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The Brunette couldn’t help but feel slightly nervous. It wasn’t often that Artemitra felt nervous. She didn’t have a reason to. Being at the Celestial castle, with her people-whom were like family. They were safe, living the life they wanted before. Yet, the prospect of training made her nervous. Artemis couldn’t recall the last time, she had used her Celestial energy; not to it’s full potential anyways. It would be a lie, if she said she felt confident. It was quiet, the opposite. She felt out of touch with her own energy and talents. And for a Star, it was quiet sad thought really. As Drunk, as she may have been when she agreed to accept O’s training classes. Artemis knew she also needed them. So, she wasn’t sure why she was feeling nervous.
Phe, was one of her longest friends and leader. Artemis trusted her. And knowing, how much Phe was helping the younger one’s, come into their own light and abilities. Surely, it’d be no problem in helping her get back in touch with her own. The elder Celestial tried to remember the encouraging words of Hanseol. If he could do it, so could she. Whilst, the Elder was used to giving advice to the younger Celestials. It felt kind of nice and heart-warming, that one of the younger one’s was the one giving her advice and had encouraged her to go for it. Who knows, maybe it might go a lot more smoother than she knew. Telling herself, not to worry too much. If she worried, stress wouldn’t help her project her energy. Hopefully, she had nothing to worry about. And she was just over-thinking for no reason.
As she stood in her room; looking at herself in the mirror; wearing a tank top with some leggings. It seemed decent enough for a training session. At least, it was comfortable and seemed easy around to move in. Artemis didn’t want to be too constricted in her clothing, if she was wearing anything tighter. “It’s time to embrace, that shine once more Artemitra Bluemoon.” The Celestial told herself, as she pulled her hair up into a tight ponytail. After slipping on her shoes. Artemis made her way out of her room and towards the training room in the castle.
It seemed like she was a little early, as Ophelia wasn’t there yet. So the Brunette decided to to try and warm up a little bit; whilst waiting for her. Trying to see if she could summon a little of her energy. But the Celestial’s energy was a small flicker. A little glimmer, before it faded away. Artemis sighed slightly. “Okay, maybe this might be a little harder than I thought.” she muttered to herself. If something was blocking her, she hoped that Ophelia would help her figure it out. Spending 100 years locked away in steel cages, and then few years scared to use her energy; no wonder her energy was mere of a flicker right now. It had been suppressed for so long.
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Getting a training room installed into the castle was probably one of the best decisions Ophelia had ever made, she thought as she stood in front of the mirror in her room brushing her hair to pull up into a high ponytail. The Wayfinder still felt strange every time she looked back at her reflection when she was wearing modern clothes. They looked nice and fitted her well but they still didn't feel like her, she felt a little bit of a stranger. What she didn't feel like a stranger with though, was her celestial energy, something she had never let go of since the moment she had learned to use it.
She had been working with the younger celestials or anyone who would take her up on the offer really, to get them tapping into their abilities again and accepting who they were, it was a difficult process considering how closely linked their light was to the reasons they were captured and locked away, why a lot of the older celestials had been chased down to the ends of the earth for the majority of their lives. Thankfully, the training room worked well for them, with the reflective walls which surrounded it, once the door was closed, none of them needed to fear for someone on the outside seeing their light, they were free to glow and express their strengths without fear of being watched or hunted.
She’s worked to get a lot them doing basic stuff, enough that they could defend themselves and also control their glow and hide it when they needed to, an essential lesson in control which could be lifesaving for them. Some had stayed on for more advanced training, others hadn’t, Ophelia preferred to use her energy to its full potential so she had always kept up her training and made sure to remain disciplined with her light manipulation. By now, she had invented loads of different ways to use it, some more fun than others but she felt completely in her element whenever she used it.
She did some stretches as she made her way towards the training room, she agreed to a one to one training session with Artemis because honestly, she had no idea where the other woman was at when it came to her energy and she wanted her to feel confident to express herself without having to set an example for another else. Stepping into the room she smiled to A and gave a small wave as she closed the door behind her. The mirrors shined all around them reflecting the lights in the roof brightly “Alright break it to me” she spoke as she dropped down to the floor and started stretching her toes a little “Just how rusty is rusty?” she asked with an easy look on her face which she hoped would tell the other woman she wasn’t here to judge, just wanted to know where to start when it came to training.
The training room was quiet spacious. It could fit a small group of people in here; if they were training in groups. But honestly, it was a relief that this wasn’t a group training session. As that would probably make Artemis feel like a nervous wreck; to be up and in front of their colony, showing just how out of touch she and her energy seemed to be. As much as Artemis had liked everyone in their group, older and younger Celestials. Artemis had always been quiet easy-going, very social with most people; she met in life. Unless she didn’t trust someone and was weary of them at first; then she wasn’t so open to friendship. But she didn’t want to face that sort of embarrassment, in front of others of her kind. Even if some would be in the same boat as her; maybe. It was better, that she and Ophelia would train alone. Before, she’d attend other sessions or even group one’s.
Back to the times, when Artemis was still using her energy; there were times when she was able to come up with quite a few advanced things herself. But she was nowhere near enough talented and skilled like Ophelia. The Wayfinder was the most powerful one of them all. And Artemis always admired her strength and her abilities. Ophelia wasn’t afraid to truly embrace what she was. In some ways, Artemis missed that. Missed, the years, decades, centuries she had embraced what she was. Even if she was never that good at hiding her glow; which is one of the reasons for so many sticky situations she got mixed up in;herself. The glow, always been a give-away to what she was.
