Since meeting Phoenix officially, few months ago. He had been in her life, more and more often. He was someone she didn’t know she needed in her life; but his presence was one she enjoyed. Being around him had been refreshing. Maybe it was his blunt and straight forward nature; that kept her on her toes. The Celestial could tell; that he was a man of secrets. Whilst she was curious about certain aspects of his life, that she didn’t know about yet. She wasn’t pushing him into telling her. After all, everyone had their things...that they didn’t share easily. And the pair were two of said people.

Between meeting Phoenix and him becoming a friend and a constant in her life. The Celestial had been going through a rough time. After her near-death experience caused by a dark unknown force. The Celestial had been riddled with nightmares, and had been more enclosed into herself. At times, loud noises made her jump; or even the presence of another person often made her jolt. It sometimes felt like, she was back to square one. Being weary and cautious of strangers in the streets. But with whomever was the cause of her almost killing herself with poison, was still out there...lurking; causing more issues for people. She could only hope, that whomever it was; would be found and dealt with; before more people would find themselves in deep trouble, that nothing could fix. After all, during her recovery time of a few weeks; The Celestial didn’t wish to see many people. Keeping to herself, for that time.

Tossing and turning; The brunette was having another unsettled night. Not even her usual herbal remedies could help with the nightmares, that roamed in her dreams at night. It had been a current occurrence since that dangerous night.


Flashback/Nightmare:

Making her way towards the door; the door shut itself. Trapping her in the small room. Artemis pulled and tugged at the door handle; but it wouldn’t budge.

“Let me out! Stop it!” The Celestial yelling out, at no one in particular. Trying to bang on the door; every sound was muffled. Like she was weak, and couldn’t make herself be heard. Something was blocking her, from being heard.

The images that filled her head; made the Celestial shake. She was hallucinating again. There was that Nomad Vampire, that attacked her in the woods again. Taunting her, teasing her, making it clear; she was his pray. Pair of cold, icy Vampire hands were reaching towards her. “Oh no no...you’re mine now. I’ve waited a while for this.” As the pair of hands grabbed her; the Celestial let out a panicked scream. And the hands were gone again. But multiple heads of the nomad vampire, seemed to be spinning around her in circles; constantly talking to her. The Celestial was in a panicked state; clutching at her hair.

“Get out of my head!” she screamed out, shaking. Why couldn’t this just stop? Her heart racing inside of her chest. Someone sure was having a good time, causing the Celestial distress.

“You want it to stop huh?” a voice said in her head…”I have a solution. Go...go and drink one of the viles. Then it’ll all stop. You’ll be free of the voices and hallucinations, child.”

The Celestial had no idea, who the voice belonged to. Even though, she knew that something was wrong. It was like, someone had picked up her body. And was forcing her to walk towards the small table of viles present. As she reached for one. “No...not that one...the crystal blue one.” the voice spoke. Her hand slightly shakily reached out towards the vile. Once it was in her grip. Artemis pulled off the small cork. The smell that came from the vile, was slightly pungent. The Celestial had no idea, what it was. Surely, something so vile smelling, wouldn’t help her? But unable to stop herself, from taking small sips from the vile.

Feeling strange sensations rush through her...the small vile fell from her grip. The glass smashing on the ground; the rest of the poison spilled on the floor.

Darkness. Falling into an eternal abyss of darkness.

For the longest of time; that is what Mitra was surrounded by. Unable to move and open her eyes. She felt numb; her senses felt like they were trying to shut down; one by one. But she couldn’t leave the world behind; she didn’t want to. There was so much to live for. Even if some distant darkness, wanted to wipe out people from the city; one by one. And she had been a target of that. The Celestial had been internally fighting. Just like the hoard of nurses and doctors around her; doing their best to keep the Celestial alive and breathing. With drugs pumping through her system; to cleanse her off of the poison that she had consumed. Along with chest compression's to keep her heart, going when her statistics began to drop.

End of Nightmare/Flashback.

The sound of her phone ringing; caused the Celestial to wake up. Jolting up with a slight yelp. Her brunette hair dishevelled, damp from sweat. Her eyelids still feeling heavy. Grabbing at her phone. The sleepy celestial answered it. “Hello?” her voice a bit shaky and groggy. With the bad nights sleeping; she had totally forgotten she was supposed to meet up with Phoenix this morning.

