passed for Mercury to have been born and even be a toddler, but I didn’t know if she had died in the attack or if the Nazru had scooped her up with the other children they had taken in. At that point it seemed cruel to tell Khelben that he may have also lost a sister along with his mother and the rest of our family… so I kept it to myself. Figured if he didn’t know, it couldn’t hurt him…”

    After a moment, he looked up to Vandrad, meeting the prince’s eyes with kindness, if also sadness. “We’ve all had to do a lot of awful things to keep our people alive, and a lot of Khelben’s drive to not falter was because of ideals I instilled in him out of necessity. The Nazru are ultimately to blame, of course, but after that it comes down to me and how I instructed him. He’s a good man, and a good son that always treated his parents with respect and deference. He didn’t want to disappoint me or make things worse, either for me or his people. Just like you did everything in your considerable power to make sure you were protecting my daughter. You don’t owe me any apologies, Vandrad. You’ve been taking care of my little girl and giving her the life I always wanted her to have, a life that she had been robbed of since before she was even born, and there is nothing more important or meaningful to me than that… but thank you all the same for staying your hand. I know he will put every effort into trying to make things right, however he can.”

    If only either of them knew how difficult, if not impossible, of a task that would be. There was a certain numbness within Mercury over the subject of Khelben, the woman having so deeply repressed the memories of what had happened to her on the trip to the flotilla that it was almost more like it had happened to someone else, the memory hazy and patchy even as slight flutterings of anger and anxiety wrestled for breath beneath the otherwise emptiness of her emotions on the topic.

    Thankfully the topic didn’t linger. Instead, they moved on to other, less sobering dialogue as the three of them chatted for quite some time. Mercury took the opportunity to learn more about her homeworld and her culture, expanding on what little knowledge Khelben had given her before so she could start to form some kind of identity among her people. She learned that her mother was somewhat of a celebrity among her people as a singer and songwriter, and the last song she wrote and shared with Xocil was the one that Mercury knew. And much like Mercury, Scylla had been a bit of a playful scamp that had liked to keep Zemenar on his toes, and “feeling young” as he put it. Even after two decades there was no mistaking how much her father missed his late wife, the pain of her untimely and unfair death still strong on his heart and mind.

    Likewise, Mercury and Vandrad shared a few tales of their own. And while Mercury still took plenty of moments to tease him in her usual way, she did so with a much more reserved approach. Since neither of them knew Zemenar as well as they did Vandrad’s family, she didn’t want to humiliate the prince in front of a man who was barely more than a stranger. Zemenar asked a lot of questions about magic and the sciences on Earthland, curious about how it compared to what they had known on Xocil. The affianced pair did their best to explain a bit about religion as well, though Zemenar had about as difficult of a time truly processing the concept as Mercury had.

    It did bring them toward a specific item that she did wish to share with him, however. “You should know that while Earthland is a very welcoming a beautiful place, it is not without it’s darkness. And unfortunately, while I’ve made a lot of wonderful friends and even built family here out of people that are extremely powerful and influential… that does mean that we have our own share of enemies as well.”

    She gave Vandrad a small look and carried on. “Vandrad has a feeling that one of our enemies may be striking soon, and trying to take advantage of us while we are recovering. With any luck you will all be safe here. As far as I am aware, no one except us is aware of this island, but we should make sure everyone is prepared nonetheless. I don’t want anyone to be hurt, not when we all finally found our freedom. And I do know at least one of the people we are fighting is another extraterrestrial that is a bit of a mad scientist type who would kill a lot of people to get his hands on one of us to examine…”

    WORDS: 2257/10,298 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    Last edited by Mercury Arseneault on 23rd January 2022, 10:53 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 - Page 2 Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 12th January 2022, 6:50 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars - Page 2 MkPvAydM_o

    Of course Mercury was quick to clarify the truth behind their meeting, speaking in far more plain terms to the origin of their relationship. It hardly surprised him and he gave her a side-eye that was far more amused than annoyed, especially at the mention that they both had no intention of becoming ‘a thing’ as she put it. Zemenar was fairly entertained by it and offered his congratulations to the both of them, amused and thrilled that he wasn’t just getting a daughter back but a son-in-law as well. Of course, he had to know when the wedding was planned for, a matter that hadn’t even been reasonably discussed. It had been such a short time since they’d even gotten engaged and barely any downtime to even think about all the planning that went into it.

