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BDANR

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989 I Make This Look Easy

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About BDANR

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    Awesome Member

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  • Age in Years
    27
  • Gender
    Male
  • Sexuality
    Gay
  • Favorite Genres
    Everything
  • Location
    Seattle
  • Interests
    Video games, Social work, Mental Health, Books,

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  1. @JeffreyL Thank you for reading :D!!
  2. Thank you AC Benus !! It's nice to put my grief into words and to be able to express it in a way that I can share with others. Nice to hear from you :D!
  3. The flowers that grew on top the tree stump Were a peculiar sight for me to see How do the plants of this amorphous lump Come to defy what they were meant to be? The loss of the strong trunk that once stood tall Withering of leaves on fragile branches It’s weight became too hard for it to bear And what was once sky high would come to fall Life in theory holds no second chances But the flowers on the stump chose to dare You see these flowers contain such strong roots Products of the fallen tree before them They have succeeded in reaping its loots Wisdom entwined within each sturdy stem We are the garden it's cultivated Existing as the pedals, the leaves, and weeds Taking on colors of purple and green Its resources are never depleted We are blessed to carry on as its seeds Behold, a testament to what we glean Maybe it was God’s miraculous sway Or a product of the Devil defied The death of the powerful tree made way For its children to become glorified The pain it leaves is a force to be dealt Our loss an ever-present reminder Of the physical realm we leave behind The love it has given is always felt The tree basks in a space much quieter In our collective hearts, spirit, and mind
  4. BDANR

    Chapter 7 - Ronnie

    Ronnie's interaction with his father in this chapter was written very naturally and with warmth. Nicely done chapter.
  5. BDANR

    Chapter 5 - Ronnie

    Hmm, it does seem like romance might be in the air for those two, like @Buz suggests :o.. Superhero romance!!
  6. BDANR

