Catharsis Night (Sess)

GEAR

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#1
Luna?
Date Unknown
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Silence, and darkness enveloped James Steelheart as he slept, doubtlessly exhausted by the events of the previous days. The DAMON incursion had at last died down to a more manageable level, but that was not due to his continued participation - for as soon as the Queen had regained consciousness, she had confined him to his home, effectively under house arrest.

A soft beat - gentle drums, pattering on the edge of his vision.,. as a familiar, unmistakable voice began to speak.

"We are the scions of order,
Blessed are we, in faith and blood divine,
To lead the blind, the faithless through the dark,
Our lives a torch, our souls a flame.
"
It was just as it had been back then. All three of them, seated on the edge of that silvery pool in the dark depths, the only light the smoldering of ancient ceremonial torches. Simple white robes clothed their forms as tradition dictated, and the cloying scent of incense tickled his nose, leaving a faint mist that crawled from the surroundings.

Beside him sat Selene, her eyes straight ahead, dutiful as always, her features natural and hair trimmed short to her neck. The way they were made to sit, legs tucked beneath them, arms folded on their laps, was never comfortable... Yet, she always managed to make it look so easy.

And ahead, of course, was-

The form of Selene II, his mother, her back turned.

It was curious how even long after her passing, her features were still ingrained with such clarity into his memory - her voice from that day, like an echoed whisper on the wind. Only once had they ever been required to attend the ritual, when they were very young - yet the purpose of it had never been revealed to him.

"Around the spindle of possibility, our world is weaved,
An endless turning, an eternal recurrence,
From ash we were born, to ash we shall return.
"
Selene II's hand turned gentle circles in the air over the pool as she spoke the solemn prayer, drawing lines with a lit stick of incense that left trails in his sight after he blinked, turning lazy patterns. The bright light cast strange shadows on the walls of the caverns, through which veins of power stirred.

"O' Luna, palace of the great and divine,
Precipice of power, monument to all that is true and noble,"

His sister was gone. When had she left? Perhaps as his attention had lapsed - but no, she was still there. He knew, because of the sudden sensation of a hand closing about his hair, gripping his head, turning it back and up, to look into Selene III's eyes.

"Guide us through the blackest night, to the waiting dawn,"
Pain.

A cold, sharp sensation, as something keen was run across his throat. Her eyes were cold, dark pools as she lifted the stained dagger and released her hold, its edges now decorated with his vital fluids... and he began to fall away. Hot wetness spread across the robes, through his throat, dying them crimson that weaved its way through the scenery as everything went dark.

"To the promised paradise of the enlightened spirit...
 

Hitura Rael

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#2
The past few days had taken their toll on James. Endless DAMON incursions, followed by the betrayl of his brother, and then his sister. It had not been a pleasant few days locked up in the apartment for himself or his room mate. Sure, it made sense. He was close to Einfield and so suspicion fell on him. But Selene knew better! Or at least he thought she did. He closed his eyes for the... he lost count of how many naps this was now. Darkness swallowed him quickly.

A soft beat echoed through the darkness, distant and faintly heard on the peripheral of his senses. A woman's soft voice dominated the beat, one he had not heard in a long, long time.

"We are the scions of order,
Blessed are we, in faith and blood divine,
To lead the blind, the faithless through the dark,
Our lives a torch, our souls a flame."
He sat as he had been instructed, quiet and stil despite every impulse burning in his muscles to fidget. He stared down at the silvery pool, the reflections of the torches, and then up to the burning incense, taking it all in. His glance trailed over to his sister, who took to the position and duty before them like a duck to water. How was it so easy for her to sit so still and perfect? Well, she was the perfect child, wasn't she? His eyes trailed back to his mother, kneeling before him, reciting the ancient ritual, a learning experience for her children.

"Around the spindle of possibility, our world is weaved,
An endless turning, an eternal recurrence,
From ash we were born, to ash we shall return."
He watched her, trying to keep his attention on her, a struggle for one so young and full of energy.

"O' Luna, palace of the great and divine,
Precipice of power, monument to all that is true and noble,"
He glanced over to Selene again, frowning at the empty place beside him. He turned his head again, to look around the room for his sister, certainly she could not have slipped away so easily... and froze when fingers slid through his hair, curling into a tight grip and forcing him to look up while baring his exposed throat. He stared up at Selene, a sensation of terror and dread coursing through is body. It was as if his stomach had been filled with ice, the cold chill of fear spreading through his body by his blood chilled by that sensation.

