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  1. hey @tei, been a while! saw this on discord too.🌚 Love how Derez visited all the guild masters. Wondering what that little heated exchange was like, but oddly satisfying hex to put on someone like that 👹 The vampire witchhunt (or maybe it's vampirehunt? lol ) was like a scene out of Frankenstein. I never really thought of the gate to the Halloween Hills as a means to keep humans out...more like to keep what's behind the hills inside, not the other way around. Btw nice origin side story about the sunblock and the temporary intolerance to sunlight and sun magic. lol And yes, the end was definitely a bit of a cliffhanger. Now who is that vamp lady dressed in red? WHO? jk
  2. Oh goodness, I just had to comment. I found myself making little os along with Dameon at the end of each of these. 🐱 Maybe my ears and nose were blushing too, but I didn't try checking in the mirror to see. lol jk Major compliments for writing so many clever oneshots that tug at the heartstrings with a touch of humor and sometimes sadness, @mu11berry Every oneshot could have ended in a proposal if you think about it, except for maybe like 3 of these. lol For instance (just quoting last lines btw): Cheese: "...he pressed his lips to her forehead."...."And then he asked her, 'Will you marry me, Rhen?' and she said, 'Yes Dameon!'" Something to remember: "...but she knew she'd remember it forever."...."And then he asked her, 'Will you marry me, Rhen?' and she said, 'Yes Dameon!'" Return: "...I will return to you."...."And then he asked her, 'Will you marry me, Rhen?' and she said, 'Yes Dameon!'" Oh yes, of course the last line would be: "And the whole party went 'Awwwe!'" and the readers went 'Awwwe!' too." 💕 Love all the fluffy stories...The warm feeling I got from reading each...well, I felt it in my gut too just like RXD 😅 Dang face capillaries always making Rhen and Dameon turn shades of pink and red! Good work!🌺
  3. @Scrivener of the Gods wow, thank you! I've been ghosting around for some time, but never really got a chance to come back again. I think the last time I logged in was 2 or 3 years ago and somehow happened to remember my password. o.0 At one point I thought the site was totally gone...Didn't realize it got renamed a couple years ago. lmao And I know, right? I'm a bit of stickler when it comes to getting things done, even if it takes me a while (though I didn't think it would take this long, but that's RL for you). There's a couple old fanfics in here I hope get finished someday, although realistically it's like a ~1% chance it'll happen. We're prolly more likely to see another AV game come out 🦄
  4. Well, this was only meant to be like two paragraghs long and it just kept going. 🌸 It could be it's own short fanfic which I might repost separately. 💜 =========================================================================================================== Chapter FIFTY-SIX: Clearwater-Rhen Two days later... In a dark but calm setting with luminescent purple light... In the corner of a teal colored patch of land, Tailor found himself knowing he was being called here. He turned in every directions, but unable to move far. He suddenly saw the Dreamer, fallen on the eerie ground. "Tailor...I have found you," Talia said with a faint smile, springing to her feet and running up to him, embracing him. He could tell something was terribly wrong. "Priestess Talia, you have returned to us!" he said cheerfully, then realized it was not real, but a dream. He still held Rhen in his arms, but knew it was not really the girl. "Oh sweet, noble Tailor...I am not able to return...I have been sworn to never mention the Child's existence. You must take her where the Demon will not think to look...You...You must raise her as your own...She cannot be told who she is...or learn of her past until she is ready," Talia wept, her cries echoed in the dream realm, magnifying the sound. "I tried to find Devin, but he is lost...You were right...I shouldn't have looked for him...I tried to return, but I am not allowed to leave the Dreamworld because of all the nightmares... Her destiny is not with the sun priest and I, it is with you." "I am so sorry, Talia," Tailor choked, seeing that she was shattered. Her eyes wide with similar grief he had only seen come from the Queen of Thais. He looked at Dream-Rhen in his arms, wondering now what he was going to do when he awoke in the Highlands--in the middle of nowhere. "I could not find the Druid's temple, Priestess. I have searched since you left. I am lost with R--" "--With your daughter," Talia said, tears running down her face not wanting Tailor to speak her name as the nightmares were surely near and could listen. "Just know that you are safe on the Western Isle. It matters naught where you choose to live...Just keep her safe." "I promise...I will find the safest place for us in all the Land," Tailor affirmed, wishing the dream would not end as he felt so safe and content with the Priestess at his side. "Tailor, I shall watch over you and the Child's dream's...Until we meet again, dear friend," Talia said, resigned, lovingly caressing the dream-girl in his arms. She leaned forward to kiss him on the cheek... ...but he awoke the next minute to the loud screeching of a loud bird--a Nemesis. ---- Daylight... Tailor awoke under the shade of a tree. Rain water splashing down, yet wild creatures still lurking. "Of course I awake during the best part of a dream," he mumbled to himself, bummed out. He looked down at his new daughter, sleeping soundly against his chest. Her tiny face flushed red. His hand moved to her forehead. The girl had a slight fever and she was famished. He looked for ointment or anything he had for ailments, but had none left. The only food around them were the ripe red apples from the apple trees he was already sick of eating, and much too difficult for the baby to eat. There was no need to look for the elusive Druid's Shrine any longer, he just needed to find a village soon, he thought, as he got up. He had given up on finding the temple after getting lost in the Highland cliffs and was relieved it was no longer their destination. However, the former knight was no longer sure whether to go up or down. The sky was beginning to clear. He decided going upward as he was almost to the top anyway, and it would be easier to see from above and search for any villages that may be near. When he reached closer to the top, a thick cloud cover formed and rain began to pour again. The girl cried. He tried to comfort her but her fever had only grown worse. "There, there, Rhen. I shall find us food and a healer," Tailor spoke to her confidently. He knew he needed shelter right away. To the left side of the next cliff top, he saw a cave. He quickly climbed up the slippery rocks and went inside as the rain water fell harder. Once inside the cave, he realized it went on. He was not sure if he should continue within the cave or if he should just wait for the rain to subside and head back down. He still had some glowberries from Talia in his pocket, and decided to explore. He realized it was not a long cave at all, and it had an opening on the other side. He went through and found a narrow path that continued upward. The rain had slowed to a trickle. A sign was posted beside the upward path with the word, "Clearwater". He could smell the scent of fresh bread coming from somewhere and followed the wonderful smell. "Hello?!" he said, but heard no response. As he looked around at what appeared to be a recently abandoned village. There were a few homes, but most were boarded up. Attempting to find shelter he tried breaking into one that said Inn. "Pardon, sir! What are you doing?" a woman cried to him, as he slammed into the Inn's locked door. "Erm...I was only looking for an Inn," Tailor answered as he turned slowly to face the villager. A young lovely woman with faded red hair loosely pulled back and slight freckles on her pretty cheekbones, waved a rolling pin at him. She wore a humble but youthful red dress and a white apron wrapped around her petite frame. "Sorry!...I'm Tailor Darzon, m'lady...This is my las--I mean my daughter Rhen...Rhen Darzon." He grinned bittersweetly over the sound of his surname now belonging to the princess--his daughter. "You can call me Marion, like the flowers of this valley...We have no Inn here...Not for some time," the woman said, but dropped her rolling pin upon seeing the sick girl in his arms. "Please come with me," she panted, leading the way now. Tailor's eyes gazed at the woman's kind but sharp soft brown eyes as she turned to him. "You shouldn't be in the rain with a baby." "No, I guess not," Tailor said to her as they went inside a small bakery nearby. "Are you the only villager in this town?" "My grandfather and I live here...Many of the villagers fled when they saw fireballs falling from the skies, moons ago...We could not flee though," the woman said as she broke bread and haunch for Tailor. She poured him strong apple cider. Tailor sat down and ate and drank, thankful for the young woman's hospitality. "Not quite ale, but it's wonderful," he said as he finished his drink. He still held Rhen close to him, unable to relax even after a drink--unable to forget all the traumatic events of the last few days. Marion smiled warmly at him as she looked through cabinets for food and remedies. Tailor's serious expression, widened to a timid smile. Slowly, Tailor loosened his protective hold on Rhen. Marion took the girl from him and held her close and tried to warm her near the oven where the bread baked. Her hand rubbed against the girl's soft blanket and clothing. "Your daughter is beautiful, knight, " Marion said as she gave the girl salve and tenderly cradled her. Sadness extended across the woman's eyes. She went on to prepare a mash of warm soft bread, apples, nutrients, and milk, while holding the girl in one arm. "Rhen looks nothing like you," Marion said, matter-of-factly, but smiled contently at the infant girl while feeding her carefully in her arms. "Err...I guess not...I suppose she looks more like her mother...and grandmother, too," Tailor said, quietly remembering his late Queen and the late Queen Alisandra, wondering how much he should share with his new acquaintance. "She is gone now. The girl is an orphan." "She is no orphan if she still has a father..." Marion pointed out. "I suppose not," Tailor said, gritting his teeth, now smiling nervously at the village girl. He scratched the back of his head, feeling self-conscience. He was sure now the woman had figured him out, thinking the truth was perhaps written all over his pallid weary face. "You are not her true father, are you?" Marion said suddenly. "No, I am not," Tailor said honestly, surprised she figured him out so quickly, as well as amazed by her wisdom. "...But she is my daughter now." "Yes, of course she is," Marion said warmly and gave Rhen back to Tailor. He noticed her temperature was down a lot. "Much has happened in the world. It is very noble of you to take on another's child...She could have grown up to be a street urchin if she had no one, or perhaps worse." Her hand went to his hand. She gazed tenderly at him, but she pulled away when she hurried away to pull out more bread out of the fire brick oven. The loaves came out over baked, toasted dark brown. "They look delicious," Tailor genuinely complimented. He was flushed in the face after her warm touch. "No they're not. They're over-baked...I am not a baker, actually. I'm a seamstress," she admitted, appearing a little embarrassed by her baking mishap. "Amazing," he said."I also enjoy handcrafts, m'lady...If there are any shoes you need mended, I can make them look brand new...Any material: leather, wood, metal, even glass." He was happy the woman and him had something in common. Needing a break from baking, Marion went over to sit beside them. "... I suppose I should share a bit about myself and this village. I have never been able to leave Clearwater. I cannot leave. I fell as a child down the cliff side and was badly injured...I believed I had butterfly wings and could fly, just as the fairytales of the kingdom in the sky...I survived though. However, I shall never bear children of my own, the village healer told me so long ago...I have not married for that reason...It is impossible for me to go down the mountains...Grandpa pa is also stuck up here with me. He is too old to climb down. "As for Clearwater, the village has been abandoned for many moons now, and will be until the rains stop as it is difficult to climb the cliff sides when the rocks are slippery...No villager will return up here until it is safe again." "Oh, I see...My handmade leather boots kept me from slipping on the way up, so I have no problem going up or down...I guess I'll only be here a little while longer...We do not want to impose on your kindness, m'lady," Tailor said, but did not really want to leave as they had nowhere else to go. She had shared a lot, yet he had no idea how to explain his past without scaring her off or believing him cursed. "It's no trouble at all," Marion said, her face flushed, making the slight freckles more obvious. "You may stay here...with me if you wish." The two stared at each other for a short time, not really needing to speak, but happily enjoying each other's company. She poured them each another cup of strong apple cider. "...You are too lovely too not be married," Tailor complimented suddenly. "I guess not being able to leave this place does not help." "No, it does not help at all," she said, sadness in her expression. She went to him again, this time, she felt over the girl's blankets and clothing again, curiosity getting to her, "Now tell me how does a child you have saved, come dressed with the most elegant fabrics