[A New Path] Return of the Dragons

Aishani remained standing her ground but moved over to check in Kane, once he was standing she went to settle down in a lotus position before the massive dragon displaying no fear only respect.

“The odds are not in the Everlands favour. As you know I am with child and wish for the legacy to continue. I am aware of the Dragon Wars. Many were lost in both sides. Instead of working against each other. Why not work together? I’m not meaning to hold flowers and sing together in peace. You wish to remain at peace, resting. This will be found once this has ended, but we are in dire need of the strength, as we speak Ceremon’s forces are surely enclosing on the Elcarus estate and the people. This world has seen enough bloodshed, youth and innocence lost. An army from the skies represented by myself, Kane and you, will take them by surprise. We need this alliance to aid the panic and fear within our walls, and against their ranks in order to strike. With the unicorns and dire wolves at our side, the strength will grow. This is more then just a conflict between houses. This is war in the realm.”

“You’re a smart one, but one dragon is no good against an army, especially one who hasn’t taken to the skies in a long time” Arak’neth replied

Kane pulled himself to sit with a groan “Ow, I forgot how damn quick Dragons can be, you can have that one for free, but I was actually coming to you with a proposal that would suit you better than it would us, with a few conditions” Kane groaned as he laid his head against Aishani

“You have strength, I will hear your words” Arak’neth replied

“We can bring the dragons home to Dentarius, your family back to our skies, as long as you abide by its rules and its balance, and you don’t go eating innocents for fun,”

Arak’neth lowered her head to Aishani and Kane “You would open the gates for them? Willingly?”

“To protect the Everlands, yes” Kane replied firmly

“And what of you? Would you bring forth dragons knowing our strength?” Arak’neth watched Aishani intently now

She caressed Kane’s cheek while turning her lips to kiss his forehead, turning her mismatched gaze to rest on the dragon. “I am a mother to be and a Queen. I will fight for this realm with all that I am worth, even if I may not be blood of Everlands I will fight for my home. Yes. I knowingly do this for the benefit of the realm. Will you abide by the rules set before you?”

“The rules are ours to obey, I will bring only those who can be trusted to abide by your realm, and I will remain here as I have” Arak’neth replied “But beware once you bring us forth we will not be returned”

“I know,” Kane replied firmly, slowly he pulled himself to his feet as look to Arak’neth “We need to get through to the Vortex”

Arak’neth shuffled and then took to the air for a moment, Kane reached for Aishani and led her beneath the huge form of the dragon that now hovered above them. As they passed beneath she landed behind them causing the ground to shudder beneath them.

Aishani stood on her own, but it was the mention of the vortex that caused her to flick her gaze to her husband for a moment. When the ground shook it caused her to lose her footing but held to Kane for support.

Kane kept his arm around Aishanis waist before they made it into a cave, a flight of steps that wound down into the very heart of the mountain before finally opening out, the rock fell away to a drop and deep below a swirling purple mass that lurched and growled as if it was its own entity.

Kane stepped to the edge looking down before he stepped back, pulling one of his daggers and a few things from his back pack he sat on the edge, looking down there was a prickle in the air that caused the hairs on his arms to raise, the very heart of the Everlands now lay below them.

She settled beside him now while her eyes were transfixed to the purple mass, a hand on her stomach and the other gathered his to feel the movement of their children with her body. “They are restless, my love.” She whispered add though unwilling to disturb the heart of the realm. 

“Probably none too happy being here, can’t say I blame,” He drew the blade over his hand opening his hand for a moment, before coating his blade, looking to the skies above “Of all the bad ideas I’ve ever had, this may be the worst one yet,” his words were more to himself than anything else but he tossed the blade into the void below.

It seemed to take a while before a flash and the purple mass erupted above them a roar could be hear growing louder until as sudden as it erupted the column of purple was gone followed by a flash and there high above them a dozen dragons.

Aishani looked to Kane as he sliced his palm and threw the dagger down into the purple mass. But took his uninjured hand with a squeeze while offering him a nod and offering strength. Both had their doubts but it was the extent they were willing to go to save their home and ensure it remained for their children. 

She stood now as the dragons appeared as a horde above them drowning the sky. “We best go address them.” 

Arak’neth was waiting for them as they exited the inner cave, a short ride by dragon had them back on the ground among the others as they all watched Kane and Aishani carefully.

“You of my blood, will listen to those who brought you here, while we do not serve the lesser races, they do need our help to protect their home, and in protecting their home it will become ours,” Arak’neth roared, there were roars in reply before another dragon spoke

“We thought you dead mother, downed by the dragon slayers, and now that blood brings us forth? Why should we answer to them?”

“He saw me saved and returned to health, that is why, and he will allow us to remain here, as part of their world, as part of our rightful home!” Arak’neth snarled “You would dare defy a Brood Mother?!”

“Of course not, but this realm has already proven it cannot be trusted, it should be laid low and reclaimed for dragon kind!”

“Yes it should, but we wont, we have already lost that fight, and besides the female from another realm has more honour than any other I have met”

Aishani stood beside Kane, though silent, as she watched with those two mismatched hues; gold and milky white. “I commend you for speaking as such, Brood Mother Arak’neth. Though, I have the next generation growing in my womb, she is looking out for the benefit of her own. Kane has seen to her safety and peace. As such it would not remain so due to a conflict that it’s threatening the destruction of Everlands. We welcome you to fight alongside us, since we all have lost. But there is much more to be gained working with each other then against. I would much rather my children and generations to come not see dragons as the enemy but as the fibre of magic and beings of this realm. Fight along side us, the dire wolves and unicorns to right the wrong that had been done this far. Now who is with me, Kane and your Brood Mother!? This is your home and we welcome you.” 

There was a collective roar to Aishanis words, Kane looked to her before crossing the small gap and kissing her deeply.

“Time to show Ceremon why he really shouldn’t screw with power”

She welcomed the depth of the kiss from Kane, though when she leaned back and looked from him to the dragons a smirk formed on her lips. “Yes. He needs to be put in his place.” 

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[A New Path] Arak’neth

Aishani left the tent not too long after Kane since now it was now five months into her pregnancy, but on this morning she appeared to be more tired than normal. She smiled to Kane and was a few feet from him before she covered her mouth and darted away to hide behind a tent. It was clear that she was vomiting from morning sickness. He had seen her belly grow over the months, yet, she hid it very well beneath her clothing with a slightly larger bump due to carrying twins. 
 
After a time, she reappeared, offering Kane a small smirk and went immediately for the water to swish in her mouth to eliminate the smell on her breath. “Morning, my love.” She said softly, kissing him on the cheek and settling down with a hand on her abdomen, caressing the roundness. “They are restless this morning…” 

“Good morning my love, probably sensing what a bad idea their father is having bringing dragons into Dentarius,” He smiled softly, he filled her plate with some food and placed it in front of her, she would eat or not in her own time.

“We should hit our destination before dark, if things go right we can be home tomorrow” Kane rolled his shoulders in thought “We’ll ensure Dentarius is safe and then turn our attention to ousting our parents, I suspect Z’ress isn’t going to go quietly and if she has her hands in the head of Ascondia who knows what may be waiting for us.”

Kane watched the flames of the fire for a moment, the orange reflected in his eyes as he watched, quietly thinking things through, “While I would prefer to force the hand over by a show of strength, we will have dragons, after all, Ceremon is unlikely to simply stand down, I can’t say I relish a war that may destroy the realm, but I’ll be damned if we simply roll over and allow it happen”

Aishani chuckled, while lifting a hand to place on her stomach, then extended one to gather his and sneak beneath her shirt. Allowing for his palm to rest upon the warmth of her skin that had been stretched over her abdomen, the instant his hand was upon the surface he felt a tiny hand brush against his and then another, followed by a kick. “They are very awake this morning…” She said while watching Kane with a smirk, though, lifted her plate to eat with much gusto, since now she was eating for more than one. “One step at a time, I somehow don’t see the realm setting out to destroy itself.” 

Kane smiled as he felt the movement of their children, a warmth that only made him more determined to fight, “The realm knows no matter what it has us as its sword and shield from such an event”

“We have changed the course of history, and our family in the last year, it makes no wonder people will try to seize the moment, I just wish they hadn’t have spoilt our honeymoon” Kane grinned with a smile before he leant to place a kiss on her stomach.

Aishani watched him as he leaned forward to kiss the swell of her stomach and caressed his face gently. “Honeymoons can never last. If we go on like this we must, as well plan an anniversary. Because by the time things are settled it’ll be a year.” She chuckled taking another bite of food. “We need to eat and get moving. Our children are restless, as am I. The sooner we complete our task the sooner it will all be finished.” 

“We should indeed” Kane tucked their tent away in his backpack along with a dagger and some of the dirt they were occupying.

It wasn’t long after they were on their way, the pass wound through the mountains, and was relatively narrow, but easy enough for them to work their way through. The mountain pass was empty, even wild life was scarce here, the heart of the Everlands was oddly desolate.

As midday hit it had gotten overly warm which made the climb more difficult, Kane set them in a cave and tossed down a blanket as he looked out “We should rest a little, it’s getting crazy warm out there, let the sun start to drop and the heat with it,”

While the travel was fairly easy, it had proven a little more difficult for Aishani due to carrying around extra weight. She never complained due to knowing the fate of the realm rested on their shoulders. But the heat has her nearly pass out due to the temperature and as they settled in the cool perfection of the cave, Aishani sat down to nibble on some jerky with her eyes fixed outside the mouth to the cave. It was clear she didn’t like this exhaustion that settled in her during the pregnancy. 

“At least we won’t have to walk back down,” Kane smiled softly, an attempt to take her mind off things as they were “I know it’s a lot, with you being pregnant Aishani, a lot for the realm to ask of either of us, but with luck it will be over soon,” He took her hand gently as he sat beside her.

“Makes me wish I’d gotten water or wind elementals instead of fire and lightening, pretty sure it’s the realms idea of a joke,” He kept his voice soft “We can rest for a little while, let the worst of the heat pass,”

She slipped to settle in his lap with her hand in his over the swell of her stomach before too long the even breathing told Kane that his beloved wife had fallen asleep. 

A sound came from the entry of the cave and Shadow entered with a plop before then with a curious leg lifted to the sleeping Aishani’s belly. 

Kane nodded to Shadow before pulling his blade and whetstone, he had no need to sleep and with Shadow on guard no need to watch so he chose to prepare, his mind running through everything he would need, the prickle of the energies of the realm also keeping him very aware of what was about to transpire. Talking to a dragon was never easy and making one see sense even less likely, he sighed softly the slow draw of stone over metal. He had also pulled a couple of arrows from his pack to treat them with poison, a warning, poison was unlikely to kill but it would make a dragon incredibly uncomfortable, another path to getting what he needed.

