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  1. #261
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Wearing only a simple shrift, Constance walked barefooted through the snow back toward the inn. She was feeling a bit better about the day – there seemed to be no permanent damage – and she was more than ready to just go to bed. So, when a shrill voice called her by her shortened name, she was more than willing to simply ignore her younger sister.

    “Constance.” Sabrine hadn’t called her that in years. It had always been ‘Connie’, ever since they were little kids. The warrior stopped in her tracks and turned to face her sister, face unreadable, unsure of what her sibling wanted.

    “I want to talk to you.” More words that didn’t usually come from the younger’s mouth. Usually Sabrine simply talked at people without due warning. Constance’s face slipped into something more akin to suspicion. There could be only one reason she was talking to her this way – Sabrine must want something.

    “Why do you always look at me like that? Can’t we just talk?” Sabrine was pouting, but there was some heat to her face and eyes that belied an underground anger.

    “Sabrine, we don’t ever ‘just talk’. The only times you’ve talked to me is when you want something. I think I have a right to be a bit suspicious.” Here, Constance folded her arms over her chest, looking very much the part of the scolding older sibling.

    “That’s not fair.” The younger started, only to be cut off by the elder. “Oh well. Life’s not fair. Get used to it.” Constance started to turn away, lifting an irritated hand to the air. “I’m not doing this right now, Sabrine. Goodnight.”

    A hand wrapped around the warrior’s shoulder and spun her around roughly. “No.” Sabrine spat into Constance’s surprised face. “You don’t get to walk away from me. Not again.” The surprise Constance wore melted into a visage resembling her sister’s. “What are you talking about? Don’t be stupid.”

    Constance was again very surprised – this time to find herself flat on her back on the frozen ground with a stinging in her jaw. “Don’t be stupid? Don’t be stupid?! Augh, you’re stupid - you just don’t get it!” Sabrine brought back her leg to deliver a frustrated kick to her sister on the ground only to find it caught and pulled from under her so that she too had her bottom on the mud.

    “Don’t get what? That you’re a spoiled brat? That you’ve never heard the word ‘no’ once in your life?” Constance was shouting now. All the embarrassment endured for the sake of propriety in front of her guild mates had come to a head and she very easily slipped back into old family habits. So, when Sabrine’s fist came for her mouth a second time, she was ready for it, dodged, and returned the favour. Sabrine’s head popped back with a startling snap, only to have her whole body come down on Constance.

    The minutes that followed involved hairpulling, biting, fisticuffs and inhuman screaming. In short, not the sort of behaviour Constance wanted anyone else privy to – and not the sort of thing that she’d herself experienced for a very long time. Eventually the two of them lay beside each other on the ground, panting for breath. Rolling her head to the side, Constance looked at her sister – really looked – as though seeing her for the first time. Her little sister was grown up. Sure, it was pretty childish thing to have a fight like this, but Sabrine had still fought admirably. That was something Constance could relate to and accept. Perhaps she hadn’t been fair – maybe, just maybe her sister had changed a bit in the last few years and she just hadn’t noticed.

    “So, what was it that you wanted to talk to me about?” Constance spoke lowly between breaths, adding with a slight grin: “You have my attention.”

    A smile broke out over Sabrine’s face, bending with a bit of wickedness. “Finally. I was wondering how long it’d take to get through that dense warrior brain of yours.” Just as quickly as the smile had appeared, it fell away to reveal a seriousness Constance had never seen in her younger sibling before. “I missed you, Connie.”

    The warrior let out a snorting laugh. “I was only gone a couple weeks, Sabrine. That’s not really a long time…”

    “That’s not what I meant. You’ve been gone since the first time you left for Ascalon.” Her tone was at the same time sad and accusing. “Sure you were back for a few years – in body – but not your spirit.” She paused, contemplating where to go next. Constance was so flabbergasted that she couldn’t interrupt. Was this really her baby sister or some sort of bad mesmer joke of her father’s?

    “These people have been really good for you. I can see that even though you were pissed off at us the whole time. At least you felt enough to be mad.” Constace was staring hard at Sabrine now, so she didn’t miss that the younger woman’s eyes were filling with tears. Real tears, not the ones she could call up whenever she didn’t want to get blamed for something she’d done. “That’s what isn’t fair. That they get to have you and not me.”

    Suddenly the girl turned to her, words practically exploding in the cold air. “Why did you leave me behind, Connie? Why did you leave me here? You were my hero. I looked up to you like no one else and you left me. Like mom, except you chose to leave. Why?”

    Constance could only blink at her sister. She had no idea that Sabrine had felt this way. Back then, Sabrine had been the annoying little sibling that followed her around and got in her way. It had never occurred to Constance that she did those things because she, what, admired her? Hero worshiped her? How could she have not known? Was she really so horrible those seven years? Sabrine kept going, almost to answer her unspoken questions.

    “And then you came back, except you weren’t my sister anymore, you were a walking corpse. You didn’t talk to anyone. You didn’t laugh or sing anymore. You were…dead. And I was so angry. I was angry at you for not being who I thought you were. I was angry at whoever made you like that. I was angry that I still cared about what you thought, even though you clearly didn’t.” Here, Sabrine grew sad and seemed unable to look at her older sister she once idolized.

