Monday, January 9

Chapter Four


Lyrist didn’t want Blazerine to die without her ever knowing how much her friendship meant to him. The time they shared together was short but still unforgettable and if it weren’t for her arrival, he wouldn’t have ever found out about his clan's true intentions. The others might see her as just a thief, but she wasn’t in his eyes.


Blazerine sat up halfway, trying to make sense of what happened. “Lyrist…?”


Lyrist's ears perked up from the sound of her voice, he couldn’t believe it. He surely thought she was a goner. Immediately he scrambles back to his feet and squeezes himself through to the other side of the axe. From a closer examination of Blazerine, there wasn’t any sign of blood. But her once long hair has now been chopped to shoulder length. Although she was safe, he still felt bad. In elfin tradition it is forbidden to cut their hair, unless it is at their own wedding ceremony. The hair is cut as an exchange to show their devotion of eternal love for one another. Carefully he takes his time to gather every strand of hair. He partially unravels his vest by pulling out one of the laces. Thinking it would be put to better use to tie the hair together in a lock. Even if their customs aren’t the same, he still wanted to hold onto it, for her regardless. Right after he secures it inside of his, inside a hidden pocket. “I do apologize; your misfortune was due to my mishap.”


Franticly she looks around while asking, “For what, w-what- do you mean by that?”


“I’m afraid your hair has been cut due to the trap.” He helps her back to her feet.


“As long as we’re splitting hairs here. Don’t ever bullshit with me again, okay? If we are ever in danger again, don’t deceive me into thinking otherwise. Misleading is the same thing as lying to me, alright?” The look of his face made her realize she had come across rather harsh. The outburst was a reflection of being lied to most of her life, but it wasn’t his fault, he doesn’t really know any better. “Sorry I didn’t mean to –“


He nods and says, “I understand, but we need to get a move on.”


“What’s the use? We don’t even know if were heading in the right direction.” She couldn’t help but sigh.


“Do you feel that? It’s a cold breeze. The wind can blow from any direction on any given day, but we're underground. It’s coming back from the entrance at the very beginning of the maze. All we have to do is keep moving further away from it.” He snatches her hand and starts pulling her right along.


Lyrist tries his best to navigate through the paths that lie before them. It was becoming almost nearly impossible due to the constant changing of the walls layout. Shortly he finds a route that appears to be an almost guaranteed passage, but the next rotation encloses it into a dead end. The only options at this point are to go left or right. “Right or left….?” He thought out loud.


Blazerine suggests going left. While turning the left corner, two wooden slats, each with studded spikes dislodges out in front of them. If he was a second quicker, a portion of his body would have just been impaled. “Right it is then…” Down the right path the floor was made completely out of titles. And every time you stepped on one, it would simply collapse into nothingness. The only way they would be able to keep moving forward without falling is by quickening their pace drastically. He knew this would only work if he carried her along and continued to run. That’s exactly what he did. Luckily it didn't involve any jumping or else he would have lost his momentum and dropped her again. From there on out the traps got even crazier, from rope suspending ball spikes to boiling oil which squirts out from slits in the walls.


----


Leon wanders into a circular room where the floor and walls are spinning out of control. It disorients him to the point of affecting his motor skills greatly. Having the tendency of feeling like he’s doing to either stumble or fall. The dizziness was the worst factor of them all. It wouldn’t be too long before he ends up with a splitting headache. Gradually he manages to stagger himself to the middle of the floor. His arms wave in a circular manner, trying to maintain a steady stance. The only exit that could be seen was an empty door frame; however it was never one place at a time. Watching the walls, he realizes they were rotating in a clock-ward motion which is the opposite direction of the floor. It wouldn’t be too hard to reach if he times it just right. Waiting for a chance, he tightens his grip around the lantern handle. Once the door is aligned in his sight, he jumps and makes it straight through. Then he lands into the portion of sanctuary that is a separate area for women to sit, because men and women aren’t allowed to see each other during their type of worship. Scattered throughout the area is clear transparent minerals made out of ice. Everything was frozen. The stone walls, the furnishings made of wood and brass, including the scriptures of prophecies that describe future events that adored significant space. He shines his lantern near one particular painting, where a woman is seen standing in trumpet. She has fiery long hair and red eyes that could kill. Surrounding her body was nothing but flames and pure destruction. Below her feet lies a disfigured man whose body is covered by bizarre scarring. White veins were painted on the surface of his skin.


Further in the back is an altar of a woman chiseled in stone. Approaching the statue closer, he realizes it resembles similar features of the woman from the painting. In front of it lies a stairway which goes way down below the floor. Walking down the first three steps, his eyes became very watery from the wispy overflowing mist. It was giving him the sensation that he’s about to cry. Every so often he rubs at his sleeves to provide a temporary solution for warmth. The bear pelt he wears didn’t feel like it was enough to withstand the cold. Nearing the bottom, clear transparent of minerals which resembled ice could be seen throughout the area and there were stiffened bodies everywhere. Then surprisingly enough he saw Fenix heading to containment made out of thick ice. The very middle is filled with water to help preserve the body inside. Leon tries calling out to him, but he doesn’t reply.


He tries to stop moving, but he no longer has any control of his own body. Every step felt heavy. The feeling of being afraid was slowly but surely subsiding. Everything else in the world didn’t seem to matter other than what’s inside the containment. Once he’s close enough, he grazes his hand across the outside to remove the condensation. Floating inside is a young woman with long pale blue hair. In the background he hears Leon screaming " NO!!" Within a split second, his voice no longer could be heard. Nothing else in the world seems to matter now except for her. He begins to experience flash backs of mental images of the woman before his very eyes.


Fauna was in the training room. Clich├ęd, perhaps, given she’s almost always in there sparring with the seers; who would be instructing her on basic concepts of knowing how to use elements to her fullest potential. Right now she was meditating, trying to perfect a bubble around her body with the right amount air without bursting it.


Brother Augustine attempts to break her concentration. Sometimes it works, but the numbers of times seem to be dwindling, knowing she will receive a punishment for failing. Gradually she begins to float in midair. Thinking about how to breach the walls of this imprisonment they call a sanctuary. Then about the life she once knew. Her family is merely shapes and outlines now, small memories here and there of traditions they didn’t have time to instill. And habits she couldn’t even recall. The smell of her garden, did it smell of roses, or was it orchids? The bubble faltered with her doubts, causing a hole to puncture. She tries to regain her focus to conceal the opening, but it’s no use. The bubble completely bursts. She fell… it was quite a hard landing, but Augustine shows her no sympathy, only disappointment. He uses the Veil of Falsity to place her in a calm state to receive a punishment of beatings from all of his fellow followers.


“Fenix what have you done!?” Leon’s voice overshadows the very depths of Fenix’s clouded mind.


