Volakiri. It was a bond between a celestial and valkyr. Something that the wayfinder had known nothing of until Atticus had returned to the tribe and revealed how he used to have one before he died. From that moment Ophelia had been researching everything she could about it and she had discovered many things, first and foremost, that it was likely to be her best chance of keeping her people safe in a time where tensions were rising and visions were beginning to haunt her and make major indents on her life.

She didn’t know why she felt so nervous; Ophelia had known Gideon for a good 2 years now and he had been a solid ally for her kind, he provided her a shield when she knew he didn’t have to and had been fighting her corner when it came to the other ambassadors since. Ophelia had no doubts in the valkyr’s dedication to the alliance but she had always been questioning what was in it for him, especially because it put Gideon on the opposite side to the Ailward. But hearing about the bond, now it all made sense, they were drawn to each other in a strange way, bonded through their roots and what they were.

And so she found herself walking up the steps to the valkyr faction house. She’d never actually come here alone before, not that she was afraid, the wayfinder didn't really get afraid anymore, not for herself anyway, she was far past that. She was hoping Gideon would be here because she knew there was only so long she could hold onto what she had learned before she needed to take action on it. Truthfully she wanted to deepen the alliance because she knew it was a lifeline and she was starting to feel like she was running out of those.

And so she knocked on the door before entering the reception area and calmly asking for an audience with the Valkyrie. The sweet-seeming male invited her to take a seat while he relayed the message which she took graciously. The raven-haired female’s eyes drifted around the entry hall taking in the decor, it was quite similar to the castle in that it was attempting to be home like but also had a certain aged look to it. Like the people who lived there, in both cases, she supposed.

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The days lately had been meshing together, night and day blending in a flurry of diplomatic duties and training. It was a little overwhelming at times, making him yearn for the old days where there were only a handful of Valkyr and he could spend his time traveling. Watching people go about their lives, enjoying the differences in humanity and protecting those who needed it. Life had been far more simple, his path straight and true. Since coming to Evermore the only thing he was sure of was his standing among his people and within the community. It wasn’t much but it was something, enough to keep him grounded in the midst of the growing storm that seemed to be settling over the Eternal City.

As if on cue the door to his office opened, the hyper young Hector came in to announce that he had a visitor. Curious Gideon stood, stretching languidly to work out the kinks from having sit for far too long. Walking around his desk he followed the young Valkyr into the front room where he beheld the lovely Ophelia. Not bothering to hide his slight surprise the Valkyrie crossed to her, taking her hand and kissing the back of it as he gave a gallant bow. “To what do I owe the pleasure Wayfinder?” Releasing her hand he straightened to his full height, wracking his brain for a panicked moment, “Please don't tell me I have forgotten an appointment…” It wouldn't be the first time but he was usually cognizant of engagements of importance. A meeting with the leader of his allies most certainly fell into that category.

For the past two years he and the Ambassador of the Celestials had been working closely, their species aligning perfectly amidst the intrigue of the Supernatural world. The Shadow felt a kinship with the Fallen Star, one that he knew went far deeper than just friendship. Pushing that from his mind his manners kicked in, gesturing her towards the hallway as his face took on a lopsided grin of apology. “Regardless of my negligent memory I am always glad to see you. Come, we will talk in my office.” Offering her his arm he led them back to his office, closing the doors behind them.

The room had probably once been a sitting room, a rather large space that easily fit his desk and several supple couches arranged in front of a fireplace. The walls were lined with bookcases, all filled to the brim with tomes and novels and account books he had amassed over his long life while a wet bar stood proudly by the double doors. The old Victorian had been designed in the southern style for optimal grace and efficiency. Simple designs meant to accentuate style and comfort, enabling enough space to entertain comfortably. Not to mention the place had character. Ignoring his desk at the far end he offered his guest a seat by the fire, once she was settled he sat down across from her with avid interest.

Ophelia had moved over to a certain painting which was hanging on the wall, her eyes scanning over it, the colors blended beautifully and the piece was absolutely stunning, not that she had ever doubted Gideon’s tastes, the decor of the whole manor far outshone what she had done with the celestial castle so far, the Wayfinder didn’t have all that much time to think about decor and at first she hadn’t really been able to afford to renovate, but things were starting to turn around in that department. Ophelia turned, a polite smile on her lips when she heard Gideon enter the room and she equally bowed her head in his presence, she liked the olden formality there always was between the two of them, it was familiar to her “Nothing of the sort, I just thought it was far past time we had a meeting” she realized she probably should have scheduled something but she wasn’t the business type who planned out her every waking moment.

