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  1. #61
    Gossamer and Nicolai



    Saber Vortex

    Gossamer said "I can't" at the same moment Nicolai said "You should stay."

    Their eyes met for the first time since Cid and Optimus entered the room.

    "Please, Goss," Nicolai said. "You need to be safe. You need to be away from him. You should be free and... your future children should be free too."

    Of course, Nicolai couldn't acknowledge that there was already a child on the way and it was his. Hypothetical future children would surely be enough to convey the message. If Gossamer and the baby had a chance, Nicolai wanted her to take it. Without him, if necessary. Keeping them safe was the most important thing for him.

    When Sojourn asked them to let Nicolai stay, they both gave her a grateful look, but neither really expected Optimus to say yes.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 02-04-2018 at 01:09 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea
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  2. #62
    Optimus Prime



    Saber Vortex

    "We'll definitely send word to Doviana."

    Optimus replied to Sojourn. He smiled, happy that she was going to stay for a little while. He did think having her here would keep her and the orphanage safer from whoever sent that Chimera. When she brought up Nicolai, he nodded his head. She brought up a point he and Cid had not considered. Phobos might take it out on the guard. If he was willing to brand a First, Phobos surely didn't think much of his guards. Probably thought of them as disposable. He might not even consider them as people.

    "Yes, of course. Nicolai, we would certainly offer you protection as well. Although we obviously need to know who we'd be protecting you from."

    Optimus wondered if Nicolai was more just a guard to Gossamer. He had called her 'Goss', Optimus didn't know of many servants who referred to the person they were working for by a nickname. None of his servants did that. He also seemed to care a lot about her. He wondered if she said no because he hadn't offered Nicolai protection at first.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 02-04-2018 at 01:09 PM.

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  3. #63
    Gossamer and Nicolai



    Saber Vortex

    Gossamer tried to speak but suddenly realized she was crying in deep, wrenching sobs that made it hard to breathe. She hadn't cried since she was nine years old, when Maddie Varn broke her nose with a quarterstaff. Her teacher had yelled at her for being such a baby about it. Gossamer had vowed that day to stop shedding tears... but she suddenly couldn't help it. She'd lived with tension and fear for so long that she'd grown accustomed to it. Finally having a glimmer of hope opened a floodgate of emotion that she found impossible to control.

    Nicolai moved closer to her, reached out and started gently rubbing her back. He was tired of pretending he didn't care, and if he and Gossamer were going to stay here, he wanted it to be without pretense. If the rulers of this planet wanted to kill him for touching a First, so be it - he wasn't going to hide, not now. He wrapped his arm around Gossamer, and she leaned against him.

    She took a few breaths and dried her eyes. The tears had passed, and she would tell their story... and let the chips fall where they may, whether Optimus and Cid accepted it or not.

    "It's not just Phobos," Gossamer said. "There's a family of gods who call their world Arena. You may have heard of them - I've heard rumors that they're from Olympus too. They call themselves the Family of War. Ares, Enyo, and Eris, and Ares' sons Phobos and Deimos. Every year they send people to their world to fight to the death for their amusement. There are other worlds that serve them, that train competitors from childhood to fight their blood sport. My world, Grace, is one of those. And my brother, Slate, died in one of the Arena death matches."

    "I vowed to avenge Slate's death," Gossamer said. "Our gods were proud of me, because they thought I meant I was going to take revenge on the families of those who killed him, so it was more carnage for them. But they were wrong. They didn't understand. Slate was a killer, because they made him that way. The people who killed him were acting in self-defense. They had no choice. The ones responsible are our gods, the Family of War. They were the ones I planned my revenge against. Not to kill them - I know that's probably impossible - but to discredit them. To make people stop worshiping them, take away their power, and turn them into nothing. Getting even with them was all I cared about."

    Gossamer met Nicolai's eyes and smiled faintly. "But then I met someone. Someone kind, who cared about me - about the person I am, not just what I can do. Someone I love, who loves me too. I didn't give up my plans to avenge my brother's death. That's still going to happen. I just... realized there was more to life than just revenge. Unfortunately, the Family of War had other plans. They chose me for Phobos, to marry him and bear his children. My people consider it a great honor. An 'honor' I am not allowed to say no to. My choices are to marry him, or die. So far I've been able to postpone the event, but eventually..."

    Eventually Phobos would refuse to wait any longer, and that thought terrified Gossamer. Phobos was brutal and violent. She knew he would act no differently toward his bride. How was she supposed to bear that... especially after being with kind, gentle Nicolai?

    "I recently realized I was pregnant," Gossamer said, unsure how that admission would be received. "I can imagine how that must sound to you - that the father is not my betrothed. But you have to understand... what it's like to love someone. To consent, not be forced. It matters. I know I could have done something, gotten rid of it, so this must seem to be entirely a problem of my own making but... I want the baby. Selfish as that is."

