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Nikita Machari

0 · 1,236 views · located in Aires

a character in “Birthstone Spirits: The Great Escape”, as played by FyreT1ger


Full Name: Nikita Louise Machari Image
Age: Unknown but appears 30
Role: Muskrat Guardian of April
Nation: Constance, Aires
Height: 5' 5"
Hair: dark brown, almost black and wavy
Eyes: dark brown-green or hazel

Personality: Megalomaniac / Self-Conscious / Gambler / Flirty / Sailor / Dark Sense of Humor


Always chewing something.
Habitually rubs her neck.
Enjoys taunting people.
Obsessed with perfume.
Never gets lost in water.

So begins...

Nikita Machari's Story


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Nikita Machari Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Kyle leaned against a tree as he tried to keep up with what Haru said, but he really couldn't concentrate. Everything but the words managed to get to his head. The tree's rough bark irritated burns on his back, that physical pain, the heaviness in his limbs from exhaustion, since he hadn't slept since the attack, doubts and anxiety he thought he had overcome. At least when he tended the wounded kids, he knew he was able to do something. Now talk of this test that decides whether they live or die. Maybe he did process something Haru said, but it didn't make it any better. Already a painful knot filled his stomach, that thought just made it tighter and harder. He couldn't take this and started pacing.

Harper arrived, shouting and complaining, and something snapped. He growled under his breath and lurched toward the older male, swinging his fists and shouting back, "Shut up! Shut up! Shut the hell up!" A smaller body pulled him back and pressed him to the ground, until he stopped thrashing.

"Well, this will be interesting," a somewhat familiar voice said quietly over his shoulder. The voice sounded amused, but had a slight edge to it. The owner of the voice tossed her head back, exposing a tanned complexion with high cheekbones and a narrow chin. "I've dealt with worse and could handle this all the way to Ve Marie, but because it's their test we might not be allowed in with them." The woman bit her lower lip. If one of them wasn't ready, they would all fail and die. Both she and Haru knew this, but what else could be done?

"I do have a ship everyone could fit in at the port, if you want to use it, and I'm just as ready as you to get moving again, but it might not hurt to take a couple days to prevent further incidents like this..." She emphasized the statement by tapping her knuckles against Kyle's back, and he responded with another grumble and trying to smack her away. Nikita, the woman, pretended not to notice and continued, "I don't think they'll attack again so soon, and for all we know staying behind for cleanup could throw them off the scent. All the remaining wounded need a safe place to go, and some of ours..." She paused and glanced over towards the edge of the clearing where she left another blond young man with a splint on his leg wrapped in a blanket. Her dark hazel eyes didn't linger there. "Some of ours can't walk at the moment. So what do you say, Haru?"


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Nikita Machari Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika Character Portrait: Mr. Vo Character Portrait:
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Well wasn’t she right on time?
Haru was more than happy that Nikita managed to make her entrance. First because Haru had little to no interest in holding Kyle back and second, her ship. He scanned the group trying to calculate how long it would take to get the kids all the way to the RK by sea. Surely it would be just enough time to set limbs, heal wounds and regain enough confidence to face the church. The wheels in his head were turning again.
They would sail along the coast. Stop on land from time to time to let them meditate, do what they can with their powers and keep moving. The cat saw a window of opportunity and he had no choice but to go ahead and jump from it.
He looked around and still hadn’t caught sight of Ryou. He worried about the March guardian, honestly he did. But he couldn’t comfort him if he couldn’t find him and they couldn’t stay at the charred remains of the academy with dangerous antagonists running around.
And because of this Haru could not endorse Nikita’s suggestion to stay behind for a while. He didn’t see how staying in the same place would lead any predator off track and in all honestly what the hell could they do? It wasn’t like the warriors were the only people cleaning up. If anything they were a severe minority and some of them, and Nikita said it herself, weren’t going to be of much physical help. There was no doubt that the orphans were after them. Staying around unarmed pedestrians wasn’t going to help anyone. They needed to be guarded behind the numbers of trained armies full of men who were trained to die not kids who were caught in the crosshairs.
The redhead shook his head.
“No. We have to get our kids and get to where we are supposed to be. Staying around the academy—and you know we aren’t powerful enough to fight them off anyway—will only get innocents killed.”
Kwasi and Mr. Vo came shuffling up to the group. Mr. Vo moved with more purpose than usual and Kwasi made it his business to support the old man to keep him from toppling over.
“I…We have everything under control here. I have been working for Mr. Zerrin for years. I have been at this academy for years.”
The old man sighed and looked down at his freckled hands.
“I have… built some of the buildings that were damaged this morning with my own hands. And I have been around long enough to know that this school houses some of the most competent young people on Aires. I am confident that, if Mr. Zerrin allows, we will get the campus back to its former glory in no time in his absence.”
Now Haru really wished that Ryou had come out of hiding. He couldn’t formally accept such an offer for him. After all, this was his academy. But Mr. Vo’s suggestion was eloquently said and very responsible.
Instead he responded by setting a firm hand on Mr. Vo’s shoulder, not necessarily setting an agreement but showing how much he respected to gesture. Whether Ryou likes it or not they might have to settle for it anyway…
Then Kwasi spoke up.
“As a monk it is my duty to help people. I have travelled the planet, helping those in need with small things before moving on. But this is something serious. So I too will stay behind with the academy to help rebuild.”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Nikita Machari
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Unsurprisingly, given her openly religious attitude, Lillian was in the midst of the students at the fountain joined together by prayer. She was, however, not openly chanting a prayer she didn't have faith in - not against the young monk's credit, but this was little more than the small ripple of a river stone blocking the flow of a creek, a hiccup in the great, wretched tragedies she had witnessed or had been apart of over her abetted, lengthy lifetime. But she could pray for those would had been lost peace after death, at the very least - and at most, for those, who would pass on before their job was finished.

"Hiri hyn hidh ab'wanath." Lillian murmured softly to herself, finishing her own prayer in a long forgotten tongue. Kwasi, at the head of the fountain, continued on, his voice a clarion call to those needing a prayer in with the Goddess, as if their belief would sustain them through this tragedy. Heh. Belief, however, was a fickle thing she well knew. She brushed her wheat-colored curls (that had snapped free from their usual bindings during the early morning attack) off her shoulders to drape across the back of her ruined, smog-stained dress. Her dark blue eyes glinting a quiet, sadness in their depths.

Lillian had begun to rise as Haru's gentle, persistence touched her shoulders briefly with the tips of his fingers to get her attention. She acknowledged him by raising her head to meet his eyes, listening to his words. Yes, she consented silently to herself, it was time they got moving then. "Of course," She hummed aloud in agreement, without a lick of dissent that some Warriors and even a few Guardians somehow deemed necessary to show to Haru. It was wasted breath or movement, as far as she would have been concerned.

Shortly, Lillian made her way purposefully to where her month's charged was 'resting' after the decidedly strenuous task to attach a make-shift splint to a still severely swollen leg (the swelling still hadn't allowed them to set the broken bones, but the splint would help him move without causing further harm to the injury, more or less) a mere hour before. Helping him stand with the help of the newly arrived guardian, Nikita, and directed his staggering hobble closer to everyone else to be apart of the meeting; easing him to sit down near the edge of the collected group on a spare blanket (or probably an unfortunately now dead persons tattered old coat) that had been wrapped around his shoulders in the early parts of the morning, when shock had made his internal temperature go hay-wire for a time.

Falke had a rough morning. Hell, technically everyone had; what with the fire that had destroyed much of the Academy and caused injuries abound, the betrayal of some of the Academy's own and finest, and the bodies of the dead stacked and wrapped up much like cord-wood fresh on people's minds - rough may have been a bit of an understatement.

The simple 'walk' over had caused a pale flush to rise across his cheeks and brim of his nose, and his bottom lip trembled unsteadily with each breath - nearly in time with shooting sparks of displeased or displaced nerves whenever a muscle spasm hit or a adjusted the broken limb. His eyes seemed hollow, but were alert, as he viewed his surroundings blearily and listened to the conversations. It was remarkable really that he didn't have a tear stain tracked on his face or had cried out more than the one time the splint was being put on (and then, he'd had enough cotton stuffed in his mouth, to only make a sound akin to a depressed, agonized goat) by another Guardian, Bryce.

The broken leg was hopefully a clean break and would heal relatively quickly once properly set, he'd been told. However, the additional knowledge of finding far worse damage once the swelling went down was always a disheartening possibility - of which, given the context of the situation of having to travel down the mountain (walking, oh joy, or a riding a horse, maybe a little better, but likely not), to get to some port, and getting on a boat to travel to the RK to be tested and hopefully he was up and rearing to go by then, broken limb or not, frankly... He felt a little nauseous. But... He understood that they couldn't stay here, and thus his silence spoke his agreement.

"I will see if a spare mount can be found to help those who need it, to help us get to the port quicker..." Lillian spoke up, a usually silent party, from her spot at Haru's left. Her odd lit twittering breezily across her tone. Her wide glance specifically seemed to pause the most on her own charge and Tallyho too, who had suffered a pretty small but steady amount of blood loss over time and it would be safe to say had the highest chance of fainting, pitching over, and falling; but Harper and Skylar also were spared a moment of attention with their own separate ankle injuries seemed a probable enough need to be watched, and helped if necessary on the journey ahead - before moving on to Mr. Vo and Kwasi arrived and spoke.

Lillian dipped her head shortly in a mixture of respect and farewell to them both, before moving away from the group to do as she said she would do. Briefly whispering to them, "May the one be with you," and squeezed their hands, young and old, lightly as she departed to search for a spare mount that had been caught - but wasn't being used to shuttle medical supplies or helping clean out the rubble of the destroyed buildings.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn
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Dorian Roberts, for all of the trials and tribulations he'd experienced in the past three years as well as the admittedly difficult cards he'd been dealt in early life, considered himself to be a very lucky young man. He was alive, for one, which was more than he'd expected at the beginning of this journey. On a less broad note, he wasn't too terribly lonely either, even if he still longed for figures that now only existed in his life by virtue of a thin piece of technologically advanced plastic. He was fed well, training was still hard but no longer to the extent where extracurriculars meant trying not to fall into an exhausted sleep on his dinner, and outside of his duties at the Academy, he had free reign so long as he didn't manage to wander off the mountain again(no one had quite believed him when he'd said his sense of direction was bad until he'd ended up in a village some two miles from the mountain the Academy was located on).

That was not to say that bad things didn't happen to him. He might have been attempting to see things in a kinder light, but he was a realist at heart and there was no simply writing off the bad, even when considering the good. He was still on a foreign planet, still trapped into a destiny he still didn't quite believe in, still had no choice but to fight or die. But, still, he had some luck in that everything could be much worse. So maybe it wasn't luck? Maybe it was just the absence of terrible luck that left him alive and relatively well?

It was that luck-not-luck that apparently found him staring at the burning Academy from the tree line, lured back from a nightly stroll to the higher peaks in a fit of insomnia by flames visible even from a great distance, licking at the sky and the overwhelming stench of smoke polluting the clear air. He didn't know what he expected as he hurried back- a bonfire, perhaps, or a stupid mistake by one of the students that would be taken care of in a flash- but it wasn't what he found. The Academy was burning, no building spared by the merciless flames that continued to spread, eating hungrily away at anything that wandered too close. The smoke clogged his lungs, but his reactions were broken and too slow, memories shared not only by himself but millions of other New Yorkers and visitors and volunteers bubbling to the surface. It was never the sight of fire that bothered him, nor the intense heat that it exuded, a threat of pain and more than mild discomfort, but instead the way it invaded the other senses so thoroughly.

The smell- oh, the smell of burning wood wasn't too bad, but the intense stink of burning flesh and hair that intermixed with the fumes invaded his nose and settled on his tongue leaving a macabre taste to cling and coat the inside of his mouth, intermingling with the wood smoke. The noise was the worst, however, the sound of crackling flames promising the collapse of buildings, shrieks of agony, of panic, of fear, of anger from humans and animals alike intermingling into an all too familiar audio that had haunted his childhood dreams for weeks and weeks.

"Move!" Dorian was forcefully jolted from his reverie as a strong hand gripped his shoulder, launching him out of the way as part of the library collapsed on the area he'd just been standing in in a flurry of flickering flames now dancing across the grass and splintering wood slowly transforming to ash beside his feet. His gasp of surprise transformed almost instantaneously into a coughing fit, but the hand never left his shoulder, moving him steadily away from the burning building, never once letting him stop. It was easier to breathe in the courtyard, but being surrounded by the flaming buildings, held in the eye of the storm with sobbing, wounded people trying to comprehend the same shocking sight was no easier mentally. His rescuer- a random male student with thin blonde hair left him there, shoving through the crowd towards a similarly unfamiliar student, a girl clutching her bleeding arm, that he pulled gently into his arms. The girl collapsed almost instantly, clinging almost violently to Dorian's unknown savior.

