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Archelaus
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PostSubject: Heart-Strings   Sat 08 Dec 2012, 1:28 am


It was the seventh month, of the seventh year, of the seventh reign of the seventh star, the white-reddish star known as Cah-lona, or, "Despair".
The other stars formed the constellation known as Solaris, or, "Endure".

Now the stars turned, and the wheel of time spun. Cal-lona was ending, and the star taking its place was known as "Drahk'fa'lah", or, "The Last Times."
The constellation Gormobesh, or, "Floods and Fire" was forming.

Archelaus took a step forward, out into the light which fell from the ground into the sky. The mysterious effect of Vertrus always calmed him... It was a place of great wonder, of great honor... of great misery. It was no mere coincidence the stars would collide in these ends of days...

For in days, he had no doubts that his world would be gone, and his people would be utterly spent. Withering away for eternity from the marks of the universe, until even the oldest and the most knowledgeable have forgotten the mighty Alteriians. There would be no one left to sing their stories, watch their children grow, see the love of families, the bright snapping flags of Alteriian pennants, the blazing arms of Alteriian warriors, the gentle compassion of Alteriian hearts.

There would not be even the ashes left in time, of all their glory, hopes, dreams, and ambitions.

In truth, the Alteriians were wasting away, slowly, unerringly, calamitously, courageously. They had grown in numbers, but not in purpose. Their entire population was hanging by a single thread, a single hope... that one day in the future, be it thousands of years from now, they would be rejoined with the Kazequi. Their balance in life. Without them they were a shell, a protector protecting nothing, a shield with no straps, a sheath with no sword, a weapon with no arm to wield it.

A culture that had known such greatness and empathy reduced to morbid shadows, lingering on when in truth, they had died along with the Kazequi at The Battle of Snow Dove... And now, the last threads of their great tapestry had worn away. Their spirits were worth nothing.

If they survived this war, they would still be parted from their true selves. If Verax was to be defeated, and Alteriians successful, if Aurora lives onward in love, and all that Alteriians hoped for came true, then the Alteriians will still have to taste the bitterness of the emptiness. Whether by the sword or the slow decay of time, the Alteriians will die. And there will be no comfort for them, no comfort to ease the pain of their passing. The Alteriians would become in life an image of the splendor of Alteriia, in glory undimmed before the breaking of the universe. But they would linger on in darkness and in doubt as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Here they would dwell in Vertrus, bound to grief under the fading light of nothingness until all the universe is changed and the long years of the Alteriians are utterly spent in loneliness and desolation. (LOTR REFERENCE!!!)

Archelaus looked up to Aurora.

"We are dying my love, without your kind. We yearn to join arms with the Kazequi as we once did, in the ethereal places of The Dream. We have nothing left to live for, so we die, we die for the glory that we once understood. The fates predicted this, I have long known this... it has been waiting to come to pass since the day I shouldn't have let go of your hand."

He took a step further, his arms crossed behind his back, toward the gurgling lava of a nearby stream, pausing as the ashen nature about him underscored the bitterness of his thoughts.

"Here I am, fighting for a cause in our hearts that has withered in our souls. When a gaurdian fights for himself, he fights for nothing, and for no one... So let us die."

He took another step toward Aurora.

"I understand you must go to Verax... Know at least, that this man loves you, and your daughters, and for once in his long, weary, lonely life, can do no more than that."

Archelaus pulled out one sinewed and muscled arm, glowing faintly blue, and extended one massive fist, which was holding a small delicate looking flower. His eyes closed slowly.

"I... you gave this to me, those long years ago, and I promised I would return it before the end."

~*~
"Certainty of death, *small* chance of success... What are we waiting for?" - Gimli
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Eris-Tam
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PostSubject: Re: Heart-Strings   Sat 08 Dec 2012, 2:24 am

Eris-Tam's heart was so close to breaking already, and Archelaus... tears pooled in her eyes at his words. Immediately she rose, lacking her characteristic grace as she seemed as fractured on the outside as she felt on the inside. Grace didn't matter anymore, not grace nor beauty. Tam's face was stricken and burdened with grief. After only a moment's hesitation, looking back at her lover's broken eyes, looking at the man who owned more than half of her soul and whose soul was forever cherished within her, she stepped forwards into his embrace.

