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About This World

At the end of the Daeva Wars, the Daeva of Death was thrown from Maharaja, and the Hamadaeva overthrown. While the former survived, his dominion over the flow of life and death had ended, for whatever reason. A new daeva arose as the Hamadaeva, but he was not chosen to lead, spinning beautiful lies, sowing the seeds of discord, and splitting the daeva race down the middle, trapping them between their duties as a daeva, and their duty to their leader. The Light has appointed a new Daeva of Death. But he is not ready to ascend as a daeva, and the Light grows steadily weaker keeping the life-death cycle moving, a burden he was never meant to bear, until the next cycle overseer can ascend.




  1. What's new in this world
  2. Daren slightly shrank in at Hasan's snarling and murmured another apology because he didn't know what had happened and he certainly hadn't meant to upset Kassander so much, he'd only done what he was asked to do. ... And apparently it had been a really bad idea. But Hasan didn't strike out, instead he demanded to know what had happened and then turned his attention to the blond to try and calm him down. Daren considered the best way to word things for a moment and then realized the absolute truth was the best, even if it didn't really answer much of anything. ... At least, to Daren it didn't. Maybe Hasan would make more sense of it than he had. It wasn't as if he didn't know Kassander better than Daren himself. "He asked me to glamour into the daeva who is playing hamadaeva up there." Daren began carefully. "So I did, and then he said something about Marcus and started to freak out. I dropped the glamour immediately but the damage was already done." Apparently. But that was what had happened, in essence. It wasn't a lot, and he certainly wasn't going to glamour back into the guy while Kassander was still having a melt down, but he did hope it was enough for Hasan to make at least a little sense of it. Maybe it would even help him calm Kassander down. In the mean time, Daren was going to stay back here, and not make any sudden movements.
  3. That wasn't generally the sort of entrance Tristan expected from Hasan. Then, the hissing and Apollo's clicking answered the unspoken question, and Tristan decided to let that one go. Unfortunately, that was a whole lot of blood, and Sandalio hadn't had sustenance in 20 some odd years... no wonder he backed up. The only bright side to this was that technically, Sandalio was likely weak enough Hasan could defend himself just fine, but that really wasn't the point. "I'll go get the bloodwine," he said. "Just... stay here I guess." Apollo could handle whatever was outside, and Delara could handle the damage to Hasan's wing, and Tristan was going to go retrieve the bloodwine... probably several bottles because he kind of had a feeling that just one wasn't going to cut it, and that made sense. It was nice to be home, back around the scents of the Drago, but apparently something had gone wrong in their absence. Well that made sense; lots of things went wrong in their absence. He just hoped nothing serious had gone wrong. Then again, he figured if anything had, Hasan would've found them instead of the other way around. Anyway, he shuffled around the others and headed down the hall. One good thing about being an entire massive complex full of vampires, there was bloodwine literally everywhere.
  4. He intended to find something else to occupy himself with. There were always a thousand things to be done in the Drago di Napoli at any given moment, and Hasan could easily find one of them. Certainly, with half the alphas gone, it wasn't difficult, because they were even more backed up than usual. Somewhere between stalking out into the hall, and reaching the staircase, though, he felt the little Kassander blip in his head flicker in shock, and then straight up panic. Instinct kicked in. Immediately, he turned right back around, shoving the door back out of his way and putting himself in between Kassander and Daren, wings unfurling defensively, and then logic kicked in. His expression probably went from unbridled annoyance and perhaps a touch of snarling to confusion to concern in the span of a heartbeat or two. This was Daren. He did trust him, and so did Kassander. "What happened?" he demanded, instead, tucking his wings back against his body and turning around to kneel in front of Kassander. "Hey, breathe, it's okay," he murmured, gathering the smaller blond in his arms and rocking slightly. "You're safe here." He was having a panic attack and Hasan couldn't for the life of him figure out why, but then he supposed it didn't matter much, not right this second. His first concern was calming Kassander down, because if he freaked out too much, he'd expend more energy than he could afford to lose about now. [ that took an eon im sorry ]
  5. They materialized in a space that bordered on familiar, probably due to Tristan mentioning that it was designed to be close to the original so no one got lost if they could help it. Delara and Icarus were barely a moment behind them. Home but not. Apollo felt welcoming, felt the same over his skin. But of course it recognized him, Kassander would have held onto the hope that he would return one day. Sandalio numbly, and probably would have done just that without thinking anything of it if it weren't for the fact that Hasan chose that precise moment to appear, and then he hissed at the ceiling and it was clear that something was very wrong. Sandalio started to take a step forward, and then the scent of blood hit him, and something inside of him shifted. Nope. Nope. That was a very, very bad idea. Logic was strong enough to drive him to take a step backwards instead of allowing instinct to drive him forward. If he'd been younger than he was, this could have been a disaster. Some small corner of his mind was just going to be thankful that he wasn't younger and so this didn't turn out nearly as badly as it might've. He was uh, going to stay back here for a second while he got his thoughts together enough to ask about where the bloodwine was stored though. He'd find his words again sooner or later. Delara, of course, closed the space between herself and Hasan rather quickly, frowning as she did so. It was only a second or two before she started glowing, working on piecing back together the serious damaged wing. "I'm almost afraid to ask what's happening exactly." And yet, by saying that, Delara knew full well she was opening the door to get an answer. At least Apollo could probably hold off whoever it was. The security system didn't play and someone had to be a little more than determined in order to get in and be a real problem. Just as long as everyone stayed inside and let it do its job.