Ophelia really liked Gideon, he was a good person and always had his intentions in the right place, or at least that was the impression she got from him, he was an old soul, much like she was and appreciated a lot of the same things, such as art and development in culture. “I hope I’m not imposing” she pressed with a slight shake of her head, she’d hate to feel like she had interrupted something important. When he offered his arm however she took it, following his lead. Others might find the gesture odd or forward but to the Wayfinder, it was completely natural and strangely nostalgic to a time she missed dearly.

As they entered the room she was surprised but also not surprised to see the setting of the room that Gideon called his office, it was homely looking with a fire and more books than she had seen in some of the book stores in Evermore city “I feel like I need to take a page from your office design book” she commented, the awe showing on her face as she looked around. Heading over towards the fire, she smiled as she looked at the flames and settled herself down on the couch that Gideon had led her over to. The Wayfinder stayed quiet for a moment before she looked over to him, she had to wonder what he knew about all of this and why he had never mentioned it before but she figured there was only one way to find out.

“There has been a pretty major development in my faction the past few weeks” she started by contextualizing the topic, as well as to update her ally openly on the changes she had been handling “In history, a celestial Wayfinder typically falls at the same time as a celestial guardian, they typically come as a pair” that was simple fact, though Ophelia wasn’t certain how much Gideon knew about those smaller details of her kind “Mine never fell” she clarified with a half nod “and recently I discovered why, it was because Emilia’s guardian, the Wayfinder before me, has been brought back”.

She gave him a minute to swallow that pill because she was pretty certain that Gideon must know who Atticus is “Add onto that the fact that one of my celestials was attacked by a rogue group the other day” her gaze darkened a little, she had known it was only a matter of time and they were lucky to have got out of it without anyone getting seriously hurt but she had to admit it had her worried. She ran a hand through her raven hair and sighed gently “I hate to be in the position to ask for help” she admitted with a slight nod “But Atticus mentioned an old-time bond between our two kinds, called Volakiri, are you familiar with it?”

He breathed out a small sigh of relief, smiling away the obvious worry that had been evident upon his features. He had to admit there was much on his mind of late and with more members of his race coming into the city he had been busy getting them all settled. As an Ambassador he had a duty not only to the Valkyr but to the city and now, perhaps most important of all to his ally. Ophelia was a strong and confident woman, someone he was had proudly aligned himself with and he would hate to disappoint her. Or worse, cause her to second guess her decision to throw in her lot with him. It was a strange alliance to be sure, a creature of shadow and one of light pairing up to face the world. The situation was almost poetic.

“Don't be silly.” He waved away her worry as she took his arm, the pair of them falling into step as if they were very old friends. He had speculated that the reason they got along so well was that they were both of the same time period. From a much younger world that had put emphasis on manners and enjoying life rather than spending unnecessary time and effort in prolonging it. “Your company is always welcome here. In fact, you have saved me from some rather boring correspondence and bills.” Gideon wrinkled his nose as they walked, strolling through the halls of the home he had made for his fellow shadows. No matter what time period you lived Bill's were always a constant and there was always someone seeking attention or assistance.

The male let out a chuckle as his hazel hues roamed around their surroundings with an expression of pleasure at her approval. “I can't take all the credit. Celia helped with the decorating though the pieces were mostly amassed from a collection of us who have been around for a while.” He winked down at the lovely brunette as they both k how he had been around for a few lifetimes. “I want to do some renovating on some other parts of the house, now that my office is finished I can pick my next project.” He had found in his reborn life that he had a knack and skill for woodworking and architecture, both of which he enjoyed immensely. His private hobby had been one of the reasons he had picked the Victorian, the place had solid bones that he could improve upon and increase.

Once they were settled in his office Gideon listened intently, nodding his head every so often as he reconciled the information he knew with the new bits she was giving him. The history and structure of the Celestials were far more complex than he had first come to realize and that she imparting this all to him meant she had come for something specific. While his mind had gone to the recent attack upon her people, for he had come to the conclusion that she wanted to take about future defense she thoroughly surprised him and brought up the last subject he had expected her to. Leaning forward he rested his elbows on his knees, clasping his hands together while he mulled over how best to address the subject.

“I am very familiar with the Volakiri bond. As the first of my kind, I was imparted with the knowledge though it has been invoked so rarely I had almost forgotten about it.” His voice was thoughtful, his eyes searching as he looked into her wide mocha orbs. “The bond is only taken when both individuals are completely committed to gorging the connection and protecting one another. It can only be embarked on once and if one is lost the other feels the loss very deeply.” There was more to it than that but he didn’t want to overload her with information though he did want to impart the seriousness of the bond to her. “Why do you ask?”

