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About Digital Art / Hobbyist Premium Member Lauren Starr26/Female/United States Groups :iconitz-hanson: ITZ-Hanson
 
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Deviant for 9 Years
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Statistics 1,714 Deviations 98,308 Comments 131,431 Pageviews

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My Stamp Collection!

Some featured stamps...

Jake and Neytiri Stamp by ReverseTheEclipseLoder Stamp by hyperbunnyzzAvatar Stamp by DragonHeartLuver
animated hanson stamp by digitalmonalisaInspiration by getanaxe:thumb75490659:Stamp: Jesus is love by pralinkova-princeznaOrca Stamp by raxgondUnsigned Bands by Girl-just-let-go-200Roxas+Namine Stamp by JokersitaForever Wandering Stamp by OhmiiiThe heart knows reasons.. by Claire-stampsProtected by Elves stamp by purgatoriPiano Fan Stamp by jerseygrl246Self Taught by GoatSocks:To Isengard?: by Minty-HippoXIII - Roxas by SitarPlayerIXDance Stamp by AcidaliaAdrasteiaChestnut Maiden by ImFeelingStampityStop Eating the Stamps by EmeraldTokyo3 and 4 Stamp - 9 by TechnoRaverCallOC's Are My Babies by Foxxie-ChanWriting theft must die by Hobbit-Babe

Random from Favorite Requests and Gifts

All the wonderful deviations done for me, featuring my characters, or my favorite characters, and just...Art that I love! Thanks everyone! :hug:

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Webcam

"Lullaby"

By: Nickelback

I know the feeling,
Of finding yourself stuck out on the ledge,
And there ain't no healing,
From cutting yourself with the jagged edge.
I'm telling you that, it's never that bad,
Take it from someone who's been where you're at.
Laid out on the floor, and you're not sure,
You can take this anymore.

So just give it one more try to a lullaby,
And turn this up on the radio.
If you can hear me now, I'm reaching out,
To let you know that you're not alone.
And if you can't tell, I'm scared as hell,
'Cause I can't get you on the telephone,
So just close your eyes,
Well honey here comes a lullaby,
Your very own lullaby.

Please let me take you,
Out of the darkness and into the light.
'Cause I have faith in you,
You're gonna make it through another night.
Stop thinking about the easy way out,
There's no need to go and blow the candle out.
Because you're not done,
You're far too young, and the best is yet to come.

So just give it one more try to a lullaby,
And turn this up on the radio.
If you can hear me now, I'm reaching out,
To let you know that you're not alone.
And if you can't tell, I'm scared as hell,
'Cause I can't get you on the telephone,
So just close your eyes,
Well honey here comes a lullaby,
Your very own lullaby.

Everybody's hit the bottom,
And everybody's been forgotten,
And everybody's tired of being alone.
Everybody's been abandoned,
And left a little empty-handed,
So if you're out there barely hanging on...

So just give it one more try to a lullaby,
And turn this up on the radio.
If you can hear me now, I'm reaching out,
To let you know that you're not alone.
And if you can't tell, I'm scared as hell,
'Cause I can't get you on the telephone,
So just close your eyes,
Well honey here comes a lullaby,
Your very own lullaby.


Past Songs

"Make It Through the Day" ~ Hanson
"Use Me Up" ~ Hanson
"Got a Hold on Me" ~ Hanson
"Hand in Hand" ~ Hanson
"Be Somebody" - 3 Doors Down
"Great Divide" - Hanson
"This Time" - 3 Doors Down
"Broken Angel" - Hanson
"Lucy" - Hanson
"Breakdown" - Seether
"Every Word I Say" - Hanson
"Runaway Run" - Hanson
"Wish That I Was There" - Hanson

Friends

Visitors

Character Features!

Journal Entry: Fri Jan 23, 2015, 9:56 PM
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Camillia Glitter Name
|Glitter names by Demona909|

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Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Blinkies by: sakura-neko-chan

:star:Groups I'm In!:star:
:heart:I'm Skolar in my Paper Mario 1 Crew!:heart:
:heart:I'm Vivian in my Paper Mario 2 Crew!:heart:
:bulletred:I'm Pokemon #300 Skitty in DA's Pokemon Crew:bulletred:
:bulletorange:I'm Kagome in Hari-Chan's InuYasha Crew!:bulletorange:
:bulletyellow:I'm Knuckles in SBG6's DA Videogame Crew!:bulletyellow:
:bulletgreen:I'm Kiara in DA's Disney Crew!:bulletgreen:
:bulletblue:I am Shiek in DA's Super Smash Bros. Crew:bulletblue:
:bulletpurple:I am Flotsam in DA's Neopets Crew!:bulletpurple:
:bulletpink: I'm Galadriel in DA's Lord of the Rings Crew!:bulletpink:
:bulletred:I'm Kari in the deviantART Cartoon Obsessions Crew!:bulletred:
:bulletorange:I'm Tifa in DA's Kingdom Hearts II Crew!:bulletorange:
:bulletyellow:I'm Marc Antony in DA's Looney Tunes Crew!:bulletyellow:
:bulletgreen:I'm TEC in Pandagirl100's Paper Mario 2 Crew!:bulletgreen:
:bulletblue:I am Spongebob Squarepants in dA's Claimers-Club:bulletblue:
and
:star::bulletpurple:I am Zac Hanson in dA's Claimers-Club:bulletpurple::star:
:bulletpink:I am Chad Kroeger in DA's Celebrity Lurvers Crew!:bulletpink:
:bulletred:I'm Ember McLane from DA's Nicktoons Crew!:bulletred:
:bulletorange:I am Amy Chao in DA's Sonic the Hedgehog Crew #3:bulletorange:
:bulletyellow:I am KnuxAmy in DA's Sonic Couples Crew!:bulletyellow:
:bulletgreen:I am Roxas and Namine in DA's Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2 Crew!:bulletgreen:
:bulletblue:I'm Aqua Yoshi in the deviantART's Yoshi crew!:bulletblue:
:bulletpurple:I'm ňomer in the One Crew to Rule Them All!:bulletpurple:
:bulletpink:I'm Sir Aaron in the DA Crazy-for-Characters Crew!:bulletpink:
:bulletred:I'm Anti Silver and Blaze in the DA Anti Couples Crew!:bulletred:

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The Stories of Their Lives Banner

Banner by: KTWizard

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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Stamps by: Demona909

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"Can't Live Without Music" by ReverseTheEclipse I Respect by ReverseTheEclipse

Auron and Lairen Stamp by KTWizard
.::Pro Aranelion::. by ReverseTheEclipse .::Pro Camillia::. by ReverseTheEclipse .::Pro Elianaron::. by ReverseTheEclipse
Hanson Stamp by ReverseTheEclipse hanson stamp by dysfunctionalartist HansonFanStamp by digitalmonalisa
Middle of Nowhere Stamp by digitalmonalisa The Walk Stamp by digitalmonalisa animated hanson stamp by digitalmonalisa
Inuyashas Brawlers Stamp by KTWizard Jake and Neytiri Stamp by ReverseTheEclipse

:heart: :Stamp Commission: Gemzybabee Couple stamp (2/2) by Jewel-Shapeshifter :heart:

:iconrainbowheartplz1::iconrainbowheartplz2::iconrainbowheartplz3::iconrainbowheartplz1::iconrainbowheartplz2::iconrainbowheartplz3::iconrainbowheartplz1::iconrainbowheartplz2::iconrainbowheartplz3:

Writing this since Gem was doing it...that and I refuse to go more than a month without writing a new journal XD I'm so bad about that lately.

Anyway...anyone can get in on this so just say your name and be heard! =D

The first 10 who comment on this journal, I will feature one of their characters I like the most, and comment my choice I'll go to your gallery and pick one character and one picture I like, you don't need to tell me which one either.

 If you comment, please do the same in your journal, and put me in a slot.  The idea of this is not to get a free feature, it is to spread art around for everyone!

1. Ophelia Spades - Gemzybabee

Miss Me? by Gemzybabee

I almost went with her character Kraid because I think he's just amazingly well written, but I had to feature Ophelia.  She featured UnDark and they were our first couple that got this massive story of ours started, so they're special, and frankly Ophelia's just a very well done character.

Ophelia Pixal by Gemzybabee

Also featuring this pixel doll she did recently just to promote it, since she offers it as a commission style XP

2. Toppy (and the Tops characters) - Koleyl

Toppio Bros by Koleyl

Kinda hard to feature one without featuring the full group of four.  Kole has this group of dinosaurs called the Tops and they go on all sorts of adventures.  He's really got a knack for writing funny and creative works!

3. Rainee - OceanwaveII

Many Faces of Rainee by OceanwaveII

OceanwaveII does a lot of 3D work and this is just one of his characters!

4.

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7.

8.

9.

10.



Thanks for reading!

:blackrose:

Camillia Gazing: Image by LunarMew

:iconrainbowheartplz1::iconrainbowheartplz2::iconrainbowheartplz3::iconrainbowheartplz1::iconrainbowheartplz2::iconrainbowheartplz3::iconrainbowheartplz1::iconrainbowheartplz2::iconrainbowheartplz3:

Medula Pretty Chibi by GemzyBabee


Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!


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Adopt one of Light-Ho-oh's Plushies Today! ^^

In an Mmmbop They're Gone...
  • Mood: Happy
  • Listening to: Scream and Be Free ~ Hanson
  • Watching: THG: Catching Fire
  • Playing: ACNL, FFX/X-2 Remaster
  • Drinking: Water

deviantID

ReverseTheEclipse
Lauren Starr
Artist | Hobbyist | Digital Art
United States

:star:My Bio:star:

^^^^^^^

Please check out the Bio page I've linked you to above. These quick facts below are all repeated there, and the expanded bio has just about everything you could want to know about me.

I go by my first and middle name.

Name: Lauren Starr
Age: 24
D.O.B. May 6, 1988

Zodiac Signs

Sun Sign: Taurus
Moon Sign: Capricorn
Chinese Sign: Dragon
Celtic Sign: Willow

Favorites

Band: Hanson
Color: Blue
Soft Drink: Dr. Pepper
Movie: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (also my fave book) and Avatar
Couples: SchroederxLucy, Jake SullyxNeytiri, KnuxAmy, ShadowxRouge, SonicxBlaze, RoxasxNamine

(All of my favorite couples are on my bio page)

Likes: Music, Writing, Drawing, playing Video games, doing crosswords, collecting stuff.
Dislikes: Excessive heat and cold, headaches, pollen getting my car dirty, colds, people who can't accept other opinions.

Favorite video games: Pokemon Platinum, Neopets, Kingdom Hearts 2, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Sonic Unleashed, Paper Mario series.

Favorite Quotes

"Everybody has their own opinion, that's part of life. It's fine, you know?" ~ Taylor Hanson

"T.E.A.M. - Together Everyone Achieves More" ~ Gary Busey

Final Facts

I've been singing all of my life, literally.
I've been writing for ten years.
I've been drawing for almost four years,
And have been a member of dA that same amount of time.

I also have a cat, and my mom has a dog.

(This is an abbreviated bio...my bio page is better than this.)
Interests

Activity


RP Anniversary: Josiah Nitori by ReverseTheEclipse
RP Anniversary: Josiah Nitori
Next up for January!!

Sketched on paper, flat color in SAI. Next picture in a series I'm doing, drawing the kids from mine and Gem's RP a year to the day they were first used, got it? Good!

I say first used. This will be the case MOST of the time. There are a few instances where the kids are born and it's stated they're born, but for one reason or another they aren't used until a later day. If that happens I'll be posting them on the day they are BORN. If they're used the first time on a different day then I'll state that in the description, or on the picture itself.

Bio time!!

Full name: Josiah Nitori
Parents: Rin and Val Nitori; Cliff (biological father)
Grandparents: Grandfather Shin, Great-Grandfather, Accipter, and Great-Grandmother, Olympia
Siblings: Older sisters Lilith, Angeline, Tiffany, Lucille, Georgia, Vicky, and Valerie, Older brothers Chad, Clyde, Vaan, and Dakota, and younger half-sisters, Eva and Valarie
Other family: Nieces Lydia, Raava, Cordelia and Meadow, Nephews Rin and Bernard

RPed by: Me (ReverseTheEclipse)
First used: RP 967

First used the same day he's born...kinda XD Ah this one has a lot of explaining.

