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  1. #1
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Planet tigers: Phoenix nebula

    Planet tigers: Phoenix nebula





    There was an impossible crack of thunder in the otherwise clear blue skies of this lush green planet. A streak of fire crossed the open skies and impacted the earth with a teeth rattling jolt. A shape, at the center of this impact smoked and fire lapped around its form. An eerie silence consumed the area, not a creature stirred, no birds sang, even the wind seemed to be holding its breath. Suddenly, the earth shifted and moved, shaping itself into the form of a hand and transported the flaming form to the edge of the lake, dipping into the water. The lake hissed and crackled as it doused the raging fire upon the form until every single flame had been drowned.

    The earthen hand laid the now wet form along the edge of the lake and disappeared as if it had never been there. For long moments, tension hung in the air as if the world itself was waiting in anticipation for something to happen. The form laid deathly still, unbelievably unscathed by the flames and impact upon entry.


    “Mother?”
    A feminine voice inquired.

    The voice had no body, the words seemingly drifting on the currents of the air itself.


    “Mother.” The voice entreated.

    There was a sudden cough and then the sputtering of air as the form on the ground began to take long deep breaths. Still there was no visible movement.

    “Mother, wake up, something terrible has happened!”
    The ghostly voice implored.

    Every so slightly, eyelids began to flutter and the form on the ground moaned. It took several minutes to coax the eyes to remain opened, yet the body had still not moved. The eyes seemed momentarily dulled and lifeless, a pale coating covering the lenses as if death and life were in a struggle to the sudden rebirthing of the being on the ground.

    “Please mother, get up!” The voice echoed.

    The eyes blinked, and after a few more attempts, they seemed to clear to their natural color. And then the colored changed and began to pulse with a brilliant orange just before the form itself seemed to reanimate itself. First it was the slight movements of fingers, twitching then grasping for the earth, digging their nails in for a firm hold, before other parts of the body began to move.

    Eventually, a young woman half sat up as if lounging lady like along the grass. Her eyes took in the sights before her as her head began to rotate along her shoulders taking in the sights around her. They came back to settle on the body of water right next to her. The young woman righted herself and faced the lake, resting on her knees she bent to cup the water in her hands to drink. After she got her fill, she dipped back to the water to splash it upon her face to fully wake her senses.

    As the water settled, she caught her reflection in the water. Something was off, the face staring back at her was familiar, but it wasn’t exactly right either. Caught up in the contemplation about her reflection, the young woman startled at an older woman standing behind. She her jerked back from the water to look behind her but found no one. Quickly she turned back to the lake to look into the reflection, only this time it was her face that aged into this woman.


    “What is going on?” The young woman whispered.

    Her mind raced, how did she get here, and where was here? She quickly turned around taking in her surroundings again, spotting the cabin across the lake. It seems so familiar to her, like coming home, only she had no memories of this place. Come to think about it, she realized she had no memories at all, not even her name. The tiny hairs at the nap of neck prickled, her senses were suddenly alive. And the synapses of nerves carrying information to her brain were alive with crackling energy pouring into her mind like an avalanche.

    She looked back into the reflection of water, willing it, scrying the information she needed. Her hand came up and touched the side of her face.


    “Who am I?”


    She should be terrified, but oddly she felt serenity.

    “You are mother.”

    She whipped, looking for the owner of the voice who had replied.

    “Whose there? Where are you?” The young woman asked.

    “Your daughter. I’m here” Came the simple reply.

    The voice was everywhere and nowhere at once, but that did not answer the young woman’s question. Perhaps a different approach was needed.

    “Okay, if you know me, what is my name and what do you mean by you’re here?”

    “You are Alexis, you are mother, and here is right here. You are standing on me.” The voice replied.

    So many things happened at once; Alexis rolled the name around in her mind at the same time as knowing that the only thing she stood on….was the ground. So many possibilities bombarded her mind; Alexis knew she should know the answers to her own questions.

    “You’re this planet.” Alexis replied.

    She had thought just the ground itself, but knew that was not the answer. It was bigger than she had initially thought to respond with. Emotions warred with logic. So many questions, but her head was beginning to throb. The voice, planet Alexis corrected herself, was quiet, as if she knew she was thinking.

