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Shadowsteppe; Plot Stuff @Void
Topic Started: Oct 9 2014, 08:36 AM (2,153 Views)
Senaru
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Omnicient Creator

PART 1: The Blade of The Night

Thick fog rolled low over the murky waters of the deep, mangrove entangled swamps. Fireflies drifted, blinking in the night, the land quiet save for the cricket songs and the occasional whisper of a bird or the wind. It was within the shadows of the night that a sleek, satin soft and equally black as the night being moved effortlessly across the water- not through the often thick, half saltwater swamps, but across the surface in graceful strides, each delicate, cloven hoof touching the surface for only a moment, causing only the slightest ripple on the surface.

No creatures, great or small, reacted to the pretense of the light hooved being, whos great, blacker than midnight spiraled horn shimmered where moonlight touched it- even so, it moved as if unseen, galloping soundlessly, leaping over mangrove roots and landing in shadow only to vanish entirely and reappear somewhere else nearby out of another shadow, his long, lionlike tail trailing wisps of darkness. Around his neck a delicate golden chain, a pendant of crystal on his chest- upon it, etched by magic, the true insignia of Nondir- that of the Forest Titan. Deep within the stone, there glowed a faint light, which was mirrored upon the tip of his horn, leading the way deeper into the swamp.

He had traveled a long way, this most elusive and rare of beings, sent on his way at the hushed bidding of the Nature Titan, Losalka, whom had told him to seek out the true leader of Nondir and the newborn Titan, as well as the newly crowned Empress. Of all the races of the world, those that had survived the great plague and not been wiped out, the race that had suffered the greatest loss were the Unicorns. In all the world, only a few more than fifty still existed, and of those, a few had once served under the titan of the forests, including the shadow/illusion ebony Unicorn who now stood at the base of the great tree, pausing, one cloven hoof raised, as he waited, for just the slightest of moments, before heading off, his soft hoofbeats unheard while he took the spiraling stairs around the trunk up to the 'flight' deck.
The arrival of such a sleek black creature might have come as a surprise to those living within the massive cradle of the tree, but as there had never been a unicorn with dark intent in its heart, and as they had an aire of peace, no threat was felt by the others.

He walked, slow, thought out steps, so sure footed, it was likely the envy of all deer. He first approached Spectre, for she was the True Empress now that Sequoya was gone. To her, he bowed, and turned, seeking her consort, and then bowed to him, showing respect and formality to the eldest of the hierarchy before finally turning to the already large young Titan and her rider, and to them he bowed, horn touching the ground before them as was proper greeting to a prestigious young leader. Only after a polite moment did he rise and allow his horn to point higher than the Elven Empress. His voice resonated as he spoke, deep yet soft, a gentle, rolling thunder, graced by the hint of sweetness. “I am the Blade of the Night, Erias. I greet you with the highest of respects. Hail, High Empress of Nondir, Spectre, and Yu-Di, Hail Empress Synivox and Titan Araselnasaa.” He turned and bowed once more to the Spirit and his rider and greeted them, and once more to the gecko-like Fire.

He dipped his head and rumbled softly. “I have come from the sacred forests of Trawynne, on behalf of Nature Titan Losalka of Iaramira, whom has requested I bring you back to the hidden forests. We have a tree similar to this one there, which has over the ages formed an entire area hidden away for my people. Strange as it may be, even the false emperor would never intrude upon the home of Unicorns. Within the forest, the Prestigious Araselnasaa could grow and learn. I ran here without use of magic so that I might lend aid in bringing you back with me. I have a magic pendant of transport which I have saved for one such moment as this, charged long ago by,...a great Titan....”

He paused as he spoke, the name and element of the titan slipping his mind. Whatever lapse this was soon faded as he continued, “The choice is yours, but I assure you, you will be safe there, among our kind, as well as under the tutelage of Losalka. We have much to teach, perhaps more than you would learn normally. But given that this is a time of war, perhaps new skills should be passed on...” He looked at each of them, and awaited their decision calmly...
| Senaru & Space Lagrange | Celestial Titan Selhanzilael | Tesla E. Dison & Lightning Kazrael |
| Nivia & Air Kestrel | Carpediem & Glass Celiostiahle | | Xifeng |
| Okamitahn and Viral Conquillettiddia | Humarzii & Floral Paradisio | Kairen & Sound Tonare |
| Namiko & Water Umibuzo | Ice Tsuraine | Chaos Pandemonium| Prince Ahmduer Candidate |
| Spirit Spectre | Bone Ancithelyn | Metal/Sound Carpathian | Seraphic Talherahiel | Celestial Mahasarmasael
| Opt-In {Aesulla} | Celestial Mistoffelees |

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The large gecko dragon had been settling in, though occasionally he was overwhelmed by the presence of so much royalty, and the things they discussed sometimes flew over his head a little bit. He felt fairly certain in his own decision to protect Rhoan and so when he got concerned or confused, he solidified that purpose in his mind and stuck to it. The swamp was also damp and cold, and though the tree offered sanctuary and protection, Mac always took some pleasure in providing heat whenever the dampness snuck in.

He wasn't very fond of the swamp otherwise, it was dark with nowhere to sun himself on a regular basis and far too cold and wet.

He had not heard the dark creature approaching, which is perhaps why he was so startled when he spotted the movement, and the gecko-dragon jumped to his feet with sudden ferocity, the crackle of flame in his mouth and his chest swelling defensively. He blinked however, seeing the lithe form of the unicorn. He knew they were not evil... at least he believed so, and after a moment he relaxed a little bit, the glow in his throat dying down.

Mac climbed down closer to Rhoan, settling behind her with a plop as he watched the unicorn and listened to his proposal. He looked first at Rhoan expectantly, then the others. He took a deep breath. "I am protecting these small humans. I will go where they decide..." he said. Macularius felt a little uncomfortable with the definitiveness and that he had committed without more information, but he solidified his resolve to follow Rhoan. Wasn't Iaramira closer to Nondir? They would need extra protection if they went there. Mac frowned. He could do it! He could!
[align=center]|Xander (#4b3028) & Illusion/Spirit Seishin-Kijutsu(#ffcc66) | Spike(#ccffcc) & Glass Papillion(#ccccff) | Shadow/Mourning Despair( [size0]size=0) | Illisia (#660066) and Blood Morcilla (#600000) | Talwin Allsikian (#669999) and Technology C0RM012RANT (#191970) | Fire Macularis (#ff8400) | [slot] | [slot] | [slot] | [slot] | [/align]
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"Okay, so, you hit my hands as they're coming up, while yours are going up, and then you move yours up, and i'll hit yours as they're going up while i'm going down."
"This is a confusing game, Rhoan."
"Nuh uh, it's pretty easy. Patty cake is really simple. Let's give it a try!"

Rhoan's little hands, as they were held up to Rui's large hands, was almost comical as the duo attempted their modified game of patty cake. It was much easier when she attempted to play with Zulradenon, or even Ruya. After all, Ruya had about the same size hands, but neither dwarf dragon nor dragonhound was gifted with the game. Rui had watched the aftermath of these encounters with mirth, that is, until it was his turn. However, the game kept Rhoan at bay, and kept her mind distracted. "There you go! You're getting it!" Rhoan giggled, stopping the game to latch onto one of Rui's pawhands.

"I think that's the last game I can think of ever. It's so boring in this tree..." She whispered against his wrist, nuzzling his stony body as best she could. At least his fluff at his arms was soft, even if it didn't separate. Rhoan kept wanting to run her fingers through it, only to remember that it didn't quite work that way. Zulradenon padded over, sensing her bonded's frustration, and nuzzled her shoulder. It soon became another cuddle puddle when Ruya joined into the mix. "Perhaps you should try and sleep? I could send you one of those dreams you liked with us running through the forests again?" The dream mental suggested, brushing against Rhoan's face with her fluffed tail.

Rhoan shook her head. "No, I don't want those dreams anymore." Her eyes drifted down to her leg. It was still difficult to run, although walking at a normal pace was fine. Zulradenon even gave her distance now, so that had to count for something? "I don't want those dreams because I wanna do it." Settled where she had plopped, Rhoan had Zulra drag over her pillow and get ready to sleep. It'd been pretty difficult, staying in the tree. Yeah, they were learning stuff, and yeah, they were getting stronger every day, but it was so boring. Besides, Syn was stuck doing royalty stuff, and learning so much more compared to Rhoan, so she didn't get to see Synivox much, unless it was time to eat or sleep. She'd ventured out a few times, but nothing interesting ever really happened, except that one day with the little dragon she'd found...

Completely lost in her own thoughts, Rhoan failed to notice the stranger that had entered. Mac did, however, and pierced her thoughts with a fiery growl. Her little eyes strained to see who had entered, and when Mac moved to sit behind her (I'm telling you, the cuddle puddle just grows. It's contagious.) she could see the unicorn in his full might. Her eyes widened, and she struggled to get to her feet. She may have used Mac as a launch pad as she stood up to get a full glimpse of him. He towered over her, however, and she figured he wouldn't like it if she ran over and touched him. But... Unicorns... weren't they in Iaramira? At least, that's what her parents said when they'd tuck her in at night. Even Rui'shiar seemed incredibly interested at the intrusion. Welcome intrusion.