"Guide us through the blackest night, to the waiting dawn,"
A bite of pain radiated across his throat, a sharp sting accompanied by the warm flow of blood. He put his hands to the wound, trying to keep it in...

"To the promised paradise of the enlightened spirit..."
James sat up with a startled gasp, his hand flying to his throat where the phantom pain of his dream still lingered. He panted, trying to slow his breathing and his wildly beating heart. His hand came away clean. With a groan, he flopped back down onto the bed, running a hand over his face up to his forehead to wipe the cold sweat from his brow and slick back his hair.

"Just a dream..." he muttered to the cieling. A terrible dream. But was it just a dream, brought on by paranoia and hurt? Or was it a warning...

With a sigh, he threw off his covers and slipped out of bed, pulling on his trousers. Lingering on the dream would do him no good. He was already wary of Selene, but now... Now he would never turn his back on her. He ran his hand through his hair, giving his scalp a good scratch as he made his way out of the room to the front room.

Merida looked up from her book, an eyebrow raised at him. "Forget a shirt or...?"

James shrugged and made his way to the fridge, grabbing a bottle of water before plopping down on the couch across from her. "You walk around completely naked, why are you complaining?"

"As a straight woman with a hot roommate I'm not. I'm oogling."

James choked on his drink, nearly dribbling it out of his nose as he forced it down and coughed, rubbing his nose to try to alleviate the burning in his sinus cavity. "That's not funny."

Merida chuckled, a malicious grin on her face. "Sure it is. You should see your face, scruffy. When are you going to shave? Or shower?"

James glared at her and set his water aside.

"You can't keep moping around like a kicked dog. You need to take care of yourself before I drag you to the shower kicking and screaming. Or I can call my parents... Between mom and dad you-"

"OKAY!" He sighed, not wanting her to finish that threat. That one ALWAYS worked. "I'll go shower in a little bit!"

She raised her glance from her book again. "Now. No excuses."

"Yes mom," he snapped, getting up from the couch and stalking off to the shower. Damn woman knew how to twist balls without ever actually lifting a finger. "Did you manage to find anything?"

"Not yet. It's been hard to get access to the Genion alone. She's swarmed like an ant colony."

James sighed and tossed his clothes into the overstuffed dirty hamper and stepped into the shower. He wasn't even three minutes in to the shower when Merida just walked right into the bathroom and gathered up the dirty clothes, depositing clean ones. "Do you ever fucking knock?!"

"Nope." He could hear the grin in her voice. He groaned in response. He had entertained the notion once of not trusting her... But then again if she wanted to kill or hurt him she had every damn chance in the world. And she was just so damn honest...

"I'm stripping your bed too."

He groaned again and rested his head on the shower wall a little harder than he had meant to. Definitely like having a goddamned mother living with him...
 

GEAR

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#3
The soft white noise of the shower may have served to still the waters of James' heart, the warm water washing the sin and uncertainty from his tired body. As he cleanesed, his personal terminal's display lit up briefly, and silently, as a message was conveyed. Once he had exited the steam, he would likely not have been surprised to see the impersonal official-channel-only text displayed across its holographic surface:

TO: SIR STEELHEART

YOUR PRESENCE IS REQUESTED AT THE ROYAL PALACE BY HER MAJESTY SELENE III'S ORDER.

YOU WILL BE ESCORTED TO THE GROUNDS IN APPROXIMATELY ONE HOUR.
 

Hitura Rael

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#4
James stepped out of the shower, toweling his hair dry absently, contemplating his life decisions at this point. Perhaps he should have just settled in as a mechanic like Merida. He'd still help the cause and not have all these damn problems- He sighed at the blinking light on his terminal and flicked the message on. His eye twitched slightly.

"Oh, NOW she wants to see me!" He shouted, stomping to his room in a towel to quickly dress as appropriate to see the queen. How -does- a possible traitor to the crown dress to see a queen? He sighed and settled on his uniform as the better choice, grumbling as he stomped out to go dry his hair.

"If you keep that up you're going to look like crap when you go see her." Merida chimed from the laundry room.

James sighed and rushed along in preparing for the escort, since he wasn't exactly allowed out without one now a days. Save her damn life and this was how she repaid him!

Merida stepped into the room, taking the brush from his hands. "You're going to tangle more than untangle. Relax."

"Stop trying to mother me." James snapped, but allowed the shorter woman to brush his hair.

"Stop acting like a chastised child then." She quipped back with a yank on his hair.

