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Blurble

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  1. That won't make it into my epic TDP fanon rewrite, since they won't be relevant there: (There were more, but these two I remember) --- 1. Mel struggled to break free of Gyendal's grasp, but his grip was like iron. She hissed in frustration, and around her the dark damp stone corridor filled with flame, bright, angry, overpowering-- which quickly died out. Gyendal laughed. "Your magic is pathetically weak, Darkthrop brat. Don't think it can get you out of here." She glared. "And I've spent all this time getting stronger, after all. Training. Improving. What have you been doing? Sitting around in town?" He gloated. "See, I'd feel almost bad for you, but you made this so easy for me? What, you thought your problems would just disappear if you ignored them?" She ground her teeth, against her capture, against her imprisonment, against the swelling ball of shame inside her gut at how right he was. She was so helpless. She was so... powerless. 2. "Hmmmm.... I wonder..." Stella said. Edward groaned. "Goddess! Would you stop saying that already! It's driving me nuts!" 3. "The prince fell in love with her even though she was a slave! and then it turned out she was a princess all along! How romantic!" Stella cooed, clasping her hands together. Edward rolled his eyes. In his mind, he could hear what Mel would have to say to that-- probably some remark and how now both sides of the relationship would be smug irritating prats. ...In any case, she'd never, ever have let the words "how romantic" pass her lips. Unless she was being sarcastic. Dammit, he missed her. ---- Sorry, Stella. You annoyed me to no end this game. Maybe if you hadn't, I wouldn't have minded you ending up with Edward... But seriously, you guys had all the chemistry of a piece of cardboard.
  2. A ficlet (which then morphed into being more than a ficlet) that tragically will never ever ever be canon. (or even fanon. Just saying. My fanon for this game will be very different from canon, but it will, unforgivably, not include this scene for reasons of plot necessity.) Nonetheless, it begged, beseeched, cried on its knees to be written. This fic, needless to say, entirely ignores TDP canon. Nonetheless, because reading it after having played the game might be disorienting, I will explain what exactly is going on, setting-wise. Ed and Mel get to the Arishta Isles, leaving immediately post TLO, together. (i.e. Mel does not run off). When they get there, Mel enrolls in the school with minimum nudging and Edward probably gets goaded into joining as well, but in addition to that he plays a complex political game to get supporters for his bid for power back home (I was so mad that part was Deus-ex-machina'd out of the game, I was so excited for political machinations). They stay in Veldarah for quite some time, until eventually being, as usual, triggered off on adventure. Onwards to story. --- When they got to the Arishta isles-- which was a whole adventure in itself, involving, among other things, mermaids and gigantic purple sea elephants-- they spent most of the first month just settling in and trying to get their bearings in a strange, unfamiliar place and a strange, unfamiliar culture. Mel was mostly busy trying to get the hang of the Academy's schedule, not to mention navigating the complex Academy social scene-- No, really, not to mention it. She was committed to ignoring it as steadfastly as possible, in the hopes that it would then go away. Nonetheless, her days were so full that she was a bit shocked that Edward, who had to deal with political alliances and meetings with the Empress on top of everything else, had managed to find the time to track down a chapel. On second thought... No really, she shouldn't have been surprised. "No, Edward," she said, when she found him, for the millionth time (fourteenth, actually, but who's counting? Definitely not her. She didn't find this latest stunt of his cute in the slightest. Not at all. No. He should get over himself, he of the cute easily ruffled hair. Argh). "I'm not marrying you!" "Why not?" He said. Sulked. Pouted. Stared up at her with-- dammit, not the puppy eyes, she was in a really bad angle to be receiving the puppy eyes, they look huge and hurt and innocent (DAMMIT. Edward was the furthest possible thing from thing from innocent the universe could possibly think up. He knew full well he was manipulating her. He was doing it shamelessly, the conniving little naive open-minded overly eager way too enthusiastic-- stupid. boy. AGH. Mel was going crazy. Clinically. She knew it.) She closed her eyes, to cut off the puppy eyes (if she looked at them for a second longer, her heart would melt. She knew