Conqueror of the Elements

Iveir

a part of Conqueror of the Elements, by Qaida.

None

Qaida holds sovereignty over Iveir, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
366 readers have been here.
1,054 readers have visited this universe since Qaida created it.

Setting

Default Location for Conqueror of the Elements

Iveir

None

Minimap

Iveir is a part of Conqueror of the Elements.

18 Characters Here

Siya Ukomo [17] "I can, and I will prevail."
Amon Ad-Raza [15] "We got this people! We've dealt with worse before, so we can contend with this as well!"
Kanan Thiyer [15] "My life belongs to my King. Only he is allowed to deem when I can die."
Renardine 'Minnow' Lunvari [15] "Even the smallest life matters."
Valrien Yustri [14] "I will see my Kingdom restored and balance kept."
Rhoven Shaw [11] "You have just made an enemy you will wish you hadn't."
Lutchka Zatari [10] "You think you can beat me, little mouse? Well, we'll just have to see if the cards humor you along tonight."
Harlan Pendrake [9] "Hey! Hey....! Hey, hey, hey....you...dude...you see the ass..on that chick who just walked by?! No wait...it's a dude....dude you see the ass on the dude who just walked by?!"
Shiro Yukashima [6] "I stand for nothing more then you, my king"

Start Character Here »


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Siya Ukomo Character Portrait: Kanan Thiyer Character Portrait: Valrien Yustri Character Portrait: Lukina Aymidor Character Portrait: Renardine 'Minnow' Lunvari Character Portrait: Rhoven Shaw Character Portrait: Lutchka Zatari Character Portrait: Harlan Pendrake Character Portrait: Neido Kumara

0.00 INK

#, as written by Skwidge
The Drewdan were not clever beasts, it would seem. Or at least this one wasn’t. The beast was easily distracted, and it did not appear to learn from its mistakes as it once more shifted violently in one direction, as the passageway lit up momentarily from a ball of fire. The thing pulled against the chains, attempting to once again change its direction and focus.

Neido’s face turned into a bit of a glower, eyes narrowing and putting some real force into his pull. The snake monster was his, and he would let the foolish creature know as much. Having removed quite a few of the heads that squirmed about from its top, the chains shifted from their serrated jags to something less severing. Lobbing off heads was all good and well, but this thing needed to be taught its place before it was dismissed from existence.

Small, sharp spears replaced the previously serrated edges, stabbing straight through necks and heads before the ends melded into hooks to latch onto flesh and scale between links. Neido spread his feet a bit, suddenly jerking backwards and forcing his strength into the motion. With his own strength, of course, he would not be able to best the creature, so it was then that he willed his power to further split chains. The metal shot into the ground, burrowing deep before setting. Using mechanics and force, Neido forced the beast down.

“Τώρα.” He glanced back at his guide, who seemed eager to help in the endeavor. Who was the foreigner to keep him from getting a taste of the battle? Besides, whoever was on the other side of this Drewdan had already interfered, so it was of little concern to him if others wanted to dispatch of the thing.

“Fire.”

Harlan was curious as to what the sound of metal hitting stone was, but he paid it no mind as nothing seemed to be attacking him (with metal objects at least) at the moment and they needed to worry about the Drewdan. He was also curious as to what the flashes of red light had been on the other side of it; he figured it must be whatever was grabbing its attention.

It was an opening he would not waste though, and quickly he began to hurl fireballs repeatedly at the creature, hoping to burn the thing to cinders before it turned its attention back to them. He was glad that it seemed the knight had ceased his attack on them as well, though whether the man was still there or not, Harlan had no idea.

Filinian had the book hover to his side where his free hand was, and it hovered over the pages as he watched the foreigner do his work. It was certainly interesting to see what the man could do with the metal of the chains. It was these kinds of things that made Filinian so interested in magic. When the man spoke, in a language Filinian didn’t recognize, the young mage looked to the foreigner. All the mage needed to hear though was the word fire, and he nodded his head before looking back up at the Drewdan.

Swinging his free hand around in front of him, the book following the movements, both began to glow with red sigils, the orb atop his staff also beginning to glow brighter. With a few rapid hand motions he then drew his hand back towards him, then thrusted it out straight towards the Drewdan. As his arm reached full extension, a bolt of dark red flames shot from his hand, sailing towards the Drewdan and slamming into the creatures.

It did not dissipate though, rather it seemed to explode and drape the red fire across the form of the Drewdan, clinging to the snakes and beginning to burn away whatever parts it touched. Another quick movement of his hands, and an orb of fire formed within his hand, about two feet in diameter. Quickly he waved the freehand out towards the Drewdan, the orb flying out towards it, its own dark red and black flames lighting up their area of the corridor as it flew into the center of the creature, forcing it’s way through.

There, Filinian first directed the book to the side before he began moving his freehand to the side, watching as the orb of fire then began forcing itself in the same direction, following the movements of the young mage’s hand.

Valrien stopped in his tracks, ready to tear into the creature even more until it went flopping down into the floor, brought down by something that sounded akin to metal moving. He glanced over to Harlan before looking back to the creature. His royal guard was hurling fire at the blasted thing, and in the next moment, more fire joined his, an orb to be exact. He knew that color though.

“Filinian,” he muttered at first, then shouted the young mages name over the din of fighting, and the creatures screams, “Filinian!”

Valrien ducked under Harlan’s hurling of flames and rushed around to the opposite side of the hall. He tried to see past the creature that was being held down. Pressing himself against the wall, he caught a glimpse of someone working the chains. It was not anyone he was familiar with. But, if they were with Filinian, then he had not much to worry about in regards to who the newcomer was.

If Filinian trusted them enough to bring them into the corridors, then Valrien would trust the mage’s judgement. He called out to the mage again, “Filinian! What is he doing?” he asked, curious as to why the creature had chains all around its throat but it wasn’t dying.

Filinian continued to direct the orb in its work, his attention focused almost entirely on it, so when his nme was first shouted he didn’t even notice it. It wasn’t until it was called again that he saw who it was, and it only made the mage scowl. “Valrien?! Really?! You are the one who disturbed it?!” With a sigh, Filinian went back to attacking the Drewdan with the orb of fire.

“Well, I think it would be easy to infer that he is pinning the thing in place for us to have an easier time attacking it and/or attacking it himself! Might be best if you just attack it as well, you know, help fix this mess quickly!” he shouted back.

Lutchka had remained rather distant during the whole shenanigans that ensued. However, when the Drewdan had shown up, she had readied herself as well to fight off the beast. At least they didn’t have to deal with Sir Knight now. Unfortunately, it had been a rather equal trade-off. The Drewdan was no easier to fight.

Lutchka braced herself, readying to begin distracting and burning the thing first chance she got, but it seemed as though something had other plans. For the Drewdan suddenly stopped in its advance, and unnaturally at that. It was then that she could hear the grinding of metal, and the angry screams of the creature as its heads slid off of their necks to fall to the ground with a sickly slap.

The catacombs had never acted strangely in any way that would warrant such a bold reaction when it came to the Drewdan, but Lutchka had absolutely no idea what could be going on. Not that she was gonna complain about it or anything, but with the arrival of unknown chains could very well mean the arrival of a new foe they would have to fight as well.

With the beast cleverly distracted, Lutchka joined Harlan in his attempts to flay the monster, summoning her own flames to aid in burning it to a crisp. It wasn’t until Valrien mentioned the name Filinian that she paused. Fili was back? That brought a huge grin to her face, but in a moment it sobered. Filinian couldn’t use magic with metals, could he? So then, who was with him?

Neido couldn’t help but grin at the display that Filinian gave with his magic. Perhaps the boy had proved him wrong in his former assumptions of the mage not being a person of interest. It did not really matter, though, as he still didn’t particularly enjoy the guy in any sort of aspect. He talked too much, seemed weak. Pointless chatter and subordination. Not too interesting.

