The Long Way Home

Once the epitome of advancement and wonderment, this ancient city has suffered an apocalyptic catastrophe and now drowns deeper into destruction as schemes and further disasters threaten to tear it asunder. Hope has long since left the land... but some have refused to surrender their place in the sun
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Alistair
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The Long Way Home

Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:31 am

Ashan 34, Arc 719
The man began to rise from the sand upon which he laid, his eyes facing upwards towards the sun that had come to rise at the center of the sky. He held his breath for a trill, letting the wind into his lungs before letting loose an exhale. The mage’s body shuddered with a soft tingle, as his torso rose with the contracting of his abdomen and his knuckles pressed into the sand.

Surprisingly, despite everything that had befallen the two men that laid upon the Koroskai beach, Alistair was content. He turned to face the fair skinned - if not pale - Lotharro, laid against his chest and pressed his lips against his in a flurry of kisses. “I love you, my Havendal,” he whispered. “Even though you’ve been back for a little while now, I... feel we haven’t explored our time together nearly as much as we could. And, it’s my fault, but I want that to change. I want to spend the day with you — just us. No disruptions, no others.”

Alistair stood on his two feet and shuffled with his linen trousers which he’d laid into the sand. Bringing them over his legs and lower body, the mage concealed himself to the tropical chill of the air and patted down his legs to remove the sands from the cloth. He strung up the lace of his pants somewhat tighter, so that it did not sink or fall, and wrapped his arms around his torso to press his palm against each shoulder.

The mage sighed, though not in sorrow or stress or anger, but in the quiet fulfillment of the moment.

“My Thorn,” he called to the other man. “There are forests here - of real wood and trees. Animals and beasts. I know you don’t like Quacia, but Koros and Helice are nothing like the Stone City. The Isles are beautiful and — though I love Gauthrel, the Helian Isles are far less frigid. One of my mutations has driven me to utterly resent the cold.”

Alistair spoke honestly. He enjoyed Gauthrel in mid Ashan until the entry days of Vhalar, but afterward—

It wasn’t Viden, but it was a miserable many trials. They had wooden insulation unlike Quacia, but still he dreaded the trials of Zi’da, where the fields and their open wind would freeze against his skin. Helice was different; he truly loved it here, more than he had any place in a very long time.

“I thought we might adventure in the forest by the shoreline,” he gestured to it, not far from them. It wasn’t incredibly dense due to the coastal environment and the less invasive species of acacia and light weeds, but it was green and vibrant. He could already spot out bushes of berries and flowers risen from the soil.

“Like old times,” he finally added. “And we can speak of our son, and our future. Would you like to go?” He asked. “If so, lead the way.”
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The Long Way Home

Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:02 pm

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While their body had laid on the beach, Fridgar's mind was elsewhere. Their lothar totem had only become active at around the third break of that morning, and prior to that they were in a sleep-like state of inactivity, they were dormant. For that reason, they were unable to sleep with Alistair, following their physical bonding, and resolved to meditate while they laid with him. The Runewright had much to catch up on, and resolved to explore their spark more thoroughly, but hadn't found the time in recent trials. That morning though, they had several long breaks with which to explore.

In their mind, Fridgar was within their trance space, a vast and empty void with nothing in it but their own consciousness, and occasionally a friend of theirs. Now though, Fridgar had managed to force a wooden table and some chairs into the void, and they sat there with their friend; the apparition of an enormous arachnid, roughly the size of a horse. "And how are those runes treating you?" The spider asked in its usual shrill, chittering voice. "The rune of weakness works wonders... With just a few strokes of our finger, we can cripple our enemies and render them defenseless." The spider's many eyes glinted with joy at the revelation, and shifted its fangs in an expression that Fridgar recognized as joy. "Kekekeke... And the rune of numbing?" Fridgar frowned and rested their forearm on the table. The spider looked taken back and reeled a little at the shift in the Lothar's demeanor.

"Oh, that's right..." It said with a shake of its head. "You were too weak for that one, but you can learn it now..." Fridgar raised a brow. Too weak? Perhaps, their hone spark was quite small back then. The spider lifted its leg, and ran the stem of its limb across the table, and drew the rune of numbing. The Lothar watched carefully and studied the design, though they knew that runes had little to do with design, and more with intent. Once the spider was done, Fridgar nodded respectfully, then reached their hand out to rest in on the center of the drawing, which radiated with thick darkness, unlike their other runes. Before now, all their runes had glowed with the same color of the rune itself, but this one seemed to be seeping a thick black smoke, like a dense aura that concealed the table but left the shape of the rune visible as a stark crimson that stood out from the dark.

When Fridgar pressed their hand to the epicenter, their whole body went numb, and all their sense of touch was gone. They were limp, unable to control their own body or will it to move, but how? This was a trance, it shouldn't have restricted them so. Fridgar fell to the floor, and the table and chair disappeared in a waft of dust. Their nerves were gone, their muscles were jelly and their skin was stone. The spider chittered its laugh again as it walked toward them with the clicking and clacking of their feet. "Kekekekeke~ You will make good use of this one, I'm sure. Now wake, for Alistair beckons you."


