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Criala

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About Criala

  • Birthday 12/02/1992

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    Criala/xburdenx/

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    Female
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    Washington, USA
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    Jesus, Naruto, anime, video games, minecraft

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  1. The words kept echoing within Rosalia’s head. "I know that it hurts, but you can find comfort in the fact that you know you will see her again." Words meant to be comforting for the news that her sister was dying. They had been comforting, a mantra she kept repeating in her head so she didn’t repeatedly break down crying in front of Tanila. "I am partaking in an assault against the dragonkin." "Well, I happen to be as well!" Rosalia lifted her arms so she could pull him into a hug. Avius frowned a little, despite reciprocating the embrace without hesitation. "I hesitate to fight such creatures with you at my side." He admitted with blunt honesty. "They are not simple trifles." She tilted her head up so she could look at him. "Because of what they are?" "Because I do not think you have the martial experience to stand up to them." He said genuinely, and with concern. "You are new to this art, and will be thrown into a den of dragons. Quite literally." "That is true..." She trailed off in a murmur, breathing out a sigh. "I wanted to be able to help." "I am not going to order you to stay here, if you truly wish to fight. But trust me when I say that these things are not to be underestimated. They are the creatures that killed Andria in the first place." "Would you be able to focus if I went? Or would it be a distraction?" "It would be a distraction." He answered, again, with brutal honesty. "I wouldn't want to hinder you in battle." She nodded her head. "It is a mark of my own weakness more than anything else." He said with a sigh. "I don't think it's a weakness to love or care." She murmured her reply. Now those words were what she clung to as she struggled to keep herself afloat. “Nen?” “What is it, Rosy? Are you okay?” “Have you… Have you seen Avius?” Rosalia faltered in getting the words out, unshed tears in her eyes. Perhaps she already knew the answer to the question she was asking, desperately hoping for a different answer. Nenar stared at her sister for a few seconds, giving no vocal reply. Instead, the small ‘ame pulled Rosalia into a tight hug. Rosalia collapsed into her sister’s shoulder, full on sobbing now. Amber stared at the signs upon the side of the house. Avius Csarathaire. Rosalia. She hadn’t been able to bring herself to remove the sign with his name on it so she just added one with her name below it. "When I first me-met..." She cleared her throat as her voice broke. "When I first met Avius, it was brief, many years ago in Elvenesse. He asked me how I got my scar and told me I should come up with a cooler story for it to tell people in the future." A quiet chuckle escaped her, her hand lifting to brush over the scar on her left cheek. "We weren't close until a decade or so ago when we ran into each other again here. Then I really got to know him." Another set of tears began as her hand dropped from her cheek. "He showed me what it meant to have fire, because his was contagious. What it meant to have strength... To never stop fighting for what you believed in... Even if you were the only one standing for it." ༻✧༺ "I suppose you might say I light your fires." He said with a flourish, looking quite satisfied with himself. She sputtered out a quiet laugh. "Yes, that would be correct, I would say." Avius rested back then, laying on his back and shutting his eyes, hands behind his head. "I am satisfied with your laughter." "Then I am glad to be of service to you as well." Her eyes scanned his face. "Would you say I light your fires too?" "I have found myself alive again since you came to me. So yes, the fires burn hot." ༻✧༺ "Then come here, and embrace me. Let your fears fall away, for now." "You always make me feel better." She didn't hesitate to wrap her arms around him, leaning into him. "That's my new duty." He said with a wry smirk, committing to the embrace and planting a kiss on her forehead. "You do it well." She smiled, letting out a content sigh. ༻✧༺ "Your faith in me is almost unbelievable, you know. I was almost prepared to let you go, if only to spare you the drama." "You've done nothing for me to not have faith in you." She reached out a hand to grasp his and give it a squeeze. "I'd just find you again." ༻✧༺ “I love you, Avius.” “And I love you, Rosalia.” Art By Wlop I only greyscaled the picture ༻✧༺ A bundle was tucked in her arms, a small tan face peeking out of the blanket. The infant slept soundly, resting against Rosalia’s chest. She supported the child in one arm, her other hand lifting to brush her fingers along his cheek. “Your Maln named you, you know.” “If we ever have a son, what do you think is a good name?” She asked, curious golden eyes meeting icy blue. "I already know I want to name a daughter after Tanila." “Aren’t you eager?” He asked, a signature smirk on his face. “I-I was just curious! J-Just answer the question!” She sputtered out, her cheeks darkening. A chuckle escaped him, before he took a moment to think. “Arradian.” “Arradian.” She repeated after him, a smile tugging at her lips. “I like it.” Slowly, the child’s eyes opened, revealing icy blue eyes. “Arradian.” From the ashes, another phoenix rose. Arradian Csarathaire.
