[Everything Changes] Our Infirmary Is Where Healing Begins

Aerian stirred stretching as gently as she could with Virra still in her lap, a yawn and a smile, seeing Domi asleep beside her and Virra in her lap. She placed her hand on Virras chest gently let allowing for a gentle squeeze of her breast, before she smiled and settled back to wait for them both wake.

Virra moaned in her sleep, as Aerian placed pressure on her bosom. Though didn’t stir, it seemed that her body was compensating on healing. But it was at the sound, that Aerian heard a chuckle. Looking in that direction, she saw Domi was awake with his dark eyes on Aerian. “Morning, my beautiful angel.”

“Mm morning to you too my handsome side kick” She smiled softly as she leant toward him her hand drawing closer for a gentle kiss “Today we start rebuilding, together, me, you and Virra, but we watch our backs, as always,” She smiled gently there was a renewed determination in her now that he would see.

“Hey. Who you calling sidekick?” He chuckled, sitting up and moving closer to Aerian, kissing her neck while looking down to Virra with a caress against her dark crown. “She’s going to be really sore…but we need to get her a cane or crutch to at least allow her mobility. Virra needs to heal…”

“Mmm” She whimpered softly to his kiss her body reacting instantly “So much hotter than a side kick,” she chuckled softly and he mentioned Virra and a cane she looked over her wife to be slowly with a grin “Still tempted to chain her ass to the bed and make her rest,”

Domi laughed now, planting a hand in a light caress over Aerian’s abdomen, kissing her neck again. “You know she could get out of those if she was determined enough. But I think she’d feel better carrying her weight, the crutch would help heal since there would be little weight upon it.”

“Yea but imagine what you could do to her,” Aerian replied with a dark smile before she let her hand trace over Virra gently “Of course she’d probably kick both our asses when she got free, I do love you both though, I couldn’t do half of what I do without you both,” There was a softness in her voice now that was rare for the redhead. Her hand now returning to cover Domis.

Domi smirked, curling his hand within Aerian’s. “Oh, I get the feeling that you’d enjoy watching.” He inhaled deeply with a glance to Virra. “You and I have business…though it would feel strange giving the Ever Present such without Aerian, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Something bothering you?” She asked softly watching him now “Don’t hide stuff, you don’t need to even as unique as our relationship is, I can’t do any of this without you, or Virra, we are family,”

“Aside from the fact I am taking care of my angels? Nothing. I just don’t want to leave Virra out of the plans with Ever Present. Since we met it has been the three of us doing everything together. Because she’s injured we have to take that into account.”

“Oh I wouldn’t dare,” Aerian smiled softly her free hand now running over the ring that had them connected “We can let her decide, she will want to be with us, but she may choose to rest in which case we can fill her in when we return, but she will be just as involved in every step, strong leadership was always the guiding force behind The Ever Present, and you see what happens when that fails, it becomes a power struggle, and causes chaos, we can’t allow that to happen again, right now the only people in The Ever Present we can trust are ourselves, everyone else is going to have to earn it,” A soft sigh as she smiled “It’s time, as I did that The Ever Present grows up, I want what I had with them before, minus a few of the other things of course,”

“Such as the sex parties? Orgies?” Domi chuckled now, nodding in agreement. Though gathered Aerian’s injured hand to check on and change the badges. Amidst the check, Virra did stir and silently watched Domi in the care he gave to Aerian.

“Oh don’t remind me,” Aerian groaned covering her face to hide the flush of colour, “I spent more time on my back than in the field at some points,”

Virra pressed her lips together attempting to adjust, though have in to a Domi’s assistance. But when Aerian leaned against the door and spoke, Domi and Virra exchanged glances. Virra lifted her hand to guide Domi’s lips against hers in a deep kiss, then meet his gaze. “I love you, Domi.”

“I love you, my angel.” Domi smirked, though extended his hand to Aerian as Virra did the same, it was clear by the tension in her shoulders that she was fighting the pain.

When Aerian came close, Domi pulled Aerian on to his lap, causing Virra to laugh. “We love you, Firefly. I love you.”

“As do I Aerian.” Domi said, kissing Aerian deeply, though drew back. “You said there is an Infirmary? I’d like to take a look. There might be something that can help you both with the inflammation and pain, that won’t hurt our children.”

Virra chuckled now, biting her thigh playfully, adjusting a slight but grimacing as it was clear her wound hurt. “Damn…wish I could drink or take herbs for the pain…” She mumbled, as Domi shifted to help her sit.

“It’s too late, Aerian. I saw that blush. It’s your past, while you might have enjoyed it. Times change…I hope. The only women I want to see on their backs and my face is my beautiful angels.” Domi mused.

“That surprised me. You really were involved with orgies and sex groups.”

“I was younger and I was angry at the world, sex dulled it, though have enough and it dulls everything,” Aerian sighed softly, a soft moan at Virras bite. Her hand gently tracing through Virras hair “Don’t worry Domi, there’s only one man allowed now, and the hottest girl I’ve ever had the pleasure of,”

“It was fun early on, but it became normal and then less so,”

Virra grimaced again, while Domi shifted to unwrap her bandage, she was only wearing a shirt and Aerian knew that the excess of the damage has soaked the bandage. “Oh, stop. You’re such a baby.” Domi said, but looked to Aerian. “I need fresh hot water and alcohol, the most pure we can to clean the wound. That includes yours, my angel.”

Virra lifted a hand to smack Domi, though he caught her wrist. “Stop. I’m here to help you. Not take advantage. Aerian has come up with the idea to chain you too the bed and in leaning to that idea. Not just for sexual fun, I need you to listen to me. You know my Uncle taught me everything he knows about anatomy and procedures. This is where you have to trust me and listen. I want the best for each of you, not just because you are with my children but because I love you both and cannot be without you.”

Virra stared at him for a long time, his words sinking in sedating her, though she nodded. “Yes, I love you too…and you Firefly will always be my rock and heart.”

As Virra spoke Aerian smiled deeply, her hand aching as she nodded to Domi’s words “We have medical grade in the infirmary,” She grinned “And yea we have a whole infirmary, for torture, they died so quick otherwise, had a decent doctor too until… Well I’ll have Harley get some,”

She moved from under Virra ensuring Virra stayed put walking to the door and sending the guard to bring Harley. As she turned and leant back on the door closing it “I want to hear you both say it again, I love you both, heart, body and soul, you’re my everything, I love you Virra forever and always” Her gaze turned to Domi “I don’t say it so much to you Domi but I love you too, and I will love both our children too,”

Aerian smiled as she slid back into Domi’s lap, kissing him then Virra each before there was a rap at the door causing her to look up, with a shake of her head.

“Come,” She called, a moment later and Harley slipped through, she looked calm and far less crazed in that moment as she eyed the scene before her, first to Virra then Domi before finally Aerian.

She stepped in and made her way to the edge of their bed “I … Lady Virra I feel as if this is somehow my fault, and will find a way to make this right, in losing control of myself, you were injured and as we are following the old rules now that places blame in my hands, the mistake by one has led to another being injured, I hope you can find a way to forgive me,” Harley sighed softly as she looked to Aerian who motion to the edge of the bed Harley sank upon it placing her hands in her lap “Aerian, yesterday was kinda chaotic, and you saw me in a real weird place, last night is honestly the first time in a long time I’ve been able to sleep and not worry about myself,”

“Harley not everything is going back to how it was, but right now I need to know if the infirmary is still intact?” Aerian replied firmly

“Yes, though since … we don’t use it much, but it’s still kept stocked, and used by those that can,” Harley shrugged in reply “Another bad choice I guess,”

“A bad choice that may ensure I keep my hand and my baby can walk properly, stop feeling sorry for yourself,” Aerian replied with a smile as she slid from Domis lap to her feet, she made her way to Harley. Aerian took her hand and pulled her to her feet as Harley stood she looked into Aerians eyes, there was for a moment something but she looked back to the floor.

“When I left I had a choice, kill you and continue life without you, or leave and know one day I’d have to come back to save you,” Aerian smiled softly “I chose the latter, because in some way I will always care for you Harley, just not like I used to, that is on you, but I can’t reign The Ever Present in without you, so now I’m asking for your help,”

“Anything, I would do anything for you Aerian,” Harley replied softly still staring at the floor.

“Good then help us take Virra to the Infirmary,” Aerian grinned and turned to help Virra to her feet with Domi.

Virra glared at Harley when she spoke, though softened her gaze before gritting her teeth to the surge of pain. “Yes, well, you didn’t drive the dagger into my leg, so on that you do not have…” She grunted a moment as Domi and Aerian helped her up, with an arm around each steady shoulder. “…my blood on your hands. Trust is earned, never given. Those words being said, I acknowledge we have our fair share to deal out. But you do too.”

“Doesn’t take away from the fact that I left myself open to Zias betrayal, probably caused it, so in context the blood is on my hands, just like Aerian leaving is,” Harley sighed softly as she walked beside them down the hall “I will find a way to make it up, or die trying,”

“I could have just walked in here, called you out and killed you Harley, you know that, but I haven’t, just ask Virra or Domi, you may be crazy and unstable but I have not once questioned you can be saved, twice you’ve had a blade at my throat and twice you’ve survived how are you not getting the last thing I want is you dead in all this? I need you to help me fix things,” Aerian replied softly as she wrapped an arm around Virras waist to help keep her steady “We will lead, but we can’t do that without The Ever Present seeing that things have changed, murder for no reason just isn’t going to fly any longer, which is why all assassination contracts are to be cleared through us, we need the realm to not want to hunt us all down and kill us, because trust me they will leave us be for now,”

“I know,” Harley sighed deeply before pushing open the door, beyond lay several beds and cabinets all stocked with medical supplies, Aerian helped Virra to one of the beds and helped her sit.

“Try to stay still please,” Aerian smiled kissing Virras cheek before wandering over to one of the cabinets and looking within “Needles, threads, alcohol, bandages, even some pain killers here, we had a decent supply line at one point, we will need to restore that,”

“Which we will,” Domi said beside Aerian, looking into the cabinet. “Its times like this Stacy or Jade would come in handy.” He sighed softly, though, pulled a jar from the shelf and removed two pills. Then went about to gather a basin of water, alcohol and glass of water. “Take this.” He offered Virra the two pills, as she eyed him suspiciously. “Don’t worry it’s safe for the baby.” Virra nodded to him, watching as he worked to clean and re-bandage. Once finished, he turned to Aerian, guiding her to sit on a chair, inspecting the wound before cleaning and bandaging her hands with a kiss to her palm.

She grimaced at the twinge before smiling “Thanks,” She waved her hand mockingly at Harley before turning to Virra “How you feeling baby? I mean you did get the worst out the three of us,”

Harley looked to Domi as she eyed him for a moment “How did you know you wouldn’t hit either of them? That shot at Zia, I’ve only seen one person with that kind of accuracy and she was running in blind, which makes me wonder how she was planning on not ending up dead, Zia wasn’t exactly an easy take down,”

“She would have died, trust me on that,” Aerian replied, clearly not revealing her last revelation to Harley “Let’s just say I’m just as dangerous without a weapon as I am with one,”

Virra lay on the bed, propped by some pillows arranged by Domi. “In truth, I feel like shit and hurt something bad.”

Domi kissed Virra softly. “The medication hasn’t kicked in yet. You’ll feel better then, but I want you to avoid standing or placing too much pressure on your leg.”

“How do you suggest, I do that?” She snapped, then after a moment, Virra’s eyes widened. “Oh no. No no. I’ll be a fucking gimp…”

“Better then wheels, look, Virra…A cane and crutch is better than a permanent limp. I know you don’t want that.” Domi explained. “That wound is deep and will need time to heal.”

“Fuck my life…” Virra groaned.

Domi looked back to Harley now with a shrug. “Blonde bitch had to die. She injured my angel. I went with instinct.”

“I swear he was born with a bow and arrow in his hands.” Virra mused.