They were in a city full of Supernaturals. And with whatever was going on; everyone had to be able to defend themselves one way or another. And some species, seemed to be more free/embracing what they were, than others. So why shouldn’t the Celestial’s either? Artemis didn’t want to be a sitting duck. Nor, did she want to keep hiding and scared to use her abilities for the fear that history would repeat itself. At least, she’d be prepared if someone tried to capture her, or hurt her.
Hearing Ophelia enter the training room. Artemis gave her a soft smile and a wave back. Seeing the expression on the Wayfinders face. It relaxed her a little it. “Rusty, as a nail.” Or however, the expression goes. “Honestly, I don’t think I even properly used my energy..since we got set free.” Artemis came to that conclusion. And if she had tried, it was the same small flicker; she previously could muster before Ophelia walked into the training room. “And the times, my energy comes out...well it’s just a small...flicker.” That seemed to be the way to describe it. Artemitra wasn’t of the official term, on how to call that little energy...so a flicker seemed to be the best option.
“Do you think, I just been suppressed too long?” Artemis asked with a sigh. Obviously something was holding her back. And 100 years of captivity was probably a part of it. But maybe there was something else as well. Something, she would need to get past, in order to relax and learn how to tap into her Celestial Energy again.
Ophelia totally got everyone’s reservations, there had been a time in her life where even she was hesitant to use her abilities and would prefer hand-to-hand combat, she got it, you use your abilities, you expose yourself. It was a very hard pill to swallow, but so was the existence of a celestial as a whole, they were a prey species, they spent their lives on the run because of what they were. There had to come a point in their lives where they started pushing back though, refuted the idea that they had to live their lives afraid forever. Humans were prey species too, they were weak to nearly every supernatural ability but Ophelia had seen the way humans rose up in this city and if they could do it, so could her colony.
That’s why she was always trying to figure out the best ways to use celestial energy, how to be powerful, how to use it for defensive rather than offensive reasons. How to dull her glow when she needed to so that no one could ever take her energy from her without her willingness to give it. She had been foolish enough to let celestial energy fall into the wrong hands once, she didn’t intend on that happening again. A lot of the celestials stopped using their energy after they were captured, some never learned how to control it but as a whole, people seemed to tend on not wanting to use it anymore. Or perhaps, not feeling like they could.
The Wayfinder listened to Artemis speak as she considered training plan options, she had been through this with a lot of celestials and she found every approach seemed to be different, different stars found different things to matter. That was the nature of people after all. Ophelia was relieved when she said there was a small flicker of her energy around. That told the Wayfinder a lot, at the very least, she could make light, that was a good start. “Well a flicker is better than no light at all” she assured and rolled her shoulders back.
Ophelia pressed his lips together at her question and shrugged a little “I don’t think so, I’ve had some of the younger stars never touch energy in their lives and still manage to show me something” she nodded, some only wanted to do a little though which she got, she tried to work at whatever pace they were comfortable “As you know, energy generation is very linked to strong emotions so” she leaned forward and pressed a finger against Artemis’ temple “First we gotta figure out what’s going on in here” she nodded slightly running a hand through her raven colored hair.
“I know it’s not a topic that most of you want to talk about but I find expressing your feelings about those 100 years is a good start, she leaned back and gave her an assuring look “Don’t worry, I can handle whatever it is you have to say” she’d heard a lot of accounts of it in these training sessions, some were angry, some were confused, others were scared. All emotions that could lead to energy becoming unstable and causing what Artemis called a flicker.
Artemis sat down on the ground herself. Waiting for Ophelia’s judgement of the situation. Afterall, she was the one training their people. She probably knew a lot more, about how everyone was doing with their energy and coping with everything. But Ophelia was right, it was better than nothing. Even if her energy was just a flicker. “I suppose, you’re right. Could be worse.” she sighed. God knows, how she would tap into her energy again, if she lost her energy all together.
Listening to the Wayfinder, Artemis was expecting that to come up sooner or later. Emotions. The 100 years of imprisonment. A deep sigh escaping her, as Phe pressed a finger to her temple. “I don’t think, you’d want to be in my head.” she said honestly. A lot of the time, it felt like a complicated puzzle. Even sometimes, her own emotions confusing her. The Celestial went through a lot of emotions and no doubt, thoughts. Like the rest of them. “I don’t even, want to be in my own head sometimes.” The brunette muttered.
What would Phe even think of her, if she admits to some darker thoughts? Even if she was listening as a Wayfinder, her leader. Phe had always been there as a friend. So it was hard to tell, which one she was talking to. As for Artemis personally, it felt like she was mainly talking to a dear friend/sister figure even if that sister-figure was her leader. As O reassured her, she could handle it. Artemis hoped that statement would still stay true. Even if Artemis seemed to remain strong and happy, to others. Inside, was a different matter altogether.
“I am not even sure, where to start.” Artemis rubbed her temple,to try and sort out her thoughts. “I think, like the rest of us. I felt betrayed and utterly confused. Things just seemed fine, and then one day...they just turned against us, like we done something horrible. I was so full of questions, but they never gave any answers….no proper reasons, for what they were doing.” It was something, she never mentioned to anyone really. But the fact that the Aspect of Death, locked her up himself. It made her even more hurt and angry. Almost like he had been trying to make a point to his family, by locking her away himself. “I know, how you felt when Ven betrayed you, by locking us up. I know, it’s silly thing to say...but I do. Ery was the one, that locked my cage up personally...so I know, how deep those scars can run.” It was the only way, she knew how to compare, the two situations. Artemis barely talked about the Isle of Skye. Up until the other night and now. “Worst of all, you were gone. And no one knew if you were alive, or if they had done something to you.. We felt like sitting ducks. Unable to shine, from the cages that they had us trapped in.” Steel. God, how she hated Steel. Feeling like an animal chained up, in one of them. And for a long time, Artemis worried about Ophelia. Where she was, if she was alive. Not getting answers and worrying about everyone else, consumed a lot of her time.
