How long has it been since she last got down to training? A while, that's for sure. It felt like it was just yesterday that she came back to Evermore, and she didn't even stay for long the first time. If she could recall clearly, when she came to Evermore 12 years ago, she only stayed for a week before hopping back to Oslo to continue her research and now, a dozen years later, here she is… in the eternal city once again. A place she was slowly starting to call home, though it definitely didn't come at a cheap price. When she came to Evermore, Sofi didn't think she would be greeted by hopeful faces in the tribe, especially the Grand Master himself. The other Masters had looked at her with looks that she still couldn't quite describe fully. And just like that, a few months after she returned, the Grand Master passed away and most of the Masters did too.

 A part of her wondered if they were broken hearted or was equally linked to the Grand Master since there was one new perk that she received upon taking up the position. Spirit control, it enabled her to control and potentially strengthen people's bonds, especially her tribe members. But that was just a theory of her wild mind, she remembered she had to be the one that told Rowan, her long time friend, that the Electric Master, Samuel, had passed. She knew how fond he had been of him, that's a given since they've been through one part of their life together and she knew him, and even if she didn't know Rowan personally, she would still be able to read his feelings. 

Rowan had been there when Sofi was at her worst, from consoling her every time she had an episode that stemmed from her uncontrollable mental breakdowns, or generally just depressed because she couldn't control her abilities every time she felt someone else's sad feelings, each and every one of them were a pain in the ass but he had been there for her. Now it's her time to pay it back. After convincing him that he was ready to take on the last step of his mastery evaluation, Rowan passed with flying colors, surprising every single one in the room, much to his surprise she had assumed from the reaction on his face that tells everything, but she knew he would succeed. Rowan was good at what he does, sometimes she didn't know why he always downplayed himself.

 Sofi still hasn't gotten any permanent job as of yet since for the past few months, she had been busy with the tribe matters because in all honesty, she is new to this. She didn't know the others as well and she didn't know how they perceived her. Sighing to herself heavily, she stretched out her arms and twirled the twin blades on both her grip. The blonde had always preferred to train in the open, especially when it's windy, it always gives her a good space for her head to rest and physical training had been her way to meditate without staying still. While she was busy practicing her balance and stance, Sofi closed her eyes and allowed the metal in the blade guide her.

There was one reckless thing in her part, she had been so immersed in her training that she held one of the twin blades directly underneath someone's chin, close enough to almost graze the trachea and fluttered her eyes open to meet whoever it was that 'interrupted' her training.

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He looked back at her and shrugged his shoulders slightly “We were young and a little naive and then we learned more about the world, we’ll keep learning more about the world until we’re probably gonna be completely sick of it” he laughed softly, there were definitely things that made him question why at least. “Well, sometimes it’s a good thing to be surprised, at least that means things are changing and we have the chance to make that for the better” somehow that felt more optimistic than thinking about everything staying the same, if everything stayed the same he definitely wouldn't be a master right now. “We can wish but I get the feeling this one is bigger than us” Rowan didn’t usually worry himself too much with city affairs but he had to admit he was worried about this.

“Well that depends how far into the conspiracy theories you decide to get” he admitted honestly with a shrug of his shoulders “I heard some people talking about the similarities between what happened the other night and the fall of the Ailward island” he looked up at her “In which case, probably about as serious as an impending apocalypse” he grimaced slightly, he tried not to think too hard about it because that was a scary connection to make. He knew a lot about everything because he didn’t like falling behind, he kept up to date with Evermore Daily and did his own digging too sometimes. He laughed a little when she linked the statement back to him “Somehow you seem to be the only one who sees that” he grinned slightly sheepishly.

His thoughts on the justice system pretty much aligned with her, he had made mistakes in his past but even now he wanted to see people who did bad things, brought to justice and that didn’t mean in sparking a war or causing tension between factions “Yeah getting everyone to agree on a standard way to do that though? I’d pay to see that argument” there were the old-timers who had their own way of doing things, people who recently formed a group such as this tribe, it was a big mix. “There is something about Evermore isn’t there?” he could never put his finger on it exactly but the place felt different from every other place he had been, it opened his eyes and his mind a little.”Hey, I never said it was a bad thing” he commented and raised his hands in defense at the way she reacted.

He gave her a look for a moment “If you’re not qualified to lead then may the world have mercy on the rest of us” he rolled his eyes, she had single-handedly managed to do something that no one else had managed to do before, she had opened people’s eyes on the way their system worked by managing to master not one but two elements with the second being one she taught herself. It changed the game completely. “No point thinking like that Sof, you think I don’t sit and question my own worth to this tribe too sometimes?” but then he realized he was just denying people something they needed the same way he had been denied when he was younger too. He gave a wry grin when she said she would slip in a few jeers here and there “There’s the troublemaker I knew” he chuckled, she had been quite the character when they were in college.

He glanced over at her as she talked about her elements and the strange relationship she had with both of them, he understood the sentiment behind the metal element because she’d told him about it first and considering she had nothing before that he supposed it felt like having it as her affinity element for a long time. He just knew his affinity element had always jumped out in strange ways for him, it was the same with most diversified Initia too, he’d found while teaching sometimes when they went to use their new element their natural reaction would be to produce their affinity one, you had to train the mindset when using an element that didn’t feel as natural to you and he adapted his lessons accordingly. “So I guess when it comes to the end, they’re kinda equal for you?” or perhaps metal was even more important because it was what she found solace in.