“Not like I would have been able to complain if he’d have stuck an arrow in the back of my head? Though might have come back and haunted him for a while,” Aerian chuckled softly “He relies in instinct, no point second guessing an action that’s when you make mistakes,” She replied softly.

“Not always true,” Harley sighed softly “Sometimes you just make a bigger mess than you started with,”

“You tried to do it alone Harley, something like this, you can’t,” Aerian replied darkly as she now settled in a chair beside Virra “Family is what makes the realm go round, I guess somewhere in all your chaos you missed that point,”

“Or she just yearned for it.” Virra suggested while sighing softly, looking to Domi as he was busy looking over the room and cabinets. Finally he turned with two crutches and grinned to Virra. She rolled her eyes now. “Fucker…”

“This will help with mobility, but give you support until your leg has healed more, we will get a cane. Maybe with flames on it to give the illusion you are going faster.” Domi wriggled his brows with a grin.

“I think he likes this a little bit too much,” Aerian smirked softly watching Domi, “Just be good, please, you’re gonna be way more pissed when you’re in a fight and you are slow cause you didn’t listen to him, not to mention he’s going to be delivering our children, if you think he’s bad now what’s he going to be like then?”

Virra glanced to Domi, while shrugging. It took at least an hour before the medication kicked in. Domi helped Virra learn how to utilize the crutches, before long, Virra caught on. Then it was time to leave the infirmary, but Domi gathered a long skirt in order to cover Virra. She told him to enjoy it, being in a skirt. Though, there was a reason, Domi wanted to have it healed but laughed explaining she was hot.

Virra literally tried to lunge at him, as he dodged. Now it was time to face the Ever Present members and Virra refused to not be present.

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[Everything Changes] Another World and New Rules

As Hades came through the other side into the back alley, he bent over, feeling his breath ripped from his lungs. It took a moment as his brain tried to clear the strange fuzziness it now had. Finally finding his centre he stood turning to see Ascondia, who simply shrugged with a smile, he quickly turned on his heel to find Jade.

Jade was found after looking for a moment hunched over a garbage can while attempting to breath, her chest rising and falling as though attempting to catch her breath.

Hades made an unsteady few steps toward her his hand resting on her back for a moment “Are you OK?” he breathed softly letting his hand run over her spine gently “Just let it pass, it’ll be OK”

When his hand moved over her spine, Hades felt her trembling beneath his touch. After a moment the gaping lessened, then she straightened and gave him a slow nod. But it was clear that she wasn’t ready to move just yet. “The world…is spinning…”

“The first time sucks the worst, even a few trips later it still sucks,” He smiled softly, “We can take a few minutes, take as long as you need,”

“Be patient, it takes a moment,” Ascondia added softly “We will need a place to stay, and money things aren’t exactly as they are at home, I trust we have something we can use?”

“Kane has kept a small string of contacts over the years. Dedicated to ensuring we can get a job done if needed, they are secretive, but once I know where we are I can do the rest,” Hades replied though his eyes didn’t leave Jade now.

Jade nodded to Ascondia’s words, though, challenging herself in taking a step forward and nearly crumbled. But then another and another until her steps were steadier. Finally she glanced to Hades and extended her hand for his. “Let’s get this started.”

He slid his hand into hers with a smile and nodded, “Alright let’s rock and roll,” He smiled as they made their way from the alleyway. The street was insanely busy as people went about their business, staring at phones or other such devices. Hades actually looked lost for once “I do prefer our way of life” he sighed softly.

“The street was chaotic, but the roads are what caught Hades’ attention, vehicles that came in all manner of variety as stared lost for some time, finally Ascondia shook her head and chuckled “Come on this way, and don’t go getting ideas, it was the dark ages when they took you, this is the future and their world, though they have updated since I left, seems cell phones have improved a whole lot,”

Hades nodded drawing Jade closer to him as they proceeded to follow Ascondia.

Jade stared her, completely stunned by the sights, sounds and smells. Her hand in his tightened, as a few people bumped into her without apology. Though, moved closer to him with confusion in her eyes. “Cell phones? Are those three brick looking things three people are holding?”

“Yup magical talking boxes” Ascondia chuckled softly, she paused by a window before looking within “Seems we’re in my home town, wonder why that crazy bitch chose here, makes it easier though,” They made way a little further along before she pulled something from her pocket, a passport she waved it at Hades the pointed to the bank “I’m gonna go in there, grab some stuff from my safety box that I left before I came back to the Everlands, so stay here OK”

Hades stared at her blankly but drew to him now “Be quick,” He snapped softly.

Jade was busy looking around at this concrete forest with moving vehicles, but then when Ascondia spoke and walked away, her eyes rested on Hades. “I guess besides waiting in her, this gives me a chance…My beloved…she revealed something to me and I want your opinion on it.” She paused ensuring that she had his attention, though looked down. “I guess I’m transparent enough…she told me that here we are human. This would be a place I could conceive. Offering protection when we travel through the portal back home. To let the realm catch up…I’m not sure. This is her way to right the wrong that she had done to me…”

“We’re not human, but everything that makes us, ourselves, it’s just deeply supressed, though if there was anything between you and I there that was preventing us having a child, she is correct it wouldn’t be present here,” Hades smiled softly as his hands rested on her shoulder “We could get pregnant and when we return the realm will rebalance itself, though it would be a little uncomfortable for a short while. Her information would be correct which is good news for us?”

Jade looked to him in silence, then thrust her arms to wrap around his neck in a tight embrace. “I can finally bare your child, Hades. I won’t be a disappointment.” She whispered, kissing his neck and then cheek and finally his lips. “You and Ascondia say it will be uncomfortable for a while…what do you mean?”

“It will be as the realm adjusts, when we get back the realm, will need to take our heritage and transfer that to our child, no harm to baby but you will feel like your head is being split wide open,” Hades kissed her gently as his hands rested against her “It sucks but someone has to bear the burden, something I remember all too well as the realm made me what I am, then Ceremon turned me into an Elcarus and that sucked even worse,”

He smiled softly “You will have the worst headache, and well effects unique to your kitsune that I couldn’t guess,” He smiled softly “This is the cost to bend the rules,”

She swallowed hard to the reveal from Hades, but he saw a spark of determination. A woman willing to do anything for another, smiling to him. “Then we will do it. I was rather enjoying the practicing.” She chuckled and curled her fingers at the nape of his neck to bring his lips down against hers in the deepest and most passionate kiss yet, as their fate was sealed and the prospect even more grand.

He returned the kiss with a moan caught out with the sheer passion that flowed from her now, “I like the practice too,” He chuckled softly, a woman was now staring at them as she saw the image before her. Hades looked to the woman in thought “Can I help you?”

“She is so young, why would you not chase someone your own age,” The woman snarled angrily as Hades for the first time was hating the fact he was unarmed.

“Mind your business lady, she’s probably just as old as him, and so much better looking,” Ascondia sighed as she exited the bank and made her way to them, the woman looked at her before she stormed off “Urgh always having to meddle, we should limit those we interact with, I have money, with interest it turns out so we can get hotel rooms,”

Jade furrowed her brow to the woman, though chuckled to Ascondia’s interruption, as the three of them took leave of the disgusted female. She nodded to Ascondia, while unwrapping herself from Hades but slipped a slender hand into his. “This is your home. Lead the way.”

They made through the city as Ascondia led, others would look as they passed by, and a few younger boys whistling to the two females would raise Hades’ ire for a moment before he returned his attention to Jade.

They finally arrived at the hotel as Ascondia slid up to the desk with a smile “Hey there, my friend over there screwed up and booked us at the wrong hotel for the convention this weekend, and I’d rather not have to walk ten blocks when I can walk three,” She threw Hades a wink then returned her attention to the clerk.

“I see miss, we have only one room left a double on the 4th floor but with the couch and the convention in town we can bend the rule to allow three in a single room,” She replied, Ascondia nodded and handed her payment as she received the key card, Ascondia smiled and then turned back to them, making their way to the elevator, as they stepped in she turned to face Hades and Jade “I will make myself scarce tonight, I have a friend who’s dad used to work in the police department, hopefully they may have a lead on Kara, I’m sure she’s gotten their attention by now,”

Jade blushed to the whistle by the boys, curling closer to Hades. When in the hotel it didn’t take a genius to catch in to her disappointment at sharing a room, but didn’t say much. A smile formed in her lips to Ascondia’s words with a nod, kissing Hades neck with a playful nip.

As they stepped out of the elevator Ascondia handed Hades the keycard, taking Jades hand from him for a moment before taking her aside leaning in to whisper “I’m glad you’re taking my information, I see that sparkle and I will make myself scarce for a little while, tell Hades not to worry I’ll be in touch,” She placed a cell phone in Jades hand then moved away and back into the elevator.

They made their way along the hall before he slid the card through the lock and the door opened “The room beyond was a luxurious, the view out over the city, Hades rounded on her almost immediately kissing her deeply for a moment before stepping back “I love you, more with every day that passes,”

She looked down curiously to the strange block that was very light in her hand then to Ascondia with a smile and nod. Though returned to slip her hand in Hades, walking down the hall with him to the room. Jade watched as he slipped the key in the slot, hearing a click with a green light flashing.

Jade inhaled deeply at the sight of the room with the city landscape beyond, though that moment was stolen away when his lips crashed against hers. Curling her arms around his shoulders to deepen the kiss just as he parted, a blush lifted to her cheeks. Her foot kicked the door closed while leaping up to curl her legs at his waist, pressing her lips against his eagerly.

Hades was lost as she leapt into his arms, his arms sliding around her pulling her tight into him as he returned the kiss deep and hungry, all the while he carried her through the room to the bed before turning to sit keeping her in his lap, his hands now moving to remove the kimono between him and her body.

After the obi was removed, it was easy for Hades to peel back the fabric from her shoulder, every inch of skin slowly being revealed to him. The delicate material slipped from her shoulders, down her arms to cause the fabric to part only revealing the curves of her hidden bosom. The more the fabric slid down, the more was in display, until the kimono was dropped on the floor. Now, Jade wore nothing but the sea gifted collar, it was stunning in the light offered by the city scape.

Her hands lowered now to curl at his top, learning a slight to remove the fabric, as her hands marvelled over sculpt of his torso, as it had grown more muscular with the labour of their home. She learned down and praised his neck and chest with her lips.

He watched her intently as she revealed him to her, the leaner form of his body, as he smiled softly watching her “This is our best chance so I say we take full advantage of each other,”

He kissed her deeply, then down her jaw and neck over the collar, before reaching her shoulders, his hands sliding down over her spine and lower back, and then over her thighs.

She lifted her head to relish in the kiss, a hand lifted to rest upon his shoulders, the moment his tool plunged within her fingers bit into his shoulders. Jade lifted her hips with legs curling around his to tangle arms secure the position. She prayed from the kiss now pressing her cheek against his, while revealing to him in a subtle growl. “I want your child, my beloved. Don’t hold back.” That’s when he saw the yellow in her eyes and the fangs. Even though they were more human in this realm, together the suppressed essence of their being came to the surface.

There was a flash beneath those emerald eyes just for a moment as his demonic half flickered within, then it was gone as his hands forced her legs to his shoulders now once more driving down into her with a hungry force, his need to send his essence as deep in her as he could, while giving her just as much pleasure.

No sooner had the Kitsune surfaces did it return to the depths, yellow eyes returned to brown and canines sheathed. This new position offered a depth that feed his inner demon and desires, Jade was incredibly flexible while he bent her almost in half. A hand slithered between them, stimulating her pearl in such a way that her folds clamped upon him and began to bloom with the throbbing. She learned up to bite his shoulder, growling, until the fateful moment her body erupted in ecstasy and Jade squirted again and again. This was the point Hades knew she was beyond the point of no return, kneading her own bosom to pinch and pluck her buds.

He growled hungrily as the tightness of her pushed his body to the brink, his rhythm slowed as each thrust was now forceful driving as deep into her and driving her down into the bed, with each time he tore into her waiting gateway.

