Fate - First Reply Trapped in the Rain

A 1x1 Roleplay where the first writer to respond can join
Soleil felt like she dozed off. Probably did. With the unsteadiness of mind that came with her flesh and blood body, it could be a bit hard to tell the difference between reality and dreams when she was teetering on the edge of tiredness.

But, whether she slept or not, some time later her attention was seized by sudden movement.

The tent flaps opened, and in came two Fellowship elves. One had the trappings of an elven Mage, the other a Priest of sorts. Then two more elves came in after these, regular Fellowship warriors. And these two warriors were carrying something long and wooden: a trough.

The elven minders all, without warning, roughly seized Hargrave, Gianni, Joel, Aelita, and Soleil and forced them all to kneel down before the trough. Hargrave grunted in protest, Gianni muttered in alarm "H-Hey!", and Joel just made a smart remark under his breath.

The Mage stood by the flaps of the tent. He snapped his fingers, there was a subtle shimmer in the air, and abruptly all of the sounds within the tent felt...lessened. Contained. As if they were all trapped inside of a closed box.

Then the priest sagely walked down to the first in line, Hargrave...and pulled out a ceremonial dagger from his robes.

And it was then that it became clear to Soleil even in her disoriented state that Othellian had been lying. There would be no ransoming. It had all been a ruse to keep the Initiates calm, to make them think there was a way out if only they just complied.

The priest chanted some Elvish words, his face and hands lifted skyward, and then when he was finished he slit Hargrave's throat. The minder shoved Hargrave's body forward while pulling his head back, ensuring the wound was grotesquely opened further and that the blood shot out into the awaiting trough.

"No!" Gianni cried.

"What the fuck!?" Joel exclaimed.

The priest moved on then to Gianni, beginning the same chant.

Soleil looked to Aelita, her eyes wide and alert. Their minders had rough grasps on their hair and their clothing, but it was now or never. Only precious seconds were available now.

"Aelita," Soleil said. Then she thrust up her bound hands, presenting her thumbs. "Do it!"

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Aelita’s eyes closed.

And in what seemed as an instant to her, she woke to be forced face first into a trough. Eyes locked onto the ceremonial knife the elven priest revealed.

Then they widened as the priest slit Hargrave’s throat.

Aelita remained silent. Her jaw tensed at the sight.

Soleil said her name. Her eyes moved toward the fellow Initiate. Then to Soleil’s presented thumbs.

No hesitation followed. As her hands were not restricted by the minders, Aelita clutched Soleil’s wrists – just below the cuffs.

Opened her mouth.

Then bite down on Soleil’s thumbs.

Hard. With the full force of her molars – intending to tear through flesh at the joints.

And to ensure it is done, Aelita violently jerked Soleil’s forearms up and down.

At the least, such an act would snap the bone and tear the skin and cartilage. If the thumb remained, it would be easier to deglove. And with Aelita’s fingers shifting to grab the cuffs themselves, Soleil would have some more leverage in pulling herself out.
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Things happened in a frenzy.

Soleil screamed as pain—real pain, like when water touched her Sandform—shot like lightning up her arm. Her thumbs, the delicate bones within, shattered underneath the desperate bite force of Aelita's jaw. The joints were the weak points, and they had been squarely severed.

The Priest, undeterred, proceeded to slit Gianni's throat in that ritualistic manner. The Mage, in these early seconds, was likewise unconcerned. Seemed he expected some resistance, but thought the minders capable of handling it.

And the minders did, to the best of their ability. They flung both Soleil and Aelita away from each other, throwing each down onto the ground on their backs and mounted them. Elven blades were in their hands in a flash. Aelita's minder plunged his weapon down toward her chest, intending to wound her and take the fight right out of her with the pain.

And Soleil's minder did the same, plunging his own dagger down into her chest. But her chest gave easily, far too easily for flesh and bone.

Soleil smiled. Said enthusiastically, "One of many."

Her cuffs had been pulled from her wrists by Aelita's grasp. She was free and so was her magic.

Soleil exploded into a cloud of Sand and viciously swirled about her elf minder, the grains infiltrating every tiny crevice and opening in his clothing and armor and shearing away the flesh beneath. When he opened his mouth to scream it only became worse, for sand delved into his mouth and began to shred him from the inside out.