His story is enough to make me cry every time.  He's the last baby Val has before she's rescued and freed from Cliff who fathered all of Josiah's older siblings.  In a fit of rage however, since Cliff only wanted girls, he murders Josiah right as soon as he's born.  It's...pretty graphic it chokes me up just thinking about it...I get Val's feelings just...yeah.  I can't really put it into words.

While she's waiting for the birth of her baby girl Eva, she shares this story with Rin, who had heard of it since Cliff ranted about it while visiting where he kept Rin and his four other sons imprisoned.  It's difficult for the couple as they both would have wanted Josiah to live.  The other children Val lost wouldn't have survived anyway, but like Angeline was Josiah just wasn't given a chance.  As happy as Val is to have a chance to have a child with the one man she ever really loved, the pain of the past children lost never leaves her, and Josiah probably hurts the most, simply because of the ghastly nature of his death.

He's given a second chance however.  Unable to stand for it, Rin speaks with Kephalos about giving Josiah one more chance.  This is allowed, given with the stipulation that Josiah must be happy and healthy for at least a month in order for it to stick.  Of course, this is more or less just a technicality by this point to make it balance out, and January 27th is considered Josiah's new birthday.  Needless to say Val is more than a little choked up having him back.  It's the first time she got to hold him and actually feel him moving in her arms.

Not too much later, Eva is born, and Josiah has a pseudo twin.  Now, Valarie needs explaining.  She's technically an older-half sister.  Val knew Rin before Cliff imprisoned her, and was pregnant with Valarie, unbeknownst to her at the time.  Cliff is outraged finding out she's not a virgin, and despite wanting girls he removes Valarie from her and keeps the baby to use as blackmail later.  Valarie's obviously dead, and finding out about her is just another blow to poor Val, just adding to how devastated she feels for letting herself become imprisoned and used in the first place.  Again, Rin was her one true love, and thinking they lost a child just...she's very depressed and melancholic about it.

After a bit of fighting and demanding they find out where Cliff kept Valarie frozen and preserved, again being the sick and twisted kind to keep her as blackmail.  Knowing she needs to bury her little girl, Val struggles to let her go; she feels horrible...all of the other children she lost she at least knew about.  She feels she's wronged this baby somehow and it's just...it's another heartbreaking thing.

It isn't through Kephalos this time, but he does give a tip on a Guardian that can grant any wish, and some of Val's older children go to plead their case about baby Valarie.  It turns out far easier than expected; similar to how Josiah was given a second chance, Valarie is too. I just have to say, that moment with both Rin and Val seeing Valarie alive and wailing was just...gah...you can tell they're a favorite of ours <3

So yes Valarie is technically an older sibling, but since she's "born" after Josiah and Eva I listed her as a younger one instead.  Josiah is also technically fully mine, but like all of Val's children now they see Rin as their father and took Nitori as their last name even before Rin and val were married.  Now, Josiah, Eva and Valarie are like triplets.

Josiah's a good kid; he's the only child Val has with Cliff that isn't imprisoned or abused, short of Cliff murdering him in the first place, but obviously he won't remember that.  This is besides Lilith, who grew up on the streets alone, which I consider abuse of some form even if it saved her from the worst of it.  He looks the most like Val out of her sons, having her black fur and purple hair.  The only trait of Cliff's he really has is the same eye color.

Personality wise he's very close to his mother, especially growing up and seeing her cry sometimes for all the other children she lost, or just for what the ones that did live have to go through.  He always tries to comfort her.  He ends up a lot like Rin, as in, he works hard all of the time, is caring and loving, and immensely gentle and kind.  He's close to his sisters Eva and Valarie, and protective of both girls.  As he grows up and learns about what happened to his mother, father and siblings, it makes him sad, but all the more grateful that they're together.  He's not the kind to carry a grudge or hatred in his heart.  Still, be sure you never threaten any of them; he will fight back hard to protect them.

His story always made me so sad XD  All my feels <3

Here's some baby pictures of him. I went into his story a lot more in the description of the first one XD

Mother's Heart by ReverseTheEclipse Josiah Eva and Valarie by ReverseTheEclipse

I included that second picture since it shows him with his sisters Eva and Valarie...I really need to finish it XD

Alright that does it for Josiah!  I'll see you in a couple of days for...Lydia! Yes finally her turn lol

Matikai Spades
Naoko Petals
Mariko Bloom
Miizu Rodnara
Lalaith Spades
Eleanor and Ayame Spades
Evelette Spades
Erendei Naru
Yuudai
Kaori and Kichiro
Daeron of Wrath
Hikari Light Breeze Rodnara
Emerald
Raiden and Miyoko
Citrine
Aiolus
Moriko Yang of Free Will
Miku of Patience
Anthia of Balance
Damien of Nightmare
David Yin
Arishia and Harmony
Riku
Yuna
Othadious and Akaious
Lila
Lumina
Dimitri
Akylas and Heart
Tidus and Loralai
Benjamin
Nagatha Yang
Amelia
Hades
Venus and Noah
Akantha of Design
Darren
Rena
Roxas of Patience
Upendo of Healing
Jewel
Daisuke
Shigure
Eclipse and Luna
Iris
Clarissa Petals
Kiyome Naru
Cresta
Claudia Spades
Kirstin
Ulfric
Chase
Makoda
Dibella and Zenithar
Althea
Xion Terra Yin
Andromeda Spades
Kashami Petals of Might
Sunta-Dyllan Rodnara Yang
Cross and Syth
Cassie Rodnara Yang
Katharos of Purpose
Amida
Namine Yin
Kuro Yang of Blessings
Kaze, Bri, and Kureno
Soul
Mako Light Breeze Rodnara
Orotei Spades
Koamakani Rodnara
Saboru Spades
Kami
Nega
Peeta, Topaz, and Sophia
Kotora
Ichiro
Umasou
Bahamut and Aria
Mikado
Kaliya
Ryouta and Zakiya Naru
Anju
Medlina
Miwa
Roku Bloom
Ryou Rodnara
Nao
Sanae Rodnara
Radhi
Seraphina Rodnara
Julianos and Mara
LightLeon
Medli Yang of Miracles
Novaire and Orbit
Annalise and Connor
Isen
Toby
Kimiko and Yusei
Ethan
Athal
Anana
Drago
Rose Light Breeze Rodnara
Phantasma
Tesshin Turnalo
Denvir
Emilia Brokenstar Light Naru
Asma
Kathy
Reza Bertier
Katharina of Forgiveness
Xero
Nadia and Tabitha
Matthias Naru
Alikata and Akilesh
Emmikai Rodnara
Popuri Rodnara Yang
Sora Terra Yin
Alice
Kyou Rodnara
Trevor and Nemo
Mio and Reika
Juliet Rodnara
Mari and Ashura
Sakura and Aero
Tomoya and Olivia Kate Rodnara
Helen
Mikio Rodnara
Morwen Naru
Aurora Hadokata
Upya
Maple
Joshua and Eirana
Wine Spades
Savannah
Ayo and Danaus
Malachi LeCloches
Natsumi Spades
Serenity Petals
Shaula
Astarte and Nene
Ryse
Anubis
Orion
Yami
Matilda and Preston
Baxter Dane
Charlotte and Reila
Dust
Mitsuru and Edward
Megumi Rodnara
Sprite Rodnara
Abel Spades
Evelie Bloom
Damnis
Josiah Nitori

Josiah Nitori belongs to me.

~ Halo :blackrose:
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RP Anniversary: Damnis by ReverseTheEclipse
RP Anniversary: Damnis
Next up for January!!

Sketched on paper, flat color in SAI. Next picture in a series I'm doing, drawing the kids from mine and Gem's RP a year to the day they were first used, got it? Good!

I say first used. This will be the case MOST of the time. There are a few instances where the kids are born and it's stated they're born, but for one reason or another they aren't used until a later day. If that happens I'll be posting them on the day they are BORN. If they're used the first time on a different day then I'll state that in the description, or on the picture itself.

Bio time!!

Full name: Damnis (non-titled)
Parents: Denethor of Gluttony and Akoni of Wonder
Siblings: Older brother, Damien, and older brother Peeta and older sisters Topaz and Sophia (triplets)

RPed by: Gem (Gemzybabee)
First used: RP 966

First used the same day he's born <3

Damnis is the fifth child and third son of Denethor and Akoni...and a nice break for Akoni after having the triplets XD Not as much to say about him being a fifth born but, here we go lol

He's the most dragon out of all of the siblings.  The triplets are largely panda, while Damien is more of a blend, having dragon ears and the panda muzzle.  Damnis has everything from the dragon ears, water dragon ears that is, to the dragon muzzle and tail.  The few things he does have from his father are the golden yellow eyes, the rings around his eyes, and the royal blue hair.

I have to say I love his design XD I came up with it on the fly and just think he's handsome <3

Personality wise he's much more easy-going compared to his older brother Damien.  He's not the baker Peeta is, but is very close to his mother. Make no mistake; he's his father's son and enjoys good food lol

He just looks like such a nice boy XD

Alright that does it for Damnis!  I'll see you tomorrow for Josiah!

Matikai Spades
Naoko Petals
Mariko Bloom
Miizu Rodnara
Lalaith Spades
Eleanor and Ayame Spades
Evelette Spades
Erendei Naru
Yuudai
Kaori and Kichiro
Daeron of Wrath
Hikari Light Breeze Rodnara
Emerald
Raiden and Miyoko
Citrine
Aiolus
Moriko Yang of Free Will
Miku of Patience
Anthia of Balance
Damien of Nightmare
David Yin
Arishia and Harmony
Riku
Yuna
Othadious and Akaious
Lila
Lumina
Dimitri
Akylas and Heart
Tidus and Loralai
Benjamin
Nagatha Yang
Amelia
Hades
Venus and Noah
Akantha of Design
Darren
Rena
Roxas of Patience
Upendo of Healing
Jewel
Daisuke
Shigure
Eclipse and Luna
Iris
Clarissa Petals
Kiyome Naru
Cresta
Claudia Spades
Kirstin
Ulfric
Chase
Makoda
Dibella and Zenithar
Althea
Xion Terra Yin
Andromeda Spades
Kashami Petals of Might
Sunta-Dyllan Rodnara Yang
Cross and Syth
Cassie Rodnara Yang
Katharos of Purpose
Amida
Namine Yin
Kuro Yang of Blessings
Kaze, Bri, and Kureno
Soul
Mako Light Breeze Rodnara
Orotei Spades
Koamakani Rodnara
Saboru Spades
Kami
Nega
Peeta, Topaz, and Sophia
Kotora
Ichiro
Umasou
Bahamut and Aria
Mikado
Kaliya
Ryouta and Zakiya Naru
Anju
Medlina
Miwa
Roku Bloom
Ryou Rodnara
Nao
Sanae Rodnara
Radhi
Seraphina Rodnara
Julianos and Mara
LightLeon
Medli Yang of Miracles
Novaire and Orbit
Annalise and Connor
Isen
Toby
Kimiko and Yusei
Ethan
Athal
Anana
Drago
Rose Light Breeze Rodnara
Phantasma
Tesshin Turnalo
Denvir
Emilia Brokenstar Light Naru
Asma
Kathy
Reza Bertier
Katharina of Forgiveness
Xero
Nadia and Tabitha
Matthias Naru
Alikata and Akilesh
Emmikai Rodnara
Popuri Rodnara Yang
Sora Terra Yin
Alice
Kyou Rodnara
Trevor and Nemo
Mio and Reika
Juliet Rodnara
Mari and Ashura
Sakura and Aero
Tomoya and Olivia Kate Rodnara
Helen
Mikio Rodnara
Morwen Naru
Aurora Hadokata
Upya
Maple
Joshua and Eirana
Wine Spades
Savannah
Ayo and Danaus
Malachi LeCloches
Natsumi Spades
Serenity Petals
Shaula
Astarte and Nene
Ryse
Anubis
Orion
Yami
Matilda and Preston
Baxter Dane
Charlotte and Reila
Dust
Mitsuru and Edward
Megumi Rodnara
Sprite Rodnara
Abel Spades
Evelie Bloom
Damnis

Damnis belongs to me and Gem.

