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Ophelia had always expected coming to Evermore city to be a struggle for her, she knew that the past was never going to stay buried, no matter how much she wanted it to. Her species would always be sought by those who were greedy, who wanted to change things in the world that they had no place changing and they would always be forced to run or to fight. Ophelia knew that the Ailward wouldn't just sit idly by and let her people roam the streets of the city without some sort of retaliation, she wished she knew just exactly what she was doing but she didn't, her round trip to the hospital had proven that.
Phee still hadn't uttered a word about what had happened, though she knew in her mind that her absence had been noted and she was sure there were questions on people's mind, she wasn't sure she wanted to talk about but she knew that sooner or later she would have to, her people had to know where the Ailward stood and she had to figure out what they were going to do to counter the threats that Aureus and his guard posed. It had been a couple of days since then and the cut on the back of her neck was barely visible anymore but she could see feel the pain of everthing she went through and the confusion about everything that happened to.
Today she found herself in the lounge area of the castle, it was sparcely decorated but slowly becoming the place where all of her people would come to spend most of their time, there were a few couches and armchairs along with a television that centered the room and a stereo for playing music, she particularly enjoyed the acoustics the room provided with it's stone walls. She had just settled down to read a book she had picked out from the library room when she spotted Niram wandering by, setting down her book she looked up from where she was sitting so smile at her friend, the two of them had worked together to scour the world for her amulet for the last year, so when she finally knew it's exact location, Niram had been the first one she wanted to tell, though she wasn't sure she wanted to share the rest of the story that came with it.
Knowing that keeping quiet about what happened would only instill distrust and divide her people, Ophelia figured she would start with the easiest person to tell and figure it out from there, perhaps Niram would have interesting council to weigh on the situation. "Do you have a moment?" she asked as she tipped her head up slightly to meet his gaze and then slowly rose to her feet. Of course this wasn't the place to talk, since it was a sensitive topic but she knew if she waited for another moment to come along she would probably chicken out.
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The history of the city was a rather interesting one for every species which called it home. Though it was a rather bloody one as well for humans, the Initia and the Phoenix, it seemed every species was hunting and killed it wasn’t specific to the Celestials but their deaths caused much larger issues. That history was what lead the ambassadors of every species to finally come together and create a city free of violence and bloodshed which was a noble idea but how long could something like that last? The Celestials never signed a treaty and technically they were under no one’s protection but their own.
There were many species to try and gain an alliance with since he was sure that the Aspects and the Guard were far from done with them. The Isle of Skye wasn’t meant to happen and he knew Ophelia would never put anyone at risk, she was a kind soul but she was not naïve. What she was happened to be noticeably absent as of late but Niram was smart enough to know that if Ophelia wasn’t here she was gone for a reason. Given how much time he had spent questioning her over the time of his captivity he knew better now, she would always come back.
A tingling sensation rolled down his spine as he passed the lounge causing him to back track towards the doorway, looking inside he saw the woman in question. Moving through the door he slowly approached her a small smile upturning his lip which was a rarity to be sure. Showing happiness and smiling showed a soft spot a vulnerability which was why he only did so around his species and more specifically Ophelia and Alva. Since being rewarded once more with freedom Niram had done his best to stay as close to the Wayfinder as possible but in the same turn he knew when to give her space.
“For you Ophelia, I have eternity.” He said standing not far from her as she rose from her seat. It wasn’t hard for him to catch on to her subtle cue since if she had wanted to discuss matters here she would have remained seated. “I hope this has to do with where you’ve been.” His brow rose slightly though he wasn’t judging no matter how it sounded.
Ophelia laughed gently at his words her gaze meeting his for a moment before she stepped to the side heading towards the exit to the room and out into the corridor. "It has everything to do with that" she answered with a defined nod of her head before she pressed a finger against her lip implying that it wasn't something she was comfortable speaking about where the others might hear. She continued to walk through the castle halls towards where she had set up an office, her heels making loud clicking noises as she walked the sound bouncing off the old stone walls. The castle had a lot of undecorated and unused rooms right now but slowly they were turning each and every one of them into something, it was amazing to see how much had changed in the building in just a few weeks. Ophelia personally resided in the far left wing, she liked the way the light would shine through the windows at dusk and dawn and she liked that it was close to the library which contained loads of books collected over the years from previous residents.
As she walked alongside Niram she thought to herself how glad she was that it was her that had been taken and not one of the other celestials, she knew that her life was worth more to Aureus than most and that the fact that she was still alive came from the fact that they needed a wayfinder to fix the timelines and the fact that one of Aureus' guards seemed to have some sort of concern for her wellbeing, in a strange way. Without realizing she reached up to touch the scar on the back of her neck which she had gained from her trip to the Ailward manor wincing a little as her fingertips ran over the wound.
She didn't say much more on the topic until they finally reached the office, opening the door she walked in scanning her eyes over the spacely decorated room, there was a desk which had a stack of papers on it, mostly they hadn't been touched since they had been put there. There were a few chairs placed around a coffee table and a kettle plugged into the wall sat on the desk. It was all she really needed right now, it wasn't like she had money to throw around, considering there were far more critical things they needed, like weapons and technology. Clearing her throat she waited for him to come into the room before closing the door and locking it, it wasn't that she didn't trust the other celestials so much as she didn't want to worry them or see their leader as weak, she knew she would tell them on her own time, it just wasn't that day.