However, his focus was interrupted when someone came lurching around the beast. A poor decision, as the Drewdan could have possibly lashed out at him from the distance had it not been so preoccupied with the rage it possessed towards the foreigner of sands. When he heard his objectives being questioned, however, his glance narrowed harshly and with an indignant pull of the chains, the beast lost its footing and crashed to the ground.

The fire was doing its trick, sinking into the flesh of the beast and causing the scales to slowly melt. It was also blinding the creature in its work. His guide seemed to know this stranger, however, and neither seemed particularly pleased to be seeing the other- more like burdened as one would be with the task of looking over a small child.

When Filinian berated the other in his own little way, Neido couldn’t agree more with having the thing put out of its misery. Besides, he had bigger and better things to get to, such as the monarch.

Valrien rolled his eyes at the young mage, a scowl on his lips, “I didn’t do it intentionally, Filinian!” he snapped back, but drew his blade anyway. He took a moment and seemed to rethink his next plan of attack. The Prince growled to himself as he sighed heavily. The fires from Filinian and Harlan were definitely doing most of the work. A little longer and the creature would be dead.

So Valrien took a step back and motioned for Harlan and Lutchka to do the same, “Move back. Away from it, Filinian, tell your companion the same,” Valrien ordered and opened his free hand, the one holding the sword held loosely down at his side. All around him the pure energy that resided inside him pulsed and conformed along his hand.

The white magic cracked wildly in his palm. The Prince let it build, also waiting till everyone was clear. The last thing he needed was anyone caught in his deadly touch. When he was certain, he let the power lash out, arching from his hand and arm to snap across the creature. The fires that had thoroughly weakened it expanded from his pure energy and the creature glowed a brilliant red color, looking as if it were going to explode.

Harlan looked to Valrien at the mention of Filinian, blinking before looking at the flames assaulting the Drewdan. He’d been so busy attacking it, he hadn’t recognized the familiar dark red magic that Filinian called upon so often. “So the little squirt decided to show up then?” Harlan said with a grin.

He heard Valrien’s command, and he looked to the Prince to see just what the man was planning. At the building of energy, Harlan took the hint and quickly moved back away from the Drewdan. He took this chance to see what had happened to the knight, and thankfully it seemed the man had chosen to leave rather than contend with the group and the creature.

It was Filinian’s turn to roll his eyes at the Prince’s comment, “Well I sure as hell hope you didn’t do it intentionally or that’d be even more foolish!” he yelled back. Though at the Prince’s suggestion, he could see the building of energy in the Prince’s arm and hand. Filinian frowned some, as such an attack was hardly needed but he wasn’t going to be able to stop the Prince.

Thee mage looked to Neido, calling out to the foreigner. “You might want to back up, hunter! The Prince was never well known for his self-control and you may just get caught in the blast!” Filinian floated backwards, moving away further from the Drewdan. Within it, the fire orb he had been commanding extinguished, though the flames he had initially shot were still doing their work.

To assist further, he waved his hand upwards, the gem of his staff glowing once more as a barrier of reddish energy formed between him and Drewdan. He made sure to leave enough room for Neido to slip behind it if he desired to do so.

The two of them continued to squabble over rather pointless matters, so Neido quickly tuned them out. It wasn’t until the stranger spoke out in an authoritative tone that the foreigner glanced back at him. His eyes were harsh and calculating, though any disapprovement was quickly quenched after he had analyzed him for a good few moments. He was haughty and rash, that much he could tell, as well as the tone Filinian took with him.

But he did as was requested of him, and the chains suddenly broke off of the creature as Neido backed away from it and next to his guide. There was little threat of the thing getting up at that point to try and attack any of them- it was already pretty much dead by then. Crossing his arms, he looked at Filinian questioningly. The stranger was a Prince? It clicked in his mind shortly after the thought. This must be Prince Yustri then, of Reimrand. Or King Yustri was it now? He didn’t know and he honestly didn’t care.

“If you had that kind of power, why not kill the beast yourself?” He glanced down at Fili accusingly. He had practically wasted Neido’s time, though the foreigner was still content with the fact that he got to catalogue a new beast. “ηλίθιος.” He leveled the insult at the man in his own tongue.

Lutchka quickly backed away in step with Harlan as Valrien suggested they move back. It was apparent what the Prince was planning on doing, though perhaps a bit overkill. It didn’t matter, the damn things deserved a painful death.

As the foreigner stepped up next to Filinian, the mage glanced over to him as he was asked why he’d never bothered with the Drewdan. “Simple, I didn’t care about it. I never cared for it to be killed, it was all the others who wanted it dead. Personally I think letting it eat the idiots who wander in here is a good idea, but seems I’m one of few who think that way.”

He looked towards the Drewdan. “Hell I’m here just to get out of the castle. They said you needed a guide, so I figured sure, I’ll ‘guide’ him. An excuse to go running off somewhere exciting.”

Valrien only let his power stop lancing through the creature when it did explode into nothing more than bits of burned flesh and ash. Taking a deep breath, he took a shaking step backward. Curling his hand into a tight fist, he worked the pure energy back into control, settling it deep into his body. Once it was gone, he shook his hand a few times and sheathed his sword. He kept his breathing seemingly normal, though it was a little on the short side.

“Filinian, care to introduce us to the newcomer?” he called out, crossing his arms loosely, “He better not be with that armored bastard a moment ago,” he said and looked back into the hall where the man had been before but found no one standing there. He ground his teeth tightly, jaw clenching as he waited for an answer. Once he got it and was satisfied, their little sidetrip was going to end and they were heading straight for Reimrand. No more stops. For anything. If anyone was stupid enough to go into the catacombs right then, Valrien wasn’t going to care at that moment.

Let the Drewdan kill the idiots. The Prince had far too much on his mind and plate to deal with than some crazed fool looking for an adventure.

As the creature exploded, Filinian’s barrier held strong, absorbing the chunks of flesh that flew towards them and slammed into it, shielding the mage and Neido from the assault. Once the bombardment was finished, Filinian lowered the barrier, as well as letting himself float back down to the ground. When he heard the rather grating voice of Valrien speak up, shouting in the angry and condescending tone that his voice seemed to be forever stuck in, Filinian simply frowned.

“I think I’ll let him introduce himself, though I doubt he is with any ‘armored bastard’, as you so eloquently put it.” he said back, his own tone expressing his irritation. That Prince never seemed capable of speaking nice about anybody.

An irritated look shifted along his facial features as his so called guide answered his somewhat rhetorical question on why they hadn’t killed the creatures beforehand. Well, he was somewhat glad that the man shared his ideals on not killing everything that gave you an issue, but Neido got the distinct feeling that he wasn’t thinking along those same lines. Especially since Filinian had said that no matter what Neido did to get rid of the menace, it was the proper way to go about it.

With the man then saying that he had used Neido as an excuse to get out of the castle, his eyes narrowed and a threatening look seemed to immediately fill his face. With a quick, precise motion, his hand was suddenly at the back of the man’s head, fingers tangling in the hair to gently tug his head back to force him to look up at him. The foreigner stared at him for a few moments, eyes looking over him critically, before a large grin filled his face and a completely harmless chuckle rumbled past his throat. With a light pat and humor in his eyes, Neido shook his head.

So Filinian wasn’t completely helpless- he could take advantage of people and play the game correctly. Neido liked that. With the rather bright and loud explosion of the beast, Neido simply crossed his arms, not even phased by the sudden tremor in the surrounding area.

With an unconcerned little sigh, Neido brushed his fingers through the hair of his bangs, though he paused when the Prince addressed him with contempt. Eyes narrowing once more, he flicked his hand the rest of the way through the white locks and closed his eyes with a small ‘tch’. He then crossed his arms and tilted his chin up, examining Valrien like he did every other person when he first met them.

After his short calculations, Neido then spoke up to introduce himself as the man had so kindly asked him to do it. No, instead Valrien had snapped at Filinian demanding the information. The sand foreigner leveled his jaw a bit before finally saying his name. “θηριοδαμαστής.” Neido did not deign to use the Reimrandian tongue, and instead spoke his name in his own language. He smirked lightly, soon tilting his head a bit to speak into Filinian’s ear. “You mean to say this pup runs your lands?” It was spoken in a disbelieving tone- mocking though playful.