~ Halo :blackrose:
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"Wars of Light and Darkness"
By: Jade Lightning, a.k.a. ReverseTheEclipse

"The First Interlude"

-----

Verse Twenty-Eight: “Grievous Injury”


  “Home…”

  “Remember…I was, supposed to remember something.  But what?  Who was that person I spoke to, with those eyes? And…who is…

  Who am…I?”



  The darkness faded away, it blinded him.  He was used to that darkness.  He used to have someone with him, with rusty red fur and golden hair, but they had left him.  He was alone to face this new evil.  If it wasn’t darkness, what was it?  His mind struggled to remember.  He struggled to remember anything, even his own name.

  “Where am I?  Where am I going?”


  Deannalee sat in her usual chair, having pulled it closer to the bed so she could gently rub Kashkie’s feet.  Her serving a male like this, even if it were her own husband, was unheard of in this culture, but both she and her mother had provided all of the care that Kashkie needed over the past year, feeding him, keeping him clean, and simply keeping a constant watch over him.  It had bonded the mother and daughter closer than ever.  Even without Renaldo there for them, Casselina had not fallen sway to the darkness, the headaches as she interpreted the spells, for the past year.

  Better still, Teikaru rarely came by anymore, leaving Deannalee alone, although his interest in his son had not waned, though Baralai was afraid of him.

  Little interested Deannalee anymore.  Her entire life was absorbed with either thoughts of her missing father, simple joys shared with her mother and son, or concerns for her dear friend Kashkie, wondering if she’d ever see his eyes again.

  She looked up.  It was one of those times where both Deannalee and Casselina sat together.  Casselina was sitting on the floor with Baralai; both of them held a stick and used it to draw in the dirt.  The grandmother tilted her head shaking it.  “He keeps drawing a creature with ears on his head…like a bat’s, only not as large.”

  Deannalee glanced at the ground.  She could see her son sketching a cartoon version of Shadow on the ground.  This caused Deannalee to blink.  She looked around the room; she remembered that hedgehog from years ago, and knew that he was Kashkie’s friend.  Maybe he was here after all.  She heard Baralai giggle, waking her from her wondering.  She smiled.  “He’s just creative is all,” she paused, tilting her head seeing another figure on the ground, one of a male with thick spiky hair, long bangs over his eye, and a strange mark on his chest, “Who is that Baralai?”

  “My friend,” he looked up, nodding, “He glows with light and visits me sometimes.”  He looked at the other doodle.  “This guy I see standing by your chair staring at Uncle Kashkie…only, he never smiles.  He always looks sad.”

  Casselina smiled.  “What a creative imagination,” she patted his head.  “I’m going to get you some juice,” she added, getting up.

  Deannalee knew it wasn’t just his imagination.  Who the first one was, the one Baralai claimed to play with, she didn’t know him, though the reference to him sent an inexplicably happy feeling through her.  The second one however she knew was Kashkie’s friend.  Hearing that he was here and watching sadly troubled her.  If he was alive, and not just a spirit like the other one, why wasn’t he showing himself?

  “Mother, bring some pomegranates for Kashkie, he could use some; he hasn’t had any in awhile,” Deannalee said, looking up, “I’m going to wash his hair again tonight.”

  Casselina nodded.  “Of course…I’ll check and make sure they’ve got a fresh change of clothes for him,” she looked, smiling, “You be a good boy Baralai.”  She walked out of the hut then.

  Baralai giggled; “Yes Grandma!” The little echidna looked up at his mother, seeing her eyes locked on Kashkie’s face again.  Tilting his head he pushed himself up to his feet, toddling over to her.  “Mama?  How come Uncle Kashkie isn’t my father?”

  This question woke Shadow from his slumbering, if one could call it that, a struggle to shut his brain down to keep himself from fainting from exhaustion.  Deannalee looked at Baralai, smiling.  “Why would you ask that honey?”

  With a blush Baralai giggled, “Because he’s nice to us.  He’s nicer than that mean man I look like.  Why can’t Kashkie be my daddy?”

  Deannalee frowned some.  “Because baby…Kashkie loves you but, he’s just your uncle,” she said, looking back, “One day he’s going to find a woman he really loves, and you’ll have a playmate. …as for that mean man he…mmm, you don’t have to think of him as your father if you don’t want to.”

  Shadow blinked, and then exhaled slowly.  Deannalee really had gotten around her past, seeing the error of her ways.  She was willing to raise Baralai alone for the most part, rather than drag Kashkie back into something uncomfortable.  Shadow wondered if it would be wise to tell Kashkie about Teikaru’s absence over that past year; if Kashkie knew that Deannalee was suffering he might be persuaded to try and help her anyway, help her raise Baralai and give her even more emotional support than normal.

  That was the kind of person he was, after all.

  Baralai nodded.  “It’s okay Mama,” he looked at the drawing of the unknown figure then giggled; “He would be a great daddy too.  I think he really likes us.”

  Deannalee wiped a tear from her eye then glanced.  “Baralai…you’ve really seen this person, haven’t you?  …what is he like?”

  “He’s fun,” Baralai giggled, “When I was little and Daddy made you cry, he’d come and sing to me, and rub your head gently so you’d go to sleep.” Looking up he added, “He’d look so sad, but since Daddy’s been gone he’ll visit and he looks happier.  Still, I think he’s down that you can’t see him, that’s why I tried to draw him.”

  She looked back at the picture in the dirt.  It had minimal detail, but somehow her mind filled in the blanks.  He stood tall; he had longish, soft hair, white and dark gray.  He could have been an echidna, since he had no ears standing on his head, but somehow she knew he wasn’t.  For some reason thinking of him made her also think of music.  She thought back to all the times when she felt unexplainable comfort despite how horrific things had gotten, even over this past year with Teikaru largely absent; someone had comforted her while she cried over Kashkie.

  Only…who was he?

  “When are you gonna bury that miserable bastard?”

  Deannalee looked up, immediately sneering when she saw Teikaru standing in the doorway.  Baralai frowned.  This was usually the time he would hide, but for whatever reason he stood his ground in front of his mother.  Shadow went on alert, ready to protect the mother and son, as well as Kashkie, no matter what; if Teikaru died the Master of the Elements would just have to come from another man.

  “Get out of here,” Deannalee sneered, “Go back to your whores, and don’t act like I don’t know you’ve lured women from the village to satisfy your needs.  What the hell do you want?”

  “I want him,” Teikaru glared at her dangerously; “Baralai is my son.  I’ll be dammed if he’s calling some random ghost, let alone that bastard Kashkie his father.  It’s over.  I’m not having you fill his head with your bullshit.”

  Deannalee stood up.  “I told him Kashkie wasn’t his father you idiot!  Why should he call you his father?  You’re never here and when you are you frighten him!  He just said himself that he remembered you making me scream!”

  Teikaru narrowed his eyes.  “I think it’s about time I taught you a lesson.  How about I give you that baby girl bitch that you want, and in exchange I take back my son.”

  This caused her to frown.  “I don’t want one right now Teikaru.  Baralai’s still young, and Kashkie needs me.”

  “Kashkie, Kashkie, always this limp dick!  I’m surprised you haven’t tried to bang him while he’s like this and can’t fight back!  Oh that’s right, it’s because I told you I’d take Baralai away.  You dare call me out for sleeping with other women.  You’re no different from me,” Teikaru hissed.

  “I’m not doing it because I promised him I wouldn’t; it’s not fair to him.  He forgave me, unlike you…you’re just using it to your advantage!  I’m only trying to keep it together for Baralai, while you’re trying to tear it apart!” she shouted.

  Casselina pushed past Teikaru then shoved him out.  “You’re lucky I was able to cover that up,” she sneered, “You get away from them.”

  Teikaru blinked, then grinned at her.  “You know, sometimes I miss having you on my side.  Think about it, we could kill Deannalee and rule together instead…throw the dead weight off the island.”

  “You’re insane,” Casselina hissed.  “I said get away from them.  Get away before I tell the entire village of your infidelity and declare they stone you to death.”

  Teikaru sneered at her, watching as Deannalee picked up Baralai.  The little echidna glanced at Teikaru with large eyes, frowning.  Baralai looked so much like his father; he merely had slightly darker fur, with black fringe streaked with blue and his mother’s brown eyes.  Something continually snapped inside him, and Shadow could sense it.  There was a small shred of Teikaru that wanted his son’s attention, but at the same time hated him for siding with Deannalee and Casselina and preferring the male role models that were Kashkie and an invisible spirit to his own father.  That hatred would win out.  He’d try to shape Baralai in his own image and would use whatever lengths he could to get it.

  In the end, he’d torture his own son just to have things go his way.

  “Bitches,” Teikaru muttered, “That golden fur ball is never waking up.  Good riddance, he’s a son of a…bitch…”  Teikaru trailed off, wincing before letting out a hiss.  “You’ve got to be kidding me!”  He ran off, disappearing into the jungle.

  Both women, and even Shadow blinked, confused by the sudden switch.  Shadow caught on faster, his attention turning to where Kashkie rested on the bed.  For Teikaru to run off that quickly meant only one thing.  Whatever darkness had corrupted him sensed the return of the one thing it truly could not stand.

  Kashkie’s and Arandor’s lights.

  “Maybe I should have him stoned…you could always have a daughter with someone else or…really,” Casselina looked at Deannalee, smiling some, “Baralai could be the Guardian, just like Prince Jayden was, you know.”

  Deannalee looked at her.  “Mmm, I don’t know Mother.  I just…I can’t think about having another right now, much less what to do about Teikaru. …why couldn’t he have been the one to disappear, or become sick like this,” Deannalee sighed, wiping her eyes with her free arm.  “We’d all be better off.”

  “Oh darling,” Casselina murmured, hugging her, “Everything’s going to be just fine, I promise you.”

  Locked in the embrace neither woman noticed it.  Shadow still stared, moving closer to Kashkie’s bed side.  Baralai, calming down now that the shouting was done and his father was gone, took notice of Shadow.  Baralai was one person Shadow could never seem to hide himself from, even when other children could not see him.  It didn’t bother him, since the adults thought he dreamed him up, just like this unseen spirit.  As long as this was the case, there was no problem.  Baralai saw him now, and perhaps in his own way, he too could sense something changing.

  “Kashkie?” Baralai whispered, rubbing his eye.

  Shadow glanced up at him, then looked back, murmuring, “He senses it too.”

  This also caught the attention of Deannalee and Casselina.  They pulled back from their hug looking at Kashkie, then at Baralai.  “What is it Baralai?” Casselina asked.

  Baralai looked at her.  “I think…he’s gonna wake up now,” he said plainly, with a nod, “Maybe that’s why Daddy ran away.”

  Deannalee frowned.  “Why he…ran away?”  She closed her eyes.  She remembered Kashkie wielding light, and how precious it was.  Maybe if Teikaru was being consumed by darkness, it had gotten so bad that Kashkie’s light bothered him.  She thought about it; Teikaru had been avoiding Kashkie in the weeks before Kashkie’s mysterious sleep took over.

  Opening her eyes she looked; she would hinge her hopes on anything at that moment.  She sat down in her chair putting Baralai in her lap, taking Kashkie’s hand rubbing it gently.  Taking a deep breath she spoke to him gently, “Kashkie?”

  Casselina tilted her head.  She knew the chances of him waking up at all were slim, but she too would hinge her hopes.  She sat at the foot of the bed watching his face.  In a prolonged vigil, the four souls sat, waiting, for anything.


  “Kashkie?”

  “Dee dear, it’s been awhile…maybe he’s not…”

  “He will Grandma!  I know it!”


  “…Kashkie…I feel…you returning to me.  Oh thank heavens…”



  Who were these people?  Why did they sound familiar and yet have no identities?  They were strangers, in a strange place, this place that was the opposite of the darkness that was his home.  And…something else.

  Who was this…Kashkie?  He had to know.


  For the first time in over a year, Kashkie’s face began to wrinkle.  He drew in a much deeper breath than normal, his breathing getting stronger with each second.  The mood in the room rocketed up into the sky just at this simple change alone.  Shadow wondered if Kashkie would be slow to wake up, and if this was just the first step in a process that was as long as his sleep.  