this. Worse, Edward knew this. It was a problem). She refused to answer. "Why not?" He pressed. "You already did, once!" "That," she said, "was then. This is now." "What changed?" He protested, standing up. "I'm still the same, you're still the same, we still love--" She slammed her hand over his mouth just to stop him from ever finishing that highly embarrassing sentence. "Did you forget the part where our wedding ceremony never actually happened?" She asked. "We've never been married, Edward, and that's the way it's supposed to be. We're completely not suited for each other." "C-comple-" He spluttered. "What? Why? And don't give me your 'you're a noble, I'm a commoner' speech again, Mel, you know full well it's ridiculous." "It happens to be true!" "It's completely irrelevant! But look, if you actually care this much... Mordred Darkthrop helped build Hapsburg, didn't he? As far as the universe is concerned that probably makes him a noble, too. So now you have absolutely no excuses, let's go get married, c'mon." He grabbed her by the wrist. She pulled away. "And what about the part where you married someone else? Did you forget that?" "Lydia annulled our marriage ages ago, Mel!" "That's not the point!" "None of this is the point, Mel! I don't get why you're being so ridiculous!" "Because I don't want to get married to you, Edward! Why is this so hard for you to get into your thick skull!? Is it absolutely impossible for you to believe that there's a single girl out there in the world who might not want to swoon over winning charms?" "...You think I have winning charms?" Edward said, incredulously. Mel bit back a scream. She closed her eyes. She breathed deeply. "I just don't understand why you're so eager for us to get married, Edward. What's wrong with what we have now? Why can't we just be friends? It's worked so far. Why should we mess with it, why should we mess it up?" "Ah." He said. "What 'ah'?" "Ah, I get it." He said, a look of absolute smugness plastered across his face. "Get what? Stop looking at me like that!" "Mel, Mel, Mel," he said, and hugged her. "I promise you, nothing is going to change when we get married. I'm not going to stop being friends with you. I promise, everything will be exactly the same. Trust me." "...If everything's going to be exactly the same, why even bother?" She said, muffled against his chest. He laughed. --- He lied. The wedding in Veldarah was frankly weird-- it involved passing roses around in a circle, and then skipping in tandem, but okay, totally different continent, new culture, whatever. The problem was afterwards. The problem was when they left the chapel and Edward, grinning ear to ear like a gigantic freak, stopped literally everyone in the street and said: "Do you see this girl? Her name's Mel. And she's my wife! We're married!" (To which most of the townspeople responded with "congratulations" or some such thing, although one or two of them backed away slowly (a far more sane reaction, in Mel's opinion)) The problem was when she grabbed him by the sleeve and said, sharply, "Edward." And he turned around and-- and-- kissed her full on the lips right in the middle of the street. She was pretty sure she heard cheering, but it was hard to tell because she felt like she was about to pass out from pure shock. She pulled away as forcefully as she could (the minute or two where she... definitely did not push him away... could be chalked up to madness) Her face was flaming. She wanted to crawl into a hole and never be seen again. "Are you okay?" Edward asked, suddenly concerned. Arm around her waist. "No," she snapped, trying to pull away. He felt her forehead. "You seem flushed." "That's because I'm humiliated," she hissed back. "...What? Why?" He asked. "You- You don't- You didn't need to announce it to everyone!" She said. He glanced around, and finally seemed to notice the slightly amused crowd that had gathered. "Alright," he said. "I'm sorry, I got carried away." He kissed her on the forehead. "But Mel," he whispered. "We're finally married! For real! You're not Lydia! I'm not Belf's older brother! It's amazing!" "Yeah, yeah," she said, grumpily, but allowed herself to soften against him. "...Wait. Belf's what?" --- "And this is my wife, Mel!" Edward announced. For around the fiftieth time that evening. For around the fiftieth time that evening, Mel flushed and looked away. Edward had taken real delight in introducing her like that-- well, pretty much everywhere. Still, tonight, with some three hundred nobles gathered at some gala dinner, there was a bit too much introducing going on for Mel's taste. She knew she had to bear with it, for Edward's sake. She was really proud of him, trying to get his throne back (the irony of this vis-a-vis her personal thing against nobles was waved away