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One would think, that with what the Celestial went through. She’d open up to somebody about it. But the simple truth was,part of her was being as stubborn as always. Not wanting to drag anyone into her world of that certain ‘issue.’ As far as she was concerned, everyone had enough to deal with already. Thinking, she could handle it on her own. Not wanting to look weak and get pity, from those she considered very close. But as always, something would burst out of her. As the nightmares were eating away at her, and she had no idea what to do.

The familiar voice on the other line, caused her to sit up slightly. Phoenix. He sounded worried, like something was wrong. Which left the Celestial a bit perplexed. How did he know, something was up with her? She hadn’t recalled coming clean to him about everything. Not yet. Even though, with how close they had gotten; maybe she should have. But Artemis cared a great deal for the Valkyr, she couldn’t bare if something happened to him, if he got involved. In whatever...this unknown dark force was brewing.

“I...I am fine...I just..” Artemis rubbed her hand over her tired face. Swinging her legs on the side of her bed. “I am home..I think.” With the constant flashbacks in her dreams; sometimes it was hard for her to make out where she really was. She didn’t fully sound with it...evident she had a bad night and was still tired. “I promise, I am fine..Just a bad night.” It sounded, like she was trying to convince herself more than anything that she was fine. Knowing she exactly wasn’t. But it wasn’t a fit conversation for over the phone.

Moving from her bed and walking over to her window. The Celestial pushed the curtains apart...propping the window open. Hoping some winter fresh air would help perk her up. Feeling the cool breeze kiss against her skin. Artemis closed her eyes slightly. Then something was slowly coming back to her. Wasn’t she supposed to meet him today? “I..I am late aren’t I?” Artemis just realised, maybe that’s why he was checking up on her. “I am sorry...I totally forgot.” The Celestial grimaced. She never forgot things. Not usually. She felt bad, especially since this was Phoenix. Artemis couldn’t exactly put a finger on it; but she always liked how she felt when she was with him.”I’ll talk to you later? I need to fix myself up.” She needed to wake up and feel more alert, or she wouldn’t make much sense on the phone, as she didn’t feel with it. A slight yawn slipping past her lips. Stifling it, against her shoulder.

Feeling a strange shiver run down the back of her neck towards her spine. It was like death had walked through. Making her spin around. Half freaked out, that someone was actually in the room with her. Her phone fell from her grip, causing the line to go dead. For a few moments, odd images swirling in her mirror. The face of the rogue Valkyr, that attacked her that night. Shaking her head. Was she hallucinating whilst asleep? Or going crazy, if she was seeing images in broad-daylight? The Brunette shut her eyes tightly for a few moments. Opening them up again after 40 seconds, half expecting the swirling images to still be there...But no one was there. It was just her. Her freaked out expression staring back at herself.

“I must be going crazy.” Artemis muttered to herself.

The panic was slowly settling in. Trying to consume her; like it did every time the flashbacks and nightmares were trying to claw their way back out onto the surface. She was unable to shake the feeling, like someone was there. Wether it was just a fragment of her imagination; or the fact she was so sleep deprived; she could have sworn; she felt something moving around the room, trying to spook her. Plus, she was certain what she saw in the mirror. Or what she thought she saw.

Hearing what sounded like running in the hallway,caused the panic to heighten. Without thinking, the Celestial hid in her closet. Pressed up against the thickness of her winter coats. Holding her breath. But her body was trembling. Not realising how badly she was shaking; until the closet doors swung open, causing her to let out a shriek of panic. Clearly freaked out and startled. Half expecting, the person behind her night terrors and flash-backs to be on the other side.

Luckily, it was just Phoenix. But her heart was hammering inside of her chest so much, she could hardly hear anything else. As he pulled her shaking body against his chest. Artemis’ arms wrapped around his tall frame. Burying her face against his chest. The Celestial had no idea, how Phoenix knew that something was up. Maybe she was just that see-through? Or he just knew her much better, than she thought he did. But knowing he was there for her, made her feel even more emotional.

Unable to keep herself together anymore, a strangled sob escaped her. With everything that she had been through lately, and the on-coming panic attack from earlier; she couldn’t hold it in. Her shoulders shaking, with each sob. Her tears soaking into the material of his jacket. “I can’t do this….I feel like I am going crazy.” Her words came out all shaky. And no doubt, probably making no sense to him, since he had no idea what was going on. “I just want it to stop.” All she could do was cling onto him tightly. Or she would have collapsed onto the ground, with how shaky she was.