    As Vandrad took the time to express his regret and apologies for putting Khelben in such a precarious situation, as well as give the man and his people fair warning to how liberal his family could be. Zemenar didn’t seem to quite grasp the full context of what Vandrad was saying but there was little he could do to clarify or define it without coming across as vulgar. As much as that usually wouldn’t give him pause, he also didn’t want to intimidate or worry Zemenar or the rest of the Xocili. His family meant well; they were just a little loose in their morals and partner obligations. The prince supposed that they would just have to see for themselves and who knew when or where that would happen. Most likely sooner rather than later, if Vandrad understood his family well enough.

    Zemenar turned the subject back to Khelben, admitting that he understood why Vandrad had so hastily ‘drawn arms’ in a way. The older Xocili admitted that life hadn’t been easy for Mercury’s apparent brother and he hadn’t done much of a job in helping to ease that. He went on to explain a bit of how the Xocili had been ‘structured’ by the Nazru, a caste system if he ever heard one. It seemed there were Scouts and Collectors; he understood that Scout was what Mercury had been and from that was able to discern what their duties were. Considering what Khelben had done, and the name itself, it was not hard to figure out what a Collector’s responsibilities were either. Zemenar, however, was an Enforcer, whose job it was to ‘process’ rebellious members of their people and set them back on the right path. It seemed the Nazru insisted on it being that way, as they got a sick enjoyment out of watching the Xocili hurt their own. He admitted, solemnly, that he had been the one responsible for most of Mercury’s more recent injuries.

    Apparently he had only earned the position because the last Enforcer had escaped with a group of Xocili. The arrogance of the subjugated had infuriated the masters and they had put numerous Xocili to the sword to set an example. Zemenar was told that any further rebellion would result in the full genocide of the Xocili people and, as such, the pressure of keeping his people safe had overtaken any moral obligation of resisting subjugation. He’d instructed Khelben to follow the rules that had been handed down to them to the letter, as he couldn’t stand the thought of one of his children becoming one of his torments. It must have been truly heartbreaking to realize that Mercury had been his and the agony of what he had done to her was, surely, something that would stick with him for the rest of his days. Tears flowed down his cheeks despite his calm speech, a true showcase of the pain he was feeling inside. He explained that he’d never told Khelben about the possibility of having a sister because as far as he knew, he hadn’t. Their mother had put on a ship to escape from the coming Nazru but it had fallen and Syclla had been killed. He never knew what happened to the daughter she was due to birth but to protect Khelben’s already aching heart, he had chosen to keep the knowledge of Mercury’s existence to himself. That way he would be protected. As he met Vandrad’s gaze, he insisted that they were all culpable for actions against their own people, for their own people’s safety. Khelben’s loyalty was something that had been established by Zemenar’s insistence, even if the Nazru were ultimately the ones to blame. But as he saw it, the prince had no reason to apologize -- he’d been protecting Mercury for years and giving her the kind of freedom that other Xocili could only dream about. But he thanked him for the apology, stating that Khelben would do everything he could to make things right.

    There was a ripple of anxiousness that rumbled through Mercury, the tiniest of fluctuations that hinted at something else below the surface. Vandrad’s eyes flicked to her briefly before returning to meet Zemenar’s full on. "You did what you had to do to protect your child and your people. It’s… complicated, I understand but I understand why you did it. And I doubt Khelben holds any blame for you over it.” After all, if he’d insisted on rebellion, there was little doubt that the Xocili would be but a memory.

    The conversation moved on, each side sharing stories and facts about one another, so as to better get to know each other. There was plenty to learn about Earthland, even if the weight of the ‘religious’ aspects would take some time to understand, as it had for Mercury. Since they were already on the topic, Mercury felt compelled to bring up the concern that Vandrad had already shared with her. She informed Zemenar that while there were a lot of positives about the world, there were also negatives -- and enemies waiting to strike. She shared what the prince had told her, wanting to give Zemenar and the Xocili fair warning of the potential danger that may be coming their way. She believed the island would be safe, as its existence had only recently been revealed, but there was still the need to prepare everyone just in case.