  6. Okay that was a particularly violent reaction and Daren wasn't entirely sure how to process it entirely. He did, however, immediately drop the glamour so that he was himself again. Clearly whoever that was ... was not someone the Light could stand to see. And that was, by the way, kind of a terrifying thought because what in the world could push the Light into a reaction like that? Then again, like all of them, he seemed to have lived a normal human life at some point - perhaps a long time ago, but still relatively normal. It left a number of questions as to what the 'Marcus' had done. Maybe Daren didn't want to know honestly. But that did confirm the thought that apparently he hadn't ascended this Hamadaeva except that that shouldn't be possible. There wasn't supposed to be another way to become a Daeva, after all it was a position that was earned, not born into. "I'm sorry." Apologetic, but not sure what to do because he wasn't sure if he could help and maybe trying would only make it worse. It was only what he'd been asked to do, but still he was sorry because clearly there was a lot of untapped trouble there. Azrael was "Marcus". Unfortunately it was one of those answers that immediately opened up a number of new questions. Why did this Marcus feel like the light, especially if the Light clearly was afraid of him? How had he been ascended without the light's knowledge? How was this guy who the light feared able to hide from him so completely? Daren found himself wishing that Samael was still here though, he would know what to do best for the other man to help calm him down. The Daeva didn't really want to leave him alone like this, but he was also concerned that his presence was only going to make things worse.
  7. It wasn't like Daren had done anything Kassander didn't ask him to. Yet, strangely, or not, if you knew anything about his history with the particular being Daren glamoured into, he had a sudden urge to blast him into the wall, and his muscles noticeably tightened with that instinct. Kassander fought it down. The good news, if there was to be good news here, was Kassander didn't have the energy to, not now. "Marcus," leaked out of him in a whisper, like someone hadn't twisted the cap on a tube tightly enough. "I definitely did not ascend him, I would never have, he doesn't deserve whoever's wings he stole." He hadn't seen him, those cold, bright eyes, in so long, he'd forgotten what they looked like. He used to see them a lot, in his nightmares, when he was younger and still woke up screaming a lot. It was always the look in his eyes, the hard, piercing glint, the lack of any compassion or remote flicker of remorse for anything he'd ever done, that Kassander remembered, but for a few decades, it seemed he'd finally gotten free of it. Daren didn't quite replicate the vicious shimmer in them. Marcus had then, and seemingly still had, if this conversation was anything to go by, a very unhealthy obsession with him, and Kassander couldn't figure out if that was because Marcus had never accepted Kassander as his better, or had never accepted Kassander wasn't his. In the end, maybe the answer was both. Marcus was primitive enough a creature to fall into base instinct that way. It was then, somewhere amid realising that he wasn't really breathing, or focusing on anything, that his breath quickened, and he shoved himself back against the window and curled up right there, focusing on controlling the little bursts of air. Well, he tried, anyway. Controlling your breathing when you were fast slipping into panic mode was harder than it sounded. If he didn't get his muscles to relax, and his breathing to even out, he was either going to pull a muscle, pass out, or both, and neither sounded terribly dignified.
  8. That didn't turn out so well. Mind you, Hasan knew the risks when he made the executive decision to go up there. For one thing, he wanted to make sure it actually was Marcus; he trusted Kassander enough to believe it, and he saw the way the Roman reacted. Only Marcus could've elicited such a response. Maybe he just felt the need to see it with his own eyes. If nothing else, with any luck, Marcus wouldn't recognize him (oh, but Hasan would recognize him), and he could get some idea of what his plans were. Why go through all this trouble to make himself Hamadaeva? Surely he couldn't still hold a grudge against Kassander for being prettier and smarter than he was. That was a difficult thing to fathom, so Hasan had to assume this went beyond Kassander and was bigger than their petty little one-up war from back at Rome. Unfortunately, he hadn't managed to gain much in the way of intel before Gabriel was throwing fireballs at him. The French ginger was dangerous, but it had less to do with her skill and ability as it had to do with her unpredictability. In battle, one's opponent quite often had plans. They made logical decisions, and often very similar logical decisions to the ones someone else with some understanding of combat and how it worked would, but Gabriel was another story. No one had ever really taught her proper combat form, and while she wasn't exactly incapable of fighting, the truth was battle was inherently chaotic, and her ability to ride that chaos and sometimes turn it in her favor, coupled with her lack of instinctive reaction the same way a formally-trained combatant might react, threw even Hasan off guard, and he was hard to blindside. He slipped up only a little, and the next thing he knew, he was crashing into the ground-floor entryway in the Drago complex, hissing angrily at the ceiling, his wings unfurling in a threatening manner. Apollo clicked twice, and a crackle of Kassander's magic alighted for a second, as Apollo's canons fired at something unseen outside. How very fucking dare-wait... there was a new smell, but not a new smell, it was familiar, in the complex. Hasan paused a moment, breathing; the Sandalio hunting-party had returned, but that wasn't what he smelled- Sandalio. The relief in his expression then was probably tangible; Sandalio could figure out how to keep Kassander going until Hasan figured out how to save him. Or, even, Icarus could figure it out, and Hasan could rearrange some daeva-faces, whichever. He breathed out, smiled, and went to move that way, and stopped, loosing a pained hiss. Ah, he'd almost lost this wing, judging by the cut that went halfway up to the bone. There was a lot of blood under him. He should fix this first.