Artemitra usually kept herself together well. She had never cracked and been so vulnerable in front of the Valkyr, not until this moment. It was like, everything had pushed her over the edge, all the emotions spilling over. The Celestial held onto him, struggling to keep herself together. Feeling his fingers in her hair. Something about the gesture was soothing. Her hands gripping onto his jacket slightly. Holding herself closer to him, the more his grip on her tightened. 

Whilst she truly wanted to believe that Artemis was safe. The Celestial knew that the darkness could find her, and would find her; even with Phoenix protecting her. And that itself, was quite scary. The Celestial was scared of what might happen, if the darkness that was spreading across Evermore, would hurt anyone that she was close to. Her sobs making it hard for her to talk; struggling to calm down enough to form words.

When he moved them over to the window seat. Artemis was curled up against his torso, in tears still. She slightly shook her head. “I….I can’t.” she sobbed. “You’re gonna get hurt.” Could she really tell him,everything? And risk him getting involved? At this point in time, she wasn’t sure that there was anything, he could really do. The Celestial didn’t want him risking his life and getting involved. But they were probably equally stubborn, as the other in this case. He wanted to help her...but she wanted to keep him safe, by keeping him out of it. Where was the middle ground in that?

Even if her words wouldn’t hurt him, Artemis was sure that the darkness that was spreading around Evermore would. And that was a different story all together. Which Phoenix didn’t seem to be getting right now, from her words. Or lack of thereof. “That’s not exactly what I meant.” she shook her head, at his misunderstanding. The tears were clouding her chocolate hues. If she tried to blink them away, it seemed like more built up. As she heard his teasing comment; she knew he was trying to make her feel better. But if she couldn’t protect herself from the darkness, how could she protect him? The Celestial had barely cracked a smile.

As Phoenix tried to point out that, it was just the two of them. Artemis looked around the room. Maybe feeling skeptical, after all that she endured, with the nightmares and flashbacks, not to mention the hallucinations.  For now, it was just the two of them. But how long?The Celestial swallowed loudly, as she felt his hand on her cheek. All Mitra wanted to do, was curl up against his strong chest and forget everything. But he was trying to chaox it out of her. Truth was that she didn’t tell a lot of people about this. Only 1 so far, outside of a certain aspect knowing. And that had been her best-friend Ridley.

“I….” Artemis’s voice shook, trying to voice what had happened to her. She had to, sooner or later.”A while back…” Artemis felt a lump forming in her throat. It was bad enough having to relive it in her nightmares and flashbacks, telling it again, was another thing. The Celestial glanced down at her lap, awkwardly. As she began to tell Nix, about her meeting with the Aspect of Death, a while back when all of this had happened. And the darkness that took a hold of them both. ““As the night went on, the hallucinations got worse. I didn’t know what was real...and what was a figment of imagination.” She shivered at the thought of getting them again. They felt so vivid, it was hard to snap out of them; each and every time. “After we found a small abandoned cabin. For a while, it was quite...like everything stopped. I went into another room, to look for something. That’s when I got trapped, like something was keeping the door magically shut. And just those random faces haunting me again. It was suffocating. And this...this voice in my head, telling me how to put an end to it. I didn’t know what came over me...it’s like...I couldn’t control what I was about to do.” Tears had pooled up in her eyes so thickly again, then they started rolling down her cheeks. “I grabbed the first vile, I saw on the table…..it was poison. After I blacked out...I had no idea what happened next. I just woke up in a hospital bed, a few hours later…” She still remembered it clear as day, getting the news she almost died. Her words trailing off, as she was suppressing more sobs. It had been a few years, since she felt utterly weak and helpless, but that situation took a toll on her.

With Phoenix’s touch, Artemis tried to breathe through her tears. It wasn’t easy to get herself together; but somehow she managed to, long enough to tell him what was going on. He was silent; and she wasn’t sure what to make out from his silence. Was he mad, she didn’t say anything beforehand?  As he pulled her in for a hug, the Celestial buried her face against his chest. Her arms wrapping around him. Holding onto him, like he was her safety net. Clearly still shaken up, but somewhat slowly calming down; under his touch.