    "I’ve spoken to my mother and aunt and we’re going to dispel the portal to here from our home in Bellum. In the instance that anyone manages to sneak onto the du Wolff compound, we don’t want them to gain access to you and your people. After all, they would be seeking some kind of deceptive manner of gaining knowledge or launching an attack -- they wouldn’t dare come at my mother in open combat. They wouldn’t last long enough to regret their decisions.” Without any means of getting to the island, the Dread Masters wouldn’t be able to pinpoint it. That would keep the Xocili safe, even if things became far worse than expected.

    Speaking of his mother… "I suspect my mother is planning on throwing some kind of extravagant feast to properly welcome you all to Earthland and to the island. She rarely needs much of an excuse to have a party. We should probably go and find out what she has planned, just to be prepared for what awaits us.” Though it was hardly the danger that the Dread Masters bore, it was still something that Vandrad felt was better known than unknown.






    Words: 1238/7,654 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 23rd January 2022, 10:54 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 - Page 2 Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 15th January 2022, 3:59 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    It was a genuine moment of bonding between the two men, as Zemenar shamelessly poured his heart out about many of the hardships he had faced over the last several years and Vandrad reassured him that there was no judgement being put his way over actions he had been forced to take, whether from Vandrad or Zemenar’s children. Mercury agreed silently, giving her father a gentle nod as she looked him in the eyes. She hadn’t held anything against him even while he had been torturing her, the young woman knowing that if he’d had a choice in the matter he would not have laid a hand on her. The fact that he’d turned out to be her dad changed nothing about her stance.

    They talked for some time, the three swapping stories and striving to find common ground with one another, as well as to start to give Zemenar an idea of what his new home was like. And while there was certainly a plethora of positive and exciting things about Earthland, it would be unfair to size the planet up as being without any dark parts. The Xocili people had to be warned that their saviors had plenty of enemies of their own, and more importantly that many of those enemies would not hesitate to take a shot while the du Wolffs and their allies were weak. Add to that the fact that one of those penned against them was also not of this world and knew who the Xocili were… well, things would get complicated for the refugees real damn fast if they weren’t prepared.

    So Mercury had thought it best to be upfront with her father about not necessarily being out of danger just yet, even if the threat was from a different source. Zemenar frowned slightly in thought as he listened carefully, his eyes shifting to Vandrad as the prince added that he had arranged with his mother and aunt to keep the portal between the island and Bellum closed so that there was little to no chance that anyone might sneak through to the safe haven and their people – and it was espionage that Vandrad suspected would be the issue, as no sane person would ever challenge his mother outright. Zemenar nodded, a contemplative look on his face. “For the sake of what’s left of our people, I do appreciate that… though I feel that many of us would not hesitate to take the opportunity to repay the kindness of you and your family by helping to protect your home as you protect and liberated the rest of us. If there is anything we can do to help, please tell us. We have a long way to go to recovery, but… having some kind of purpose again, some kind of healthy connection with other people… well, I think that would be a start.”

    Vandrad continued, explaining that his mother was most likely planning some kind of banquet for that night in order to truly welcome the Xocili to their new home, which did sound exactly like something Themmy would be doing. While it had been nice spending a couple hours with Zemenar and laying the ground work for a more meaningful relationship, the prince suggested that they should go check with the duchess to see what sort of plans had been laid, if only so that the beleaguered and traumatized people could have some forewarning of what to expect. “Your mother does like to have a good time.”

    Standing to her feet, she stretched a bit to loosen up from sitting too long. Zemenar rose as well, looking perhaps a little sad at having to part ways for the moment but understanding that he couldn’t expect to hog all of their time. “I should go check on Khelben and the others, anyway. We’ve been working on putting a signal together to send to others that are out in the field to let them know what happened, and where they can find the rest of us. I’ll pass along some of the information you gave me, too, so they aren’t caught completely by surprise if something should happen.”

    “We’ll make sure to look into getting you guys property outfitted with weapons and supplies just in case. Hopefully you’ll never need to use them, but I’d rather we’re prepared.”