Tears broke through the dams of her tear ducts and her form swirled with understated sorrow. Her hand slowly encompassed his own fist, and she pushed his hand back, the flower with it. "Archelaus..." Just the emotions contained in this pained whisper betrayed the emotions that tore through her heart. She paused, burying her face in his strong shoulder that now seemed to sag in defeat. "Keep it, love... I... I never... I never meant for you to give it back."

Her heart reached out to him in pain and despair, trying desperately to feel Archelaus' self, the will and the passion and the strength that had always made her feel as if everything would be alright in the end. She never imagined that the end would be like this. She never imagined that Archelaus and herself would ever be separated by such a chasm. And so she shook in his defeated arms, clinging to him almost frantically. Her cheek rested upon his neck and was slick with her heavy tears.

"I... how can I... how can I apologize, my love? How can I make... make this right? This can't be the end, not yet... I'm not ready for..." she trailed off, no longer able to form words or even a train of thought on that subject.

"Archelaus, I'm sorry. I'm so.... so sorry, I... I don't know if you will ever forgive me." Tears only continued to flow as her heart opened up like an old tomb, slowly at first and then all at once. "I'm sorry... b-but... you can't give up... you can't, my love... I'm not ready to be alone... p-please, don't leave me... I... I need you, I still need you, I always have needed you... My love, I... I couldn't go on without you..."

But Tam knew that she had to confront the topic that had created this seemingly unbridgeable gap between them, she had to try, as much as she dreaded to. "Archelaus... I care about Verax. He saved me when no one else could have. He saved me when he could have used me and hurt you by controlling me, and when that would have been the easier route for him to take. But he saved me. He was always planning to save me, my love... is there not some redeeming quality in that? He suffers now because of me, because he went against what the universe decided to be his fate to rescue me. I... I just can't... I don't understand why you can't see how he has helped us..."

"Archie, I... no matter what you could have done to try and save me yourself, it would not have... it wouldn't have been for the better... I didn't want that." She pulled back, then, and looked deep into her love's eyes. "I didn't want you to have to hold me down. I didn't want you to have to defend yourself against me. I didn't want you to have to hurt me to keep me from hurting anyone else. It's... it's why I left for Crenel in the first place, love... Verax saved you the pain of having to do that... to do that to me. I can't help but be grateful to him. There is a side of him that you have not seen. A side that is kind and generous, a side that does not want to be the bad guy. I'm sorry that you've never gotten to see that like I have."

She looked away, then, and down. "I know he has killed thousands. Millions. I know the evils he has done... but it is not what he wants. He does not enjoy death, unlike some of those whom he commands. He is still trying to protect us, even now. And I'm so sorry that you don't see it."

She looked up again, and drew herself close to him again, her head on his chest, his loud heartbeat reverberating in her ears but seeming to lack the power and strength and fight that it had always seemed to have before. Her lips found his neck, and she simply tried reconcile herself with him, to apologize. Like she had done during the Kran Til'mok, she tried once more to prove her devotion and her love. Despite the fact that she had never found it a fact that needed to be proven again, she touched his heart with her own and tried to be one with him again like they had once been.

"Archelaus... I love you. I love you more than anything and anyone in the world. I love you. Nothing will ever change that or lessen the truth of it. Please believe me, my love... I mean every word. Please don't give up. Please don't leave me. I'm begging you, Archelaus..." she slipped down to her knees and clutched the hand that held their flower close to her chest and her heart. "I'm on my knees, love... don't give up. Don't give up on me. Don't give up on us. Don't give up on hope, on life... please. Don't leave me. I promise I will never leave you... I promise to love you always and I desperately hope that is enough... We will find a way to restore the kazesqui, together. We will return the Alteriians to the glory and hope and light that they once knew... we can do it, my love, we can save everyone, but only together..."

She looked up at him then, asking him a question that she asked him once before, when they were young and unhindered, when their passion still burned like an unstoppable forest fire. Eris-Tam looked up from her knees, at her equal, at Archelaus, at the love of her life... and she asked,

"Will you fight with me, Archelaus? Will you fight for all that is good and right in this world? I love you, and I want to fight by your side."

~*~
“This I choose to do. If there is a price, this I choose to pay. If it is my death, then I choose to die. Where this takes me, there I choose to go. I choose. This I choose to do.”
― Terry Pratchett
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Archelaus
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PostSubject: Re: Heart-Strings   Sun 16 Dec 2012, 1:48 am

Archelaus would have snapped in two, had his hearts the strength. They felt like clay within him... ashen, broken, and empty. Numb to the world, but hardened by the sun.