“I was constantly, trying to think of reasons for what we could have done wrong. I mean...we never hurt anyone, whilst we were on the Isle. I thought, everyone was like a big family. Heck, I even respected Ven who was the hardest one to get along with. And all that felt torn away. What felt like home, felt like enemy territory all of a sudden..” Artemis was slowly feeling angry again, talking about the situation. Her jaw clenching slightly..”I even tried escaping, with a few...but that never worked to plan. We always ended up getting caught and punished, for being defiant.” So, over time. She had just given up completely. Learning, that she’d only get hurt more, if she kept trying to escape. “Some days, I felt like giving up. And you know me, I haven’t given up on anything... It felt like the longest 100 years of anyone’s life. I tried my best to look out for the young one’s...but there’s only so much you can do, being locked in a cell.” It was probably the most open, Artemis was being about the whole situation. As she didn’t speak of it much. Artemis felt like wanting to bury the past. Hide away from it. But she couldn’t.
“It’s just hard...knowing, they took 100 years away from everyone. For the elder one’s...for some, it doesn’t seem that significant. But the young ones...I felt most angry for them. Some, haven’t even properly lived...seen anything of the world. It’s not fair for them...not for anyone. And it wasn’t fair for you either O. You may have not been locked up, but you spent 100 years searching for a way to get us out of there. So, that’s 100 years of your life, gone too in a way.” They all certainly deserved better than that. Of all the things to endure, that was probably the hardest. Even if Phe spent those 100 years, doing something good to try and rescue them. It wasn’t really living, was it? Not in the Brunette’s mind at least. As O, never got any rest, mentally.
Artemis tried to keep herself together. But the emotion shining in her eyes. As she held back some tears, both from sadness and anger. The anger wasn’t aimed towards Phe. But just the situation that happened then.
“I know, you always thought I am the most reasonable one. But...I am not...or at least, I don’t think so myself.” Artemis admitted, with a guilty look on her face. “For, a while. I had dark thoughts, about wanting revenge myself. I don’t think, I’ve known such resentment and anger in my life...it didn’t feel like me...yet those emotions still felt like a part of me, since we escaped.” Artemis was now staring down at her lap, in shame. But surely, everyone done or said things they didn’t mean, in the past. She was probably no exception. “Sometimes, those thoughts keep coming back. But I know, it wouldn’t make things better. It’d cause more issues than it’d solve...and I don’t want to feel like that….” Sometimes, she wasn’t sure if those feelings would ever go away. Maybe not until she had closure of some sort. No matter, the strong face, she put in front of everyone else like Ophelia. Inside was a different story.
Artemis felt choked up slightly. But doing her best to keep herself together. She didn’t need to break down, right before training. Not to mention, she always disliked getting too emotional in front of everyone.
“I think, you know why most of us didn’t want to use our energy. It scares me, to think that someone could just snatch us up again. And how much would we lose this time, if that happens?” Artemis asked with a sigh. She didn’t want to say goodbye to another 100 years, or more. “I don’t want to be scared...but I don’t want to be a sitting duck, or keep hiding either.” It felt like some relief, to get it all off of her chest. And most likely, it summed up everything that was going on inside of her head. Artemis wasn’t sure, how to proud of what she was. When they were hunted down and vulnerable.
Ophelia didn’t delude herself into thinking everyone was okay with what happened with the Ailwards, in fact, if anything she assumed the opposite. How could anyone be okay with spending 100 years of their lives locked away? She knew for some the period itself was shorter but for those people, it was the entire life that they had lived so she understood. That’s why meeting everyone individually for these sessions was so important, not just because she wanted people to train but because she wanted to understand where they stood when it came to the Ailward faction and the decisions she knew she had to make sooner or later.
“Making any kind of light tells me it’s still there in you, we just need to straighten out whatever is holding you back” Phe assured with a slight nod of her head, she knew it was a lot to ask them to talk about this, nobody wanted to remember what was likely the worst moments of their entire life but keeping it bottled up or becoming obsessed with revenge wasn’t healthy either. “I don’t think any of us want to go there but it’s important that we do, we can’t move on if we never acknowledge where we stand” she nodded her head assuring Artemis she could take whatever she had to say. Frankly, she’d heard the story enough times now from so many different people that she was beginning to feel a little numb to it.
She would never think less of her people for feeling the way they did about what happened. It wasn’t a secret that she was furious about it too and had told the Ailwards that directly to their faces. She didn’t know if perhaps it was harder for Artemis though considering the two of them were very close and their emotions had an impact on one another. Still, Phe was her Wayfinder too, the one who was there to lead and guide her for as long as she decided to stay following her. She hoped to live up to that and be there for her friend in any way she could be.
Phe did her best to stay quiet as she listened to Artemis speak about the things she went through and how she felt about them. She could understand why it felt more personal considering the connection she had with the aspect of death. She’d spoken to Ery in person and he was one of the people who she felt held the most regret over what happened. Some she doubted their sincerity but not him, he truly regretted his actions. Phe hadn’t experienced being locked up on the Isle herself but she had a pretty vivid picture of what it was like now, after hearing the stories from the celestials one by one. What made her so much angrier was the fact that they were treated less than human when the Ailward could have just as easily given them some freedom and space on the Isle. If they’d explained their rationale then she was sure many of them would have stayed out of their own will for their own safety. ‘Too much of a risk’ Ven’s voice echoed in her head and made a twitch a little out of annoyance. She hated the way her people were treated “I really wish they had been honest with you all for their reasons, while it doesn’t justify what they did, at least you would have had a little peace” she pursed her lips, as much as you could get knowing you were a prisoner anyway.