I have ever felt in my life?" Now looking down at Rhen, he was surprised at how Marion caught on to this particular fine detail most would have never noticed. He did not want to over share at this point--it was all too much already. "I am sorry, Marion...It's more than I can handle right now." "Forgive me. I should be letting you relax after the long journey up," she said. " I do not mean to pry. I am sure you would like to rest and feel comfortable here...There is an abandoned cottage for sale you may stay in. I think you'll find it to your liking...It's one of the biggest cottage's in all of Clearwater." Tailor quickly pulled some of the gems Alicia had entrusted him. "I would like to buy it. Will this do?" he said, pulling out 3 rubies and 2 emeralds, he laid them on the table for her see. He was certain Clearwater would be their new home. Marion, looked at him perplexed. It was a small fortune he was offering for an ordinary cottage, "Please keep your small treasure...I'm not sure if the owner will ever return. If he does, I am sure he would give you a good deal." "Oh, I did not realize it was a small treasure," Tailor said, realizing himself to be naive of the value of the gems. He was a peasant most of his life, and now he just gave the strange woman something else to be suspicious about. "I shall show you to your cottage" she said, grabbing a basket she used to gather flowers, to place Rhen inside, to carry her over. The baby looked up at Marion and smiled. Baby Rhen grabbed the young woman's hand and smiled cheerfully, alert, wriggling her feet, pulling at her and trying to get her attention. She very much wanted to play now that she was feeling better. "I guess she really likes you there," Tailor said, happy the baby seemed much more livelier and playful compared to the last few days. The woman had effortlessly nursed her back to health, he noticed, admiring her gentleness. "She's amazing...I have never seen a prettier child," Marion complimented, being the one to hold the basket as they walked outside. Her eyes remained fixated on the girl's striking lilac eyes. The sun was now setting over the mountains. The warm orange light made the valley glow. Tailor looked at Marion, a little unsure how to best express how he was feeling. "Erm...I forgot to mention I have no wife either...I guess Rhen will have to grow up without a mother," Tailor said carefully. He could hear pounding heartbeat on the mail covering his sleeve. He had never been so bold before. They arrived in the middle of the village, only steps away from the bakery, and went over to the outside of a large cottage with a picket wooden fence. She set the basket down gently on the grass suddenly, her expression unreadable. She looked down at her feet, clasping her hands nervously. The valley wind unraveling her loose light red hair. The young lady suddenly grabbed Tailor around his high waist, smiling vividly. Her feet kicked up lightly in the air, completely enamored, gushing. "I WOULD LOVE TO BE RHEN'S MOTHER!! " she said loudly, glee in her pitch, her whole face smiling. Her sudden cuteness causing him to grin from ear to ear. "PLEASE DO NOT EVER LEAVE! I SHALL BE A WONDERFUL WIFE TOO, TAILOR!" "You want to marry me?" Tailor said thinking himself lucky. She was much more bolder than he. "Of course I do!" Marion said happily. "Aye, I would love to marry you, Marion...But who shall marry us here?" he said, now tenderly holding her chin in his hand. He wished to kiss her, but he was too much of a gentleman. "I shall speak to my grandfather. He is the former mayor. I believe he can marry us...by tomorrow, if that's alright?! We can marry over there, just by the waterfall!" She pointed vigorously at the other end of Clearwater. "Marion, dearest, before we marry I need to tell you the truth...about Rhen and I," Tailor said thoughtfully, now needing to make sure his future wife knew what she was committing herself to. She nodded eagerly, ready to know everything about them. Her expression went from blissfully overjoyed, to a strong but pained one as he told her where he had just been and what had happened. Her eyes filled with tears as Tailor told her of the kingdom of Thais being attacked by Ahriman...the battles that followed...of Queen Alicia's passing and dying so he and the Child could survive...of the lost and likely dead King Devin...and the Dream Priestess that saved them and helped him get this far. "M'lady...your new daughter, Princess Rhen Pendragon, is the Chosen One. Someday she will have to leave Clearwater and perhaps meet the same fate as her parents...You must agree to raise her as your own with me, if you want to be me wife. She cannot know the awful truth until she is ready." "Aye, she shall be ours and only ours," Marion cried, overwhelmed by all the emotions flooding her soul with sorrow. She quickly pulled Rhen out of the basket, holding her tightly, the girl molding into her petite frame. "I will always be your mother, Rhen...Rhen Darzon." Tailor breathed a deep sigh of relief. He was sure he would scare her away with so much misfortune and tragedy. Marion walked him over to the cottage. She showed him what would now be their new home together. Conveniently, there was an empty secured chest inside, where he placed the small treasures, a pair of gold hoop earnings, and the Pendragon Sigma Ring. He also placed his sword within, knowing he would never fight another battle again. --- After making themselves home, the newly engaged pair walked all around Clearwater with their daughter and watched the sun lower over the mountains. ---- In the morning, Tailor got up early. He placed Rhen in the basket and carried her outside. The sun was barely rising over the mountains and cliffs. Outside, Marion stood, wearing a lovely white dress and veil. She held a bouquet of fresh bright pink marionbells. "I made this last night," she said warmly as she spun around slowly to show him. "Our daughter shall have many lovely dresses as well." "And the best shoes," Tailor added, making her gleefully giggle. With her arm wrapped tightly around his, the three of them walked over to the cliff top with a beautiful clear blue waterfall at the far most corner of Clearwater. A very old man, stood waiting for them on the bright green grass. He looked at the baby Tailor held, but did not ask any questions, and only smiled at the happy couple. The old man gave Tailor his blessing to marry his granddaughter and provided the bride with a thin plain silver ring that she held up to the blue sky against the billowy clouds. He then read them vows out of an old book and pronounced them husband and wife. ------ As time went on, more villagers and newcomers moved back to Clearwater. No one ever questioned where the young knight and child came from as the timing had been just right. All of Clearwater believed the young seamstress to have married the shoemaker and to have given birth to their one and only child while the village was nearly empty. Tailor Darzon, Marion named after the flowers of the valley, and Rhen Pendragon (now Rhen Darzon), happily settled down in their new lives together. End of Part 6 -------------------------------- side note: 'Marion' is not Rhen's mother actual name, although I only found this out recently, and just happened to think it always was Marion and not just Ma. lol I think I got the name from a walkthrough somewhere and always thought that was her name. lol On another side note, I have to work out most of Part 7 (maybe 8 too?). I have the first chapter, but need to fill in some blanks first. It's a tough one because there isn't much to go by in the games. The major events are mostly outlined, but not the in between. lol But just in case, I would be happy with ending here if I can't come back in a timely manner again for some reason. 🦄😂🙃
  5. Chapter FIFTY-FIVE: Unredeemed The Oracle and the Dreamer arrived in the Oracle's corridors in the High Realm. Talia fell to her knees beside the reflection pool in the middle of the room, she dare not look at herself, and waited for what the old woman had in store. The sun priest arrived, unhappy to be there, but profound relief in his eyes. "I left Dameon with Armaiti as soon as I was called, your grace," he announced, sounding overjoyed from finally seeing his son again. "He was not awake yet, so I dare not move him. I would like to return to him once more..." Aydan looked at Talia knowing something was dreadfully wrong. She did not move and only whimpered. He went beside her and kneeled as well. "Another misconduct, Sun Priest...This time the Dreamer had a part," the Oracle said apathetically. "I hear you used your magic again for the ill purpose of letting the Dreamer walk in a place of mayhem and destruction." "Oracle, it was for good reason. I am the only one responsible," Aydan said trying to take full responsibility. Also being very relieved that this was not over what he did to the King of Thais. "No, you both had a part in this. Do not deny it," the Oracle stated firmly. Talia nodded from her place. She knew now they were in trouble. Aydan stood up on his feet. Seething, in disbelief, that the old woman would not accept it was only his doing. "Oracle, I asked him for help," Talia admitted without delay, not wanting Aydan to take the full blame. "It was his spell that allowed me to walk the world again...I asked him so I could try saving the king and queen of Thais...and their child." "It is impressive that the Sun Druid performed such a powerful spell...However, you almost woke, Dreamer, and now the dreams are filled with years of nightmares to be rid of," the Oracle went on, but still inquired more. "Now is this the first time you have let the Dreamer walk the lands of the waking realm?" The Sun Druid sighed, annoyed, and looked away not wishing to answer the old woman. "--No, I have been to Aveyond as well...It was years ago and only one time," Talia spoke faintly for him, wanting the truth out, not wanting Aydan to attempt covering up any of it. The Oracle was awestruck but in disbelief at the sun druid's craft, "I have never heard of the this... enchantment you speak of. Explain yourself, Sun Druid." "I created the spell all on my own, your grace. It is of my own invention. The Dreamer took no part," Aydan added. "It was reckless at best. Had it failed the Dreamer would have awoken instantly...There would have been no time to have her go back to the Dream, after all the calamities we have faced recently. Had she awoken today, the Dreamworld would have become a Nightmare realm and many of the living would have been...altered into wretched, twisted beings," the Oracle revealed. "In times of peace, there would be time to restore the Dream, but not had she awoken now--" "--Then I shall help her extinguish them, your grace, as I have helped all this time since the birth of our son and before," Aydan interjected, seeing how the Oracle's words were affecting Talia immensely. "Now...this is not a punishment for the Dreamer, but it will seem like it... You, Dreamer, must clear out all the nightmares. You must stay as long as possible, even if it takes years to rid the Dreamworld of the horrors it is plagued with... I am afraid, it will come at a personal expense as you will get to spend less time in the High Realm...It is your duty as the Guardian of Dreams." Talia began to weep hard again. "THIS IS PUNISHMENT!! DO NOT PUNISH HER OLD WOMAN!!!" Aydan suddenly growled so loud the still water in the reflection pool began to violently swish around. Weeks of harsh sentiments from his imprisonment still lingered. "IF I HAVE THE POWER TO SUCCESSFULLY TAKE THE DREAMER TO THE REALM, IT SHOULD BE PERMITTED!!!" Talia rose to her feet, trying to pull herself together. She had never seen him so livid. "Aydan, please...It is my duty...This is a consequence of what...what we did...I almost woke several times while I was in Thais...I saw the snow fall from my Sleeper's eyes," Talia choked; she realized this also meant less time with Dameon. He would not be able to spend time with her in the Dreamworld any longer as it was not safe anymore for the young boy. "I...I suppose our son will have to spend more time with you, Aydan..." "I shall be there as always, Talia. I shall end the nightmares by your side. I shall be at your side forever, my love," Aydan spoke warmly, meeting her gaze. Their eyes locked and tenderly drifted to each other's lips. "--We need to move on to your punishment now, Druid of Light," the Oracle revealed, interrupting the next moment. She caught the Sun Priest's eyes, now full of abhorrence--glaring at her with despise. "I am assuming since the Dreamer released you from my dungeons, that you are no longer are in danger of losing your position as Sun Priest." Aydan sighed with relief, but waited on Talia to confirm that she no longer wished him away. "Aye, I no longer wish him gone...I do not believe I ever wished separating our son from one of his parents...I only spoke out of outrage at the time," Talia stated, implying the Princess of Thais at the same time, in her words. "So...is the love potion debacle forgiven?" the old woman prodded carefully. "Yes--" Aydan said. "No--" Talia said, at the same time. The Oracle's hand went to her wrinkled forehead and shook her head over the disagreement. "You lied to me, Aydan...You used magic against me," Talia said, pain from disappointment in her eyes. The disapproval still fresh even after weeks of finding out about the love potion. "I do not know if I will ever forgive you for it..." Before the Sun Druid could speak further, the Oracle continued: "So be it. You Guardian of Light, Sun Druid, Servant to the Sun Gods, will not be forgiven for the reprisal you committed against the Dreamer, Druid of Dreams, Guardian of the Dreamworld...It seems you have misused your magic twice, according