“It doesn’t feel safe.” Artemis said honestly, as he said she was safe. “It’s like...I feel…like I am being watched.” She croaked out. Maybe it was just the hallucinations and nightmares that were messing with her mind. It was hard to tell, if it was true or not. But it certainly made her on edge.

It was unlike to hear Phoenix stumbling over his own words. As he mentioned the idea of a bond; Artemis felt a bit stunned for a few moments. Did he even know what he was asking her? If there was any Valkyr that the Celestial would trust enough, it was Phoenix himself to embark on such a bond. But a small part of her, had a reservation about him getting thrown into the deep-end of this situation. “Are you sure? I mean, you can’t exactly change your mind...if you ever want to back out.” The Celestial reminded him, taking a deep breath, through a half sob. The more he rubbed at her back, the more she leaned into his touch. His soothing gesture, slowly calming her down. But her grip on the Valkyr didn’t listen.

Artemis cared about Phoenix; and she’d definitely want to protect him. The trust between them was solid, but she wasn’t sure how much he knew about the bond itself. “Do you even know what the bond entails?” Before she’d agree; she needed to know how much he knew about the bond and if he was sure, this is what he wanted. Because, they’d be stuck together, in a way once the bond would be complete. And it wasn’t something that could be undone, if he had second thoughts.

It was often a wonder how Artemis managed to keep her logical side, despite the fact that she was going through tough emotional moments. But other times her emotions won over; other times...in certain sides, logic left her and her reckless side came out to play. But today, her logical side was still intact; despite the emotional chaos. The movement against her back, kept her grounded.

Listening to what Nix knew about the Volakiri Bond, it was pretty much the gist of it all. “Well, you pretty much summed that all up.” Artemis breathed out. “Blood has to be shared, for it to work though.” She informed the Valkyr. Whilst consuming blood, was a normal thing for a Valkyr. The Celestial wasn’t...so she wasn’t entirely too sure how she’d handle the taste of the blood; but it was for the sake of the bond, so she’d try and breathe through whatever disgusting flavour it would be to her.

The Celestial smiled a little bit, as he promised to protect her always. “You want to be stuck, with a highly emotional Celestial, that comes with baggage and is a danger magnet.” She pointed out. His touch was comforting. Lightly touching his wrist, Artemis leaning into his comforting touch for a few seconds. Something about his suggestion, just made sense. She never felt a connection to any Valkyr before; until Nik came along. That must have meant, something, right? But if she wanted to keep him safe, on her end. Then this would work to both their favour.

It was just like Phoenix to remind her, to go to her friends in time of need. “They all have enough going on in their lives, I don’t want to burden them with my troubles, added on top.” It was the least she could do; spare her friends the drama, chaos and danger that was in her life. At least for the time being. But like anything else, it was bound to come up, sooner or later. Whether she liked it or not. It was just the way, things rolled.

Maybe he was right, everyone came with baggage. “True, but my baggage is worth 372 years.” His baggage was nowhere near that big. Her past was complicated, 100 years of being imprisoned, an ex flame that was in the city; with whom she was trying to be on better terms and all the chaos around. It was a lot to handle. And Artemis was well aware of his genuine dislike for a lot of people, that she often worried if he’d be able to handle it all. So far, he seemed more than willing to still be in her life and protect her; despite all of that. His suggestion about mixing the blood was an interesting one. “As sweet as that offer is, to make it more tasty. I am pretty sure, it won’t have it full effect if we mix it.” It had to be drunk as it was, willingly and from the source, the better for a strong effective bond. Artemis would just have to bear the taste of blood for a few seconds. And then fix her taste after somehow.

“I know they wouldn’t mind.” The Celestial sighed softly, knowing her friends well enough. “But I do. I just don’t feel right dragging them down into this chaos.” Yep, her stubborn side won over again. It was her way of protecting them, by keeping them out of it. Especially with their own personal issues; they didn’t need more danger on their plate.

Feeling his touch against her cheek. Artemis managed a soft smile towards the Valkyr. Why is it that he always seemed to know what to say? At least, to her?