And it had been especially hard for people who had spent time on the isle and gotten to know these people personally, the feeling of betrayal, it truly ran deep and made your blood boil knowing someone you trusted could do that. She knew that feeling well. It did hurt her when she heard how Artemis felt like she wanted to give up but she understood, there were times when Phe felt like it was hopeless too. When she met yet another dead end on her quest for trying to break the barrier or another attempt to find Skye failed. But finding them and bringing them home, it was the only thing she had to hold onto. The only thing she could think about “That’s the part that I find the hardest, knowing I can never give you all back the 100 years you lost” she nodded a little, it was a hard pill to swallow and it showed so much in the younger stars who were captured before they even got to live their lives. Artemis was right though, she did lose 100 years too, all her thoughts were ever captured by was finding them. Saving them. She knew they were alive and exactly where they were but she couldn’t get to them and that almost drove her insane.
She took a long breath as she saw the emotion welling in the brunette’s eyes and she gave her an encouraging smile to tell her that she was proud of her for getting this far and that she understood everything she had said. Hell, she shared in a lot of it too. And then came the talk about vengeance. She knew it was coming, all of them had a little of it, Ophelia included, her very first impulse when she saw Ven was to hit him after all. She was furious to the point that she felt like she would explode sometimes. “Don’t be ashamed for feeling that way A, it’s only natural to want to feel like payment is needed” she nodded “You lost something and it feels as though they got to take it from you and walk unscathed, you’re not the only one to feel that way” she nodded slightly. It was okay to feel angry and like the balance was unfair, Ophelia did.
The fact that she could acknowledge that she didn’t want to feel that way and that it wasn’t a good emotion to feel was all the Wayfinder needed to hear. Phe had been doing her best to push personal feelings aside in the name of what was best for her people. Taking on the Ailward would be suicide. Ophelia was playing this game smart. The alliance with the valkyr, the public way they came to Evermore, bartering with Aureus for her amulet. It was all for securing their safety. After a moment to take in everything she heard, Phe nodded her head a little “I think you’re scared to use your energy” she spoke softly. There was no shame in that, she’d seen many people experience it.
“Let me start by ensuring you that while I can’t guarantee no one will come after us again, this time we are going to be much more of a force to be reckoned with and they are not going to see us coming” she believed that, their alliance made them so much stronger, especially with the Volakiri bond. “Next, remember that this is a mirrored room, no one outside this castle is going to be able to see you, you are safe, you are free” she assured “Close your eyes and draw your emotions into one place, I’d advise you think of something that makes you feel safe, someplace or someone who makes you feel protected” the best way to combat fear was to negate it, after all, make it feel like there was nothing to be afraid of. The Wayfinder sat back and waited to see if they could bring forth at the very least a glow.
Artemis was one of the few that seemed to struggle, in sharing her past experiences with people. Especially the bad. Like the 100 years of imprisonment on the Isle. That’s why, she barely talked about it, or not many of her friends knew the full story, or at least how she felt about everything. Whether it was her Stubborn side coming out, trying to tell herself she could deal with it on her own. Or whether it was just simple, preferring to keep things bottled up. It wasn’t healthy, but some things she didn’t know how to deal with herself. So, until she figured it out. She kept it to herself. Partially, it also came with trust issues and nightmares, at night about the ordeal. Even if she tried to forget, memories of the Isle came back, haunting her just like everyone else. But always, sooner or later. Her friends witnessed her breaking down, as the emotions of everything got too much for her.
But here she was now, trying to keep herself from breaking down. As she was explaining everything to Ophelia. Even though Phe shared in a lot of the things, that happened to them. It was still...a little hard, on Artemis. Considering their close bond. The Celestial certainly didn’t want to lose that bond and friendship, if she admitted to something that would cause shame and potentially, make O think less of her. Fear, playing more tricks inside of her head.
“Has...it happened before? A star losing their light?” Artemis asked softly. At the current moment, she wasn’t sure if any of their current members have lost their light. And what would happen, if they did? Would that make them the odd one’s out, in their colony? An outsider, among their own people for not having their light anymore? That itself, seemed quite a complicated matter. Even though she had her light, it seemed to be buried deep inside; under the mess of emotions.
It was during times like this, that Artemis had to remind herself that Phe was there for her too. Not just for the other Celestials. It still made Ophelia her leader also, not just a friend. And she had to get that into her head, in order to come forth and say a lot of things. The two, have always been connected on a deep emotional level. What affected one,also affected the other. Her angry inside was also, for Ophelia’s. For what Ven done to Phe, not just the rest of them. And with her keeping a lot of things to herself, since coming to Evermore. It had been a lot weighing her down, that the Brunette was spilling out. “They made us feel like criminals...well, at least...I felt like that’s what they have done. As far as I know, none of us done anything wrong...yet they treated as such.” Artemis said with a frown. Maybe if they knew the reasons back then. Things would have been bit different. Some would have understood? Felt like they have a piece of mind. Or would it have made them angrier?
For a time, the Isle of Skye felt like paradise. To feel free, and to be accepted. And want to helped by others that were different just like them. Artemis and others, no doubt thought they were a tight knit group. When the betrayal happened, things felt more one sided. How could anyone betray someone, they thought of as friends/family? It was just wrong. “It’s them, I wish that could give me...give everyone those 100 years back. You didn’t take them Phe...they did.” Artemis voice cracked a little again, blinking back tears that welled up in her eyes. But, they couldn’t change the past. Not, Artemis anyway. She didn’t have that gift.