His body tensed forcing him deep as a growl ripped from his throat, his hands clamped against her buttocks his nails biting into the tender flesh, he held himself as deep in her as he could ensuring she was bent allowing him the depth to deliver him to her waiting womb within.

As he continued to pound her mercilessly and Jade’s own actions, a trickle of drool escaped her mouth with her eyes rolling into the back of her skull with the immense pleasure. It was not long lived, while his fleshy tube expanded, as it angrily thrashed against her pearly gates before exploding to release the wave of seed within her. She cried out as the heat poured into her womanly cradle, curling her hands at the back of his thighs, nails biting into the flesh. In the aftermath, she was panting with her flesh dusted in sweat and an attractive pink flush.

He collapsed beside her panting just as quickly, his hand already returning to continue teasing that tender pearl, far from done with her in that moment as he rolled to her kissing her deeply, and with a renewed hunger his fingers slipping into her coating them in a mix of their juices before returning to working her pearl.

Jade cried out in surprise and pleasure, as it appeared Hades wasn’t finished just yet. The instant his fingers focused upon her succulent pearl, her flower throbbed and body quivered. Unable to control herself, Jade reached down with her hand to grasp at his in order to pull way. But the slickness of her arousal showed otherwise, it seemed she still was over simulated.

He kissed her deeply and hungrily before nipping her lip gently “I love you” he breathed softly his hand now tucking stray strands behind her ear.

She cried out again as that hand remained with a steady purpose, Jade fell into the kiss. But to the draw back from the kiss, Jade lifted her brown eyes to his, glossy from passion and her release. She was a vision; dark hair spread beneath her like a dark halo, skin glistening with every rise and fall of her chest, even the subtle glowing flush from her skin. That collar, born from the sea and now the only possession upon her exposed form.

He smiled softly as he curled into her tightly, his arm pulling her close. Breathing in her scent, lost in the ecstasy of their encounter.

[Everything Changes] An Arrow to Save Them All

“There is a change in the air, and finally, The Ever Present are free of our leaders’ tyranny, free to be ourselves. As we should have been, when Aerian left leadership it should have fallen to me, Harley held us to ransom and perverted our cause. She made us hunted, hated, feared. Now we are free of her, or we will be soon enough,” Zia was stood before the throne as the members of The Ever Present now stood in the room before her.

“Oh, this I have to hear,” Aerian chuckled keeping the four of them hidden just inside the passageway.

“We will put Harley, Aerian and her two toys to the knife at dawn, the last of the old blood and send a message to the realm all in one, Aerian is Elcarus can you imagine the strike in the heart of the realm that will be?” Zia crowed now.

Aerian sighed and looked to Virra “Can I have some fun with her before you end her,”

Domi folded his arms over his chest watching the scene, while Virra was lightly tapping her strapped throwing knives. “Toys? Pfft.” Domi commented. 

To Aerian’s words, Virra cast her gaze to her. “Be quick.” was all she said.

Aerian stepped out “That would be really clever of your new leader,” It was instant but the room fell silent at Aerians appearance “Um before you do anything. You might want to listen to me, you see she’s right, doesn’t happen often but she is right, killing me would sting my family, but you’re assuming they’d just fall apart. They wouldn’t,”

“They would fear us, they wouldn’t dare strike back,” Zia snapped

“You stabbed my Uncle Hades and he damn near killed you without a second thought, they wouldn’t fear you, Zia, my dad would unleash the entire force of Dentarius against you, a hundred thousand pissed off Dentarians hunting you down, and then the entire force of Elvera at their heels, because my mother is Queen Ascondia herself, so there’s your next revelation, the combined force of the most powerful armies of The Everlands hunting down every last member of The Ever Present, that is your fate,”

The room was quiet now as they looked to Zia, before looking back to Aerian, she had their attention now.

“But you see Zia it doesn’t matter, because you pissed off the one person you absolutely shouldn’t have, even Harley had the good sense not to wind her up, you my traitorous little bitch have a date with my fiancée, Virra baby, she’s all yours,” Aerian stepped aside from the passageway now.

Virra stepped forward and grinned darkly, toying casually with a throwing knife, but in that next moment, her wrist flicked and sent the weapon flying through the air to Zai’s hand that was going for her weapon. Significantly plunging clean through to hilt, causing damage and blood to splatter and drip down her fingers. She didn’t stop now, flicking another wrist to send two more knives flying, one to her thigh and the other to balance out her fall forward to kneel. Her heels clicked in the silence of the hall as she walked to her, grabbing her hair and forcing her to look at Aerian with her cheek beside Zia and blade against her throat. “Kneel before, Aerian Elcarus. She founded the Ever Present, this is rightfully hers. You, blonde bitch, snivel, and cry. Plead for forgiveness, perhaps, you will get a chance to rest in peace yet.”

Zia looked to Virra the pain ripping at her as she coughed more blood, “I did what I had to, just like you are now,” she spluttered, words coming through gurgles and coughs “I won’t bow to an Elcarus, kill them all,” she squealed under the pain.

Aerian had her knives drawn the moment Zia uttered those words, just as Harley stepped beside her with her own weapons drawn “If you wish to wind up the same as Zia, feel free to challenge us, but if it’s my last act as your leader you will not harm Aerian, she is right my vision was clouded, I pushed you on a path that will get us killed,” Harley dropped her weapon and stepped to kneel before Aerian, a hushed whispered made its way through the room before the others followed suit,”

“Fucking traitors all of you, Zia managed to draw a knife and drive into Virras thigh as she screamed out in anger.

Just as the knife sunk into Virra’s thigh, an arrow screamed through the room and plunged directly centred in her chest. It was a deadly mark that didn’t miss the blonde’s dark heart, as Domi lowered his bow. Quickly moving from beside Aerian and Harley to rush to Virra’s side, cradling her before her leg gave out, and blood pooling from the wound at her thigh.

The arrow barely missed Aerian as she took off the moment she saw Zias hand move, she was at Virras side just as quick, her hands already ripping a strip of fabric from her tunic “I’m here, baby, I’m here,” as Domi reached her side she looked to him “She’ll be OK right? Domi help her!” Aerian could feel the blind panic ripping at her.

The chaos caused by Zias attack and death created a gap as two of the crowd drew their weapons heading for the three, as they raised their weapons blood erupted from them, a spray that coated Virra, Domi and Aerian before the two collapsed to the ground, Harley stood above them. Aerian felt the anger rise within her as she turned to Domi “Take care of her,”

She stood now turning to face those that remained, faces etched somewhere between panic and confusion “I’m done, that’s my girl lying on the ground because Zia chose to betray us, you’ve been afraid to stand up and do what you want to do because of Harley, and now as we deliver your freedom you chose to attack us, blind side us? Those will be the last to die or they will be first, make no mistake the three of us are in control now, The Ever Present will return to how it was before I left, we are the balance between those that take and those that are left in the dirt, if you don’t like walk away, but try to attack us again and you will all die here and today,” Aerians words were ice cold, and as sharp as the weapons at her sides in their meaning now, she rolled her shoulders and dropped back beside Virra.

Domi inspected the wound now as Aerian spoke with a nod. But Virra watched silently to Aerian’s words, splattered with blood from the steak that happened only moments ago. But smacked Domi’s hand away and began to stand with his help placing favour on her uninjured leg, to prove that she wasn’t going to be kept down. “Listen and listen good…as the daughter of Bryant and blood thick with you all. I give much more than my blade to Aerian’s cause. Unlike before, this will be a combined effort, things will change. Your purpose will be with blade and heart.”

“You heard her,” Aerian snapped as the rest lay their blades before them now “I didn’t want to kill Zia, ask Virra or Domi I’ve spent the whole damn trip defending her, I didn’t kill Harley even though I probably should have,” She looked to the other two and sighed softly “I don’t take betrayal well, but my blood family instilled in me long ago that family is everything, The Ever Present was first and always a family, a very screwed up one but family, those values got lost and now together, we need to find them again,”

Virra maintained her stance, subtly while Domi was at her side in support. “Anyone object now, draw your blades. We are sick of backstabbing assholes. Either you are with us or against us. No in between. We together will right the crooked path and be in a set line to the old values but with a new view.” Aerian saw Virra shake a slight, though, Domi supported her. “While Zia was a backstabbing bitch, she was family none-the-less and shall be given a burial, don’t you agree Aerian?”

Aerian looked up and nodded as she smiled softly before wrapping her arm around Virra “But first we get you patched up,”

“What about me Aerian?” Harley stated now standing to make her way beside them, Aerian turned her eyes staring at Harley for a moment.

“Clear the pit, as Virra said they’re family, every last one of them, they don’t deserve to be left like that,” There was a dark edge to her voice now as Harley merely nodded and made her way to complete her orders.

“Now come on let’s get you patched up,” Aerian smiled “Pretty sure Domi is dying to get you off that leg and laid down,” She guided them from the room and to what was now their chambers.

Virra leaned to kiss Aerian’s neck, as she grinned. “Nah, he’s just ready to stick that needle in me.” She glanced to Harley as the woman left.

Domi chuckled now while tickling Virra’s side. “That’s not all I want to do with my needle. But I’m hurt…it’s not THAT thin.” He winked.

“Leave it to you too be a pervert.” Virra rolled her eyes.

Once they were in their new chambers, Virra sat down and hissed as the straps of her throwing knives were removed and leathers peeled back. She smacked Domi on the back of the head. “Slowly!” Virra growled.

Domi glared at her but then laughed, inspecting the wound. “It’s pretty deep, Virra…” He said with concern.

“Of course it is, that bitch slammed a dagger in my leg!” She spat.

He gave Aerian instructions to gather clean water and something for her to bite, plus bandages.

Aerian stared at the wound before Domis words finally brought her back to reality, she nodded to his instructions and within moments was gone from the room. She was almost absent as she wandered toward the kitchens to retrieve the desired items, a few more minutes and she was back to their chambers.

“I have it all, here…” She stated softly placing the bowl and bandages on the table beside Domi before handing him the piece of rubber that would serve as something to bite upon “I, I should thank you, had you not put an arrow through Zia, I can’t entirely say what I was planning to do, I saw the knife and I knew she had to die,” She placed her hand on her stomach and walked to the back of the room “My concern was only for Virra, nothing else mattered, I’m sorry,”

“Oh, no you…OW! Fuck!” She smacked Domi again. “Hold on, mister. Firefly, get your ass back over here.” Virra said, extending her hand to Aerian, proving no was not a response.

“Oh, my dark angel, I had to act before more shit hit the wind. If that was you, I’d do the same. Virra’s wounds might be deep, but it is being repaired. It’ll just take the time to heal.” Domi looked to Aerian with a smile. “It was stressful, I think both of you acted like the leaders you are meant to be. So I won’t hear a sob story, get your sexy ass over here.”

Aerian smirked as she made her way over, her eyes tired as she crawled beside Virra “It’s not over, you know that right? I don’t even know how Zia turned them to her side so quickly, though I suspect my ass may have been the deal breaker for them, so now they are led by an Elcarus, that isn’t going to sit well, not just with them but others in the realm,” She smiled softly “Including dear old mom, so we have to make this work, together, and we can’t remain here indefinitely cos I‘ll be damned if I give birth anywhere but Dentarius,”

Domi was focused on his meticulous stitching, as Virra held Aerian’s hand, biting down on the rubber a few times. But afterwards, Domi cleaned the wound ones last time, this was definitely going to leave a scar. Beginning to bind it. “My sweet angel…there is little that we can do right now, other than rest.”

Virra removed the rubber from her mouth to kiss Aerian and adjust to lay her head in her lap. It was clear that she was in pain, but tried to mask it. “Can Harley be trusted? Now, that is. While I agree, we cannot leave at this moment or for a while, I wish to have our children in Dentarius, but we cannot be ghosts to them after all this.”