The dreamy look upon Fenix face suddenly vanishes. The woman’s eyes fluttered open. The room began to shake as to announce that she had finally awakened. The ice began to crack and tear which causes a few chunks to fall. Quickly as it started the shaking stopped. Then without effort she broke through her icy prison which sent chunks and shards of ice that glittered like tiny stars across the room. Fenix found himself plummeting to the floor after the woman’s shivering velvet white skin body fell on top of his. She was completely naked other than where the collar and the bracelet are. Her long luscious hair fell, dampening his skin. The moment he’s been waiting for all his life is now here in his arms, but he felt petrified to do anything. The thought of anything inappropriate never crossed his mind until now. He swallowed a lump of saliva in his throat making a gulping sound. He raised a shaking hand toward the woman's mid-section of her back. Looking back at him was a pair of peaceful eyes which seem to flow like a soft stream into his. The expression she given to him radiates off the words, “I have been waiting for you.” Their interlocking eyes shortly came to an end after she loses consciousness. Slowly he sat up to adjust her body into a sitting position.


Leon stood there in awe, unsure of what they were going to do now that Fenix has awakened the emotionalist. Then he was startled by chatter from above the stairs. Shortly he recognizes the voices of Blazerine and Lyrist. There wasn’t anything that could he say to them to make up for Fenix’s mistake.


“Hey look its Leon!” Blazerine hurries down the stairs along with Lyrist. When they were about to reach him, Lyrist made her come to a sudden halt by blocking her path with his arm. “Lyrist…?”


“Don’t come any closer, it’s too dangerous… Fenix has disobeyed Yeldir's warning. All our lives will be in peril unless we take her out right now! ” Lyrist hopes he can convince him before it’s too late.


“There’s something about her that I can’t explain mate. Deep down inside I know I’ll regret it if I go through with this. She might of have done horrible things in the past, but it still doesn’t give us the right to take her life. We must give her a chance to change. If anything couldn’t we just leave her here?” Fenix took off his bear pelt and drapes it around her.


“It would be too dangerous~. If someone of bad nature were to come across the emotionalist, it would be treacherous~ for every living thing. It should be the guardian responsibility to prevent such a disaster from happening.” Lyrist doesn’t want a repeat of what has happened here to reoccur somewhere else.


“She’ll be different. It’s not like we’re going to keep her locked up in a hell hole like this. She’ll have a chance to live life to its fullest. In return she would be more than helpful to the guardians. Look, it should be okay as long as we have this right Leo?” Fenix unlatches the veil of falsity from her wrist.


“Yes hopefully for now…” Leon took the bracelet off his hands to observe the embedded jewels closely.


“Are we sure she doesn’t have any brain washing powers? Oh wait… on second thought… It would be kind of impossible to do when he lacks, you know a brain.” Blazerine shrugs.


“Shut your small tits up gal!” Fenix bellows at the top of his lungs.


Blazerine is confused as of why Fenix felt so strongly about wanting to spare the emotionalist's life. “Well…here goes nothing.” She pinches the upper right frame of her sunglasses to active the LCD image within the lenses. Looking in the direction of the emotionalist, all of her vital signs are detected almost instantly. No pulse could be found and the core body temperature is in the low 60°s F. Instructions flashes the lenses; the heart is not beating and should be given CPR immediately. Warning; sensitivity to physical bumps might cause fibrillating. “Whatever your decision is… you better make it fast because she’s no longer breathing.”


In the end it came down to Fenix literally begging and pleading for them to help her, but none of them knew how to expect for Blazerine. That’s when she instructs Fenix to lay her down and move aside. It was very apparent to everyone that she was intentionally trying to avoid the chest area. She crisscrosses her hand over the other before planting them on top of the emotionalist's chest. There she begins to gently press rapidly and repeatedly. Then without one second thought about it she interlocks lips. The others stood there perplexed by what she was doing. The most Fenix could say was, ‘Hey Lyrist isn’t the only one I should be worry about now.’


Blazerine continues to breathe slowly into the depths of her mouth to make sure the air goes into her lungs. The emotionalist's chest slightly rises, indicating air passing through. Minutes pass by and yet there still was no sign of life. “C’mon breathe god damn’it!” Out of frustration she clenches her hands into fists and slams them into her chest. The woman started to cough a couple of times and began to breathe on her own.


Fenix never did say thank you, but they could tell he appreciated her kindness from the way he ruffled up the hair on top of her head. It felt a little awkward to Blazerine because it reminded her of what somebody would do with their pet dog for completing a task. Unfortunately for her there were no treats involved to satisfy her grumbling stomach. This is when Leon entrusts her with the The Bracelet of Falsity out of nowhere. He thought she of all people out of the group would be more understanding of another females feeling. She does understand where he’s coming from by thinking that. But she really has only been around men her entire life. Well at least as far as she could remember anyway.


Although Fenix was glad, he did find it a bit hard to swallow. He didn’t expect Leon to give any sort of responsibility to Blazerine. All it means is that he has accepted her through one act of kindness when it took several years to reach that level himself with Leon. Regardless of his feelings he’ll look pass this because he feels like he owes her a favor now.


Lyrist is beginning to believe there might be something behind all of this guardian lore after witnessing the astonishing kiss that brought the emotionalist back from the dead. A kiss of life can be something very precious and also deadly in the wrong hands. It made him wonder if he had known this prior to his mother death. Would have there been possibility a chance of bringing her back from the dead If he had retrieved her body in time? When he brought this to their attention, Blazerine says it would have been impossible. She didn’t give any exclamation as of why it wouldn’t, but she didn’t have to.


Leon got everybody’s attention by speaking these words, “Eventually time will tell if reviving the emotionalist is a mistake or not. But know this… we will all be held accountable for what has taken place here. Whatever it may be, we will bear the burden together.”


Blazerine thought every word he spoke was truly sincere. For the first time she didn’t see him as an annoying acquaintance, but as an actual leader. Briefly she looks down at the golden bracelet attached on the outside of her trench coat sleeve. The size was similar of a vanguard but heavier due to the embedded jewels. (I guess I’ll be carrying the emotionalist feelings on my shoulder, well… in this case on my arm.) “Well what are we going to do now? Since Fenix has already caused enough damage for an entire life time.”


“Fenix and I want you to stay put. I doubt the emotionalist will be conscious any time soon… However if it were to occur I’m sure she wouldn’t have enough strength to do anything in her current condition. I’m taking Lyrist with me so be sure to keep an eye on them for me, alright Blazerine? ” Leon wants to continue on with the search without having anymore mishaps.


Lyrist passes Blazerine and whispers, “If there are any changes, all you have to do is call for me and I’ll be back here before you know it.”


Only silence remains after their departure. Blazerine stood there wondering if she should of have mentioned that they could only hear Lyrist speak if he’s within range of her sunglasses. And occasionally she would try to say something. Every single time she would stop herself. Figuring now wouldn’t be the time to get into some stupid argument with Fenix. Considering the guy usually takes everything people say out of context. The most she could do is ask if the emotionalist was warm enough.


Fenix finally loses his temper and yells, “She has a name you know and it’s Fauna! I will not tolerate any of you speaking about her in an inhumane way!”


“Fenix I’m sorry, I didn’t mean –“Blazerine pleads but he is quick to interrupt.