This was a sea of strangers, strangers he'd lived with for three years but never managed to meet or know apart from the month warriors dotting his surroundings and the few familiar faces, elite or otherwise, moving around. They'd lived here, learned here, eaten here, trained here for longer than Dorian himself in most cases and now it was burning around them when mere hours ago everything had been as calm and tranquil as a night at the Academy could boast. It occurred to Dorian that he was in shock, trying to pay attention to small details instead of the whole picture because there was simply nothing he could do for anyone. The Academy was a lost cause, a thought that hit him with some force, and it would soon be wholly engulfed, eaten away by the ravenous inferno. It wasn't his home, not really- he was a visitor, a guest having long since overstayed his welcome, but grief still welled up within him because he still felt like it was his in some way, shape, or form, or at least close enough that seeing buildings crumble, hearing the shrieks of pain from the ox's stables, seeing tears streak down the faces of people he considered far stronger than himself was like a physical pain.

"March Warrior." Only one person in the Academy still stood by that formality, the magician battling his way through the crowd to appear at his side, a struggling Mori held in a tight grip by the wrist. They were transformed in the trauma and the light of the flames devouring their home. Liam's face held none of its usual amiability, tightlipped, face streaked with ash. Mori was no better, tracks of tears that still flowed as he struggled in his older friend's grip staining his cheeks, white cheeks uncharacteristically red due to the sheer heat surrounding them.

"You will watch him. You will not let him go. He is not to leave your sight." The order was hissed, only barely audible in the commotion as the young genius was thrust into his arms. Dorian grabbed him instinctively and, while Mori was not physically strong, still grimaced as the young man thrashed.

"Liam, no! No, I need to come with you! Dae, Ryou, Ji Na, Ben- they're all still out there! It's not fair, I can-!" The protests were cut off by a sudden flurry of movement and the sharp and distinctive noise of a hand meeting flesh. Mori stopped his struggles, one hand going to his stinging cheek as Liam- polite, cheery Liam- glared down at him, harsh and unrelenting.

"You cannot!" He snarled, each word ferocious and biting. "You will get in the way and get yourself killed, so stop being selfish and stay!" With that, the magician disappeared, throwing himself back into the fray of the few people still struggling to save the Academy, or if not the Academy, at least one more life. Mori started sobbing again, the shock of the sudden blow wearing off, and it occurred to Dorian- horribly and suddenly- that the youngest elite had a photographic memory. This was now burned into his mind, never to leave, never to fade but to stay as vivid as it was right now. He pulled the sobbing child to him, blocking his view as best he could. It was the least he could do, even if all he wanted to do was cry as well.


Ryou was by no means an overly modest man- he took pride in many of his accomplishments, real and imagined(all real, he'd argue, until someone reminded him that he couldn't really be Lord of the Dance or King of the Jungle, even if he did tend to introduce himself as such when drunk). But if you caught him in an introspective moment and asked him what exactly he was most proud of, it would be his children. He adored all of the students that passed through his Academy, young and old, but he held a special place in his heart for those that he'd raised personally. His beloved Ji Na, as delicate looking as a porcelain doll and twice as beautiful and with a strength and knowledge that made her so endearing. Ben, gruff and tough as a bear on the outside, but, to Ryou, as sweet as honey on the inside. Now Karma with her endless energy and endearing antics. They were flawed- of course they were(if Ji Na ever though he didn't notice the distinct odor of her brand of relaxation in her room, she had another thing coming). Still, they were his children, brought up by him for better or for worse, his pride and joys proving themselves every day to be the greatest things that he'd ever done.

Which is why no one, absolutely no one, could imagine what went through his mind as Ji Na and Ben slowly approached the bastard who'd burned down their home, who'd caused the deaths of their students, friends, classmates, and his cast of monsters, not to kill him, not to attack, but to join him alongside Kat- independent, beautiful, amazing Kat- faces emotionless, without pain. He froze mid run, caught in the shadows of an already toppled building. Their words were lost on him, lost in the hurricane of thoughts flickering through his mind, lost in his own internal screams. He'd lost his home, his students, and now his children, his children in the same night. Where was the Ji Na he knew, who'd scolded him gently every time he leaned over to boop her nose during a meal even as a child? Where was the Ben whose every boo-boo and scrape he'd taken care of as a child with a bandage and a kiss?


That wasn't them. It couldn't be them, that was ridiculous. Ji Na and Ben and, yes, even Kat, would never just… Do this, whatever this was. They were proud individuals, strong and true, they would never- they could never-


This wasn't happening- it was a nightmare, it had to be. Academies don't just burst into flame, super villains didn't just stream out of the woodwork, children don't just betray their parents-

'I need Help!'

It was a trick, wasn't it? Yes, that must be it. Any moment now, Ben would pull the string of his bow, Ji Na would unsheathe some hidden blade and strike, avenge their home and their family.

'Goddess, please!'

But they stayed there, mouths moving in some incomprehensible language, hidden by his shrieking thoughts. His home was gone, his family- his family was gone. Gone, gone, gone- they left him, they weren't dead, they just left him. Was it his own fault? Had he done something? He must have done something, that had to be it because people don't just- They don't just-


That plea wasn't in his own mind, it couldn't be. He turned suddenly to see the last of the Girl's dormitory begin to crumble under its no longer solid framework. Stragglers flooded out of the door, infinitely less secure because a beam had already fallen, flaming like the rest of the structure, and was being held up as the last girl ran to the relative safety the grounds provided, held up by… By Dae. The flames licked at his body, burning cloth and flesh alike, but he was stuck in the trap of his own making while attempting to let them free. It was his bellowed plea that had broken the spell.

He was torn, only for a moment. He could go now, could untangle these lies and confusing revelations by demanding answers from his children, or he could save someone already struggling to save others, who hadn't left their compatriots behind. He hated himself, oh, Goddess, how he hated himself. He turned and ran, to save the person that he still knew, who hadn't just become a stranger.


Sometimes, the light of day is more of a curse than a blessing. The fire had finally died out, consuming all that it could before vanishing into smoldering ashes and into the ruins of the buildings that they all had once visited, walked through, slept in, lived in. The cruel sun exposed the reality, harsh and unrelenting without the darkness and the pale, more merciful glow of the moon and stars to hide away the worst of it. It was still quiet, however, the natural noises surrounding them all but gone. No birds sang, no animals made their way through the foliage, no pleasant and inconsequential chatter among the students. Prayers rained supreme and quiet, solemn conversations intermingled with sobs from those that still had tears left to shed and still other's tiny sounds of pain, gasps and light whines.


"Dae, stop."

"Dae, please. You're already injured."


"So? So, my dear, you're making it worse by sifting through the rubble."

"No, they're making it worse."


"Them. Didn't you see them? Trying to- trying to find bodies and- and take care of everyone. They're making it worse. They don't even know any of their names, and they're acting like-"

"Like they care about them?"

"I know it sounds selfish, I know- Liam, I just… I just want our friends to be found and taken care of by people they know. We owe them that, something personal. They're not corpses to be found- that's Camilla, she was going to marry that baker's son. I found Tai earlier, in the library. All of them deserve to be mourned because the world lost amazing people, not just because they happened to die."


Dorian, while not medically trained, spent his time trying his best to patch up wounds, wrapping bandages around the least severe of the injuries. Without searching, his immediate fears for his teammates were alleviated simply because none of their bodies were displayed with the others, and their wounds were either mild enough or their pride too powerful so that they never made their way over to the impromptu medical station. Mori had stayed by his side, uncharacteristically quiet, not that Dorian blamed him, apart from occasionally rattling off medical advice absorbed by reading and observation in a dull, hollow sort of voice. It wasn't until the rest of his trio returned did he finally perked up, racing over to Dae and flinging his arms around his middle. Neither of the elites looked themselves, for very different reasons.

Dae was covered in soot and ash, already rough hands covered with streaks of blood and dirt, and although his body was wrapped in Liam's cloak, blistering burns were visible creeping up his neck, otherwise hidden away by the fabric. Liam, on the other hand, finally exposed what had always been beneath the cloak- black pants and a black tank top revealing large, swirling, black rune-like tattoos covering the entirety of his torso, stopping only at his wrists and curling partially up his neck.

"Haru's called for you," Dae croaked, tired green eyes settling firmly on Dorian, already raspy voice gone to Hell in the aftermath of smoke inhalation and screaming. Dorian nodded, not trusting himself to speak, as he followed behind the three. It felt wrong to see them like this, to look upon the picture of a broken family- and, indeed, they were a family if Liam and Dae's interlocked hands and the tender way Dae stroked Mori's hair with his free hand meant anything.

They joined the exhausted group, some holding up quite well and others teetering on the edge of a meltdown. Some were injured, apparently having found medical help elsewhere, and others were fine or as fine as they could be. The solemn gathering was ultimately shattered, however, with Harper's arrival, spitting out angry words that had no place being heard by these people who had just been betrayed. Dorian liked Harper, of course he did, and maybe this was just his way of dealing with trauma or something, but he wasn't stupid, he knew it was without tact.

Dorian's eyes flickered to his three guides, noticed the way Mori scooted further back as if by surrounding himself by the knight and the magician, he'd be safe, how Dae shut his eyes for just a moment too long, how Liam's unblinking gaze set firmly on Haru, unwilling to waver form the man with a plan, as his grip tightened on Dae's hand to the point of appearing painful. Kyle was the only one who moved to do anything and he was stopped by the appearance of his own guardian, a newcomer untainted by the night's events. Dorian couldn't look at her, didn't really want to look at the casually amused way she took them all in as if bodies weren't lined up in the ruins of the dorm, ready to be buried or sent home to their families. Again, no tact, but now without the excuse of an emotional night to chip away at sensibilities and courtesy that Dorian had given Harper's outburst. Dorian coughed and for once he didn't know if it was his own mild attempt to clear away just how awkward he found the situation or if it was form the smoke inhalation.


"As long as students wish to learn at my Academy, I see no reason for it to be shut down." The sudden appearance of Ryou was enough to surprise even the most taciturn member of the little meeting. He looked like he'd gone through Hell, body streaked with sweat, blood, and ash, golden eyes without their usual mirthful glint, clothing tattered from a lack of attention as he'd spent every waking hour busying himself with something, anything to help. But he was solid, together as he cradled Karma in his arms like a delicate flower, one hand idly combing tangles from pink tresses.

"Mr. Vo… Kwasi…. I would be honored if you would help to rebuild and restart the Academy. I can't think of anyone I'd rather have here, building our home." His tone was solemn, respectful as if they had just offered him something sacred. He clasped hands with each of them, even pulling Mr. Vo into a tender one-armed hug, careful of the small body in his arms.

"I've already talked to the students- some will be heading home, but most want to stay, so you'll both have more than enough help. And so will we." He glanced at the only remaining elites who nodded their heads. Their home had been burned down, their friends and students killed. Their place wasn't here, not right now, but with their leader to find answers and hopefully revenge.

"Haru, I'm ready to go."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn
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Ondine was restless as she approached. She had taken down many a trading ship such as this in her pirating days. She hadn't seen her own ship in too many years to count. And boarding any ship without being in command of it always left her uneasy.

Harper, while starting the voyage off with his usual grumbling and conversation with Skylar, peppered with the occasional pirate joke in reference to his bad foot (which had required all of Ondine's willpower not to amputate the leg in question on the spot), had dwindled off into uncharacteristic silence. He had also slowed in pace, and indeed, the two were some of the last to board. However, it was clear from his labored breathing and grimacing with each step that Harper's hesitance and silence was from pain, rather than any past nostalgia. Ondine nearly had to carry him the last few rungs of the ladder onto the actual ship, and by then he was looking very pale.

"Who knew...that...tridents..." Harper wheezed out, "would make....such bad...crutches..."

"Why don't you sit?" Ondine suggested, worried that he might pitch over. The way he was holding the trident suggest a possibility that he might accidentally stick himself with the prongs.

"And miss...the grand...tour?" Harper asked through breaths, and somehow managed grin. He stood up straight, stretching his back, "I'll sit...when I find the beds..."

Ondine hovered, making sure he didn't fall and keeping an eye on him while she herself examined the ship with judgmental eyes. Fancy handiwork, but in the heat of battle, she was certain her own ship would crack through without much issue.

When they finally reached the sleeping quarters, Harper was first to claim a bed, hobbling over to the farthest corner, dumping his trident unceremoniously between the wooden trunk and the wall and pulling himself in a most ungracious manner onto the netting and rolling onto his back. There was a brief moment of uncertainty in terms of whether he would fall off or not, as expressed in his very wide eyes and arms clinging either side, but the moment passed and the netting ceased its swinging.

