[A New Order] A Personal Matter of Justice

Aerian was pissed by the time Alwynn led her to the court room, people sat in both the stalls and the stands, the benches once occupied by the High Council now by members of what people called the Everlandian Council, leaders from each of the cities and their aides, commanders of various military forces across the realm.

In the centre looking withdrawn and tired was her mother as she stared at the woman whom she had brought to this world.

Opposite her sat Raya looking rather pleased with himself as he looked her over, Aerian snapped a glare at him then rather childishly stuck her tongue out at him and seated herself.

On a higher balcony in this court room, hidden by the others were Domi and Virra, watching with cruel eyes at the procession.

Aishani sat in her seat befitting of the Everlands Council to represent the affairs of the Emerald City, as her husband and father to Aerian were close. Her expression was calm and collected, but, only Aerian knew the fury that fuelled the golden hues which blazed amidst the ashen features.

Aerian was not alone in this, as others were on her side and some were not. Jade was no place to be seen at this moment, but it was sure that she was not far off.

“Let us get this underway,” Ascondia stated as she stood so did those of the Council beside her “Aerian Elcarus, you are charged with counts of theft, murder, crimes against the crown, acting with disregard for life other than your own, and as a result have been arrested and are now facing a trial by this court, how do you plead?”

Aerian didn’t blink and much to Rayas surprise she didn’t shy form her past “Of those crimes, I am guilty,”

“Very well, then it is the purpose of this court to decide if your actions since leaving the Ever Present, until the day you were arrested are sufficient to grant you freedom under the understanding you will commit no further acts,” Ascondia stated, Aerian knew being part of Ever Present that was a promise she couldn’t possibly make. “I trust you have council in this matter,”

Raya stood which caused Aerian to grate her teeth angrily “My lady she has already admitted to her crimes, there I submit the rest of this is unnecessary,”

“And you would have them take my daughters head without reminding them she is the very reason they are still here? That she fought and risk the lives of her friends, her family to spare yours?” The doors at the back clattered shut behind Kane as he walked in, the powerful frame of man not willing to bend to this farce, he was followed by both Hades and Heart “We will serve as council, by your permission of course,”

“Of course, Lord Kane of Dentarius, Lord Hades of Dentarius and Heart of?” Ascondia was actually surprised as she stared at the man, she thought long dead.

Heart looked to Aishani “No offence milady, but I am here at the request of Queen of Emerald City, I serve as her liaison there, and humbly request she allows me to serve her city in this matter, assuming, of course, that I am not reaching beyond my station,”

“I see no reason not, if Raya wants my daughters head, he will earn it,” She smiled darkly before looking to Aishani “Lady Aishani, Queen of Emerald City the decision is of course yours,”

Aishani grinned darkly, at the presence of her husband and Heart with Hades. Rising to extend a regal hand forward to him on the invitation to settle at her own seat. “This man has known her far longer than most. I will grant him this chair as my liaison to Emerald City. Come, Heart.” She then moved her position at Kane’s side, maintaining a regal aura and authority, her golden eyes shifting briefly to Hades with a tip of her chin in silent greeting.

“Very well, Lord Rayheart will serve as an advocate for the crown of Emerald City, Lady Aishani of Dentarius will serve as council to Aerian,”

Raya could feel his anger burn beneath the surface as Heart seated himself beside the Queen, another traitor for a another day he told himself.

“Raya has levelled the charges, Kane I trust you have things to say, please try to remain civil, I will not have bloodshed in this court,” Ascondia motioned and then seated herself.

“Not counting our little encounter with war not that long ago Aerian, have you taken a life without need?” Kane began there was a level tone in his voice that genuinely unnerved Raya the fact he hadn’t wasted time in going to make his point.

“Yes,” Aerian replied flatly.

“Who and why?”

“Alvin Wandright, Personal Guard to the Queen of Dentarius,” There was a quiver in Aerians voice as the name left her lips “I was, my mind had been invaded by Z’ress, during the rescue attempt I was able to break free and in trying to run Alvin was trying to help me and … I killed him,”

“But his death to you was not necessary?” Kane replied

“No, he was a good man, a friend,”

Raya stood only to sit just as quickly as Kane and Hades glared at him, Ascondia interrupted quickly.

“Raya?”

“Alvins murder is one of the charges and they are more than aware of this, the fact she claims to have head her head messed is no longer relevant, she murdered a good man in cold blood she just admitted to it milady,”

“Please let me kill him,” Hades muttered quietly enough that only Aishani and Kane could hear.

Aishani never removed her eyes from Aerian, while a subtle smirk formed in the shadow of her lips, amused by Hades’ words. “Your Royal Highness, if I may? I am council to Aerian and I would like to expound on this in the defence of Aerian.”

“Of course, but of course the same rules apply to you as your husband, this is a court of law,” Ascondia replied Raya went to stand but her look stopped him, he would inevitably have to wait for his turn.

“Thank you, Your Royal Highness.” Aishani now stood as this was her floor, moving from her position to address the court. “Now, we have heard her speak of murder. Take a look at her now, she does hold remorse in her voice. I do know, as a fact, that Z’ress, held control over the mind and with the warped press of her plus, Ceremon…this youth was bound to be broken. I have seen it first hand, after all, she and Ceremon had advanced so far as to take the throne. Forgive me, Your Royal Highness, you have seen and felt first-hand the power that Z’ress had even over Ceremon. Now, we all know that to some, it is an excuse, but, to others, it is a cold fact. That she was influenced, therefor not responsible for her acts at that time.”

There was a chatter among the council before the sounds died off.

“I didn’t know it was him, honestly I still don’t remember doing it only that he isn’t here and my dad told me why, so I had to have right? He was the first person to put a blade in my hand, he beat me down so bad some days I could barely walk, and he did this not to be cruel, or for anything other than to teach me to fight back, no matter the odds he taught me to stand and fight, he was my friend and I have to live with my actions,” Aerian stated the same emotion ripped through every word.

Raya stood carefully trying to keep the panic under wraps fearing he’d been beaten before he even got a word out.

“So, while some may accept such a thing, let us go further back, the list is long Aerian, murder for hire, Jacob Coldfire, Ashlynn Vaan, Sia Elderfor,”

Kane stood looking to Ascondia “Do we really need to list them, everyone in this room has a copy of every charge levelled against my daughter, we know her history he should get to his point or admit this is a fishing trip, because my daughter decided she liked someone else that wasn’t him,”

“He is correct Raya, we do not need every name, though if one has any significance then feel free,”

“Of course, milady, my apologies to the court,” Raya stumbled over his words as Kane seated himself, resting his hand on Aerians shoulder “You have many counts of murder to your name, perpetrated in cold blood,”

“I do, during a period I was hurting, I had survived a war none of us expected to survive, I watched my mother and fathers relationship implode, I was mentally numb, sex and murder was simply how I got off, in a time I felt nothing, It let me feel something,” Aerian replied “Every contract was filled, but I rarely took a life that wasn’t worth taking,”

Aishani then stood, nodding her head to Ascondia. “Granted, that was no excuse at the time. Look at that list now, that the war has ended. Where did it stop? Alvin. Every life is precious, even her own. She was but a child then, acting out with anger to the world around her. Clearly, everyone has been at that point in their life.” She rested her blazing golden eyes upon Raya for a moment, then scanned the group. “Now, she stands before you. No longer a child, a woman. A woman with child. A life waits for her with her partners and the growing life within her. Back then she was reckless, as I agree she should not go unpunished, but I believe everyone has the chance to enter probation. Her crimes were in the past not fitting but I believe that she has changed. In fact, instead of fighting or struggling, Aerian took to stand before you and face it. This shows strength and remorse.”

Raya could feel it slip as he stared at Aishani “She uses her name, hides behind it because that is how she was raised, why do we give a free pass yet Ceremon also an Elcarus has not been brought to trial for his crimes? He was taken from Elvera to Dentarius, without so much as an argument, to be protected this is what they do,” Raya spat angrily.

“Hey short pants, don’t blame us cos you’re getting your ass kicked,” Hades laughed, a titter of laughter fell through the room immediately silenced by Ascondia.

“I will not see this court disrupted like that, one more comment like that and you will be removed Hades,”

“Of course, milady, my apologies,” Hades dropped his head like a scolded schoolboy but remained content with the damage he had done to Raya with but a single sentence.

“I expect you to stay on course Raya, this is to do with Aerian and her crimes not those of the realm,”

“Yes milady, I’m sorry,” He replied before turning back to Aerian “Your crimes of theft, multiple in number, all of the very high value, some from the very people you stole them for in the first place,”

“I had to live,” Aerian replied softly.

Kane stood as he looked to Aerian “You were once handed a contract, one of the richest ever written, I know this because I wrote it, two hundred and fifty thousand gold, a simple item a gold watch, from a well-known maker who died during the dragon wars, as a result, his work has become valuable, do you remember the contract in question?”

“Yea, though didn’t know you wrote it,” She replied quietly

“And what happened on that night?”

“I found the house, broke in through a sky light, honestly people are so dumb they’re on the reach so they figure we can’t get in, anyway when I got in, I scouted round, a man and two children, but they were in deep trouble, they had notice of eviction and would that morning have been thrown onto the street,”

“And so? You’re a thief you had a job to do, what did you do?”

“I took the watch,” Aerian stated completely blank drawn a collective gasp from those present.

“I see, so you collected on the contract, is that the end of this particular contract?”

“No, I collected the money, I paid the rental agreement in full and then broke back into the house and put the rest of the gold in the watches place,”

Raya growled under his breathe in frustration as he stood “So you had a conscience, but that doesn’t discount the other hundreds of thefts you’ve been a part of,”

“I’ve never taken a contract that I didn’t believe was worthy, I don’t take from those that can’t afford to lose an item or two, not that you’d know honour,”

“Enough,” Aishani stated coldly, her voice slicing through the court room. “She does not deny her crimes, while some call the kettle black, others do not. We have to take into account of the crimes brought forth. But, let me ask you, do her crimes outweigh the actual good that she has done to the people? She has even reigned in the Ever Present, I have caught wind of a recent event. Lord Elcarus will you elaborate on the events that have brought a poor wife and children to Denarius as of late?”

“My wife is correct I grow tired of this, we are here away from our children while you Raya exercise your power in an attempt,” He paused to look at Ascondia.

“Perhaps save this for a little later Kane, and as I instructed Raya, stay to the point?”

“Of course,” Kane replied and then threw a glare at Raya “My daughter chose to return to Ever Present, a thorn in the side of most authorities throughout the entire realm, another of her mistakes, this one she sought to correct, and as such not one contract since her return has resulted in a loss of life, A husband was beating his wife and his children and asked that Aerian eliminate him, she didn’t but instead chose to remove them from the situation placing them under our jurisdiction, should he set foot in Dentarius my guards have orders to arrest him on sight,”

“She cannot just walk away from her past,” Raya snapped.

“She didn’t walk though did she, Raya,” There was sudden a drop in Kane’s voice, Ascondia knew this was going to end badly and was hardly inclined to intervene as Raya stared at Kane like a dear caught in the headlights.

“Precisely on point, Raya. As Lord Elcarus so sweetly stated.” Aishani locked eyes on Raya moving from her position to take the floor, this essentially would break the contact of Kane’s fury. “Aerian has had ample chance to escape…she could have walked away. Could have stayed beneath the Dentarius lines to claim sovereign. But, she did not. Aerian chose to confess to her crimes, regardless of the fact that she is carrying the future of the realm in her belly.” Her eyes skimmed over every face, then turned to face Aerian and held a hand out to the fiery red head to join her. “Aerian, tell the court as to why you did not do any of these things? The reason you returned, when facing the impending chance that death would be your gift the realm has put before you…”

“Because I have no reason to run, I made my peace with who I was and I am happy with who I became, I put myself in harm’s way for everyone in this realm, not because I have to but because I want to, and now my child who has done nothing wrong but will die with me if that is the decision of this court,” There was emotion once more yet Kanes did not change as he stepped to his daughter holding her.

“What this boils down to ladies and gentlemen is a vendetta, and a power play,” His eyes slid silently over those of the Council for a few minutes before settling on one “Lord Rellian, of Riverside, tell me something who was it that marched upon the gates of Riverside when you were under siege just a few short months ago,”

“Lady Aerian and her girlfriend my Lord,” Rellian replied.

“Lord Grey of the Ten High Grove, your daughter was kidnapped several years ago and no one could find a lead, who located and brought back the missing girl,”

“Lady Aerian my lord,” Grey replied softly

“We can see where this is going right? Aerian has indirectly probably saved everyone in this room at some point, Lord Rayheart after you were in a dark place, with no one to turn to and no reason to live who saved you,”

Heart was caught by Kanes words as he stared at Aerian who simply “Shrugged in reply,”

“Aerian,” Was all that came

“The one man I trust more than anyone who wasn’t blood, I would have lost him, but here is. See this is personal because many do not know that Raya was supposed to marry my daughter, you know how you royal types are in trying to assure power by marrying with each of your little groups, it’s how the High Council had so much power,” Again a murmur through the crowd as Kane spoke “But if we are to try everyone who has committed a crime in the past then you guys are gonna be here for ever because we are all guilty of something, my own wife stole from the crown, a necklace with the power to control whomever they chose, intended to make her serve them, she escaped and ended up in Dentarius, I have taken lives, Hades well we won’t even bother trying him just hang him now for his transgressions, but Raya would have you believe he is Commander of the Guard, perfect, correct, doesn’t make mistakes,”

Kane circled around and upon him now “But let’s ask you, Raya, why did Aerian leave? Really?”

Raya froze as he stared at Ascondia, who looked just as confused, Aerian felt her heart began to hammer at her chest in panic.