“I know what it’s like to be only looked at as some mere tool that nobody cares about.” Fenix says almost in tears. He swallows his saliva roughly before continuing to speak in a shaky tone of voice. “I lived in a small village with my father… He taught me everything and I mean everything, all the basics of survival. How the poor can gain luxury of riches through stealing and gambling. But unfortunately one night of gambling had gone completely wrong. My father was caught with a loaded dice. The toll for cheating is a removal of a finger. Since he had been there several times before and won they thought it could only be justified by chopping off his entire hand for repayment. When his hand was about to be lopped off, he made a bargain to exchange me for his fines. Although I disagreed, I respected my father too much to go against his wishes. I became a work mule for a farmer named John Henry. He mistreated me on a daily basis. Like… I was some sort of animal. I worked in radish fields, beneath the hot scorching sun without food or water for days. Whenever I got desperate enough I would snatch a radish or two, but it made me very ill. John brutally beaten me and periodically locked me in a cellar for days. That is why I can’t leave her like this, okay…?”


Blazerine didn’t ever expect Fenix to say something so personal about himself just like that. Who would have known there’s a heart somewhere behind all that savage muscle of his.)


While lying there, Fauna began to relive every single moment all over again, the same emotions, the same reactions, the same sins; over and over. Fenix places his hand on her forehead, but her skin felt too hot to touch. And the ice beneath her body is beginning to melt away due to her body temperature rising drastically. Her mind felt like it was about to explode as the images of her burning homeland kept pouring on in. Blazerine wasn’t so sure if she was overacting from a nightmare or experiencing some sort of seizure. Whatever it may be, it couldn’t be left unaddressed for much longer. Blazerine slammed her hand down on the diamond before there are any other psychically changes. Her arm momentary vibrates while the astonishing mystical wave of white energy is released from the bracelet. In result her hair tone to become a see through color similar to glass. The two of them felt relief, but it didn’t last very long. All the heat Fauna radiated has caused the seers to slowly but surely unthaw.


Blazerine asks, “Are you alright?” There was no doubt in her mind that his hand had been burnt. Oddly enough it seems to be the least of his worries. He was too busy wrapping Fauna up in a bear pelt. It was almost similar to someone bundling up their newborn in a blanket for the first time.


“Blaze- Blazerine, shouldn’t we be getting out of here?!” Fenix panicky gathers Fauna into his arms, but the tiniest of movement causes her to shift during her sleep.


“Relax; it’s unlikely they would have been able to survive through the crystallization. Err… why am I even trying to explain this to you?” Blazerine couldn’t help but frown. She knows Fauna was only a different case because her powers preserved her body through the usage of water. But still on the other hand, should they really test the odds? Common logic hasn’t exactly meant anything since she arrived in this forsaken world of theirs. “Yet again… how about we go wait upstairs?” When she turns to look back at Fenix, he was already half way up the stairs.


-----


The decorations and furniture of the choir were beautiful; however it hid the inexhaustible province for the artist’s skill and genius beneath the ice. In the far front stood another altar of the emotionalist and it was made out of nothing but pure marble. Leon thought it was pretty expensive for such an exclusive cathedral.


While viewing the scenery, Yeldir's voice blurts out of nowhere. It was enough to startle Lyrist to the point of jumping onto one of the pillars. Hugging onto it with his nails unsheathing and his ears slanted back. Within that instance his iris shift from rounded to a narrow slit. Regardless of his effort to hold onto the pillar, he ends up sliding straight down because it’s too slippery. He mentions Yeldir the Magnificent once he returns to his senses.


“What?” Leon saw his lips move, but he didn’t actually hear anything. (Why of all times is he choosing to mess around?)


Lyrist now realizes the limitation of the sacred orb range is very short. The most he could do in a situation such as this wasto make hand gestures. Leon recognizes what he’s trying to do, but his facial features went from concern to just confusion. After several minutes of charades, he takes off his earrings and gives them to him.


Leon faintly hears the voice of Yeldir coming from the earring farthest to the left in his hand. He listens closely after raising it closer to his ear and the other in front of his mouth. Slowly he deciphers Yeldir's sentence throughout the stuttering storm of his ongoing laughter. “He wants to know… how our progress is going… We’re checking the last section. Hopefully it’ll be here somewhere…” He wasn’t sure whether or not they should even tell him about the awakening of the emotionalist. For now he thought it would be best if he didn’t. It’s not like it would benefit them at this point anyways.


Lyrist thought it was a bit foolish of him to have not brought it to light. Considering all of his knowledge would have been useful. He gives Leon the most displeasing look of disapproval.


Leon hands the earrings back to him and says, “Don’t worry; the others don’t need to know about your incident. Well as long as you don’t mention anything to Yeldir for now that is…”


Lyrist begins to realize Blazerine wasn’t the only one with trust insecurities.


----


Blazerine impatiently sat around with her hands supporting her head up from underneath her chin. She was in a hurry to get out of this place. They had been here long enough already in her opinion. A sigh escapes from her lips as she takes a slight glimpse towards the ceiling. Shortly afterwards she was distracted by Fenix who was screaming from the opposite side of the room. (Why is her hair pink…?) “Spencer what did you do now?!”


“I didn’t do anything I swear!” Fenix was beginning to shake like a leaf. Then he asks, “What power represents this color?”


“What am I an expert or something? How the hell am I supposed to know? It’s not like this thing came with manual or anything. “Blazerine glances dumbfounded at the bracelet. There were five gemstones, a black emerald, red ruby, diamond, sapphire and a pink topaz shaped like a heart. It’s the only one Yeldir didn’t describe. Luckily for her it’s pretty obvious what it represents. “Are you sure you didn’t do anything because…” Her voice trails off the moment Fauna and Fenix lips met. (Who kissed who first? Wait, why does it even matter?) She turns around and demands for them to stop at once. Not wanting them to get carried away into further activities.


“I’m not doing anything I swear!” Fenix words aren’t very understandable due to the muffling of the interlocking kiss. He kept his arms sky high to prove she was doing it of her own free will. She wraps her arms around his neck while continuing to passionately kiss him. He gently tries his best to pry her off without doing her any harm. However the more he did, the more her appearance seems to be changing miraculously before their eyes. The lovely pink hair and eyes were shimmering to a faint pale blue. The expression on her face made him realize that she was nearly on the verge of bursting into tears.


“My husband has forgotten me?” Fauna softly begins to weep.


Blazerine spun back around and Fenix gave her the oddest look of confusion ever. Both of them repeated "Husband!?" at the exact same time.


Fauna looks directly back at Blazerine before yelling out in delight. “Sister Caitlyn it’s you!” Every strand of her hair transitions to the color of a bright orange, followed by her eyes. Then unexpectedly she scrambles to her feet and runs to Blazerine with open arms.


Blazerine felt the blood rush to her cheeks from the embarrassment she felt from the hug. But despite her embarrassment she also felt strange, fuzzy, a warm sensation spread throughout her body, causing her heart to beat faster. (She’s been so traumatized by her past that she actually created a false reality. Maybe we should play along with it. Why piss somebody off who has so much power anyways?) She looks off to the side and says, “Your husband is suffering from amnesia. That’s why he may act a little, well a lot different than usual. And Caitlyn is my middle name; you can just call me Blazerine from now on.”