With a shake of her head, Ondine left her ward to his own devices, which no doubt included a nap, and returned to the deck.

In the days to come, the deck would be where most would find Ondine, if she wasn't in the water as a dolphin, jumping and diving in and out of the water and tossing up any fish that she herself didn't want to eat. Occasionally she would also mention any large rocks or boulders to be wary of, though she always did this in an offhand, casual manner. Heaven forbid she report anything to any captain but herself.

Harper spent an equal amount of time above and below, though whenever he was above deck he was always looking out at the water wistfully, his envy of Ondine's ability undisguised. Being on this ship quickly turned into a sort of torture, being surrounded by water, but never able to swim in it. It was only a matter of hours after taking to water, though, that Harper lighted upon a compromise and hurried under as fast as his limp would let him. Pulling out his knife, he sawed away at the wooden trunk under his bed. After about forty minutes, with little progress than several scratch marks that totally marred the wood, he resorted to just jabbing with his trident. After another half hour of stabbing, he managed to slide the prongs under the bottom and, through the use of basic physics, levered the trunk up from the ground after a good fifteen minutes.

"Success!" he exclaimed, hoisting the trunk above his head, slats of wood still connected to the bolts dangling from the overall box.

With a confident, excited hobble up the stairs and onto the deck, he placed the block top down near the front of the ship, the sky a deep orange. With some effort, he raised a water pillar from the sea and hosed the ocean water into the box. He then proceeded to strip off all his clothes, with the exception of his underwear, which was still the same Speedo he had been wearing when he was first brought to this world (meticulously cleaned and maintained, mind you), and with a small splash of water, lounged in his newly-fashioned mini tub. The sight was perfectly ridiculous, the water only coming up to his upper abs, with most of his body out of the tub than in it, and the wood was scratchy and not quite smooth, no thanks to his knife-work, but if there was ever a moment when Harper would start caring, it certainly wasn't now.

In fact, as the sun set, and the melody from Titanic whistled from his lips, the ocean water still cool as a breeze swept through his fire-burnt hair, Harper felt pretty fucking majestic.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan
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Gwen carefully unwrapped the bandages from Tallyho’s injury, conscious of where the cloth was stuck to the sensitive tissue. The wound wasn’t particularly large, but it was deep and perhaps too close to the artery for comfort. Dark blood stained both the pale skin of the injured and the healer as Gwen gently placed her hand near the gash.

Despite the past years of training, Gwen had not had much experience with more severe wounds. As her energy pulsated over Tallyho’s body, sensing the state of the young woman’s body, a soft shiver went down her body as she felt the damage. The injury itself was not the only thing of concern; Gwen had never before felt the effects of blood loss.

Additionally, a few shards glass was still embedded in Tallyho’s flesh. “Sorry about this; I’ll do what I can to dull the pain,” Gwen said, taking firm hold of the glass closest to the surface of the injury. She was firm as she needed to be without causing undo pain; at this point, she and Tallyho were connected. Gwen could sense Tallyho’s physical pain.

The glass removed, Gwen did what she could to protect the progression of the healing. She sterilized the wound first, trying to draw from her own immune system more than Tallyho’s weakened one. She then sealing the main source of the bleeding, drawing clotting agents toward the wound and creating a soft scab over the injury.

Gwen broke physical contact with Tallyho, and the energy that connected them was immediately broken. The entire process had taken fewer than a few minutes. Slightly breathless now, she took the bandages that Tallyho had gotten from Autumn and did what she could to salvage what was clean. She wound this small bit around Tallyho’s leg.

“In case the scab breaks,” she explained, eyes down. “As long as you’re gentle, you shouldn’t have any problems.” Gwen could had boosted Tallyho’s body in replenishing its blood supply, but she had a feeling that her skills would be in further demand…

Rising from where she crouched beside Tallyho, she saw burns, sprains, breaks, gashes. In some cases, she couldn’t tell whether the blood covering the others was their own. As Ryou and Haru and a woman stranger talked among themselves, she couldn’t help but be drawn to hunched figure sitting at the edge of the group, a rough splint made around his grossly swollen leg.

Gwen could sense the pain of Falke’s injury--perhaps just by way of normal human sympathy--by merely looking. When the group reached the consensus that they were leaving, Gwen couldn’t stand the thought of him traveling in such a state. He was pale as death already.

With a swift, and perhaps abrupt movement, she was at Falke’s side. Perhaps he already knew it was her by means of his ability; perhaps he was in too much pain to use it. She spoke softly. “You’re in no condition to travel right now. I can’t set the bone or heal the break, but I can help, if you let me…”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Nikita Machari Character Portrait: Alatáriël Oronrá Character Portrait: Bryce Edwards
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Falke’s powers had not been working since being abruptly awoken in the middle of the night, or likely had simply shriveled out with the overload of thoughts and emotions that had been relatively off the charts given the circumstances at hand; but it wasn’t hard to tell, without any supernatural help, with the swift, abrupt movement that someone had arrived at his side. He knew it was Gwen before she ever spoke, however, more so due to the sound of her tread – one of the softest, and most precise of the group as whole – but in turn also the scent of her or whatever she’d happened to have last wash her hair in (he would never admit it out loud that everyone smelled different, and truthfully, it wasn’t his fault with the sudden fresh air wafting past his nose at her arrival’s movement) mixed with fire and smoke.

“You’re in no condition to travel right now. I can’t set the bone or heal the break, but I can help, if you let me…”
His eyes snapped into bleary focus, and purposefully tilted his head to regard her evenly for a moment. Gwen had always been… Distant, was the best word he could describe it. But their relations over the years had always been something of neutral respect, not even quite acquaintances, and definitely not friends, but a shared dignity of silence and quiet. In regards to either of their powers discussed between the other, it wasn’t nor had ever been a priority – perhaps more accidental secrecy, or not being ‘close’ to even bring it up in idle conversation.

She was the ‘Healer’, however. She might have been just feeling comfortable to show a bit of what she could do to a few, select people to aid, instead of just herself. Or given her abilities potential, could feel his pain as a second nature to her own. Or… She could just look at him, and feel normal human sympathy at his current condition – that was supposed to be travel ready enough. Huh. He felt faint already thinking about it himself.

“That would be fine,” Falke agreed slowly, however, felt the need to warn her, “… Break off, if you can’t handle the connection.” A given really because he didn’t know if his power would jump into being a nuisance for himself, let alone her; or by her already heavy breathing, she may well be straining herself additionally helping him, if she needed a rest – he wouldn’t fault her on it.

Uneasily, he shifted his weight unto his good side and offered his free hand meekly in offering. Whether or not she took it, or grabbed closer or on the grossly swollen leg in question itself to be closer to the injury, it didn’t matter – there had been physical contact one way or another. His shoulders went rigid with tension, and teeth gritted tightly together absently in response to it.

He wasn’t in pain from her actions, and generally believed she was helping one way another – whether by easing the pain or swelling, limiting his nervous systems extremely expressive reaction, something, he wasn’t clear on – but more so that his powers finally decided to come back full swing. For a moment, his mind barriers had been completely hosed; her mind’s everything violently mismatched between his own thoughts, feelings, and memories. It took most of the time of the contact, to simply remove the two into their own separate places and resume the ‘wall’.

He didn’t doubt an accidental thought or two, even maybe a memory of his own, may have strayed into her head before he was able to right things with weary, pained determination. If she questioned it later, he could respond with an apology he supposed? Or, well… At least Tallyho hadn’t ever seemed to mind it, and made it a regular habit to torment him with /Fluffy Bunnies/ whenever she ‘playfully’ bashed his shoulder or smacked his arm. So, an apology would have to do, he supposed, if she even noticed or complained about it in the first place. He would come to it, if it came…

Falke could still feel her minds’ chittering whirlwind numbly, even after she removed her contact. “Thank you.” He mused, softly; tired and dejected, but grateful. Relaxing his tightly clenched muscles in shoulders and jaw line, with a look crossing his features and inward feeling (hopefully unimagined) of relief.

Lillian returned empty handed. No horses had been caught yet that weren’t being used or had been calmed down enough yet to be useful. She aided, Nikita in making a rough stretcher; as uncomfortable shifty manufacture of limited time and supplies as it looked, it was just as uncomfortable to ride in – Falke could testify for, after being loaded unto it, and ferried down the mountain towards the port.


It had been a long day thus far…

Falke had been dumped in the infirmary shortly upon arriving. Exhaustion, pain, and boredom of not having better to do (or perhaps simply being completely left alone); allowed him to finally be able to crash into a deep slumber. Whether or not people joined him in the room, after the tour around the ship ended, he wasn’t aware – the rest was nice, even if he was dead to the world for a few hours.

It was nearing the end of the first day, when Byrce returned to wake him, checking the swelling had finally gone down enough to properly set a proper splint on his broken leg. With the taste of the wooden dowel and imagining splinters in his tongue, the event hadn’t been as traumatic as it could have been. His dignity was intact, and the limb was more or less stable and beginning the healing process. Oh, whoopee?

“Wha' ra'rros ho sau, llha' oamos hoa a as shaagh…”

Lillian sang out loud, twisting the unrecognizable words with a softly solemn, quiet lilt of her accent – that made her musical accent seemed to have finally found a language that it fit properly around. She was on deck, a secluded corner, sitting with needle and thread and cloth in her lap. Her hands kept busy as she worked with quick efficiency with some still soft but older cloth she’d been given – finishing up a shirt, one of the many needed, to replace those that were needed to be replaced. She was no less aware of the stares she was given by the young men and boy’s busy running on the ship, but gave them no mind as she continued on humming breezily on – about who loved the sun, who care if it would still shine, and on, and on…


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Nikita Machari Character Portrait: Alatáriël Oronrá Character Portrait: Ondine Azur Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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Haru’s small stature was over-taken by a mass much larger, and heavier than he was. But this mass, in all of its sobby, slobbery essence was full of more care and sentimentality than Haru could hold in one paw. This mass was, at least to Haru, the very epitome of lifelong friendship and loyalty and Haru truly felt like the Goddess was testing his strength by having this mass, which was carrying a great grief on its shoulders and an even greater heart in its chest, bear its weight on his shoulder. But to the guardian this weight was not a burden.
The readhead did not stroke Ryou’s head like a baby’s, or embrace him and say that everything was going to be alright because he didn’t know. All he could really contribute was leg strength and a sturdy crying spot. When Ryou finished Haru wordlessly turned back to the sun and fished into his pocket. He pulled out a carton of cigarettes, a carton with, lo and behold, the every last of his cigarettes. Haru hadn’t known Ryou to be as much of a smoker as he was, if at all, but he offered his last nicotine stick anyway. Ryou knew how much the cat guardian cherished them and offering up his last would send a bold enough signal.
“That’s right,” Haru said after a while. “Apologize. Ask for forgiveness because you have wrongfully claimed that Ryou Zerrin has let his students down and that he has no to right to shed a tear. Who’s to say that he didn’t do the best he could for his students? What gives you the right to deny his humanity and tell him that he cannot feel pain and just fucking cry it out? Shame. Shame on you.”
Haru leaned on the railing.
“Ryou…. I think we all know that a great loss of life can be a tragedy. But I can guarantee you that this loss wasn’t by your hand or negligence, or whatever the hell you’re blaming yourself for. This was Amber and you should know that. And I know that though he may not feel it now, the psychological effects of destroying so many human lives will catch up with him. But you can’t force it on him. Take it from me, the grief will come slowly at first then graze him with increasing speed. Attach to him. Never wash away no matter how many damned baths he takes in the holy river. Hell, I’m still bathing in the fucking river for what I did and I still fucking stink.”
The cat guardian chuckled. “You know. You’re my best friend and I never told you what the hell I did to be here today. You’re looking at a bad man Ryou, and I mean, heh… A bad. Bad. Bad man. You guardians… I mean despite the fact that you’re guardians I still think you are good people who simply did bad things. Kit did what he did because he needed to save a life by smothering it’s flame. Ondine did what she did because people abused her. You did what you did because you had to play the grind to survive but me, I don’t know why the hell I did my deed. I was young and I was sharp as fuck and I mean not just like… Physically but I was fucking smart Ryou, especially at my tender age. And…. And Hales’ military wanted my mind and I wanted to get out of the cold because it was just so fucking cold and I married young and had people to care for and they had to get out of the cold so I just…I just went where it was warm. And they asked me about problems, and I came up with plans. Soon I went from Haru Karokov the grunt of the Karokov clan to Haru Karokov military strategist, Haru Karokov war instigator, Haru Karokov illegitimate father of the 16 year war, town toppler, baby burner, cattle killer the very person that Amber was last night and I didn’t have to lift a fucking finger to do it because I had men who would do it all for me. Men who were fathers and brothers and farmers who weren’t too young, or decrepit, disabled or stupid to be recruited by the military at the time. I thought I was just doing my job: what the government wanted. ‘Get us more territory’ they said, ‘We need more POWs’ they told me. And I did it, and I did it so well that suddenly they were negating everything they told me before. ‘Have more humility!’ Then my wife fucking smothered me to death in my sleep. And then I died... Then I was given a chance to turn over a new leaf, thrusted into an Aires that I had a hand in creating yet was so much further from what I expected. Placed into an unfamiliar time and charged to protect super powered people who ultimately failed the challenge.”
Haru paused, realizing that he hadn’t taken a moment to really breathe.
“But,” he rasped, “I was partnered up with you. And Lillian, and Kit and Ondine and all the others. People who, from what I could see, were so much better than me at the whole human thing. And... And I thought, wow, I can’t be so bad if I’m lined up with so many other ‘sinful’ people. And… What I’m trying to say with all of this is that I think… and I might be wrong but I that if I am a good person…then you are a good person too.”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Nikita Machari
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“Nice job, Gwen.” Bryce murmured from his spot behind Falke, his intrigue with her powers overpowering any bitter feelings that she was able to heal so easily while he could have never stopped the swelling in Falke’s leg so quickly.