as this being different, because this was Edward, taking responsibility, not just some random rich fathead pursuing power). She knew he needed support. Nonetheless... "Do you have to phrase it like that?" she asked him. "What do you mean?" He said, too innocently. "Calling me your... wife." she said. Coughed at the last word. "It's true, isn't it?" "I don't go around to everyone calling you my husband!" She protested. "Well, why don't you?" He asked. "It's too embarrassing," she muttered, and wriggled her toes, and wished this evening was over. --- But no. No, the horrors didn't end there. The news reached them that Stella had been kidnapped. And so they left, together with Yvette (who had delivered the news) and Te'ijal and Galahad, who had finally come on a long-promised visit from Sedona. Te'ijal was busy getting Galahad to pamper her-- it was clear she had gotten used to this as her sole source of comfort over the horrible tragedy of being turned into a human. Yvette had turned into a bird and flown up to nest in a tree/keep guard. So it was Mel and Edward left to make camp, and it was Mel who discovered that Edward had packed only one tent. ...and only one extra-large sleeping bag. She lifted it up and stared at him accusingly. He shrugged. She stared at him accusingly. He whistled innocently. She groaned. She should never have agreed to marry him. And he was so getting kicked out of the tent tonight. --- (a/n: I have this thing, where I'm writing a story. As I start out it happens in present tense, since i'm writing present-tense the images playing my mind... then as the story progresses I shift back into my comfortable past tense. Then I have to go back and change everything. Agh.) (This somewhat changed from what I had in mind but whatever. The point was, having Mel and Edward adventuring together while married would be kickass. Even if I write like crud and totally don't express sufficient awesome. Look, hey, if I get another plotbunny of their married adventuring life I am so writing it.)
  3. the irony is that I've actually had in mind that Mel is pregnant with twins. Twin girls, now, that I hadn't necessarily specified in my mind.... but even though I dismissed it as the crackiest cracky crack ever it is creeping it's way into my mind as part of my fanon nonetheless. There's no way it would have, if I hadn't already pictured her with twins
  4. Which is to say there are plot-loops. Or rather, this being elves, their are development/understanding loops. And Ean has the one in which he comes to appreciate humans, and the one in which he stops being as elvish as a true elf should, and the one in which he grows to love something other than serenity, and the one in which he outgrows elf-love (not outgrows as in matures past it-- outgrows as in he becomes too big for it to fit comfortably, anymore. He'd have to squeeze himself in). But I ended up having to organize it by how things happened in the story, just because otherwise it became unclear what was causing these revelations in himself... Eh. Whatever. Rereading this, I am simply reminded of the some of the thought process I had writing this. Like, my frustration with the goddess for allowing other people to do her dirty work is greatly ameliorated if instead it becomes the goddess's way of allowing someone to grow and develop. and if it's viewed that way av2 becomes Ean's story, not Iya's, and the godddess's obnoxious comment about him being a secondary character would not have been her stating the truth-- it would have been her deliberately lying, to goad him into realizing something he needed to realize, that his existence does not revolve around Iya, that he can have his own story. Iya/Ean always felt too plastic a relationship for me. But as I wrote I found I couldn't just break them up, simply because even as Ean becomes more complicated, more twisty, more rough and raw and human... because Iya doesn't, because she can't understand, on some level there's a hurt there that needs to be addressed... eh. etc etc.
  5. "Mel never agreed to go - in fact she flatly refused. Which is why she's been hiding from him in Harakauna for a year." Uh, no she didn't. I have the text of their conversation right in front of me. She said yes. Or rather, she said "I'll go. anywhere far away from lydia is a good place to be". and when edward leaves the library she asks him to wait up. http://img824.imageshack.us/img824/6844/48447859.gif
  6. "This file is currently set to private. " Since it's the end of the game, I don't really care about the spells anymore- I just want to finish beating the final bosses (and yes, by boss battle i meant final boss) and see the end of the game. And thanks =)
  7. there's more inconsistencies than just that... whatever, the development team was tired.