Aishani took in Aerian after Kane moved about, indicating all involved with Aerian’s assistance in times past. But, glanced at her strangely, as her heart began to thunder in her chest, clearly, Aishani’s keen senses having picked up on this. She kissed Aerian on the crown while moving to stand at Kane’s side, her golden hues fixed on Raya. “Now, need we remind you, Raya. You are in a court of law; the truth here abides and is no different for the ‘Captain of the Guard’. I sense the fear dripping from you like sweat and hear Aerian’s heart beating to a thunderous potential. It is not nothing. Do tell, us and the court, why did Aerian leave?”

“I fail .. to see .. the relevance of this,” Raya stared at Ascondia who had suddenly understood why Kane had been so calm to this point.

“You hold yourself to a higher standard do you not? And this seems to be of some relevance, please answer the question,”

“We argued a lot, we weren’t a good match she figured that out a lot quicker than I did, I woke one morning and she was gone,” He stated the words came so easy from him it was as if he believed them.

“So you fought as any couple does, relationships aren’t supposed to be easy,” Kane smiled darkly “But that’s not true is it, Raya, you just lied in open court, Aerian, on the other hand, has been nothing but honest, I wonder if her story will match,”

A smirk formed on Aishani’s lips, to Ascondia’s backing of Kane’s reasons behind this, granted, it was obvious that there was far more then what met the eye. She left Kane’s side and moved to Aerian, placing a hand on her shoulder in support. “Aerian, in your own words, please explain this to the court. Why did you leave him?”

“I … um … We were supposed to marry, his family was among the High Council and choices made there, but I was property to him, treated as bad as some slave or maid, there only to feed him, which I really suck at, and for sex ….” Her words trailed off.

“I would like to remind you here in this court by her own admission, Aerian stated earlier that her own sword master used to beat her down, but here she is struggling to explain her relationship with a man, I myself have never held back when it came to her training and she has never once shied down from me either, a supposed legend here in this realm, so why him?” Kane stood behind Aerian now his own hand on her shoulder “Please, I need you continue Aerian,”

She swallowed down the shudder and nodded “He was aggressive in everything he did, mostly I was able to hide it, it wasn’t like I was allowed out of the house anyway, I was barely twenty at the time and this was my life. I wanted to leave, but bound by duty I stayed, until one night he came home, I don’t really know why but I asked him about his day, honestly I didn’t care but I wanted to try and make things work between us, to make the most of what I had to deal with, and he hit me twice before I could react, I think deep down he knew I would break him if I had time to react.” She waited for a moment to settle her thoughts, “He had hit me before, slaps, a few pushes but always with enough time to ensure I couldn’t react, but this was different, he had these chainmail gloves, and he was wearing them, the second punch caught me and sent me into a shelf thing which completely screwed my balance or reactions and I couldn’t fight back, but he carried on hitting me. I don’t remember much after that only bits, him telling me I was a failure, worthless and that he was going to sell me to the first trader he found, he then pulled me into the bedroom and raped me, it must have been some point in that he figured he’d really hurt me because he left and a guard and Alwynn were the next things I saw two days later,”

Ascondia felt her blood boil as that cold anger ripped through her, she was also now wondering how Kane was so eerily calm, Hades looked like he may kill half the court and the court itself had fallen deathly quiet.

“You only had to be a good wife,” Raya retorted coldly “But I guess I just wasn’t equipped to keep the almighty Aerian happy,”

“I would choose your next words very carefully, by Dentarian law you’d be dead already,” His words bit darkly as he stepped forward “So as we can see, yes Aerian has a past, but I have already pointed out we all do, and yes she is Elcarus, half of the advantages we get in most situations are because of Aerian and who she is, no one in the realm can track better, a child gone for three days without trace, she found the track, there isn’t a better thief we already know that and a girl so beaten and broken after a failed marriage attempt, watching two of her Uncles fall in battle to save the realm, her parents fall apart, being forced to flee the only place at the time she felt safe, it isn’t really hard to figure why a young girl would shut down and stop caring, make no mistake she is my daughter and I will die to protect her but ask yourselves have I once tried to say this is unfair? Argued this is a waste of time despite knowing what I knew before walking in here? Would I really fight so hard if thought for one second she was guilty of anything but being a broken child with a rebellious streak a mile wide? I have locked up my own daughter on several occasions for crimes she has been accused of here,” Kane paused for a moment before he eyed the court.

“Raya do you have anything you would like to add to all this?” The words came cold and bitter.

“I do milady,” He stated standing, he was suddenly aware of every person’s eyes on him intently.

“Aerian, you never wanted the marriage, again I would state that my equipment did not fulfil your needs,”

“Really? That’s what you’re going to go with? Are you trying to piss us off?” Hades bit angrily only for Ascondia to once more holla at him.

“She was difficult, refused simple requests,”

“She wouldn’t put out you mean,” Again Hades snapped angrily “Ascondia he is trying to find a reason to blame her, and ensure he gets his win in all this,”

“I would agree, Raya make a relevant comment or deliver your closing statement so we can continue,”

“I, Aerian Elcarus, have flaunted the rules, broken them with disregard because her parents are among the highest in the realm, her mother is the Queen and so she knows ultimately she is untouchable,”

“I suggest you be careful Raya,” Ascondia snapped

“Of course, milady, her father a noted hero of the realm, who dissolved his own home city from the crowns accord because he wanted to make the rules himself,”

“Still pay my bloody taxes,” Kane retorted “And not all the rules are ignored, just the ones I don’t agree with,”

“And when she is in danger, she retreats to Dentarius where she cannot be touched,”

“And yet here she is, turned herself in when she should have cut your sorry ass down,” Hades bit

“Hades please remove yourself from this court, I cannot allow your outbursts to continue,” Ascondia snapped frustration burning her now.

Hades sighed and as requested left the room.

“I, um … Oh right, she knows she is safe but why should she be any different to us? Had it been us that committed those crimes, we would have been hunted by the full force of this realm, I believe no one should be above our laws even if you’re the daughter of the Queen, with respect milady,” And with that, he sat.

“Hmm” Kane mused before he began “He has a point, no one is above our laws, even if they are daughter to the Queen, but she has already paid for those crimes and does so with every day that passes, she has to live with blood of innocent people on her hands, she has to try and make peace with that knowledge, each of us has done something we regret, made mistakes but her mistakes were many, and angry woman lashing out the world that in her eyes had failed her, this realm can be cruel when it chooses to be, but so can people we can directly trace Aerians misdeeds to that one single night when everyone that should have been there for her, failed her myself included, which is the only reason this excuse for a man isn’t dead already. But in truth I can only say so much, the choice ultimately is not mine to make, so look deep, think on things, you know her past, the stories are out there, can you say the realm is going to be better without her? Or further to the point why should the life of an innocent child be forfeit simply because of the mothers transgressions, this court is making a choice on the life of not one but two here today, or ultimately has Aerian changed her way, reset the course of the Ever Present, stood shoulder to shoulder with each of you in defence of this realm, be directly or indirectly responsible for someone you love still being with you,”

There was a hurried murmur through the crowd as Kane finished and sat back behind Aerian. Ascondia could hardly believe she was still allowing this now.

“Very well is there anyone else that would like to add to this?”

Aishani remained calm and poised, tilting her head a slight to this revelation, as those golden eyes burned with silent fury. She gathered Aerian’s hand into her own to offer the girl her support, since Kane had put everything in perfect prospective, there was nothing anyone could add. Now it was the decision of the court.

In the shadows in the balcony, Aerian could see Domi with his arms pinning Virra back in an embrace. Surely it was her lovers wish to kill Raya.

“Very well, the court is dismissed to make their choice, we will return here at daybreak,” She paused in thought before sighing softly “I make a point that any attempt to harm anyone involved within these proceedings, will be the next one tried for their crimes,” As her words settled those surrounding her left the room, she sighed and slumped back as several guards ushered Raya from the room through another door.

Within a few moments only Aerian, Virra, Domi and Aishani remained.

As the only ones that remained were the four, Aishani stood aside to give Virra and Domi space. Virra embraced her tightly, do much in fact that Aerian would wonder if the dark-haired vixen thought she would disappear. She then kissed her deeply and passionately, while Domi looked on in silence.

Aishani then excused herself from the three, leaving them as the only standing people in the room. After Virra took her turn Domi stepped in wrapping Aerian in his strong arms and the warmth of his lips upon hers. “It’s done.”

“I hate having to wait…I want to take you home. Away from all this…” Virra sneered, but caressed Aerian’s cheek and then her belly.

“We have no choice…” Domi whispered.

“I don’t understand how you knew,” Aerian sighed softly as she stared at Kane, as Virra embraced her she returned the kiss just as deeply.

“I’ve known for a while, but chose not to act unless you asked me to, it wasn’t my place, until today at least,” Kane smiled softly and then headed from the room to join Aishani, “Mom looked so angry, honestly with everyone in the room I’m surprised he isn’t dead already, but it’s almost over,” she sighed softly.

“I just hope that justice is served upon him for his own crimes, just as you, he is not above the law.” Domi stated, owning his arms to invite Virra within to join the embrace.

“That better happen…” Virra cautioned.

“I don’t see mom letting him walk away from this one, by his own argument he has to answer even if they decide his past crimes do not represent who he is now, at least he will have answered, honestly I don’t care I just want to go home,” Aerian replied softly.

“I know…” Domi whispered kissing the fiery crown of Aerian and Virra’s own dark hair.

“The sooner the better.” Virra stated bitterly.

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[A New Order] Finding the Pieces

The tavern was dreary and smelled of sweat and ale, as Alwynn sat as always in the furthest corner allowing him an eye through the whole place, he finished the tankard of ale before calling for another.

“You should go easy old man, with the Elcarus’ around we may have need of your blade this day,” The barkeep stated.

Alwynn merely looked up with a blank expression “The people should worry more about their own problems and the less of a pregnant child dragged halfway across the realm on a personal vendetta,”

“She is a criminal sir, perpetrated some of the biggest heists in the Everlands,” The barkeep replied half exasperated by Alwynns clear lack of care on such matters.

“Aye that she has, which means those guarding that which she stole are just too stupid to have better methods of preventing said items getting stolen, she is a child, she is pregnant, and I will have no part in it,” With that, he took the fresh tankard and dismissed the barkeep.

Jade entered the tavern, after searching the right one for a good time and nearly getting taken advantage of on the streets. This had to be the place, she adjusted her kimono and katanas at her hip. Her eyes searched the tavern floor, near the bar. “Excuse me, I’m looking for Alwynn…have you seen him?”

She looked exotic and out of place, her black hair flowing over her shoulders like a midnight waterfall and warm almond eyes inquisitive.

As she entered almost everyone within looked to her, one of the patrons grabbing her butt as she walked past with a leering chuckle.  As she spoke the barkeep glanced to her before continuing to clean the glass in his hand “Corner over there, probably too drunk to be of use to you now,” He motioned his head in the direction of the far corner which was occupied by Alwynn.

She ignored the grab but looked in the indicated direction with a nod. Jade walked over to Alwynn, standing on the outside of his table. “Alwynn…I’m Jade, I’ve come to talk to you.”

Alwynn looked up and past her “Barkeep get the girl a drink,” He then motioned to the seat opposite him “Then talk girl,”

She glanced to the barkeep. “A water please.” Jade settled down now, looking across to this man. “It seems that you know my fiancée well in times past…I need your help; the realm needs it. You see, her Royal Highness trusts you and I do not believe this trust is misplaced. Raya had pressed influence on his personal conflict with others in the guard against Aerian. We need to change that; you are far more seasoned and wiser. Those within have to listen to you…”

“Raya is a smart boy, stupid for provoking your,” He paused as he looked to her? “Did you say, fiancée? Good for him, anyway a man who is foolish enough to try his luck against Hades would have lost his life, I did not intervene to protect Raya, but as you said Hades is a friend, perhaps one of my closest in Elvera, when he is here of course,” He continued to drink now staring into the contents of the tankard “However my dear, my days as soldier for the Queen are long done, if she seeks my counsel, then she needs only ask, the people are correct in so much as Aerian has caused chaos throughout the realm, but that was a time ago now and she never once took from those who did not deserve to lose something,” The last of his statement came louder drawing attention from those around them.

He paused with a smile “Even they know this series of events is unfair, Raya is still pissed Aerian wouldn’t marry him and play the dutiful wife, what they fail to remember is Raya beat her so badly so couldn’t walk for three days, simply because she refused to sleep with the boy. I cleaned the whole mess up quietly and none save me, Raya, Aerian and now yourself know of why Aerian was finally allowed to leave his side. So my intervening in any of this will result in someone ending up dead, my conscience could not settle with that now, I do not wish to see Aerian harmed and I should have sent Raya away long ago, but his family had position and well you see where he is now,”

“Yes, I did say fiancée. He and I are engaged.” She felt the blush creep up on her cheeks as she accepted the water and sipped from it. “That is exactly what we need, Alwynn. Someone to come forward in order to dismiss the case against her that was pushed by Raya. He is letting his emotions on the situation get the best of him. Not to mention, Virra, Aerian’s fiancée and Domi, may be at risk as well. Virra is pregnant as well and her father…well, he was on the wrong side, but, an infamous criminal. No longer is he with us. Ascondia mentioned to me that she feels safer with you watching over Aerian in her cell…but, you are here. Are you not charged with the care of her while awaiting trial? Yes, I know she told me to talk Hades into letting things play out. I do not know what is planned, but we need to secure that she is not indicted and executed…”

Jade inhaled deeply, looking to him. “Please, we need any help you can give…I know, that Hades may owe you as a code to a soldier…but, I will owe you as well, since I came directly to you before speaking to him. I do know that Hades has sent a message to Kane. Rest assured that he will arrive, I am unsure as to his wife, Aishani. Everyone is at arms, yes…she was young, did things that she shouldn’t have. But everyone was…don’t let this mistake weigh her down. Aerian is working hard to right the wrongs in the past, including the Ever Present…”

“I had heard she returned to take command of Ever Present, which is what created this whole mess for her, it gave Raya an excuse. More Elcarus’ in Elvera will only seek to prove Raya correct in that they care more for their own than the realm, despite the fact they have saved the damned realm more times than most of the halfwits that occupy the rest,” Again the last part of his statement was louder and drew attention to which he simply smiled before continuing to speak “Forgive me, I think they forget they owe them a lot and more, though I suspect they would say they owe them nothing,”

He drained the tankard before motioning for another “Forgive me, my eyes are on Aerian, the main door only has two keys I have one and Virra the other, seems the idiot guard I left watching got pick pocketed only a short time ago, which in earnest between you and I was the point of me giving him the key to begin with, the Queen asked me to watch over her and so I shall, do not worry yourself on that I have never shirked responsibility of the crown, unless your husband was involved of course, then perhaps there was more ale than duty,” There was a wry smile on his lips as he nodded to her taking another tankard “You have my honour, just as Hades has, unlike these ingrates I remember the reason I’m still bloody breathing!” Again, his words loud to make his point now.