“Whatever happens Shadow I know you will protect her, I’m grateful your here,” Kane smiled softly before continued to sharpen his blade.

Shadow seemed to respond to Kane’s words while curling his legs in and getting comfortable. After a few hours when the temperature dropped from the blazing heat of the naked mountain, Aishani stirred and opened her eyes. Kane had learned that she was famished when she woke sings this was no different when she went for the jerky and water before taking, once her stomach was full she looked to Kane and kissed him softly. It was time to continue the last leg of their journey. 

The last leg was tight and more dangerous, as the air cooled around them due to the height, Kane stopped taking a moment to look over the realm as it sprawled beneath them, his eyes just took it in quietly a reminder of what they had to protect, no matter the cost those of the realm were worth saving.

“I forget how small things are from up here” He mused quietly, adjusting his cloak before he pressed on, then mountain path suddenly dipped into the heart of the mountain, it wouldn’t be long before the pass opened, a grey swirling mass deep below them and curled on a ledge, the huge form of Arak’neth, the growls as she slept could be heard even as far as they were at this point.

“She will not be happy to see us” Kane chuckled softly

“Happy or not, we have to make this happen,” Aishani said calmly while walking alongside him, her own cloak was wrapped tightly around her while it was more the sound of the dragon that winked in the spring state that gave her chills. 

Another few minutes and the path opened out, Kane raised his hand to have Aishani remain for the moment, turning to face her he smiled softly “Let me piss her off first, I’m afraid you’ll need to be the voice of reason”

With that he stepped forward, the roar as Arak’neth stirred turning with speed that was surprising for a creature of its size, her eyes now laid firmly on Kane.

“Stay! Thine is merely mortal, none are allowed beyond those paths, remain or die at your own choice” She spoke so loudly it rumbled the mountain around them

“Yea, funny thing is I already know it, it was our arrangement after all, but as things turn out all rules are made to be broken in some fashion” Kane replied now laying his blade down “I need your help, my family needs your help”

“It is oft the way of things, but I see no value in aiding your realm” Arak’neth bit back darkly as she raised her head

“You brought me a snack? Woman and child, most generous of you” There was a rumble Kane took as a laugh before he simply stepped forward, Arak’neth struck at him her claws sending Kane across the cavern and into the wall beyond, “Do you forget your place mortal, the power of a dragon cannot be matched, and that is the reason you are here, to take my strength as your own, you swore to let me live in peace as long as I left your realm alone and I have, I have guarded the vortex for the last generations and now you seek to kill me!” Kane groaned as he watched her advance on him.

Aishani as well placed her weapons down when Kane laid his down and watched in silence as the great dragon swatted him as a giant may a fly. As the best moved to finish it, he felt the static pull off the air. In the blink of an eye, she was at his side to wrap her arms around him to shift the two from dangerous path to a safer one. It was clear that this was taxing on Aishani being pregnant. It didn’t stop her from appearing back before the dragon. 

“We have not come with any intention to harm you, noble Arak’neth.” She knelt before the dragon to show respect. “The prospect is that the place in which you rested so soundly is in danger from those that would possibly dare to exploit you. I for one and Lord Kane would not wish this. As you can tell I am not of this realm as is another that wishes this realm to be at her feet. This war has components of another world.” 

“You have an air that would imply you know what dragons are capable of, yet perhaps have never faced one yourself?” It wasn’t clear if Arak’neth was thinking out loud or asking Aishani a direct question as she turned to face her “But you know we had the intent to lay low these lands and all within, to take them for ourselves so that we may survive, your world has been particularly harsh to us, and Faerûn is no friend to dragons”

As she stood they would suddenly feel small, the towering form of a dragon the roar as she flexed her wings, before settling back “So tell me how do you plan to save this realm?”

[A New Path] Bound by Love

Haunted sat in the chair watching as Virra and Aerian slept, his fingers laced together in his lap as he waited, silent as was the curse of being dead, charged with watching those whom he loved the most. Right now that was his family.

He reached forward now laying a hand upon Virras shoulder, enough force to rouse her from her slumber.

“Please do not wake Aerian this is for you and you alone” He stated softly

Virra opened her eyes those dark jewels fixed on him with sleep lingering on the fringes. But clarity came to her as a male was standing at her beside. “Who are you?” She whispered clearly acknowledging his words to keep the sleeping Aerian as such.

He rubbed his jaw for a momemt “Well that’s a new one, still I’m Haunted Elcarus, and you and I need to talk”

Virra looked from him to Aerian and left the bed carefully to not disturbed her sleeping love. Since she was completely exposed without clothing Virra gathered a crumpled shirt from the floor to slip into. “I see. Well…go ahead.”

Haunted had already turned his back as she left the bed with a look after she had covered herself his words came soft “I’ll be at the graveyard, there is something you should see” With that he vanished through the wall and into the darkness beyond.

Virra sighed but tired on her leather pants to fix herself with the usual leather vest and her weapons since she never went any place outside her home without them.

Virra used the shadows of night to her advantage of going undetected. Until she arrived at the cemetery looking around and searching for Haunted. She found it mildly amusing to meet someone named Haunted in a cemetery that could very well be Haunted.

The graveyard was unusually dark, mists crept through the grounds, as Virra stepped in the grounds behind vanished into the darkness, Haunted was crouched by a grave, as he stood and steeped aside the words were clear as to who’s grave it was.

‘Aerian Elcarus, you will always be my firefly’ Haunted shifted awkwardly now. On the grave were blood red roses, beyond Aerians grave was dark but it was clear enough to know not too far were Haunted and Krystals Graves as well as their mother Nelliahs.

“Not your version of the Elcarus Graveyard, at least not yet” Haunteds face was drawn in frustration as he watched Virra.

Virra narrowed her eyes on the header to the gravestone that Haunted was crouched beside, a muscle twitched at her jaw now, clearly this was not a pleasing sight to her. “Nothing is set in stone, Haunted. You are telling me that this may be…why?”

“Because I cannot sit idly by, we have the power to alter the course of the realm but our hands are tied, this IS the path you walk, but as you said nothing is set in stone, you already know the cost of Aerians gift, those that are driven mad by it, inevitably it ends in death for them as their very self is torn apart. For such a powerful entity the realm has a twisted nature” Haunteds voice seemed darker, irritated by his current plight “So I chose to act, the war at hand will cost you all in the long term, but you more than any other, I cannot stop all of that, but I can tell you how to protect Aerian, unfortunately it comes with its own cost, both to you and to me”

Haunted stood and the scene around them shifted back to the Mansion and the graveyard, they were now stood on empty ground “I’m not often known for breaking the rules Virra, but you are a strength this family needs and if Aerian falls I fear they will lose you, losing Aerian will destroy Kane and that has its effects on Aishani, you can see where this goes? I cannot allow that to happen, so I will give you the means to protect Aerian from death by her gift”

Virra’s chest rise and fell more readily now as the weight of Haunted’s words pressed in her. But she inhaled deeply with closed eyes. “I’m listening. Every one of the Elcarus mean something to me especially Aerian. Talk to me. I will do whatever I must to keep the glue to the family and myself alive.”

“The orb you and Aerian retrieved from the dwarf city is a rare form of Ascondias magic, undiluted by the realm, it was taken as she arrived and then hidden when she intended to leave, of course that never happened and she was made Queen because of her lineage, but that magic is also an undamaged version of Aerian” haunted stopped as he looked over his shoulder, there was a nervousness to his words now

“You need to create two items using that magic, the tricky part is they need to be sealed with the blood of those to be tied to it, your’s and Aerians, once that is done it will allow Aerian to experience the visions as she is meant to do, the catch is some of the pain will be yours to bear with her, that I’m afraid is the cost of protecting her, making the items will be tricky few can do what is needed, Aerian may know of someone”

Virra closed her eyes absorbing his words, breathing returning to a calm and steady rise and fall of her chest, but, when they opened a determination had settled in. “Then Aerian needs to be informed of this meeting and the orb. But, in this case, what is it you mean by create two items using the magic? Such as what? You have to remember, I am a nothing in this realm. I have no magical talent or affinity. I was born and raised to be a killer, but, now I love Aerian with everything I am and will be. So I will do whatever I may to keep her safe, even at the risk of my own life. But, we will not go down that road and I will have to talk to her about this…bonding.”

Haunted looked frustrated for a moment as he paced before he led her a little deeper into the graveyard now standing behind his own grave “The price we pay to protect our own is never guaranteed” He sighed softly before appearing to lean against the high rising cross “The what these objects must be is less important than the way they are crafted, Kane and Aerian had pendants for a while but the Elcarus magic that allowed the link faded some time ago, Kane is less linked than Ascondia which is why you need the orb, A ring, a knife, anything that you will both keep close at all times, Aerian already knows this can be done but the burden of seer is hers and hers alone or so she would have you believe.”

Haunted now crossed to stand before her his eyes staring deeply into hers “Now as for you been nothing in this realm, you were raised to be a killer, and had that path come to conclusion you would have killed Aerian, however you did not, and you alone chose to extract yourself from that life, align yourself with her father without really knowing if he would have killed you the moment he retrieved his daughter, but trust me Virra the moment you gained Aerian’s absolute trust, and her heart, you became one of us, it may not be Elcarus blood in you but I believe your heart beats as if it had. I could have taken this to Hades or her father but I did not I came to you because you have the best chance of keeping my niece alive, she would without question lay her life down to protect you, trust me I’ve seen it and I had no doubt you would do the same, you could tell Aerian what you need the items for and she would likely give you her blood and the link would work, just less than if you can keep this step to yourself and ensure the bonding is as strong as it needs to be to protect her properly”

Virra listened to Haunted in silence while waking with him deeper into the graveyard. His words weighted heavily upon her while it was true. Every single word. In the end she looked to him. “I will relay this information to Aerian. She will not be pleased at missing this bit I understand the reason. Yes I will do everything in my power to get this ritual complete with her help. I will not see her buried.”

“Nor will I, despite what those above me may think, I will not sit back and watch my family shattered when I have the ability to correct it, be safe Virra and take care of my family” Haunted turned as he spoke as his wards faded into the darkness so did he.

Virra watched as Haunted and this ethereal world melted away. But turned to return to her home and search for the orb.

Aerian stirred, the cool air surrounding her as she turned to notice Virra was absent, slowly she climber from her bed to look in the rroms beyond, as she found Virra she smiled softly.

“You’re supposed to put things away when you tidy up not the other way around”

Virra was surrounded by a mess of items, though, glanced over her shoulder to Aerian and rose. Nearing her, gathering her hair as reigns in her hand and crushing her lips against her own. The heat and passion encompassing the kiss was breathtaking even as it deepened. Though, broke the kiss with a shrewd smack. “I need the sphere, the orb, we brought back. There is a ritual that has to be done, Haunted told me you know how to do the bonding or someone that may. It is crucial.”