    "I do too," Nicolai said quietly. He hadn't known about the pregnancy for long, but he was sure of that. "I want the three of us to be together, to be a family. If you are still willing to consider offering us a safe haven..."

    "...We'd be grateful beyond words," Gossamer finished for him.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 02-04-2018 at 01:09 PM.
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  4. #64
    Sojourn & Cid



    Saber Vortex

    Sojourn caught the look Gossamer and Nicolai gave her when she asked Optimus if he'd consider offering Nicolai protection too. She smiled at them. A smile that grew bigger when Optimus agreed with her. Her thoughts about him were right. He was a good ruler. He seemed to genuinely care and that made her like him more. She had no idea how terrible of a world Gossamer and Nicolai came from until Gossamer broke down and cried and told her story. She reached over and squeezed Gossamer's hand. They had just met, but Sojourn was starting to think of her as a friend. What she told them about Grace and Arena was even more horrible then what Sojourn could have imagined.

    Cid listened to Gossamer and Nicolai quietly. When she told them about who ruled her world, he cursed under his breath. Any hope that her betrothed just shared his grandson's name, but wasn't the same god, was gone.


    "The rumors are true. They are from Olympus."

    Cid confirmed and Sojourn asked him.


    "Do you know them?"

    Cid sadly nodded his head.

    "Yes...Ares, Eris, and Enyo are three of my children."

    Sojourn looked at him in surprise. Cid figured if this was share everything time, he'd share his past. Optimus wouldn't find it a surprise, he already knew it. He just didn't tell his nephew much about the relatives he wasn't as proud of.

    "I was once known as Zeus. Olympus' king and a father to a great many children. Some I'm proud of, more so then others..."

    He should have been a better father, Cid thought. He looked to Gossamer and Nicolai.


    "Years ago, when Optimus' mother was just a kid, I was exiled from my own world. I've never been able to get back to it. I don't know what happened to my family. I'm truly sorry for what they have done. For what happened to your brother and that my grandson decided to stake a claim on you."

    Cid wondered if Gossamer and Nicolai would reject Optimus' offer for protection now because of him. He had been a horrible father, he thought. He had fathered so many kids, it was impossible to take a part in all their upbringings. No doubt if Hera was still around, she'd be very proud to learn that those kids had done.

    "I'm the last god who would ever judge your situation with the baby. It's not selfish to want to be loved for you and to keep a baby was created from love."
    Last edited by Sojourn; 02-04-2018 at 01:09 PM.
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  5. #65
    Optimus Prime



    Saber Vortex

    Optimus was quiet as he listened to Gossamer and Nicolai's story. Where they were from was even worse then he thought. How could people do that to others? Abuse their power like that? It didn't make sense to him at all. He looked over at Cid and frowned. He knew his uncle's past, but the members of the 'Family of War' were ones that Cid didn't talk a lot about. Optimus could see why too.

    "My uncle's right, you aren't selfish. Like I said already, the Saber Vortex doesn't recognized forced arrangements. People here are free to love whoever they want. Social standing and all that crap, doesn't matter."

    He smiled at Gossamer and Nicolai.

    "My offer still stands, for both of you and your baby."
    Last edited by Sojourn; 02-04-2018 at 01:09 PM.
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  6. #66
    Gossamer and Nicolai



    Saber Vortex

    "Thank you," Gossamer said. "We will gladly accept your offer. And thank you for your understanding."

    Nicolai nodded. "This is... more than we ever expected. You have our deep gratitude."

    Gossamer was surprised to learn that Cid was the mighty Zeus. His connection to the Family of War as father and grandfather didn't concern her, though. She hadn't been able to prevent Slate from volunteering to slake his bloodlust on Arena. Nicolai hadn't been able to stop his parents from giving him to the Family of War to be cruelly changed into a magical servant. Why should she expect that Cid would be capable of any more control? One lesson Gossamer had learned well on Grace was that people would follow their own will, and there was no stopping them.

    "It's not your fault," Gossamer said. "No one was responsible for their actions but them. And no one else is going to pay. In the interest of honesty - I'm not giving up my plan to take their power away. I understand that they're your family, but they are slaughtering people. They're forcing people to be their pawns. Someone has to stop them, and no one else seems willing to try."

    Even as she spoke, Gossamer knew she was jeopardizing her baby's future by saying that, as well as Nicolai's and her own. Cid and Optimus might kick them out for their attempt to subvert some of Cid's children. But everyone who had been killed by the Family of War had been somebody's baby once... as had everyone who had been tortured, or brainwashed, or forced to serve. She couldn't just protect her own family and leave the future victims to their fate.

    "There's something else you should know," Nicolai said. "A potential liability. When Gossamer told you I was a guard for the Family of War, that was sadly very true. They infused me with their magic. It makes me more powerful than a human - but it also means that if I am ever in close proximity to them, they have the ability to command me if they so choose, and I will be unable to resist if they do. I understand if you consider that too great a danger for me to stay on your planet."