    “You called me mother that would mean that you believe me to be your creator.” Alexis spoke her thoughts out loud.

    “And the face I saw.” She began as she turned back to look at her reflection in the water.

    “It’s mine, both of them?”

    “Yes.” The planet answered.

    “Okay, assuming that you’re correct, and oddly enough I believe you. Something’s happened, I’ve lost my memories, I seem to be younger and I just woke up on the very planet I created.”

    Alexis laughed softly. This was a hell of a way to start ones day.

    “Something terrible has happened.” The planet repeated.

    “You’re children are scattered, some of them lost and in danger. Things have changed, they are no more.”

    “Children?!” Alexis started.

    Okay, the planet was bad enough, but she has children! And she didn't look like she could be anyone's mother, right? She looked at her youthful face in the reflection of the lake. She looked like she might be 18 years old, not enough to have full grown children. And they had to be full grown, the older face in the mirror looked like a woman who would have older children. Alexis took a breath to keep from letting the slight edge of fear and panic try to creep into her senses.

    “Where are they, where are my children?” Alexis inquired with urgency.
    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

  2. #2
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    “Scattered.” The planet responded.

    There was a visible sigh of frustration within Alexis. A feeling of being blocked from things she should know, but didn’t. And it wasn’t just her memories; there was something more to this feeling that kept digging at the back of her mind. And then there was this feeling of sudden impatience, an anger she felt had long ago been schooled by age and maturity. Had whatever happened to her actually regressed even her emotions to the age of the young woman she saw in the reflection of the lake? Was the face of the older woman who she was before? There were too many questions that needed answered, to many mysteries to solve.

    The thought of relieving her youth and relearning life lessons she’s already experienced caused the impatience of youth to rear its ugly head within. And to add to this, the very planet seemed to answer her in simple or cryptic responses. If she had children, and whatever the “something bad” that happened was; her children could be in peril. But just as she felt frustration at the scarce answers, she felt love and adoration from the very planet that spoke to her. This planet, she was on was a live sentient being, and it occurred to her that most other beings didn’t realize or didn’t care about such things. Then again, it occurred to her that she could just be stark raving mad.


    As her nerves began to calm, her senses seemed to travel outward. It was then she felt the life that lived on this living planet. It teemed with sentience in the form of plants, trees, animals, water, rocks so much more. As she stretches her senses across the planet, she felt the relief in the life around her.

    “Get over yourself Alexis.”
    She quietly chided herself.

    “If the planet is truly your child and you are guardian of all that is on it, it doesn’t matter what age you look like or feel like.”

    Alexis gently cleared her throat.

    “Please forgive me planet, I seemed to have forgotten my manners.”

    “Do you have a name?” Alexis asked.

    “I am called Planet Tigers by many, but you call me Asha.”

    “Asha?” Alexis repeated inquisitively.

    “You said it means life.”

    An appropriate name for a sentient planet filled with other sentient beings, but weren’t all planets living? Alexis could see the desire to take this conversation into a new direction, but there were other pressing matters at hand.

    “Asha, when you say scattered, do you know the exact location they scattered too?”

    Her mind was still reeling with the idea of having children when Asha answered her.

    “No, I am sorry mother. My knowledge is self-contained, because of the safety measures you created when I was brought into life.”

    Safety measures Alexis pondered, she must have concealed the planet, it was the only explanation. But why, what was the reason, was there a threat, was she suspicious by nature, or was it a natural need to protect. She felt her mind want to pull into a million different directions and her head began to throb.

    “Where are we exactly Asha? Alexis asked as she rubbed her temples.

    “Humans called it the Phoenix Nebula.”

    “This is home?” Alexis replied.

    “No, home was the galaxy called the Milky Way, but you moved me.”

    Alexis swayed on her feet. Her mind clamored like a caged beast that has been locked away against it’s will, fighting for freedom. Questions, so many questions she should know the answer too, but nothing but feeling pulled apart in many directions and this throbbing headache.

    The earth lifted up to meet Alexis, causing her to fall back into a seated position, cradled by the earth itself.