Aerian melted against the kiss her hands sliding to Virras waist with a soft moan, as they separated and Virra spoke Aerian blinked.

“Uncle Haunted told you all this? Wonder how many rules he broke” She sighed softly as she slid into on of the chairs, her eyes watched Virra for a moment “The orb is sealed up in the Mansion, safe as safe as it ever could be, but the bind doesn’t hold Dad and I tried it, it was OK for a while then the spell wore off” She shook her head gently “If it was possible I would have found a way to do it, even tried to bury my gift altogether but that resulted in a really bad headache and tumble from the roof of the stables, not the softest ground to land on, seems if the realm wants me to know something I’m not able to ignore it”

Virra glanced to Aerian as she settled while falling to her knees before her with her hands caressing her thighs. “The orb is our only hope Firefly. I have seen what the realm has in store for you. But the orb and the bounding ritual will save you from that. I have every intention to make it work. Is your father the only one that knows how to do the ritual?”

“I can do the ritual the hard part is finding something to contain the magicks, it’s not easy to do” Aerian look to Virra with a smile “But I can do it”

“Good. Then that is what we will do. This burden is meant to be shared. It will allow your visions to be as they were meant to be. Something that we will wear all the time. I want rings.”

“I’m guessing he remembered to tell you about the mind splitting pain? And you may or may not see what I see” Aerian knelt down to kiss Virra “The problem is now we can’t get out of the grounds, there’s a thirty thousand strong army sat at our gates, guess we’ll have to fire up the mansions forge” She made her way back to their room to dress before returning to Virra.

As they crossed through the mansion and down into the basement she reached a wall, tapping the wall it parted revealing the vault within, inside we many things, weapons of ages past, armour bearing the Elveran Sigil, the picture of her and her parents now hung on the wall as she stopped too look “Huh I guess dad finally took it down now he has finally found love” She smiled softly and they carried on through “Not to sound like an ass but try not touch anything I honestly have no idea why half of this stuff is down here except its not to be in the hands of others, though Uncle Haunteds philosophy of lock it up rather than destroy it is starting to cause spacial issues, she finally reached a glass box, inside lay her fathers old blade from his time with the Elveran Army and beside it lay the orb”

“Like I promised safe and sound,” As they made their way back out she smiled slipping her fingers through Virra “Now the fun part”

“I’m willing to deal with such things, if it means you will remain by my side, Firefly. It is unimportant as to what I see or feel, you have a gift that has been misconstrued by the realm. It is time we take this by the horns.” She walked alongside Aerian as the two descended into the basement, Aerian looked around at the area with the many items of ages past. Virra paused to look at the picture with a smirk. “Cute kid. But that child turned into a sexy fire bomb.” Virra chuckled while her dark eyes shifted to Aerian, though, at they stood before the glass box, a smack was to her rump but this was before she lifted the orb. “Seems, we have work to do. Let’s get to it.” Virra responded with a squeeze to Aerian’s hand.

“We do indeed” Aerian replied softly with a smile and led Virra from the vault and through a hall, the forge sprung to life the moment they entered the fires burst to life with a deafening roar. Aerian plucked through a pile of rocks to make her metals choice weighing each before choosing them.

“Worst part of metal work is getting the metals right, I learnt how to do this ….” She trailed off for a moment “Well you alrady know what I used to do, so there’s no harm in telling you I learnt while I was trying to retrieve a rather precious item, unfortunately for me his wife caught us in bed and I had to kill them both” She shook her head with a dark smile “Then they sent dad after me and I stopped doing jobs that required murder,” She had never once dropped her work flow working the metal as if it were liquid, every movement she made was precise.

Virra’s eyes widened as the forge came to life, as though it was a breathing conscious creature. She chuckled while moving to help Aerian choose out the best metals, though, listened to her while she spoke during her work. “At times, I miss the killing…but, when I am with you it gives me more appreciation to life then before. Now, with Aishani pregnant even more. It’s rather funny, how we came from two paths and never crossed before until you were in the cell and then I knocked you out. It’s odd how the realm works.”

“Honestly I’m surprised we never crossed paths either, but the realm has its plan and I guess you knocking some sense into me was a huge part of that, as it seems is a need to share my gift or curse depending on your opinion” Aerian smiled as she took the orb, her eyes watched the magicks within twist and curl against the glass before she hit the glass against the edge of the anvil shattering the purple haze lurched upward at her and with a short flick was redirected into the molten metals it swirl and the sound as if it cried out in pain before it settled and the metal swirled swallowing it down.

As she moved a plate aside finding the mould for rings she smiled softly tossing in a fleck of her own power “No point guessing size when the realm will sort that for us, and if it’s going to make you suffer then it can damn sure make sure my promise ring to you fits”

“You should never feel wrong for who you were Virra, because who you were is what helped us both become who we are, and I don’t know what’s got you so rattled about my path but you should already know many have tried to kill me and so far none have succeeded, even less likely with you at my side” she poured the metal with a skill that was hard to deny as it lurched fro the pot and into the mold, it would take a moment as the metals began to cool, a hint of purple ran through each, but primarily they were silver and mythril green a symbol of their eternal meaning.

Virra sat on the anvil now, ankles crossed, content to watch Aerian move around but as the red heads back was to her, she moved over to wrap her arms around her waist with a brush of her lips against the slender neck. A hand lifted to brush aside her hair to offer more optimal contact, licking and nibbling. “There is still one more part to this…isn’t there. I understood blood was to be involved.” She whispered beside her lovers ear

Aerian turned to face Virra her eyes soft “He really did tell you it all didn’t he, I only found out blood was needed to strengthen the connection after our original attempt failed, but yes we are supposed to add blood before this finishes cooling, you wear the one with mine and I the one with yours” Aerian drew her dagger with a soft smile “But without question Virra I offer you my life, everything I am” she drew the blade over her palm opening a wound before letting the blood spill over one of the rings, it flared for a moment as the magics contained within drank the blood before it vanished back within the the metal.

“I also know you weren’t supposed to tell me that part because in telling me you eliminate the only possible way it could fail, it had to be a willing sacrifice to open my gift to you, the rings and the magic would have worked it just wouldn’t have lasted more than a couple of years, once you add your blood, its for life, even if anything should happen between us Virra your stuck with it” There was a serious edge to her words as she swallowed down the thought that she could lose the only person in the realm she trusted and loved above even herself.

Of course, he did. He wants you to be safe and this is the only way he knows to protect you. Since he also knows I will do anything to keep you safe…” Virra removed a dagger from her sheath, eyes meeting that of Aerian’s. “I know this is not exactly kosher…” She sliced her hand while watching the blood pool in her palm. “I offer all that I am to you, Aerian. My light. My Firefly. My heart.” Virra turned her hand over to pour the blood upon the untouched ring, watching the effects from the flare and the metal cooled with the beautiful metal. Though before Aerian could reach for the mold of her ring, Virra snatched it and opened it up, lowering down to one knee and taking her hand with a kiss. “Aerian, I love you. As I place this ring upon your finger, we are bound and our fates become one. Please, will you marry me?” She held the ring between index and thumb to display, as those dark eyes were fixed up on her.

Aerian blinked her heart thundering against her chest as she stood still covered in soot from the forge her eyes on the ring then Virra, the moment held as the words failed her, finally she smiled “I will, of course I will”

As she felt the ring slip onto her finger then twist and form into shape she took the other and then Virras hand sliding it into place on her lovers hand, softly she smiled “That’s it, you’re stuck with me now, we are part of each other forever”

“Hate to spoil it. But you were stuck with me the moment I first laid eyes on you.” Virra stood and pulled Aerian into a deep and passionate kiss. As though the blood was not enough but this emotion behind such a display of affection staked the gate of the two young lovers. Now they were more then in a relationship but bound together as one. The ritual was complete.

It wouldn’t be long before their ritual would be tested as they made their way home, it hit, Aerian felt it stagger her as she looked to Virra there was an odd look in her eyes, she could feel the fire in her head and every fibre of who she was, burning every nerve as the visions hit, a flicker of the Elveran Castle Throne Room, she could taste the blood that was in the air, Ceremon and Z’ress were seated, Hareavor lingered beside them.
Aerian felt the knot of panic rise as she saw him but pushed aside the panic as she seated herself knowing this wasn’t real, Ascondia was blood stained and beaten, covered with scraps of cloth, as she looked to Aerian she was dead eyed. The scene continued as Aerian edged closer, it was oddly cold, she reached her mother taking her hands.
“Aerian, you came, I’m sorry”
The pain was sudden and intense or it should have been as she looked to see the blade clean through her, she heard the cry of Virra beyond, before Ascondia pulled the blade sideways spilling her insides to the ground. Aerian staggered and hit the ground. The vision faded as she looked into the dark of the Mansion courtyard, the dull ache in her head still present.
She crawled to Virra “Tell me I didn’t see what I think I just saw, I thought we were supposed to avoid me ending up dead” it had begun to rain as she sat resting against Virra in the dirt, her mind struggling to wrap around her vision “I’ve never had one so clear, not like that”

Virra was laying on her back, almost as though the air was punched from her lungs, she was gasping to the pain but when Aerian crawled over to her those dark eyes looked dazed to her. But, Aerian saw the clarity dawning on her, her jaw was clenched as it was more then clear that Virra was none too pleased about the vision. But sat up to wrap an arm around Aerian, pulling her close as the rain poured down on them, perching her chin on the fiery crown of the red-head. “No. I saw it. Everything. Then we have to take the situation to avoid it. Nothing is set in stone, Firefly. Nothing.”

“This one we’re supposed to avoid” Aerian kissed Virras forehead gently “Besides I’m not just going to stand there and let my mother be the one to kill me, seems anti climatic somehow” it was an odd tone in Aerians voice almost as if she were joking.

“Besides she’s in a castle cell, and we’re stuck behind a whole shit load of bad guys, the chances of us getting out alive right now are rather small, we have to wait for Dad and Aishani to pull of whatever it is they’re doing doing” Again she kissed Virra “And sorry I did warn you it hurts like hell”

Aerian let her hand slide under Virras shirt against the now wet flesh “I love you,” she breathed softly

Virra smirked to Aerian as her lips planted upon her forehead. “That’s my Firefly, full of spice.” She adjusted as the second kiss was presented, grimacing a slight. “Yes you did and I would gladly feel the pain to just have you still here with me. The wait is going to be a killer, but, I can manage.” Virra lifted her hand to place over Aerian’s beneath her shirt with the wet fabric between, raising her other hand to curl around Aerian’s neck and crush her lips against hers. The passion was breathtaking while the kiss enveloped every essence of their affection, though, after Virra placed her forehead against Aerian’s. “Now and forever.” She smirked

Aerian growled against the kiss before letting her hands work to ease Virra out of her clothes, the rain soaking them to the core but ignored among the passion that spilt through ever pore. Aerian placed kisses over Virras rain soaked skin losing herself in her lover, Aerians hands roamed the wet flesh her lips catching every inch of flesh.