Ophelia had always been taught to be polite, part of the introduction she had to the world in England when she first fell that had stuck with her throughout her long life, she hated feeling as though she was bothering others or causing them trouble, which considering who she was, happened more often than she would like it to. When he assured she had only interrupted his time with bills she laughed softly and smiled “Ah those pesky things, you’d think they would have found a way to do away with them all by now” she also pulled a face, surely with all the technology the world had nowadays, paperwork was unnecessary.

She glanced over at him with an amused expression as he spoke about the decor of the place and then winked, implying he had collected the pieces over a large span of time, one of the perks of being immortal was getting to see more than your fair share of beauty she agreed “I really wish I’d had the chance to collect pieces of my own over the years” she mused as she looked between the different ones that lined the halls “But I never had anywhere to put them” she admitted with a shrug, perhaps she should make up for lost time now that she was staying in one place for some time “I’ve been working on the gardens at the castle mostly, picking out and arranging the flowers proves quite therapeutic” she had spent many hours out there this week just working away at the soil, she enjoyed it very much.

Her first intention with this meeting was to tell him about everything she had learned, she had found that Gideon was very big on openness and honesty and so she tried to do him the respect of letting him know what was happening with her people. Albeit she was often busy and couldn’t inform him right away, but their regular meetings such as this were the right place to bring it up. She could tell from the expression he pulled that he hadn’t known about guardians but it was his reaction to the last thing she spoke of that had her leaning forward curiously.

She watched him intently, gauging his reactions as he spoke, she had to wonder why the practice would be so underused if it really provided the power to their kind that Atticus told her it did, she pondered whether there were things about it she didn’t know that Gideon clearly seemed to. “I ask because my guardian is bonded with one of your” she didn’t really know how to phrase her understanding of what Cecilia was “elder members?” she suggested though it was clear she didn’t know how rankings worked in the valkyr faction “And I suppose I just wanted to know for myself what the reality of it was” the raven-haired Wayfinder pressed her lips together.

“You must know that I’ve been searching down every thread I can to secure my people’s safety in this city so I have to consider every option” she bit down on her bottom lip “I want to share this information with my faction as a whole but I figured I should inform you of my intention to do so first, especially because you haven’t mentioned it before and that concerns me” perhaps he had truly forgotten about it, but it felt a little insane to forget about something that came with such potential power.

The Valkyr grinned, running a hand through his hair as he sat back in his chair, “I’ve been told they can be done through the interwebs but I am old fashioned. There is no substitute for hand copies written in your own hand, as long as there isn’t a fire no one could ever say I failed to make a payment.” Celia teased him quite often concerning his antiquated ways, urging him quite sternly to join the 21st century and the computer age. He used her pet name for the world wide web often to poke fun right back, a way of acknowledging that the times had changed yet he resisted that change for himself. Laptops had been purchased for the house and he had one for his own personal use but old habits die hard. The male was used to writing his thoughts down on paper, securing all transactions in books that he kept meticulously, and locking them all away in a protected locations that only he could access. He would concede though that with the internet information was more freely available and save quite a bit of time and effort.

At the mention of gardens Gideon looked out the window of his office, at the wild grass that grew too high and the tall willow trees that hung down low over the eaves of the house. The grounds needed tending, it was on his list of things to do along with purchasing more furniture and building onto the foundations of the house to make room for more of his people. The defenses needed to be shored up and as usual food would always need to be purchased, and…. The Valkyrie brought his mind to a screeching halt, pushing all of that aside to once more focus on what was right in front of him. Leveling his dark gaze on Ophelia he grinned a little sheepishly, “Well as I said, you are more than welcome to any of the pieces that might catch your fancy here. Perhaps I can take you to my private vault and you can look over the collection.” It paid, in some respects, to be immortal.

The Valkyr’s expression became solemn and pensive, his mind churning over the information his ally was imparting as well as the implications for both of their people. The weight of her gaze settled heavily upon his shoulders, her attention and powers of observation would miss nothing. If there was one thing he had learned about the Wayfinder it was that she had powers of perception that bordered on a sixth sense and if she thought something would protect her fellow stars, she would stop at nothing to attain it. Sighing heavily Gideon sat forward in his chair, bracing his elbows on his knees as his palms rubbed together, “Celia is my Lieutenant, my second and a skilled warrior responsible for helping to train young Valkyr.” It was a common question and one he always had a quick answer for. Celia had been his first fledgling and despite many opportunities to the contrary she had never left his side. It humbled his to think about, that the woman he had sired first had become his best friend and truest confidant.