When Fridgar awoke, they found that they couldn't move. They were watching through their own eyes as Alistair pressed his lips to theirs in repeated displays of passion, but they couldn't feel it. The warmth of the air, the weight of Alistair's body on theirs... They were numb. If this had been anything like their last meditative trance, then the spider had altered their body while they were under. Instead of carving their skin though, they were left with a fresh etheric rune somewhere on their body. 'I love you,' Alistair said, and they couldn't even move their jaw to reply. The most noise they could make was a soft "mm," which could have easily been mistaken for a pleased, comfortable sound, fresh from waking.

They reached out to the individual parts of their body, trying to dismiss any of their runes, and when they found it, the feeling of the world returned to them and they exhaled in relief. Even though the sand against their thick skin was uncomfortable and annoying, they were glad to be able to feel again and speak properly too. "I love you too, Alistair," they said while monitoring their wording. They had so desperately wanted to refer to themselves as the collective but recognized that Alistair didn't like when they did that. The mage went on to say how they hadn't spent much time together since they had returned, but they already knew this. It had made the task of emotionally distancing themselves from the human easier, and while it had bothered them before, they were almost beyond such things. But Alistair wanted to spend the trial with them, which could only complicate everything.

Fridgar smiled in return and nodded softly. "Of course, my rose. I'd like that," perhaps if they tried to behave as they normally did, Alistair would grow bored of them and attend something else? When Alistair stood, they sat up and beheld their body. They were... white, white as the snow, or the skin of cold corpses. Their runes had grown from just their shins and forearms to reach all the way up to their hips and shoulders... And just like the runes in their trance, they bled a thick, black wispy aura that blotted out the whites of their skin and showed only the web like markings that weaved around their limbs, which gave a choppy and vague impression of just where their skin resided. When Fridgar lifted their arm to inspect the runes, a trail of darkness followed in their wake. The Protean stared with curious and surprised eyes, then turned their hand slowly with their wrist.

When they lowered their hand and looked out to the world, all they beheld was a smudged and blurred color, except for Alistair, who they saw with perfect clarity while he dressed. If it hadn't been for all the other changes to their body, they might have believed that there was a problem with their eyes, but they suspected that this was the growth of their spark at work due to all their other symptoms.

Alistair called to them again, to which they looked and squinted. Alistair would see their eyes as empty voids of black with naught but deep red irises to watch him through. Their sclera had turned black, and their irises had turned from their light brown to a hungry, deep crimson. Alistair went on to say how much he enjoyed Helice and seemed to try and tempt them into also liking the land with the presentation of forests. Fridgar looked over their shoulder to the gestured woodland, but only saw the blurred colors of brown and green without detail. It seemed they had become incredibly short-sighted in their latest mutation, and the runes all along their arms and legs felt strange... more exploration was needed, it seemed.

Alistair then offered to speak of Bellator and their future on a walk through that woodland, and Fridgar turned back to face him with a blink. They groaned while they pressed into the sand and rose to their feet. That was right, during the night, Fridgar had asked to speak with Alistair this trial and even claimed to be afraid. Reflecting on it, did they even want to speak about what had concerned them anymore? It wasn't that much of a problem, and it didn't scare them really, either. Fridgar collected their loincloth from the floor with their domain bag still tied and slipped into the rags with ease. "I have missed the woods..." They confessed almost sheepishly, then smiled to their sworn cherished.

"Very well," they said with a bow of their head, then took off toward the treeline. The sun hung at a few breaks prior to midtrial, and the air was warm to their bare skin. They squinted as they walked beneath the canopy and tried their best to make out the details of the leaves and branches overhead, but found no such ease. They were blurred and shapeless, and the brightness of the sun only made it more difficult to see. Fridgar sighed then and looked to the human mage. "I think I have mutated again, Kindal," Fridgar said quite openly as they looked to the ground. The songs of exotic birds hummed overhead, and the runes along their arms and legs resonated with the sound. "It's hard to see, and the sun hurts our eyes... my eyes," they corrected themselves after an awkward pause where they had realized their mistake. "Would you mind if I wore the blindfold?"

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"Who needa politics when you can eat the politics."
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Re: The Long Way Home

Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:55 pm

As they woke, Fridgar changed before his eyes. Alistair looked to him and watch the coloration of his skin morph - it began with the patterning of such colors and moved through his pores with a sweep of matte, lighter tones. The mage immediately knew what it was, or... what it had to be. He touched his wrist to create a Rune of Ethersight, only to see the strong colors of Fridgar's ethereal mastery permeating through him, and welling through his core. The mage was resounding with the flux of ether, and much of it - Alistair could see - was that of Hone, of the Umbral variant.