    “Thank you. Both of you.” He stood there for a moment more, clearly trying to figure out the best way to say farewell. The struggle lasted only a moment as he looked at Mercury and elected to throw caution to the wind, pulling her into a firm embrace and holding her for a long time. Mercury was slightly awkward to the touch, but only briefly as she let go of her trepidation and returned the gesture, holding her father close and allowing herself to open up to yet another relationship she never thought she’d be able to have. When they finally broke apart, he kept his hands on her shoulders briefly, smiling down at her warmly with a resonating aura of peace and relief and joy that he hadn’t felt for a very, very long time.

    Then, the couple was on their way, off to locate Vandrad’s parents and to finish their own tour of the island, which they also hadn’t really gotten a chance to explore yet. As they walked, Mercury was practically glowing, the woman holding contentedly to Vandrad’s arm and finding it very difficult to keep a small smile off her face. Things weren’t perfect, certainly, and there was still quite a bit of danger for the future but for now everything finally felt right, and she couldn’t escape how light that made her feel.

    It didn’t take terribly long to track Themesycia down, the two of them confirming pretty quickly that the duchess was already headlong into preparations for a feast that night. Thankfully, it was going to be a casual affair. While Mercury was certain that it would be no trouble for Themmy to supply everyone with fancy clothing – and certainly the Xocili were long overdue for new wardrobes that included clean garments – Mercury didn’t want to put so much change on them too quickly. A big outdoor gathering with lots of food, music and nature would be more than enough to lift her people’s spirits and begin the healing process.

    Soon enough, the sun was beginning to wane in the sky and everyone found themselves gathered in one location on the island where a large bonfire roared. There was plenty of food to spare, and as usually Themmy had spared no expense in her generosity. Live music was being performed and, with the example of many members of the Bellum household, the Xocili people slowly but surely found themselves opening up to the relaxing atmosphere and the dancing and drinking. Many of them even chose to allow themselves to get drunk and a little rambunctious, though not to the point of belligerence.

    It wasn’t long before the feast had started that Serilda had woken up, still a bit groggy and tired but otherwise alert and on her feet. She and Mythal went home briefly to check on the girls, clean up, and change clothes. When they arrived at the feast a little late, it was with the wolves and the infants in tow. If the noblewoman noticed how many of the Xocili stared at her from afar, still processes her display of incalculable power the day before from her and Vandrad’s wiping out the Nazru in seconds flat, the noblewoman didn’t show it. Mercury gave the woman a fierce hug the first moment she got, since Serilda was really the only one involved in the rescue efforts that she hadn’t gotten to thank yet.

    And as the night moved on and her people got more and more into the swing of the celebration, Mercury got some real exposure to her culture. It really started going when Mercury learned a bit about a few of the instruments that the Xocili used to have, many of which were electronic in nature. That of course meant that with proper schematics to follow, the Silver Wolf ace was easily able to craft many of them out of thin air with her magic, much to the continued wonderment of the others. Those who still remembered how to play took very little time to pick the instruments back up, and soon not only was everyone being treated to the music of the Xocili, but some of their native dances as well. It was then that the veil of tension finally began to lift, many of them finding comfort in familiar things that they had nearly forgotten, and taking much joy and pride in teaching their dances and music to not just Mercury, but the Rhaegarian and Earthlanders as well. Mercury soaked up the experience like a sponge, more than happy to throw herself into the thick of it and to drag Vandrad along with her – and sometimes Gren and the rest of her future in-laws. And for the first time in her entire life thus far…

    She finally felt like she belonged.

    WORDS: 1529/11,827 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    Last edited by Mercury Arseneault on 23rd January 2022, 10:54 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 - Page 2 Empty Re: Rewrite the Stars

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 15th January 2022, 6:54 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Rewrite the Stars - Page 2 MkPvAydM_o

    Zemenar was appreciative of their efforts to protect the Xocili people from any repercussions coming towards Mercury or Vandrad. But he also insisted that if they asked for help, they would find assistance. They wanted a means to help repay the kindness that had been brought to them. "No repayment is necessary, especially one that could put you or the rest of the Xocili in danger. The only thing I want you to be concerned about is taking care of your own for now. We’ll do everything in our power to prevent any danger from coming to you but I’ll still feel better if you’re aware of the dangers and prepared for it. My family and Mercury surely feel the same way.” The last thing Vandrad wanted was these poor people to be subjected to a war that they had no part in. They had just gotten their first taste of freedom and it wouldn’t be right to recruit them against the Dread Masters, even unintentionally.

