The Chains of Arunsia


Well-Known Member
Just like that, it was over. Melkanai let out the breath that he had unknowingly been holding whilst Gemel gave his response. He hadn't realised just how on edge he had been throughout the latter half of the encounter, but with Loyal's life on the line maybe it was understandable. With Gemel being the man he was, anything could have realistically happened. However, in the end, it seemed that sanity might have won the little skirmish over insanity within the crazed man's head. With no reason left to feel tense, Melk relaxed, listening in as Gemel chatted about some woman that they were no doubt going to meet in the near future. Loyal wasn't able to glean the woman's identity from Gemel's cryptic remarks about her, so Melk doubted that he would have an easier time of it. The fallen Arclight looked quite humbled by the whole experience as he thanked the group for their intervention on his behalf. Perhaps having the fate of his life stripped from his hands might have given him some insight. Unsure what to make of everything, Melk simply smiled and nodded at the immortal once he had finished speaking. He had surprised himself to a certain extent. Since his forced exile had begun, the teenager hadn't felt any particular compassion nor friendliness towards Varus. Rather, he had been more neutral than anything. He disagreed with the man's motives for undertaking the mission. Add to this the fact that Loyal was so unlike him in character and quantity of life experience, forming any semblance of a connection between them seemed a bit of a long shot. Now though, he had actively gone out of his way to defend Loyal against Gemel and had done his best to stop the crazed man from taking Loyal's life. Did this signify a change in his stance towards Loyal, or was it merely an act of selfishness on his part? After all, without Loyal, there was little hope of surviving the next Guardian.

With Carolyn disappearing off with Perran to speak about who knows what and Gemel not-so-politely asking Loyal to stop talking to him, Melk got up from the tree trunk and walked slowly over to the fallen Arclight. Sitting down, he hesitated, then placed a comforting arm around Loyal's corrupted shoulders, before voicing his somewhat muddled thoughts. "We did what we did because we trust and believe in you to lead us on. Without you, we'd be carcasses strewn about Arunsia's wilderness by now..." Melk couldn't bring himself to look at Loyal out of nerves, despite what he was saying, so instead he avoided the immortal's gaze. "I think you've grown on me - once I wouldn't have dreamed of defending you, but now it's a little different. The group needs to stay together, and for that we need our fearless leader. Stay strong, Loyal!" Giving the fallen Arclight a brief sideways grin, Melk removed his arm and moved to sit a little further away, giving the man some space. Speeches weren't really his thing, but he had tried his best. Now, to hope that what had taken place between Carolyn and Gilly hadn't damaged the integrity of the group...


With Carrie saying that she looked nice, Gilly couldn't help but blush at the unexpected compliment that had been bestowed upon her. She liked it when people said she was pretty; it didn't happen very often, or at least not when they were sober or of their own volition, so it always kind of caught her off-balance when someone said something nice like that to her. However where normally such a comment would be followed by further flirting or even suggestions as to how they could spend further time together things became rather confusing with Carrie saying how Gilly belonged with Perry and that he had feelings for her.

Gilly knew that Perry loved her, which often caused her to feel rather guilty about the whole being in love with Carrie situation and truth be told she was really fond of Perry; he was sweet, and kind, and kept her calm and more importantly took care of her when she wasn't, and he was fun too! Not to mention the fact that he was fairly good looking for a guy. But why was Carrie telling her these things? It was like the gorgeous redhead was trying her best to push Gilly away from her and into Perry’s very strong and comfortable arms, why would she do such a thing knowing how Gilly felt about her? Unless… “Perry’s mad at me, isn’t he?” Gilly spoke in a subdued voice with the girl’s previously happy mood disappearing from her features to be replaced by an anxious look “I’d better go and see him….I…I didn’t mean to be bad and cause trouble, it was an accident, Sneakypants tricked me and then Johnny made me look like a crazy idiot with his mean words…I hate them! I hate them both!” she said, quietly snarling her opinion of the two immortal’s just under her breath in a bitter voice. Johnny was always making her look bad and turning the others against her with his clever words, all except for Perry that was, he always stuck with her making it all the more important that she went and made up with him.

Reluctantly removing her arms from about Carrie’s slender waist and taking a step back Gilly would offer Carrie a rather sweet smile that would light up any room; more than compensating for her rather plain looks as she asked in a hopeful voice “We’re still friends though right?”