“I said we were taking control and we are, everything that The Ever Present does from here on out is our choice, together, as for Harley I don’t know, but I would like to believe this has maybe shown her something, but we got burned with Zia so we will have to keep our eyes on everyone until they prove otherwise. Harley does know being on our side is far better than being against us, so maybe it will be enough,” Aerian replied softly

Virra looked up to Aerian, though remained silent, curling closer to her, but soon she heard the even breathing if her fiancé. Virra was sleep on Aerian’s lap.

Domi stood to wash his hands, then moved over to take a seat in the bed beside Aerian, gathering her hand gently in his. Carefully, lovingly he removed the glove to inspect her hand. “How does it feel?”

“Still hurts, you’ve ended up stitching us both back together today Domi, thank you,” She smiled softly as she leant back keeping Virra in her lap but finding her own comfort “Seem to be apologising a lot today, but I am thankful for all you do for us, and more, she means everything to me but I was a breath away from putting our child at risk, you saved them both, you know that right?” There was tense edge in her voice that betrayed the anger she held for herself in that moment.

Domi cleaned her own wound and stitching very well, then wrapped her hand in bandage. “You two will be the end of me. Someone had to keep the level head with all the hormones flying.” He chuckled and kissed the bandage over her wound. “I’m at fault for not acting sooner. Virra wouldn’t have been stabbed. In either case, I promised your Pops, I’d take care of you. I mean to do just that.” Domi caressed the sleeping Virra’s crown for a moment. “She will put up a fight these coming weeks. Virra has to heal, else I fear the damaged muscles may give her a permanent limp. I’ll need your help on that. You saw how she was with the stitching…”

Aerian rubbed her ear with a smirk a reminder of how close Domis arrow had been “Not sure I could have pulled of that shot, I’m glad you did, though an arrow in the back of the head may have given me more to complain about,” She grinned and laid her hand on Virras side before urging Domi to hers, “She will behave, I don’t think having a limp would sit well with her, if not I’ll chain her ass to the bed and make her behave herself”

Domi curled a hand in Aerian’s, pulling her close with an arm around her shoulders, resting his cheek on her fiery crown. “Now that…I’d like to see.” He chuckled.

[Times Change] Betrayal and Endgames

Aerian sat on the edge of the bed feeling the throb of the wound, she flexed her palm with a grimace and then smiled to Virra “Believe it or not she isn’t trying to kill me, testing my patience but I’ve seen this before, it’s a game to her,”

“Crazy bitch cut you again?” Zia piped now from her place crouched by the fireplace “You should just end this Aery before it gets messy,” Zia shrugged and returned her gaze to the fire that now burned within the fireplace.

“Been messy since you showed up, besides if she wanted us dead we would be, there must have been thirty archers on the door, we wouldn’t have survived that, she doesn’t want us dead, though I am beginning to get tired of this little game,” Aerian sighed as she watched Virra and Domi treat her hand “And I’m definitely getting tired of getting cut today!”

Virra chuckled offering Aerian a small leather belt. “Bite this.” One she had, Domi began to work with the needle and thread, it tugged and pulled at the flesh closing the wound but the thread itself looked and felt different. “It’s made from the pig intestines. That way it can dissolve and no need to remove it.”

Domi was finished rather quickly, leaning back while Virra bandaged the stitches and offered her a leather fingertips glove. “Yes. Well, you are lucky, I was trained in triage.”

Aerian pulled on the glove feeling the pain of the new stitches before she smiled “I am a lucky girl indeed, thank you both, and thank you for trusting me enough not to intervene, though I suspect you both wanted to,”

“That is an understatement,” Virra growled though Domi placed a hand on her shoulder to calm her.

“You know her best. We follow your lead, Aerian.” Domi stated calmly.

“My lead is getting us nowhere, and me hurt by the hour,” Aerian sighed glumly as she flopped back on the bed.

“They will come for me soon, I dare not think of fate the court doesn’t weigh kindly these days Aerian, and Harley has usually passed sentence long before these so called trials, I’m already dead you know that right?” Zia stated calmly now, there was an icyness to her tone as she spoke now.

“You give up far too easily, she isn’t going to subvert my rules not while I’m here, and you could just for go the trial altogether,” Aerian replied as she flopped back onto the bed “Fight for your place or your freedom,”

“The pit? Are you kidding me no one has left that place in a long time, those lucky enough to beat Harleys champion usually end up with an arrow through their chest, no one leaves alive Aerian, not even me,” Zia replied flatly

“Ugh, you’re so dramatic you know that right? Jesus get yourself together, I would like to see an archer get a shot off with me, Domi or Virra around, make your choice and make it quick your chance is greatest while I have Harley reeling, because if she gets her head clear you are dead and I won’t be able to stop her,” Aerian stated there was a clam in her voice now as the plan fell into place in her mind “You take your trial, we go through the motion and if Harley tries to execute you, you call for the pit, it’s your right to name a champion in your place should you feel you need it, and name your challenger as well, you can force Harley to fight and I will end this, Virra and Domi will make sure no one else gets involved,”

Virra leaned back on her elbows upon the bed with a smirk, watching as the scene played out, crossing her legs. Domi looked between Virra and Zia, finally understanding the expression on Virra’s lips, settling on the opposite side of Aerian.

“You do realize that would mean she has to trust us.” Virra mused.

“How much do you value your life? You told us you rather liked living.” Domi added in.

“You are paying attention to the fact she’s pregnant? And about to fight a known serial murderess? Are you both ready to put all that at risk? Aerian I thought you were crazy before but now I see you fly by the seat of your pants, you make it up as you go along and pray something will work out, it’s suicide for you and your child,” Zia snapped back quickly as she turned to face them “Harley can have my head, but I won’t be the one who has to live with getting a child killed, I’m not doing it,”

“You assume I actually intend to fight her, you’re also assuming she can do the one thing she never has in her entire life and that’s best me,” Aerian replied as she sat now looking to Virra then Domi “I don’t intend to fight her, just make her think that’s my intent, in an environment we can control, you’re right I’m pregnant which makes me slow because my instinct is to protect my child, but in the pit it’s not about rank or strength, and it was never about killing either, it is about settling scores one way or another, when the odds aren’t in her favour I have a better chance of reaching whatever is left, and she is honour bound to answer the challenge,”

“And if she doesn’t see reason Aerian, what if she just outright tries to kill you?” Zia replied slowly

Aerian smiled and looked to Domi then Virra “That’s why they’re here,”

Virra grinned and Domi nodded. “I have the next best aim to Aerian with a bow. Don’t worry, I don’t intend for my angel to be harmed in the slightest.”

“I’m comforted,” Zia sighed in reply “Fine, seems like you think you have it covered just don’t blame me when it all goes sideways,”

“Wouldn’t be an Elcarus plan without something falling flat on its face,” Aerian quipped in reply “We have this covered, just do your part and we’ll get through this just fine,”

Virra glanced to Domi, then to Zia. “Oh, suck it up buttercup. Besides, you need to learn trust. Now is as good a time as any. I didn’t do such until I met Aerian. Now it’s your time to trust those she loves. Who knows, maybe, you’ll earn back some respect from Hades or Kane.”

“She stuck a blade in Uncle Hades, he aint gonna trust her anytime soon,” Aerian chuckled softly “Then again so did dad, a few times actually, so you see redemption isn’t impossible”

There was a knock as Aerian glanced up, as Zia made her way to the door, the guard stood the other side looked to Zia “You are called to court Lady Zia, you may bring who you wish as representation,”

The small group filed out and followed the guard back to the room they had confronted Harley in earlier, as Aerian suspected Harley was sat with her legs slung over the arm of the throne, the rest of The Ever Present now filled the room, around 40 by Aerians  count.  Zia stepped to the centre of the room as Aerian stopped Virra and Domi atop the small flight of stairs.

“Ah Zia, my little pretty Zia, whatever will I do with you? You are charged with failing to carry out a contract, curious to see how you talk your pretty little face out of this one,” Harley spoke not even facing Zia now, a show that she wasn’t concerned with such a events.

“There is no plea my Lady, Hades Elcarus is far more than we suspected, in that house the family is untouchable, magic protects the whole palace, some kind of anti-harm charm, impossible to break,” Zia replied a measure of defiance finally finding its way into her voice now.

“Irrelevant, you had a contract failure to carry it out is punishable, so what should I do with you,” Harley replied idly now.

“My life is yours my Lady, as always,” Zia replied now kneeling, Aerian rolled her eyes at the farce before them.

Virra did not look pleased as Aerian stopped her and Domi from proceeding further, now Aerian was in the lion’s den so to speak surrounded by the members of the Ever Present. Domi placed a hand on Virra’s shoulder as though to silently agree to mirror that of her feelings on this. All watched as Zia spoke, Virra now folding her arms over her chest at the display.

Aerian sighed softly “At least when I was around they had a chance,” she mused softly, loud enough for Virra and Domi to hear but no one else. The room was eerily silent despite those around them.

“So does anyone want to suggest what we do with such failure?” Harley asked now, she had still to even turn to face the room but sat picking at her nails with a knife, the room remained where they were, as Aerian growled and took a step forward.

“This isn’t how it works, you claim this is a trial but it isn’t is it Harley?” Aerian snapped and finally Harley turned rolling her legs to sit.

“She failed, we don’t fail,” Harley replied darkly

“She failed, because she was stupid enough to try and assassinate an Elcarus on Elcarus grounds, she’s lucky my dad stayed my Uncles Hand because had he not the full force of Dentarius would have come down on all of you, my Uncle Hades doesn’t like loose ends and right now The Ever Present are very large loose end to him and just ask Zia how pissed off he is about that,” Aerian bit angrily her eyes flashed cold as she moved toward Zia, the room had fallen even more quiet than before at Aerians revelation to her heritage now, Harley for a moment looked as if she had punched in the gut.

“But, but, you … you said, they were, you’re,” Harley struggled to find her words as Aerian aided Zia back to her feet.

“I think her head may explode,” Zia quipped only for Aerian to shut her up with a glare.

Finally Harley stood “Zia, you failed, and then you bring Elcarus blood into our midst, this cannot go unpunished, you will die,”

“I call for the pit,” Harley actually coughed in surprise at Zias response, Zia looked almost as shocked at the words as they left her mouth, “I will fight for my right, if I win I walk free and clear, if I lose, well it doesn’t matter does it?”

“The pit? Are you sure? Very well name your match,” Harley replied now regaining a measure of herself.

“I lay the challenge, my life will be in the hands of Lady Aerian Elcarus, and if you want my life Harley you’re going to have to take it yourself, because I want you in there with her, it’s bound by your own law I dare you to back out of it,” Zia replied defiance bit through her words now.

“So her and me?” Harley laughed darkly “Oh well played, I really didn’t think you were this bright, but as you said its law so I will abide, me and my baby will fight for your miserable life,”

Aerian nodded and steered Zia back toward Virra and Domi “That’s the easy bit done, though did you really have to piss her off like that,” She sighed softly

“Got her to accept didn’t it?” Zia shrugged

“Anger, makes her a loose cannon.” Virra commented.

Domi nodded. “Only half correct, it opens for a higher chance of error.”

“Me or Harley,” Aerian’s words edged with sarcasm now, before she leant to Virra then Domi, they made their way back to the room to collect their weapons before leaving and heading into another area of the hideout. This was a hole in the ground as the rest of The Ever Present now gathered on the ledge with them, the sands below were copper, and several corpses still lay within the pit. Aerian felt her stomach turn as she sighed deeply.

Domi held his bow now as he looked in the pit, it appeared Virra held the same queasiness as Aerian to the sight of the rotting corpses on the blood spilled ground of the arena. Each had their weapons strapped to them and sheathed blades.

Domi was close to Aerian and whispered in her ear. “Please be careful my beautiful angel. Remember do not use your abilities. We will back you up and wait for your signal.”