    Gossamer and Nicolai were eager to accept the offer of sanctuary here, but they wanted to make sure Optimus and Cid knew what they were getting into.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 02-04-2018 at 01:10 PM.
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  7. #67
    Optimus Prime



    Saber Vortex

    "You're both very welcome."

    Optimus replied to Gossamer and Nicolai with a smile. He didn't expect Phobos or his family to just accept that Gossamer was gone and out of their reach. Optimus was sure they would retaliate against them. Hopefully his mother's protection spell would hold out. He was glad that Gossamer wasn't going to hold it against Cid that he was Phobos' grandfather, though. People couldn't control what their relatives did.

    Optimus nodded his head in understanding at what Nicolai told them that the Family of War did to him. That would be quite dangerous but he had given his word to offer them protection. He wasn't going to go back on it. Because, honestly, where else would these two go? Optimus had a feeling that them and their baby's best chance was to stay here.

    "I understand. Thank you for telling me that. We'll try our best to keep you far from them."

    Although he knew he couldn't promise it. Gods could be very determined and stubborn when it came to getting what they wanted. The guard would have to be on high alert.

    "I'm sure you three are very tired from the whole Chimera ordeal. I'll have some servants prepare rooms for you."

    Just two rooms, though. He was sure Gossamer and Nicolai wanted to share a room.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 02-04-2018 at 01:10 PM.
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  8. #68
    Sojourn & Cid



    Saber Vortex

    Sojourn was very happy how this all turned out. While she was sad to hear what Gossamer and Nicolai had been through, she thought it was best they told the whole truth. It seemed to help and she was glad they would be getting protection along with her.

    "You're both welcome."

    Cid said along with Optimus. Offering them protection from his own family, it was the least he could do. He did feel guilty to hear what five members of his family had been up to. But he also wasn't that surprised. It was in their nature....He remembered how angry they would get at him whenever he stopped their plots. He smiled to Gossamer.


    "You are wise, young First."

    He told her. She didn't blame him and understood he could not control his family's actions. He sighed sadly.


    "What you are planning needs to be done. Too many people have been harmed by their actions...I will help you in anyway I can."

    Even if it did mean that Cid was betraying his own blood. When Optimus suggested that the servants get rooms ready for their guests, Cid agreed.

    "I'll head to the orphanage and let the caretaker know you are here, Sojourn."

    Cid offered and Sojourn asked Gossamer.

    "What should Cid say about you, Gossamer? Doviana will know you're gone by now too."

    "That is a good question. I can tell her as much or as little as you want."

    Cid told the First.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 02-04-2018 at 01:10 PM.
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  9. #69
    Gossamer and Nicolai



    Saber Vortex

    "I appreciate that," Gossamer said when Cid offered to help her stop the Family of War. There was a note of surprise in her voice - not just because they were related to Cid, but also because back home people were so enamored of their gods. Having someone agree that they were tyrants was a novel experience.

    Nicolai and Gossamer both nodded that they were tired. They'd fought a difficult battle, and had only gotten a few minutes' sleep back on Elysia before they were awakened by the skirmish. It would be good to get some rest. It hadn't occurred to them that they might be allowed to share a room - they'd always had to steal any time they had together - so they just assumed one of the would have to sneak into the other's room once no one was watching.

    "It's safer for Doviana if she doesn't know exactly where I am," Gossamer said after a moment's thought. "Eris and Enyo will know if she's lying when they ask, so it's better for her to be able to say truthfully that she doesn't have any information to give. Please just tell her that I'm safe in a location you can't disclose, and that I appreciate what she did for me."
    Last edited by Sojourn; 02-04-2018 at 01:10 PM.
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  10. #70
    Cid



    Saber Vortex

    "It's the least I can do."

    Cid replied to Gossamer. While she might not blame him for what the Family of War did, he blamed himself. He should have been a better father and grandfather. Maybe if he was, they wouldn't have ended up the way they did. Or maybe there was nothing he could have done to prevent it. He wasn't that involved in Athena's upbringing either but she hadn't turned out that way. She had been a good goddess, a daughter that any father would have been proud to call his own.

    Sojourn looked tired from the fight with the Chimera herself and Cid thought the three could use some sleep. Not everything could be resolved in one day anyway. At least the three could sleep easier here. Optimus was a god of his word, they would be safe as humanly possible in the palace. Cid nodded his head to Gossamer.

    "I will do that."

    He replied, he knew that his daughters could easily pick up on lies. Cid agreed it was best that Doviana knew very little and could reply honestly to anyone who asked about Gossamer. Since he was an Ancient God, and more powerful then the others gathered, he could easily teleport himself to other worlds without expending too much energy. He told the group goodbye for now and headed to the Orphanage on Elysia.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 02-04-2018 at 01:10 PM.
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