  9. ... knowing his brother, that was probably a flat refusal to deal with it at all. On the other hand, maybe it was for the best. One thing at a time, he supposed. There were plenty of things to deal with, and maybe the towering mountain on the table was threatening to break the wood just fine enough already. Tristan didn't respond verbally, just nodded once. It was long past time they rejoined the Drago, anyway, it was just fortunate they had found who they were looking for and could return triumphantly, and it made perfect sense that was what Sandalio would want at this point. Home sounded like a good idea. He didn't bother warning him, either; it was unlikely that he needed to. The shift in energy was generally enough to figure out what he was doing from. It was a short event, one moment they were standing around the remains of the nightmare cage, and the next, Apollo was softly beeping its hellos. "The layout's about the same," he said. "Very similar at least. Kassander didn't want anyone getting too lost." Getting lost in your own home, technically, was really kind of not great. "And you can ask Apollo where he is, if you want to go there first. ... doesn't seem like Hasan's here." He couldn't sense him, no. Hasan was doing most things around the Drago, now that most of them were looking for Sandalio, and Kassander was only able to manage so much before he needed to rest. Now that they were back, Tristan at least was going to go figure out the current state of things and start helping again. Hasan probably could use the assist by now.
  10. Well that went spectacularly. And then he was alone with the Light. Some small part of him may have been frantic at that idea, before. But He'd already heard the Light's stance on his (not) being fallen and really weren't they all alone with the Light sometimes? Maybe not in quite such a ... disturbingly literal sense. Anyway, perhaps now was not the best time to begin debating that point - even just in his own mind. Maybe Icarus could finish the second Apollo, but the aforementioned Icarus was busy. Well that was... unfortunate in the sense that it would be best if it was something they could manage to resolve. But on the other hand other tasks may be just as important. Neither of these things helped the fact that the Light was dying or the fact that there was no Daeva currently prepared to move the cycle of life and death the way it clearly needed to be supported. "Oh, uh. That's a good idea." It was and Daren wasn't sure why he hadn't thought of it himself except for the fact that his mind had been caught on other things. There was a lot to digest from this short meeting and not a lot of time because the Light was exhausted and Hasan was... well. Trying to be both a husband and get to the bottom of what was going on. It was admirable, really. Daren took a slow breath and concentrated on forming the glamour. It didn't take long for his features to shift into another form. Glamour came naturally to the Daevas, after all. Hopefully this would help shed some light on that part at least. Knowing who Azrael was would help Hasan and answer a lot of questions all at the same time, probably. "Here." After a moment or so, once he was confident he'd gotten everything completely right.
  11. ... Wait where? It didn't matter, he could trust Tristan to take him there. His brother wouldn't lead him astray on purpose so if he said that was where home was now then he'd just have to believe that, even if Sandalio didn't understand where or why they had moved exactly. The Drago was no longer in its homeland, and Sandalio couldn't help but feel like that wasn't a good thing. That there was something ominous about the fact that the whole group had uprooted and gone to some place in the new world. Especially after that particular bomb was dropped. So they'd left Italy and now Kassander was dying. Well clearly the Drago shouldn't have gone to the New World since it hold anything positive for them there. There was also a corner of the former gladiator that rebelled against the idea of Kass dying so far from his homeland - as long as they had lived, and as long as they had lived in Italy he should be laid to rest there, if he had to be laid to rest at all. His mind continued to swirl, railing against what he was processing, railing against what he'd been told. This was too much. This was too much. Being broken out of the nightmare cage only to find that the reality he was coming back to was actually worse in many ways was - Sandalio didn't think he could handle it. And yet, he didn't have a choice. That was just the way things were, Sandalio would have to figure out how to bear the unbearable because it was reality. Tristan wouldn't lie to him, not about something that important. And if Tristan wouldn't lie then... he had to accept that what he was hearing was the truth, even if he didn't want to believe it under any circumstances. Twenty years, and Kassander was dying. Kassander was dying and Ryan had nearly gotten himself killed. Somehow reality managed to feel worse than twenty years in a nightmare cage. The god of shadows wasn't sure how that was possible, and frankly he didn't want to dwell on it for very long. "...Wanna go home." Yeah, he did. That probably wasn't surprising all things considered.