In seconds the elf minder fell dead, his flesh, his muscles, his organs, all of him having been reduced to scraps and slop, like locusts having stripped a field of crops bare.

The fight within the tent was on.

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Aelita flew back after being thrown by the minder. Blood spewed into the air from Soleil’s wound. An elf was no upon her with a knife.

So, Aelita relied on her Academy training.

To fight.

And fight dirty.

Immediately as the dagger began to come down, Aelita spat into her minder’s eyes. Blood and bits of flesh caught his eye – matter that slowly turned into course sand just as Soleil’s body did.

At the same time, Aelita raised her hands to redirect the blade. The obstruction in the elf’s eyes delayed his reaction. It scraped her left pauldron and sunk into the ground. The elf slowly began to lift it up against the force of Aelita’s hands. He groaned the pain in his eyes grew.

But Aelita began a rather simple counterattack – repeated kneeing to the male elf’s groin. Unending – at least, if it showed any effect.
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Soleil reformed, the cloud of Sand coalescing together and putting on that incredible mimickry of a human body. She knew Aelita was fighting for her life, that she was fending off her minder and would in seconds have to fend off Hargrave's and Gianni's former minders; she knew that Joel was likewise helpless and the Priest, caught in a trance, was heedless to the scuffle and moving to sacrifice him next.

They would need to hold on.

Her eyes were on the Fellowship Mage, her back to Aelita and Joel. The Mage needed to die. Immediately. He had cast a spell Soleil recognized, that little cantrip silencing the interior of the tent for a few short minutes. Likely he had done so for the convenience of the Fellowship camp, keeping them from hearing the screams and laments of the Initiates to be sacrificed, but now that things had gone differently it could be used to keep the camp from hearing the screams and laments of the elves.

Only if he did not dispel it though.

Now the Mage, seeing that things had gone quickly out of control, acted. And yes, the first thing he tried to do was dispel his own silencing spell. Soleil anticipated it, and with quick motions of her hands and an arcane word (College Magic, gross) she prevented it with a low-level counterspell to match. The Mage jerked as if physically struck. But he was recovered quickly. Quickly enough to form an Icicle between his hands and launch his elemental magic. The Icicle pierced right through her chest, the hole opening and closing with a spray and reformation of Sand. The Mage, fearing a counterattack of her turning to Sand and rending him like she did her minder, starting casting a moderate ward against magic.

Soleil approached the Mage rapidly, tearing her Pendant off from around her neck. The weapon she always wore, always had in reserve, ready to deployed.


And she twirled and swung her Pendant and it struck with the force of a warhammer against the Mage's skull. To the ground he fell, blood and bone left mixing together in a mess, his face seemingly collapsed in on itself, giving him a horrific final countenance.

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In the chaos as Soleil tore flesh from elves, the knife from Soleil’s minder flew toward Aelita.

With both Aelita’s attack upon his groin and bits of Soleil’s sand sticking in his eyes, Aelita’s minder failed to notice the new knife nearby.

But Aelita glanced over to see it on the opposite side of her body compared to where her minder’s knife hovered.

One more violent kneeing followed. Aelita’s minder wavered – even if he wisely had some protection. Using that opportunity, Aelita once again redirected the attacking elf’s knife – this time to the same side as where the other knife laid.

At that moment, Aelita released the attacking elf’s wrists. He raised the knife up high with a pained smile. A curse in the Fellowship’s tongue followed.

But it was too late for him.


Aelita had grabbed the second knife and slit his throat without hesitation. Blood painted her face.

No one liners or curses.

Pushing the new corpse aside, Aelita stood up to witness Soleil pummeling the Fellowship mage with her pendent.

The minders for Hargrave and Gianni began to act. One approached Aelita. The other tried to assess what to do with Soleil.

In the midst of this, Aelita spared a single quick look around to see if anything was available to free herself of the nullification cuffs...
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"HELP ME!" Joel hollered, his elven minder roughly keeping him in check even as he struggled, the Priest still lost in his mystic trance and finishing his chant.