  2. Criala

    Focus

    Making a journey into the snow covered tundra in only sandals and a dress was not a bright idea. A terrible one really. But the unfocused blur of the world was too disorienting to even think about changing into something else. At least yet. Not being able to properly see and focus set Estellise on edge, even more than she already was. Her stride was swift, posture rigid. I swear this man is trying to kill me. The walk to the north was ‘easy’ enough, if you can call not being able to focus easy. The whole way she was trying to figure out exactly how she was going to do this. Scalpel and a bonesaw. That was all she had on her that could be used as a weapon. Not exactly prime hunting weapons. Not that she was skilled in anything else. I’m going to dissect him if I survive this. The cold winter air nipped at any exposed flesh, causing her to shiver. Snow covered trees and mountains as far as the eye could see. It wasn’t supposed to be easy, but that didn’t stop her from hoping that it would come quickly. Her teal and gold attire stuck out against the snowy background, with her pale skin and white hair blending in. Wind blew her hair and clothing about every so often. The tips of her ears were already reddening, as was her nose and her fingers. Her right ankle ached deep within the bone, from where it’d previously been broken in the past. A howl sounded in the distance, easy enough to hear due to how quiet everything was from the snow. The sound caused her to slow to pause, closing her eyes so she could try to hear where the howl was coming from, without the disorientation of unfocused sight. Another howl came, from her left. Based on the sound of it, it was still quite some distance away. She remained still, eyes closed. Maybe I should head back and get other supplies. That’s another long walk with this tugging at my mind, and not being able to focus though. A third howl, but somewhat closer than the last. The wolf, or wolves because it was unlikely there was only one, was closing in. Better that than dying. I’ll figure it out. Promptly, she turned around to head back the way she came, down the hill. As quick as she could with the snow weighing her feet down, and causing an even worse ache in her ankle the colder it got. But she didn’t make it very far before she felt something bounce off of her back. She stumbled forward, one hand shooting up into the sleeve of her dress. Her fingers curled around the thin handle of something as her front collided with the snow on the ground. She rolled on her back, hand yanking at the handle to pull a scalpel out. She thrust the small blade forward, right as a wolf was lunging its fangs toward her. The teeth caught her arm, but she was able to lodge the blade of the scalpel deep within its throat. A wet noise escaped the wolf, especially when she drove the scalpel deeper in. A moment or two passed of the wolf not being able to breathe, before it slumped on top of her, unmoving. Blood was already flowing down her arm from the bite, the sleeve of her dress torn. A breath of relief escaped her amidst her wincing, even as her vision was unfocused. She forced herself up with a hiss of pain from the stinging in her arm. Once up, she moved as fast as her feet would take her, her arm pressed to her chest. There wasn’t time to take care of it yet. Rarely was there only one wolf around. Just then, more howls sounded out from behind her, though not super close. It gave her enough time to get further away and to the base of the hill, not that she stopped. She only did once she was sure she didn’t hear any more howling behind her. Then she tended to the wound on her right forearm, disinfecting it with alcohol and bandaging it securely. That’ll do until I can get back. The long journey back went on, Estellise relying more on her hearing than her vision. At least that worked fine still. Eventually, she made it back to Oswin and to the Clinic, where she properly took care of her wounded arm. Then she went home to collapse into bed to get some much needed rest. Later, she’d have to try to figure out some kind of plan, since the previous one didn’t work. When she’d had enough rest, her planning continued, though it was with her eyes closed. Much easier to think that way. She was doing her best to ignore the pull she felt toward the north. Gold and teal stuck out too much in the snow. Maybe a white cloak to blend in with the snow. A scalpel and a bonesaw weren’t going to be enough. What else could work though…? Spear? Bow? Perhaps both, just to be on the prepared side of things. Not that she’d ever used them before. But it’d be better than what she had on her. It’s worth a shot. Opening her eyes and being hit with how unfocused it was punched her in the brain stem. A sigh escaped her, as she pushed herself up. Now up, she set to finding what it was she thought she’d need for another try at finding the reindeer. Some time later, who knows how long it actually was, she had what she thought of. A spear, a bow and quiver with arrows. Some rope. Bandages. A pure white cloak, but she didn’t pull that out just yet. Not until she was back at the tundra. With that, she set off once again. The whole way, as she had on the way back, she did her best to keep her attentiveness to her hearing. That seemed to help, somewhat. There was a dull throb in her temples, but she brushed it off for now. Back at the tundra, she took out the pure white cloak. She pulled it on, tying it securely together in the front and pulling the hood up. Now, anything in the snow shouldn’t be able to see her coming. First, she checked that the quiver on her back was fine, the spear tied beside it along with her bow. It caused the back of her cloak to stick up some, but it shouldn’t have disrupted her disguise. Let’s hope it goes better this time. She ventured into the snowy domain, with the hope that nothing would spot her because of the cloak. As she trekked up a mountain, it appeared her hope was coming true. There was no sign of anything catching sight of her. Far off howls had her pausing briefly, but after a minute or two of listening, she determined they were growing farther away instead of closer. Once she was positive this was the case, she began to move forward again. Now she let that pull she felt guide her. Quiet and as swift as she could, extra effort going into not alerting anything else of her presence if she could help it. So far, so good. A glimpse of clarity through the falling snow. Growing closer confirmed it for her. Her vision was finally able to focus on the animal some ways ahead of her. Finally, hopefully my aim is good. Despite the cold of the snow, she took a knee. Slowly, she tucked a hand into her cloak so she could pull an arrow from the quiver and draw her bow. She lifted the bow, lining the arrow up with the string. With a little difficulty at first, she drew the string back. Taking aim, she let the arrow loose. It flew through the air, but the wind gusted at it, causing it to veer off course. It disappeared into a snowbank, somewhere far off to the left, without a sound. At least it wasn’t her only arrow. She was smart enough to bring as many were able to fit in the quiver. She reached back to draw another. Once lined up with the bow, she raised the bow to take aim. This time, she made extra sure of where her aim was pointed before letting the arrow go. It shot out from the bow, soaring through the air at a speed that surprised even her. It hit its mark, striking the animal in the back, lodging itself deep into the flesh there. The animal fell with a strangled noise, unmoving on the ground. I can’t believe that worked. She tucked the bow back over her quiver, before making her way over to it. Sure enough, there was no movement from it. The arrow was sticking out from just below its shoulder blade. Now to get it back… The rope was pulled out, so she could tie it up. That took her some time, but soon, it was tied for her to drag back to Oswin. A grunt escaped her as she tugged the rope, it taking a fair bit of effort to drag it along. But she was able to do it, slowly dragging it back through the snow. It caught on a rock or something here and there, causing her to have to pause and put extra effort. Mostly, all it took was some extra effort to get it loose, then she was able to continue again. But not this time. When she tugged on the rope, with all her might, the rope slipped from her hands. She stumbled backward, tripping over her feet and slipping down the edge of the hill. Crack! It took everything she had to keep in the pained scream threatening to erupt out. Agony seared up her leg from her right ankle. Forcing herself to keep it all in still, even as she moved her leg, was hard. Burning hot pain shot from her ankle anytime she moved it. She felt along her ankle, gritting her teeth so she didn’t make a sound. The break in her ankle was easy to feel, it already starting to turn purple. So broken. All she could do right now was bandage it and splint it. Further care would have to be done at Oswin. So, she pulled out the roll of bandages from her satchel. A glance around showed a fallen branch nearby to use for a splint. With a deep inhale and exhale, she bandaged her ankle, then tied the splint to it to support it. Then she forced herself up to her feet, making her way around the side and back up to where the rope dropped. Now going at an even slower pace because she was limping, she continued her tug along, only stopping for a break when she needed to. Eventually, she made it back to Oswin.