Fenix furiously approaches Blazerine and softly brushes Fauna off to the side. “What’s the idea!? What’s with all the lies you’re spewing woman?” He threatens her with a raised fist.


“Fredrick you’ve changed its true.” Fauna fell to her knees then buries her face into her hands. The soothing orange now shifting back to blue.


“Hey you better go consult your wife… Fredrick.” Blazerine tries not to laugh.


Fenix lowers his shaky fist down and looks back over to Fauna. “I’ll finish this later. And you know what? This might not be so bad having her as a wife. At least she has a pair unlike somebody I know.”


Blazerine; Really after all I’ve done. He still insists on insulting me? He’s going to regret those words, every single last syllable. ) She doesn’t even notice the others return while she’s plotting her revenge. Leon stood there admiring her from afar. The only one who seems to pay any mind to it was Lyrist.


(Lyrist; Why did he find her attractive suddenly? Is it truly because of her shorter hair? I wonder if all the humans are this shallow.) His train of thought soon diminishes from the sobs of the emotionalist. “Should we be allowing her to cry since-“


“If she wants to cry, let her cry for a bit. It’s not going to hurt anything.” Blazerine interrupts him. “Oh and by the way this bracelet only displays five emotions. And just a second ago her hair turn completely orange, but she didn’t even show any elemental power from what I could tell. We need to figure out the properties of her other abilities… We probably should ask-“


“There’s no need, we will know what they are soon enough.” Leon shrugs.


“What? But Lyrist is right this is dangerous.” Blazerine insists they should contact Yeldir immediately.


“It’s too late to change our minds now. We also cannot rely on Yeldir for everything that occurs.” Leon replies with a bit of irritation in his voice.


(Blazerine; He’s just saying that because he doesn’t want to distract Yeldir from finding out where those stupid orbs are.) “You guys didn’t find it did you?”


Lyrist only shook his head and simply said, “It’s not here.”


“Alright now that that’s done and over with. Why don’t we be on our way to Ansell Fiore.” Blazerine suggests.


“Well about that-“Leon was about to say something but Fenix butts right in with an outburst of laughter.


“You’re too gullible gal.” Fenix says only after finally calming down momentary to speak.


“What are you talking about Spencer?” Blazerine arches a single eyebrow above her sunglasses.


“Yeah what are you talking about?” Leon directly glares at him. Mind you it wasn’t an ordinary glare. It was one indicating he better shut his trap or else there will be hell to pay.


“N-nothing…” Fenix swallows his saliva rather harshly. However his distress is pushed off aside from the soft weeps of Fauna. He felt like he should do something about it. Plus it’s hard for him to watch somebody as beautiful as her shed any tears. “No wife of mine is allowed to cry, you better quit it, yah hear?”


Fauna felt Fenix slip his hand over onto hers and he manages to pull her up back to her feet without any difficulty. He prepares himself to catch her once he notices she was beginning to sway slightly. But thankfully she didn’t collapse, although he still is worried. She had missed her husband's boldness to never be afraid to speak his mind. That fabulous smile of his and those green eyes, the kind she could get lost in forever. But above all his laugher was music to her ears. She began to speak, feeling she should verbally express her gratitude. Gently she clears her throat and says, “Thank you for saving me.” Right after her sentence was finished her hair blossoms to the color of a camellia.


Before the others could say anything about what had just taken place. Blazerine quietly whispers that she will explain all of it to them later.


According to Fauna the only way out is to go back which they had come. Meaning they would have to endure all the madness of the maze once again. But this time the group manages to stay together. It was easier getting out than it was in. However it felt like it was all worth it in the end. Fauna got to embrace the world that once had been taken away from her.


Fauna wanders her way out into the white winter wonderland. “Fascinating..!” She mutters in awe. It’s so fluffy she thought to herself before bending over to pick up a handful. In the process she loses her balance and fell straight flat on her face in the cold snow. It was quite a blonde moment and speaking of which its exact hair color she was displaying before them. For a moment she just lies there stunned at how cold it really was. Then she rolls herself over and laughs hysterically while flailing her arms up and down to create a snow angel. “I love the snow!” She screams exuberantly.


“Where did all this snow come from?” Blazerine asks. (There must of have been a strange snow storm that left almost four feet of snow. But it still doesn’t explain what happened to all of the ice.)


“It must be because of her… A layer of that sad frigid heart has melted away.” Fenix couldn’t take his eyes off of her.


-----


Their journey continues to a large town called Ansell Fiore. It’s an old English styled town built. It took a lot longer than Blazerine anticipated for them to get there. The roads were made of cobble stone and there were mostly expensive homes than the fewer average. Most of the merchants in this town lived just upstairs over their business. The upper portion of the town is marked by a big beautiful tree where the best and most popular of the shops are. As captivating as the place was, they stuck out like a sore thumb. Due to Lyrist's stained clothes and especially Fauna wandering around and about with nothing but animal pelts wrapped around her naked petite body. Earlier she had fainted from all that prancing around and about the town. It was bound to happen since she’s still in the process of recovery. Any little thing could over exert her. Fenix held her in his arms while he and Lyrist waited outside of Ironclad Inn. Blazerine and Leon were already inside to seek some information about Gallet's whereabouts. The Inn owner claims the last time he heard from Gallet is when he said he was going to visit somebody at the Mournful Moon Inn. He also mentions the Inn owner Mary Sue. Whenever she’s in need of some workers, she’ll show her face around here. However he wasn’t very too keen about her annoying his customers, considering most of them were afraid of her. He always loses business when she comes around. Leon was curious as of why they would be so afraid.


“Mary Sue isn’t your typical lady. She proclaims how only money can truly buy happiness or anything else your heart desires. There’s a rumor going on around about her, but I wouldn’t give into that crap.” The man said, but Leon insisted to hear it regardless. “Well it’s said that the building is set in the middle of the forest, miles and miles away from any civilization. Long ago this sealed tavern was nothing more than a prison of bad memories and wooden decay. None dare venture forth to its oak doors and try its rusty handle. The path had been grown over by grass and weeds over the many lost years, leaving the tavern to seem forgotten. However, it was not forgotten for too long, for its original owner returned one cold evening with a young woman, Mary sue. Who could be no more than twenty, requested to have a look at the abandoned building. After much debate and well reasoning, the tavern was sold to her for barely anything and eventually she turned it into a brothel. Although the exterior of the tavern remained mostly untouched after the young woman bought the building, the inside was remodeled with the newest of furnishings.


When it was first opened, everybody had a good time, happy sounding music, which would put a smile on your face. Eventually rumors prosper about Mary Sue. How some customers would turn up missing and were never seen ever again. Some say that they just move on from the town, others say it’s something rather grizzlier.” The owner was about to say more, but a guy a bar stool away was intruding. “Mind your own business Charles.”