“Yes, yes, you enjoy fucking with my head, got it” man it was really difficult to fight without making eye contact at all though, he knew at some point he was going to slip up on that, he wasn’t exactly practiced in dueling the psychic element, though he did know Sofi’s tricks with metal pretty well by down, he knew to keep light on his feet to avoid metal spikes on the floor anyway “Metal’s gotta be a tough one to teach though, can get pretty bloody fast I imagine” considering it was mostly based around sharp metal. He continued chatting while the two of them sparred, smirking at the way she naturally went to block his punch only to get herself zapped “Told you that you were gonna get zapped at some point” he chuckled softly but she was also better at hand to hand than he was. When she came up behind him he felt the hit knock him forward and he went with the momentum, letting himself fall forward and roll to the side before brushing off the dirt from the ground “Oh we’re playing it like that huh?” he chuckled softly as he came at her again, pretty obviously before following it up with a less predictable kick towards her feet.

Rowan did have a point there, he was right. There was no stopping when it comes down to learn about the world that they live in. Even when it comes down to Initia, a species that Sofi herself is a part of, the blonde remained clueless when it comes down to the Evermore tribe. She's been learning a lot about them, making sure she is aware of how many community members they have, how each person is supposed to be, if they were going to accept her leadership, and the likes. Having Rowan by her side definitely helped smoothen a few things down, thankfully. "I like that we're moving towards a better advancement" she stared back at Rowan, biting her bottom lip before she resumed her words, "You know, the old man thought I was going to lead our tribe to greatness" she chuckled and made a few hand gestures, it never escaped her, those words, "I was thrusted into this world. To be a leader when I know nothing about leadership. All I had in mind was that I was more focused on leading our tribe to survival. I wonder why he picked me, he barely knew me… the only thing different about me is that I was equipped with an element many thought were extinct for centuries." 

Perhaps, that was it. Or it could be other reasonings that Sofi wasn't aware of. "With the things going on, I hope we'll be okay. I don't want us to fall apart. It's not exactly how I'd picture my reign to follow, you know?" It's only been a few months but it's evident that the Grand Master had a lot to worry. A grimace escaped her when he said the rumors spreading around regarding the incidents tied up to the same that happened to the Ailwards, "That's bad. I've never seen any city so fortified like Evermore but I worry that we'll be sucked into this trouble and would end up being left with no exits" she murmured, it wasn't what Sofi wanted her tribe to go through. One simple fallout would lead to a greater fall; just like the domino effect. "Well, if people don't want to change for the sake of a better world, then what's the point? It's old and done with, for a reason. We should live in a world where everyone can flourish on their own without thinking that it's bad for wanting something. Enemies… allies, all of that will still exist but if we reduce it, it'll be better." 

It's a new world now, and if there was anything that Sofi knew from her times in training, it's that you survive or you don't. She intends to make sure everything single member is properly equipped for that while also living with their code. "Yeah, Evermore… it's that place where you can start fresh. Everywhere else is a mess. I've seen so many fights started from a petty argument during my travels." Here? It's not perfect but it's doable, it's better than anywhere else. She spared the Electric Master a small smile when he tried to reassure her, "Discipline and preservation doesn't make me a leader, Rowan. I know there's no point in questioning our own self worth but sometimes I wonder if I am fit to do this. I do want to, though. So there's that." With the way the tribe has continued to flourish recently? It gave her hope.

Sofi pushed him softly when he called her a trouble maker, "Excuse you, I was living the best moment of my life. It's not my fault people can be so boring sometimes." She nodded and hummed affirmatively when asked if both elements were equal for her, "In a way, you can say that. Undoubtedly, you would feel this strong connection with your affinity element, even if I had to learn from A on Psychic. But it's there, it's like the root was already there inside of me. I just haven't triggered it until after I received my calling, which by the way, was a bit late" If you can call 30 years a bit late. "But Metal held that kind of importance because it was what I've known and trained since a kid, I guess. It was my second chance at proving that I'm one of them. In case you've forgotten, my tribe wasn't exactly… lenient." They were harsh and very disciplined, but she respected them immensely because of it. "Oh yeah, I get cut a lot. One of the sayings in my old tribe, they say if you don't go home without one scratch on you, then you better rethink twice" she chuckled and circled him, Sofi enjoyed playing around when she could because she's quite free-spirited.

"But then again my former tribe train people like they're training warriors to go out for a war. Especially Metal users." Sofi shrugged when she came back at him, "Hey, you never said anything about no hand to hand combat." Though, since Rowan knows her tactics pretty well, he was easy to come to her with a kick that she did not expect, sweeping her off her balance but the blonde managed to roll over and pull him down with her. 

“Well when you consider the history of what our people have done with power, I like to think the only direction left to go is forward” he spoke it in a slightly disappointed tone because he wasn’t ever one that agreed with the idea of throwing themselves into inter-species wars which didn’t seem to solve anything, just ended up with more hatred, more vendettas and more people hurt. “I think he saw someone with a whole lot of resolve, it would have been so easy for you to give up and live a normal life, you could have diversified, taken a few elements and been happy but there’s always been this drive in you to achieve more than that” which she managed tenfold first by mastering an element that wasn’t her own and then by mastering her affinity element after that “I think a lot of people look up to your dedication Sofi” he did at least, which is why he never even batted an eye when they chose her for grand master.