Jade listened to him, while sipping her water, but in the end she sighed gently. “Alwynn, the information of Aerian’s past with Raya…you said only me, you, her and Raya know. Why has this not been brought to Ascondia? It is rather important to the situation, don’t you think?”

“It wouldn’t matter, while it would serve to piss off the Queen and she would likely take Rayas head for it, along with I suspect mine, but should she do so it would be seen as personal motive to remove a rival from her path,” Alwynn smiled softly “If you have seen the Queen you know she is preoccupied with the new, pet project, she isn’t watching her back which has been her biggest failing throughout her reign and she no longer has Kane clearing her path to the throne, she must keep it herself, this farce is but one step in what I suspect is a bigger play from her,”

Jade thought about this for some time, then looked to him with a soft smile. “Yes. Something big at play… I should go gather Hades. I know he’d very much like to see you and share a mug. Unfortunately, I am unable to share in such delights at this time.” She stated coyly with a blush but leaned in to whisper. “I’ve been told to just let things play out and to convince the others. I believe I will need help from you with my fiancé”

“My dear of all the people in this realm who Hades will listen to, I suspect you are top of that list, if rumour serves the truth then he is far more balanced, since,” He smiled wickedly looking to her “As some would have us believe, he handed his balls to you, of course we know he has found a better way of controlling that monster inside him, so I will aid where I can, advise as I am able, and as you said I must go and tend to Lady Aerian, may I walk you to your inn before doing so? The streets can be hazardous at night,”

It was at that moment the red-haired frame of Harley slid up beside her with a smirk to Alwynn “I can ensure she makes her way back in one piece, our leader has waited long enough?”

Alwynn eyed the newcomer in question before he raised his tankard then drained it, he stood, for more sober than a man so many tankards of ale in should been and nodded to them both “As you wish,” and with that he was gone.

She smiled shyly to his words, while sipping her water to hide the flushed colour of her cheeks. Since Jade wasn’t familiar with Alwynn it was the shyness that came to the surface. Jade parted her lips to speak in acceptance, though, it was as Harley arrived that she was taken back. Looking to her for a long moment, even if she declined, Alwynn had left. “Who are you?”

Harley stared at Jade for a moment, looking a little confused herself before she smiled and placed her hands on the table “I am Ever Present, here by request of Aerian and her soon to be husband and wife, seeing as you are a key player in this strange little dance of ours I though it only fair I introduce myself, Harley,”

She kept her name quiet as she glanced around to ensure no one had heard before looking back to Jade “They might get a little made if they discover the former leader of Ever Present is wandering among them, I was a very bad girl not so long ago,”

Jade watched her in silence, those exotic almond slanted eyes on the red-head, at first sceptical, though, warmed and she laughed softly. The silvery sound only a whisper of bells in the loud tavern. But, finished her water and stood. “Then you know, where the place is they are staying…I have no clue and am unfamiliar with the area. I am Jade, fiancée to Aerian’s Uncle.”

“I know,” Harley replied simply before sliding up to stand and leading Jade from the tavern, she led her through the streets and several back alleys before finally reaching the Inn where she smiled and motioned “You’re staying here, room 11,”

Harley rocked on her heels for a moment she bowed gently “Anyway, delivered home safe and sound as promised,” She glanced to the window of Virra and Domis room for a before she stepped back pulling her hood, covering her face disappearing among the shadows “We’re close by, for Aerian,”

Jade watched silently as Harley disappearing into the night, looking up to a window briefly. Before gathering herself and moving to enter the tavern below the inn, knowing the room number was enough. She evaded any possible inappropriate grabs and up the stairs to the indicated room, lifting her hand to knock.

The door lock within clicked and soon enough the entrance covered by the form of Hades, his face brightening as he saw his fiancée standing “Hey, I was beginning to get worried, was about to go find Domi and Virra and come looking for you,” He drew her to him holding her for a moment kissing her head gently “How did your visit with our dear, back stabbing Queen go?”

She stepped into the room, curling her fingers at Hades’s clothing with a bury of her face into his chest. His scent and warmth felt so good, add she looked up her lips graced hood within the kiss. Though she closed the door behind her, moistening her lips. “I’m not sure how to explain this…so you have to trust me when I say to allow this to happen. It seems that Aerian did what she had not been expected, to actually come…there is something she has planned but did not tell me what…Also, you should have seen Hope. She is in pain and doesn’t talk much, it pains me to think that our choice is the sacrifice that caused it.” She placed a hand on her stomach to illustrate the meaning.

Hades wrapped his arm around her drawing her tightly against him, a reminder he was always there for her as he once more kissed her head with love “Only the realm knows the answer to that,” He sighed softly kissing her cheek before turning her to face him now looking into her eyes “It could simply be the transition, for some it can be very rough, some …” he paused for a moment “Some have been known not to survive, Hope is strong you saw what she lived with in her own world, perhaps she was just weakened when we brought her through,”

“Now why do I get the feeling I should ended Raya the moment his power drunk ass laid a hand on my niece in Dentarius, or we yet again being dragged into a power play? I have never been on to sit on my hands and idly let things happen,” He sighed softly leading her the bed and settling on the edge “But I trust you, and seeing as you seem to have some level of respect from Ascondia, I will follow your lead,”

She settled on the bed with a small sigh, but looked to him. Surprised by his comment about Raya. “You know, then? Yes, I believe this is a power play, yet again. I don’t like sitting idly by as Aerian sits in a jail cell. She loves Aerian and won’t let anything happen to her. We have to play the part until this plays out…”

“I know Raya and Aerian have history, I know she left him for reasons of her own, clearly he holds a grudge. It isn’t hard to figure this is some over the top plan to curry favour with those who believe our family has more influence in the Everlands than we should, get enough of those and maybe you can over throw the crown, assuming Ascondia doesn’t have you assassinated first. Of course he now has her in a position she cannot use such methods and we have been so focused on other things that he has been able to gather some influence,” Hades settled against with a smile “Half of what we do is a political battle on one front or another, which is why after we ended the threat of Z’ress we all decided to go our own ways, dilute the power base, live our own lives for a while, and yet here we are right back in the middle because they drew us into it, if they don’t want us involved in everything then leave us alone? It seems kind of simple really, this seems to be a really bad revenge attempt on Rayas part, though I wonder if maybe there is something bigger behind his new attitude,”

Jade was silent listening to him, her hands folded in her lap with eyes down cast, after a long time she looked up and to him. “Ascondia wants me to convince you to let things play out. That much is clear, something is indeed going on with Raya’s standpoint. He has talked the guards into being on his side with Aerian. At this point I would not throw all caution to the wind. I also found Alwynn to speak to him it seems he was charged with watching Aerian and I believe that she is in good hands. I still am wary; we need a backup plan would this turn south and out of Ascondia’s control. As well as we need to relay this information to Virra and Domi, we don’t need them jumping to conclusions, in turn actions.”

“We should probably tell Aerian this too, the more she knows while she’s locked up the better prepared to face whatever they decide to throw at her, “ He sighed softly “I really don’t like how this appears Jade, I fear for my niece and for you, I’m going to assume that Virra and Domi will take care of the backup plan, which leaves us to focus on plan A which is dealing with this at the heart of things, Alwynn will ensure Aerian doesn’t end up dead, and we will deal with Raya and the politics, so not how I wanted to spend our first real time together since coming back, but I do promise when this is done we go home and nothing gets in our way of planning our wedding, getting married and waiting for our child to make their way to the world,”

He breathed slowly calming his mind in thought as he watched her before kissing her gently “But one thing at a time,”

“No, my beloved. I fear for you and Kane the most in this, there is a lot on the line and it seems as though, I am in the dark, as we all are. The Elcarus family has been through so much, this is no different and each time we only get stronger. I will not let anything happen to Aerian, but I do agree we need to speak to your niece and her lovers. Sooner the better.” She responded to the kiss with a caress upon his cheek and tap to his lips. “Yes, one thing at a time.”

He smiled softly settling against drawing her back into him his hand running gently through her hair, “You are my world Jade, I wouldn’t let anything endanger that,”

[A New Order] Prisoner

Aerian sat with her legs drawn to her chest, the cells had always unnerved her and the cell next to hers as well as across were occupied, the two men had spent the time from her arrival and telling her all manner of things they do to her given a chance.

For the most part, she had drowned them out with her own thoughts, but it had its effect and she felt a little more vulnerable than she liked to.

“Even your own mother cannot stand you,” Her heart froze to the words, as she snapped her glance to figure outside her cell, Hareavor or so she thought though in truth there was no one there “And now you and your baby will die for being such a waste, you’re weak Aerian always have been, and when they take you head I will be waiting for the rest of eternity,”

“Fuck you Hareavor!” She growled angrily.

The laugh cut through her head like a scream “Already have, I’m inside your heart, your mind your very soul, there is no freedom from me,” He taunted her as she felt her whole body shudder now from fear, before it struck and she bolted for the tiny porcelain pot in the corner retching hard from fear and her own hormones running rampant. By the time she looked up only the two men remained to stare at her as if she’d gone mad.

“Fuck you too!” She snarled wiping her mouth and crawling back to the pile of straw that served as a bed.

The click of heels was heard against the hallway now, moving calmly and precise, until the face of Virra peered in the cell to her. A jingle of keys was heard now, as it seemed that Virra had snuck by the guards and Domi arrived a few moments later.

“That fuck won’t tell me, I can’t hold my Firefly.” Virra spat, opening the door and entering into the cell while Domi remained outside keeping watch. In her arms was a change of clothing, looking around the place to the two men with a narrow of her eyes.

Aerian made her way to Virra falling into an embrace, still trembling from the moments before as she swallowed “Are you OK?” Instantly Aerian switched from afraid to her ever-deep concern for her lover before she looked to Domi with a smile “It’s good to see you both, this place was starting to get to me, or I’m seeing ghosts, or …” She paused as those in cells stared at her.

“Any idea why I’m here? What did I do to piss my mother off this time?”

“I don’t know, but I get the feeling something else is at play…” Virra said soothingly, caressing the hair of Aerian and kissing her gently.

“We have to wait on Jade’s return, she is the one that actually spoke to your mom. Virra here couldn’t wait.” Domi added in while remaining standing. “Ghosts…or self-inflicted memories? Aerian, you’ve got to keep it together. I know we won’t be stuck in the cell together. But I have more faith in you. I know your mom loves you…I agree with Virra something is amiss about this whole situation.”

“Keep it together…” Aerians voice trailed off as she swallowed down another wave of emotion, her words trembled as she spoke “Easier said than done when that sick prick is torturing me, it’s like part of him is in my head and all this is just making me horribly aware of that fact, I’m scared and I’m pregnant and fearing for our child,”

She pressed against Virra, the presence of her beloved allowing a measure of safety to settle within her, before she finally felt herself steady “I can do this, I just hate this place, I always have, another reason I left all those years ago,”

Domi parted his lips to speak but it was clear that he spoke the wrong words, Virra stepped in while holding Aerian tighter. “He can only cause fear if you let him get the better of you, Firefly. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. Don’t let this cell keep you imprisoned especially in your mind.” She parted to point to her clothing. “I brought you a change. No matter what, we will be at your side.”

“I won’t have you stay down here though; I’ll be Ok. I just needed to see you both, to remind me that I’m not alone,” She smiled softly as began to peel off her top the two men immediately slamming themselves against the bars of their own cells, Aerian glanced up before continuing to change keeping Domi and Virra between their lines of sight.

She leant to Virra as she pushed down the tight pants and kicking them aside changing once more into the clean ones provided, “Did my note get to where we needed it? Or did I waste a perfectly good piece of parchment?”

She tossed her dirty clothes into a corner now returning to Virra feeling far more together than she had for a few hours kissing her gently before making her way to the door to look to Domi “I can’t step through, the second I do half the castle guard will be down here but thank you, I needed this,”

Domi cast a dangerous glare to the men that pressed themselves to the bars but remained to offer her some concealing. Virra kissed Aerian gently, placing a hand in the swell if her belly. “It was received. All depends on the situation and the choice we make.”

“It’s good to know they are close, if we need to act fast it’s good you don’t have to act alone, not that I don’t trust you both but Elvera isn’t easy to navigate and worse to escape, we also have contacts who can get us information which let’s face it is what we require most in all this,” Aerian kept her voice low so only Domi and Virra could hear her words, knowing either within the other cells could report to the guards or worse, “I love you both, you know I’m doing this because of that right? Whatever this is, we need to get to the bottom so they have no excuses when we walk out of Elvera,”

Domi nodded in agreement, while lifting a hand to caress her cheek while she neared him, leaning to kiss her gently and tenderly. “As I love you, my fiery angel. You possess such strength that it even baffles me. Yes, I know, but, don’t do it just for us. You have a child born from such love.”

