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Mu11berry last won the day on June 3

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About Mu11berry

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  1. Mu11berry

    In Pieces (RxD oneshots)

    So this next piece is actually one of the first ones I wrote, and it feels kind of nostalgic for me to read? It's very strange, I wrote it so I definitely shouldn't feel this way. But here I am, feeling this way anyway, ahaha. Anyway, welcome aboard the fluff express. If you think you may be on the wrong train, it's too late, we've already departed the station. Enjoy the ride. ______________________________________________ Softly There’s pretty much no reason for the party to return to the manor in Sedona at this time but I always go back to it when I play to see all the conversations and anyway they all need a break honestly so these next few oneshots are in Sedona, so there. They can be stocking up on supplies or something. Also there is no furniture store in Sedona, but there SHOULD be. Lastly, Dameon mentions something about being betrayed by the Sun God during one of the first cutscenes, and I made a slight reference to that. So when you come to that part, now you'll know what's going on. _______________________________________________________________ For what seemed like the hundredth time that day alone, he found himself slowing his steps as they approached the pet shop. Before he knew it he was staring in the window, looking for the cream-colored kitten with the light pink nose and bright amber eyes. He found her in the far corner, and she tilted her tiny head and flicked her tail at him. He almost went inside— then he frowned to himself, and hurried to catch up with everyone else. He tried to ignore Rhen's questioning glance, and reminded himself that their manor was already quite full of animals. Te'ijal's bat had come first. She'd named it Serpent Spawn, which Dameon thought was funny. Rhen didn't get it until Galahad had begun hurling his usual insults at the vampress— and the bat hurled itself at him. Then the sword singer had laughed until a terrible case of hiccups prevented her. She hiccuped the way she did everything— wholeheartedly, unabashedly, unpretentiously. Her back straightened and her shoulders went up and— hic— she slumped back down. "Da— hic— meon," she had whined. "Do some— hic— thing." He was already rubbing her back, and he hadn't been sure what else he could do. For the millionth time, he mentally went through each of the spells he knew, searching for one, just one, that might soothe hiccups. "I could try Silence," he had said, smiling, leaning down to speak softly into her cute little ear. She’d laughed again and opened her mouth to say something probably funnier, but another hiccup cut off whatever joke she was going to make. He chuckled anyway, and then, without thinking, kissed her cheek because it was pink. Hic. Pirate John's parrot had been next. He had named it Northerner, apparently hoping for a repeat of the bat attack, but on Elini instead of Te'ijal. Rhen had given Dameon a significant look which he failed utterly to comprehend, until he happened to be in the same room as the pirate when Elini walked in. "Pirate John," the demon summoner had said, tilting her head at him, "are you not going to ask me for a kiss?" John had opened his mouth to protest, but was interrupted by a loud squawk. "Kiss! Kiss!" the parrot had chanted. "Well I—" the pirate had started, then shook his head angrily. "You are—" "Beeeauty! Squawk!" "I— yes, but—" "Kiss! Kiss!" Elini had smiled. "Very well, Northerner." And Pirate John was kissed. Rhen had been watching from the doorway, and now entered and gave Dameon another significant look which, this time, he entirely understood. Or he had thought he did, until she crossed the room and said softly to him, her breath like a butterfly on his ear, "Maybe if you make dinner, I will give you a kiss." And then he had turned red and become so flustered that he found no response was possible, so he opted to hide in the kitchen and chop up some onions, which proved to be a much less emotional experience than being near Rhen ever was. Galahad had bought a dog next, "for hunting," but the dog much preferred to be wagging its tail and slobbering all over everyone. Lars claimed to find it disgusting, and could always be heard to shout "No!" very angrily whenever the dog approached him. But still, the dog could always be found under his seat at dinner, and it was always in the same room as him, and it soon responded to being called No so well that Dameon couldn't remember the name Galahad had given it, or if he even had named it. What he could recall, very well, was when No chewed up everyone's boots, and all the furniture in the drawing room, and Lars's cloak. This incident was, in fact, the reason the party was running all over Sedona that day. A cat, Dameon thought to himself, would not have behaved that way. A cat might have clawed at the furniture, but it at least wouldn't have slobbered all over it— "What are you thinking, Dameon?" He turned, startled, and met Rhen's deep violet eyes. "I was thinking—" he struggled to compose himself, to focus. "It was only— it was not anything important." She narrowed her eyes at him and he felt the color rising in his face, and then, blessedly, she turned back to the chair she had been examining. "I want a pet." "Another?" He thought immediately and hopefully of the kitten, but said nothing more. "Yes," she said with a determined little nod. "I want the tiger from Veldt." Before he could begin to be disappointed, Rhen let out a charming little sigh. "She is so graceful, and fierce..." All his self-control could not prevent the smile that formed at this. "Like you, Rhen." And he was glad that he said it, because now her cheeks were pink and she was smiling, too. "I want to name her Spots." "You can't do that!" Mad Marge interrupted violently, throwing down the chair she had been looking at (Dameon supposed they were buying that one now). "Tigers are striped!" But Rhen already knew this, and thought it was funny. Anyway, the bar maid was a fool to think she could dissuade Rhen from anything once she had resolved on it; the tiger was in their manor within the week. So, by the way, was the chair Marge had thrown, and he found it rather abruptly one early morning while attempting to pace the house (a habit he'd formed at the Sun Temple and couldn't break, even here, even now). If he hadn't been so lost in his own head, if he hadn't been remembering the quiet tenderness of Rhen's voice when she asked him to forgive his mother, her insistent arguments, the soft, trusting certainty in her violet eyes when she told him he had a good heart, if he had been thinking of anything else instead, he might have seen the chair before he tripped over it. But he wasn’t, and he didn't, so he and the chair and the chair's occupant all ended up inelegantly piled on the floor. "Good morning," grumbled a female voice in such a tone as to suggest it wasn't. "Sorry, Rhen," he said, struggling to his feet and taking her hand to help her up. "I... did not see you." "That's okay. I guess I shouldn’t have put the chair right in the hallway," she said, and her cheeks were a soft pink. She hadn't let go of his hand yet. "Why are you up so early, anyway?" He shrugged and tried to pretend he hadn't been thinking of her— their hands were still together and he realized he was holding his breath. "I am always up early," he said. Then, "Why were you in the chair?" He cursed himself for asking because now she took her hand out of his to put the chair back on its legs. Then she tucked her unbraided hair behind her ears, and looked at her feet, and finally mumbled, embarrassed, "Er... Spots pushed me off the bed." He really, truly tried to stop himself, but she was so enchanting and mortified, he had to laugh. "Urgh," she protested, hiding her now very pink face in his chest. "At least now you are awake to watch the sunrise," he said, wrapping his arms around her happily. "I guess," she mumbled into his robes. "Come. We can watch it by the sea. It will be beautiful." He let go of her and slowly took her hand in his again. She let him, and they made their way out into the cool morning air and down to the southern beach. The sky was a wistful blue, dark and pale at once. A few stubborn stars, like feeble fairy lights, were strewn across it. Shopkeepers were wearily setting up their stores, making slight noises like the ghosts of day's bustle. The most prominent sound was that of the sea, pushing and pulling, advancing and retreating, over and over— "Let's stand in the waves," Rhen whispered excitedly. So they took off their shoes and let the water run over their feet. Dameon thought it tickled, but Rhen's face was so happy and peaceful, he said nothing. A few seabirds flew around them, sometimes coming to rest on the water, sometimes diving into it, making joyful splashes that sounded somehow like Rhen's laugh. The air still held the faint chill of night, and a playful breeze blew Rhen's loose hair about. To the east, a rosy glow was rising from the sea, cradled by a soft purple shadow, delicate and powerful, like— He glanced at her, and he felt his face turn the color of the glow. The timid lights reflected in her eyes like tiny pieces of sunshine, and it made him think the sun might be beautiful again. She could make the sun beautiful again. If he ever lost her— no, no, no— Suddenly the rosy glow brightened into a glorious white light, strong and tender, covering everything— or it seemed to be everything, and his heart was beating faster and his breath was caught in his throat— but it was only to the east. And slowly, softly, the sun made its way into the world. And it wasn't cold anymore. "It is beautiful," Rhen said breathlessly. But the sunrise wasn't the reason his chest ached, and he said, hoarsely, "It is nothing compared to you." She blushed and looked down. "Rhen... I've been thinking about what you told me, about my... mother." It was still hard to say the word. Her hand on his shoulder kept him steady. "What did you decide?" "I... don't know. I think... it might be possible to forgive her... someday." She smiled softly and he was all right. "Come on. Let's get back home before our companions wreck the house." So they did, and on the way back she saw him looking in the pet shop window again, and she bought the cat. "Rhen—" "Don't try to protest! Here, hold her so I can lean on you." She yawned and Dameon fumbled with the mewling little kitten that was now in his hands, grateful and amazed and speechless. "I'm so tired," Rhen said. Her arm was wrapped around his and her head was on his shoulder. Then, faintly, "What are you going to name her?" When he could speak again, he answered, "Softly," and Rhen smiled just like that.
  2. Mu11berry