This was going to be harder than Carolyn initially thought. Gilly was acting too darn cute right now. People shouldn't be blushing like that after small compliments like that. This was going to be a lot harder now than when she promised to end the whole thing. There was some sort of cruel deity somewhere, unfairly tempting Carolyn with this woman in front of her. But, she made a guarantee, and she had to honor that, even if there was a very pretty woman who wanted to be with her. Why was fate acting so cruel at a time like this? But it was important that Carolyn keep her word. Despite the struggle, it was imperative that she overcome this strife, for the good of the group. No matter how much internal hardships that resolve caused. It was for the good of the Arclight, and the group as a whole. "No, Perran isn't angry at you. The exact opposite, actually. He's really sweet on you. Or rather, he'd like to be. And I know you've got feelings for him, too. I've seen the looks. You two definitely belong together." And now, why was she blaming herself for the situation? It wasn't Gilly's fault that this relationship wouldn't work out here. It wasn't her fault that Perry was angry. Carolyn was the only one to blame for this whole mess, and she was extremely fortunate that she was able to get everything resolved before it went bottom up. But Gilly didn't deserve to feel any guilt over it. She didn't do anything wrong.

"Don't think that anyone is angry at you, Gilandria. Well, maybe Gemel, but he seems to be angry qn everyone, just for commiting the crime of existing. But nobody is really angry at you. I'm the one who acted imprudently back there. I shouldn't have tried to attack Gemel, but I just felt the need to protect everyone. He was ready to kill us all. But I'm sorry for that. You're not crazy and you're not an idiot. Don't let anyone convince you of anything different." It seemed that Carolyn might actually be able to let go of the other girl, if only she hadn't given that smile. Somebody in power really did hate her, to keep her from being able to get a clean break. "Gilandria, wait..." No. That was not what she was supposed to say. There wasn't much more to say than good luck or have fun. Carolyn needed to recover quickly. "When we get back to Human Sanctuary, don't forget to stop by every once in a while. Now go make sure Perran's doing well. And yeah, we're still friends." Now, it was time for Carolyn to get out of there before the extremely difficult became impossible. It was time to close out this song before more than a verse could be written. But, at least all that ink could be devoted to writing the Arclight's song. Carolyn walked back to where the man in question was, still sitting. But Melk was nearby, hopefully not giving the Immortal any grief. "Arclight, how you holding up?" Carolyn asked, giving a smile to the suffering warrior as she sat down by his side, draping her arms around him. He needed the happiness, and hopefully the show would convince Carolyn that having nothing to do romantically with Gilly was the best thing for everyone. "Hey there Melk. Haven't been harassing my Arclight too much, have you? He may look tough, but he's a sensitive man inside."


It was as Carrie continued to talk to her that Gilly couldn't help but think that something must be bothering the pretty redhead, as she was acting really weird with her being really nice and supportive of her by saying that she wasn't crazy or an idiot, and that she was pretty and yet she was once again seemingly steering her towards Perry. Not that being with Perry was a bad thing, far from it in fact but she just couldn't work out why Carrie was telling her all of this, Gilly knew that Perry was really sweet on her, and yes she really liked him too, wait what looks!? But Perry wasn't what she was after, she wasn't into guys she liked girls! Then again… Perry was nothing like any of the other guys she'd had the misfortune of dating...and there was certainly a lack of available women to choose from...

This...this was confusing. Gilly hadn't felt this confused about this sort of thing since the early days; back when she was like sixteen and would catch herself staring at pretty girls and start feeling really guilty like she was doing something wrong. Before Sally the Snake charmer had caught her peeking whilst she was changing and instead of screaming at her had given her a very frank talk about what she was, about what they both were, before then taking her into her bed and introducing Gilly to such wondrous things.

By this point Carrie had started talking about visiting her in Human Sanctuary or something though Gilly was now far too disorientated to make any real response to the girl’s seriously premature request, though she did offer Carrie another one of those adorable smiles when she heard that they were still friends "Ok Pretty Carrie, I'll see you later then" she said; relieved that she hadn’t ruined things between them before then turning and going in search of Perry as Carrie likewise went in search of her idiot boyfriend; Johnny.

As luck would have it her search would be a short one as she encountered Perry just as he was leaving a copse of trees to enter the clearing where they’d been sleeping only a short while ago.