“As I said, we didn’t want to wait on Jade. We wanted to see you. My heart breaks to have to leave you, in fact, I think I could stay. It isn’t like my crimes are unheard of.” Virra whispered.

“You stay, I stay.” Domi stated, while glaring at the two prisoners. “Besides, I’d much rather gauge out their eyes then have them look at you. Perhaps, it is their tongues that should go…”

“It’s OK, I can handle this now, just between not knowing and been pulled away and mom been so damn cold it threw me, now I’ve seen you I’ll be OK, we need you up there even if we ordered them to Ever Present only answer to us now. Someone in Elvera knows what is going on,” Aerian smiled softly “Also I suspect if we let Uncle Hades handle things any further, I may actually loose this pretty red head of mine,”

She kissed Domi in return before walking back to hold Virra “You know I trust you with my life, now it just happens to be in a literal sense,”

Domi nodded to Aerian, while watching her return to Virra, whom chuckled. “I wouldn’t be too sure, Jade is with him. She seems to keep him stable.”

“I thought he may actually kill Raya, not that it’d be a loss, but I’m fond of my head I’d like to keep it attached and my best chance of that is with all of you working together, some food wouldn’t go amiss though, haven’t been fed since they dragged me down here,” Aerian shrugged with a smile “See if Ever Present have found anything out, and if Jade has had any luck getting any sense from my mother, it isn’t much but it’s a start right?”

Domi grinned and dipped into his quiver, removing a loaf of bread and some cheese, handing it to Virra. “It’s not much but better than nothing.” She handed it to Aerian and kissed her gently. “I love you, Firefly.”

She stepped back allowing Domi to enact the same. “We will see what’s going on. Don’t worry you will know. I love you.”

With those parting words, the two stepped out of the cell and locked it. With a lingering glance from Virra the two left the cell and dungeon.

Aerian watched them go before looking to the two in the other cells, a dark smile on her lips as she showed the loaf with a chuckle and settled back on the straw bed to eat.

[A New Order] Wherever We Go There Is Always Trouble

As the carriage halted outside the castle several guards were already waiting on Aerian, As Hades stepped out they stepped back, reaching within to aid Jade, then Virra and finally Aerian. As soon as she stepped upon the ground the guards moved only for one to be pushed back forcefully by Hades.

“Back the fuck up, she’s pregnant and she’s here, stop treating her like a damn prisoner!” He snarled angrily.

“But that’s exactly what she is,” Raya stated now with a dark smiled “Aerian Elcarus, you are hereby placed under arrest for crimes against the Everlands and the Crown,”

“Under who’s fucking authority?!” Hades could feel his temper burn as he advanced on Raya, his blade drawn in mid stride only for the Elveran Guard to draw theirs in response.

“You’re not at home now Lord Hades, stand down or I will arrest you and everyone else here,” Raya bit back, clearly being upon Elveran ground had given a renewed sense of authority.

“Oh shut the fuck up, I was leading this army before you made your way out of your fathers prick, Aerian back in the carriage, under the Dentarian Treaty you can claim asylum and there is fuck all he can do to stop us taking you,” A guard went to grab Aerian only for Hades kick his knee and drop him to the ground, Aerian promptly responded with a knee to the downed guards face.

Virra and Domi didn’t hesitate to step in when Raya advanced on Aerian. Virra had her daggers drawn and Domi his bow notched with an arrow to this man’s groin. Domi nodded to Aerian, gesturing with a tip of his chin to the carriage as the guard was busy tending his wounded pride.

Jade moved to stand with a hand on Hades’ arm, looking to Raya. “We are activating the Dentarius treaty to claim asylum. Would such be to earn points with Queen Ascondia, you have brought her here. But, such, needs to be handled much differently. Stress at this point during a pregnancy can induce a still born…WE don’t want that to happen, do we? We will remain in the carriage and if her Royal Highness wishes to speak to her daughter, then she can come to us.”

Hades looked to Aerian then to Jade, his wifes words carrying merit as he nodded aiding Aerian in and away from the guards, allowing Virra and Domi to stand guard he moved to ensure to get to them it would require them to go through him.

“You’re lucky my wife has more sense than you Raya, you heard her, either the good Queen gets her uptight ass out here to explain why she is arresting her own daughter, or we get back in that carriage and we leave,” Hades stated firmly.

“You wouldn’t make it out of the gates before we blew your carriage apart,” Raya spat back angrily, clearly not enjoying the fact his authority had been subverted so quickly by Hades.

Hades glared now advancing on Raya “You would fire on a carriage with not one but three pregnant women aboard? You are testing my fucking patience and you just threatened the life of my wife, get the queen before I paint the street with your blood,”

Raya didn’t wait as he went to draw his weapon Hades caught the motion and driving his elbow against Rayas with a sickening crack, another guard suddenly intervening to pull Raya back “Have you lost your damn mind boy! That’s Hades Elcarus and he is not known to play well with others, go and get the Queen tell her that her daughter has arrived,” Raya stumbled back before bowing lightly to the man and stumbling off.

“Apologies my Lord, Lady Jade, Raya seems to have a disrespect for his elders, and those with more sense than himself, he is Commander of the Guard, but his issue with Aerian as I’m sure you know is personal, this should never have been his charge but he took it upon himself nonetheless.”

“Alwynn, I thought you were long dead?” Hades’ temper was quickly falling away at the older man.

“I’ve been away seeing the lands, the Dragon Wars took a lot from us all, when I heard word of Lord Ceremon and his former mistress had taken the throne I hastened my return, alas you had already won the damn war before I got back, my thanks for that by the way, Queen Ascondia offered me command of the guard but I’m an old man such things are left to those younger, perhaps I should not have been so quick to dismiss the opportunity,” Alwynn replied with a smile.

Jade settled within the carriage with Aerian, beside her to offer support. Though, removed a root from her bag to offer to Aerian. “This will help settle the anxiety and your stomach on travels. I’ve given more to Virra so you both with have a supply.” She offered softly, looking outside the window at the events that unfolded, just beyond.

Virra and Domi stood stance at the door, guarding it, as Alywnn presented himself. Though, relaxed a slight at the familiarity that the two old comrades had held. “Does he know the reason behind all this?” Virra inquired.

“I do not miss,” Alywnn smiled able to hear due to his vampire hearing, “But there will be a reason on that, though I’m just an advisor so what would I know eh?”

“An advisor that just prevented a Commander getting very dead,” Hades chuckled in reply.

“Clearly needs to go read his Elcarus history books, there are very few dumb enough to tangle with you my Lord, less who survive, that being said he can lick his wounds and count himself among the lucky,” Alwynn shrugged now with a smile.

“A life I long left behind, though he touches my niece or threatens any of my family again and not even you will save him,” Hades replied.

Virra sighed, appearing still frustrated and her hormones due to the pregnancy was leaving her little patience, though, Domi lowered a hand to rest on her shoulder and kissed her neck. “Easy, my dark angel. This man is a friend to Hades, currently, and holds no threat.”

Virra glanced to Domi irritated, but it melted as he kissed her gently on the lips with a caress to her swollen belly. “Fine. Right now, I will not have Aerian taken from us…not now and not ever.”

The guards suddenly began moving with a renewed purpose as the second contingent could be seen moving down the road flanking Ascondia who looked as unimpressed as ever, Raya to her side still nursing the broken arm. Beside them now in royal robes and with a blade at her hip was Hope, as they approached Raya fell back leaving only Ascondia and Hope to approach.

Hades spun on his heel as he caught wind of her “Care to explain all this?” He barked coldly.

“Not really, but you are involving yourself with Crown affairs, so I suppose I must,” There was an air about Ascondia now, the unsure woman now replaced with authority as a dignity befitting her stature, “My daughter is known for crimes, theft, assault, murder, several which are considered treason, the people cannot follow a Queen if a Queen cannot lead, that includes her own breaking the very rules she laid down,”

“Are you out of your fucking mind?!” Hades erupted the anger flowed with a darkness that simple portrayed everyone in the group’s current feelings, only for his attempt at going for his weapon to be met with a volley of fire from mages above them.

“Do not test me Hades, she will answer for her crimes, now let her go to the cells quietly, or as I have been informed, invoke your right and attempt to leave Elvera with my prisoner,” Ascondia stated firmly.

Aerian slid from the carriage on the opposite side as she stood before Ascondia there was a moment in which conscience flickered to the surface, before being replaced with the coldness she was so very used to, “I will go, but you do not harm any of them, I don’t know what it is I did to you mother or why you hate me so deeply but I will play your game, if this is to go to trial as you claim then I want my father here, no offence Uncle Hades but his temper is much less than yours, so we play this out and you send for him, or you find it in your heart to cut to the very core of whatever game this is, I’m pregnant, I’m tired and I will die to protect those I love, just as you would, I love you mom,” Aerians words were cut with the emotion beneath as the guards once more cuffed her, she looked to Virra with a soft smile “Let them take me, please, we will get through this I promise,”

“Virra and Domi have free grounds to visit as they wish, I am not a monster,” Ascondia replied with a nod before stepping aside as the guards began to move Aerian down the streets, Hades growled angrily as he stood unable to react.

Jade left the carriage with Aerian, now, standing awkwardly between Virra and Domi. She looked from Ascondia to Hope, then to Hades. She did not have a chance to move far before the volley of fire was cast down from the mages, moving in to cling to Hades when a stray volley had managed to singe her foot, causing her to cry out.

Virra made an attempt to move forward but Domi placed a hand on her shoulder to pull her back, now, the two stood with Domi cradling Virra against him with sobs escaping the females throat and cries with the hormones that took hold in desperation. This was the first time ever, that anyone had witnessed the emotion from Virra and it was heart wrenching as she struggled to free herself to rush after Aerian only to be held back by Domi.

Jade watched the scenes unfold in silence, placing a hand on Hades’ arm. “My beloved, Shadow will be swiftest. I plan to speak to Ascondia.” She kissed him gently, then moved to stand before Ascondia, kneeling down in a deep and graceful bow. “Your Royal Highness, may I have conference with you?”

Ascondia looked to Jade with a smile and nodded “Of course, please this way,” Before she headed off back toward the palace with Jade and Hope.

Hades made his way to Virra, his hand resting on her shoulder “She knows what she is doing, and she is doing it for you, let’s just play this out as we have to for the moment. Domi, there’s an inn down the road, give them my name and request a room for myself and Jades as well as yourself and Virra, I will send word back to Dentarius in case we need the back up,”

Jade stood to the address and offered her a tip of the chin, though, no smile was present in her face or eyes. Unusual for the warmth that resided in her almond slanted hues.

Virra looked up to him, her eyes were black with rage and sadness, speaking all the emotion every one of them had felt in that fatal moment watching Aerian walk away in chains and pregnant. Domi nodded to Hades, assisting Virra to rise. “I will. Remember Shadow is close, speak to her and she will relay the message much faster than any person or animal.”

“That was the first part of the plan,” Hades smiled and swept off pushing a guard from his path.

As Domi and Virra entered the Inn room there was the ever familiar redhead sat on the bed awaiting them “I see Aerian has herself in hot water, but we got her message, The Ever Present are present and accounted for through Elvera, awaiting your orders of course,” Harley smiled softly as she looked to Virra “We had been following you since you left Dentarius, we picked up the note from the carriage, they really arrested her?”

Virra went forward in her anger to throw a punch at Harley, though, Domi caught her hand and guided her to sit down beside Harley. “She is…a little distraught. Hormones and such. Yes, it appears to be that way. I still don’t understand it. How can she treat her own daughter like that? We will stand by and wait on Hades, even Kane. She will have support.”

“Fucking mages.” Virra sneered while caressing her belly, appearing to attempt to comfort the growing child in her womb. “Ascondia is prepared.”

“It’s OK, she has every right to be angry with me I have to earn her respect back I get it,” Harley shrugged not even attempting to avoid the contact should it have occurred, “Her mother is unpredictable, dangerous, to hear Aerian speak she cares only for Aerian when it suits, though having never actually met her myself I couldn’t answer with any truth or certainty, and let’s face it you know Aerian now far better than I do,”

“Yes, the only reason she wants her is the child.” Virra stated coldly, while adjusting on the bed, but glancing to Harley. “For what it is worth I’m glad that you are here.”

“We will help as best we can, but coming from you that means a lot, I have your back with my life if needed,” Harley stated softly as she stood making her way to the window “We are watching, waiting on whatever you need,” She tapped a small lantern on the window with a grin “Turn the dial left it burns green, and we come to you, turn the dial right and it burns purple and we go get Aerian, only those of the Ever Present can see the colour to anyone else it just looks like a lantern,” And with that she leapt upward and disappeared.

Virra smirked a slight, feeling strangely comforted at the idea of Harley and the Ever Present. “Domi…this isn’t going to be easy…”

The throne room had been redressed since their last visit, now the throne sat at the front and the High Council now gone, the hall would serve to hold those who sought an audience. Ascondia made her way up the short stairway and sat, Hope sitting quietly beside the throne her eyes never lifting from the ground.

“Now then my dear, how can I help you? All is well and my previous advice served its purpose, you are now with child?” Ascondias voice was now soft, the same Jade had become used to, as their isolation served to allow the authorative mask to fall back.