He bit his bottom lip and stilled his tongue, for once, knowing there was no winning a war of wit with her. And she had a point... He sighed and endured the treatment until she braided his hair and stepped back.

"I trust you remember how to shave..."

"Yes..." He grumbled and shooed her out. "I'll shave..."

"Good. I'll get the living room a little more presentable."

Twenty minutes later and James was set, looking as presentable as any other knight would. He sighed and sat on the couch to wait, fidgeting with a skein of yarn. "I wish that you could come with me. I'd feel better having someone watching my back."

"Too bad." She shrugged. "No one wants a greasy mechanic around a palace."
 
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GEAR

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#5
The trek to the Lunar Palace was relatively peaceful. Even though most of the wild DAMON had been dispatched, the distant flash of battle could still occasionally be seen from the vehicles' windows.

Somewhere out there was Gerart Enfield, fighting his own kind of battle. Perhaps it was this fact that made the Lunar horizon seem... different in tone than it had been previously. Somehow more artificial, now that the peace it supposedly represented had been disturbed. Reports were coming in as well that the world outside was under siege by similar horrors called Lamalice, which were pointedly avoiding the Lunar settlements... but because of the complete communications breakdown, details were scarce.

Still, of some comfort were the sentinel-like forms of the Kingdom's Diam Lee mobile weapons, their polished forms standing guard at strategic points in the city... though if this was in the event of another incursion, or perhaps to keep the populace in check, only one could say.

Queen Selene.




Oh, great Lady.

Please, have mercy upon us sinful souls of Luna.


...

Nothing.

There was... nothing.

Selene III opened her eyes in the gloom, hearing the unlatching of the shrine's doors. She rose from her crouch, bedecked long, ochre robes to turn her pale features towards the light, as James was allowed entry to this most holiest of places.

There was, of course, a greater cathedral for conducting official ceremonies within the palace - but these were mostly for the benefit of the public, and the spectacles they so enjoyed. Rituals of greater import had always been carried out here, in a smaller alcove located closer to the royal living quarters. According to their mother, it contained relics that had been in their family - their bloodline - for generations, ever since they had resided on Earth. Indeed, there were marbled statues ringing the circular interior, an altar, and a variety of different artworks, as well as containers that held ancient samples of resin, incense, and all manner of device that allowed for them to commune with Lady.

Her eyes flicked to the guard.

"Leave us." She commanded - and he complied, bowing his head and stepping away, closing the door behind the two of them.
 

Hitura Rael

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#6
James did not bother to speak with his escort. He was in no mood to. He had not been in much a mood to talk to people since getting back from the field and, essentially, being grounded. He sighed, watching the lights of battle flashing in the distance. He should be out there defending the kingdom, not treated like a traitor! At the very least he should be out there hunting down Einfield... He turned his gaze from the sky to watch the road instead, it was less painful.




The palace felt hollow now. The warmth he had once felt here was gone, sucked away by betrayal and that dream. Was it just a dream? Or was it a warning? He did not see the art and majesty around him as he walked, absorbed in contemplating that dream, that terrible nightmare.

He snapped back to reality with Selene's voice. He tensed, crossing an arm across his chest and bowing ever so slightly at the waist. "My queen." His voice lacked the warmth and joy he normally felt when visiting her. This was not a visit. This was a summon. Oddly, he felt less secure with the guards gone.
 

GEAR

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#7
Selene studied James features in the light as she drew close. As he bowed, he would have felt something brush the side of his face. Selene's pale fingers touched his cheek, gently turning his face upward as she gave him a small smile. It was clear that she was just as rattled as he was - but perhaps, she was simply better at hiding it.

"Thank you for saving me." She said, quietly.

"You're all I have now, James."

Her thumb stroked his cheek before being withdrawn into the folds of her robes as she folded her arms. She seemed... deep in thought, as though rethinking whether he ought to be here at all - but after only a moment's hesitation, she pushed forward.

"It's high time... you knew the truth." She said.

"About our bloodline... about Luna... and me."
 

Hitura Rael

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#8
He flinched at her touch, tense as she smiled at him. He may not be good at hiding his discomfort, but he would rather be an open book than a back stabber... Could he trust her?
"You are welcome, your highness." His voice remained cold and distant. "I could not leave you behind. How are your wounds? You are well?"

He flinched inwardly at her declaration of being all she had. A comforting lie, no doubt. She had the entire kingdom, after all. Or was that just another means to an end? Another pawn in her schemes...

He relaxed ever so slightly when her hand left his face. His eyes followed her, weighing her every move and expression. "I would appreciate knowing the truth about everything. Including what was done to Gerrart."
 