    Silly Aveyond Shorts

    Added a table of contents to the first post! I'll try to keep it updated, and you're welcome to tell me if I've missed anything (or if I miss anything in the future, I'm a spaz so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
  3. Mu11berry

    Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things

    @Scrivener of the Gods I'm glad you like my art, but the character negativity isn't very nice. You don't have to like all the things I like, but if you're going to choose to come to this thread, please also choose to say nice things or say nothing. Thanks! _________________________________________ Day 22 of the Aveyond fandom 31 day challenge is otp of AV3, and yes, I drew Te'ijal and Galahad, because I'm unashamedly predictable They just really balance each other, ya know? He's serious, she's crazy, they're lovely. Plus, flower crowns! ALSO. I got a new art program and this is the second piece I made in it. The first was obviously RhenxDameon, hehe~ I was having feelings about everything Rhen has been through again and she needed a hug. Also this is totally sappy but I have a quote saved to one of my silly pinterest boards and I kept thinking of it while I made this and it is this: "Some things are far too heavy to ever be carried alone. So I am here for you." - Michelle K. Is the attribution correct? Who knows, I got it off the internet. But it is a pretty thought, I think, and I think it nicely expresses important parts of the relationship Rhen and Dameon have so~
  4. Mu11berry

    In Pieces (RxD oneshots)