    Speaking of the prince’s, it seemed time to go and check up on her and see where they had progressed to on the island. Zemenar was, understandably, a bit sad that he was losing more time to spend bonding with his daughter but he seemed to know that he couldn’t keep her grounded forever. He expressed his interest in going to check on the rest of the people, including Khelben, as they had been working on something to communicate their freedom to the Xocili people still spread out among the stars. Mercury told him that they would make sure that they gave them supplies and arms to hold onto, just in case the worst came to pass. After another awkward moment between the two, finally the older Xocili took the initiative and hugged his daughter to him, embracing her with all the emotion one could have after all the years spent apart and unknowing of one another’s existence. The Silver Wolf Ace melted into it after a brief moment, breaking down her walls and letting her emotions flow.

    As they left to find his family, Vandrad couldn’t help but notice the simmering happiness that was emanating off of Mercury. Her smile was soft but there was an aura about her of lightness and contentment. For the moment, she couldn’t help but grab hold of the happiness and peace that was being gifted to her, appreciating it fully. The prince was honestly moved by it, enthused to see her happy without strings attached, enjoying herself without the overhanging threat of what lay above. There was still much to be concerned about in the future, yes but they were matters that they were already aware of and could make proper preparations later. For the moment, Mercury had earned her happiness and by his own admissions, she should enjoy it and it seemed she truly was.

    They caught up to his family somewhere near the middle of the steep city and Themesycia was more than happy to continue guiding them all with the new inclusion. Their trek took them to the top of the island, where the massive garden structure and the garden itself lay. It was a beautiful, colorful set of beds, already lined with several bright flowers from all across Ishgar. Beyond was the manor that Themesycia had insisted was smaller than their current home. She may have been technically correct, as it didn’t spread out backwards as much as the du Wolff manor in Bellum but it certainly had more of a palace feel than a ‘manor’. There were still portions of it being worked on but the rooms that had been finished were furnished as well. The duchess led all of them to the rooms she had established for them and it was then that Mercury stole Vandrad away, retreating to Themesycia’s room while the rest of the group was busy and stealing a quick moment for the two of them to get reacquainted in a quick but needed hook up. Normally Vandrad would have attempted to shut down such an insinuation, especially in his mother’s room, but there was little denying that he needed that closeness with her just as much as she needed it.

    Eventually they caught up and finished the tour, just in time for the sun to begin its descent and the feast only a few hours away. The duchess had already asked the cooks and the manor workers to set up a large bonfire near the harbor waters, wanting to provide the Xocili a casual but exciting event that they could very easily get back home from after they’d had their fill. Once the cool evening sky had painted itself over the roof of the world, the call to festivities was given out for all to come and join. Music cheerily played in the air as the du Wolff clan and the Xocili came together to feast and be entertained. The selection of food and drink was even more vast than the night before, the cooks sparing no expense and whipping up some of their finest selections. As time went on, the Xocili’s even began to join the joyous atmosphere with a bit more lightness and even some intoxication. And even Serilda and Mythal joined, the latter having finally awakened from her rest and wishing to see how everyone fared.

    The Xocili opened up much more than anyone anticipated, as they spoke of the music they once played on their home world. As they described their instruments, Mercury was able to craft them using her magic, amazing her peers with both her ability and generosity. In no time, the new residents of the island had overtaken the music with their own and were performing their own dances, the du Wolff clan happy to watch and take in the joy that was being felt by the former slaves. Of course, VAndrad was dragged to his feet more times than he cared to normally but oddly found himself happy to participate, if only to spend more time with Mercury. Whereas the feast from the night before had been about compensating for the weight of reality and recuperating from a rebellion, this was one about celebrating the future moving forward. And they all felt it deep within them, especially those that finally got to see Mercury without her strings, without her guard and her walls.

    Sometime later in the evening, when everyone had ventured off to bed, either in a drunken haze or yearning for a food coma, Themesycia made her way back to her room, with Gren escorting her. They’d stayed behind to help with cleaning after the feast had settled down. “Well, it’s safe to say that the Xocili sure do know how to cut loose when the mood strikes,” the duchess remarked with a chuckle.