Bryce was not easily impressed by any means, yet the January warrior’s powers fascinated him to no end. While Gwen’s method of acquiring them differed greatly from his many years of conventional study, he couldn’t help but be impressed with her growing skill. It made him almost wish that he was her guardian- or at the very least that Skylar’s powers were something a little more than glorified rock throwing.

He trailed after Lillian and Nikita as they carried Falke to the ship via a makeshift stretcher (Bryce help them by doing any kind of physical labor? Please, Bryce was a man of brainpower and would not stoop to such levels.) Once they arrived on board and Falke was set up in the infirmary, Bryce was able to fashion a splint for the younger male that would stabilize his leg enough so that it would be able to heal on its own. While he might not have been able to heal the break in a way similar to Gwen’s healing, his methods were just as effective even if they were time consuming.

Once he finished, he turned to find Kit sitting on one of the cots, his injuries looking no better. “I can make you a better splint if you’d like.” He said, gesturing to the guardian’s previous attempt to patch himself up.


Between everything that had happened earlier and the dull throbbing sensation in her ankle, Skylar could barely pay attention to Harper’s grumbling and pirate jokes, let alone the tour of the ship. Despite Nikita’s offer to let those who were injured stay in the infirmary, Skylar didn’t like the idea of so openly asking for help (although Kyle had helped her onto the ship earlier and while she appreciated the offer, she hated the feeling of vulnerability it left her with). She made a mental note of where the infirmary was as they passed through it, planning on heading down afterwards to get a better bandage for her ankle.

After they’d been dismissed, she made her way to the infirmary where Bryce was able to wrap her ankle enough so the throbbing didn’t bother her as much. Ignoring her guardian’s advice to rest, the thought of even trying to get any sleep repulsed her. She hated sitting still and suddenly felt a pang of nostalgia for the clearing in the forest where she used to go when she was feeling overwhelmed. They were on a ship though; a ship way out in the middle of the ocean- there was no escaping now.

She stopped in her tracks as she walked out onto the deck, gaze locked on Harper sitting in a dinky little wooden crate filled with water. It shouldn’t have been funny in the slightest, considering that he’d basically vandalized the ship and especially in the aftermath of the fire, but she couldn’t stop the laughter that was beginning to bubble out of her throat at the sight. She sank down to the ground, laughing until her face was red and tears started streaming down her face. Her shoulders shook as she sat there, the events of the previous day hitting her like a ton of bricks until soon enough the tears weren’t from laughing anymore.

It was horrifying. She couldn’t get the image of the flames out of her head, the flames that had not only engulfed the buildings where she’d lived for three years, but that had taken all those innocent lives far too soon. She wanted to throw up.

Bryce chose that particular moment to stroll onto the deck, Skylar’s mental breakdown making him once again question his guardian-ship. While the older male could handle gore like a pro, he was at a loss when it came down to such public displays of emotion.

“Skylar?” He questioned, narrowing his eyes. “Are you… Is everything alright?”

Skylar looked up, her face red and tear stained. “I’m fine,” She started, furiously rubbing her eyes with the back of her hands. “I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine.” She shook her head, pulling herself up off the floor and taking a deep breath before turning to Harper. “You, I…. I don’t think I actually have anything to say to you for once because you look more ridiculous than you normally do- which I didn't think was possible.”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn
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After finishing all the necessary work for the ship to cast off, Nikita came back down belowdecks to check on her passengers. She let Haru convince her of the situation, but she couldn't help worrying about them. They were a bunch of kids pulled into this situation and called month warriors. The only place they knew just went up in flames. Their friends were either killed or severely injured. Children were usually more resilient than adults and easier to train. At the same time they could be fragile.

These children's ages mattered naught to her. Among her crew, she defined adulthood by attitude and experience. These month warriors had no experience outside the safe haven of Ryou's Academy and she already knew the childish attitudes of two of them. She would probably never be able to see them as adults, but she refused to baby them. Children always needed to grow up.

She came to their berth and found a splintered gap on the floor. Showing her own control, she glanced over the room identifying who was there and who wasn't without a word. All of Ryou's students remained and had painful expressions on their faces. Some of the month warriors were dead asleep, while the others apparently left to explore on their own. There was no sign of the missing trunk among the sleepers, therefore she had to find the wanderers. Before leaving though, she whispered to the students, "I'm sorry."

Kyle sat in the infirmary without a shirt and his dirty blond hair tossed over his face. He leaned forward and hid his scars while Dr. Rose tended the burns on his back. The youngest warrior had no scars or marks anywhere close to Dae's, but he didn't see the knight to compare. Liam came in earlier asking for some burn creme and Dr. Rose gave it to him but asked a number of questions making sure the magician knew how to use it. Satisfied with the answers, the good doctor resumed working on anyone else who needed help and filling out all those forms on heavy paper.

One person to check off her list. Nikita headed back on deck. Tallyho was sitting by Lillian who worked on some clothing and Nikita smiled. It was a peaceful scene. Another check mark. She didn't even suspect Haru and Ryou who were watching the sunset. She caught a little bit of Haru's speech too. "Good people who do bad things. hmm..."

Last but not least, she came to the small huddle of Bryce, Skylar, Dorian, and Harper. This would not be pleasant. She wrinkled up her nose and hardened her face and stance. Bryce was the May guardian so he would definitely know better than to tear up her ship. It's called respect of property. All four of them were guests here. Nothing aboard belonged to them as individuals except for whatever they came with. She would know better not to damage their things and her crew, though younger than they, would know just as well. "Which of you tore up my ship?" She regretted her cold, harsh tone, seeing Skylar's red face, but she absolutely could not back down. "Who tore up my ship?" she repeated and glared at all three of them until she got her answer.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Nikita Machari Character Portrait: Kit Withers Character Portrait: Bryce Edwards Character Portrait:
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Skylar's emotional needs were being taken care of, which meant that Bryce didn’t have to pretend to know what he was doing and force out any awkwardly comforting words. Tending to patients and having a calming bedside manner was one thing, but trying to help those he cared about in the slightest was much more complicated. Letting out a short sigh of relief, he turned and quickly made his way back to the infirmary before the girl decided to burst into tears again.

He stepped into the darkened room, slowly circling the infirmary as he checked on the other members of their team. Kit appeared to be doing much better, although it was probably due to the fact that his arm was nicely fixed up in a sling and his bloodstained shirt had been replaced by a clean one.

“How are you holding up?” Bryce asked, walking over to the other guardian. His eyes narrowed as he watched the redhead rub his neck, gaze fixating on the faded scar that was apparent- rope burn? It occurred to him that he didn’t think he had ever seen the other male with his neck uncovered, his discomfort noticeable on Kit’s face.

It was almost an unspoken rule among the guardians not to talk about their pasts- or at least, it was in Bryce’s case. Aside from making it known that he had been a doctor, he didn’t talk about his life before guardianship at all.


Harper actually being genuine? Skylar almost couldn’t believe it- she may have known him for three years, but she would be the first to admit that sometimes she couldn’t even tell whether he was being serious or not. But this was a nice change, as different from his usual cheerful, snarky personality as it was. It was then that she realized that it was true what they said- tragedy changes people, allowing for them to show their true selves.

For so long she had been told that showing emotion was a sign of weakness, told that she needed to “suck it up” if she was going to survive in the world. She oozed a false sense of confidence as she kept her feelings bottled up, holding in the tears through everything from scraped knees at age five to countless failed relationships in her teens as she pretended that everything was great and awesome and life was perfect.

She was pathetic. Three years later and a completely different universe later and she still couldn’t get her father’s nagging voice out of her mind.

Skylar was done caring though, and it was at that moment that she let her shoulders slump, wordlessly pressing her face into Harper’s chest as she let him wrap his arms around her.

“Thanks, Harper.”

The sound of Nikita's sharp voice jolted her from her thoughts, and the petite brunette quickly pulled away from Harper to see the ship's captain looking particularly angry as she accused one of them of destroying her ship. What was she talking about? Skylar knew better than to comeback with a witty remark though, choosing instead to shrug and silently shake her head.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez Character Portrait: Nikita Machari
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Stripped naked and dripping wet, Xabier appraised his arms with concern.

After the layers of grime from the smoke and blood were washed into the drain, his skin seemed to have retained nearly the exact same appearance as before the fire.
And it worried him.
He clearly remembered the sharp pain of fire burning at his flesh. The obvious burn marks on his arms that so resembled his back all those years ago. The gash on his left forehead had bled so much that he had been knocked out.
Studying his reflection intently, he noted that the majority of what were the worst of his injuries had disappeared with only light scratches and bruising.
There hadn't been enough time for the laceration on his head to heal like that without any treatment. That and the
fact that the burns had been deep red with an outbreak of painful blisters- such burns of superficial partial thickness usually took 2-3 weeks to heal.
This had made Xabier stop and take notice.
His arms were near perfectly healed and he hadn't needed any painkillers to get through it.

It wasn't possible if his initial observation of the wounds had been correct.
It occurred to him that he might have imagined the severity of the wounds.
Oh God, he thought, I really am going crazy.

His head had been so wrapped up in her leaving that he had slipped onto the ship under the gentle cover of the shadows.
It probably said something about his personality but the events of the night of the fire had almost... crippled him.

He wanted nothing to do with anyone else's suffering. He had tried to help out with the initial damage control, but every time he got around to the "doctor" part he froze and shut down. How was he so sure that he wouldn't turn around and hurt these people? Ji Na had seemed to help people but ended up burning them instead.
Why was he given the power of shadows and not something helpful like healing?
The thought began to niggle in the back of his mind like a parasite. He pushed it away.

Using the musky smelling soap that he had borrowed from the men's quarters back in the training centre he washed his hair and
began to dry his body off with an old towel. His thoughts flicked back to his mysteriously healed arms. How on earth did that happen? Pulling on his boxers, he paced up and down thoughtfully. Had he only imagined getting hurt? Surely that couldn't be true! The pain he had felt was real.
"Maybe it was just your mind mimicking the past." One of the shadow doppelgängers that he had placed on guard while he was bathing, surmised in Basque. "There have been studies on the theory."

As much as Xabier resented his shadows at times, they occasionally contributed well to any thought train he was on. They were parts of his own mind of course. It was a shame that the shadow doppelgängers who he usually conjured up were more interested in fighting and ...dirty things,than intellectual discussion.

"It felt real, I'm sure it was real." He replied back in Basque. If anyone was listening outside the door they would hear Xabier having a conversation with himself. It was one of the many reasons why he usually communicated in his head and spoke to them in Spanish or Basque to save from embarrassing situations.

He saw the doppelgänger nod his head in agreement. Whatever Xabier felt passed on to his shadows and they were acutely aware of whatever he felt, whenever he felt it. It got pretty annoying after a while.
"Ah!" another clone exclaimed.
Xabier turned around in panic. He wasn't too worried of others seeing him in the nude, the fear had passed once his shirt had been ripped off while helping Harper all those years ago. He was more anxious of another event happening while he was only in his underwear.
"What is it? What do you see?" Xabier gasped.
"Musu me eta zuk erakutsi dut." The first clone teased.
He ignored the first clone and looked straight at the one that had yelped.
"What is it?"
The second clone sent the idea of comparing wounds via images.
"Maybe you should ask Harper, his wounds were similar to yours. Maybe he'll have had the same recovery as you."
The image of Harper lying unconscious in his shadow's arms flooded to his head as if he had actually been there.
In a quick sequence of images he saw his own memory of his wounds and his shadow's memory of Harper's wounds.
It was true that they were similar. The clones were being surprisingly helpful today. Maybe they just pitied him but it always made him suspicious when they did things like this.
Still it wouldn't hurt to check on Harper and maybe see if the others were doing all right too. He had seen Tallyho's leg but left her alone since she had Gwen to help her.
His hair dripping on the floor, he nearly walked out in only his boxers.
"Ah leave your clothes off, give them something to look at." the clone that insisted on being called Cenon called out.