Charles was a scrawny little guy to most; he made Lyrist look masculine in comparison. Though he seemed young, surely no older than twenty, he exuded an air of experience, like nothing could surprise him, as if he had already seen it all. His steps were strong, bearing confidence and aloof. He wore a brocade vest accented with antique buttons; it also had an adjustable belt in the back. Along with his set of boots that have a large fold over cuff which can be worn up or down. When he stood, in his right arm a crutch of sorts could be seen. It’s a staff made from a gnarled tree root which he uses to support himself while walking. “I work at that Inn! Mary Sue is nothing but a saint; I can prove to you that those rumors are false.” Casually he swipes strands of hair out from the front of his eyes.


“I didn’t come here to dispute rumors.” Leon declines his offer straight away.


Charles dabs the tip of his staff against Leon surcoat to the point of irritating him purposely then says, “It’s a Templar duty to disclose matters for the public isn’t it?”


Leon kept a straight face even though it couldn’t be seen through his helmet. He did highly in fact dislike the action this guy was pulling. And why did he insist about such an ordeal if he thought Mary Sue didn’t do what many claim. Perhaps there is some sort of connection between the two, maybe a relationship. “Yes, but I have more important matters.” He wasn’t planning on getting side tracked.


“More important matters such as, oh wait, putting gold in your coin pouch and putting your needs first instead of fulfilling the duty as a Templar?” The voice that proceeded from the smirking lips was smooth, chill, and faintly mischievous.


“Do not pass your judgment so hastily Charles. If this is such a concern for the town then I am more than willing to find a solution. Now would you be so kind to show me the way?” Leon tone of voice didn’t change, although it was apparent there was anger behind it.


“It would be my pleasure to be of any assistance to a Templar.” Charles gradually bows out of curteousy.


Blazerine couldn’t even look at him for very long since everything about him read bad. She left the Inn first to tell Lyrist about what was mentioned, but Lyrist already heard all of it. Claiming he had heard every single word. She took this time to apologize, explaining how she had forgotten about his sharp hearing.


Leon came walking out with Charles by his side. Charles notices the individuals standing nearby him and eyes Lyrist more particular than anyone else.


“They’re with me.” Leon explains their presence without any further detail.


“You there elf, there’s no need to hide. All breeds are welcome at the Mournful Moon In.” Charles commented before walking off ahead to lead them.


“How did he know?” Blazerine turns to Lyrist.


“I’m afraid I have no answer Lady Blazerine.” Lyrist was suspicious more than intrigued by the man discovering his true identity. There was one thing he kept close in mind, that this man for some reason was eager to get them to that tavern.


The forest seems unnaturally quiet at this time of day; normally the birds would be singing their morning tune. The plants would be swaying in the breeze, heck even the bees would be buzzing about going from flower to flower. But no, the forest was still, quite the opposite of Blazerine thoughts. It was apparent to her that Leon did lie, but for whatever reasons she didn’t even bother bringing it up. What would be the point now when they’re finally here after all?


“How long do you tend to carry the injured woman around? I reckon you should let her rest at the Inn until she recovers fully or else she’ll be a burden for all of you. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t want that.” Charles mentions out of the blue.


“She’s going to be more of burden than you’ll ever know mate.” Fenix didn’t even want to think of what lies ahead for when she regains her full strength back.


“Oh really, what are you to her?” Charles asks.


Fenix was about to say nobody, but Leon and Blazerine beat him by saying “her husband” instead.


“Husband, ohm… too bad... She’s been used too much already.” Charles sneers.


Fenix felt at that very moment he could of have punched him straight in the face, but his arms were still full. He figured if he played his cards right, he would have a chance to do it later on.


Leon thought it was a terrible thing to say about anyone in general. “Mind you, I expect you treat my comrades with the same respect you’re supposed to show to a Templar.”


“Comrades, these are your so called comrades?” Charles laughs at the mere thought of a Templar needing aid from the likes of them. No one answers him, but he gently kept humming to himself as he strolls through the woods. Wearing a smile as he often did; despite his dire circumstances, he always seems to look happy.


Nearing their sight was the outside of the Mournful Moon Inn. The tavern appears worn out by the long years of no maintenance. In some areas, the wood buckles from water absorption. Charles claims the outside may look like nothing, but the inside can make one step back and look twice. Once they were inside, they stood at the main entrance. It was littered with a handful of tables and chairs for those who decide to dine off the available bar counter, where thirteen stools sit, waiting for occupation. At the very top of the staircase, there Mary Sue is seen leaning to the side with her elbow resting atop of the banister. Her body was also leaning in slightly, showing off the curving slope of her profiled torso, elegantly drew out from her provocatively displayed adorned assets. Slowly a brilliant and almost most promising smile coursed over her full red painted lips. Softly she claps her gloved hands together to signal a small barrage of women, dressed in similar brothel outfits. As they lined up along the stairs, a few leaning their back against the side wall, a few others leaning forward, a leg draped over the railing. The women held many statures, some short, and some tall. A few slender ones, curvy ones and a couple plump ones. Their hair colors all varied; blonds, brunettes, red heads, a few nicely done, tactful, but clearly dyed shades. The women looked to be healthy and well pampered. Their bodies were all gently scented in their own signature smells, though oddly enough as they all posed, the combined scent was sweet. All of them had a seductive smile wrought on their well made up faces. Mary Sue parts her lips and asks, “Which one of these lucky ladies do you prefer as an escort?”


Charles explains how they were here strictly for business. There was no interest for those here who entered the establishment for anything else other than pleasure. The girls were simply dismissed before she made her way down the stairs for a more propriety greeting. At the end of the stairs she did a curtsey. “Good evening Templar, what kind of business brings you here?” Her voice is flourishing with a rather seductive tone.


Blazerine didn’t pay much attention because she was still trying to figure out what was so great about this place. She was beginning to think Charles bragged about the place all for nothing. However Fenix knew Charles meant most men wouldn’t think to look twice at the selection of ladies roaming this crappy building. On the other hand Lyrist was annoyed since his nose is too sensitive to handle the overwhelming stench of cheap perfume. Although he never had smelled anything of the likes before, it made him believe that some human females have unbearable scents worse than Fenix. As soon as Leon was about to explain their presence, Mary Sue insist someone to attend to Fauna. Fenix didn’t want to exactly hand her over, not to anyone, especially somebody he just met. So she insists for him to take her into one of the spare rooms upstairs. He didn’t move a muscle until Leon gave a hand signal to indicate to go ahead. Fenix led himself up the stairs and wanders into an unoccupied room. The room was simple furnishings, a bed, a table and a rug that covers only the middle of the wooden floor. After taking a quick look around, he tucks her into bed. One of the escorts barges in and startles him. She was there to offer a selection of clothing for Fauna to wear, a small gesture of kindness on Mary Sue's behalf. Fenix figures she must have been trying to get on Leon's good side. It made him recall the old days of when he too was still a Templar. Although he didn’t exactly miss those days since it just proves how manipulative folks truly can be.