Virra’s skin was blotched with colour as Aerian removed her tunic to expose her bosom and skin to the assault of the weather with the warmth of her lips. Her sounds her barely heard over the pounding rain as though the realm itself wept over the vision. She ran her hands through Aerian’s fiery threads as curling to utilise as reigns to bring her lips against Aerian in a deep and passionate kiss. Her own hand roamed and sunk beneath Aerian’s shirt to cup and knead into her mounds with a pluck of the buds insert the fabric.

Aerian moaned deeply her whole body pressed into Virra now as she slowly letting her hand slide against Virras inner thigh slowly, locked deep in the kiss for a moment before letting her fingers graze the tender flesh between Virras thighs, letting her fingers slowly trace her lower lips for a moment before sliding between them, slowly tracing over her clit.

Amidst the kiss, Virra moaned while her hands press more firmly into her bosom with a roll of each bud between her fingers followed by a pluck. As one hand continued the motions, Virra moved the palm behind to dip beneath her pants to cup and squeeze her bottom in order to press her closer. A single digit sliding between her soaked petals then up to plunge within her back door without warning or permission.

Aerian squirmed against the invasion, a low whimper escaping her lips. Her fingers tensed against Virra clit Virra for a moment before Aerian allowed her fingers slip down a little more and slip into her heated centre. The scent of the rain mixed with the scent of Virra was pushing Aerian into a whirlwind of emotion and need.

Virra released a supple signed of pleasure that only seemed to accent their voyage in this vessel of pleasure. Sliding her thumb to trace the drooling hate to her core just as another digit accompanied the current at Aerian’s starlet. Her free hand massaging hungrily into Aerian’s mounds with a pinch and pluck of the bud. The two hoping lovers were lost in their own world amidst the courtyard for any to witness.

Aerian let her fingers ease deeper into Virra for a moment before letting them slip back and circle the tender clit, her body pressed against Virra as the rain still hammered down on them. Her lips finding flesh of Virras neck and shoulder, instinct pushed her back against Virras actions. Aerian was already lost in her very real need for Virra, even as odd as it was for her to be so aggressively, in this moment Aerian didn’t care all she wanted was Virra.

Virra growled softly to the contact that Aerian made to her skin with her lips, while the fingers tended to Aerian’s starlet with more fever then before and the thumb dipped into her honey pot to caress the entry, though, now she curled her leg within Aerian’s to turn her over with a splash into the wet grass. The dark presence in her eyes spoke of the hunger that was deeply seated in the dark haired woman, but, before Aerian could react the sound of ripped fabric was heard while her shirt was ripped open and Virra lunched down to press her lips in an encompass to the tender erect buds, but never did her other bosom feel neglected with the grasp and massage of her hand.

Aerian whimpered as she hit the ground the cold of the earth seeping through her clothes, the feeling of the cool air across her skin forced her back to arc slightly into Virra as her body was exposed to the air and rains. There was something wicked in her eyes as she stared at Virra, before she reached up catching Virras hair into her hand and pulling her to a deep kiss, the passion as deep as she had ever known, her whole body shuddered.

Virra returned the fiery in the kiss as though the feeling was constable liquid and moaned amidst the tango of their sick muscles. Just then Virra’s thumb pressed upon Aerian’s button in a massage while her fingers pounded info her back door. It was clear now the purpose of the movements as they were to make Aerian scream with release.

Aerian growled deeply as her body shuddered, her legs trembling as her whole body shook with the wave of pleasure that ripped through her. Her mind went numb for a moment only the resounding thud of her own heartbeat was able to make it through the wave of pleasure that rocked her body.

Aerian smiled darkly as she shifted suddenly beneath Virra moving into position directly between her thighs, Aerian gripped Virras hips and pulled her down into her waiting mouth her tongue striking her clit with intent to return the same pleasure to her lover.

Virra was too lost on the fact of her lover releasing with an incredibly sound to react fast enough to Aerian’s movements. The instant her lips made contact with the lower petals, Virra howled with joy to the kiss that ensued in a whisper at her flower, urging the molten core to melt and give in to the urging from Aerian.

Just then her body tensed and that is when Aerian was paid with a rush of nectar, that was sweet and delicious, but, Virra lowered her hand to reign in Aerian’s hair tightly to not let the girl escape and give to desiring more, as her hips began to roll into her fiery lover.

Aerian moaned against the rush, drinking down her lover, not willing to spill a drop of her reward. As she lay listening to Virras breath she heard the draw of weapons and draw of a bow, instantly her blood froze and as quick she went for her weapon only to be greeted with a boot to the ribs, a low growl of menace as she slid to her knees.

“I wouldn’t bother” Came the voice, so dark and detached “So when did my little princess fall for the girls? I thought you were happiest keeping our group happy? Though pity you ran out on your wedding, can’t say our boss too happy about that one girl, still you are hand delivering your little toy here, so perhaps you’ll keep your head after all”

I didn’t take Aerian long to put the pieces together, Virras father along with half a dozen mercenaries had seemingly managed to do the impossible and breach the defences of Elcarus Mansion, she mentally tapped the defences to know the anti harm spells were still up. Her eyes slid to Virra with a smirk “Seems my need for you got the better of my guard, though I’m curious how they got by the defence” There was accusation in her voice as she snapped her head to Virras father “But I already know it wasn’t here, which means somehow you got in through the caves beneath, the ones that feed the manor, which we can’t extend the fields to without almost killing my dad or my Uncle, so while you think you’re clever you’re actually not”

He struck and again Aerian was put the ground “I can’t kill you girl, your little spells prevent that, but we’re working on it, they will come down and when they do, I’m going to rip you apart for taking my daughter”

Virra moved to place herself between Aerian and her father. “The only one that is going to be ripped apart is YOU!” She stood and glared at her father. Asian had never seen such hatred in her eyes and it was enough to make one reconsider. “All I have ever done was to prove myself to you. That I was worthy. You sell me off like I was cattle to the slaughter. For once in your life you take sides with the money, but it is the wrong side. Mommy would be disappointed in you if she were alive. You mean to take away the one thing in this world I love…believe me. I fight for what I believe in. Do you?”

“All you had to do was sleep with Hareavor or Ceremon, have their child and we would have had the keys to the kingdom, but you chose to run, make no mistake Virra, when it comes to money and power, I need believe in nothing else” He smiled darkly as he looked at the two women with a smile “You are still the most beautiful creature I have ever seen, your mother would be proud”

Aerian spat blood into the ground before pushing herself to her knees “Yea, she would just not for the reasons you think, you can’t win and right about now Uncle Hades is going to know your here which means your ass is toast, little unknown fact about the defences of Dentarius, the anti harm charms only work on other people, we can actually kill uninhibited, bit silly of us not to be able to protect our own asses after all”

A flicker of concern crossed his face just for a moment before he looked to Virra “She’s lying? Trying so desperately to protect you, and your soul, so she doesn’t learn you wanted her dead just as badly as the rest of us, they took our meal ticket when her daddy made slavery illegal in Dentarius, our entire stock gone, the food on your table, your almost starved to death, had you not had the good sense to lay on your back and spread your legs you likely would have” He looked back to Aerian with a cruel smile “Bring the defences down and I will see that you both live, I’ll even be nice and lock you up together, you can fuck each other all you like and starve to death together in the dungeons”

“You already know I can’t, in over five hundred years they’ve only ever been brought down once, and it took a horde of dragons to do that, your no dragon, and the rest of your forces are on the other side, we can wait it out” Aerian replied softly “So can we get dressed before we freeze to death and you have to explain to my dad how his daughter and her lover died” There was a strange tease to the way she stated the word lover, a warning that Virra was hers now, and her family would defend her as one of their own “Virra may not be blood, but she is family, a concept lost on you it seems”

“Muzzle your bitch Virra or I will” He barked angrily

Virra remained calm, listening to her father, while the dangerous glint in her eyes resembled daggers. She neither confirmed or denied any of it, including calling Aerian out. She stood now, while her barked angrily to her, regardless of being exposed and the men behind him leering. “Mom…would be disappointed in YOU! There was a time, I had a father but you have never been a father to me. Yes, we were starving and there was no sense in talking sense into you. You are selfish pompous idiot, for once, I am ashamed of you. If you were smart…and I know you can be when greed isn’t blinding your actions. Ceremon knows, you go after the gold to line your pockets…I am happy and I actually HAVE a family now.” She reached back to pull Aerian up, displaying her hand to him. “We are engaged and I will be damned if you lay one…finger…on her, ever. All I have ever wanted was to make you proud, to treat me like your blood. Be smart, tactical, Pops. You are a tool as are your men. I have only ever wished to make you proud, suffered alone. Until I found her, she suffered alone and together we do so. I am going to give you one option, leave or join us. There is more strength in this family, then in Ceremon’s pinky finger. You always told me to choose my battles wisely, in this, it is a wise move.”

“You’re blind loyalty was always your best quality Virra, it’s a shame you chose to ignore your family, now you will die along with them” He turned to his men with a nod “Lock them up, let’s not keep Lord Hareavor waiting too much longer, find the other one, he will bring the fields down or he will watch his niece die very slowly”

Two men grabbed Aerian from behind following suit a further two grabbing Virra.

“He knows every inch of these grounds, and he knows how to circumvent the defences, Uncle Hades will kill your men and lock you in the dungeons right next to us,” She stopped as she stepped back feeling the over familiar prickle of a vision “Oh shit!” she muttered softly, steeling herself for a moment, it took everything she had to force it down her mind pushing back the forces of the realm itself as she clutched for Virra, she knew the pain that was tearing at her and could only imagine how it would feel to Virra, the realm was never one to wait one way or another.

Suddenly the pain vanished as a form swept through her, long blond hair and a childish charm, Virras father looked the figure over before taking a swing passing clean through.

“Yea really hard to hit a ghost,” Krystal laughed “Seems you really managed to piss the realm off, and Kane, and Hades well he has some seriously murderous intent, but they sent lil old me to deliver a message,”

“The dead don’t stay dead in Dentarius, I though it was just a clever play of words” Virras father muttered, the men had suddenly seemed nervous.

“Virras right you really ain’t too smart, Was he always this dumb, geez and I thought I got the shallow end of the gene pool. Oh well enough about that,” Aerian stopped his train of thought

“Why did they send you Krystal?”