Ophelia crossed the room taking a seat in one of the chairs seated around the coffee table and she ran a hand through her hair as she considered how she wanted to start the story. "Aureus had one of his guard dogs threaten me at knife point to pay them a visit" she admitted as she leaned back in the chair watching the other celestial for his reactions to her words, she knew that Niram hated the guard with a passion, she wasn't sure how he would handle the idea of her being kidnapped by them. "I could have fought that one alone off or run but he wasn't alone" she added her words calm despite the anger she felt about all that had happened, the words 'our people were in danger' didn't need to be spoken, she knew he would understand her willingness to risk her own life if it meant protecting her people.
To say that Niram was a devout follower to his Wayfinder would be an understatement, not only was Ophelia important to the species as a whole and the balance of life but he was one he could call a true friend. Friends were something that Niram didn’t often make and throughout his life most had grown old and died taking the secret of what he was with them. That was the only reason he was able to consider trusting again, those he had granted a sliver of true to had kept it to themselves even when it could have brought them a better life. Ophelia knew of his struggles through life but there were somethings he didn’t share with even her.
Nodding as she spoke of how what she wanted to discuss was intertwined with why she had been gone so long he silently followed. There were few times in the past when Ophelia didn’t feel comfortable speaking out in the open which meant that what was on her mind would soon be weighing heavily on his own. The soft echo of her heels on the stone floor oddly put him at ease since it was something to focus on other than the unspoken words between them and it helped him not to dwell on what might be to come. For the most part he believed himself relatively level headed but there were certain subjects where that did not apply and when it came to the safe of his friends and fellow species members he was more than biased.
The silence between them as they walked was a comfortable one each knowing the other well. Ophelia’s presence was comfort to his normally over active mind and slowed it down enough for him to just enjoy the moment. Ophelia was one of the most selfless people that Niram knew which was why he was so proud to call her his friend and so protective of her as well. Other the years many had the misguided impression that he had feelings for his Wayfinder and he did but they were all platonic seeing Ophelia is both a protective older sister and a sister in need of protecting. From the corner of his eye he watched as she reached up to rub the back of her neck which was not a normal gesture for her but he filed that away for later.
Reaching Ophelia’s desired destination, he wasn’t too surprised to be setting into the office, it made the most sense that they would be speaking in here. This was one of the rooms he felt the most comfortable in since like his own it was lacking any personal touch. He had never been a man of means nor did he need much to be happy but the world now seemed to be one where no one ever had enough no matter how much they had and he didn’t understand it. As Ophelia locked the room he knew this was a conversation he needed to ready himself for since he had the sneaking suspicion he was not going to like where their conversation headed.
Waiting for Ophelia to sit first as was the custom he was taught through decades of observing others he then sat down in the chair across from her a hint of nervousness seeming to shine through. The Wayfinder always held such a confident aura when around the rest of the species but Niram knew that sometimes she had doubts and worries as did everyone in life but her station left little room to show it. The species looked to her for strength if there was one thing he had learn over the years it was that Ophelia never wanted to viewed as weak but a person could only remain strong for so long.
Strong and nimble fingers curled around the edge of arm rest that they sat upon as Ophelia began her story. “Because imprisoning us for decades just wasn’t enough they threaten the only person we have to look to?” There was a hint of a growl to him voice but he was able to stamp it down in order to allow Ophelia to continue her story but the anger boiled inside of him breaking his usual calm. Though she justified herself Niram didn’t need an explanation, he knew Ophelia could fight and if it had been an option she would have done so. However he also knew the last thing they truly needed was farther conflict with the Guard. “They’re never alone it seems, they travel in packs like stray dogs.” There was no way to hide the distain in his voice and he didn’t even try his eyes moving over Ophelia and trying to access if any damage had been caused.
“And what did the great Aureus wish to discuss in his forced time with you? How we need to call be returned to cages though we've done nothing? We never asked to be hunted or for our lives to be used for the betterment of others. I didn't lose much of a life but so many did, we have younger stars who don't even remember what the world is like since they've barely been in it.” The Aspect had known the position he was placing Ophelia in, she could come willingly or put her people at risk, a people she had already risked everything to free. Every time she returned in time to fix a rift she risked her life but she did it because that was her cross to bear knowing one day it would likely kill her. Ophelia’s purpose had nearly killed her before and Aureus blamed her for the fact that she hadn’t fixed the impossible but she hadn’t meant for it to happen either.
It was common for people to assume that Ophelia surrounded herself with male friends because she wanted attention, or felt the need to assert her station with the presence of men but she had never made decisions on who she kept close based on their gender but rather she just found it easier to get along with men, it hadn't ever been a question of seeing them romantically for her, in her eyes, Niram was one of the closest things she had to a family member. Ophelia knew she would never really have family, history had proved that there was never more than 1 wayfinder alive at any one time and they were unable to alter the timeline of another wayfinder's life, she would never know the wayfinder before her, nor would she ever know the one that came next, instead she would find a family of her own, not by blood but by bond, people she would protect at the cost of her own life if she had to.