The unicorn, Erias, introduced himself to the party, and then began his proposal. As the proposal continued, Rhoan's mouth widened. They could go to Iaramira? She could go home and see everyone? Maybe even more Unicorns? Maybe she could find a friend Unicorn, or go running with them! The child's eyes sparkled and she looked at Syn expectantly. Mac answered his normal answer about anything, so she knew he was on board. She put a hand on his neck and patted it. "Thanks! You're such a good protector. I've got so many friends looking out for me. Let's hope I find more!" She gave the dragon a hug, and then looked over at Erias. "I don't see any reason to not go, besides. It's cold and smelly here. Rui's already getting bigger, and I don't think I have to say anything about Miss Araselnasaa." Silly as it was, a royal dragon deserved a prefix, right?

Rui'shiar stood, nestling his shoulder next to Rhoan and cleared his throat. "The aid and protection of the Nature Titan and the Unicorns would be a welcome find, indeed. As long as it is safe, and I believe so, considering the taboo nature of messing with a Unicorn..." He chuckled, throwing his vote in as well. What Rhoan said was true... Araselnasaa, his sister, wouldn't be growing any smaller. Ruya merely shrugged, while Zulradenon sniffed at something in the corner.
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((OOC: This is probably one of the worst things I have written but at this point I just want something out there lol Hopefully I get better again here soon ^^"))


Araselnasa and Synivox were languidly lounging in the great tree that was their bastion from the world until they proved ready for it. Life had completely changed for the elf now Empress and the full concept of everything that entailed still eluded her, but one thing she was positive about was that she would never be alone again. There were times when the magnitude of it all seemed very likely to overwhelm her but a crystalline calm mind would always envelop her and help her work out the chaotic concerns into organized sense. But it was times like these that the looming future seemed less big, and more manageable. She leaned against the Crystal Titan and watched Rhoan attempt patty cake with Rui. Inquebrável lay stretched out near the front entrance fast asleep where she had laid earlier to catch the last of the sunlight now long gone.

The Glass Hound, always on alert, could not notice that which was approaching until it was passing her and entering the tree. Her head shot up and ears snapped forward but yet her body did not tense. The air of peace that flowed from this creature had put Vel at ease before she even knew he had arrived. Synivox stared at the dark Unicorn in amazement. Everyone knew about Unicorns but they were akin to myths. She watched as he bowed to Spectre and Yu-Di before he turned to her and Araselnasa bowing to them in turn. Synivox was slightly startled, a Unicorn bowing to her? Sure she realized she was the newest Empress and that did seem to come with a lot of formal greetings but sometimes what that fully entailed still surprised her. Araselnasa dipped her head in return, showing a sign of respect to the Unicorn and waited for him to speak.

They listened to what he had to say as he described the place of the Unicorns and the sanctuary it could provide Araselnasa as well as provide a better place of learning for both the newest leaders of the world. There was much for them to learn and they both knew that only so much was accessible to them here in the swamp, just as there was only so much protection the great tree could provide to them as well. A few mental thoughts flashed between Titan and rider after Erias finished speaking. Turning to him Synivox stood.

"Blade of the Night, Erias we return your respects and thank you for seeking us out. We would be most accepting to this offer you have delivered to us and would gladly accompany you to the forests of Trawynne under the protection of Nature Titan Losalka. Just as you have much to teach we have much to learn, and in short time." She spoke to him confident in her decision, taking a deep breath she was ready for the next stage of her life.
| Empress Synivox Drogheda & Crystal Titan Araselnasaa Treyu | Earth Painovoima Vatnaoli | Seraphic/Time Zeliniel Chroniacresht | Glass/Metal Izanami Miristiale |
| Space/Dark Event Horizon Galgrane | Siriziel Saliel and Steam Karasugoi Mantcade | Lunar/Ice Vatnajokull Novacier
|Sonic Torrent Izathian | Azarahl Nlaruxan | Lunar/Shadow Gryphon Aphelion | Solar/Illusion Unicorn Eidolon | Aletheia and Fate/Lunar Shiruba | Air Flock Aeonimus |
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Yu Di had been run a bit more ragged than anyone would ever know in the past weeks that they had spent in the tree, he was always the elegant and majestic being, and while he had trained Araselnasa to the best of his ability even a young titan soon surpassed his ability to instruct due to sheer power. The others were easy in comparison, but at the moment of the others arrival he had been resting silently in the large main room, but his eyes opened as if he had been alert the entire time.

A unicorn? He... Well, he had seen more of them than most had, but not in many years. He didn't recognize this one in particular, but it was unmistakably the real thing. Carefully he nodded his head and listened as the other spoke. His tone was very formal, and polite and the offer was definitely a generous one. He had already spoken to spectre about moving Ara when she became too big for the tree, so this beings arrival was pretty opportune. "Thank you for your offer Erias," He turned his head and smiled with a slight nod to Syn and Ara. "I will honor whichever decision you make." He turned his head to Rhoan, Rui, and Mac. "That is true for you as well, I'm sorry that we weren't able to make this place the most entertaining for someone of your age." A small smile spread across his face as he silently slid through the air and carefully embraced Rhoan and Rui, though he only gave Mac a pat on the head, before moving to Ara and Syn. It was hard to push aside his formality and such to actually hug Ara, and Syn, but he managed before going back to where he was before.

He was pretty proud with how they had all progressed, even Mac had earned his admiration. They had all been through a lot, except for possibly Ara, but he knew there would be much more to come, and he hoped they would be ready for it.


| Yu Di - Crystal Dragon | Gurren – Technology | Ve Koy - Dwarf Luck | Ciraquen - Magma Dragon |
| Cauldron - Death/Metal/Fire Dragon | Unipelta - Water Dragon | Averon Nova - Candidate |
|Sonnuk - Sonic/Lightning | | |

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The dark satin coated unicorn bowed once more when addressed by Yu Di, before rising and turning to listen to the decision made by each soul here. Even Spectre agreed, and once the jade being returned to his spot, she nuzzled him a little. She had known that a time would come, soon, when she could no more teach the new ruling duo. She had taught them much of what they would need to know to rule, and many of the delicate and sometimes complicated areas of government and how best to distribute ones followers. But it was one thing teaching it, it was quite another to see how things ran, and she knew and trusted the kind Losalka, as well as the unicorns with their ancient magic, knowing they best of anyone would be able to hide the titan in their own forest, where another of the sacred trees grew. In Iaramira, Ara and Synivox would surely be able to learn much more. She was unsure if Yu Di would want to stay in the spirit tree, or return to the forest with the others. Spectre herself felt she would accompany them, and help in whatever she could.

And so, as the black unicorn of shadows stood and let his magic flow through his amulet, the world seemed to twist and fall to darkness as his grand shadowstep played out, whisking them away to those secret lands. They were welcomed by the Nature Titan, and introduced to a great magnificent unicorn, a titan of sorts for their race, though not anywhere near the size of a draconic titan, was quite a lot bigger than normal unicorns. He seemed to glow an ethereal white and silver with the deepest, clearest cerulean eyes like the oceans of the tropics. Magic seemed to flow though him and there was no doubt that, unlike the draconic element of magic, or even the human sort. This was a deep, wild, ancient magic, like something that had existed in the world since the beginning. It was hard to tell how old he was, if even he had an age to begin with. He aknowledged them group, and though he did not speak often, his deep resonating voice almost made his words linger in the minds of those he spoke to. There was no doubt that it had been his power that had filled the talisman, which had been drained in the great crossing- though as he took it back, it was likely that it would re charge for some use later on.

Part 2: Shadowsteppe

2 1/2 years later.........


Between Losalka and the Ancient unicorn Tirisiel, the land lay ever in the balance of gentle weather- though indeed, those never expected spring and summer rainstorms did sometimes happen, as was natural to happen. And so, it was in this way that the next two and a half years seemed to fly by. Lessons were learned, friendships sealed, and plans for the future forged. Even the spark of something that would surely have never crossed the Empress Synivox's mind in the years prior, nor indeed in the heart of the shadow unicorn either.

How they spent their days together in the eternal spring, with the days lingering almost into summer but never too hot or too cold. It was not at all uncommon to find them sitting beneath a favorite tree, Erias in his humanoid elf-like form, leaning on the Empress and reading over her shoulder, some important but difficult book on running a nation and notations on which lands lay unclaimed- The lands set aside for future titans to claim. It was perhaps not too surprising to find they shared much in the way of the heart, though this in itself was quite a rare thing to find between a unicorn and elven sort.

Rhoan very likely had also befriended nearly every creature in the vale of the unicorns, and within the two and a half years, grown and learned much from them and probably learned one too many stories about the legendary beast masters of olde. Her great, proud dragon had also grown- her real dragon partner and also the great fire gecko too, personally assigned as guardian of the little things. But with time, other things had grown, too. And though she was not even yet her maximum size, the Crystal Titan had become more like a titan every day. The land was even beginning to feel her presence, and it was this that marked the time to seek a new home. This had of course been looked into and much preparation was already put into choosing the best place for them- as was dealing with architects and planning out the city when indeed a place had been found. As it was too dangerous to send the titan and her rider too soon, other riders were sent out with scrying glass, through which the land was observed and plans made. Dragons from Aesulla and Lomira and Iarimira had gone and begun to build the city, and plan out the land. This stage of building would make it a city, but not a completed one- Something that marked it out as a large town or vilage, places where workers could rest. The first thing done were the dragon wings, as well as the heart of the city, which would one day likely change as the city grew, a sort of temporary housing for the royals like the Titan, Synivox and Rhoan and her dragon, and even Mac too, given he was present at the beginning, was likely to be given some form of title. The wings had to be completed in time for those choosing to leave their old cities, for wyrmlings graduated, and for anyone who would hail allegiance to the new Empress and Titan.