“I’ll take that one.” The only thing that came to mind was the light peach burgundy cotton velvet dress. It gives a well fitted appearance and it’s exquisitely accents with a hand beaded gold trim. The sleeves have sheer soft netting and are finished with three matching burgundy bows on both sides. An elegant hat tops off the look since it’s designed to match the dress. A stiff interior with cotton velvet exterior and a peach edging with a gold trim. It’s probably the most expensive of all three dresses, but it also was the least revealing. Although a choice was made, he wasn’t too sure how to go about dressing her.


Back down stairs, Mary Sue said, “You know a woman’s heart is like a delicate flower, so beautiful and vulnerable. Anybody can just walk over and pluck their little insufficient life away. Tell me Templar, I bet you wouldn’t want something beautiful in your eyes to be plucked away, now would you?” Mary Sue looks directly at Blazerine. She could tell she was female even with those clothes of her. It made her wonder why any woman would prefer dressing rather ghastly like a man.


Lyrist observes the look she gave Blazerine. Although he’s unable to understand the many expressions of human beings, he could tell by her demur that it was in fact a threat. But why couldn’t he read her thoughts or even the others?


Threat or not, Leon knew he had to do this regardless since duty is calling. However he almost forgot the reason why he did come here in the first place. He takes this opportunity to ask for Gallet, but he’s told that he won’t return until later this evening. Lyrist suggests they should step out for a while and have a word with one another. Mary Sue tosses her dark hair over her bare shoulder before looking annoyingly away.


Outside in the garden, Blazerine was overtaken by the different fragrances of planted flowers. From daisies, carnations, violets, roses and others she wasn’t too familiar with. Lyrist and Leon were off to the side, talking privately. She doesn’t really think much of it. Walking amongst the flowers, she passes a pair of shovels which were leaning against the outside wall of the tavern. For a second she pinches her nose slightly in order to stop an oncoming sneeze. But the moment she lets go it happens anyways. It was a bit of unparticular sneeze in fact it sounds rather high pitch. It was enough to interrupt Leon and Lyrist's conversation. It was obvious the she was embarrassed by the whole ordeal. Laughing a little bit, soon forming a smile with a pushed out a prominent cheek dimple.


Afar from the upstairs window, Charles watches with a smirk upon his face. Thinking the expression gave Blazerine an oddly fitting look of innocence. Mary Sue overshadowed him from behind with her deep hazelnut eyes studying his body language. He knew she was watching, but he doesn’t seem to care.


-----


Fenix is quietly resting at the foot of the bed. He couldn’t bring himself to dress Fauna. It was the second time he felt like a complete pervert. Everything he ever wanted is lying right there for the taking, but he couldn’t budge a single bit. Startled by the door, he instantly arose to his feet. An escort who goes by the name of Maria was seen leaning against the door frame. She was wearing a red under bust corset that begins just under the breasts and extends down to the hips. Her arms were covered pass her elbows by a black long pair of gloves which matches her stockings. Smiling brightly, she speaks in an elevated and cheerful tone. “Your friends have been looking for you. They’re in need of your assistance in the garden.”


Fenix didn’t even take a long enough look to realize she was bare foot. “Sorry gal I’m staying put unless he comes up here to tell me himself.” He sat back down.


Maria's eyes remain locked on his metallic gaze towards the ill woman. It was apparent he only showed interest in her and she wasn’t very pleased about it. Approaching closer with her hips swaying, she pursed her lips together. Carefully she glides her right gloved hand against his shoulder and left it there momentarily. “What a poor thing, but you know what they say. Sickness is caused by sin… It’s what the creator does to those who deserve punishment.”


Fenix completely disagrees and angrily shoves her aside, causing her to fumble to the floor. When he stood, he felt a bit oozy for a mere second. “How can a tramp say –“He couldn’t even find the strength to finish his sentence. It felt almost impossible to keep his eyes open any longer. He took one staggering step then another before plummeting into the floor.


Maria climbs back to her feet, knowing he won’t be in any position to leave any time soon. Very carefully, she slowly removes the glove off her right hand to avoid making contacting with the green-yellowish sap from the palm.


----


Blazerine comes across a batch of flat leaves when she’s messing around in the garden out of boredom. The leaves were lankier at the stem, reminding her of parsley. By just looking, she really couldn’t determine what it was for sure. She reaches out to pluck a leaf off the stem, but Leon yells, “Don’t touch it! These are what you call a Sleepy Lily, a highly poisonous plant that causes a person to fall into a fatal sleep. The sleep is harmless, but it looks fatal, because it makes your heart beat very faintly; most would presume the person is dead when they’re in fact alive. The sap is released when the plant is bruised or removed. It may be deposited by direct skin contact with the plant or by the plant itself having contact with objects, such as clothing. Little doses can cause minor effects of sleeping. For basically an hour or two, but in higher doses it can render someone unconscious for days.”


Now that he thinks about it. Why would they have such a dangerous plant in their garden? Out of the corner of his eye he notices a hatch cellar; it consists of a large hole dug into the ground that is lined with rocks. Beams and plywood sheets were securely laid over the hole, with a hatch door to incorporate into the ceiling and the floor, along with a wooden ladder for safe and easy access. The very top of the cellar has a shed built to overlap the walls by about three feet on each side. He heads on over to the door and opens it wide, almost like shutters from a window. Then he immediately climbs down the ladder. The floor below is left in its natural state, just plain old dirt. The lantern hanging from the ceiling is slowly swaying from one side to the other. It wasn’t any ordinary cellar from what he can tell. They’re usually used for storing root crops, squash, and some other homegrown produce. But this didn’t have any at all actually. A pair of tables could be seen from the middle of the room. And there is variety of cutting tools hanging off the walls.


Lyrist is overwhelmed by a horrible stench, the instant he drops down behind him, landing on all fours. It’s an unforgettable smell that he recognizes and it’s coming from the large pots that are sticking out from the far left corner. He stands right back up before slowly approaching the pot close enough to remove its lid. His ear twitches from the sound of the door slamming shut from above. “Blazerine was that you?”


Blazerine was only half way down the ladder when it happened. Looking up she says, “N-no it wasn’t me. Hold on I’m going to go check.” In the back of her mind she is hoping that the wind might of have been behind all of this. But unfortunately back at the top, when she tries to push the door open, it won’t budge. After the discovery, she goes back the ladder entrance and calls down to them. “It’s locked! What are we going to do?”


(Leon; Why are they locking us in? What is the reason?)


Lyrist finally lifts up the pot lid and said, “This might be the reason.”


Leon moves on over to him to get a peek at what could be inside. From one glance he saw the pile of severed heads and one of them just happens to resemble Gallet. He takes a step back after getting a whiff of the rotten flesh.


Unexpectedly from behind Blazerine says, “What are you guys looking at?”


Leon quickly snatches the lid from Lyrist and slams it back down onto the pot. “There’s nothing else to see here.”


“Okay then…” Blazerine shrugs.


(Leon; As eager as she is to prove her innocence. I don’t know what kind of reaction she’ll have after finding out that he’s dead. This isn’t a time to be losing our-. Wow that’s not appropriate at all. I need to think about the others. Hopefully nothing has happened to them.) He walks straight pass her and retrieves the lantern. He didn’t even bother to look back once he asks Lyrist to help assist with the door.