Jade offered her a small smile. “That is hardly a topic worth discussing at this moment. Your Royal Highness…what is the reason you incarcerate your daughter, whom is pregnant with your grandchild? Don’t hand me that she has to face her crimes, there is something else going on…please, make me understand. I told you before that Aerian loves you. You wish to see your grandchild…this isn’t the way to do it…”

Ascondia sighed as her hand slipped to run through Hopes hair, Hope leant into the touch almost instinctively now, Ascondia breathed before letting go a deep sigh “I had hoped she would have had the sense to run, make no mistake Jade this is not what I want, but it is what the people need, Kane said it himself I have to stop hiding behind what I want and lead with what I have, if they cannot believe in me how am I to do that? I do not wish to harm Aerian not for a moment she is as you said pregnant with my grandchild, and above that she is my daughter. Raya has been pressing for her arrest so much so as to get enough backing within the guard, Hades’ little outburst out there hasn’t helped me calm the situation either, and adding Kane to the mix I fear will only make this worse,”

“We could let her go, pardon her crimes, The Ever Present have indeed altered their operational methods since Aerian took control, there hasn’t been a single death in their name,” Hope whispered softly “But you are the Queen, it is your choice to make,”

“I cannot let her go now we have her, had she stayed in Dentarius things could be different, now we must deal with trial and execution and sadly any attempt to free her or aid in her escape will result in your arrest as well, I will not let harm come to my daughter, but you must convince them to let this play out, please Jade I ask because you are the only of them that has seen fit to offer me an ounce of trust,”

It was at that moment the doors on the opposite end were opened as Raya made his way through and along the hall, as he grew closer he spoke “My Queen, the spider was seen making its way from the city we believe headed back to Dentarius, should we dispatch a group to stop it?”

“No,” Ascondia spat angrily “No you idiot, that creature is linked to Aishani and would harming it would harm her and what do you think Kanes response would be? To bring the full force of Dentarius and the Emerald City against you and yours, a fight you cannot win, you couldn’t even best Hades, you asked I arrest my daughter and I have, now please allow the courts to do their job!” There was a bite in Ascondias words as she snapped at him, Hope coiled tightly into the cold of the throne before settling back into Ascondias hand as she returned to stroking the womans hair, looking to Jade she looked concerned “The realm hasn’t been kind to Hope, and I have no clue as to why, she has fallen near silent, speaks in small parts, is in pain for the better of it, all of this between us I asked for none of it, I only want to lead The Everlands as Queen, but my heart and my head are in conflict,”

“We need to speak to Stacy…but, depending on this, it is important to keep in mind this decision…is made not by any court but the realm itself.” Jade listened to her silently, while looking down then up to her. But, when her lips parted to speak, it was as Raya entered the throne room. Her heart silently sung at the news that Hades had sent Shadow to Dentarius. “That would not be a wise decision, Raya. Now, please, leave us, so I can continue my conversation with Her Royal Highness.”

“Damned Elcarus’ always think they are so fucking entitled!” Raya snapped as he turned to leave the room muttering beneath his breath as he went.

“Admittedly not the brightest of my choices for Commander of the Guard, but he is loyal and relentless, it makes for ensuring things get done and they get done properly, as it turns out he has deep seated anger toward my daughter in her youth, the poor boy was unaware he was ill equipped to deal with her long term,” Ascondia shrugged softly in thought as she turned her attention back to Hope. It was strange that she looked so much like the driven down woman they had first met, only far more pale and weak, “I know it is the realms choice, but,” Ascondia stood now making her way to Jade to speak her mouth to Jades ears “Stacy should not leave Dentarius for the moment, even as much as I know Hope could use her help, there are those who may seek to use Stacy for their own ends,” She stepped back and made her way to her throne continuing to speak “Small factions who believe the Elcarus’ have had their time in power and exert too much of it on the realm, others who still believe I am unfit to rule, we have dragons back and it also makes people uneasy though they have been well behaved and for that I’m grateful to Kane whatever bargain he struck is indeed working, finding a stable ground to keep all happy will be impossible, but we can appease small parts,” Ascondia sighed softly “Even at the cost of my daughters safety, though she is safe and only Alwynn is allowed near her, Domi and Virra, yourself and Hades of course, you are free to speak with her as you wish,”

“I do not know Alywnn…tell me about him. It seemed that he and Hades knew each other and very well.” Jade commented.

“They did, when Hades first arrived here in Elvera, probably one of finest men with a sword in the Everlands, aside from Kane perhaps, Alwynn and Hades were drinking buddies in the early days, Alwynn introduced the two of us after a hunting party got themselves into trouble. Alwynn has always been loyal to the crown even when the High Council were around he stayed on my side, when Hades turned after Kanes arrival he is the one that ensured Hades stayed ahead of us, kept him alive and out of Kanes grasp, it is the bond of soldier to soldier, something I’m sure Hades one days hopes he can repay, though I cannot speak for him of course,” Ascondia replied softly “He is a good man, with a good heart, I trust no other to keep my daughter safe here,”

“You said that others see you unfit…It cannot be easy to have to follow a law and that horrible conflict within you. Please, I cannot promise anything with the situations, as there are many pieces to this puzzle…In fact, I have an idea to turn the tides. The less you know the better, though, can you please point me to Alwynn’s office? I wish to speak to him. I will do my best to keep those extra in line and convince them to trust you. It will come with a cost to me if you do not keep your word, Ascondia.”

“Alwynn’s office is the tavern on the main road, he prefers to be a free hand these days help those who need it,” Ascondia replied as she stood now helping Hope to her feet “I have always been honest with you, I consider you a friend Jade, I would prefer to keep things as such,”

Jade nodded while extending the graceful curtsey to Ascondia, pausing to watch her with Hope for a moment. A deep-set guilt seeping into her, recalling the words of Ascondia about crossing over the realm and conceiving to return. A price would be paid, perhaps, because the realm was fixing itself with the unborn child in her belly…that she was the reason for being so selfish.

Though, inhaling deeply, Jade turned to leave the palace to find the inn spoken of earlier by Hades. Perhaps, she should go unescorted but still wandered to find the place. Her idea was to work her way into Alwynn’s heart and to have him return full time and to place some faith in the Queen again.

[A New Order] Travelling Is Not So Fun

Hades looked at the guards as they once more took Aerian into custody, the frustration boiling just beneath the surface as he paced a few steps then back. Before Aerian was finally escorted into a carriage and followed by Virra and Domi, much to the annoyance of the guards.

Hades sighed softly before climbing into a carriage, as he seated himself, he could feel the annoyance burning deep within, his orders were to protect Aerian though he suspected before this was done there was going to be a choice to make no one would be happy with.

Jade settled in the carriage next to Hades, smoothing her kimono out, though watching the two and Aerian with a small smile. The tension was enough to slice through with a knife, but as soon as the carriage jerked to a start, Jade lifted her hands to curl in Hades’, almost silently in an attempt to comfort.

Not long on the road, Virra removed her lock pick set, working the shackles from Aerian with soft and precise movements. When looked at by Hades, Virra shrugged. “What? She came peacefully. No sense in treating a pregnant woman as such.”

Jade chuckled with a shake of her head at the antics of Virra. “We need a plan, should this go south…”

“This is going to go south, it almost always does with our family,” Hades shrugged softly “Jade is right though, we do need a plan to extract you if needed,”

“We will drop notes for The Ever Present, have them infiltrate Elvera, if needed they can get me, Virra and Domi out, wouldn’t be the first time we’ve pulled someone out of the palace cells,” Aerian replied as she curled her hand within Virras, leaning into Domi with a smile “Whatever it is, we can handle this,”

“With guards around that’s not going to be easy,” Hades remarked

Aerian smiled softly and pulled parchment from her pocket, her eyes watching the page a moment before simply dropping it from the window “They will be watching, have some faith Uncle H, and if all else fails, I have you and Jade to ensure I don’t wind up dead,”

Virra lifted Aerian’s hand to her lips in a kiss, while Domi tilted his head to lean against the fiery crest of Aerian with a grin.

Jade looked at them to Hades, biting her lip, squeezing his hand. “Some things change. Should we tell them?”

“Tell us what?” Virra interrupted looking from him to the exotic female at Hades’ side.

“That you, Jade and Aerian are all carrying the next generation of our family, Stacy was able to confirm our child yesterday evening,” Hades replied softly

“Aw that’s awesome, congratulations to you both, I know it’s the one thing you both want, I’m glad the realm saw fit to grant it,” Aerian smiled softly, as she reached to place a hand on Jade with a grin “Will keep all these men on their feet,”

Jade offered Aerian a small smile but the excitement was revealed in her eyes more so.

“Great. Another pregnant woman…” Domi groaned with a smile.

Virra leaned over to punch him in the gut. “Knock it off! Hades has to deal with it. You have us!”

Domi grunted holding his stomach, then looked to Hades. “See what I have to deal with?” He looked to Jade. “I’m happy for you both.”

Virra grinned. “Yeah, me too. You deserve it.”

Jade blushed, clearly still not used to the attention.

“Well such sarcasm in the presence of women with overloaded hormones is probably unwise,” Hades replied with a soft chuckle “Still it is the generation and as such it’s our duty to ensure that things are as easy as possible for our families, which considering how our family tends to attract trouble could be a challenge all in itself,”

“That’s Uncle Hades way of saying nothing is ever easy, and this is just proof of that,” Aerian added with a soft nod.

Jade curled her hand with Hades, looking up to him with a smile and leaning her head against his shoulder. “Well, we do have Shadow following us to report to Aishani of the circumstances.”

“I do hope this will be simple…” Domi stated.

“Ha! Nothing is ever easy with Aerian’s mother…We have to be sure to not leave each other’s side.” Virra commented.

“I thought maybe after that whole trip she may have learnt a lesson or two, maybe even mellowed out, guess I should have figured that’d be too easy with that woman,” Hades sighed softly “Still hopefully we can force her and allow her to realise Aerian isn’t a child who can be told what she can or cannot do,”

“Pft, my mother still thinks I’m eight,” Aerian snapped “No wonder I went to live with Dad in the end,”

“And that is the attitude I ask you please keep in check,” Hades looked to her and smiled softly “Give her no excuses,”

“Your Uncle is right, angel,” Domi said caressing her cheek with a turn to kiss her fiery crown. “You go in there throwing a tantrum. This only proves, that which she believes.”

“Yeah. Whatever the outcome, you won’t be alone in this, Firefly. You have all of us supporting you. Though it is you alone that can control how you act.” Virra said.

“But remember, you cannot use your abilities at all…” Jade cautioned.

Aerians and went to her stomach as she rubbed for a moment and nodded “I know, I just want this over with, I’m far too tired to be dealing with moms drama, or self-serving act, and I’ll be damned if she thinks she is getting my child,”

“You really think that’s her game?” Hades enquired with a raise of his eye brow.

Aerian rattled the chains that had previously been locked upon her and shrugged “Seems to fit current events, not a chance this side of Armageddon that’s ever going to happen,”

Jade widened her eyes in surprise, while Domi clenched his fists. “Over my dead body is she doing to take our child.”

Virra snarled and shook her head when suddenly she banging on the roof. “Pregnant lady going to puke in here! Stop the carriage!”

Jade looked at her with concern, but Domi gathered the cuffs to put around Aerian’s wrists but didn’t lock them arranging her hands as though still cuffed.

Hades rapped on the window the carriage and convoy immediately halting as the guard opened the door “Yes my Lord, how may we assist?”

Hades climbed down and shoved the guard aside clearing a path for Virra “You can’t idiot unless you want puking on, then please hold out your helmet,”

“We are just..” The guard began

“Say doing your job or following orders and I leave you here in as many pieces as I see fit,” The guard fell quiet against Hades’ words and nodded.

“What’s the hold up!” Raya snapped coldly now appearing from the front of the convoy “We need to get moving before bandits decide we are an easy target,”

Hades rolled his eyes and looked at Raya “While you may fill your underwear at a few bandits, we are armed enough to take down anyone stupid enough to come after my family,”

“And the guards?” Raya replied

“You’re supposedly the Elveran Army, fucking watch your own asses, blood is blood, and this is an inconvenience,” He looked to the edge of the trees Virra had bolted for before looking back Aerian “She OK?”

From behind the bushes, everyone could not mistake the sound of retching and heaving, followed by more and a wet sound. Domi inclined a brow with a curious tilt of his head, looking to Jade and then Aerian. “Maybe we should check on her…she hasn’t been motion sick with horses…” He whispered to her in such a way that Hades and Jade could only hear.

Hades slid from the carriage and nodded to Aerian, before moving off toward the bushes and Virra, standing just before he spoke “You OK? These idiots are getting a little ancy, thinking they think you and Aerian are gonna bolt for the hills, I might just let you,”

Aerian stretched across the carriage before letting herself slip free and standing, immediately two guards were beside her with their hands on their weapons, Aerian raised a brow then laughed “Oh come on, you’d be dead before you drew those and you both know it, if I wanted to run I wouldn’t be here, now would I? I’m pregnant and have been cooped up for a while, I just need to stretch my legs,”

Virra was on her hands and knees, before a pile of bile, though, she sat back and ran the back of her hand over her mouth. “You know, we are complying…IF we didn’t want to be here we wouldn—” She hunched over as her body shook and shoulders lurched with more of the vomiting.

Jade moved to Aerian’s side while glancing sharply to the guards that immediately held their hands drawn, lifting a hand to gesture on them standing down. Domi watched after the place that Hades went, then moved to Aerian, grasping her hand to tug her close with an arm around her and lips pressed against her crown.

“This fucking blows…Hey, I want to talk to Jade about something to help. Get her for me.” Virra managed with another heave.

Hades nodded as he stepped back and headed for the carriage, as he stepped to kiss Jade gently, he smiled “It seems Virra would like a word,” before turning his attention to the guards, as they watched him, they would quickly step away from the group.