Moving over to meet him, Gilly couldn’t help but return the young nobleman’s smile; completely unaware of the fact that her unadorned cheeks were colouring at the sight of him “Perry you left me all by myself” Gilly pouted playfully, with the girl purposefully lisping his name as she stepped into his waiting embrace. Feeling those strong arms wrapping about her she couldn’t help but give a low moan of pleasure as she snuggled in closer to him, feeling the warmth of his body and the beating of his heart “I’m sorry Gilandria there was something I needed to do, besides I did tell you I had to go” he explained as the harlequin, much to Perran’s surprise, continued to melt within his arms “That’s ok…I talked with Pretty Carrie for a little while, though I must have banged her head during our little tussle cos she was talking all funny like…but it’s ok because we’re still friends” she quietly murmured as she began to nuzzle his neck, which was nothing like the reaction he’d been expecting from her. Tears, shouting and violent outbursts were just a few of the many and varied ways he’d expected Gilly to react to Carolyn ending things with her, with amorous advances towards himself not even making the list, not that he was complaining of course. Looks like Carolyn found a way of ending things amicably after all his mind quietly suggested as he reciprocated the girl’s affections; ignoring the little voice in the back of his mind that suggested that something wasn’t quite right and that he was missing a rather important detail.

Had he stopped to think about it Perran would have no doubt realised what it was that didn’t feel quite right and would have probed a little deeper to discover what exactly had transpired between the two women. But alas by this point Perran was allowing himself to be led back into the copse of trees from which he’d just emerged by the adorable harlequin with all other thoughts leaving his mind entirely.

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
A small smile came to Varus' face as Melk assured him that he was on his side, that without him they were lost. "Thank you, Melk. It's...really nice to hear that, especially after what all just happened. I promise I'm trying to do what I believe will give you and everyone else the best chance to survive, and that includes those in Human's Sanctuary. I don't want to put anyone in danger that could have been avoided. As a Commander I never asked my men anything I wouldn't do myself, and that still applies. I swear."

The corrupted man halfheartedly looked up as Carolyn came to sit beside him, asking if he was ok. "I'm alive. Gemel has always been able to push my buttons...he has a knack for finding weaknesses in people and exploiting them. I think because he views the world a little differently from the rest of us, makes it easier to see where we stand. He's never liked me, so he goes out of his way to prod when he can, that was just...a little bit of a harsh reminder of that. I'll be alright." He half chuckled as Carolyn went on to accuse Melk of picking on him. "He's been just fine, no complaints." Above them, Gemel suddenly cursed and was suddenly in a branch further away from them, glaring from his hood. Varus looked over in the direction his fellow Commander was looking, trying to see what had caused a sudden shift in attitude.

"Well, certainly didn't tell me you had a group of people before...any reason for that oversight?" Adrienneias stepped into view, frowning up at the smaller man.

"They're not mine, of course," came the spat reply. "They're his." He pointed childishly at Varus.

The woman frowned as she looked at the astonished, corrupted face before her, before her eyes widened. "Light of the world, what in the darkest night happened to you, Varus?" She hurried forward, revealing a youngish man behind her, holding a spear and looking a little uncertain. The corrupted man barely had time to rise before she'd embraced him, delight in her every motion. "You're actually alive, aren't you? You're alive, and...well, I won't say well, but you're alive, and that's good enough for now. Now then, introductions are most certainly in order." She let go of Varus, who not-too-subtly rubbed his ribs where he'd been hugged, then smiled at those around her. "I'm Adrienneias, former Commander like Varus and Gemel. That's Edric over there, he's with me probably like you are with Varus. Call me any shortening of my name you'd like."

Varus smiled a little at his friend's exuberance. "Dri was one of my closer friends when we were still a group, alongside Terk, who I've talked about, and her husband, Len...speaking of, where is Len, Dri?"

"Dead!" Gemel cackled, choosing then to rejoin the conversation. "Stodgy won't tell me not to do things again, no worries there!"

"Dri...I'm so, so sorry..." Varus began, having seen her blanch at the idiot in the tree's explanation.

"'s ok...he's just bitter is all. I appreciate the condolences though. Now then, shall we do introductions properly? That's Edric back there, he's had a long day, so don't pester him too much. Baker, spear wielder junior, and a nice guy from what I've seen. What about you all?"


Lying on his back in amongst the leaf litter, Perran gently stroked the sleeping harlequin's back in a slow, soothing motion as he stared up at the tangle of branches overhead, and the shapes that they made against the sky.