    Chapter 9: Revolt

    @NoSkis, you happen to have picked up a theme I wanted to explore in this story! The relationship descendants and neku have with each other are analogous to the relationship ruling classes have over the "proletariat," how its always complex, and relies on complacency and misinformation. If you're picking up on the theme, then I'm glad I'm writing it well!
  7. Thank you for reading @NoSkis!! I've been doing my best to keep writing, glad you're enjoying.
  8. Coming back to Tygrus proved as troubling as expected. It was my punishment, to face the soldiers I failed during their roll call a few days back. Their minds were still fresh with memories of their fallen comrade, on-edge and furious at the presence of the Princess of Deko who not only almost got herself killed, but allowed for the death of one of their own. My quick recovery didn’t seem to be questioned by anyone, the reasoning assumed to be a result of my lineage. It saved me the trouble of explaining my search for Barken and “The Wolf.” Regardless, the reception to my arrival was lukewarm, if not discouraging. At worst, I was unwelcome and antagonized. “Morning ‘Princess,’” one soldier greeted me mockingly. “You’re brave to show your face around here. Anymore sage guidance from our ‘Star and Light?’ I had to be held back from attacking one particularly slicked tongue soldier bent on getting a rise from me. “Is the bitch back doing laps for Deko? He must’ve been desperate to send out his most dishonorable creation yet.” I must’ve been beside myself. My claws shot out and I lunged for the insolent soldier only to be physically jerked back. “Control yourself!” shouted the soldier holding me. “He’s speaking out of anger… Dothmal was his partner.” I ceased resisting, allowing my nails to recede. Damn, I couldn’t be angry with him. I couldn’t be angry at any of them. I shrugged the soldier off me and left elsewhere, but she followed after me and came to my side. “Why are you back here?” “...I look for a descendant with golden eyes. Have you heard of him?” She shook her head, face remaining still. “Dothmal hasn’t been our only casualty. That descendant you speak of and the one he travels with are killers.” The soldier informed me that Barken and “The Wolf” were sighted in the area by one of our soldiers. After it was found that House 3 in Orion was vacant, it was concluded the golden-eyed descendant didn’t escape alone. The soldiers killed were scouting for the two fugitives only a couple of nights ago. One of them was found with stab wounds from a blade the size of a large knife. The other was found with a hole through their chest inflicted by one of our scepters. Was that really their doing? These two weren’t ordinary descendants, they were willing to survive by any means. “They’re some cunning bastards. After killing them, the two fled and haven’t been seen since. Why do you look for them?” “Special assignment, from father. Believe me, I’ll avenge Dothmal and our other fallen soldiers if given the chance.” The soldier’s face was unchanged, and I wasn't sure how much she believed my lie. “I hope, Princess. We look to you and Deko for guidance. I trust you won’t disappoint.” She gave her farewell and left my side. It seemed the stakes to find these two descendants were even greater. The duo was on high guard and will respond violently if they feel threatened. I better brace myself for a fight if it comes to that. The descendants in Tygrus regarded me with indifference. I was reminded that they had been witnessed to… forced to... be present during roll call that fateful night. They were surely furious having watched one of their own face the same fate as Dothmal. Instead, I was met with their pity. Were they witness to my failure as well? I didn’t know where I was going and simply wandered along. I had a vague reference point for all that I saw, knowing that the golden-eyed descendant had been in this very place seeing the same sights. “There we go, Oneida. Now, rush at me!” An adult male descendant and presumably his young kin were play-fighting on the streets. It was exciting watching the young one handle an ax, but I considered the thought that he might be training her to use it as a weapon. On what, or who, is the question. Their home was familiar to me, as was the shop nearby that looked to have been reconstructed recently. The two minded themselves before the adult male saw me coming. “Hold on, Oneida,” he said. I approached with caution, hoping to not appear threatening. He put his hand on her shoulder. “Go get grandpa for me.” The little girl named Oneida glanced at me, then ran the other direction inside the cottage. The adult descendant regarded me with a frown. “What do you want!?” He asked curtly, already in a defensive posture. I stood my ground, not taking any more steps toward him. “I’m hoping you can help me.” Behind him, their front door opened and an older descendant appeared. Unlike the younger one, the man did not seem wary of me. He eyed me with awe, pausing on top of the steps. “Xandra...the Princess of Deko.” He came down from the steps and stood next to the younger adult descendant. I came forward, and the latter started posturing. “Calm yourself, Gage. Let me talk to her.” They resembled each other, it was likely they were related as well. Neither of these two appeared as strangers to me. When I got a better look at the older one, I could feel a strange, paternal warmth come from him. The golden-eyed descendant must’ve made contact with him. I thought of my own father Deko, revered and feared by descendants and neku alike. I hadn’t been present in our stronghold for a couple of days now, and I can only assume he’s been occupied since I’ve left on my search for Barken and “The Wolf.” Surely he knew of the attack on Tygrus. Did he know a descendant was responsible for having healed my injuries? The more I thought of it, the better I felt about leaving him in the dark about my activities. He would never have approved of my search, possibly even forbid me. I had to do this entirely on my own. The old descendant said, “Not every day you get paid a visit from the one they call ‘Star and Light.’ To what do we owe this visit?” My visit didn’t completely catch him off guard, that much I could tell. If I plan on moving forward in my journey, I will have to go through him. 3 days earlier... After spending the night at the Elementalist Hotel, Barken and I gave our farewells to Madam Callista and were on our way to the next destination northwest of Sol. The night before had me wrestling with the idea of descendants and neku being related by blood, seeing the form they take when in the off chance they procreate via Madam Callista. I felt sick, disappointed and furious at myself for having initiated Barken’s meeting with her. Why would he seek to spread this unnecessary and dangerous information? Our people don’t seek allegiance with the neku, we don’t want anything to do with them! And I feared his talk of this “ancient ancestor” that connects the two races will make us traitors to our people. Secretly, I hoped that Barken’s perspective on the matter was only temporary. Maybe time outside of Sol will remind him of what we’re dealing with. Admittedly, the town of Kyro has been shrouded in myths. Within Orion, Kyro was known as the land where the sun never rises, ground zero, no man’s land. This wasn’t unlike Callista’s warning to us. Royal Soldiers tout it as an example of what winds up of a town when descendants strike back. Couldn’t say it was a deterrent. It emboldened us warriors, eager for the chance to fight for our people and rid ourselves of Deko’s hold on our home. I couldn’t wait! “Diego,” said Barken. “You seem...eager.” I had him hoisted on my back as we traversed through Sol and the outskirts of town. I sped right through it like I had some of that hydrocline pumping through my veins. “Just hoping to get us through here quickly,” I said to him. “Aren’t you interested in seeing what awaits us?” We were back in desert terrain for some time. However, the vegetation around us began to increase in frequency. The cacti and palms gave way to softer, leafier plants that spread themselves wide like arms. The colors of olive and sage turned to pine, shamrock, and emerald. Even the desert floor didn’t look so bare and was being taken over by shades of green. I scowled. “I hope we’re not finding ourselves in another damn forest.” Barken shrugged. “The trees are spread too far apart. They’re not the same ones we saw in the Forest of Illusion.” He was noticeably nonchalant this morning. He’s always quiet, but even quieter than usual. I wondered what was going on in his head. The same itchy, green plants that covered the floor of the canopy had returned, though were of a much shorter variety. Not as irritating. I could feel dew in every step I took. “Look at those clouds over there,” I said. The sky was open with the sun landing on everything in sight. But on the horizon, there were dark clouds that were beginning to ascend. “Must be rain,” he said. “Hope that doesn’t slow you down. Take a rest if you need, we’re in no rush.” We traveled along the pear colored pastures with the desert behind us starting to vanish. I asked, “Is there something wrong?” He sighed, loosening his grip on me. “I don’t have anything to say to you right now.” What was the issue? He hardly acted so cold, if at all. I was frustrated with his silence and let the subject go. These pear colored hills with the leafy trees would surround us for some time. Reaching the tail end, the greenery would take on a much darker tint. It was black sand. I stepped along it, the black and gray pebbles and dust covering my feet. The air smelled of water. “Whoa…” Beyond the sands was an even greater discovery: A body of water, plenty of it, carrying on without an end as though it was one with the sky. Large lily pads, bigger than the size of our bodies, were spread out across the shore. Pieces of wood that looked like oars laid in a pile. The sand had been warmed by the sun and felt good to step on. Barken climbed off from on top of me and peered around on his own. “Astounding,” said Barken. “I heard stories of lakes and oceans bigger than any village, town, or city.” The beauty before me didn’t disguise the situation we were in. “Madam Callista didn’t mention anything about this,” I said frustratingly, noticing myself start to pace. “She told us northwest and we’ve ended up here. How do we get around this?! This shore goes on forever and this sea of water even further than that.” Barken stepped into the water and sunk his hands in, lifting some out and letting it fall through his fingers. “Doesn’t seem toxic. There are oars, but there aren’t any boats. Did she expect us to swim across till we found solid land on the other side?” I groaned. “Don’t mess around like that. After what happened in the forest?! We belong on land, we can’t fight in the sea!” “I’m not messing around with you!” he said angrily. “None of this has been to humor you, believe it or not.” I was taken aback, stupefied by his response. He looked out into the ocean. “Madam Callista told us those Crystallites only existed in the Forest of Illusion. I’m certain she would’ve told us if these waters would be of any danger to us.” The clouds continued to move in and blanket the sky, dark with grays and violet. Not only were we directionless and had no idea where we were, but we were now at risk of getting caught in the rain. “Before we think of diving ourselves into these waters we’re not even sure of,” I said, “you need to tell me what has you so vexed? This is silly, I don’t even know why you-” He advanced toward me. “Is that what my thoughts and emotions are to you? Silly? Foolish? Unreasonable? As though what I feel isn’t the basis of my power, or protects you when we’re forced to fight. What you’re doing is trivializing and dismissing them, like they’re meaningless to you. Is that what you think, are my feelings silly to you Diego?” My mouth fell open. I hadn’t realized I’d angered him. I said, “Of course not. I don’t think that what you feel is unimportant.” “But you’ve given me no reason to think otherwise! You used me. You used me last night to do battle with Amelia, using the very emotions that heal, restore, and care for you. And I killed her... after I told you how I felt about taking another’s life. I murdered a descendant! I didn’t want that blood on my hands, I didn’t want to kill her!” I was putting my hands on his arms, but he tore them away and turned his back towards me. “I-I wasn’t trying to use you. If you...we... didn’t kill her, she would’ve killed me, then she would’ve captured and have you killed as well! I did what I could to save our lives. I’m sorry that it turned out the way it did, I didn’t mean to use you. But don’t you understand that nothing that’s happened has been a choice for us? We have to kill or be killed, Barken!” I heard him choke, then hold a hand to his lips. I saw tears in his eyes. He brought himself to the ground and broke