“I know, I don’t like the handicap that places on me but I know,” She replied softly, she looked to Virra there was for a moment doubt in her eyes “I don’t trust my judgement on this, if there’s even a chance she gets ahead of me put her down,” she stated softly “Just if it comes to it, make it quick OK,” she looked back to Domi “If any of these so much as twitch give them an arrow for their trouble, keep this me and her, that’s how we end this,”

Virra glanced to Aerian now, offering her a steady nod while grabbing her by the collar to pull her in for a kiss. Though as she did so, Aerian felt something small slip into her hand. It was tube shaped, a moment of thought would remind her of Greta, Gram, from the forest. Virra know her poisons well, this was a fail safe. But she rested her cheek against Aerian’s to whisper in such a way no one but the two would know. “Death Root. It will be quick and painless. Break it on her skin. This way we will know…if she is under a type of influence.”

“Thank you,” Aerian replied kissing Virra again tucking the phial inside a hidden pocket, she stepped toward the edge before looking back “Time to change the world,” she smiled and the leapt from the edge landing on the ground below to chorus of boos. The moment she hit the ground the scent of blood drowned her sense causing her to stumble “Oh crap!” She muttered before heading to the edge to vomit.

“Why do you do this to yourself Aerian,” She murmured before she straightened “Alright Harley let’s get this over with,”

A shift up top, outside the pit, she saw Virra turn away quickly, very well feeling the same. But it was only a flicker, then gone, Domi was watching everyone around the pit else Virra had her head in the game, keeping an eye in Asian and her opponent Harley.

It was silent for a time leaving Aerian to pace as she waited. Finally she appeared, tight leather that was a deep crimson, blades across much of it, as she sauntered to the edge so stared over and blew Aerian kiss before making her way to a ladder that led down.

As she stepped off the ladder she drew a dagger as looked toward Aerian “I’ve missed you baby, and I so don’t want to have to do this,”

“Then don’t,” Aerian replied though she made no move to draw her own weapons, as Harley cocked her head once more and circled the outer edge of the pit.

“Then what will my underlings think? Doesn’t set a very good message, I mean you lied to me about who you were, Aerian, everything we shared and you didn’t tell me?” Harley spoke as she watched Aerian.

“It never mattered, not then, an Elcarus was the last thing I wanted to be, I watched my family die Harley two of my Uncles, buried among debris and dragon to save this realm, and I was angry they had left me, angry my dad chose to run to save what remained of us, and then I go and fall off a fucking cliff? How does that happen? Do you even remember how broken I was?” Aerian felt the emotion creep into her words, the very same that should she lose control would give away her greatest secret, the one hidden from everyone except those closest to her.

“I do, I remember I found you, dragged your broken ass all the way to my parents farm, nursed you to health and you promised me your heart,” Harley replied with a soft smile “You showed me the world Aerian, then you ran, and you left me, and now your ashamed of what I’ve become,”

Aerian shrugged “Well you’re not wrong about that part,” Harley leapt at Aerian, she side stepped and sent her in the dirt with a firm push “Not a third time Harley,”

“Fight!” Harley spat angrily as she pulled herself back to her feet, picking up her knife she turned back toward Aerian “Or I will kill you,”

“No you won’t, just like I couldn’t kill you if I wanted to,” Aerian replied “I’m not going to fight Harley, but I’m not going to let you hurt me and my child either, which probably means if you force my hand,” Harley rushed Aerian, Aerian stepped back catching Harleys arm and twisting before levelling her with a fore arm “I will defend my pretty little ass,”

Those above were looking on, Zia now perched on the edge of the pit where Aerian had Harley on the ground “You know one arrow and this is all over, why won’t she just end it, if Harley gets on top she’s dead,” she eyed Virra “You know that right? Harley doesn’t do talking, doesn’t do reason, she is crazy, and Aerian needs to end this now,”

Virra glanced to Zia, while Domi’s was fixed on the fight below with chin resting on the edge of his bow. “We will play out, Aerian is not without protection down there. You have to learn to trust us, we will not let Aerian be injured much or be killed. We wait for the signal.” Her dark eyes shifted to Domi, whom remained fixed on the scene, he simply nodded in acknowledgement of her words. “It does seem as though, she is talking to Aerian. At least that is a step in the right direction, for now…”

Harley rolled onto her back and attempted to kick Aerians legs, Aerian simply stepped back out of her range and smiled, “Not going to make it that easy, I already told you ,I won’t let you harm me or my child,”

Aerian barely had time to think as she felt the presence from behind, a strike the back of her head knocking into the ground, more feet were heard hitting the ground as the room swarmed, “Take them all,”

Aerian knew the voice as she pushed herself back to her feet, her eyes meeting Zias who now had daggers in hand and was eying Harley, Aerian stepped in front of her, “Not a chance,” She motioned for Virra and Domi not to respond at least not yet “So this was the plan, you’re still going to try and kill in cold blood? You couldn’t trust me enough to deal with this,” Harley tried to rush past Aerian now screaming in anger at Zia as Aerian caught her arm “No that’s what she wants and this is a fight we can’t win, but she isn’t going to kill us either not now she knows who I really am,”

Zia smirked and nodded “You’re right unless you give me reason to,” Aerian didn’t reply as they were made to walk, a few moments later and Domi, Virra and Aerian were locked in one cell with Harley in the one beside them. Aerian slid to the small cot still holding the back of her head.

Domi was at Aerian’s side on the cot, parting her hair to inspect the damage.

Virra, however, was pacing the cell shaking with rage. “I’m going to kill that blonde bitch.”

Just then there was a shuffle in the prison corridor, then a thud. Followed by a jiggle of keys, getting closer to the cell. Then through the small barred window came a stream of darkness that was moving, followed by the keys. It took s moment to reveal black widow spiders harbouring such in a gift to leave at Aerian’s feet.

The wound was bleeding though largely superficial in appearance, Aerian smiled to Virras threat as she nodded “I knew it was her, this has been far too easy up to now,”

“She always did have ambition,” Harley sighed darkly now “She wanted to hunt you down, but I never allowed it, I think she resented me for that, and she definitely hates you,”

“Virra and Domi have had her on her heels since I let her out, but now she has control of The Ever Present and that’s a problem,” Aerian started then smiled as the keys were dropped at her feet, she slipped free of Domi and up to the window to see Shadow “Oh thank you Aishani” she grinned and waved to Shadow before sliding back to the door.

Shadow seemed to lift a leg as though to wave to her, that blade on the tip glinting dangerously in the light. No sooner than the spiders appeared, the arachnids were gone.

Virra smirked to the sight of the keys, then to Harley. “This was a play, all along. You don’t seem much better than her.” Virra said the expression somber.

Domi stood while shivering. “Those spiders creep me out. But at least we know, that your Pops and Aishani know. Always looking out for us.”

“That’s what you forgot isn’t Harley? Family will always have your back, but you’re not as far gone as I feared, if you were, you’d be dead and we’d still be locked up, so stay and sulk or how about we take back The Ever Present together and I’m sure my wife to be will have no trouble putting down that back stabbing little bitch Zia, except this time I won’t stop her,” Aerian stated firmly now unlocking their cell door, easing it open and checking the hall “Your choice, but if you stay you’re on your own from here on out, I am taking back control Harley, that’s why I came here, it was always my end game,”

“I don’t think your friends trust me very much, not that I ever tried to harm them,” Harley almost sung the words as she pulled herself off.

“But they trust me, and if you try anything they will put you down and again I won’t stop them this time, let’s make no mistakes Harley this is our way now, the time to talk for the moment is done,” Aerian replied firmly her hands slipping into Domi and Virras gently kissing each in turn.

Virra looked to Harley as the female stood, then to Aerian as the red-head kissed her. Domi grinned wolfishly eyes fixed on Harley. “You heard her. You in or out?”

“Oh getting to work with my Aerian again, I’m in, and seeing that back stabbing traitor dead isn’t a bad prospect either” Harley replied calmly as she stepped to the door “But hand over The Ever Present, that one we will indeed have to talk about,”

“Not a negotiation Harley,” Aerian snapped back “You understand how it is or I leave you here, we are taking The Ever Present before you or Zia get everyone killed, because trust me Uncle Hades won’t need another reason to hunt every one of you down and bury The Ever Present, things need to change Harley, including your crazy ass,”

“And yet Zia pulled the wool over all of you,” Harley was clearly sulking now as Aerian sighed and unlocked the door.

“We actually expected something like this,” Aerian smiled as she looked to Domi and Virra “We knew she wasn’t on the level with us, but we’ll put it right,”

Virra exchanged a glance to Domi, then looked to Harley. “So much as a pinky goes out of line, you’ll be buried without it.” She stared coldly, the intent behind her words darkening her eyes to the echoes thought of Zia.

“Well, let’s get this finished.” Domi said. 

[To The Future] Hello Harley

The forest fell away as the seaside cove town of Evershore lay before them, the air was filedl with the scent of the sea as Aerian felt a chill run through her, Zia took the lead now as they made their way along the outskirts to a cliff area.

Finally finding an opening to a small cavern entrance “You sure you wanna do this Aery? Last chance to run like hell,” the moment she spoke the rock blocking the entrance vanished, stood was a young woman, dark blue eyes, dark red hair to her ass, her head was cocked to the side as she eyed the new group before, she was decked in dark leather, blades in the outfits many pockets. In many ways, she looked almost identical to Aerian, aside from the drawn face and dark aura.

Aerian felt her blood run cold at the sight, as she instinctively went for her blade the girls eyes followed her “Don’t,” She stated darkly, the moment she did and archers were seen to surround them, Aerian motioned the group to comply, the girl smiled wickedly then waved her hand “Take them,”

The moment one of the men touched Aerian she spun into the grasp drawing her blade and driving it through his jaw and up into his head, the ones about to grab them froze as Aerian pushed him away “Harley we need to talk, now I’ll play your games, I always have, but we are not going to be prisoners, not even for you,”

Harley clapped her hands as she spun and ran at Aerian leaping on her, Aerian felt the way and crumbled to the ground, Harley already had a blade to her throat as she hit the ground “You left me, and now you kill poor Damon for nothing? And then you make demands? No baby it doesn’t work that way. I have missed this fine body though, nights just aren’t the same without you, and these idiots are all so afraid of saving their own hides they won’t touch me? Is that fair?” Harley’s voice was sickly sweet as she spoke.

“I would take that blade off my throat if I were you,” Aerian replied as she spoke Harley increased the pressure feeling the blade bite her flesh, she squeaked in panic before Harley complied moving the blade away and licking the trace of blood, she spun around and stood before helping her up “So where’ve you been baby, and who’s the new cuties, well and Zia who still needs to fulfil her contract and kill that idiot hunter Hades.”

Virra went for her blade, though, Domi caught her hand with a subtle shake of his head, leaving his hands fingers within hers. She glared at him for a moment until returning her gaze forward, silent still showing for Aerian to introduce them. But her expression turned dark the moment Hades was mentioned and a sharp glance was spent too, Zia.

Aerian made her way to Virra sliding beside her “This pretty one here is Virra, she’s the reason I live and breathe, also the reason my head isn’t scrambled every time I get those damned visions, and this fine piece of manliness is Domi and father of my child, both are mine and are my life now,” Aerian was very measured in her words as she stepped behind Zia “Zia tried to take out Hades and it turns out, that anyone with half a brain knows going up against an Elcarus in the heart of Dentarius is a really fucking stupid, she got her ass kicked and locked away, I got her out and here she is,”

Harley watched Aerian as she spoke before she scratched her heads in thought “So you found recruits? Or” It was sudden as she cocked her head “You’re here to kill me?”

“No Harley, I’ve never raised a blade to you, and I won’t start now, but we do need to talk, and I need you to give me your word my family won’t be harmed, and nor will Zia,” Aerian replied gently.

“Family? You mean? Aerian what have you been doing while you’ve been away,” Harley made her way to Virra looking her over slowly before stepping behind her then looking over Domi. “They are pretty, I’ll give you that but I can’t have you all wandering my home, so you will have to stay in the dorms, or there will be trouble,”

“House arrest? That’s your solution? Tell me my room is at least still around we can stay there, put guards on the door for all I care, but I’m not staying in the dorms,” Aerian stated firmly.