As the beast exploded, Lutchka sent up a wall of flames to turn the bits of flesh raining about into cinders before they could touch either she or Harlan. Once that whole deal was finished, an excited look filled her face and she practically bounced over to Filinian. “Fili!” She chirped, coming to a stop in front of him and bending slightly at the waist, folding her hands together behind her back with a bright smile on her face.

“It’s been forever!! … Who’s your rather attractive friend?” A mischievous sort of little smirk played across her lips as she straightened and looked over at Neido.

Valrien’s eyebrow arched as he stared at the man. He said… Something to him, but he didn’t know what it was that had been spoken. With a sigh, he reached up and pressed his palm into his forehead, his jaw tight again. After a moment of contemplating it over with himself, he lowered his hand just in time to see Lutchka bending in front of Filinian, a bright smile on her lips as she greeted the mage.

The Prince felt his face heat, eyes grow wide for a second at the display and then an irritated look cross his face along with a sigh. Hadn’t he confessed to her? Kissed her even? Then went and almost got his ass kicked a few moments ago. And there she went all happy with the mage. He was so damned confused. Did she like Valrien or not? Or was he just a toy for her to play around with whenever she felt like?

Did he even dare touch that subject? Her temper was just as hot as her fire and last time he checked, she could put a full grown man into the ground in seconds. He’d already had his beatings, he didn’t need any more. Valrien pushed it aside for the moment. He’d figure her out later. Maybe he was just overthinking. After all, he’d just finally admitted to himself that he was in love with her.

That was hard enough. Not to mention he was totally inexperienced in that whole field and asking Harlan was definitely not going to help him. He already knew what his royal guard would tell him and he doubted Lutchka would so easily go along with Harlan’s advice. Maybe. Possibly. Would she? He glanced over at Harlan and quickly threw the thought aside. He’d ask the man later.

“Filinian,” he cut in after he and Lutchka threw back a few words between each other, “I trust you to have not brought in some random straggler. We’re in a hurry. Heading back to Reimrand for the orbs,” he said figuring that since the other man hadn’t spoken in Iverian, he did not know it, “Would you be willing to go with us? And perhaps return to Iver? I have need of your many skills, Filinian.”

When a hand grabbed hold of his hair, tugging it back so that he was forced to look up at Neido, Filinian gasped in surprise before his eyes narrowed. His free hand began to glow red, the mage sneering at the foreigner. He wasn’t sure what the hell the man was about to do, but he wasn’t going to let him just push the mage around.

When he suddenly let go, patting Filinian’s head with a chuckle, the mage just stared at the foreigner with confusion. He dealt with strange people all the time it seemed. Eyeing the man for a few moments, he turned his attention back to Valrien. A voice in his ear had him turning to look at Neido once more, though this time Filinian chuckled dryly at the comment of Valrien leading. “Don’t get me started, we’ll be here all day.” he muttered back.

Then there was a bright and chirpy voice that called out to him, using a shortened version of his name that he would rather people didn’t. He went to look at what it was, and recoiled slightly when suddenly he came face to face with Lutchka. He stared at her for a moment before chuckling softly, a genuine smile forming on his lips.

“Yeah, it has been Lutchka.” Filinian said, finally relaxing completely. He adjusted the staff in his grip slightly, the gem atop it having finally ceased glowing entirely. “This is Neido Kumara, the fellow Valrien’s council hired to finally deal with the Drewdan ‘problem’.” He did the finger quotes as he said the phrase problem.

“Well hello then, Neido~.” Harlan said, walking up with his hands in his pocket. He smiled, giving the foreigner a look over before he stopped next to Valrien. He leaned over to Valrien, “Your council really knows how to pick’em, that’s for sure.” he whispered to his friend.

Filinian glanced at Harlan before back to Lutchka, about to say something before Valrien’s voice cut in, causing the young mage to go from smile to scowl in a matter of seconds. The mention of the orbs though drew his attention, and Filinian looked over at Valrien. “The orbs? What the hell do you need the orbs for?” He moved by Lutchka, walking towards Valrien and stopping in front of him, leveling a glare at the older man.

Valrien sighed heavily as Harlan walked by with that tone of his. The Prince knew where that one was going and rolled his eyes, “Yes, yes, enjoy trying to seduce that one, Harlan,” he replied and shook his head.

When Filinian came storming up to him, Valrien frowned as he watched the mage. The irritation from him was expected, after all it was the orbs they were talking about. But, Valrien was betting on Filinian’s care -or so he hoped- for the others to help win him over. He knew the mage cared little about the Prince, that wasn’t the problem. Annoying that Filinian hated him, sure, but then again, Valrien wasn’t entirely innocent in that aspect either. He knew he wasn’t the nicest person.