    “And then you left again and it’s like you’re better…like being with those other people who aren’t even related to you made you happy. So that makes me wonder, was it my fault? Our fault? If you hate us so much, why did you come back in the first place?”

    “I don’t hate you.” The first words out of Constance’s mouth only made Sabrine snort derisively. “Yeah, right. ‘Cause you loved having us along on this trip…”

    “Hey.” The warrior reached out and touched Sabrine’s hand. “My turn. I’m sorry. You’re right, I haven’t been fair to you. You’ve grown up a lot, and I haven’t even noticed. I’ve been a rotten big sister.” Sabrine’s face twisted as though she were about to interrupt to say otherwise, but Constance kept on. “I have. I should have been there for you. Home…well, you know, it’s not always the healthiest place to be, and I left for me. I didn’t think you needed me – you were ten, I couldn’t very well have taken you with me! But still…you’re right. I deserted you. And I’m sorry.”

    Constance took a deep breath and let it out slowly, watching the icy plumes whirl away into the sky above. “I can’t really explain the last few years. I didn’t even notice that I was acting different, but I’m sorry for that too. I just…some things happened that I wasn’t ready for and they cut me deeply. I wish I could explain, but I can’t.” Shaking the hair back from her face, she gazed up at the stars.

    “Please don’t think that I don’t love you just because I’m not going to stay. Sabrine, I can’t. I just can’t. It may be selfish, but my soul feels like it’s free again – it’s like breathing after being underwater for almost too long – and I don’t want to lose that feeling. I think…I think I’m doing what I need to do. What I’m supposed to do with my life.” She turned to look at her sister once more, her eyes earnestly pleading with her – willing her to understand Constance’s point of view.

    “I get it Connie. I really do, but here’s the thing. I don’t want to stay here anymore either. I want a chance to find out what I’m supposed to do with my life. I want to go with you.” The warrior looked like she was going to protest, albeit weakly, so the young elementalist added, “I mean, who’s going to look after me out in the big, bad world better than my own sister?”
    ...to the topTop



  2. #262
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Eiran

    I learned so much that night. My ranger captor – Kiara – had returned like she promised and had answered my questions. By the time dawn came, my world had been completely upended…and I knew for certain that I had made a grave error by joining the White Mantle. I didn’t know how to ask for forgiveness. It’s not like I could turn back time and change what I had done. But I asked anyway. I asked if my mistake would haunt me for the rest of my life – she said “Probably.” and abruptly left.

    I wouldn’t have blamed her if she had left it at that. If she had left me in the knowledge of just how poorly I had chosen to direct my life. It was my burden to carry, and mine alone. So, when she returned with an armoured man bearing the crest of the Shining Blade, I was not afraid. I was ready to accept my fate. Imagine my surprise when I was asked not for my head, but for my heart. I was given a second chance – a chance to make amends and take a new direction. I did so gladly.

    Released from my bounds, I was quick to shed everything that tied me to the White Mantle. I wish my hair could grow back faster to make the separation more real. I know I am being watched, but it doesn’t matter. To experience freedom from my mistake is more than I could have asked for. I doubt I would have even thought to have asked.

    Through it all, Kiara has been beside me. We’ve been assigned to the same tasks, eaten in the same mess area, shared the same fire. I suppose it is because she has been assigned to watch me, as she was the one to request my release. She’s an amazing person. She’s a noble and her sister is a paragon, but she’s down to earth – like me. I feel comfortable around her.

    Maybe that’s why I just gave her a kiss on the cheek right now.
    ...to the topTop



  3. #263
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Kiara Danae


    There was time to kill while her sister and guild mates headed off to finish their mission. Kiara still had a job to finish here, and she did. Her next assignment had been to keep an eye on the two White Mantle prisoners. Of course she was usually never alone with them, there was always someone within earshot or just outside the tent. Oddly enough, the young ranger was enjoying her time with Eiran. Getting to know him more, it was harder to pass a harsh judgment on him, although she was still very frank in her responses to him.

    His show of remorse and Kiara's good judge of character had earned him freedom, of course at a bit of a price for awhile. Now assigned to tasks to keep an eye on Eiran's progress, the two spent most of their time together. It wasn't the first time that Kiara had been on any type of mission like this, she was a ranking Sunspear after all. But Eiran wasn't one of her fellow sunspears, or a guild mate. But she had been totally surprised by the kiss to the cheek.

    It was the first real acknowledgment that someone liked her, as in really liked her. And it was that instant that Kiara realized she felt the same way. But growing up as she had, Kiara was a lot less shy about things than Eiran and the kiss on the cheek was an open invitation to something more. The poor older boy had no chance to let the sudden peck on the cheek sink in when Kiara turned her head and planted one right on his lips.
    Peace is a lie
    There is only passion
    Through passion I gain strength
    Through strength I gain power
    Through power I gain victory
    Through victory my chains are broken
    The Force shall set me free
    ...to the topTop



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