    @Ishti Agreed!! Rhen and John are definitely the funniest and I love them. And I think Te'ijal and Elini are also witty but in a different kind of way, they can point out all the little oddities and inconsistencies of life/cultures/people (which is probably part of why I like their relationships with Galahad and Lars so much-- somebody has to point it out to them when they're being ridiculous XD). And Dameon... has a lot of bad puns, which he is just getting used to telling so maybe with practice he'll improve, aaand apparently now I am ranting about all their senses of humor and I apologise for that, I just love them YES of course he would, and coincidentally I always think of your Categorical oneshot when I reread Serious Matters. I love that we both came to that conclusion, even though I wrote this a long time before I read that and you wrote that a long time before reading this, thank you so much again. Aaah thanks, maybe one day I'll put it up there, when I'm feeling brave and also really, really patient, ahaha. _____________________________________________ Updating again even though it's only been like a week cuz I have no patience. Warning that this one is kind of intense coming after that last one. It might have the most angst of any of the pieces so far, though that depends on the reader a bit. So yes, take some deep breaths before reading, and I promise the next 3 pieces are super fluffy and relatively lighthearted and then like 5 angst ones cuz I have no mercy and I hate myself Back and Forth For reference, the party has returned Eithera to Aveyond, gotten Pirate John and Mad Marge (one day maybe I'll write that short, I have like 7 deleted drafts for it ahaha), and they are now on the way to get a dragon. Also, I have Dameon trying to learn a spell from a spellbook, because even though one for him is never mentioned in the game, in Ahriman's Prophecy there is a book in the Collegium of War and Magick that says spells must be studied to be learned. So. Yeah, I’m a nerd. _______________________________________ They had stopped for lunch on the beach, at Pirate John's request. Galahad said it was hot and Te'ijal said it was romantic, or amusing, she couldn't seem to decide which. Lars thought it was sandy, and Elini's hair kept getting in her mouth. Mad Marge sneered at her and told her to cut it, and Rhen told her Dameon could braid it, and swung her own braid around to show the demon summoner, which Dameon thought was very cute and also very— There was a kind of twisting in his stomach that reminded him how frail things like this were. He had been so— happy, recently, and the last time he had been this happy— It could all end, it could all end quickly, and he would be powerless to stop it, just like before. He had to do something, he had to be prepared this time. So he had excused himself, and walked farther down the desert beach to look for a quiet place to study. He’d found a cove, which shielded him from view, and he’d taken out his spellbook and sat down to try to learn the one offensive spell a Sun Priest could learn, Sun Fury. It was an ancient spell, older, perhaps, than even Vata. He had seen his father use it only very, very rarely, when he was in danger, or when his... when his mother was in danger. And one horrible time, against his mother, on that night. He didn't want to remember, not now. He had to concentrate if he was going to figure this spell out. He glared down at the book in his hands— it had been his father's. Father. Mother. The words did not mean what they once did. They did not mean the same from one moment to the next. Father, someone he had loved, who had protected him, and taught him— someone who had died, who had left him when he was most in need. Mother, someone he had trusted, someone who had betrayed him carelessly— Someone who wanted his forgiveness. The gentle back and forth of the waves on the beach should have soothed him, but instead it flustered him, back, and forth, and back— like his thoughts, and he couldn't escape either. He used to think his mother was evil, for what she had done, for how she had broken their family. But today, the party was going to capture a Tehyor dragon. Tehyor dragons could not abide evil. And he couldn't help thinking, as he sat alone in the sand, with the waves crashing in front of him— what if— if he could forgive his mother, if he had forgiveness anywhere in his soul, then maybe— maybe, his family could be un-broken. And maybe the emptiness in him, the lack of anything light— maybe that was the real evil. Maybe the dragon would kill him. He was afraid to die— and back, and forth, and back, and forth— The waves were like him. Inconstant. Unsteady. Advancing only to retreat again. Forming only to break against the beach, against sand— He had fainted during a battle that morning. He was always fainting, he couldn't fight back when attacked, like the others could. He hated it— the cold sweat, the foggy spinning feeling in his head, the sour taste in his mouth and the knotted feeling in his gut, like he'd been punched, and most of all how helpless and pathetic and useless he was, and how vulnerable he left everyone else, and especially— Especially, he hated how vulnerable he left Rhen, and maybe it was selfish of him, and maybe he didn't care. That's why he had to learn Sun Fury. He couldn't leave her without shields, or healing, not anymore— Eithera had made him realize it. Eithera was invincible, and terrifying, she could probably break him in two if she felt like it, and he had no evidence she didn’t feel like it— but she had taken an immediate liking to Rhen, and before they had arrived in Aveyond she had told Dameon, in a low voice, "If I had any intention of retiring in the next century, I would make the sword swinger my successor." And then, almost indifferently, "It is too bad she will die before then." He'd turned to stare at her, and she'd scoffed. "Foolish child! Being the Chosen One does not give her immortality. Do you forget?" He had not forgotten, only... he had not remembered, and— It was not fair, that Rhen would die, after all she had done for the world, and all she still intended to do— He could do almost nothing about it. All those useless defensive spells he had— he could protect her from injury, from nearly every kind of magical attack, from curses and poisons and broken bones— but against time, every spell he had was powerless. Vata could protect her, if he chose to, if it were necessary to his all-important grand scheme of things. And the Oracle could protect her, if she thought it would help keep the world in balance. If, it all came down to that, to the uncompromising decision of some ancient being who had long forgotten what it was to be human— to be small, and— to be vulnerable. The sound of the waves pulled him back to reality. Back, and forth, and back— It was like the way Rhen's braid swayed behind her when she walked— and back, and forth. He remembered how she blushed when he talked to her— and back, and forth— and he remembered how frighteningly pale she was after a battle when she'd lost too much blood— It always made Dameon think of his father, on that night, when he lay dying on the stone floor and there had been nothing Dameon could do, just stare and scream— His father's life had not been important to Vata's grand scheme. It had not been necessary to the balance of Aia. His father, who had been the Druid of Light for centuries, who had protected the Oracle's precious harmony for millennia— he was left to die. Would Rhen's life be valued any higher? He could not risk it. He had not forgotten what it was to measure life on a different scale than the unbending masters of Aia. He remembered loss. His heart still ached with it. His soul was still numb. And the waves still advanced and retreated, they never rested, back, and forth, and back— Ahriman could protect her. Ahriman could give her immortality, and he wouldn't have any arbitrary conditions, any unmeetable demands. He would grant her life because she was steadfast and strong, and deadly and— She was also beautiful, in a way that had nothing to do with her smile or her long eyelashes or all her gently curling hair gathered up in a braid behind her, swaying back and forth— And back, and forth— She had asked him to braid her hair again that morning. He had been thinking of what Eithera had said, and of what his mother had done, and a smile had been the farthest thing from his mind. But when she gave him her brush and that familiar rosy blush spread over her face, he had smiled without thinking about it, and he forgot about all those dark things and he thought instead of lavender and of how funny it was that he unknotted her hair just to knot it up again— except more neatly, of course. She had laughed when he told her so. Her laugh was beautiful, and loud, and genuine, and if a sound could be made by a candle flickering in a far-away window when everything else was dark, that would be it. A world without that laugh would be— empty. He had to learn this spell. He stared down at the book. He couldn't comprehend the words, he was reading them but they were passing through him like ghosts— And back, and forth, and back, and forth— He read the words slowly, tested them on his tongue. They felt foreign. It was foolish, to think he could learn a spell like this. He was not powerful, like his father. He did not even know if he was good or evil. But not learning the spell was not an option. He read it again. Maybe all he could do would never be enough. He could not even bring his mother to justice— he didn't even always know if he wanted to, or if he should want to— He could not undo what he had already done. He could not fix what was already broken— he was broken, and if he kept fighting the world and his mother and— himself— maybe he would only ever make it worse. There was not enough light in Aia to combat the darkness that was inside him. The words were still unfamiliar. How many times had he read them now? It didn't matter, he had to fight, he had to learn this spell. For Rhen. He said the words until he remembered them. He remembered them, but he didn't feel them like he should. He put the book down and picked up his staff. He said the words again. Nothing. He tried to reach for some kind of offensive power inside, something like— Anger. He was angry at his mother. He said the words. Nothing. He was angry at— the Oracle, for dropping the weight of the world on Rhen, for giving her nothing to help her carry it, for not even caring if she lived or died— Nothing, nothing, nothing! He was angry at— at— at— Himself, for not being able to do this, for being so weak and powerless and— broken— Something happened, something in his stomach that rose up his throat with the words— and it rebounded back against him, painfully— He tried again. The spell backfired— again. He grunted in frustration. Why couldn't he be like Rhen, dangerous and capable and— good— Again— it backfired. It wasn't working, he was only destroying himself— Again— "Dameon! What are you doing?" He whirled around and suddenly he was facing Rhen. She was standing at the mouth of the cove, her eyes wide, her lips a quivering pink o. "I— I— I was just trying to learn this— spell." "What— what spell?" Her voice squeaked— he had frightened her. She was walking to him now and he took a step back. "I— I was practicing Sun Fury. It's for— offense." She had reached him. She put her hand on his staff and he knew she was trembling by how it shook. "Well— stop practicing. You're tired. You need— a break." "Rhen..." he didn't know how to explain it to her, she didn't understand. He had to practice, he needed to know this spell— he didn’t want to scare her. "I— I should be able to do this by now! Sun Priests have been learning this spell for— millennia." "Please, Dameon?" She was looking up at him with her vividly violet eyes— what was beautiful about Rhen was the bottomless look of those eyes, like they could swallow up all the darkness in the world and still sparkle in the sun. Her beauty was kindness and gentleness and all those things which sounded so soft but which were so heavy to carry— which she carried anyway, because she was brave. "Let— let me take care of the offense, okay?" she continued. "I need you to defend me, and to take care of my injuries, and to— to—" He swallowed down the anger that still shook in his chest, the rage that was mostly shame and fear, and he finished for her, "— To— braid your hair?" She smiled softly, and then flung her arms around his neck and rested her head on his robes and held him until he forgot to be afraid. And when they got to the dragon later that day, and it glanced sideways at him and his heart stopped, Rhen just took his hand and pulled him up to sit behind her on its back, and he clung tightly to her waist, and he still didn't know if he was good or bad— But he could hold on to her while the world raced by beneath them, and— she would help them find the answers, whatever they were.
  5. Mu11berry

    Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things

    Arts again! Day 21 of @Queen-of-Ice101's 31 day Aveyond challenge is favorite official game art piece. I've ranted a million times about how much I adore the game art for Aveyond Rhen's Quest, but I also really, really love the art for Ean's quest (which the artist shared on deviantart btw), it's so full of emotion and the details are amazing. So. I drew Aveyond 1 characters in a setting inspired by the Aveyond 2 game art, and obviously I picked Rhen Pendragon and Dameon Maurva. Dameon is such an Iya, and Rhen is definitely the Ean in this relationship. I have way over-analyzed this and could go on forever about the parallels but I'll spare you. For now.... Also that is the Sun Temple in the background, thank you for noticing. And there's mist everywhere because Aveyond is in The Mists, if you've ever looked at the world map in AV1. And I've wanted to draw Dameon holding light for like 8 million years now for reasons so yayy me. AND. I also have an aesthetic for Dameon, images from pinterest as usual, quote from Rhen to Dameon. Actually I have two aesthetics. Well really only one, but two also. I like the softer colors in the flower one, and also Dameon pretty much is a flower so there's that, but I also liked the brighter colors in the other one and the pics stand out a bit more. Basically it comes down to, I can't make decisions, and I couldn't decide whether or not I liked the flower overlay, and neither could anyone I asked, and of the few who had an opinion it was split pretty evenly. But then Queen suggested I just share both and now we are here I think all of these images are pretty self-explanatory but if you're curious I chose them to reflect Dameon's journey through loss and injustice to finally find freedom and peace. That line, “I think you have a good heart,” really kind of summarizes Dameon and what he means to me.
  6. Mu11berry

    Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things

    @Scrivener: Thank you, though the central bit is the most majestic part seeing as they are royal _________________________________________________ More art!! An aesthetic for Rhen Pendragon, with images from pinterest as always: I explained my reason for literally every picture over on deviantart if you want to read that there but I don't really feel like typing it all out again or even copying it over, so here I'll just say that I adore Rhen and her story was beautiful. Also the ocean picture came that way, I didn't have to mess with the colors at all and I think that's great. The quote is from "Snow and Dirty Rain" by Richard Siken. And here's some RhenxDameon, make sure your screen brightness is turned up please! 1. I wanted to trying coloring something with low lighting 2. Obviously it was DameonxRhen 3. And obviously it was Dameon brushing and braiding Rhen's hair 4. That's how it works around here. 5. There's also a fire somewhere in the distance so that was fun 6. He gave her his blanket which is why she has two cuz they take care of each other You will also notice I did not get carried away with the wildflowers this time, maybe because they are all closed because night, but still XD
  7. Mu11berry

    In Pieces (RxD oneshots)

    Here is a oneshot that I wrote like last year in the spring, because it is now almost not spring anymore and I really wanted to get this in for spring because it is such a springy piece so here: Serious Matters Rhen has the cutest sense of humor ever, and I had to write about it. This piece covers parts of the game from a bit before Galahad joins the party to when they have the genie's lamp and can *technically* defeat Saurva (but we all know you gotta train up for that because those lamp monsters are VICIOUS). All the jokes except the last one were actually in the game. Very sunny and silly. Happy spring! Rhen had insisted that they bring the elf statuette to Ysilfar. It seemed to be one of her jokes, her very serious jokes, and they all smiled and went along with it. Mostly because they weren't ready to face those monsters in that lamp yet. But for Dameon, it was also because he was all tangled up in her sense of humor and he didn't know where hers ended and his started, not anymore— But anyway, that's why they were in the meadow near Brumwich. Elini had wanted to stop for a rest before going down into Rootwell and fighting all those nippets and krackens, and nobody had the energy to argue— which was probably a good indication that they should stop. Dameon was trying to spend the time working on a new shield spell. But instead he kept looking at Rhen, who was sitting cross legged in the grass looking very enchanting and weaving a flower crown out of bright pink and yellow flowers. He wondered what sort of mischief she had planned this time. He had begun to realize she was hilarious in Sedona, when she'd offered to exchange a stick figure drawing for a ticket to a ball— and all so she could buy a manor, which they would barely use because they would be scouring every corner of Aia for druids and daevas and who knew what else. At first he had thought she’d finally snapped under the pressure of trying to save the world, but then he had noticed something sort of cavalier in the way she stood, and it had gradually dawned on him, with all the slow solemnity of the Oracle ascending the stairs of the Sun Temple, that Rhen was making a joke. The funniest part was, it worked. Frederick actually gave them his ticket. And watching Rhen smile and giggle and look completely delighted, Dameon had felt a strange quivering sensation in his throat. And he hadn’t known what to do with that, so he just stood in the back and tried to ignore it, hoping it wouldn’t happen again. But it did happen again, over and over. He remembered when she offered to pay the thieves double to tell them who had tried to assassinate the king. He had been nervous, he recalled, but again there had been that sort of offhanded, confident air about her that made the whole frightening ordeal seem— silly. It had seemed silly, and his throat shook again and he’d swallowed hard and focused on controlling his breathing. It wasn't like he hadn't laughed before. Just, maybe, not very often. But he sometimes chuckled because Lars was so ridiculously hotheaded, or because Te'ijal was too creepy to be taken seriously, or just because Rhen was laughing, and she was charming and warm— or, she made him feel warm, and— Anyway, he did laugh. It was just different to laugh at the sort of ironic, silly jokes that Rhen tended to make. Where he would have felt awkward, she was whimsical. She saw the humor in all that was grave and heavy. She made light of all those things that would have weighed him down, and if he laughed— If he laughed, he knew he would never be the same. So when she'd stood over that silly toad in the Sandstone Caves, with her shoulders thrown back and her head held high— exactly like a princess, and a rebel— and said in that same dramatic voice she had used before, "I'll warn you one more time, Toad. Let the girl go or die," Dameon hadn't laughed, even though his throat convulsed like he had swallowed a bini, or maybe a fairy— Oh, the fairies. She had realized they needed to make peace between the Mountain King and the Snow Queen if they were going to get to the demon in the Snow Queen's basement, and of course the only logical way to do that was to bring a fairy to the king. She knew the whole situation was ridiculous and that was the part that was funny— so funny that Dameon's lungs ached, but he kept his mouth closed and his eyes down until the feeling passed. They defeated the demon and that had definitely not been funny. But then Te'ijal had wanted to visit the Mountain King and Ice Queen, just to see. So they went to the caves behind Thornkeep, and the Mountain King looked at them very imperiously and said in a deep, rumbling voice, "Welcome, Southerners. What news have you of the world?" Rhen had straightened so that she looked just as royal as the two rulers standing before her, and said, in that irresistible tone that was a parody of dignity, "Demons have broken loose and are now roaming the land." Dameon wasn't made out of stone or ice, or even out of the same noble stuff that allowed Lars and Elini and Galahad to watch this exchange with straight faces, and when the Mountain King spluttered "WHAT?!" his lungs burned, and his throat trembled, and before he could stop himself he was laughing— And Rhen had blushed and didn't look half so solemn anymore, especially not as she stammered, "Er, just kidding. Ha. Ha. Ha," or as she took Dameon's elbow and pulled him out of the cave, murmuring something about what had come over him, he should really try to be a bit more respectful— "But Rhen, it was your joke," he'd reminded her, and even though she was raising her eyebrows at him he couldn't take her seriously, he couldn't take himself seriously, so he'd kissed her pink little nose, twice, and he hadn't been able feel dignified again until she smiled and laughed too, which made no sense at all but he didn't mind because she was very charming, and it wasn't so bad, to never be the same again, as long as she was with him to guide him through this new way of feeling, of being— So he'd lost, in the end, and he'd ended up laughing with Rhen about the genie in the lamp, and about having to fight the Veldt queen's favorite husband, and he'd laughed when she bought the pirate sails, too. Lars had not found it amusing, but Elini had seemed to like the idea, and Rhen had shrugged and spent 1300 gold on them. Then Galahad reminded them, very loudly, that the citizens of Sedona would not tolerate pirate sails in their docks, so the party had dropped their anchor near the lowlands instead. And that was when Rhen decided they were going to bring the elf statuette to Ysilfar, and now— She was looking up at him and blushing, and he realized he'd been staring at her, and smiling very stupidly. "Hi, Dameon," she said, looking back down at the flower crown she was making. "Hi, Rhen," is what he said, but what he thought was that the pastel colors of the flowers brought out the deep violetness of her eyes and the blue lowlights in her hair, and that she was completely radiant— "What are you smiling at?" He laughed— again— just because she was lovely. "Those flowers go very nicely with your eyes," he said, and crouched next to her to pick one and tuck it behind her little ear. "See? Now you look just like a fairy." She blushed again and then grinned. "No, Dameon, you look just like a fairy." And she plopped that silly flower crown onto his head, and made him wear it while they visited the elves, which was very immature, and undignified, and— Hilarious.
  8. Mu11berry

