[the vault] v. d'ogne virtute / e d'ogni pene: bao

Bao please

30th of Ashan 721

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Hart
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[the vault] v. d'ogne virtute / e d'ogni pene: bao

30th Ashan, 721
following this

Hart was sitting, leaning exhaustedly against the stone wall in the
small room
of the vault. Ru was playing with one of the old toys from the room, a well-worn bunny with soft pink buttons for eyes. She was hopping the bunny along under the bed, saying, "Up up up," as it hopped.

Every twenty seconds or so, Hart said, "I'm right here, Ru," and Ru said, "Hat." She hopped the bunny, "Up up up," and Hart leaned his head against the wall. It would have been good to shut his eyes, but he wouldn't, and he was trembling.

The shadow-woman who had kidnapped Ruari had blinded his daughter to him. If Hart was quiet for more than a minute or so, Ru became afraid that she was alone. So Hart said, "I'm right here," so that Ruari wouldn't be afraid.

"I'm right here, Ru," Hart said twenty-some seconds later, and Ru looked in his direction. "Hat," she said, and then bopped the bunny onto the bed. The bunny now on the bed, Ru was quiet. She didn't say, "Up up up," and the bunny was no longer hopping. Ru looked at the bunny a moment, quietly. Then she touched the bunny gently on the head.

Hart trembled, but he did his best to not tremble so much that Ru would sense something was wrong. It was getting more and more difficult to sit like this, quiet, and let Ru play, but Hart was determined to do it. It was important for Ruari to be able to play.

The vault was getting to him.

Hart had been in the vault
eleven days
, by his count. Ru had been in the vault
twelve days
. The small girl, just two years old now, was doing better than Hart was. She missed her home and family, and she sobbed and had fits of anger, and she was afraid that Hart would leave and she would be alone. But she was able to play, and she was able to smile.

Hart was determined that she would do better than him.

Hart trembled. Sitting quietly was a kind of quiet torture; it was awful in the times when Ru was asleep, when there was the drip- drip- dripping of the distant water, and it was just Hart awake in the quiet of the vault.

"I'm here, Ru," Hart said, and Ru said, "Hat." Hart was exhausted, and he had been meaning to rest when she played, but he just wasn't able to sit any longer. He moved to Ru's side, saying, "Hop hop hop," so that the small girl would know he'd moved beside her. Ru looked in his direction. "Up up up!" she said, hopping the bunny, and Hart reached for one of the other old toys, a flunny, much like a rabbit but with winglike ears.

Hart flapped the flunny to Ru, and the flunny nibbled at the bunny's ears. "No!" Ru said, and Hart nibbled the flunny at the bunny's neck. "No!" Ru said. Hart nibbled the flunny at Ru's hand. Ru smiled, and Hart nibbled the flunny up the length of her arm, to her chin.

"Hat, flunny don't bite!" Ru said, though she was smiling. "Bunny up up up!" she said, and she hopped the bunny away. But, in a moment, she hopped the bunny back. The flunny nibbled at the bunny's ears and Ru said, "Hat, no!"

"What's the flunny supposed to bite, then?" Hart asked, and Ru said, "Mushroom." She pointed with the bunny to the mushrooms in the small room; the mushrooms were what Hart and Ruari had been subsisting on in the vault.

"This mushroom?" Hart asked, flapping the flunny over to nibble at one of the mushrooms, and Ru said, "No!"

"This mushroom?" he asked, flapping to another mushroom. "No!"

"This mushroom?" Hart asked, and the flunny flapped over to nibble at Ru. "Yes!" Ru smiled, and the flunny nibbled at her chin.

"Hat," she said, "Hat, 'm want,"

but she went quiet and still. Ruari shimmered like a mirage and dropped the bunny on the bed. Hart looked at her silently, jittering, not able to speak for fear. Then the shimmering stopped, and Hart pried words from fear's grasp.

"Ruari?" he said. "Ruari are you okay? I'm going to touch." Hart touched Ru gently on the shoulder. He said when he was going to touch her, so that it wouldn't scare her.

"What was that?" he murmurmed, and his voice was trembling now, and Ru would sense something was wrong. There was no magic in the vault, not his mortalborn abilities, not his mark abilities, nothing. But the shimmering had looked like magic. The shadow-woman and the Warden were the only ones Hart knew that were able to do magic in the vault. He was exhausted; the fear was exhausting.

"Ruari," Hart said, "Was it the Shadow Lady?"
 ! Message from: Peg
Bao - you can see, feel, taste, touch, etc Hart. He's fully and completely there.
Hart - you feel your MB powers, magic, marks etc return the moment Ru is not there.
Bao - It's cold - it's really cold.
Hart - it's not cold.
word count: 889
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Bao Bao
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Re: [the vault] v. d'ogne virtute / e d'ogni pene: bao

Image
30th Ashan, 721

It was cold. So, so cold.

Bao made the sacrifice he made for a reason. For many reasons. Primarily because he cared. Not because he owed it to Hart or to Idalos, not because he was obliged to. There was no force or reason behind it. Not even because Ziell had asked him to help Hart and his daughter, or because a prophecy had been written. But because Bao wanted to. Because Ru needed saving, to be taken out of this place for good. There was little they could do to help the girl, at least that Bao knew of. So any opportunity they had was one they had no choice but to take.