to my count. You created a deceptive mortal potion and used it on my immortal Priestess of Light...You then risked the stability of the Dreamworld by sending her to the waking world in peril of waking her in the Dream and freeing the nightmares...You have left me no choice... I am stripping you of half your sun powers, effective at once." With a gesture of her old hands, without even holding a staff, a quick sphere of hazy light surrounded the Sun Druid and then disintegrated. "NO!! YOU CANNOT TAKE WHAT IS MINE!" Aydan protested enraged by his punishment, roaring. "I WORKED FOR MY MAGIC! YOU CANNOT TAKE WHAT IS IN MY ESSENCE!" Talia winced. She held her hands over her mouth in disbelief. She looked away towards water in the reflection pool again and noticed it did not shake this time--the water was still. "I NEED THEM TO HELP THE DREAMER OR IT WILL TAKE HER YEARS TO HEAL THE DREAMLANDS! YOU HAVE DIVIDED MY FAMILY, ORACLE!" "You must also spend a considerable amount of time in your Shrine, Sun Guardian," the Oracle said unaffected by his outburst. "It is your duty as well." "YOU PUNISH ME FOR SPEAKING MY MIND, DO YOU NOT? FOR BEING CAPABLE AND USING MY POWERS," he fumed with a wrath that he could not hold back. "THAT IS THE TRUE REASON FOR YOUR RETRIBUTION, IS IT NOT?!" "Aydan, please...We will figure this out...For our son, PLEASE!! You must accept we have our duties to the gods and the goddesses of the realms first," Talia said very much upset, but somehow calm. He heeded to her words, after a moment, but the outrage did not leave him. "Talia, it is wrong that we follow these rules. We are capable of much more than this. It is wrong that you will be burdened...That our son will have less of us...I resent this greatly, more than you will ever know..." Aydan said still glaring at the Oracle. Talia quietly held back. She wished more than anything to reveal what plagued her as well, but knew she could not speak of word of it, even as it broke her where she stood. "Bah! This punishment is not permanent. You speak as though you do not have eternity to redeem yourself, young Sun Druid. The Dreamer's duties are much more difficult in times like this. Your powers will not help her this time," the Oracle mentioned, now wanting to also settle things down after a long night. "I am sorry...I must return to the Dreamworld," Talia said abruptly, not wanting to delay her duties any longer. The sooner she went the dream, the sooner she could find Tailor in the Dreamworld and tell him she would not be returning to them. She knew she would have to start clearing out the nightmares as well. "Please go to Dameon...and tell him I love him," Talia spoke feebly to Aydan, trying to refrain from more tears. "Aye...I will, my love. I will go to him at once, " he said as she went on to open a portal to the Dream. Before she went away, he gently grabbed her arm, pulled her close and softly kissed her forehead. "My love, have you forgiven me?" he uttered, not wanting to wait until the next time he would see her to ask. Talia shook her head, sadness and anger over her face. "I will give you all the time in world to forgive me, Beloved," he said as she let go and went to her portal for the Dreamlands. She was gone. --- Aydan knew he would have to work hard to regain much of his power...He needed to help Talia in the Dream, go to Aveyond much more frequently to serve the sun gods, raise their son, and most of all, make up for the lost Chosen One when the Demon would one day return. He remained alone with the Oracle now. Tired and wanting his son to be at his side, but still with final words to say to the Oracle: "...I know naught what I must do to redeem myself, but I will regain what you have taken from me," Aydan said frigidly to the Oracle. He attempted to open his own portal several times, but failed. His power were not strong enough. All of a sudden, he felt the Oracle's bony hand on his side, but it seemed to be a more empathetic touch than usual. Her eyes were white, but rapidly went back to normal. "I hear you have passed a Judgment for the sun gods, young man," she announced. "I do not know what you are referring to, Oracle," he denied, anxiety taking over his tone. A burst of sunlight flashed in his eyes. The Oracle took note. "I do not know what it was over, and I will not ask...The gods have agreed with the Judgment and you must enforce it...But, I fear it was Judgment I do not agree with...I ask you to be kinder and show mercy...That is all," the Oracle finished."I believe your son is waiting." "Yes, of course... I will go to him at once," Aydan said, shook by her knowledge. He was able to open a portal as usual and left immediately. ---- Special Scene The Sun Druid arrived at Green Rock Temple in the early morning. His son just waking up. The boy jumped up to meet his father--never wanting to left him go--after he was gone for so long. Armaiti assured him the boy was welcomed anytime and gave the boy a merchant's pass if he ever wanted to come back and learn the mortal arts of trading someday. Father and son stepped out of the temple. Light misty rain water was gently falling as the early sunlight swept the rocky green valley. He held his son, enjoying his time with the boy after so long of not seeing him. He swung the boy over his shoulders to give him a good view of the valley and mountains. Dameon pointed at something far in the cliff side between the tall apple trees that he wanted his father to pay attention to. "A knight!" the boy cried. From his point of view, seeing a man climbing up, struggling, holding a small weight in his arms, appearing lost, all while trying to read a small scroll and then running through the trees. A large colorful bird followed them through the apple trees. The sun druid looked but saw no one. "Yes...it was just night time, my son...A very long night, indeed." The sun priest, shrugging it off as nothing, immediately left with his son for Aveyond.
  6. Posting the remainder of what I have so far. 💟💌💟 =============================================================================== Chapter FIFTY-FOUR: Lost Child Arriving at the Tear Shrine, Aydan lay Talia carefully on the stone floor of the temple. He found cushions and made sure she was comfortable. He waited for her anxiously to wake up. He could hear nightmarish beasts shrieking outside the shrine. Unable to stay tranquilly inside the temple, from the incessant cacophony that lurked beyond the front door, he cursed at the new dreaded horrors outside. He knew the nightmares were overflowing from the recent chaos in the world. The Sun Druid finally got up and stepped outside the shrine, overwhelmed by the sight. He quickly extinguished some of the nightmares creeping closest to the shrine, but they were uncontainable. He knew there was much worse unleashed on the dreamlands, and only Talia's magic was best suited for the task of ending them. Giving up for now, he went to Talia, and held her waiting for her to safely wake. Aydan waited anxiously for her to move. He noticed her robes were washed with sea water and grass was stuck to her boots. He wondered what she had been doing in the world if she did not run into the pathetic oaf king or dead queen before he did. Making it a point to ask her later, he just needed for her to wake up so he could go find Dameon now--missing him more than ever--after all the suffering he had seen in the world. As soon as he saw signs that she would was no longer in danger of her Sleeper waking up, he would go to their son. After a short while, Talia yawned and began to open her eyes. "My love, I must go find our son. I cannot wait any longer to see him," he said eagerly, desperation in his voice. "I cannot go another moment without knowing he is safe." Talia tried to keep her eyes open. She could see the Sun Priest and tried to speak through her sleep paralysis. "I will be back soon with our son, my love. I'm sure Armaiti cannot wait to get him off his hands. He cannot be away from us after what we have seen," he said as he got up ready to leave. He brushed her hair gently with his hand and moved her staff closer to her. "Do not go outside until I return. I will help you." "Wait..." Talia gasped, desperately trying to say: 'We need to talk...You must find her there too...' The Sun Druid apparated again. Not longer after, the Dreamer sprang up from her slumber, sweating profusely. She could feel the nightmares outside of her shrine. She peered out into the Dreamworld. Nightmares overrunning the dreamlands, more than she ever imagined possible. The dreamland sky was dark with hardly any starlight. A large nightmare flew overheard blocking the over-sized moonscape. There were countless nightmares loose, crowding the Dream with terrors, pushing its very boundaries outward, on the verge of collapse. As she prepared to ready herself for battle, she felt as though she were being watched again. The Oracle stood in the middle of the Shrine. An unreadable expression on her face. "I do not normally watch over you to make sure you are here performing your duties, Guardian of Dreams," the Oracle began. "There is a mess in this realm...Not all of it could be helped, but the overflow is due to your absence...You were to stay in your Shrine just as the other Druids. Explain yourself, child." From the tone in the old woman's voice, Talia could tell she was displeased. "Please, I beg you...Oracle, it was not for a bad cause. I found the Child...She is with a friend of the King and Queen--a General...I must return to her at once," Talia said in a panic, but trailed off. The Oracle seemed unfazed by her words. The old woman sighed deeply. Her old hand poked at Talia's side. "'Beware lest the dreamer wakes.' You are the dreamer and you nearly awoke," the Oracle recited sternly. Talia suddenly felt deeply ashamed; she was bound to her duties and she had forsaken them. "Please Oracle, I need to go back. I MUST go back to them. I cannot live with myself if I leave the Child down there," Talia lowered herself, begging now with her head so low her red hair dragged on the Tear Shrine's floor. "Dreamer, she is safe...You have made your choice when you returned without her. It was a good choice given the state of things with the Dreamworld. And we cannot forget your plight with the sun priest," the Oracle continued firmly. "Please, your holiness...I needed to look for King Devin...I had to leave the Chosen One behind...It was not safe in Thais...I could not take her with me...I could not even hold her..I promised to return for her," Talia implored, tears flowing from her face. She did not want to come across as defiant, but this was not the same as when she left behind the love of her life all those years--she had left an innocent child behind--A child she needed to protect at all cost. "You will not be able to return. It is not an option. I am sorry, my child," the Oracle stated with finality. "If I cannot leave, then send Sun Priest Aydan...He can find her!...I can tell him where to find them...The General remembers him," Talia said, hopeful to find middle ground with the old woman. She lost so much already, there would be no more loss today. The Oracle's eyes turned a bright white, her voice grew forceful, her voice was layered as she was overtaken by entities much stronger than her: "You must swear to secrecy that you must never reveal you saw the child to anyone...Promise that you will not tell anyone, so long as she is safe." Talia gazed at the Oracle. Unable to speak. She knew this was more than a simple command from just the Oracle. It was part of the prophecy. Talia covered her face with her hands, shaking, weeping knowing she had lost another dear one all in one day. "I...I...I cannot...I would never be able to live with the burden of leaving her behind!" Talia said with her voice raising, quivering, waiting on an answer on how she was expected to live with herself. The Oracle sighed heavily again. "Child, you must never tell anyone that she lives...Not even the sun priest must know," the Oracle said as her eyes returned to her normal ancient blue. "You are mad!" Talia shouted suddenly, no longer avoiding defiance. "The sun priest does not know she's alive...It may break him to not know there's hope...But I cannot ever li..." "--You cannot lie, because of what you are--child of Faiara. I know you cannot, but you must conceal the truth. This is the only way she will truly be safe." "Please Oracle, we can prepare her for what is to come! She will have parents...She will have a brother...She will have magic," Talia declared out loud her intentions. "You would not ever conceal the truth from her...It is burden much too immense for any child to bear...She will run from the prophecy if she knows the truth...Promise now that you shall not speak of her existence to anyone, so long as the prophecy is imminent," the Oracle said, unwavering even from the Dreamer's earnest intentions. The Dreamer fell to the temple floor, sobbing uncontrollably, defeated in a battle she could not win. Still thinking the Oracle mad, the truth was that she would have no choice but to agree. This was greater than her--this was now destiny. As the Oracle said, she had made her choice when she chose to go alone without Aydan, and then when she chose to look for Devin instead of fleeing. Talia reluctantly nodded. She wondered how she would ever withhold the child's existence. Her secret would haunt her until it was a secret no more, and it would only bring a greater divide in her relationship with the Sun Druid, and perhaps even her own son. She knew she would need to find Tailor in his dreams and tell him that she would not be able to return for Rhen. Talia turned to go into the Dreamlands, but the Oracle beckoned her to come with her to the High Realm. "I am not through yet," the old woman said sternly.