down. “I didn’t want to kill her... I don’t want to kill anyone.” I watched him, seeing his pain and feeling like the cause of it. I walked over and crouched before him, holding him to me while he cried. I didn’t know what else to say. As we sat there, the clouds began to take over the sky and the sun vanished within them. Mist from the sea coated our skin. I gave Barken his space while we spent time on the shore, hearing the waves rush over the sand and watching the pebbles get washed up. He seemed to calm down as the quiescence took over, seemingly more at ease. The blanketed sky that put a shade over the shore around us created a chill in the air. Small droplets started falling on my skin and I could see a flurry of ripples across the water. The rain began. At some point, Barken was wandering around and his eyes fell on something. “Diego, look at these.” He was facing a group of lily pads on the sand. When the rain fell on top of them, the water cascaded off so seamlessly onto the sand allowing them to remain dry. The corner of one lily pad laid against the water, and whenever a wave hit the shore, the water would dive underneath it. “What about them?” I asked. He walked up the lily pad that seemed ready to venture off into the sea. He grabbed hold of it and tried pulling it to the water. “What are you…?” The lily pad floated gracefully on top of the body of water. The rain nor sea would submerge it. Barken said nothing, but instead placed his hands on the lily pad, appeared to be putting pressure onto it. Once he felt sure it would hold him, he climbed himself on top. “What the hell are you - oh.” I was about to pull him back to the shore. Barken hauled himself on successfully, steadying on the floating green plant. He looked surprised at himself, even grinning at his discovery. “It’s so big! It holds my weight so easily. Come try to get on yourself.” “What if I pull you down with me into the water?! We’ve never used these things before!” “Won’t hurt to try.” He held out a hand to me. I could see the ripples in the water made from the lily pad. The rain came down harder, pelting it and bouncing off into the sea. I stepped cautiously into the water. Barken grabbed my hand and lifted me onto it with him, the plant seemingly giving into our weight. It shook wildly when I was hurled on, and I grabbed at the lily for dear life. Yet, it kept us afloat like magic. Barken saw the shock on my face, and we laughed heartily together. “Well, you got us on this damn thing,” I said. “You want us to sail on the sea like we’re riding a boat?” He shrugged. “We would be continuing northwest of here. Maybe Madam Callista knew we’d find these lilies, that way we could travel across the water.” I nodded. “Seems reasonable. Those oars may be of some use after all…” We’d grabbed some oars to bring on the lily pad. We tested them, synchronized our rowing, and pushed off into the sea. A storm was brewing and lightning flashed across the sky, reflecting off the water. We’d seen some of the water creatures like the ones from the forest swimming along, some as large as us or bigger. They minded the lily pad, bumping into it at times, but nothing else. “What interesting creatures,” Barken said, marveling. “Some have noses like swords, and others have bodies as big as houses!” “...Just don’t get any ideas about eating them,” I said bitterly. The lily rocked some with the ocean waves underneath us. This was all exhilarating and scary at once! My concern was the water seemed endless. The beach we came from had faded in the distance, and the storm wasn’t helping. “Wait...look over there, Barken.” I pointed ahead of us toward a figure in the distance. As we approached, we noticed them using an oar, traversing along the sea as we were. “Let’s steer their way,” he said. “Maybe they could point us in the right direction.” “Okay. just keep your guard up and maintain some distance.” The mist and rain in the air obstructed our vision. As we grew closer to each other, I noticed not one, but two figures. One was steering the boat, while the other, much smaller, was seated on the lily. The figure steering looked to be about Barken and I’s size. Were they descendants? “HEY!” The figure started waving. It was a descendant for sure, hopefully an ally. Once we drew closer, the figures materialized into an adult descendant with a child. “Mommy, mommy! Look, look!!” “I can see them, sweetie.” The female descendant was lime-skinned with raven black hair that waved wildly with the wind. Her young boy was mauve skinned with shoulder-length hair jumping up and down on the lily. They steered our way looking excited to see us. “You’ve both picked a good time to be riding lilies,” the female descendant said, gesturing at the storm. “You’re not from around here, are you?” “We aren’t,” I said. “We’re trying to find a settlement called Kyro. Are you familiar?” “Yeah!” the little boy interjected. The female descendant frowned. “Mommy and I just passed there. It’s really scary!!” “It’s not somewhere you’d want to be doing much wandering,” she admitted. “Are you aware of the current state of affairs there?” “We are,” I said. “We understand the dangers, but it's where we need to be. Could you point us in the right direction?” She told us we weren’t too far now. We’ll have reached near the settlement once we land on a shore with ivory sands. “Beyond there, you proceed at your own risk.” Barken nodded. “Thanks for the directions, sister. We will pay heed to your warnings” She bowed to us before looking off in the distance. “Bless the descendants of Kyro. It’s a good chance that there aren’t too many survivors nowadays...” Barken and I made worried expressions at one another. We were fast approaching one of the key locations that resisted Deko’s rule. So why was it spoken of as though it had already lost? “There it is!” An ivory-colored beach darkened by clouds appeared before us. The few trees beyond it were blowing furiously with the stormy winds. Barken and I did our best to land on ground safely, riding a wave onto the shore. I threw away the oar and looked around. Not even one descendant was around. Barken stepped off the lily and scanned the surroundings. “I smell fire, Diego.” I couldn’t hide my look of puzzlement. “How could there be fire? It’s been raining this whole time - OH!” I felt a shove on my back, pushing me into the sand. I wiped at my face, spitting out the sea-soaked gravel caught in my throat. When I got myself up and spun my head back to see the culprit, I found a descendant looking