Soleil never helped anyone for the sake of helping them, for the sake of it being "the right thing" to do or any moral notion of the sort. If it was advantageous in a desirable capacity for her to do so, then she did. And here, one had to be thinking ahead. Even when the fight in this tent was won, still Soleil would be caught among a vast encampment of hostile elves (and with stormclouds lingering overhead, threatening more rain). The more allies she had with her, the better her own chances. And Hargrave and Gianni were of no use now.

Aelita had a small respite of time, where the one elf was now dead—his throat slit—and one of the others was approaching.

Joel had the Priest's blade coming up to grace his exposed neck before the trough.

So Soleil detached one arm from herself, and the rest of her exploded back into a vicious cloud of sand. The cloud shot like a swarm of devouring locusts past Aelita and past the two oncoming minders and enveloped the Priest, who was taken out of his trance and stumbled backward, swatting at himself in panic and in vain. Joel's minder shoved the boy Initiate down to the ground, drawing his own blade and intent on ending him, and there the scuffle began in a flurry of kicking legs and tangled arms.

Soleil's detached arm, meanwhile, had floated over to the corpse of Aelita's erstwhile minder. It began to search pockets. This pocket. That pocket. A tiny metallic jingle. In the hand of the detached arm as it came out of the pocket was the key to Aelita's cuffs.

The arm flew toward the first cuff. Inserted the key. Tried to turn.

But the minder who was approaching Aelita struck the arm with his blade and it dispersed into loose sand, flittering about in the air like a thin haze. And the minder drove his blade toward Aelita.

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Aelita’s eyes caught Soleil’s disembodied arm fingering through her minder’s pockets.

Come on, come on,” she muttered beneath her breath.

The jingle of the keys reached Aelita’s ears. She presented her hands to Soleil’s arm.


But another elf assailant attacked and scattered Soleil’s arm.

Aelita quickly leaned her body back to just barely dodge the minder’s weapon. Once the blade passed above, Aelita tucked and rolled underneath his outstretched arm. She tumbled next to the trough.

In a fluid motion, Aelita got onto her feet in a slightly crouched stance. Simultaneously, she used her teeth to turn the key.


The nullification cuffs fell to the ground.

Aelita took a quick look around. A split second. Joel’s minder drew his knife near Joel’s neck reflected in Aelita’s eyes.

Rage consumed Aelita’s face.

She drew her staff with one hand.

The other reached into the trough.

Fingertips touched the blood.

Aelita’s weapon pointed at the head of Joel's minder.

The staff glowed.

Red sparks typical of blood magic followed.




A beam of light erupted forth from Aelita’s staff.

Concentrated to the point of incinerating flesh.

Regardless of if it would do any good to save Joel, should the light touch the minder’s head it would be destroyed. And regardless of that, the beam would continue to pierce through the tent...
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What was once the elf minder's head became no more than a spray of red and pink mist. The body collapsed completely onto Joel, quivering in headless death throes, the jugular squirting out blood in gradually less intense spurts onto Joel's face. The boy pinched his eyes shut and pursed his lips as the entirety of his visage was drenched in crimson. The beam, as well, punched a hole through the far side of the tent; whether the beam was spotted by any Fellowship elves outside who happened to be looking in that direction for the blink of an eye necessary to see it would be unknown for now.

The Priest's last scream was choked by sand, and as he toppled over the cloud of Soleil burst out from his orifices and reassembled into the form of the girl.

Now there was but two elven minders left, they who had been watching Hargrave and Gianni. The one Aelita had rolled past now had her back wide open to him, and he lifted and pointed his left arm at her: the wings of a wrist-mounted crossbow, one of the favored weapons of Fellowship warriors and operatives, burst from his sleeve and he took his shot.

Meanwhile, the other minder launched himself at Soleil, swinging his blade into her in a flurry of lightning strikes. His blade passed through her, tearing out sprays of sand with each blow, the sand floating and then coalescing back into her—but each reformation sapped more of Soleil's magic. The minder was quick: so while Soleil's attempt to dodge his blade proved mostly useless, her own swings with her Pendant also failed to find home on him.

She used some of her geomancy instead—quick and efficient, to save stores of magic for later. The ground beneath the minder's feet became soft and wet in a flash: mud. His boots sank into it, trapping him temporarily.