Only when it was made secure, including aid in the form of the Unicorn 'Titan' 's own magic to hide the landmark, even making it so enemies and those not allowed to be there, if nearing its borders, would forget why they had come and make them recal- even falsely- some other thing they needed to do. In this way, the young City was founded, it territory marked out, and those volunteering parties who chose to follow the new titan, either permanently or on loan from other armies, made up a founding army of over a hundred dragons and riders of all sorts of elements, large and small. The city would not be taken without a massive fight if somehow the lent magic failed.

This indeed began the hardest and most dangerous part of the entire endeavor- The graduation of the wyrmlings in Nondir. True enough, for a titan and her closest followers, graduating did not simply mean speaking oaths and declaring a land, no, for them it was not over until they had traveled to their city founding, to be there and accept all those who would very likely be arriving as soon as the city location was known to them. Normally this would not be nearly so hard or dangerous, but with the threat from the False Emperor, not only would a location for the city have to remain secret save for the souls guiding those weary pilgrims, but also the journey of the titan would be under wraps, rather than the great flight from his or her birth land to the destination, declaring it by its name and accepting the responsibilities of being granted a titans element from the Celestial. No, this would be a perilous journey, one that required the help of those hidden powers within the forest. An envoy had elected to join Ara- a second home for the unicorns was also soon to be needed, and indeed, quite a lot of souls would balk at the idea of attacking a place where unicorns were said to live.

And who better to lead them than one of the sons of the great unicorn, none other than Erias, chosen from the many for his knowledge of magics pertaining to being hidden. Others were chosen with care, for when there were so few, unrelated lines were chosen to go and establish a new territory. For a unicorn, such a thing as creating a new sacred forest was dangerous- everyone knew unicorns were strongest in their forests, and to leave one left them unnaturally mortal. Erias had been left with the decision of staying or going, and in the end, chose to follow his heart in more ways than one.

Their journey had begun more than a week or two before the graduation of the other wyrmlings, much earlier than would have been normal or expected by tradition. And, though it pained many to see the sacred tradition of stopping at each nation capital, gathering gifts from the other titans, and even sometimes more followers, this could not be done. Indeed the gifts had been sent already in secret to the founding city. Currently, the dragons were all in humanoid and human form, glamours cast upon them to hide who they were, traveling by night and shadow along the great landmass next to an immense inland sea- a land that informally belonged to both iaramira and lomira, since it was closest to them, but land that was mostly uninhabited by anyone else save themselves.

On this very night, as they awoke to begin travel once more, likely upon the powerful and fast dragonhounds rather than aloft, they were within just a few hundred miles from the city- they would reach it, at this rate, within a few days if nothing went wrong....

Erias stood, looking at the moon, his elf form's ears twitching now and then. He much preffered his humanoid form, though it was quite nearly the same as this one with a few differences- for one, this lacked a tail, and soft fur and a mane, the long tufts of fur on his arms and heels, and though he did not have hooves, his nails were concave, somewhat like dragons claws in humanoid form but less sharply tipped. In this form he had deep black hair and a dark, sun-touched bronze skin and violet eyes, which did not at all remind anyone of a unicorn. What he missed most of all was the gem of a crystal on his forehead where his horn would have been in a true form- Much like any unicorn, the sense of not feeling it there made them wary. His gaze was upon the stars as he looked between them and over what appeared to anyone else a blank scroll- which had to be a star map, guiding him to the city. If Synivox were to approach him now, he might not sense she was near right away, as his senses were broad and about, looking for not those familiar, but unfamiliar to him. All was well, for now- sleeping or rousing companions and travelers, everyone who should be here was. And so he was distracted, almost paranoidedly so, always focusing on what evils could lurk nearby....
| Senaru & Space Lagrange | Celestial Titan Selhanzilael | Tesla E. Dison & Lightning Kazrael |
| Nivia & Air Kestrel | Carpediem & Glass Celiostiahle | | Xifeng |
| Okamitahn and Viral Conquillettiddia | Humarzii & Floral Paradisio | Kairen & Sound Tonare |
| Namiko & Water Umibuzo | Ice Tsuraine | Chaos Pandemonium| Prince Ahmduer Candidate |
| Spirit Spectre | Bone Ancithelyn | Metal/Sound Carpathian | Seraphic Talherahiel | Celestial Mahasarmasael
| Opt-In {Aesulla} | Celestial Mistoffelees |

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Sore fingers looped the leather straps around the makeshift saddle on Zulradenon. The Dragonhound had quite a few sharp edges, which made saddling difficult, but not as difficult as his damn ride across the world. She'd insisted to go bareback for a while, not grasping the true nature of the trip. After she thought about it though, it didn't make much sense. With the spines down Zulra's back, they'd have to cut them away for her to sit, thus giving her hound a weak spot. She didn't want that. Instead, saddle. "Tell you what. After we get my new leg, we'll get a nice saddle for you whenever we need to go across the world again." Rhoan snickered to Zulra, who merely chuffed her own laugh at the joke. Her butt was sore, but it could have been worse if the child was as stubborn as she was in the past. Standing up to the emperor's hounds, siding with Synivox... she was glad she'd gone with the saddle. Bad choices in the past, good choice here.

"Yes, yes... But, my feet are tired-er. I'm ready for a season-long nap." Zulradenon stared at Rhoan, over the beast's shoulder. The child ran her fingertips over her sharp, styilized edges and hugged her. "I'm sorry. But, we'll have a home soon. And then you'll have your own little bed like we did in Nondir and you can sleep in it and rest your feet." This seemed to reassure the dragonhound, who crouched down in silence as she ate a few strips of meat before they started their journey. Rhoan tightened a few more straps around the dragonhound (which towered over her at this point) and then turned to the rest of her entourage. Rui was curled up, but alert. Even in his human form, he still held quite a few traits from his draconic form. The way he slept was a curled ball, and when he turned his head to look at her, he blinked his eyes the same. His canines were a bit too sharp for a standard human, but it didn't matter. He was still Rui.

She acknowledged him with a sleepy nod, and hugged him. He picked her up and held her in his arms for a bit, and ruffled her hair. It was funny, some of these things just couldn't happen when he was in human form. It was almost a more intimate relationship when he was smaller, but when she was on his back, soaring through the skies, or trouncing through the underbrush... there was still the connection there. And nothing could take that away. She left her hair messy, and turned to check on everyone else. Rui was sleepy, and she didn't want to distract or bother him right now. Icarus was the only one truly awake, but that was because he was nocturnal. "Lucky little fuzzball..." She told the sugar glider teasingly. The creature merely blinked and jumped off her and onto Ruya, her Dream/Mental dwarf dragon. The sugar glider practically weighed nothing, so Ruya didn't mind the extra passenger. The Dream seemed to be coming out of her sleep as well, blinking slowly to get Rhoan into focus. "Good morning, Ruya." Rhoan held out her peace offering (Ruya didn't like early) and the dragon snatched up the little dried meat and nibbled on it. Icarus stayed with her as she turned back towards the hound.

She kept mostly to herself. Mornings were rough, and everyone was tired. After a while, the trip was mentally exhausting, as well as physically. With nothing new to really stimulate them, it was becoming monotonous. However, she couldn't fall into the same old routine. She plopped into the spot she'd slept in, and stretched out her artificial leg. It was still the crude model from Nondir, and it made her sad to look at it. She'd had so many plans... it was time to get her new leg, align herself to the Nature Titan, and her home... but... things didn't work out that way. Not that she didn't want to follow Synivox. She loved her makeshift sister with all of her heart. She felt connected to her, and didn't want to leave. But, the Nondir leg was the symbol of the promises she made to herself that hadn't come true. The child pulled out a little kit with a few screwdrivers and wrenches, and tightened a few bolts. The constant jostling of Rhoan's leg in the stirrups usually loosened the bolts. The other night, she'd lost the foot off her leg and caused quite an amusing shock. At least losing the metal didn't hurt. However, she wanted to avoid losing anything important. So, before they moved, she sat and tinkered. Everybody was still getting ready, after all.
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| Rhoan Xavia and Crystal Spirit Rui'shiar (#FFD700) |
| Weather/Lightning Astrapi the Ancient (#111747) |
| Justin Pryce and Water/Toxic Nyanabranche 'Annae' (#38C6EC) |
| Nienna Surion |
| Blood Distress (#600000)|
| Nature Cernunnos(#00F16C) |
| Sivin Tlithar and Air Sound Katzeangst (#FCFF00) |
| slot x4 |
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Of those whom had chosen to make their way across the world with the young Titan and her Rider, was none other than the extraordinarily tall, and unusually buff, bearded Elf named Kirhok Doomhammer- who did indeed carry a large intricate war hammer on his back. He was most notoriously known for his job during hatchings, but also kept quite a lot of dragonhounds and in fact, quite a lot of the ones the travelers were riding now were those he had raised, powerful and swift. One part of his job was tending to the harnesses, many of which he'd made himself, and make sure they were in good condition. One of the ones he'd made was the one belonging to Rhoan for her hond, whom he'd had to explain, could not be ridden bareback like a horse. Horses had soft skin and fur, Dragons and Dragonhounds of course, usually had plated scales which was good at rubbing skin right off like sandpaper...Or worse, really. The second problem was that her hound had horns and spines, the latter of which traveled down the creatures back. Kirhok explained that while he could painlessly remove some spines, it would leave a bare spot, an area one could attack the hound from....And that it would not do well to ride bare.