  He was surprised then to see Kashkie’s fingers begin to flex, including the ones wrapped around Deannalee’s hand.  She let out a soft gasp, covering her open mouth with her free hand.  “Mother…Mother look…!”

  Casselina was equally as stunned.  “I’ll be damned…,” she murmured, looking back, “Kashkie sweetheart?”

  Baralai giggled slightly, but then tilted his head, frowning some.  Shadow looked at him again.  Somehow the boy knew something wasn’t right, and as the connection with Kashkie was slowly restored, Shadow began to feel it too.  Kashkie’s aura felt scrambled, sick still; he waited on baited breath to find his bond with Arandor again.

  When he did, he was immediately hit with the first words he had heard Kashoku speak since that afternoon in their backyard.

  “Shadow, I’m saying all of this now, before I forget.  That Guardian of Pestilence Father spoke to us about, he’s damaged both Kashkie and me.  We’ll survive, of that I am sure, but Kashkie won’t be the same for awhile.  Please, do not be afraid.  We’ll find our way home again.  The Darkness is where he thinks home is, but he won’t forever.  You’ll have to be his light now.  Be his light, the same way you were mine.”

  “Be his…Light?  When was I ever…your Light?” Shadow whispered.  He heard Deannalee gasp, drawing his eyes to Kashkie’s face.

  For the first time in over a year, Kashkie’s eyes fluttered open, only able to since Deannalee and Casselina made a point to clear them of the sediment created from his constant sleep.  There were those beautiful blue eyes they had all longed to see.  Yes.  Kashkie was finally awake again.

  “Kashkie…,” Deannalee whispered, sniffing as she wiped her eyes.  “You’re…you’re finally awake.”

  Casselina smiled.  It was good to see him again, so good to have at least one of them back where they belonged.  She dotted her eyes with her dress sleeve.

  Shadow frowned.  He knew Kashkie could see him, but was afraid to speak.  If in this state of mind Kashkie didn’t know any better, he might blurt out his name, or react to him badly, blowing his cover.  He couldn’t risk it.  He got up and was ready to leave, but Kashoku’s words stuck in his head.

  “He thinks the Darkness is his home.  Be his light, like you were mine.”

  “The…Darkness is my home Kashkie…not yours,” Shadow whispered.

  Kashkie immediately glanced up at Shadow.  His eyebrows bent in heavy confusion.  He looked at the women, even Baralai who stared at him sadly.  The only thing calming him down was how sad they looked.  Sad.  He knew what that feeling was, being down or hurt by something.  He saw them smile and say how glad they were.  Apparently, him being stuck in that dark place wasn’t the way things were meant to be.

  But…if that were the case, was this how they were meant to be?  He couldn’t remember…he remembered nothing…only that he had to remember something.

  It began to make him feel pain again.

  Hissing he pulled his hand back from Deannalee covering his face.  “None of this…makes any sense…!” he groaned in a raspy voice, the sound almost completely gone from lack of use.  Baralai covered his face; Shadow shook his head sadly.

  Deannalee gasped.  “M-Mother go get the doctor, now!”

  Casselina’s eyes widened.  She nodded, and raced out of the hut. By now, a crowd gathered outside of it, all of them clamoring to see if Kashkie was truly awake or not.  The added noise just caused Kashkie to curl up into a ball in an attempt to block it all out.

  “All of you be quiet!” Deannalee hissed softly, heading for the door to explain the problem.  Baralai slowly lowered his hands frowning.  He knew something wasn’t right.  Glancing at Shadow he could tell he didn’t have to explain this to him.  He saw it too.

  Bending down Shadow put a hand on his head.  “Kashkie,” he whispered, “That darkness isn’t your home.  It’s simply where your spirit rested while your body was too damaged to move.  These people here care for you a great deal.  You don’t remember now but, somewhere inside you do.  We just have to light the way for you again.  You’ll be alright, but you’re going to have to trust them, and me.”

  Kashkie opened his eyes glancing up.  He frowned.  He felt like he knew this person.  He associated those eyes with someone bearing great pain, someone who was very wise, a house with a large tree in the front yard, and the closest thing to family he had left.  It was like seeing bits and pieces of a picture with the core of it missing, like an incomplete puzzle.

  Every time he tried to fill in the blank spaces, it hurt him, and he wanted to go back into the darkness, the only place he felt safe.

  “No…I’m only safe…in the darkness,” Kashkie whispered, wincing.  “Didn’t you…feel the same?”

  Shadow frowned.  He had felt the same once, sometimes he still did.  He remembered being terrified of the darkness as a child, even as a teenager.  He felt safe when Arandor was around, but after Arandor died he learned to accept the darkness, and found his only comfort in it for many years.  When you’re that badly damaged, not being able to see or feel anything at all is your only way to cope.

  But Kashoku told Shadow that Kashkie needed a light.  He needed Shadow to be his guiding light, in the same way Arandor was Shadow’s, only…Kashoku had called Shadow his as well.  This confused him.  Shadow never saw himself as particularly helpful, much less life saving or changing in a way that extreme.

  Maybe he meant more to people than he realized, or would accept.  Still, whether he meant that much to Kashoku and Arandor or not, if he had to be Kashkie’s light, the one that would guide him home, then he would do whatever he had to.

  Right now he had to think of a good enough plan.

  “I did once, Kashkie, long ago,” Shadow looked at him, “But…you helped me realize I didn’t have to hide anymore, and now, I’m going to do the same for you.”

  Kashkie stared up at him, almost blankly.  He wanted to believe it.  He knew Shadow felt safer in the darkness, but now, he felt safe in this place of light.  If Shadow could, then surely he could…Shadow may have been gruff and withdrawn, but he didn’t live in fear certainly.  Kashkie knew Shadow better than that.  He looked up to him, like a brother…

  Wait…

  “Shadow…?” Kashkie whispered, blinking still.

  This caused Shadow to smile, however faintly.  “Yes, Kashkie, I’m here.  You’re safe, I promise.  You know this place, you know all of us.”

  The yellow echidna frowned.  “Uncle Kashkie?”  Kashkie looked seeing Baralai sitting by him on the bed, staring at him with those big eyes.  “Are you okay?”

  Both Shadow and Kashkie looked at Baralai.  Once again Kashkie’s eyebrows bent in confusion.  Shadow put a hand on his shoulder which caused the echidna to jump, but immediately relax when he realized what it was.  Shadow shook his head.  “Don’t try to remember names.  Do like you did with me.  Remember what you associate with the person.  The memories hold the answers.”

  Kashkie nodded slowly.  His head still felt fuzzy.  He became aware of his body feeling heavy and sluggish, his movements slow and robotic whenever he wasn’t being caught by surprise like he was just moments before.  He felt sick to his stomach, and all around cruddy, but he was starting to feel a little less afraid.  He realized he did know these people, and the one thing he knew above all, was he didn’t associate pain with them, or fear.  They weren’t out to cause him harm.

  Maybe this world was safe after all.  It certainly wasn’t as lonely.

  Looking at Baralai Kashkie tried to zone out, letting feelings float back to him naturally instead of trying to pick them out on his own, just like what had happened with Shadow.  His pupils dilated and contracted rapidly while he looked at the boy.  He winced.  Maybe this one wasn’t old enough to have any memories.

  His eyes closed, on their own as he didn’t feel it was something he chose to do.  He saw a newborn resting in his mother’s arms, still damp from being born into the world.  He remembered a strong feeling of comfort, even a sense of trying to be protective, guarding this child from some danger.  He didn’t recall being the father, but somehow being called uncle felt right, although he had never heard this child speak before now.  He had obviously grown quite a bit while he was living in the darkness.  That bond was still the same; he remembered rocking this child and tapping his nose gently to get him to laugh.

  Baralai.  It was little Baralai, the Guardian Prince.

  Opening his eyes he nodded; “Hey there…little man,” Kashkie said slowly.

  The echidna prince’s eyes immediately lit up; Kashkie didn’t recall it at this point, but little man was his nickname for Baralai.  Hearing it immediately assured the child his uncle was going to be alright; things would eventually be okay again.

  Shadow shook his head; if only everyone could have that kind of optimism, Kashkie most of all, right now.

  “Uncle Kashkie!” he lunged forward locking his little arms around Kashkie’s neck in a tight hug, “I knew you’d wake up I just knew it!”

  This caused Kashkie to panic a little bit.  Before he found the safety in the heart of darkness, demons and other nightmares tried to grab at him and tear at him, causing him injury and harm.  The natural inclination, especially in this world of light where there was no safety, was to grab the threat and crush it.  Shadow’s muscles tightened; he sensed Kashkie’s fear and had to be ready to save Baralai if the reaction was bad.

  But he waited.  Kashkie didn’t move, save for his pupils enlarging and shrinking rapidly again, as though trying to focus and continually refocus to make sure he had fully assessed the situation.  Something calmed him down; in the darkness he could rarely see what was hurting him, and by the time he could it was already too late to prevent the attack.  Here, he could clearly see it was just a little child giving him a hug.  He wasn’t trying to strangle him, or asphyxiate him, or hurt him in any way.

  It was just that little baby boy; someone that pure and innocent, the complete antithesis of the demons he had fought that past year, would never try to hurt him.  As he slowly allowed his arms to rise, he realized this harmless embrace was giving him feelings opposite of what he was accustomed to.  The closest equation he could make was the short time he spent with that figure with the rusty red fur and golden hair.

  Solace, comfort, peace…it could exist here too?

  “I’m…I’m here,” Kashkie whispered at last, his voice still raspy, “It’s…okay.”  He wasn’t sure why he felt the need to comfort this child; he was more than comfortable in this world of light.  It seemed the only thing that troubled him was being without his beloved uncle.

  Everything was so strange.

  “Kashkie?”

  The yellow echidna looked up.  It was that girl from before, yet another person he was certain he knew, but wasn’t sure how, as he could barely remember living in this world of light at all, and obviously he couldn’t have met her elsewhere.  Baralai looked up.  “Mama, Mama!  He remembered my name!”  He pulled back sitting on the bed beside Kashkie awash with giggles.

  Deannalee smiled; this was the happiest Baralai had been in a long time, and after that encounter with Teikaru seeing this joy was much better than the alternative.  Still, this only made more room for concern over Kashkie, and she could tell something was terribly wrong with him.  He had suffered some grievous injury, something that struck so deeply that not even the sleep of a complete year could cure it.

  Or perhaps, it was that sleep that had caused it to begin with.  Maybe if you sleep for that long and survive your brain just isn’t able to remember everything it used to.  She wasn’t aware of what had really happened; Shadow made sure the jungle was healed from the rotted state the dark Guardian had inflicted upon it, and nobody had taken notice.  Kashkie’s sleep was mysterious and unexplainable, and yet without knowing any of that, Deannalee had drawn a pretty safe conclusion.

  Even if she hadn’t pinned down the exact reason, nor exactly what was wrong, she knew one thing was true.  He was still there, and as long as he was alive, he could heal and go back to his old self.  All he needed was a little more care.

  Anything was better than having to put him in the ground.

  “Of course he remembered your name honey; he’ll just need a little time that’s all.  He was asleep for a long time after all,” Deannalee said slowly, walking over to her chair.  She kept her eyes on Kashkie’s the entire time, as though to let him know she meant him no harm.

  Kashkie swallowed, feeling like he needed to get sick but not quite yet, and not quite comfortable making himself so vulnerable without first figuring out if he could trust this girl.  He glanced at Shadow, the one person besides the child he knew he could trust so far.  Shadow nodded; on the inside he was worried about how Kashkie would react to certain memories of Deannalee, but he kept this hidden from his eyes.  He’d have to hope for the best…Kashkie would have to face it eventually after all.

  Continuing to try and swallow down the vomit, Kashkie looked up, breathing deeply still.  His pupils grew and shrank again, sweat starting to form in earnest on his brow.  He looked into her brown eyes, and waited for memories to come back.  They hit him rather hard; he had memories of a saucy teenager and her boyfriend.  She was a great beauty, but her attitude was much less so.  She made him uncomfortable, and all but blackmailed him into an affair with her after she had married her husband.