But, in general, the man was brimming with ethereal light. It always danced around him in varying shapes that the mage could not regularly see. They were the contours of his animal forms, weaving around his flesh and seeking for the moment during which they could come unveiled. Before his very eyes was the long snout of a crocodile - one far larger than any that traversed the Tirano floodplains.

The sight, in its entirety, unnerved him and the mage only looked to the Lotharro in further shock as he observed the state of his arms and legs. A blended shadowy darkness, with no clear outline. A sort of smoky wisp of limbs that contrasted perfectly with the white of his body. Alistair did not know what to say; the form of the man he loved had irreparably altered before his eyes, and Fridgar was... he was different. Unlike Alistair who had become more radiant and life-like through his Lucis evolution, the Umbral - his husband and Havendal - had begun to quantify a sort of deathly state.

But he could not say that he particularly minded. Alistair... did not, necessarily. Fridgar was a handsome man, whatever his complexion, and the mage had spent many arcs around Liches and Stonehearts. Fridgar's form was no stranger to the mage, though it would take him a while to adapt to his alteration.

Still, he smiled, faintly. "You've changed, again; your tones are growing more transparent by the day. Perhaps when I next wake you will be invisible," he laughed, and moved onto the man to straddle him as the Lucis laid upon his skin a plethora of kisses. The mage quickly moved from him, however, and allowed Fridgar to put on his loincloth and tie his domain bag around his waist. The two men ventured forward after Fridgar professed how much he'd missed the woods, following Alistair's lead as they delved through the tree-line.

But the other man's eyes appeared disturbed in their view. He could not see well, it seemed. His squint was of a man glaring into the sun, but instead Alistair determined from the way he looked that Fridgar was attempting to focus on what objects he could see. The mage continued forward in an almost ignorant jubilance, but before long it became evident that the man was not simply stricken with the need to adapt to the surrounding light. His eyes were black, in fact, a change from the previous trial. They reflected no imagery nor any colors upon their retinas. The sclera looked almost like an Obstymite well - two dark stars.

I think I have mutated again, he finally said. Alistair withheld a breath and stopped where he stood. In a few trills, the man nodded, stepping closer to the Lotharro and lacing their fingers together as he kissed him softly upon the lips.

"That's alright," he replied. It's hard to see. The sun hurts our- no. My eyes.

"That's alright," Alistair said again, as he gripped the blindfold from around Fridgar's neck and placed it around his eyes, wrapping it in a firm embrace to the back of his head and tying it together with his deft fingers.

The mage, then, kissed him on the lips and with greater passion than before. He sighed a warm breath against his face.

"Do you still enjoy the forest?" he asked. "It saddens me to think that you might-- wait," Alistair paused.

"Look through my eyes, Havendal," he asked. "Your mutation has affected your eyes, not mine. If this change has truly altered your perception of the world, it would be nice to know if I might be able to allow you to see through me, during beautiful moments such as this. Would you try for me?"
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The Long Way Home

Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:53 pm

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Alistair took their changes in good spirit and didn't seem to mind too much how the color of their skin changed. The depths of their change carried a lot more hidden features that had yet to be explored, and they planned to do so whenever they were alone. Their arms resonated strangely with the sounds and vibrations of the world, almost as though they intended to warn or alert them of the movements of others, of nearby prey. The Idea excited them, though they let none of it show on the surface. The pale Lothar remained reserved until part-way through their walk, where they confessed their inability to see properly, coupled with the pain in their eyes. Though the strain was likely due to having worn the blindfold for too long; their eyes found more comfort in the dark than the light.

Alistair seemed fine with that too, then stepped closer to hold their hand, and pressed his lips to theirs. They hesitated but returned the kiss with a gentle peck to his cheek. When they heard Alistair say that it was alright that they had mutated, Fridgar smiled, though deep down, they wished that they had become taller so that they remained towering over the human. It wasn't the case anymore, and they found themselves almost equal to him when they slouched. if anything, the idea that Alistair was catching up to them in vertical might encouraged them to straighten their back and stand properly. At least Alistair seemed fine with their growth in Umbral hone. But now, it was impossible for them to exist in a society where magic was outlawed, as they were quite obviously tainted by the spark.

When they asked to put their blindfold on, Alistair adorned it for them. The gesture spoke a thousand words of acceptance, despite how Alistair might have truly felt about their change, and it brought them comfort. Fridgar's body relaxed a little into the kiss that Alistair pushed to their lips, and they sighed through their nose in tandem with Alistair's intense, passionate exhale. When he broke the kiss, he asked if they enjoyed the forest still, but before they could reply, Alistair suggested something. They could look through Alistair's eyes to see... It sounded plausible, a little distracting and disorienting, but doable. Of course, the gesture was meant to be sweet and heartwarming, though Fridgar felt no such thing and considered the complexities of trying to navigating while watching themselves from the third person.