He'd had to use materials he'd brought to fashion a harness before they even left. He had not had time to make it intricate or overly pretty, but he had used a woodburning tool to inlay the borders with some designs, and did his best to accommodate her stirrups to hold an artificial limb. When he'd seen part of that fall off, he grew worried for the girl- He of course had no real knowledge of how artificial limbs worked, but figured he could help brace it somehow so it didn't lose bolts and things. He actually had another reason for seeing the girl that night, so after he'd made his rounds waking hounds up and feeding the huge pack, all of whom wanted to play- which he had to gently but sternly remind them that this was not play time, before the seven to eight foot man made his way over to Rhoan, and crouched down where she sat, clearing his throat before he spoke: “Oi, Lass, how be yer leg? I saw it was jos'lin around a bit ter'much...” He paused and pulled something out of his pack that looked a bit like a soft leather 'boot' of sorts, but one that could be fixed to the stirrup instead of worn as an actual boot. “I thou' this mighter work fer ye, to hol' i'tergether, and at least keep the parts from go'n missin...”

Kirhok looked like he actually had something else he wanted to discuss, but true to his nature, work came first and he was not about to let a young lass lose the bolts out of her leg if he could help it...
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Footsteps behind her made Rhoan gasp and turn. The sound made Rui, Ruya, Icarus, and Zulra turn their heads to face their bonded. When they saw it was only Kirhok Doomhammer, the gent who helped with the thicker eggs at hatchings, they relaxed and returned to their own morning duties before they were to depart. Rhoan steadied herself and looked up at him, her gasp turning into a toothy (and toothless in some parts) smile. Pair it with her messy hair, and she was just downright adorable, in a tomboyish way.

She knew she was safe in the company of all the hounds, as well as all of the dragons in their humanoid forms, but still, someone that large coming up behind you was rather startling in the dark. What surprised Rhoan more was the fact that she 'could' hear him at all. Training and living with the dragons had made her stronger. The child always joked she had dragon blood in her (which was, technically true, her life had been saved by a Nondir dragon who'd saved her leg by cauterizing her wound with it's blood) but she could feel herself getting stronger, despite her body's condition. Kirhok was nice though, and she liked his last name. It didn't fit him though, he was way too kind. She tightened the last bolt and smiled, standing up to say hello to him. She usually made her rounds and played with the dragonhounds if she had enough energy, which meant she'd see Kirhok a bit when their rides were through.

"Morning, Kirhok!" She smiled, hugging him. It was almost comical, seeing the height difference between the two. Rhoan was only 5 feet tall at 12 and a half, so he had a good few feet on her. He had something to talk about, apparently, since he was away from the hounds so close to a departure. Rhoan twitched her leg and the metal contraption clicked into place. "It's doing alright. Last night it kinda messed up, so i'm gonna have to tighten it each night so it doesn't happen again. My fault, really." She scratched the back of her neck, and then saw him pull something out of his pack. It was a boot of some sorts, but Rhoan knew it was too big for her. Wait, was it for her fake leg? Kirhok confirmed her musings, and she smiled. "That would definitely help with the impact! I'll go put it on right away!" She smiled, gingerly taking the boot. However, before she turned to walk away, Kirhok hadn't moved. "Is everything okay? You look like something's on your mind. Is something wrong with the hounds?" She asked, looking past him at the pack behind him. "Need to talk?"
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| Rhoan Xavia and Crystal Spirit Rui'shiar (#FFD700) |
| Weather/Lightning Astrapi the Ancient (#111747) |
| Justin Pryce and Water/Toxic Nyanabranche 'Annae' (#38C6EC) |
| Nienna Surion |
| Blood Distress (#600000)|
| Nature Cernunnos(#00F16C) |
| Sivin Tlithar and Air Sound Katzeangst (#FCFF00) |
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Kirhok stood as she turned to attach the 'boot' and seemed unsure of something, but when she turned, he gestured her to perhaps sit down, which he also did on one of the folding chairs that were near the camp fire. He seemed to muse for a few moments, his intelligent eyes watching the girl, as if he was trying to decide something about her. And, finally, he spoke: “Ye remind me o'me lil brother,...He had' a kind heart like ye do, a special way with the creatures o'the world...” He paused and it looked like he had to force himself around the topic of his brother, whom by the way he spoke, was probably no longer living. “I got ter thinkin, and I decided that you prolly don' know what ye are, Lass...Not many carry such an aura so gentle, able to tame and calm most any creature...Even small, unintelligent creatures seem to gain thoughts around ye, like they did around him. Thar ent' many, its a rare gift. They callem 'beast masters', though, ter be fair, many o' those 'beasts' ent really what I'd call a normal animal, like dragons n' things. They talk, ye know?”

By now he looked as though he was unsure- clearly there was more to this than just telling her about her own aura. And so after clearing his throat, he began to tell her a story, the legacy of his brother. How he'd spoken to the wild horses of the mountains, which legend spoke could fly, how he had walked into the lair of the great, wild dragon hounds and befriended a mother hound and her mate, and brought the eggs of this group and another to Olde Nondir, long before the Fall in the time of the Forest Titan. How he had established the different breeds of them, and later bonded to a magnificent, great Sand-Fire dragon, and flown to places far and wide. How he had bonded to a gryphon he'd found half drowned at sea, and flown to a place, a city in the sky and befirended a rare, great phoenix, big as a dragon, down to even the smallest of the sentient bonded creatures, dwarf dragons he'd had at least three, and a pair of small phoenixes too. Even small cat to dog sized gryphons he'd had...Before the war. Known as a friend of unicorns, though never could one 'bond' to one as a soul could to a phoenix or dragon, he was known to travel with a Unicorn, too. But when war had come, the tales of his legend had reached the ears of the Emperor, who wanted him to bring for him all manner of great creatures none could tame, and unicorns. He refused, of course, and in the end he and most of his bonded creatures had been slain...And it was said the unicorn was still enslaved somewhere in Nondir, but no one knew for sure. His phoenix had either died with him, or had flown to lands no man or normal beast trod upon any longer. The entire brood of glass hounds had been taken and retrained by the Emperor himself, in the end....but there was a little hope for what the Beastmaster had left behind.

It was then that Kirhok brought out of his pack two of the smaller models of egg-keepers, a sort of time capsule to keep an egg from hatching. One egg was wispy white and red-orange, bearing the colors of an Air as well as fire. The other egg, slightly bigger, looked icy. “Y'see, my brother was always worried that he'd ner' have time ter work on raisin' these, so he gave 'em ter me te' hold onto. He told me the two're unrelated and he knew one was female and the other male, in hopes he might be able te bring another species of bonding creature ter others from wherever it was he got them from.” These he handed over to the girl, though she was young. “As far as I know, Lass, these be the last' o'their kind in these lands. He gottem from some place no one er' seen, claimed they came from somewhere above ther' clouds. I ent much fer raisin lil critters, but mehbe ye can? They were prolly bout'ter hatch, might not be a good time to wakem up jus' yet, peepin might attract unwanted 'tention, but the'scroll m'brother left me says they're some kin'a birds...O'course ye can't be fixin the whole species with jus' two, But ye can start with those...I have a few more, fer later, enough duos ter help restart the species, ye see?” At this point, the great man looked like he was rushing his words, perhaps to try and avoid crying. He did miss his brother, and he hadn't told a story about him in years- at least a hundred. However, books and histories spoke of the man, Atilion,who shared the last name Doomhammer, which might have been one reason Rhoan liked his name, if not entirely remembering why it might be familiar. He wasn't even sure she'd believe him when he said she was destined to be a Beastmaster, whatever that was.

The scroll speaks of what the birds are - a kind of small phoenix, not like those giants, but usually about the size of a hyacinth macaw for males, up to large eagle sized for females. It detailed what they ate, what to expect, and how to care for them, and that they're sentient and speak like dwarf dragons. Atilion likely noted that he couldnt be sure the two would bond or even eventually breed, and trying to make that happen would be against the rights of a sentient species. However, being that none live anymore in those lands, nature would likely take its course eventually, but might not. It also details much information about them, though it would take time to sort through.
| Senaru & Space Lagrange | Celestial Titan Selhanzilael | Tesla E. Dison & Lightning Kazrael |
| Nivia & Air Kestrel | Carpediem & Glass Celiostiahle | | Xifeng |
| Okamitahn and Viral Conquillettiddia | Humarzii & Floral Paradisio | Kairen & Sound Tonare |
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| Spirit Spectre | Bone Ancithelyn | Metal/Sound Carpathian | Seraphic Talherahiel | Celestial Mahasarmasael
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Tytus and Ahtian; tag Rhoan, Kirhok

It was hard to believe that so much could change in such a short period of time.

In the grand scheme of things, two and a half years was nothing at all, a blink of an eye. To Tytus, the last few years seemed a small lifetime of their own, but he supposed that might just be because of how drastically his own life had changed during that time. He'd gone from being a slave to someone bonded to a dragon, then to a full fledged dragonrider, and now to being one of the founding members of the new Titan's great city. And then there was Ahtian...

At times it made his head spin to think of it all. So much had changed since the moment she chose him and made him finally consider someone else's well-being above his own. It had almost been easy, then, to ask Arulia to whisk them away somewhere safe, to grant Urapenda's unspoken dying wish that her daughter not be raised in Nondir. Easy enough because Tytus too wanted free of the wretched city, but there was great risk in smuggling a hatchling out before graduation, though in that regard the earthquake and all the chaos that came with it had served them well. With the city falling down around their ears and millions of voices crying for aid, the border guards had slackened their patrols just enough to let a fire drake and her young cargo slip through unnoticed.