  8. I just played my way, for many hours, all the way till the boss battle. mistake one (EXTREMELY HUGE): I did not save along the way. mistake two: I closed the game and when i reopened it I misclicked-- I ended up overwriting my autosave. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH. There is absolutely no way I can possibly play this through again within the next... month... without screaming from pure frustration at the fact that I just wasted HOURS. so please, please, please tell me someone can be kind enough to send me a savefile. *begs*
  9. ...if you';ve continued playing for another hour and THEN discover that you'll need to go back to your only save point from before, which would be before you even found the curse? ...that's like two or so hours lost.
  10. after proceeding for over an hour of gameplay only to discover I needed to backtrack to find Sarah, can I request that future builds of the game make it clear when something is a side quest vs part of the main plot? i.e. i should not be able to leave the town without having found Sarah
  11. 1. I am very confused how the beginning of TDP syncs with the end of TLO. the last scene in the game was Ed telling Mel they were going to the Arishta isles, wasn't it? There's no explanation at all in the opening scrolls how she then ended up in Harakauna. 2. I also chose the option to continue from the "saved game". ...is that a completely meaningless option? What exactly does it accomplish? I have none of the items, levels, etc... In TLO at least an explanation was added for why the items would be gone. Are they with Edward? I mean, honestly i'm fine playing without them (alright, i miss my apothecary items, i never got to use them in TLO) but if the "continue from old game" option makes absolutely no difference why is it there? I'm so lost.
  12. @Kirroha: oh thank you *blush blush* I take that as the highest form of compliment.
  13. I think it will take Mel a while before she can think of Ed as "that man" rather than "that boy". I'm sure one of my next fics can have him having a cool moment and her thinking OMGHE'SSOMANLY (lol) but in general he's more like a total goofball around her. As for them never saying I love you... I dunno, somehow I always see Ed as being kinda demonstrative. I guess because in my game he proposed to her like ALLLLL the time (=D). And also because he just... feels like the more open type. And while those two had super-huge communication problems in TLO, in my interpretation this mostly came from Mel. More importantly, the ending of TLO did not really contradict my interpretation of Ed as the more open honest one. Mel: I'm /not/ a mage1 Ed: Stop lying to yourself just cause you're scared Mel: ...Dammit I hate when you're right all the bloody time Ed: =DDDD (BECAUSE WE'RE TOTALLY IN LOVE =DDD) Ed: So. I decided I actually want to be a king now. And you need to be trained in magic. Thus we are going together to the opposite side of the globe because obviously we're sticking together. (BECAUSE WE'RE TOTALLY IN LOVE =DDD) Mel: ... Ed: Now let's go hang out somewhere (BECAUSE WE'RE TOTALLY IN LOVE =DDD) okay, pretty clearly some of my personal preferences play into that interpretation, but... yeah. Alright, in canon they don't ever say those exact, precise three words but somehow rather than seeing that as something significant that once they said it you can be sure it made it's way into the script, I just see it as the kind of thing they mention off-screen... Plus I guess whatever all my fics follow each other in my head so once I had Ed being all confession-y in At an Impasse it just proceeded from there (maybe things will change when I finish little joys and move on to it's pseudo-sequel set in game, when they will be much more prickly at each other, but a. that's going to take a while and b. seriously, even then there's fluff. more obliquely references fluff, sure, but I've had the image of them staying up talking together and Mel falling asleep and Ed totally pulling The Move on for something like two years.
  14. If they were sharing a two-person hammock... yeah. ugh wish i could write the next bit it's less immature and yet more sweet. *sigh*
  15. it's not the firefighters, it's that unspeakably idiotic law that's to blame. although they should have has the courage and morals to go against the law and save the house anyway, the one who deserves repercussions is the mayor. --- The law is absurd. What, so now you say that people who pay the police can be protected from murderers but people who don't, the police will just stand by? Firefighters, at least where I come from, are similar to policemen. Responsible for protecting /everyone/. If the issue is a matter of funds tack on a tax (a reasonable, not exorbitant) one to pay for it. And think logically about the consequences- in exchange for a missing 75 dollars, they allowed significantly more than $75 of value to go up in flames. That is value the town's economy will not be getting back. That iz more than 75$ of tax dollars gone, especially when the family (I hope) gets the hell out of that messed up place. Seriously? It was worth it? And from a moral perspective it's just abhorrent. --- also you realize the poll is impossible to vote in, right? were they in the right or wrong is not a yes/no question. Yes to what? right, or wrong?