It was comfortable as they both walked through the halls together, both lost in their own thoughts, she found that silence was something her and Niram were able to stand where others may feel the need to fill it, sometimes not saying anything meant a lot. Ophelia remembered nights on the boat where they would both just stand side by side watching the ocean, the stars shining brightly in the sky above them, it was breathtaking and neither had needed to say a word to convey that. Today however was not the day for silence and Ophelia knew that she had to figure out what her next move was going to be when it came to the Ailward, she was sure now that one way or another, they were going to end up in some form of confrontation with Aureus and his dancing monkeys, she just needed to play her cards right to ensure that her and her people made it through alive.
As she seated herself in the chair opposite Niram she spoke of what had happened, watching him and the expressions that crossed his face to determine how we was going to handle what she spoke. Of course she had expected the anger from him, he was firey when it came to talking about the guard and rightly so in her mind, she knew she had to keep a level mind as an ambassador but there were times when ever she wanted to scream and shout when she thought about the fate that the Ailward had condemned her people to. How hard it must have been for them to spend every night and day in complete darkness, never able to feel the warmth of the sun on their face or see the glittering illumination of the night sky. Ophelia felt like she was going insane in the years she searched for them and she wasn't the one trapped, she couldn't even imagine how they coped in those cells, not even knowing if she was alive to save them.
Ophelia nodded gently as he spoke, she could hear the anger and despise in his voice, it was by no means subtle but she appriciated his effort to hold it back. "I'm not sure if their intention was initially threatening" she answered thinking about how Aureus had almost looked shocked when she had been brought into his presence and the way he had argued with his guard about some kind of debt. As she looked back at Niram she cleared her throat before continuing to speak "Well since the fall of Skye their numbers have dwindled but they are still a force" she spoke before nodding her head slightly, at least there was a small amount of positive information gained from the whole ordeal, though she would rather not repeat having the life quite literally sucked out of her.
"Well the main topic was about the Isle" she answered bluntly her lips pressing into a hard line for a moment, she had voiced her guilt about what happened only a few times since it had happened, she knew that most of the celestials felt little to no pity about what had happened to the guard. "He blames us.." she trailed for a moment halfway through the sentence before starting it again "He blames me for the death of all of those guards and he's willing to punish all of us to ensure I atone for it" she shook her head a little, she knew that she had been reckless in her attempts to protect and save her people but whoever had really killed all those people was far more of a threat and Aureus still remained in his bubble of beliefs, unable to see past his predudice for the Celestials.
As Ophelia went to explain the next part of the story she went silent for a moment, wincing a little as she thought about the events that had unfolded and how she probably wouldn't still be here if it hadn't been for the guard tearing Aureus' hands from her. "I gave as good as I got, I won't let him speak about us like we are vermin meant to be exterminated" she added her eyes showing a small part of the anger that was there inside, the part of her that was furious at Aureus for betraying her and breaking her heart, those were the things she never spoke about, not to Niram or William or any of the other celestials, she had been foolish to believe in the Ailward, she had lead her people to their fate and she had to live with her making one of worst decisions she could have.
Ophelia took a breath before she spoke again "In his rage at what I was saying Aureus put his hands on me" she looked back at him with a confident look, confirming that he didn't need to go into crazy protective mode, though she wasn't sure it would be enough to stop him worrying about what happened to her. Naturally her hand went to the wound on her back of her neck for a moment, she was glad it was almost healed. "Last time that he'll lay a hand on me I believe" she spoke almost devoid of emotion, waiting for Niram to take in everything she had told him.
Niram was the sort people didn’t necessarily make friends with, he had sharp edges and an offsetting attitude and appearance. Intimidating from the start helped people to realize he wasn’t a man to mess or take lightly which kept many from doing stupid things. However he couldn’t protect Ophelia or their species from the Ailward or from the Guard and that bothered him more than he would admit. No one could protect everyone but what they had gone through was something they didn’t deserve from just being alive. All Celestials were thrown to this planet for a purpose but what that was he didn’t know.
Ophelia was a woman of vision and he knew she was the Wayfinder they needed now, she was calm when necessary but she would never allow someone to bully or belittle her people. She was strong in a way few realized which gave her an edge. Many mistook silence for weakness but when Ophelia was quiet she was thinking which could be far more dangerous than any weapon in creation. As much time as he and Ophelia spent talking they spent in silence as well and it was a welcome feeling somethings didn’t been to be vocalized to be understood and it was good bond to have with another. If she didn’t way to worry the rest of the species what she had to say was very important and could be taken in negative way.
Niram seethed silently in his chair closing his eyes briefly and taking in a deep and calming breath. Anything to deal with his people, specially Ophelia had a way of hitting just the right nerve. It was like someone pushing your younger sister on the playground, you don’t take it sitting down and you don’t take it well. It wasn’t that Ophelia couldn’t take care of herself, he knew that she could but the Ailwards were something else altogether and the Guard was made up of all species and strong especially in groups. When the Wayfinder had to remain calm, Niram did not and sometimes he was sure his friend found it amusing when he spoke things she seemed to wish that she could. They had a balance, he was the brutally honest and open one and she was the diplomatic side of the coin holding somethings inside. While the majority of the Celestials had been locked up Ophelia had been locked out so to speak, thought dead fighting to get back on her own. She had been trapped in a different way until to help those she cared about until recently.