  7. Chapter FIFTY-THREE: Almost Awake Now early dawn, signs of daybreak coming through every horizon of the land... The Dreamer's knees almost caved into the powerful tide of the water now pulling at her legs. Talia arrived closer to Thais this time. She looked behind her seeing a large carriage in flames being dragged out to sea by the choppy tide. The strong scent of salt water filled the air and a light warm rain started to fall. "The land is spoiled now," she said to herself, realizing it would be impossible for anyone who might remain to grow anything again on most of the newly formed island. Saddened ever so much, recollecting the beautiful old trees with tan and red bark, the creaky old wooden bridges, and clear blue springs that once flowed through the same path she walked. Talia moved forth trying her best to remain calm and trying to force herself to not wake up. She tried blessing the land as she went, but it was no use. The land was still tainted from whatever ghastly dark magic Ahriman had spread upon it. As she continued, she ran into more bodies of citizens who had tried to escape. She felt tired. The world seemed to be turning into a nightmare with every step. Her heart sank to a near stop, not finding a single soul alive--still looking for the familiar blue-hair amongst them--hoping he was just off to the side of the road somewhere hurt, but alive. Terror ran through her as she began seeing signs of fires--piles of ash she was sure were those that had died--their dust now rested against the edges of her path. She would never know if the King was among them. She stood still for a moment as she watched more embers extinguished from the warm raindrops. Walking this path was her only hope at finding Devin and now she was just outside kingdom's gates with no more path left; her search now was mostly over, unless he had somehow managed to make it back to the castle on his own. When she finally reached Thais' gates, in the distance she spotted knights marching, men and women, carrying large red and blue treasure chests-- coming out of the what remained of the eastern Burgeon Forest, with them what appeared to be a pair of royal officials as well as some royal staff. She peered at them for a moment, but saw no battle worn blue-haired king with them. Not wanting to explain herself, she continued moving through the front gates, looking at every face she could find laying on the ground. The scenery remained much unchanged as she hurried throughout the mostly abandoned kingdom still looking for Devin. However, only finding more dead in sight as she went. Suddenly feeling as though she were being watched, Talia looked over at the window of a nearby manor. A young girl staring wide-eyed at her, peeking through the glass. Her eyes full of panicked terror. Her small fists pounding at the glass. The Dreamer blinked, and behind the girl was now a nightmarish creature, lurking, and haunting the young girl. Talia blinked again and the girl and the creature were gone. Breathing harder, and now deeply troubled about what was going on in the Dreamworld, she knew she would need to try to find the girl's nightmare later. Once more as before, strong illusions of snow cover blanketing the city rubble and dead, and when she opened her eyes she was back in the demolished kingdom. She was waking up and there was no longer any time left to wander through the streets of Thais. When she finally got to the castle walls, tears flowed from Talia's eyes. She did not find him, she thought remorsefully for not coming in time. Devin was gone for forever. She went ahead inside the palace, thinking perhaps he would go to his wife and be by her side in these times. "DEVIN?!" Talia hollered frantically, but only heard her own high pitch echo within the castle high ceilings. "DEVIN, PLEASE BE HERE!!" she yelled. Nothing. Her chest beat fast from the growing distress. Tailor had said Alicia was still on the ground within the throne room. She had to keep going as this was the only parent she could possibly help now. Perhaps there was still something she could do for the young princess' mother before she had to go back to the Dream. The Dreamer was certain now she only had moments left as she saw the first lights starting to break through the opaque sky behind her, semi-lighting the dark throne room. Right in the middle of the room, Queen Alicia lay motionless. Talia looked at her thinking her alive and rushed to her side. The Queen did not even have a scratch on her, she looked as though she were unconscious but healthy. Talia kneeled before her, watching to see if she was still breathing. "Please get up, Alicia!...It's Talia..." Talia demanded as tears sprang from her eyes, finding no breaths from her and no heartbeat. The Dreamer's arms felt heavy. She felt sleepy as she spoke. "Please...get up! You must! Your child lives!" Talia attempted a revival spell, careful not to use a strong one as her magic was very much unpredictable. Tears sprang from her eyes. She regretted coming here. Now wanting and determined to go back to the Chosen One and to take her somewhere where she would be protected from harm and far away from an ill-fate just as her parents--from her prophecy-- from Ahriman's Prophecy. Once more a deep grey snow seemed to be covering the room. This time, snow fall gently landing on everything in the room including the deceased queen. Behind her she could hear the low blast of someone apparating and could make out a bright flash lighting the open room, making the snowflakes disappear, but she could not move as her body relaxed to a standstill. The cover of 'snow' remained in sight. "My love," she heard the deep familiar voice of Aydan, but continued to weep over the dear ones she lost. "...I am waking...Please try to revive her with your sun magic! Please, Aydan! " Talia pleaded as he went to stand beside her. He helped pull her up. She broke down on his shoulder and he securely embraced her trying his best to console and provide a magical anchoring to keep her from waking. The 'snow' disappeared again and the room became ordinary again. "I'm sorry, my love...I already tried my best resurrection and revival spells. I only healed her wounds...She has gone to the gods," Aydan said to her, profoundly saddened, but still very much enraged and vengeful. Her presence was starting to fade again. He managed to grab Talia as she faded, and spoke a spell to keep her from waking in the Dreamworld--to buy them some time. After a short while of tearful mourning, Talia reached for the few glowberries that remained in her robes. She lay them across Alicia's chest. She thought her beautiful, even while departed. She straightened her lovely wavy hair and whispered a farewell prayer. "Aydan, I must stay here...I am not done yet," Talia said firmly letting him go as he tried tugging at her to leave at once. "Tal, you need to go back to the Dreamworld...There is not much else we can do here," he said while letting her continue to mourn. Talia looked at him, realizing he had been in Thais longer than just a few moments ago. "Did you find the king...did you find Devin?" she asked, hopeful that perhaps he had found at least a clue of Devin's whereabouts. "No, I am sorry...I have not been here long, my love," he lied. Talia looked deep into his dark grey eyes, thinking she saw a flicker of sunlight in them. Before she could say more about the king, she began to fade again before his very sight. "Aydan...please...I cannot go back yet...We mustn't go...You need to stay here and--" Talia begged, but soon could not stand. The world went dark. The Sun Priest frantically opened a portal to the Dreamworld, trying everything possible to keep her from waking.
  8. Chapter FIFTY-TWO: Passing Judgment In the High Realm, deep in the darkest part of the castle... Still trying to get past his imprisonment, the sun priest was undecided if he should go to his son or find his Beloved. He wanted desperately to see Dameon again. He had no staff he realized, and sat for a moment wondering how to best get to them. He worried the Oracle's castle guardians might try to stop him and lock him up again. Aydan got up finally, still weak, broken that Talia was so upset at him and may never fully forgive him for his mistakes. There was hardly any light in the dungeon after Talia had left to the world. Now being unrestrained from the anti-magic bracelet, Aydan used raw magic straight from his palm to see the way back out to the castle. The loosely charged magical sphere in his hand gave him relief; giving him a sense of power he had longed for while detained. He suddenly spotted the metal of a staff just outside the dungeon's door. "Talia's..." he said, realizing that perhaps she had wanted him to go with her, but because things went so sourly, she had decided against it. There was no other reason she would have brought another staff with her unless she had wanted him to go to the world too. Without another moment to spare, the sun priest quickly summoned a portal. --- The Sun Druid arrived in Thais, just outside the castle walls where he had only been to a couple times not long ago. Aydan gazed over the kingdom from the front castle stairwell. The city in total shambles and disarray. Fires raged on all sides. A hellish landscape compared to the peaceful setting it once was less than a dozen moons ago. He looked for signs of Talia, but found none. Just a kingdom torn by bad decisions, he thought angrily as he suddenly noticed several guardsman laying along the streets--dead. He turned to head inside the castle, panic quickly setting in. It was entirely deserted. No maids or knights, only utter destruction within its confines. He entered the throne room. To his horror, a familiar royal acquaintance lay on the scorched ground. Her golden lacquered mane stretched on the dirty ground, a violent mess of colorful stained glass just under her, scattered. She lay motionless, covered in her own blood--burned, blistered and bruised. "Your Majesty..." he said quietly, remembering Alicia fondly from their short time together when he visited months ago. He gripped his staff so tightly the metal heated up and caused wild sparks to flare out. In a desperate attempt to revive her, Aydan used his strongest revival spells. The only effect: her body completely healed from all her wounds, but she did not wake. She looked as though she died in her sleep. After using all his most advanced powerful spells, none could restore her life: Queen Alicia was gone forever. "I am sorry, your majesty...If only I had arrived earlier," he spoke to her in low tone wondering if the Demon was still near. He looked over the throne room, shock setting in from the wreckage before him. The Demon had clearly made her suffer. Blood was in many parts of the throne room, at least, what was left of the room. He suddenly looked around for the child. "The Child...I must find her," he said worried over what he would uncover; worried what the world would be like without her existence. He immediately left the castle and wandered into the city. Not a soul in sight, only dead littered the streets. Men, women, and children--every kin, of every class, of every trade. The dead children got to him the most. He passed a young boy, no older than Dameon. Aydan looked twice over the child; mania setting in over the atrocious sights before him. There was only one person he could blame: King Devin Pendragon. If he had just released the child, none of this would have happened, Aydan thought angrily and fought to contain his wrath. He needed to think rationally in order to navigate the ruined empire. The intense fury grew stronger with every street he searched through. He stepped outside the Thail gates, at last, only to find more horrors and destruction. From nowhere, the sun gods seemed to be whispering in his ears, guiding him along the different path ways, he was completely unfamiliar with. He had never heard the gods speak before, and so loudly at that. He recalled his father telling him it was rare that they would ever speak. Now in the forest, or what remained of it, he saw horrible demons creeping over the dead. "Be gone!" he yelled, casting some of his strongest sun magic. The creatures evaporated instantly. Only ashes remained. "Sun Torch," he began to incinerate the dead as he went. It was out of respect, but also out of rage. He decided he would head west. He was beginning to worry the longer he wandered and yet not a sign of his Dreamer to be found. It was a foolish idea to send her here alone, he blamed himself. Twilight was now fully upon the land, yet it was difficult to tell through the smoke and fog. He tried his best to purge the land of the unholy energies that now seemed to radiate from even the smallest rocks, but the darkness