To say that winding up in Iaramira had been culture shock was being kind. He and Ahtian had been welcomed quite openly, thanks to Arulia communicating with the Titan telepathically before they arrived, though they had been kept in quarantine for a few months before being allowed to wander freely. While some part of him had wanted to be insulted that they considered him a spy or weapon or maybe both, Tytus knew it was a reasonable precaution and kept his protests to a minimum. Besides, it wasn't as if they'd been in prison; their quarters were actually quite nice, they had access to good food, living necessities, training, and leisure material. Most prisons wouldn't be a tenth as kind, especially if they were in Nondir.

Discovering that they were in the same city as the newly crowned Empress and her Titan had been... well, alarming was as good a word as any. That had nearly been enough to make Tytus want to flee again--he wanted very little to do with anything that might have Vicarous targeting him or Ahtian for any reason--but Ahtian herself had been quick to point out that there was very little they could do to prevent that anymore. They had fled Nondir, and if anyone had marked their passing at all, they were now fugitives anyway, especially since Tytus had still been a slave at the time of their bonding. He hadn't changed his mind immediately, but Tytus did see the wisdom in her words--and in the unspoken fact that they were safer in Iaramira than they would be practically anywhere else. In addition to that, they were amongst some of the best trainers and wyrmlingmasters that anyone might dare to hope for, and such things were being provided for them here ungrudgingly.

So they had stayed. Tytus had studied and Ahtian had grown... and grown, and grown. She hadn't been small when she hatched, but to see her now still took his breath away. Aside from the Titans themselves and a few of the larger end Earth dragons, he had yet to see a dragon as big as his Ahtian had grown, and he wasn't at all sure that she'd finished out her growth, either. It made him proud, for all that it also made him occasionally feel insignificant next to her. Such thoughts were never allowed to fester for long if she overheard them, loyal and loving companion that she was.

And after all that, they found themselves among the first gathering of riders escorting the new Titan to her city. It was... strange, really. Not unpleasant, but strange; Tytus was not so changed as to throw his lot unthinkingly in with Empress Synivox, and there was a very large difference between being loyal in name and loyal in spirit. Ahtian was and would always be his first priority, and being allied with the Crystal Titan was only going to make them both a target of Vicarous' wrath. Yet beneath all of that concern was an ember, a spark that needed but a little encouragement to grow into a flame. It burned with the need for vengeance, to seek retribution for all that had befallen him under the false Emperor's name; his family had once been noble, after all, cast out for little more than speaking against Vicarous.

Vengeance did not outweigh his obligations to Ahtian, but it was becoming clearer with each passing day that war was imminent. The wyrmlings in Nondir were grown and near to graduation, the ceasefire soon to end. Fighting was going to commence once more, and if you rode any sort of dragon at all, it was expected of you to fight. Was it not best, then, to pick a side and fight for it with all of his might?

"Such heavy thoughts, and it's only just breakfast time."

Her voice startled him a bit, enough that Tytus flinched slightly before looking up at Ahtian. She was in elven form and smiling down at him with breakfast held in her hands, her chiding little more than gentle teasing. Even in this shape she amazed him; still taller than he was, with long, willowy limbs and a supple form that made her seem more graceful to him than any true elf. Ahtian wore the form well, only her multi-hued eyes and riotously bright hair hinting at her draconic heritage. The latter was a thick mass of waves that fell to her waist, colored with the fire she possessed as well as the lightning in a few shocking streaks of blue-white here and there. She was lovely as ever, and upon catching the thought, her smile widened.

"Less flattering, more eating. We'll need to start moving again before long," she said as she handed him a bowl of food. From the smell it was curry, something easy enough to whip up en mass that was both filling and warming against the autumn chill that seemed to grow more pronounced with each passing day. Tytus accepted it gladly and with thanks, and not just because he was hungry; he had an all new appreciation for spicy foods since bonding to his dragon. Though it was soon going to be time to pack their things, saddle up the hounds they'd been loaned for the trip (a Fire for Ahtian and a surprisingly sleek Air for himself) and continue their journey, Tytus did take the brief respite as a chance to wander the camp a bit, eating and silently observing those around him. Even if he knew very few of them personally, it was best to at least know of them if they were to be founding a city together.

Everyone knew of Kirhok Doomhammer, of course, and Tytus found himself drawn to the big elf, who was currently in an intent discussion with someone much smaller than he--Rhoan, Tytus saw a moment later, the Empress' close friend and companion. When he finally came within earshot he stopped, listening quietly to the story laid out before him as he finished his breakfast. How much of it was actually true, he didn't know, but the sudden revelation of the strange little eggs near the end of the tale certainly lent credence to it. They obviously bore elemental swirls and patterns on their shells, and he might have thought them dwarf dragons had Kirhok not said they were birds.

"Those are the oddest looking birds eggs I've ever seen," Tytus mused aloud without thinking, before realizing that his listening in was, in essence, eavesdropping. He cleared his throat before offering them both a bow and a small, wry grin. "Forgive me, I didn't mean to spy. Good morning to you both. And congratulations, Lady Rhoan, on such a wondrous gift."
| Clarra and Acid/Toxic Mantella | Seraphic Irasotiel | Tytus and Weather Fire/Lightning Ahtian | Marcus and Hellfire Inferno/Tech Panzerfaust |
| Basajaun Themides | Faerveren and Mirror/Metal Zadasiron | Sonic Proxy | Prince Zemal and Life Talixarra |
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Rhoan, tag Kirhok/Tytus

As Kirhok spoke, the atmosphere seemed to thicken around them. What she thought was just a menial, morning conversation had turned into something incredibly important. Something kept nagging at her, about the name Doomhammer. Why did she like it? She'd heard it somewhere before. Either way, she let Kirhok speak about her aura, and about what she was. A Beastmaster didn't sound too bad. She didn't like the harsh name; not everything was a beast. Kirhok mirrored her thoughts, and she let out a small smile. He seemed to be having difficulty talking about all of this, which made Rhoan bite her lip.

The tale he told her mirrored the tale she'd heard. A great legend of a man who could befriend all beasts. It was that day she'd gone outside, looking for animals to befriend. It was then she met Icarus. As if almost knowing she'd been thinking about him, Ruya flew by and dropped the little critter off. He burrowed into the hood of her fur lined vest and poked his head out to watch Kirhok with semi-interest. This tale, of course, matched exactly what she wanted. Well, except the Sand Fire dragon. She already had her Rui. She was happy. But still, if she truly was a Beastmaster... that meant that she honestly had an opportunity to help and befriend creatures of all shapes and sizes, and it wasn't just a little kid's dream. That's why she recognized the name Doomhammer. Her heart pinched when she put the pieces together that he was dead.

When he finished his tale, and handed her the two egg capsules, and the scroll. She could almost feel their tiny little hearts beating inside their capsule. They were ready to hatch, and Rhoan had the power to bring them into this world and take care of them. Before Kirhok even spoke about the peeping attracting unwanted attention, Rhoan had already decided to not hatch them until they were safe in the city, and then, maybe a little bit more time when they had a place to stay. She didn't know how much they'd finished in the city, so she didn't honestly know what to expect. She placed one of the eggs down on the chair, and reached over and held Kirhok's hand. "Thank you, Kirhok. And... I heard of your brother when I was a kid. His legends reached far and wide, and I want to be just like him. He was a good man." She smiled at him, trying to make him feel better, before something spoke behind them.

One of the rider escorts had been listening to the conversation, and said something about the odd nature of the birds. She furrowed her brow a little bit at his comment, but let it slide by. People were entitled to their own opinion, after all. However, realizing he'd been spying, he apologized and congratulated her. She returned his smile with a toothy (and toothless) smile. "You don't gotta call me lady, ya know. That's all Syn's stuff. But thanks! I'm excited for these little guys. But, we're not going to hatch them just yet. Not til everything is safe and secure." Although, you could tell, she realllllly wanted to hatch the little birds. "Tytus, right?" She asked, looking over at the boy. Well, she said boy, but he was older than her. She hadn't really met many of the escorting riders. It was hard to have conversation when you were riding on running dragonhounds. And then, after they ran, she played with her own entourage and the dragonhounds that carried everyone. That kind of cut down on her people socialization. She hoped they didn't mind..
[align=center]
| Rhoan Xavia and Crystal Spirit Rui'shiar (#FFD700) |
| Weather/Lightning Astrapi the Ancient (#111747) |
| Justin Pryce and Water/Toxic Nyanabranche 'Annae' (#38C6EC) |
| Nienna Surion |
| Blood Distress (#600000)|
| Nature Cernunnos(#00F16C) |
| Sivin Tlithar and Air Sound Katzeangst (#FCFF00) |
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Tytus and Ahtian; tag Rhoan

She was still so young, was Rhoan, that for a moment he was startled by it. Dragonriders were expected to be warriors--certainly he had received his own fair share of martial training in Iaramira while Ahtian was growing--and there was something... wrong about expecting someone of her age and disposition to go marching into battle. And there was no doubt in his mind that there would be battles, many of them, because the Empress was never going to be truly safe until Vicarous was dead. Tytus would be lying if he said he had any real emotional investment in Synivox, either as a person or as a leader, and truth be told he would have been far more content to simply fly as far away from Nondir as he could so that he and Ahtian could live in peace.

But Ahtian was not content with that. Nondir was the land of her birth. Nondir, under Vicarous, had claimed her mother's life, and the lives of so many, many others. Vicarous was, however indirectly, responsible for the destruction of Tytus' own life, or rather, the life he might have led had his family not been cast down in disgrace for daring to speak against the false Emperor in any fashion. Those were things that, for his own sake, Tytus was attempting to forget; that life was closed to him, and there would be no grand return to Nondir to reclaim his birthright.