  3. "Eve..everyon.." That caused Rosalia to pull her attention from her sister, Nenar, to look at Hareven. "Are you okay?" That was when Hareven just crumpled to the ground. Her eyes widened, unsure about what exactly was wrong with him. Whatever it was going on, since neither of them were able to move him somewhere else, the sisters sat with him throughout the night. "Is this one of those Hareven things..."
  4. Snow crunched beneath boots, it being the only sound. Soon, the sound stopped though, as whoever the boots belonged to stopped. An ‘aheral woman stood at the top of a snowy mountain, the wind causing her hair to whip about her face and shoulders. Blue eyes stared out at the expansive, snow covered land before her. Neia surged up the side of the mountain, moving as fast as her legs would take her. When she reached the top and made it over the edge, she faltered. The sight had her frozen in place. Her eyes widened as she stared. An empty set of armor, charred, with ashes within. A set of armor she knew all too well, one that matched the armor she was clad in. Her heart dropped to the bit of her stomach, grief washing over the woman. She could only stare for a number of moments. “Do you remember when you told me about Csarathaire, Mal’onn?” The question was asked to the open air, her voice soft as she spoke. Of course, there was no reply. Not that she expected one. The dead can’t speak after all. Soon that grief changed into a burning fury. And she turned her blade to the enemy. Her rage had her seeking vengeance in whatever way she could get it. Even as it crumbled down into pieces, she didn’t stop. She slashed and stabbed at whatever part of it she could. A gloved hand dove down into a satchel at her side, rummaging around for something. A small container was pulled out, a box of sorts. “It was on a mountain much like this one.” Her gaze fell on the box, pain evident within it. Her features twisted, a deep frown settling onto her face. “You told me all about Csarathaire.” She had to pause here, to clear her throat, before continuing. “It sparked something inside of me, and I knew then that I wanted to be one.” Everything felt numb. She was on autopilot for the next several minutes. Her blank gaze on the charred armor. She made her way over to it, even as the others made their way down the hill to get Eretria back to the Vale. The ashes were all that remained of Avius inside of that charred armor. With shaky hands, she patted at herself. Looking for something, anything, until she finally was able to fish out two vials. As careful as she could, she did her best to sweep some of the ashes into one vial, then the other. She didn’t stop until they were full. It wasn’t all of them, obviously, but it was enough. With her hands still shaking, she picked up the pieces of his armor, before setting off down the hill. “I would have followed you anywhere, no questions asked, even to the Nether and back. You gave me family when I had none. You believed in me. You took the time to teach me and show me the ways of Csarathaire.” The top of the box was pulled off. Ashes were inside. A lone tear fell down her cheek, leaving a chilled wet trail. “Now sit and speak with me.” Neia eased herself down so she was sitting in front of Avius. "Now, I want you to think and tell me why you want to take this final step, why you want to join this clan." She was silent for a moment as she thought, her hands resting on her lap. "Well, I felt something when you were first telling me of your clan's traditions and how they came to be. It stuck with me. And it's something I want to be part of, devote myself to." "This is a lifelong commitment, Neia, and you know what the gods expect of you." Avius said, looking at her. "I know. And I wouldn't have done this if I wasn't going to commit my life to it. You inspired me, honestly. To take the step, seeing you stand up for the traditions and beliefs of your clan." She fell silent for a moment, merely staring into the box. The cold wind bit at her cheeks, but she gave no reaction. “I won’t ever forget what you’ve given or taught me, Mal’onn.” Slowly, she turned the box over, so the ashes would scatter across the snowy mountain top. “And I won’t rest until everything that had to do with your death is burnt into nothing.”
  5. Criala

    [PK] Respite

    The situation had already been almost over by the time Rosalia found herself in the square, using her sister as a leaning post. A frown tugged at her lips, upon spotting the face of a friend she'd not seen in decades. A man who had been the first to greet her when she found herself in the Father Grove of Elvenesse so long ago. Eir'thall. As his body fell lifeless to the ground, her frown deepened. I hope you can find peace. A peace you didn't seem to have in life. The look on her face was worn, a pain in her eyes. Exhaustion creeped over her, from the death of a man she called her friend, along with somehing else that already plagued her. I'm so... Tired of death.