As Ophelia spoke of being unsure that was their intentions he couldn’t control the rolling movement of his steely hues. “Yes it sounds as if their intentions were trying inviting like offering you afternoon tea.” His cynicism and sarcasm truly knew no end and more often than not he did try and dampen it around Ophelia, that and her natural state of being just seemed to drain it out of him sometimes. “An army is still an army no matter the size.” Though he knew the fall of the Isle had hit them hard since he had seen firsthand how many guards had been on the island when it met its end. Despite his hatred for them he knew that some of them had been innocent in what had happened to them and hadn’t deserved that end.
Niram wasn’t surprised at the topic which took precedence over all others. It wasn’t something you necessarily over looked, especially if your people were the ones that fell. Not everyone who had lost their lives that day deserved to die so though he never voiced it he did regret those losses. “Of course, he blames us.” A heavy sigh left his lips since if Aureus knew anything it should have been that Ophelia wasn’t in the business of killing people let alone destroying a whole island. Yes, as the Wayfinder she would do what she must but the total destruction of the Isle was not in her plans. “Phe….” It wasn’t often he addressed her as anything short of her fully name but he could almost feel the weight that came with those words. Reaching forward he took her hands in his and gave them a squeeze, “That blood isn’t on your hands and their deaths were never your intention. I don’t care if he blames you or not, it wasn’t your fault nothing you did was intentional.” His blood began to boil as she spoke of Aureus punishing them all to get to her.
As silence spread between then he waited as he always did, silence with Ophelia often meant she was gathering her thoughts or trying to figure out how to word things in a way that wouldn’t cause his short temper to ignite. A smile stretched across his lips a chuckle leaving him despite the serious matter the flicker of anger in the Wayfinder. “Oh of that I have no doubt, I’ve been on the wrong side of you only once my dear and that was more than enough.” Lightening the mood was not in his list of skills but he figured he may as well try. He could tell there was a deeper anger she hid well but he was a master of that at this point and could easily spot it. There were many things Ophelia and Niram kept from one another and everyone else so whatever secret Ophelia was keeping was hers and hers alone and he would never push the matter.
Niram’s jaw clenched so tight he feared that it might break as Ophelia spoke, the Ailward would never want to find himself in the same position he had put Ophelia in. Niram was not a man of mercy or kindness when it came to people harming those close to him. Catching the movement of Ophelia’s hand towards the back of her neck for the second time today he knew there was something there. He knew the mannerisms and movements of his friend and that one was out of the norm which was why it caught his attention earlier. “Ophelia, show me your neck.” Part of him didn’t want to see and didn’t want to know but he needed to.
They needed to do something, they couldn’t live in fear of the Ailward or the Guard but in the same turn if forced to fight there would be more Celestials who lost their lives than Guards. Many were still young having never lived outside of a cage and others had no reason to ever hold a sword or weapon of any sort. “Phe…what are we going to do? We can’t run and a confrontation would only lead to a massacre.” The Celestials weren’t known for their strength, they were a weaker species when stacked up against many others in the city which gave them little advantage and not much to work or bargain with.
At times Ophelia didn't know why she was chosen to be the wayfinder, she had accepted her responsibility with grace but it didn't mean that she understood it, sometimes she wasn't even sure she wanted it. Ophelia was good at talking, her presence tended to be naturally be calming but she also had a tendancy to lose sight of the bigger picture and let her feelings cloud her judgement, she had done so several times in her history and every time she had done so there had been a new regret added to her collection. Ophelia however knew she would do anything and everything she had to do to protect her people, not just because it was her supernatural duty to do so but also because she cared about her people and their wellbeing far beyond her own.
It didn't however stop the dark haired celestial from dreaming, dreaming of a life where she didn't have to try and constantly fight battles she didn't want to have to fight. Sometimes she would imagine what her life would be like had she never have been a celestial, choosing instead to study and find her own way in the world, perhaps find a husband and have a family. But dreams were simply that, dreams. Ophelia knew where her loyalties were and she wouldn't have traded her disfunctional supernatural family for anything.
But as she sat across from Niram her gaze meeting his every so often she felt a stab of the misery of being a celestial brought, the idea that you were constantly in danger no matter what you did soon grew tiring and the two of them had lived through years and years of it. Ophelia had lost so many of her people through the years to greed and selfishness and there was only so much she could do to save them, she had accepted this life a long time ago but it didn't mean that she thought it was by any means fair. "Oh believe me, I am not foolish enough to underestimate them" she answered in response to his comments on the Ailward army, she knew the Ailwards would always be a force, somehow they inspired loyalty in so many despite their twisted morals. "But I do believe that there is some loyalty waivering within their ranks" she commented with a slight nod of her head, noting how Aureus' guard had been almost cold with the aspect.