He was in love with her, of that much he was certain, after all how else could you describe the way his heart skipped a beat every time she smiled at him? How simply having her nearby could lift his mood and how the very thought of losing her was simply unbearable. In fact it was this final thought that led him to believe that either Carolyn had failed to follow through on her promise to end things with Gilly, or that Gilly had either not understood or had chosen not to understand what Carolyn had been trying to achieve, which meant that the heartache he’d been fearing was still yet to come “Oh Gilandria…whatever will I do with you?” Perran sighed in a mournful voice; gently brushing away a few loose strands of now fading scarlet hair from her face along with more than a few of her natural colour as well. I’ll have to ask Varus if he knows of any plants or…something that we can use to re-colour her hair with, Gilly will go spare when she finds out that she’s a brunette again! Perran thought to himself with a wry grin on his face at the thought of the Harlequin’s mad panic at the thought of no longer being to hide behind her makeup. It was just as this was entering his mind that Perran would hear the sound of unfamiliar voices speaking a short distance away.

Gently rolling out of his embrace with Gilly, Perran would quietly edge through the trees in order to investigate the source of the voices and ascertain whether or not they were friendly. With his sword already drawn from its scabbard and poised ready to strike he peered out into the clearing where the others were sat to find Varus talking to an extremely attractive woman carrying a staff and a young man carrying a spear, with him learning that the woman in question was yet another of the immortal commanders, though she seemed to be rather more friendly than the others they’d met so far.

It was as the woman introduced herself and her colleague; a fellow exile by the sound of things that Perran would emerge from out of the trees and speak “Varus you liar, you told me the commanders were all dead and yet here you are having a party with them without me” Perran called with a smile on his face, hoping that the immortal in question would understand that it was a joke as he’d never displayed much of a sense of humour “My name is Perran, It’s a pleasure to meet you…I’ll introduce you to Gilandria later, she’s sleeping and I’d rather not wake her up after…um…recent events” he finished rather sheepishly. He’d not spoken to Varus since the whole Gilly trying to get him killed incident and so had no idea what the immortal’s current feelings towards his girlfriend were “there’s…um…no hard feelings about what happened are there?” he asked in a hopeful voice, not really knowing what he would do if Varus decided to hold a grudge.


Things seemed to be acceptable in the Arclight's world. Not well, but then how could things ever be well when you'd been haunted by foreign evils and perceived failings for over a thousand years. And Carolyn was certain that his mood wasn't helped by his former comrade purposely forcing his sadness and regrets to the mental surface of the cerebral pool. "Arclight, he's wrong. You two haven't seen each other for so, so long. You've done so much for us, for me! Gemel doesn't know you anymore. You're much better than his outdated claims. I'll bet you were much better than his claims even when he did know you! We're all alive because of you. I'm here, wi..." Of course, there had to be an interruption in this conversation; an interruption that was as unexpected as it was and the interruption was the worst thing Carolyn could imagine. With the only warning being a hasty swear from the Arclight's tormentor, into the clearing strolled a stunningly beautiful woman, almost beyond description. Hair like an armful of wheat, eyes deeper than pools of water, figure the envy of any beauty queen, strength radiating forth from her very being. She would draw the attention of every room she entered. She was the author's definition of belle of the ball. And she knew the Arclight. Even before she had finished speaking her first words, sounds that could have only been produced from one of the sacred instruments of Aploun Kouros, he rose for her, and she embraced him quick as she could.

Carolyn supposed that the woman's happiness could be justified. She was almost bursting with bubbles at learning that the Arclight was still alive, though possibly not well. She had probably been alone for just about as long as the Arclight had been, and to find not only another person, but one of your comrades in arms, must be one of the best feelings that a person could experience. So, that very enthusiastic hug was almost excusale; well, Carolyn would probably have to excuse it anyway. That woman was the embodiment of Minerva. If this quest to restore the Sun was for any one person, it would have be for her. There was practically zero chance of winning any competition against her, should such a thing happen. But, if that's what the Arclight wanted, Carolyn could have imagined worse people to introduce into this little...