Yet still he had the flexibility and reflexes, even whilst his feet were rooted in place, to evade and weave his body around Soleil's swinging Pendant. She might have to use more magic just to finish him.

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After casting her last spell, Aelita shivered. But,



Crimson sparks appeared again.

A half-dome of light enveloped Aelita.

The minder’s arrow struck the aegis. Instead of deflecting as the Fellowship arrows did to the same spell almost a day ago, the arrow dissolved upon touching the light.

Aelita snapped her head to see the minder. Her irises glowed a solid white.

The glowing staff now pointed at the offending minder.



A second beam of deadly light shot forth to the minder’s heart. It burned a hole into the minder’s chest and the tent’s wall.

Aelita’s gaze the turn toward Soleil, with the staff shifting over...
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Soleil stepped back and lifted her free hand and in so doing channeled more of her geomancy. The mud which enveloped the minder's feet rolled up his legs, his torso, and came to encase his sword arm. With a twirl of her hand and her fingers collapsing into a fist, the mud hardened.

A poor cage, but it kept him still for that crucial second. Right as he broke free Soleil's Pendant cracked open his skull. A shower of cracked mud chips accompanied his fall to the ground, his corpse joining in with the others inside the tent, human and elf alike.

Soleil let out a satisfied breath, her gaze lingering on the last fallen minder for a second longer. Her tone was satisfied as she said, "One of many."

Joel, still pinned beneath an elven body, spit repeatedly, trying to clear his mouth and his lips of elven blood. "Hey," he said, "get me out of here."

"Key in pocket," Soleil said, donning her Pendant again around her neck.

"Gee thanks," Joel said, awkwardly trying to maneuver around his bound hands and get the corpse off of himself at the same time.

Soleil turned and looked to Aelita, preempting her brief words with a glance toward the fresh new hole in the tent.

"Little time."

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The last elf fell within the tent. Aelita saw no more living enemies.

Yet, Aelita still had widened eyes. She breathed heavily. Her head turned toward the tent entrance. Anger still painted her face.

When Soleil spoke out to her, Aelita snapped her gaze toward the fellow Initiate. A tense look met Soleil at first before it slowly dissipated. She glanced over to see a hole from the tent that would have gone out to the rest of the Fellowship encampment.

Yes,” answered Aelita with a soft voice.

With her hand still dipped int the sacrificial blood, Aelita’s staff glowed once again.


A ball of light shot out from Aelita’s staff and landed within the center of the tent – near the fire. It gave an ethereal hum and slowly grew.

Let’s go,” Aelita told Soleil and Joel.

One last look was afforded to Hargrave and Gianni. Aelita picked up a ceremonial dagger and rushed to a tent wall. Since they were not blindfolded, Aelita used a mental map to guess that this side pointed toward the forest. One quick slash was all it needed to get an Initiate-sized hole.

Aelita turned back to frantically wave Soleil and Joel to go.

The light continued to grow.
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Othellian couldn't help himself. He had to ask. Not out of derision or disrespect, no, everyone in the Fellowship had come to accept the leadership of The Seer. It was a kind of wonder which drove him.

"Did you know?"

The Seer was sat cross-legged in his tent, the air heavy with the aroma of incense, the light dim enough that there was little difference between he who wore the blindfold and Othellian who did not.

"The future is only ever revealed by the present," the Seer said. "Many paths are trimmed down to one as the distant becomes near. But now we are here. From this vantage a wealth of opportunity, like a pristine landscape, unfolds. New paths await, now that we stand on this certainty. Heed well with thine ears: these paths may yet be more favorable than if all had gone well with the consecration."

Othellian smiled. The blood of those human Dreadlords was meant to invoke an ancient consecration upon their war with Vel Anir and humanity, blessing it with the favor of the Elven Gods of Old through this forgotten and now forbidden rite.

But Othellian, like others of the Fellowship, trusted in the Seer.

* * * * *​

Soleil ran with Aelita, and Joel was right behind them.

By now the evening's gloom left the Falwood primed and ready for the blanket of night, for the orange of the setting sun in the west was but a suggestion now, and stars (those which could be seen through the thick canopy and scattered clouds above at any rate) were already peeking through in the dark veil of the east.