He could understand her hesitate when it came to everything happening in the city, she was still new to the leadership thing and now the city was facing something which could potentially become a crisis and none of them felt prepared for that “Well I’m not sure how much hoping is going to achieve, frankly I’m surprised no one has done anything about it” though he also wasn’t really sure what they could do considering it was so heavily shrouded in mystery “Someone has to be to blame right?” the important thing was not throwing blame around without proof though because that is what happened the last time that the city went into ruin and became a warzone. “I think we have to stop the us and them mentality before it becomes a problem, it shouldn’t be about allies and enemies, it’s about protecting the city we all call home” which he knew was oversimplifying it because politics didn’t work like that but it was clear as day to him what their priority should be.

“Well I’d argue everywhere is a mess, even Evermore” he spoke candidly and shrugged his shoulders “But at least the people here are trying to do something about it” which was all you could really ask for when it came to the supernatural, it wasn’t easy to make them work together the way this city did and it certainly wasn’t common to see all species trying to get along. If this was his old tribe he would be constantly on edge about the relations between them and Phoenixes and he was sure the Niveis wouldn’t be spared from pointed fingers either. When she spoke about her qualities not necessarily being applicable to leadership he shrugged his shoulders slightly “Well wanting to do something and be a good leader, that’s a good place to start” he nodded slightly “No one’s perfect Sof, don’t try to be something you can’t” he’d hate to see the pressure of this role in the community take any part of her away.

He laughed, bouncing back from her push as she reacted to his name-calling “Hey I never said it was a bad thing” he teased it while holding his hands up a little like he was surrendering. The way she talked about her elements was really interesting to him because for him, all his life had been about electricity and he couldn’t see it turning out any other way. It wouldn’t even occur to him to learn another element now because he had people to teach, people who were eager to learn and understand something he was really passionate about. Which is why he supposed they had never seen anyone master two elements before. “Yeah well most tribes aren’t lenient as you politely put it” he answered honestly with a shrug, in fact, a lot of them were damn right harsh and even cruel and they knew it. “Well you know what they say about no pain no gain and all, I’ve been shocked half to death enough times” he shook his head slightly, not fun memories.

He was having fun with their sparring session, though it wasn’t like with his students where he could predict their moves, Sofi was basically an unknown entity in a fight to him and with two elements she definitely had the upper hand. Not that he really minded, it was more of a chance for them to catch up than anything. He wasn’t expecting her to grab his foot as she went down though and so they both tumbled to the floor rolling over each other before he crash-landed on his back and groaned “Ouch” he grumbled slightly and sighed, pressing a hand against his forehead “I’m taking you down with me huh?” he chuckled shaking his head a little.

Sofi could feel herself wincing at the mention of their history, Initia weren't known for their tolerance back then either, it's the same for today but she does like to think that there was still a better way to enforce and protect their tribe at a cost that would not implicate them as much as it did in the past. It's one of the things she has been meaning to talk to the Electric Master about; a change of system, a modified version of how they do things. "Yeah, I guess when they say we make sure history doesn't repeat itself stays somewhere. I still haven't forgotten how harsh our ways could be once upon a time, I mean it's still hard for tolerance to go around even today and I'm glad Evermore is opening up. I was hoping to talk to you about that, actually... " she murmured, almost inaudibly and Rowan would've probably misheard it had he been out of earshot. "I'm glad they see my dedication as something positive, I am. For the past few months since I finally took up this… position, I thought about things, what my predecessor would have wanted, something that will also align with our vision for a better future of this tribe." 

It didn't seem impossible when she thought about it so really, she was just waiting to talk it out with Rowan because going to him for advice always seemed like the best move, especially when he knows her the best. "Our rules have always been the same and I don't want to change them drastically either, honestly the reason why we're a force to be reckoned with is due to our number, Initia tribes work best together. It's why lone Initia would never survive on their own for long before deteriorating" she gnawed on her bottom lip absentmindedly and sighed, "How about we change the way things were? Nothing too drastic, just a little modifying work to go around when it comes down to practice, council meetings, the likes, you know?" Her tone was very leveled and calm though it was clear that one look was all that it took for anyone to see how enthusiastic she was about the idea, "You said it so yourself, there's only so much hoping can do, right? Shouldn't we take this time to make sure our community is strong? With everything that is happening to the city, I don't like to depend on others to know if we'll survive. Perhaps it's time for us to instill more values in our trainings." 

Training for an Initia could be very enjoyable but it is also built around a very disciplined community most of the time, it's easy to get to the younger ones if they falter. "You're right, there shouldn't be an us and them mentality, which is why I want to break that stigma in our faction first. Starting with the Phoenix and Niveis problem. We may be open-minded and accepting, but I'm not sure if everyone else is all on board with forgetting their bad blood with Phoenixes, it's why Lydia was offered a seat at the council, that's our proof that we don't need to have enemies at all." The Niveis was still a sore subject because the Water Initia didn't seem to be too thrilled to find out about them but with enough motivation, they'll see it through. Rowan said the people in Evermore are at least trying to do something about it which gives her hope that if they strive to that path, they'll eventually find that thing the previous Grand Master envisioned so bad.