“You’d think they were afraid of you,” Aerian quipped with a chuckle before leaning against Domi “I feel kinda icky too,”

“It would be the stress of this whole damn trip and, you have been extending yourself too much of late, you need to take time for yourself,” Hades replied

Jade responded to Hades press of his lips to hers, caressing his cheek with a nod in the part. Moving in the direction Hades just came from.

Domi grinned wrapping an arm around Aerian, turning to kiss her crown, pulling the red head against him. “Ya think? I don’t think Virra is taking to all this traveling. Well, the baby that is.” He glanced to Hades. “You tell the realm that. Not like we have had much a choice.”

“Welcome to the family,” Hades chuckled as he made his way past Aerian and Domi and toward the guards ahead of them.

“I think when we’re done with this one we should return home, keep our travel as minimal as possible, I hate seeing Virra sick and not being able to do much, “Aerian sighed softly as she curled against Domi, as she sighed deeply.

“This level of stress isn’t good for any of us, much less two pregnant women, and it sucks,”

Domi glanced down to Aerian then to the location of Jade and Virra, a few moments later the two appeared. Virra appeared to be chewing on something.

Jade smiled to Aerian, instructing her to open her mouth. “It’s an herb that can assist in motion sickness from traveling. I have enough for the two of you.” She moved to Hades’ side, losing her hand to curl within his. “Let’s get this done. The sooner our travels are over, we can focus on other things.” It was clear by her words she meant the wedding and pregnancy.

Aerian chewed the herb and climbed back within the carriage, followed by Hades and Jade as well as Virra and Domi, a few moments later and a hard jerk the carriage began moving.

[A New Order] A Love Where It Began

Virra smiled at the entry of the cottage on the grounds, she made the suggestion to remain close since they didn’t need to upset the guards. She went to start a fire. This was the place that everything began, relationships started and grew.

Aerian made her way in behind her arms wrapped around her own stomach as she smiled softly, the air was cool but it still was home in some ways to them. She turned as Domi arrived she smiled softly their family once again contained in the small cottage that allowed something to become more.

“I will be glad when all this is put to rest and we can get to our new home properly, but at least we still have this place while we are here,”

Domi set his bow and quiver near the door, as it always has been, a medium bag in his hand. Nearing Aerian to kiss her passionately, then as Virra dusted off her hand walked to stand with them and he returned the same affection to her. After he guided them to the kitchen, beginning to prepare some food.

“A plan has been formed for your protection, Aerian,” Domi said as he cut the meat that had been drawn from the bag and some vegetables organized.

Virra pulled Aerian in her lap and was affectionately caressing the swell of her belly. “Oh?”

Domi nodded. “No one knows the reason; we won’t know until we are there the reason. Jade and Hades will join us, since it seems, upon gathering your Aunt, a bond had been formed between Jade and your mom. Shadow will also be the eyes for Aishani while they remain here for to the children.”

Aerian sighed softly as she laid her head on Virras shoulder “Why do I always feel like the damsel in distress lately, like I’m always the one getting myself into trouble? Am I really that bad?” She shook her head half serious half joking at her own words as she spoke “But I’m glad you’re watching over me, both of you, I trust no one else to have my best interests at heart,”

“Well. We are pregnant. A little firefly growing in you.” Virra nuzzled into her neck with a smirk. “I’m relieved for the back up.”

“As am I. It goes to show you, Aerian, just how many people care about you. We don’t want to take a chance.” Domi chuckled, gathering the cut meat and vegetables to make a stew with water.

Aerian felt her stomach growl with hunger which then caused her to try and remember the last time they had eaten properly, before she nodded “I know, I just hate feeling so exposed and vulnerable, I have been reliant only on myself for so long that now we’re pregnant it’s been one drama after another and you two have had to weather the worst of it,”

Virra adjusted Aerian in order for the red head straddle her, face to face. She gathered Aerian’s hand to place upon her own swollen belly and set her own upon Aerian’s. “We are in this together.”

Domi finished placing the pot over the fire and returned to caress each face lovingly. “Don’t you worry, our time will come to relax. We just have to get through this.”

“One step at a time, right?” Aerian smiled softly as she stared into Virras eyes her head tipping into Domis touch with a soft sigh “I just know I couldn’t do this alone, and for that, I am happier than I ever thought possible,”

Virra grinned, her hands still caressing over her swollen abdomen. Domi moved to gather a chair and sit at their side. “We eat and rest. I do not get a good feeling about the entire situation, but my priority is the two of you.”

“Rest is never a bad thing, though I suspect before long we’ll be too fat to do anything ourselves,” Aerian teased with a smile “Do you think he’ll still love us?”

Domi inclined a brow with a rather irritated expression, though, to Virra’s laugh it softened. “I prefer pleasantly plump.”

“Keep it up, you vixens, I may feed on those juicy breasts!” Domi fell in line with the joke, though, leaned over in his chair to place a hand upon each of the swollen abdomens. “To me, you couldn’t be more beautiful. You each radiate…almost glow.”

Virra smirked to Aerian’s words, caressing her back. The beat that she heard was even, steady and strong, very calming and the sound of her lover. “I won’t apologize.” She chuckled, a hand sneaking between them to playfully pinch at the tender bosom of Aerian. That is when Aerian felt Domi gather her from behind to lift her up, Virra followed in a rise. The two moving to the couch, as it always has been, one on each side of her, though, Domi laid her down to sprawl with her head in his lap and her legs over Virra’s.

Domi caressed her hair and neck, even shoulders, while Virra removed her boots and began to caress from her feet upwards to the swell of her belly. Aerian felt a light tug on her pants as the fixture was loosened and then Domi began to pull up her shirt to caress her belly in small circles.

Aerian breathed deeply as she felt them begin to undress her, she turned up to stare at Dominated before yelping to his pinch, then turning to a soft moan, as he traced her tummy.

Easing her hips up a little to allow removal of the now tighter fitting pants she felt the cool air caressing the now exposed flesh.

Virra guided the pants from Aerian, her fingers caressing down in the path until her clothing was set aside upon her boots. While Virra was doing such, Domi removed her top, supporting her as it was pulled over her head. Now, as though each of her lovers was one, their fingers hard to decipher, each touched her lovingly almost as though praising each inch of her flesh.

Domi traced his hands upon her shoulders, tenderly, moving down the collar bone to her bosom. A finger touching on the top swell of her full bosom. Such was tender, possibly even sore, but, the way Domi caressed the skin only offered solace. A fingertip would follow between each bountiful bosom to slither over and trace the outline of her areola and only bumped her bud a few times.

Virra, on the other hand, was working Aerian’s legs from ankles up to her thighs, then with two fingers subtly brushed over her petals but never parted them.

Aerian could feel her two lovers as they touched and explored her flesh, her whole-body ripple with goose bumps to those touches.

Aerian bit against her lip as she felt Domi touch her breasts, feeling far more tender than normal sending a wave of mixed pain and pleasure through her to. Virra’s actions causing her hips to squirm against the touch of her hidden core, and then whimper in frustration as Virra moved away.

Virra returned to working on Aerian’s thighs and hips, purposefully teasing that flower with her hands growing closer and just as she though that she would touch her flower it was denied. Virra’s focus returned now to her hips, thighs, and legs.

Domi, on the other hand, was more forward, one hand gently traced her left bosom and then cupped the full bounty, kneading against but adjusted to lift Aerian’s head to seemingly face Virra but remained with a guide of Aerian’s head upon his lap. That was when he leaned down, in the next instance Aerian felt the heat of his mouth surround her bud while the other continued the kneading.

It was in that distraction, that suddenly Aerian felt a tickle in her loins. A heat that wasn’t her own, looking down she saw that Virra had adjusted herself to place her head down. The slick tool worked into the slit, while her lips clapped down on the bud in an intense suckle and rotated to dipping the tongue into her passage. Rotating back and forth, it was almost as though she was passionately kissing the secret lips below and making love to Aerian with her mouth.

Aerian felt the touch of Domi as he caressed her breasts, the moment his mouth covered her bud she moaned aloud, a soft sigh as she felt Virra shift she parted her thighs further opening herself.

The Virra began to kiss and touch her already heated core Aerian felt a shudder, her hand reaching to pull Domi into a deep kiss, moaning against his mouth the more Virra worked at her.

Domi left her bosom with a shrewd plop, but, offered her neck support within the kiss while his second hand took place upon her unattended bosom, this time his thumb and index began to turn the bud similar to a knob, it was light and firm.

Virra continued her focus, lifting each of Aerian’s legs to place on her shoulders and pushed her to lift her back a slight offering Virra even more depth. The slick muscles whipping her folds as her lips suckled intently, it was then as Aerian could feel the throbbing of Domi’s tented meat at the back of her neck that a sudden pain struck her with the penetration of Virra’s digit into her starlet. At first thrusting slowly, but, then increasing as well as her movement of her tool buried deep within her.

Aerian whimpered against the reposition but was soon lost in the returning attack, now with the deeper access Aerian could feel every motion causing her to whimper deeply. As Virras finger invaded her starlet Aerian held her breathe through the short pain wave.

Feeling Domis erection Aerian reached up and between them, despite the awkward position she was able to grasp him through the fabric of his trousers and stroke the thick length.

Domi groaned amidst the kiss, drowning the formation of their lips and movement of his slick tool. Appearing to be an extension from Virra that ravenously worked her tongue deeper with a finger slipping to massage the pearl. But her thrusting increased more into her back entry, while Domi continued kneading Aerian’s bosom but this turned into more pressure and eagerness.

Aerian squirmed against the touch, moaning deeply against the kiss as her hand continued to work Domi through his trousers, her body trembling from the touch of Virra.

She pushed into Virras invasion with a low whimper, her grip tightening against Domis length. As she pushed against Virra she kissed Domi deeper, Aerian suddenly shifted her attention now as she reached with both hands to urge Domi out of his pants while still pushing back to Virra wanting more.

The more Aerian applied pressure to Domi’s hidden package the tool twitched beneath the fabric, pleading for release from the confinements. As her hips rolled into Virra, the dark-haired vixen didn’t stop, in fact, it seemed as though she increased the way her tongue moved and three digits buried in the back pipe. A hand on her hips.

When Aerian managed to free Domi’s member, she frowned in the manly musk and the tool was standing at full mast. A groan feed in the kiss, as his hands turned, now much greedier upon her tender bosom.

Aerian continued to run her hand up and down Domis hard length adjusting her head slightly so as not to interrupt Virras assault upon her, her nails would bite gently into the flesh on alternate strokes, before her body shudder her back arching forcing her hard against Virra as a deep scream ripped from her followed by a flood of juices.

Domi parted from the kiss as that sound escaped her lips, lowering his mouth to feast upon each bosom with a flick of his tongue. His member appearing to nuzzle against her cheek, as his own hips rocked faster.

Virra leaned back with her thumb flicking over Aerian’s buds, a trickle of her juices escaping her lips, the fingers in her back door increasing again.

Aerian shuddered hard as the release passed, her whole body settled back before she twisted herself over, now temporarily extracting herself from Virras invasion. Looking back to her with a smile before turning her attention back to Domi.

Once more her hand stroked his length, now being on her knees exposed to Virra from behind she could turn her attention to Domis length, placing a gentle kiss on the tip.

Domi watched Aerian with a smirk, gathering the first threads to move away from her face to be secured in one hand, the others traced up and down her spine and shoulders. He allowed her to attend the inevitable, tilting his head back with his black threads spilling over his shoulders and moan to the taunt.

Virra adjusted behind Aerian, seeming to add an additional finger to the plunging but then she felt the tickle and intense ducks against her pearl. She had changed positions to place her head beneath Aerian, a hand lifted to her hips in order to guide her lower.

Aerian followed Virras direction lowering her hips, feeling herself lower over Virra. As she did so her grip tightened upon Domi.

As she found herself comfortable, she lowered her gaze back to Domis hardened length, another kiss before letting her tongue trace over the tip in a long slow motion. She repeated the motion, keeping the touch of her tongue light and taking her time with each pass. Her body now focused upon the pleasure of both Domi and her own.

When Aerian focused on the pleasure from Virra it was almost as though, her dark-haired love was guiding her with the way her own slick tool teased to mirror Aerian’s never penetrating.

Domi guided his hand from Aerian’s shoulders with a knead, the flesh rolling beneath his fingertips, to her bottom. Grasping a good handful before smacking the bottom and then Virra began to quicken the movement in her back door.

As she felt Virra continue her actions on her back passage she felt her concentration slip for a moment. Her head lowering her cheek pressed against Domis length with a deep moan. Before she whimpered and shuddered hard against another release.

As she felt it pass, she slowly eased up her head now sinking over the hard length, her hand ahead of each motion, there was a focus in pleasuring him now as she moaned against his invading tool, sinking down further with ease.

Finally, to that release, Aerian felt the two digits leave her back door, causing her sensitive flesh to throb. Virra grabbed Aerian’s hips to force her down even more steadily upon her greedy mouth, not only did she hear her dark-haired lover gulp at the juices of the release, but never once did the slick tongue stop within her passage and suction only increased.

As she recovered from the powerful release, Domi caressed her face and then worked into the flesh of her back, from shoulders and down. His copper features formed into ecstasy as Aerian’s hot mouth purged his tool. His sounds were incredible, manly and stating his pleasure from Aerian’s actions. The faster and more determined that she grew the more he began to buck his hips into her mouth, though, almost as though he couldn’t control the hand removed from holding back her hair and gathered the side of her face. Domi began to grunt, beginning to pound past her lips and using her as his tool. That is when Aerian felt a pinch and pluck at her well-hung buds spent from Virra.

Aerian shuddered as Virra forced her down onto her mouth. Not once losing her rhythm on Domi as she moaned against invading tool.

There was a force to the pinch of her that caught Aerian out, as Domi plunged into her mouth.