Anything that could have happened was dashed by the revelation that this Guardian had already been married, probably another of their kind; the Arclight assumed that he had survived for this long. The one she was traveling with currently, however, was somebody from Human's Sanctuary called Edric. It seemed that Adrienneias's husband, Len, had died somewhere along the way, not to subtlety put by Gemel, the perpetually cantankerous exGuardian. But, brave Dri managed to move past Gemel's pessimism, and more fully introduce Edric, a former baker and spearman in training. Perran introduced himself next, explaining that Gilly was resting after recent events. It seemed that those two had really gotten back together. That was good. Perhaps Gilly could put behind her everything that had happened between her and Carolyn, as the musician was struggling to do. Carolyn figured that she might as well go next. "I'm Carolyn Upton, formerly a musician and instrument maker. But the Arclight," Carolyn wrapped her arm around the Arclight's waist, pulling him into herself and continued. "He's led us all through this wasteland to retrieve the fragments of the Sun. We've already retrieved two of them. We'll get the other five. One is right here in this monumental wood."

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
After introducing himself, Perran asked if there were any remaining ill feelings towards him or Gilly. "Perran...I've dealt with unruly crew members for so long I couldn't still consider myself someone fit to command. I didn't think things would get this bad, I admit, but we'll work through it together...just please, do what you can to help Gilly...I don't want to see her alienate herself from the rest of the group. There'd be no recovering from that. Ok?" The corrupted man shrugged, leaving the rest unsaid. The point had been made, it was up to the former noble to decide what to do with the information.

Adrienneias listened politely to both Perran and Carolyn as they introduced themselves, a smile on her face, while Varus responded to Perran. Her eyes widened as she saw the instrument maker pull Varus to her in a casual, affectionate manner, and a full, delighted laugh burst out of her. "Varus, you went and got a girl without telling me? Of all the surprises I could have gotten, that's the biggest I could imagine. Well, except maybe Gemel up there doing the same, but you know how that goes."

"Dri, come on...I can feel myself blushing through this gunk..." Varus protested, his voice weak.

"Will the wonders never cease. You know, my dear, we all handled our love lives very different from one another...Varus we always assumed was one of those 'married to his job' people...and not to say he was married to the Archbeing, that would have been a little too weird, but you know what I mean. It's good to see you expanding your horizons a little." She smiled for a minute, then frowned. "Wait, what was that about the sun again?"

"The sun exploded, you know that, right? Well I'm collecting the pieces to try to bring things back to how they were. We actually have three pieces total, though we've gotten two of them since I found this group. My headband has one of them, it's staving off the stuff that's on me from progressing farther. Carolyn and Melk over there both have another, and we're tracking the fourth down here. If you could help us..."

A firm head shake from his fellow Commander cut him off. "I'm sorry, Varus, but I've got my own quest right now...tracking and destroying what killed Len. I want you to succeed, Light knows I'd love to see it again, but I've been tracking it for the better part of a millennium. After, maybe..."

"Dri...I understand, but..."

"No buts, Varus. I'll spend some time with you, but then I'm heading my own way and that's final. Edric...your choice who you stay with...I trust Varus with my life, so you can feel safe to do the same if you want...though if you go with me you've got Gemel to deal with too, since he's coming along. Still, I would like to catch up, and get to know the rest of you a little. Now then, enough sad talk, tell me, where are you looking in this forest?"


A look of obvious relief would appear on Perran’s face upon learning that Varus held no ill will towards either himself or his beloved Gilandria with him treating the wayward girl’s actions as those of a disobedient recruit; to be dealt with but not taken personally. Actions that Perran was to make sure weren’t repeated if he understood the warning he was given correctly “Yes I understand…I’ll make sure she behaves from now on” he spoke, though he may as well have promised to stop the wind from blowing. I need to get this situation between him, Carolyn and Gilandria sorted out before she gets herself exiled…or worse…

It wasn’t long afterwards however that the topic would turn to that of Carolyn and Varus’ relationship, with Adri gushing excitedly as their stoic commander turned as bashful as a teenager with his first crush, before then stating that she would only be staying with them a short while before pursuing her own millennia long quest to slay the beast that had killed her husband. The whole situation sounded like it had been lifted straight out of a fairy story, not that he was ever going to say as much, as the startlingly attractive blonde went on to ask where in the forest they were searching for their next piece “Perry, you left me alone again” the small, childlike voice suddenly spoke from behind him before he had chance to respond to Adri’s question “You know I can’t sleep on my own and you left me…again” Gilly said as she emerged from the trees, clearly exhausted and on the verge of tears as a result of it “oh I’m sorry Gilly, I went to check out a noise and got sidetracked” Perran quietly apologised, wrapping his arms about the girl in a hug as much to keep her standing as for the affection it offered “Hey Gilly, there’s some people I’d like you to meet, I think you’ll like them, they’re nice” he quietly spoke before gently leading her over to where Edric and Adrienneias were standing “This is Edric and A-drien-nei-as, She’s a commander like Varus” Perran started, with him carefully sounding out the blonde woman’s name so as to get the pronunciation vaguely right, however it would quickly became apparent that he shouldn’t have bothered as Gilly’s eyes were glued to the woman with everything else no longer existing as far as she was concerned.