"Fight..."

His palm encompassed the tiny white flower, smoothing back the petals, rubbing the stem gently. It was soft, fragrant, fragile, and pure.

"Who am I...?" he asked, as softly as the flower contained within his hand, but as powerfully as the mighty earth beneath his feet. "Who am I to ask these people, my people, to stride onward? Onward, when half of their very souls lie in the silent graves of the past? Who am I to decide for the fate of all that we must suffer?" His eyes burned like blue coals as he continued.

"What dignity is there in a death, when there is no one to save? What glory is there in a battle that no one will ever know existed? When death..."

Suddenly, the blue fire dampened, and the tides of an ocean could be seen behind his unblinking eyes. An ocean of grief, of fear, of compassion, of hope. An ocean of Alteriia on the edge of destruction, life on a world that would no longer support water... but not quite set to wordless history yet.

Archelaus knelt beside Eris-Tam, and let her wander through the tall corridors of his thoughts and memories as he always had. He still felt the little rivulets of light whenever her mind touched his, like the anticipation of something amazing. As if they had planned to simply walk through the stars and greet the universe with a joyous song. It was the most wonderful thing Archelaus could imagine... to simply... be with her.

But it was a joy shrouded in the sourness of the present, for what Archelaus had spoken was true. The mighty hearts of the Alteriians were ravaged, for they were alone. Alone in a huge, empty spaces of the skies. Alone in the constellations. Alone in their lives. Every year brought deeper and deeper regret, more and more tears, the knowledge and wisdom of everything they had lost.

Their race was dying without their sisters and brothers, their twins, the Kazequi.

With a deep sigh, Archelaus looked down upon his beloved, the storm briefly turned calm, the tempest dulled into a soft roar.

"Ahhh, my angel, forget these troubles of mine. All I want to think about right now is you."

He smiled, turned, and sat down next to her, much as he had all those days ago on the top of some lonely mountain, and remembered. If he had but days, then he would use them.

Memories of crystal mornings on the maroon seas, memories of the smell of Haljah bread, baking in the afternoon sun. Memories of laughter, smiles, jokes played and tasks accomplished. Tiny moments, insignificant only to some... her vivid hair, changing color as she stepped into the light of the twin suns. A hand holding a child's. Eyebrows creasing as they always did when she was confused.

But some words needed to be said.

"I know why you consider Verax to be good somehow. That he is forced to be evil. That somehow, he is trying to save more lives than he is taking. But in Alteriia, in my heart, it is wrong to kill one innocent to hopefully save two. In my heart, in the hearts of Alteriians, he is not just, not righteous, and not good. He enjoys causing pain. He enjoys suffering. He revels in a past of pain and suffering.

I could never forgive someone... or something... that enjoys causing others harm. He has proven that he does, through laughter, through cruelty, through insanity, through other mediums. Look at his words and his past, if you could question that. The universe does not decide someone's will, it merely decides the consequences."

Archelaus could see Aurora visibly stiffen, as she grew frustrated with his words. Archelaus knew she would not change what she thought, she never had... it was a quality that he appreciated, but on more than one occasion irked him. Archelaus chuckled a little to see her eyebrows curl... but he did not need her to agree with him either, so he closed that door and opened another.

"I know I could not, my love. No matter what my heart and mind tried to tell me, I could not. At some point I know, that no matter the blame, the pointed finger, the accusation of injustice, that there lies within everyone the choice between good and evil. At that moment he chose good, and I thank him for that. I would not be able to hold you now, as I am, were he to have chosen otherwise.

For everything he has taken, for everything he plans to take away, he gave me you. And in my heart, that is by far the best trade I could hope for... When I said I would give the very universe itself for you, I meant it."

Stricken, Archelaus bent to the ground, and blew the dusty sand of Vertrus into the air. He watched the particles fall to the ground, shimmering briefly in the light of the lanterns.

"I... I... I had even gone as far to trade myself."

Here Archelaus traversed into the deepest territories of his mind, into the realm of a torture perhaps greater than could be conceived by the foulest minds of evil in the darkest pits of hell. The Donnarii. The Place of Grey.