“I believe,” he started out slowly and despite the fact that they were alone his voice was still quiet, “Celia loved Atticus. Might still but I cannot be sure. They happened upon the bond as a way to be in the presence of the other without becoming weak.” He wasn't at liberty to discuss all of his friend's relationship, hell he didn't know all the particulars himself but it was enough to at least explain how the discovery had been made. The Celestial continued to explain her reasons for asking, though her voice held no bit of defensiveness she was thorough and curious. The woman was on a fact finding mission and wasn't going to satisfied until she had the whole truth. Not that he wouldn't have given her anything less but it was still a factor to consider.

“Celestials are beings of light and we the Valkyr are your opposite. We make another weak in the others presence and if you wanted you could level me without much effort.” It was a statement of fact, though his tone held no worry that she might make good on that ability. “When a Celestial and Valkyr have strong feelings for one another: love or passion or respect or any sort of affection a bond can be created. The pair exchanges blood to forge an unbreakable link, lending strengths and abilities to the pair that make them stronger as a pair than as a single being.” Gideon had studied and watched Celia with Atticus often, making careful notes that reconciled with the natural knowledge he had been given.

“An immunity of sorts is granted to the opposites energy and a shot of blood will boost your abilities.” He gave her a long look before pressing on, “If, for instance, you and I forged this bond we would be able to track on another anywhere. I could feel if you were in danger or in pain and we would both be stronger when we are together.” He quirked a small grin chuckling he as he laid out the last of the side effects. “ I believe some personality traits may be exchanged, Celia certainly got a bit more snippy after her bond with Atticus was formed.” Straightening back up he rubbed his chin, making sure he had covered everything. “It definitely has its advantages but isn't to be taken lightly.”

When Gideon spoke the words interwebs she couldn’t stop the soft laugh that escaped her lips because it was exactly what she had called it to Willow in frustration over her computer the other day and it once again reminded her of how similar she was to the Valkyr ambassador despite them being from completely opposite sides of the supernatural spectrum “I have to say I prefer the physical copies myself too, they were trying to tell me how things were stored on a cloud the other day and I just” she made a gesture that implied a bomb was going off and she widened her eyes a little, she was a little hopeless when it came to keeping up with the times, set in her ways she supposed, though she did make the effort to dress up in more modern outfits nowadays and could appreciate the way fashion trends had moved away from corsets and other dangerous garments and focused more on comfort.

When he offered to show her the pieces he had here she shook her head at the offer, it was kind but it was definitely not the reason she had come here today and she wanted to stay on topic, namely because the safety of her people always seemed to be hanging in balance and lately it felt like it was tipping towards the direction she didn’t want it to “Perhaps one day” she spoke with a gentle smile “Unfortunately the reason behind my visit today isn’t one that can really wait” she spoke with a gentle sigh, hence why she had come here without scheduling a visit, the faster she did something about this nagging feeling in her stomach, the faster it would fade.

The Wayfinder noted the names he used to describe Celia in her mind, in case she ever need to refer to the female again because she wasn’t always sure how the respect chain worked for Valkyr kind, her people would call her Wayfinder or by name and in return she addressed her people by name “I’ve heard little and yet a lot about her” Ophelia commented with a slightly sly smile on her lips “Or rather, I’d never heard her name before today but now I’m starting to piece things together” she had little interest in prying into Atticus and Cecilia’s relationship if she was honest, that wasn’t her place, but finding out more about what their bond meant was definitely her business.

She nodded as he explained the relationship between them and she could tell that Gideon had seen them together personally in the past, though it seemed he hadn’t known what a guardian was nor that Atticus was one. She wasn’t all that surprised, from what she had managed to learn about her predecessor she was pretty sure Emilia had sided on the tactic of keeping quiet to keep safe, which was the smartest move she could have made at the time “So strange that in everything Emilia left to guide me she left out this particular detail” she commented as she pressed her hand against her temple, was there a reason or was it just an innocent omission, she had no idea.

She took in everything new he told her with a thoughtful nod of her head, processing all of what he was trying to convey piece by piece and pointing things out when she felt it necessary. When he spoke about a celestial being able to take out a valkyr with ease she nodded a little, she knew that, celestial energy was considered a lethal substance to valkyr and she suspected it was one of the reasons the valkyr were keen to ally with the celestials “So when you say affection you mean that it can be a sense of kinship too right?” she clarified with an arch of her brow, no doubts one that came from love might run deeper but love wasn’t the kind of thing you could control.

She had to admit the idea of sharing blood made her a little wary though she allows him to continue with his explanation without interrupting, Phe wasn’t stupid enough not to know all the power and magic that was linked to blood, not to mention the fact that a valkyr needed blood to stay alive, even if it was in small quantities. She was a little surprised when he used the two of them as an example her eyes widening for just a second before the serene look came back over her expression. When he warned her it wasn’t to be taken she nodded, also leaning back in her chair as she had been slowly moving closer and closer to the edge of her seat as he spoke.