It gave Artemis some sort of reassurance, that Ophelia was listening and truly understanding. Who knows, how many different accounts of the situation she heard. Maybe some were even more angry and confused than she was. “Shouldn’t I..?” Artemis said softly. “I...If you thought of me in the wrong light...for having stupid...revenge filled thoughts...I…” Artemis couldn’t even say it. Ophelia and her friendship meant more to her, than she could put into words. But those thoughts were still swimming in her head every so often. “And as many stupid things I can sometime do...doing them out of anger isn’t my purpose. It’s never been that way….but...I can’t help but feel slightly tainted.” Artemis always liked to help people; no matter how stupid and dangerous a situation. But the Celestial had a purpose of doing good. That had always been her way. “It just feels...I lost touch, with my true self. Before, the capture...I felt free...like I could be myself. I might not have always hidden my glow well, in certain situations...but I was me.” She did what a Star did best. Following whatever good purpose she could in life. Now, she felt like she couldn’t be herself...or was scared of of embracing that nature again, due to the what if’s circling around inside of her own head.
Ophelia was right. Artemis was scared to use her energy. And given the situation they had been in. It felt normal. Fear done a lot of things to people. Their kind included. Including making them think irrational thoughts.Not to mention, the consequences of going up against an Ailward, if she would succeed. No one would know, what chaos it would cause. And as tempting as it sometimes was, to get her revenge for what was taken. She couldn’t go through with it. Artemis wasn’t evil. She didn’t have a death wish either. “I...I just don’t know how to shake it off.” It was debatable wether she meant the bad thoughts, or the fear. As both were a factor in her life lately.
Or was she just constantly overthinking things? Artemis had to stop and take a few deep breaths to calm herself down; whilst Ophelia done her best to reassure her that she was safe here. It often escaped her, that no one could see them using their abilities in this room. Good thing Ophelia was here to remind her, she had the room and space to be free.
Closing her eyes, Artemis tried to steady herself. Listening to Ophelia’s instructions. In all honesty, there seemed to be a few people that made her feel safe. Her mind wondering off to the first person, she usually thought of lately. She couldn’t help the way Phoenix had always made her feel. He seemed to keep her most grounded, like he was her shield. The Celestial pictured herself in his arms, where she felt at ease and safe. Slowly, a light shimmer of a glow began to form around her. At first it seemed a little weak and flickering, as the Celestial was still a little emotional from telling Phe everything. But the more Artemis focused on Phoenix, the stronger the glow seemed to get.
Phe raised her brows when Artemis asked her if it was a common occurrence for a star to lose their light and she nodded her head “It’s happened many times..” she bit her lip wondering if she should share her own experience considering how long it had taken her to recover but eventually she decided the truth was the best way to go about “I lost mine for a few years after the betrayal, I was so focused on my anger and rage at the Ailwards and what they had done that my light dimmed for a while” which had only added to her internalized frustrations “I got mine back and so will you, it just might take some time” she nodded slightly. She’d be there for her throughout, she didn’t have to do so alone.
“I guess in a way they thought we were” Ophelia explained with a slight shrug of her shoulders “Every time one of our kind dies, they feel like, much like their souls ripping apart as their elements follow the world to the new path” she pursed her lips a little “We wouldn’t remember the old timeline, to us it’s like things were always this way but they...feel every change that happens, every death, every war” she bit her tongue for a moment “Doesn’t give them the right to blame the victims rather than the assailants but” she shrugged, she could understand why it might be a difficult decision to make and why they felt the need to make the world forget that celestials existed. She hated that she had to explain this on their behalf if they were half the figureheads they made themselves out to be they would have had the guts to tell these people what they did to their faces.
Phe nodded, she knew they blamed the Ailward and not her for happened but the Wayfinder still couldn’t stop the guilt that always crept up on her, she had been the one that led them to Skye and told them they could trust these people and in the end, it was her word that was broken. She hadn’t known it would happen like this, of course, but it had been her leadership that led to this in the end and for that she was sorry. Seeing the tears in her friend’s eyes she gave her a sad smile reaching to place a hand on her shoulder. Phe was keeping her own emotions in check because this was about Artemis and helping her move forward, it wasn’t about her. “Well the important part is that we did make it out and now we focus and what comes next” she nodded her head, they couldn’t control the past, they could influence the future.
Ophelia knew it was like to feel so overwhelmed with emotions that you didn’t feel like yourself, she had struggled with her identity for a long time and she still didn’t know if she was fully the person she was supposed to be. She still doubted herself when it came to her capability as a leader and in making decisions that were for the best of her people. Sometimes her thoughts about wanting to make the Ailward pay for the decisions they made plagued on her but later she would be reminded of the fact that none of them would make it out of that fight alive. Playing it smartly was the angle she was going for but she refused to compromise her people's freedom in the name of it. They’d lost 100 years, she would never make them suffer any more of that “It’s okay to be led by emotions, stars are” she nodded her head “Our energy is so closely linked to emotions, get in touch with those, you’ll find your energy again” she nodded “And two years isn’t a lot of time to recover from 100 spent in pain A, it’s okay to admit you’re still struggling with it, as long as you work to improve that” she would be there to help them get through that. Whether it was helping them with training, lending a friendly ear or just giving advice.
She could also understand being afraid, she had been afraid most of her life, she was just better at hiding it than most were, she didn’t want to give the impression of weakness to anyone, especially not those who were looking up to her for strength. She was doing everything she could to be a good leader and example for them. “Well you don’t have to know the answers right now, let’s just take it one step at a time, try and find things which help you to create energy and then we’ll magnify” Artemis had already confirmed she could make celestial energy, all they needed to do was find how to enhance that.