 "I'm not trying to be someone I'm not, hopefully that'll stand for more days to come. I am trying to find my way around though" she chuckled and placed one hand up as if she was trying to whisper to him, "Not gonna lie, I did my research about every other ambassadors in the city and I'm intimidated by them." No pain, no gain, ironically that's quite literally one thing every other Initia tribe everywhere else had in common. Perhaps, understandably so. "At the end of the day, it's worth it, isn't it? Though nothing good will come out of force, you have to be willing to learn it, not just for the sake of it. That's why you thrive better under another Master, Rowan. I want to make sure we have that in Evermore. So that people won't shy away." She's met a few younger Initia around the age of 8 to 12, before their initiation ceremony, they were either driven or shy. 

Her head was filled with so many ideas for them but she also had to remind herself it was never too good to fill your head with things that were not relevant to the subject at hand, which was one of the many reasons Rowan was able to take her down with his skills, something she also paid attention to others, but not before she took him down with her as well. Sofi laughed at his response and rolled over to sit up, "You know the saying, if I'm going down I'm taking you with me. It suits. You're getting better at dodging, better than last time" she point out softly and brushed the dirt off her before extending her hand out when she got up on her feet, only to playfully tease him by avoiding the contact with his hand so he wouldn't be able to get up, "Come on, we should get something to eat, and then you are going to come with to the faction house so you can help me with something. Chop chop~" 

“What everyone right now is stability, a tribe they can rely on, masters who are willing to teach people in whatever element they choose, no bias, no turning people away, we accept people and we help them to better themselves” every tribe he had seen fail before this was because they had some prejudice against a collection of elements which alienated people and made them feel like they were the odd one out. Things shouldn’t be like that, while he loved his affinity element he was a strange believer in the balance between all of them, not one without another. “Just don’t scare everyone off with too much change too fast” he spoke it softly and shrugged, it was easy to spook people when they had gotten used to something and then the rug was pulled out from under them and he was certain the last thing they needed was panicked Initia.

“You’re touching age-old conflicts there Sof, we might not see the harm between the relations with phoenixes but you have to remember there are people in the tribe who have lost so many people in the name of a pointless war” and they weren’t just going to be accepting and he feared they might even fight against the grand master if she tried to push the acceptance card too hard. “The Niveis you may have hope with, since they haven’t done anything to anger pretty much everyone in our species but we have to tread carefully” there was a delicate balance between open-mindedness and forgiving the people who wronged you. “I think it’s going to take a long period of peace before anyone is really ready to move forward” he was lucky to have not been involved in the conflicts but he had been taught the history when he was younger, every Initia was taught it.

“Well no one expects you to be the perfect leader from day one Sof” he teased back to her and shrugged slightly, she was going to make mistakes and anger some people, she might put her trust in someone she shouldn’t and stumble because of it but Rowan knew one thing for sure, whenever she was pushed down, Sofi Zahara always got herself back up again. She was independent and headstrong and in his mind, that was exactly what the tribe needed for their welfare right now. “They’re more politically scary than actually scary” he commented and shrugged “Though Anivia definitely gives me the sense she’s been through a lot more conflict than anyone should have to handle.” he sighed softly, he didn’t know anything about running a tribe really but he hoped his insights might spark some ideas in Sofi because he did believe she would be very good at this “Well having every element equally represented is definitely a good start” he nodded slightly.

He definitely enjoyed the sparring session, even if it ended up with him falling on his ass more than he would have liked, Sofi always challenged him but she also knew when to call it quits “I’ve had some practice, though it’s not exactly easy when you have a psychopathic laugh echoing in your head” he eyed her for a moment and shook his head in an amused fashion “That psychic element really becomes you” he complimented noting the way she had strengthened her own technique and made it much harder to face up to her, she had also managed to find a good balance between her two elements which he was sure wasn’t easy either. He took her hand and allowed her to pull him to his feet before she was already wandering off in the search of food “Oh good I’m absolutely starving” forgot to each lunch again, unfortunately.

He followed her, falling into a comfortable step beside her as he tucked his hands into his pockets and glanced over at her for a moment “You seem calmer, which might be worrying considering the city is quite literally going to hell” he commented thoughtfully as they headed down the little small-town liked row of shops in the Initia territory which kinda looked like it didn’t belong in a city “We can pick up some pastries from the bakery for the walk then” he commented as he pointed out the cafe over the road and then headed in the direction of it without waiting for her answer, who would turn down pastries anyway?

Rowan was right, they needed stability more than ever. A tribe such as theirs that relies so much on the community members' individual strength that makes up their tribe as a whole due to the connection needed to be well aware of their situation; to take in their welfare. "We don't turn away strangers. We welcome line Initia who come here seeking for a home and a tribe" she nodded in affirmation, most tribes find it hard to reconnect with another tribe when you keep on moving from one to another but thankfully, that didn't seem to be the case here in Evermore. Everyone was well-suited respectively. "Now that Evermore's Initia tribe is the first one ever to have all 8 elements completed in the circle, people should be hearing more about us, right? That means… more new members" The thought of having newcomers didn't seem as foreign ad she thought it would be, Sofi would be more than glad to see their community grow by learning from one another because every branch needed their stems and she has buried the roots in. Only time tells now. 