“I’m not stupid enough to doubt that with power comes a certain level of danger” she commented as she pressed her lips together “But I cannot deny that letting my people pair with someone who might have the ability to protect them or at least alert others to danger they’re in is pretty significant” she commented summarizing what she had gathered from the words he spoke. “But I can’t ask them to rely on word alone nor from another celestial who appeared back from the dead, it’s not exactly a secret that my people don’t trust easily” she pursed her lips a little.

“Which means if I wanted to show them this is an option I would have to take the risk myself first” she nodded a little as her dark hues flickered over to his at her suggestion, she was testing the waters really because she still couldn’t answer the question of why he wouldn’t have brought it up or didn’t have one for himself if he didn’t have some kind of reason.

A small smirk spread across his face, the mention of the cloud and all the different methods of storing digital information was a quagmire of confusing tidbits that had yet to reconcile themselves within his mind. All the varied programs and websites and sources that were now out there twisted and turned into a complicated web, in which the spider was ignorance itself. The best way to handle modern technology, the Valkyr had found was to avoid it when necessary and ease in when the situation warranted it. Thankfully he had some much younger members, like Hector, that had been born into the information age and were patient enough to teach him. The male thought he had a solid grasp on what the cloud was, but he much preferred being in control of the physical copies, therefore, most of what he had was stored on a jump drive. One that was safely locked away to protect both it and his faction.

Gideon nodded at her polite and understandable denial of his offer, the impression he had was her visit was for an important reason and she was focused on that. Listening to her confirm that very point they moved to the subject at hand, the possible bond that could be formed between their two peoples. True to form Ophelia absorbed everything he said, no doubt weighing every word and consequence in that rather sharp mind of hers. Shrugging at the mention of her predecessor he rubbed his palms on his thighs, “I can’t even begin to speculate if only to say that it might be because she didn’t know. There weren’t many relationships between Valkyr and Celestials before and very long after Atticus and Cecilia.” As a rule, many of his species had kept their distance from the fallen stars, as most didn’t care for the feeling of being in the presence of their pure light.

“Celia has always garnered a reputation for being a silver-tongued vixen however she values her privacy and has always gone to great lengths to maintain it. It doesn’t surprise me that the Volakiri bond is little known on your end.” Celia would have insisted on Atticus keeping quiet about the entire thing and she already knew that he would maintain his discretion. Up until recently, there had been no reason to delve into the particular slice of Valkyr biology and lore. Grinning at her question he nodded his head, “Any of the sorts of affection, eros and philia, can constitute a connection for the Volakiri to take root.” knowing where that question stemmed from and her obvious flash of surprise as he used the pair of them as an example told him her mind had strayed there just as his had.

Her reasoning was sound, her motivations pure, and yet when she proposed entering into the bond herself in order to lead by example the Ancient had to school his features to keep from giving away his feelings. The thought of Ophelia bonding with anyone didn't sit well with him, for reasons unknown he knew that his darker nature would feel jealousy on some level. ‘Anyone that isn't you, you mean,’ a small voice in the back of his mind whispered. Pressing his lips together he slowly stood and began pacing slowly around the room. His thoughts were too turbulent to allow for stationary conversation and they were now discussing the fate and security of their combined factions.

“Your rationalization makes sense and I admit with bonded pairs out alliance would be strengthened considerably. Whatever is brewing, and we agree there is no doubt something is happening, would be better met and weather under a united front.” Rumors were circulating and circumstances were arising that the ambassadors couldn't account for and the dark creature felt the stirrings of evil in the air. “However you are speaking of a lifetime, or longer, commitment to one of my own. A link to a dark creature that will never be severed. I'm not even sure death can fully break a Volakiri bond. And who would you propose as your candidate?”

Ophelia nodded a little when he suggested that Emilia might not have known about the Volakiri bond, it was possible sure, but the bond between a guardian and a Wayfinder, she had already found to be quite intrusive, it was the reason that she and Atticus had to be entirely honest with one another even when they might not necessarily want to be. “It’s possible but I find it highly unlikely” she admitted with a gentle shrug of her shoulders. Emilia had been very smart and resourceful, Ophelia knew that much “No point dwelling on things that didn’t happen though or we really could be here for eternity” she laughed a little, getting into what-ifs was a dangerous rabbit hole.