“Because. Someone is targeting Siya and they’re succeeding by a landslide. They are insanely powerful, Filinian. Hell, I’m not even sure with the assistance of the orbs we’ll stand a chance, but it’s better than just letting them kill Siya which they have quite nearly done several times now. And they will not stop there. Amon will go next. Then us. I want to stop them before they get that far. Siya is far enough in my opinion and they shouldn’t have even attacked him in the first place. Whatever they’re after… We can’t let them have it. Even if it is just Siya’s denouncement. I won’t have it. Hopefully neither will you.”





~~~

Siya and Group

The Fire King strode through the hall of the palace. He had a meeting with Amon, more training, and he really didn’t want to. Hell, he didn’t really want to do the archery either. Siya felt like he sucked at it. Honestly, he much preferred his fire, but after having Minnow yell at him after waking up from a couple days of being unconscious, he didn’t think he wanted that to happen ever again.

At the back of his mind, he realized how stupid he had been when charging into the fight. He’d nearly gotten everyone killed and he couldn’t fight the guilty twinge that flooded his chest. So he did what he was asked to do. Trained in using a bow with his new protector and trained in hand-to-hand combat with Amon and his protectors. Siya wasn’t sure which of the group he preferred most out of the Air Kings entourage. Kanan was not as harsh on him as Rhoven was. But he was just as good and not once had Siya landed a blow on the one eyed man. Even when he came at Kanan from his blinded side.

Rhoven was a pain in the ass simply because it seemed the young boy enjoyed winning the fight several times over despite being told to go easy on Siya. Amon was no easier. If anything, he himself was harder than the two of his protectors combined. Yet. Despite all of the failures against the three of them, Siya had been learning a few things. How to punch correctly was one of them. How to move his body was another. Timing his attacks was slowly coming along. Power and actually taking one of them to the ground was the next step, but Siya felt he would never get there.

“At least Farasima is nicer to me,” he muttered under his breath as he left the hall in search of just the one he’d spoken of. The red-headed foreigner was probably the only one that Siya had gotten used to have training him. He didn’t mind the taller male, he was nicer and in a way far more calming than anything else. For the past few weeks since leaving the battlefield, Siya had found he rather enjoyed the man’s company. Which was a rare event as lately the young Fire King didn’t seem to enjoy anyone, not even the kindness of his long time friend Amon.

Though that was changing too. Siya could tell he was a little less angry than usual when dealing with Amon. In a way he kind of liked the fact that he didn’t feel like burning the poor man to ash. On the other hand, he felt guilty also for thinking those thoughts in the first place. Whatever had caused the change, Siya wanted more of it.

Farasima sat on the ground, looking over the bow he was currently in the process of making. It was quite a bit smaller than the ones the Iverians used, but from having used theirs, he knew the one he was making would be just as good. Hell it’d work better on horseback, given its size. It was being built in the style that the Skis’tatari used, with a variety to materials beyond just wood. The prominent parts would be the horn and sinew, but given the cattle around here it was actually fairly easy to get ahold of them. So he spent what off time he had to work on the bow, and he was fairly close to being finished.

He smiled rather sadly at the bow in his hand, as it was a something of a reminder of what he no longer had. That was a tribe to return too; he was an exile now, and exiles were rarely, if ever, allowed to return. Letting out a sigh, he set the bow down next to him and streched his arms up above his head, looking around for the Fire King. They were to practice today and Farasima was looking forwards to it.

He enjoyed watching the silver-haired man try to work the bow. Farasima didn’t necessarily want to see him fail, in fact it made him feel good as the King showed improvement. It was just too enjoyable to watch the man get all flustered. He was adorable when he got so, and it made Farasima laugh. Which only seemed to flustered the king more. It was a hilarious cycle that would occur.

He looked up when he saw the Fire King approaching, Farasima rising to his feet with a smile as he picked up the two Iverian bows next to him. He let one rest on the ground with his hand atop it while he let the one he was going to give to Siya rest on his shoulder, the end of it sitting in his palm. “Siya, eeshla’mastoona, good to see you.” he couldn’t help but slip in a little Skis’tatari. He may have been exiled, but he wasn’t going to abandon his heritage.

“Hope you are ready for training. Should be less painful than work with the air folks.” he said, holding the bow out to siya as he approached. “Warm up as usual, warm up bow as well. Remember, don’t fire a bow cold unless absolutely necessary. Increase life-span of bow.” he said before he stepped towards the target range.

Siya let a smile form as he reached Farasima. Taking the bow from the man, he did as he was asked and went through the motions that Farasima had taught him a while ago. In a way, simply drawing and letting down after stretching his own body was relaxing. It made it easier to breathe. Or maybe that was just the Fire King’s opinion.

“I think this is the only thing I’ve gotten somewhat decent at,” Siya said as he stood there under the brilliance of the sun. A heavy sigh filled his chest as he drew it back and held it, trying to get the feel of how he should be aiming down, “Amon’s methods are… Difficult. He’s not really an explainer. He does better showing. It’s hard to follow that way. And Rhoven…” Siya shook his head as he rolled his eyes.

“He toys with me. I know he does. God, I cannot wait to put him down in the sand. The kid is younger than me too! It’s not fair,” he grumbled, a frown pulling his lips while puffing out his cheek a little before he lowered the bow and looked up to Farasima a little, “And don’t even get me started on Kanan. He’s nice enough, but its so frustrating that all he does is redirect me. How do I ever land a hit on a man who's so good at simply throwing you aside? Not to mention he’s only got one eye.”

Siya stopped talking then. He felt heat rushing across his face as he realized he’d been venting to Farasima in pure frustration over his training regime. He tapped his finger on the bow, looking away and scuffing his boot into the sand due to his unsettled nerves.

Farasima began warming himself up, as well as drawing his bow back in greater amounts to loosen it up some. He looked at Siya as the Fire King spoke. “You are improving, Remember first time shot bow, hit dirt plenty of times.” he smiled, “Now you usually hit dirt near target!” he chuckled at his own joke, having spoken once the king had finished his venting. He noticed the red tint to the Fire King’s cheeks again, and it only made the Skis’tatari man chuckle more.

Stepping up to the range, Farasima grabbed an arrow and quickly fired it down range, hitting the target near its edge. “Amon seems like man who has trouble explaining what he knows. Showing and hoping you pick it up seems to be best way for him to teach. I known people like that, not always most effective way of teaching but if you learn, then good.” He fired another arrow down range, hitting near the same spot. It was nice that he was grouping his arrows, but he’d rather hit near the center where he wanted it to land.

“Rhoven is young man, still child for most part. This an ego boost to him. Do not forget he trains with same people you do, so chance to succeed and no longer be weakest can drive people to be… a little cruel.” He fired another arrow, this time hitting closer to the center. Farasima then looked to Siya, “And I have secret to hit man who is so good he can re-direct you very easy.” Farasima spoke with a grin, “You get better than his ability to re-direct.”

Again, he chuckled, though he felt a little silly laughing at his jokes as he was. Still, he was in a good mood. “You will get there. As some say, the biggest tree not appear as tree. It was but small seed that fought to survive and grow. Do same, and you to will be the biggest tree.” he then turned back to fire another arrow down range, a smile still on his face.

“Also, might want to tuck braid in shirt, less you catch it on bow or arrow and ruin it. Braid too nice to ruin, it would be shame.” He loosed another arrow, watching it hit just below the center of the target.

Siya listened to his protector, also drawing his bow and firing it. He scowled though at the comment of hitting the dirt closer to the target, though it was mostly true. The arrow hit the very bottom of the target, just barely hanging on by its tip. He sighed, though he drew it again. Farasima’s laughter though wasn’t irritating him despite his comments on Siya’s rant. He found himself having a difficult time hiding his own grin at some of the jests the man poked at him. Then he got to the part of his braid and every time Farasima mentioned his white hair, Siya was thrown into a fluster.

His face heated considerably and the arrow that he’d been concentrating on went flying in a random direction as he lost his hold on the string simply from that small comment. Lowering the bow, he reached back with his gloved hand and hastily tucked the thick braid under the collar of the black shirt he wore. Siya kept his gaze off of Farasima, trying his best to not blush like an idiot and get back to his training.

“Honestly, your about as helpful as Amon is when it comes to fighting Kanan or Rhoven,” Siya said with a slight shake of his head and loosened another arrow down the range only to knock off the first arrow he’d fired into the target. Both went tumbling to the ground. At least he had a few on the target though, which was much better than he could say he’d done when he first started.