She waited patiently as she watched Artemis follow her instructions her eyes studying the brunette as she searched through her mind. She pursed her lips as she saw the hint of light that surrounded the other female. Ophelia found protection was her go to, the feeling of being safe, it was the opposite of being afraid and so it worked to counter the block well. The glow was faint but the more concentrated Artemis’ expression got the bright the light became. “See I told you it was still there” she assured her with a soft smile. Leaning back slightly she hummed a little as she thought about what to try next “Do you think you can push it outwards or is the strength not there yet?” she asked calmly, fallen stars seemed to know when the power was enough to actually manipulate, it was different for everyone.
Artemis could see some slight hesitation across the Wayfinder’s face, as she heard her question. Listening, it seemed like it has happened before. Including to Ophelia, as she learned that fact a few moments after. But knowing, she wasn’t alone. And that it was possible to find your light again, if such a thing happened was a reassurance. It made her feel bit better, if something like that would happen to her. To have the support and guidance needed, to find it again. “I am sorry, that happened to you Phe. I am sure, you had enough things to deal with already.” Yet that own internal struggle had been added onto her list, back then.
The Brunette bit her bottom lip slightly, her brows creased as Ophelia explained a little of the story, as to why the Ailwards thought the way they did. Whilst the Celestial couldn’t imagine feeling every single thing, like they did. It still felt unfair, they were getting the punishment for it. “I wonder, if it was hard for them. They made it look entirely too easy.” Artemis breathed out. From her view, it just all happened so quick and so suddenly. Like none of them had any regrets for locking them up, in the first place. The Celestial couldn’t help but feel a little skeptical about how guilty they might have felt. She hadn’t met any of them in person yet. But to face them, she’d probably have to swallow a lot of anger and hate, towards them and think rationally. And it felt like it was too early to see any of them, after what happened. But she probably couldn’t avoid them for the rest of her existence. They all lived in the same city.
It might have been true, that Ophelia was the one that led their colony to the Isle of Skye. And said that the Ailwards could be trusted, that they would be safe and have the freedom they wanted on the Isle. But, it wasn’t her doing that the Ailwards turned against them. Ophelia didn’t know, that they’d break their word to them all the way they had done. So Artemis couldn’t blame Ophelia for that. Phe thought she was doing the best for their people, as always. But seemingly, they all had a part to play in all of this. Wether people were guilty or not. Feeling her hand on her shoulder. Artemis gave Phe a small smile, before wiping away some tears from eyes with the back of her hand. But she was right. The future was ahead of them. “You’re right. I guess, with recurring nightmares it’s bit hard...when you get reminders of it every so often.”
Wether Phe truly knew it or not. Artemis was more than grateful for Ophelia being the rescue; they had been waiting for 100 years. But with the short amount of time, they had truly been free from prison...it was still to early to fully heal; and not be plagued by night terrors of the past. It had been one of the reasons why the Celestial was always doing something with herbs, during the evenings. To try and keep herself calm, relaxed and to help her sleep. If she evaded few nights without nightmares, it was bliss. But then they came back with a vengeance every so often. Even if Ophelia had her doubts about being a good leader. Artemis saw otherwise. She saw an amazing friend, a leader that was wise and loving, that wanted the best for their people. “It depends, sometimes I feel like I am doing better...but other days...something reminds me of the past..and I feel all over the place.” Artemis wanted to get a handle on it though. It was one of the reasons, why she had accepted Phe’s help and training classes. To try and get past that fear. To slowly feel like herself again, once she’d get working with her energy again. But dealing with her emotions, it was still bit of an internal struggle and work in progress, that was for sure.
‘One step at a time’ That seemed do-able. And Hopefully, in these sessions Ophelia would help her figure out, exactly what helped her keep stable and project and manipulate her own energy for use. Happiness and Protection was always something that had worked in the past. If people got on the wrong side of her; Anger worked as well. But of course the effects were more volatile and unpredictable. And she didn’t want to be channelled by anger and hate. She already had enough, trying to deal with it and move past what happened on the Isle. It didn’t need to be her focus point. Nor did she want it to be.
The anchor of protection and thoughts of Phoenix, seemed to keep her calm and collected. It was enough of a reassurance that she was safe. That her light started to shine. Hearing Phe, a small smile was on her lips. Even though it was still there; it still felt like it was missing it’s usual strength. But it would return, eventually. “I can try...it still feels a little weak, than what I was always used to. But I might be able to push it out-wards.” she admitted. But Artemis was determined. She would try and work with her energy as it was now. She wasn’t one to give up.
The Brunette had always tried her best and hardest at anything, she ever done in life. This included. If you want to do something, do it right. Artemis remained focused on Phoenix, and all of the good things, that seemed to come with knowing the Russian Valkyr. Slowly trying to push the energy outwards. As first, it didn’t want to move for a few seconds. Staying still. Then it slowly started to move outwards...but falling back towards Artemis; not wanting to leave. The Celestial was taking deep breaths, trying to relax herself a little, in order to let it flow better. It took a few long moments, before the energy flowed out of her, in waves. Swimming around her; it took a few seconds for it to gain a proper image. “Ha...I did it.” The Celestial said with a smile, seeing the energy swimming around her, as if it was in water. It felt a relief, knowing Artemis still could do this. Even if it felt bit strained at first.
Phe shrugged, there was no point anyone being sorry, sorry didn’t bring her light back, years of working through her fears and focusing on her determination was what did that. She knew a little about working through your mind and just how directly it was all connected to celestial energy. Energy was so heavily linked to emotion that it was sometimes very hard to predict or control “In the end I worked through it and I came out stronger for it, perhaps in a twisted way it was something I needed” it allowed her to understand others who lost their light and guide them through it after all. It gave them hope of finding their own too.
