Go the Distance

How far will Zvezdana go for some bread and forgiveness?

Seated on the shores of Lake Lovalus, Rharne serves as the home of the Lighting Knights, the Thunder Priestesses, and the Merchant's guild. This beautiful trade city is filled with a happy and contented people who rarely need an excuse to party.

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Zvezdana Venora
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Go the Distance

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The thought of having someone else in her life was a scary notion. Who would take her, with her history? Zvezdana could not even consider it right now. There was too much at stake to have her baby towered over by someone she did not trust. Alistair was right. Having no father was better than having one that would abuse her child. Kaleb had left far more scars than a parent should on his children. Zvezdana blushed at the thought that Alistair even considered her to be a decent mother. Good probably was a stretch having no inkling as to how she was going to do it on her own. She lowered her arm back into her lap, allowing the realization to strike Alistair.

His reaction had not been what she expected. It was not fear or shock. It seemed to be along the lines of understanding. Somehow, his mind seemed to accept the fact that she was a Sessfiend. Maybe he was a little surprised, but not as much as she had expected to see. Zvezdana waited for a change in him. It never came.

"Sister, there is a true beast of Rynmere -- and it is not you."

"What do yo-"

The carriage was gone. Zvezdana, having previously been in a sitting position, fell promptly on her ass atop some grassy hill. Her stomach swung back and forth, nausea building up in great ways. Her mind could not comprehend what had just happened. They had been in one place, and now they were in another. Zvezdana's head was spinning. Had they fallen into a rabbit hole? Some strange thing had just occurred. He mentioned a beast and then there was a blackness before her. She blinked and now she was here. Zvezdana remained on the ground, pulling her hand to her mouth while trying to control the sick feeling. The pregnant woman wanted to vomit. She looked up to find her brother disrobing, his back marked up by the bat-like wings of a demon. The last time she had seen something similar was when Syroa had cursed her. Although she had changed her form, the look of the demon was burned into her mind.

Sure, Zvezdana had believed Alistair to be the "Wonder Boy". He was the heir to the duchy, Willow and Kaleb's pride and joy. He had been nothing but perfect in her eyes, elevating himself above and beyond her in every way possible. The year that he had been gone had been a glimpse at what she thought he had. She had been so close to being named heir. Then he came back, ruining her dreams yet again. He spoke of cults and the arcane. Of a form more dangerous than any she had heard before. Zvezdana's eyes were barely focused on him, her hand still covering her mouth as her brother spoke.

He had to be delirious.

His speech left her confused, but his actions would come to speak volumes. His motions seemed benign at first, but the first blip of a black sphere developed out before them. As it grew, the earth seemed to react. It broke and flexed in ways that were impossible. Yet it was happening. No wonder he had not shown shock before when she proclaimed herself the Sessfiend of Rynmere. He did not have to fear her. For all that had been shared, he could have laughed at her. Ultimately, the truth was simple. Alistair had once again surpassed her.

Part of Zvezdana wanted to pick herself up and run screaming from the hillside. He was a demon, a mage with too much power. He could ruin Idalos just by raising his hands and making it so. The other side of her was sensible. It had been a side that laid dormant for many seasons now. It was the one that had brought her to Veljorn, shown her happiness, and requested power. It had plotted and attempted to place Veljorn on the throne so that she might have been powerful and respected. All this time, she had been going at it all wrong. This side of her wanted to come out and play again. With old and new opposite one another, her physical being had to decide.

Power was no longer her dream. She liked the new Zvezdana. She wanted to be happy and frivolous, to choose her destiny. That did not mean she could not help her brother with his dreams. They were his now. As family, she owed him her support. Everything had been lain on the table for both to evaluate. Now they would be stronger for it.

"Alistair that is enough. You have proven your point." Zvezdana stated firmly, rolling onto her knees so she could stand up. It took some effort, given her condition. "All this time, I thought I could gain power and make people love me. I was wrong. Rynmere deserves someone better. Although I wish only ill upon our parents, upon the Boy King himself, you would make Rynmere a better nation. You are what the kingdom needs now."

Zvezdana moved gingerly towards him. No one could blame her for being cautious around a mage. Reach forward, she set a hand on his bare shoulder, letting it run gently down to touch the mark on his back. "Misfits or not, we are still family. So, if this is who you are, I'm alright with it. I'll learn to love you as you. If your dream is to become King, you have my support."
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Alistair
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Go the Distance

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Alistair, that is enough.

Truth be told, when displaying such power to those around him, there was a certain danger that existed. While a mage as learned as Alistair certainly knew their own limits, the fact was that magic was an addictive and violent thing. It was a wanton, hungry fragment of a lost being -- quite literally, as to learn magic was to embrace the shards of a God no longer present in the world of man. From what God did Rupturing descend from? He did not know. He knew little of the Originals, only that they were all gone, and in their place came a void... such as this. And what a marvelous void it was, he thought. Staring into it now, he could scarcely remember his own mortality. He felt as if a God himself, commanding a power so deviant and so all-encompassing that no one could begin to imagine his impact.

