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There was no response to Tyr's inquiry, not even the wind would speak as Tyr peered deep beneath. The path was slowly becoming congested with the fresh snowfall, Tyr would have to make his decision quickly. If he jumped there was the chance that he would end up in the same location and after the lengthy fall miss his chance to go on. There was also the chance that what Acre had said before was indeed true and the fall good perhaps kill Tyr in both this world and the real world.

________

Placing his hands upon Sera's, Lucien let out a subtle laugh. "Your words though sweet and innocent are just that." gently removing Sera's hands from his face he ushered the girl to sit and rest by the water with him, if only for a moment. "You speak so kindly, but yet you still hold this world in contempt. Is it because I'm different than most that you speak with me in such a manner, or do you just pity those you'll eventually destroy?"

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Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:36 am
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"Alright, time to try this again," Tyr muttered under his breath as he prepped his jump. After all, who was he to fear his own death? He already cheated it once when he should have been baked alive, and was life not just preparation for death, for the world beyond? He assumed that what came after was the real adventure in comparison to the suffering of a dull and dreary existence in the Black Market as a animal exterminator for hire. If he died here at least it was a proud death, one where he threw away all that self-loathing, hesitation and angst he shouldered throughout his entire life.

With that he hopped forward into the shrouded abyss, awaiting the result of his efforts.
----------------
"I don't know... I want to surface destroyed so there would be less of a blemish in the universe. It's truly a terrible place where one can kill another without even the slightest thought about the act," Sera replied, dropping her head as she thought of what she had seen and how much more there was that she did not see.

"However," she continued, lifting her head up to look at Lucien again. "Whenever I see people not killing each other, but instead just living their lives, it feels wrong to kill them. It's a conundrum, yes, but I feel terrible when I watch them trying to live their lives in the midst of all this strife, as if it wasn't their wish to live in a world like this but they do so anyway. The burden I bear as the messenger is to decide what is better: to destroyed the evils of the surface world along with the innocent or leave them be because I can't bear to think of those who did nothing wrong being killed because I am far too much of a zealot. Every time I see someone killed or watch the world lose someone like Qalim, I want the surface obliterated; however, every time I see people just move on with their lives and live for the day, I don't want them to die. I can't save everyone, and no matter what I choose people will die anyway. I guess Lear or Tyr would ask me what's the point of me coming if I can't be resolute, but this isn't something I can easily decide anymore. I came down to save the people, but I don't know if I can do anything at all anymore."
_______________________

After a few hours Ildan recovered, but still was not well enough to sit up. After spending the entire time by his bedside, Avia stood up and walked toward Aranida.
"Thank you, sister, for everything." She said. "Ildan would have been dead and I would have been brought back to the capital to be tortured and burned at the stake if you had not arrived. I'm sorry for your losses, though."

She glanced over at Norman, who was speaking to a few of his high officers about how to deal with issue with Jenogh. Norman knew that the only peaceful option would be massive reparations on their part over the slaughter of Jenogh citizens with no reason. The protection of yellow eyes was illegal, what the Iron Hand did broke several laws and they would have to pay for it. The only way to solve the problem was a coup, but that would probably not be possible. Shaking his head, he knew all they could do was leave Jenogh. They most likely would not have ability to return home because the mission was not to start a war and even with his political clout he could not save himself from the loss of power and the inevitable prison sentence they all would receive, including those of the Dragon Guard who were still living. Their only option was desertion and heading east.

Norman walked toward the two women, his mood much more somber than it was when he first greeted Aranida.
"The only thing we can do is leave Jenogh, desert our country, and plead for asylum in the east. What we did has so many political ramifications that we'd be thrown into prison an never see the light of day again. Avia will have to come along as well because she won't live a week longer here. Politically they'll blame our country, but they'll also use this as propaganda to fuel the people into killing every yellow eye left."

"What about Ildan?" Avia cried. "We can't take him anywhere in his condition."