"That might work, Kindal," they said, then lowered their head as they focused their view on their bond with Alistair, and then the dark that they had come to live in lit up with the light of day and the green of the trees and grass. All the colors of the flora and the texture of the woodland became known to them, and they could suddenly see with the same clarity that they could prior to their meditation. They also saw themselves...and gods, did they truly look like that? Whenever they summoned their self totem as a totem guardian, they saw Fridgar, a six foot eight Lothar with tanned skin and thick brown hair, not... What they were now. of course, they had seen themselves in mirrors and windows, even water. But to see themselves through the eyes of another...

Fridgar watched as they lifted their ether-wrapped arm to their own cheek, then felt as their claws pressed against the thick, pale flesh. It really was them... In all their terrible and horrific splendor. They had become as they felt, a monster, a nightmare, something that they dreaded to find under their bed as a child. Fridgar lowered their hand and laughed a single breath, almost uncomfortably. "It works, my rose," they said as they tried to take a step forward, and almost stumbled as they watched themselves. As suspected, it was very disorienting, almost impossible to work with, but for the sake of Alistair's happiness, they worked through it.

"It's difficult, but perhaps with some practice..." They could at least admit that they had difficulty. Fridgar exhaled a little with frustration as they moved their hands to take both of Alistair's into their own, and the motions were strange as they watched themselves. The lefts and rights were inverted, which wasn't like how they would have seen themselves through a mirror, but they eventually took their kindal into their hands and smiled softly. "...You could be our eyes to see, my love." They hadn't even realized that they had referred to themselves as a collective again and promptly moved on to the subject at hand. "Now... What did you want to talk about, regarding Bellator?"

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Re: The Long Way Home

Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:58 pm

Alistair nodded with almost reluctant enthusiasm as Fridgar professed the success of his idea, though he noted the man did not himself seem particularly overjoyed by it -- despite the utility Alistair might have thought their shared vision might have. He imagined that Fridgar would like to see things through him, that he would like to be able to experience the world through sight - still - despite the vision he had lost.

Perhaps, though, Fridgar had moved beyond such things. The view of the sunset in the distance, the observation of a great white-peaked mountain crafted into a diamond shape, the majesty of a dune upon desert grounds... perhaps these things had moved from him -- or rather, he had moved from them. The thought made Alistair somewhat melancholy, but he thought - perhaps - if he offered his sight to Fridgar during such moments, the Lotharro would appreciate the gesture after all.

Nevertheless, Alistair moved forward. He held out an extended reach and wrapped his fingers around the other man's, holding his hand gently. Fridgar, as they stepped through the forest grounds and felt the trees slightly shuffle around them with the breeze, moved the topic forward to Bellator. Their son, and Alistair's - or so he believed - first child, and only one until the recent birth of Asher in Vhalar.

He had a lot that he wanted to say, regarding Bellator and - in fact - the future of their family as a whole. It became somewhat apparent that, perhaps, Zarik and Fridgar would never accept one another's presence wholly within the marriage. It was likely that they were designed to live separately; Alistair wielding two separate lives distant in scope and interaction. If so, he wanted for Fridgar to have something to look forward to. A future.

But currently, that all began with the present. Alistair stepped forward and smoothed his palm over the bark surface of a tree, exhaling softly.

"I thought - perhaps - we might choose a new name for him together. We initially agreed that we would go with Winston, and you decided that you didn't like it, but... I thought perhaps we might want to choose his name together -- or I could have you choose one, and I can give my opinion. Something reminiscent of our old home, of the Fields of Gauthrel. Bellator is not a Lotharen name -- I thought it might suit him if we found one for him," Alistair explained. "If not, it's alright. But it was an idea - for us to decide his name together, instead of just me or just you. And I had one more thing I wished to discuss," he said.

Alistair breathed. He had no easy way to say this - it was quite a declaration. He only hoped it mattered, even if only a little.

"I was thinking of being initiated into Becoming," he explained. "For a multitude of reasons. I want to be able to understand you better, Fridgar; the man you have become. I don't want to force you to be something you feel that you're not, and perhaps with this new spark, I'll know. And more than that... what Kleine did for me -- it opened my eyes to what beauty magic can create. Life, itself. I wanted to do the same for you; to create a family with you, you and me. I want Winston... Bellator -- whatever his name might be -- to have siblings, to have a foundation to build on. I want to have a future with you, not just the maintenance of what we have. So--"

He sighed. "Can you even initiate me? I have heard the Revelation works strangely for such things. Damien could not initiate me into Necromancy. Is it the same for you?"
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The Long Way Home

Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:58 pm

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Fridgar remained blissfully unaware that their facade of happiness had slipped, so as Alistair fell melancholy, they remained unaware and simply believed that Alistair had bought into their false appreciation. Despite Alistair's hidden sadness, he took the Lothar's hand, and they saw themselves smile at him before breaking away the initiation bond. It was growing tiresome, and Alistair wouldn't know the difference either way. Finally, they were surrounded in darkness again, and they could put all their focus to the vibrations and sounds of the world, all of which lit up around them, and the world gradually painted itself for them. In a way, it was relieving to be blind to the world, and the arachnid within was pleased.