As he appeared in the vault, the small Cadouri heard Hart speak, and he paused. Hart was here with Ru? When had that happened? Nobody had mentioned Hart being locked away too, or Bao would have taken place of both of them if he could have, or someone else could have taken Hart's place. So many questions ran through his head for a moment, but one quickly became the most prominent one.

Was he alright?

As Hart's voice shook with fear, him asking the illusion of Ru if it was the Shadow Lady, Bao didn't know what to do. He was told not to talk, that they would know he wasn't really Ru if he did. But how could he keep that promise with Hart so hurt in front of him? Besides, if Hart thought something was wrong with his daughter he might plead the Warden for help, and they would investigate further. He had to act for his friend so that they could survive in here and so Hart would only hurt as much as he had to.

Slowly, Bao stood himself up a little taller, the disguised Cadouri wrapping his arms tight around Hart's neck and leaning his head into his shoulder. Bao hugged him as tightly as he could, a deep and genuine hug. It was more than an act now, but a concern for a friend, and a way to keep warm for the freezing Red Panda. Whether it was Ru or Bao hugging him, Hart looked like he needed as big a hug as he could get. Now more than ever. He needed comfort and reassurance that he and his family would be alright, that this was not the end nor the beginning of something worse. That soon he would be out, and that his young child already was. She was safe now, Bao knew she would be. Ziell wouldn't let Ru get hurt.

"Ru is safe" he muttered quietly, head still resting on the man's shoulder, only just loud enough that Hart would hear it. "It's Bao. Say nothing loudly, they can not know I'm here. But she's safe, Hart. You have my word. Ziell is helping her now and sent me in her place" he reassured the father, keeping the hug going for a moment and falling quiet to give Hart a moment to take it all in. It was a lot of information to suddenly have, so many emotions the poor man must have been having. It hurt Bao to think about. So the small Cadouri did what he was best known for.

He comforted him.

"You're going to be alright, as is she" he said after a few more trills of quiet, keeping the tight hug for as long as Hart would hug him back. As he reassured Hart, Bao gave a quiet prayer to Ziell in his head, telling him that Hart was here and that something was wrong, that Hart wasn't meant to be here with Ru but he was. Why had they taken Hart? More than that, how had nobody known it until now? Was there a way they could hide information from even the Immortals in this place?

"I'm going to break the hug, but if you need someone to be here or you need to ask me anything, talk to me like you would to her and then pull me back in. I am here for you now."
word count: 702
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Hart
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Re: [the vault] v. d'ogne virtute / e d'ogni pene: bao

30th Ashan, 721
following this

Ruari was quiet for one long moment, and Hart said once more, "Ru?" His hand was touching her shoulder gently; she would be able to feel that he was trembling.

Then she turned to him and wrapped her arms around his neck, resting her head on his shoulder. Hart wrapped his arms around her, jittering. She was quiet, but maybe Hart had just, just imagined the shimmering. Maybe the vault was getting to him more than he'd thought, and he was imagining things, now. The shimmering had only been for a moment, maybe two. Maybe

Ruari spoke, and the small girl in his arms wasn't his daughter.

"Ru is safe," she said, and Hart went still, much like he'd gone silent when Ruari had begun to shimmer. Quieting the trembling had become very difficult for him, the last number of days; but this time, he went stone still, still as the stone walls in the vault.

Ruari spoke, and she neither spoke like Ru, nor like a two year old. She spoke like an adult. She said she was Bao, Bao the little cadouri Hart had met in Cylus, and Hart heard a thrumming in his ears. The thrumming was his heart.

"Ziell is helping her," Bao said, and Hart noticed two things, through the bliss and torture and euphoria he was experiencing. One, Bao was shivering, shivering. It was cold, though Hart wasn't able to feel the cold. Two,



Ziell, Bao had said, and Hart was still, but his mind was thrumming like his heart.

Ziell had sent Bao in Ruari's place; Ziell had sent Bao to Hart. Hart had his abilities back; he wasn't able to feel the cold that Bao was feeling. He didn't know how long he'd have his abilities; he didn't know how long Ziell would be able to grant them to him. Maybe not long, before the Warden noticed.

Maybe just long enough for Hart to grant a Wish.

The Warden didn't want Hart to Wish; he'd kidnapped Hart because of the war.

Ziell was the immortal of Peace.

Wishing was dangerous, Hart knew. The Warden would know that Hart had granted a Wish; "Every conversation. Every bit of intelligence. Every Immortal conversation and each whispered word? They are all going exactly the way I want..." The Warden would know, and Hart knew that this Wish would likely be the end for him and for Bao.

"Xiur's blessin' on you, my friend," Vega had said.

Tears fell down Hart's face, and he prayed to Ziell. Ziell, protect Bao from the Warden's wrath. Protect him like winter protects spring; like winter protects life. Don't let him die because of this.

And then Bao pulled back from the hug, and Hart
looked at him
. He looked for the little cadouri's Wish. The cadouri Ziell had sent to him; the gift Saoire had given.

Bao Wished for Peace and Happiness for Scalvoris.

More tears fell down Hart's face; praying silently to Ziell, he Wished.
Notes: I dm'd Bao to get his Wish.
word count: 536
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