    “Yeah but I doubt they’re ready for your version of ‘cuttin’ loose’,” Gren commented back.

    Themesycia continued to chuckle. “Few are. Vandrad told me he gave Zemenar and the rest of them a fair warning about our particular ways of celebrating. Though I highly doubt he mentioned the fact that Mercury has slept with damn near all of his family, including his father,” she said, shooting the former Knight a glance. “And here I thought you would feel all honor bound not to fool around with your son’s fiance.”

    “Hey, hey, she was not his fiance at the time. There were no lines drawn,” Gren insisted, his speech a bit slurred. He’d had a decent amount to drink and was feeling quite good about himself. “Besides, just between the two of us, it’s hard to say no to her, huh?”

    “Oh I’ve just made it a point never to say no to her. Luckily she just never says no to me either,” Themesycia shared with a wicked, impish grin. “I’m glad that you’re feeling more… casual about those kinds of things. Once upon a time, you were ready to drop to a knee for me after only one night.”

    Gren shrugged. “It’s been a long time, Themmy. I’ve been with plenty of other women since you.”

    The duchess raised a brow curiously. “Oh my, I do hope they provided some juicy stories.”

    “Not as juicy as ya might think,” he admitted.

    As they came to a stop outside her door, Themesycia turned to face him fully. “Are you still planning on staying in the guest chambers tonight? I wasn’t sure if you were going to head out, now that Vandrad and Mercury are back and safe.”

    “You heard Van. I don’t think I can let my guard down anytime soon. Best I stick near you and the rest of them. Better protection in numbers, ya?”

    She nodded. “Agreed.” After a moment she chuckled and leaned in a little, drawing her hand over his arm. “It was… quite the sight to see you fighting again. I was brought back all those years ago, when I was a younger woman.”

    Gren smiled back at her. “You ain’t that woman anymore. Ain’t anyone here that racked up a bigger body count than you on that ship. You were… dazzlin’ to watch, Themmy. I always knew you were strong but damn if it wasn’t somethin’ to see.”

    “Mmm you always had a way with words,” she hummed pleasantly. Realizing that she was getting perhaps a bit too familiar for his comfortability, she let her hand drop back down to her side momentarily. “It’s probably best if we each get some rest. We’ve had quite a bit to drink.” With that said, she lifted her hand up to his face and drew him down gently so that she could give him a gentle but lingering kiss on the cheek. “Rest easy, Gren.”

    And frankly, Themesycia was fine leaving it there. He’d drawn his line in the sand months ago, insisting he wasn’t interested in restarting any kind of spark between them. As much as it pained her to think she’d never get a second chance at her ‘what if’, she respected the man too much to encroach on it. Giving him a gentle and warm smile, she turned and reached for the door, ready to let herself in and most likely relieve herself of the tension of being so close to the handsome man. Imagine her surprise when his hand reached around her waist and practically twirled her like a professional dancer. As she came back around, eyes wide in surprise, she found his lips on hers, his musk and the sweet scent of wine filling her nostrils and the taste of him on her mouth. She barely realized what was happening before her arms naturally swung up to wrap around his neck, the duchess pressing herself against him tightly as she deepened the kiss, now unwilling to let him go.

    Luckily, departing was the last thing on his mind. Reaching a hand down to cup her rear -- earning him a surprised chuckle against his mouth -- he used his free hand to push open her door and carry her into the bedroom, clearly not planning on staying in the guest room. Farther down the hall, Hosrius was out on one of the public balconies, pulling up a communication device. As it flickered to life, the holographic image of a figure appeared. Dressed in heavy armor, with a white hood and a skull-like mask, the glowing yellow eyes shifted slightly. “Hosrius, this is a surprise.”

    “Not a pleasant one, I’m sad to say. I’ve gotten confirmation that Maker is, in fact, still alive. It looks like my perfect record can be crossed off,” the extraterrestrial confirmed, his voice low and soft. “I figured I should let you know before I let the Taskmasters know.”

    The figure was quiet for a moment, processing the information. “And you’re sure it’s him?”