Harley smiled and then turned on her heel, and waved her hand. Finally they made their way into the cavern, from wall to ceiling was trinkets and books, fires burned in fireplaces, and couches held other members of the group who would quickly engage in conversation as they passed by. They made their way to a door at the end of a long hall, as Harley opened it the room beyond lavish, a huge four poster carved bed, velvet sheets in dark reds, the shelves of the room were stacked with coin and books, Aerian stepped in and sighed deeply.

“Don’t go sneaking out Aerian, I will know,” Harley stated then taking her men disappeared leaving the four of them.

“Well…that was interesting…” Virra murmured, moving to look at the various shelves. “Wonder if she knows whom I am. I know I heard my Pops mention a Harley before.”

“Your Pops, held a lot of business, Virra. It is possible. Damn, Aerian, nice digs.” Domi mentioned moving to sit on the edge of the bed.

“So it seems, she had a suspicion as to a result of your presence, Firefly. Remember, we go where you go, end of story.” Virra commented though glanced to Zia.

“I know, and trust me she knows that too, we just have to tread carefully she seems to jump from one mind set to the next, but we got through the door and I only had to kill one person to get us in,” Aerian replied with a smile.

“You didn’t have to kill him Aerian, that was pissing contest and you know it,” Zia snapped darkly now looking to Aerian “It was murder how does that make you any different to her? She’s bat shit crazy and now you look just as fucking whacked!”

“Exactly” Aerian replied with a smirk as she crawled upon the bed “I won’t lie I have missed this bed,” she crawled along the bed and then curled up on it, “I had to make her realise I’m just as dangerous as she is, especially after she tried to cut my throat or did we miss that bit? Harley has always responded to strength, why the hell do you think she stayed with me for so long?” Suddenly Aerian sat her eyes flashed coldly “Besides I still owed that prick, you remember the Elcon job, the one I slipped broke my arm? Damon claimed I slipped, had he not, he knew Harley would have slit him from stomach to stern, thing is I didn’t slip Zia, I was pushed by that clown trying to get into Harleys pants, but I backed his story and told him I would square the score one day, now he knows I wasn’t lying, so call it murder if you like, but I call it closing a contract,”

“He was always a prick, got real nasty because Harley stopped putting out after you left, heard she fractured his jaw cause he tried to force her,” Zia almost laughed in her words as Aerian now lay back upon the bed.

Virra chuckled at Zia’s words, turning to look at the bed and Aerian with a smirk. “Sounds like he had that and the dagger coming to him.”

Domi adjusted in the bed to lean against the headrest and pull Aerian to settle between his open legs in a rest of her cheek to his chest. “Finally does. So now what is the plan? She will have time for hers, now we have time to work on our own. I’m not sure talking will be on her mind.”

“We let her lead, Harley has a thing for control, and I was the chaos which is why we worked so well, though it’s a strange contradiction when you consider her affliction for murder without purpose,” Aerian stated softly “We will be OK as long as we don’t directly provoke her,” Aerian ran a hand over the nick on her neck “Though she puts a knife to my throat again and I may just let Virra end her ass,”

“Wouldn’t that defy your, I’m not gonna hurt her,” Zia stated as she stood now by the bookshelf.

“I did say unless I had to, besides I said I wouldn’t, I made no mention of Virra did I?” There was a dark smile on Aerians lips now.

Virra winked to Zia at Aerian’s words, moving to crawl into the bed resting her cheek against Domi’s shoulder. He lifted an arm to wrap around her a grin on his lips. “Not me.”

“Oh I’d let you kill her too,” Aerian chuckled as she curled into Domi her hand now resting on Virra “We just need to..” There was a knock cutting off Aerians words as Aerian looked to Zia who had moved to answer the door.

The other side saw a man, dark blonde cropped hair and in green garb that barely kept him covered “Lady Harley asks you join her in the main hall, she also states that you may come alone or with the others, so long as you come unarmed,”

“She’s not as dumb as we thought,” Zia mused softly

“You are to remain here Zia until we determine your crime and a suitable punishment, you are to answer to the court in due time,” The man replied to Zia, who shrugged and walked back to the bookcase.

“Fine!” She spat coldly

“Well least she didn’t execute you on sight, be grateful, we got this. Tell Harley we’ll be there in a few minutes, I just want to get changed,”  Aerian nodded and the door closed as she sat and pulled herself from the bed “And thus the game begins,” She sighed now opening a wardrobe and digging within, as she peeled out of her top and pulled on the dark leather one from within, this much like the one worn by Harley only without the knifes, as she pulled out holders that would hold blades strapping them to her thighs. She pulled her hair back tying it off before tossing her weapons into the wardrobe.

“Oh, goodie…” Domi said as Aerian stood from the bed and smacked her bottom and then swept Virra in his arms, kissing her deeply before letting her go.

“I don’t like being unarmed,” Virra muttered after, taking Domi’s nose and removed the throwing knives upon straps at her thighs and at her hips, boots and lower back and upper back, tossing them with Aerian’s. Domi inclined a brow and Virra looked to him. “What? A girl has to be prepared.”

He simply chuckled and shook his head, removing his weapons to join with his two lovers. “Let’s get this done.” But abruptly drew Aerian close to whisper in her ear. “Virra still has the mechanism of a blade in the sole each boot.”

“Good,” Aerian replied softly, a sharp click was heard showing him the blade hidden under the sleeve of the garment she now wore “Not dumb enough to in unarmed, dragon bone ribbing, on the top hides the blade hidden within, just in case Harley tries to be cute in any way,” She flicked her wrist and the blade retracted as she turned to face Zia “Lock the door, don’t need you ending up dead all over my nice room,” Aerian swept past her and out of the door, quickly flanked by several guards they made their way to the large open room.

Harley was propped on a large chair that was clearly meant to represent a throne as Aerian rolled her eyes and walked down the few short steps.

“Holy, yummy I’ve missed that view walking down those stairs Aerian,” She looked past Aerian to see Domi and Virra with a smile “And they follow, I must admit I wondered if they would,”

Virra was on Aerian’s left and Domi on the right. “You knew we would.” She stared calmly, there was a darker edge to her words.

“True, you are correct I knew you would, it’s clear you are a package, a family, we were once too, Aerian and I, we reigned chaos on this world, well no we didn’t but we did have fun, though I admit I was the lost puppy back then and now I am what she was,” Harley smiled softly “I’ve become you Aerian, right down to the hair,” she tossed her hair in a mock motion with a grin “Still the hottest girl I ever did see though, you’ve grown baby, I have missed you so much and all these ingrates they just want me to curl up and die so they can take over my empire, even you’re little pet Zia she tried to blow me up you know, led me to a cavern filled with dynamite and boom!! Just like that, the blast knocked me into a mining shaft and well I got lucky on the water bath landing, so mean of her right?”

She slid up from her seat as she made her way to Virra rising on her tip toes to try and stand over her but remained a few inch too short “Wow you’re tall! And pretty and smart, and sexy and everything to her I used to be, that makes me sad,”

Virra adjusted with an inclined brow, though appeared passive, whatever she felt internal was not revealed. “Is that so? There is much you don’t know about me, bug.”

“I know your father used to run the slave trade, we would take down rogue girls for him from time to time, you always looked so sad at his side, I suspected one day you’d get away though admittedly wish you would have come work for us, same with this one, always looked so miserable, but never far from your side,” She grinned watching Domi then Virra “Even now he fiercely protects you without ever revealing he is, last I heard your daddy ran afoul of Kane and his family, went and got himself all dead, Ceremon has fled to the outskirts after his grand plan to take over fell flat on its face,” She shook her head with a chuckle “Again, and you place yourself in the heart of my baby and simply cast me aside as if I meant nothing to her all those years, is that fair? Should I just be ignored because I wanted to be so much like her, strong and a killer and fierce and loyal and I never ever let her down, and one night she just ups and leaves, no note, no word, no message just vanishes into the wind,” Harley actually sounded hurt as she spoke, before she stepped back “She broke my heart, but I get it, she was afraid of me, afraid I’d become every bit as good as her, she never did love herself though, so I get it,”

Aerian recognized that flash of fury in Virra’s dark eyes when her father was spoken of, though tilted her head calmly. Domi remained just add calm, composed. “You done? Yes, I can understand bring hurt. But did you really stop and think as to the real reason she left?” Domi spoke.

“They whisper, and talk as if I don’t hear,” Her words were louder now as she turned around motioning to those around her “They say I’m crazy and out of control, that I kill because I love to, that I drove her away,” Harley sighed as she made her way back to her throne “And they may be right, maybe my baby did leave me because I’m crazy, but if I’m so crazy why are they still standing? I mean most of them have slept with Aerian, or me, or both and no craziness from me, I like to kill because it reminds me how fragile life is,”

“No Harley you kill because it gets you wet, then you come back here expecting them to service whatever sick desire you have, but in reply to your question not all of them are here, my closest friends now lay in a grave because they were an issue for you, where’s Kia or Kellan? You drove Zia out because she is scared witless, they are afraid of you Zia,” Aerian cut her off as she turned and sat she smiled softly.

“Because I am the leader, and a leader needs to be feared or they take liberties, Kellan tried to hurt me, so he had to go,” Harley began.

“Kellan wouldn’t harm you, he was loyal, he is the only reason I didn’t cut you in half myself, you killed them because they were a threat, Kia wouldn’t harm a fly she was a thief through and through, she liked the shadows and to take and to give herself, you’re a scared child Harley controlling them through fear,” Aerian kept her voice level but the anger was there as they spoke now.

“Not as much as they’re afraid of you, you come to my home armed to the teeth, with your pretty man and your pretty girl, and the traitor,” She eyed Virra “Tell me something is she here to cut my throat and take back The Ever Present? And you three will lead, with me out of the way?”

Virra looked to Harley for a moment, stepping forward. “Is that what you want? Because we did not have such a plot, it’s amusing that you think so, Harley. Unless you truly are paranoid as the whispers say. You loved her once, take that and listen to her. She wants to help you.”

“Not once, still do, always will,” Harley replied darkly “But she left, left me to these heathens and betrayers,”

“You’re wrong. The family, is that what you think of them? Just a bunch of betrayers? Think. What did you used to find them as? You have lost a part of you and that can be traumatic. If what you’re doing is true, you are no better than her.” Virra stated.

Harley looked to Virra before rolling her hips to return to being sat as she eyed Aerian “And what about you Aerian? Just why are you here, with your two pretties?”

“Because you need help Harley, Virra is right you lost part of yourself, and if I’m honest I am afraid that one day you will come looking for me and I will have no choice but to end this twisted game once and for all,”

“And kill me?” Harley clapped with a glint of joy in her eyes, Aerian remained quiet her previous words more than clear in their intent, Harley slumped back now the glimmer gone as she sighed heavily “I don’t want to fight with you Aerian, let’s be honest I couldn’t take you in a one on one fight and even if I got lucky those two would cut me down before your dead body hit the ground, which does leave us with a pickle,”

“They would, probably before you had the chance to finish me off, so either way doesn’t work out well for you, and honestly Harley you dead is the very opposite of what I want, I’m here I’m unarmed, and I’m already risking losing my family because they didn’t know about you until Zia showed up and opened up this wound I was ignoring,” Aerian had while talking made her way closer to Harley, as she got closer Harley sat then sprung clear across onto Aerian again pinning her to ground.

“Now, now, there’ll be no sneaking up on me,” Aerian had been well prepared for the move jamming her hand between the blade and her throat as it bit through the flesh of her palm she snapped her hand into Harleys hair yanking her off of her chest, rolling back and landing on her feet, as Harley made her way to her feet to rush Aerian, Aerian caught her clean on the side of the head sending her to the floor.

“Damnit Harley I’m trying to fucking help you, but I swear to god you raise a blade to me one more fucking time and I will end your crazy ass!” Aerian snapped her hand in frustration sending blood to spatter into the ground.

Domi neared Aerian. To gather the injured hand in an inspection, going into a pocket to remove some cloth and wrap it around her wound though he never spoke, not a single word.