She would have been content, just being in his embrace for a while longer. But Phoenix was trying to get her to get some fresh air. Glancing down at herself...she looked a mess. “If I am going outside, I can’t go like this. I look a mess.”Artemis would need to clean herself up. Maybe fresh air might do her some good. “Give me a few, to clean myself up.” Giving him a squeeze; she somewhat reluctantly let him go. Before moving over to her wardrobe, looking through her clothes for a fresh outfit. Taking it with her to the bathroom. The Celestial cleaned herself up.

As worried as she had been, it felt like a huge load had been lifted off of her shoulders now that she had told him everything. Maybe it did help, bring them a bit closer together. Especially with his suggestion. If someone else had asked her about the bond; Artemis wouldn’t have considered it; as there weren’t many Valkyrs that she trusted in the first place, to create a bond with in the first place. After cleaning herself up. She felt a bit more human, refreshed. Getting herself dressed. Artemis was soon dressed in a long sleeved turtle neck shirt, with warmer jeans. Putting on her boots. The Celestial was dressed for colder weather. Soon enough joining Phoenix, whom was waiting for her.

True, he might have accepted baggage; but there was still a lot of her past that Artemis didn’t disclose to him yet. The only person that really knew her entire past was her wayfinder and leader Ophelia. But that came with knowing each other for centuries and being of the same kind. Other people knew big chunks of her past. “You know me...that probably won’t happen.” No matter how many times Phoenix or someone else urged her to worry less, it was almost impossible to stop worrying. A lot was always on her mind. The Celestial had a lot going on in her life, to not worry.

He was sweet, that she looked okay to him. But she and her own image did not agree. Artemitra knew that Phoenix wanted to protect her, she just hoped that he really knew what he was getting himself into, by offering up the bond and his protection. In a way, it might make them stronger and safer. Yet, if the darkness returned back for her, he’d be in danger because of it. Because of their bond...because of her? And that was a worrying thought. Even if he said he could handle himself. The Celestial still unaware of what sort of a job he had when working for his biological father in Russia; he never really spoke about it much.

The Celestial returned the soft smile. As she was ready, she took his hand. Following him out of her room and outside. The crisp air hit her senses, as they stepped outside. Feeling the snow crunching beneath her boots.

“There’s always something on my mind.” She admitted. “But it’s not really worth sharing.” Artemis kept certain things to herself, for her own piece of mind in a way. Like some sort of privacy of her thoughts. “Nothing for you too worry about.” she assured him. It’s not like he could do anything about it either; especially as the other things that worried her, had nothing to do with him exactly.  And she wasn’t about to give up other people’s privacy by telling him their own stories. Besides Phoenix didn’t even know Mikaere, so that was another reason, why she kept those particular worries to herself; as she still kept trying to figure out how she could best help her father figure; among the personal mess she was going through.

Breathing in the fresh cool air, she felt a bit relaxed from getting some fresh air. But keeping on alert, in case something would go berserk.

Artemis could feel Phoenix’s gaze on her. Glancing back at him, she smiled towards him softly. Something about him, made her feel slightly more relaxed. Maybe it was his protective nature, towards her. It made her feel safe. “Guess me and your sister, might bond over worrying.” she half joked. Nodding as he called her a worry-wart. That was one word for it. “Everyone says I worry too much.” Phoenix, Ridley, Mikaere, Ophelia...pretty much any of her friends. “But I can’t help it.” Or maybe she could? But it wasn’t always easy to stop, with everything going on in her life. “I might really need to learn,how to be more zen and not stress.” Was it even possible? Especially being a Celestial. She was so used to looking over her shoulder...even here in Evermore. Now more so, with the danger from the unknown threat.

As his arm wrapped around her, instinctively she shifted closer to him without even thinking about it. Half nodding.  “I am getting there.” she assured him, as he questioned if everything was okay. Every panic attack, she had lately took a bit of a toll on her, and would always take a while to recover from. Maybe being outside with Phoenix, was a good choice. To keep her mind occupied from thinking off it.

“Mhh a park or a field sounds good.” With the amount of snow, they could have some snow fun. It was needed. When he suddenly attacked her with a snowball...she let out a slight gasp. Giving him a fake, offended look. “How rude.” she laughed a little. “Just you wait!” Scooping up some snow, she made a large snowball...running after him,through the snow. Tossing it at him. Managing to hit him near his neck. It had been a while,since she enjoyed herself in the snow. Almost like he knew, what she needed. It was one of the things she loved about Nix. He knew her so well, he knew what she needed, especially in moments like these.

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