Virra never relented, both her hands at her hips, guiding her into a steady pace, as Domi gently held her head in place with the maddening pattern. Aerian could tell he was holding back in utilizing too much force. But then it happened, Aerian felt the throb and his fleshy tool expanded to deliver her the rush of his milk.

As Domi came instinct made Aerian try to pull back, Domi handy upon her head preventing her retreat, though she was able to swallow the juices as they flooded into her mouth.

As she finally able to extract herself from Domi, she kisses him softly before she shifted herself away from Virras grasp as well. Sliding to the floor beside her two lovers. Her eyes glazed in the aftermath yet she watches them.

Domi sighed contently now, leaning down to kiss Aerian as her lips were presented, even Virra smirked in the kiss. But as she was in a daze on the floor, Virra crawled over to learn against Domi and held her arms open for Aerian to join them. “Come, Firefly.” Domi wrapped his arms around Virra in her lean back.

Aerian smiles as she crawled closer, her hand reaching for Domis as she kissed his hand drawing it over Virra to her breast.

“You are so not getting away with making me all messy and not getting messy yourself” Aerian teased with her words before leaning against Virras legs her hand roaming over her softly.

Virra parted her lips to argue, though, yelped to the placement of Domi’s hand, surely by her reaction the tenderness of her bosom was as much as Aerian’s.

A smirk appeared on Domi’s lips to Aerian’s gesture, grasping a handful of Virra’s bosom to roll the bud between his fingers. He had to apply more pressure due to Virra still with her top on.

The leathers that covered Virra’s legs were like a second skin that rippled beneath Aerian’s touch.

Aerian admired her actions for a moment before her hand crept up to the buckle of Virras belt. Slowly taking her time to unbundle them before beginning to ease them down, placing kisses upon the now exposed flesh of her thighs.

Virra looked down to Aerian as she lifted her hips to better accommodate the removal, as a soft moan left her lips to the kiss of Domi against her neck. But his movements were not soft and appeared more eager against her bosom. Virra lowered a hand to caress Aerian’s cheek as the past of her lips and delivered sounds, echoed almost surreal.

As her hips rose and Aerian was able to finish the removal of Virras pants she smiled softly. Now returning to placing kisses against her thighs, each one deliberate in its placement as she worked the flesh slowly.

“I love you both, I want to show you just how much,” Her words were soft barely spoken above a whisper as she returned her attention to Virras thighs and continued up as her own hands slipped along her hips and then upward to begin working her top off as well wanting to fully expose Virra

Aerian was met with the familiar scent of arousal to her lover, euphoric in all aspects. The love the two shared. The life the two built for each other from the beginning. Everything all wrapped up in them. Virra moaned against each action Aerian took against her flesh and the addition of Domi’s other hand to her bosom. He manipulated them in such a way to bring her pleasure with the pain of the tenderness. Her dark eyes were hooded with desire now, while she looked down to Aerian, there was no stubbornness or argument in her words.

Aerian continued her path as she made her way along Virras inner thigh, gently easing them apart before her tongue traced lightly over her folds, already heated from their encounter Aerian could taste Virra which only served to make her want to continue. Aerian was deliberate in every act now, as her tongue once more traced lightly against Virra, before her hands slipped to help part her allowing Aerian to flick her tongue against the hidden pearl within.

A violent shiver caused Virra to tremble at the deliberate and calculated actions of Aerian. Domi watched Aerian with a perch of his chin upon her shoulder, periodically turning his lips to place kisses against Virra’s neck. His strong hands grew even greedier, as the buds were rolled between his fingers.

Virra began to moan now, leaning back into Domi, it was at the contact to her pearl that a trickle of nectar escaped her flower.

Aerian flicked her tongue down capturing a taste of her lover before returning to her pearl, slow and deliberate in her motions, Aerian was in no rush and intended to draw her lovers reactions out as long as was possible, intending to bring her to orgasm as slowly as she could ensure the eruption would be thunderous.

Her hands now slid along Virras thighs and joined Domis in gently kneading the swelling bosom.

Domi accepted the placement of Aerian’s hand, turning his lips to Virra’s neck and shoulders presenting a hard but grabbed by suction. This caused Virra to moan and it was Aerian’s actions that increased the sound, beginning to roll her hips into the focus upon her pearl. Virra lowered her hands to curl into the fiery threads. The kneading at her scalp silently pleading with her.

Aerian shifted moving a little closer now allowing her tongue to slip and probe deep within Virra her hands now moving back down over her body and beneath to cup the globes and knead against them, Aerians tongue now returning to the pearl before flicking against the tender nub, repeating this still intently slowly now.

The reaction from Virra was incredible as her body shuddered, the fingers twined in her fiery threads tightening with each plunge. Virra’s incredible taste drowned Aerian’s world, her sound increasing to a fine line between moans and growls. Virra’s hips began to roll into Aerian, as a yelp and scream parted her lips. Domi was growing more intense on his plucking and kneading.

Aerian now changed her intent, suckling the hidden pearl firmly before letting her hands creep up now beginning to penetrate Virra before returning to the flick and circle motion of before, her fingers working within as her tongue continued its motions, the more Virra rolled her hips the harder Aerian would repeat her motions.

Virra pressed even more back against Domi as Aerian’s intent changed, crying out in sheer ecstasy. One hand clung to Aerian’s fiery threads the other search out Domi’s. The heat of her core pressed against Aerian’s digits that ploughed within her, in reaction to the intensity from the driven hips. Virra was whimpering and moaning, twisting her hips out of natural reaction to the pleasure that drowned her. Then suddenly it happened, Aerian felt the pearl begin to throb and silken folds clamp down, then the rush came. Her juices flowed with the arousal of her flower, Domi bit at her shoulder while a scream erupted from the dark-haired lover. Again, and again, the thunderous climax reached its peak.

Aerian growled against the force of Virras release though drank down the juices of her lover hungrily. Still working her fingers within, as Virras orgasm subsided Aerian withdrew them, suckling the still swollen peril for a moment.

Aerian now looker along the frame of Virra and to Domi “Now make her scream again,” There was a tease in her voice as she breathed the words.

Domi met Aerian’s gaze with a wolfish grin, adjusting Virra’s quivering body to push down on the couch. Though in such he grabbed Aerian by the hair to yank her up and push her atop Virra. This caused their breasts to massage against each other and Virra to part her lips in a grunt.

Before Aerian knew what had happened she felt the hard-fleshy morsel penetrate her flower deeply and then the plop sounded as by the reaction from Virra ones into her. He kept tossing between the two, Virra in her back and Aerian on all fours. Domi was like a madman, frantically pounding into each, a finger slipping within Aerian’s starlet to compensate for those moments she was empty.

As Domi penetrated her Aerian grunted, before her lips found Virras kissing her deeply, as Domi withdrew she whimpered before pushing back into his invading fingers with a moan. Every time he was inside her she would moan and whimper against Virra before pushing back into his fingers as he withdrew.

Virra’s lips clasped against her own, the swivel of her slick muscle was demanding and erotic in the play against Aerian’s own. The grunting and sounds from Domi was a man set with the purpose of pleasing his two women, rotating between each flower, penetrating as deeply as possible. Lingering a few times within Virra that caused her to growl amidst the kiss as the sweat of their slippery bodies were rubbing each other invitingly in a stimulating way. The harder he jerked his hips from one to the other, left him panting, until he curled his hands within Aerian’s fiery threads and yanked back, forcing her to remain in place while beneath her was the glorious sight of Virra with flush cheeks and eyes rolling into the back of her skull from the power that was felt in the clash of his hips into her dark haired fiancé and abdomen against her own.

His control and dominance was a surprise, as soon, it seemed that this moment would last forever until the scream ripped from Virra’s throat, again and again, as Domi sunk into her. Then suddenly, Aerian felt the hot morsel twitching enter her own silken passage, already filling her with his potent seed. He fell forward, losing his grasp on Aerian’s hair and crushing her bosom and belly against Virra that was quivering and twitching like a leaf beneath her, each panting heavily.

Aerian arched back as she felt Domi deliver his seed within her, a low whimper as she felt him crush her into Virra she moaned further. Her eyes closed as she lay against Virra still between her two lovers.

Domi eventually lifted from the two pinned females, assisting Aerian to settle sitting up and then Virra. The dark-haired woman leaned her cheek against Aerian’s shoulder, while a hand caressed the fiery haired woman’s abdomen. Content, it was a loving moment as the two women watched Domi return to the fireplace in order to finish cooking their meal.

Virra kissed Aerian’s neck for a moment, then whispered to her. “I don’t think, I could be any happier than here with you and Domi. Our children on the way…I won’t let anything happen to you, Aerian, nor will Domi. I love you.”

“And I love you both, I know you will protect me, and I love you both for that,” Aerian smiled softly nuzzling against Virra before taking Domis hand gently, “I couldn’t do this without you both,”

[A New Order] Guests of the Crown

The carriages rattled up the drive of the Mansion finally coming to a halt before the main entrance. Aerian slid down and stood looking over the grounds, the moment she stepped away Raya had her clapped in handcuffs causing Aerian to squeal in annoyance.

“I’m sorry but you knew this was coming, you have completed your duty and you are to accompany us to Elvera..” his words were cut off of as he was pinned to the carriage with so much force it drove the wind from his body, quickly followed by the other two drawing their swords.

“I’d put those away if I were you, before you all get fucking hurt, you will release my niece or I will separate all of your heads from your shoulders before he hits the ground dead,” Hades voice was dangerous in every word, Raya could feel his heart hammer at his chest as he struggled to regain control of his ability to breathe.

“I didn’t know you were back in Dentarius,” Aerian stated as she looked to Hades who had seemingly appeared from out of nowhere.

“We just got here, finishing up some work, revealing family secrets, breaking a few guards, you know me,” Hades chuckled softly, knowing they hadn’t left things well the last time they spoke “You OK? Everything go well with your own business,”

Aerian raised her arms and shrugged “I’ve been better, though seems my mother has plans for me, hence the handcuffs and the three jackasses,”

“Tin cans…” Virra said, while casually leaning against the carriage.

Domi moved to stand next to Aerian, removing a lock pick set to release the cuffs. Then threw the metal at Raya’s with a clatter. Virra was quick on her feet as one guard moved in on Domi, dagger drawn with a spin in her palm. “Nope. We aren’t done yet. Don’t worry, we won’t keep Her Royal Highness waiting too long. We still need to see this through, plus a warm meal and rest would do well for your sour attitudes.”

Jade moved to place a hand on Hades’ shoulder, the looked to the third guard. “Neutral ground.” She reminded him. “I suggest you don’t be as stupid as the others.” She kissed Hades’s in the neck, then walked over to embrace Aerian, placing a hand on her abdomen with a smile. “Let’s go find, your father.”

“Hey Jade,” Aerian stated with a grin before returning the embrace “It’s good to see you, you look really good,”

Hades finally released Raya shoving him aside before making his way to Jade and taking her hand, the group now headed into the Mansion. Raya collected himself before following at a distance, having now realized he was seriously out-manned and would not be leaving with Aerian anytime soon.

Upon entering the Mansion they made their way to the Main Hall, where Kane and Aishani were already, looking refreshed from their earlier engagement, he glanced up to see the family as they entered his eyes quickly working through each, in turn, included now Kara and Raya.

“Oh, and our day was going so well,” He chuckled before placing Terra back within the playpen.

Terra looked on with curious large golden eyes, gurgling in the excitement of seeing the family. Aishani glanced from Xander to the arrival of the others, seeing him down with his sister. Both infants were eager and seemed to speak in the baby language to one another in excitement.

“So it seems…” Aishani chuckled.

Jade moved over to kneel down and begin to watch the children, they took a keen interest in her. “They’ve gotten so big…” She marvelled allowing for Terra to grab her hand, glancing back to Hades’s with a beautiful smile.

Aishani watched Jade for a moment before turning her gaze back to the others. “It seems you have brought the wife and children. Though, why is Ascondia making herself known this way? Secondly, it seems the sister had been found. A lot of explaining is needed.”

“Oh there’s a lot, but this little ass tried to arrest your daughter on the grounds, so I roughed him up a little, not sure what that one is all about I’m sure Virra, Domi and Aerian can fill you in, as for our sister it turns out she isn’t a sister but more a long lost daughter of our dear departed brother Haunted, not big on family loyalty either,” Hades shrugged as he made his way to Jade to kneel beside her looking over the twins “They are so full of life, to say they are hybrid they flourish more than any of us would have predicted,”

“More each day,” Kane replied with a smile as he made his way to Aerian drawing her into a hug before repeating the process though less with Virra and Domi “I’m glad you have returned intact, I won’t lie I had my doubts,”

“Lord Kane,” Raya began only for Kane to hold his hand up silencing him in one look.

“If the next words out of your mouth are not, both a very good and very precise explanation, I will arrest you myself for kidnapping,” He stated firmly.

“I um .. you cannot do such, my orders are direct from the Queen, to retrieve Aerian and return her to Elvera, by any means necessary, including several outstanding warrants for crimes against the crown, please my Lord it is not your place to intervene in such matters”

“This is Dentarius boy. He can. You are merely a messenger with an order to carry out.” Aishani stated coldly, the golden in her eyes brightening.

“She never refused,” Domi stated, curling a hand within Aerian’s. “You’re nothing more than an errand boy. We have to see this through for the poor wife and children. Then Virra, Aerian and I will leave. The cuffs are not needed.”

Virra scoffed, a hand on her abdomen. “Besides, I’m starving.” Looking at Kara. “Welcome to our little family. Seems we never fail to have moments broken.”