Then Alistair declared that he wanted to choose a different name for Bellator. Why? The mage brought up that he'd initially agreed with them that they would name him Winston, the weakling human name. Fridgar furrowed their brow. Of course this conversation was going to come up sooner or later. The mage asked to pick a new one together, and Fridgar parted their lips to speak. "And what's wrong with the name Bellator?" And Alistair simply said that it wasn't a Lotharren sounding name. Well, they weren't a Lotharro, not really. Anyone that looked at them wouldn't say they were Lotharren, not at all. "It's a strong name," Fridgar said with their low voice, one with a firm weight behind it. "A strong name that will strike fear in the hearts of his enemies, just the 'tor' alone is filled with might."

Though they recognized that Alistair was speaking from the heart here, that he really did want to change Bellator's name. They mulled it over in their head and considered the benefits. For one, if they decided on a name together, Alistair would stop calling him Winston, second... Bellator, the name, admittedly had its flaws. Like the 'Bella' part, for instance. Bella would never scare his enemies, nor be regarded as a mighty warrior. It was a woman's name, and most of which would never even pick up a sword, let alone engage in a bloody battle with the beasts of Gauthrel. Fridgar exhaled slowly and lowered their head in a breath that was just short of a sigh. "Alright," they said with defeat in their voice, "perhaps it isn't as strong as we first thought. Do you have any ideas?"

Once they'd resolved Bellator's new name, Alistair revealed something else to them. He wanted to learn becoming so that he could better understand them? That was... Quite extreme. In truth, they didn't know how to respond. The gesture was grand and unexpected, particularly because Alistair had said that he didn't want to change for them again, that he wanted them to just accept them, and made the point to say so. He also wanted the ability to bear children, as Kleine had for Alistair... And the thought scared them. Trying to maintain their relationship with Bellator through a constant facade was hard enough, but more children? Fridgar did not smile. If anything, their mouth curled into a frown. They looked to the floor and exhaled through their nose. Their hands lost their tension, and they let go of Alistair's hands. With that, they leaned their back against the nearest tree and looked upon Alistair.

"I made you change for me once," they said with a grave tone. "And you weren't happy with that life. Alistair... No." They didn't say so, but they still felt scorned on how Alistair had painted them with that brush. "You're fine the way are, my rose." Fine, but not perfect as they had once seen him. But that Alistair, the one they loved, that wasn't really him. "That spark, it's very nature is to change. There's no telling what you will become, who you will warp into. Alistair, that spark will make the person you think you are cease to be, it will kill Alistair Venora." Fridgar shook their head again and exhaled through their nose. "We can't stop you, but we're against the idea." So, even if hey could initiate him, they wouldn't.

"We can't initiate people in becoming," they said with disappointment rich in their voice. 'We had wanted to initiate Abaddon, but Rhostus did instead. He claims that Revealed mages can't initiate people."

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Re: The Long Way Home

Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:36 am

"There's nothing wrong with it, it just--"

He paused, as Fridgar's expression seemed to alter in recognition as he fought with the idea inside of his mind. It appeared Alistair's proposal had some form of validity to him, as before long he determined that the 'strong name' that was 'filled with might' was not so strong or so filled with might. Alistair can only imagine what debate may have occurred within Fridgar's mind, but he assumed - correctly - that ultimately, the Lotharro was not content with the 'Bella' of his son's name. 'Tor', though, and its significance to him made the mage laugh lightly.

"Perhaps not indeed," he quickly replied. "I thought we might name him Bjorn," spoke the mage. It was a singular and immediate suggestion, but he'd been thinking of the name for some time. "I had a memory," Alistair explained. "Of our past lives. From before, when I was Aedan and you were Azzas. We had a few sons together -- I don't know how we did, though it was probably through prisoners of war, and -- well... our first son was named Bjorn. And I thought, maybe, with how Riordan's son is named that too, the High King of the Lotharen Horde and all, that it might mean more than just the word. Though the word has a nice meaning too; 'legacy of valor', roughly. A child of two great warriors."

And that was what they were. No one could ever deny that.

What followed after quickly became a discussion that provoked within the mage a profound degree of anxiety. Fridgar did not seem to enjoy his suggestion, though he thought so strongly that he would love the idea. Of the initiation, of the children, of everything -- that it would remind him of the many plans they used to have with one another. The future they wanted to forge. He thought it would make the other man happy, but it was clear that it didn't.

And because 'Alistair did not want to change for him'. His words against him; and they were deserved.

It will kill Alistair Venora, he said.

"Perhaps... I want that man to die, or to change." He averted his vision to Fridgar, but could not look into his eyes, as much as he desperately wished to. Though he thought he wouldn't mind Fridgar's change to blindness, suddenly in a single trill a realization swept him to the ground like a gust of wind. Alistair realized that they could never look into one another's eyes the same way again. The mage began to, lightly at first, cry as his lower lids moistened and collected the beading of tears. Before long, they flowed softly and slowly down the surface of his cheeks.