Farasima ceased firing to watch Siya shoot. He easily spotted the increase of red to Siya’s face, despite the man’s attempt to hide it. With his somewhat pale complexion and white hair, the blush contrasted considerably and made it near impossible to miss. He didn’t say anymore jokes, as he was certain the King might die of embarrassment.

As he watched the king fire another arrow, hitting the previous one he had shot and knocking it off the target, Farasima set his bow down and stood just behind Siya. “I do not fight with fists, and only little training with sword. I can only help there so much.” the protector said. “Now, draw back again and I will assist you. Take time to aim, you still ways from shooting like I do.”

“Do note though, you are hitting in a grouping. Hitting same arrows means you are gaining consistency with shots. Grouping arrows very good, as it means you just need to work on placing them where you want.” he waited for the King to draw back the bow, where he would then adjust the man’s stance and draw to help aim the arrow better.

Siya let out a low sigh as he stood there, letting the bow hang in his hand while Farasima moved behind him. He took in a nervous breath as he looked over his shoulder to where Farasima had gone. Narrowing his eyes a bit, he stared at the man for a moment before drawing up his bow as he was asked to. Pulling on the string, he drew it back to as far as he could manage which was just past his nose and held it there with the arrow wobbling a little as he tried to hold still.

He wasn’t sure how in the hell he was getting a grouping, but if Farasima said it was a good thing, then he would go with it. Siya took in a deep breath, steadying his aim as best he could, shifting his body around but not quite sure still on how he should be standing exactly. He’d tried to copy Farasima to the best of his ability, but it just felt awkward to him still. Though, he thought he’d gotten pretty good as far as standing and drawing the bow to full draw. That in and of itself was an accomplishment in his mind.

“T-there,” he said, his voice slightly strained as he held the bow, “Now what, Farasima?”

Farasima watched Siya draw the arrow back and hold it, struggling against the pull of the bow. It was expected, as the king still had yet to develope the strength to fight the bow for very long. He observed the King’s form, and stepped around so that he was now in front of Siya. Reaching up, he straightened out the arm that was pushing on the bow, turning the arm slightly so that the King’s elbow would not snag the string as it went by.

With that, he then reached up to the arm that held the string. He lightly grabbed the arm, pulling back on it some and guiding the King’s hand so that it rested right at the corner of his lips. He then pushed the King’s string arm so that his elbow was slightly flared out. Farasima scratched his chin, walking around Siya and grabbing hold of the King’s waist. “Straighten your body” he said, pushing on the Fire King’s lower back and waist. He then reached up, grabbing hold of his shoulder and guiding him back so that his torso was straight.

He then walked back in front of Siya, watching his face as well as where the King’s eye rested. “Alright, look down shaft of arrow, then fire at target. Aim high, arrow drops somewhat quickly.”

The least he’d expected was to be touched by the man. Siya didn’t mind it when Farasima adjusted his hold on the bow, moving his arm around. Nor did he mind when his new protector adjusted the hand holding the string to a better position. He felt better with just those two adjustments. However, when the man came in front of him and abruptly grabbed his waist and began moving him, Siya let out a sharp yelp of surprise. The squeaking sound made him blush furiously, turning redder than a beet.

It was made even worse when Farasima pushed against his lower back, moving close to him and adjusting his body that had gone thoroughly stiff from the sudden mass of touching. It was a miracle he didn’t loosen the arrow. In fact, Siya was pretty sure the only thing that kept him from releasing it was that every muscle in his body had just about locked upon the contact around his waist. He could hardly breathe as he stood there, trying to focus on what Farasima was telling him and not the touching.

Siya took in a sharp, shuddering breath as he avoided all eye contact with his protector and simply fired off the arrow without really thinking about it. It was a little high, but at least it finally hit the target. The Fire King might have been proud of that, if he weren’t struggling to bring down his racing heart and the burning in his face. Quickly lowering the bow, he took a shaky step back and looked everywhere but at Farasima.

“T-that… H-helped. Yes. A lot… It helped a lot. T-thank you for tou- moving me! Moving my… U-uh… Adjusting my… Um… I-I… In…” Eventually he just stopped talking while he fiddled with the bow and looked down at his hands while fighting off his raging nerves. The tension just seemed to skyrocket and his mind was all over the place. There was no way he could say anything to Farasima that wouldn’t sound utterly wrong coming out of his mouth right then.

Farasima hadn’t even noticed Siya’s face and posture the entire time, and it wasn’t until he looked away from the target with a smile that he noticed Siya’s behaviour. “Well done, Siya! Well done!” he blinked as he saw the king back away and look at everything but him. The red-head cocked his head to the side, confused a bit.

“You are...welcome, Siya. Something wrong?” He watched the man for a moment, noting the intense blush on the king’s face. Then it dawned on him, and Farasima blinked and turned slightly red himself. He hadn’t really thought about what touching the man might do. The king was already easy to fluster by mentioning his hair, but touching him?

Coughing, Farasima looked back down range, pointing to the target. “Just uh...repeat it. Remember stance and….the uh….um….posture! Remember posture.” Farasima said, keeping his eyes down range.

Siya hardly heard the praise, when he heard the question of what was wrong, he tensed and glanced up at Farasima briefly before quickly looking away. It didn’t take long for the protector to realize what it was that had affected Siya so badly for he began to stutter too. Not quite as badly as Siya, but it was there.

“Y-yes… Repeat. Stance. Posture. Remember how to stand… G-got it. I’ll remember it. It shouldn’t be hard… I think I… Got it now. Your touch- help! Assistance! It- I got it…” Siya flustered around trying to get his mind off of how he was able to shoot so well down the range. It was rather difficult though and he played with the bow in his hands a little bit more, twisting the handle around, thrumming the string repeatedly as he fidgeted.

He looked up to Farasima a couple of times only to quickly look elsewhere, mostly down the range to where his arrow sat nice and pretty against the target. He hadn’t really been paying attention to where it had hit, but looking at it right then, Siya had to admit it was a pretty good shot. Tilting his head a little, he figured he could do it again.

“I think I can do that again… Maybe,” Siya said softly, “I wasn’t paying attention to where the arrow went though,” he confessed, a frown on his lips, “You uh… D-distracted me…”

“I apologize for doing so.” he said, also keeping his downrange. He glanced to Siya before back down range. “You are welcome. N-now. Once again.” He looked back at Siya to watch him take the shot. His mind was a bit distracted though as he watched King prepare, as though he did observe the man’s posture, his eyes wandered some as well.

Looking back down range, he spoke again. “This time, I will let you go alone. Practice, see where arrow land. Then try to hit there again. Do not change how you shot, you want consistency and accuracy. Takes years before you can fire from different positions easily. Even I am bad firing away from normal position or from horseback.”

Again his eyes turned to the king, and he found himself wandering over the Fire King’s form. It took Farasima a few moments to focus his attention where it needed to be, forcing himself to look back down range to see where Siya would hit.

“S-sure… Yes. I’ll try to do it again,” he answered and took a step forward to stand where he had been a moment ago. Lifting the bow, Siya tried to find the stance that Farasima had put him in. It was difficult as his mind was complete chaos. Everything but how he had been standing before and the only thing that came to mind was Farasima’s hands along his waist as he adjusted him to stand properly.

Siya’s blush couldn’t have gotten any deeper. He drew back the bow. Probably the only thing he could remember from the short, and rather personal lesson, was where the string went and how his arm was held. Everything else went out the window. Blown apart by his own overly active mind. The arrow flew, far too soon and he knew it when he released. The damned thing went over the target and off into the sands somewhere down range.

Siya scoffed and lowered the bow. He cursed several times under his breath and not just because he hadn’t hit the target. The Fire King was distracted. Far too distracted right then to even attempt to fire the way he had a moment ago. He still blamed Farasima. With a frustrated sigh, he frowned at the target, avoiding Farasima’s gaze yet again.

Fingering the bow, thrumming the string slightly, he looked up at Farasima for a quick second and then nibbled on his lower lip before he even managed to get the words out, “F-Fara-sima… A-again… Try that again… I-I will… Try not to be… D-distracted by your… Just… Help… A little, please. I forgot how to stand…” he blurted out the rest as quickly as possible as he shifted slightly from foot to foot.

God what in the hell was wrong with him! He chided himself internally as he stood there.

Farasima watched as Siya missed, horribly this time. He looked at the king, frowning a little before quickly looking back down range. When he heard Siya’s question, he blinked, glancing over to Siya once more. If touching him the first time had distracted him so much, then how did Siya think he’d be able to handle it again.

Still, if that is what Siya desired, then so be it. Least that was what Farasima told himself. He waited until Siya drew the bow back once more, and again he helped guide the King into the proper posture. Again he pulled at his waist, pushed on his back, and even grabbed his chest and upper back to also make sure his whole torso was straight.

