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“Right,” the woman muttered to herself as she secured the laces on her running shoes. Her usually-loose dark locks were pulled into a ponytail, her usual leathers exchanged for a tight pair of runner’s shorts and a olive green tank top layered over a white sports bra. Usually, the Dane didn’t have a set schedule of when she could run -- if work didn’t require her to pull an all-nighter or to come in early, she’d run as the sun rose. If not, she’d run at night, when the moon would cast her glow upon her favoured paths. Today, however, she was up before dawn, and work only required her to be in at ten in the morning. Mocha-hued optic flickered towards her watch: 5 AM, on the dot. Nodding to herself, she slipped on her wireless headset and started her playlist, grabbed her keys, and headed out of the house.
The moment she stepped outside, the cool, winter air engulfed her, intensified on the mountain she called home. Slipping her phone into her pocket, she locked the door behind her, and started on her morning run. It was a nice surprise for the creature of ice to have snow accompany her; it soothed her, and in a way made her feel like she was moving faster than usual. Fin licked her lips, her eyes moving from her feet to the pine trees before her. She knew which route to take, which would be the most challenging. Today wasn’t a day for an easy run -- today was a day to push.
Daehyun was just minding his business, as per usual. The file in his hand held the information he needed on a particular family that he's been working on when he first came here. Three siblings, to be precise. The profiles of three particular Niveis displayed itself on the sheets of paper compiled up in one string up file. Apparently, according to the people around the community, they haven't actually interacted much. They moved here a few days after New Year's, which meant they were searching for a better place to live their life. How ironic. Daehyun always seemed to have his eyes and ears everywhere, which was what made him a competent and resilient spy for the tribe. Even before Anivia's takeover, Coldren had a tight grip over the leash he cuffed on the elder Stormwind.
The Stormwind siblings were known for their capabilities in adapting fast to every situation. However as it may, Daehyun haven't been getting in contact with his sister, Mirae. It's been a century or so already. This year marks another year to add to the never ending pile. Somehow, the Niveis had a problem trying to rekindle their sibling hood, despite both looking out for one another. Following the errands he often ran for both Rhydian and Anivia respectively, he always had the chance to venture down to the city and look around. That’s precisely what he has been doing for the past week, where he had also encountered Kaldre Frostbourne; the youngest brother of his chief. When he didn’t go around running any errand for them, he would often train by himself in front of his cabin. His cabin was situated at the west side of the mountain, very close off the edge, where there is a rather spacious space for them to train regularly.
However, the light haired Niveis was rarely disturbed. He was known for his impeccable ability on carrying out and executing any orders given without a question nor hesitancy. He was a quiet soldier. Coldren managed to extort that from him, and whilst the tyrant is no longer there, he did not wish to waste his ability after sharpening it for almost two centuries. Daehyun placed the file on the mahogany table before making his way out to train per usual. It was so very early, exactly how he preferred it. It means no one was up yet and most people did not bother to venture so far off the west side, just so they would not come across him. He’s made a reputation on himself throughout his time in the tribe initially, but it wasn’t all pleasant, unfortunately.
The moment he pushed the door open, the cold fresh air came to greet him, as he made himself to the clearing dressed in nothing but a plain black t-shirt and track bottoms. He often trains himself to master the ability to calm himself, as he noticed it was very integral in controlling their elements and saw it to be slightly detrimental to their state when backfired. Emotions seemed to be the key in everything, as it seems. Twirling the bo staff in his hand, he closed his eyes and let the cold wind guide him. The tribal marks and tattoos on his left shoulder and his wrist area was more than sufficient enough to give a hint on his identity. A few looks over his way, one would think he was a real life Jack Frost, with his platinum blonde hair waning into a lighter shade; almost white.
She jogged along the snow-covered trail, her shoe prints embedded in the white blanket that stretched out for eternity around her. Her body naturally cooled her down as she pushed her pace, taut muscles that wrapped around her nimble legs very much visible. Her breathing stayed calm, not heavy, the Danish creature focusing on her pace rather than exhausting herself. She wasn’t here to see how fast she could sprint; her mission was to push how far she could run, and how fast. And so far, this seemed to be her best time yet. A smile peeled upon her lips, endorphins coursing through her veins as her heartbeat increased, as her muscles ached.