Ophelia had conflicted mind when it came to what the Ailward did, there was nothing right about it of course, but if something had to be done, she struggled to find anything that guaranteed the safety of the world without doing that. As much as she wished she could in good faith say she knew a viable alternative option. But punishing an entire species because the world was greedy, that felt so against the ideas of equality and balance that the Ailward preached, it made them hypocrites and terrible examples in her eyes. Made them just as bad as every other group leader she’d ever met. “I have no idea” Ophelia responded with a shrug “They say it was but I never would have been able to do what they did so I’m not sure what their word means when they went through with it anyway” Ven had said himself he didn’t regret doing what he did to them much to her fury.
She nodded a little, she imagined it was hard for them, constantly being reminded of a time when they were trapped. She found some of them even seemed to fear the freedom they now had, despite being free to explore the city and do whatever they wanted, they’d stay in the castle, confined their rooms most of the time. Thankfully most seemed to be coming out of that shell, some of the celestials had even moved out of the castle to make homes of their own. “I know, you just have to keep telling yourself that you’re moving forward, we’ve been here in Evermore for 2 years now and I will fight with everything I have to keep this home for us” that much was a promise, she refused to make them live their lives on the run again.
Phe’s sole focus during those 100 years was finding a way to get onto Skye and it had been quite the search for her. Every diviner she spoke to had no idea how the crack the magic given to Venetus by the Gods. No one had a way to even find the damn thing, let alone weaken it enough to let someone in. It really had been the perfect defense mechanism and also the perfect trap for her people. When she’d first brought her people there it had seemed like a haven, a place where they finally got to live their lives in peace. Given that their kind spent their entire existence on the run, it was the first time they’d been able to breathe properly. The first time she’d been able to breathe properly. “We have our good days and bad days, you think there aren’t days I just wanna march straight up to the manor and punch Venetus in the face so he knows what pain feels like?” but she knew that wasn’t going to solve anything in the end so she refrained. “You don’t have to be perfect or handle this perfectly A, no one expects that of you” it had only been 2 years, it was going to take at least half the time they spent locked away to fully recover.
The Wayfinder was proud to see the shimmering light which surrounded the brunette, the one which affirmed further that she hadn’t lost her shine at all. Ophelia was yet to meet a star who had ever actually lost their light, it dimmed if you didn’t embrace it, she supposed it was the same as anything, getting out of practice made you weaker. But it was always there in the wings, waiting to come out again. “The only way you’ll know is if you try” she assured, if the light fizzled out and dimmed they could just keep trying until the strength was there, even if it took several sessions to do so.
The fun thing about celestial energy was that while only a celestial could create it, any celestial could control it, even if it was generated by someone else. She could see how focused Artemis was on the thoughts inside of her head and she saw it pay off as the energy surrounded her, lapping in and out closer and further to her like it was waves rolling over the shore of a beach. Artemis’ energy was less golden than Ophelia’s was, a more shimmering blue that reflected beautifully in the mirrors which surrounded them. Ophelia reached out her hand to touch against the wave seeming energy and it moved around her like water would and she smiled “It’s amazing how energy takes after the mind of its owner” she mused and she lifted some and shifted it into a ball which she tossed between each of her hands “I knew you had it in you” she spoke softly as she tossed the ball at Artemis which absorbed into her like it was splashing as a water bomb in her face. Phe giggled softly at it.
“How are you feeling stamina wise?” she asked with raised brows, she knew it could be pretty taxing to generate so she wanted to check how things stood before they moved forward.
A lot of events that had happened; neither of them could change. But if they could get through the bad times and come out stronger from it; then it was something. And it would certainly be a progress for Artemitra too, if she recovered from the last 100 years, feeling stronger than as weak, as she sometimes felt in the last few years. “You’ve always been strong Phe. I always admired your strength and courage.” she told her honestly, giving her a warm smile.
It felt, like it was so hard to figure out the Ailwards and what they now stood for. Especially, given what they had done to the Celestials. They made out, that they been wanting to help other species, protect them, give them a home. But from the looks of how things had turned out; it was just a string of lies all in the end. And going against what they seemingly believed. It seemed like All Celestials agreed on that point. “I don’t think, I’d be able to do it either. If they had to do something, couldn’t they have found a more….reasonable option?” If only there was even an alternative that wouldn’t have ended up meaning, them being locked in cages for 100 years.
The Brunette nodded her head. “I know, I don’t want to be stuck in the past if anything.” The Celestial knew that lingering on past events and being stuck like that, wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t doing good for her. It had taken her a while, to even want to leave the Castle and go explore the city. But now, that she had the courage to do that. Moving on towards a brighter future seemed like something wonderful to look forward to. She just needed to take baby steps; in some aspects when it came to dealing with her emotions and feelings about what happened/the people involved. But how long it would take? The Celestial had no idea. But surely, it wasn’t going to happen so soon. Everyone needed time to heal, no matter how long it may be. But knowing, Phe didn’t intend on letting them be chased out of the City; was a good start. Artemis liked it here. She made friends/connections in the city, that made it feel like home. She didn’t want to lose that.
If anything, it felt like a relief to get quiet a load off of her chest and have Ophelia be here, as a listening ear and reassure her that things would be alright. It wasn’t the easiest of topics. But, things needed to be said. Especially if she wanted a handle on certain emotions, in order to regain a connection with her energy.
Whilst Celestial energy was quiet taxing; it felt even more so for Artemis as she hadn’t used it in so long. Not properly at least. But that didn’t mean, she was running out of energy and determination. The Brunette was usually always full of energy; spending time with her friend Ridley a lot. That energy sometimes brushed off of on her. Artemis smiled softly, seeing how the energy moved around Ophelia’s touch. But the moment she sent some right into her face, like a splash of water. It caught the Celestial off guard slightly, laughing. “Attacking me, with my own energy O?” she shook her head. With a flick of her fingers; she sent a small wave of energy back at the Wayfinder. Teasingly attacking her back with it.