  He couldn’t remember what the blackmail was centered around, but he knew it was a very cruel thing to do.  He winced; he hated these memories.  Once again, the natural inclination was to go back down into the heart of darkness to hide from them.

  She frowned.  Maybe she could sense what was happening.  She knew not all of his memories of her were going to be friendly after all.  However, she wasn’t going to lose him, not to those mistakes.  She knew he had forgiven her.  She would be dammed if she lost him all over again.  Grabbing his hand was a risky thing to do, but she did so out of impulse.  He hissed loudly causing Baralai to yelp, scooting back fast.  He started to squeeze her hand hard to the point where she winced; he was using excessive, crushing force.

  “Kashkie…please!” she pleaded, trying to stay as calm as she could and keep from raising her voice.  She felt the joints in her hand being shoved into positions that weren’t normal.  She might have been an echidna, but Kashkie was always considerably strong, and the adrenaline pumping through him that this terror caused only added to that strength.  “Kashkie!” she cried, a little louder that time.  She thought of trying to sit on his stomach and get in a dominant position, but she realized that was only going to make it worse, as this was something she did far too many times when she tortured him at night with her foolishness.

  She sighed inside.  This was only fair.  Kashkie had never punished her for what she did to him, only Teikaru had, and Kashkie was the one she hurt the worst.  He never wanted to participate in the first place.  Maybe it was time that he get the payback he was more than allowed for what she had done.

  She just didn’t want Baralai to see it.  If she made him leave maybe she could convince him Teikaru had been the one that hurt her.

  Getting down on her knees beside the bed Deannalee winced harder, putting her head down.  “B-Baralai…go find your grandmother, please baby.”

  Baralai frowned.  “But Mama…”

  “No buts, go find her now, we’ll be fine,” Deannalee repeated, looking up, trying to look as peaceful as she could as pain shot up her arm.

  Shadow didn’t know what to do.  He couldn’t just pull Kashkie away without revealing himself.  He could hear Deannalee’s thoughts, thinking she deserved the retribution.  Shadow was never a fan of what Deannalee had done, but he could tell she carried a weight of guilt on her heart daily, and that Kashkie was never a fan of revenge.  If he were in his right mind, he’d be disgusted by Teikaru’s behavior.  Shadow knew Kashkie would only ever be forgiving.

  That’s when he realized it.  Kashkie was only doing this because he was too frightened of the pain to remember the rest.  Looking at him he whispered.  “Kashkie, Kashkie please, I know you’re frightened, but try and remember the rest.  Look at her.  She’s spent the last year looking after you, keeping you healthy and alive, and protecting your body while you laid here in this world of light.  You’ve forgiven her.”

  By this point Baralai had made his way to the door but looked back when he heard his mother stifle a wail; this masked the sound of bones cracking and shifting in her hand.  Still, she held her ground.  Kashkie opened his eyes when he heard it, staring at her again but not releasing his grip just yet.  Her eyes were closed, her teeth gritted tightly.  He had forgiven her for those vile memories?

  His breathing was rapid by now, the sweating becoming increasingly profuse.  Still he forced himself to calm.  He shoved down his fears to make room for more memories.  They were faint and hazy.  Daffodils and orange juice on his table every morning.  Lunch of pomegranates and grapes by the Master Jewel; being unable to stave off a large grin when she received her first pair of sandals for her unborn child, so tiny and small sitting in the palm of her hand.

  More panic, panic that he was the father, but then acceptance.  It wouldn’t be so horrible.  He wasn’t the father, but he would still be there for her.  This was even more important when the day came that this baby was born, that same little boy that was just hugging him; he remembered disgust hearing that the child’s own father did absolutely nothing to comfort her, and seemed hell bent on destroying her for what she had done.

  But he remembered…he remembered feeling she just needed love, and a second chance.  She was a better person that that.  He kissed her brow and she apologized to him.  She let him go.  She wanted him to be happy, even at her own cost.

  Deannalee Rodnara.

  He had forgiven her.  She was the one…

  “She would never want to hurt you again Kashkie.  You don’t need to be afraid to be her friend.  You have to keep her safe Kashkie.  If you can, then you must.”

  “Mama!”

  Kashkie opened his eyes the pupils shrinking to normal size.  This second, louder crack was almost enough to cause Shadow to reveal himself and separate them, but upon opening his eyes Kashkie released his grip, staring at her almost blankly, but his face bent in confusion and regret.  He had hurt someone he was supposed to keep safe, and who likely already hurt enough.

  Even worse, she was the one who had kept him safe this entire time.

  Deannalee took a deep breath and looked at her hand.  It wasn’t bleeding, but she couldn’t hold it normally in a relaxed position, nor could she move or curl her fingers.  Forcing it to stay in that same position still hurt, but far less than anything else.  Still, she looked up at Kashkie seeing his eyes watery.  He looked more broken than anyone else she had ever known.  Knowing Kashkie normally, when he’s happy and full of hope and faith and joy, and then seeing him reduced to complete and utter despair was just heartbreaking to see.

  “I…I…” he staggered between breaths.  He had just hurt this girl, causing her pain of the kind he had spent all that time trying to escape.  She didn’t run away to hide.  She sat there and frowned sadly.  The difference between the darkness and this place, was that she wasn’t afraid.  She could see what she was facing, and knew that he wasn’t someone she needed to fear.  Now, he realized he need not fear her either.

  Shadow relaxed.  Kashkie had remembered the forgiveness.  Still, Shadow looked away; seeing him this devastated was more than the dark elemental could bear.

  “It okay,” Deannalee whispered.  She placed her good hand on Kashkie’s cheek gently.  He tensed up, but didn’t lash out this time.  Instead, he simply closed his eyes.  He felt that same feeling he did when Baralai hugged him; comfort.  It overwhelmed his senses briefly, causing his breathing to relax.  “I know you’re afraid, but you don’t need to be Kashkie.  You’ve looked after me, and I’ll keep looking after you.  It’s all I can do, to make up for how kind you’ve been, even when I didn’t deserve it.”

  Baralai frowned, calmer now that the incident had relaxed, but still worried.  The limit of his understanding was now reached; he saw Kashkie hurt his mother, and was just hoping that this wasn’t the start of him turning in to the monster his father was.  He took a step out of the door, but noticed Shadow had retreated to the window beside it, looking outside at the people, who apparently hadn’t heard the altercation.

  “It’s alright Baralai,” Shadow whispered, “Your uncle isn’t turning into a monster, I promise. He was just afraid.”  Glancing down he added, “He’s still sick inside, you could sense it when he was waking up.  You have to be brave now, and have courage.  You see, being brave doesn’t mean you’re not afraid, it just means you don’t let it keep you from doing what you must.”  He looked back outside.  “Kashkie will find his courage again, but until then, you must be strong too.  He won’t turn into someone like your father… …I promise.”

  Baralai tilted his head.  Looking back he frowned some, rubbing his eye.  He saw how his mother couldn’t hold her hurt hand straight, and yet she kept the undamaged one on Kashkie’s cheek, trying to comfort him.  She knew he’d be alright, and so she was being brave.  The little prince nodded; he would have to be strong now too.

  Shadow was relieved; it was far easier explaining something to a child to allay their fears.  They aren’t victims of chronic pessimism inflicted over a lifetime.

  “D-Deannalee…,” Kashkie coughed, opening his eyes looking at her sadly, “I’m…I…sorry…” he was cut off; the vomit he tried to hold back forced itself up now, causing him to turn his head away violently to keep from retching on her lap.

  She gasped, frowning, “Oh Kashkie no…you’re still sick.”  She sighed gently, rubbing his back with her good hand.  “I’m just so sorry.”

  “What’s happened?” Casselina asked, stepping in to the room.  Almost like a bolt of lightning hit it, she immediately noticed Deannalee’s broken hand.  “Deannalee?”

  “It’s alright Mother,” Deannalee said, before looking up, “It was an accident, it’s alright now.  Kashkie just…needs to be seen.”

  Shadow glanced at the Guardian Queen.  The memories of her might be kinder; Casselina was tolerable after Baralai was born, and right before his encounter with the Guardian of Pestilence, he had resolved to look after both women.  Casselina walked over to the bed moving Deannalee back gently.  “We’ll have the doctor look at your hand too,” she said, before starting to rub Kashkie’s back while he regurgitated.  “Kashkie honey it’s going to be alright.”

  Cutting his eyes back at Casselina Kashkie stared at her, trying to catch his breath.  More memories.  He knew she wasn’t the nicest woman, but something about her eyes was comforting; they weren’t clouded.  Her eyebrows weren’t bent like they would be whenever one of her headaches came, and with those headaches came hostility.  He saw her sitting beside a dark brown echidna with black hair, smiling at her baby grandson.

  She was concerned for Deannalee, and non-hostile.   Deannalee called her Mother.  It was Queen Casselina.  He could trust her.

  Still retching, all he could manage was a nod of understanding, before he returned to puking the rest of his breakfast on the floor, finishing with filthy, stinging bile.  Shadow frowned.  It wasn’t the vomiting that scared him, nor Kashkie’s horrible switch in personality and memory lost.

  “Just how badly did this Guardian hurt you?”


  “In the heart of darkness,
  I found safety and home.

  Away from all the pain,
  And suffering I had known.

  In this new world now,
 I just cannot escape.

  Grievous injury and loss,
  Are what I now must face.”
WoLaD: The 1st Interlude V.28
Next chapter!  I'm glad I'm on a writing kick even if I gotta balance it with the RP Anniversary series and my new games XD

So...it's late so I'm gonna try and be brief here.  Kashkie wakes up after a year of being comatose...a little over a year actually we're between Thaileon's first wedding anniversary and Armundae's first wedding anniversary, so it's the middle of summer.  As Kashoku feared Kashkie's memory is severely damaged, and Kashoku, fearing his might be as well, sent out a message to Shadow that remained inside Kashkie to be received the moment they both woke up.  It gives Shadow a small idea of what's wrong, but he has no idea yet just how traumatic Kashkie's experience was due to the effects of Oblivion's pestilence.

The one good thing in all this is Kashkie being gone made the darkness inside Teikaru relax, so he's spent the entire year pretty much doing whatever he wanted, but leaving Deannalee alone.  This won't last much longer.

Kashkie is afraid of the world of light, and doesn't know who anyone is.  Slowly he starts to remember them, using memories and feelings he associates with them to restore their identities.  Deannalee's hits him hard, and we see just how paranoid he is when he crushes her hand before he finally remembers he was meant to protect her, and that he had forgiven her.  He feels immediate guilt, recognizing Casselina before blacking out after vomiting...you don't see that, but it happens.

Shadow allays Baralai's fears that Kashkie will become a monster like Teikaru has, but even Shadow is saddened, unable to fully understand at this point what happened to his friend.  He's beginning to think Kashoku is the one with the answers, but doesn't dare try yet, not to mention Kashoku too likely forgot everything.  The only way to get answers is to simply wait for Kashkie to stabilize and recover, but that could take time, and with the births of the next children of Arandor looming on the horizon, Renaldo and the Daughter of Light's parents still missing, and Teikaru still as violent as ever, time is the one thing they're running short of, and Shadow's being worn thin.  He needs Kashkie back in action as soon as possible.

Things have really been knocked for a loop that's to be sure.  Things don't really get better for Kashkie in a hurry either, but we know him by now.  He'll soldier through.

All characters belong to me, except Oblivion and that unseen spirit, who belong to Gem, and Shadow, but this version of him does.

~ Halo :blackrose:
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"Wars of Light and Darkness"
By: Jade Lightning, a.k.a. ReverseTheEclipse

"The First Interlude"

-----

Verse Twenty-Seven: “Wake Up”

  “Is it even possible for someone to sleep this long and still wake up?”
 
  “He’s still breathing isn’t he?  His heart is still beating.  He must still be alive, he must be.”
 
  “What if we can’t help him?  What if he sleeps like this forever?”

  “What if…all he’s waiting for is to know that it’s okay…to let go?”



  “Kashkie…Kashoku, Arandor whichever the hell is awake inside of the boy now, I hear questions like that every day, and I cannot deny my own heart whispers the same musings to my consciousness at night, keeping me from rest.  Perhaps you’re stealing away the ability for sleep from a score of people, and I am merely another victim.  I shied away from sleeping for centuries, simply resting my mind, and yet, as of late, forcing my brain to clock out for a few hours is all I can manage.