"Next time." He winked and released them back into their original forms on the walls and floors.
Pulling on the clean shirt and trousers he exited the restroom that he had been using as a make-shift shower. Slipping quietly passed the resting warriors, he made it to where the helpful clone had said Harper was.
He noted Dorian was there too but he brushed passed him with purpose. This was important that he got some new insight on what was going on. He tried to fool himself into thinking that he wasn't using it as an excuse to try and forget Ji Na.

His eyes locked on Harper and then he understood immediately why his clones had insisted on him seeing Harper at this very moment. Right in front of him was Harper and Skylar in a tight embrace. She seemed to be crying and he was comforting her.
He was interrupting a tender moment and it was painfully reminiscent of when he'd hug Inke whenever she didn't want to get up because she was afraid that she'd die and leave him lonely. She did die and he still felt lonely.

All of a sudden Xabier felt something clench in his chest and then it released him. He couldn't remember why he thought it was a good idea to come in here. His face grew cold and he walked back out, ignoring Nikita's arrival.

*kiss me and I'll show you


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez Character Portrait: Nikita Machari Character Portrait:
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It was just before Skylar pulled away that Harper caught a glimpse of Xabi, turning to leave the deck.

The reaction was almost instant...palms growing clammy, knees weak, stomach churning. Symptoms that, three years prior, he would have blamed on improperly cooked chicken.

Nikita's questions, as forceful as they were, bounced off his head, a new focus in sight that barred intervention.

For a moment, he hesitated. This hardly seemed like the time or the place for a confession. But...he had promised to do so yesterday. And then look at what happened. What if something happened tomorrow? Or tonight? What if he'd never have another chance?

Ondine's words from the beach echoed in his mind. No. He had to do it now. He'd waited three years. And even though he was pretty sure he knew what the answer would be, he still needed to hear it for himself.

"Erm...can you excuse me for like...fifty seconds? Or minutes? Or hours?" he asked, voice growing higher with each adjustment. He only managed a glance at the captain before untangling himself from the group and speed-walking while trying not to speed-walk over to Xabi just as he disappeared back under into the ship.

Harper caught up to him at the bottom of the stairs, almost falling down them. "Hey! Xabi!" he said loudly, catching himself at the last second and leaning against the railing as if nothing had happened. "Um, I mean...uh...hi!...Fancy meeting you here...on this ship...that we're all on..." he coughed, trying to look casual, "How...h-how are you doing?"

Shit. This was going terribly.

"I mean...erm...I'm...I'm glad you made it out of the fire all right..." he restarted with a nervous smile, "I mean, I know you have a thing against fire, which is fine, you know, 'cuz I have a thing against heights, so, you know, it's cool, like...I mean, everyone has a thing against something, amirite?"

Shit. Shit. He was rambling. He's rambling.

"I mean..." he took a breath and exhaled, rubbing the back of his neck, feeling himself flush, "What...what I meant to say was...I was really worried about you and...and uh...and I'm glad you're okay."

His ears were burning and his throat was dry, heart beating a million miles an hour. Could Xabi tell? Was he freaked out? Did he even care? Maybe this confession thing wasn't the best idea...he couldn't even remember the last time he had confessed to someone. Usually it was the other way around.

"Um...welll...actually...what I really meant to say...or ask, really," his eyes stared up at the ceiling, avoiding Xabi's. Not that he didn't want to see the guy's eyes. On the contrary...but if he knew if he looked at them for too long he'd completely melt and lose all his resolve.

Moreso than he already was, anyways.

"Ughhh," He moaned, clapping his hands over his face and sliding them down as he walked in a tight circle, "I'm being so stupid right now...I mean, more...more than I usually am...oh man. Shit."

"Can...can we talk?" he finally stammered out, hands moved to the sides of his face, "Like...I know we're technically talking right now, but I mean...can we talk, you know? Like, like in private or, we can talk now or maybe later tonight or tomorrow? Just so, we, you know, talk...cuz like..."

His shoulders hiked up as his hands dropped, and he started speaking with them, moving them in combination with the emphasis of his voice, which grew higher and louder as the words quickened in pace until they were just falling out,

"I have something that I really want to tell you, but I also really don't want to tell you but actually I really do but I'm scared to because of what I think you're going to say and if you say what I think you're going to say than it's going to suck, like it's going to suck so bad but I need to know so that's why I need to tell you this thing and I've been waiting for three years to ask and tell you this thing but I don't even know how to tell you this thing even though I really want to tell you this thing but no matter how many times I run the scene through my head and rehearse and practice and psych myself up I just...I can't..."

The hands were now on top of his head, forearms masking his face. Harper felt like he was about to cry. Or throw up. This was all going so, so wrong.

He sank into a squat, trying to breathe regularly. At this moment, he would have preferred jumping off a cliff.

After a pause, he finally jumped up. "Fuck it. I'm going to say it," he declared, tone almost angry. He needed to stop this...stop being a baby over this. He was 25 years old for crying out loud! That was almost 30!

He forced himself to look at Xabi's eyes. Could he hear his heartbeat over there?

Seconds before he opened his mouth, his tongue seemed to grow bigger, heavier.

Why did this always look so much easier in the movies? He had half a mind to just avoid words, grab Xabi by the shoulders and kiss him smack on the mouth...let that do all the talking. But he restrained himself. He couldn't do that...not when he was so unsure...not when he was certain Xabi didn't return the feelings.

"Te..." he finally breathed out, cheeks heating up to match his ears. He cleared his throat and tried again, stumbling over the pronunciation, "Te quiero."

There. It was out. He had said it. All those years of Sesame Street and Googling lyrics to foreign songs finally paid off.

He felt his voice hitch in his throat, eyes threatening to tear up in anticipation of what he knew was going to come.

"Te quiero, Xabi..." he repeated, voice shaky, and he lowered his eyes, "Te quiero a lot."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Nikita Machari Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Some things on the ship were similar to Academy life, which offered bittersweet comfort for some. There was always work to be done whether it be chores around the ship, such as helping the cook and swabbing the decks; stopping for the month warriors to practice their powers, or weapons training. A familiar schedule to bring purpose and order, where it seemed to be none.

Every day members of the crew practiced with their own weapons which included mostly swords and daggers, but there were also cannon and archery drills less frequently. Every one of the passengers who could use a weapon were invited to join them.

Kyle couldn't accept the invites and encouragements, and Nikita hadn't tried to order him yet. Considering her intensity on their first day, he found her sparing orders and judgments surprising. Those who knew Kyle's own passion and how much he enjoyed training at the Academy would not understand that he declined all the sparring invitations. He didn't want to explain it either.

Again the boy reached for his bow and again it started. His hands shook uncontrollably and sweat bloomed on his forehead. Every single time, he touched it this is what happened, but he needed to pick it up. He needed to wield it! He was supposed to be the April Month Warrior! This was his bloody month warrior weapon and he couldn't even pick it up! If he didn't use it, they'd all die! He didn't want to die, and didn't want his friends to die. Why me!? Why did it have to be me? Why do I have to carry this weight? Why am I the weak link? He knew his physical body was strong, but this stupid weapon turned him into a blubbering mess.

He resisted it so long, but finally he broke and cried out, "Goddess, help me! You chose me to do this thing, but I can't. I can't bear it. Help me, please."

Someone heard his cries, not the invisible Goddess of Aires, but someone on the ship came behind him. "Kyle?" He covered his face again trying to scrub away the tears. He knew that voice. Nikita. Would she order him to get up and spar now? He hadn't even attempted for a least a week. "Why are you hiding?" Huh? She wasn't angry? He didn't say anything but his eyes turned to the stupid bow in front of him. Nikita followed his gaze. "Hmm..." Still not showing any anger, she helped him up from the floor and brushed off his shirt as best she could. It wasn't the same shirt he wore when he arrived, but it already showed wear. It's not like they had any other clothes at the moment. "Pick it up and come with me."

He trembled again, but said softly, "I can't... I can't pick it up..."

Nikita raised her eyebrows but moved around him to pick it up herself. Kyle always disappeared when her crew came out to practice their weapon skills. The others that came with him didn't seem to have the same problem, and considered that he may be afraid of her. She knew she had a brusque manner about her that some people found intimidating despite her small size, but she was the shorter of the pair. Shorter, thinner and just plain smaller. She also knew he didn't intimidate easily. He was the shortest of all the male month warriors, but had no problem throwing himself at guys significantly taller than him, as noted by the meeting in the woods. Something was going on.

Holding the weapon carefully, she held onto him with her free hand and led the way past the gundeck to what looked like a tower. Inside this tower, she introduced him to three archers with the same style of bow as his: two athletic young men from Nomansland, taller but about the same age as Kyle, and a wiry younger fellow from Rose Kingdom. Among the three archers, there was no sign of hostility as seen on shore.

Within Nikita's crew was a subset of every nation on Aires and all of them worked together. She used harsh discipline, yes, but these men and boys trusted her with their lives. And she needed to leave them at journey's end. She chewed the inside of her lip at that thought. Some of her crew she raised from small children, but most of those were adults now. She needed to let them go. She closed her eyes against the pain. At least in her case she had the freedom to leave willingly.

Social person that he was, Kyle had already drifted into a friendly conversation with the archers: Itri, Katwana, and Reeve. He still could not accept his bow, so she took it to a safe place to hold until he was ready.

Two weeks later, when she feared he may never claim his spirit weapon again, a knock came on her cabin door. She opened it to find her charge anxiously twiddling his thumbs. "Do you know where my bow is?" She smiled and nodded retrieving it for him. He gripped the weapon with both hands and held it against his chest. "Oh! It's warm!"

"Probably recognizing you," she answered.
"Hey, Small fry! Hurry up!" a voice called from further down the deck.
"Small fry? You're smaller than me!" And then Kyle ran off, chasing apparent new friends. Nikita chuckled to herself. That one at least she wouldn't have to say goodbye to. She closed her door and sighed.

They were halfway there by now and she hadn't yet told the crew her plans. Why couldn't she just say it? Why was it so hard? The situation would be worse if she walked off the ship with the passengers and her final delivery. She told her crew and their passengers to trust each other with their lives. She needed to do the same.

She was the April Guardian and her curse required her to go where the April Warrior went. Her only reason to be here right now was him. Bile burned in her throat. She hated that the most about this curse. Her entire life was wrapped up completely in another person. On her ship and with her trading company, she had control. She could pick and choose who worked with her, which orders to take, which direction to go. The ship was bound to no king or lord, no law but her own. This ship was freedom.

Her Guardianship was a trap and a chain and these kids, month warriors, her prison guards. She couldn't hate them though. They couldn't control who the Goddess chose for Her plans any more than Nikita could. Because it is her curse, it isn't fair to drag her boys into it. They have their entire mortal lives to live yet. They have nothing to do with what she did with hers. She paced the deck and considered.

As they grew closer and closer to Port Angels, she grew anxious and restless. Frequently she could be found pacing the decks at night or in the hold doing inventory of her goods to keep busy. During the day, she held meetings with the officers and regular crew to decide what to do with this ship and her business. Together they decided her heir, her new captain, and she had to force herself to let go of control. Presently, she remained in the Captain's Cabin, but it was mostly for the sake of female month warriors occupying the space.

All too soon they landed. Her freedom was gone. Haru took the reins of month warriors and guardians up again. She said her goodbyes, cleared everything of hers from the Captain's Cabin, and officially handed off her business to Lagley and a burly man from Ira, Otho. He was taller than but built the same as Kyle. In a brief showing of affection, she reached out to hug the two.

The three of them dropped off the fabrics she needed to deliver. She let Lagley and Otho take the full payment, but Lagley still offered a portion to her. "Just in case you need it." He refused to take it back, so she smiled gently and sought out the only one of her boys left, Kyle.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn
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When most people, particularly as children, imagine life on a boat, certain thoughts and ideas tend to interlock to create a vivid, imaginary experience. Among these common themes are the salty sea breeze wafting gently over your face, dolphins and/or whales swimming companionably by, Disney approved pirates who would whisk you away on some adventure or another, and the not a word “Arr” and the most likely a word “Matey” being spoken in excess. As a child, Dorian had been subject to these same delusions, drinking in stories of sailing adventures with gusto. Sailing, he’d convinced himself, was the ideal sort of life.