  16. Mel tends to bring out Ed's little kid. *sigh* He gets all enthusiastic and excited around her.
  17. notice: the forum move broke my table of contents and my on-site list of fics. my fics have been backed up to AO3. link in signature. To be honest I wrote this ages ago. But I was really only writing it in order to get to a certain scene. And then I hit writer's block. And so it sat around for over a month gathering dust and refusing to budge. Whatever. Consider this Chapter 1 of what may at some point in the next decade become, say, a 2-parter. --- It had been a mistake to let Edward buy the tickets. Actually, she should have guessed based on how... eager he had been. But then he was enthusiastic about loads of other things for reasons she never really understood, so she'd figured that this was more of the same, that maybe in addition to dreaming of farming chickens and participating in a lice-hop race Edward had a lifelong dream of buying ship tickets. At least she couldn't definitively put it past him. Full of surprises, that boy. But this particular surprise has been... “You only bought us one cabin!?” She exclaimed, in horror. “What? It's a double-size cabin.” “Yes, but there's only one of it.” “Well, it was cheaper than buying two singles,” he said, innocently. “Don't even- don't give me that sickening puppy look, money is not our biggest concern right now, and I know full well you did this on purpose. I am exchanging this ticket right now.” “No, don't-” he began, but followed her anyway as she stalked up to the dock to talk to the ship's captain. “I'm sorry,” the captain said, “but we don't do exchanges or refunds.” “But-” Mel began. “Ship policy.” “Could we at least buy another-” “Nope. Ship policy.” The captain crossed his arms firmly and stared off into the distance, refusing to speak any further. She whirled away, furious, in time to see Edward try- and fail- to stifle a grin. --- And so when they left for the Arishta Isles they left in a single double-size cabin, and Mel was no longer speaking with Edward, at least for the next five minutes, maybe. “Meeeel,” he whined. Mel ignored him. “Oh cool, these hammocks rock. Ooh, look, I can rock it back and forth like this- hey, this is kinda fun, I bet I can make it go even higher if I just-” THUMP. He picked himself up and glared at the hammock. “Bad hammock,” he said, and turned appealingly towards Mel. “Mel, the hammock is being mean to me.” Mel ignored him. “C'mon, Mel. You know you want to talk to me. You know, deep down inside, you just want to smack me upside the head and get over it.” Mel ignored him. “Otherwise I'll have to tell you a story about the Veldtian Merchant and the Talking Dog. That story takes hours. I'll just talk and talk and talk.” Mel winced. And ignored him. “Fine. Alright. The Veldtian Merchant. Be that way.” He sat precariously cross-legged inside his hammock. Mel rolled over so she couldn't see him anymore. “The Veldtian Merchant was a woman, with eight husbands. They were all named Quentin, by the way. She had a thing for Quentins. In the beginning she had three Quentins, one with blond hair, one with red hair, one with black hair, so she called them black, white, and red Quentin, variously. But then she got two more Quentins, and one of them brought a whole set of hair dyes. So there went that.” Mel felt her lips twitch upwards. She quickly willed them back down again. “Anyway, after the Veldtian got the eighth Quentin in an incident involving a shipwreck and a herd of angry sheep- and, now that I mention it, a ruby teaspoon and a bottle of fairy ale- she decided that she could focus her attention to building a huge shipping empire across the world. The only problem was that she had lost her ship in the aforementioned eighth Quentin incident. And it so happened that the shipbuilders in Veldt had gone on something that they have in Veldt, called a “strike”, which is when the workers refuse to work unless they get paid anymore. In Thais we don't have those, we just have general grumbling which tends to break out into fistfights and which my father says relieves the tension just as nicely, but In Veldt they're much more polite and even eat their bread with little forks. And they have all sorts of strikes... Baker strikes, Janitor strikes, I heard the politicians once went on strike and people tried to pay them to stay that way.” He paused. “Seriously? You're not even going to laugh at that? Hellooo, Mel, I just made fun of nobles. Sort of. Mel? Did you go to sleep? Should I start talking to my toes now?” Mel ignored him. “Oh well. I guess I won't tell you, then,” Edward said, sounding rather offended. Mel ignored him. There was silence. There was more silence. There was silence with compound interest. Mel fidgeted, irritably. “Alright, fine!” She said, rolling to her other side so she could see him. “What were you going to say?” He grinned at her. “You're talking to me.” “No. I'm not. I want to go to sleep and not see your dumb face.” She rolled back to face the wall. “Mel?” He whispered. “What?” “I'm sorry.” There was a pause. She sighed. “Yeah, fine, I... Whatever.” “And I love you. A lot.” She threw one of her pillows at him, and curled up into the remainder, bright red.