No sooner had she caught sight of the woman Gilly had found herself mesmerised by her deep blue eyes and golden blonde hair giving her a rare beauty seldom seen within the Shades where she’d lived “wow….you’re gorgeous…” Gilly quietly sighed before turning bright red as she realised that not for the first time in her life she’d spoken aloud thoughts that really should have stayed within her head prompting her to quickly stammer out a recovery “I-I mean…Um…Hi! I’m Gilandria, but most people call me Gilly” she stated with a smile; self-consciously brushing at her hair, with her unadorned cheeks still bright red from her earlier faux pas “So what’s your name? I bet it’s really pretty”


It probably wasn't quite in the normal; feeling such pride as that caused by your partner's teenagelike reaction to an old friend's comments, but Carolyn couldn't help but enjoy the unintentional flattery. Adrienneias then explained that the Arclight had always been too preoccupied with work to think much about matters of the heart, quickly adding that there was never anything going on between him and the Archbeing. "Oh, well, that's alright, either way. Even if there was, it wouldn't have much mattered to me. It's the now and the future that matter. We are together now, and in the future, we will have restored the Sun." The Arclight explained to Adri their quest for the restoration of the giant light, how they had already retrieved several of the fragments, and asked her to join with them. That scheme, however, didn't seem to fall into Adri's plans. She was adamant about seeking revenge on the creature that had slain her husband so many centuries ago. She was hard set on this goal, and wouldn't let anything persuade her otherwise, not even the restoration of the great light in the sky. She was willing to let her new companion, Edric the baker, search for the fragments with them, but she herself wouldn't go hunt for the Sun fragments. And Gemel was locked in with her. He wouldn't be going anywhere she wasn't going.

However, she had wanted to know where they were searching, but before anyone could answer, Gilly came back into the clearing, complaining about how Perran had left her alone. Fortunately for him, he managed to placate her with a quick hug and a few words of apology. He then introduced her to the newcomers. Instantly, Gilly stood like a woman stricken. She was so obviously enchanted by the Guardian's beauty, that she was reduced to blurting out the first thing that came to her mind. And she did have very good reason to be; Adri struck quite a striking figure. Carolyn was a bit jealous at her beauty, but it wasn't anything that she could hold against the Guardian. Gilly was trying to recover from her first statement, but it was understandably hard to make anything too sensible in such a situation. But Carolyn would let the present situation die down a little bit before she responded to Adri's question. "We aren't exactly certain where we're going. But Melk and myself both had visions of where this particular fragment is. We've narrowed it down a bit, but we haven't quite pinpointed its location. We do know that our fragments glow when we get close to other fragments. We'll find it."

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
Gilly’s starstruck hello and subsequent flushing were met with good grace by Adrienneias, who smiled over at the girl. “It’s good to meet you, Gilly, I’m Adrienneias, though you can shorten that to whatever you’d like.” She turned back to Carolyn, who was explaining that they were using the fragments they had to find the others. “Seems imprecise at best, Varus. I’m surprised you don’t have something better.”

”It’s not anything like following people,” the corrupted man protested, a half laugh behind his words. They’ve been where they’ve been for the last millennium. There is no true trail. It’s not something you can be-“

”I know where it iiss.” Gemel sang from his perch. “More proof I’m the better tracker. Not that I needed proof.”

”Yes, congrats, you know the place you’ve lived for the last however long better than me. Well done.”

The small ex-Commander jumped down from the tree, cackling. “Don’t be bitter Varus, even if it suits you all too well. Besides, you always were good at tracking things the standard way. My ways are better. And I know that there’s only one place in this whole community of trees where even the monsters won’t go. They’re fearless as the moon is at night, but they won’t go there. Sounds like a good place to look. Granted, you’d need to be incredibly foolish to go somewhere even a mindless savage won’t go. But if you’re that determined to die, who am I to deny you your desire? I’ll lead you and listen for the screaming. Sound reasonable?”