However, that little boy had grown up and now that a “sailing life” was being temporarily inflicted on him, he couldn’t help but realize that his childhood dreams had been more myth than reality because, simply put, being stuck on this ship was less like a pirate enthusiast’s wet dream and more and more like being on a New York subway. The quarters were cramped and personal space was an illusion granted only every once in a while, the boat, much like the Subway, was in a constant motion that was either calm enough to lull you into a state of security or rickety enough to make you think that you’d die in the next five minutes, and there was the constant stink of the unwashed masses who either did not believe in bathing or did not have the opportunity to do so (although, to the crew’s credit, at least they didn’t try to wash themselves in Axe body spray). Perhaps the worst part of the comparison, however, was the fact that you could not leave. No, you were stuck in the same space with the same nearly overwhelming amount of people who you had to deal with whether those be street performers on the Subway demanding payment from their captive audience or the ever judgmental eyes of Nikita and her crew every time he got wrangled into actually helping with something (which wasn’t that often because he was pretty damn good at making himself busy enough to avoid just about every non-essential chore), there was little to no privacy to keep you sane.

There were, however, little things to be done to keep what Dorian had privately dubbed “Ocean Madness” at bay (an affliction he’d diagnosed in several people so far including Harper who had a new tendency to disappear somewhere and alternatively was around too often with a far too gleeful smile on his face for the situation). Taking advantage of each and every single stop they made, for one, if only to stand somewhere that wasn’t constantly rocking, keeping a rather large personal bubble for once, and taking a dip in waters that he could see the bottom of. Another was finding his own refuge in the form of the ship’s crow’s nest, which doubled as a good hiding spot when everyone became far too, well, present.

It wasn’t the height that he found soothing because God knows climbing to the uppermost point of the ship with nothing to catch him if he fell was a less than comforting experience. No, it was the feeling he got when he reached the top, more or less secured in his perch, where even on the most mild days he could feel at least a strong breeze to wash over him or, during one memorable storm, the feeling of a gale pressing over him, which should have been terrifying but instead lulled him to sleep where he was perched. His control of his powers was spotty at best in the beginning, but here with long days filled with little distractions apart from menial chores and the occasional social interaction, and he was able to focus on the mellow or harsh winds of the day, could feel the air swirling around his body. It was there that his powers began to take shape, starting with little things, little gusts of wind on a still day to keep the heat off until he no longer feared the strong winds when he climbed up to the crow’s nest, instead felt an almost cocooning affect as they twisted around him. On days when the wind picked up, truly blowing against the sails, you could find Dorian on his perch, glowering down at the ship below him like a particularly disgruntled gargoyle. It was, as Mori saw fit to inform him, severely disturbing to look up and find Dorian glaring at you with his sharp, soulless eyes (Dorian had simply replied that Mori didn’t get a say in the matter after he and/or Karma had tried to spread a rumor that Dorian had literally sold his soul to Oblivion among the more superstitious sailors).

Those were the things that Dorian filled his otherwise tedious days with- evenings and the occasional nights spent in the company of nothing but gusts of wind and the visual splendor that was the sea unfolding before him like one of the paintings hoarded away on his phone (to be fair, that same sight was also captured via his camera much like the many places on Aires he’d managed to capture without arousing suspicion about the sleek, black device), mornings spent doing whatever menial chores he was assigned without grumblings but also without any pleasure, days of trying to enjoy other’s company, which was becoming more difficult as the days moved on for the most part. On one hand, spirits had risen since they were first whisked about by Nikita; Ryou no longer appeared to be ripping at the seams and could even be found laughing, if you caught him at the right moment, or simply existing as he listened to Haru spell out plans and throw around ideas, only occasionally offering his own suggestions or gently pointing out the rare flaw. Mori ultimately played babysitter to Karma and was far more resilient than any child should be with the events of that night etched forever into his memory- although that did raise the disturbing idea that he’d already learned to deal with horrendous images being part of him forever even at his young age. Dae healed after a time and took to the distractions of seafaring life like a fish to water, fitting fluidly into the crew with all of the charm and enthusiasm that he could muster. Liam was the only one who didn’t seem to enjoy the experience, and Dorian only thought that because he frequently spotted him in Dr. Rose’s quarters, politely asking for and receiving seasickness medicine. However, at least he had finally gotten his cloak back because the bold runes now hidden away had unnerved many a crewmember.

The other Month Warriors, however, were in varying states of normal. He still enjoyed the company of Tallyho and Falke, forever the pillars of sanity to his mind. On some stormy days he’d join Tallyho on deck, a time when their respective elements intertwined in a chaotic way that only a rare few could enjoy (the rest, he assumed, were trying not to vomit below deck), and others he’d find his own little hiding place to listen to the gales wailing outside the ship’s walls. Some of the Warriors rallied magnificently, like the aforementioned Harper who Dorian was still relatively sure should be diagnosed with Ocean Madness, but others seemed to have a constant drag on their emotions, like Autumn whose smiles never seemed quite as bright and her energy was forever dragged down.

It was after one of those nights spent high above the deck, safely ensconced in his wooden nest that he awoke to a view vastly different than any of the ports they’d stumbled upon before. There had been ships in other beaches and towns, of course there had been, but nothing could compare to the spectacle that lay before his eyes, a veritable feast to the senses. Here were bold strokes of color painting the horizon in the forms of sails and boats of all different sizes, shapes, and occupations. Music, real honest to God music, filled the air as well as the chatter and laughter and shouting only a short while away, exposing the port to be teeming with life, like how he’d imagined New York’s harbor ages ago or, and he was beginning to get this impression even before setting foot on land, more like the Italian ports during the Renaissance era or the harbors in China back when spices were the most important commodity. Even smells, almost none that he could identify, rang true setting his mouth to water for something other than the plain provisions of the ship. It was glorious.

He shimmied down his makeshift ladder to the deck, less groggy than most of the others who’d just now escaped from the confines of the ship, to hear Haru speak. The words held a weight that dampened his excitement that their time on the sea was finally, finally over. They’d gotten away with what Ryou had once politely dubbed “Earthy shenanigans” at the Academy and the town below the mountain, but now with the fact that even mentioning what they were could send them to the gallows… He could only hope that the others would heed Haru’s words as well.

He followed along as the group was let off the ship, still clinging to Haru’s every word. As a stranger in a strange land, it had occurred to him early on that any advice that actual Airians provided, every scrap of knowledge, was to be cherished and remembered if he was to survive on his own. He took a moment to stare openly at his surroundings, looking for glimpses of what Haru mentioned, like the military academy that apparently made knights? He looked over at Dae, standing peacefully among the port’s controlled chaos.

“Did you go to Daniel’s?” He asked because for as long as they’d known the elite, he’d gone by that title.

“What? Oh, no, not me. I’m a, uh, whatchamacallit, a discount knight. Home grown and whatnot, yeah? No fancy education, just good old fashioned training at the Academy,” Dae replied quickly, grinning almost sheepishly. Liam tapped his shoulder kindly (and, really, the two were acting far closer than they had at the Academy, or perhaps it was just that neither were nearly as busy without lessons to teach).

“A freelance knight, dear,” Liam corrected gently to which Dae nodded helplessly.

“Yeah, that’s it. Freelance. S’not like they’d let me in anyways, yeah? I’m not exactly what they want.” Dorian, who couldn’t see any good reason to not let someone who’d openly bested Ryou at swordplay before, let it slide if only because Dae seemed so distraught about it and Liam was giving his own version of the evil eye (very similar to his normal expression, but the smile was a little creepier).

The advice to get new clothes sounded excellent to Dorian who had started to hate his few pieces of clothing with a passion simply because they all reeked of salt and were permanently marred from spills, sweat, and, on one memorable occasion, blood. However, even as he started to follow the three Academy students, who quite understandably seemed eager to part from their company if only for a short while, Ryou pulled him to a stop.

“Here, Dorian, I need to go into town anyways. Let me pick you up some new clothes. The fashion here is kind of, ah, weird for outsiders.” Dorian agreed readily because Ryou had acted as his informal fashion guide for the entirety of his stay on Aires and he wasn’t about to change that now and gave him some of the money he’d saved up from his stay at the Academy. With nothing else to do but wait, he settled down next to Tallyho, content to play his usual role of observer until he noticed Tallyho’s new fashion statement.

He blinked for a moment, trying to figure out what she’d tried to do with that unlucky shirt, before it sort of clicked.

“Any reason you’re wearing a scarf?” He asked mildly, tucking a part of the fabric sticking up at an odd angle back into place to give at least some credence to the this-shirt-is-now-a-scar illusion.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Autumn Jones
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There are certain images that no modern man or woman is prepared to face. These are glimmers and glimpses of the past, ghastly images and scenes found only in the darkest annals of history and briefly glossed over in television and film. Now, however, the images had been brought to life in a traumatic assault on the senses; howling and catcalling, some words lewd and crude while others just barely recognizable as the common sounds of language, howled shrieks echoing in the enclosed rooms accompanied by an orchestra of rattling chains and the metallic ringing of bare hands, feet, bodies crashing against iron bars, emaciated prisoners with the light snuffed from their eyes leaving only hollow gazes embedded in their skulls. The smell, perhaps, was the worst, all musty and unidentifiable odors that one could never have imagined when faced with the opulence of the gated city, and the air was dead, hanging lifelessly around them as if the environment had sucked out its will to live, to dance and move like the wind outside the prison.

Dorian kept his gaze forward, always forward, as he strode onwards in the dark. He'd seen the interior of a prison before, a school trip many years ago, but the Earth jail had been Shangri-La in comparison. His eyes began to adjust, and he sorely regretted it as shapes became men made near bestial from their confinement. His little breaths of the dead, dead air were small and short, fear thrumming through his veins because he knew he couldn't survive here, not for long. This was a world of confinement, where life and love and all good feelings were vanished away leaving a darkness and desperation so heavy, so thick that even hope seemed to shrivel up and die.

And then it was gone.

It was amazing how different the world became with walls of stone and a long stairwell leading them out of what Dorian, in a flight of imagination, had mentally dubbed the depths of Hell and up, up into the light. Each step upwards was rejuvenating, ridiculous though that may be. They were in the same situation, still in governmental custody, still surrounded by unknown knights, still without freedom. However, the air was lighter now, clearer and had begun to move again. The light began to shine again, gradually brightening with each step, each movements upwards. The path didn't lead to Heaven, far from it, but he could at least feel grateful with an idea of where they could have been kept to compare their current holding cell with.

The room was large and relatively crowded, but it felt less like a cage now, less like they were trapped animals with no hope for escape. They were led into the room, moved from one pair of knights to the next until they were all in, the door slamming shut behind them with only a few words about meals as a goodbye. Dorian shifted, eying the men around them, and indeed they were all men, wearily as they gazed unabashedly at the new group. Haru was already moving, striding forward and taking control of the situation with ease as Ryou followed behind, moving to the opposite end of the row without so much as a quizzical glance towards their fearless leader; he knew what Haru wanted from him and he knew whatever Haru wanted was a good idea.

Dorian was dragged back into the present situation as sharp nails dug into the flesh of his arm. Tallyho was pressed to his side, eyes as wide as dinner plates, and even Autumn was hovering closer than usual. It made sense in a way that truly disturbed Dorian in the same way that he always offered to walk Sadie or other female members of the orchestra to their cars at night. A sad reality, of course, but not one that you could simply sniff at.


That night, sleep was hard to come by. Dorian felt exposed, facing the rest of the room in the same sort of justified paranoia as the rest. Ryou was still awake as well, seated with crossed legs on his bed and, while his eyes were shut, even at the distance that separated their beds Dorian could see an eyelid occasionally flutter open to stare at the rest of the rooms occupants before closing again. He didn't mind when Tallyho scooted her cot over at some unknown hour as the night wore on. He patted her hair, now messy and wild as opposed to its pinned perfection from earlier in the day, absentmindedly until she fell asleep once more. If anything, the warm presence by his side, the way that Tallyho was wordlessly trusting him to offer some form of protection, even if that had more to do with his threatening features if Autumn's nearby presence meant anything, was a comfort. He dozed for awhile before sleep carted him away to unsettling dreams, none of which actually awoke him, a fact that he was grateful for.


He awoke some time before breakfast arrived and was tempted to linger in his bed for awhile longer, to cling to the fleeting tendrils of sleep, but he could see the others, the prisoners, already up and moving and any chances of him feeling safe or relaxed enough to sleep were instantly dashed. He rolled silently out of bed, careful not to wake Tallyho , and stretched.

"Have a nice sleep?" It was Ryou, voice soft but still carrying over to him. It was a very teacher-like quality, Dorian decided as he turned towards him, being able to capture people's attention without having to raise your voice. Ryou had moved since Dorian had last seen him, a piece of paper and a quill coated in a swirling black ink poised in his hand.

"What are you doing?"