  It’s so bad; I’ve gone back to talking to myself in this way, or at least reaching out for whatever was left of Arandor, trying to keep him updated on things, even when I knew he couldn’t hear them.  With how bad off Kashkie is right now I can’t imagine you’re doing any better.

  …what the hell happened, that’s what I’m trying to understand, trying to make some sense, any sense out of any of this.

  It was a week before Armundae’s birthday.  He returned home with the girl Aerealei, very clearly the love of his life.  The elders accepted her.  She’s got an amazing effect; she seemed to bridge and soothe any wounds that were shared by Armundae and the elders.  Hell, even Daisy was getting along with her.  I imagine the two of them, Laryllia, and Thaileon’s sisters will always be very close.  There was such a big party that night, and a week later was Armundae’s birthday, where he was finally crowned the second Captain of the Guardian, to stand beside his friend Thaileon, who would have his own ceremony in a couple of weeks.  I was supposed to be the one to crown him.  It was similar to how Arandor crowned Sutei-Midoka in place of Kashoku.  Little did everyone know Sutei was still crowned by his father.

  To be quite honest, Starwin had to remind me to go and do it.  I was hard pressed to leave your side Kashkie, even if I had to be invisible…for most of it.

  After Thaileon exited the tent, I practically tore open a portal.  I wasn’t patient enough to move slowly, even at the cost of more pain coursing through my body each time I forced it to make a movement it didn’t want to perform.  I barely remember it, but I believe I commanded it to make one the closest to you Kashkie, you or Arandor.  I was praying we had just enough of a bond left to manage this.

  Worse than finding you in a state, would be never finding you and being left to wonder what happened in the first place.

  It was early evening.  The air was humid; both islands have the same seasons being near the same latitude lines, but it was only just early spring.  Perhaps my panic made adjusting to a tropical climate so quickly more of a struggle than it should have been.  I didn’t care.  I looked around vainly.  You had to be somewhere.

  That’s when I smelled it.  I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, but it made sense later; a foul odor.  Something, or someone, of the most terrible sort, was in this area only recently.  I shuddered to think who they were, and worst still, what they may have done to you.

  You.  I looked around.  I still had to find you.  I called out your name several times, my eyes scanning the dense jungle foliage.  I relied on every sense I had.  I gathered all my knowledge of tracking.  I forced down my panic the same way someone swallows down disgusting bile trying to stave off regurgitating at the wrong moment.  I regulated my breathing.  I forced myself to remain calm.  Perhaps living without that bond I shared with Arandor for over two-thousand years helped me.  As much as it stung at my soul, it was easy to slip back into a familiar mindset.  It was a way of finding comfort in a time and place where none seems to exist.

  There certainly wasn’t any there at the moment.  It wasn’t until several minutes later, the majority of which I spent simply trying to calm myself down, that I was given at least somewhat of a hand to hold.  My eyes had noticed a heavy tread, the kind indicating a male had passed through.  I then noticed a strand of golden hair dangling from the stalk of an elephant ear leaf.  You had been here, and fairly recently.  This island got enough rain this time of year.  These tracks were fresh.

  I followed them silently.  I stopped calling out your name, although admittedly I only did a few times.  The last thing I needed was one of the islanders seeing me and blowing your cover.  If you were alive, we still needed you to look after Deannalee, and if you were…dead…I would have to.

  …if you were dead.  If you were both dead.  It makes my stomach feel the same pain now simply thinking about it as the realization was then.  It was so dreadful I didn’t think to hide myself, or my voice, with darkness.  Thinking about it now I probably wasn’t as stealthy as I thought I was.  I was likely crashing through the underbrush like an orangutan looking for its next meal.

  I didn’t think.  I didn’t look around for danger.  I merely looked for you.

  The light was fading fast.  That didn’t bother me.  My eyes were most at home in the dark after all.  It never occurred to me you might be fine.  It never occurred to me you had probably fainted and been taken back to the village by a friend.  You were out here in this miserable jungle, alone, possibly gone forever.  What had I done?

  More fears to shove down.  It didn’t occur to me until now I had a rush of feelings so strong that it was likely the feelings that were absent for the last two-thousand years biting me in the ass hard out of retribution for burying them.  I was what they call an emotional wreck.  Maybe I still am, I’m just calmer now because the problem is known, even if the solution has yet to present itself.

  My mind was on a solitary track.  I had tunnel vision, singular focus.  For all of my years of training and strength, any lessons of stealth and mental solace were completely trampled over, much in the same way I stampeded through the trees.  It was by luck that I didn’t trip and break my face open.  It was by miracle that I found you at last, because really, the state I was in couldn’t rely on skill to find what was lost; it could only hold on to hope in a higher power.

  I dropped down to my knees.  You looked like you had vomited before fainting, coming to rest in that pool of disgusting bile mixed with dirt.  Something else I noticed, the plants, even the ground around you seemed rotted away by some disease, unlike I had ever seen before.  This was a clue for Father eventually figuring out who did this but, that didn’t matter to me then, nor does it much now, because knowing who it was solves nothing.  It won’t wake you up any time soon.  I remember frowning.  You weren’t dead, I could tell that much.  You still had the aura of someone living.  You were still you.  Arandor had to have still been there, but I felt no connection, no bond, with either of you.

  I sat back trying to meditate, much as we both would whenever we spoke over long distances.  I reached out for your mind, something that should have been simple, as simple as it was any day since physical distance was never a factor in the difficulty.  Nothing.  I couldn’t find you much less hear you if you were trying to speak back to me.  I opened my eyes some sighing.  I hadn’t dared to do this.  I didn’t want to draw out Arandor, or at least Kashoku at this point, to keep him from overtaking your spirit, but I felt I had no choice.  I called out to him as well, calling him by both names, pleading, then flat out demanding a response, from either of you.

  All I got in return was more silence, silence that seemed animated to the point where it threatened to strangle the air out of me the longer it persisted.

  I opened my eyes once again.  I was either in too much shock to think about it, or my mind simply didn’t want to believe it was true.  You were alive, but any consciousness that you and Arandor both had, it was completely silent.  My mind searched for what the word was to describe it, I had seen it enough times on the news when I sat alone in that empty house.

  Comatose.

  My ears twitched.  I heard someone coming.  I couldn’t stay there, but I wasn’t sure if I could take you away with me.  Surely Deannalee’s people would wonder what happened to you.  Maybe that was one of them looking for you at this very moment.  If I took you away, I might never be able to bring you back.

  I rose up to a crouching position, my eyes and ears trained in the direction of the sound.  It was a light tread, either a woman or a child.  They weren’t calling out for you, so it wasn’t a member of a search party.  As they grew closer, I saw they weren’t an echidna at all.  In the fading light I made out the color cornflower blue, streaks of white.  I saw wings, and those large ears.

  Bats.  It was a member of that wretched race.  They had a village here on this island.  Somehow the echidnas had come to forget what their kind did to Lady Mitsukai.  Good on them, because I sure as hell haven’t let it go.  I tolerate them though, for her sake, and the sanctity of her memory.  This one I recognized.  I remembered you telling me about her, although this was the first time I had seen her.  It was the girl Lily, Deannalee’s childhood friend.

  Still, I kept back. Friend or no, I’d rather not get involved with anyone.  I couldn’t attempt to move you.  I still wasn’t sure if it was wise, that and it would create too much noise and she’d spot us anyway.  I stepped into the shadows eyeing her, hoping she’d pass by and not notice you there.  It didn’t occur to me then that somebody was eventually going to have to find you.  If that were true, I didn’t think I wanted it to be her.  I’m not sure why.

  Frankly not much was making sense at that moment.  It’s annoying to think about.

  She stopped walking suddenly; it might have been that same foul stench lingering in the air that caught my attention, or maybe it was the smell of your vomit, or even still the fact that the ground and plant life immediately beside you was rotted and sickly, something hard to simply overlook.  I made a mental note to try and heal this area later, to keep from anymore alarm being caused.  I knew of someone who could do it, a Terra Guardian, the Guardian of Flora; honestly, I was lucky that I eventually did remember to ask her, what with all the stress this ordeal created.  

  The bat girl’s humming  was silenced and she glanced right at where you rested, taking a few cautious steps towards your still form, making sure to rotate her ears and shift her eyes, scanning for any dangers.  She was far better at that than I was at that point.  Once she was sure it was safe, she moved forward more, step by step, almost tripping over your body, but spotting it just in time.  She gasped.  It sounded like complete horror.  It almost surprised me how immediately worried she was about you, but later it didn’t.  You’re a very likable person Kashkie; it isn’t hard to see why people care about you, even in my case, when I decided caring for someone only caused pain.

  I still feel that way, or so I think.  Maybe I’m not as numb as I claim to be.  Maybe I only claim to be to prepare myself for the inevitable, thinking it will make it easier to swallow and keep breathing to whatever end.

  She called out your name several times, growing increasingly frantic as her voice level rose a decibel or two each time.  When she realized that and her hand on your face wasn’t enough to wake you, she looked around.  It wasn’t until I heard her mention the word ‘help’ that I was awoken from whatever thoughts I was having, whether about bats, whether I truly cared for anyone or not, or whether you were alive or dead.

  I made a decision that I can see Arandor and that damn cheeky grin of his flashing at me for in that split second.  I didn’t think it was wise to appear to Deannalee or any of her people, but perhaps, perhaps I could appear to this girl.  Kashkie told me the bats were separate enough from the echidnas down to disagreeing with their lifestyle, and they merely shared this island peacefully.  Kashkie mentioned having a friendship with this girl.  I could approach her, and simply ask that she keep my identity hidden from the others.

  Once again, I would ask a bat for help.  Anything was better than festering on hatred for them after two millennia had passed, I suppose.  You needed me now; that was what was important.  It was worth the chance.

  I rose up and approached her, maybe a little too quickly, for she whipped around at me and hissed, showing me her teeth.  I put my hands up in a show of peace, but it must have not been enough.  She shouted at me in the echidna dialect used here; I suppose they learned each others’ languages for the sake of accessibility.  She told me to stay back, and that I wouldn’t do to her what I did to him.

  I shook my head.  ‘How are you certain I’m the one that did this to him?  Kashkie here is my very dear friend.   He is my brother.’

  She blinked at me, a wave of conflicting emotions painting her face.  I spoke in their language.  I called Kashkie my brother but looked nothing like him.  I knew who Kashkie was in the first place.

  All that registered to me was that I sounded entirely too calm for how worried I was feeling.  I frowned instantly.

  ‘Kashkie did mention having one.  I think Deannalee even saw you once, the day I met him.  She mentioned…someone with fur as black as night and red streaks in his hair.  Was that…you?’

  I glanced at Lily.  So Deannalee had seen me that day.  That would work in my favor.  I nodded some.  ‘Yes…I’m Shadow.  I know this all above your understanding right now but, I assure you I didn’t do this to him.  I found him like this.  I was just debating what to do when you showed up.’  I looked down at you, unmoving this entire time.  ‘I couldn’t very well leave him lying here alone any longer.’

  Lily frowned.  She must have held a lot of trust, for she immediately bent down again putting her hand on your forehead.  ‘He’s still breathing…did he just…faint?’

  ‘And vomited, apparently.  He’s lying in a pool of it,’ I said, bending down as well.  ‘He hasn’t been lying here very long…the bile is still fresh.’

  She looked up at me.  ‘I’m sorry…I can see now just how worried you are for him.  Listen, stay here, I’ll go get some guys from Deannalee’s village to come carry him home.’

  Worried?  Did I look that worried?  Sound it?  …I was consumed by it.

  Looking up I shook my head.  ‘I could carry him myself but, for certain reasons I’d rather not be seen by them.  I have powers I can use to hide myself, similar to Kashkie’s, but I do not mind being seen by you or your people.  Listen I…I know it makes absolutely no sense right now but please don’t mention me at all.  Just bring help and say you found him this way.  I’ll follow along and keep myself hidden.  I just…need him to have help now.’  My eyes trailed back to you as I spoke.  I couldn’t keep a gaze fixed on anything else for long.