"We're leaving him here in the care of his neighbors. No one knows he married you, so he'll be safe, but you can't stay. If I have to I'll tie you up and bring you along to make sure you don't die. We'll rest for today, but tomorrow we're heading out to meet with your clan and then we're taking them with us as we head east."

Avia, dejected, began to cry at the thought of leaving Ildan at a time like this.
"This isn't how it was supposed to end up. We were going to have a child and live together peacefully, and now this happens." She cried as she ran off toward the cottage.

Norman then faced Aranida and stared at her, right into her eyes.
"So, are you going to go through with this, or are you going to face the disaster that's waiting back home?"

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Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:26 pm
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Despite the comforting words of Avia, Aranida did not feel better. The toll of the skirmish was hitting her now that her promise had been kept, but at what price? Did she regret what she had done? No. She would've done it time and time again, had she lost Avia...She just didn't know what she would do.

She listened silently and passively as Norman explained their present situation she said was true, they, more pointedly, she, was in a lot of trouble. She felt Avia's pain of being torn from Ildan yet again, even after she had been through so much in just a short amount of time. She had lost her child, and now she was to lose her husband, just after being reunited. Aranida was about to follow after her but then Norman faced her and said:

"So, are you going to go through with this, or are you going to face the disaster that's waiting back home?"

Aranida sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. It just wasn't fair. Everything always fell apart when she felt she had everything under control. Her parents disappeared the same day magic did on the eve of her tenth birthday, leaving her with an estate and a force of men to command. When she thought she was successfully returning order to the city, a large black market with a slave trade managed to grow right under her nose. When she was given the honour of this mission as well as assigned with the guarding of Avia, the person she was to protect managed to get kidnapped in no less than 24 hours in her care, and then later stabbed. And now this. Had she been a weaker woman she would have begun to cry, but instead she inhaled deeply as if trying to draw on any sort of strength from anywhere and replied:

"I never turn from battles...but...I see that this is beyond myself and it would be foolish to continue on this path I'm presently on. Avia must be kept safe...as must the yellow eyes...I'll journey with you to the east with Avia."

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Black, just like that the darkness Tyr had jumped into had devolved into pure black. No longer even able to see himself Tyr was left floating in darkness for some time before the eventual sound of speech. It was... odd... a warm breeze could be felt across his face and a familiar aroma became apparent as well but still there was only darkness. It remained this way for sometime, until a light appeared. Like a flare in the night sky its beautiful, glittering, purely brilliant glow was the source of all these tantalizing feelings and smells. But Tyr continued to float, unable to move himself of his own will, and the light continued to bloom, it beckoned him! The light urged him on, it took hold of his attention and refused to let it loose. Before long the light became brighter and brighter, broader and broader! Before long the darkness had completely subsided and what was left was a vivid atmosphere of life. It past over Tyr like a gentle current of warm spring water, it was a stroke of undiluted ecstasy. "You - take - if - find out - a - no no! - thank - may - just a litt-" it was a female voice, its presence caused the light to become more intense and before long Tyr was unable to hold his eyes open until suddenly he felt his body loosening up, he was free to move but when he opened his eyes he was no longer in a void of light and his feeling of enjoyment was quickly fizzing away. He was in a bed, tucked beneath a blanket. His stomach was bandaged and his head was wrapped lightly. All around him were the tan walls of a homely room. The ceiling and floors were made of a wondrous red oak material and finally, the window. Just across the room there was a window with a stunning view of the sky.

"You're awake I see!" a voice cheerily declared, it was a familiar voice... It was the voice he had heard when he was floating about! Searching for the source Tyr noticed a door tucked from his view next to a book case, the door hand just opened and playfully leaning through the frame was a young girl with long dark brown hair, green eyes, a light complexion and a petite build. Stepping in further she hopped away from the door and headed cheerfully towards Tyr's bedside. From here it was much easier to see her, and her interesting attire. She wore a long blue sun dress with a slim bottom and it became apparent the girl was most likely in her late teens.