"Well I'm not exactly blameless in this whole thing" she commented in the strongest voice she could bring up as they spoke, she knew that there were a lot of innocents on the isle and she knew that she would carry their deaths on her concience for a long time to come, probably until the day she died when they eventually come around. Feeling his fingertips meet hers she allowed a small smile to cross her features, she could always rely on Niram to lift her spirits no matter what it was that was getting her down. "Without my magic there's no way they could have ever got their hands on enough power to break Venetus' barrier" she commented biting gently on her lip, she knew it showed weakness to feel pity for those you were essentially at war with but she couldn't help how she felt about everything that had happened.
A smirk however allowed itself to creep over the wayfinder's expression as she heard his teasing and she leaned over to gently nudge his shoulder "Well aparently ambassadors in this city have to be terrifying to make any kind of impression" she laughed gently shaking her head, Ophelia was determined and passionate but she was also small and slim and didn't give the impression of terror in any sense of the word. Phe however prided herself in her skills of archery and energy manipulation, she was arguably one of the best fighters they had, even against some of the men, mostly down to her sheer will to be able to hold her own. The real power from celestials however came in their bonds with one another, their community was pretty close knit and they would all protect each other without a question.
Ophelia could see the anger that bubbled underneath the surface of her friend, she knew how much disdain he held towards the entire guard, he hadn't exactly been shy about showing it in the past and she also know how protective he got of those he was close to, she remembered one time when Alva had been threatened and Niram had become almost an entirely different person in the blink of an eye. That memory was exactly what made her shake her head when he asked about her injury her eyes searching his for whether he was going to make her confirm what she knew neither of them really wanted to say out loud. Seeing the seriousness in his gaze she sighed gently before she turned slightly moving her hair over her shoulder to show the neatly stitched up wound on the back of her neck.
As she turned back she sighed softly at response to his words, she honestly didn't know how you fought a force like the Ailwards and she knew it was impossible to keep running, the Ailward had caught her people once before, they would easily catch them again, her only hope laid in the agreements in place in Evermore City, knowing that one faction couldn't just wage war on another faction without breaking the peace treaty was the only sliver they were managing to cling to and it didn't mean much without the support of the whole city. "Well first things first, we need to figure out how we go about getting our faction on that peace treaty" she answered with a defined nod of her head "and to do that we are going to need support from other factions in the city, alliances of sorts" she hated the idea of having to put her trust in people she didn't know but they were left with little other option.
Nothing in the life of a Celestial was easy, you were thrown to the earth with no memories, some were found by those who helped them and others were found by those who wished to use them. The only thing you ever remembered was your name and rest you had to learn as you went. Languages seemed to be easier to them than they were to others but he figured that had something to do with the fact that stars were in the night sky in every country. Their greatest power was also what caused others to hunt them, their death gifting the killer with the ability to go back to a point in history. So many had been killed for the selfish needs of others, the death of an innocent changing history.
Many of the younger Celestials had been seen such a thing take place but Niram had witnessed it firsthand more than once. By natural the Celestials were more often than not a calmer, kinder species but so many of them had been changed by the world they lived in. The eternal state of running and fighting for their lives, of being betrayed by those they trusted, it all had a way of wearing on a person, even one who was immortal. How many nights while caged on the Isle of Skye had he wished to have been born anything but a Celestial? Niram had always been proud of what he was but on the Isle that had been crushed out of him for a time and that was what he held the most anger over.
Never had their lives been easy and it was unlikely that their lives ever would be and that as a hard thing to make peace with. Even if you have been living your life in that way which he and Ophelia had been doing for centuries. It was a bittersweet existence, they didn’t know why they were here or how it had occurred and all they truly had was one another. There were more hard times than there were good times but the elder Celestials tried to best not to let that show to the younger Celestials since some still held high hopes for life. Deep down Niram hoped that the younger Celestials could have the chance at a normal life, it was something the elder stars had never had but this city could gift them all with a chance at the lives they never had. A dark brow rose as Ophelia spoke of a waiver in loyalty, “Enough to use to our advantage?” Some of the Guard had treated them with a little respect even when captive but not all.
The scorpion fell silent as Ophelia spoke, no she wasn’t blameless but it shouldn’t rest solely upon her shoulders. Phe was more likely to protect a life than take it, she was the better of the two of them when it came to morality. “Phe, if you had known then what you know now I know that you would have found another way. There was no way for you to foresee the outcome.” Innocent lives were always lost in war, it was just a part of it but not as many as had been lost on the Isle. Even as heartless as most believed him to be he had never believed the Isle could or would ever fall. Lives were lost on both sides, lives that didn’t have to be lost.
Lips curved into a smirk as a rumbling chuckle left him, “Ah, well you’re already a step ahead then because you had a way of making blood freeze in the vein with just a look.” Winking over at her, he was glad for the elevated mood. Given Ophelia’s size it would be easy to underestimate her but the woman was strong in more ways than Niram could name and her determination in itself was something to fear. Phe was a great example of the saying, if there’s a will there’s a way. The two had sparred often over the years and Niram was not one to go easy on Ophelia just because of her being a woman or his Wayfinder. In a true fight against a true opponent who wished to do her harm they wouldn’t care about any of that and so Niram pushed it to the back of his mind when they fought. She was not a woman to underestimate since she would have you flat on your back laid out on the floor before you knew what even happened.