Looking up at him she nodded a little, though her brow furrowed, it was strange to her that something so significant might be so easy to hide but she could understand that it would be rare. Just sitting here in this office she felt so much weaker than she normally did, like energy was being sucked out of her, if it wasn’t for the fact she trusted Gideon and therefore by extension his people, she wouldn’t dare come near this place because it placed her instantly on uneven ground “I can understand why it might be rare, there’s no denying the...repelling effect we have on one another” it made them strange allies that was for sure. She couldn’t help the little laugh that escaped her lips at the irony of him using the word ‘philia’ to describe friendship because it sounded like her name but she quickly quietened “Okay” she spoke softly as she took in what he said.

She was watching him throughout the whole thing, she wasn’t the best reader of people in the entire world but she had learned her fair share of things throughout her many years spent in paranoia. The reason she had agreed to an alliance with Gideon in the first place was because of the open way that he talked about things and how he didn’t seem to cover or sugar coat things, she could appreciate someone who was upfront and she had always tried to return him the favor. But as they were talking about the possibility of the bond she did notice a slightly uncomfortable demeanor come across him with made her furrow her brow a little as she watched him pace around the room.

She was half expecting him to completely refute the whole idea because of the way he talked about the subject but she gave him the chance to get across what he wanted to say, while he was pacing she just remained where she was, one leg crossed over the other and sitting relatively comfortably in the seat, though she did pick at her dress a little while they talked “We have been allies for two years now, for me personally I would say that is has gone pretty well” she admitted with a nod of her head, they kept one another updated whenever they could and while there had been no need to make a stand, she had no doubts on the valkyr’s support if it came down to it.

When he warned her again about the seriousness of the bond she nodded “I wouldn’t have brought this to you today if I hadn’t already thought long and hard about whether I could handle it” she had been told a lot of this stuff by Atticus already but she wanted to hear it directly from Gideon too “I’m not afraid to put my foot forward for this” she assured him though she did go quiet when he asked her who she would propose as her candidate and her eyes averted for a moment towards the ground. “Well it’s not exactly a secret that I am short on friends” she admitted “I suppose what I’ve been trying to do today is figure out why if you knew about the bond all this time, you wouldn’t have one yourself” which was her indirect way of telling him she had thought about the possibility of them leading the front as the two ambassadors and natural born leaders of their factions.

Gideon had caught many looks of censure and surprise when he had announced his alliance with Ophelia, joining their two species together had been a calculated and carefully thought out move on his part. In the presence of her light he could feel the shadows within him receding, shrinking away in a way that made him feel vulnerable and weak. It was the very disconcerting and uncomfortable feeling for a Valkyr, from the moment of rebirth into this life the shadows and darkness become as much apart of you as the heart that steadily beat inside his chest or the lungs that filtered the air. Even more interesting perhaps was the knowledge that the Wayfinder had just as willingly entered into the accord and most likely felt the same. For reasons the two Ambassadors were keeping between the pair of them, the arrangement worked and for all intents and purposes they made a very good team.

Together they had attended a few Ambassador’s meetings, arriving side by side and on most issues were of one mind. It had amused the Valkyrie on more than one occasion to see the 9 other faction leaders scrambling to be heard, the so called other partnerships barely in evidence in comparison to his and Ophelia’s. It was common knowledge that there were other relationships going on among the Ambassador’s but none seemed to be as tightly cemented as the Valkyr and Celestial’s. Then again not many of them had lived as long as the pair of them, collecting knowledge and wisdom that made them such good leaders and an excellent pairing. In that vein he agreed with her assessment of their relationship, “It has indeed. I must say I didn’t think this alliance would be as seamless or comfortable as it has become.”

The Shadow admitted that like he did everything else, with complete honesty. He had sought the alliance between their species out of careful thought and necessity, along with an honor bound belief that the Wayfinder and her fallen stars needed someone in their corner. It had come as something of a pleasure to get to know Ophelia both as a person and as a leader, and in doing so his respect and fondness of of the female had grown exponentially. They had been spending so much time in one another’s company that Gideon considered her a close friend, so he knew her next question before she even posed it.

Pressing his lips together the Valkyr strolled around to the couch, this time sitting next to her. “I’m extremely careful with who I grow close to and even more careful when entering into things that would bind another’s life to mine. It’s much the same reasoning as to why I have not found a mate yet either.” Each word was spoken carefully as his dark hazel eyes rose to meet her own, thinking about the best way to make her understand his reluctance. “You must understand the circumstances that led to my second life. I loved a pair of twins, both were equally unique and wonderful and if I had to choose which one I loved more I wouldn’t be able to quantify and reasonably answer. They fought; no amount of reasoning and shouting and begging would make them stop and in the end my life and the lives of many others were taken.”