  6. What met Neia when she finished the trek up over the mountain caused her to waver. To falter. She stopped in her tracks, her eyes wide. The charred armor of her Mal'onn. The ashes of him that remained within. Then her fury was directed at the enemy before them, her urge for vengence coursing through her as if it were her life's blood. Even as the enemy crumbled and broke, defeated, the 'aheral slashed and stabbed at whatever part of it she could. She only stopped when she realized it had fallen on the small Arvellon Chieftess. Her body went on autopilot as she and the others gathered, trying their best to help her. As the others took over, she was numb. A blank stare at the spot where Avius' charred armor remained. It didn't register as the others trekked down the hill, Eretria in tow. Slowly, she made her way over to the charred armor. With a shaky hand, she scooped the items up, and made her way back to the Vale with the others. However, when they arrived, she stared at the bridge for a good long moment, blank stare still present. She turned her back to the bridge, making her way off into the forest. Each step felt heavy as she made her journey to where a mali'fenn man was, somewhere nestled in the depths of Almaris. Only then, did she break. She dropped to her knees, tears dribbling down and dropping onto the charred breastplate. Originally, Rosalia intended to go as well to battle the Azdrazi, having wanted to do what she could to help. But, in the end, she decided against it. Lack of martial skill and the concern of being a distraction in battle. So, she waited. For hours, she waited. At the camp that Avius had been staying at. The place she'd last seen him. But he didn't return. It wasn't unusual to go without seeing him for a bit of time. But... Something... Something didn't feel right. It can't be. The thought was brushed off. She didn't want to think about that. Maybe he's at home. Yeah, he's just at home. And so, home was her next destination, her heart heavy the whole way. The name on the side of the house read Avius Csarathaire. She pushed the front door open to go inside. But she was met with nothing. It was empty. Not a sign of the man anywhere. The bed... Empty. Her heart dropped. A shaky breath escaped her, the worst settling in. And soon enough, her worst fears would be confirmed. He wasn't going to return. He'd fallen in the battle with the Azdrazi. The man she'd come to love so much and call her own... He wasn't coming back. The water works started before she'd even gotten back home. Barely in the door, she collapsed to the floor. Her back was pressed to the door, heaving sobs escaping from her as she struggled to breathe. "I know that it hurts, but you can find comfort in the fact that you know you will see her again." Little did Avius know... That his words, originally meant to bring comfort for the loss of another, would now have to be the comfort for the grieving lover he'd left behind to cling to.
  7. "I've been prayin' te the Aspects, te my Marhaelun Awaiti the last couple months for Tanila's welcome te the forest. But I've spent time teachin' some youngin's in front of Bolomarmaa's totem by the water, what it means te 'ave the stength of a mother. And there, we all prayed for you." - Miven Caerme'onn A child is supposed to out live their parents. The thought kept resonating within Leilani's heart and soul, threatening to break the Aureon Chieftess into little, irrepairable pieces. It took everything she had to keep herself together. Even as the group dismounted from their horses to continue on foot, part of her wanted nothing more than to take her daughters and run. Find somewhere to tuck them away, safe with her. Preserve what little time Tanila had left to spend with them. But this was a sacrifice that Tanila was choosing to make, for the greater good. For the Aspects, and for nature. To cleanse the horrific taint brought upon the land. As much as she wanted to take them and run, she couldn't. She had to be strong for Tanila, and for Nenar. The weight on Leilani's heart was tight and suffocating, threatening to squeeze it until it was crushed. Her arm moving to wrap around Tanila as she and Nenar aided the young 'ame to the tree that would be the young Aureon's final resting place. For the last time, she clutched Tanila to her chest, wishing to not ever have to let go, and whispering how much she loved her. I was with you when you first came into this world. "It's a healthy baby girl!" The news from her husband brought relief to the exhausted mother, who lay slumped back against a pile of pillows. "A baby girl..." She murmured, a tired smile spreading across her face as she looked at Lyemar. A bundle was soon placed in her arms, and she cradled it to her chest. Two wide, emerald green eyes stared back up at her as she was held by her mother for the first time. "She's beautiful... What will we name her?" Lyemar asked, reaching a hand out to brush along the newborn's cheek. "I think... Tanila." Leilani whispered, not breaking eye contact with those emerald eyes. "Tanila." Lyemar repeated, smiling as he tested the name out. "It's perfect for her." "I love you so, so much, Tanila." Leilani continued to whisper to their newborn daughter. The duo parted, so Tanila could say her goodbyes to the others there. Not once did Leilani pull her gaze away from her youngest daughter, even as she latched onto her older sister. Even as she moved to lay across the assembled stones. I will be with you until the end. Even as the tri-blade dagger pierced Tanila's heart and her own heart screamed at her, she watched. She didn't move until a familiar voice she'd not heard in decades said to run. A split second of hesitation, of longing to remain with her daughter, even in death. I shouldn't be leaving my baby alone. But that's not what Tanila would have wanted. And so she ran, as quick as her legs would carry her. Not for herself, but for Tanila. For the children she had left alive, and for her husband. She didn't stop, until everyone was safe. She kept herself together until she knew Nenar had made it as well. Then, looking on as the cleansing took place, she collapsed to her knees, stream after stream of tears flowing down the mother's face. Had Aedrie not been there to catch her, she may have just fully collapsed to the ground in a heap. With Aedrie's help, they made it back to the Vale. After relaying the news to her second youngest daughter, she made for the Wilds to inform her husband of their daughters fate. But, after this the grieving mother would often be found at the base of the willow tree left where Tanila had been, tucked against the roots. "I know that it hurts, but you can find comfort in the fact that you know you will see her again." - Avius Csarathaire It did bring Rosalia some comfort, but it still hurt. It hurt so, so much. She wasn't able to hold herself together in her final goodbye to Tanila. Tears flowing down her cheeks as she held onto her baby sister as if Tanila were her lifeline. Praying and hoping that the moment to part would never come, that time would freeze so she wouldn't have to let go. But reality crept up, and soon she couldn't put off letting go any longer. Words of how much she loved her baby sister, and how of if she had a daughter, she was naming it to honor Tanila. How she wanted to be able to be half the druid Tanila was once she was attuned. As much as she wanted to be there for the final moments, she knew she wasn't the one who needed to be there. Their mother was. Her tears only increased as she watched the backs of her mother, youngest and eldest sisters leave. "You're a big sister." Leilani held the bundle out to Rosalia, where an infact was tucked, wide green eyes, and dark brown tufts of hair peeking out. Rosalia's eyes widened in awe, golden amber meeting the emerald hues buried within the blankets. She didn't break eye contact with the infant. "What's her name?" "Tanila." Leilani supplied with a smile. "Do you want to hold her?" "Ti!" Rosalia frantically nodded her head, reaching her arms out so she could take the bundle from her mother. She held the infant securely, looking down into the big green eyes once again. "Hi, Tanila. I'll be a good big sister to you. Like Nen has been to me. She'll love you too. She's the best big sister. She won't ever let you be alone or leave you. I know, because she's always been there for me." The wait was agonizing, hoping beyond all reason that somehow both of her sisters would return. That somehow Tanila wouldn't need to die, and that they would still have time left with her. Even just one more hug was all she wanted. But her mother returned, alone. And the tears started fresh when she was informed that it went as planned. She latched onto her mother, sobbing into her shouldder as reality crashed into her. The two shed more tears together, before her mother reluctantly left to deliver the news to Lyemar. The tears wouldn't stop coming. She was gone. Avius' words went through her head again. "I miss you already." She murmured to herself, amber gaze staring at the spot she'd last seen her baby sister. "I want to be as brave and strong as you ar-were." She would do her duties with the devotion Tanila did her last one with.