over the land continued to have a hold over everything. Up ahead, a strange sight. The sea had brought in a huge tide not long ago. The ground was wet from sea water ruining the chance to ever cultivate it. A large salt water lake now were there once was dense forest. He wonder if he should turn around the other way, after not finding a trace of the Dreamer. Perhaps, she had gone in another direction, either east or to the Dreamworld again, he thought, now consumed by anxiety. Not far ahead though, through the thick fog he spotted the wreckage of a carriage. The Sun Priest could hear a faint groan coming from nearby. Before him, another familiar face: The Deplorable, King Devin Pendragon. Aydan noticed right away he had been there on the ground for some time. The tide having come up right to his feet. Devin's chest rising slightly-- very much near death. Blood covered his forehead and dripped over his eyes. The Druid raised his staff, undecided if he would be healing him or ending him there. "Alicia...my daugh..ter...my kingdom...Ta-TA--" Devin suddenly said, trying to open his eyes and only seeing fire in the distant kingdom, before closing them again. Aydan waited for him to finish the name. He would end him here if he spoke Talia's name. The wretched oaf deserved to die now after all he had witnessed. "Go on, finish what you were going to say," Aydan said coldly. "Tailor...help them..." Devin begged feebly then passed out again. Unsure, what he meant by "a tailor", Aydan pulled out of his murderous state. "Where is the Chosen One, you pathetic oaf?" Aydan suddenly demanded, but just to the side of Devin he suddenly spotted a regal child's blanket. The blanket was covered in drying blood. He frantically walked around and looked for the Child inside the wreckage, making sure he did not miss an inch in case the girl was hidden or hurt somewhere nearby. He found nothing. A rage more violent than the sun's burning rays consumed the Druid. His eyes glowed briefly with intense sunlight. "You shall pay, mortal...All hope is lost," Aydan gasped, his rage so strong he cast a fireball at the carriage causing it to burst into flames. "Sun Fur--" he shouted but suddenly stopped from what he was doing--from what he was about to do. "Talia will NEVER give me," he suddenly told himself. But what the pathetic king had done could not go unpunished. Not to this level. "You King, have allowed the destruction of your land...The Queen of Thais is dead...The kingdom you have sworn to protect has fallen...You have failed all those by not protecting the Chosen One--your own daughter--you deplorable fool....Therefore, with the Sun Gods' blessing, I am passing Judgment onto you...you pathetic mortal, " Aydan condemned. He realized Devin to be near death and restored him with a mild health spell. Devin seemed to start coming out of it, but the Druid whacked him with his staff, knocking him out cold again. A warm draft started to come in quickly contrasting the icy chilled wind from before that was coming from the turbulent sea. Auroras formed overhead against the clouded sky. He knew the sun gods were watching. "You deserve a fate worse than a quick death...You deserve to think about all the horrors you have caused and will cause on this land and all the world now that the Chosen One...is no more," Aydan finished as he thought of a suitable punishment. He could see another large wave washing in. He wondered if he should let the water take the King. Decided on the final sentence, Aydan began to curse and plague the King with powerful spells. Flashes of deep violet bursts and green haze could be seen, a commotion so loud, yet no one around to see as the Sun Druid enchanted the King with the darkest warlock magic he knew without killing him. After realizing it was taking too much time, Aydan suddenly stopped. He would need to take him from here and decide further punishment later. He opened a portal and dragged the King of Thais by the nap of the neck. --- The King and Druid arrived in an abandoned cabin in the middle of nowhere. Once more, the Druid continued to unleash all spells of ruin and devastation he knew upon the King. "You shall NEVER dream again," Aydan said as he finished the last judgment spell to prevent dreams; the last being personal to ensure Talia would not find Devin in the Dream. "YOU will die here alone. YOU do not deserve a chance to ever be king again. YOU will never remarry, not even a hideous Orc," the Sun Druid declared through gritted teeth, finishing his sentence. The Sun Druid looked over the abandoned cabin: His mother's cabin before she perished. As well as the place of his parents union--the place of his birth and childhood home--the place of his parents last days. Mt. Orion was not far when he needed to appease the gods during quests, so he had on occasion stopped by over the years. But he had not been here since he met Talia as the cabin was too painful to visit and she had given him purpose again. Dust covered the wooden table. There were still supplies left behind for foraging. Wild potatoes and herbs still grew in the back. The little pond for water and the occasional fish when the springs connected during the rainy season. Best of all, no one would ever find the blue-haired oaf here. The King lay on an old rug, tossing and turning as he relived the worst memories of what he did and did not do. He screamed from the memories of Alicia, his daughter, and his fallen kingdom. Aydan lit a fire in the empty fireplace, he would need to leave soon to track Talia down. He would return here too, but he had much to do in the world first. All hope left Devin Pendragon...The Sun Priest made sure of it. The Druid thought of the consequences of the Chosen One being gone as he leaned against the fireplace. His son would be the one to pay dearly as he would be among the mortals someday. Before leaving, Aydan looked at the wall above the now raging fire. A shield with the emblem of the sun still adorned the wall. A celebration gift from the distant locals upon hearing that his father, a Druid of Light, had fathered a child with a migrant witch villager of their own. He wondered if he should remove the shield, but left it where it hung in place: A reminder to the King that his ill deeds to the world did not go unpunished. ------ side note: I'll be first to admit, I spent a lot of time looking for hints on how Devin got here, years back, specifically in the cabin. I was just really troubled by how he got there without really knowing why... This ultimately was motivation to write this super long fanfic story. I haven't seen anyone mention this anywhere, and of course, it may all be just a coincidence. And yes, it's really in the Hermit Cabin and in a couple other cabins nearby in the Wildwoods...Now go launch Rhen's Quest and take a look...Dare ye to lol 😇😈
  9. Chapter FIFTY-ONE: Safe for Now On a large tranquil land mass far from total devastation, the Dreamer, the General, and the Chosen One arrived unharmed... As soon as she stepped out of the portal, Talia felt slightly more put together. On this land, it was still nightfall for a little while longer. The bright stars shone brightly above near the high mountain and cliff peaks in the distance. Perhaps, because the night sky was still overhead, it was easier for her sleeping-self to stay locked in the Dreamworld, she realized. No demons walked the lands, nor even wild animals were present as it was still night time. The valley was lush with bright green grass and wild flowers poking through the tall blades. A slight breezed blew giving the air a calm and peaceful balance. Large red apple trees lined even the steep hills. Talia watched as Tailor and the child appeared a moment behind. Tailor looked in awe over the land. Both were stunned by the contrast of the blasted ruins they left behind. Tailor quickly rushed over to pick an apple and devoured it nearly whole, "Oh thank Aia!! I have not eaten like this in months! Where are we?" He picked an apple for Talia but she politely declined. Talia looked around. She looked for the Agriculture Shrine she had hoped to land near, but there was not even a farmhouse around. Just dark forest valley. She suddenly saw a cross sign with wooden arrows pointing in different directions. Tailor followed her as he munched on another bright red apple. "I'm not sure. We are not where I wanted us to end," Talia said a bit panicked. She knew she would need to turn back soon to find Devin. She needed to try to find him one more time before going back to the Dream. Suddenly remembering she had a pocket full of glowberries from the Dreamworld that she brought along with her to entertain Dameon with, she pulled them out to help her see better. The berries glowed bright enough in the darkness to help her read the sign in front of her. She noticed right away that some of the towns had been pulled off from the posts and discarded on the ground. Towns she knew most likely were destroyed or separated by the seas now. She looked to see if there were any clues on where the shrine may be, but there was nothing. Her eyes suddenly caught the top most arrow, with the name "Clearwater" carved faintly on it. "There! Armaiti said his Temple was near Clearwater...Tailor, I cannot take you the rest of the way. I must return to Thais...I need to find Devin. If I find him I shall bring him here...If I do not, I will return for the child...I wanted to take you and, and--" Talia suddenly stopped realizing she did not know the child's name. "--It is Rhen...Rhen Pendragon...Alicia named her before she di..." Tailor said bittersweet, realizing it was the first time he had not had to call her "lass" or "princess." Sadness spread over his face. Talia seemed surprised by her name having expected something a bit more regal and formal, "Goddesses, that is lovely--I want to take you and Rhen to Armaiti...but I'm afraid you'll have to be on your own for now." "I understand. You need to try to find King Devin. I'll do my best, Dreamer Talia," Tailor said lacking confidence. He looked around at the vast landscape with the only light being from the starry sky far above. He had no idea what this foreign land was like. He never thought he would ever leave Thais, yet alone flee at a moment's notice. He doubted that Devin was even alive... "Err...On second thought, Talia, perhaps, you shouldn't go back...It's not safe and I do not believe you will find the king. You saw how bad it was over there...It's best that you just take her and go even farther than we are now." "Tailor, I cannot even hold her right now...If I wake...If I wake she shall be alone with no one near...You must keep the Chosen One--you must keep Rhen safe. The demon will never find you here. I'll return to you if I can or send for help...Regardless, I will find you in your dreams," Talia said as she readied herself to leave. "You are already in my dreams," Tailor added in slyly. Talia nudged him on the side this time. "Sorry, I have a thing for gorgeous red-strands!...I supposed I can finally settle down and find a wife," he said jokingly, rubbing where she had elbowed him. It seemed to be the end of the world, after all. "She shall be a lucky wife," Talia said and winked as well at the same time, but also saddened at what had not been for her with the sun priest. "Odd that you have not found one yet, knight." "Ah, alas, my career as General was my life. There was no time for a wife," Tailor said, finding he was relieved from all responsibly and could freely live his life as he pleased. "Now, if you can only find the blue-haired Pendragon, then perhaps I can have my own lass as well someday." "Aye, that is my wish as well, " Talia said, still hopeful she'd find Devin alive. So many possibilities came to Talia's mind if she failed to find the child's father. The possibility that Rhen was now orphaned weight heavily on her mind. If that were the tragic reality, then what kind of parents would the girl have from herself and the sun priest? Would they be able to protect her, Talia contemplated, the weight of everything upon her again. For now, she should not be too quick to assume the king dead. With no further time to waste, Talia gave Tailor all the gold she had on her, and most of the restoratives and little food she had brought for the journey, to help them get them through her absence. "Please do not leave us here, Priestess," Tailor plead one last time. "I must...Take care of Rhen. I'll be back in a span, " Talia said as she quickly opened another portal back to Thais. Tailor turned towards the Highlands, knowing it would take him forever to reach the top. He wondered how he was going to find a Druid's Temple in the goddamn middle of the night, all on his own in an unknown land, with a princess under his arm.