    In Pieces (RxD oneshots)

    @Ishti Haha agreed, it's honestly a bit of a cliche but it's one the world will never have enough of in my opinion XD Rhen's the best ____________________________________________________________________________________ Here I am updating again, I'm pretty fond of this piece because of the Te'ijal/Galahad stuff that was inevitably included, and also Rhen is just so stinkin cute and Dameon is so serious aaand I just better stop ranting before I spoil everything XD XD Do You Mind? This one happens in Veldt, and… yeah, that's pretty much it for the setting. Oh, yes, and I totally steal lines from the manor for this scene and I’m not even sorry. This is fanfiction, everything is stolen. In Rhen's immovable, inflexible, and obviously correct opinion, the women of Veldt paid way too much attention to her travelling companions. Especially the males. Well, okay. So it didn't bother her when they teased Lars. Lars seemed to hate it, but he also seemed to thrive on it, and anyway he could take care of himself. And Rhen also had to admit she didn’t particularly mind the female Veldtonian's pointed looks in Galahad's direction. Their gazes did tend to make the paladin blush furiously, and he always stepped away from them, and invariably ended up closer to Te'ijal— and then he had to leap back, and would find himself too close to the desert women again, and this was a somewhat tedious and annoying cycle, but it at least kept Te'ijal occupied so Rhen didn't have to worry about what poor undeserving souls the vampress was terrorizing. So as far as the sword singer was concerned, it really didn't matter one way or the other. But sometimes, some of the tanned, exotic, alluring women would turn their attention to Dameon, and that was— was— Well. Rhen didn't have any excuse that she wanted to share, but it was definitely different, and she definitely minded it. And so, stupid as it was, whenever one of the Veldtonians looked at the Sun Priest, Rhen stepped closer to him, even though it was filthy hot out and she was already swimming in a pool of sweat and she definitely didn't need any of his body heat— and he was very warm, by the way, and the blazing blush that was burning on Rhen's face was not helping at all. But still, the southerners kept looking at him! Rhen tried displaying her sword, drawing it every once in a while to let the sun glint off the sharp edges, but that had about zero effect on the Veldtonians and mostly just seemed to make Dameon nervous. So Rhen put the sword away and tried glaring. But her face hurt, and the members of her party were starting to give her funny looks. Especially Elini, Elini was looking at her like she had a militant squirrel in her hair. She could think of only one other solution, but it was terrifying— terrifying, to the person who had taken down Nanghaithya as a fledgling sword singer. Daunting to the girl who had traipsed into vampire country with nothing but a few dinky pieces of armor and a garlic necklace, fearsome to she who had defeated Zarich, and Tawrich, and Indra! Frightening even to her, to Rhen Darzon, or Pendragon— or whatever her dang surname was supposed to be now. The thing she wanted to do, and it was very embarrassing, but what terrified her so much was the idea that maybe, maybe, the Veldtonian women would stop looking at Dameon if— if— If she held his hand. See, it was very stupid. She had held his hand before. He held her hand all the time, to kiss it. But this was... different! Because everyone was watching! Or— or really it was because— because— This wasn't a friendly feeling that was making her stand so close to him, that was making her hand twitch at her side. This wasn't because she wanted to lead him somewhere, or offer comfort, or even because she was cold or tired. This— was— jealousy— "Are you enjoying my home country, sword singer?" Rhen whirled to face Elini— and nearly smacked Dameon with her braid. Her cheeks were red but not because she was sunburned, and her palms were sweaty but it wasn't because of the heat— "Er— I guess. I mean, it's very hot— warm! I meant warm. In a good way. I— er—" Elini just smiled at her, and raised her delicate Veldtonian eyebrows. "You might find the sun more bearable, if you weren't standing so close to the Sun Pri—" "Oh, look at that lovely cactus!" Rhen interrupted quickly. And really it might have been a lovely cactus, if she hadn't seen so many already, and if it wasn't so hot out— and mostly if that young, pretty woman over there wasn't looking at their party so curiously, and— and— coming towards them?! "Elinidana'ter'Lithir de Aramati!" The woman walked past Rhen and stretched out her arms to Elini. "I see you are back from your travels. Tell me, are these three men your conquests?" Rhen's hands clenched into fists and she almost said something rude— she didn't know what, but Elini answered first— "No, no, these men are not mine. My search continues." Rhen's fists relaxed for just a moment and she even thought her breathing was almost regular. "I see," the woman said shrewdly, and her gaze— an appealing gaze rimmed with dark lashes— moved to where Lars was standing. "I did think the two wizards seemed rather young for you." Lars hmphed and rolled his eyes, and the woman frowned and looked instead towards Rhen, past Rhen, at Dameon, and Rhen couldn't step any closer to him— her arms were dripping with sweat and her fingers itched and Dameon's hand was right there— she tried to reach for it but she couldn't move. She couldn't tear her eyes from the Veldtonian woman, with her gauzy flowing skirts and almond eyes, and Rhen's sense had melted right out of her head and into the sand and all she felt was red, red, red— Then long, sweaty fingers were wrapping around her hand, and dark eyes were looking down into hers and then moving towards the Veldtonian woman, and a low voice was saying, very politely, "I'm sorry, m'lady, but I don't want to be your husband." The woman tossed her head, and turned towards Galahad— and seemed to think better of it when she saw Te'ijal. And then she was saying goodbye to Elini, and walking away— And Rhen realized Dameon was still holding onto her hand, and her palms were sweaty, and his palms were sweaty, and sticky, and the lack of space between them was hot enough to melt her sword— And she didn't mind.
  9. Mu11berry

    Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things

    @Scrivener of the Gods Thanks! That's cuz Stella is glorious _________________________________________________________________________ Day 20 of the dang challenge with the really long title is favorite chapter in the Orbs of Magic saga. I like TDP cuz Uma and Nox so Besides these two magical twins, I also like TDP because the other orbs of magic games are kind of a bit frustrating in that everything you do in them is pretty pointless in the end. Like, you destroy the orbs, but surprise, there are more orbs. And then even bigger surprise, the bad guys don't even need the orbs to win. And then surprise of surprises, Mel is now the bad guy and everything from the previous games is now completely meaningless-- EXCEPT the friendships Mel made, and her friends save her (and Galahad T.T) and I think that's pretty so I like the last game. Yep. Rant over, haha And of course I have a rhenxdameon piece too~~ AmayaSakuragi11 over on deviantart inspired me to draw these two wildflowers in their regular people clothes with this adorable fanart, so here they are! Rhen is kissing Dameon's face which makes him laugh because he's a little a lot ticklish I used the coloring that's supposed to be softer for this piece, still figuring it out haha. Also as usual I got carried away with the flowers XD
  10. Mu11berry

    In Pieces (RxD oneshots)

    Given the Choice THIS PIECE IS VERY IMPORTANT LATER so pay attention:) If I may make a disclaimer, I would like to say I am in no way advocating the "do whatever makes you happy" lifestyle, because, if hurting people makes you happy, that's bad. But this short is about Rhen, and Rhen needs to be reminded that she is an autonomous being and she is allowed to be happy. I have this ridiculous long essay that explains why I think Dameon would be the one to remind her of this, but I will spare you. You're welcome. On with the fluff! This scene happens in Veldt, before they get Pirate John. (I know, so sad. I promise he's coming soon!) They're staying at the inn, because in the game we can't stay at Elini's, which is super weird, but whatever. Elini didn't have any spare rooms, due to the number of husbands (three!) and servants she had, so the party had to stay at the inn that night. Rhen didn't mind; inns could be nice when they were clean, and the inn at Veldt was especially luxurious. But the problem was, whenever they stayed in an inn, her companions wanted to eat out. And Rhen didn't want to go tonight, because she'd found the stupid Pendragon sigma ring in the bottom of her pack that morning, and she wanted an evening to sulk about it. "Are you ready, Rhen?" Dameon called from the other side of her door. "No!" she snapped. It was the first time she had said it, but nobody had asked her what she wanted in the first place. "What's taking her so long?" she heard Lars complaining. "I don't think she wants to go," Dameon said. Lars scoffed. "That's ridiculous. She's always hungry. Rhen, hurry up!" He raised his voice for the last part. "No!" "Don't yell at her," she heard Dameon saying, but Lars must not have been listening, because he kept yelling anyway. "We'll leave without you!" "Good!" she yelled back. "What is the cause of all this shouting?" she heard Galahad asking pompously, and Rhen couldn't help glaring even though nobody could see her. "Rhen is being stubborn," Lars said. "We'll just go without her. Where are the others?" "They are waiting at the entrance," Galahad said, and then Rhen heard their retreating footsteps and the hallway fell silent. Oh. Somehow, she hadn't expected them to actually go without her. Everything was quiet, for once, and even though she'd been wishing for a little quiet for months, it felt kind of... lonely. She glared at the stupid sigma ring in her hand. "I didn't ask for you," she informed it. "I just wanted to be a normal, poor, happy person." She tried to imagine herself like that, like a simple villager with no magical sword abilities and no destiny to speak of. But things kept coming up, like the rushing exhilaration in her chest at the start of a battle, the thrill of moving, dancing, with her blade, the feeling of invincibility as one of Dameon's shields settled around her— And she kept remembering how it felt to save Dirkon from the rats, and to bring Tiny back to her fairy prince, and she kept thinking of the shy, secret sort of smile Dameon would give her after such quests. She couldn't imagine a life where she didn’t know that smile. She didn’t pass her days in apple orchards anymore, she spent her time with a vampire who wanted to see the sun, and with a demon summoner who had three husbands and was looking for more, and with a sorcerer, and a king’s paladin, and Dameon— and a sun priest, she meant. And the Druid of Light, she meant— It was crazy. It was absurd. It was her life. She couldn't be a normal person. Maybe she could be poor, if she stopped looting corpses. And maybe she could be happy, if— There was a knock at the door, and she almost dropped the ring. Who— "What?" she snapped, shoving the stupid ring into her pocket. "Would— would you like to eat now, Rhen?" She threw open the door and found herself looking up at Dameon. "What— I— I thought you all left," she stammered, feeling her face get hot. "No, I—" his ears were pink and he cleared his throat. "I was worried about you. It isn't like you to refuse food." "I—" she traced the sigma ring in her pocket. "I—" she stared at him helplessly, wanting to tell him and also very much wanting to run away. "It's okay," he said, touching her elbow. "You don't have to talk about it until you're ready." "I— don't?" "Of course not." He smiled gently at her, a lovely, soothing sort of smile that made a warm, comfortable feeling settle in her chest. "Thank you," she said, smiling too and blushing because she wondered, suddenly, how his smile would feel pressed to hers. She looked down. "I am getting hungry," she admitted, and scuffed the ground with her boot. "Me too!" he said, so excitedly she had to look at him again, and see how his smile widened and his cheeks lifted the corners of his eyes. He swung a brown pack off his shoulder. "I thought we could make sandwiches, so we wouldn't have to leave the inn—" his grin slipped, "unless— if you wanted to, of course— I meant—" She laughed because she felt... happy, and put a finger over his lips. "Sandwiches sound great." They had a magnificent feast. They had laid out everything— the bread and meat and cheese and even a few various vegetables— on one of the inn's tables. The innkeeper looked at the two diners distastefully, but Rhen just flaunted her sword a bit and no one bothered them. Dameon sliced the bread and the meat, and grinned at her, and made her sandwiches however she wanted, even when she asked for two slabs of meat around a slice of bread, and he didn't even raise his eyebrows at her once. Rhen ate four sandwiches, and a half, because Dameon, groaning and admitting himself to be utterly defeated, gave her the rest of his third one. And Rhen couldn't remember the last time she'd laughed so hard or so long. And then she tripped over her own stupid feet while trying to help Dameon clean up, and she was suddenly sprawled all over the floor. "Rhen!" Dameon hurried over to her, dropping the brown bag he had been repacking. "Are you all right? Are you hurt?" He was kneeling beside her, helping her sit up, and then he was healing the ankle she'd twisted, all before she could make herself say a word— "I— I—" she stammered, embarrassed to have shown herself to be so clumsy, again, and then he was picking something up off the ground beside her. "What's this?" Rhen recognized the sigma ring and snatched it out of his hands. "It's nothing," she said quickly, darkly, not feeling at all like laughing anymore. "Just my stupid destiny." She could feel him staring at her, but she looked stubbornly at the ground. "Rhen—" he said, in the same urgent but careful voice he used when she was injured. "You— are not required to do what— everyone else wants. You are allowed make your own choices." She scoffed and looked at him, and was surprised to find that his expression was so completely sincere, and his dark eyes were so intensely certain, that she almost believed him. "Rhen, you are a person, too," he continued, touching her hand and then coloring and looking away. "I— I know that— they can be overbearing." He didn't have to tell her who. "Don't let them overrule you. Please," he looked at her again and his cheeks were a burning red but his eyes were piercing hers, "choose what makes you happy." Happy. Maybe she couldn't be normal, and being poor didn't sound all that great by itself anyway, but maybe, maybe, at least for now, happiness was possible. "I— I would like to choose some dessert." He smiled softly. "Okay. What would you like for dessert?" She grinned, and whispered in his ear.
  11. Mu11berry

    Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things

    @Danin Thank you!! I actually totally headcanon this is Ahriman's usual demeanor, some fic I read once (I think it was Separate Lives by Dis but maybe I am crazy?) had Ahriman being not so much a powerful fighter but more of a skilled manipulator, and it fits the myths about him in AP and a lot of what we see of him in AV1 so it stuck with me. And yes, Edward needs a faaaaarm. I like to pretend whoever he marries lets him keep chickens in one of the castle courtyards or something, but I can only really imagine it with Stella or some versions of Mel, the others would probably scream or eat the chickens, ahaha. And thank youuuuu, it's good you like that one, because, I have another version to share today XD I had to color it digitally obviously so >.> _____________________________________________________ Ta-dah! The digital version! On DA I called the traditional version "Joyful," so this one became "Joyful Again," and I really liked how that worked out because both Rhen and Dameon have been through so much and sometimes when you go through a lot it feels like you'll never be happy again, but they got through it and found peace and joy together-- again. That's why they're my wildflower ship. "Like wildflowers, you must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would." -E. V. Ahem ahem okay, I am done sharing sappy quotes now. But yes I love rhenxdameon Aaand here is my entry for day 19 of @Queen-of-Ice101's Aveyond fandom 31 day challenge or whatever it's called (I will never be able to remember the order of those words) Day 19 is favorite av3 character, and I just adore Stella. She's so sweet and kind but also has that steely passionate side and she will fight you if you hurt her friends, especially her bfffffff Mel, wow I love their friendship so much T.T I didn't draw her wings here because wings are HARD, but I wanted to mention that the quest where she gets her wings back is one of my favorite quests in the whole series, I cry every time. Also, I tried a new coloring style in an attempt to make everything softer and it sorta kinda worked and sorta kinda... didn't. But that's how you learn, right? So I'm happy with it for now:) PS I REMEMBERED THE FLOWER CROWN finally ahaha
  12. Mu11berry

    Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things

    @Scrivener of the Gods Thanks! RxD is the best thing to ever happen to me and it's going to be in pretty much every post, so like, maybe keep that in mind @Ishti Thank you! Haha I feel like that's probably everyone's reaction to Te'ijal in canon (except obviously Galahad), she's so adorable and over the top you have to love her, but also she could kill you, so it's like ?!!?? as you say XD Bless her and her shining knight. @the world yep more art again ahaha. I've been feeling ick so I colored. My scanner is poo right now so I had to take pictures with my phone and the quality is bleeeeeehhh but here I am anyway, enjoy! First, day 18 of @Queen-of-Ice101's 31 day challenge, most hated character Honestly I'm not much of a character hater, especially when it comes to Aveyond. I hate fandom interpretations sometimes because of different implications or when characters (or those around them) are unfairly vilified, but the canon characters themselves I usually like at least a bit. I thought of drawing Hercules, but even he's at least great to laugh about. So like. Here's an Ahriman? Or alternately I guess this could be Mordred, can't remember if Mordred had red eyes or not but you can pretend if you'd like. I have a hard time putting a lot of effort into the prompts for things I don't like, if you couldn't tell XD XD Next, we have a lil chicken farmer My precious child Edward Pendragon with his precious chickens. Somebody give the man a farm, please, look how happy he is T.T the light would NOT cooperate with me for this one but meeh And here's a fanart of my favorite wedding of all time When Rhen Pendragon married Dameon Maurva (now Pendragon~) Dameon told some silly joke and Rhen is laughing and they are joyful I've also been working on coloring this digitally but I couldn't resist also trying colored pencils cuz I just really love these two, look how happy and safe they are together ♥♥♥
  13. Mu11berry

    Danin's Castle of Strangery (Art!)