"For those many years, I thought I knew the torture of losing you. Being without you, so far away from you... it was if I had been split in two and emptied. When I saw you there, hopeless before the attack of the Thel... of..."

His voice changed, from the cool breeze of the sea, melodic and warm, to an icy sharpness. A sword, digging into wounds to remove the shrapnel of a battle past, awaking the memories of the pain the put it there.

"I am sorry I hurt you. Being without you, truly without you, was worse than the most painful torture, than the coldness of death, than.. it... it was indescribable, and I thought I was doing it to save you, when all I managed to do was cause you sorrow. I had thought that any pain brought to bear upon myself was worth it, to save you."

The sword melted in a fiery furnace, fed by coals of emotion and the winds of the past.

"Anything would be worth it."

Archelaus cupped the flower in his hand, gazing at its beauty for a moment, silent. He looked into the distance considering some thought lost to history, and returned it to it's secret place.

"I know my angel that you care for me. I do. Your love will always be enough for me, your heart will always keep mine moving on. Someday we will be together in a place with no evil, no worries and no problems. Just each other; and what a wonderful place that would be? It does not matter what the universe decides, or even what the gods decide. Not death or even the masters of life itself can stop love, they can only delay it for a while.

Archelaus' head tilted to the side, playfully.

"I believe we have a universe to save, my love. Together."

~*~
"Certainty of death, *small* chance of success... What are we waiting for?" - Gimli
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Eris-Tam
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PostSubject: Re: Heart-Strings   Mon 17 Dec 2012, 6:44 pm

Tam's expression spread to a smile, but there were still obvious traces of worry and doubt. Her heart felt like it was being torn apart... even more so now that Archelaus seemed to understand. He still wanted to kill Verax. He still wanted to stop him. Eris-Tam strained against the pressure of it all.

Whose side am I to take? I should take Archelaus' side, as he is my mate, my love... I should stand with him and fight with him until the end. That is what I should do... but I cannot... I cannot fight Verax. I can't condemn the universe by siding with Archelaus... I can't help stop Verax and be the reason for Shade's coming... but I can't side with Verax against Archelaus, either. I can't fight him. I can't betray them. What choice do I have? I wish they would not fight like this... how can I be neutral, either? How can I stand by and watch as one of them destroys the other? How could I do that?

This whole thing... it's not fair. It's... I... I can't...


But Tam could not voice any of this to Archelaus. While she knew he probably felt it radiating off her, as she doubted that any amount of control could really conceal this divide inside her, she did her best to keep his mind off it. Still, there were things that needed to be said.

"I love you, Archelaus, and we do have a universe to save... but I can't fight Verax. Not when I know that it will put us more in danger. I can't do that. Even if I didn't care about him, even if he hadn't saved me... I can't help in letting Shade free. So I can't fight him, Archie... and I can't fight you. When the time comes... I... I might have to... to leave, for a while... because I don't know how I'll be able to handle it..."

Still, Archelaus' words about what he had done when he broke their connection, their bond... those words echoed in Tam's head. He would literally risk anything, do anything for her... even if it ended in his own death, his own suffering. He would do anything to take away hers.

And... it stung. It stung because Tam knew that while she would do anything to save him, heal him, protect him... she could not agree with him now. She could not even give him everything that she was, as she used to... not anymore. Archelaus would trade the universe for her... but she would not let the universe die, even if it meant that she had to disagree with him, leave him, or even try to stop him...

She would fight for the universe, for life, as long as she lived... and even maybe afterwards, if she could. She could not let Shade be. And that was before everything, even before Archelaus. Tam worried that this would upset him... and because he was so devoted to her, she felt like she wasn't... enough. Not enough to make his love for her... reasonable.

So it did sting. It hurt.

But... Tam did appreciate that Archelaus recognized that Verax had done the right thing in saving her, and that it was what condemned him to the fate he suffered now.

It was just too much. Tam's thoughts were muddled, mixed, afraid, sad, empty... she only knew that she could fight neither of these men, that she cared about both of them too much, that too much relied on her staying neutral until the end.


((Well, that was a crappy post. Oh well. I guess I'm just not very inspired at the moment.))

~*~
“This I choose to do. If there is a price, this I choose to pay. If it is my death, then I choose to die. Where this takes me, there I choose to go. I choose. This I choose to do.”
― Terry Pratchett
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