"Are you hungry?" she asked politely as she leaned in closely.

_______

Lucien remained silent, his thinking was straight forward, blunt. He knew if he told Sera what his opinion of the situation was it would only serve to drive her into a worst mood yet he couldn't resist speaking up. Till now the advice Sera had been given was filled with emotion, subjective thoughts, and most likely falsities. He felt inclined to speak in only a way his kind could.

"You bear a heavy load, you wish to save people but you are unable to bring yourself to do so." relaxing against the base of the tree Lucien placed his arm around Sera, the act itself meant nothing to Lucien, he was simply mimicking a social action he had seen numerous times through out his life span, but to Sera? Lucien at least believed the motion would be one of compassion. "You don't want to believe the poor words that have been spread about your father, and yet they still stick with you. You aren't willing to defy your father either, and you can't bear to persuade your father with lies. You are... alone. You want to believe humans can do better, but with your current knowledge of human ways your father won't allow it do so. You're stuck between worlds, you do not particularly enjoy this one because of home sickness, yet you aren't quite ready to face your father." fixing his eyes upon the sky Lucien stayed silent for some time as he admired the sea of stars poking through the night clouds. "I feel..." he stopped himself, it would be going to far to claim he felt sorry for her. It was preposterous really, he knew very well that he didn't feel that way, but for some reason he was unable to shake the need to tell her that he pitied her, the waters of the oasis though quickly diverted Lucien's attention from the matter as he stared deeply into the stunning reflections of the constellations above.

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Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:44 pm
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Falst listened to the entire exchange with irritation. He didn't understand about the situation surrounding these "yellow-eyes", and he cared even less. Dragon Guard or not, he had been forced into this mess and refused to go along with it.
Since Aranida had recruited him on her way out of the city, nobody would know of his participation in the Guard. He was essentially in the clear if he went back now, while continuing to follow the commander held the promise of nothing but the life of an exile. It was no choice at all, really.
"Do what you like, but I'm going back to the city." Falst stated with conviction.
With that, the recruit turned and began making his way back to where he had left his horse.


Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:19 am
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Immediately as the girl asked her question, Tyr shot up and blurted out, "Am I off that damn road?! Is this the village?!"
He sat there for a few more seconds before cringing in pain and clutching him stomach with his good arm. As he took his mind off the pain, he noticed the peculiar surroundings and the clothes the girl was wearing, rubbing his head in confusion. The whole setting was strange, but then again, everything he had seen already made no sense. A sword protruding from a fire claimed to be hundreds of years old, the never ending path and the man who tended it, the bizarre vortex he fell through when he jumped; this certainly was not the reality he knew.
"From one weird place to another I guess... " he muttered, glancing up at her face. "Well, while I'm here I have three questions: who are you, where am I, and what do you have to eat?"
---------------
"Well, I love Father, and I would even if I was lied to. It's just hard to change my mind about him so suddenly. I've heard the stories before, but it's hard to imagine someone else out there doing it, and maybe just because I haven't seen it for myself," she replied, unconsciously lifting her hand and laying it over Lucien's.
"But don't think I'm one of those people who were told what to believe. What I understand is what I believe, I don't believe something just because someone tells me their opinions or version of the story. If I wasn't like that I wouldn't be here on the surface, you know."
Sera paused for a moment and admired the stars as well.

"What do you feel, Lucien? Tell me, do you really 'feel,' or are you just saying it to save face?" She asked slyly, a small grin forming upon her face.
______________________________
Standing there for a bit, Norman smiled as he absorbed everything Aranida said.
"Well, we'll be getting to know each other on our journey. Maybe we'll even become good friends along the way," he said in an attempt to lighten up the mood.

"I'll see you early tomorrow for departure. Maybe you should use this time to round up the remain lot of your men."
Norman motioned his head toward Falst's sudden desertion and walked away to meet with the Iron Guard.