Blazerine held onto the lantern while Leon and Lyrist attempt to break open the door by ramming it together with their shoulders at the same time. They were hoping that the impact could unlatch the lock. But it was no use. She lowers her eyes down till they fell upon the bracelet, thinking this might be their only means of escaping.


Leon didn’t want to be extreme about doing property damage, but there was no other choice now. When he was about to unsheathe his sword, a red mystical light explodes off Blazerine arm.


“What have you done?!” Leon scowled her.


-----


Mary Sue, Charles and the other brothel girls gather in the kitchen for the feast. One of them brought with them something wrapped in leather, no more than eight inches and she carried it under her arm pit. She places the item onto the table and opens it with a toothy grin. It’s filled with many knives which are strapped tightly down from what appears to be human hair. It also contains a razor and a scissor; key items needed to cut skin. After all, who would want hair in their meal anyways?


“Thank you my pet.” Mary Sue said with a nod of approval. This will be their appetizer before they get a taste of the main course. She wasn’t worried about anybody barging in on them. The tavern is always quiet during the day. It only becomes active more towards the evenings. Before them is Fenix out cold body lying there upon the wooden table. Seductively she glides her tongue across his bare torso to moisten the skin. He’s slowly beginning to regain consciousness. The dose he was given wasn’t a large amount to keep him under for very long. They wanted hear him cry out in agony as they cut him up piece by piece.


“I guess you ladies wish to gander at my broadsword…?” Fenix says barley conscious. Soon he realizes that he’s completely naked and bound by rope. It would of have been easy for someone like him to break out of his restraint if he wasn’t so drowsy.


“Gander? More…likely I would eat it.” Mary Sue giggles madly.


Suddenly Fenix felt the pressure of a knife entering his flesh slightly. And then he heard Mary Sue gasp out in delight, almost as if she was becoming aroused by all of this. Then he felt the pressure of the knife entering the flesh of his left cheek slightly. It sufficiently made him cry out in pain. If it was a quick sharp cut his pain sensors wouldn’t have even register it. Although his struggle actually makes it worse, when he jerks his head, the knife follows along and ends up cutting him diagonally across.


Fauna angrily arises from the deadest of sleep to only reveal a pair of fiery eyes. Her hair turned fire red an aura of yellow and red; as if she was fire itself. It radiated strongly from her. The flames didn’t start until she climbs out of bed. Exiting the room, she began to walk down the stairs slowly. Each step made the old wood burn creek and smoke. Eventually the intense fire she radiated within her cause the wood to catch on fire. This did not disturb her for fire was hers; her friend and ally. The sight was beautiful yet chaotic. Fenix catches a glimpse of her through the kitchen door frame. To him it was as if the goddess of chaos herself descended down to save him, but to her enemies is the angel of death; who has come down to smite them. As she reached the final step the entire stairs and beyond that was burning on fire, the greedy flames seep further, eating hungrily. Everybody in the kitchen stares in disbelief, but mostly in fear as the woman descends from the stairs.


Fauna points in their direction yells, “Get away from my husband or else I’ll turn you into ashes!” The brothel girls dispurse immediately, leaving only Mary Sue behind. (If she refuses to leave then she has another thing coming.) In her rage she leapt toward the Mary Sue with great speed. The thought of them harming her husband gave a rage that even beasts would fear. Within rage, she quickly grabs the woman’s face with a vice grip. Slowly the flames spun a rapid burst from her hand, causing her face to begin to melt from the deadly temperature that crawled out of her hand. Her facial hair began to seer, her hair caught ablaze but the worst was that her very face started to burn and melt from the flames, the pain was too great. Screams of nothing but pure murder could be heard. Fauna merely looked at her handy work while the woman screamed for mercy. Once she felt it was enough to let go, she did. The woman's face was reduced to nothing but a skull. The corpse fell onto the floor. The skull was burnt and charred black thanks the flames that erupted from her hand.


----


Leon drew his blade pushed to the side, above where the lock is. He had an idea; he lifts his leg and struck it down like a lightning bolt unto the naked blade like a hammer hitting a nail. The power sent the blade down onto the lock cutting it. He withdrew the blade and kicked the door open. He smirks to congratulate himself that the idea works. Out they went only to discover that the Inn was on fire. It would have surprised them if they didn’t already know what the cause behind it was. Blazerine knew the only thing she could do now.


-----


Fauna is sad from killing the woman in cold blood. She never thought she could ever do such a thing, and more so by the place being on fire. Her hair wavers into a watery blue; like the beautiful sea. She sighs with her watery sapphire eyes. The aura of sadness and regret flow’s out of her. Stretching her hands upward and slowly, the water beginning to drip down from the ceiling from what seems to be any empty void. She realizes this and thought of more sad thoughts to cause the small rain to become a miniature waterfall. The water flow stops the moment her thoughts did. The then she swung her hand toward the blazing fire and it obeys. With sad thoughts overwhelming she twirled her body and hands, continuing the flow of water while it obey her every whim and thus each time the water swept to the flames. Eventually the fire was put out. Then she fell to her knees, making the water lose its life and dropped to the ground with splash.


Fenix is stunned by what he just witnessed. He’s now at a loss for words. That strawberry hair of hers took over when she plants herself on top of him in order to give a snuggling hug. Fenix didn’t know how to react after their naked bodies came into contact with one another. He bellows, “What took you mates so long!?” after Leon called out his name. They stop dead in their tracks once they recognized the position he’s in.


Blazerine turns around and says, “Really?”


“Look nothing happened!” Fenix pleads.


Leon wasn’t sure what to believe. Nor did he say anything about it and just helps free him. Lucky for them, right beneath the table was all of Fenix belongings, including his equipment. Lyrist believes it’s because they were going to dispose of it afterwards.


“Know this Blazerine, you shouldn’t have done that. Fenix could of have been killed!” Leon snaps in her direction.


Fenix sat up and blurts out, “Actually I would of have been dead if it wasn’t for her. Mary Sue and all those tramps were going to try to eat me and I mean that literally!”


Still holding onto him, Fauna squeals, “I rescued him!”


Blazerine thought it was a possibility that they could be butchering people while they are asleep. The only thing that seems to be missing out of the loop was the bones of the victims. She still couldn’t figure out the reason someone would want to eat another person in the first place. “There has to be a reason behind all of this. People just don’t turn randomly to cannibalism. It’s usually a result of some sort of major mental illness. In most cases its practices of sexual fetishes, religion or even a cult.”


“Illness..? Often bandits have fed on the bodies of their dead opponents out of despite or revenge. A lot of the remains could never be found because they would keep the bones of their victims for souvenirs.” Leon continues to shovel further, regardless of being overheated due to his armor.


“And you thought I’m a bandit?” Blazerine mutters while rolling her eyes.