As he did, he did his best to focus on his work, but even Farasima couldn’t help but think of the lean figure of the king. Shaking his head, trying to stop any thoughts before they took hold, Farasima quickly finished and stepped back, focusing down range. “T-there. there you are, S-Siya.”

Siya stood as still as he could, allowing Farasima to direct him into the position he needed to be in. He focused on the way his body was moved, where his protector put him. It was a little easier that time, until the red-head grabbed at his upper body. Siya sucked in a sharp breath, just barely holding back yet another yelp of surprise. He tensed, crimson gaze wide and slightly unfocused as he stared down the shaft of the arrow.

His mouth was dry, mind chaotic once again. Every muscle was tensed up after having been touched yet again, but up along his chest. Siya was all too eager to release the arrow. When he did, it hit the target, but lower than the first one, still under the circular ring. He was shaking then, trembling breaths filling his lungs as he quickly lowered the bow and stared down at the sand.

He opened and closed his mouth several times before words even formed and squeaked out from between his lips, “I-I…” he shut his mouth, a strange sound emitting from his throat after his voice had gone a little to high. Siya took a moment before he attempted to try again. It wasn’t like he had a particularly deep voice to begin with, but it didn’t help that his softer tones had gone really high pitched right then.

“U-um… I think… Think that’s enough for now… It’s um… Hard to draw. Draw the bow. I think… I think maybe I will do better tomorrow. That’s enough touch-teaching! Teaching… Today.” Siya all but shouted the word ‘teaching’ to overcome the first one he’d said. It kept slipping out of his mouth and he groaned inwardly. Cursing to himself under his breath, he lifted up the bow to hand it back to Farasima.

“Its time… Anyway. To go see Amon. I think…” Siya heaved a heavy sigh as he struggled to regain his lost composure. Damn that red-head! “U-uh… Would you… Come with?” Why am I even asking as if he isn’t allowed to or wouldn’t anyway! Siya frowned, kicking the sand again and crossing his arms tightly to keep from the nervous tug of his braid.

Farasima watched Siya fire the arrow, watching as it landed in the target, but not near the last arrow shot. He had noticed the tense of surprise the white-haired man had made when Farasima’s hands had touched his chest. So much for not being distracted. When Siya dismissed training for the day, Farasima couldn’t agree more. Both of them seemed so sidetracked at this point, that training wasn’t something they were going to do very well.

He looked up and nodded his head at Siya when he mentioned going to see Amon, though when the Fire King asked if he would come along, Farasima blinked. He hadn’t expected such a question from the Fire King. Swallowing the lump in his throat, Farasima quickly nodded his head. “Y-yes, I will go with you.” he said. He then looked to the target down range. “Lead way, Siya.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amon Ad-Raza Character Portrait: Siya Ukomo Character Portrait: Kanan Thiyer Character Portrait: Rhoven Shaw

0.00 INK

#, as written by Qaida

Siya turned and headed for the practice grounds where Amon and his protectors would be. Though his thoughts were definitely not on the combat training he was about to embark on with the Air King’s protectors. No, his thoughts were locked on the red-haired protector who followed after him. God, what was wrong with him? Siya’s thoughts were all over the place as he walked briskly to the training grounds.

He was so lost in his own chaotic mind that he missed the fact that the sandy training ground was empty. It took him a moment to realize it as he stood next to the wooden gate that encircled the fighting area that Amon utilized often. Looking up when he didn’t hear Amon’s cheery voice greeting him, he felt a surge of fear rush through him at the sight of no one being there. Amon was always there. Never once did he miss a training day with Siya. Ever.

So then… Where was he? Looking around, Siya tried to think if Amon had said anything to him about not seeing him that day. Or if they were going to do it later. Or if he was just too early. But none of that seemed to settle well with him no matter how he thought about it. He leaned against the wooden railing on the inside of the training circle, smacking his hand against it in frustration.

“Something isn’t right,” he said, glancing to Farasima before looking around again.

He was just about to leave the circle and begin hunting down the Air King in the city when pain lanced up his arm. The wood gave a sharp thud as something smacked into it, but it was that something which had Siya’s voice cracking into the air as he screamed and dropped into the sand. Pinned to the wood, he grasped his arm with his free hand tightly.

The pain was blinding, lancing out from his wrist. Sharp gasps and cries left his mouth as he knelt there, holding his arm tightly. He managed to look up at what it was and only grimaced at the sight. A strange gray like spike protruded out of his wrist and headed backward. Turning as best as he could whilst moaning in pain, Siya tried to follow the path of the strange spike that pinned him to the wood fence.

He caught sight of a man not to far away, on the other side of the training arena. Siya watched as the one who shot the spike at him turned and fled with something over his shoulder. A rather large something that vaguely resembled a body to Siya. Horror flooded him. Amon! Panting heavily, Siya ground his teeth. Turning back, he bent his head against his arm, his voice still slipping past his tight throat to issue out sounds of pain.

Farasima kept his eyes on the ground most of their walk, though he would glance up at Siya occasionally. He wasn’t sure what he was looking at him for exactly, but he just couldn’t help it at this point. As they entered the training area, Farasima also noticed the strange silence. Looking up, he noted how the ground was certainly disheveled and messy, as if somebody had been sparring within it. It wasn’t really odd, but still things felt off. When Siya mentioned it, Farasima nodded and went to say something when he heard the whiz of something flying through the air. It reminded him of an arrow, but the thunk of it sticking into wood indicated it was a bit heavier than an arrow.

Then he heard Siya scream, and Farasima’s eyes settled on the greyish-bone-like spike that was through his king’s wrist and had it pinned to the wooden post. His eyes widened, quickly moving over and grabbing it, but he stopped himself before he just ripped it free. His eyes turned to see what had done it, and he caught sight of several individuals fleeing.

He wanted to pursue, but he couldn’t just leave Siya here. Looking back to the king, Farasima stood there for a moment, trying to get an idea of what to do. Finally, he looked at Siya before his eyes settled on a nearby sword. Quickly running over and grabbing it, he looked to see if there was something better suited to his plan, but the sword would have to do.

He ran back over to the post, looking at Siya. “Sorry, this might hurt.” he said before he took a heavy swing and began hacking away at the post. He didn’t dare rip the spine from Siya’s hand, nor try to pry it loose. So he would just cut off the part the spine was stuck to. There wasn’t anything he could do about the jarring motion each time he struck, but he worked quickly.

When he finally cut through, which thankfully was easy given the post had deteriorated with time, He quickly dropped the sword and move to Siya. He gently supported the spine and wood, looking up at Siya. “You need healer, now.” he said, glancing back at where the people ran before he snaked an arm around Siya’s waist to support him. He still supported the weapon piercing the King’s arm as he forced Siya to walk with him. “You’ll be ok, Siya. You’ll be ok!” he repeated as they walked.

He took one more glance back, the people having vanished from sight. Just who in the hell was that and what were they after?

Siya saw stars as Farasima hacked the post apart to free him from where he was trapped to it by the thick, gray looking spine. He shook horribly, his vision going white for a moment as he moaned in pain, doubling over as his protector worked to free him. Gasps or short cries came from him when the jarring got to be too much to handle, but for the most part, Siya managed to keep from screaming again.

Then he was freed and would have dropped to the sand if Farasima hadn’t moved quickly. Grabbing him, he lifted Siya up to his feet and forced him to walk, holding his injured arm to help with the jarring motion. The Fire King still hissed in pain either way, grinding his teeth as they left the training area. He could only nod in response to the man who repeated the words that he was okay.

Once they were in the main building where he had been staying with Lord Forson, the healers were called. Laid up upon the bed in the room he’d been given, Siya sat up against the headboard, eyeing the healers who came rushing when the soldiers had seen him with Farasima. The only problem was that he did not see Minnow and it was making his heart race.

“M-Minnow?” he asked, his voice clipped.

Two of the healers looked back and forth between one another and shook their heads at Siya, “We could not find him, we looked for him but he was not where he usually was in the garden. So we just came,” the woman answered as the man took his hand and examined the spike lodged in it.

Siya’s breathing caught, hitching horribly as he looked wildly at Farasima, “They… Took them… They took them!”

“My lord!?” the woman sounded worried and confused as the Fire King tried to get up, his frantic cry startling the group that had come into the room. She lunged forward and put Siya back against the headboard via his shoulders, “My lord, you must calm down! You have to be treated first!”

Siya let out a growl of anger, glaring up at her, “Just pull it out! I have to go! Those bastards took Minnow and Amon!”