Finally, she reached the top of the peak, and she came to a halt. Placing her elven hands upon her hips, her mocha hues gazed over the view before her: the city of Evermore waking up, tucked in the valley. As if to make her surroundings even more picturesque, the sun started her course, peaking through from the mountains resting on the east. It was a beautiful sight, so she took it in, every detail.
She was just about to head down the trail when she heard something whip through the air. Fin stopped, her ears prickling as she looked towards the source of the sound. She knew it all to well: a bo staff. Someone was practicing alone out here, judging from the lack of collision noises. Curious to see who else could be training so early in the morning, the Niveis cautiously followed her ears, treading softly through the snow. In time, she came across a light-haired man, whose hair seemed to match the color of the snow. His apparel, however, was a stark contrast as he was dressed completely in black. He twirled a staff in his had expertly, his movements fluid as he gracefully transitioned from one step the next.
However, it was when he turned did her forehead crease, recognition slowly washing over her features. She knew the white-haired man—he was who brought the Dietrick siblings to Evermore City, who told them of a safe place where they could settle. At once, she stepped into the clearing, her eyebrows still pushed together. “Dae?” she called out questioningly, just in case she was mistaken. But she wasn’t, she was sure.
Daehyun wasn't an usual user on socializing. Not saying he couldn't socialize to save his life, but the male was not a social butterfly and preferred to stay by the sidelines as he awaits whatever order that comes next. It was precisely the reason why he's earned a rather impervious manner and had lived up to his surname inadvertently, without realizing. He wondered what else was in store for them in the eternal city. It was far too early for him to make any assumptions; lest without any sufficient amount of evidence presenting itself in his argument case. As he guided himself to balance his hits into the thin air, he sensed a presence coming by. The west side of the mountain tops were rarely ventured by anyone, unless they specifically requested for his presence. Even then, they usually made sure to send someone who could withstand him, which wasn't many.
The wind was carrying his weight, he'd learned to give himself to the nature a long time ago. A form of interaction he's had since a child, as he was initially supposed to connect with every single element before he was ‘claimed’ by one of the elements. The more he thought of the past, the former grip he had on the staff loosened slightly as it fed on his head. However, his train of thoughts was interrupted the moment he turned his body around, just facing the person who has been sneaking a peek from afar. Still having his eyes closed and glued, he stopped his movements and inhaled the cold air, before slowly fluttering his eyes open, as his mocha hues clashed with that of Josefine's lighter ones.
“I was wondering when you'd venture here.” he remarked dryly. He had met the Dietrich siblings while they were attending a New Year's festival in New York, earlier this year. Like a few others sent on recon missions by Anivia, being one of the first gave him a slight advantage to loom over other places. That was when he found them; half a millennium old phoenixes that recently undergo their transition to becoming a Niveis. He could understand if they still have yet to understand what it was that they were becoming. “For an adventurer, I would've thought using this trail would be your first step in unlocking another obstacle. But you're here nonetheless.” Setting the boys staff aside, he unwrapped the bandages around his wrist and hand area while still training his dark optics on the Dane. “How did you guys settle? Everything good and well, I hope.”
Fin smirked at his first words to her, the brunette tucking a few stray locks of her hair behind her ear before responding. "Your offer seemed too good to be true," she mused, letting her feet carry her lithe form closer to the man at a strolling pace. "You described a place that would serve as a sanctuary; a safe haven for the supernatural to live in somewhat harmony," the woman hummed, chuckling softly after she'd spoken. She stopped about two feet before Daehyun, her features softening as she recalled their meeting: it was a winter in the New York City, and the three of the Dietrich had decided to get completely smashed to start the new year. It was she who bumped shoulders with the pale-haired Niveis, something she'd later realise to not be a coincidence. "You offered us an education, a faster way for us to learn how to use our abilities to their fullest extent--which is hard given that we have five centuries of experiences we have to unlearn,” she continued, folding her hands beneath her bust. “How could we not come to explore this new possibility, this new adventure?”