straight at Barken. “Get away from him!” I called out. The descendant paid me no mind as she launched herself at him, tackling Barken onto the sand. I hurriedly got back on my feet. “Damn you, I’ll-” “It’s okay, Diego!” Barken said as he tried to fend her off. “She’s not of sound mind. I can help her!” The female descendant tried throwing fists and elbows, some connecting to Barken’s flesh. She packed a punch, and I could see his skin vibrate from the impacts. “Argh!” “Fuck Barken, just let me help!” His eyes shot towards me. “Dammit, can you just trust me?” His marigold glow started to appear as he held the descendant’s arms away from him to keep her from attacking. Then, they both went still. I started hearing screams and war cries around me. The sound of weaponry colliding. Even the ground beneath me shook. We were in the open with this out-of-mind descendant to deal with. This was no time for Barken to be playing healer! I rushed over to him and was ready to pull the descendant off when she gave a strong inhale of breath. I stood back, taking notice that her cloudy eyes didn’t disappear. When Barken’s focus came back to the present, the female descendant shoved him to the ground and lifted herself off him. She turned to me looking ready for more and I got myself in a battle stance. However, she looked off in the distance and ran off into another direction. I came over to Barken and helped lift him up. He seemed distraught. “Are you okay?” I asked. He didn’t answer immediately. He stared at his hands, his face dropping. “I... I can’t use my clairsentience. My abilities are gone.” “What did you say?!” I could hear the sound of something large collapsing in the distance. The ground’s shaking became more violent. “We need to find cover.” Barken and I ventured into the trees, our every step slipping and sinking into muddy, damp soil. We searched for standing structures, or simply signs of descendants that may offer us protection from the elements. What we would discover instead surpassed any of our expectations. “Shit!” “Diego!” I slipped down a hill of mud, passed the sparse trees beyond the shore. Barken came rushing behind me. As he helped me recover, a sea of ruins laid before us. Lightning flashed in the sky and illuminated the remnants of what used to be buildings, likely once occupied by descendants. Walls of homes collapsed, beds were destroyed, cloth sat on during meals were soiled or burned, unclaimed weapons were strewn about. Unlike the dilapidated structures that were present in Tygrus, Kyro seemed absent of life. Barken stepped away from me, taking in this decimated space. When he took a closer look at one of the fallen structures, his entire posture changed. “Oh, Ida!!” He scrambled over and brought himself to its floor. I came up behind him, bracing myself for what I would see. There, I would see an unmoving leg stuck in the wreckage. “Oh no...Barken, help me get his rubble off!” I didn’t know what I was expecting to find underneath. We did what we could, removing entire parts of the roof and decimated walls that collapsed upon this being that was likely a descendant. “AHH-” Barken covered his mouth. I flinched, then removed a large piece of wall. Underneath was the face of a male descendant...and a child. “N-no. This-this isn’t real. How could-?” I moved away, trying to control my temper. “You and I both know the only ones capable of doing this.” Barken was silent. Then, the ground shook yet again. I peered into the distance and could see smoke rising in the background where a few standing structures remained. And screams. The sound of weapons clashing into each other was heard more strongly. A beam from a scepter shot into the air. My skin had chills. “These beings you’re trying so hard to believe as ‘one of us’ did this. Neku did this. Our lives mean nothing to them. It doesn’t matter if you’re a father or his child. Do you see it now? You can’t make them change no matter what you know or what you’ve seen.” Barken’s mouth was agape as he watched me. He craned around his head, seeing the devastation that surrounded us. The color from his face seemed to fade. I pulled out my daggers. “The only way to stop these killings is to fight. That is our only choice.” He looked to be in a daze, staring up at the sky as though he forgot where he was. “Snap out of it! Our own is under attack, come on Barken!” He was looking at me, staring stone-faced. Barken couldn’t remain frozen in shock like this, we have to save our people! I was tempted to leave him and rush toward the destruction when I heard him say, “I’m useless.” I stopped in my tracks and turned to him. “My abilities are gone. I wanted so desperately to find a way for us to be out of this misery we find ourselves in, to seek the truth that will liberate my brethren. But I can’t save them. The truth I seek won’t protect them. I’m purposeless, I can be of no use to you or anyone else.” “Stop this! This isn’t the time for that!” He said nothing back and gave off this far away look. When he blinked, I could see the color in his eyes were beginning to fade. “Barken?” He stopped responding to me. Kneeling on the floor, he faced the ground for a time, unmoving. When his head lifted up, his eyes were closed as he let his face be doused by the pouring rain. As he opened them, his golden irises and all the color in his eyes were shrouded in white blankness. “This…are you-?” I ran to him, bringing myself to the ground to look at his face. My hands cupped his cheeks. “No, no no no no, don’t do this, not here! Please Barken, I can’t bring you back, you know that!” I shook him, tried to get him out of this trance. His blank eyes stared at me without reaction. “Can you hear me? Barken!” His arms rose up and his hands held my shoulders. I wondered if I got to him and prevented him from going into a crisis. His hands were firm, traveling down my arms with a steady grip. As his hands traveled up to my elbows, his grip became tighter. His head lowered, and he yanked my arms toward him. “Ahh!” My face slammed into the top of his head, crushing my nose and lips. He unhanded me, letting me fall into the muddy ground. I cupped my face, hearing footsteps rushing past me. “No, don’t go! Barken!” The impact was unexpectedly painful. I got myself up, feeling my face for blood and trying to search around for him. Dammit, why here?! What triggered him? I felt useless. I’m no clairsentient, I can’t restore him! There was no one around who could. All I could do was keep him from getting killed...if I could