Despite the anger which seemed to be second nature to him these days he was still able to think with a relatively clear mind. His actions however as not always thought out and often clouded by emotion unless he had an anchor to keep him steady and grounded. Ophelia was one of the few who could talk him down and cause him to see reason, she allowed his anger to fester only taking action when she knew it was becoming a risk. As the Wayfinder Ophelia had no magic to control or calm her species she had just always been able to talk him down because he allowed it. There were times when his actions were swifter than her voice but those times were few and far between. As Phe turned a bit and moved her head he could see the thin puckered line of a healing scar. His jaw clenched tightly as he closed his eyes. It took everything within him not to sweep everything off of the small coffee table in a fit of rage but that wouldn’t do them any good. Releasing Aureus’ head from his body would do Niram a world of good but he had the feeling that wasn’t in the cards any time soon. “You tell me not to hate them but they continue to make that increasingly harder and harder to do.”
How much longer could the peace remain with the Celestials and the Ailwards within the city? If they made another move on Ophelia peace would no longer be an option because Niram wasn't a man to sit about and wait for things to get bad, he was a man of action, mostly violent action when it came to his species. "The city if full of species with histories similar to our own, being hunted and forced to run. Both the phoenix and initia have experienced a bloody history, aligning with one would put us at odds with the other though and that's a position we can't afford to be in." Lifting his right hand he rubbed his chin thinking. "The vampires aren't necessarily against anyone from what I can tell and neither are the Dhampirs, Diviners, Therianthropes nor Nephilims. Though what the willingness or likelihood of gaining assistance happens to be I don't know." Any of the species could turn them down by not wanting to become involved with someone else's battle but he hoped some would be able to see the justification in their cause.
Upon Niram's question the wayfinder furrowed her brow for a moment, she honestly didn't know the answer to that question, she knew that there was definitely not the kind of cult loyalty there used to be in the Ailward guard, but was it enough that anyone would actually change sides? She wasn't certain of that. "I think there's enough hesitance there that it might be worth keeping the door open" she answered with a brief nod of her head, she didn't know what would ever come of it, if she was sensible she would stay away and not get involved in the Ailward guard's buisness, she had the feeling that Aureus wouldn't appriciate her interfering in any of his affairs.
Ophelia had gone over the way everything had gone down with Skye over and over again in her mind and every time she did she couldn't help but be reminded of the decisions she had made to lead them to the inevitable end, there had been warning signs but she had been so desperate to free her people that she had chosen to live with those warnings. "When the most powerful diviners in the world want to cut you a deal without making you sell your sell you should question it" she sighed gently and shook her head, she knew the only person who would ever really know what happened in the lead up to the fall of Skye was her and she was more than happy to carry the guilt of what happened if it meant that her people could sleep in peace and find some normality to their lives.
Ophelia laughed gently as he spoke of her fierceness, the wayfinder had quickly learned that being seen as weak made celestials easy targets and she refused to be an easy target, she had learned to fight, mostly with weapons she could use from a distance as she wasn't heavily built enough to be a close handed combat fighter. Phe however prided herself in being a master over celestial energy, she had always embraced her power rather than fight it, she was proud of what she was and she refused to let anyone diminish her light, not for any reason. "Wouldn't want anyone to think I claimed a title I didn't deserve" she answered him letting a smile curve her lips for a moment "We should however start some combat skill training in the castle, I'm not the only one who needs to be concerned the movements of the Ailward and some of our ranks have long suppressed their abilities" it made her sad to think about her people feeling like they had to hide what they were, it was something she would never do, consequences be damned.
Ophelia remained silent as she allowed him to gather his thoughts about what had happened, of course he didn't know half of the story, being that touching the aspect of time had caused some kind of temporal paradox causing harm to them both. Phe however knew it was Aureus who had started the fight, the moment his fingertips had touched her she had been powerless against the force and so had he been, if it hadn't been for the guard in the room, Ophelia was almost certain she wouldn't have left that mansion alive. "I hate them" she answered with a sharp nod of her head "They took everything from me and they remain an eternal threat to the wellbeing of my people" she added explaining her rational "But coming down to their level only leads us to mutual destruction, you know that" she met his eyes for a moment trying to get across her point, they stood no chance of taking down the Ailward right now and Ophelia wasn't looking for revenge, she never was, personal feelings aside, she knew that coming to an agreement with the other factions was probably the only way to make it through alive.
Ophelia listened intently as Niram spoke of each of the species, rolling through the possibilities in her mind. She certainly had no intention of allying with the initia, the memories of what the intia had done to her in the name of their wars was almost as bad as what the Ailward had done to her. "Regardless of whether we want to get involved in their war, celestial energy is the only cure to a gold poisoned phoenix" she bit gently on her lip "Or that's what the old texts I've read from Emilia's journal say" she had never actually seen it in action "We certainly have more to offer them than most" it was a possibility, she didn't know whether or not it was good one however. She nodded in response to his words about unallied factions, from what she had seen so far, most factions in Evermore tended to stick to their own areas of interest.
"The vampires have a strong presence in the city, they are an interesting prospect" she nodded slightly before considering the other options. "I also believe that the diviners would be interested in our energy" she spoke a little more hesitantly about that one, the last diviners she had made a deal with had screwed her over royally and she would certainly think twice before trusting one again. "I'd also like to reach out to Violet from the human faction if possible, if anyone can understand and support our presence in the city, I believe it will be the humans" she nodded before lifting her gaze towards him waiting for his thoughts on the idea.