The Dane then cocked her head to a side, a furrow forming in her brow. “Obstacle? What do you mean?” she questioned, though the taunting smirk resting upon her features never left. “I found this trail the first day I moved into the cabin--it’s not far from here, and it was abandoned when I found it, so I made it my home. I quickly discovered it was one of the hardest here up the mountain, even more so given the snow.” Another musical chuckle parted her lips, a mischievous glint sparkling in the depths of her light brown hues. She then noticed them remove his bandages, to which she frowned. “Oh no, don’t let me stop your training,” Fin protested, feeling just a little guilty for interrupting his session. The woman personally hated--no, despised it when people stopped her from training: she found it an inconvenience. “Although, personally I would invest in a pair of handwraps; they’re far more studier than bandages,” she decided to advice after a moment.
His enquiry brought a smile to her face, and she nodded slowly. “We’ve settled well; we don’t live too far from one another, but living together was off the table,” Josefine said with a soft laugh. “If you mean ‘has anyone attacked us yet, or caused problems,’ then no. Everything is good and well, and I love it here. I got a job too,” she informed. “I can still work with getting in criminals’ heads on the side, but on a day-to-day basis, there’s a clinic in the city center that required a psychologist.” The brunette then shrugged nonchalantly. “I figured what better way than to pass the time?” Tilting her head, she decided it was her turn to throw some questions his way. “So where’s this big community you were raving about? And when do you intend to show me around, given your the man who baited us with this life,” she teased, though her optics searched the horizon behind the male. “I’m not going to lie, the thought of meeting others like us intrigues me.”
He was glad that the siblings found their way to the eternal city as he did with his tribe. It also helped that they were very open to a lot of things, though he thought it was mainly due to their keen experience with the world itself after living in it for 600 years. That was quite the duration, and though the younger Niveis had only lived his portion of only 179 years, there was one stark contrast between the two of them; him and Josefine. Daehyun was better at being a Niveis because he was literally one of the firsts to emerge, and he had a tribe to train his ability with. During his torturous time with the former chief, Coldren, he also had to develop more strain over his training than usual. That must’ve been why he was very strict on discipline as a whole.
“I’m glad to hear that. Truly. Yeah, believe me, I found it hard to believe there was such a place existing in this world. I only found out about it after one of us told us regarding this ‘magical’ place. And according to my research, it was all true. The city worked on a peace treaty, and there’s about up to 9 different species altogether. Including us, it would be 10, I’m guessing. It’s still a wonder how they were able to coexist so peacefully and harmoniously. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?” He quipped lightly, as he worked on the rolling of his bandages. Hearing from the Dane, he chuckled and shook his head in response to her previous statement. “Don’t worry about it. I was just trying to use it again, it’s loosened. It’s also a habit; the tic. Always trying to find something to twirl or click.”
Daehyun remembered how it was just a while ago when he had met Josefine. He didn’t particularly favor such a chaotic setting during the festival, but he was just looking out for other recruitments and found not just one, but three altogether. Honestly, he just wanted to make sure the others found family within the tribe, as he did, despite his rather impervious and distant self. He knew just how scary it was, trying to unravel such a new element by themselves. The bright haired Niveis would never want that to happen upon anyone. “I guess I’m quite dated after all. I’m younger than you, but I haven’t been out and about in the city.” He grinned sheepishly, as he answered the helpful advice she gave earlier about handwraps. “But I’ll be sure to remind myself that.”
He was a bit taken aback to know she has been here, after all. Maybe he wasn’t there to become privy to such details since he often ventured down to the city. “It’s harsh, most don’t really come here unless they need to request my presence or train. Though I doubt they’d train in front of me, knowing fully well I’d criticize almost every move because I’m me.” It was no surprise to them anymore, that Daehyun was quite cold, who seemed so annoyed at everything 24/7 and was done with life. But it was just an exterior that’s been created for the sake of making everything easier to him. “Don’t worry, you’ll get to meet them very soon. I’d advise you though, the right hand; Rhydian Snow, is quite the man. And I don’t mean that in a good way. He’s good at his job but if he couldn’t manipulate ice, he would’ve stayed frozen from the last time I froze him.”