  8. No words, no sound came from the Aureon Chieftess as her feet took her back through the gates of Nevaehlen. Tears were drying on her cheeks, though another occasionally fell, redampening them. When she originally left, she was with two of her daughters. Now... She returned with only one. Hollow. Everything felt so hollow. Her heart ached, an unfillable void left. People were interacting around her, showing relief for returned loved ones, speaking to one another. But none of this seemed to register for her as her trek continued. She disappeared deeper in to tell her second youngest daughter that it was done. Tanila was gone. The words brought forth another round of tears, from both of them, before Leilani left the Vale a short time later. To return to the Wilds and inform her husband of their daughter's fate. The tears hadn't stopped coming, not since Rosalia said her final good bye to her baby sister. She barely was able to let Tanila go, wanting to prolong the last moment she'd see her. She could only watch as her sisters and her mother left to what would be Tanila's final moments. Despite knowing there would be no other outcome, despite trying to prepare herself for this moment, she hoped that the three of them would come back together with news that somehow Tanila wasn't going to have to die. That there would be just one more moment longer with her baby sister. But her mother returned alone, and the news of Tanila's sacrifice was given. It went just as it was supposed. The tears increased tenfold.
  9. »»———— Nevaehlen Forest ————«« “I think… That about does it…” The words were mumbled, only for a yelp to echo out among the trees. Rosalia shook her head, a red mark across it from where the trap snapped onto it, instead of sitting the way it was supposed to. “Ouch.” She huffed, golden gaze narrowing at the offending trap. After a few seconds of glaring at it, she started anew, trying to get the trap to cooperate. But the second time wasn’t the charm, because it snapped back onto her hand again, in the exact same spot as before. “Stupid thing.” She grumbled, a faint huff coming out. Yet again, she tried to get the trap set up right, going even slower than the previous attempt. Going slower appeared to do the trick, because she was able to do it that time. “Finally.” She rubbed her hand, wincing a little from the pressure on the reddening spot. “Now to wait…” What was going to be caught in the trap, she didn’t know. Squirrel, rabbit, whatever was small enough to get caught in it. With one last look at the trap, she made herself scarce. Now, it was a waiting game. At first, she was checking rather frequently, only to find nothing in the trap. After nothing being in it the first few times, she realized that maybe she was checking too often, perhaps scaring off whatever may get caught in it. So, after that, she spaced out her checking more. That seemed to do the trick, because after that, she found a rabbit caught in the trap. With a deep breath, she took the rabbit from the trap. Now she had a lure to try to hunt something bigger. »»———— Deeper in the Forest ————«« “This should be far enough in.” Rosalia squatted down so she could set up the lure. Thankfully, this came easier than trying to catch the rabbit. With it in place, she hurried away from it, though kept herself hidden close enough to be able to see if anything approached. There was a spear on her back, along with a quiver of arrows and a bow. Clad in light leather, as her regular armor may have made too much noise. Once she was satisfied with where she was, she pulled the bow from her back so it was at the ready. However long she waited, she wasn’t sure. But the sound of bushes rustling reached her ears. A glance to her left showed a mountain lion sniffing at the air, before making its way to the lure. As carefully as she could, she reached back for an arrow from the quiver and lifted her bow. With the shaft of the arrow between her fingers, she slowly lined it up down the edge of the string. She took aim at the mountain lion, hoping to penetrate it right below the shoulder blades, so it’d hit the heart through there. That was her plan at least. The arrow went soaring through the air, straight towards the mountain lion. But her aim ended up off, and the arrow ended up embedded into the dirt beside it. The large feline growled, head snapping up from the rabbit to look around for where the arrow came from. Rosalia stilled, not even lowering her arms for fear of catching its attention. That seemed to work, because the mountain lion let out another growl before picking up the rabbit and running off with it. Rosalia maintained her position for a good few minutes, even as her arms grew tired from being up in the air so long. Better to make sure it wasn’t going to come back. But she finally relaxed, staring at the spot where the rabbit had been. “It took my rabbit.” Her cheeks puffed out, bottom lip jutting out into a pout. “...Now I have to get another one.” Some time later, after getting another rabbit, Rosalia set up another lure. In a different spot, though it was still deep within the forest. She had herself hidden away again, bow out and an arrow already in her hand for a quicker reaction. Loud thunking soon came, signaling something larger than a mountain lion coming. And, within a couple minutes, a bear came in through the trees. Her eyes widened at the sight of the bear, her hold on the arrow almost slackening enough to drop it. This bear