"It's nothing too much, Rowan. Just a few things we may want to instill in our trainings. You told me most tribed are the same when it comes to training, their vision is the same. From the way we heard our stories, mine focused on producing future leaders, while secluding the followers; deeming the weak unfit to command and there has been a hierarchy for so long. I don't want us to label each other, kids don't want that either. Being cast out as a child made me realize one thing; the desperation to find your place grows. That gives room for doubt and too much doubt I'd never good for progress." Out of all the ideas she has thought off, this one shouldn't be hard to get others to agree on. "We should produce equal rights to each others' roles. There will be leaders and followers, potential healers, warriors and fighters, people who dive in the intelligence that spreads. But they all should have one thing in common; moral values" she exclaimed enthusiastically, her eyes had lit up as if she was the bulb that was lit up after a while of being out of power, "And not just any moral values. Compassion, Strength, Wisdom, Loyalty… Resilience. Those types. I want to raise us to be accepting and proud of our color, no one should be ashamed." 

When talking about the conflicts of centuries-old rivalry between them and Phoenixes, the blonde knew she shouldn't expect others to get on the boat without hesitation, "I counted on that. People aren't so complicated as we may think, they're complex but they're not… rocket science. They lean towards conformism. Sociocentrism happens in every group, you will find that others would be more driven to join this particular group everyone is a part of." She knows exactly what they've suffered because of that rivalry that waged war on their lives for long, she may not have been a part of it but she's been turned away by Phoenixes during her travels all the same and it didn't take much to skim through their history when that's all they've been taught as a child. "I won't be forcing them to choose. They'll see it one day, and when that day comes, we'll be there with open arms. It'll take time but there's no harm in trying slowly." A strong tribe is made of strong members, and she is not talking about their elemental control only. 

Sofi grinned softly upon hearing that reassuring somewhat pep talk from the Electric Master, something she often gets indirectly, "I hope to be a good leader one day. Not the best one a tribe can have, but a great one they will remember. It sounds a bit dramatic I know but who wouldn't want to make their mark" A giggle escaped her as she nodded in agreement when talking about the Niveis, "They are new. They need stability and to maintain the peace they will want to tread the lines carefully by not offending anyone, it'll start with us; who used to be their lifelong enemies, and you know what? We can give them that. Start by being the better person right?" That's what Kris told her before she departed on her journey. "The war would not end just because we struck a bargain but we can definitely start trying to prevent another one from breaking out." The last thing she wanted was to lose her members to that calamity that could have been prevented. 

Sofi covered her mouth to stifle her laugh because that laugh inside his head was pretty creepy, "That's the best part. You never know what's coming. It's hard to fight when you don't want to maintain eye contact, I know" she patted his shoulders with a mock eye roll, "You surely did your best" Teasing Rowan had got to be her favorite pastime. The psychic element wasn't easy to jostle over but she's getting a hand over it which means progress, and god knows how much Sofi Zahara treasure that more than anything. When Rowan mentioned his famished state, the female Initia clicked her tongue and shook her head, "Why am I not surprised you forgot your lunch again." She lit up at the mention of pastries and nodded her head vigorously like a child who received the biggest candy ever, "I have to be calm, Rowan. If I panic, I don't think that will help others. Or maybe I am panicking… I just don't show it. Meditation helps, literally." It's why people can often find Sofi too wrapped in her own world, keeping her head leveled and organized is vital. 

 "Besides, worrying like hell and filling my head with bad stuff is detrimental to my element. I don't want to lose control, and I have to think more than just myself now. I have a whole tribe to take care of, right?" Throughout all this time, she was grateful he was with her, she needed him and she made sure to tell him that. Spotting a pastel-colored bakery towards the end of the block, she tugged on his sleeve, pointing towards the direction, "That one just opened there weeks ago." 

He had to admit he really liked the vision of the future that Sofi painted for the tribe and it gave him hope for what the tribe might be like in a few year’s time, her approach was understanding and fair, it gave every element equal attention and put decisions in the hands of people that should be making them. “I think what's been missing for a long time is a leader who is relatable” he commented softly and nodded “So many masters they train their whole lives for this but they don’t think about the contributions they could make to the field, to better it and understand it on a deeper level” he pursed his lips “I feel like every master should be doing their part not to just teach an element but to bring something to it that they can pass down to their students, who in turn can pass it further” he nodded slightly and smiled “You did that with a whole damn instinct element” he was trying to do that by modernizing the use of the electric element.

“And you wanting to be good for your people like that is what makes you a good one” he spoke softly and grinned “You always did care about everyone around you much more than yourself” he had a slightly cheeky grin on his face as he looked back at them “I believe they call it the mom friend nowadays which feels awfully fitting considering you were always checking on me to make sure I ate properly” admittedly they were roommates and it was easier for them to double up on the grocery shopping and cooking rather than do everything separately but Rowan definitely remembered her looking out for him. When she spoke about keeping the peace with the Initia who had been involved in feuds with the Phoenixes he grimaced a little “All I’ll say is be careful about how much trust you put in those people, there’s a lot of pain there under the surface” not everyone’s intentions were peace and the sooner she realized and accepted that the better in his eyes.