    “You should sit, we feel your pain mother. It is shared here amongst us all. “

    “Right.” Alexis replied.

    “Asha, what was the last thing you remember?”

    All was quiet again, as if the very ground and all living things on her quieted to ponder the question as one.

    “You called it a war, unlike the Negation. Many of the old ones began to leave, some secluded themselves, but you said they all became apathetic. A few of you remained, like minded ones, but a new threat came from far away to conquer, then many of you died, some lost their powers and were imprisoned. Your children, much like you, fought and were taken to far parts of the galaxy. You had been in hiding, trying to reach them, but a great threat came and made you take action. You moved me, to here, so that I would not die you said.”

    Alexis reclined against the earth that held her, Asha, her first born. The planets own feelings converged and mingled with her own. Her mind took it all in, sadness, anger, still more questions.

    “Was I like this before I moved you here?”

    “No, it happened in transit. You used your body to shield me from destruction. It happened in just a moment, long enough for you to open a portal to move me; the blast came as you entered behind me. You became as you are now when the portal closed.”

    A matter of moments then, Alexis surmised. It had literally just occurred. She had opened the portal, obviously planed a destination and location within this new area and had proceeded to follow her daughter through when the blast happened. She imagined the momentum of the blast sent her hurdling to the ground, where Asha roused her.

    “Are you injured?” Alexis asked Asha as she reached out across the planet to look for any injuries. Her eyes began to glow orange when she suddenly cried out from a piercing pain within her head.

    “You should rest mother. Whatever that was that struck you, it has altered you. I am fine, but you need to recover.”

    Without so much a moment to protest, Alexis went from being cradled by the earth, to being picked up by the water and transported to the other side, where the cabin lay. Despite the pain in her head, the nagging need to recover her memories, Alexis laughed.

    “Alright, I can take a hint. Thank you Asha.”

    Warmth suddenly filled Alexis and she realized it was from the planet itself. Love and affection? Alexis returned the feeling before walking into the cabin.

  3. #3
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Alexis stumbled into the cabin, the jumbled mess of her mind wondering from one thought to the other compounding the headache. Her intentions were to find a place to sleep, but as soon as she entered the door, that feeling of familiarity struck her full force in the face. A myriad of smells she knew but could not name filled her senses. Her eyes took in her surroundings.

    It was a quaint looking log cabin she observed as she stood in the foyer, a small dining table and kitchen to the left and a living room to the right. Between the two areas there was a hallway, presumably leading to the bedrooms. The entire cabin’s energy was alive with life. Alexis could almost feel the ghosts of the past brush past her; hear the lilting sound of laughter and speech as she stepped fully into the room. She could feel the very presence of others in there. It was electrifying and disconcerting at the same time, perhaps it would be an all-encompassing warmth, if she could remember.

    She moved toward the hallway, the names of others barely whispered in her ear, before they were carried away when she tried to grasp them. Her head began to throb in time with her heartbeat and a maddening thought crossed her mind as she looked for the bedroom.


    “A body, a house, a kitchen to eat in, and a bed to sleep in, why would someone who was considered a goddess need such things.” Her mind teased her.

    There were three rooms that extended out from the hallway from three doors, and Alexis’ mind grasped on Asha’s words…”children.” But how many, she didn’t ask but somewhere in the back of her mind she heard it whispered.

    Five

    Only three rooms, why do you need a room or would any “goddess?” her mind mocked. And only three when you had a feeling the number of kids outnumbered the number of rooms?

    “Oh, for the love of….find a room and lay down.” Alexis chastised herself.

    “I can look around later.”

    Alexis took the first room she came to with a bed. From the looks of the room, she would guess it was a female’s room, or females. She ignored the tug at her mind to look around and investigate, focusing on the need to rest and the raging headache that had begun to affect every part of her now.

    Rest did not come easy and for a while, all she could do was close her eyes and try and let her mind quiet itself. Something was waking in her, she knew and it was competing with the pounding in her head. Alexis could feel the tiny hairs all over her body stand on end, alert and ready, but for what?