Lyrist explores the kitchen and explains everything he sees, “A stove and a fireplace. Often animals are cooked over the fireplace on spits. Spits are long poles of wood which an animal can be secured on. The spit is use to turn the animal to make sure its cook evenly. Usually meat is smoked in a fireplace to help preserved it. Soups and stews are also cooked there, but in large copper pots. Right over there is the stove, it's used to make bread and other varieties of pastries.”


“What’s with elf boy?” Fenix asks.


Blazerine was clueless about everything in the kitchen, although she didn’t portray it. She assumes Lyrist must have gotten inside of her head once again. But why did he take it into consideration at this exact moment instead of when she actually thought of it?


Lyrist examines the fireplace closely and discovers traces of hair entangled around the spits. He signals everyone to come take a look. Leon is sure it’ll be enough evidence to justify what has been happening around here. He alerts the authorities at once and all the brothel girls were caught trying to flee the town, but Charles was nowhere to be found. They were accountable for the murders of those who could be identified only through the severed heads. Amongst them it was confirmed that Gallet was one of the victims. For some reason he didn’t ever say anything about it to Blazerine. When she brought up the fact that they didn’t even see him at The Mournful Moon Inn, he told her that she no longer needs to find him because he believes her. Blazerine doesn’t want to take any chances of this ever being held against her later on in the future. So she insists they go to his shop to see if he might have returned since he wasn’t at The Mournful Moon Inn.


The market place was noisy of raucous affairs. Some merchants were standing outside of their shops, yelling to those who pass by about their wares. They witness one of the merchants get fined by a guard for forcibly grabbing ahold of someone walking nearby to get their attention. The town crier rings a bell and announces, “Leon Shields the Templar from Norman Church has brought the murders of The Mournful Moon Inn to justice! Come tomorrow at dusk to watch them be hung in the gallows for their crimes!”


Every now and then onlookers called out Leon's name, praising him from afar. Gifts were given to their group, but Leon refuses to take any, but it didn’t stop Fauna and Fenix from accepting them for him. Their gratitude for kindness was exchanged for coins that they use to purchase Fauna some decent attire. An embroidered white dress decorated with tiny tucks and bands of pointed trim. It has a drawstring to adjust the neckline fullness. The waistline has a ribbon that can be tied in either the front or the back into a bow, which also can act as a belt to adjust the size. Last but not least, a pair of black leather boots. Fenix spent all of his coins on Fauna and didn’t even take Lyrist into consideration. Blazerine sort of thought it was stupid to buy her expensive clothing when she’ll probably end up destroying them anyways. While the two of them were out and about shopping, the others head to the black smith army shop. The smell of fire and heated metal was instant as soon as they opened the door. There was clanking heard in the distance, signaling the smith was at work perfecting his craft. Armor, swords, spears and many arms of steel were all over the shop. The forge was located towards the back where Gallet should of have been crafting. Instead it was his apprentice Quintus that wore similar clothing, but his were too big on him and he looked filthier. He lifts his head momentarily as the sound of footsteps finally hit his ears. He never did turn around when he finally spoke up, “If you’re looking for my Master Wallner then I assumed you haven’t heard of his recent passing?”


“Recent passing…?” Blazerine repeats.


“They never found the body, only his head in a pot; well that’s what I’ve heard anyways. If you’re here to purchase that rare sword of his, you’re going to have to throw a hefty amount of coin my way. Go ahead and take a look at it. It’s over there on the shelf.” Quintus replies with a large clash of his hammer. Frequently he takes his hammer to the banded iron cuirass resting upon his work table. Using it to pound the iron bolts that would hold the leather straps in place, the other end of the leather strip would also get the same treatment, and thus the two halves of the cuirass would be one completed suit. The leather straps were also easily adjustable, while still sturdy, this way providing the perfect comfort fit for whoever this armor cuirass was for. Every minute, he would put the hammer down, and make sure to check on the iron ingots he had resting in the forge. They were almost ready to be pulled so they could be fashioned into the appropriate pieces.


“So that’s why you’re willing to drop everything.” Blazerine wasn’t entirely sure what to think about the turn of events. If anything she actually felt stupid for not figuring it out herself.


“Blaze-“Leon was about to explain himself when Lyrist cuts him off.


“I-I can’t believe it, how can this be!?”Lyrist gawks in awe at his father's sword lying on top of the mounted wall shelf. When he reaches up to grab ahold of it, his hood falls around his shoulders, releasing his elfin ears for all to see.


Blazerine quickly throws his hood back on before Quintus stood up firmly, grabbing a cloth rag, and wiping off his hands after taking off his protective leather hide gloves. “Hey I said you could look, not touch!”


“I do not need permission to touch what’s rightfully mine! This is my kin heirloom!” Lyrist refuses to put it down.


“Family heirloom, ay, ha, guess it didn’t mean much if he was so willing to part with it.” Quintus chuckles since he hasn’t have a good laugh in quite a while.


“Don’t you dare speak ill of my father!” Lyrist loses his temper and points the sword at him.


Quintus doesn’t take the threat very lightly. “Don’t make me call the guards. And beside there’s a Templar here, he’s supposed to be upholding the law, unless he has gone rogue?”


“He’s right, Lyrist; you cannot just walk in here and take whatever you please. It’s considered stealing. Please forgive my friend he doesn’t understand the concept of order yet.” Leon sincerely apologizes several times more.


Quintus didn’t seem too accepting of the apology so Leon suggests they leave before the matter gets out if hand. Lyrist wasn’t too thrilled about the idea but he puts the sword back and ends up following him out. Further out in the market’s crowed they met back up with Fauna and Fenix whom were fascinated over some caged chickens. Blazerine wasn’t willing to go anywhere near them, caged or not. She’s still scared from her last encounter. Even with the minor distractions, they were discussing on what to do about Lyrist father’s sword. Blazerine thought he could have at least been considerate. They did bring his master's murderers to justice after all. But most of all there’s still the question as of why he had the sword to begin with. Is it possible that there is some sort of connection? Leon makes the decision that they will stay at Ironclad Inn to rest for the night with whatever gold they had left over. They could only afford two rooms at most, so they split them up between sexes. Fauna did throw a fit a first about not sharing a room with her husband.


Lyrist sat on the roof of the inn, the guests below inside were either in bed after the drunken haze of the previous night, or they had already left for whatever business they had in Ansell Fiore. The wind blew, fluttering his hood every so often, revealing his narrow slit green eyes. Despite there being wind, it was a cool day, and the wind wasn’t cold at all. Looking up at the clouds rolling over, he sighs. The importance of his father sword reaches him again, but hopefully the matter will be sorted out. Eventually he slid down the roof and jumps onto the balcony of his room that he’s sharing with Leon. Walking through the double doors into the elaborately decorative space, that has a double single bed. Fenix seen lying in it and was snoring loudly. At the foot of it was a large wooden late baroque styled box which matches with the theme of the room. Inside of it was Leon's armor and all his other accessories. For whatever reason he was wide awake, sitting at the desk with a candle that’s almost burnt out. The moonlight was beaming through, lighting up Leon face. He really looked lost deep in his thoughts. Perhaps he was taking the whole situation to heart.

© Tiffany Ann Adkins 2015 - 2019