find him. I managed myself up and started smelling the air. Rain, earth, concrete, smoke, occasionally dead flesh passed through my nostrils. His scent was faint, convoluted by the other, more prevalent scents. Fortunately, I had some of his footprints to follow. I ran in his direction. Hard surfaces were underneath my feet every occasional step. Some fallen structures were smothered by mud and rubble. Skeletal remains were appearing. Once I started noticing abandoned scepters, lost of the color they usually have when held, I knew that descendants weren’t the only ones who had fallen here. The sound of war cries intensified. Dead neku were lying about. Barken had led himself to the battlefield. This was completely out of character for him. He was heading straight to the danger and I was slowly realizing who had given him the idea… Please Barken, don’t do anything stupid. “What the hell was that!?” I heard someone up ahead within the still-standing structures not yet marked by war. I came up to them and saw a lime green, older descendant with a thick, gray mustache being helped off the floor, trying to balance on his cane. “Damn kid! Slammed into me like I stole something from him! He’ll get his...let him get killed out there!” Barken’s scent was in the air. I asked, “Have you two seen a golden-eye-, umber skinned descendant with a yellow tattoo on his back around here?” The old descendant picked up from the ground responded, “Boy, what would we know about that?! Look around you! Do you think we can keep track of anyone?!” The umber-skinned female descendant who helped him up, covered with a silver plate of armor covering her torso, cleared her throat. “I believe he’s the one who knocked my uncle down.” I asked, “Where did he go?” The old descendant butted in. “That fool went running to his death! There’s neku all over here!” I wanted to respond but was cut short by a loud groan. Three neku were coming in our direction. Looking closer, I noticed a descendant impaled on one of their nails. I thought I’d lose my mind. The descendant looked nearly like Barken. It was a male, but he didn’t have Barken’s tattoo. “Maurice!” the elementalist screamed. He must’ve known who he was. The Royal Soldier flung its kill off her nails into a building. The descendants I stood with stayed firmly in place. One of the soldiers pointed a scepter at us. The three came charging. I grabbed for my daggers rushing forward, only to be passed up by the female warrior who charged with her sword. Her black hair, damp by the rain, clung to her body. One Royal Soldier was prepared to shoot a beam at us, but collapsed unexpectedly into the ground. Their legs sunk into the muddy floor, forcing them to struggle to remove themselves. The female warrior struck one of the neku’s scepters and began holding her own with the both of them. I took my chance and ran over to help. One of the neku swiped their scepter low, tripping up the female soldier. She recovered from the fall, but the second neku was ready to slash down with his scepter. I came in time, jumping up and kicking his head, flinging him into the mud. The other soldier started to come for me, and I dodged his scepter attacks effortlessly. “Must be easy to kill the defenseless,” I said. “Try someone who will fight back!” I held my dagger firmly and cut at the neku’s eye. It grabbed for its face in pain, while the neku I kicked away started coming my way. Before it could, the end of a sword showed itself protruding from its belly. It groaned before collapsing onto the floor. The female warrior pulled out her sword, then flung it at the neku struggling in the mud. He was taken care of instantly. The only one remaining was the blinded neku, who still struggled to fight and came at me blindly. I gave it a low kick and brought it to the ground before stabbing my dagger into its back. It laid still afterward. The female warrior and I made eye contact, nodding at each other. I looked to the old man, our elementalist who handled the neku in the sinking mud. He was brushing dirt off his cloak and muttering to himself. “Those slithering creeps,” he said, “thought they could make short work of us, eh?” I was moved by our camaraderie, but I had a greater concern I needed to attend to. “Please, tell me where I can find the descendant who came by here,” I asked again. “He’s... not well.” The female soldier grabbed her sword from the ground. “He headed in the same direction those neku were coming from. We’ll come with you, but we better hurry.” Yowson, the elementalist, Pauline, the warrior, and I rushed in the direction Barken was last seen. Any neku who found us was dealt with swiftly. As we trudged on, however, bodies of fallen neku were becoming more prevalent. Someone powerful was coming through here. Barken’s scent was getting stronger, we were getting close. With it, however, I smelled blood. “Move!” A beam shot our way and we all scattered. Oddly enough, the beam had the same color as Barken’s aura... While moving in the direction it came from, I could see soldiers with pointed scepters. They weren’t facing us, their eyes directed at someone behind the wall of this building. They readied themselves to attack again. Once we reached the corner, I saw him. “Barken!” Barken stood toe to toe with three neku, his eyes still clouded. His marigold glow came off of him like smoke. I was too late as a beam shot out heading straight for him. “BARKEN, GET OUT OF THE WAY!” But he stood there, still and unmoved. I ran for it, knowing damn well I wouldn’t reach him. I expected the beam to incinerate him completely. Instead, the beam was stopped in its tracks. Barken’s hands held the beam, though it was pushing him back. He appeared to be trying to get control of it. The beam’s color transformed to marigold and shot back at the neku, who dodged it effortlessly and charged for Barken. He wasn’t backing down and ran straight for them. “Dammit Barken, don’t!” One neku tried to impale him with his scepter, but Barken dodged it and shot what must’ve been a beam of energy, glowing with marigold, right into the neku’s face bringing them down instantly. I found myself stopping in my tracks without thinking. How the hell did he do that? A second Royal Soldier shot its nails at him, leading Barken to shield himself with his energy and disintegrating the nails before it touched his flesh. Interesting, these weren’t powers Barken could perform without simultaneously healing someone. The soldier retracted its nails, then punched Barken in the face, flinging