  18. i know that it wasn;t mentioned in av1. i was referring to her being deliberately obscure and not telling rhen what was going on. hated her from that moment on.
  19. IF THIS IS SOME SECRET CODE FOR "ALL IS NOT WELL IN TDP", THEN THINGS WILL BE SMASHED. If not, then this amused me. xD I'm glad I'm nto the only one who thinks the Goddess is evil- forget giving birth to Heptitus, why couldn't she solve the entire issue herself? Why involve a bunch of mortals? (My only justification is if you follow the Ean/adventure timeline and say that it was all to get him out of Elfwood so he could have a real life) (But even that doesn't justify what a cough she is in Av-1)
  20. No. It goes in circles. i.e beginning middle end beginning middle end. causality being viewed as a loop, rather than an arrow...
  21. For example it could have been something like this: Late nights sometimes Ean found his parents sitting together on the couch, staring, into each other's eyes or into the distance. It was... a form of meditation, a communion with a wholeness of things. It was something wonderful, they explained to him. Countless others explained to him. Young elves matured and married and together were able to sit quietly, peacefully, in deep thought. No words needed to be exchanged. It was a happiness and completion of being that belonged solely to elves, the Goddess's gift to them. The Goddess had a soft spot for all her charges but the elves were her favorite, because they were closest to her, because they were kind and peaceful and content to remain the same, sitting together, experiencing the perfection of unity. All this Ean learned, and he learned to accept and love and yearn for the same for himself, when the restless twitches off elf-childhood slaked away from him as they did from all elves, and he could live the hundreds of remaining years of his life in peaceful contentment. What he forgot, was the fear he felt that first night that he wandered from his bed, when he saw the soft sweet smiles on his parents' faces while they did not answer him when he called. --- The human world was strange and colorless and dull, they said, and certainly in the Snow Queen's kingdom it was bare and bleak... and cold, so cold. And Iya had been shivering and miserable and confused when he found her, when they ran away. He had been so happy, so relieved to see her. Later, when things became increasingly difficult, as they raced around this unfamiliar world searching for the missing parts of her, that was what he would remember and hold on to. How happy he had been. How beautiful she had looked, even terrified out of her senses. --- They made camp and settled and he walked into a clearing, to find Iya, standing still with eyes closed. “I- oh. I'm sorry,” he said, feeling awkward. She looked at him and smiled, turning slightly pink. “It's okay,” she said. “I was just meditating. I get so worried, sometimes, and it helps. You can join me.” She held out her hands and hesitantly he stepped forward and touched fingers with her, felt the peace rush in. Peace and calm and quiet and relaxation and rest and ease flowed through him, suffused him... He twitched. Somewhere deep inside of him something stirred, restless and uneasy. Against his will his eyes snapped open, and he saw Iya, eyes still closed, smiling peacefully. Feeling deeply guilty, unsure why, he held her hands for another moment before tearing himself away, to hunt down some monsters and get some more practice, because he needed it, because he needed to be strong. The restlessness remained. --- Humans, he discovered, smelled funny. The-boy-whose-name-is-Rye smelled like something musky and salty and not entirely pleasant. At night he whispered to Iya about it. “Don't be mean,” she murmured, and dozed off. She did that very much, lately, but he couldn't blame her, she was missing so very much of herself. --- In the elf world they sang the dead to sleep, six days of mourning and a day of celebration as the newly departed joined the ranks of the Ancestors. On the seventh day the soul returned to its home and waited there, to receive well-wishers and parting gifts before leaving, for once and for all. Ean had only attended two such Singings in his entire life, and the first one was a dim memory from babyhood. As for the second, he'd joined in the singing as fervently as all the elves. A death-singing wasn't just for Singers to participate in. Even unskilled, untrained voices added to the raw force of power. But. He did not sing the woodsman to sleep. He had nothing to sing. He thought, perhaps, that Iya might. But she stared blankly at his corpse instead. No compassion in her, he