“Oh right, the message, Ceremon wouldn’t keep dear Dad around, he wants the Mansion and he wants it empty, you’re just a means to an end, Hareavor would like rip your daughter apart for fun and well we already know you don’t care, so the message isn’t for you in the end” He turned walking back toward Virra.

“Convince Aerian to bring down the defences, it’s the only way to save her” his words were in Virras head as he walked right through her “But let them lock you two up first, and she isn’t to drop them until we say, everything for a reason I promise you that on my word as family, she is right you may not be blood, but you’ve earned your place among us”

Virra snarled at her father and just as she was to lunge forward was caught by two men, as they eyed her lustfully, but, she struggled with them. A glance now to Virra told Aerian everything she needed to know, as she was keeled over, gritting her teeth and panting to the insufferable pain that gutted her at that moment. She gasped when the pain was abolished and looked up as a familiar figure stood, Virra took advantage of the stun from the two men and shoved them back to move and wrap her arms around Aerian.

As Krystal walked through her and the voice sounded in her head, Virra nodded, leaning to whisper to Aerian. “Don’t fight it, Firefly…trust me on this.”

Aerian looked to Virra for a moment, but she stopped fighting as they led the two women off and through the Mansion, the doors to the dungeon were heavy as they slammed shut. Aerian watched as the guards retreated to just outside before she turned to face Virra.

“Thank you, if not for these” She raised the ring with a smile “You’re asshole of a Dad might have learnt what I really am, though I wonder in doing so if it would have been enough to change his loyalty to Ceremon, seems those of us cursed are rather high value, I’m sorry he won’t see you for you are though, if he crosses Uncle Hades, Hades won’t blink, wont think he will cut him down, not for us but Jade, you may want to make peace with that”

Aerian sank into he corner digging out the robes that were kept in the dungeons, they were poor quality but at least they wouldn’t freeze to death as she offered one to Virra “So why are we tactfully bowing out of this fight?”

She accepted the robe from Aerian but pulled her close as their combined body heat will definitely keep them warm. “Krystal. He told me to convince you to be locked away and to lift the wards with his signal. Can you do that? Trust me, Firefly. As confused as you, but the reason is far from me…at this time.”

“I can” She stated softly looking to Virra “But you know what they are for, the moment we drop them it lets Hareavor in, and his forces, we can’t defend against that” There was fear in her words as she spoke, her eyes closed as she settled against Virra “It puts us all in danger, it puts you in danger and I can’t, I won’t let that happen”

“I’m aware of this…but think about it Firefly. There is a reason that he wants this. We will be safe, of that I have no doubt.”

Aerian sat silent as she let things sink in her mind, her head still aching from the vision that should have been before she breathed and nodded “OK, just tell me when and I’ll bring the defences down, don’t really see many other options anyways”

“Good. I don’t know what is in store, Firefly. But we need rest and to be ready when the time comes.” She wrapped her arms around the redhead but tilted her chin up to kiss her softly.

[A New Path] There’s No Way In

Hades wiped the blood from his hands, his eye sight still blurred from the flames, a fire in the out buildings had taken the lives of 2 women and a child, he eyed his reflection darkly for a moment, before splashing his face with water, his reflection vanishing behind the layer of condensation now settling on the glass.

He moved from the small bathroom to their room, some of his skin still reddened by burn but largely unharmed, as he crossed to the window, for the moment he was only in his under wear, choosing to strip the rest of his clothes, as they had entered their chambers, quietly he watched from the window as the staff below began clearing away the remnants of the burned building.

The sweet smell of Jade entered the room with the subtle cherry blossom amidst the smoke that clung to the fabric of her soot covered kimono as was her socks amidst her sandals. When she arrived, mysteriously the fire dwindled and then eventually was conquered. She moved to stand behind him, looking to his reflection within the pane of glass, while remaining silent but placed a hand upon his shoulder. The heat that had reddened his flesh seemed to shift and swarm to her touch to alleviate such completely. “I apologize, I was not fast enough to save those lives from the consumption of the flames. But, nothing remains passed for long…” Her almond slanted brown eyes looked for his gaze in the window glass.

“I don’t think we were supposed to get to them,” Hades sounded heavy in his words “A reminder that we are not as invincible as legend may have us appear. Undoubtedly a warning of what’s to come, still this isn’t the first time we have ended up with innocent blood on our hands, nor is likely to be the last. It was a message loud and clear to lay down to the new order.”

“Death doesn’t frighten me Jade, it never has, but losing you, I would gladly lay Dentarius to waste to prevent that,” There was a straight tone of defiance in his words as he looked to those almond eyes, her beauty reflected within his own eyes “I said I wouldn’t do this, until the time was absolutely right, but considering today and a war that may leave me dead or worse, time isn’t always going to play fair.”

He swept past her reaching under the dresser until a click was heard before he retracted with a small box, opening he showed her the contents, perfect and made of mythril the material appeared to be movement itself, laced with veins of Sapphire and emerald, almost alive set against the slight blue of the metal “Jade, I’m not one for sentiment, nor settling so I thought,” he slid to one knee “But without you I’m lost, the dark is always clear with you by my and side while our wedding may not happen until this war is done, I will if you will allow it like very much for you to become my better half, in whatever may come Jade will you marry me?”

Jade watched him with the faint smile at the edges of her lips, to offer him strength in this trying time. “I have been surrounded by death and it has clung to me when I escaped the homestead…I do not fear it.” Those beautiful brown, exotic eyes watched him as he went to the dresser, tilting her head a slight curious by his movements. Her eyes widened at the contents of the box, when he slid down to one knee, a smile formed on her lips, the one that was meant for him and she collapsed to her knees, tucking her feet beneath her bottom. Jade stared at him for quite a long time in silence, then caught her lower lip between her teeth. “Yes. Oh, yes, Hades. You have been able to accept me for that which I am and will be, as I do much the same with you and I want to be there with and for you.”

Hades smiled softly as he watched her reaction, as she agreed he stood kissing her deeply his hands sweeping her from her feet before landing them both on the bed.

His hands froze in their path as a knock was heard on their chambers door, Hades growled “I swear to the twelve someone hates me getting laid!” he shot a glance at the door “Enter!”

The guard was beaten heavily as he dropped to a knee “My lord, your brother” The guard stopped in his words as Hades looked to him “Hareavor is at the gate with terms of surrender.”

Hades was on his feet and his weapon drawn before the guard had finished as Hades tore through the halls and down the stairs into the hall beyond. It didn’t take long for him to reach the gates, he eyed the horde of vampires and undead that now lay beyond.

“You can’t fight us brother, not all of us, and we already know Kane isn’t here nor his dear little wife, they’re hiding in the Drow city and so we are here,” Hareavors words dripped with darkness as Hades glared at him

“And you can’t breach Kanes magic with your army. You know we are supplied to survive for a decade or more, so of the two of us,” Hades began

“If enough attack your precious shield it will fall, you know that Hades don’t test me,” Hareavor bit back angrily “Bow before the crown and we will spare you precious city.”

Hades knew before looking that Jade was behind him, the scent of cherry blossom lightly dusting his surroundings but that is when she moved to his side with a steady hand placed on his shoulder to offer him support and strength. Those exotic almond slanted brown eyes fixed on Hareover and the horde behind him.

Hareavor stared at Jade, his eyes taking her in slowly as he looked to her a smile curled his lips.

“She’s a pretty one, does she taste as sweet as she looks brother?”

Hades grip tightened against his blade as his eyes flashed coldly, there was a darkness in Hades that rippled just beneath the surface.

“You are no brother of ours, and if you so much as think about touching my wife I will rip your heart from chest before you do so, make no mistake Hareavor, while Kane holds some misguided thought you can be brought into the fold, even after you raped and tortured his daughter not once but twice, I do not, you are an abomination and there will only be one result for you, my blade coated in your blood” The words were not mixed with signals a straight threat issued to Hareavor now, Hareavor responded by tapping the magical barrier that surrounded Elcarus lands, it rippled with purples and blues.

“Impressive, and then beyond is the anti violence charms, he does like his magic” Hareavor struck the barrier with his sword only for the sword to shatter as it hit “Impressive indeed, but we will get in, and you will watch as I take your slave girl then you will watch as I carved her up before killing you and allowing her to watch with her final breaths before she too winds up dead like the little slave slut she is”

The was a rumble of thunder just beyond the barrier as lightening struck the ground behind the lines of undead that waited to march upon Elcarus Mansion. Hades looked beyond then behind him, the twins who had informed of the coup in Elvera now stook hands linked raging the storms beyond the barrier.

“It wont save you Hades, nothing can save you now, bow before the King and Queen and maybe we’ll spare the city”

“You know the funny about this magic Harevor is its rather one sided, you can’t get in, nothing can actually but funnily enough” Hades looked to roof now lined with archers “It will allow us rain hell upon you from within”

Hareavor looked to Jade with a smirk “Hear that my darling, empty threats, the Lord of Underworld has nothing but magic trickery and a few archers, and he knows he can’t protect you from what’s to come. You chose the wrong side when you ran away, I will enjoy making you my whore”

Jade met his gaze, this once shy girl, now taken on by Hades and their love had grown to be an engagement of a promise to wed as being his fiancé. She was much stronger now, then when they first met and come into her own. Even though, her kimono was soiled with ash, as was her feet in the socks, a smear on her cheek. 

Those exotic almond slanted eyes looked beyond the horde as the electricity in the air from the lightening barrier occurred, a small smile on her lips. “Even if we allow you beyond, there is no guarantee that the city will be safe.” As a bolt of lightening struck the ground, Jade lifted her hand and then the electricity was absorbed in her. “I haven’t forgotten that which you had done with my family. But now, I have a new family. I will protect them with all that I am. I will see you cooked from the inside out. You are the reason I am here and I can not be more thankful for it.” She splayed her fingers to reveal sparks from the tips due to her absorption of the lightening.

“Fiery too, so different to the weak little slave girl, but that’s fine it means wont die too quickly as I rip you apart” Hareavor grinned darkly as he looked to Hades “What do you think, should I fuck her as I cut her throat or just drive my sword clean through her? Then again why will it matter you’ll be dead”

“Always grand threats with you isn’t it Hareavor? You leave a trail of dead women in your wake, because you’re afraid of men perhaps? Daddy didn’t love you enough? It’s not going to matter, you will always be the failure to him, a created killer with no remorse” hades snapped back, there was anger that traced every word as his eyes never left Hareavors.

“I’m the failure?” Hareavor actually laughed at his words in that moment

“I can still feel, I doubt you get pleasure from anything you do, a cold existence. You will die either here and soon or in the not so distant future, it honestly wont matter, you will not harm Jade that I can promise you” Hades took Jades hand and drew her to him “Come on, let’s go get something to eat, leave him to idle threats as long as the barriers are up that’s all he has”

“Only for now Hades mark my words on that, we will be on you soon enough” Hareavor called after then, Hades stopped just for a moment turning to face Jade kissing her with a deep passion before looking back to Hareavor.