But if Ahtian was not content to simply find someplace peaceful to dwell together, then neither was he. He had learned quickly after bonding that her silent disapproval was more unbearable than if she'd actually spoken out against him.

"That is correct, Lady Rhoan," he answered her with a smile and another bow. "Tytus Valyrius, rider of Fire and Lightning Ahtian, who is also a Weather dragon." He gestured with one hand to the elf-shaped dragon who was, even now, never far from his side.

"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lady Rhoan," Ahtian murmured with a graceful bow of her own, a hand placed lightly over her heart.

"You have been with the Empress since the day of her bonding, and now you travel with her to found her great city. In light of all that, it seems improper of me not to call you Lady," Tytus finished. He was well versed in societal politics, and it was highly unlikely that Rhoan wouldn't receive some title of note once the city was founded. Every city needed its noble founding families, after all. "And waiting until we reach the city is a wise choice, no doubt. The road is perilous enough for full grown dragons, never mind newly hatched birds. Though they do seem as if they'll be quite special birds, judging from the eggs."
| Clarra and Acid/Toxic Mantella | Seraphic Irasotiel | Tytus and Weather Fire/Lightning Ahtian | Marcus and Hellfire Inferno/Tech Panzerfaust |
| Basajaun Themides | Faerveren and Mirror/Metal Zadasiron | Sonic Proxy | Prince Zemal and Life Talixarra |
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Rhoan, tag Tytus

She gave another headnod to Kirhok before gingerly picking up both eggs and shaking her leg a little bit. The shake made the metal ding around, and Zulradenon perked up her ears immediately, and bounded over. There was a pouch where Rhoan kept her valuables on the side of Zulra's saddle, close to Rhoan's hand. She opened one of the pouches and slid the eggs inside it, where they'd be next to her hands as she rode Zulra. All the while, she listened to Tytus. His dragon companion, a beautiful Fire and Lightning, walked over and bowed. She was his bonded, and she called Rhoan a lady as well. She let it slide, although it bothered her a little. "Yeah, I want to see them, and let them breathe fresh air, but I know it's not safe. But i'm sure these little guys will be fantastic! I can't wait to watch them grow. And, Seriously, it's nothing to sniff at. I've been with her way before her bonding. But I'm nothing special. She's the special one. I don't want anyone to think i'm off limits to talk to because i'm a lady..." She bowed at that point, but lost her balance and fell, metal leg bending at an odd angle. Oh well, at least it didn't hurt!

She giggled and regained her composure. "I guess nobody really knows how Syn and I met. It's kinda funny now, looking back..." She didn't have much retrospect, being 12 and a half, but it still made her smile. She didn't know anything about Tytus, whether he had been a slave or not. Frankly, she treated everybody with the same respect, unless she deemed their actions otherwise. "I dunno what your plans are for the future, whether you wanna follow Syn or leave once she's safely escorted. I can tell you a bit about us if you want!" She smiled. "I know i'm way too young to sway decisions just yet, but you're pretty nice, and I like talking to you and your pretty Ahtian." She smiled. She scrambled up onto Zulradenon, and Zulra crouched down, facing the pair. Rhoan wasn't the fastest to get ready to leave, so might as well be ready when the time came.

"I was born in Iaramira, and when I decided I wanted to try and be a rider, the hatching was gonna happen in Nondir. That's where I met Syn. Specifically, I think the Emperor recognized her and told his dragonhounds to fetch her. I yelled at his hounds to let her go, and I think I got on his shit list. It attracted attention though, and Syn agreed to be my roommate!" She made such a feat seem simple, by the way she told it. "That is how I lost my leg though. I'm almost certain he had something to do with it. I think after all this has smoothed over, I wanna get my new leg attached. This is a bad one from Nondir. Anyways..." She paused as Icarus crawled onto her shoulder before leaping off, jumping towards Tytus to examine him. The little sugar glider was curious, and would merely scuttle all over him Tytus didn't bat him away. "She was really quiet to begin with, but she was really sweet too. We both had nightmares, and sometimes, she let me crawl into her bed and sleep with her if I got too scared. She's the sister I never had. When she bonded to the titan, I was so happy. I knew that she'd never have to live that... awful life before... again."

The child was merely rambling at this point, glad she had someone to talk to other than her bonded creatures. Ruya, ready for the day, glided over and wrapped herself around Rhoan's neck, like a fantastic, swirly scarf. "Oh! Ruya, this is Tytus and Ahtian. They're escorts. We've seen them, but we're talking now. This is Ruya, one of my friends!" The Mental/Dream dipped her head at the two and smiled. "Pleasure, indeed. Thank you for the company and protection." Zulra let out a grin as well, nodding her head to the two. Rui approached and sat down in the grass, leaning against the safest part of Zulra's hide he could find. "I think you've seen Rui here and there. He's my bond! Don't let him fool ya though, his hide may be hard but he's a big softy." She giggled, ruffling the elf's hair.
[align=center]
| Rhoan Xavia and Crystal Spirit Rui'shiar (#FFD700) |
| Weather/Lightning Astrapi the Ancient (#111747) |
| Justin Pryce and Water/Toxic Nyanabranche 'Annae' (#38C6EC) |
| Nienna Surion |
| Blood Distress (#600000)|
| Nature Cernunnos(#00F16C) |
| Sivin Tlithar and Air Sound Katzeangst (#FCFF00) |
| slot x4 |
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Tytus and Ahtiah; tag Rhoan

The opportunity to learn more about the Empress he was currently following was unprecedented, and not unwelcome. Tytus chose to follow Synivox out of no true loyalty, nor love, nor even a common goal; he followed Synivox because most of his generation of rider was expected to per tradition. With a new Titan came a new city, and with a new city came the need for those who would help to build it, protect it, and fight for the Titan who lived there. Those Wyrmlings still residing in Nondir were expected to join them eventually--or at least some of them were. Nothing about Tytus was special in this regard; he had not been chosen for this task because he was suited to it, only because he was present and useful and, to some degree, willing.

To know more of the person he was choosing to follow, even if it did nothing to make him more loyal to her, could only benefit him. So he listened with silent, polite, and oh so keen interest as Rhoan spoke of when she first met Synivox, of how the two of them had become friends, however unlikely a pair they might seem. He listened to how the Emperor had, for some reason, singled Synivox out (Why would he do that? There's no way he could have known she'd bond to a Titan... is there?), how Rhoan had bravely and perhaps foolishly tried to save her, which had cost her her leg. He also caught the ever so brief mention of Synivox's past life, as lacking in detail as it was. So, the Empress had led a tragic one before bonding to her dragon... but to what extent? And why? And why had that interested Vicarous?

Much of the rest he knew, at least pertaining to the parts about Synivox and Rhoan being whisked away from the hatching grounds. He, as had most everyone else with access to a television, had watched it all happen those two and a half years ago, just a day shy of when he'd discovered Ahtian's egg hidden below the streets of Nondir. Still, he had more than his fair share of--Tytus flinched suddenly when Icarus launched toward him and dropped onto his shoulder, tensing and going carefully still as the little creature skittered around his torso, clinging to his tunic as though it were the branches of a tree. It seemed rude to swat at the thing, given who it belonged to, and it seemed harmless enough.

"A pleasure to meet you, Ruya," he greeted the dwarf dragon with a slight tilt of his head as opposed to a bow, given that the sugar glider was still clambering about him. "No need to thank--" Tytus broke off in a sudden, startled laugh when Icarus suddenly tried to burrow into his armpit, involuntarily tickling him. He stifled it quickly, clearing his throat and attempting to regain his composure as he very carefully fished the little creature out and settled him back onto a shoulder, though Icarus didn't stay put for long. Upon spotting Ahtian standing nearby, the sugar glider gathered himself before leaping over to investigate her as well. She smiled down at the little creature and was more than willing to let him investigate, offering him dainty scritches and pets whenever he was within reach.

"As I was saying," he started again, though the impromptu laugh seemed to have made him relax just a bit. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Ruya--and you, Rui. Thanks are unnecessary." He thought it a big undignified for anyone's dragon to have their hair ruffled, whatever form they were in, but Rui didn't look as though he minded, so Tytus held his tongue. Better to keep the conversation focused, especially since Rhoan seemed to enjoy having someone to talk to--which in and of itself was strange. He wasn't accustomed to being spoken to so freely and comfortably. "If you don't mind my asking... why was Vicarous targeting the Empress before she bonded? He is powerful, I'll grant him that, but I doubt even he can tell what dragon a person will bond to, and even if he knew about the Empress he surely would have..."

Killed her hung awkwardly in the air between them. If Vicarous had known that Synivox would attract a Titan, there was no way he'd have permitted her to live until the hatching. Which meant that the Empress and Vicarous had a history, but Tytus was going to wait for Rhoan to confirm that before he jumped to any conclusions.
| Clarra and Acid/Toxic Mantella | Seraphic Irasotiel | Tytus and Weather Fire/Lightning Ahtian | Marcus and Hellfire Inferno/Tech Panzerfaust |
| Basajaun Themides | Faerveren and Mirror/Metal Zadasiron | Sonic Proxy | Prince Zemal and Life Talixarra |
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Rhoan, tag Tytus

If Rui minded the hair ruffling, he didn't show it. Majestic, fantastic creatures dragons were, but this particular one despised waking up early, so even if he didn't like it, he wasn't about to combat it. He closed his eyes and Rhoan ran her fingers through his hair, scratching his scalp in a small massage. Icarus darted to and fro, clinging to Ahtian affectionately. Occasionally he would click his teeth together, something commonly known to Rhoan as a sign of happiness or affection. However, after a while, he jumped off and returned to his own human perch. Ruya listened quietly, and raised her eye ridges at Tytus's question. It took her off guard, but not the child. Is this the time or place, or even a person you'd like to share this information with? It's not yours to share! Ruya spoke in Rhoan's mind. The child held up a finger at Tytus, and closed her eyes, speaking back to her dragon. Everything Syn buried in the dirt, from secrets to diaries is out in the open the moment she bonded to a Titan. Anyways, he's with us. I'm not worried about it. I'm not telling everything.