“Hold him,” the man on his right said as he gripped the spike-like thing in his hand and prepared to tear it out just as Siya had ordered them to do, though the healer didn’t look at all pleased with the idea.

Farasima handed the Fire King over to the healers once he had made it inside with them. The red-head stood back as he let them do their work, as he would simply get in the way otherwise. As they worked, he caught Siya mentioning Minnow, the blonde healer that accompanied the Air King. He glanced around, though when one of the healers mentioned not knowing where he was, Farasima looked back to Siya.

He moved to hold Siya down when the king went to sit up, but stopped as the healer was able to hold him in place. However his eyes widened as Siya began shouting about Amon and Minnow having been taken. Then he saw one of the soldiers reaching to pull the spine out, and Farasima quickly moved forwards, grabbing hold of the man and stopping him.

“No! No don’t do that!” he said before he looked at Siya, “Siya, You aren’t thinking. You are hurt, you will not help by damaging arm more and then running off with gaping wound!” He did not turn his eyes from the Fire King, regardless of what glare the man gave the protector. “Deploy scouts, deploy guards, but you stay. Fix wound.” he said, hands still holding the wrists of the man who had moved to pull the spine free.

“I will not stay! They are testing my patience and now they’re testing my fury. Taking what I care about most is the most vile thing they could possibly do to me and I will see them burn for it, Farasima!” Siya all but screamed as he leaned forward, forcing the woman to put a little more weight down against the King.

Looking over to the soldier, he narrowed his eyes, “Take it out now! Bandage it, or whatever, I’ll burn it if I have to! But I’m going after them!”

“Siya! This is what they want!” Farasima said back, raising his own voice a bit though not so he was yelling. He looked at the soldier, not removing his grip on the man before on Siya. “They want you to act hasty! You move quick, you move sloppy, and then you are their prey.”

“If they wanted Air King dead, Air King would be dead! They would not drag him away to then kill!” Farasima gave the soldier one hard look, trying to dissuade him from removing the spine so haphazardly. He then let go, moving around so that he was on the opposite side of Siya from the healer. He then looked at her, reaching forwards himself to grab Siya’s shoulders. As she let go, he placed his hands on the king.

“We have time to think. We must use it, or prepare yourself for a burial.” he again kept his eyes on Siya, readying himself to push the king down if he needed too.

Siya struggled visibly. Grinding his teeth, he managed not to yell again at Farasima. Letting his head fall back against the headboard, he took in short heavy gasps of air. The frustrations were building up again. His nerves were all over the place, anxious to go after his friends who were the only ones to put up with his ridiculous nature as of late.

His shortened breaths grew thick with emotion as he struggled even more, a tremble setting in. Looking back at his new protector, he shook his head slowly, crimson eyes filling with hot tears, “Why… Why can I not do anything! Everything I try to do ends up in disaster and I am constantly losing the things that I want to keep!”

His hand snaked out to clutch Farasima’s clothes tightly. He might have tried to push the man away, but there was no strength in his hand so he simply held onto him instead. Bowing his head forward, he fell silent, wanting to simply curl in a ball in a dark corner. The healer next to him sighed, low and slightly in relief.

“I’ll start working to remove this. It’s not going to be pleasant though,” he said softly, mostly to Farasima as it seemed Siya was no longer listening.

“Get cloths and bandages, hot water, herbs from the storehouse, start making salves and pastes. Quickly,” the woman began barking orders and the room was almost a controlled chaotic mess.

Siya paid no attention to any of it. Until the man who was examining the wound moved the post that he was still connected to. The King gave a sharp yelp, kicked slightly and tried to pull his hand away, only to have it held tightly by the man who muttered a soft apology. Siya gave him a half hearted glare.

When tears began to fall from the eyes of Siya, Farasima looked away. It hurt to see a man reduced to such a state, especially the one he was trying to protect. He felt a hand grab a tight hold of his shirt, Farasima looking back up to Siya as the king seemed to curl in on himself, trying to hide from everything.

Reaching one hand up to grab the one in his clothes, and the other hand resting on the same shoulder, Farasima spoke in soft tones. “They are not lost. This war is not lost. We still fight, means we can still win.”

He tightened his hold on both the hand and shoulder, “Please don’t give up. For them and for all Fire Citizens, don’t give up.”

Siya looked as if he were going to say something against that. He shook his head instead and simply dropped his gaze as he took in deep breaths to calm himself. Slowly he stopped crying, but he didn’t let go of the red-head as he leaned against the headboard of the bed.

“I will… Try to keep going,” he answered softly.

“Sire,” the healer that still held his hand called and Siya glanced to him briefly, “Are you ready?”

The King nodded solemnly, though his hand tightened on Farasima’s shirt without meaning to. The woman came up next to the one holding his wounded wrist and leaned over, pushing a cloth into Siya’s mouth without waiting for him, a simple, “Bite on it,” ordered to him.

The male healer, laid his hand on the wooden post and several pieces of metal sacrificed in the room. The wood reworked itself and fell from the tip of the spike. He frowned as he further examined the spike, Siya wincing every so often as he watched for a little while. Eventually he had to look away as the sight of the strange, thick thing sticking out of his wrist was making him dizzy.

“I’ll try to be gentle, think you can keep him from moving too much?” the man asked Farasima. He waited for the answer and then once he had it and Farasima was ready, started easing the spike out of his wrist. Siya knew then why the cloth was shoved into his mouth as his teeth ground into the cotton piece, his scream muffled. His first instinct was to pull away, which he desperately tried at first, but then simply settled for kicking and shoving at the mattress when he couldn’t go anywhere.

Farasima smiled softly at Siya’s words, though his smile dropped when he looked to the healer mentioned that they were ready to remove the spine. When he was asked to hold Siya in place, Farasima nodded and let go of the hand he had been holding to grab hold of Both of Siya’s shoulders.

Once he had a firm hold, he nodded his head to the healer before holding Siya down as the spine was slowly withdrawn from the wound. The muffled screams of pain had Farasima looking away, uncomfortable with the sight. He did his best to keep Siya from moving too much, though the king was still struggling fiercely from the pain.

It wasn’t until he got the ok from the healer that Farasima was able to look back at Siya. He did not let the king go, in the chance that the man might try to move again just out of reflex. He would wait until the healers were finished bandaging the wound before he let go of the Fire King.

Siya was in a daze as the spike finally came free. His voice was hoarse as he fell back against the headboard, every muscle aching and his body feeling like he’d run a couple of miles at a full sprint. Dizzy, tired, still overcome with worry for Amon, Siya took in deep, heaving breaths as his head lolled off to one side. He didn’t move, never let go of Farasima as his eyes drifted closed.

He made soft sounds as the healers worked to clean the wound to the best of their ability. He could feel stuff being put over it, but he didn’t even want to look, to afraid of what sight he would see. Siya jumped at the pin prick of a needle, but it all went numb soon enough so that he didn’t feel the wound being stitched up. The bandages came next, tight around his wrist and hand, keeping his hand straight and set forward. Next was a sling of some sort and his arm was hung next to his chest.

“Do not move it or agitate that wound in any way, my lord. Once Minnow has returned he will most likely do a better job at getting it to heal faster, but for now… You will have to make do with one hand,” the male healer said, his voice clipped as he took that overly serious tone with Siya. Reaching out, he pulled the cloth from Siya’s mouth who let it go and simply nodded to the man, far too tired to even attempt arguing with him.

“If you feel any pain or discomfort, let me know. I’ll do what I can to ease it,” the healer continued as he began washing his hands in the bowl of water on the table next to them.

Siya again simply nodded before turning his bleary gaze to Farasima, “Send… Scouts. Find them. Please. And find Kanan, he can use his air magic to locate Amon. Send for Lukina too… I need both of you. We have to plan, like you said… I won’t leave Amon and Minnow in their hands for much longer,” he ordered, though the usual authoritative voice was weary and filled with the desire to sleep for days if he could, though he knew he wouldn’t.

Once they were finished, Farasima finally relaxed his grip on Siya’s shoulders. Though when he tried to move, he noticed the king still had a hold of him. Glancing to the healers with a bit of a blush at the action, Farasima caved and just choose to sit down next to Siya. He nodded his head to the healers, watching as they left before he looked to Siya.

He watched as the Fire King lifted his head up, looking at the protector with a tired look to his eyes, speaking in a tone to match. Farasima nodded his head, looking up at the soldiers. “You know better where they are. I stay and make sure he does not hurt himself.”

As he watched the soldiers leave, he then turned to look back at Siya. He watched tired man, wondering what to do. He figured speaking would do him some good. “We Skis’tatari live hard life, forced to roam to pursue animals we hunt and to find new grazing grounds for herd. Few of us have true home, forced to constantly be active.”