“We’ll be waiting”

Jade walked away with Hades while her hand lowered to his. “They can’t get under the wards can they? What I mean to say is take away something needed and there is a chance at some point leaving is the only option. Such as supplies.”

“Kane and Haunted built the wards, as far as I know there is no way in” Hades sounded less than certain in his words, Hareavor had settled uneasily under his skin “I’ll double the guards as best as we can, all we can do is wait this out”

Jade tilted his head at the uncertainty in his voice and lowered a hand to slip within his. “Whatever happens we will ALL get through this together. Hareover inched his easy beneath your skin just as he wanted. Plus the Kitsune in me… Will not stand down. Many don’t know if us and it will be an advantage.”

[A New Path] We Need Dragons

Heart sat on the edge of the bar as the last of the patrons filed out for the night. Quietly he had been wishing today would just end, Emerald City had a very strange air to it lately as they sat on baited breath, the rest of the realm on the edge of war.

“It’s not good for you to worry so much my lord,” Anya stated as she moved from behind the bar and began sweeping the floor.

“Do you remember the last time our realm was plunged into war?” Heart replied awkwardly, memories he would sooner forget than relive to be sure.

“We were fortunate enough to avoid it” Anya replied firmly “And we will this time, Lady Aishanis orders were clear we are to remain and protect Emerald City”

“It’s my family out there Anya” Heart replied

“And we will handle it” Kane stated firmly as he strode in through the door, shortly flanked by Aishani and Stacy “Besides I need you to keep Stacy out of the hands of anyone who wants to use her”

Heart let his eyes stray slowly over Stacy with a smile before he slid from the bar to cross to them “Heart” he said extending his hand, Kane eyed him for a moment before he stepped aside clearing the remaining view for Heart to get a long look at Stacy.

“Hands off, you know the rule” Kane stated firmly

“Mmm well Sarantha wasn’t so stuck to the rules” Heart smirked only for Kane to slap him upside the head firmly

“Asshole!” Heart bit back though his tone carried the playful air of a brother

A smirk formed on her lips to the interaction between Kane and Heart while leaving the two at it and moving to Anya. “How is my favourite Drow these days?”

“He worries, it’s not good for him, nor our business” Anya replied continuing to finish her duties “But he has assigned guards to key points in the city, no one will get down here, no harm will come to us milady”

“That is the Heart we need, it’s good to know, so have you or anyone heard of the dragons joining this… There are other creatures involved in Ceremon’s side.” She turned in his direction.

Heart looked back to Aishani with a smile, “It is indeed a trying time, but if anyone knows the status of Ceremons inner forces it will be Ascal, the former leader of the Dragon Mages, though he is somewhat more guarded these days” 

Kane watched for a moment “He wont soon forget he almost destroyed the whole realm, but if Ceremon has Dragon Mages we need to know before we bring an army of dragons back into the Everlands”

Heart nodded “Aishani is Queen, he cannot refuse her an audience, nor can he refuse to answer her questions, she also has the power to grant him a pardon from his previous crimes which you would need to honor”

“A small price, to pay  order to assure he would be on our side.” Aishani nodded while standing beside Kane. “Show us to him. We have no time to waste.”

Heart looked to Kane with a nod “You know how this works,” he stated firmly

Kane nodded “I’ll stay put,”

Heart looked to Anya then back to Kane before looking to Aishani, alright let’s go. They crossed through the heart of the city and down into a lower area, a market of some description though you had to believe the comings and goings here were less savoury than those of the plaza above. 

Finally, they arrived at what would look to be an alchemist, inside dark and smelt of mould and herbs “what brings you here Rayheart,” a voice spoke from the back behind a rather large pile of books and various oddities.

Aishani pulled up the hood of her cloak to conceal her presence though followed Heart closely. Once in the building, it was clear to her by the odor of mould and books which lay beyond. When the voice spoke she looked in the direction with a slight turn of her head. “I brought him here.” Her hands lifted to draw back her cheek sending those luscious raven dreads spilling and her golden eye was fixed on the books. “Step forth for your Queen to lay eyes upon you.”

Ascal coughed abruptly before appearing, his deep red robes did little to hide the frail face he now had, “Milady, such an honour for you to visit my humble home. Though I’m curious as to why that would be?”

A smirk formed on her lips at the sight of the man before her. “I believe you know already why I would seek out a Dragon Mage at this particular time. I apologize but I don’t have time for pleasantries. So I will cut to the chase. Does Ceremon have dragons on his side? I was told you were the individual to come to for those answers.”

Ascal scratched his chin for a moment before looking to her “He does not, there are no dragons in the Everlands,” He replied flatly “You’re husband saw to that,” It was odd the bitter tone in his voice now as he looked from Aishani to Heart then back “However I suspect he will have some of my brothers with him, and they would have the knowledge to bring dragons if that was his plan.”

Heart shifted awkwardly “So he doesn’t but there’s a good chance he will,” it wouldn’t be hard to detect the panic at the thought of dragons in the Everlands again.

“Oh you misheard me Rayheart, I said they had the knowledge, I didn’t say they had the power to do so, that takes a little more,” Ascal stopped before looking dead to Aishani “Your husband ensured those with the power almost all wound up dead, several by his hand, still with Ceremon at their back I’m sure they’ll find the power if they need it. My understanding is they have the better of you at the moment, so the power of dragons isn’t required,” There was a darkness to his voice as he uttered those last words “To bring forth a dragon blood is required, a lot of it, dragons were outlawed in the Everlands centuries ago because they couldn’t be controlled, they were rather fond of young children it seems, purity you see intrigues them, but the blood has to be spilt willingly to bring them forth, we raised our children to believe that was their birth right.”

Heart squirmed once more before a frustrated growl cut from his throat “Forgive me Aishani but there is only so much I need to hear, I’ll be outside if you need me,” He quickly extracted himself from the shop breathing deep as he tried to gather himself and any measure of control.

“So frail a mind, still he saw the horror a dragon can bring, they would need purity, several of our people and at least one elder among them to even attempt to bring dragons through, though perhaps having Elcarus magic some of that could be circumvented, it’s not like your husband was going to borrow us his power now was it? But then again Elcarus blood had to die to weaken them, and power of the Unicorns and Dires were required to drive them out, so you can see how much is required not only to bring them forth but to force them out, a power best not trifled with.”

“I see. Though this comes puzzling to me. You said the blood of an Elcarus can weaken them. But what if Elcarus blood summoned them. I am keeping things in mind for the future. I understand bad blood is between you and Kane. He had to do what he could to survive and not lose the kingdom. This placed you at odds. But a more powerful force would be to combine and eliminate a threat together. Of course with a chance of pardon…”

“Kane should take his head,” Heart snapped angrily, having now regained his composure he had returned to Aishanis side once more, “We knew it was dark magic that brought the dragons but innocent children? That’s outright wrong,” Heart sighed softly “Forgive me, I may have a reputation for been lose with my morals but, there really are worse. And he is under watch by the Royal Guards, so there is that.”

“Not defending him in the slightest but the children had to have been willing. Unfortunately, some practices by others may be the evil but also the greater evil, while to them it is common. You would not do well in my society. I did not fit well within…due to my differences.” She placed a hand on Heart’s shoulder, offering him a smirk. “It is not quite the question of morals it is a question of humanity.”

“I will return to Kane to impart or information.” She commented walking with Heart though drawing up her good to keep her identity from those in the streets.

Kane was stretched out on the bed in their inn room, his eyes closed as he quietly took in the sounds of the city outside, not a difficult task when that city was built deep in the heart of a mountain, the sounds we automatically more evident. The heart of Emerald City was far anything Kane had ever been a part of, a strange chance for him to not be the one everyone looked to, though he was alongside his wife Aishani.

He heard the steps enter and then one pair lightly move to the stairs and down the hall to stop before the door. One had to listen very closely to catch hearing of such delicate and quiet steps. He knew who it was before the knock announced his wife on the other side.

He smiled softly flicking his glance to the door “It is open my love,” he called.

Aishani entered while removing her cowl then closing the door behind her. Walking with that subtle say if her hips to guide her gently to settle in the edge of the bed. “He spoke of no dragons being on Ceremon’s side. No one having the power of such.”

Kane shifted himself sliding his head into her lap “That’s something, I trust he is none to thrilled to think the information going into my hands, still if I’m to bring dragons into the realm, it’s nice to know we will ultimate control” Kane relaxed as he felt her scent surround him, the outside falling away as he settled into the sense of his lover. 

Aishani glanced down to him, caressing his face, with her nails very gently running against his scalp beneath the dark threads. “Ascal did mention that Ceremon may have some of his brothers with him, meaning that if he wished to bring dragons, that they knew how to do such.” She placed a hand on her abdomen, while there were no signs as of yet, but, soon it would be bulging with the presence of the twins growing within her. “They have the knowledge but not the power. You ensured those with the power were eliminated and for that it is a good thing given the current circumstances. My concern is Stacy, being able to uphold the power, even Aerian. Would Virra’s father get a hold of her, then it would be bait for Aerian to come and rest assured that she would? Apparently, the blood of children, purity is needed willingly to bring forth a dragon. I am concerned that Heart’s morals will ultimately push him over the edge.”

“Heart is one of few I trust with my life, when it comes to the wire, he will do what’s right,” Kane smiled his hand now resting on her stomach “Virra’s father is headed to Dentarius as we speak, an unfortunate series of events which we cannot allow to distract us right now, our next move will either turn the tide in our favour or hand victory to Ceremon, Aerian, Virra and Hades can handle Dentarius for now,” There was a tone of uncertainty in his voice as he spoke “Stacy will need to remain here, she cannot fall into their hands, she has the power to bring the realm to its knees let alone bring dragons here, she is quite literally the most powerful thing in the realm aside from the realm itself, a power best in our hands right now”

Kane fell quiet for a time his mind digesting Aishanis words as he thought their path through “She should be under heavy guiard at all times, I have faith in Hearts abilities but as a bodyguard, not so much, besides he is more likely to try bed her and call that his way of protecting her. That’s another whole set of problems we don’t need,” there was a chuckle to his words and yet his words were as serious as their situation “She needs to be protected and I see no safer place than here?”

She looked down to him then upwards with a sigh, stopping the stroking fingers through his hair to lean back. “Truth be told, we need the upper hand. But, bringing dragons would turn us into the Dragon Mages of the last war. It is a thin line, due to the fact of possibly the tides turning with the dragons turning against us. But, it is a chance we have to take. First, we need to speak to the unicorns and dire wolves to give them the option and allow them in on our plan, should they decided to join on our side. Yes, Stacy needs to be protected at all costs, granted it may be a small price to pay to leave her with Heart. But who knows, he deserves someone as well.”