    Exhaustion finally overtook her and Alexis fell into a deep slumber. For a little while, her body rested, humming with an ethereal energy that made her body seem to vibrate and distort as she lay on the bed. That was when the ghosts of her memory came to hauntingly tease and entice her with known knowledge, only to skirt away from her minds grasp.

    A brilliant light filled her eyes, almost blindingly so. As the light faded, a giant planet filled with life shown before her. A new birth, home, sanctuary, a place for rest and she smiled at the feeling.

    “Asha.” Alexis whispered in her sleep.


    Ethereal scenes of a school, children, and occasional chaos, a being with power, floating red rocks, love, and familiarity, drifted passed her. More love, friendship, the feeling of family filled her before the ghosts passed through her. They whispered secrets as they passed, their names remembered and forgotten, just as fleeting as their presence in her mind. Treasured relationships, some long ago but never forgotten.

    “Charis.”

    Time would speed up and slow down, a journey to the heights and depths, winding round and round like so many mountains on so many planets. A woman with wings, a comradery, a kinship, no, two with wings, one older and one younger filled her vision. Half of herself forever in the presence of the one, the other beside her, flying, laughing, and teaching little ones, so close she reached out to touch them and they dispersed like vapor.


    Alexis cried out in despair and loss as the scenes began to speed up, her breathing matching scene for scene and the pounding in her head grew stronger. Chaos erupted, battles, death, and birth, a cycle she could not, or was it would not stop? Like the pounding waves of the ocean memories came and went until she was caught in the whirlpool and sucked to the depths and spit out on the shore. A cacophony of images assaulted her senses, she could no longer follow them, outwardly her body glowed with a brilliant orange and her breathing had become erratic.

    The images seemed to be building to a crescendo, culminating into its final message of death and discord. Those like her scattered, dead, apathetic, missing. Chaos, chaos all around, her children gone, this place no longer safe, protect Asha, find her children, get help. Urgency, fright hidden deep within, was this the end, must protect Asha and those living on her and within.

    Alexis’ eyes, ears and nose began to bleed. Her eyes opened but did not see, swiftly changing color and shape. Her breathing now so rapid her lungs or her heart would surly burst from the exertion. Open the portal, move Asha to safety, protect, too late the light, so much pain, falling.

    Alexis screamed, her hands going to her head as she curled into the fetal position. She felt wet, soaked until she realized that she was being moved from the bed gently aloft a hand of water. She didn’t notice the door splintered into pieces, she didn’t even hear the noise, and she couldn’t. Her hands were still clasped around her head, and speech was impossible even within her mind. She felt fragmented, undone like she had no more will to carry on.

    Suddenly she found herself submerged in the lake, and the brief thought that she needed air crossed her brutalized and injured mind. That’s when she realized that she was drawing in the water with each rapid breath. Panic took over.


    “Breathe mother, you can you just don’t remember.”

    She tried to claw her way to the surface, but the form of water held her fast. She would drowned, how ironic. But just as her gasping lungs filled with water, she felt the sweet passage of air. How?

    “Gills, you are a shifter. I’m sorry if I scared you, but you are in pain. Until you regain your strength and remember, submersion will help.”

    An equal pressure of air and water encapsulated her form in the middle of the lake. Almost immediately, Alexis began to relax, her breathing started to slow and her heart rate began to level out. This was going to be the most difficult challenge of her life, it was a feeling, and she needed to prepare. As the thought passed from her mind, Alexis finally found some rest.
    Last edited by Tigers; 08-24-2017 at 07:07 AM.

  4. #4
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    The waterfall was her favourite place to be. It reminded her of home, thankfully, not overmuch. There were so many reasons she did not return to Tebryna after she’d mended. Once or twice she had ventured back to the planet, walked those familiar paths and cried her tears into the near-endless pit of violet water at the island’s heart. Her heart. It was too much to bring those memories back into perfect focus again and again and again with no way of making new, better memories overtop. The last time she went she gathered her books from the house and erected three graves on the hollow overlooking the lagoon.