"I want to be a man that you can love again, the same way you used to, my Havendal. In this last life of ours together, I want to make you happy like I used to. I feel like I'm hurting you; I don't want to hurt you, Fridgar. I want to drive you like I used to. I, I--"

He began to sob. The tears leaked through his tone, as his voice became shaken, and words became difficult to form. It was spontaneous, but before long it was there; it permeated every word of his.

"I-I j-just think of tho...those letters, constantly, and I read them and--"

He closed his eyes. "They were written when you still loved me like you used to; when I was everything to you, when you kept going all because you wanted to find me. And I did the same, but then I ruined that, and neither of us are the same now, b-but I still want to find a way for us to love each other like we once did. Please . . . give me a way."
word count: 663
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Re: The Long Way Home

Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:54 pm

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Alistair laughed lightly at their reflection on their decision of their son's name, and that brought a smile to their lips. Somehow, Alistair's happiness continued to warm their heart almost nostalgically. Like a memory of the distant Gauthrien summer, they held his joy close to their cold, brittle heart. When they agreed to rename him, Alistair immediately prompted a suggestion for his name; Bjorn. "Bjorn?" Fridgar asked and reeled with a furrow of their brow. It didn't sound like a warrior's name, nor a particularly strong name, but Alistair went on to explain his reasoning, and the tension in their expression faded. Their first son as Azzas and Aedan was named Bjorn, and aaccording to Alistair, the name held significance in its meaning and apparently Riordan himself had named his child Bjorn.

Fridgar thought for a moment or two and hummed while they held onto the mage's hands. Idly, they brushed the back of his hands with their thumbs, then exhaled. They dipped their head a little and lifted Alistair's hands to their lips, where they planted a few tender, loving kisses upon his knuckles. "...Alright," they said at last. "We can name him Bjorn, but you must stop calling him Winston," they said their only condition, then smiled softly. Ultimately, it didn't matter what their son was named, as long as Alistair was happy. And so it was settled, from that trial onward, Bellator would be called by Bjorn, and no weakling human names, nor strange names that Fridgar thought of in the recesses of their mind.

When the discussion of becoming came to pass, however, all the lighthearted nature of their morning was lost, and it became a test of wits and evasion. They used Alistair's sense of self against him and challenged him that he would no longer be the man he knew himself to be, but this did not deter him. Perhaps... I want that man to die, or to change, he said, and Fridgar furrowed their brow. "Why?" it didn't make sense, Alistair had always had such a strong sense of himself, had always had such strong beliefs, that his body was sacred, that it carried noble blood. Would he throw all that away for this?

Then he began to cry, and they felt the motions of his tears running down his cheeks. Why? They'd only asked why Alistair wanted to change so suddenly, why had he started crying? And then he explained, I want to be a man that you can love again, and the words struck Fridgar at their core. What did he mean? How could he have possibly known how they felt? Did they not love him? Did they? Regardless of how they truly felt, Alistair's life could have rested on their next words, for they knew the darkness that threatened to claim him if he lost the Lothar he loved.

"...W-what?" They spoke with a quiet, almost whisper of a tone. "...You think ...You think I don't love you?" They made sure to use the pronoun that Alistair would have preferred. They stood then and took a step closer to him. They stood before him and moved their hand to touch him, to hold him and try to comfort him, but stayed their arm. He went on to say that he wanted to make them happy, as though he somehow knew that he didn't, that he didn't want to hurt them, as though he knew that he was, and that he wanted to drive them as if he knew how he truly didn't. How he knew all those things was beyond them, intuition perhaps? Had they really been that transparent? The rivulets of tears that ran down his cheeks built in intensity, and he began to sob loudly. He couldn't even form words properly in all his tears, and Fridgar was stuck.

He went on to say that he always thought of the letters Fridgar had written, prior to discovering that the man they'd made their kindal was dead, and prior to ending the man the world knew as Fridgar Calder. A time when they still loved this man, when he drove them to survive and go on. Before he ruined it by marrying another and whoring himself out. Before he filled the void that they left behind with the momentary pleasures of the world. And now, he had another husband lined up on the roster, a man to replace them. Before Alistair sacrificed the life they knew together and forsook their simple, honest life in the plains to chase the crown of Rynmere. Before he lost himself to his avarice and ripped up the foundations of all they had.

Before Fridgar had caved to his desperation, his solitude, and his misery.

And now, that life was gone. And they could never have it back. And Alistair knew it.

They didn't know what to do, what they could do. No matter how much they rehearsed what they believed Alistair wanted to hear, no matter how much they suppressed how they truly felt, he didn't buy into it. They were being backed into a corner, and the only way out from such a situation, for an animal, was to fight their way through, tooth and claw. But Fridgar didn't have the luxury of being entirely animal, nor could they ever harm Alistair. What could they do? Their honesty could end in Alistair's death, and so could their lies and deceit. And as much as they seemed to loathe who he'd become, they couldn't help but despair at the thought that they might lose him in his own misery.