“Surprisingly...I am quiet full of energy still.” Wether it was her determination or something else. Artemis was still quite ready to keep going. Wondering, what Phe had in mind next for their training session.
Ophelia smiled softly, something about Artemis always seemed to lift her spirit, the other woman never seemed to blame her for what happened with the Ailwards and was generally more optimistic than Phe probably was “Someone has to be” she spoke gently and nodded, if she didn’t hold it together, how could she expect everyone else to. She was the leader, their example to follow. It was her job to put them at ease and try to lead them to a better future. Or at least she hoped that was her purpose, otherwise, it had been many, many wasted years.
“Would you have stayed on that Isle willingly knowing they’d never let you leave or would you try to escape?” Ophelia asked with pursed lips, even if Artemis could say she’d stay put for the better of the world, Phe was making the point that there would have been some celestial that tried to and in the end, they would have ended up in cages anyway. When you forcibly took away someone’s freedom from them. “That’s the problem, I have no idea what to say when they ask me what could have been done differently” she was trying to prove there was an alternative with what she was was doing in Evermore right now, but there were still great risks, still rogues and individual backlash to worry about.
She was just trying to work with where they were right now, trying to move on from it and create a community that felt like they could live their lives. Here in Evermore, they were protected well and with so many celestials having Volakiri now, they had an extra layer of protection they never had before. They were in the fact place a colony had probably ever been in. Still, Ophelia worried for their safety, especially those who lived outside the castle walls and therefore away from her senses for danger. Still, she didn’t want to force anyone to stay or take their choices away from them. They were working on building their confidence and their force of will, fighting to be stronger and face up to those who threatened them rather than going on the run. Small steps, but important steps into cementing their permanent residence in Evermore. Next came that damn peace contract.
Phe’s approach was different with each of the celestials, she liked to get to know them all on a personal level so she could support them best. Artemis was one of the few she had known far before the Isle of Skye, they had been friends for a long time, she didn’t know if it was easier or harder like this. It did make it harder for the raven-haired female to separate personal feelings she supposed but she wasn’t sure if that was a bad thing with her. Seeing A’s surprised reaction to stealing her energy and using it made the Wayfinder laugh “Gotta keep on your guard, A, who knows what else I may do” the plus of training with another celestial is attacks would just absorb rather than hurt which meant they could go as heavy as they wanted.
She chuckled, well now that energy was in play they could get down to business of practicing some actual technique and control “One of my favorites right now is precision control, not just because it improves aim and balance but because it also takes acute focus, the kind you need to get your energy under control when emotions run high” she nodded and closed her eyes, consolidating her emotions until her golden light began to shimmer around her “Start with control of a ball of energy” she spoke as she made a ball out of her own and rolled it over her arms, keeping tight control over it as it moved over her skin.
Artemitra was always mainly optimistic. It was hard to find the Celestial be a pessimist. But sometimes, like everyone else she had down moments; where negative and unhappy thoughts clouded her mind. But she always seemed to battle through them somehow. Having friends, that were the main reasons for her to remain happy and have things to look forward to. Sometimes her cheery self, brushed off on others. Especially if they were feeling down, themselves. Artemis didn’t like seeing people low. She’d rather see them cheered up first.
Hearing Ophelia’s question. Artemis looked at her, for a few moments in silence. It was a good question. “You know, how much I loved the Isle back in the good days. It was the first taste of a proper home, without needing to be in fear of getting caught.” The Celestial began. “If they would have approached all of us and explained the situation, like decent people and the good leaders they were supposed to be. Then I would have stayed there willingly.” And hopefully, with some sort of freedom around the Isle, and not forced to stay locked in a room. But then again, if she wanted to travel again. That was one thing, that would have been taken away from her. That freedom and joy to experience things, she wanted to tick off of on her list, eventually. But what about the others? Artemis wasn’t sure, how many would want to stay put and stay there. Maybe some would have run off and tried to escape. And things, still wouldn’t look good in their favour that way. But things worked out the way they were meant to. If she would have still been on the Isle; she wouldn’t be here right now, knowing the people that she considered important to her since meeting them in Evermore.
For a few moments, how things could have potentially been different if the Ailwards had taken a different approach to the entire situation. As much as Artemitra tried not to linger on the past. That conversation and thoughts about ‘What If’ made her start lingering on it again. No matter, what the Celestial done; something always made her start lingering on the past. But, she needed to move on from that. Which was a process. It was still too early, to move past everything, that was for sure. But every bad thing, came with a good thing. Being in Evermore, had opened up more doorways and opportunities for them again. And that was what they had needed, after the last 100 years.
It seemed like her surprise, had amused Ophelia. “It...was unexpected.” Artemis said with a giggle. But it was true. If she wasn’t guarded so well; who knows what Ophelia might do next. Not to mention, anyone else for that matter. Getting her composure together. Artemis got her guard up. “You your own energy missy, not stealing mine.” Artemis told Ophelia playfully. Who knows, she might just get O back for that, little trick. Since it’s been a while, Artemis needed to learn a few things over again. Not that she minded. If it would help her get over her fear and learn how to channel her energy again, it was worth it.
Artemis paid close attention to what Ophelia was saying. Seeing how Ophelia’s energy differed from the rest of them. Her light was beautiful. Artemis started to manipulate her own energy...rolling some into a small ball. Before moving it across her arm. For a brief moment, the small ball, seemed to have almost slipped from her grip. But she quickly caught it, getting a more tighter control over it. Keeping her emotions in control and steady, so they wouldn’t play up with her energy and concentration. Feeling it move across her body, as she had tighter control over her energy, after a few moments.