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The girl pulled a chair from beside the bed and after a few moments of ruffling about she sat down and glanced over the man.
"Cersei is my name for starters, and this place your in is called Gallish." folding her arms she reclined in her chair, clearly there was something on her mind. "I'll have eggs served for you shortly to ease away your most terrible stomach pains" teasing appeared to be on her agenda for now. "But let's forget about that, I'm more interested in how you got here! Do you any idea where I found you? Well? I found you face down in the sand like some blathering idiot on the border between the Filistine territory and the Gallish province! Your don't appear to be like the tribal people of that region, but you do have their eyes... A tourist perhaps?"

_____

"What do you feel, Lucien? Tell me, do you really 'feel,' or are you just saying it to save face?"

"Do you live to tease madam?" Lucien spoke briefly, and blankly. "Since the moment we met can you recall any point at which I expressed an emotion other than anger?" It felt unfair, the whole situation really. He had just spoken openly about his view of his people and his 'creation' and now Sera was up to play games, but perhaps he wasn't entirely against turning the tables. "What if I told you I really was capable of truly expressing myself." The magus though young was a fan of the operas, as such Lucien had been to numerous operas and plays in his time, if anything he could try to mimic the opera to 'play' her game. "What if-" wrapping his arms about Sera he pulled her close inwards to embrace and forced himself to stare deep into her eyes. "My admiration of your duty, and your beauty, and your innocence lead me on a path of love?" it was perfect, with his knowledge of opera and a small amount of improvisation he was performing adequately.

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"I'm from a tribe in the central area of the continent," Tyr replied. "I assume the people here you talk about are distant relatives of mine. I recently 'defected' after dealing with some business with my people and I left. I had a falling out with a few of them that was based on some things that built up over time. Recently I was with a few Isarians, well if they call themselves that, in Filistine, but then... "

He paused mid sentence, not sure whether he should even try to convey what he had seen in the other realm to the girl. If he was not so sure when it came to what went on, then there was no possible way she would believe any of his story.

"Well, I'll just say that I got lost, met several men and jumped off a cliff, and now I'm here. I'd like to get back to my acquaintance in Filistine, though."

To be honest, Tyr was not sure if he could even call Lear an acquaintance, much less a friend, but since he already was only telling half the truth to the girl, it made no difference. He still needed to learn if what he went through changed anything. Was God still trying to control him, or was he finally free?

"Did you see a large caravan head through to Filistine? If you know the general direction it went I can return, but I guess it doesn't matter where it is. As long as it came through here it should head back through. Actually, this is probably a lot of information, mind if we discuss it over some eggs?"
-----------
Sera smiled as Lucien drew her in and waxed poetic for her, even if it was just a jest to get back at her. She knew she struck a nerve somewhere in him; she was naive when it came to the surface, but not when it came to people in general. But, she realized that they were going in too deep and she had to lighten things up a bit. However, Lucien seemed to enjoy what he was doing, which was a change from what she saw in his normal behavior.
"You're much more fun when you fake, Lucien. Why can't you always show this side of yourself? You seem far too preoccupied by what you are rather than who you can be. Even a stoic man can crack a joke, why can't you lighten up?" She asked, treading into more serious territory after ruining the mood earlier.

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"Certainly!" Cersei responded rising up from her chair she hurried for the door. "Just wait there a moment, you needn't waste your strength!" vanishing from the room she reappeared after a brief moment with a tray of eggs for Tyr. Gently placing them on his current resting bed she resumed her sitting position and began to gaze out the window.

"You're still in Isarian territory. Isaria is quite large, though if you're from the west I expect you to know very little of such a place." she laughed as she took a sip from a bowl she had brought in with her with Tyr's dinner. "From the sounds of things you've been on quite the journey, and I could easily take you back to the Filistine village but in all truthfulness I don't really think you're ready to be moved that distance yet. Could you suffer a couple days here, or are you in some big hurry?"