  10. Chapter FIFTY: Protect and Survive The Dreamer arrived on the world after being away for so long... Talia appeared out of her portal, finding she had somehow apparated a good league or two westward away from the castle. Her heart pounding as she took in the awful sight of her surroundings--her once former home. The sky was still dark, an unnatural ugly reddish cloud cover overhead, only revealing the moon. The moon, red and larger than she had ever seen it in this realm. Fires raged at a distance in the mountains. The lush Burgeon Forest was mostly charred and barren. The land, she sensed, was plagued and tainted by an unholy strength. The soil began to shake violently. Instead of a side-to-side or an upward-downward rattle, it felt as though the land were falling downward. The shaking stopped, but a loud energetic blast seemed to be coming from all sides towards the ocean. Safety and hope were far from this land, she realized, longing to leave at once to the safety of the High Realm or her Shrine, but knowing there was no turning back from the task ahead. Turning slowly around, unsure what to aid first, Talia wondered why she had not arrived at the castle as she had intended. She suddenly felt the presence of demons near. The sensation was strong--an ability she did not have when she was only a simple mortal priestess. Horrible dog-like creatures with eye patches suddenly bursts through what was left of the forest. They ran out of with large daggers swinging. A giant colorful winged snake also slithered its way towards her, flashing its demonic fangs, readying its bite. In the distance she could see giant lizard creatures, holding large hammers slowly making their way over. They were drawn to her, she discerned right away, but also alarming her as well. "Dreamer's Cast!" Talia yelled as she tried to purge the land first, intending to attack the evil demons with another stronger spell next. To her horror, the spell generated an amplified white burst of energy that suddenly went far in all direction, obliterating all the foul creatures at once, but also leveling a huge swath of land, nearly reaching the mountains' base. The blast left a ringing in her ears. Brown rocks tumbled downward causing a roaring avalanche of rubble to fall. She had used the spell so many times in the Dream Realm--it was only meant to purify the land--not destroy it. The demons were gone, but the destruction was unthinkable. Trembling, she stared at her staff wondering how things had turned out so wrong. She prayed there was no one living hiding in the forest as they would have been wiped away from her magic. Realizing her dream magic was unstable on the land, Talia refrained from any more unfamiliar otherworldly spells. "I-I should not teleport to the castle either..." she told herself still horrified by the strength of her own magic as she started to walk onward towards Thais. A very thick fog was setting in. The scent of fire loomed thick in the air. She knew the demon had wreaked havoc onto Thais and the rest of the world, but was not prepared at the sight in front of her. As she moved briskly along the path, she ran into wretched carnage she never knew possible. Citizens of every age lay dead on the sides of the path. Bodies lay motionless, some clearly having been there for some time. People murdered by every possible affliction, she noticed, as she tried to contain herself from the overwhelming emotions that shook her numb. It was as though she were walking through a graveyard and the dead were not yet buried. "This is my fault," Talia blamed herself as usual, as she moved forward alone on the path. Through the eerie dense fog and smoke, she could make out a large obstacle in the way, unsure if it was a tree or carriage. All of sudden, she saw a someone moving towards her, moving along where there was once forest--a dark-haired man running. She tried to push some of the fog away with her weakest raw magic, fearing she might unintentionally destroy more forest. As the man approached, she realized he was a refugee fleeing the kingdom. She decided to wait to the side of the road, until he approached, not wanting to draw more attention on herself than necessary. --- As Tailor approached, he slowed down. He held the young princess close to his chest attempting to conceal her behind his large combat shield. He could make out a figure with long red hair in a surreal adorned white robe and lavender dress in front of him. Strange, he thought, but there was no turning back; he had no alternative but to keep going towards the shores, hoping he could at least find a canoe or raft he could take to get off the miserable lands. There was no choice but to pass the strange presence in his way. As he got closer, she did not look harmful--distraught and upset, perhaps beyond reason-- Tailor noticed, as she stood very still waiting for them to pass. He approached cautiously, wondering if it could possibly be someone who could help. He pulled out his sword just in case, but held the blade low, not wanting to come across as a foe. He suddenly stopped. "Priestess!?" he exclaimed relieved but confused to see a presence of good for once. The strange young woman looked like a beautiful goddess, he noticed, bewildered by the sight of her in such a hideous place. Talia looked over the dark-haired man. His sincere brown eyes caught hers. She quickly realized he was a high ranking knight based on his attire. "...Guardsman, please...I need some information about the Kin..." Talia uttered but trailed off, suddenly seeing the knight was holding a child tightly behind his shield as he walked over to her. Soft lilac hair visible from the side. Tailor loosened his hold on the baby, revealing a beautiful infant girl sleeping soundly. "Is she...the Chosen One?" Talia finally uttered. Her hand carefully reached out to the girl. Tailor stepped back, speechless by the woman's knowledge of the girl. He held his sword higher, but then, suddenly recalled Devin describing Talia to him: Her red hair the color of red roses...her green eyes the shade of earthy emeralds under sunlight...her gold hooped earrings she wore everyday, even in her sleep...her beauty unlike any girl in all the Lands. He realized she was not just a priestess from her robes, but a druid too. "Talia Maurva?" Tailor managed to say. His eyes widened. Talia nodded, a little surprised the man knew her name and surname too. "But how? How are you here?...Are you not supposed to be in the Dream, Priestess?" "Please knight, there is no time to waste...Where are the king and queen?" Talia asked as she went towards them. Her eyes fell on the child. Her heart filled with grief and hope at the same time. A longing to hold her overwhelmed her unexpectedly. "Alicia..." Tailor started through tear filled eyes, "Priestess Talia...there was nothing I could do!...She's gone...I was just there..." He watched the priestess' expression change to one of speechlessness, stricken with inconceivable sadness. Her deep angst was clear as she tried sorting out the meaning of what he just shared. "What...What is your name, knight?" Talia said trying to shake off the incomprehensible news she just heard, needing to know more right away, through tears from panic filling her eyes. "And...are you sure, knight?...I can go to her right now...That is why I'm here. I am here to help them." "General Tailor Darzon, m'lady...Well, just Tailor Darzon now...I'm afraid our dear friend is gone...I'm not sure what you can do for her now," he said, shutting his eyes closed. This was no time to grieve, but they both fell into a moment of shared silence. "...What about the King of Thais?" Talia gasped at last, now trembling as she spoke. "Is he--" "--I haven't seen Devin in hours. He fell somewhere in the forest from what the Queen told me," Tailor said wanting to be helpful. "The Queen did not know where he was...She fell during battle with the demon Ahriman not long ago." "Alicia...battled Ahriman? Alone? With no help??" Talia repeated meekly. Tailor nodded. "Don't feel too bad...I was not there with her either. I was in hiding with the princess...The demonic fiend was not there when it was over...She gave her life to save her daughter...To save my pathetic life," Tailor said reluctantly still trying to accept the harsh reality. "NOOO!! I cannot be too late!" Talia cried out, mortified by the news, suddenly losing herself to the madness of it all, "I MUST try to go to her! I MUST try to find Devin!" Her eyes wide with grief and hysteria as she looked onward at the castle. She waved her staff about to open another portal. Tailor stuck his sword in the ground, and set his free hand on her shoulder. Talia looked at him again, and she knew that the child would need to come first. "I'm sorry, m'lady, but I cannot go back. It's not safe," Tailor said as he let go of her shoulder, then grabbing his sword again, already taking a few steps forward where he believed the port to still be. The Dreamer followed. They immediately started going opposite Thais towards the ocean. Their pace hastened. Getting as far from the castle was now the difference between life and death. The two walked beside each other, rushing, to avoid any unwanted encounters with any other morbid creatures since the child was with them. Talia noticed how Tailor protectively held on to the girl. She could see why her parents chose him to be her guard. As they went, Tailor told her in as much detail of what happened to the king and queen and how he ended up fleeing. She listened intently for any leads on where Devin could be, and also trying to piece together what happened to the Ahriman. She could not feel the fiend's presence at all. She knew from what Tailor said she would need to return later to find Devin along the same path they were just on. They reached the shoreline. The two stopped right at the edge. There were no boats or canoes, not even wreckage. It had all been washed away, even the port itself. What was more alarming, there was no sea. The water receded far, far way. In the horizon a bright line of water suspended, but still moving forward. "Any ideas, Priestess?!" Tailor asked frantically, now wishing he had gone towards the mountains, to higher ground. Talia stared at the sea, the water was being pulled by magic. Good or bad magic, she did not know. "No...My magic is not stable here, Tailor...I'm thinking!!" Talia said desperately trying to put together a plan. "Then take her, if you cannot save me," Tailor said as he realized that perhaps his purpose was complete. He took the girl to her. "It's what they would have wanted...I have no wife...I am no father...You and the sun priest can take her far from here, can you not?" "Oh Tailor...The sun priest and I... It's complicated..." Talia trailed off, about to cry over her own unraveling life once more, wishing not to continue. "That would answer why he is not here with you..." Tailor said, realizing she was deeply afflicted by the Sun Druid. He suddenly recalled how Devin did not like him. "Erm...you know the King wasn't too fond of him either, I suppose the King may have been right then..." he trailed off as he noticed Talia remained silent now, but reaching with both hands for the princess. Her hand moved over the girl's hair and warm cheeks. She smiled at the girl with motherly warmth. Her arm beginning to hold her weight, juggling her staff under her other arm, giving Tailor a break from having carried her for so long. The girl yawned as though almost ready to wake up. The sky began to lighten slightly. Talia lowered herself on a tiny patch of grass that remained on the barren land, exhausted suddenly, and still broken by everything her world had become. The girl cooed slightly on her lap. Her soft light violet hair blew gently with the sea breeze. All hope rested on the girl. The disbelief that such a small child carried such a huge burden seemed impossible and unfair. She would not let anything bad ever happen to her again, if she could help it. The girl's eyes opened slightly then closed. The baby had Alicia's eyes, she noticed. However, she realized that she could have easily been her second born by age and by father had her path been different, and she had not become the Dreamer all those years ago. Tailor stared at them, content that things would fall into place, even if he was not part of the plan. Talia's stroked the girl's soft cheek again. Thinking desperately about where to go. She no longer knew where safe was on the isles. Then, remembered Druid Armaiti mentioning that the Western Isle had been mostly unaffected. It was so safe, Dameon was surely sleeping in the Druid's temple at this very moment waiting for his father to come get him. She knew she would take Tailor there. She just needed to be careful with her teleporting magic and not try to end up in the middle of nowhere or somewhere just as dangerous. Perhaps, her magic would get them to the temple or close enough, she wondered. "Well, if the Sun Priest is no longer around...you can just stay here...with me," Tailor offered half-jokingly, half-serious, breaking the silence as the large wave drew closer. He scratched the back of his head while grinning sheepishly. He wondered how Devin could have been such a fool to ever let her go. Devin surely would have nudged him hard in the chest, to the point of pain, had he been standing beside him for being so bold. Talia managed to laugh a bit along with Tailor despite all the gloom. Another man trying to make her happy...Another brave friend, she thought, relieved she was in good company. She could see why he had been so liked by the Pendragons. The wind began to propel harder from the ocean. The water was starting to fill the ocean bed again. The seas were rising, becoming choppy and impossible for any vessel to ever navigate through. "We need to go, Tailor. I will try to take you to the Western Isle. It's safe there...My son, Dameon, he is there as well with the Agriculture Druid Armaiti the Green," Talia assured him as she got up readying to use her staff to create a portal--beginning to concentrate, trying to minimize her magic as much as possible. As she got up, Tailor grabbed the girl quickly out of her arms. "Priestess Talia...," he gasped. Her complexion was quickly changing. She looked inexplicably brighter as though an aura of light were falling over her. "Something's wrong!" Talia looked over her hands. Her staff was solid, but her hands were starting to fade. Suddenly she felt as though she were in two different places at the same time. She closed her eyes and opened them. Everything was covered in white snow--the ocean, the mountains, Thais in the distance--all she could see was snow. She blinked again and she was back on the ruined lands beside the violent ocean. She panicked, hoping she was still not holding the child as she would surely gone right through her. "NOO!! I'm--I'm waking..." Talia revealed. "I CANNOT wake yet! We need to leave NOW!!!" Terror filled her voice. There were so many nightmares in the Dreamworld now from all the horrors people had been endured, it would be another awful disaster to wake now. Not to mention, she had not really been watching the Dream well for weeks, and it was already being overrun with nightmares she had failed to kill. Talia felt foolish for having nearly forgotten that she could wake up for simply coming to the world. Aydan warned her. She suddenly thought of him, her heart heavy with fresh disappointment, but she felt grateful that he helped her get this far. Now she just needed to stay long enough to save them both. Wondering at the same time, if the sun priest had made it to Armaiti to get their son by now, and regret also set in: if she had allowed Aydan to go with her, he could have helped her right now with his magic. Realizing there was no more time to spare, with the ocean quickly coming in with a huge tidal surging, the water starting to swell and spray upward right at the land's edge, and her time being limited on how long she could stay in this realm, she summoned a portal. The familiar translucent radiant butterfly appeared and took off fast going far west. Moments later, the portal flashed ready for them to step on. Talia carefully went to it first with Tailor now holding the child tightly behind. Hurriedly they stepped forward as a wave crashed down.