Everything had changed for him. What became possible by political scheming alone was now made possible by a display of his strength. Cassander could be killed at any moment of Alistair's wanting, merely by forming a Rend - such as this - in the heart of the palace of Rynmere. How could one not grow emboldened, or overly brave, by such strength?

He had to control himself. To stop himself. When he felt the Rend grow too large, the circulation of his energy lessened, and he channeled decreasing amounts of power into the rift. Calming his mind, he let would begin to tame the Rend and close it. Shortly after Zvezdana's request, despite the fascination his mind had for the black entity in the sky, the rupture would close and the skies outside of Rharne would return to what they were.

He sat on his knees, relaxing himself. He had not been drained of his energy, but he had been drained of his mental capacity, as today had been long and much had been learned, given and shared. Taming the rift still required some discipline on his part, and when such a massive Rend had come and gone, he could always feel a certain amount of temporal, fleeting fatigue accompany it. He was getting better at that, and each day his Rend became more stable, and more easy to control. However, it would be some time before he was the man that Reyard was, who could eclipse the sky in that same darkness without flinching after it had gone.

"Power does not make someone beloved," he said, his back still turned to Zvezdana, with his knees against the cold grass. "Power makes someone feared. With love, that fear becomes respect. These are the three pillars of rulership."

Always the nobleman, and always the politician, even in this moment he could not help but recite lines that he'd learned as a youth, things Ebony had taught him, that he'd always remembered. Power is not rule. It is only a cornerstone.

Feeling her hand upon his shoulder, the man smiled, and looked up to his sister. Standing back at his feet, he offered her a warm and strong hug. "Thank you, Zvezdana," he said. "I love you for who you are, as well, sister. When I believed you died in the flames, I realized -- for the first time -- what love really was. I mourned for your passing, before consigning myself again to a life unfit for a mortal man. I left the Kingdom for a time. But now, I know you're alive. My heart has calmed, and I know something to be true." He looked to the horizon, the smile on his lips growing warmer, and larger.

"I am what the Kingdom needs, as you said. But not just me. People like you, too. People who understand adversity. People who have lost everything, and thus understand what it means to live at all. We have been given a life of wealth and privilege, but also of great suffering. It's people like us that can bridge the divide between noble and commoner, a gap that has become so large of late." He couldn't even imagine it now, in comparison to what had once been. The equality between the top and the bottom had widened, and the sentiment towards nobility in Rynmere had changed from loving to vengeful. Something needed to change.

"You and I will rule Rynmere together, Zvez, even if from two separate worlds, one hand in Andaris and one in Rharne. I know that we can change the Kingdom and its future. We will." He was thankful to have her support. He only wanted her to know that, in fact, she had his too.

Pulling away from the embrace, he opened a portal for her once again, so that she may return to the city without needing to walk so far. This one, he'd crafted to be exceptionally calm - she would not feel nauseous upon her crossing. "You should return home to the city, Zvez. I will come find you when I can. And, remember something well, okay? There is a home in the Earth Quarter belonging to a man named Patrick Barnell. Within that room stands what appears to be a mirror along the wall. Only, it is not a mirror. It is a portal to Venora, directly into my room, into a space hidden behind a secret passage. If you are ever in danger, pass through that portal, and you will be home. Despite what any of our family might feel about your rebellion, I know they will protect you from harm. So do not be afraid."

With those words, Alistair took the woman's arm and gently ushered her into the portal. He would walk her near to home, and then be on his way, however long it may be before the two would see each other again.
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Zvezdana Venora
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Zvezdana would have gagged in a joking manner had he been looking at her when he spoke words that could have fallen directly out of Duchess Ebony's mouth. Her brother was ever the political puppet. It would be good for him to rule so that he could make his own rules over the Kingdom. Maybe then he would stop being so droll and start speaking his own words. It was of no matter really, just the inner workings of a sister coming to terms with the fact that she was just now forgiving her older brother after years of miscommunication and suspected transgressions.

For the first time in many seasons, as she stood there behind her brother, she realized her position. All this time, she had lived in his shadow with only envy and rage in her heart. Now, with the warm glow of the suns illuminating his silhouette, she did not envy him. She did not hate him. She simply resigned herself in the fact to acknowledging him as he was. He was a mage and a politician, far better than any she would have been. He had a lot to teach and she had a lot to learn.

Even if they were coming to terms with one another, his hug was still unwelcome. She didn't quite like physical contact since Veljorn's death, something she was still trying to get reacquainted with. She chuckled at the idea that she was the one that taught him now to love.

"As much as I would love to believe that, Alistair, I do not believe for one moment that I am the one that taught you how to love. Many Ryns relished in the defeat of the Qe'Dreki. Even now, you stand here and speak of reaping from the rebellions failure."

Adversity. Zvezdana rolled her eyes, tilting her head enough to prevent him from seeing as he held her fat form in his embrace. Once on top of the world only to have to work her way from the ashes. Yes, it was a form of adversity, but she still came from privilege. No one would ever believe she had suffered having been fed from a golden spoon at such a young age. He did have a point. Their tentative alliance would be better for Rynmere, better for Rharne. If she elevated herself enough to catch Ilaren's eye, her position in the Thunder Priestesses would be solidified. She could work on this end to bring Alistair a formidable force. It was thought provoking to say the least and would give her a great deal to stew on for many trials to come.