”About as reasonable as you’ve been for the last while.” Varus was full of energy now that they had an idea of where to go. “I can’t believe I’m saying this again, but lead on, Gemel, once everyone’s had time to rest, anyway.” He looked over at the other Commander. “Dri...?”

A small smile played about the mage’s lips as she considered. “I suppose one fight couldn’t hurt. After all, we have a good track record when we work together. I’ll go my own way after. Does that seem reasonable?

”Absolutely.” An open grin on his face, Varus looked around at the small group. “Rest up, everyone, we’ve got a trek ahead of us.”


"Sounds like a plan to...woah! Hey steady on Gilly you nearly had me over there!" Perry suddenly exclaimed, catching hold of Gilly’s shoulders as she suddenly and unexpectedly stumbled back into him with an extremely disorientated look on her face "sorry...I...I want to go to bed now Perry, please Perry I want to go now" she quietly said, her voice tinged with a sense of urgency as she seemingly tried to look anywhere but at Adri, which was a little strange considering how she'd been mooning over the beautiful immortal only a few seconds before "Gilly...are you alright? you look like you've seen a ghost" Perry gently asked upon seeing that she’d turned very pale, worried that the poor girl's mind was playing tricks on her again "yes I'm fine, just sleepy, want to go to sleep now Perry" she said, frantically tugging at the young nobleman's arm in an attempt to lead him away from Adri and towards the clump of trees where they'd been sleeping before her arrival.

Not really knowing what the hell was going on with Gilly, other than the fact that she’d only become even more agitated if he didn’t indulge whatever delirious fantasy had taken hold of her, Perry would simply offer Adri and the others a helpless look "I'm Sorry but it would seem I need to deal with...whatever this is...I guess I'll see you all in the morning” he said in an apologetic voice before allowing himself to be led away, with the harlequin throwing a single fearful look in Adri's direction before disappearing in amongst the trees.

Standing within the relative privacy of the thicker clump of vegetation Perry would watch with growing concern as the girl that he loved began to pace about and mutter under her breath with Perry catching odd snatches of the same phrase coming from her lips; is this real? It has to be real, but how do I know?

After making several futile attempts to attract her attention, with the hope of talking her down from whatever mental precipice she was currently standing upon, Perry would finally lose patience with her and grabbing her by both shoulders would roughly spin her round to face him and speak in a stern voice that made him sound far too much like his father for comfort “Gilandria Swann what is the matter with you? You were downright rude to Adri back there! So tell me what is the problem?” he said, using what he’d come to think of his father figure voice.

His relationship with Gilandria was a strange one and he could never quite tell in what form it would take from one moment to the next. Sometimes he would be her boyfriend and the two of them would spend intimate moments together; kissing and cuddling, and fantasising about their future together. Other times he’d find himself in the role of her best friend and they would play silly games together, tell jokes and practice acrobatics when they had the time and space, and then there were the times when he had to take on the role of her father, normally when he needed her to behave or she was having a bad day. He didn’t particularly like taking on that role as it didn’t really sit well with him, not to mention the fact that it reminded him of the simple fact that his beloved Gilandria was not a well girl, however he had discovered that a few stern words were usually enough to calm her down and get her to tell him what was bothering her, though the reaction he got this time was nothing like he’d ever received before “I’m sorry Perry, please don’t leave me!” Gilly wailed as she broke down into uncontrollable sobbing, causing a rather shocked Perry to catch hold of her before she crumpled to the ground in a wet heap “What!? Of course I won’t, whatever made you think that?” Perry stammered wondering what he’d done to trigger such a catastrophic breakdown “because n-n-nobody l-likes me Perry n-nobody, Why does n-nobody like m-me? I tr-try to be nice and be a g-good g-girl, I want to I really d-do but it’s so hard and…and I-I don’t know what to do! Everyone k-keeps l-leaving me and then I-I’m all alone a-again!” Gilly babbled incoherently with her sobbing making it practically impossible for Perry to understand what she was saying, only knowing that for some reason that she was deeply unhappy “It’s ok Gilandria, I’m not going anywhere…let’s sit down here until you calm down, ok?” Perry said; gently lowering them both down to sit at the base of a large tree, knowing already that this was going to be a very long night.