remembered. He had to be... understanding. He thought of the dead man's eyes and he wanted to scream, or vomit. Instead he tightened his fingers on the wooden figurine. It was important, in this cursed world. This cursed world where the dead were not sung for. He ached for home. His claws struck viciously at every creature that crossed his way. He ached for home. --- Their last night in the Bogwoods before they headed to Seri, he kept watch as the others slept. Gavin had curled up in a pile of leaves. Rye and Iya were leaning against the trunk of a dark, twisted tree. He was listening to the rhythm of Rye's soft snores when he heard Iya step quietly towards him. “You should rest,” he said. “You are still very weak.” “I know,” she said. “But I feel much better, even if I'm not. It's fading, I think, but for a moment after I got the blessing I felt such a rush...” “Still...” he said, carefully. “I can't sleep,” she said. “That boy snores and he smells.” She paused. “Rather like an animal,” she added. And giggled. He couldn't disagree. It was, after all, true. He focused his gaze on some point in the distance. “I hate this place,” he said. “So do I,” she said. --- It was Rye who closed the dead man's eyes. “He was very brave,” he said. “And noble.” The words fell with little thunks from his mouth. The woodsman did not stir. It was Rye who pressed the elf-shape into Ean's paw at last, who forced him to eat something, to recover. Rye clapped him on the back and kept his hand there for just a moment, long enough to let the heat seep through, before he stepped back awkwardly. Elves did not cry. Ean did not cry. He smelled, instead, the whiff that Rye left behind, salt and sweat and regret. For once he did not grimace. ---- Heptitus was all manner of words that ended in itch. They fled the house before she returned, and he looked at Iya and waited to see a difference. Was she more alive? He thought she was. She saw him watching and winked. He blinked, surprised at the smile that twitched on her lips, and wondered, just for a moment, what sort of blessing an evil witch could bestow, anyway. --- He stared at her, the awful understanding grown so huge inside him it can no longer be denied, there is nothing he can do but say it- He thinks of snowy mountains, and deserts, and dragons, and city guards and talking squirrels and the wooden statues he carries with him. “No,” he says. And she turns to sing- and he glimpses, for a moment, what she would look like in a wedding dress, resplendent, beautiful. “N-” He begins, and the tree opens up and she is gone. Elves do not cry, he thinks, and curls up in agony on the ground, aching empty dryness filling him, he breathes in pine and life and freshness and he sobs. And when that ceases he lies there. And when that, too, ends he gets up. And he brushes himself off. And he flies, dragon-back, to Thais. --- The way the spy moved around Gavin and the way Gavin looked at her, felt like something strange and unfamiliar and uncomfortable. “It's just love,” Rye said, but looked disgusted. “I wish they'd put a lid on it.” It wasn't any love that Ean had seen. --- He bought Iya the kitten. It mewled cutely and she smiled and petted it. He'd wanted it to bring her back. She'd blushed and said thank you. There was still the glow of Ceri's blessing in her, a glow he remembered from Heptitus's blessing as well. It had faded, after a while. It would fade again, but maybe this time it would last longer. He felt something like frustration and was surprised at his own selfishness. It was not Iya's fault. It was... He bought her the ring as well. Because that was what love was about. --- Emma fought in the tournament. He watched and felt the excitement rushing through him his hair standing on edge, breath catching as she tripped, as she recovered, as she... It was not a feeling he would have appreciated or understood, before. But now he knew what it meant to fight. It was not an elf-thing. But he knew it anyway. --- Post-marriage, Rye and Emma- in between fights, or more disturbingly during fights- had a tendency to kiss rather a lot. Ean and Iya looked away in unison, embarrassed. --- “Are you okay?” They were her first words to him after every battle. No matter how injured she was herself. Always when the rest of them were tired and fed up, even when she was tired and scared herself, she tried to comfort them and keep them going. She had three blessings, now, half of herself restored, and he could see in her his Iya, his kind, lovely Iya. What he could also see was something he might not have noticed, once. But surrounded by Emma and Rye on one side, and Gavin and Ava on the other, it was far