His gaze became far away, as his mind called up the memories that had changed his personality going forward into this new life. “I cared for the pair of them, bonded to them mind, body, and soul and in the end it meant nothing. They discarded me and left my body behind, the bodies of dozens of innocents left to rot or be torn apart with not a second thought.” The betrayal he felt, still felt for the actions of what he had once considered his dearest friends, left a bitter taste in his mouth. Blinking he sighed, looking down at his hands before he pressed on, “They had only been friends and they deserted me. The Volakiri bond much like that of a mate would be even deeper and more permanent. I have seen first hand the devastation that occurs when a Valkyr loses either and it is not pretty.”

At long last he looked back up a Ophelia and offered a sad smile, “Nor would I wish that on even my worst enemy.” Gideon hoped he had gotten something of his point across, he wasn’t opposed to the bonding but up until now hadn’t even considered the possibility as no one had presented themselves worthy enough to take the risk. Reaching out he took her hand, “Were I to embark on such a bond, you would be my one and only choice.”

Choosing this alliance hadn’t exactly been something she’d expected, if you were to pick out species that had a lot in common then you would never put celestials and valkyr in the same bucket, one came from the pure light of the skies and the other came from shadows and death itself. Both were strong, but around one another they were weak. And yet what Ophelia had found in Gideon was more than just someone who wanted to help. And he had been that when she first came to Evermore her people were alone and she didn’t have a leg to stand. Through this alliance, she had gained a voice and Gideon had helped to make the other ambassadors listen to what she had to say.

More than that though, with all the meetings and the blanket honesty that the two of them kept around one another, she had gained a confidant, a friend, who she could rely on. She kept the valkyr ambassador updated with what happened to her faction and he returned the favor. She had even kept him informed of any developments with the Ailward faction, even ones she may have wanted to keep to herself. There was a certain level of openness she had with him which she didn’t have with anyone else but Mikael. And yet the two of them were as platonic as platonic came, she’d never thought any different.

“It’s strange how two species with so little in common can find this bubble of understanding” though for Ophelia it was more about the person leading the faction than it had been about the valkyrs themselves, though she had met a few of the longer standing members and thought them all to be good people too. “But I think we both know it was your determination and willingness to take a chance on us that really made this work” it was hard to gain Phe’s trust and yet Gideon had done it. She believed in him and his faction because of the person he was. In that respect, sharing a part of his mind felt completely fine to her.

Her dark hues followed him as he circled around to where she was sitting and then took the spot next to her, she naturally shifted the way she was sitting so she was able to face him as he talked, she found watching people’s body language and the way they expressed themselves often said a lot more than the words they spoke and so she liked to see it for herself. Gideon was always very clever with his words, he was thoughtful and took his time to decide how he wanted to say something, he was eloquent in that way. She had never asked him to talk about how he became what he was, though the myths and legends were out there of course. She sucked in a breath as she let him speak and tried to take in what he was trying to explain to her.

She could see the way he stared off into the distance as he got caught up in the memories of what had happened, so the legends were true, two diviner twins who fought until they massacred a lot of people “I can understand not wanting to trust people, you must remember that the man that I first loved and trusted allowed my people to be locked up for a century” she’d told him before about her relationship with Venetus. Ophelia didn’t trust easy, she still had her doubts even when people proved themselves because she had been so sure back then and had been betrayed in the very worst way. She understood him fully and yet she still sensed there was more to the story than just a no.

She got his point loud and clear though, choosing to go ahead with this wouldn’t be a trivial thing and could lead to a lot of pain. But it wouldn’t be the first time she put herself at risk of pain in the name of what her people needed and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Feeling his hand against hers she sucked in a long breath as she listened to his words “Good” she responded with a slight nod of her head “Because I was going to tell you there wouldn’t be anyone else I trust enough to take the leap with” there was a certain vulnerability in her eyes, she was scared, not because she doubted in him specifically but because she doubted her own decisions. She pressed her lips together “What are the actual logistics?” she asked curiously, clearly it wasn’t just about deciding you wanted to.

Smiling the Valkyr considered his ally and close friend, her words drawing out a small chuckle as he thought about the contrast between their species. “If you think about it our alliance makes perfect sense. Where there is light there must be shadow and where there is shadow there must be light. One cannot exist without the other.” He had considered that very thought when he had first learned about the existence of her species however an alliance hadn't been necessary while he had been traveling. Both himself and the majority of his species scattered across the globe, upholding the ideals and cred that he had put in place from the beginning. Shaking his head at her words he gave her an indulgent look, “We made this work. My determination mixed with your tenacity and strength forged this alliance sealing us together as surely as fire and pressure combined to create diamonds. Even under pressure we become ever stronger and damned near indestructible.” He laughed at himself, waving a hand through the air as if to dismiss his words, “But I digress with my waxing poetic.”