was large. And she wasn’t naive enough to figure that she could take on a bear by herself, when she’d never really hunted before. So, she did nothing as the bear scooped up that rabbit, and after eating it, went on its way. Everything was silent, until she let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding in. “...That was one big bear.” A shudder went up and down her spine at the thought of trying to hunt that. “Wait. Now I need another rabbit!” She groaned, running a hand down her face. Instead of setting out again that day, since it was starting to get dark out, she went home to try again the next day. When the next morning came, she donned her light leather, spear, quiver and bow. First, she went to capture another rabbit. By now, she was getting used to that part, so it was easy enough to do. Once she had another rabbit, she ventured deeper into the forest again, though not anywhere near where she saw the large bear. The lure was placed, and she tucked herself away in a hiding place. Bow out, and arrow in hand, she patiently and quietly waited for something to show up. Hopefully not another bear. She didn't want to have to capture yet another rabbit. Just when she thought nothing was going to show up, a mountain lion slinked over from the bushes. A vague curiosity of if it was the same one as before crossed her mind, but she quickly focused herself again. She raised the arrow, lining it up with the bow’s string. Taking a moment to make sure her aim was good this time, she soon let the arrow loose. It flew through the air, hitting the mountain lion in the lower back. It roared in pain, and Rosalia tried to be quick to pull another arrow from her quiver. But the mountain lion tore across the forest towards her hiding place, meaning that she had little to no time to act. She managed to get another arrow nocked, but not the time to perfect her aim since her time was limited. She released the string, the arrow shooting off from the bow towards the mountain lion. It was going too fast to jump out of the way, and the arrow embedded itself into its shoulder. Another roar of pain erupted from it as it was slowed down by the hit. As the arrow hit its mark, Rosalia jumped into action. She pulled the spear from her back and pointed the sharp end at the mountain lion. Another growling roar from the animal, its stride right for her still. As she jabbed towards it with the spear, it ducked down and dodged her spear. This knocked her off balance, her free arm immediately going up to protect her face, the other that held the spear holding it up so hopefully it bit onto the shaft of it. Sharp teeth sunk into the spear. Claws slashed at her side, and down her legs, slicing through the light fabric and blood flowing from the wounds.. A hiss of pain came from her, but her hand moved from her face and shot towards the sword sheathed at her hip. Continuing to use her staff to keep it from biting her face or chest, she pulled the sword from its sheath. The mountain lion dug deeper into the spear, the wooden shaft splintering and nearly shattering it from the force of its grip. It continued to slash and claw at her upper leg and side, but she kept a tight hold on her spear, doing her best to keep it from detaching from it. With a shaky hand, as she was starting to feel light headed, she shifted the sword, pointing towards the mountain lion’s stomach. In one swift motion, she plunged it upward, piercing through the soft tissue. Blood spurted out, the mountain lion’s movements slowing the deeper she pushed it, until it went limp all together. Once it was limp, she pushed it off of herself, her world beginning to spin. It slowed as the pain eased some, her hands pressing to the wounds down her left side, though the blood still flowed from her upper thigh. “I don’t like hunting.”
  10. Mama always said it’s the choices made in life which show how we are as a person. Life has a way of taking unexpected turns, throwing one into situations they’d never even dreamed of. Outcomes one could never fathom. “When those times come, what would you do, amore?” “What do you mean, mama?” “Take the easy way out?” “Err…” “Would you run?” ┗.༻❁༺.┛ ┏.༻❁༺.┓ Who are these people? I've never seen their armor before. What do they want with my family? What could they possibly want? What do we do? What can we do right now? They all have weapons. Gracia... Ludovica... Cosimo... ┗.༻❁༺.┛ ┏.༻❁༺.┓ “Take a stand?” “I..” “With your head held high?” ┗.༻❁༺.┛ ┏.༻❁༺.┓ Shouts echoed through the Falcone family home. A gauntleted hand pointed a finger at Natalia. Slowly, she released her daughter. Given a rough shove forward, the illatian woman made her way towards the armored figure. Once in range, her arm was grabbed, and she was yanked forward. Her eyes locked with her husband's, something mouthed as she was dragged along. 'I love you, take care of our family.' ┗.༻❁༺.┛ ┏.༻❁༺.┓ Mama always said it's the choices that make who we are, show who we are. When she first told me, I didn’t understand it. I was just a young child after all. Now I do understand. My life has taken turns which I never dreamed of. Perhaps this was the biggest one of all. “Do you accept death?” “And if I don't?” “True love is selfless. It is prepared to sacrifice.” - Sadhu Vaswani
  11. Natalia read a new book given to her, an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. [Reserved]
  12. Criala

    GOONART [Commissions]

    The best pixel art ever, definitely worth getting!