easier for him to notice the symptoms in his dear friend. She was in love with him, he thought, and felt happy, of course, and knew that it was right, fated, meant to be. And of course he was okay. --- As per usual they came to a town and split up, to gather information and supplies. When Rye wasn't with Emma- i.e. during each of their rather frequent fights- he hung around with Ean. He was very funny, actually, and charming and interesting. Interesting in particular. His mind worked in a... in a human way, Ean thought. He managed to provide a refreshing yet bizarre perspective on so many things Ean had taken for granted. There was that, then. Rye had become a... friend. It was strange using the term only because Ean knew when he said it that he meant something distinct from elf-friend. Rye couldn't be an elf-friend, Ean knew that instinctively. It wasn't something that... It just didn't work. A friend of a different sort, then. --- Iya was learning, learning by the day, songs and magic like elves should and he- He felt the flesh press in underneath his claws, felt the ripping and tearing of the muscle as he swiped, as they crumpled- Elves did not destroy. Elves did not fight. Elves did not grin and high-five over a battle well fought and well-won. An elf figurine and a beast. He was... he wish he remembered which one he was. --- There were the others, too. Emma who was passionate- alright, sometimes disconcertingly so- and who understood somehow intuitively the need Ean felt to be better, to be more, to be stronger. They fell in the habit of sparring together. As for Ava, Ean had something like awe for her, not at first but after a while. She was wise, he thought. She was wise in a way he wouldn't have recognized as wisdom, in a stranger, quicker, sharper way. Gavin simply confused Ean. --- They'd helped dressmakers and novel-writers and star-crossed lovers and more. The human world, he thought, was not so colorless nor so bleak as he had once thought. But it was so very big. He had never known the world could be so big. --- One night Iya was the one who stayed up with him to keep watch- these days he usually kept watch at least half the night, spurred by a need to stay alert, keep moving, that left him incapable of sleep unless utterly exhausted. And Iya had gotten strong enough to handle it and anyway she wanted to stay with him, to talk with him, and he wanted to talk with her too. They spoke softly so as not to wake the others, about home and mutual friends and their journey together. “I miss the Elfwood,” she said. “I want to go back.” “I miss it too,” he said, as always, by rote, but then he hesitated. “But I... I've kind of gotten used to it here,” he said. “It's so much more...” She tilted her head, uncomprehending. “Never mind,” he said, and smiled to reassure her, to ease the crinkle of worry between her eyes. --- The world had once been water. The Goddess had created land, for the land-creatures to live on, but the voice of the water remained. Elves followed the flow of the memory of water. Elves bent- but did not break. Redirected, but did not resist. Elves were in harmony, elves were at peace. Ean doubted that Prince Uthar understood the implication of the word “resistance” in elvish. Nor did he care. He would join it anyway. Cursed world. --- Hope made Iya vibrant, he thought. It made her... sparkle. His throat ached when he looked at her. He hadn't realized being in love felt quite this painful. And lovely. He told her that. “What do you mean, painful?” She said. He hesitated, unsure. “I feel so happy being with you,” she said, nuzzling him lightly. “Me too,” he said, whispered, hoarse. --- The anti-were potion turned a beast into a man. Somewhere inside of him a weight he had forgotten he was carrying lifted. --- But in the end it wasn't Ishtar. But in the end it wasn't... It was over, actually. It didn't feel real, but the others immediately drifted away, released to do what they needed. Of course he goes with Iya, to a tree he remembers from what seems like so long ago. Of course he does. But. But she looks at him with something like compassion in her eyes. The final piece, he thinks. “Are you coming, Ean?” She says, slender, perfect arm extended. And he wills his legs to move and they do not. --- It had always, he realized, been a story about finding something. Those were always stories about losing something, weren't they?
  22. I took pity on the humans *sigh* the original conception in my head before i got lazy went in loops... the problem is there are some parts out of order but it's insufficiently clear based on context clues.
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