  11. Chapter FORTY-NINE: Untimely Demise Alicia stepped back, horrified by the new presence in the room that was right beside the demon. A woman she had seen only twice in her life. A priestess--a druid-- stood right beside Ahriman. Her pale face and light yellow hair, giving her seemingly innocent presence seemed unchanged from before, was now before her--side by side with the wretched demon. "Moon Priestess!...YOU Traitor!...MINION!" Alicia growled, deciding not to attack as she was now too weak. The priestess ignored her stance as though she were not there. Alicia gripped the hilt of her sword so tight the metal started cutting through her blistered hands. "My Lord, are you not finished? I'm out of time. The moon is setting. Dawn is nearly upon us. You must end this now. I must set the land down," she said coldheartedly as she restored the demon to full health and power. "You really should not exert yourself, Sire. You are not at your full might yet." "My lovely, servant! Just in time! Ha ha ha! I was about to end this, although I was having much amusement. You should mind to your silly moon duties then. But now that you are here, why not stay and watch the grand finale!" "Did you find the child, My Lord?" Leana inquired as she turned to open a portal, appearing nonchalant over the appalling scene in front of her: the Queen of Thais gasping and spitting out blood from her mouth, glaring at her with all the hate in the world in her eyes. "Not yet, but surely she is as dead as her mother is soon to be," the Demon cackled. Alicia filled with terror and rage. She was outnumbered and out of reach from the only restorative in the room. "Chaos," Ahriman said suddenly. The queen finally fell to her knees in agony. Her thoughts went straight to her daughter and Devin. She whimpered loudly, finally caving in to her misery. "Good. Now finish this, Sire. I must leave and will return for you soon," Leana retorted, all while smiling. She stepped into her portal and disappeared in a blaze of lights and fog. Alicia fell to the ground, unable to hold herself even on her knees. The last of the restoratives now much closer but still too far. "At last, your majesty. You did not expect to win, did you now?" the sinister brute said provokingly. Alicia breathe heavily on her side. There was nothing else she could do but pray to the sun gods he would not find Tailor and her princess in the under belly of the castle. Alicia closed her eyes knowing the end was imminent. The sound of the large castle doors suddenly bursting open filled the room. Alicia opened her eyes, turning to her side, hoping for Devin, even if it was just to see him one last time. To her shock, a man slightly older than her stormed right through. A total stranger. He wore a dark cloak that wasn't really concealing him, as though he were a traveler. The man's striking green hair the color of fresh ivy leaves and his skin a slight glowy tan as though he were from the East. His fierce eyes a piercing indescribable mysterious yellow-green. A large pendant with a polished red stone hung from his neck. "Who are you?" she said weakly, barely audible. The man smirked at the wretched Demon and then smiled slightly at her as he walked confidently towards her, "We are here to help you, your majesty." Alicia suddenly felt faint as though suddenly having 'help' could give her a moment of reprieve she so needed. Her hearing began to go in and out--she just wanted to rest--but hope was restored upon seeing the traveler. And now had time to plan what to do next. The Demon and the man exchanged heated words. Alicia tried to listen, but coughed up blood as she tried to move. Still unable to hear and see well from the loss of strength, she pulled herself closer to her lost restorative. She noticed right away it would only be to restore some mana as she glanced at the brown liquid in the vial. "Ha ha ha! Who are you supposed to be now?" Ahriman questioned and cackled at the same time, amused by the sudden presence of another battler who held an orbed staff--a magic wielder--the demon realized to his delight. Suddenly two others showed themselves near the traveler. Alicia held the restorative still trying to muster strength, trying her best to stay alert. She noticed two young girls suddenly in the room. There was no light show as when the horrible Moon Priestess appeared. The two girls just simply appeared out of nowhere. They looked peculiar, she noticed right away. One had white hair, the other black, but their eyes were otherworldly--a brightness she had never seen before--thick auras surrounded both. They were hardly adolescents. Their hair short and they each seemed to be no more than mere presences in the room, unprepared to fight. "Gate Extora!" the green haired man shouted. Ahriman was quickly pulled into a dark gateway that suddenly appeared in the room. He shot out the other end, out of breath, hitting the castle wall behind the throne with such force it shatter some of the stoned wall. The Demon struggled to compose himself as he forced himself up. "Time Tsunami," the man casted, ignoring the rules of turn-based battling. The Demon dodged the spell. A strong energy field washed over the throne room, washing over everything and putting out some of the small fires as it refracted through. "Does that answer your question, Demon?!" "Timemaster!!" the demonic beast roared. "Maelstorm!!!" The throne room trembled and became a heated inferno. The Timemaster shielded himself from the heat, but took a terrible hit from it. The other two followed and attempted desperately to shield the horrible heat, and quickly casted a shield spell on Alicia from the strong hellish fiery storm that ensued. At the end of the monster's spell, Alicia realizing it her only chance, took the last of the restorative, and got up. She realized now that her chest plate was entirely covered in blood. She charged forward and yelled, "Songbird!" Ahriman screamed again. The blast from her magic caused flashes of light to burst throughout the throne room. Her sword plunged deep in the middle of his chest. To her shock, the Demon's life did not end. He sneered wickedly. "Absolute Zero," the demon cast. Alicia fell again. She felt cold--so cold--the pain left her body and became a weak numbness. Her lips turned blue and she toppled to the ground. "NO!!!" the man yelled, "Your highness!!!" The two young girls stepped beside the green-haired man. They began to chant different incantations at the same time. "Time Loop!" the Timemaster shouted. "No!!!" the Demon wailed. A large wave-like vortex phenomena opened. Ahriman stiffened to a standstill, frozen stiff. As soon as the vortex faded, the demon was locked inside, then suddenly gone. Alicia lay on the ruined castle ground. Her eyes trying to stay open, fully aware that what she had done was suicide. The man ran over to her. The two young girls stayed back. They looked down with forlorn expressions. "Lars! We need to leave! We do not belong here," the black haired girl cried. "Yes, we must leave NOW!" the white haired girl affirmed also trying to contain her sadness. "Nox, Uma--please! Wait!..Just wait outside," Lars ordered as it seemed too much for them to handle. Alicia watched as the two young girls apparated without effort. Lars went over to the queen, "Your majesty, you do not have to worry. He'll be gone a very long time...And she...your daughter, will turn out just fine..." Alicia tried to say thank you. Only blood came out. Her eyes stared deeply into the stranger's astonishing eyes, knowing now he truly meant what he said about what would come to pass. As outlandish and unreal that he even existed at all, the fact that he came all this way to help from only knows where, gave her hope and relief. "I'm sorry, your majesty...I...I can never save you. I have gone back so many times...to stop this. Your fate is always the same...Just as my own fate is unchangeable...and your daughter's...I must go, I do not belong here," Lars revealed as a tear rolled down. "You did well, Queen Alicia...I'm sorry I cannot stay...I must go." Alicia sighed heavily. A deep sense of serenity washed over her. It was not all in vain, she reflected. "Hey you, down there! You need to leave now!" Lars yelled loudly towards the fountains. Alicia closed her eyes from his sudden loud callout, when she opened them again, he was gone. After what felt like an eternity, but was only a matter of minutes, Tailor suddenly found himself with the child in his arms on the opposite fountain. There was no water left in the fountain as it had all been evaporated away from battle. "How? How are we up here, lass??" Tailor said to the sleeping baby in his arms. He quickly hopped out of the empty fountain, unsure of his surroundings. The wind beat hard within the castle walls, howling. "Alicia!" he said, having spotted her on the ground in the throne room steps away. He ran to her and fell on his knees as he approached, stopping in place, suddenly terrified he may be walking into a trap. Alicia breathed shallowly. Her mind now wondering if the evil priestess would be returning soon. The sight of her daughter and her friend overwhelmed her with deep sorrow. She tried to move, but she had no strength. There would be no time to explain all that had happened. Her palm curled into a tight fist. A tear ran down her face. "Tailor..." she managed to say while gasping. "Run...Run...Take her far from here...Do not look back." Tailor, pulling himself forward, went to her side. He took in the sight of the throne room as it was unrecognizable and completely destroyed. He looked over everything wondering how she was still in one piece. "Queen Alicia, what happened?! I could not hear much down there..." he said, disbelief setting in as he looked around again. A view of the moon setting out of the now broken windows; it appeared to be pulling back fast, he noticed, feeling alarm. "You're coming with us, your majesty. You MUST!" Tailor began to choke up. He fumbled around for a restorative he could use on her, but there was nothing strong enough. He knew too well that there was nothing he could do having seen so many die in the battlefield. Even the very best healer or restorative would do nothing. "Please Tailor...Please, leave...please," her speech became a whisper that trailed off. Tailor's hand grabbed her fist. Immediately, her grasp loosened. A ring fell into his hands. "The Pendragon Sigma...Take it...The kingdom is hers with this." "Please Alicia, come with us!" Tailor cried out loud. "I can't do this! I should be the one dying, not you!" "You'll be fine...knight...Devin and I trust you," Alicia voice rasped, weakly managing a smile. Her daughter slightly opened her eyes. Her beautiful lilac eyes catching hers briefly, before closing, falling sound asleep again. The Queen wished Devin would finally walk in the castle, but knew that would never be. The room began to shake again. "I do not know where to go, Alicia...Heck, I...I don't even know what to call her," Tailor said suddenly through tears, at last, realizing he could not hold back waiting any longer. "It's a...Her...Ren...Rhen..." Alicia gasped as she looked up at her daughter. The Queen became still. "What kind of name is that? Tailor asked, but then saw his friend and beloved Queen gone. Her stunning blue eyes glazed over. She lay motionless. "Farewell, My Queen..." he uttered, throat constricting and new despair setting over him. Tailor immediately shot up. His grip tightened around the girl. The shaking had stopped, but he assumed the Demon was close again. He had no idea how he would leave the miserable kingdom. He wandered through the demolished Thail streets, avoiding every possible danger in their way before exiting the castle gates for good. --- side note: It was either going to be Lars or Gerrith storming in to save the day. 🙃