Niram had the good fortune of not laying eyes on any of the Ailward so all he currently had to go on as far as their state of being was Ophelia’s observations which he trusted above all others. She was intuitive and more aware than many gave her credit for. There was a reason the Celestials had flourished under Phe’s care until her untimely disappearance. “Though I may like to view them all as enemies I know some actually have a conscience.” It seemed that could be used to their advantage, it meant at least not all of the Ailward wanted them hunted down which was a good sign.
Everyone had to live with the mistakes they made in the past but for Ophelia the weight of what she had caused was no doubt crushing. She was a woman devoted to her people but she wasn’t cruel or heartless and valued all life, so to be the cause of so much loss was hard to handle and it was something Niram had no ability to help with. “Do you really believe they would have told you the truth? Or the full disclosure on what was to come should you follow through? You had a duty to your people who were suffering and without light, you did what you believed was best at the time. You are a great leader Ophelia and you give this species hope each and every day, you give me hope and we both know that’s no easy task.” He said with a slight upturn of his lips and a teasing tone to his voice.
A deep rumbling chuckle left Niram which was a rarity and always had been since he wasn’t the first to find humor. With Ophelia he had always been able to drop his guard to a comfortable level, they two had one another’s back since they moment they had met and that was something which would never change. “No one could ever accuse you of that Mi’lady.” The teasing tone returned to his voice but the conversation once more took a serious tone. Ophelia had a point, many of the Celestials had been locked up so long they either never learned how to use their celestial energy correctly or had suppressed it as a survival instinct. Niram knew it was best to know how to defend yourself with both, sometimes the option of weapons was available but other times you had to create your own. “It think that would help us all, even those of us who depended on our skills focusing our own energy are somewhat out of practice. They say to hope for peace and prepare for war, seems the saying has logic to it.” Though more than likely they would be facing battles head before they would be allowed peace.
Ophelia had always been one of the few who could take Niram’s anger in strides and then talk him down. He was a man who could see and understand the logical reasoning in things and often times that was enough to calm his anger. Phe was right they had so much cause to hate the Ailwards, they were a species which spoke of being for peace and yet were hypocritical having imprisoned an entire species to insure a peace which had never truly existed in the first place. When faced with a person from his past who held little to no memory of him it brought on a great amount of rage and hatred but Phe was right they couldn’t start a war they had no way of winning. He seemed to deflate like a balloon but his eyes remained on his Wayfinder glad she had returned in one piece.
As Niram had spoken he watched as the wheels turned within Phe’s head thinking over the options before him and what might be their best course. Despite their natural unease around other species since so many had hunted and killed their kind, they had to pick the lesser of the evils and that one which would insure their survival. “Much like us the phoenix have been hunted for their differences, their history is as bloody and war torn as our own…though you know that better than most.” He said just now remembering exactly what it had been that Phe had been trying to stop when she was trapped. “The vampires seem to be an old and noble species and they hold strengths we could never hope to possess. They could make a strong ally.”
Considering her words on the diviners and the humans he listened to her reasoning as he thought for a moment. “With the magic of the diviners and our celestial energy it would increase the strength of both of our species but it’s a risk after what happened. Though it’s hard to know the measure of a person without meeting them.” He had read a lot on the species and the changes which a strange comet had brought about but he was weary of diviners after what the Isle had brought. “The humans are very well organized and seem to function below the radar of most of the species within the city. They had their own massacre and understand what it means to find other means of strength.” Despite the humans being weak he had always respected their heart and will to survive since they were fighting from the moment they took their first breath until the moment they died. There was no reprieve since even if they weren’t fighting against a physical being they were illnesses and countless other things which could end their lives.
Ophelia nodded in response to his words, her eyes closing for just a moment to picture the figure who had saved her the night the Ailward Aspects had turned on them. "Sadly I don't think a conscience will be enough" she answered honestly releasing a breath as her eyes opened once more. At first after the fall of Skye, Ophelia had barely been able to speak, racking her brain for the reasons why, even now she still didn't have them, what did the aspects do to earn the wrath of the oldest diviners in existence. "No" she answered abruptly pressing her lips together "They wouldn't have disclosed anything at all" she was sure about that much, it wasn't the kind of business she was sure she would have wanted to know about.
Phe returned Niram's smile gently, she knew that he always saw the world as a very dark place, so if she could bring hope to someone like him, then perhaps she had a shot at figuring out the rest. "Thanks" she followed up in a gentle tone, it wasn't exactly convincing but she hoped it would be enough to show that she wasn't going to let the guilt of what happened crush her. Ophelia laughed at Niram's teasing tone, shaking her head just a little "Oh believe me, I have the feeling they will try" she followed up his words with a slight nudge to his elbow. Her brow furrowed just a little when he spoke of war, in her mind she knew one day they would likely end up there but part of her still hoped she could find a way to reason through it all.