  12. Yes, even him. Kassander just sighed, letting Hasan leave, if that was what he wanted to do. It was odd, kind of, to see that small sliver of Sandalio in Hasan. They did have that in common, didn't they? They both loved him more than was logical, and clung to him harder than they should, but then, he supposed it could've been worse. For a moment, he looked awfully tired, and then shrugged, slightly. "Maybe Icarus," he answered. "Maybe he could finish the second Apollo. But he's chasing Sandalio. ... I'm not even sure there's a Sandalio to chase. There seems to be an awful lot I don't know, suddenly." As it turned out, apparently so, and Kassander wasn't sure how to feel about that. On the other hand, he was dying, and maybe it didn't matter how he felt about it. Hmm, daevas could shapeshift, though. Obviously, Daren had seen this Azrael before. "Show me," he said. "This Azrael, you know what he looks like. Maybe that'll help?" Seeing, sometimes, was easier than simply trying to remember who exactly was attached to a certain set of sounds in a certain order, and sometimes there was more than one person that was, further complicating things, and, even better, human features could only be arranged in so many ways. Eventually, yes, people started looking like other people, and Kassander was so old by now, he'd probably met at least ten different people that looked just like so and so. Unfortunate side-effect.
  13. No, home wasn't Italy. It seemed wrong, Tristan understood that. Italy had always been home. Even when the Drago di Napoli did happen to relocate, they always stayed in Italy. From Capua, they'd gone to Salerno, then most recently, Naples, and they had been there ever since then. Of course, one day, Kassander decided, seemingly on a whim, that they were going across the sea to the New World, specifically a land-locked place in the endless expanse of the midwestern United States, and everyone was supposed to believe there wasn't a reason they were doing this, and Kassander was going to be happy with it. And then the Desert Storm came, Sandalio had disappeared, Kassander had started dying, and most days, Tristan really wanted to go back to Italy. Nothing had gone quite this terribly in Italy, and Tristan wouldn't deny being a little homesick. "Luxerion, Nebraska," he answered. "... it's fine if you don't know where that is. We do." And they could, of course, guide him the right way. Tristan made a face, for a moment, thinking, and then said, "you've been gone about twenty years, and... last I heard, no one knows why, but Kassander is dying." Perhaps these were things he ought to get out of the way, before they got there, so that he could do his processing beforehand. Rather than having it dumped into his lap immediately upon arrival, because it was obvious, last he saw their alpha. Kassander was a once-bright candle flame that was steadily spluttering out, and quite frankly, it was painful to watch, and sooner or later, Kassander would collapse on him, as often he did. It was just easier, overall, if Tristan warned him before they got there.
  14. That was perhaps even more concerning. Kassander didn't recognize this Azrael, which meant that they were essentially flying blind. One couldn't ascend if the Light didn't decide you were going to, so Hasan was very well convinced Kassander had ascended him and just didn't remember doing so. But if he had then why didn't he remember? Kassander never met a daeva he did not remember, at least as long as Hasan had been paying attention, and that was quite a few thousand years. He didn't like this. He really didn't like this. Was that even possible? Apollo was a brilliant piece of magic and machinery, but Hasan wasn't so sure how likely it was that a machine could pull something so delicate as the life-death cycle. Then again, if Kassander didn't think it could, he supposed he wouldn't be trying to make it do so. The instinct was still there. He shook his head, somewhat clinging to the hand Kassander gave him. "Yes," he answered, in quiet Latin. "Everything goes away. But not you." He wasn't sure what changed, there. One moment it was a fact of reality, and the next everything in him wanted to rail against it. Maybe because now he knew it wasn't just something that was going to happen, that it was, in fact, fully preventable. Now that he knew he could fight it, apparently, Hasan would. At this point, it wasn't even about how much Hasan loved him, and needed him around, he didn't want to consider what would happen to the rest of the daevas, that, mind you, were already losing their minds, if Kassander was gone. And the thing with that was, even if only the daevas were affected, it could still lead to some extremely dangerous things, because the daevas were so inherently dangerous. The daevas were loaded cannons, and Hasan hated to think what would happen if the only thing preventing them from firing was gone. He loosed a sigh, kissing Kassander's knuckles, and then stalking out into the hall. He needed a minute. Or a few, maybe that was a few. Kassander could easily point Daren in the right direction, and get him where he was supposed to be going, and Hasan, apparently, was going to throw a very quiet tantrum. Somewhere else.