It seemed that the group, with a little help from Gemel, had given enough of an argument concerning the relative merits of retrieving the Sun fragment, and convince the Guardian Adrienneias to accompany the group in their quest, at least for this one fragment. She resolved that she would remain with the group only until the fragment in the forest was retrieved. And Gemel also offered to show them the specific location of the fragment, drastically reducing their search time. This was great news. Three guardians were united together for the first time in millenia, even if one of them seemed more unstable than an overloaded river boat. It made Carolyn feel much more confident about their chances of success, which weren't actually that low to begin with, thanks to the Arclight's presence. While the combined group was discussing the fragment, Carolyn was met with a moment of extreme uneasiness. It was a fleeting feeling, and she couldn't quite put her finger on how it happened, but it was obvious that it had happened. Gilly and Perry were required to take their leave a few moments later, with Gilly beign visibly distressed about something. Hopefully it had no relation to Carolyn's sense of unease. Shortly afterwords, Carolyn herself got up to take her leave. "I'm feeling a bit unwell, Arclight. I'll have a quick lay down. Don't worry about me. I'll be fine. You catch up with the other two Guardians. I'm sure you have a lot to talk about." Carolyn then gave the Arclight a quick peck on the cheek and wandered off to rest beneath a nearby tree. Her recent experience was a bit unsettling, and she hoped that she could find some answers about it soon.


Just as he had feared it would be, the night had been a very long one with Perry spending much of it comforting his poor Gilandria as she wept uncontrollably into his tunic. He wished there was something he could do to help her, to make her feel better but he had no clue as to what had caused such misery within her and it was simply heartbreaking to see her this way and not be able to help her.

Once she had finally cried herself to sleep during the early hours of the morning, Perry would then find himself dwelling on what had caused her to believe that she was universally hated and fundamentally unlovable, which as far as he was concerned was complete nonsense. Sure she didn’t get along with Varus and she and Melk had been at loggerheads when they first met but that was over now, she and Melk were friends, as was Carolyn and as far as he was concerned she and him were far more than just mere friends. But all the same that was how she felt and there was nothing he could do but hope it was just a passing phase and she would return her usual happy self.

Slowly awakening to the sensation of Gilly’s body stirring against his own, Perran would gently brush aside the locks of fading black and red hair that covered her face to watch as her eyes slowly opened “Hey Gilly…how are you feeling?” Perran tentatively asked, not wishing to inadvertently set her off again. Thankfully, although the slight shrugging of her shoulders and the unhappy look on her face he got in reply was far from ideal she at least seemed to be calmer than she had been last night. Deciding that if she wanted to talk that she would do so in her own time, dark knew he didn’t want a repeat of last night; Perran would reposition himself so that the still half asleep harlequin could snuggle in closer to him. It was in this position with his arms around her body and his head gently resting against hers that the morning would take an unexpected turn “Perry…will you be my boyfriend?” blinking in surprise it would take Perran several moments to recover from Gilandria’s unexpected and…rather peculiar request “Am I not your boyfriend already?” he quietly questioned with an amused smile on his face prompting a slight frown to appear on Gilly’s face she then replied “No, I mean for real, just me and you, no more chasing after girls and…well…you’re always really nice to me and look after me and I’ve been rotten to you and its not fair and you deserve someone so much better and nicer than me and….and…” Perry could feel the damp patches forming on his shirt as Gilandria once again started cry as she needlessly tortured and put herself down, and he was not going to stand for it.

Once again taking a firm hold of her shoulders he would position the tearful girl so that he could look her straight in the eyes as he spoke to her “Gilandria Swann, you listen here…I do not want another girl, I want you, you’re intelligent, funny and I think you are beautiful with and without your makeup on and would like nothing better than to be your boyfriend…so there is really no need for all this crying now, is there?” to this Gilly would give a few tearful sniffs before shaking her head and giving him a tentative smile. Gently wiping away the tears with his thumb he would lean in to give her single lingering kiss before quietly speaking “now…let’s go and see if the others are awake, ok? Do you want to put your makeup on first?” he asked, fighting back the surprise he felt when she shook her head.

With the Harlequin’s within his own, Perran would lead the pair of them from out of the little copse of trees in which they’d spent the night and walk into the clearing so as to meet up with the rest of the group, with Perran feeling quietly hopeful that today would be a good day