  13. Across the table within the dining room of the Tathvir Hall lay multiple things, most of it in a container to keep it from making a mess of the table. Blood, phlegm, biles and ectoplasm were all in containers. The herbs were laid out on a piece of paper. At the table was a mali’fenn woman. Long white hair pulled back partially to keep it out of the way. Her back was to the wall. After all, she never sat with her back to an open space. Turquoise trailed over each container and herb, a small eyeglass held within her hand. There was a slight noise, almost like the floor creaking. Only a slight falter to what she was doing. Normally, she would have paused fully, head snapping up to see who or what was near. But she was within the family home. It was a place of safety. “What’re you doing, Haelun?” The voice, however, caused Estellise to pull her attention from the herb she'd been looking at. A tall mali stood to her left, hair white, light brown skin and turquoise eyes that matched her own. “Identifying the signs for these.” Estellise motioned to the items set out across the table. “Signs?” Sulion asked, tilting his head ever so slightly as he glanced at each container and each herb upon the table. “Ti.” Estellise nodded her head, turning it to look back at the task at hand. “It’s alchemy.” Another voice reached Estellise’s ears. “Hello, Rhae.” She said, giving a brief glance up, before her focus returned to the items. “Hi, Haelun.” A pale woman with white hair and electric blue eyes was now making her way around the table, skirting around Sulion. “Hi, Sul.” “Hey, sis.” He offered in return, dipping his head to her. Rhaella’s attention was on the containers on the table, a hand reaching out to try to grab one. “Don’t even think about it, Rhaella.” Estellise spoke, without even looking at Rhaella. “I’m not doing anything!” Rhaella continued to reach for one of the containers, the one full of ectoplasm, fingers wiggling at it. “You can’t eat them.” One of Estellise’s hands shot out to swat at Rhaella’s hand, not pulling her attention from what she was doing. “Have you tried?” A cheeky grin spread across her face, though she pulled her hand back. For now at least. “No.” Estellise replied easily, a hint of amusement flashing across her face. “You’re weird, sis.” Sulion shook his head at Rhaella, moving to occupy the seat to Estellise’s right, resting his arms on the table in front of him. “Normal is boring.” Rhaella slipped into the seat to Estellise’s left, her eyes still on the container of ectoplasm. A set of footsteps could be heard, though no voice accompanied them. Just the sound of them, and soon the sound of someone sitting at the head of the table. A pale woman with semi-short white hair, blue eyes and clad in black. A curious gaze drifted over those at the table, then the items spread out across it. Before Estellise could offer an answer, another walked into the room, and her gaze shifted to the doorway. This time, a mali’fenn man with white hair and turquoise eyes. An ‘aheral woman with pale blond hair and blue eyes was being dragged along with him by the hand. “Well, what’s going on here!” Arevthor asked, a bright grin spreading on his face as he made his way to a seat across the table from Estellise, Rhaella and Sulion. He patted the seat beside him for Neia to sit. “Alchemy ingredients. I’m identifying the signs for them.” Estellise, yet again, dropped her attention to the items in front of her. The small eye glass was held up, her head dipping down to look over the previously set down herb. “What sign is this one?” Sulion asked, nodding his head to the herb. “Let’s see…” Estellise trailed off, taking a few minutes to look over it more thoroughly. “Earth.” “Earth.” Sulion echoed, nodding his head. “Will all the herbs be earth?” Estellise set the herb to the side, proceeding to take the time to look over each of the herbs with the eye glass. After she was done with each one, it was set to the side. “Yes, all earth.” “What about that?” Rhaelle pointed a finger at the container of ectoplasm which she hadn’t taken her eyes off of. “What is it?” “Ectoplasm.” Estellise answered, taking the container and setting it in front of her. Using the eyeglass, she looked over the ectoplasm. “Aether.” “What about that one?” Arevthor squinted at the container of phlegm. “What is that?” “Phlegm.” Estellise wrinkled her nose a bit, swapping out the container of ectoplasm for the one of phlegm. Again, she took the eyeglass to look it over. A few minutes of silence before Arevthor got his answer. “Water.” “Interesting.” Arevthor hummed, before falling silent. “That one?” Valerica nodded her head towards the container of blood, voice soft as she spoke. “Ah, the blood.” Estellise moved the container of phlegm so she could place the container of blood in front of her. Eyeglass in hand, she looked over the blood. The sound of a container being picked up reached her ears, and Sulion going ‘sis’ from her right. “Also water.” She pulled her attention away from the blood container to look to her left. What she found was Rhaella, opening the lid of the container and her finger already dipped into the ectoplasm. ”Rhaella!” Upon being caught, Rhaella quickly shoved her finger in her mouth, as Estellise reached out to take the container away from her. “I swear…” Estellise mumbled, setting the container far out of Rhaella’s reach, in front of Sulion. A knock on the door had Valerica pulling herself up from her seat. “I’ll get it.” With that, she headed for the front door. “Your fault if you get sick.” Estellise commented to Rhaella, putting the lid back on the container. “Worth it!” Rhaella chimed, after she licked her finger clean of ectoplasm. With a sigh and a shake of her head,, Estellise took the container of biles now, setting it in front of her. As she lifted the spy glass to look it over, the sound of two sets of footprints reached her ears, one heavier sounding than the other. “And this one is fire.” She said, now setting the spy glass down. When she looked up, Valerica was accompanied by a tall, bearded man. Right as she was about to open her mouth to greet him, the sound of a chair screeching across the floor and the sound of Rhaella retching on the floor. “She ate th’ ectoplasm, didn’ she?” Hareven asked, looking right at Rhaella as she threw up all over the floor. “You guessed it.” Estellise nodded her head, letting out a sigh.