It was good timing. The Fellowship had to know that they escaped by now, even if through near impossible luck none of Aelita's bursts of light had been seen. Someone would have likely checked to see how the sacrifice in the tent was going.

"Fucking animals," Joel said as they ran. "Fucking animals back there. What the hell were they even doing? Hargrave and Gianni, damn it, they didn't deserve that. Not at all."

Soleil didn't (or rather, couldn't) understand Joel being upset about Hargrave and Gianni. "Dead because unlucky." They were positioned first along the line of the trough.

Joel continued in his rant. "You know what? Never trust the word of an elf. Ever. Sold us the same damn ransom story. Lying ass elves. They'll get what's coming when the Falwood finally burns."

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With the sun still setting, Aelita could gauge which way was northwest. Closer to safety and a chance rescue.

Blood still coated Aelita and Joel as they ran through the forest with Soleil. As Joel ranted about the elves, Aelita remained silent. Her breathing drew heavier with each second. As they had departed from the tent, the ball of light she had cast remained behind.

Then, Aelita stumbled to a knee.



A flash of light from the Fellowship camp flooded the forest. What seemed to be a glowing pillar shot up into the sky before dissipating in about ten seconds.

By the time this explosion occurred, the vegetation would be too thick between the Initiates and the Fellowship camp for the young Anirians to see what exactly happened. But back at the camp, the ball of light Aelita created eventually exploded like smoldering fertilizer.

Pushing herself up with her staff, Aelita told her comrades, “Keep going. Don’t stop moving.

Though, Joel was likely the only person that needed such words.
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"What the hell was that? You know what? Nevermind. Don't wanna know," Joel said, seeming to remember right after he had asked the question just how touchy some Initiates could be able the secrecy of their magic—even in these new times.

"Many elves dead," Soleil said as they ran. "Good."

"They're gonna be mad." Then Joel laughed. "To hell with them. Dirty fucking knife-earred rats."

"They come? We kill."

"Yeah. Something tells me they won't be trying for some ransom ruse again."

Then Soleil spoke directly to Aelita: "Us? Find South Army. Camp. Keep. Patrol. Something."

That was the part which remained unchanged ever since the ill-fated battle and the days of pursuit which followed. Their one chance was to get to Anirian territory. They were, at least, closer now than when they had first escaped the lost battle.

Likely it was, though, that they would be running until the very moment they crossed through friendly gates. Especially now that the hornet's nest had been kicked.

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With heaving breathing in between words, Aelita told Soleil, “We just need... to go straight northwest.

Aelita still kept up with the Initiates, but she fell a bit behind after stumbling. She also continued to use her staff to support some of her weight.

Find a road and follow it away from Falwood,” Aelita added.

It was not long before all the light from Aelita’s spell at the camp dissipated. All that was left was the evening sun’s red glow and rustling of leaves to the wind.

Then looking to Joel, Aelita asked, “You able to cast your magic?
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"Yeah," Joel said. "I guess I could blind a few of them, or make them deaf, or mute their taste, fat lot of good that'll do."

Joel did have something of an inferiority complex, especially when he compared his magic to the more flashier magic of many of his peers (fittingly enough, Aelita being one of them, what with that departing spell she had left for the Fellowship camp).

"What for?"

"You? Good distraction," Soleil said.

"That's not funny."

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But we may need yo-Aelita began before she was cut off by a loud


The sound of horns tore through the forest and continued for almost half a minute. The sound seemed difficult to pick up where exactly it came from.


A few beats of a drum followed.

Or what may have been drums. The sound bled into the range of what could be explosions in the distance.

As the cacophony raged in the air, the group would have reached a stream. Where they were, all water eventually flowed into Cortosi. Yet, the path could wind and snake around for miles.

Looking to Soleil, Aelita asked, “Can you cross?
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"The fuck was that??" Joel said, so astonished that he slowed to a stop for a brief moment, looking back, before his legs kicked back into motion and he caught up. "Hear that? You two hear that shit? Drums." He did indeed settle on it being drums, whether that were truthful or not. "That doesn't sound very elven to me."

"Doesn't matter," Soleil said. "Dark soon. Keep running. Keep ahead."