Virra on the other hand kept her dark gaze on Harley. “Do you even want help?” She came back, extending a hand. “You don’t bite the hand that had nurtured and fed you, when you needed it. Counterproductive, if you think about it.”

Aerian let Domi dress her wounds before looking to Harley “We’re done for now, I can’t deal with you while you’re so damn irrational, when you’re ready to talk like an adult you know where we are,” Aerian took Virras in her now bandaged hand and Domis with the other leading her out to the bedroom they occupied before.

Once they entered the bedroom, Virra turned Aerian’s hand over and removed the bandage. Guiding her to sit on the bed. “You know. That blade could have been poisoned. Be more careful. Domi get the health pack from my bag, we need to clean this up and stitch it.”

He nodded moving to search her bag.

 

[ To The Future] Who’s Game Are We Playing

It had been a week as they had travelled, the time had passed mostly without incident and for the most part Zia had kept herself out of Virras cross hairs. The group had set down for the evening and camp was as ever made. The fire burned as Aerian sat watching the flames.

Zia was on the outskirts sat in the entranceway to her own tent, as she had spent each day simply watching the group. Though today she was working a brush through the tangled mess of her hair.

Domi was cooking food with a pan of the freshly caught rabbit to make a stew, while focused on such to feed the hungry party.

Virra sat to Aerian’s left and was running her daggers over the whetstone. But her eyes periodically were watching Aerian. “She’s just going to sit there and watch? Firefly, can we truly trust her?” She asked in a low voice.

Aerian glanced over to Zia, her own mind elsewhere in that moment as she leant her head to Virras shoulder “Wish I knew, the longer she’s around the more unnerved I get, I trusted her without condition all those years ago, but things have changed, something is off, I just can’t figure what and it’s really starting to bother me,”

Zia had silently begun to sharpen her own blade, her yet never moving from the stone as her blade as it made its way down the stone. She hadn’t so much as spoken in the last day.

Aerian shuddered as she sighed softly “We just as always need to be careful, as long as we have each other’s back, it doesn’t matter what she has planned, we’ll deal with it like always,” She said softly “That or she’s just pissed I haven’t tried to screw her since I let her out,” There was a tone of amusement in her voice now, that ever clear attempt to deflect her awkward train of thought with humour.

Virra rolled a shoulder a moment while considering Aerian then returned to the sharpening if her blades. Domi, who had heard the conversation casually stirred the pot. “I understand. I feel as though, this is a trap. But to what end?” He spoke softly.

“That part is obvious, she wants me. It’s want me dead or alive which seems to be the bigger question,” Aerian replied softly “She lured me away from Dentarius, obviously wasn’t aware you and Domi would be with me, now she is likely trying to figure out how to separate us, knowing that killing you will remove any willingness on my part to co-operate, so she continues with her plan of having us deal with Harley while she figures out what she intends to do next,” She shrugged softly “But then she could be everything she’s claimed to be, and is merely sulking,”

“From what I’ve understood, it’d be safer to be wary. Maybe we can break through that barrier and get her to second guess her plan, whatever that may be.” Virra commented softly, accepting a bowl that Domi dishes out, while he offered the other to Aerian.

“I’m not sleeping with her,” Domi stated simply with a grin.

“Damn, there goes that plan.” Virra chuckled with a roll of her eyes, then looked to Zia. “Hey blonde, get over here and stop being so damn antisocial,” Virra shouted to her, as Domi lifted up the bowl.

Zia looked up to Virras words, before placing her knife in her boot and standing, making her way to accept the bowl “Thank you,” She stated simply and sat opposite them as she stared at the liquid for a few moments.

Aerian smiled to Domi “Thanks, it’s been a long day,” She took the bowl and immediately began eating, the warmth of the liquid moved through her causing her smile “How did we ever do without your cooking before you got here,”

“Pitifully. I’m sure.” Domi winked to Aerian, settling down next to her with his own bowl and began to eat.

“It’s not poison, Zia. Eat up. It’s delicious.” Virra chuckled beginning to dive in making passing sounds to the flavour. After eating and getting a second helping she settled next to Zia. “Cat got your tongue? You’ve been silent all day.”

“It’s nothing, I’m just keeping myself out of your way it will be better for us all, you have your little family and I could not be part of that, I prefer my own company and we have a lot ahead of us,” Zia replied as she began to eat.

“So you go from trying to get into our pants to avoiding us on a cross realm journey? Zia if I didn’t know better I’d begin to wonder if there is something else going on, and you’re track record isn’t my biggest leap of faith with you,” Aerian snapped sharply “Out with it,”

“I haven’t been back to Evershore in a while, that’s all, I took my contracts through the network, and sent my payments back the same way, so much like you I don’t know what waits for me when I get back there, like you I don’t like uncertainty it makes my life more complex than it needs to be,” Zia replied in a very measured tone now. The moment Zia finished speaking Aerian felt a prickle run through her as she instinctively moved closer to Virra.

Virra glanced to Aerian chewing thoughtfully but wrapping an arm around her. “Zia being antisocial makes it seem you are purposefully trying to not get involved. It makes me wonder. We want to trust you but that only goes so far. Be honest, you may not know what awaits but you have an idea and from what I gathered it is not good.”

“I’m the last of the original guard, Harley, Aerian, Kallan, Kia and myself. Kallan had an accident while attempting a break in,” Zia stated softly though the way she worded accident would make it seem more “Kia I think was executed by Harley, so there’s only my left,”

Aerian looked to Zia “We know this, but you’re not dead yet, and we are here. So why not come for me too because this is starting to look really suspicious and you know I’ve never failed to escape a trap I’ve willingly walked into,”

“You’re Harleys beloved golden girl, even now she thinks you’ll be back, I told her you wouldn’t, told her she’d driven you away but she wouldn’t have it, so that’s why she never came for you, she thought you’d come back,” Zia replied flatly “No matter what we did, we just couldn’t be you to her, everything became punishable just because she was having a bad day, or you looked at the crazy bitch wrong, any wonder I’m afraid for my life? I don’t want to die Aerian, I actually like living,”

“Oh drop the dramatics it doesn’t help your case,” Aerian snapped in frustration.

“Fight to live, in other words. You believe bringing Aerian back to Harley on a silver platter will right wrongs. But you didn’t intend on us coming, isn’t that right? We are the wrench in the gears so to speak.” Domi stated breaking his silence.

“It seems that way,” Zia replied “You go in and kill Harley, I’m happy, Harley kills you then me, and it won’t matter either way,”

“Well aren’t you just a happy ray of fucking sunshine,” Aerian sighed darkly “You do know, if she is half as paranoid as you claim her to be then it is very high probability Harley already knows we’re coming, in which case why aren’t you dead already? Because if you were bringing me, my girl, back and I was a fraction as paranoid, you’d be dead the moment you entered Evershore,”

“That’s it isn’t it, Zia? You know that Harley is aware. She will kill you.” Virra said, tightening her hold protectively around Aerian. “We are at least a day away from Evershore. You are bringing Aerian in to save your own ass.”

“The only problem is you know when I figure this out, I’m going to kill you,” Aerian replied flatly her hand now resting on her own blade “So now you’re stuck, and conflicted, take me in and hope Harley doesn’t kill you, or tell the truth and know I WILL kill you for landing my family in the middle of all this, because above all else you know I will kill to protect my own,”

Domi was quick to place himself between Virra and Aerian with Zia on the other side. “You are really lost, it doesn’t matter because no one will hurt MY family. So be cautious of your words…Aerian one was one of the Ever Present. Circumstances being as they do not place idle threat upon my angels. Instead of brooding, combine with us and we all will resolve this.”

Aerians eyes flashed dangerously as she looked to Virra “I wonder what Harley would do if I turned her over instead?” It was a half joke and yet in the same, she was deadly seriously.

“That won’t solve shit, you know it. She isn’t much better than you leaving.” Virra spat.

“And there in lays the difference, I wouldn’t pull such a cowardly act and she knows it,” Aerian replied calmly now “You can walk away Zia, no one will think less of you, but you know as well as I do, we were called Ever Present for a reason, because we were everywhere, and we knew all we needed at a given time, now I’m going to assume most of those contacts are either gone or thinned somewhat based on Harleys affinity for punishment on a whim, but she will know we’re coming, which means my family is in danger, you can make sure we get in unharmed, what happens beyond on that, as usual, we’ll figure it out as we go, we can do this, providing you trust me,”

“I was never big on the whole unconditional trust thing Aerian you know that,” Zia replied

“And look where it got you, time to get off your high horse,” Aerian replied with a  shrug “I’m not going to play the damsel in distress, never have before, not about to start,”

“That is the problem, Zia. You trust no one but yourself. Look at where that has gotten you, fearful for your life. Us, three, stand as a front with trust in each other. Far stronger than your wall, build it up with us. I cannot guarantee safety but I can guarantee that you will have s cause worth fighting for. We carry unborn children. That is worth fighting for. Life.” Virra said, placing a hand on Domi’s shoulder.

“I did love you once Aerian, but you had her and the rest of us were play things,” Zia began before she fell silent.

“Yea, but that was a whole other life to me, Zia, I was like you once, out only for myself, angry at the world for letting me down, but when it all came tumbling down and I had nowhere to go, my Dad was the one there to pick up the pieces, and now Virra and Domi have finally put them all together again, so here I stand ready. And walking into the whirlwind that is my past, maybe this is your start to setting things right,” Aerian smiled softly as she settled in to Virra, taking Domis hand “The Ever Present were family once, a happy fuck anything that moves, kinda family but family no less, and as a result we had free run of the realm, the vision got screwed up, but it can be repaired and we can set it right,”

“You still love her. Don’t deny it, you can’t just up and say the opposite. Because a small part of you will cherish it. She trusts us, you can too if you let that happen.” Domi said giving Aerian’s hand a squeeze with a lift and kiss.

“Look, let’s all make this right. There is time, nothing is ever set in stone. It’s only the rock that won’t move. You and I don’t see eye to eye, but one thing we can agree on is to protect our loved ones. You call the Ever Present family, Aerian is my heart and family as is Domi. Don’t fight the current. Flow with it. See where it takes you in the end but that means getting to that point.” Virra stated, kissing Aerian’s neck.

Aerian squeezed Domis hand in reply as she whimpered to Virras kiss, yet her eyes didn’t move from Zia “This is going to end one way or another, so in the interest of being open and honest, I sent word back to Dentarius of my intent, if they don’t hear from us in a week then they come looking and they bring the full force of Dentarius with them,” her words were soft “But if you think I’m going to just up and murder Harley then know I’m not, not unless I have to, and if it comes to it then we will get it done, everyone deserves a chance Zia, and if she’s lost then we remove her,”

“She is lost Aerian, putting her down is a kindness, trust me on that,” Zia replied flatly

“We do not take a life without just cause. Isn’t that what the Ever Present, used to do? This had nothing to do with trust, as Aerian said everyone deserves a chance, especially family. You were given a chance, Zia. Don’t let me or Domi regret it.” Virra stated, placing a hand unconsciously upon her abdomen.

“She may be lost, but I may be her one chance to find her way back” Aerian replied softly “I’m not about to create a power grab with The Ever Present, we’re taking control and I need you to make sure the rest fall in line,”

“Is it that easy in your mind Aery? You walk back in and we just fall in line?” Zia replied as she smiled darkly “Lady Elcarus walks in takes her throne and we just fall at her feet?”

“I could just turn our asses around and let Harley finish the job? Zia stop playing like this isn’t what you want, you want me back with The Ever Present and I may be knocked up, but you know damn well I can still hold my own against anyone, and failing that you know The Ever Present wouldn’t survive and all out witch hunt by my father, I mean you’ve met my step mother, pretty sure she’d have no trouble ripping out your spine and every other one of Ever Present, now stop making me threaten you, admit I’m right and this is how it should be, and we can get on with getting the job done,”

“You do make me wet when you get all angry,” Zia chuckled softly “OK fine, I’ll let you deal with Harley as you see fit and as promised I’ll keep the rest out of our little game,”

Domi stood now, while gathering the pot with a cloth, splitting the remaining between Virra and Aerian. “Good that settles things. Now eat up. We all need our strength.”