    She spent her days on Planet Tigers from then on. The cabin there had been a second home since the first day she stepped foot on the place. Certainly not all the memories made in that place had been good, but there were many more good than bad. It had taken so long to put herself back together after the final battle with the Cha’i – years? Even now she could be seen to pause in the midst of a task only to pick back up where she’d left off, never drawing attention to the fact that she’d just forgotten herself or had lost some of her cells to an errant shift. Most days were good. The company helped.

    Planet Tigers – Asha – had been the first safe place she’d been able to get to after QC#2 pulled her back together out of a swarm of hungry cells in space. Mouse had been the first to greet her that day as she laboriously pulled her body up the front step of the cabin. He treated her like she was no different than the last time they’d met and oh how she appreciated that. It was nice to be treated as a person, not a broken toy. Alexis – her sister – had cared for her on the long road to recovery.

    How often had Alexis come to her aid – stirred her to action – comforted her? More times than she could count. So when Alexis gave the call to battle some invisible foe, Oreina endeavoured to do her part. The portal system she’d used for so long had been tainted somehow. The enemy had sent her all over the cosmos by stirring up the portal confluence in the Grove. She and Alexis had stopped by the Ministry of Transportation for an upgrade – then they destroyed the portal system. Their foe was confounding and seemingly aware of their every move. The last encounter had sent Oreina to Asha for a bit of rest.

    So here she sat, on a flat stone warmed by the sun, surrounded by the water and its roar. Her back, densely freckled, was bared to the sun as she was bent over a home-bound book. She was adding an entry about a new orchid she’d found in the grasses to the north. Alexis probably knew all the plants she had on her planet, but Oreina couldn’t stop her inner naturalist from making drawings and writing down facts, locations and uses for each one. Here she sat, having temporarily forgotten about the war, absorbing sunlight, breathing deeply – when she heard a telepathic shout.

    The shout, a bright light, a disturbingly visceral feeling of motion, then nothing. The river still ran, the wind still moved the leaves on the trees, anyone else might have thought it had been simple imagination. Oreina looked up at the sky and her brow furrowed of its own accord. The sun…Asha’s sun…was not quite where it was before – and did it have a slightly different hue? She reached out to the planet as Alexis had taught her and asked,

    “Asha? Did the sun just move?”

    There was a pause before the planet replied. “No, I did.”

    Oreina experienced a sudden chill. If the planet had moved, someone had moved it. Was it the enemy, trying to get rid of her for good? Taking Asha hostage to get at Alexis? As if the planet could read her thoughts, it added:

    “It’s mother. She needs help.”

    It sounded like this time, her sister needed her.

    Following Asha’s guidance, Oreina left her rock and ran through the forest at full speed. She wished she’d stayed a little closer to the cabin on this particular day, but it couldn’t be helped. Oreina wasn’t clairvoyant and fortunately Asha seemed to have taken things well in hand. She stopped at the side of the lake, panting lightly, and set her book down on a stone. Alexis was suspended in the middle of the lake, unmoving. Was she even breathing? Oreina dove in, producing gills and webbed appendages to bring her more swiftly to Alexis’ side. It was a relief to see her sister’s gills moving ever so gently, but the lingering scent of blood in the water worried her. Clearly Asha had thought this was the best place for Alexis to be, so Oreina adjusted herself to float beside her sister. When Alexis woke up, she would be right there waiting for her.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  5. #5
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Alexis lay in the home made deprivation tank in suspended animation. She did not dream, she did stir, and she lay within the coffin like mixture of water and air as if she were dead. The only sign that gave away the life that still beat within her was the steady movement of the gills and the slight rise and fall of her chest. The negative space of air around her form looked like a giant bubble trapped underwater. The capsule seemed to remain still, even though there was a current of water you could feel under the water’s surface.

    It would be hours before Alexis would stir, and Asha spent some of that time conversing with Oreina. It wasn’t often she spoke, unless it was something critical or in some cases, confusion.


    “Oreina, why do you and mother concern yourselves with the galaxy? I understand predation. All things have a time of birth and death; even a protective mother will leave her young if she cannot protect them. She must live in order to carry on the species, yet mother sacrifices to protect those that even she cannot always protect. Why is this, why do you do it?”