"Oh, writing a letter," Ryou hummed, beckoning Dorian over. He slipped his shoes back on and made his way towards the golden-eyed man. They were an admittedly odd pair when compared to the other Guardians and their young charges. With the exception of Haru and perhaps Lillian, the Guardians tended to stick to their Month Warriors like glue, offering support and discipline in equal measure. Ryou, however, treated Dorian as he had at the Academy- one of many students who, while all special to him, were never the most special. Oh, he offered support when he could, but not in that attentive way that bonded, say, Nikita and Kyle. Dorian didn't blame him, couldn't really. Ryou had a lot of people to look out for; the remaining students who watched him with unwavering loyalty, his pink-haired child who he doted on constantly, and even, Dorian had noticed, Haru who he'd seen Ryou's eyes follow with a gaze of loyalty and devotion and more than a hint of concern.

When Dorian had finally arrived, Ryou patted the bed next to him and Dorian sat obediently, peering over his shoulder to read the neatly written words.

"I convinced one of the guards to find me paper and ink. I didn't want everyone to worry or, you know, try to stage a prison break," Ryou said, answering the unasked question, "Now, what do you think sounds better? 'We're going to be well looked after for the time being' or 'the Rose Kingdom has been incredibly hospitable towards us and our hosts have been taking good care of us'?"

"Well, the second one's a lie," Dorian pointed out dryly, sending Ryou into a giggling fit that felt highly inappropriate while technically imprisoned.

"No, no, you're right. Good call."

They sat together for awhile until the small amount of ink provided to Ryou ran dry. By then breakfast had already come and gone, a fight had broken out and already been quickly shut down by their guards. And, really, it all felt dreadfully mundane, even if they were locked up in prison. Harper was making light of the situation, Tallyho was most likely on the hunt for food, Autumn was shrinking into herself in that depressing habit she'd picked up some time after they started their journey on the ship… New scenery, new circumstances, but same old team members.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn
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#, as written by rikura
Travelling on a boat was definitely something Jason was not used to, but after what had happened at the academy, he really didn't care that simply walking across the deck tended to feel like he was walking drunk.

In only a few seconds, the entirety of his time at the academy and the event that devastated their group would occasionally flash through his mind. It started all the way from when he received his twin daggers with black hilts and long curved blades. They seemed to match his ring as they somehow reminded him of scorpions, though that didn't make sense to him because the last time he checked, Jason was a Leo... not a Scorpio. Letting that little fact pass without much thought, his mind would drift to their journey to the academy. Well, to Harper screaming bloody murder during their cart ride. Personally, he thought it had been hilarious, worrying, and annoying all at the same time. From there his mind would skim through meeting Ji Na, Karma, Kat, and everyone else at the academy. He remembered the first time he "trained" with a Cyclopean during a cage fight, gaining a smidge of understanding regarding Harper's panicked reaction to the cart ride.

The flashes continued until the night of the event. That night he'd been woken up by screaming, opening stinging eyes to a black cloud of smoke. With a sense of urgency, he and his two doppelgangers tried to get as many people safely out of the flames as possible. He arrived at the field where his fellow warriors and the rest of the survivors were gathering just as Amber revealed himself. Then his comrades, some of the friends he'd come to trust during his time at the academy, betrayed them. Chaos. Everything had been chaos, and he could almost hear the 'switch' in his mind that signaled him disconnecting and distancing himself from the situation and general reality.

For a while afterwards, the warrior didn't know how to respond to the others; With the apparent mental and emotional shock of the event. The academy being destroyed, being betrayed by people he'd thought of as comrades and friends, the physical wounds and death, seeing the other warriors and guardians distraught... This wasn't something he could brush off as nothing. He couldn't tell everyone not to worry, not to take everything so seriously, that things weren't really that bad, because they really were that bad. He couldn't ignore the reality of the situation this time. Worse, he couldn't help but feel he could have done more, should have done more, to prevent some of the injuries. Some of the deaths. His way of coping with life, however, was never taking serious things very seriously. Emotionally disconnecting from heavy situations, and sometimes people. He was simply confused about how he should react and respond to the others and to the situation as a whole.

With that in mind, training with his doppelgangers and with his long twin daggers became somewhat of an obsession throughout their voyage. It wasn't a secret to anyone that Jason wasn't the strongest or most aggressive guy in the group. He'd never been too keen on any of the training they'd done back at the academy, so his sudden obsession would appear extremely radical and out of character to anyone. It helped him put his thoughts into order, though, and after the event it's an understandable change. Balance, control, speed, fluidity, stealth, aggression, agility, coordination; He wanted to improve on everything so that maybe next time, he wouldn't turn out to be so useless. Maybe next time, the sufferings and the deaths... they wouldn't be so great.

At the same time, though, the past was the past. What happened happened and that would never change, no matter how much one dwelt on it. Life had taught him that when you can't control particular events, all that's left is to move past them as best you can. With his way of thinking, Jason opted to stay optimistic in front of the other warriors in an effort to lighten the mood on the ship. His efforts didn't seem to have much effect, though. Other than training, he'd spend the days doing anything he could to keep himself occupied and to keep the despairing atmosphere from affecting him too much. Conversing with whoever would give him time became a normal part of his day where he would bring up any random subject that came to mind. When no one would talk to him he'd simply talk to one of his two doppelgangers or play his own little games that more times than not got him into trouble. Apparently, using the ship's railing as a tightrope hadn't turned out to be his best idea. Watching Tallyho and some of the guys dance, however, turned out to be a "safe" distraction where he wasn't bothering anyone or doing something stupid.

Listening to Haru's spiel about the Rose Kingdom and how they all needed to behave, Jason shrugged, interested in whatever cultural aspects came up, but otherwise not caring. He could avoid causing trouble. He thought he could at least. His eyes slid to the loudest of his companions. Harper, however, he supposed could and maybe would land them on the chopping block.

Jason felt himself becoming almost giddy at the eccentric styles some of the people adorned themselves in. It was, to him, a comical sight, really. He had enough money for clothes, since he tended to help with chores and such at the academy, but definitely didn't have enough for anything too fancy or eccentric. He honestly didn't see what was wrong with what he was wearing, ya know, other than a few tears and stains, but he did as Haru suggested anyways. He ended up with an outfit he thought to be clown-like, but that seemed to fit in with what he saw others wearing.

Afterwards, on their walk to the inn, things were quite uneventful. Seeing the Harbinger's entourage, though, was quite an event. In his mind, quite an exaggerated event. Wasn't the guy supposed to be the religious leader or something? With how they carried themselves and with how the people responded, it seemed more like he was an emperor-king dude. Jason had in his mind to give an exaggerated flourish of a bow when they passed, but restrained himself with the thought that the others, mainly Haru, the other guardians, and Kyle, would more likely than not pummel him for stupidity. Plus he had an obvious feeling that being sarcastic towards the Harbinger would land him and the others in deep trouble.

"Nah, dip, Sherlock," he said to himself when the carriage was up and moving again. It wasn't too much longer before they arrived at the Yellow Rose, the inn they apparently were to stay at. Jason lingered in the commons area for a while, aiming to try and approach Tallyho to talk about Airian culture and such, but finding that task impossible after a loud groan escaped the girl. It probably wasn't the best response, but Jason couldn't keep a small laugh from escaping him before Lillian appeared, saying something to Tallyho, followed up by Haru. Apparently everyone was to come down for dinner. Because he was already down, Jason opted to simply join the cat guardian in waiting for the others.

Dinner was nice. Though, Jason couldn't help feeling that Haru had an ulterior motive behind the finer-than-usual dining, but shrugged it off as the cat guardian briefly said something about how tomorrow would go.

Then came the oh-so-dreaded-test-day. It didn't seem to start out too well in Jason's mind with all of Haru's picking and such. He even flinched from the cat guardian a few times. Jason really wanted to get this test over with, despite whether they passed or failed. He hated the tense and jumpy atmosphere. Haru needed to loosen up. Seriously.

Putting his hands behind his head, Jason glanced around at the ridiculous amount of people standing in line, adorned with jewels that imitated his and the rest of the month warriors'. What was even more bizarre were the vendors selling fake stones, and people actually buying them! Jason usually thinks 'to each his own" but these people were crazy. None besides his crew were true warriors, so he imagined they would all end up dead. Hundreds of people, simply for trying to imitate them. Of course, if they somehow failed, they'd be joining the fakes.

Finally, it was their turn. Jason automatically gravitated close to Kyle, who he viewed as one of his best friends since arriving in this other world. The August warrior's relaxed, somewhat annoyed demeanor shifted to something uncomfortable and bothered in the presence of the Harbinger. He felt something... off here, though he couldn't put his finger on it. He glanced around quickly before following Haru's example of bowing his head. Jason found himself becoming fidgety in this place. As the others hurried forward, Jason followed suit. He could feel scrutinizing eyes, and it took everything not to glance up at them again. Before he could entertain the thoughts of Haru choosing him to do anything, Dorian stepped forward, his powers activating as gusts filled the room. Jason held his breath until the show ended. He stood as the others stood, and kept his eyes on his ring as it glowed, apparently passing the stone test.

The August warrior felt relief, his relaxed demeanor returning, only for a moment though. He stiffened as the flock was mentioned and explained. Woah, woah, woah. Hold on, partner. Sure training had become an obsession for him in recent months, and he wasn't bad at fighting those monsters, but they were talking about, what? An army of Cyclopeans?

Yeah, pretty much. Ha! We won't have to worry about a hangman's noose if we failed this one. I'm sure the Cyclopeans will take care of that, though I don't plan on failing. If we do fail, however, there's nothing we can do about it. But we haven't failed yet, so we can do something, right? Unless the something turnsout to be the wrong something rather than the right something and we ended up failing anyways, or maybe... Wait...

Jason shook his head, clearing away his advancingly confusing thoughts. He decided to go with his usual stance of 'whatever happens will happen.' Still feeling uncomfortable, he fell in line between two knights just as the rest of the warriors had.

The journey to their holding cell was unsettling to say the least, walking through the rows of dirty, pathetic prisoners. Arriving at their temporary home-away-from-home wasn't much better. The POW cell, from what he could tell was in much better condition than the ones below. However, he realized very readily that their group seemed alien compared to the rest. Especially in the sense that half of their group were the only females present. This wasn't a safe place, but there wasn't really anything they could do about it beside being careful.

Jason didn't really sleep much, but the little sleep he got was more than enough. He was quieter than normal, watchful rather than engaging once he awoke. He pretty much sat on his cot, observing things and making notes in his head until a person he automatically noted he didn't like appeared with two knights.

The man stepped into the cell confidently, the rest of the prisoners besides the month warriors shrinking back. His dislike for the man increased as soon as his mouth opened in speaking to Haru... Then Falk... Then Tallyho...

What the hell!? Jason was beyond annoyed. Mocking his companions... Calling Tallyho a prostitute! Jason wasn't one to be very serious about things, but he wasn't passive either. If you did it right, it was fairly easy to annoy him, and this guy was pushing it. Jason didn't have a guardian to advise him like some of the others, and was about to do something stupid, but Harper beat him to the punch. Now Jason didn't particularly like or dislike the guy, but right now, he definitely loved the annoying guy. Jason frankly didn't care about any possible consequences, and was even going to step forward to join Harper in his show, but wasn't given a chance to with Dorian's harshly barked, "Harper!"

Jason cleared his throat, not sure how to go about anything, so figured he'd introduce himself as if the Harper thing was no big deal. May as well. With a shrug, and a kind of small grin, Jason somewhat exaggerated a flourish of a bow (mostly to turn attention from Harper), kind of like what he'd been tempted to do two days ago on the streets when the Harbinger's entourage had passed them. This time he obviously didn't suppress the urge, though his voice he made contrastingly pleasant, even, and respectful, something none of the warriors or even the guardians had heard come from him. The tone sounded strange coming from Jason, especially with his slightly grinning expression.

"I am Jason of Solace, the warrior of August. I humbly ask you excuse my friend, Sire," and then he may possibly have ruined it by adding, "However, with all due respect, Sire, making assumptions and judging one's ability and value based by appearances and nationality tends towards a poor judgment, no?" With that, the unnaturally even and respectful tone could easily be identified only by those who knew him as being something purely mocking, highlighting his distaste for the arrogant jerk of a dude.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn
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An invalid and a prostitute.
Prostitute? It finally triggered what the word meant.

Prostituta. That cabrón of a general had called Tallyho a prostitute.
Xabier was a mild person most days, he wouldn't pick fights or get involved in childish squabbles.
However he had an ingrained sense of honour and loyalty from growing up in a large, close-knit, stereotypically spanish family.

There were many things he would put up with, if the General had insulted him instead, there would have been no problem.
Xabier wasn't as bravado macho as the other men but he would willingly fight for his family.
The one thing he could not stand was someone dishonouring family.
There was a line and General Cress had crossed it.
Tallyho and Falke were like family.
He had the right mind to snap right there and then. Call out the hijo de puta with dramatic hand movements and puffed out chest.