    “I didn’t see it with my own eyes but I have a trustworthy source. They’re sure.”

    “Vun'bicn,” the figure swore. Then, after another brief moment of consideration. “Don’t tell the Taskmasters. We both know what they’ll do to you if you failed a bounty. We’ll handle this together.”

    Hosrius looked surprised by that. “I thought you didn’t want to get involved.”

    “I didn’t. But this is clearly fate telling me I can’t avoid it. It was cowardly to send someone to kill my brother in the first place. I need to make things right. Send me your coordinates.”

    But not everyone was celebrating or making intergalactic calls. Miles away, beyond the borders of Bellum, Scourge was busying himself looking for records. The Dread Master had found a secret stash of protected information, a cache of knowledge that the Dread Masters had hidden away even from their own order. To say that all of it was interesting and worth looking over was an understatement but Scourge was looking for something in particular. His finger traced along the locked boxes, the man humming to himself as his eyes scanned the room. “Now if I were a hidden box of information pertaining to Ataxia, where would I be..?” he wondered aloud to himself.

    Unfortunately he wouldn’t get a chance to check. A sharp pain shot through his mind, causing him to grimace and grab at his temple. The old familiar system of alerting Dread Masters that a gathering had been called was unconventional and irksome, to say the least. And while Scourge had half a mind to ignore the summons, he suspected his absence would raise questions he wasn’t prepared to field at the moment. Sighing in resignation, he took one last glance around before he raised his fingers to his forehead. Locating the familiar magical signatures of the Dread Masters took only a moment and then, once locked on, he dematerialized from the vault and reappeared in the base.

    Manifesting into existence among the gathered number of Dread Masters, he glanced over to the one he’d locked onto particularly and smiled. “Thanks for the ride,” he added graciously before another odd sound caught his attention. It came from the inside of his cloak, curiously. Reaching in, he found the device that Mercury had given him -- the customized iLac. Raising a brow, he turned himself slightly and dropped his hand down so that no one else could get a proper look at what it was or what was on the screen. She’d sent him a message some hours before, undoubtedly blocked by how deep in the ground he’d been, letting him know that she and Vandrad were safe. Well that was a relief -- he’d hoped his efforts to provide something of a lead to her whereabouts would pay off. Now, at the very least, the prince of Bellum wouldn’t be on the warpath against him.

    His attention to the message was drawn away as three cloaked forms entered from three distinct hallways. The Triad -- the three Dread Masters that were considered the de facto leaders of the organization. Though it was believed that they answered to someone above them, a shadow superior not unlike what Marka Ragnos used to operate as, though no mention or sign of them had ever been given. The three aligned themselves together in front of the gathered group, even as Scourge quietly pocketed the iLac.

    “The next step in the Vandrad Ragnos conundrum has been decided,” the middle one spoke. “After much research and deliberation, it has been decided that the Union shall move forward as originally planned.”

    The Union. That wasn’t good. Scourge frowned. But the Triad continued. “For too long the Ark has remained unbalanced. It is time to return it to its former glory and reclaim it for our purposes, not those of a reckless half-breed.”

    Half-breed. That was news to Scourge as well. “You’ll have to excuse the interruption,” he spoke up, stepping through the front of the gathered Dread Masters and putting himself in the limited light. “But as the one that is directly involved in the Union, I have some questions. I was led to believe that the Union required more study to be completed against Vandrad’s wishes. And what is this about being a half-breed?”

    “Ah, Scourge. So busy chasing shadows that you haven’t been watching the events unfolding before us. One might think that you’re slacking,” the familiar, sinister voice of Maker came from one of the interceding hallways. There stood the alien, his mask removed for once, looking pleased as punch.

    “And aren’t you looking amused, Maker. I see the cuffs they dragged you away in have been removed,” Scourge remarked to the extraterrestrial. His eyes flicked to the Triad. “I thought my warning about his methods and goals were enough to have his life ended. He’s a far worse threat to our world than most of the gods and demons we’ve come across lately.”

    “Maker has proven his loyalty to this order by providing key information about Vandrad and his associates -- information that you have been sorely lacking in dispensing lately,” one of the Triad replied coldly.