  15. Sandalio hugged Tristan back tightly, half clinging to him as soon as he'd finished gaining his bearings at the contact. It was strange, having something touch him after all this time, but for the record it was also a really nice feeling. There was a word for that, he was sure, but Sandi wasn't sure what that word was and maybe it didn't matter anyway. It was just a word and they didn't matter much at the moment anyway. What mattered was that they'd found him and apparently he was free. And his other brother was a complete dumb ass apparently. And had attacked Maharaja after he'd disappeared. Sandalio kind of felt guilty for being the cause of such a travesty, but it wasn't like he'd tried to have these things happen and maybe he'd just have to... let that go. There wasn't really any point in being upset about it, and Ryan had survived at least. He could figure out the detail of it later. As long as he was alive and could heal, then that would be okay. They'd... they'd get through it together. They always had. Which was just as well, because the shadows were buzzing around his feet, practically still clearly upset about something. He couldn't quite grasp what they were going on about. He'd figure that out in a second. Tristan did manage to get through to him before he tried to shadow port off. "Home isn't Italy?" He repeated slowly, obviously a little confused by that fact. Home had always been Italy, even before the nation was called that. "Where is home then?" Not sure he'd know it even if Tristan told him but there was... some level of concern if so many things had changed.
  16. Well, he looked okay. At least, he didn't look like he'd pushed against the cage too much, enough to do notable damage to himself. At the moment, Tristan was going to consider that a good start. Not perfect, maybe, but a good start. Turned out, too, they did have the right nightmare cage. It was about damned time they found him, Tristan was a little annoyed about it, but he was trying not to be. Something like that. When he figured out Sandalio was reaching for him, though, Tristan shuffled over there and unceremoniously hugged him. He didn't say anything, just yet, but neither did he need to, because the way he relaxed and the fact, were Sandalio any smaller, Tristan probably would've completely swallowed him in that hug, that said enough. "Ryan's an idiot," Tristan said, quiet, "and attacked Maharaja amid looking for you. He's alive, but barely." By some miracle, Kassander had managed to save him at the last second from his own stupidity, but, all Kassander had really managed to do was keep him alive; Ryan was still healing, and it was somewhat of a toss-up, if he'd ever wake back up. "And before you bolt off somewhere, home's not Italy, anymore." Yes, it did cross his mind that Sandalio wouldn't know that, and maybe saying that early on was a good idea. You know, before he tried going back to Kassander, whom, last he checked, was in Naples, only to find, Kassander's not in Naples. Tristan could find him again, but that really wasn't the point, no it was not. He really didn't want his brother running off right now, mostly because the after-effects of a nightmare cage took a bit to fully go away, and if he wasn't where Tristan could keep at least half an eye on him, well, he'd seen things go horribly wrong much faster than that.
  17. "Not really." Icarus admitted mildly. No, it wasn't surprising. It should have been given how dangerous it was to try and break one of these from the inside. But this was Sandalio and the box was what existed in an attempt to keep him from getting to Kassander. Of course he was going to try and break it. Still, Icarus hoped the former gladiator hadn't managed to do himself any damage in the process. ... He hadn't broken it though, so he didn't think it was irreparable. .... At least, not any more so than that many years in a nightmare cage might be normally. Hm? The Shadows were upset about something. Sandalio could hear them in the back of his mind, suddenly seething. He obeyed them almost reflexively, sliding back as far towards the back of the box as he could manage. There wasn't much space though, so he wasn't sure it would be enough to calm them depending on what exactly the threat was. He didn't have long to ponder the situation before the cage seemed to break apart around him with a loud noise. Confusion and uncertainty warred in his expression. Shadows danced at his fingertips for a moment before fading, clearly he'd decided not to attack. But the uncertainty remained. Tristan, Icarus, Delara. Not Kassi. But he knew them, and it smelled right and as much as his instincts screamed that this was some sort of a trap, some of the tension slid out of his shoulders. They smelled right, they felt right. Those were things the Cage never managed to do. There were some senses that just couldn't be tricked. Not that easily. "Mm." His expression curled slightly into a smile after a bit. He didn't try and speak. The dryness of his mouth combined with the slightly swollen feeling of his tongue made that seem like a useless attempt. Slowly and rather stiffly Sandalio picked himself up onto his feet. Still, he didn't try and move any closer to them. Just concentrated on finding his balance for a second. "Easy..." Icarus murmured. Not that he actually expected to be heeded just, he didn't want Sandalio pushing himself too hard right out of the gate here. Sandalio reached slightly for Tristan, a rather obvious invitation for a hug or at least for him to come closer.