  Concern has a way of arresting control from all other thoughts, only letting them borrow that attention for fixed intervals.  Lily paused for that brief moment, then nodded.  ‘I’ll be right back.’ She ran ahead disappearing into the darkening jungle, and I could hear her whisper, ‘Kashkie, just hold on, please.’

  Kashkie…just hold on, please.  That’s a sentiment we all shared then, on up until this day, even as our doubts linger and grow, and our hopes fight off the urge to lay down and sleep, becoming confined to dreams, cut off from becoming reality.

  Some echidnas came back what I assume was a short time later…I only know that because they arrived before it was totally dark.  To my surprise both Deannalee and her mother came with them, Deannalee carrying little Baralai with her.  He was almost a year old…Kashkie told me Deannalee never went anywhere without him, especially after Renaldo disappeared only a short time before all this.

  Renaldo.  Maybe the same thing that got Renaldo was trying to take you away from me now.  I had hidden myself with darkness that allowed only Lily to see me as a test.  She glanced at me briefly, but immediately realized the others couldn’t see me.  She nodded slightly, then returned her attention to explaining your condition.  It worked.   She understood how it would work.  Having a certainty through all this was about the only hope that remained to me.

  Deannalee frowned, calling out to you.  She must have still cared for you, on some level, perhaps like a sister to a brother.  Even Casselina looked bewildered and on the verge of devastation.  The way she and her mother took charge and worked together…they didn’t seem to have any problems.  Like you indicated, if anything else they seemed to be strengthening that relationship now that Renaldo was gone.

  With the help of couple of males they carried you back to the village.  Every resident was crowded around the dinner fires, curious about what was happening, murmuring loudly when you were carried into the light of the village circle. The only person absent was Teikaru.  He bothered you, I knew that much.  My mind only registered that he was absent and that I couldn’t have cared less about him.

  Maybe if he had been there I’d have been able to figure out why he disturbed you so much.  Maybe not.  I still had a one track mind at that point.

  Casselina ordered them to carry you into her house.  If I recall correctly she did the same thing the very first night you came here.  She sent for the village doctor, and all the while Deannalee sat in a wicker chair across from the bed.  She didn’t frown, but her expression was laced with pain and confusion.  She held Baralai as close as she could.  The only change in the air was him looking up at her, speaking the only words he could.  ‘Mama’ with an increasing level of confusion and concern, until she lifted him gently to kiss his head, rocking him in her arms to keep her mind off her worries.

  Lily stood in the doorway while I stood beside Deannalee’s chair simply staring at you.  I know she cut her eyes at me.  If I had no idea what happened to you, there was no chance this doctor of theirs could know either.  I’m quite sure they’ve never had someone simply go unconscious like that and not respond within a day or so.

  Comatose.  Wake up.

  A wish turned into a demand.  A prayer turned into a plea.  The village doctor said as much; you were unconscious, a level deeper than sleep, and the only thing to do was make sure you got fluids and just wait for you to wake up.  Deannalee couldn’t stand it, turning her head away from the doctor.  Casselina, older and by now used to bad news after what had happened to her mother – I heard that her mother died in child birth and that sibling died a short time later, scaring Casselina from having more than one child – simply nodded and said thank you, asking him to explain this to the echidnas outside.  She swallowed down a knot in her throat, something I envied her for as I was unable to do the same with the one in mine.  She glanced at Lily and asked her for a moment of privacy, thanking her for finding you and alerting them to your plight, and asking that she come back later, knowing you and her were friends, and of course her and Deannalee. Lily nodded.  I knew she didn’t have the best relationship with Casselina or Deannalee because you told me about it, but tragedy changes people; it helps them see past their trivial problems with the world.

  It helped me see past mine.  When I saw her looking at me I simply nodded in understanding.  I would see her later too, and try to explain everything.  She left after this.  By the time I looked back, Deannalee had broken into a silent sob, still clutching Baralai close to her breast, Casselina now having both arms around her daughter.  I understood something then.  With Renaldo gone, both women had turned to Kashkie, not Teikaru, for support.  They had the same thought I did.  Perhaps the same evil that took away Renaldo, had targeted him now.  It was very rattling for both of them.

  My mind drifted to Teikaru again.  He was a bastard of a husband if he was leaving the women to suffer like this, even completely unconcerned for Renaldo’s, and now your welfare.  I wanted to be angry, but the doctor’s words hit me suddenly, and this, along with my better knowledge of what this truly meant for you, combined with Deannalee’s tears and an unexplainable presence of what I can only describe as a devastated spirit hanging in the air, I just couldn’t focus on anything else besides that hot tear trickling down my cheek.

  I suppose I could still cry after all.  I couldn’t even remember the last time.  No, yes I do.  It was when you were five years old…asking me why I never smiled…

  God…Kashkie…why.  Why are you doing this to us?

  After this, life settled into tedium.  The villagers tried their best to continue on with life, poking their heads in the hut to check on you, asking for any signs of life, to which there was never any change.  They used their control over fluids to get water and juices into you, and by they I mean Deannalee and Casselina.  They took turns caring for you and baby Baralai.  Casselina had the idea to use the Master Jewel to try and help you, and for a moment I thought maybe it could get Kashoku to wake up.  I was going to see how that turned out, but around that time Starwin came and reminded me to be there to crown Thaileon as the Guardian.

  Over a week I had stood in that same place, a random tear falling now and then.  Lily would see me and acknowledge me, but I never left to give her the chance to try and talk to me.  It took Starwin reminding me Thaileon would likely be the last Guardian ever crowned, and that Arandor would want me there, to convince me to move.  I passed by Lily as I was leaving, telling her I’d be back soon, and to keep an eye on your for me.

  When I returned to the village everyone asked where I had been.  I replied simply by saying I was needed somewhere briefly, and apologized for not informing them.  I was teased for missing Armundae’s birthday as well, in addition to Thaileon announcing he would marry Laryllia a week after his wedding, saying he changed his mind about waiting after seeing how happy Armundae and Aerealei were.

  I was grateful for all this, it took the attention away from how awful I must have looked.  I hadn’t slept or rested my brain ever since that day.  I was terrified the moment I did you’d rouse for a split second and I would miss it, or even worse, you would die without me there to say goodbye.

  I shoved it down hard, and regurgitated all of my breakfast, trying to make myself presentable when I went to give Thaileon the diadem of Kashoku, something new Guardians only wore on this ceremony, before it was returned to Sky Sanctuary with the rest of their important treasures.  Holding it reminded me of Kashoku.  It was all I could do to keep from running away and screaming at the top of my lungs.  Two simple words.

  Wake up.

  I stayed for the after party.  I didn’t eat.  I didn’t have the stomach to.  I don’t remember much.  I registered how happy Armundae and Aerealei were, and how friendly everyone was to her especially, and I was relieved.  I saw Thaileon and Laryllia dancing together, and remembered Kashoku and Mitsukai.  Again I wanted to scream.  I got up and was leaving.  Karadin stopped me and asked where I was going.  I asked him simply to help Armundae guard Thaileon; I had to leave again, but I would be back for the wedding.  It was easier to sneak off without having to explain to people who would ask questions.  Karadin I knew would take what I said at face value and do what I asked.  That was all I wanted.

  I immediately returned to Spirit Island.  I found Lily sooner than I wanted but figured now was as good a time as any to explain things to her.  I clarified what she knew about you, about how you harbored light.  I didn’t dare explain everything, but I said you were sent to look after Deannalee since she was latest descendant in her bloodline, which was important to a greater war at large.  It all seemed to make sense to her, or perhaps like me and anyone else when your mind is stuck on something else, it allows you to accept other things easier since it prevents you from taking your attention away from the main focus to process them.  Either way, she trusted it.  She trusted us, and said she had trusted you for a long time now.

  This was good, I said.  I told her when you woke up, you would still need all the friends you could get.  I told her you suffered more than she could ever surmise; if she truly wanted to help you, she would need to listen to whatever you said, whatever you asked.  I knew you would want this.  I know…you want to save as many as you can.

  When you woke up.  Lily repeated that sighing slowly.  She explained that Casselina had used the Master Jewel to try and better understand what was ailing you, to no avail.  However, she said the Master Jewel did respond to you, just not the other way around.  Hell, of course it did.  The Master Jewel has parts of Arandor inside of it.  It was reacting to its master, its first and only true Guardian.

  But I couldn’t tell them that.  I couldn’t tell anyone.  It did comfort me.  If the Master Jewel reacted, it meant that Arandor was still alive inside of you somewhere.  Up until that point I couldn’t be sure.  With you it was as simple as seeing that you were still breathing.  Unless Kashoku took control of your body, I had no way of knowing if his spirit was still alive or not.  This made it certain.

  That was all that was certain.  Time began to drag by.  I did go back to Angel Island for Thaileon and Laryllia’s wedding.  I suppose it was a beautiful ceremony.  I don’t remember most of it.  Armundae took me aside and grinned saying he was asking this before I disappeared again.  He planned to marry Aerealei at the end of the summertime.  I remember registering surprise.  He said she would have turned fifteen by then.  It was probably the calmest I had been in weeks.  I told him to be careful.  He knew that having children at such a young age was a taboo thing, since women died from childbirth in their societies, not having the modern advancements that I had seen many other parts of the worlds adopt with their technology.  He just smiled and promised me he’d be careful.  Aerealei said she felt ready to have a baby when she was sixteen.

  What else could I say.  I think the first chuckle I had since the day he brought her here escaped me as I told him it took a village to raise a child.  I felt that if they just made their plans clear to everyone there, everything should be fine.  If worse came to worse, they could explain sixteen was the accepted age where she came from.  I told him I’d back up that plenty of girls had children that young where she came from.  To be honest, I’m pretty sure they do, otherwise she wouldn’t have said she was willing to.  I knew nobody had pressured her about it yet.  They were satisfied that she was there at all.

  Regardless, this was a comfort.  I knew Thaileon would live in the afterglow of his marriage for awhile.  That much of his plan he stuck to.  He wanted the villagers to be secure in the knowledge that he was young, strong, and healthy, and that the rush for him to have a son was just living in paranoia.  This meant I would have all the time I needed to tend to you for however long you needed it.  Besides, surely you’d wake up by the time Armundae’s wedding came around, right?

  Wake up.

  I returned to Spirit Island.  Deannalee had her chair by your bed, one she traded with her mother as they sat with you in shifts.  I think my heart was bleeding out all the other feelings I had buried along with pain.  Seeing them drain juice into your mouth, rubbing your throat to get you to swallow it; spooning fruity mush into your mouth, and even ground up meat and potatoes to keep healthy foods in you, helping you down it in the same way; cleaning up after you in every way imaginable…washing your hair, changing the bed linens whenever the bed was soiled…

  …if this embarrasses you I don’t care.  It made me weep.  They were doing for you what I could not.  All I could do was stand there and stare.  If one had to guess out of the three of us who loved you the most, it would be Deannalee and her mother based on their acts alone.

  Casselina would sit there alone, talking about things she and Renaldo would do.  She loved her husband very much, I could tell, just by how her mood lifted when she spoke his name, only to crash again when she received no reply from you, and she equated losing him to losing you as well.  She told me Deannalee needed you.  Teikaru was never around anymore.

  Teikaru…that bastard again.  Truth be told, I never saw him.  I knew that he avoided you, but apparently you being comatose just drove him even further away.  Supposedly he had some hideout on the island that he liked to haunt.  Maybe he saw other women there.  The prospect of him cheating on Deannalee would have gotten him stoned, but…Casselina mentioned it once, while talking to you, and when I asked Lily about it she told me that Deannalee and Teikaru’s relationship was loveless at best.

  I was shocked…I wasn’t aware that what happened to you had damaged their relationship that much.  I hope…you don’t hold that too hard on your heart.  You didn’t know…how could you have?  You’re so innocent, you always have been.  You’re not like me, purposefully keeping people at arms length to avoid feeling anything at all.

  I couldn’t keep you away.  All I felt was pain.

  Deannalee would sit with you for countless hours.  She’d get your arms and legs moving, she said to keep the blood flowing, and yet this startled me.  This is something they do with modern hospital patients to keep blood clots from forming from the lack of movement over a long period.  I started doing it myself in the times Lily would volunteer to sit with you, so Deannalee or Casselina could sleep or tend to Baralai while the other watched the Master Jewel.