    “Well excuse me for my ever evolving methods. I figured a softer touch was needed,” Scourge dismissed the accusation with a wave of his hand. “After all, I made my plea to Vandrad to surrender peacefully. It seemed a bit heavy handed to make a move on him after such a public attempt on his life”

    “A public attempt on his life followed by the kidnapping of his extraterrestrial fiance and right in front of you even, Scourge. One might be surprised that you wouldn’t have felt compelled to share that with your fellow Dread Masters.”

    How the hell did Maker know that? Scourge’s eyes met the alien’s briefly before melting back into his casual, charming self. “I simply intended to try and utilize the situation for mine and the Dread Masters' benefit. My methods have never been scrutinized before, have they?”

    “Perhaps they should have been,” the first of the Triad spoke once more. “Maker has been candid of his results as of late while yours have been hidden and secretive. But now is the time to prove your loyalty. You know what the Union requires, Scourge -- we expect it to be done. In the meantime, we will enact a plan to wipe out Vandrad’s allies. The du Wolff family has already been marked for extermination and our sources have provided ample evidence for Bellum to denounce them once the act has been done. Mercury Arseneault, the Silver Wolf Ace and Vandrad’s fiance, must also perish. Maker has enlisted fifty of our people to ensure the act is done, as his research on her has proven that she provides very little danger to us.”

    That wasn’t true but fifty was still an enormous amount of people. And there was no telling what state Mercury was in after whatever she had gone through after her kidnapping. “If I may interject. I’m sure Maker has spoken of the… testing we both performed with Mercury. I’ve fought beside her, seen the limits of her ability. She isn’t dangerous at all. Fifty is an exorbitant amount of resources to be used when there is still the matter of Themesycia du Wolff. I’d suggest twenty people to take out Mercury and then use the rest to guarantee Themesycia and the rest of the du Wolff’s destructions.”

    The Triad stared at him silently for a moment before their mutual gaze shifted to Maker. “Scourge is… correct. She didn’t seem to possess much ability beyond technical prowess. She’ll hardly stand up against ten of your number, let alone twenty. And though I am certain of my ability to stop Themesycia du Wolff, having more members to help plant the explosives would help the process go much easier.” The extraterrestrial bought in. It was a blessing that Mercury had kept her magic use to such a minimal level, providing Maker with little evidence of her abilities. At the very least, that would help the threat imposed upon the Silver Wolf Ace.

    Scourge could only hope that the Ashen Dread was more than up to the task to take out the rest of them. “Well tally-ho and hip-hip and all that. But what will we do to ensure the Order of Souls doesn’t attempt to intercept our attempts?”

    “That won’t be a problem,” another voice came from the opposing hallway. The source of the voice came around the corner, stepping into the light to stand beside the Triad. There was little Scourge could do to hide the surprise on his face as Zifu Kuttuvan stood before him. “The Order of Souls will either join the Dread Masters or perish. Those will be their only options after our number infiltrate their base and annihilate their defenses.”

    “Allow us to introduce Zifu Kuttuvan, the hidden member of the Dread Masters leadership. She has been undercover within the Order of Souls for years, attempting to ascertain their strengths and weaknesses.”

    “Well that is surprising. Should we expect Master Chishan to step out from another hallway next?”

    Zifu smirked. “Unfortunately, my soon-to-be deceased husband has proven too soft of heart for our goals. It’s a terrible shame but he must share the fate of so many others on our journey of ruling over mankind as the rightful heirs to the divine throne.”

    “All at once, our enemies and obstacles shall be struck down and removed. In one fell swoop, we shall put ourselves back on track and once more continue our pursuit of our destiny. The destiny that Marka Ragnos saw for us all. Prepare, Dread Masters -- the slaughter awaits us!”

    Scourge stood, stunned, as the members of the order cheered behind him. His eyes turned towards Maker, smug and smirking back and then over to Zifu, looking just as pleased. In one fell swoop indeed… everything he’d been building toward would be wiped away. And all for a goal that he now believed had corrupted a once sincere destiny as savagely as it had corrupted the deities and demons themselves. There was only one path ahead for him.

    And if he figured it right, it would result in his death.






    Words: 3680/11,334 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


      Current date/time is 24th January 2022, 9:13 am