    Even as Asha waited for Oreina to answer, she could feel her mother begin to slightly shift within her place of rest. She was intimately connected to Alexis, as her mind and body took rest in order to mend. It was that thought that also shifted toward the younger shapeshift that currently floated around her mother’s form and answered her questions.

    “You are still sad, trying to piece together what you have lost. Is this what motivates one to action, desire?”

    Asha has felt many things in her life, even her own birth of form and consciousness. But she never pried as to the motives of others, even when she could feel their emotions rolling through her like the invisible sonar of a bat, piercing her layers of earth and water. She had no other desires than what she was created for, to be a home for other sentient beings, a place of sanctuary. She did not ask for kind, cruel or malcontented souls to dwell upon her, it just was at times.

    She realized she did miss the sounds of the children, the interaction with Alexis and her other families and friends. She enjoyed the laughter and happiness of others, and was content that her form was what provided the environment for this to happen. In this, Asha was happy if she were to assign a feeling to what she felt. There had been a few times, she had felt this malcontent, but it had been the result of others feelings, not her own.

    “Will you join mother in finding the others, finding her other children?”

    It would likely be sometime before their enemy would find them. But Asha pondered that word, enemy. How were they different from what others beings like her mother and Oreina had done, had many of them not sought to conquer, to feast upon others like any other predator would do to survive? Maybe she had been too sheltered by her mother, her knowledge too limited in the workings of emotions and thinking in others.

    As Oreina swam within the waters, she swirled the current, creating a small whirlpool around both her mother and Oreina. It was nothing to cause concern, it stopped just as quietly as it began and Asha listened to the other goddess while forming more questions to her answers. She had heard it spoken of, new beginnings, an image of tarot card and a being called a fool stepping out into the world and not seeing the misstep in the very first step he took. Was she being a fool, allowing curiosity and questions to taint what she already knew, or did she need to discover these things and evolve on her own?

  6. #6
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Asha’s question was…fair. Why would someone create a planet – an entire planet – sentient, full of sentient beings, all who wanted to serve their creator – and then…leave? Certainly Alexis did spent a lot of time planet-side, but Oreina could say that she spent as much if not more away from her home. She could feel that Asha was bit hurt by this. That Alexis would choose to help beings that weren’t her family and take on fights way bigger than her for a cause, well, she could understand Asha’s confusion. When Asha stated that she knew Oreina was sad, and then asked if desire was the motivation behind these absences, she couldn’t help but smile.

    “Desire certainly can be a reason to leave one’s home and family, but this isn’t the main reason why your mother and I concern ourselves with galaxy, as you said. There is something inside us that says ‘if you can, then you must’ – it is called ‘duty’. Your mother goes to help people who cannot help themselves because it is in her power to do so, so she feels as though she must. That was how she got me to leave my home after my children were taken from me – duty was what pulled me through and allowed me to help save the galaxy from the Cha’i.”

    Here, Oreina paused and kicked her feet to align herself with the new current Asha supplied. Freshwater shrimp danced over her body and she played with a couple of them between her fingers.

    “In a way, duty was what you performed when you hosted the School for Sinister children. You did not have to host them, but you could, so you did.”

    Diving down to the bottom of the lake, she sat on a stone and splayed her fingers over the surface of it, seeking a somewhat closer connection with Asha.

    “But duty can’t stand by itself. If duty is the only thing that motivates you, you can become bitter and angry at the beings who always seem to be getting into trouble. No, duty must be headed by love. Your mother helps others because they are her friends and allies. She helps beings on other planets because she sympathizes with their plight and wants to show mercy where others have given only grief. It is her great love that often leads her into these situations with no clear win in sight.”

    “It is love that tells me to help Alexis find her other children. She is my sister and I can’t leave her hurting. I can’t leave her broken. Don’t worry, Asha. We will work together and all will be well.”

    Oreina firmly believed that last statement. She looked up towards Alexis’ still form and her mouth formed a firm line.

    All will be well.

  7. #7
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    “It is a desire to pity then?”

    Unless things had been dire, Asha had remained quiet, watching, observing and in most cases feeling what was happening on the surface. But she remembers from Alexis having discussions with others that many planets; they went through great pain and suffering. Species of beings were removed from existence; genocide is what her mother had called it. Were these the types of beings that her mother and Oreina pitied, those that would destroy indiscriminately?