him into the ground. Pauline came to my side, snapping me out of my shock. We hurried towards them and I could see the neku ready to bring his scepter onto Barken. Barken caught the scepter in his shield, then reflected it back at the neku, knocking it out. The third neku eyed Barken ferociously like he could tear him apart. Barken was pulling himself up, laughing. I could see blood in his mouth. He rushed over to the angered soldier and placed his hands and feet on its chest plate. The soldier tried wrestling Barken off, kept from doing so due to the bulk of their armor. The front of the armor started to illuminate, covering the surrounding area with a blinding marigold glow. The soldier yelled out and an explosion was heard, forcing Pauline and I to shut our ears. The sound of hard metal was falling around us. Once the glow could fade, I could see Barken still standing and staring at the soldier he fought. The torso of the soldier’s armor was blown apart, and the flesh underneath was caught in the blast as well. It was low, but I could hear Barken snickering, staring up into the sky. “Help me grab him!” Pauline and I ran to Barken while he was distracted. He turned to us at the last minute with his clouded eyes as we brought him to the ground. “Don’t let him touch you! I’ve never seen him perform those abilities he used, he might use them against us.” Barken tried to wrestle himself from us, grunting and panting. “Barken, it’s Diego! Let me help you!” But he couldn’t hear me and became desperate to escape our grasp. “We have clairsentients who can treat him,” said Pauline. “They’re not too far, we can take him there!” Pauline and I were able to subdue Barken and navigate him towards the base Pauline spoke of. Yowson was already grumbling over the task. “This foolish boy, more trouble than he’s worth! Let’s get him to Rayne and Kalo, then he can be their headache!” We’d come to what seemed like the ground floor of a decimated structure. Yowson scanned the area to make sure we weren’t being watched, then performed hand movements directed to the ground. The mud and rain were being scattered away, revealing a triangular fixture fastened to a stone floor. The fixture lifted itself, leading to a tunnel. Pauline and I got Barken inside and struggled maneuvering within it. “Your other is quite the fighter,” said Pauline, having already been kicked by Barken’s swinging limbs. Even I took an elbow and a few slaps to the face. The tunnel would take us to a large, underground space illuminated by lanterns with green fire. Like Rosco’s cellar, there were cutting boards and diamond stones laid about on a metal table along with several books. Bunk beds were positioned near the walls. “Oh! Looks like we got company, dear!” It was the sound of a woman hidden from view. An older male met us at the entrance. He gave me a glance before focusing on Barken. “Another descendant in crisis huh? He doesn’t look like one of ours though...” He seemed familiar with Yowson and Pauline, seemingly anticipating their arrival. “Bring him to the cot!” Pauline and I tried to settle Barken onto the bed while he continued to thrash about. The old man rolled up the sleeves of his large cloak, grey in color and green underneath. His hands started to glow. A clairsentient... He closed his eyes and pressed his hands onto Barken’s temples, revealing a lemon-colored light. Barken seemed to freeze in place, then his body would fall limp, eyes closed shut. Pauline and I let go of him, allowing the clairsentient to do his work. The room was filled only by the sounds of Pauline, Yowson, and I’s heavy breathing. A woman’s humming filled in the gaps, the same one I heard when we first came in. “OH!” The old man came to life. He pulled his hands away from Barken, slowly stepping back. Barken’s eyes opened. All of us were watching him as he lifted himself on the cot. The cloudiness that covered his eyes started to fade. He looked at me first. “Diego?” “Barken!” I threw myself at him, hugging him tightly. “Are you okay?” “Yes, of course. I...haven’t felt so great! What happened, where are we?” Yowson spoke before anyone. “You reckless children have planted yourselves in the most dangerous area in Kyro! Do you both understand this isn’t a place for you to be lollygagging about!?” The old clairsentient who healed him spoke up. “You ask us where you are. But I’m interested in knowing where you’ve been.” I asked, “What do you mean where he’s been?” His brows furrowed before turning back to Barken. “I want to know what his connection is with the Princess of Deko.” I came to in a small room. It was brightly lit with the walls and floor made entirely of a cool, white metal. Goosebumps formed along my body. I was shivering from the cold and had been drained of my energy. When I tried moving my arms, I noticed my hands were covered by a golden metal sphere. It didn’t have an opening for a key and traveled up to my wrists, leaving me no way to see or free my hands. The device was made with the same metal found in the mines Diego and Zuri are sent to. It is also the same metal used for the neku’s scepters. Whoever was responsible for this made sure I wouldn’t move from my spot; my ankles were locked together with cuffs. Where was I? I was just at the market with Diego and everyone else! Who could’ve taken me here? I remembered the descendant I met who took me to the town center, and how he had this red aura and… He attacked me! He must’ve been the one who brought me here, but why? I scanned my surroundings and laid my eyes on a bed that stood in the corner of the room. In it lied a neku, unmoving. That was when the single door in the room opened. Out came two neku, fully armored and without scepters. “That’s him, huh,” the female soldier said as they locked eyes with me. They both moved closer. “This descendant is supposed to save the princess?” The male nodded. “That’s right. We had one of his own go out to nab him. Pretty desperate huh? HC comes in handy, the low-life would’ve done anything for it.” “How do these things heal us?” asked the female. The male exhaled impatiently. “That wasn’t shared with me. All I know is that it was ordered by a higher-up: ‘capture a descendant they refer to as a clairsentient. Force him to restore the Princess by any means necessary.’ We can’t have Xandra be returned in her shattered state, even if she’s the one who got herself into this. Deko would have all of our heads.” The female nodded. They both stood over me, watching and analyzing like I was a test subject they were preparing to dissect. Diego, where are you? “We have a special assignment for you,” said the male soldier. This was the first time they started speaking to me directly. “Your compliance is expected, we don’t have time to lose,” said the female. “Restore the Princess of Deko. We know your kind is able to perform some kind of ‘healing’ on each other. We want you to do the same for her. You can understand the gravity of the situation you’re in, as her failing to recover would be of great consequence to you. If she’s nursed back to health, we’ll let you go freely.” I was terrified and alone, still wondering where it was I had been taken and why I was separated from everyone. “Where am I? What do you want with me?” “Didn’t you hear us, you little shit? Heal Xandra or -” “Settle down,” the female soldier said casually. “There’s no reason to get angry.” “What do you suggest?!” the male soldier retorted. She smiled. “Maybe he needs to be persuaded? There is that mutt he’s always with, both of them stay in the same cottage don’t they?” The male soldier laughed. “Not to mention that descendant bitch with the little maggot she keeps around her. What was the name, Sapphire?” No… “Oh, so we’re going after mothers and their children now?” “Don’t!” I screamed. “Then do as we say! We won’t ask twice.” They unlocked my ankle cuffs, but kept on the ones that covered my hands. I shook uncontrollably, finding it hard to stand and weighted down by this metal sphere. I was still weakened by the descendant who captured me. What did he do to me? I was afraid, but I was angry. To think these soldiers would threaten Diego and my friends. My hands were tied and I was forced to use my abilities to heal one of their own, an exceptional demand when it’s illegal for me to perform them otherwise. These beings were ruthless, I wasn’t even sure if I could do it. Descendants were only capable of healing their own. There was a chance I could be killed. They took me to Princess Xandra’s bedside. Her head appeared caved in, with bruises appearing across her body. Fractured bones, wounds that were attempted shut. She wouldn’t last, not in this condition. “This is the work of one of your own,” the female said. “To harm the princess is punishable by death. If you want to get out of this, you must pay for your brethren’s sins.” A descendant had done this? I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t know we were capable of causing a neku this kind of harm! And I wondered what the Princess must’ve done to have this happen to her. What if it was warranted? Now, I’m being asked to restore her? “What’s the hold-up?!” I had an unsettling feeling come over me. How do I heal a neku? I must’ve been desperate: At some point, I found a way through the Royal Soldiers and charged for the door, my hands still held together. I nearly reached the door before my shoulder got tugged back. “Let me go!” I yelled. They had to drag my feet across the floor, I wouldn’t walk on my own. They shoved me back to her bedside and the male soldier held a nail to my neck. “Try that again and you’re finished.” I tried so hard to catch my breath, my chest began to burn. Everything in me told me that I was committing a great sin, to aid in the recovery of a neku. One of them unlocked the sphere that cuffed on my hands. They shook nervously as I pressed them onto Princess Xandra’s arm. My marigold glow started to form, a complete shock to me. Then, I started feeling excruciating pain all over. My mind left the room and I found myself exhibiting the memories of this female neku. It was roll call, she was shouting at a soldier for harassing a descendant. This wasn’t Orion. The descendant fought back, and all hell broke loose. At some point, the Princess lost consciousness and had been fatally harmed in the process. I returned to the present and pulled myself away from Xandra. “What have you done?! Did you restore her?” The two neku were shouting at me while I was still stunned. When they disregarded me and looked at the Princess, their voices ceased. When I could get a hold of myself, I took a look as well. She...was healed. She stirred in her sleep, but her eyes remained shut. The soldiers looked at one another, then at me. “He...he healed her,” said the male soldier, disbelief still in his voice. “What are you things?” This was all too much. I just had a hand in restoring a neku. I felt more faint than before. “...We can’t release him like this,” said the female. “This could turn into a scandal if he told the others. No one else can know of this.” “That shouldn’t be an issue. Come in!” Behind the door, someone crept inside as though trying not to make an entrance. It was him again, the descendant who captured me! “Do your thing. We’ll hold him for you.” “Wha-” My arms were held by the two neku in vice grips. The descendant’s eyes were sad and distant. “I’m so sorry,” he said as he walked towards me. His red aura seeped from his hands. “I know I’ve done wrong by you. Hopefully one day you can forgive me for this.” “What are you trying to do?” I asked, feeling the terror in me rise again. “Why do you help them?!” The man nodded, biting his lips hard. He clasped his hands on my face as I yelled out. My mind descended into a deep sleep again...
  9. BDANR

    The Fallout

    Thank you @Talo Segura! I'm glad you found the story entertaining and thought it written well! Hopefully you find other stories that'll pique your interest on this site :D!
  10. BDANR

    Bi the Way...

    I think my purpose for writing the conversation between the narrator and Loren is to dispel whatever stereotype the narrator might have about bisexual people. Later, Loren lets us know her perspective about the affair the narrator is having with Lex and is much more direct with him!
  11. BDANR

    Foolish

    Thank you for complimenting my writing ! Hopefully the next chapter/s will give you a better explanation for why the narrator chooses to remain with Lex.
  12. BDANR

    Mystery Man

    Thank you @Talo Segura! I'm glad you enjoyed the start to this story :D! Hopefully you enjoy the rest.
  13. Oh wow, this is only part 1? Alrighty, I guess we'll see what is up ahead. Good start to the series!
  14. BDANR

    Mother's Approval

    Seeing how Luno, Tobias, and Mother interact with each other was fun. Also cool to see Luno using his powers for good!
  15. BDANR

    Tossing the Trash

    Cute chapter haha. Cool to see them have a mission on their hands.
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