Become the father, protect the family.

But it was obvious from the painful silence that if he said anything out of place, it'd end up hurting them instead.
This was what was keeping him from doing anything.

Dorian didn't comment and just introduced himself coldly.
Good. Good. Let's just get through this without screwing up.
It was like building a house of cards, one wrong move and the whole thing comes crashing down.
Up came Harper for his turn.
Don't say something reckless Harper, he tried to magically communicate across, keep it polite and short.
Alas he wasn't Falke, so Harper didn't get the message.
His introduction was rude and insulting and completely blunt.
It was so stupidly reckless, Xabier could've killed him. Or kissed him.
One or the other depending on what condition they were in in the end of all this. If they weren't dead, that is.

He watched in silence as Dorian once again held the peace. It was getting increasingly harder to dislike the guy. Xabier had started to waver a little. He had started to be a little nicer to him and it wasn't just because he was Harper's friend.
Dorian had done a good job keeping the team safe in the first test, Xabier would remember that.

Jason was next and he added a little more pressure to the house of cards. Any more movement and they'd crash.

He decided to go next to get it out of the way. Pretending he hadn't noticed any of the others he took one step forward.

"Xabier Sanchez of Constance, Sire. October Warrior."
He knew that his accent was still pretty strong so he kept it brief. While it was popular with pretty girls, he knew there'd be trouble if this General noticed it. As proficient in English or the common tongue as he was, Xabier still thought in Spanish. He still talked to his Iluntasuna in Basque.
It was as clear as anything that he wasn't from around here.
He could only hope that after the other more obvious personalities, it wouldn't be noticed.
General Cress was a proud man, that was easily noticeable.
Hopefully he'd ignore Xabier's presence and concentrate on his wounded pride.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn
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Tallyho wasn’t so positive how to feel about all of this. It all started with one comment from Harper and suddenly all of the other month warrior boys piled into the fray, taking jabs at the general in the most obvious of ways. All except Dorian, who had attempted to approach the situation with the same safe submission that Haru endorsed, and Falke, who probably felt just as dazed and confused and guilty as she did.

And she couldn’t help but feel a little guilty. Sure she hadn’t asked to be called out of name but the entire incident revolved around that very exchange. And as all of the warriors threw themselves into the pit of the situation, Tallyho found herself physically recoiling. She honestly wanted to walk away too, right through the fray and through the cell doors and into the nearest eatery. But like a child born of a struggling relationship, she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Her wrists latched into each parent’s fist and yanked raw as she justly blamed herself for absolutely nothing.

And then it all ended with Trent calling them inbred and Harper in the corner wincing with his face red. As if Trent’s discounting the group wasn’t enough, it sucked to say but part of Tallyho really felt bad for Harper who was now in the corner wincing. She knew it wasn’t really her fault but at the same time she really felt like it was.

And her stomach dropped.

Usually she couldn’t give the right side of a rat’s ass about Harper’s feelings and she still assumed the sentiment was likewise on his part, but today she was surprised not only that he actually acknowledged her existence but that, at the very least, he didn’t think she was a prostitute. Which was comforting for the moment but certainly not enough to erase a long history consisting of every ignored statement, thoughtless shoulder shove, stomped toe, or any other general lack of acknowledgement of Tallyho by Harper. But to see him there reacting to being called out on his bull, well in this particular instance, it wasn’t as pleasurable as Tallyho had imagined it would be.

And then there was Haru…

Haru was pretty much done with it all. As Ondine wailed on Harper in a way she had once wailed on him a lifetime ago, Haru tried time and time again to figure something out. And every time he came up short. And every time he failed he confirmed that having that conversation with Trent would have made planning for the flock so much easier. But who says they were even going to make it to the flock. Who—

“…Hey, are you sure that she isn’t also part cat because she really clawed your face up.”

Was that a joke? Was that a fucking joke?! No. No he was not offended that someone just pretty much compared his ex-girlfriend to his fucking spirit animal. He didn’t care about that. No, he was pissed by the principle of the thing. The fact that someone was making light of a mistake like this. He looked up, from his hands, peering through with hard eyes to find the comedian. And lo and behold it was Skylar smiling and attempting to comfort Harper. And he didn’t have a damned thing against friendship, and he had nothing against the girl personally, and maybe he was just testy—actually yes he was very, very testy—but that fucking pushed him off the edge.

Haru’s cot shuddered violently as he literally vaulted himself off of his butt and onto his feet, so abruptly that the mattress clung to him on his way up, hopping once on the springboard with a loud clang before staying put, the force in his movement ringing through the metal frame.
And then he was standing again, face cold, fists clenched and hot. His jaw skewed to the side casually as he drug his top teeth across his bottom lip grating flesh, not thinking twice about blood.

“You fucking idiots!”

And oh he meant every word of it. And it was meant for all of them. Every. Last. One. Of them. Because even if some didn’t have a direct hand in this episode, each one of them were bound to have had a hand in another. Because that’s just the way it was. This job was never easy.

“You fucking, fucking idiots. You fuckers! Do you really know what just happened? Do you really? Why in the world do you think I stopped you every chance I got to give you a warning I really shouldn’t have had to repeat more than once? ‘Don’t be stupid,’ that is absolutely ALL you had to do for me. I didn’t tell you to kiss these people’s feet. I didn’t even tell you that you had to LIKE any of these people. Yet every time I ask you to act civilized, every time I try to teach you people how to be a bigger person, you still find something to gripe with. You still feel like you have to break the rules somehow because you’re big kids, you can take care of yourselves, and never mind the fact that your asses would be dead in a ditch somewhere without any form of guidance. But alas, you can’t even color within the fucking lines! Do you think we actually like telling you people what to do? Because I don’t know about the rest of these poor shmucks but I don’t! In fact, every morning when I wake up, if I ever even sleep, I dread the sight of your smug little faces because they are constant reminders of the fact that I’m not dead yet and that my ass is stuck on this forsaken planet and bound into immortality until you get a grip and do your jobs! At least if we get hung your mortal souls are off the hook! But hey! The guardians are no better. Some of us,” Haru’s gaze whipped to Kit who readily contributed his own sly remark towards Trent, “absolutely LOVE to complain about our guardianship and bitch and moan over how the warriors aren’t getting this shit right when they don’t even have the decency and restraint to do their jobs and be an example. But you know, whatever! Who cares if we completely sabotage our chances of getting the support we need, huh? Make the job harder it’s okay! Haru will fix it! There’s no fight because we can joke and smile about it right? It’s all okay because all of these boneheaded mistakes are made out of the pure goodness of our itty, bitty, witty little hearts!”

He looked dead at Skylar, too flustered to really feel bad about calling her out.

“Make another joke, huh? Please!”


It was a voice from the other side of the room. One of the POW’s from Hales in fact. He was hunched over in his cot, shamelessly claiming the outcry as his own.

“Shut up little man or I’ll give you something to really complain about!”

Haru stood there in silence. But oh, it wasn’t a silence of utter stupor or embarrassment it was an eerie silence. A frightening silence. And Haru was quite frightening with his head cocked so slightly to the side, his eyes so wide that his forehead wrinkled.

And in a brief moment he was off. Dashing all the way to the other side of the room. He was actually running to the other side of the room, bunks he ran into shuffling about his shins. Men in his path parted like the red sea, beholding to some wrathful Moses. And the soldier who yelled at Haru did not move. In fact as the guardian ran towards him he stood up as fast as he could and lunged forward.

With one more row of cots between Haru and the veteran the cat guardian, in the midst of his run, planted a firm foot onto the mattress, vaulting over the headboard and plummeting into the larger man. And as graceful and clean as one might have wished this scene to be, it was quite the opposite, the image littered with small imperfections: the cot slid slightly when Haru pivoted forward. As the man fell to Haru’s mass he landed shoulder first on another man’s cot, smashing the poor guy’s finger.

Tallyho shifted back onto her headboard. She had never seen Haru actually fight, fight. She was confident that he could but she never…

Haru straddled the man, as he punched. The thud of fist to cheek drowned out by the howls of the other soldiers, many of which who were egging it on, making a dense circle around the fray blocking the warriors’ view. A few other POW’s however, probably from the same nation as the one assaulted, made it their business to jump into the event, pulling at Haru’s jacket as he went.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Haru Karokav
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Their world was collapsing again, this second time worse than the first. Their fearless leader Haru, proved that being immortal doesn't change that he is still human and afraid. Afraid to fail, afraid to lose. He put everything he had into trying to help them, protect them, warn them, and they didn't listen. They didn't see it! Dumb kids!

Unfortunately, throwing himself into a fight showed that he was giving up. They saw what happened to the last men who got into a fight, and any minute now Haru, Ryou, and Ondine would face that same fate. She wanted to break it up, but she didn't know if the guards would take her away too. These dumb kids were the only reason any of the guardians were alive right now, and they couldn't afford to lose more of their number. She hated to admit it, because Haru and Ryou were her friends, but they were expendable. Those left had to stay back and watch their friends disappear. They needed to make sure the kids stayed alive long enough to do what they have to do. These dumb kids were the only reason for anything.

And someone needed to stand up and lead.

Stone was a cold, hard, unforgiving surface. The small seafaring woman felt it through her entire being as she pressed her feet to the stone floor. Her body trembled.

Her own dumb kid had something to do with this mess right now. Was she really the right one? She bit her lip and froze. Then her hazel eyes hardened like the stone. He had no one to blame but himself. As soon as she could think of something suitable, she would deal with him. She looked around. The fistfight continued unabated while those dumb kids, and their guardians not involved moped. Yes, they should feel the weight of the situation, but moping about it won't change a damned thing.

She finally stood up and paced the line of them. "Yes, you messed up. General Cress most likely has the ears of the king, so he'll hear about this fiasco, which DOES damage our position whether you want to believe it or not," she hissed and glared at Xabier who treated this incident like a game and brushed off absolutely everything both Haru and even Ondine said. Nikita didn't approve of at least the punching and kicking of that dumb kid, but the June Guardian did make good points.

Kyle wasn't listening. He heard enough from Haru and Ondine. Right now he sat on the floor and stared at the madness on the other side of the room. He knew he did a lot of stupid things, but this one was the stupidest yet. He didn't even like Harper, but jumped in anyway. Haru warned them multiple times, Nikita warned him, even Dorian warned them. He warned Harper. Harper as usual was deaf to all warnings and stupid Kyle played into it as well. For such a long time he tried to be the 'good' kid, and even though he still had his stupid moments, he didn't think he ever went 'bad.' What the hell was he thinking?! He pressed his hands against his face. He didn't deserve to be the April month Warrior. He didn't deserve this. Haru, and Nikita and all the guardians didn't deserve this. His friends didn't deserve this. His family didn't deserve this. He didn't deserve them, any one of them.

Just as expected, the guards rushed in to clear out the fighters, interrupting both Kyle's pity party and Nikita trying to get these kids to get their acts together. Nikita was relieved to see only one of her friends carried away, but Haru refused to look at them. She cringed and trembled. Did these dumb kids wipe out all his passion and strength? She didn't want to imagine that. She couldn't. Other things she couldn't and didn't want to imagine sprung to life in her mind. Closing her eyes, she silently prayed that none came to pass.

She took a deep breath to get herself together. She didn't have the time to mope either. Opening her eyes, she finally said, "Yes, you messed up, but whining and moping about it is a waste of time. We don't know when we have to go to this battle, and we don't know where we'll be standing when that time comes. So instead of moping around we need to focus our energy on what we CAN do." She didn't yell at them, but she did lay down the facts as much as she could. "We know this group of attacking cyclopeans is bigger than what Ve Marie has seen before, and we also know that one of these cyclopean is bigger than what you may have seen before. What can you do about that situation?" Then she turned away from the group and ordered Kyle to move his stuff next to Harper's bed. Since he jumped in with Harper's stupid behavior right after she warned him AND Dorian warned them, he had to wait on Harper for the rest of their captivity.

Kyle didn't protest, but he did squirm. Now he had no bloody choice but to babysit Harper AND think about what they were supposed to do about their lack of information regarding the flock. After Harper gave the entire bloody prison cell a strip show, he needed to bring all his stuff over next to the idiot and help him get dressed again, seriously?

He also glared at stupid Xabier, who was still hanging around telling widdle baby Harper that everything was okay. "Go away," he barked to the Spanish boy, who he thought was his friend. His friend wouldn't be so cozy with someone he hated.

Kyle sighed and swallowed as Skylar moved away. During his stupid show, Harper completely ignored Skylar who also thought the idiot could be trusted. The blond knew right away that the jerk was no good and would hurt her, but he let her go. He let her get hurt. That just gave him another reason to hate himself.

Finally away from Harper he moved to Skylar's side. It was too late to apologize to Haru, but he could do something about her situation. "I... I... I'm sorry."