  I got to know Lily well.  I’d ask about her people and their history.  I found my hatred of bats starting to melt away.  She cared for you so much.  She told me back during the mess with Deannalee and Teikaru she wanted you to go live with them, and that she offered to keep you safe.  You rejected simply to protect them from being involved in a war.

  It was hard to let go of painful memories, but as far as Lily was concerned, I considered her a good person.  I can’t imagine she’d have approved what happened to Mitsukai either.  You can’t condemn everyone in a group because of the actions of a few radicals.  You said that once.  You were right Kashkie.  I’m only sorry you weren’t awake when I finally reached that conclusion for myself.

  Sometimes, Baralai, who was taking his first shaky steps, would wander into the room.  He saw me once, but said nothing short of tilting his head.  He simply looked back forward, crawling up to your beside.  He’d try to climb up on it, only to receive help from Lily.  Once he was secure, he curled up beside you closing his eyes.  Two things registered to me.  One, you were likely the only male role model he had left, with Renaldo missing and Teikaru doing whatever the hell pleased him away from his family.  Two…you were going to make a model father someday, something I wrote off for myself ages ago, when Lulabei was unable to conceive.

  …Lulabei.  This is how I know how depressed I am.  My mind rewards me by drawing my thoughts to her, when I’m at my lowest.  If only I had her shoulder to cry on now.  I don’t dare weep in front of Lily.  She knows me well enough by now.  If she sees me cry, she’ll lose any hope she has.

  If she loses hope, so do Deannalee and Casselina.  Baralai was the only real hope I had left.  He was a child…the closest to Heaven and the One who watches over us that anyone living can be.  If he still had faith in you, there was still a drop of it left to be had for us all.

  Maybe this is what kept my hopes out of the toilet when Armundae’s wedding came at the end of summer.  Aerealei was a beautiful bride, like Laryllia.  The two women are like sisters now.  I looked around and saw how strong and in good spirits the village was.  For the first time in many years, they had a Guardian and both captains.  One captain was old enough to have had a child.  They were getting back to the point where everything felt safe, and the future ahead of them was bright and full of promise.

  It’s a good thing I was already as depressed as I could get.  Thinking of what was going to happen to these people would have driven me to blow my brains out with that gun I was given as a present but never used, just like that damn motorcycle of mine you learned how to ride in fifteen minutes while I had to walk it home that first night.

  I knew I was moving forward in the stages of grief.  Thinking about you started to make me angry.  I started to deny any of this was even happening at all.  Clearly I fainted that day in the tent after Thaileon left, and I was the one in a coma, not you.  Surely I was about to wake up only to have your goofy face staring at me claiming I had overslept.  I tried to compromise.  God, whatever devil has Kashkie and Arandor, take me instead.

  Depression…the last one before acceptance, it’s still with me even now.

  Wake up…


  Months have passed.  I’ve lost track only recognizing the passage of time by various holidays that are celebrated…Baralai’s first birthday in October, Deannalee’s in November.  Deannalee has patched up her friendship with Lily.  Somehow Deannalee stays in better spirits than her mother.  Sometimes, I see her smile in her sleep, like some great comfort has paid her a visit.  I believe it’s an angel of some kind; even I can’t help but feel the signature of a holy light within the room.

  I only hope to God it isn’t you.

  The visits from the villagers have slowed to an almost halt.  The doctor comes by to check on you, and he says your vital signs are all strong.  Sometimes you struggle to breathe, but a little assistance from someone who can wield air helps your labored breathing relax.  Casselina still tries the Master Jewel from time to time, to no avail, only it does still react to you, stronger as of late.  Perhaps Arandor is waking up inside, or has awoken, and is trying in vain to save you.  He would do that.

  They’ve all become used to the fact that you’re living in an endless sleep.  They pray for you, and do everything they can to keep Deannalee and Casselina comfortable.  Renaldo is still gone, and Teikaru, God knows what he’s doing.  I sense heavy lust coming from the south side of the island…he must be fucking any female that is willing to give in to him, and perhaps forcing any that won’t…it sounds selfish, but as long as it’s not Deannalee he’s hurting, I can’t take the time to care.

  Lily said he was snooping around her village once.  She asked around and nobody admitted to it.  I suppose if a half echidna, half bat baby pops up, we’ll know who to blame.  Good.  That would mean Teikaru was eligible to be hanged.  …the only problem is, I was quite sure, he still had to be the father of Deannalee’s daughter, the Master of the Elements.

  …I’m quite sure you had the thought once or twice.  I think by now we recognize it should be anyone besides him.  But what can we say about it Kashkie?  We can’t even beg for you to be awoken.  Any of our desires fall on deaf ears, and if someone is listening, what are they waiting for?


  ‘Is it even possible for someone to sleep this long and still wake up?’
 
  ‘He’s still breathing isn’t he?  His heart is still beating.  He must still be alive, he must be.’
 
  ‘What if we can’t help him?  What if he sleeps like this forever?’

  ‘What if…all he’s waiting for is to know that it’s okay…to let go?’



  I hear the villagers talking from time to time.  Is it even possible for you to wake up?  What if we can’t help you?  What if you sleep like this forever?

  What if…all you’re waiting for is to know that it’s okay to let go…?


  It’s been a year now Kashkie.  Teikaru’s come back once or twice to see his son, ignoring everyone else and sneering when Baralai hides behind Casselina when his father approaches.  Who would blame him?  He barely knows his father.  Still, I often hear him giggling at night.  Lord knows.  He’s likely closer to that spirit that visits him and his mother, and if they’ve got some greater comfort, I’m glad.  Casselina has had to accept that her husband is gone.  She’s devastated, clearly, but if anything else it’s brought her closer to Deannalee.  The way she glared at Teikaru, it was the closest thing to a grin I’ve had in ages, a smirk really, but I’ll take what I can get.

  Thaileon’s turned eighteen.  Neither Laryllia or Aerealei are pregnant yet, but I sense that Laryllia will be soon.  I also sense this will not be the Son of Strength.  This is to allow for that boy and the Daughter of Light to be closer in age, I’m sure.

  I’ve visited Father once, perhaps a month ago.  He seemed very stressed.  He could not connect to you or Arandor either, and Arandor’s spirit was absent from the casket where it goes from time to time for a dosage of Father’s Light.  This means Arandor is running on what little Light he has left inside of him.  If you don’t wake up soon, Arandor could fall apart, and would be lost forever once again.

  …I don’t care, dammit.  It was never the right of ours to do this to begin with.  I damn near screamed it at Father before breaking down and crying.  We love Arandor, we want him to have peace, but for you to be put through this, it’s just not fair.  You don’t deserve this.  You never did.  Right now, I know Arandor’s probably sacrificing everything he can to save you.

  I know this, because Father confirmed what I already surmised; the Master Jewel responding to you at increasing levels of strength, meant that not only was Arandor awake inside of you, he was active, and likely searching for your consciousness in an attempt to save you.  Depending on how far down you had fallen, this could take years, or possibly never succeed.

  …

  ‘What if…all he’s waiting for is to know that it’s okay…to let go?’


  Kashkie Erendei…my entire life I’ve lived and dedicated to the legacy of another.  I promised Arandor I’d watch over his family.  I promised Father I’d watch over you.  I’ve buried each and every feeling and emotion.  I’ve dragged myself out of bed when all I want to do is sleep.  I’ve put my gun down when all I wanted to do was pull the trigger.  I’ve put up with your godforsaken annoying attitude and all the jokes and nonsense, because I know all you’re doing is keeping a promise to me.  I’ve lived my entire life thinking only of the good of other people.  Twinkle says I’m humble and selfless.  I’d never give myself that title.

  But…if I am, I’m going to be selfish now.

  I refuse to tell you it’s okay to let go.  It’s not okay, nor will it ever be.  If you fade away now, you’re breaking your promise to me.  Losing Arandor I’d forgive you for, losing yourself…I’ll never let you live down.

  A year has passed.  I’m going to tell you exactly what you tell me every morning when I get up late.  You’ve overslept.  You’re going to have bed hair like the swamp thing left out to bake in the sun.  You’re going to be the crab apple I always am and I’m going to shove orange juice and bran flakes in your face and ask if you want them put in the blender so they don’t hurt your teeth.

  I don’t care how, I don’t care when, just please, I’m begging to whatever sympathetic ear may be willing to shoulder my suffering.  I can’t take this any longer.

  Wake up.

       …wake up.”


“Days turn into months,
  And one thing stays the same.

Silently in deep repose,
  Forlorn he will remain.

Sitting by just quietly,
 They whisper soft and low,

‘Wake up, and return to us,
  Please find your way back home.’”
WoLaD: The 1st Interlude V.27
If only I could have been inspired when I didn't have 6 new games needing to be played XD Ah...I don't care, when I wanna write I write and this chapter is a huge helping of Shadow angst...that is MY Shadow.  He's really only like the official one in appearance by this point...yeah, might as well not be the same guy but, for now he is since I'm pairing him up with Rouge later XD

Anyway yes, we find out Kashkie's been in that coma for over a YEAR.  It's midsummer by the time this chapter is over, one year after Kashkie's encounter with dangerous Guardian Oblivion of Pestilence.  Speaking of Oblivion, another Terra Guardian gets a brief mention here, the Guardian of Flora, Cynthia.  You'll get to see more of them as time goes by.

So basically all of this has Shadow giving details of what happened.  Much like Kashoku explains to Kashkie, Shadow finds him shortly before Lily does, and together the two get him back to the village.  Shadow stays hidden from the echidnas, but spends time with Lily and even sees her as a friend, showing he's slowly healing from the hatred he held to bats for the actions of those wild ones that led to the deaths of Mitsukai and Kashoku.  We learn Thaileon is crowned as Guardian, decides to marry Laryllia soon after, and Armundae reveals he will marry Aerealei at the end of the summer, once she turns sixteen.

Admittedly...I wanted her to be older when she had the twins, but since I had to adjust the ages again, she's probably going to be closer to sixteen, possibly seventeen depending on how far I can push the twins back.  I wanted them to be closer to Hidama in age, so perhaps they'll come around the same time Jade does.

One thing Shadow makes note of is the fact that Teikaru is absent, and likely in a hideaway where he spends time with women and wine that he gets drunk off of.  Shadow doesn't know why.  He knew Kashkie bothered Teikaru but didn't know why.  He's distracted by Kashkie's coma that he still doesn't see it, which adds to the eventual disaster that will come back to Deannalee again later, but for now gives her a reprieve.  Perhaps Kashkie being comatose makes Teikaru think he can do whatever he likes and not to have to worry about whatever Kashkie is doing.

This entire time Shadow is...largely despondent.  The thought of losing Arandor is something he can accept, much like Kashoku says to Kashkie in the last chapter.  It's the thought of Kashkie dying that has him depressed.  He's spent the past two-thousand years toiling away for a promise or two he made.  Somehow Kashkie dying on his watch just seems to be more than he can handle.  Perhaps, more than anything he's just afraid of being alone again.

Twinkle says Shadow is humble and selfless.  He doesn't think so, but I think it's pretty fair to say about the only person Shadow doesn't consider and sacrifice for, is himself.  He always takes the brunt, trying to shoulder all the pain alone as to keep from troubling other people.  He and Arandor are similar in this respect; both have regrets for their pasts.  Shadow doesn't spend time thinking about blame, he thinks only of saving others from the consequences, on up to Arandor himself.

It's just such an amazing and powerful dynamic.  Who's the real hero in this story? XP

Anyway, yeah I just had to keep writing XD I just feel so sorry for my baby Shadow and I didn't feel it was right leaving that chapter hanging for so long.  Next chapter Kashkie should awaken, as we saw hints to this in the last chapter, but will his personality be warped and damaged like Kashoku claimed?  Angel Island may be secure, even Deannalee for the time being having repaired her relationships with her mother and best friend, but how long can this last?

Stay tuned XP And yes Gem this was all for you little sis *huggle*

All characters belong to me, except Oblivion and the wandering spirit, and Shadow, but...yeah you get this by now XD This version is mine.

~ Halo :blackrose:
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