____


Releasing Sera from his embrace Lucien quickly recovered from his game. "Though it is true I view myself in a less than highly manner I am not preoccupied with self loathing, I am what I am. But as fate determines I am not a 'free man', I was created to be almost exactly like your ancestors. Fast, tactical, but above all without emotion. Emotion gives rise to rebellion. But over the years my genetics have change, what I've gathered from it is that I've actually evolved. Beings like what I once was by law of nature shouldn't exist and so nature allowed me to evolve. But I'm still by no means capable of perfect interaction or acts of complete freewill, or so I determined." Lucien's eyes shot open as he came to a realization of what he had said. He was treating himself a damnable child who can only mimic the adults. It was a sickening mistake.
"Besides, up until this very moment in time you were terribly afraid of me." sitting forward he attempted to shake the thoughts he evoked earlier. "Am I not the big bad scary monster I was once was? If I was forced to draw my weapon would you still see me as the same being who just attempted to be intimate with you?" Surely the question was absurd, but to Lucien battle was what brought out his true nature regardless of his own will. Or perhaps it was his astounding will to battle which smothered his more petty desires and emotions.

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"I guess it wouldn't be too big of a deal," Tyr replied, bringing a forkful of eggs up to his mouth. "I think I could always meet him back in the Isarian capital if they leave the desert anyway."
He spent the next minute or so shoveling the eggs into his mouth, leaving the room in silence. When he was finished he looked back up at her and asked, "Do you live here alone? You seem a bit young to be doing that, to me at least. When I left my people I was around your age, and it wasn't easy, having to living in the slums of the lack market. It's probably much nicer here though, so I guess I don't know what your experiences are like.
-----------
"To be honest I was very scared of you every time I saw you. You seemed like an unchained beast to me, the embodiment of everything that I had grown to hate about the surface: killing as if it were nothing but a daily activity." Sera replied. "I was deathly afraid when you came to me earlier and told me to follow you. I wasn't sure if you would kill me or not, but when you took me here to admire the beauty of nature. To me, a good person is one who is very much like the innocent of the surface. If one can turn away from killing and admire the beauty of the natural world, then they possess control and consciousness. Would a killer or abomination, which you believe yourself to be, be so interested in the beauty of this place? If you were as bad of a person s you say you were, I would have been raped or killed by now. The beauty of the world would just be a ploy to draw me in, you wouldn't care any bit for it."

Sera placed her hand on Lucien's shoulder and her eyes twinkled in under the starlight.
"Even if our actions of intimacy are just jokes, that doesn't mean you don't feel, Lucien. So please tell me again, as the good, beautiful person you are, what do you feel?"

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"Sorry to hear of your situation." Cersei bowed her head as she removed herself from her chair. "I don't technically live here alone, this place is an estate my late father built. He died some time ago of illness and left me the estate to do as I pleased." turning about she headed for the window to admire the outside world. "So I live here with the staff of the estate, and as of late I turned the bottom floor into a bit of an Inn. So really there's always someone here to talk to or spend an afternoon with!" For a moment the girl remained silent, she seemed content just staring out into the world without a care in the world. But eventually she seemed to realize she had forgotten some odd piece of information and with a quick step she headed towards the door and stretched her arms out to her sides. "Speaking of which I need to check on the guests, if you'll excuse me now!" Pausing in the door frame Cersei backed into the room quickly. "Feel free to wander about the house or village, just don't get lost!" with that the girl skipped through the door, closing it behind her.
_____


"Even if our actions of intimacy are just jokes, that doesn't mean you don't feel, Lucien. So please tell me again, as the good, beautiful person you are, what do you feel?"

The question took Lucien by surprise, he wasn't quite sure why either. He knew she would say something along those lines but perhaps he believed she would hold less conviction in her words.