“I’m just here because they asked me to be, I don’t think you guys need another hero, though I suppose with so many babies you might need a hand now and then, I’m not saying I’m even half the hero my father was, or that I even want to be, but out of respect for him I will help where I can,” Kara replied softly

“The funny thing about Haunted, he never wanted to be a hero either, none of us asked for it, and the realm wouldn’t have put you in our sights if you weren’t meant to be part of whatever lays ahead, you know that Kara,” Kane shrugged softly before turning his attention back to Raya “As for me not being able to arrest you, that is where you are incorrect, Dentarius is a free city and doesn’t answer to the crown, such as the agreement between Ascondia and I. In return Dentarius aids the realm when it is required, beyond that you may wish to consider your words concern my daughter, and my family so choose your next words them caution from here,”

“I, these orders are from the Queen herself,” He squealed in reply now unable to find an answer to the words spoken to him.

“He said that, already right?” Hades chuckled darkly “I think Aishani scared him! And now the big boy is all awash with confusion” Hades shook his head and returned his attention to Jade and the children, “They never learn that Dentarius answers only to its people,”

Jade was busy scooping up Terra, cradling her with a play of her hand in the tiny fist threat was insistent on investigating with her mouth. “She does that do well.” Jade mused.

Virra grinned wolfishly to Raya. “See. There is no reason to push it. We come willingly after things are situated.”

“Fuck, you are dealing with two pregnant women. Take that into mind, it is not good for them or the children to travel with little rest and food.” Domi stated a ring if irritation in his voice.

“Anything happens as a result; you and the others will pay dearly,” Aishani added while her canines were exposed in her smirk and eyes glowing golden.

“They will eat and they will rest, you and yours are welcome to use the guard house for the night, but they are not leaving tonight on that you have my word,” Kane stated now as he rounded on Raya his eyes meeting the young mans “Unless you wish to try your luck?”

“Of course, of course not my Lord, we will leave in the morning assuming they don’t run first,” He would have continued but Kane’s hand now rested on his blade as a reminder he shouldn’t speak more. The two guards and Raya finally stepped back and turned on heal to leave the family alone.

“Idiots!” Kane muttered coldly “I will send word to your mother and have her give me her reasons for this whole façade, though I suspect my request may fall on deaf ears either way,”

“It’s fine Dad, we just need to rest and eat, can you take care of the Hanlows? They are in the guest wing of the Mansion, but I suspect the husband may come looking,” Aerian smiled softly, though the look in her eyes was now one of exhaustion, Kane smiled and nodded as Aerian took Virras hand followed by Domi and led them from the hall.

“Just the kind of stress she doesn’t need Kane, pregnant or not your daughter is fragile right now, but you don’t need me to tell you that right?” Hades stated as they left.

Domi remained for a moment, kissing each and explaining he would be with them shortly. Though one they left, Domi sighed softly with a hand resting in the back of his neck in a rub. “Kane, things have been far from easy with the return to the Ever Present. It was a mess, only Virra was injured. Though, I will say this Aerian is trying to fight the wrongs. As I and Virra will protect her. We need a backup plan, if Ascondia plans to arrest her, that can’t happen. Not a marriage to Raya as Aerian seems to believe.”

Jade yelped suddenly as she attempted to withdraw a finger from Terra’s mouth, it was clear that the werewolf in the child wanted more than a taste. Aishani hissed now moving over to gather Terra and tap her on the nose. “Shame on you, Terra! We do not treat people that way!”

Terra looked confused but by the tone in her voice, Terra began to cry and so Xander joined her before long the two children’s songs filled the room. But Jade cradled the injured finger, kissing it between her lips. But it was not long lasting, as the wound healed nearly instantly.

Kane looked as confused as anyone else at the chaos created by Terra, instinct drawing him to pick up Xander and help calm him, as he paced for a moment his mind working over things, as Xander settled he made his way back to Domi “I agree, something doesn’t add up in all of this. Marriage to Raya would have made sense a year ago however Ascondia now has absolute power of the realm, we saw to that. Still, she is up to something and Ascondia never was one to play fair, she could also be after your child as there is no plan for succession beyond Ascondia, unless you count the Elcarus line,”

“Oh come on Kane we all know we are the power in the realm, Ascondia is Queen in name only and she knows it, when it comes to it, the people follow us because they know we will lay our lives down to protect them, I doubt the same can be said for your ex-wife? She is clutching at straws, this is some kind of twisted power play,” Hades spat coldly now not even bothering to hold his frustration at this new development.

Jade sighed adjusting to settle on her bottom, leaning into Hades, watching Aishani with Terra for a moment. But then looked to Kane and Domi. “Then we need a front to back up Aerian and the others.”

Aishani bounced Terra gently while remaining silent to the silence of Terra, she wiped the tears from the light ashen cheeks. “Agreed. I will send Shadow after them. She is best to relay any threat and can go unseen with our bond.”

“Kane, is Ascondia aware of Aerian being with child? Did you tell her?” Domi asked.

“I can go. Ascondia and I have talked much in our venture to collect Kara…” Jade suggested thoughtfully. “I know it seems highly unlikely, but maybe she wants to mend things?”

“By forcing her daughter back to Elvera? I fail to see Ascondias logic in that endeavour, but then she wiped my memory for some time so with her who knows,” Kane sighed softly as he watched Xander in his arms, looking back to Aishani and Terra before looking to Domi “I believe it came up, shortly before she departed to recruit Hades and Jade to retrieve Kara, so the fault may lay with me to some degree, she couldn’t grasp why Aerian would not have told her, given their relationship, I realise it wasn’t my place but she had to be made aware,”

“You can’t blame yourself, this is all Ascondia, though I loathe admitting things Jade does have the better relationship of our little group here, of course where she goes as do I so they’d be well supported. I’ll be sure to keep Rayas hand off her, though I suspect that aspect I won’t be required to uphold?” He looked to Domi with a dark smile now

Domi grinned to Hades now at his words, nodding. “Oh, believe me. He touches her in any way, it will be his funeral.”

Aishani nodded then, setting down Terra. “Then it’s agreed. Hades and Jade will go with them. Shadow will keep a look out for me. She is not to face Ascondia alone, is that clear?”

Jade appeared distracted now, simply listening and remaining silent while the twins played in the pen.

Kane nodded to Domis words before, he looked to Kara who was now settled beside the fire silent and simply staring into the flames. It was only after a few moments she realised she was being watched “Oh no, no no, not me I should like to remain here,”

“Very well, you can remain here with us I’m sure we have much to talk through,” Kane replied

Domi excused himself since the plan had been sorted, no doubt to search out Aerian and Virra.

Aishani had moved to the pen climbing over to settle down and play with Terra and Xander. The two infants eagerly shifted their intention to Aishani. Jade kissed Hades gently but followed suit to join Aishani. The twins seemed to pick up on the fact she was different and stared before Aishani admonished them for staring.

Jade laughed and shook her head, she truly looked stunning with her long hair against her porcelain skin and exotic clothing. There seemed to be a subtle glow about her, an unspoken radiance. But she played with Xander as Aishani was with Terra.

While the two women entertained the children Aishani spoke up to the adults in the room. “Yes, you are more than welcome Kara. The wet nurse could use some help with the twins, of course, if you wish, that is.”

“They are so intelligent,” Jade commented in wonder, watching as Xander built a fortress out of his blocks, while it was more a square with height.

“I.. thank you milady, I would be happy to aid where I can,” Kara replied softly “Though I admit I have never been around children before now,”

“Don’t be afraid, though they do tend to bite so our apologies for that,” Kane chuckled softly before turning to Hades “How is everything else?”

“Uncertain, I was hoping to perhaps speak with Stacy while we are here,”  Hades replied softly

“We are trying to find ways to curve the werewolf in them without suppression. One acts upon instinct and the vampire is not so impulsive. Perhaps you can help in finding ways, Kara. After all, you are family.” Aishani chuckled but looked to Jade. “Yes, I believe their blood had an influence.”

Jade nodded to Aishani but paused as Hades spoke with a small secretive smile but sobered. “Hades…before that, I believe you need to make Kane aware that which we came gave to have within the forest between our home and Dentarius.”

“Yea, we had an interesting conversation with a race we believed long gone, it seems they have somehow survived, and are now hungry. The Wraith have made their presence known again Kane, we are ending up with more races with unique dietary requirements than we have ways to feed them,” Hades stated as he looked back to Jade with a soft smile “They also pack a damn big punch that almost laid waste to us,”

“I see,” Kane mused in reply as he settled against the edge of the bar in thought “I wonder what they have survived upon until now, what changed to bring them out of hiding,”

“Kara, here, is the reason we remain unscathed. Though, upon returning home we will have to have a way to appease the Wraith. I fear else they feast on weary travellers…or perhaps leave the forest. We don’t know the reason, but having a solution may assist in gaining leverage to attain the answers.” Jade added though stood, Xander looked up to her appearing saddened at the leave of his focus.

He clung to Jade’s legs, looking up pleadingly.

“She is indeed, she does possess Haunteds abilities, at least some of them,” Hades replied with a nod to Kara “And look I think he’s found his favourite Aunt already,” As he watched Jade and Xander with a smile.

“I can’t tap into them when I want, it was purely instinct,” Kara replied half pleading to not expect such grand things of her now.

“Nothing is expected of you Kara, everything is your own choice,” Kane stated softly as he made his way toward the pen now “He does indeed seem fond of you Jade, they both are, they don’t even cry at Hades,” He grinned

“Hey!” Hades stated in mock hurt.

Jade laughed to the cling of Xander and leaned down to scoop him up with a tickle at his stomach, causing him to bubble with laughter. “It seems so. Listen here, you…we have to go and see if you will have a cousin.”

Aishani smirked gathering Terra and offering her to Kane, accepting his hand while stepping over the pen. “Then let’s not let the suspense linger.” She extended her arms for Xander, Jade released her hold on the baby to relinquish to Aishani. Jade moved to gather Hades hand with a nod and deep breath.

Hades let his hand slide into Jades and gently led her from the room, Terra and Xander looked on as Kara moved to play with them while Aishani and Kane followed Jade and Hades from the room. They made their way up through the mansion to the room occupied by Stacy a knock brought Stacy to the door and smiling wide as she saw Jade.

“Oh, you’re back and you’re OK, come in please,” Stepping aside she let the four within, her room now much less chaos than previous “Is there anything I can do?” It was then she paused and looked at Hades before looking back to Jade.

Jade felt anxiousness creep into her with each step, glancing to Hades periodically, but remained silent. At the time the knock to the door. Jade felt ready to run, but swallowed it down and entered with the others.

When Stacy asked her question it wasn’t heard the first time but as the silence lingered it was then that she spoke. “Maybe…it’s too early to tell…but, I wasn’t to know. If, well, if I’m with child…”

Stacy remained quiet for a moment as she took Jade setting her before her as she looked her slowly, her hands would touch her for a moment before moving away and around Jade slowly before finally stepping back before her and smiling softly “It is early indeed, but the changes in your aura suggest that you are carrying a child, another of the next generation, I will not know much more than this for a while, but whichever rule you bent the realm has seen fit to accept you want to bear children,” Stacy held Jade for a moment before looking to Hades “I would ask your next choices are made with caution, while the realm has seen fit to grant this kitsune are rare enough and this is perhaps the realms step to correct this, but there is unrest among the fates, and until we know why we must be careful,”

“We will Stacy, of course, but this is something Jade and I both want more than enough to bend a few rules, though I am grateful they chose to answer our call,” Hades replied softly

“The fates wouldn’t take the child surely? Something so cruel seems out of character even for them,” Kane stated softly now looking to Hades who had drawn Jade close to him.

“No, the child was always intended just perhaps not so soon, the realm is ensuring the Elcarus continues having lost so much of your own bloodline, with Krystal and Haunted as well as even Hareavor, you, Aerian and Hades were all that remained of which the realm could count upon to maintain the balance of good here among those that have their own purpose,” Stacy replied with a soft smile “They do not want to lose the kitsune, it is why they ensured Jade ended up in Dentarius, the storm that forced the traders here, it was no accident, the child as I understand will be kitsune with Elcarus blood, the first of its kind,”

Jade sat rather restlessly, as Stacy touched her. The silence dragged on, until the realm healer spoke, her words bright a tickle of happiness to her at truly having the acceptance of the realm. She showed brilliantly in a look from Stacy to Hades, this was the happiest that she had ever been.

“This is good news.” Aishani mused, moving to embrace Jade. “It seems that is the recent, the Elcarus line is full of unusual circumstances and firsts.”

“We are pregnant, my beloved!” Jade cried out and turned kissing him deeply, usually, she was more reserved, but this was such a joyous moment.

Hades smiled as he returned the kiss drawing her close to him, the passion and joy intensely clear in his reaction now “We are indeed, and I cannot wait to take you home and celebrate,” there was in an intent in his words that caused Kane to look to Aishani with a smile.

“Congratulations to you both, truly” Kane added with a nodded.

Aishani curled at Kane’s side, wrapping her arms around him with a knowing smirk painted upon her lips. “Indeed. Congratulations, now our children will have cousins. And the Elcarus line continues.”

Jade was positively breaking with happiness, now she hadn’t failed Hades and she could provide for him. To make their family grow. Her fingers touched the collar around her neck and shiver if excitement coursed through her at his words full of intent. “Yes, if like to celebrate with the family since we are together.”

“I love you,” Hades smiled in reply as he kissed the top of her head gently now holding her close “It might be a while before we have the chance to be together, aside from the wedding of course, we should take the night to enjoy it,”

“We should let Aerian be, she has enough to deal with not that she wouldn’t wish to be here but,” Kane began

“She has her own things to deal with, and we can tell her as we travel,” Hades replied

Jade smiled to Hades, caressing his cheek, quickly pressing her lips against his. “As I love you, my beloved. Perhaps…you are right. Aerian is dealing with a lot. We can wait.”