  14. Cracks began to form, threatening to spread and cause Natalia Marie Falcone to break completely. Carmine, Dante, Gracia… They were what kept the crumpling woman together and going. Empty. Trying to keep busy and keep her mind off of it didn’t work. Everything was a reminder. And for once, her own mother’s advice fell short. ‘Keep busy, amore. It’ll help.’ But it wasn’t. It didn’t. No matter how she busied herself, it wasn’t enough. ┗.༻❁༺.┛ I ┏.༻❁༺.┓ A stack for four letters sat on the table, addressed to Cosimo. The first two came rather close together, the third a couple years later, and the final the next year. All were left unopened, untouched aside from being placed there. The handwriting wasn’t hard to recognize. Ludovica. The widow wasn’t able to bring herself to open any of them. The written letters that made up his name reached into the still fresh wound and tore it open again, leaving it just as raw as that first moment. “I’m s-sorry, Ludo.” She whispered, a crack of her voice happening in the middle of the words. One last glance at the stack of unopened letters, then she left the room, her hand pressed to her face in an attempt to keep herself composed. ┗.༻❁༺.┛ II ┏.༻❁༺.┓ A book rested on the bedside table. The binding was worn, showing it was well read. One of Natalia’s most prized possessions. A gift from Cosimo, and so she rarely put it down when he gave it to her. Now, it was a source of comfort, held close and tight to her chest, as if a lifeline. Sequestered away in the vineyard, within what had been her and her husband’s bedroom, she was often curled up with that book. The feel of the pages beneath her fingers helped calm her sometimes, as did going through any clothing he had left there. Nothing of his was cleaned out, left exactly as he’d left it. She couldn’t bring herself to do it. If she did, it was almost like saying it was the truth. That he really was gone. And that was something she couldn’t handle right now. ┗.༻❁༺.┛ III ┏.༻❁༺.┓ A slow, shaky breath was sucked in, attention on the envelope on the table. A response from her mother no doubt, to the letter Natalia sent her mother. It took her a couple of minutes to actually open it. This was a reality that she was still trying to deny, trying to ignore the truth she felt in the pit of her stomach. ‘I am sorry to hear such. It is never easy to lose the one we love. Focus on your children now. Keep busy, amore. It’ll help. Help keep your mind off of it.’ It seemed so easy for her mother to say, when she wasn’t the one who had her other half ripped away from her. Sure, her own father was gone, but her mother didn’t appear that affected by it. ┗.༻❁༺.┛ IV ┏.༻❁༺.┓ Natalia Marie Falcone née Cristelli. The only daughter of Emilio Aldo Rossi and Gianna Sofia Rossi née Cristelli. The story of how they met was one she heard often when she was a child. Yet, so different from how she met Cosimo. While her and Cosimo’s meeting was when they were barely adults, her mother and father grew up together from when they were children. From the way her mother told it, the two felt a spark from the start, and so it blossomed into a romance when they were teenagers. Barely adults when they were wed, but they loved each other, so it was a celebration of love and bringing the pair together. Maybe a year later, Gianna was with child, but despite care taken, her labor came a month and a half early. A son born to the couple, which they named Matteo. Unfortunately, the infant only lived to be a couple of days old before passing on. It was a devastating loss to the both of them, Gianna falling into a depression, barely able to get out of bed. Emilio coped with alcohol, the bottom of a bottle the only thing he saw. A struggle for them to keep themselves together, individually and as a pair, but Gianna recalled what her mother told her. “l'amore richiede lavoro, figlia mia.” As time went on, Gianna and Emilio appeared to be doing better. She was smiling, though if one paid close attention, it didn’t quite reach her eyes. Emilio stopped drinking, now drowning himself in whatever work he found. Things continued on like this until some time later, Gianna brought news to her husband. She was pregnant again. Exciting news, but of course, a shadow loomed over the pair. Afterall, they both feared what happened with their son happening with this pregnancy as well. Much to the relief of both parents, a healthy baby girl was born to them. Natalia Marie Cristelli. As she grew, her eyes changed to hazel with flecks of green in them. Her hair grew long, and brunette. Neither parent had that eye color, and Emilio could only ignore the nagging feeling in the back of his head for so long. It sparked an argument, and it grew heated. That was when it came out. Emilio wasn’t Natalia’s biological father. A man by the name of Giosue Romano. Some man that Gianna ran into during a walk. A mistake that was made while she was trying to work through Matteo’s loss, while Emilio was off drinking. A young Natalia, maybe six years old, made an appearance there. And there was a change in Emilio. Disdain, anger, disgust. All of these flashed across his face when he looked at her. His fists clenched, and he glared at her. “Papà, cosa c'è che non va?” “Non sono tuo padre!” Emilio didn’t leave his wife, but the soft father he once was was gone. Distance and hatred replaced that father. It was the same for Gianna. Her once kind and loving husband was gone. He couldn’t even look her in the eye. Natalia was left confused, and the only answer Gianna offered was that grown ups sometimes change. Life carried on this way, and Emilio returned to drinking. Often, he came home drunk. Natalia learned the hard way to avoid him when he was like that. Slapped across the face one time when her mother was at the market. She made no mention of it to Gianna though, and neither did Emilio. Even amidst all of that, Gianna remained a dutiful wife and mother. Dinner was always prepared, even if Emilio didn’t show up. Most of it would get eaten at least. The only thing Natalia could remember from that night, aside from Emilio grabbing her, was a loud clang. A pan hitting Emilio in the back of the head, causing his hold on her to loosen. And the shout of her mother after such. “Non toccare mia figlia!” ┗.༻❁༺.┛ V ┏.༻❁༺.┓ Another look was sent to the stack of letters on the table, which were still unopened. A pang in her chest, a hand lifting to grasp at her other one. A ring glinted in the light from her left ring finger. After a moment, she turned away from the stack, making her away into a different room. She came back with some paper, seating herself at the table. A writing utensil was grabbed, put to paper. Her hand shook a little, but she did her best to keep it steady. Once done with writing, a name was scrawled across the front of an envelope. Ludovica. The letter was soon sent off, and perhaps, it would reach Ludovica. If it did or not, Natalia wouldn’t know.
  15. TOFFEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
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