  18. Daren frowned very slightly. Someone who had taken Azrael's name but not someone Kassander was aware of. So the name did mean something to the light, but it didn't offer a solution to the puzzle even so. That was concerning, really, in its own way. The Light didn't know who this Daeva was. Samael didn't know who they were either it seemed. On the other hand the name seemed to have triggered something, because Hasan seemed to have come up with something of an explanation for... several things. Not the specific one they were talking about, but given everything that was going on at the moment, any answers at all were probably helpful for the Warlord, so there was that. Three thousand years. That was a long time, and that did pretty well make it clear that it wasn't likely to be the same one. So.... who took the name? And now Hasan knew why the light was dying. And... Daren felt like he was intruding just a little. This didn't really feel like something he should be present for. It was, after all sort of a personal moment between them. Blue eyes slid away from the pair for a moment, focusing on a point elsewhere on the floor, expression thoughtful because he was still trying to sort out Azrael. The light didn't seem to be able to pinpoint him, but was that because there was something wrong with this Azrael or because the light was already extremely weak? That was the question, now wasn't it? Then again the fact that they were claiming to be the Hamadaeva without the light's support for the position probably said all it needed to except for the fact that the light should have been able to know something like that was happening. And they were... after the new Daeva of death who happened to actually be... some living human at the moment. So what happened if the host killed - well. Obviously the Light couldn't keep moving the cycle forever. If the light died while moving the cycle... things could get very messy very quickly. Life and death were essential balances in the world. When they got out of whack who knew what chaos might descend. "Is there... anyone else who might be able to finish it for you?" The thing he'd mentioned moving the cycle onto.
  19. It was nice, seeing the sky again. It was nice, feeling like he was home again. Both were things that often were taken for granted. Certainly Alex had once taken for granted that he was going to be fine and be able to return to Sati. Battles were the sort of thing that they'd done many times. Sure, he'd always known he might die, but there had never been a reason to worry about it exactly. If he worried then he wasn't focused if he wasn't focused then the chance of not returning home was higher. They'd been together for two thousand years. Perhaps it was normal to be complacent after that long. After all, what could withstand two thousand years of combat training? Well, as it turned out, the universe had decided to remind him that everything one day met it's match. And.... then had given him wings. It took a moment for Alexios to realize he was being spoken to. His attention turned back to Sati then though, dismissing the tangle of thoughts he'd been distracted by. "I think I can handle shadow-stepping." He thought. As long as Sati was there Alex was relatively certain he'd come through it okay. Maybe a little confused since the place they were going wasn't exactly home but he trusted Sati and that was probably enough to maintain most of his grip on reality. Besides it was faster and it would probably get them fewer looks than walking around like this. Alexios wasn't sure he could tolerate interaction with a bunch of strangers and not draw attention to the fact that something was unusual about him.
  20. "There are some your age, yes." Cade spoke up after Jordyn had finished speaking. "I actually teach the necromancy course. It's a relatively small class but you certainly aren't alone." No and that might be nice, too. Meeting people who really understood what she was going through. Who understood what she was talking about when she grumbled about the emotional reaction to what the ghosts did to her. Yes, he thought that would do her some good. And then there were, of course, other students who understood how she felt about magic in general - some of them had even grown up with no one magical in their lives before the school too. It would be good for her, he thought, he hoped. But it was, of course, her choice. Jordyn made a good point though, about more students meaning more chances to find a group that worked well for her. And of course, valid point there about eventually learning the way around if she went and got lost often enough. Eventually paths and hallways started to be easy to navigate by memory. All that required a certain amount of faith and willingness to accept changes, and honestly Caderyn wouldn't blame Spectra if she just wasn't willing to face those things. It was a lot to ask of her. Still, he was pleased at her questions so far - they seemed to indicate that she was at least willing to consider the idea, which was a good start at least. More than Cade had been sure of. Cade nodded in agreement at the last bit. That was true, too. Transferring back to her school, or to another school as always an option later. Sure, it wasn't fun to do that sometimes, but if she transferred between school years it would be less troublesome than it might be otherwise.
  21. Yeeeah, no, he didn't. Which was kind of unfortunate, because if he did, he'd have been a lot easier to deal with than he was. Of course, he and Surya had figured something out eventually, but between trying to shield the house and figure out where the fuck Sandalio and Kassandros had ended up, that was more of a mess than it needed to be, and Sati, for his own, was just glad Kassandros had only just died. If he'd been dead any longer, he was quite sure neither of them could've saved him, no matter how much they wanted t- Wait. What? ... you know what, maybe he shouldn't ask right now. He wasn't even sure what he would want to ask right there, nor how much Alex could even answer. Of course, it was also possible his sense of time had gotten skewed, by the nightmare cage, and maybe he'd ended up slurring time periods together. That was... that was very likely, so, maybe it was best if he just left that alone, at least for now. Of course, logically, the daevas wouldn't be quite that afraid of him, perhaps. He was still a vampire, and he'd imagine they'd think him an easy target; vampires usually were, for daevas, and then they met Sati, who was resistant to their light magic and had a penchant for setting their wings on fire. Kassander was probably annoyed by that, but Sati gave precisely zero fucks. It would kind of make sense, if - but Kassander would never - ahhh, he'd figure it out later. "No, no he doesn't," Sati answered. "Can you handle shadow-stepping, or should I walk like a normal person? ... what is a normal person?" He'd never figured that out.