GEAR

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#9
There was a short silence as Selene looked into his eyes, as if determining if he was ready. Seeing him like this... was like an eerie reflection of herself, and it was clear in her expression that she was troubled by him.

"Very well." She said, hesitantly.

"...It's... best I start with him, then."

She folded her arms, thinking of best where to begin her explanation... but eventually settled on a point. Ever since assuming the monarchy, she had been ever taciturn... yet, something had transpired in the short time since he had seen her last to trigger a sudden bout of honesty. The Queen took a deep breath, exhaling slowly and closing her eyes as she said, quietly:

"James... Mother and Father were not poisoned."

Her hands came down, undoing an ornate sash about her waist, allowing her outer robes to fall away into a soft, immaculate heap about her feet. Reaching up, she brushed the fabric away from her neck, exposing the white skin beneath to him as it rolled down her right shoulder..

"They passed because of... this."

Beneath the robe, where her unmarked skin met the makeup... was a sight worth of revulsion. Streaks of her back, snaking up about the bottom of her neck, were a dark, yellowish color - almost scale-like in appearance, not unlike the beasts they had recently dispatched at the ZONE. It spread, spider-like, across her frame, the edges about it inflamed, yet with serpentine-like lines already beginning to run out from where it had spread.
 

Hitura Rael

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#10
This was getting quite uncomfortable very quickly. James averted his eyes as his sister disrobed. The woman must be losing her mind! Though curiosity could not keep him from looking when she mentioned 'this'. He had braced himself for something unexpected and terrible, but nothing could prepare him for that. It was never in the realm of thought as a possibility. He stepped back as an involuntary gasp escaped his lips. He stared at the markings, wide eyed with shock and horror.

It took several moments for his brain to process the sight, to move past the grotesque image and implications once he recalled where he had seen that before. The recollection of the DAMON's skin didn't take him long, given the endless days fighting them, but it took him some minutes to get over a second wave of shock accompanied by nausea and the urge to run.

How could she hide this from him for so long? How could she expect him to even begin to cope with this given the circumstances?! His support system had been shattered, he had no one he could trust. Almost no one, anyway. Just one tiny woman more likely to laugh at his- no. She wouldn't laugh. She hadn't yet.

He took a slow, shaking breath and swallowed hard several times until he was sure his voice would remain level. "What..." his voice wavered anyway. He cleared his throat and tried again. "What is this... How... why..." There were too many questions. He had to clench his jaw shut to stem the flow of them. He frowned at Selene and in a hard, stern tone fit for a man commanding a subordinate, "Explain this. ALL of it. No gaps Selene."

Was this going to happen to him too? Just because of the woman who birthed him? That was hardly fair. They had given him up for a good chunk of his life, only bringing him around to teach him and fawn over him once he was old enough to understand and deal with it emotionally. Even then they acted as if he were a bastard child to keep hidden! He had always been, and always felt... like Selene's back up in case something happened to her. This situation was NOT helping matters. Hopefully she'd never find a husband from that and never have kids. The line would end with them. It would be selfish and cruel to bring any children into this family, doomed to this affliction and death. And for what?
 

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#11
The shock and horror on James' face was exactly as she expected. Her robes were pulled carefully back up, and bound about her form as Selene listened to her brother stutter his response.

"Be patient, brother. I promise... I will." She said, turning back to face him, trying to give an encouraging smile.

"Surely, you have heard the story of Tsukuyomi, yes? Our great ancestor."

A curious folk story to say the least - one cited almost jokingly by Lunarians as a non-answer to the source of their strangeness. A poet from ancient times who had fallen in love with the moon, and accepted its blessing - the "First Lunarian". Selene nodded, thoughtfully as she continued:

"It is no myth. For thousands of years since, our blessed bloodline has served the Alabaster Lady..."

The Queen closed her eyes, bringing her hands forward, held together in prayer as she spoke in solemn reverence:

"The Guardian of Earth... Nashim Ganeden."
It was not a name he would be immediately familiar with, nor one that had ever entered the public discourse in any meaningful fashion. From the way Selene spoke it... the name sounded almost sacred in its importance.

"Our purpose is to lead mankind, enlighten it, and to forge a society capable of succeeding where all others have failed, through a unified will. The Psychodriver phenomenon is of her design... and the key to this world's survival.

The artifact Enfield has stolen is vital to this. The Sphere of the Quarreling Twins is capable of turning that unified will into a world changing act..."