Now seated beside her, having spilled more about his past than he perhaps intended the Valkyrie felt exposed. They had given one another a brief overview of their pasts, enough to be able to understand where they had come from but details had been glossed over. Over the course of their two-year alliance, however, as their friendship had grown little details were given here and there that filled in the gaps. Nodding his sandy blonde head he acknowledged knowing about her former lover and the betrayal he had visited upon her and her people. The male had met Venetus Ailward previous to the Celestials being set free and he had seemed standoffish but respectful by all accounts. After learning of the Ambassador’s sins with regards to the Fallen Stars, however, Gideon’s opinions of the male had fallen drastically.

The Volakiri bond was to be taken with a certain amount of respect and gravity, understanding the permanence and the slight altering of one’s life that would ensue. The more they delved into the subject the more the Valkyr came to realize that his friend had taken a good amount of time to consider all the angles as well as researched the issue quite extensively. They were both treading into new territory, opening themselves up to a state of vulnerability that was slightly uncomfortable and yet liberating. His smile grew at her question of logistics, laughing with a sigh as he proceeding to explain, “It’s quite simple really. When both individuals acknowledge the bond that exists and make the conscious decision to undergo the bond they exchange blood. Enough from each to constitute a true exchange, ingesting one from the other.” It sounded simple yet the ramifications were quite substantial.

“I will say that the blood exchange cannot be taken from a cup or vessel, the blood exchange must be taken from the body directly.” His expression as he imparted the information was apologetic and conciliatory, knowing full well that a person not apart of his species might find the thought of consuming blood less than desirable. There were even some Valkyr themselves who found their unique dietary needs vexatious, even he himself found it to be tedious at certain moments. It had to be said however for if they were to bond, then future blood exchanges would be possible as well but that was for another conversation.

“You’re right and while we do make one another weaker, if we work together then there’s nothing to fear right?” she definitely felt more comfortable around Gideon and his people now than she did when she first came to Evermore and was wary and somewhat afraid of everyone around her. Gideon had definitely earned his trust over the past couple of years, so much so that he was now one of her top confidants behind her longest friends from her faction. She smiled when he agreed to compromise that both of them had made the alliance work, he was right of course, they had agreed to work together from the get go and neither of them had strayed from that path. Ophelia was extremely loyal to those who had her friendship and trust, to the point where she tended to put their happiness and wellbeing before her own. Gideon did have a way with words, she noticed, he always made things sound more beautiful than they probably were “But you’re right, we are definitely a force to be reckoned with” this alliance had given her people confidence that they needed and for that she was truly grateful for it.

Knowing more about Gideon’s past was interesting to her, she’d always been able to tell it wasn’t a happy one, the smiles he had at times showed the pain behind them, she’d never really commented on it because she knew how much she hated talking about the worst things that had happened in her own life and she didn’t want to be the one to make anyone talk about their own version of that. It made sense why he was so picky about who he let in now though, he was afraid of people turning on him, and rightfully so it seemed. Ophelia wasn’t that kind of person, she would only ever given up on someone after they’d broken her trust, she was quite relentless on protecting those she cared for, so much so that she had quite literally made a deal with the devil. She had been honest with him about most of her past because it was closely linked to her standing in the city and where she stood with the Ailward faction, things he needed to know when he entered this alliance.

Ophelia had looked up everything she could about the Volakiri bond and quizzed a lot out of Atticus about it, she wasn’t the kind of person to jump into things head first, she was usually very specific about finding out the details and knowing everything about what she was agreeing to, that had only escalated since the fall of Skye where she had been sorely mistaken about the deal she was making. This time she was pretty certain she knew what she was getting herself into and yet she still found herself here. More than anything her main worry was whether it would damage the relationship she had with the valkyr ambassador if she asked for this and he didn’t want it for himself but he had quickly pushed those fears aside for her. When he said blood though, her eyes widened a little and her face paled “I feared as much” she commented with a half nod of her head, it was always blood, blood was so powerful in the supernatural so she wasn’t sure why she had been expecting any different. 

She took a shaky breath as he confirmed the blood had to be exchanged directly too and she pursed her lips slightly “I won’t lie to you and tell you the idea of that doesn’t scare me a little” she admitted as she met his dark gaze, not because she was scared of drinking blood, she imagined it tasted awful but she could stomach it for the sake of the exchange but because the last time she had given someone her blood they had turned it into a massacre. “Blood is a” she swallowed a little “powerful thing” but he didn’t seem to be shying away from this despite the fact he would have known already. “Still I trust you” she stated with a slight nod of her head “And it isn’t like me to trust anyone at all, especially after…” she didn’t want to say it again and she was sure he knew what she meant “I want to go through with this” she admitted honestly, not sure how he would respond to her saying it directly.

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