Please... give me a way.

And there it was, right in front of them. There was no escape, they could either condemn themselves to walk at Alistair's side forever, or they could leave and condemn the only soul they loved to die... but perhaps there was another way? A way in which Alistair didn't have to lose them fully, and they could live at his side without feeling miserable, hurt or pressured.

"There isn't one, Alistair," they said after a long pause, then exhaled as they reached for him and grasped his shoulder. "...There's nothing left of either of our old selves, those people, who loved one another so dearly, are gone." Their thumb brushed against his shoulder, and they reached their blindfold before they lowered it, and peered into Alistair's eyes with their deep red rings. "These aren't the eyes of the man that you fell in love with, this isn't his body, not even entirely his soul." They took his other shoulder with their other hand, then shifted their hands to his jaw and cheek so that he had to look at them. "Alistair, I'm not what you think I am. I'm not a man worthy of holding your hand, nor someone that you see fit to parade around as your noble spouse."

Fridgar stopped then as the blacks of their eyes glistened, and gathered moisture toward the corners of their eyes, then trailed real tears born of their heartache. "And it's terrible, Alistair. I know it is. It's so tragic that we lost each other in Etzos, but no matter how much I wish we could go back to how things were, we never can." Fridgar shut their eyes, and reveled in the burn in their throat, the feeling of their tears which ran cold toward the ends of their cheeks. "We can't go back, never. So, I want this to end. I don't want to be your lover anymore, I don't want to go on with all this misery, this jealousy, and scorn. I'd rather it just stopped, and that we stopped trying to force something that's gone into being real. But..." and Fridgar paused, while he thought with uncertainty.

"...But maybe when it's gone, and the ground lays flat and fertile, there will be room for something else to grow?" Fridgar made sure that the mage was looking them in the eye again, and they wiped their tears in their shoulders. "I want to remain your Havendal, but as your guardian and not your husband. At your side, I will protect you and offer whatever counsel I can, and maybe we can learn who each other are and come to love one another again..." Fridgar closed their eyes again and exhaled. Their hands ran down Alistair's shoulders and arms, where they tried to draw the human's hands into their own. "If you prefer, I will leave. Bjorn will be better off in your care, anyway. He's a lot more like you, you see."

They opened their eyes again and looked into his. Their spark still recognized him as their kin, which they appreciated while they searched those golden vortexes for any sign of how Alistair might be truly feeling, beneath whatever he said.

word count: 1518
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"Who needa politics when you can eat the politics."
-Nightshade Eld 02/02/19
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Re: The Long Way Home

Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:05 pm




Fridgar always assumed the worst, didn’t he? The worst interpretation - the darkest meaning. The mage almost rolled his eyes as the Lotharro questioned whether Alistair believed that he loved him at all — but he didn’t. He wished that he had the power to interpret these things through sarcasm. Instead, he felt Fridgar’s damaged reply rebound through his mind.

“That’s not what I meant, Frid. I meant differently, or less, or... not like what it was,” he explained. “That’s all.”

He already felt that he knew what was going to come. Fridgar seemed not to know him anymore — not to understand him. But Alistair still knew his Havendal well; he knew him at his core, the man that he was. That he had always been inside.

Even with what dulling of empathy might have come with Umbral as a Dialect, he was still filled with passion. The inability to let go of jealousy and rage, and the memories of the pride he held when it was just them; just Alistair and him. For once, Alistair understood that pain. He hadn’t realized what jealousy could do to a man until he saw what he’d labeled the ultimate betrayal - both of his spouses, together.

And now... he knew. He knew what was coming, and what was meant to always come. What he had brought upon himself the moment he decided to love another man even nearly as wholly as he had loved Fridgar. His first, true love. The one and only that meant anything to him for so long - the man that had given him his purpose.

Was this the end of their story?

His eyes swelled with tears. Fridgar spoke of how he could no longer be his husband - how he lived in misery. And through it all, Alistair could say nothing. He was crippled by... this abject pain, remembering old stories. Living, almost presently, first the dream of their coming together and the growth of their love into marriage. The creation of their child, and the pain that was losing that child and Fridgar alike. The darkness he had been consumed with for so long.

He never would have thought - that after so long in pain and so long looking - that once they found each other again, they would still break apart.

And it was his fault.

Regret filled his mind, and the downpour of memories returned. Alistair was shrouded in a darkness he couldn’t imagine ending - it was like he lost him again. All of the world’s pain swept through and his memories, fond as they were, became painted by a veil of sorrow. He remembered the night they danced together in the ball. The passion they shared. The two men, beneath the starlit sky, learning of one another as he taught Fridgar the seasons.

And he sobbed. And he wailed. And he couldn’t stop.

“Fridgar... I love the man who you are now,” he told him. “I love the man you will always be; who you have always been. My Havendal, my...”