Virra kept her gaze on Zia for a moment longer. “You haven’t seen me or Domi angry, so just keep too your part and we will keep to ours.”

“I’ve seen Aerian angry, that’s enough to remind me of my place,” Zia replied with a nod.

“And I’ve had a few years since then, so you may want to rethink that,” Aerian replied as she awkwardly made her way to her feet, “I need to um …” she stated before making her way into the forest.

[To The Future] Covering all Bases

Kane was sat on the edge of his desk as the messenger appeared, knocking upon the already open door.

“My Lord, a letter from Lord Hades, delivered direct to your hands as instructed,” He stated handing over the letter, Kane turned the envelope over in his hand to see the seal, before nodding.

“Thank you,” he stated softly, the messenger nodded handing another pile of mail and then leaving Kane to his own thoughts, as Kane turned the letter over and stared at the instructions upon the front.

‘To be delivered direct to Lord Kane Elcarus, and no other’

“A little over dramatic don’t you think Hades?” Kane sighed softly.

Aishani appeared within the room with their children, one in each hip and the nanny with her. “What is over dramatic?” She asked nearing him with a kiss to his cheek, Xander and Terra looking around this new room with wide curious eyes.

Kane showed her the letter and the missive it be delivered directly to him, as he shook his head and with a short blade proceeded to open it.

‘Kane,

It seems your daughter harbours more secrets than we were aware of, as of yesterday morning she passed through our home to collect supplies before heading out to Evershore, as I’m sure you’re aware the suspected home of The Ever Present.

While we never had conclusive proof of this I have reason to believe there is truth in this, it also seems that their leadership has become unstable, again something we suspected based on certain actions. You know this was always a personal interest to me, them being the ones responsible for Ravens death. However Kane it seems this choice by Aerian is no accident, I was told by her that she was the original founder, and now seeks to re-stabilise the group, while I am unsure of her course of action, she did ask we did not intervene.

I should probably have sent this a day ago, but the fact is I was a little harsh upon Aerian and so sought to buy her a little time before choosing to clue you in on current events, I also suspect despite her request we should have a failsafe in case things, as is the luck of our little family, go sideways and she is unable to correct the situation. She is pregnant and being led by Zia whom we both know regardless of Aerians faith cannot be trusted.

She is your daughter, so what you chose to do with this information is your choice, just remember she is pregnant and without access to her higher level power, if you need me and Jade and you know where we are, whatever you decide as ever my blade is yours.

Hades’

Kane frowned at the note before passing it along to Aishani “Wonder what he’d do if he knew I already knew half of this ….” His voice trailed off.

Aishani handed Tera to Kane and Xander to the nanny, gathering the letter. Her golden eyes going over the written words, she remained silent and then set it on the desk. She gathered Xander from the nanny and dismissed her for the moment.

Tera gurgled and smiled up to her father.

“What do you mean to do? Anything?” She asked watching Kane

Kane chuckled as he tickled Terra causing the infant to squeak with laughter, a soft smile as he watched her “Seems your sister is out to get herself in trouble again, now what do we do about it?” He grinned as she reached for him and then proceeded giggle, he stood walking to the nanny look to Xander “What about you, what do you think we should do?” Xander cooed in reply.

Finally he turned to shrug lightly “She wants us to keep out, she has Virra and Domi with her, I get why Hades wishes to go after them but if we do, we may only make a bad situation worse, if she needs us she will find a way to send for us, for once she isn’t trying to do this alone and for that I can be thankful my love,” He looked to her and smiled “Unless you believe otherwise?”

Xander gurgled in Aishani’s arms add though talking in a language that was not understood. Aishani looked down then up to Kane. “I will send Shadow to trail them. I’m sure that she can be of use eventually. I do believe we stay out, until we are called for. I know how emotions can run during pregnancy, so we can only hope that Domi can keep both women under control.”

“Not an easy task, though having said that, we did stop you killing Ascondia so I can’t be that bad at it,” Kane chuckled in reply “We should probably ensure Aerian doesn’t see Shadow for the moment, then if needs be Shadow can come for us, and we will go kick down the door as it were, Hades is correct on one point, I hope Aerian has her eye on Zia she cannot be trusted”

He tickled Terra once more before kissing Aishanis cheek “We finally have most of the trade agreements back in place, so things are as they should be easier for us, this rest period has been quite a break, and most welcome”

There was a knock at the door as Elsa now stood, now decked in her usual array of colourful clothes she smiled “Pardon the interruption but I was wondering, seeing how we have now made peace with so many other beings in our lovely realm, my dear Aishani would it perhaps be possible that our new found spider friends could see fit to perhaps part with a little spider silk, most useful for strengthening garbs such as those you use for combat, wickedly strong is that stuff and well supplies have been hard to come by in the Everlands for some time”

Aishani nodded to Kane watching him with Tera with a smile, but glanced to the entrance of Elsa. Turning to face her, chuckling in that rolling purr. “I’m going to speak to Shadow. Join me and I can ask. Though I don’t see it as an issue. It may be delayed due to our need for her at the moment but I’m sure she can pay with some before leaving.”

“Oh there’s no rush my dear, there has been a lack of need for combat gear these last weeks, but it never hurts to be ahead of the game,” Elsa replied with a grin, as she bowed slightly allowing Aishani past before following after her.

“So how is motherhood suiting you and our dear Lord? Well I would hope? And of course remember I always willing to send more childrens clothes at short notice they grow so quick,” Elsa chuckled softly as she continued to stay in stride with Aishani.

Aishani kept Xander with her, while showing Kane time alone with Tera. It seemed as though the infant girl adored him. But Aishani looked to Elsa as she walked. “It’s trying. Sleep is something that I have little of, though it is rewarding. Oh, yes. Thank you for the offer of clothing, it will be much needed.”

She led Elsa out to the courtyard and the forest beyond, as Xander was constantly looking around at the changing world. But soon the trees rustled and the large, pony sized spider appeared. Aishani moved over to kneel, as Shadow moved cautiously over. But lifted one leg and Xander just stared at the spider, then chortled and gasped the leg. Aishani seemed focused in Shadow for a time, then stood and turned to Elsa. “She said that she would be honoured to provide such. But currently she is going to Aerian, then will gladly provide as much silk as needed.”

Shadow lowered the leg, scurrying away into the dense forest. This caused Xander to cry, Aishani cradled and crooned to the baby, soon the crying ceasing.

Elsa bowed to Shadow shortly before she scurried off, there was a soft smile as she watch the spider depart. “There is no rush, as I said though my supplies are low, I do still have some if required, and thankfully the need is less after the war.” Her voice was soft as she ruffled Xanders hair gently “And I hear there will be more children to add to your family?”

Kane remained in his office, as he signed off various deeds and contracts, as well as organising further supply routes and trade agreements, ensuring that Dentarius would thrive as well as its people. All the while he kept Terra on his knee “One day little one this will be yours and your brothers to rule over, though I don’t plan to go anywhere for some time, all that we do now, is for the future and that is the greatest lesson we can teach, everything we do is for the greater good,” Terra gurgled in reply waving her hands before her, Kane smiled watching the action “If I didn’t know better I’d swear you were telling me to be quiet”

Aishani chuckled, while Xander was distracted enough by Elsa looking to her with wide curious golden eyes. Though, she began to lead Elsa back to the mansion. “Yes, it seems Aerian and Virra have been busy with Domi. I don’t right care for the threesome as such. But it seems to make them happy, that I’m all for. Aerian deserves it.” She stepped foot in the mansion grounds and made her way to the office.

Tera smiled up to Kane at his comment. Grasping her foot to bring to her mouth, after a moment stopping to look at the door. Just then Aishani stopped before such and adjusting Xander with an embrace to Elsa.

Elsa returned the embrace with a grin “I shall leave you to it, I have some work to be doing and I really should be getting myself home and start upon Jades dress,” She kissed Aishanis cheek with a smile, before making her way to Kane giving him and embrace.

“Be careful Elsa, and take care,” Kane smiled in reply. She nodded and proceeded to leave the office.

“Shadow on her way to watch Aerian and hers?” He asked softly

“Mhm.” Aishani said moving to stand at Kane’s side behind the desk, as their children looked to one another and gurgled as though speaking with periods of bubbly laughter. “It seems news gets around. Elsa already knows about Aerian and Virra.”

“Considering the size of this place, it’s hard to keep such news quiet, though I should probably inform Ascondia before the rumour mill reaches her,” Kane sighed softly “I suspect if left to Aerian, Ascondia would be left in the dark, yet another conversation I do not relish”

Kane stood now scooping Terra into his arms as he led them to main hall and the area they used for living, there was a large penned area that would allow the children a freedom to play in safety as Kane sat beside placing Terra within.

Aishani sighed. “While I hate to admit it. You are right.” She followed him to the main hall, while slipping to settle in his lap and tipped her lips up to kiss his neck. Watching as Terra and Xander were playing with each other, crawling around and gurgling to each other. “They are growing so fast, almost unnaturally fast. Each have learned how to crawl…” Her hand lowered to curl within Kane’s.

Kane wrapped his arms around her waist as she took her seat in his lap, his fingers entwining hers as he smiled softly “It would not serve anyone to not tell her, it would probably be wise to inform her of things as it relates to The Ever present omitting of course Aerian is or was at one point involved, they have been a headache for half the realm since the original dragon wars,”

“I do not feel safe travelling just yet with our children. Have her summoned here, then we will discuss this. Besides, she can meet the children, not that she would be interested. Though, how do you mean the Ever Present have been an issue? I understand that they are a loose cannon. Perhaps in the end, Aerian can recover the organization to work not just for her but our own benefit.”

“They weren’t always an issue in the beginning they dealt with retrieval of artefacts and things, but once they shifted to assassination, kidnapping that sort of thing , almost every city has a warrant for their arrest, their morals are often questionable assassinations occur in plain sight making them more murder than assassination, and no one has seen their leader in quite some time, not since Aerian left the group,” Kane replied “The issue is they became for more about shock factor than the shadows,”

He kissed her shoulder gently “I will send for our Queen, we likely need discuss other aspects as the High Council are no longer a consideration, our need for the treaty of Dentarius is slightly less, though I would prefer to maintain our independence”

She glanced back to him with a nod, adjusting to lay her legs over his thigh, planning his hands with hers upon her leg. “I think…this is possible. Considered this, we hold Dentarius. Jade and Hades hold another part. Plus I hold the Emerald City. Why not have clear representatives to each portion?”

“It would make sense to not try to rule everything, perhaps she will see the merit in this,” Kane replied his hand now running up her thigh gently “As long as the realm is stable and safe that is what we should be aiming for, together”

“Agreed. All of us are stronger together. Besides, it would be a boost of morale to the people. Lord knows we need something. I’d like to work with the dwarves and Dark Elves to be able to open those trade routes. It would be beneficial to all.” She fell silent for a moment watching as Xander and Terra play. “I’m going to have to return to my city, it can’t be good to be not return after the win.”

“We should return to Emerald City and try to uncomplicated things, we should begin bringing them back into the Everlands, there is no reason they need hide any longer, the rest of realm need learn we stand united or risk falling” Kane replied kissing her shoulder gently “Its time old grievances are left behind for the future of the realm, and our children”

“We have the ear of the realm, I believe it is time we used it for the sake of the future, though not until our children are strong enough to travel, and I’ve had a nice period away from playing politician and can be husband and father first”

“I couldn’t agree more.” She said while content to be this close to Kane, leaving her cheek against his chest. Watching Xander and Terra attempt to put blocks in their mouth but discovering it was far too large, the fascination kept the twins going at it. They gurgled to each other, laughing and smiling. The intelligence in their large eyes was far more advanced than a normal child, one born without the vampire and werewolf in their blood.