  22. Azrael? They hadn't had an Azrael since the first one, and that was a little over three thousand years ago. Kassander hadn't even been alive back then; well, no, he was alive but he wasn't Kassander. He forgot what his name was, something Greek. Anyway, that wasn't the point. "I have not ascended an Azrael in three thousand years minimum," Kassander stated, his eyebrows furrowed. "The first Azrael was the original daeva of death. Many have followed after him, but, none have taken his name after him. Whoever our current Azrael is, his name was probably different when he was alive." Kassander breathed out, focusing a little, and closed his eyes. The light streaming in through the window flickered with slight golden sparks. ... actually, there was a large chunk of Maharaja he couldn't see into... it was almost like darkness was blocking it, but, if he tried using the shadows, instead, those couldn't see into it, either. That was strange. What was blocking it... at Hasan's words, quite the accurate guess, Kassander peeked one eye open, then the other, and sighed, a bit. Hasan always was fairly intelligent. He supposed, it was really a matter of time, until he figured it out. "Yes," Kassander answered. "I've been experimenting, trying to see... if I could build a modified version of Apollo, that could act as the buffer that moved the life-death cycle, filtering the aura in and back out, but it is a little more... complex, than I first thought, and I have neither the time nor the energy to complete it." Ultimately, he was stuck with this. Either Axel figured his shit out, and Kassander passed the burden onto him and lived, or Axel took too long, and Kassander died. Still, could be worse. Couldn't think of how right now, but. He reached over, taking Hasan's hand for a moment, giving it a gentle squeeze. "It's okay, you know," he said. "Everything goes away, someday." Even him.
  23. "Is this surprising?" Tristan asked. "It shouldn't be." Especially if and assuming the one in there was in fact Sandalio; nothing short of divine intervention could really keep that guy away from Kassander too long, and Tristan knew that. So, no, he wasn't surprised the cage was warped. Of course it was. ... Tristan might've done the same thing, really, so he couldn't even pretend like he wouldn't have, even knowing it was liable to shred his soul. Nobody said what happened after that; Tristan probably would've tried to find out first-hand. ... yeah, they were still related. It took a while, not that Tristan was counting, but eventually its sparking stopped, it started to crack, and the cage's frame became more solid and visible. Almost. A breath in, and Tristan built up a load of electrical energy. The shadows at his feet suddenly buzzed with alarm, and shot through the chips in the cage. Backward! they hissed, hoping Sandalio could still hear them. Your brother's insane and he's tossing an electrical ball at it! That could cause collateral damage, and you know, maybe getting shocked was not so great an idea for someone fresh out of a nightmare cage. If nothing else, it might trigger half-wild self-defence instinct, and that could end badly. Only a handful of seconds after they hissed their warning, a loud crashzap! sounded, as Tristan's electricity ball slammed into the corner. The shadows shot upward, spreading across Sandalio's skin in effort to absorb the electrical charge, if any reached him, before it hurt him. The rest of the cage's walls cracked and fell apart, the pillars shattering. Tristan, for his own, stayed right where he was. They learnt a long time ago not to make any sudden movements after busting one of these. It tended to be rather unpleasant. ... he had a headache now... well, yes, he'd probably used too much energy. Oh well, it was broken. That was the important part.
  24. ... oh, he knew this boy did not. For a long moment, it probably seemed like Kassander wasn't going to answer that at all. If one was paying attention, though, he'd gone a bit tense. Unfortunately, the sudden wave of anger just underscored how tired he was, but he'd survive for another few minutes, at least. Long enough to tell this idiot what for. In his head, he mulled over the words, his hands gripping the edge of the nearest board, so tight his knuckles turned white. "Don't," he started, tone very low. Kassander rarely ever raised his voice and this idiot wasn't going to be on the list of things he raised his voice for. "You have no idea what I've been through, the things I've survived, the things I didn't survive, the choices I've had to make, you don't know how much I had to go through to get here. You don't know me, Kaspian, you don't know where I've been. Don't mistaken hard work for dumb luck. You know what your problem is? You just don't want to change. Because when you're off the ice, the roaring in your head gets louder and you never did figure out how to face those demons, did you? Well guess what, ignoring them doesn't make them go away, and maybe it's never crossed your mind, but Alison and Skylar don't want your stupid money, they want you. So how's about you come down off that fucking high horse now and start smelling the goddamn roses. ... and don't talk to me for at least a week. Figure your shit out on your own, you're so determined you know how, then." Kassander didn't even wait for an answer. Whatever graceless rhetoric Kaspian could manage to sputter out in response to that really didn't matter to him, not now. In a week or so, maybe only a few days, he'd be less pissed off. In the meantime, he needed tea, and a nap. With that, he just pushed off the boards, and walked away.