He had to laugh, shaking his head slightly at her glee about how her element worked and how hard it was to counter, he would give it to her, she was definitely a scary opponent and not someone who he would want to be on the wrong side of. Thankfully for him, while he and Sofi had always had a relationship consisting of joking around and making slightly detrimental jokes to each other, they had always gotten along pretty well, even when they lived together. “I’d say I better start training with a blindfold on but I think we both know I’m far too busy for that” he laughed softly “Must be interesting for you though, you’re basically making this whole element up as you go along in a way” a lot of pressure sure, but he felt like there was freedom in her discovering the element in her own way and therefore everything she taught being experimental. “Well whatever you’re doing to stay calm, keep at it” he teased with a laugh “I’m glad you’re optimistic about Evermore though, I’m not sure how I’d cope as a master without your expectations to remind me to do my best” he grinned slightly, he supposed she’d always been an elder sister like figure to him.

“Yeah please don’t give me visions of a loopy you out of control” he commented with a grumble under his breath as he followed her towards the bakery and the two of them headed inside. He walked alongside her up to the counter before looking through the glass case, eyes practically bugging because of all the delicious looking things inside before he eventually settled on ordering himself a cheese and bacon turnover and a specific cupcake which he pointed out through the glass “I’ll treat you today and you treat me next time” he commented as he glanced over at Sofi “That’ll give us the excuse to do this again” he spoke softly with a smile, he needed to make more of an effort with friends, he knew that.

She didn't expect to talk much about the tribe today. It wasn't what she thought about the first thing she saw a familiar face coming in her vision. Initially, she was supposed to reunite with her close friend and talked about how things had been going for both of them and the topic regarding the tribe's system just came out of nowhere but a part of her was also grateful because she was able to hear different opinions from him as well. Which wasn't that much different from hers because it was clear the two of them wanted the best for the tribe. "You know how those things work… it's like training an heir to succeed your legacy. A position like that couldn't be left unmanned for long, it'll turn the tribe upside down and chaos will ensue. Everyone wants to know who's the next successor, the one who would supposedly lead them the same way the previous one did" A position as a Master alone was quite strenuous, let alone the Grand Master. She definitely felt the pressure. 

"I find it impossible to believe that the previous one didn't train anyone else under him to succeed him someday" But as fate wills it, Sofi coincidentally returned to Evermore. She didn't try to question it that much because a part of her still believes everything happens for a reason. She nodded knowingly, feeling a small tinge of pride swelling in her heart because their visions aligned with each other so well, it was no wonder Sofi always found comfort in the Scot. They have their moments when a simple statement or question could very well turn into a full brawl debating session but aside from that, they were a bit alike. The blonde chuckled softly in response to his quip on her being the mom friend, how she would always look out for others before herself, it's a sentiment she likes to relate to since it reminds her that outside of the matters of her tribe, she wasn't all intimidating or stern as some people may assume her to be. 

"It's not my fault you always forget your lunch timetables, Rowan. Do I need to set an automatic alarm inside that thick head of yours just to be sure?" she shot playfully and pointed towards his head, "Please ensure that I, Rowan James McKenzie, would eat properly every single day" she mocked his voice and purposely made it sound shrill. "I may just do exactly that to you. I mean, what are friends for, right" The jest between them was pretty much never-ending. Sofi pressed her lips together and nod softly in understanding, she can't expect people who's been hurt from that to bow away and say let bygones be bygones. That's simply impossible. "I hope I won't put my trust in the wrong people, then." When he said he should start training using a blindfold, Sofi snickered because that seems highly unlikely which was later confirmed by the Electric Master who said it's going to be a stretch, "I mean if you need help with that, I have no problem helping you out. Any chance to kick your ass is always a win for me." He's right, everyday was a never-ending lesson for her, she kept learning new things regarding the mind and it helps her to venture deeper into her element.

 "I'm grateful for that. I don't think I'll ever stop learning about this element. It seems far too easy to stop now." She wasn't about to accept this as her best, especially when she knew fully well she could do better. "I'll be sure to keep myself sane for more days to come, Rowan" she gave him a mock eye roll and chuckled wryly, it wasn't easy to shut herself out of a few things when the chaotic setting in Evermore is making people antsy and that causes them to go nervous and paranoid mode 25/7 which is as annoying as any pestering would go for her. But she's getting at it. "And you'll do fine. You're better at it than you think you are. That's always your flaw, a humble flaw maybe but a flaw nonetheless" she exclaimed, Rowan always underestimated himself in almost everything it took Sofi to shake him out of that and one time, she even slapped him do he would get back to the reality, "I believe in you." An unstable version of her does sound scary but she'll keep that to herself. 

After he ordered, Sofi went up to the counter to order her own, pointing at the red velvet cheesecake on the display and an iced latte. "Do this again? You're quite ahead, aren't you?" she chuckled and shrugged casually, "You got it." The bakery wasn't too big, it was cute sized. "I know we've talked about the tribe, but I still don't know what's going on with you, what are you on hm? Got a girl somewhere?" With the teasing jab from her, it was evident that she wanted to know if he had a girlfriend or the sorts. "And before you lie, we both know that's never going to escape my detector."

“It does seem strange that someone so organized like that wouldn’t have trained a successor, you’re right” he glanced over at Sofi and then shrugged slightly, he supposed it wasn’t actually a Grand Master’s job to train a replacement, it was their job to guide their tribe and make sure all the members got the training and support they needed. “Maybe maybe the old man knew more than we gave him credit for” he suggested with a slight shrug of his shoulders because he had always tried to avoid the inner workings of running the tribe because he opposed the way his was run and therefore always advocated for the ‘go it alone’ mentality, which is why being a master in a massive tribe now felt like a lot of pressure and a change in mentality for him.