There was literally no reason to why people didn't prefer the latter's company. But most just don't. Daehyun inferred it was due to that arrogant air of his. 40 years with him felt like 400 years for sure. “And hey, I told you that I was inviting to give a better life where you won’t be afraid in this city. Ish. I’m still scouring the city, just got to be sure. So quick of you to get a job here, I still have no idea what I’d do. So far, what I’ve been good at is spying and training.”
Fin remembered the day when the three of them sat around their dining table one evening, back in their apartment in New York City. She’d probably not admit it to anyone, but it was Andrew who convinced them to come to Evermore City. She was skeptical, and it took talking right till the sun rose over the concrete jungle that she agreed to follow her eldest brother. Anderson was stuck in the middle, but seeing that both of his siblings had said yes, his agreement followed his sister’s. So far, she was glad to have made the move that practically took them across the country. The hope of peace seemed too sweet for her to give up, after several lifetimes of running.
A musical chuckle parted her lips at his words, followed by a nod of agreement. “Aye, it does sound far too good to be true, especially considering life before,” she mused, her gaze then straying to look upon the horizon, where before them, the outside world lay with all her dangers. “So nothing happens here? Despite a treaty?” she clarified. “No wars, no prejudiced murders--just regular metropolitan crimes? I mean, you get murders in regular cities, but you know what I mean.” Creases formed upon her brow as she tried to grasp at the concept. Treaties had been broken before, both by humans and the supernatural. It was all just empty words after her centuries of living, but she wouldn’t say it aloud just in case it jinxed their peace. “It seems like sweet bait hanging from a predator’s hook, but that could be just being paranoid,” she thought aloud, her featuring hinting that she might not be completely at ease in her new surroundings.
The Dane nodded as he addressed his habits; she too had some of her own. “I know what you mean. Maybe it’s the nerves, us expecting something to go wrong---constant vigilance, if you will.” Actually, the term was called hyper-vigilance, a survival tactic that was in a person’s instincts from their ancestors’ days in the wild. It was most commonly reactivated in those who’d experienced trauma, the psychologist knew as an expert in her field, but she doubted whether the male would want a lecture about the topic at that very moment. She smirked at his admittance, that mischievous glint back in her eyes. “I’ll take you around one day then...or night,” she offered, her tone implying that he didn’t really have a choice in the matter. “I might be a few centuries older, but that just means I have a lot more experience,” the woman teased.
She pursed her lips, eyeing the trail she’d just emerged from. “Harsh is one way to put it,” she admitted, especially considering that most others wouldn’t agree with the terrain. Though at his comment, she couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow. Though her occupation might be a mere psychologist, the Danish creature was considered apt in the art of combat, mainly with hand to hand, as well as with her knives. She had to be, considering her history. “I’ll have to have you watch me then, see if there’s anything I need to work on. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, as well as a fresh pair of eyes. I’d be happy to return the favor,” she offered, shrugging her shoulders.
“Rhydian Snow, you say,” she mused, slyness pulling upon her gentle features. Her voice insinuated that the name was a familiar one as memories of a time back in Russia once upon a time. He was here now, she noted to herself. Fate loves her twists. “I’ll be sure to look him up,” she mused vaguely, “he sounds like someone I’d want to meet here in this city.” She then smiled at Dae; she found that she enjoyed their conversation. He had an air about him, like he was sure about himself--she liked that. Confidence was always a way to win over the Dane, as guarded as she was. “I’m not going to lie, my reputation working with the Bureau and whatnot did help me win over my employer, but I was lucky that they had an opening to begin with. Besides, I’ve been in this field for literal decades, so knowing what I wanted to was a no-brainer.” A soft laugh sounded from her, followed by a moment of hesitation as she formed her next words. “Then pursue that,” Fin advised. “If spying and training is what you’re good at, spend your time getting better at it. We have all of time to perfect ourselves, no?”