"You're better on the weapons front than I, so perhaps we should both hold sessions for the others, keep them optional, but it'd give them the chance to practice without fear" she nodded a little, when celestials used their energy they would glow so brightly that they could be seen through walls, Phe had installed reflective surfaces in their training rooms to prevent that happening but there was still hesitance to use their supernatural powers. Phe was rarely the type to lose her temper, she did her best to remain calm in all situations, to think about her actions before making them, Niram however often became the opposite and used his fists before his mind, she had learned a long time ago that she had to talk to him down quickly but the two of them had been through much and in that time they had learned signs from one another, tells they could pick up on without much thought.
Phe listened as Niram considered each of her thoughts when it came to the other factions in the city, she knew that some were more risky than others, they could strategize the order that they approached each of them appropriately. "It seems as though our first choices are either the vampires or the humans" she summarized his comments tilting her head to the side a little, debating whom would be a stronger ally for them, the vampires had the strength they needed to fall back on but the humans controlled most of the power positions in the city, including the mayor, district attorney and most importantly, the ambassador council. "Of course we first need to determine what it is we can offer in return for an alliance" she silenced for a moment before following her words up "and determining whether we can even trust any of these people" she knew the rumors of Evermore City, not long ago it had been a war ground, she wasn't intending to step into the middle of that.
The instrument of the freedom of the Celestials was also the instrument of destruction for a good portion of the Ailward Guard. That was neither here nor there nor something either of them could change. Maybe the death of one of their kind could change it but that was a step they could never take and he hoped none of the Ailward would either since that would escalate things to a whole new level.
Ophelia was one of the few who had ever made it past the wall Niram had created the night he watched one of his only friends murdered for their ability to change the future. Ophelia understood lose and had probably seen more Celestials die than Niram would like to know. The fact that she could still remain steadfast and a pillar for her kind was beyond impressive and inspiring for a guy like him. Ophelia was more his sister than anyone had ever been and likely more than anyone ever would be. He hated to see her beating herself over anything else alone over protecting them. “Well then let them try, they’ll have me to deal with.” Ophelia was born to be a leader and should anyone question that position in his presence they wouldn’t like the reaction they would be met with.
A chuckle left him, “I doubt most think of me without fear, which is only due to minimal fault of my own.” His gruff nature likely had a lot to do with that along with the unease he seemed to cause within other. “I have the feeling my opinional sessions might be a bit on the small size.” He was working on his lack of social graces and trying to keep his gaze from being so intense and causing people to back off. Niram wasn’t a bad man he just wasn’t used to the idea of family or a close-knit community, he had been opening himself to the idea when everything went wrong.
The only thing within this city which made him feel safe was the research he had done on the other species. He learned as much as he could about their infrastructures, strengths and weaknesses which left like it at least gave him some sort of edge should something go wrong as it always seemed to. "The humans can easily understand our struggle since they've been seen as the weakest within the city despite the power they hold." Being one who had been underestimated countless times he understood that very well. "Trusting people isn't my strong suit and whether or not we can trust them, we unfortunately need them." Soon enough they would sort it all out but at least now they had a place to start and some prospects.
Ophelia often felt like the whole world was rested on her shoulders, the wayfinder found herself making decisions she would rather not more often or not, she had long ago accepted that it was her fate to care for her people first, to make sure that she fought with her every breath for their protection and their chance at happiness. Over time, Ophelia had become somewhat distant from the world, she as so focused on caring for her people that she had little time for going out socializing or thinking about life outside of being a leader. The thing that made her life so blessed was the celestials she had met her years, the ones who had followed her through every up and down and become some of her most treasured friends. Some she had painfully lost and others were a constant.
Niram was one of those constants for Ophelia, someone she could always count on for honest opinions and guidance. She valued her council far more than she was sure he knew. She didn't always tell him everything up front, because she knew that timing was important with him as he tended to make rash decisions before thinking them through, but through the years the wayfinder and the pirate had discussed the full spectrum of topics and she trusted him, she trusted him with her life and she knew if anything were ever to happen to her, he would protect the others with his life. She allowed her lips to raise to a smile at his works "You know, i'm not sure what I would do if you weren't here" she answered honestly, a gentle mused smile on her lips.
Ophelia had to admit that Niram didn't exactly emit the essence of charisma but she had seen the way some of the others would look at him when he was fighting, he was skilled and he was one of the best fighters they had, people would look up to him and his talent, even if he did give off somewhat of a standoffish aura at times. "Well few or many, it's a step in the right direction" she answered smoothly not taking his hestitance for an answer. Ophelia knew Niram was capable of being a great teacher, she remembered many of times when he would show her or Alva things while aboard his ship.
Ophelia had listened carefully to Niram's thoughts on the human faction, nodding her head a little in agreement with his words, there was little they could do to be sure of what they were walking into before they were right in the middle of it. "Well it sounds like we have a plan on how to handle this" she answered pressing her hands together for a moment. She had done her reading on the human faction too, they controlled most things in the city and if anyone had enough pull to protect a new faction it was them. Ophelia knew getting the celestials on the peace contract was the best way to secure that safety but to do so she needed the majority of the species ambassadors to side against the Ailward Guard. It wouldn't be an easy task to win everyone over, but they had to try, it was the only option they were left with and she had a sense of new found optimism which she decided she was going to make the most of.