When she teased him about always forgetting to eat his meals he stared at the blonde with a disapproving look “Hey I’m not in college and struggling for cash anymore, food is pretty much the only highlight of my day sometimes so there’s no way in hell I’d miss it” he chuckled deeply and shrugged slightly though when she used his middle name he wrinkled his nose, not many people even knew what his middle name was so for her to say it so boldly was definitely her trying to cause trouble “Alright Sofiya Zahara, middle name starting with a Y that I could never pronounce, now you’re getting personal” he bumped against her shoulder with a playful smirk. It was easy to fall into this easygoing and content feeling around her as if no time had passed at all and they were back in college all over again, staying in and drinking all kinds of weird alcohol while watching movies “You know I think I’m good for now, my side is already sore” he laughed softly because he hadn’t had a good match for a spar in a long time and it was kinda fun.

“I think that’s a good thing, there’s no expectation for you to live up to so whatever you choose to do with it, that’s your path” though he imagined it was a lot of work and drive for her to keep pushing her element to its limits and figure out how far it stretched “Please do, who else is going to listen to me rant about whatever has pissed me off that day” he laughed because everyone knew when the Scot got his mind of something he could literally not stop talking about it until he had managed to fully rant it out of his system. “Well I think I’d rather doubt myself a little than come across as an egotistical maniac so” he chuckled and smiled a little “I think I’m going to call it a win” though he had to admit her saying she believed in him meant a lot because for so long it been nothing but doors slammed in his face and people telling him he would never be a master and so to have someone who was on his side no questions asked was amazing.

He laughed when she questioned him for thinking ahead “Well you know, it’s nice to actually keep in touch and catch up with friends, I feel like sometimes life gets so busy that we forget about the really important stuff” he stood next to the blonde while the lady behind the counter bagged up their treats to go and then he paid her before taking Sofi’s coffee and cake and passing it over to her and then began snacking on his own. He swore he almost choked on his food when she asked if he had a girl somewhere “Why what have you heard?” he asked it suspiciously because there had been talk about him and Giselle in the press but nothing was confirmed. His gaze was shifty as he thanked the lady at the counter and headed with the grand master out of the shop and started heading back towards the faction house.

"Maybe. He seems so mysterious the first time I met him. He looks… decent and I could feel the wisdom rubbing off me whenever I'm with his presence but the old man for sure had some secrets of his own. I wonder what… but I also wish it has nothing to do with the tribe" Sofi doesn't wish to pry into other people's safe haven; their privacy, since it is the only thing an individual id able to have but prior to his passing, the previous Grand Master was very questionable. But that's also a question for another day where she'll have her own brainstorming session just to see if she could figure that one out and separate them from her list of ongoing worries. It'd be easy to just dismiss it as a case of paranoia. "Well, he decided to choose me, in the end. Pretty sure that sends a message to the tribe somehow. A complete nobody being inducted inside the circle, much less being the one to guide it next?" Not sure if people would be more surprised than pissed, that's her question. 

Sofi narrowed her eyes and gave him a mock eye roll for the way he had acted dramatically, "Oh please, you could tell me you've finally grown up to be this responsible guy who wouldn't zapped someone because they're being an ass, and I still wouldn't believe you" she shot accusingly, because let's be real, Rowan would still do that. The blonde gasped dramatically following his remark about her name, "It's not even that hard to pronounce it?! Yekaterina, Rowan. Say it with me, Yekaterina. It's 5 syllables. Five." She was thoroughly glad that the Scot didn't act indifferent around her, that's definitely something she needed. "I'll leave you by for today but the next time we spar, I'm not sparing you any mercy" she playfully gave him a threatening look by tapping her twin blades in his vision before keeping it secure in her bag. A snicker escaped her when Rowan said there would be no one else for him to rant to, "I'm guessing not everyone is as awesome as me to have withstand that session" she even puffed out in pride. 

"Sometimes we may need an egotistical maniac but someone else fan occupy that seat for you, you just continue on being plain old you" She never evaded the chance to tease him every moment she gets so that's the outcome of it. She knows exactly how hard it could be for people to trust you can do better than what you've shown, she's been in that spot too, and it's important for her to make everyone else feel inferior here, that includes Rowan. "Oh, you have friends?" she jested playfully, knowing it's an inside joke they had a few years back because it wasn't as easy for them to make friends and mingle around since they're busy studying themselves off. 

Sofi thanked him briefly and retrieved the coffee from him as they make their exit from the bakery, the whole choking part was definitely unexpected but it only made the blonde smirks wryly, "So I hit jackpot. Oh you know, just a little bit of gossip here and there. You know I never paid attention to those rumors but a particular name caught my interest. Starts with an R that riles you up and ends with an E that you can just imagine how his reaction would be to be caught up in a scandal" she mocked and took a sip of her latte while walking down the pavement, still amused by the expression on Rowan. "And you didn't think to mention to me? Harsh, Rowan. I need you to spill, tell me about her."

The way she described the previous grand master fitted to his memories of him pretty well, the man came across as a little whimsical for someone who was supposed to be quite wise. Rowan always did like him even though he only knew him for a short time and he got the feeling that he knew what he was doing when he picked Sofi to be the next leader. “Well I’d hardly call you a complete nobody, there were people whispering about you and your two mastered elements from the moment you got here but I get the sentiment” he smiled, he did hope there was meaning to it all because he really hoped the future of this tribe could be a good one and she was instrumental in making that happen.