“Heart isn’t the settle down type, never has been,” Kane rolled over laying flat on his back to look up at her “I wasn’t going to make a decision without everyone involved, but I don’t see too many other options, with Ceremon in the position he is I don’t see many other choices open to us and that scares the hell out of me.”

She looked down to him with a heavy sigh. “I’m the Queen of Emerald City and this does make you by rights of marriage the King. We need to do whatever needs to be done to keep the realm safe.”

“Me king? We probably shouldn’t point that out, especially to those who seem to blame me for their exile,” Kane chuckled softly “It’s always a balancing act, one move the wrong way tips the balance of power and it all comes tumbling down.”

She looked down to him, a raven brow lofted with that clear golden eye with the milky one fixed on him, groaning and falling with her back against the bed. “As I said we should speak to the unicorns and dire wolves, before bringing in the dragons. They alone are powerful beings that need to be taken into account. This will threaten the realm, especially with Ceremon in power. His experimentation and playing with natural set of things will ultimately cause the realm to tip in an unnatural fix. We have to move and move now. I never asked to be a fucking Queen, but, I take this on. I want my people to resurface in trade and economy to the surface again. But, that will NOT happen with Ceremon. Z’ress will warp and twist the ways to return to the Drowish ways of her people. The Drow here do not need that. But, we need to decide now, what is best for the realm. Dragons or not?”

“Ceremon has the power, and I’m loathed to admit we cannot match it, we need the dragons” Kane sighed softly “Perhaps with Arigaiils help, we will have a little more control, Ceremon has a near unlimited undead army, we do not”

“Who? Arigaiils?” She propped herself up on her elbows looking down to him. “I agree. Dragons. Used to protect instead of destroying. It would grant those on our side pardon for the wrong done during the Dragon Wars.”

Kane looked toward the window his eyes going distant for a while as he dug deep for the words to explain the things he was about to, “To say there are no dragons in the Everlands isn’t entirely true, this you already knew, Arigaiils, she is the dragon responsible for the destruction of Elcarus Mansion and the death of Krys and Haunted” Kane looked to Aishani “She was too weak to withdraw, but I couldn’t leave her to the others either, so I had her withdraw to the Argrian Mountains, she resides there protecting the vortex, and seeing as no one has tried to breach the vortex in over a century, we let legend say trying to get in there would result in your bones been charred and your flesh melted, an old wives tale with a small piece of truth”

Kane sighed softly “She protects the very heart of the Everlands, and I deny she exists to everyone” Kane sighed softly as he closed his eyes “We will need her help either way”

Aishani looked down to Kane after it seemed she to was in deep thought, but, caressed his face and leaned down to press her lips against his. Such expression was urgent and tender all swept into one as her tongue ensued but it was only brief. “The spiders will be on my end. We still need the dire wolves and unicorns, then we can focus on Airgaiils. In a sense, she owes you a favor.” She caressed his face as she licked her lips, perhaps, from the stain of his presence that lingered.

“We will pay them a visit once we conclude things here,” Kane smiled softly “We will need all the strength we can find to even think about trying to retake Elvera, it’s going to be a long few days my love”

She inhaled deeply with a sigh that was just as heavy a hand going to get abdomen with a gentle caress. “We just need to secure all the pieces on our side before we plan anything. Heart doesn’t twist that dragon mage and has eyes on him. I need to think about the next in line for my position on the throne. Heart has done so much and I know he would not like such. But the girl could possibly… What was her name again?”

“Anya?” Kane sounded surprised with her words “Is it safe to hand over the throne, while we cannot be here as much as would be required, you have brought stability, no one can deny you that my love” His turned now sliding to sit beside her “Having a drow with the final say on matters seem to ease their minds”

“Well. I have to be prepared if –” Aishani’s words died in her lips unable to finish while her hand rested on her stomach. “Besides I know Heart had done enough out isn’t a position for him.”

Kane looked to her “Something troubling you my love?” there was a caution in his voice that was oddly unnatural. His hands slid over hers gently “We can handle this, it just requires far more diplomacy than I I like getting us involved in, but together we will do this”

She curled her hand within his while inhaling deeply. It was a reserved expression but her golden hue with the hazy eye on him. “You are right. I’m not used to the politics.” She chuckled in that rolling purr. “Listen to me. A Queen that doesn’t like politics.”

He laughed softly his lips catching hers for a moment “ I spent a generation playing politician, I left to not be one and yet somehow here I am doing the self same thing for a whole set of other reasons” his lips caught her neck for a moment “You never came to Dentarius to play politics and I never intended to have you do so, but you did an we are, we are their last line defence and I for one intend to see the future with our children free from such trivialities” there was an odd calm in his voice now as he spoke, his eyes met hers no longer fraught with their circumstances but deep seated desire for her and their world.

Aishani growled softly as his lips caught the flesh of her neck turning to snap at him with a flash of her teeth playfully. But smirked to him. “Yes. So it seems. Then we have to secure a future for not only the realm but our children.”

 

[A New Path] He’s Coming

Aerian stood silent and still as she looked along the arrow, the snap as the string let loose the arrow slamming into the log she was aiming at, as quick as she let fly she had another arrow knocked. She rolled her shoulders before sending another arrow aside the first.

She dropped from her perch looking to Virra “Seems I’m all good,” she laughed gently before kissing Virra. Her eyes were soft, their dark emerald reflecting nothing but her own strength and her love for Virra “You’re Dad is coming.”

Virra was calmly sharpening her daggers on a whetstone reclining against a tree trunk settled in the grass. But as Aerian kissed her Virra set her weapons and sharpening stone to the side in a pull of Aerian to her lap. But the instant her father was mentioned the grip around Aerian tightened protectively and those dark eyes flashed like a dagger in the moonlight. “When?”

Aerian leant into Virra her head resting on her shoulder “Not sure, last set of visions were screwed up, seems I get new pieces when we sleep.” Aerian smiled softly her fingers tracing over Virras shoulder “Better that then the full on head splitting versions, still trying to put the pieces together but I wanted you to know.”

Virra wrapped her arms around Aerian and roosted her chin in the fiery crown. She seemed deep in thought for a time before kissing her head. “Let’s head back to tell the others Firefly. More we have affirmation that my Pops will be coming. If he is that means more will be with that utilize the shadows.”

“They already know, I told Uncle Hades before we came out here,” Aerian settled tight to her beloved “We’re at war and these snaps of the future are our edge, grandfather knows that so they will come after me and in turn after you,” She paused for a moment “We’re headed to Emerald City, Dad said the city is to be protected.”

“I’m not going to cower on safe ground like some child from a bad nightmare. I will stand and fight. Especially against him. Round is all in one place is a bad idea if you ask me…”

“Thought you might say that, so I pointed out if we are to maintain our advantage it’s better we’re here,” Aerian ran her hand over Virras forearm with a smile “We will stand and fight together, at least until they mount an attack on Elvera.”

Virra smirked to Aerian, slithering her hands up her back and then pulling her tightly against her with a snake of her fingers within the fiery threads to present a soft but urgent kiss upon those luscious lips, suckling playfully on the lower as she departed. “Good. I should have known. Yes, we stand and fight together. You are after all my Firefly and you burn more brightly at my side.” Virra pushed her back and pinned her with a wicked grin, then dove down to suckle on her lobe with a withdrawal. “Now, let’s get back home. I’m feeling frisky.”

Aerian returned the kiss with a whimper her hands caught Virra just for a moment before she grinned, as Virra relinquished her hold so rolled to her stomach and then to her feet, the two of them making their way to their own private house.

She closed the door behind them and immediately launched at Virra her hands wrestling her frantically from her clothes, exposing the tender flesh beneath, she smiled licking her lips before she drew Virra close a kiss that set the passion between them, deep and hungry, the world around them becoming all but a distant memory as she lost herself in her lover.

Virra responded in kind, though, was not tender to the fixtures of Aerian’s clothing, ripping and clawing the fabric away from her lover’s flesh, to dive down as their lips crushed against each other. The warmth and heat of the moment caused their bodies to collide against one another. In the depth of the kiss, it was Virra that projected her hunger with the fury of her slick muscle. 

As she felt her release pass she gazed down along her body staring into the eyes of her lover, she reached drawing Virra up along her body, as her hands wound into the Virra hair she caught her lover’s lips in a tender kiss of deep desire, her breath still came in short gasps and soft moans as she stared deep into Virras eyes.

Virra moaned within the kiss, while her hands curled at the rump of Aerian, adjusting her lover to lift and wrap her legs around her, carrying her to the bed with a loving lay, as her fingertips caressed and pranced upon Aerian’s figure; hips, bosom, sides, and legs, only to repeat. This moment was tender and a breath of fresh air, Virra liked to give without taking at times, this was one of those moments. “You do know why I call you Firefly? Besides, the fact of your hair…it is your attitude and what you do to me. In the darkest times, you are the light in the night that reminds me of how much I love you.” She smiled softly, an expression that was only shared between the two lovers. “We all will fight this and defeat the opposition in the end. I believe in that, you and I together can achieve more than we ever could alone.”

Aerian smiled softly her eyes shimmered with tears “I think, that’s the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me,” she caught Virras hand and brought it to her lips for a moment.

Virra watched her as the tears glistened in her eyes and Aerian took her hand to kiss then curled her fingers within hers. “It’s about time someone told you what you mean to them Firefly.”

“Hope you’re not been so cute cos you think we’re about to die,” Aerian smiled softly before rolling her hips catching Virras hands and pinning then as she straddled her lover “My strength comes from you, you gave me reason when there was nothing left for me, you gave me a chance to live and to love.”

“Cute? I’m cute?” Virra smirked as Aerian pinned her but curled a leg within hers to shift the position to catch her hands above her head. But before Aerian could respond her lips and tongue assaulted the tender pink buds. Nibbling playfully but ensured during the distraction to settle on her waist to keep her down.

Aerian nodded whimpering softly “You’re beautiful Virra, and you taste absolutely amazing,” there was a wickedness to her voice now as she shifted herself to capture Virras lips a long hungry kiss

Virra’s guard was let down as Aerian’s lips crushed against her own with fervour.

“I think I’m going to spend some time eating every inch of this fine young body that keeps winding up in my bed,” Aerian smiled softly.

A soft sound if pleasure escaped the plush lips of Virra with a hand curling in the fiery threads to urge the attention Aerian applied, “That’s my job.” Virra slithered down her lovers’ body.

Aerian squirmed under Virras purpose filled movements a low moan escaping as she felt every fiber of her prickle with an overwhelming edge, her mind lost in every movement of their encounter.