"I feel what you feel, just-" pausing he searched his mind for the right words. He was unsure if he could really find the words to express his state of mind. "Just less vividly... But now at this very moment in time? I feel at peace." searching through the water Lucien quickly shifted between Sera's eyes and the sky's reflection. "I tend to feel looser in places like this. No tired would be a better way to describe it." It was fascinating how passionate Sera was becoming over this subject, her eyes were even beginning to gleam like the water in the oasis. He was beginning to wonder if she even realized just how much she had worked herself up over the subject. "You really have changed, if only you could see your face at this very instant. You look like you're yearning terribly for something."

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"Perhaps," replied Aranida slightly doubtful, though she remained hopeful.

Upon Norman's indicating of Falst's departure Aranida didn't even blink as she fired one of her pistols accurately lodging a bullet into the doorpost of the cottage before he had an opportunity to leave. "You will do no such thing Falst," she said icily "You are a thief, and I don't trust that these few days have led to your reformation, you are still under arrest and will remain under my watchful eye."

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Falst froze in his tracks as the bullet split into the wooden frame of the door. Again, Aranida had acted without a moment's consideration. He wondered where the commander got off shooting up her charge's home that way. However, he was in no position to argue.
"You will do no such thing Falst," she commanded. "You are a thief, and I don't trust that these few days have led to your reformation, you are still under arrest and will remain under my watchful eye."
The recruit turned to face Aranida with a humorless chuckle. He honestly had no idea how she planned to "rehabilitate" him by turning him into a fugitive. However, unless the trigger-happy woman made a mistake, he would have no choice but to accompany what remained of the guard as they journeyed east.
"As you wish, commander." He spat bitterly. "I look forward to seeing just how long it takes before we're desperate enough to take up mercenary work."


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Tyr slowly dragged himself from the bed, feeling the abdominal pain as he stood up. Whatever happened to him, it certainly did a number; though, did this mean the jump did hurt him? Did he land face down in the sand when he fell, or was he already there? And how did that other place relate to the real world? How could it have moved him from Filistine to here? None of it made any sense to him, but he really couldn't help it could he. As he stood up he walked over to his shirt and picked it up. Cersei was a nice girl, which was probably why she did not prod him about his arm. As he left the room and found the lobby, he received stares directed at his missing arm, but it was something he had to live with. Anyone else might have asked, but he assumed she chose not to.
------------
"I'm yearning for you to acknowledge your humanity!" she replied. "To say that you 'feel' something other than innate fear or violence that makes up all animals makes humans what they are, whether they be Urbel, Neo-Potak, or whatever other name you want to give yourself. I want to 'feel' happy, and we all should, even when things... "
Sera paused as she realized that she was beginning to contradict herself again. She was telling him that people should look on the bright side when she herself chose to run away from the negativity of the world instead of dealing with it and attempting to find the good. She gave Lucien a great smile and hugged him in thanks for opening her eyes.

"Lucien, I think you just helped me. I was scared at first, I didn't want to face any of this, but as I was talking to you I realized that I was a hypocrite telling you how you should act when I wasn't even doing that. I think I should face this through to the end and try to save the surface because there always is a brighter side to every gloomy day. We all want to be happy, and I can't rob the people of this world of the chance to find happiness. And I want to start with you."

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The estate was fairly large, and the world outside seemed to of a lush green variety when compared to the desert Tyr had just been in. Tyr did not wander long before a man dressed in a formal robe approached him and gave a slight bow. "Good morning sir, could I perhaps help you with something? Food? someplace to sit? perhaps a bath house or spring?"

_____

Lucien eyed Sera for a moment, the irony of the situation was fantastic at least to him. "You've been told this now by many people, they have all in the past argued with you over your stance on the issue... No it was more than arguing, they passionately debated with you over your understanding of this world. To think, you made up your mind and settled your emotions based on something as ridiculous as all of this." returning her embrace if only to make her feel accomplished he began to wonder just what she intended to do to help him. "And now you've come to an even more interesting conclusion, you want to help me without forcing myself to be helped. My dearest Sera how ever will you find a way to do that?" it was slipping out now, he still found it at least a tiny bit entertaining to continue imitating opera.

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