She opened her eyes and smiled, readdressing Tytus. "Sorry, I can't talk and communicate in my mind at the same time. Did I mention Ruya is a Mental Dream dragon? If you have trouble sleeping, just lemme know. I can make sure she sends a good dream your way." She smiled, scratching Ruya under the chin. Her little swirl patterns danced across her scales in content. But, back to the question. "I think if Vic had known that Syn would bond to a Titan, he would have killed her no questions asked. But, things didn't work out that way. She was in his prisons, and escaped. She'd been held there for some time, and slipped into the crowd of candidates. There she sought sanctuary. Because of the truce, and the fact that she was a candidate, Vic couldn't touch her." She grinned. "It was quite crafty. After all, there were rumors that Illirian was supposed to bond to her, I can't imagine any more reasons that haven't already been thought of as to why Vic hates her."

Synivox definitely got off lucky in the end. And, thankfully, the end ended up being a new beginning. Tytus could probably sympathize to an extent, depending on where he'd come from. "The only tragic thing I had happen in my life happened in that market when I lost my leg. Icarus is sometimes more trouble than he's worth." She teased the glider, who simply burrowed deeper into her shirt. "I can't really imagine what her life was like, or anyone's for that matter. I had a comfortable childhood. I have both my parents. I didn't have any siblings, but I do now." She trailed off, turning her head in the direction of Synivox closer to the inside of their camp. "Whatever it was, fate, destiny, dragons... it brought us together, and I like to think that I somehow helped her a little bit. I may not be able to share her past burdens, but i'm here to share whatever she faces next. Life is an adventure, and sometimes i'm okay taking the sidekick role."
[align=center]
| Rhoan Xavia and Crystal Spirit Rui'shiar (#FFD700) |
| Weather/Lightning Astrapi the Ancient (#111747) |
| Justin Pryce and Water/Toxic Nyanabranche 'Annae' (#38C6EC) |
| Nienna Surion |
| Blood Distress (#600000)|
| Nature Cernunnos(#00F16C) |
| Sivin Tlithar and Air Sound Katzeangst (#FCFF00) |
| slot x4 |
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Tytus and Ahtiah; tag Rhoan

It was an effort of will not to do more than blink in surprise at the notion that Synivox had not been destined for one, but two Titan dragons. Granted, if all had gone according to plan and she'd bonded to Illirian then her Crystal Titan would have found another (and so, so much might have been different, for himself and millions of others), but to have your destiny so inextricably bound to a Titan's... Tytus wasn't sure that was an honor he'd care to have. He coveted many things in life but power was not among them, particularly not when that power came with the burden of responsibility for so many other lives. Only a fool or a madman longed for that sort of thing.

"I..." And here was where he failed at human interaction. Courtesy dictated that he respond in some fashion that was not just more prying into Rhoan or Synivox's lives, that he offer up something about himself in turn. Only the last thing Tytus wanted to speak of was his own life. He was no longer a slave, no longer bore the brand or carried the chip that marked him as one; those things had been removed soon after arriving at Iaramira. Just because he was no longer a slave, however, did not mean he was any less ashamed about having been one at all, or proud of the life he had lived up until bonding to Ahtian. He did not want to forever be known as Tytus the former slave.

So he did what came naturally to him; he lied, in spite of Ahtian's disapproval at him doing so.

"I was born in Nondir," Tytus said slowly, carefully. The best lies always contained some truths, and he seemed to be tasting the words as he spoke them to reassure himself of their believability. "An only child. A nobleman's son, but I have never approved of Vicarous or his actions. I cannot imagine what it is like to gain someone so close to you as to be like your sister, but I have no doubt that the Empress is lucky to have you by her side."

Though he was more than capable of imagining the reverse.

He didn't see much of an angle to continue trying to get information about Synivox directly without making even someone as open and friendly as Rhoan suspicious of his motives (which were entirely benign, to be sure, but he preferred to avoid the unwanted attention if he could), so Tytus shifted his focus back to Rhoan herself. Perhaps she might yet reveal more to him about the woman he'd chosen to follow for what were perhaps not at all the right reasons.

"You mentioned losing your leg in a marketplace," he asked, going for what seemed the most obvious question. "Might I ask how that occurred? It seems like quite a tale."
| Clarra and Acid/Toxic Mantella | Seraphic Irasotiel | Tytus and Weather Fire/Lightning Ahtian | Marcus and Hellfire Inferno/Tech Panzerfaust |
| Basajaun Themides | Faerveren and Mirror/Metal Zadasiron | Sonic Proxy | Prince Zemal and Life Talixarra |
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Rhoan, tag Tytus

Rhoan wrinkled her nose at the thought. Being a nobleman's son seemed rather boring, especially with Vic as a ruler. Most of his nobles were hand picked for their loyalty, were they not? Rui yawned sleepily, scratching at his side for an itch he wouldn't be able to find. Rhoan's head scratches were blissful, but he shook his head slightly and closed his eyes. I feel like he isn't telling the truth. He murmured to Rhoan, keeping their conversation strictly in their thoughts. While Tytus was talking, Rhoan wouldn't have to necessarily focus on keeping her words straight, since she couldn't talk and listen at the same time. That talent was reserved for those older, with better attention spans.

Huh? Why do you say that?

Rui sent the mental picture of himself shrugging. I didn't claim to know why. But, you know how good I am at reading people. He's not out to hurt anyone. His intentions are good, my spirit tells me that. As for why he's lying... That I cannot say. Just be careful. Ruya could probably pry, but I don't feel the need. He is light at the surface, but I cannot tell what is underneath. However, he does not strike me as dangerous at this time. If he crosses a line though, I wouldn't be so understanding as she would. Rui sighed, standing up in the physical world to go and finish getting ready. Rhoan knew his routine well; he'd splash water on his face, stretch, and then go find the dragonhound he was assigned to ride. While he was gone, Rhoan would have to be careful.

Rhoan never minded telling the story about her leg. After it being so long since then, it wasn't truly going anywhere, and the more she got accustomed to telling the story, the less she'd be asked in the future. "My leg? Heh, why? It's not all that interesting. But, if you insist." She jostled herself to the side and detached the leg from it's straps around her stump, showing him the burnt, scarred skin at the bottom. "I was in the Nondir markets, and something had spooked Icarus. So, I went chasing after him." Everytime she told the story, she could almost feel herself running again. Chasing after the little critter was something she took for granted. Now, running wasn't a thing she could do anymore. "Suddenly, a fight had broken out, and Icarus ran away from it. However, when I finally got to him, one of the tails of a dragon... I think it was a bone? Anyways, one of the tails hit my leg as I was running by. The two dragons were arguing about something, maybe a rumor or something one had said about the other. But, the bone dragon or whatever it was ran off. I was left there with the fire dragon."

Her heart started to race, and she bit the inside of her cheek thoughtfully. "I thought I was going to die. I wasn't a dragon rider, I wasn't anything. I was a kid running in the street that had an unfortunate run in at the wrong time. The fire dragon didn't like me whimpering and crying like that, but instead of eating me, he cut himself and dropped a lot of blood onto my leg." She looked down at her leg as she started strapping the add-on back to herself. Steam almost seemed to float up into the air as Rhoan recalled the event. "His blood mixed with mine, and cauterized the wound. He then carried me to a hospital, where they had to take my leg off. It was pretty scary, waking up without a leg. I didn't remember much of it, so waking up in the hospital was a pretty big shock as well."

"But, Icarus was safe, and I ended up living, obviously. My parents flew in from home and were going to take me back, but I still wanted to be a candidate. After I convinced them, they got me a little fake leg until I could get something a bit better after I graduated. If I didn't get a dragon, well, then, I could just go after the hatching. Obviously, that wasn't the case." The child looked over fondly in Rui's direction. "That started a whole pile of events. The Nondir Titan ended up sneaking a few dragonhound eggs for the candidates, for protection. That's where I met Zulra. She hatched in my lap, and then I fed her some meat, and we've been close ever since. When I returned to the market, someone that had seen me took pity on me, and gave me Ruya's egg. When she hatched, I was there too, and the rest is history! Who would have thought someone so awful and life changing could actually be for the better?" She smiled at Tytus, shrugging. "I figure I can go through the operation when we get to the new city, after everything's been made. I even had an awesome friend named Gurren make me the new leg." Her head nodded towards the little caravan spot that held their possessions. "It's one of the only things I really own, aside from my clothes. And even those have been destroyed over the past few years. I don't have much left. I'll be starting from the bottom up. But, hey. I've got Syn, and my friends. Ruya, Rui, Icarus, Zulra, and now these little guys." Her hands passed over their respective pouches gingerly. "Plus, it's always fun to say I have Dragon Blood in me, even if that's not truly the case. Helps me through the rough days." She winked.