    Her mother may have been absent many times for long periods of time, but she had always looked over the beings that dwelt within and on Asha’s surface, she had always protected her. But that wasn’t always the case with other planets. The beings destroyed the surface, what lay below, in the waters, in the air; they killed everything in the name of progress.

    She was primitive, uncivilized, not populated by progress, as a matter of fact the only being similar to her mother was the rest of her family, the Centaurs being the closest thing to partially humanoid, but the rest was wild nature. It was undisturbed, protected, loved and cherished Asha realized. She was loved and cherished. There was not a tree that fell; that mother didn’t know about. If something from the land was required, that being was asked to give of itself, it was never taken by force, or because mother could.

    Asha remembered when the house was built, the wood from the land gave freely, and mother never took an unwilling spirit. Did others that dwelled upon the planets in the sky, did they not speak to the trees, to the water, the plants, the animals? The thought disturbed Asha greatly, her ground momentarily shuttered at the thought. Asha communicated these thoughts to Oreina.

    “Is this what mother does? Protect and preserve?”

    “Duty. Who decides whose responsibility it is to perform these tasks?”

    Asha’s mind was working through these thoughts and it reflected in the churning of the water. Alexis communicated with her mostly with feeling; empathy was one of her greatest abilities. Words, these were foreign concepts that Asha left alone, but she had picked up the emotions attached to such strange things.

    The churning water caused Alexis’ eye lids to flutter, she could feel the disturbance from Asha, but it did not wake her. Sensing her mood, Asha’s water slowed and the whirlpool that Oreina had been in calmed. Oreina may feel the embarrassment as well as the slight amusement in Asha.

    “I hope I did not cause you problems. It has been so long since I have thought about anything of the world outside of here. I have been sheltered to long.”

    Her focus suddenly shifted to love and Asha could not help but pull Alexis’ encapsulated form closer to the bottom of the lake. Love had been an elusive emotion to her outside of the warmth and protection she felt when she thought of her mother. Her mother’s form was cradled for a moment at the bottom of the lake before Asha gently returned her. Asha’s focus went from connecting with her slumbering mother to the actual word or concept of love.

    “Oreina, mother says that love is selfish and self-serving, and that it is very rare for a being to do things out of love where they receive nothing in return.”

    “It is.” Alexis replied having woken from the emotions surrounding the conversation.

    But Alexis’ eyes were focused on the being in the water with her, a strange sense that she should know this female, but nothing in her memory could recall her.

    “I am going to guess that I should know you, or Asha wouldn’t have allowed you to be here.”

    There was a pause as Alexis studied the other female, assessing the situation.

    “So, who are you?”

    Oreina would get the sense that Alexis would strike if she was a threat in anyway, even though she could sense that Alexis knew she should know her.

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    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    A desire to pity – what an interesting way to put it. Oreina couldn’t help but chuckle.

    “I suppose you could say that, Asha. I think most would refer to it as having a ‘soft heart’. Yes, your mother seems to be built to protect and preserve.”

    Oreina let out a deep sigh which translated into a flurry of bubbles tossing her hair around her face. This planet certainly was putting her through her mental paces today. Something must have happened when Alexis moved her to awaken this line of questioning.

    “Sometimes duty is assigned by a ruling power, Asha. Like when I served in Millennium’s Court, I then had the duty to defend other Ministers and Elysia. But, I will say that even assigned duty doesn’t really work out unless one has an inner drive to serve. More often than not, we ourselves decide what is and what isn’t our duty. It is all up to each being’s moral code.”

    She was sure that line was going to open up a can of worms. Luckily for her, Alexis woke up. Her sister’s voice sounded…different. Not just because they were both underwater – Oreina turned her head to the side – no, she really did sound…younger? Curious, she lightly pushed herself off the lake bottom and floated up to be at the same depth as Alexis. She inhaled deeply, pushing the lake water through every sensory organ she could muster.

    It did smell like Alexis…sort of. Oreina picked up on the alarm pheromones coming from her friend and moved back slightly, not wanting to draw an attack. Alexis had no idea who she was. There was a brief blank look as Oreina’s brain brought memories of her own amnesia and recovery to the surface, then she chose a somewhat pleasant neutral face.