"I'm starving, this is gonna be..." Joel huffed as if casting out his complaints in formless breath before they could morph into words, and just kept on.

It didn't take long though for a particular obstacle to present itself. The gurgling could be heard before the three of them reached the downslope of the forest floor. Standing there at the crest of the little descent the stream was in plain view, what scant light from the late evening reflecting here and there along its bubbling flow, little pockets of glistening splendor.

Yet to Soleil it wasn't splendorous at all. She stiffened. Looked at the water with apprehension even as Joel said a relieved word and slid down the slope and got down on his knees and scooped up water with his hand to his mouth to drink.

She glanced over at Aelita. "Can fly. But will use magic."

Aelita nodded to Soleil.

I’ll be right behind you,” she told Sol with a tired smile.

Regardless of Soleil’s next actions, a sound whispered out into the air.


And then a yelp from Aelita.

Anyone that turned back to see Aelita would find their fellow Initiate on one knee. An arrow pierced her left half. A wound capable of being healed by magic but debilitating for the moment.

Two Fellowship elves appeared in the distance behind Aelita – positions revealed as they barked elvish words between each other. One carried a bow while the other drew a sword. The archer reached into his quiver for another arrow.

And further behind even all them was a mighty.


Some beast roared into the evening sky.

Then, a crimson glow washed over the treetops of the forest. The ethereal laugh of an old woman followed.

Both seemed to originate from back where the Fellowship camp sat. Something was happening in the camp...
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I'll be right behind you.

It was good enough for Soleil. Her body burst apart and she was a cloud of sand within the blink of an eye, and this cloud flew over the stream and on the other side of the water did Soleil's human form coalesce from these thousands upon thousands of constituent parts.

No sooner than when she reformed she heard Joel give a cry of, "Shit!" from across the stream. She looked back. Saw Aelita with the arrow through her. Saw the vanguard of two Fellowship elves. And, worse, some great unknown, that crimson glow and the ringing laugh coming from all the way back in the Fellowship camp. This left Soleil with a choice. Go back across the stream and try to help. Or keep going.

She looked to Aelita. Said to herself then, "Unlucky."

And she chose the latter. Soleil turned and ran, leaving Aelita and Joel behind.

Joel, for his part, stayed rooted to his spot by the stream for a second, looking with tormented agony between Soleil and Aelita, trying to decide what in the hell he ought to do. Then he muttered, "Fuck it!" and hurried over to Aelita. He stood beside her and had his hands outstretched, trying to use his magic to blind the bow-wielding elf, and he said to her, "Can you stand!? Can you run!?"

Soleil chose to run.

Aelita will remember that.

As Soleil continued forward, she would hear Aelita and Joel speaking

Yeah,” Aelita replied, “Cast yo-

Then Aelita and Joel’s voices were to far away to hear distinct words. Just muffling after travelling through the trees to Soleil’s ears.

Aelita’s staff began to glow. But soon enough, Joel and Aelita would be out of sight to Soleil.

Then another bestial roar.

Until finally nothing but the wind spoke to Soleil.

The banging from behind died down. The crimson glow dissipated. Darkness began to settle upon the forest.

For a bit of time, but not too long, Soleil would be on her own.

Yet something threatened to keep her company as a low rumbling built up in the air.


Something approached. Something massive. An enormous shadow raced toward Soleil's direction from a distance behind her.
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The Headman of Vel Yuna sat across from her. His voice was delicate. Careful. Not only because she was just a child, not only because she was not like the other children, but because of what happened. The Verdane girl's whole family was found dead in their home, and they had not been killed by mundane means. Proctors from the Academy were on their way. The girl, so everyone in Vel Yuna thought, had magic; likely it was that she didn't know how to control it yet either, and this made her dangerous.

"Soleil..." he began softly. "Why didn't you say something? To anyone?"

The girl simply continued playing with the two twig dolls she had in her hands. Smiling, mouthing little inaudible words for each doll to say to one another. The girl's mother had made it widely known in Vel Yuna that little Soleil had...difficulties in communicating. She didn't talk very much, she didn't cry, she wasn't good with people to put it bluntly. She was very aware of things around her though, even at her young age. A smart girl, a clever girl, learning and figuring things out much faster than her siblings. Despite this, her mother was...had been so worried about her.