  25. He tried not to laugh, really he did, but that was cute, and a small amused noise might've escaped. "Love you too, Kassi." He did, yes. Even if, sometimes, it didn't feel like it was enough just to love him, but it wasn't like Hasan had any better ideas, and it'd been enough the last two thousand years. Maybe he'd just have to hope that it still was, and, of course, Kassander had never led him to believe it wasn't. He still found himself vaguely wondering what he was good for, if that was all he could do. There weren't many instances in his long life that he'd felt useless. He still hadn't gotten accustomed to it, he guessed. So, Kassi didn't know, either. Hasan tried not to look too concerned about that, but if there was someone on the islands playing Hamadaeva, why wouldn't Kassander know which one it was? There seemed to be a lot of things, here, that Kassander didn't seem to know, and it was becoming a little-a lot-concerning. It wasn't like Kassander wasn't aware he was the Light; he'd become aware of that some thousand years ago. Every daeva ascended through him, which meant Kassander had ascended this Hamadaeva, so why didn't he know who that was? Maybe Hasan didn't want to know, but it felt important somehow. And Hasan, the name rang a few bells, but he'd never met him personally. As he thought about it, again, he vaguely remembered hearing of an Azrael, once. There was an Azrael a long time ago, before Kassander had been born, that served during the time of the previous incarnation of the Light, but that was quite a long time ago, and Hasan didn't know him, either. He hadn't ascended then, yet, but he'd heard stories. If he remembered rightly, he was the first daeva of death. That was a big deal, as the daeva of death existed, in a sense, outside the natural order of daevas, because that one had a special function. Life and death needed to continue in a never-ending cycle, and it was the daeva of death that moved them. ... come to think of it, when was the last time they'd had an active daeva of death...? Hasan frowned, to himself, thinking... the last one he remembered was Bjorn. But Bjorn had fallen from Maharaja at the tail end of the Daeva Wars, and Hasan didn't think he was still-so what was keeping life and death moving? ... for a moment, he just watched Kassander. That was a stupid question, wasn't it? What else had the power to keep the life-death cycle moving, in the absence of a daeva of death? But that wasn't something for the Light to be doing. Maybe with the Darkness, he'd break down slower, but-that meant there was a new one. One that, maybe, wasn't ready to ascend. Maybe, a random kid in Luxerion International Academy. "Well, I think I figured out why we're here at least, and what the Host thinks they're after." On the bright side, if there was to be a bright side, here, the Host already knew where their target was. Perhaps, not which random kid it was, but if they didn't know that, he didn't need to ask. It was best if he didn't know, either. "So correct me if I'm wrong," he started, "some random daeva up there is claiming to be the Hamadaeva and apparently is after the next daeva of death. Whoever this is is still alive. Which is why you're dying. You're moving the cycle, aren't you?" Bjorn hadn't been the daeva of death in two or three hundred years, so he had to have been keeping the cycle moving much longer than Hasan thought this was going on. No wonder nothing worked on it. At least he didn't just, suddenly suck at healing. Small comfort.
  26. Blink. Well, that was certainly something. Another nightmare cage. It'd been here for some time too, though it was difficult to tell exactly how long, and maybe that part was less important anyway then getting it dismantled. Tristan was, of course, right. Even if it wasn't Sandalio (though hopefully it was) they should free whoever it was because they didn't deserve this. Nightmare cages were just terrible and everyone made them really should just go away already. Actually, Icarus had much more violent things he'd like to do to the people who kept creating them but that was ah, something to be considered later, maybe. "We should." Icarus agreed, circling slightly to one side and then joining Tristan in attempting to break down the Cage. Delara joined in slightly to another side. Between the three of them they could hopefully break it before too much time passed. .... It was okay though, there were tree of them and they were relatively strong, they'd manage to get it broken and the one trapped inside free. The good news was, they were also all strong enough to manage to withstand it if the one inside of the box became violent. "...Is it just me or does it feel like it's been... warped slightly?" Icarus mentioned after a bit. Sandalio was just psycho enough to try and break it from the inside despite the risks. Sandalio might have considered his grip on reality tenuous. In some ways, he was better than he might have been. He knew he was in a nightmare cage. He knew what was happening wasn't exactly real (though some of it had happened, just not the way the box wanted him to believe it had). Knowing didn't really make it all that much easier after the dozenth time of watching the light of his life taken to shreds by Marcus. He had no idea how long he'd been in the box. His memory of how he ended up trapped in the first place was pretty hazy. Sandi hadnt' asked the shadows because it didn't really matter. What mattered was escaping, but he'd been unsuccessful in attempting to break the cage from the inside. And a small corner of his mind reminded him it was dangerous to break them from within anyway. On the other hand, he didn't know how long he'd been here, and the shadows occasionally told him help was coming, but so far, he was...still here, and still alone. Maybe the shadows were wrong, maybe they'd never find him.
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