He absently began playing with the King’s braid, lightly running his fingers across the hair as he continued. “Some of us resort to raiding borders to survive, my tribe did same. Though life was hard for many, many years, good things came to us. Du’Dradasi finally come though, unite us, make us strong, and most importantly give us place to call home.”

“That home was greatest thing to us, for we lived difficult lives on the move, all the time. To finally have a place to call home, it was made all the better by what we Skis’tatari endured. It made home truly special to us.” he continued to hold the braid, being careful to not tug on it as he sat there.

Siya might have moved or even made a soft sound as Farasima reached out and promptly began playing with his braided hair. Yet, he had no energy to do so, aside from a very light dusting of red across his face. His gaze though, went to the end of the bed as he listened. The soft brushing of fingers along the braid tugged the strands in a way that was quite soothing and Siya was beginning to enjoy it as well as start to doze a little.

His breathing was growing slower, heavier by the second but he managed to stay awake until his protector finished talking. Siya sighed deeply, shifting his body slowly to try to find a better position without pulling his hair from Farasima’s grip as he was enjoying that too much.

“Then… Are you telling me that it gets easier? Because I really don’t think it will,” Siya said softly.

“I thought it was hard when Valrien first showed up and his brother threw everything into chaos. But… I had Reynard then. He and Damiano helped me get through it, as did Amon and Taki. But then… Reynard was killed, and Taki too. Damiano stayed and we ended up in turmoil in Reimrand, trying to help Valrien. Ever since Reynard died, things just seemed to get harder. I lost what I was doing. Damiano left for some reason, he never said anything and then I found myself struggling and now with this. A signed paper for my denouncement,” Siya stopped talking for a moment.

He took a little while before he started again, simply breathing and thinking things over, “Valrien said that… I needed to properly mourn. Especially for Reynard. I was in love with him after all. I thought I did, but… Maybe I didn’t. Or maybe… I just don’t know how to,” Siya closed his eyes quickly, his jaw tight as he sat there. He’d already done enough crying, hadn’t he? Was there really a need for more? It was so frustrating.

Farasima listened to Siya speak, watching the King with a bit of a pained expression. He knew the feelings of the King. In his own way at least. “Siya, I lost my family and clan. You are not alone in loss. They found me on side of road, dying because Skis’naturi try to shoot me dead, I am exile of my clan now. No longer one of them.”

“I still hurt when I think of lost family. I too must mourn my loss as well.” he looked to the floor, sighing and closing his eyes. He opened them after a few moments, looking back at Siya. “What I tell you earlier, I say to let you know that things you want, the end you desire, it means much more when you must endure for it.”

“Our home was precious to us Skis’tatari because we never have home. My grandfather’s father never have home, neither did grandfather, so when we finally, finally have home, it… I can’t describe feeling. When you get what you desire, after all this trouble, it will be more precious to you than you ever thought it could.” he had wrapped part of the braid around his index finger, again being careful to not tug on the locks of white hair.

He slowly looked to the ground, sighing again. “Even though I lost that home, I still happy to know I had one. I had something my grandparents never have. It was… nice to have for time I had it though. Still a part of me, even though clan has exiled me.”

Siya turned to look at Farasima as he answered and began talking. He nibbled his lower lip while fighting off the heat of tears that were not for himself but for the red-head sitting next to him. The King took a deep breath at the end, sighing heavily as he shook his head, “I’m sorry, Farasima… I’m very sorry. I… Don’t know when I became so self-centered. This isn’t like me at all… I can’t imagine having been exiled, and nearly killed.”

Siya shook his head, letting go of Farasima and wiping at his face as he spoke again, “I’m sorry you lost something that important. What will you do? Don’t you want it back? What is it that you desire, Farasima? I-... I know it might not mean anything or much, but maybe I can help you get it back? Would that even be possible?”

Farasima smiled sadly, shaking his head as he looked back up at Siya. “No, chance of returning not likely. Exile one thing, they try to kill me is another. They… they don’t want me back ever. I refuse to fight the fight they part of.” he chuckled a bit, rubbing at his eye for a moment before looking back at Siya, “Seems petty, but when little disloyalty can ruin clan, punishment will be very severe.”

He rubbed at his eye again, noting how tears formed slowly in his own eyes. He had let go of Siya’s braid, and fortunately he was able to hold back from crying too much. It was still annoying to have his eyes tear up like that. “So, since Prince and others save life, I owe them. They told me to protect you, so I shall protect you.”

He managed to smile at the Fire King, “And don’t say, you go free if you wish. I have nowhere else to go, and I am cozy here now. So I shall stay to protect you. Especially because you need protection, from enemy and yourself.”

Siya frowned a little at the mention of needing protection from himself. He gave Farasima a half glaring look, but it faded out with a sigh. After all, his protector was right. Siya had been on a destructive course for quite a long while, it was almost pure habit to put himself directly in the path of harm simply because he’d been doing it for so long. Most of it was with the intention of letting it kill him, yet… Somehow he was still alive.

Siya chalked it up as cowardice.

He was only alive because he just couldn’t let himself get killed, or rather kill himself- because that was what it was in the end. Committing suicide in the most roundabout way possible. Thinking over it, Siya felt guilty from his actions. Guilty for allowing himself to fall so far, for hurting those around him. With the thoughts came the grief that he’d been pushing aside for years.

His hand tightened in Farasima’s shirt as he pulled himself toward the man. He didn’t think about it really, just simply fell against him as he cried. Everything he’d bundled up came falling out right then. All the fragile masks he wore broke. There was mourning that Valrien had told him to do. The mourning that Amon had advised him to let happen in order to feel better. Everything he’d ignored, everything he’d done that simply just hurt everyone else, or made them worry.

Siya let it all out right then. Fed up with everything. He was tired. Even if Farasima didn’t really want him to, he buried himself against the man, clinging to him as he wrapped his arm around the man, the one in the sling crushed up against his body as Siya lay on the red-head. He continually sobbed out the words ‘I’m sorry’ as he cried.

It took a little while, but he finally felt better. His sobs slowly ceased and he ended up just leaning on Farasima, taking deep, hiccuping breaths. Once that settled, he spoke softly, “Tomorrow. I want reports on where Amon and Minnow are. You and Lukina I will meet with and we’ll start planning. The Nobles of Fire want something. You’re right. They wouldn’t just take Amon if they were planning to kill him straight away. We have to figure out what it is they want.”

Siya let out a long sigh, then slowly pulled away, “I’m sorry. I know that what you dealt with the past several weeks wasn’t the best. I was difficult and probably irritating. But, I feel a little better. I will do better. Get back on track. Will you help me do that? And you have full rights to be harsh with me if I start to go astray. I don’t like what I’ve been like for the past few years. I need to get my head on straight again. Starting with this problem right now.”

Farasima flashed him a small smile when Siya glared at him. However, he hadn’t expected what came next, and that was the Fire King wrapping his good arm around the protector and leaning against him, beginning to sob as he did so. The red-head remained there, eyes wide and shocked, but slowly he began to come out of his stupor.

Hesitating for a moment, he then put an arm around Siya as well, just staying quiet and letting the man express the grief he was feeling. Words wouldn’t help, or at least no words that Farasima could think of. So he simply remained quiet, again hesitating for a few moments before wrapping his other arm around the Fire King.

He remained quiet for the whole period, and he didn’t say anything as Siya’s crying began to settle. After a moment of silence, the Fire King finally spoke, and Farasima simply nodded his head in agreement to the request. He loosened his hold on Siya as the man pulled back, Farasima’s arms coming back to his side.

“As long as you truly settle your mind, then forgive you I will. Don’t react to them, because then you fall into their traps and pits.” Farasima smiled, “And I will gladly help you get back on track. I will do my job as protector. Starting with this problem.” he said, repeating a few of the words Siya said.

Siya nodded, a very faint smile upturning the corners of his mouth, “Thank you,” he said. He let out a long sigh and started to shift his body, scooting down on the bed so that he could lay down properly. He was tired from all the crying and from the earlier pain of having the spike removed. The Fire King just wanted to sleep. As he settled against the many pillows, he yawned and curled up in a slight ball on his side, laying on his good arm while the other just draped over his body.

It didn’t take him long to fall asleep. The cool feel of the pillows under his hand helped to usher him along. He wasn’t sure if Farasima stayed there or not, he sort of hoped the Protector would, if not for a little while. Siya allowed himself into the deep sleep that beckoned him often but he’d always fought off. It felt good to sleep, much better after having released all of that frustration, tension, grief… He felt much better.

~~