At the mention of Gerart - or perhaps, as they delved even deeper into the subject matter - her features softened, and her pace slowed, somewhat.

"That is to say... a 'miracle'."

She paused, briefly, looking wistful. Were her thoughts on happier days, or was it something else? Eventually, she spoke once more.

"One hundred years ago... The world faced extinction as the ES Wave bore down on it. Our Lady foresaw that the Aegis Project, as it was, would be insufficient to protect the planet. To prevent this. Ganeden called upon us to make use of the Sphere's power. Mankind was saved..."

Her fingers unconsciously traced the edge of the marking on her back as she quietened.

"But the price it exacted upon us... was dear."
 

Hitura Rael

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#12
"So then that will happen to me as well."

Definitely not going to have kids. How like this family to doom everyone in the line. Why couldn't he have just truly been born to the people who had raised him? He had terrible luck in this life. And this only left more questions and gave exactly zero answers. His features eased from horror and shock to impatience and barely contained anger.
 

GEAR

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#13
"No."

Her response was immediate, and she tried to give him an encouraging smile, in spite of his anger.

"You... are safe. Gerart and I saw to that."

She folded her arms, and closed her eyes in thought as she continued.

"I am what is known as the Masyaf. I commune directly with Ganeden, and serve her will. Through the Sphere, I am the nexus for the will of all Lunarians."

When she opened them again, there was a certain... tiredness to her features, yet she seemed glad to finally be able to reveal the extent of her burden - of the life she had been made to assume in their Mother's wake.

"It is a great... and terrible strain. Ever since that day one hundred years ago, those of us chosen to fill this role... suffer from this affliction."

It had been awful, she thought, seeing it consume them. Much as they tried to hide it... she had to know. Such Selene II had told her, and not to look away.

Never look away. Such was the responsibility of a ruler, to acknowledge reality for what it was, rather than what she wished it to be.

"A great enemy of humanity has arrived at our door, James." She said quietly, her tone hardening.

"A vile darkness that has consumed countless other worlds. An unfeeling intellect that is determined to impose its own alien notion of salvation upon us. That is what I have been told.

We... have been called upon to make use of the Sphere once more, to protect this world. To defeat this foe, once and for all. And..."

Her voice cracked, gently. He wasn't supposed to know. Everything would have been so much easier, so much more painless, she thought... If everything had just gone how it was supposed to.

"...In doing so... I shall lose my life."​
 

Hitura Rael

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#14
Of course they did... They were always protecting him. Even when they shouldn't have. He bit back his anger, allowing her to continue. Some of his anger had quelled at least, at the vulnerable sight of his sister. The girl he had known, not the cold queen who wore her face.

His back stiffened again when her voice cracked. He took several deep breaths to ease himself, then pulled his sister into a tight hug. Pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place now. Enfield had to have taken the sphere to stop her from sacrificing herself. It was plausible. He was protective of Selene... in a way at least. So many questions... but first he had to comfort her.

"There are other ways. We'll defeat this thing without the sphere. Miracles are last ditch efforts, not first strikes. That's why they're miracles." He pulled her over to the couch and pulled her down to sit next to him. He held her tight, letting her have the opportunity to relax and properly react to what this Ganeden was trying to force on her.

"It's alright to let it out Selene. You have so much on your shoulders, you're not a mountain, you're not a heartless machine. You're human. Now's the best time to let it out." He laid his cheek against her forehead, gently rubbing her back to encourage her. Questions could wait.
 

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#15
As James swept her into his arms, Selene stiffened - but eventually relaxed, letting her forehead press against his chest. Her own thoughts were a mystery, as carefully guarded as her emotions - such she had been raised and taught, that a leader never showed weakness. There was the occasional lapse, to be certain... but on the whole, she had managed to internalize it. Very little fazed her now, and she could sign an order signalling the death of a dozen traitors without losing even a moment's sleep.

Better to be thought of as cold, she thought, than weak.

These two, however... Always found a way to get under her skin. Gerart especially, whose oafish blundering served only to conceal his own charm and capability - and James own earnestness was like drops of water onto her rock-solid heart, slowly wearing away at its defenses with nothing more than persistence and time. Even so, she pulled herself together at his words, and tried to think.

After a long silence after he sat her down, she opened her eyes... and said to to him, quietly.

"I am not the one you need to convince, James."
 

Hitura Rael

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#16
He frowned down at her, stiffening. "We are not lambs to be slaughtered at the whim of something that would treat us as puppets. I don't need to convince anyone of anything. Anything that can backlash at descendants for something they ordered is a cruel and unfeeling thing that won't bother to listen. I am not wasting my time and energy when I can put it elsewhere."