His ideas were grand, but it would take a lot to move the kingdom. Cassander, as young as he was, had his claws far to deep to simply let it go to a Necromancer and his Rend abilities. Especially since she was related to him. The kingdom knew her to be dead, but how long would it take before she was found out? She was only a liability now. Zvezdana rolled her shoulders, happy to be released from his embrace. With all that had transpired today, even she was exhausted. She was not looking forward to the trip back home.

Which was beginning to sound better the moment that he opened the rift to the city. Ugh. Zvezdana would have chosen to walk if given the option. Instead, she took his arm and allowed him to move her towards the portal. "Patrick Barnell. I will remember that. If ever I am needed in Venora, I shall use it. Hopefully, that will not be for a good long time as I am still in exile. It is best if the kingdom believes that I am dead. I am sure Andraska would like to see me, or rather, us more."

The way her voice cracked at the end hinted that there were still secrets behind all the light that had been shown upon them tonight. Biting her lip, she stepped through the portal with Alistair. Together, they climbed the steps to the Sky Quarter in silence. In a sheltered copse of trees several hundred feet before the main entrance, they bid silent farewell to one another. Alistair was then gone through one of his portals, leaving Zvezdana alone once again.

She stood at the top of the stairs, looking out over the city while rubbing her belly. After all that had gone on today, she felt more alone than ever standing there. Alistair's love was present, but his absence made it hard. She had reconciled with part of her family member, but she lay trapped in a city too far away to do any good. She did not know the next time that she would see either of her siblings. Oh how she missed her home, seeing her brother's on a daily basis, having fresh food and wine on the table with servants to-

"Oh, Ilaren have mercy!"

With all that had happened, she had forgotten the bread.
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Name: Zvezdana

Knowledge:
Alistair: Is attracted to men
Alistair: You thought he loved being the heir of Venora
Alistair: Has lived his life in an act
Alistair: Is sorry for the past
Alistair: Wants to be King of Rynmere
Alistair: Always seems to get what you want/achieve your dreams
Alistair: Wants to give you a royal pardon
Alistair: Is a mage
Alistair: Is what Rynmere needs
Alistair: Wants you to rule with him
Rupturing: Makes strange portals
Rupturing: The appearance of a rend
A portal to Rynmere: Found in Patrick Barnell's house in the earth quarter

Loot: N/A
Injuries: N/A
Fame: N/A
Devotion: Syroa, Cause an argument between siblings +3 (I am going to give this as originally I would have called this a fight and you both contributed to its start) Syroa, Try to calm down an argument between siblings -5 (You brought him into the carriage to cool off).

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/5
Structure: 5/5
Magic: N/A

Comment: No issues with Story, Collaboration or Structure. This was a great thread, I really loved it and it was a pleasure to read.The way you wrote Zvez's feelings about seeing Ali again was fantastic. Your writing is always a pleasure to read so enjoy the rewards! You mentioned Ilaren devotion in the request but I couldn't find any so if you did something you believed warranted it please do let me know and I will try to correct that. As for the other Devotion if you disagree with that let me know too, I felt is applied in the situation but if you disagree I would be happy to discuss it. Either way very enjoyable read, congrats on making up with Ali!

Name: Alistair

Knowledge:
Zvezdana: Now lives in Rharne
Zvezdana: Is pregnant
Zvezdana: Was envious of your position as heir
Zvezdana: Was angry that you had not done anything to save Veljorn
Zvezdana: Forgives you for everything your father made you do
Zvezdana: Is cursed by Syroa
Zvezdana: Is the beast that tore through Andaris
Zvezdana: Made a deal with Syroa for her life and the ability to kill Cassander and his allies
Zvezdana: Thinks you will have to kill her to take over the kingdom
Zvezdana: Thinks you are what the kingdom needs
Zvezdana: Does not believe she taught you to love
Rupturing: How to cause a rend
Rupturing: How to close a rend

Loot: N/A
Injuries: N/A
Fame: N/A
Devotion: Syroa, Show your true self -2 (this is because of the revealing your true feelings and also showing you were a mage.) Syroa, Cause an argument between siblings +3 (I am going to give this as originally I would have called this a fight and you both contributed to its start).

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/5
Structure: 5/5
Magic: These points may be sued for magic.

Comment: No issues with Story, Collaboration or Structure. Wow, that was a good read, the bond and connection between your characters is so complex and interesting, just wow. You did a great job of playing Ali's surprise and also his acceptance, the opening up of who he really is revealing all the truth to his sister. Brilliant, I just think that you did a great job with this and I am so glad I got to grade it! Enjoy the rewards. As for devotion the same goes to you as I wrote above for Zvez.

If there are any questions or issues with this review please feel free to PM me and I will try to work it out. Enjoy the rewards!
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