Virra continued the focus until Aerian was spent and left panting. One more passionate encounter like this in a consecutive row would cause her to fall unconscious. This Virra moved yup her body was caresses and kisses in her silent praise but curled at her side bringing Aerian against her in a thought but safe embrace. Lightly she kissed her crown and allowed the redhead to rest against her. “I love you Firefly. Don’t you ever forget that.”

** The Unedited copy can be found on my alternate site**

[A New Path] The Honey Moon Is Over

Kane felt an all too familiar prickle as the axe he was swinging missed its intended log target and slammed into the huge tree stump. Kane shook his head to clear the cobwebs and again swung at the log this time lodging the axe midway through, this caused a growl of irritation.

Kane flipped the axe in his hand held it out Aishani apparently something is throwing me off, or you’ve worn me out” he grinned.

Aishani looked up from sharpening her daggers and sheathed the weapons at her hip. “Could be both.” She stood scrounging the axe and anything her body to shame it into a log splitting it. “It’s been too quiet as of recent…” She mused picking up the split log to offer him with a smirk.

Kane rubbed at his temple as the bushes rustled, with a short sharp turn and low sweep Kane had his bow in hand arrow knocked before the figure emerged, Kane looked for a moment as the woman stood looking from Kane then to Aishani, before looking back to Kane and raising her hands slowly “I mean no harm Lord Kane”

“A Vampire Hunter that means a Vampire no harm?” Kane replied there was odd amusement in his voice “Explains how you found this place, anyone else would have gotten turned around before they got close” He kept his bow trained her a reminder this was his land and she needed to explain her presence quickly and carefully.

“Unless you follow the aura, even the strongest of spells can be seen through, though the magic protecting this place is very impressive, Elcarus magic crafted at it’s best” She replied softly “But I meant it when I said I mean no harm, I am here under orders ….” She paused for a moment “I was sent by Lady Ascondia as was my brother dispatched to Dentarius to seek your brother, which as I still feel his presence means your brother didn’t execute him on the spot, we have been smart these years my Lord, every time your names have come up we have steered away, we wish you no ill” there was no intent to her voice, her eyes remained on Kane though he hands remained in the air a sign of her willingness to accept anything Kane deemed appropriate.

Kane looked to Aishani for assurance or as a point that they were as one, never once did his aim waver.

Aishani had her daggers removed a half second before him and it was clear that she had picked up a advent a ways of due to those exact weapons being sharpened. “I smelled you. Not the most pleasant. Ascondia sent you… Speak up. I have no patience for our honeymoon being interrupted.”

Kane looked to Aishania moment before back to their intruder “You said Lady Ascondia” his words were measured as if he expected her next words to clearly explain the incorrect addressing of the Queen.

“Elvera, has fallen my lord” She stated calmly and yet there was uncertainty in his voice as he watched her, finally lowering his weapon he looked to Aishani then back to their intruder “As my love said, this is our honeymoon, so you had better explain and you had better do so out of earshot of anyone else, he motioned to the cabin then taking Aishanis led them all inside, as the intruder entered he closed the door, she seated herself by the window and began to explain.

“They came from no where, killing anyone that moved, they eliminated most of the royal guard before we knew what hit us, Lady Ascondia pleaded with them to stop, the High Council demanded they stopped, that monster killed half before the Council relented, Lady Ascondia removed herself from the throne under the agreement that civilians were left alone” There was panic in her words now “They locked her up and all military forces in Elvera are under their command, Elvera is fortified in enemy hands and protected by blood magic”

“Ceremon ….” Kane breathed slowly “Explains why he hasn’t come for us”

“Yes my Lord, King Ceremon and Queen Z’ress are now in control of Everlands” She backed against the wall waiting on Kanes reaction as Kane merely stood, suddenly the sense of dread settling upon him “Ceremon finally pulled it off” he breathed darkly

Aishani leaned against the supportive post of the cabin folding her arms over her chest. She listened silently as her expression darkened by the final words. “Not for long. Tell me what news of Emerald City?” She adjusted to move to Kane’s side lifting a hand to place upon his shoulder. As though she had something they did not up her sleeve but purposely kept it unsaid.

Aishani leaned against the supportive post of the cabin folding her arms over her chest. She listened silently as her expression darkened by the final words. “Not for long. Tell me what news of Emerald City?” She adjusted to move to Kane’s side lifting a hand to place upon his shoulder. As though she had something they did not up her sleeve but purposely kept it unsaid.

“The drow are unaffected my lady, after Kane sent word of their inclusion under the treaty of Dentarius, they are of limits without bringing the force of Dentarius against them” The woman replied quickly “But you can only believe the orders will come, they have sent word to neighboring areas to yield to the power of the crown”

“They will build close, then try and come for us” Kane wrung his hands together as he paced for a few moments he said nothing, his mind quickly working over several things “You should send word to Heart, have your people fortify the city, protect their home we will handle it up here. I cannot ask them to involve themselves in this, even with you at the head my love. But we do have advantages”

“Advantages my lord” The woman seemed to perk at the statement as Kane cast her a glance before looking to Aishani, his relaying the fact he didn’t entirely trust the way things were going.

Aishani removed her hand from his shoulder with a nod. “Send message to your brother to have a messenger from Dentarius to Heart within Emerald City to fortify and see that my people are safe. Alert the others within the Elcarus mansion our honeymoon is cut short. We have to ensure that Stacy is protected. She is our wild card and the price that Ceremon lacks in this game.”

Kane smiled as he looked to their guest before back to Aishani “Consider it done” Kane crossed to the desk in the corner, quickly writing his note which as he finished simply vanished in a flicker of emerald flame. He watched from the window for a moment before he sighed “We knew this quiet was too good to last, still on the other hand at least we had warning. So you have our thanks”

The woman shifted awkwardly as Kane now settled against the edge of his desk “So what exactly are you not telling us?” His words now came sharper than previous, the warning for her not to outweigh her welcome dangerous close.

“My brother and I” She began looking to the floor “Forgive me my lord but my brother and I were given instruction by Queen Z’ress, when she learned of our orders from Lady Ascondia, she ordered we do all we could to have Lady Aishani attack the city with the drow, she was sure you would enlist their aid” there was sorrow in her voice “She has our younger sister as her personal hand maid, I fear she will harm her should we not comply”

Aishani exchanged a glance with Kane then, while looking to the vampire. “Unfortunately, your sister will not be harmed physically, but, she will never be returned to you AS your sister with being a handmaiden to Z’ress. She is a master manipulator.” She then slipped her hand within Kane’s. “You are free to go now. Messages will be sent. It is time we prepare to leave.”

“You should head to Dentarius with your brother, at east there you will be safe from the worst of it” Kane replied softly, she slid up from her seat and bowed “Yes my lord, thank you both for your time”

Kane sighed softly and nodded in reply “It seems our honeymoon is over my love, it seems we have a trip to prepare for” the was a gentleness in his voice, and yet indication he was already planning ahead. The woman took one last look then disappeared through the door and away into the forest beyond their little piece of heaven.

She watched as the female left, but then looked to Kane afterwards. “I have on question and it troubles me. Why the hell would Ascondia send a vampire hunter to relay the message? I mean to say, is it not Ceremon that has werewolves and vampires beneath him. I do not trust those two, I mean yes, they have a sister that is handmaiden to Z’ress…so they are despirate and will do anything to see her safety including lie. We need to go to that mountain, as we had planned originally…there in lays the spiders.”

Kane looked to Aishani as he hauled out their travel packs already half packed “I had no intent of changing our plans regarding the Spiders, Ceremon needs time to cement his position. He is trying to convince an entire realm he is king and that won’t be easy, especially as the realm will know we won’t simply bow” He threw a few bits into the pack then looked to her “Ascondia sent the hunters because she would have been aware I was off the grid, I had intended us not to be located unless absolutely needed, there are exceptions of course, Hades and Aerian been some. But still this was supposed to be our time, unless you’re a hunter in which case if you know which was I was going, they can track the aural changes in the realm. Makes evading them a real pain in the ass”

“I think you are correct in your assumption they have other plans though, let’s hope the brother is smart enough not to provoke Hades or she may find herself in real deep water, real fast” There genuine amusement in those words as he shrugged “I already informed Hades of our plans once our honeymoon concluded, he should be focusing on preparing Dentarius’ defences”

“I know Hades will be suspicious and that is good. But do you think it wise to leave Stacy with them. If we fortify the defences perhaps Ceremon expects is to keep her with them? I suggest we extract her on our journey to the mountain but do so discreetly.”

Kane walked to the fire in thought, his hand reaching beneath a panel on the fireplace to extract a silver dust, as he tossed them among the flames they sparked in greens and violets, a few moments later and Sarantha appeared between them looking rather confused.

“Kane?” She sighed “A little primitive for an Elcarus” she shook her head before walking to Aishani hugging her lightly “You look good, how is the little one?” finally she looked back to Kane “You have better methods of calling the dead Kane”

“But few that don’t give away what I’m doing” Kane replied with a smile “We require your help in extracting Stacy from Dentarius, without everyone else getting involved, we need Aerian, Virra, Jade and Hades to remain and fortify the magical defence, but we would prefer Stacy remains with us, undoubtedly you’re aware of things and how they stand”

“I am, and Stacy leaving Dentarius may not be a bad thing, she has yet to grasp dealing with people. She upset dear Jade and Hades is rather upset with her, though thankfully he chose to keep himself in check, quite an impressive display honestly” Sarantha replied “I will have her extract herself on the guise of a healer pilgrimage to Ormack, oddly the same direction your headed?”

Kane chuckled and nodded “Indeed it is, we will be leaving at daybreak tomorrow” Sarantha nodded and bowed to Aishani “Take care of him, I pray you both find what you need or I fear we will all be in worse trouble”

Aishani smiled to the presence of Sarantha and embraced her in kind while playing a hand on her abdomen. “The twins are tempting my wolf side to eat meat…” She commented idly. “Good. We will then meet up with her. I don’t know the taverns. So names the place. Soonest the better.” Aishani moved to gather food items to pack away with a cloak draped now over her shoulders and handing Kane his. “Best to be discrete. We have no idea the eyes and ears.”

Aishani smiled to the presence of Sarantha and embraced her in kind while playing a hand on her abdomen. “The twins are tempting my wolf side to eat meat…” She commented idly. “Good. We will then meet up with her. I don’t know the taverns. So names the place. Soonest the better.” Aishani moved to gather food items to pack away with a cloak draped now over her shoulders and handing Kane his. “Best to be discrete. We have no idea the eyes and ears.”

She accepted her weapons with a chuckle sheathing them while gathering the pack when offered. “Always am with you at my side.” Aishani drew up the good to conceal her gratis beneath.