“Well you know, after a full three years of living alone, I started to realize that maybe I don’t want to starve to death” he laughed softly and shrugged “Old habits die hard and all but I’m getting there slowly” he eyed her at her teasing about him zapping someone because they were being an ass “Hey, that was one time and the guy deserved it, he was being a sleazeball and catcalling all the women” he rolled his eyes, it was pretty satisfying seeing the guy jump from the sudden shock and then look around for where it might have come from. He looked at her with a blank expression while she lectured him on not being able to pronounce her middle name “Whatever you say Kat” he teased with a knowing look in her direction. “I’d expect no less, honestly I was expecting to come off worse than I did from this one, you really must like me” he grinned slightly “You definitely have the patience of a saint Sof, it’s really impressive” though he figured she was just better at hiding her frustrations more than anything.

“Not sure whether to be glad you don’t think I’m an egotistical maniac or mad you just called me plain” he laughed softly, they spent most of their time together ripping on one another and trying to goad a reaction out of each other. He gave her an unimpressed look when she teased him about not having any friends “I have quite a few actually, though most of them are just drinking buddies more than anything” he commented with a shrug “Spend most of my time in the office, there isn’t much time for a social life so I pick out the special ones” Rowan was pretty close with Wes a Diviner he met a few years back and just clicked with ever since, they spent time together most weekends “Though I could share that sentiment back to you blondie, where are all your friends?” he grinned slightly at her.

He didn’t know why he was so surprised that she had seen the headlines about him, there had been press hanging outside of his house one morning which was an experience, he supposed they were trying to dig up some dirt on Evermore’s new mayor and thought they could get it from him “Yeah well I never thought talking to some girl at a party would turn out to be such a mess” he commented as he pressed a hand on either side of his face “There’s not much to say really” he shrugged between eating another bite of his food “I faked an invite to the charity ball and she was there, we talked, made some plans, I got a bit caught up the way you do” he pressed his lips together “Got home and realized I made date plans with a fake name and didn’t know how to tell her the truth so I bailed” he sighed “End of story basically” he spoke it softly.

She knew her appearance in Evermore would spark some talks amongst the Initia tribe there but she didn't expect anything full-blown either, seeing as it was always the same reaction she received when she goes here and there. However, the blonde wasn't aware that people had been talking about her even before she ascended. This was definitely news to her. "I didn't know about that one... " she trailed off absentmindedly, it never occurred to her that it wasn't the norm for someone to do something she did. "I hope I'll do good" That's one of the many things she wanted ever since she set foot in the eternal city; to make sure she thrives and finally accepted who she was. Thankfully, that's coming very well with a few supportive gestures shown. "I knew it, I knew I shouldn't have cooked because who knew he could actually turn on the stove without burning the entire place down" No cheat sheets, she had to guess.

 "So if I had left you a while longer instead of giving in because I didn't want my friend to die from starvation and malnutrition, you would've prevailed the same way you did three years ago? Damn." She recalled that time Rowan zapped the guy because he had been a huge pervert, but it was such an occasion for the Initia not to remember, especially when she made the same guy wolf-whistle every male that came into his view because homophobia reeks off him. It didn't take much, a few suggestions in his head was all that it takes and the both of them agreed he deserved it. It was just a shame it lasted for an hour only. Sofi narrowed her eyes at the other male and huffed, "Kat works too, I guess." When he pushed around by saying that she must've really liked him for letting him have a pass, the blonde couldn't refrain herself from scoffing, "Why do you think you're still sane?" 

His company works better than any other company she has ever had, though she'd never admit it outloud. "I've always been patient, I'm surprised it took you how many years to actually notice that your friend withstood a lot" she purposely stuck out her tongue childishly as her response to his remark about being likened to a saint person. Meditation and yoga helps, for sure. She wasn't exactly the saint people picture to be, she's just better at hiding her emotions and frustrations, exactly like what Rowan would've thought. "Oh please, plain Jane has been that trend for years, Rowan. Nothing wrong with being ordinary while also being extraordinary at the same time. Defeating the norm, isn't that the objective?" she teased, "Besides, you don't fit the egotistical maniac bill for me." Others, she wasn't sure but for her? Not it. "Drinking buddies are considered friends?" she jested and help her hands up in defense, "I mean, of course they are." They were both alike in some ways when it comes to work, cooped up in the office and having no actual time to socialize outside of that. "Special ones? They must feel quite special." 

When asked about her share of friends, Sofi cleared her throat and shrugged, "I have them. Definitely not many as you may have, though. Right, I also found out one of my exes is here in Evermore too." How many friends does she have again? "I'll need to make friends, don't I?" she exclaimed with a dejected look because she knew that part was inevitable, thankfully Sofi is quite tolerable so mingling never seemed to be a problem but because she could read people easily, she can be quite picky. "You faked an invite to a charity ball? Do I even want to know why you did what you did?" Sofi had her mouth agape the entire time as she tried to process everything Rowan told her, "Wow, Rowan… that sounds like a high end drama right there. Please do tell me your fake name doesn't have Smith as surname" Because so help her, she would not be able to keep this one down at all. The walk back to the faction house wasn't exactly that far so it wasn't surprising to see them seeing a few other familiar faces lounging around by the pavement. 

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