    I said this on DA but these are funny and cute, the chalkboard especially just cracks me up every time XD
  14. Mu11berry

    Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things

    @darwin Thank you, that's good to know haha. And I agree, it's fun to kind of get to design the characters for Aveyond fanart (even if sometimes I don't take full advantage of this opportunity ahaha). Also YAY ART THREAD! The end of school brings many great things. @fandom Here's some more art! First, the wedding of the noble paladin Galahad Teomes and the creature of the night Te'ijal Ravenfoot I tried a new lighting style and I honestly don't know how I feel about it, BUT! GALAHAD IS SMILING AND I LOVE IT so there. I debated making this a floof piece because I know it might cause an outrage, but then I remembered I always cause outrages anyway so whatever XD Plus, I cried a little to see them so peaceful. Also I know Galahad's boutonniere would totally not stick to his armor but I already defied the laws of logic with his smile, plus I figure if anyone could pull off sticking it to metal, it'd be Te'ijal. And next is a RhenxDameon piece my roommate drew for me and let me color and share cuz she's the best! IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, my ROOMMATE drew this for me, so the lineart isn't mine, only the coloring. Disclaimer. Somebody else's lines. I do not own. (Except that it was a gift for me, so it's sort of mine in that way I guess?) But anyway yes, I love my roommate, and I love Rhen Pendragon, and Dameon Maurva, and RhenxDameon, and okay fine I'll be done now, but I'm really happy right now also the dress is so cute don't you think? I totally need to draw Rhen in dresses more
  15. Mu11berry

    In Pieces (RxD oneshots)

    SO. I can't write chronologically and ended up writing a piece that goes between "Return" and "Cold Encounter, Warm Heart." I've edited a post between those two pieces to have the new piece, so just use control + f and search "Chocolate" Or, if it's easier, here is a link to the oneshot on fanfiction.net And also, because I feel bad for causing such inconvenience to anyone trying to read this chronologically, and also because I am impatient, here's the next piece! Reckless Rhen gets injured in the demon caves in Veldt. Pretty much everything is explained so just read it. (Please? :D) ________________________________________________________________ She was reckless. Her impulses were the storms that tore across her own desert, uprooting everything that had dared to grow, making long deep trenches like so many wounds, leaving her desolate. Something always healed her. Like the constant force of gravity pulling, pulling the displaced dirt back into the trenches, repairing, restoring. Like the bright sun feeding the roots and seeds that were left, encouraging them to grow deeper, to hold tighter to the soil. She didn't know what it was, but it was making her stronger. And she needed to be stronger, because the world was getting bigger and scarier all the time. Like now. Now, they were on the Southern Isle, a place she'd barely heard rumors of before this quest. Like most places they went these days, really. And they were exploring the Demon Caves, which were literally caves full of demons. She shouldn't complain, since it had been her idea, but what wasn't her idea was finding and retrieving six druids, one of which had her temple in these demon caves. And it definitely hadn't been Rhen’s idea for all of these druids to have lost their souls to daevas. Also, no matter what Lars or anyone else said, it had most certainly not been her plan to be ambushed by red and blue dragons. They were all attacking Elini. The demon summoner spun and snapped her whip but there were too many; Rhen didn't think, she just leaped, slicing and blocking and singing a spell which might have been Time Twist, but she didn't know— "AOWW!" There was a sharp pain where her leg should be, and she couldn't hear anything except her heart going thump, thump, and the cave was spinning, and she was falling, and the world was black— And next she was aware of a low sound, warm and soothing. Her head hurt but the sound, strangely, seemed to help. Her heart, which, she realized, had been pounding wildly, slowed to a steady beat, and the sound flowed on, softly... It was a voice, murmurings spells. Spells. No, the battle— "Agh—" "Rhen, it's all right. Lie back down, slowly—" a warm hand on her back, dark brown eyes above her. "Dameon—" He lowered her gently onto the sleeping mat he was kneeling beside. "Everyone is all right. Please, rest." She was in a dark cavern. A small fire was burning, illuminating the area just enough for her to see that Dameon was right; everyone was fine. Elini sat patching a hole in one of her skirts. Galahad and Te'ijal stood guard at the cavern's entrance. Dameon was looking down at her with a worried, tired little frown. "What happened?" she asked. "You fainted. I... couldn't get to you in time." "My leg—" she remembered. He waved a hand. "It is healed." She realized that it was. "Thank you." He only grunted, and looked away. "What's the matter?" "Nothing is wrong." But the way he said it clearly meant that something was. Was he angry at her? Reckless, stupid— "I'm sorry for rushing into the battle like that. I should have been more careful." He didn't even look at her. "More imps, uplanders!" Te'ijal warned, and Rhen heard the scuffling sounds of her companions rushing to join the battle. She moved to get up but Dameon frowned, now looking at her quite severely. "Stay there, sword singer." "But I—" "Rhen, please!" And then he was gone, battling beside the others. Rhen heard the familiar hum of his Shield Exura, covering even herself, and she pouted. "I CAN STILL FIGHT," she yelled, even though she knew nobody would hear her over the imps' cackling and Lars's chanting and Galahad's battle cries. "It isn't fair," she muttered. "I know I made a stupid mistake but I'm fine now. I can fight!" It was a lie, she knew. Her leg still ached and her chest felt heavy. But she wanted to fight. One of Lars's thunderstorms briefly illuminated the cavern, and she saw Elini catching an imp in her whip and Dameon whacking at one with his staff. She smiled in spite of herself. She was pretty sure the party could get by without Dameon's offensive abilities, but it was sort of cute that he tried. She heard a few more smacks and clangs and magical crackling noises, and then the sound of weapons being put away. The battle was over. The hum of the shield around her faded, and she saw Dameon walking towards her again. She looked quickly towards the cavern's ceiling. She didn't like him being angry at her. It made her feel… lonely and scared and… mad! She'd only made one tiny mistake, and he'd healed her easily enough. Why was he taking it so personally? She tried to ignore the nagging memories of all the other mistakes she made, and all the other injuries she could have avoided with a little more caution, and then Dameon was kneeling beside her. She resolutely stared at the ceiling. "Don't be mad at me." She felt him shifting beside her, and then he said, tiredly, "What?" "I know I should have been more careful, and that I do stupid things all the time, but I haven't done anything really stupid yet. You can always heal me just fine, so I don't see why you should be mad—" "Rhen, I am not mad at you." Now she felt surprised and embarrassed and relieved, and she had to look at him, and his dark eyes. "Then... what's the matter?" He looked down at his hands, and plucked at his robes. "Dameon?" She thought for a moment that he would refuse to answer, but then he said, his face burning, "You jumped into battle so fast— I didn't have time—" he seemed to struggle with himself, his usually smooth voice was choked. "I was too slow— couldn't shield you. Rhen, I— you were almost— I—" he swallowed. "I'm sorry, Rhen." He was shaking beside her, his hands wringing the ends of his robes into tight little wads. She stared up at him, feeling like Aia's biggest idiot. "You were mad at... at yourself?" He hesitated and then nodded, a short, jerky little motion. Slowly, she reached out and put her hand on his trembling ones. "Dameon, I—" she found that she didn't know how to express the feeling that was swelling up inside her. But she had to say it, somehow— it was too big for her chest. "You— should forgive yourself. You healed me. I couldn't have made it this far without you. I—" she stopped herself, suddenly knowing what she meant and unable to say it, and she finished self-consciously, "I need you." His dark eyes came up to meet hers, and the anxiety clouding them melted in the firelight and something like hope seemed to shine through, and then, slowly and gently, he raised her hand to his lips.