"Soleil?" The Headman said, leaning forward and trying to meet the girl's eyes. But he couldn't. It was as if he didn't exist to her, so apparently enraptured was she in playing with her dolls.

"Soleil, are you scared? Are you sad?"

No answer. No hint of either in the girl's face. Just that blissful smile and an unconcerned enjoyment with her dolls. The Headman wanted to believe that it was some kind of extreme shock, that the girl, despite her sharpness, couldn't comprehend what had happened to her family and just distanced herself from it all. But...his gut instinct, manifesting as a fearful knot in his belly, was telling him that this was not the case.

"Soleil," he said, "some men will be here soon. They're going to take care of you from now on. Things will be alright."

No answer. No real answer, anyway. The girl trilled her tongue in that queer way she habitual did and the Headman knew that it wasn't much of a response to what he had said.

"Are you hungry? I can get you something to eat while we wait, or maybe—"


The Headman was caught offguard. "What?"

Soleil set her dolls to rest in her lap and she looked up and right at the Headman with a steadfast gaze that was as blissful and unconcerned as her smile. "Family? Unlucky."

"Do you...want to talk about it?"

Soleil just continued to smile and she found the words to express herself and said, "Dead because unlucky."

Quietly, almost fearfully, the Headman asked, "Soleil...what happened? Can you tell me what happened?"

She made a popping sound with her lips and picked her twig dolls back up and resumed play. And that was that. The girl said no more.

* * * * *​

It was easy to leave Aelita and Joel behind. No guilt, no remorse, no shame, no sense of obligation, nothing of the sort stopped her from doing so. Soleil Verdane had not been twisted nor broken nor molded by the Academy like so many of her peers. On the contrary, she was born with such a nature that the Academy was a place where she could thrive. And this condition of her birth made the abandonment of Aelita and Joel as easy for her as stepping over the corpses of her slain family back in Vel Yuna as she attended to daily chores. She felt nothing of it. She in fact couldn't.

It didn't matter that Aelita had gifted her that cloak. It didn't matter that Aelita had put herself in danger for Soleil's sake. All Soleil was truly concerned with was her own well-being, her own advantage, her own best interest. And here she had calculated that it had been best to leave them behind. If they died?


So Soleil ran through the darkening forest, her imitation body unavoidably simulating a burn in her lungs and fatigue in her legs, but she ran regardless. She had to. She had get ahead of the Fellowship and get to Anirian forces. She might be able to kill some of the elves, especially if they left her no choice, but slowing down too much was sure to see her overwhelmed. So, despite wanting to kill some of them, she first and foremost had to keep going.


There seemed to be something large, large enough to rumble the ground with its footsteps, in pursuit. What it could possibly be was beyond Soleil. Elves were not so loud, so conspicuous.

She hazarded a glance back over her shoulder.

  • Cry
Reactions: Aelita

When Soleil glanced back, she would have seen the shadow of a massive beast barreling through the forest toward her. It could be best described as one of the large lizards that could be found in the southern edges of the Anirian-Falwood border.

On this creature’s back sat a rider donning a crimson cloak that covered plate armor. In one hands, the rider held the reigns to his mount. In the other, he carried a bloodied two-bladed weapon. His eyes glowed through the darkened forest.

The lizard mount hissed.

“Halt, Initiate!” a coarse voice bellowed out toward Soleil.

If this rider managed to get closer to Soleil – either by the Initiate stopping as demanded or the faster beast catching up – then Soleil would see the crest of the House of Urahil upon the rider.
  • Gasp
Reactions: Soleil Verdane
The command to halt did not give Soleil any pause. She kept running, and merely within her mind began to conjure up her options on how to kill the rider in the most efficient manner possible and continue on. This, however, seemed a little preemptive, for as the rider inevitably drew closer and Soleil was all but primed to burst into her Sandform, she saw the crest of House Urahil in the last vestiges of evening light. Her eyes sparkled with recognition.

An Anirian! She didn't question it.

Soleil at last came to a stop. Panting as her imitation body bid her, she looked up to the rider. She pointed at him. Asked, "Who?"

  • Cthuulove
Reactions: Aelita