He understood how someone would be so skeptical about the so called supernatural haven. Just by the mere thought of it was too good to be true. Even he had trouble trying to find himself around it because for someone who's had experience with running and fleeing, hope comes by a short supply. And it wasn't just that either. Shortly after Coldren's demise, they had spent 40 years going around the world, searching for what seemed to be a better chance at surviving; to find a much convincing place they could start anew without any worries towering above them. He admitted it took some time to finally found it but 40 years alone was a short time for them, seeing as they spent a century under a tyrannical order. Everyone wished for freedom, he was not excluded from the lot-- not he was one of the first that wanted it the most. All his life he's only known running and running. It gets tedious and it affects the said people that got involved.
So when he found the group of people in an island, that accepted and welcomed them as phoenixes to join their ranks, he didn't waste such opportunity. He had to worry about Mirae, he had a responsibility. Everything was running smoothly. Everyone was happy. Did he know he walked into a trap? No. But he knew it was too good to be true. And he was right, like any other times. Daehyun winced the sudden memory flash of how controlled and influenced the ranks of warriors in the tribe were. They had a very strict organization, and honestly, they still do. “Yeah, despite a treaty, nothing really happens here. I haven't done the research thoroughly about the history of this land since that'll take more than a few days especially when you need to juggle with the needs and wants of Rhydian Snow.” Yes, yes. The elder Stormwind really did have something against the younger Niveis, ever since he set foot in Unyak. “It could be a bait. Maybe. But I hope it's not. It's a very good place to start over, I wouldn't want to ruin that for Anivia. Though it would be entirely Rhydian's fault for not doing his job properly either.” he snickered momentarily, trying to grasp his priorities properly.
Nodding in response, he agreed with everything she had said. It was true. “Mhmm, I mean we've been trying to do nothing but survive all these years. Being a Niveis honestly did not help with dropping the entire charge on survival needs. When you're born as a Phoenix, you needed to suppress all those abilities in you, for fear that your own Initia tribe would hunt you down. Then comes the stage where you needed to keep running and searching. I found a group of phoenixes to live with. But it didn't last long. We had to run again. So much we locked ourselves away from mainland civilization in a freezing place that eventually shuts every small kindle of flame we used to have. I truly hope we wouldn't be burdened with the conscience of running again. It's tiring.” Daehyun knew it was a survival instinct to follow whatever his gut tells him to do, but sometimes everyone has their own wish.
To say he was being immensely appreciative would be an understatement. When he went to scout and recruit people, he usually had decent or basic form of information on them first. Biography and family background etc. So he knew how each one of the Dietrich siblings were like. The three of them contrasts one another but in another light, they're very much similar. It depends on who sees them, he supposed. Josefine caught his eyes very easily because of her rather combative way of life. It was clear that between the three, she was the one who wielded the best tactics and strategies when it comes to physical resilience. It did not put a stint over Andrew who's been working as mercenary for centuries long and Anders who had rather good control over the element despite not getting the full insight of it yet.
Both him and his sister were known as warriors in the tribe, until everything got sour and Mirae was sent to the apothecary to be a healer, leaving him alone within the ranks of mostly brainwashed soldiers of Coldren Frostbourne. He respected them with enough dedication. “Constructive criticism always gets around the day. They help you improve your techniques. The emotion drive is a very important factor, after all. It controls your every move, so it's best to know when to let the rage fuel you or to rest it down.” Daehyun had an experience on clinging to the controls of his rather dormant door of emotions since he was born. He was taught not to feel since that was strictly the reason why his phoenix abilities would spiral out of control. He dictated the same lifestyle while he was a Niveis, and that is precisely the reason why he towers above everyone else in the tribe. He used everything about the said person against them. The pale-haired Niveis doesn't usually let anyone else evaluate or train with him personally, unless he was told by his chief, but Josefine's potential and confident air oozes out of her, so much it fascinated him. Maybe it'll be the first he'd take up such an offer.
“I wouldn't be too confident in saying we have all the time in the world to perfect that. But I do hope so.” he mumbled sheepishly. He wondered if Josefine had met Rhydian yet, who knows, maybe before the Niveis joined their ranks. So many things could've happened, and they'll never know how their lives will go on. “Considering I'm still doing my spying each day and train the next, it seems that I'll have nothing to do but that. That.. And maybe trying to rekindle something with my sister.”