[align=center]
| Rhoan Xavia and Crystal Spirit Rui'shiar (#FFD700) |
| Weather/Lightning Astrapi the Ancient (#111747) |
| Justin Pryce and Water/Toxic Nyanabranche 'Annae' (#38C6EC) |
| Nienna Surion |
| Blood Distress (#600000)|
| Nature Cernunnos(#00F16C) |
| Sivin Tlithar and Air Sound Katzeangst (#FCFF00) |
| slot x4 |
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Tytus and Ahtian; tag Rhoan

Ahtian, though she remained mostly silent during the exchange, was listening intently to both halves of the conversation. She did not approve of Tytus lying to Rhoan, however minor a lie it was, but she said nothing beyond a faint feeling of disapproval across their bond. Tytus had nothing to be ashamed of; what was in the past could hurt him no longer, and it did him no good to falsify who he was, however slightly. It was not her place to say otherwise, however, and she could but hope that someday he might trust someone enough to be completely honest with them.

Rhoan seemed a good choice. There was still an innocence to her that was refreshing in spite of all she had been through, and Ahtian hoped that she would hold onto that in the years to come. Undoubtedly she was going to face more more strife and turmoil, especially when the war began to escalate again. But she was strong. Her friend, the new Empress, was as well, and though Ahtian had yet to meet Synivox or her Titan, she had a good feeling about the choice that she and Tytus had made to follow them. This was the right thing to do, though her rider might not know or believe it just yet.

"Who would have thought something so awful and life changing could actually be for the better?"

That particular phrase made the elven-form dragon laugh softly, a musical sound that drew her rider's attention to her with an impulsive smile. "It would seem that we are preparing to leave soon," Ahtian said with a nod toward the rest of their party. Indeed, even the slowest of risers among them were packing up and mounting the hounds they'd been given for this journey. "I will go ready our things and bring the hounds. Why don't you tell Rhoan about the earthquake while I do?"

Mention of the earthquake made his eyes widen slightly in surprise; oh, Tytus remembered it well enough, would never forget it, but Ahtian was not generally the sort to set him on a path as she had just done. He did not like talking about his past, and she knew it, but this...

"Are you sure you don't need any help?" he asked, only partly in an attempt to prevent the conversation that she was trying to engage him in. Ahtian was his dragon and his heart's bond, not a slave. Tytus wasn't about to leave all the work to her so that he might continue to dawdle about.

"I am quite sure. We are already packed, so all I need do is harness the hounds," Ahtian replied, reaching out to squeeze his hand gently. "You should share our story of how something wonderful came from such a terrible tragedy."

Then she turned and slipped away, leaving Tytus to stare after her for a moment. It was impossible to be mad with her for leaving him in such a situation, Rhoan's curiosity undoubtedly piqued by the hints that Ahtian had dropped. And really... what did it hurt? He had told the story before when first arriving at Iaramira, and was adept at leaving out or glossing over those bits that he didn't want people knowing.

"Whatever did I do to be so lucky as to have her..." he murmured mostly to himself before realizing that he was not alone, and Tytus flashed Rhoan yet another shockingly unguarded smile. It was easier when he thought of Ahtian, when he remembered what it felt like when they first bonded.

"There was an earthquake in Nondir," he began slowly a moment later. "A day or two after the last hatching. A terrible, terrible earthquake that destroyed much of the city. I happened to be out when the quake struck, and I was trapped in a building for a long while. Which is lucky for me, because I was also the only person in that building to survive."

Tytus could almost feel the bone-deep cold from that winter, shivering involuntarily before continuing. "I was rescued, thankfully, by a Fire dragon named Arulia. She dug me out of the rubble and carried me to safety, but then asked a favor of me. There was another building, you see, and it was in danger of collapse. There was someone trapped inside and I was the only one small enough to fit down there, so she asked me to investigate... and I agreed.

"It was another dragon. Another Fire dragon named Urapenda, and she was gravely injured. Perhaps if we'd gotten to her sooner she might have lived, but..." Tytus sighed, gaze locked on the ground as he recalled the details. "She was very weak, and she did not ask me to rescue her. What she did ask was that I go into the tunnels beneath the building we were in and find her greatest treasure so that she might see it one last time before she died. It was dangerous, foolish, and ultimately could have gotten me killed, but I agreed to do this thing for her. I went down into those long-forgotten slave tunnels and I searched for Urapenda's treasure."

There was no need for him to go into too great detail about that particular journey, so he did not, electing to focus on the meat of the story. "It was like a maze down there, and the quake had nearly collapsed the tunnels entirely in some places, but I did manage to find the room in which Urapenda had hidden her treasure. I opened the door and saw nothing but flames; the whole room was ablaze, though the fire burned nothing at all, not even me when I walked inside. And there, in the middle of the room, was an egg."

He smiled again because he couldn't keep himself from doing so, looking up at Rhoan before glancing in the direction that Ahtian had gone. "She was waiting for me, though how she knew I was coming I'll never know. Her egg was already cracked but she waited for me to come for her before hatching, and we bonded right there in that very room. Urapenda had used her fires to keep the egg warm, you see, so that Ahtian was unharmed until I could get to her. We tried to make it back to the surface as quickly as we could, but...

"It was Urapenda's dying wish that her daughter not be raised in Nondir," Tytus finished with a sigh. "So I asked Arulia to help us escape. She took us to Iaramira, and now we follow the new Empress." He paused and looked up at Rhoan with another, smaller smile. "So it would seem that we both came out of a great tragedy with an even greater gift, though I haven't managed to attract quite the menagerie that you have." He gestured toward Zulra before continuing. "I confess to being somewhat envious of you on her account. I'd never met a dragonhound before this venture, and they have proven to be worth their weight in gold. And she was a gift from Illirian himself, no less."
| Clarra and Acid/Toxic Mantella | Seraphic Irasotiel | Tytus and Weather Fire/Lightning Ahtian | Marcus and Hellfire Inferno/Tech Panzerfaust |
| Basajaun Themides | Faerveren and Mirror/Metal Zadasiron | Sonic Proxy | Prince Zemal and Life Talixarra |
| Moriel and Dark/Bone/Blood Chyropter | [slot] |
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In the two and a half years they had spent together Synivox was still amazed by the happenings of the hatching on the first day of that new year. There had been so much to learn in that short span of time spent in the Tree in the swamp, then from the Unicorns protected in their forest by the Nature Titan who herself played a large role in the teachings of the newest leaders of the land. In the whirlwind of time that swept past Synivox met a soulmate, strengthened a sisterly bond, gained invaluable teachers, and even began the bonds of something special and completely unique. Such relationships she had made in such a short amount of time was like nothing she had experienced through her life. The white haired elf adjusted against Inquebrável, the Royal Glass Dragon Hound had grown as well and now carried both Syn and Ara on their journey. This journey, it still seemed surreal to her. At times she was certain this was an elaborate illusion built by Vicarious to give her strength, love, purpose, only to shatter it when it was at its highest and rip it all away from her. But Arasel, when she looked upon the Crystal Titan she was sure this could be no illusion. None of Vicarous’ lackies could create such a beautiful creature from their imaginations. There was no way they could compose the emotions that coursed through their bond. No, she was sure this was not an illusion, she was indeed free from his grasp of death and torture. But that did not mean she was free of him. Despite being such a young pairing Synivox and Araselnasaa knew they would have to stand against the tyrant, not just because their lives depended on it but because others did, and the one that needed to be freed the most was Illirian.

Synivox shifted and gracefully stood up, that was a lane of memories and thoughts she did not need to go down at a time like this. She was on the way to build her city, her Empire. Her lip twitched slightly, the thought was so surreal to her. Not only that but those who were her classmates were to come and claim allegiance with her. She had often wondered who would come, who would stay, who would go elsewhere. There were some she hoped would come, those she could benefit greatly from their presence and strength, there were also some she hoped would stay. But in the end it was to be their choice and all she could do was wait and greet those who did come.

Her eyes scanned the encampment and those who were currently with her on this journey. Some had been there from the start and some they had gained along the way. A dark form caught her attention and her gaze rested on him, the dark unicorn Erais. Out of all the bonds she had forged this one was the one that had changed the most. At first he was another teacher, not only a Unicorn but a shadow element like herself, he had taught her much of her birth element. Both skills that could save her life, and skills that were not so much useful but beautiful. As she absorbed the knowledge he offered mentor turned into friend, and then into something deeper. Their budding relationship was by no means concrete, there were many times she felt her duties as a new Empress demanded all her attention and waking efforts but many dissuaded her from that kind of thinking. Yes there was much responsibility thrown onto her shoulders now but anyone would be burned out if the only thing they focused on was duty. Balance was important between obligation and leisure.

"You should go to him. Soon we will be riding and busy with the days travels and plannings." Arasel looked to her bonded and then to the Unicorn in his elvish form. "I will see to it that everything is prepared."

Synivox sent a wave of emotion filled with appreciation to her bonded and began to walk towards Erais. He seemed to be looking deep into the darkness of the early morning and did not stir as she approached him. She gently laid the tips of her fingers on his shoulder in a light touch. “The moon shines bright this morning does it not?”
| Empress Synivox Drogheda & Crystal Titan Araselnasaa Treyu | Earth Painovoima Vatnaoli | Seraphic/Time Zeliniel Chroniacresht | Glass/Metal Izanami Miristiale |
| Space/Dark Event Horizon Galgrane | Siriziel Saliel and Steam Karasugoi Mantcade | Lunar/Ice Vatnajokull Novacier
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