He was not feeling the most pliable of little lambs right now. And knowing what happens to those who commune with the beast... He'd never do it. "Besides. If it lets you die, it loses it's line of puppets."
 

GEAR

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#17
"I am no puppet, James."

Her voice was firm, yet the implications of his words were bitter indeed to her. Despite her conviction, she could not shake the fear of death - the last step of the threshold to cross, and she found herself too weak to take it, a fact that gnawed at her soul every night.

"We occupy a position of great honor." She insisted; "Our sacrifice will mean the survival of humanity, the triumph of good over evil."

She exhaled, slowly, trying to quell her own rising temper. It wasn't working.

"That... is more important than my personal feelings. It is... what I was born to do.

Gerart... Does not understand this. He is being... arrogant. Dangerous. All of this world is in jeopardy because of his actions. They cannot be overlooked."

Selene gave a deep sigh, and reached up to rub her forehead in exasperation.

"Do you understand now, James? Why all of this is necessary? If there is a better way, I invite you to find it..."
 

Hitura Rael

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#18
"Let's start with you not dying. What good would it do for you to die throwing yourself alone at this? There's more strength in humanity than that thing is giving us credit for. Rally the nations, stand together, fight back. Don't just roll over and die because this cursed being told you to. You're stronger than that." He huffed, easing his hold on her to let her up if she desired. Gerart had the right of it.

He sighed and eased his tone of voice. "Theres different kinds of strengths Selene. And then there's being so strong you make yourself weak. Resigning yourself to death is not strength. That's weakness. A weak faith in your fellow man, weak will to stand for yourself, and a weak heart to face the darkness. How can a better way even be found if you throw yourself at it before the problem is even presented to find that way? A pre-emptive strike of stupid proportions. In fact... I remember YOU yelling at me for doing something similarly stupid." He gave her a flat look.

"Gerart took the sphere to keep you from being stupid, didn't he? How did you end up wounded?"
 

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#19
"Gerart was nosing around where he didn't need to, and got caught. He was... concerned for me. When we found him, I explained to him the truth of the matter as I have to you. I wanted his support. When he refused to cooperate, I had him jailed beneath the ZONE, so he could not interfere with the incantation..."

Selene brought a hand up to her mouth in concentration, eyes narrowing as she recalled that particularly disastrous sequence of events. As he released her she rose, and stepped away, deep in thought.

"Unfortunately... I was too late. He had already sabotaged the mechanisms, and the ritual went awry, harming me in the process. In the ensuing confusion, he escaped with the Sphere, and Geminia."

The Queen lapsed into silence, briefly, her scowl deepening - but she breathed a sigh of relief, eventually, folding her arms back into her robes as she continued.

"Still." She said; "It is of only a minor setback, in the grand scheme of things. Gerart is on borrowed time, and none can outrun the Custos. As long as we have the superior Gemini sibling, we can retrieve the Quarreling Twins without too much difficulty...

Of course... You will not be involved with that at all, brother."
 

Hitura Rael

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#20
He raised an eyebrow at his sister, then lowered it as quickly, getting up to walk the room, feigning interest in the art. If she could so casually jail one of the people who she cared for... "Of course not. If not for Charles, my ass would thoroughly have been handed to me on a plate. Coming home on my shield, as you put it." He cast a glance over his shoulder at her, watching her with a playful smile.

"I am not stupid sister. I know I am no match for him. And with the royal guard gone..." His lips turned down, casting his glance away with a sad turn of his brows. It was her fault they had all been slaughtered by their leader. He was the only one left to his knowledge. Thanks to her being led on a leash, a cow to slaughter. Though, he did not think his sister remotely like a cow. But there was no other apt expression. Perhaps a pig to slaughter? Pigs were intelligent... He shook his head softly. "No. I will not go chasing after Gerart. I don't have the experience to beat him. Defending you is more important."

His frown was geniune now, hands resting on the case with an ornamental sword, head bowed. A sad note crept to his tone. "I still would prefer you give me time to find another way. You're all I have left Selene..." Turning her own words and attempts at guilt on her. He doubted it would do much good... Not with the way she was. He turned around, seemingly supporting his weight on his hands on the pedestal. "He managed to kill how many of the guard, fighting against all of them at once? Even if you believe the Genion is the superior of the twins, she barely stood a chance against her sister. Sure, we got in a good hit with... whatever it was she did... but the Geminia just shrugged it off once he got over the shock."