He couldn’t accept it. He couldn’t let it end.

“Don’t leave me, Fridgar; don’t leave me...”

He begged. “Don’t go. I want to be the man you truly loved again, Fridgar. I was so happy back then... so, proud. Everything made sense - but then I lost you, Fridgar. I was thrown into the dark and I had to find a way to survive. So I became the man I am now, clinging to the hope that if I lived, you—you would come find me. Or I would f-find you, and, you did come. You came and now—I don’t need to be this man anymore. I want to be with you. I love you. I’m meant to be with you, Fridgar, my Havendal; my love. There’s nothing...”

He fell to his knees, and wailed. His chest sunk within him. Alistair could not believe that this moment had come. That he would ever be forced to see Fridgar as a man other than his husband. He wished, truly, that he had died in his grief so that the Lotharro might have remembered him for what he was; a beacon of light, of fulfillment. Not a font of pain and grief, and jealousy.

What had they become? What had Alistair become?

The man... clawed at his face. Brutally, as if to destroy his visage. But every cut healed immediately and even if they scarred, the scar immediately vanished through Syroa’s blessing.

He tried at his wrists, his chest, his back — it was all the same.

He couldn’t even properly die. Not unless he plunged a spear through his skull, and the mage would never commit to such a thing.

“Fridgar,” he only quietly repeated, in his sorrow. “My Havendal, my husband, my love...”
word count: 824
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The Long Way Home

Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:27 pm

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Alistair said nothing at first, did nothing as they ran their hands along his shoulders and arms. It was as though they'd killed him with their words, and they saw it in his eyes. The utter disbelief, the disconnection from the situation, from the hell that was their reality. Then, he began to sob and wail, for Fridgar had hurt him far deeper than weapon or arrow could have reached. And as they looked upon him in all his misery, they wanted the last of their empathy to die. Knowing how Alistair felt, how they had caused this with their words... It was too much too soon. While Alistair cried and cried, they closed their eyes and lifted the blindfold that hung loosely around their neck to cover their eyes. They didn't want to see anymore. Never again.

I love the man you are now, he said, and Fridgar shook their head. "You don't know who we are, Alistair," they corrected with a flat voice, their mouth caught in a perpetual frown. Alistair wasn't going to see them eye to eye on this, he wasn't going to make it easy. He was going to take the last of their heart with him. He begged them not to leave, and their eyes began to water again, their throat burned and their breath turned ragged. Damp patches in their blindfold formed over their eyes, and they let Alistair continue to speak. He wanted to change again, he wanted to be a lie that Fridgar loved, even if it meant surrendering all he was. They let him carry on, and they hung their head while he did, then bared their teeth as Alistair continued to call them as his love. But they weren't anymore. They were somebody else, somebody that neither of them understood fully.

Their Kindal fell to the floor, and Fridgar felt over his form as he did. They knew all his movements, every tear that ran from his eyes and every quake of his weak, vulnerable state. And while they stood there, they knew that they had done this. That they had pushed Alistair to this state and broken him. What was going through Alistair's mind, they didn't know, but he began to slash at his own face with his tails, and they could feel while he pulled away and rent his own skin. Why? Why was he doing that?

Their mind escaped, and the sounds of Alistairs wails and cries faded for a few trills. Before their own eyes, they saw the trials that Fridgar had spent hiding in etzos, speaking to Alistair through a scrying portal while he hid from the iron hand. They saw themselves meeting again, then fleeing to gauthrel where they became strong and proud Jeger, they saw their tests, the trials they spent together alone in the wild, fighting to survive with one another. They saw their marriage, where their life bond was recognized, and they discovered that they had fallen in love with one another as they had now in the past. And they saw their home in gauthrel, the one they had spent so long just sitting in one another's arms, sharing stories of their aspirations and hopes... Only to come to this, totrial.

Why couldn't they go back to those trials? The trials that they spent together perfectly content and whole in their hearts and minds with one another. In their mind, they beseeched the immortals; strike them dead, and let them live just another trial in their home in Gauthel, holding Alistair, their beloved in their arms. Just one more time. They cried into the dark of their headspace, and no response came. Such a fate as sweet as that would never befall them. They could never go back, they could never.

And Alistair's cries came back to them, where they were left in the dark of their blindfold. Fridgar was shaking, his breath was ragged and his cheeks were damp, glistening with his tears. He was crying, quietly and wholly for the first time in so long.

Fridgar, their kindal called them, and they came to the call without a thought. Fridgar knelt with him and brought the human into their arms, where they cradled him against their form. "Stop it..." they said, and they pressed their head to his. "Just stop it, Alistair." They said nothing else, and just held him close to them. There, he drank in his scent with their lungs and sniffled, they sheltered him with their arms and held him as they would have in their home on the sofa. Though they knew it was not to last.

word count: 785
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"Who needa politics when you can eat the politics."
-Nightshade Eld 02/02/19
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