  12. Hi all! And belated thanks 💙 Alright, the pandemic brought me here. 🦄 I finally have some free time to actually get back to writing and enjoy games again^^...I would elaborate more about my creative hiatus, but I really just had no time until now because of work and RL...I officially gave up trying to come back to this fanfic a couple years ago. I never imagined I would be able to return and make another attempt to finish. I'm not even expecting comments as I can tell the site is not so active these days, which is a real bummer :< This is something I've wanted to cross off my list for some time now, comments or no comments, readers or no readers. lol There were a lot of cards that just didn't line up for me to come back until now. Anyhoo, enjoy! ^^ *blows mummy dust off this old fanfic book* disclaimer 2.0: I'll try to get to the actual ending this time, although I might settle for what I already have written which is about~ 9 chapters. I won't leave at a cliffhanger again...I hope. >.> I'll also try to find a fanfic site I can upload as a backup as some here have already done. ======================================================================================================================== Chapter FORTY-EIGHT:..continue 2020 The giggling sharpened in the throne room. Suddenly, two small winged demons burst out of the spheres. The ghoulish creatures, dark reptile green with pulsating golden eyes, giggling and screeched loudly waiting for orders. Their large heads covered with what looked to be hair but was instead fleshy dreads with purplish flamed end-tips, with vile snake like maroon tongues licking the air. They floated by their demon master. "Imps..." Alicia gasped, having heard of the vile creatures existing only amongst other horrible demons. She charged forward. Ahriman continued to laugh. "Enjoy my pets, your majesty! Ha ha ha," Ahriman exclaimed coldly. Alicia struck one of the vile creatures hard. It fell downward nearly touching the ground, but it quickly sprang upward. She attempted to strike it again, but it dodged her and it moved in an upward and downward pattern. The other imp quickly struck her hard nearly knocking her over. She shielded herself. The malevolent fiend roared in a demonic low screechy growl and attempted to strike her again. Having now studied her, the two imps retreated. Each one took turns summoning spells. Alicia refrained from sword magic not wanting to give away her abilities too quickly. She needed to make the demon think her weak. "Scorch" "Annihilate" The queen dodged one attack, but was struck by "Scorch". The terrible pain that came from the searing hot temperature immediately forced her back. She wished a healer were near to replenish her health, but took one of the few restorative she had, making it a point to dodge as much as possible. She pointed her sword at them and waved it vigorously shooing them away. Noticing they did not want to take a direct hit, she now aimed to cut hard. "Silence!" the Queen shouted. Immediately, both demons were unable to utter more spells. She continued attacking them. Hitting as hard as she could with her blade. What appeared to be blackish blood oozed to the ground out of them after several strikes. Once hitting the ground the blood quickly ignited. The fiends swiftly started taking turns using their small bodies to strike her. Her health quickly went down even with her shield up. Another restorative used, she continued attacking them knowing magic would likely not work on the horrible dark magical creatures. She panted deeply, while trying to not lose sight of Ahriman, who continued to laugh, waiting for her to fall. The imps continued to spill blood and seemed to become disoriented, knocking into each other, trying to break their "Silence". She quickly acted, striking each creature, each strike being its last. One by one, the imps bursts into nothing after her strongest blows. The Demon's laugh ceased. Alicia took the opportunity to clean off her sword. Her glare instigating the demon as she paced from one end of the room to the other, moving closer. "...How?!" Ahriman bawled. "A large party can easily fall from just one imp attack...Perhaps, I've been too light. Ha ha ha ha." Suddenly more giggling filled the room. Four more imps exploded out of the air beside their master. By now Alicia had already restored herself again. "Silence," she shouted again. This time Ahriman was silenced as well, but only three of the four freshly spawned imps were affected. Ahriman seemed perplexed that her spell affected him and worked frantically to reverse it. The imp that was still un-silenced quickly screeched out a spell as it giggled. "Scorch Exura" Alicia's defense shield became hot. She let it go as the metal became unbearable to hold. Her sight became unfocused from the extreme heat. It permeated through her equipment, making her sweat heavily, weighing her down. She gasped out a protection spell that helped partially restore her health, at the cost of using up a lot of her mana. The imps began to circle around and giggled evilly, each taking a strike at her. Their speed hastened as the Queen tried to distinguish each one. Alicia continued to stealthily dodge each as they attempted to lash at her, quickly rolling under the circle and jumping to her feet. An imp abruptly struck her as she tried to swing her sword, nearly losing her balance. With the one foul imp that scorched her with its horrible spell, in plain sight, she struck the fiend right in the chest, using her sword as though it were a rapier. It was a critical point of weakness, as the creature quickly burst into nothingness. Ahriman's was no longer silenced. He commenced heckling again. Alicia wasted no time reaching for another strong restorative. Even though her defense shield was still hot, and could feel the scorching through her gloved hand, she picked it up and continued to battle. Her clothing singed as each of the vile creatures' blood splattered and momentarily ignited. Down to the last imp, the creature was still silenced. Alicia continued with another restorative, but the foul creature knocked it out of her hands. It rolled away closer to the Demon. She quickly finished the imp with one last strike. Panic setting in, she dare not look in her pouch to see how many restoratives she had left. She felt weak, but charged by the thrill of the battle. Years of training and preparing finally paid off. However, the reality of nearly being out of restoratives, was quickly setting in. There was never a lack of anything in her whole life as a royal, but now was low on the restoratives she needed most, more than all the gold in the world. Only luck could save her. She no longer thought of anything but survival. She needed to fight the Demon now, not wait for some other malevolent creature he felt like conjuring up on a whim just to watch her suffer more. "It's over, Ahriman! You have underestimated me as Queen," Alicia gritted, while maintaining a dignified straight face. "Battle me now! I do not have time to play games, Demon...I have funerals to plan." "Ha ha ha. I never let a fair maiden wait. Prepare to die!" Ahriman's exclaimed, now with a dire tone, realizing he had a challenging, worthy opponent before him; he cautiously inched forward. It was obvious he was disappointed his imps were beaten so easily. He hissed as he approached. "Scorch Extora!" Ahriman roared. Queen Alicia quickly dodged the spell. Even though she missed the spell, the room felt different, as though a heavy despair filled its every stone and crevice. "Kiss of Death!" Alicia cast as she charged forward finally using her sword magic. The Demon fell back towards the throne. Anger and astonishment filled his face. A deep rising shriek sounded from its deformed demon mouth. Debris on the ruined castle floor pulled back towards the walls, possessed by the demon's rage. Alicia quickly cast another shield spell. She knew deep down there was no way out now. "Foolish girl, I will end you!" the Demon said in a deep enraged growl. His demonic voice different than the earlier grossly optimistic mocking tone. The demon's wings suddenly spread from its back, ripping the cloak he bared. The rubbish on the ground became animated projectiles that he hurled to the walls, all becoming heated embers causing the room to appear a sickly red. "Flame Melody!" Alicia said and agilely charged forward. The demon shielded itself, only half affected by her spell. "Weevils!" he growled. Alicia was stuck fully with the spell. The pain moved throughout her body as though she had small knives running through her flesh, her back arched from the wicked sensation. She took another restorative, this time taking one which would restore her mana as well as a cure her from her affliction; her hand shook, barely finding any restoratives left in her pouch. After being cured, she quickly glanced behind her, still hoping Devin would burst through the door. "Silence!" she said, but the demon dodged the spell. He batted his wings and waved his black staff manically, striking her shielded arm, causing her to lower it, but she did not let it go this time. "Berserk," Alicia yelled trying now to desperately buy time. The spell took a hold of the Demon quickly. Alicia glanced at her hands--the gloves and sleeves were scorched through--wounds also on her arms and legs were scorched, blistering, and bleeding. "Power slice!" Alicia yelled. The demon was completely confused. The magic bursts out of her sword striking him and weakening him. "Trinity Fury," she belted out again, not wanting to give it a chance to recover. She continued saying spell after spell, repeating many, trying her best to close in on the demon to actually cut him with her sword. Alicia then charged full force towards the demon, piercing it through in the its abdomen. The demon screamed, but pulled out of "Berserk". Queen Alicia, completely depleted of her mana, took the last of her restoratives to restore her health. "Annihilate," Ahriman screamed in agony, striking her full on. She moved forward ready to strike him, feeling his end close. "...Just one more sword swing..." she whispered to herself, as she approached. Her arms heavy from wear and the raft of the spell causing her so much pain, she wished for everything to end. "Impossible!!...How can one mortal possibly do so much damage and still be standing!!?" Ahriman shouted enraged as she lunged forward. Suddenly, the Queen could hear the faint sound of what sounded like a baby's loud cries coming from somewhere in the throne room, or at least she thought it was the cries of an infant. Alicia froze, thinking her daughter had been found. The brute smirked evilly. She realized it was all trickery to buy him time. At the same time, a light fog followed by a burst of lights, developed in the room, the sound of the wind howling, interrupting the battle. Right beside Ahriman, a familiar face appeared in the room. Alicia gasped, "NO!!"
  13. Okay, it sounds like you didn'treturn the crystal to Queen Ayumi in the butterfly caves. She's somewhere in the butterfly caves you take to get to Ladybug Village. Also, if you have enough upgrading points, you might want to go to the skills tree to upgrade some of your skills for Hellena, such as Lightning and maybe pick a skill for Diamond. Keeping the equipment updated as you find/buy can help a little too. Hope this was helpful. *note highlight text by holding down left button on mouse over text. Didn't want to spoil anything.
  14. You should try finding the demon now, @rpgnerdkan. It's worth it. If you've beaten those heart monsters around Valentown (and the ones in Sweet Tower?)then it'll be pretty easy going into the butterfly caves again. Still, what you get will make things a bit easier in terms of battling. edit: oops, but what @Twinmatrix said. don't hesistate getting help on the rose portal site.
  15. @TwinMatrix: You're welcome. ^^ @Moony: If you ever do go on to play the full game, you'd realize just how much AJ (et al.) grabbed RPG Maker by the horns and really, really used it to it's full potential. :hammer: I don't think I've played anything like it or seen anything like it before as far as comparing other games build with RPG Maker. Like there are things in this game that are so different than what I've seen other developers do with this program(not that I'm saying their work wasn't good because there are a bunch of good rpgs out there; Av series included ). It doesn't sound like you've ever tinkered around with RPG Maker, but if you did you probably might end up really appreciating what all went to making this game (any game for that matter is HARD). Storyline, music, graphics (double points here lol!), animations, etc, almost everything was custom made with very little use of the default features in RPG Maker. So yes, AJ and team really did take a different road when it came to building this game. And from the looks of it, it's far from having been the easy road.
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