    “Yes, you do know me. I am Oreina. We’ve been sisters since the day we met. We raised our children together, fought alongside each other and cried on each other’s shoulders. You’re my best friend.”

    She had felt that simply giving Alexis a name wouldn’t really tell the amnesiac who she was. Hopefully one of the qualifiers she’d given would jog a memory. Things would go a lot smoother if they could start on recovery as soon as possible. Oreina tread water lightly, allowing a few scales to form over her core, and waited to see what her sister would do.

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    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Alexis watched the other female cautiously. She didn't feel anything malicious from this Oreina and Alexis realized she wasn't lying. Despite her inability to remember, the female spoke with confidence. Oreina would notice the slight shift of Alexis' eyes toward the area where her scales appeared, something that her old friend would have never been caught doing. It was like all the confidence and experience had regressed with her sister's age.

    “Asha.”

    As if sensing her mother's questions, her first born answered the unspoken.

    “Yes, Oreina is telling the truth mother. She is like your sister.”

    Alexis swam around Oreina, circling her like a shark circling their prey.

    “Asha knows you, that will be enough for now.”

    Where had the empaths confidence gone in knowing the truth, that natural instinct, that gut feeling that was never questioned? She knew what she felt, knew that Oreina spoke the truth, but there was hesitation.

    “I will be watching you, as long as you don't do anything to harm Asha, or those that live here, you and I will not have any issues.”

    Suddenly Alexis felt as if she was at an impasse, how was she to navigate if she did not remember anything.

    “Asha, do we have any more “visitors” here?”

    “No mother, non that do not already live here.”

    “Great.” Alexis mumbled.

    “Like I know any of them either.”

    She stared at Oreina, as if trying to will the memories back. There was danger and she was useless if she couldn't even remember what that trouble was. Oreina would see the flash of red in Alexis' eyes. It was a part of her that hadn't been seen in a long time. Alexis' eyes almost rolled back into her head when it happened, her eyes fluttering widely as a flash of a name surfaced. House Sinister.

    She felt the need for her body to convulse and fought it. She growled, a spike in panic, the need to run, lash out, she was going mad, she was sure of it. Her nose began to bleed again, and she pushed toward the surface, not wanting this woman to see her sudden loss of control.

    “The cabin, I suppose we should try and figure out what in Hades is wrong with me.” Alexis nearly growled.

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    Did Alexis just…check her out? A smirk twitched across her face – so much for pleasant neutrality. Though what her sister’s behaviour signified was actually somewhat concerning. That Alexis had to ask Asha for confirmation – doubly so. It was strange to see Alexis so confused and unsure. It was almost like her mind had gotten younger as well as her body. Oreina caught the flash of red – “Oh great. I get to work with her younger Sinister self…I definitely have my work caught out for me.” she thought.

    Oreina turned her head, but not her body, as Alexis moved about her and ultimately fled the lake.

    “Asha? Does Alexis seem a little more…aggressive than usual?” That Alexis had responded to Asha with that level of sarcasm, well, Oreina wasn’t too pleased. “Was she like this when she made you?”

    A few quick kicks brought her to the surface and back to shore. She shook side to side, displacing water droplets over the marsh reeds, and picked up her book. Alexis was on her way to the cabin – stomping along like kid after a tantrum. She felt sorry for her. If the Alexis she knew were there, surely the goddess would be appalled at her own behaviour. Oreina could empathize with her friend as well, though, which was why she was going to be with her on this journey every step of the way.

    Crouching slightly, she formed wings and pushed herself up into the air with a strong thrust. She flew low enough to the ground that her feathers brushed Alexis’ head as she passed.

    “Race you.”

    She wasn’t entirely certain why she said that. Perhaps it was that she had perceived Alexis’ youth as youthfulness? Oreina’s cells kept regenerating on her, so her aging hadn’t really progressed after her reassembly, but she hadn’t been young in a very long time. Well, she never really had been. At the very least, she hoped it would somewhat break the stormy mood Alexis was in.

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