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Hearts & Stars (2 of 2)Follow

#1 Nov 10 2005 at 2:18 PM Rating: Good
251 posts
"Take my hand, hurry! I'll save you!" A white gauntlet reached down. Without thinking she took it and was pulled up to safety. Tears of fear and remorse turned into tears of thanks and relief. As the black mage wiped them away, a tall Elvaan in gleaming white armor stood before her.

Disbelief only made her emotions run higher and heart pound faster.

"W-w-who are you?"

"My name is Aleuthiquon," the handsome hero replied with a smile. It was one of those elegant elvaan names that Eleusynia loved to hear pronounced.

"And you are, milady?"

The stunned mage hadn't caught up with the world yet. She was breathing heavily and her heart was beating so quickly. "E-E-E-Eleus-s-synia, sir."

Damp leaves stuck to the black mage. She was on her knees, dirty, scared, confused, and utterly at the mercy of this elvaan. Her body was in overdrive and she couldn't think clearly. To the best of her knowledge she had never been this way in her entire life. In front of her was what seemed the elvaan in her dreams. Tall, strong, articulate, brave...and black hair! Beautiful black, flowing hair!

"Sir? I've never called anyone sir in my life! This is so embarassing!" All she could do was stare at the tall and galliant elvaan as she internalized to herself. "I almost died! And now here I am paralyzed with fear in front of my fantasy-come-true! Say something...anything! Come on, get something out!"

"Are you well, Miss Eleusynia? Do you have any injuries I may tend?" The elvaan paladin looked down at the humbled black mage who seemed to be talking to herself, then looked up with a resolute gleam in her eyes.

"I think I'm going to throw up!"

At that blurted statement, the black hair capped a beet-red face. She got up, stumbling and ran for the closest bush. She collapsed again and vomited. Never before did she feel so horribly ashamed and dirty in her life. She began crying. From the other side of the brush she heard, "Are you alright?"

Eleusynia sniffled as tears rolled down her cheeks, "No, I'm dirty and embarassed and stupid. Please go away, I don't deserve your kindness. I just need to go home..."

A kind laughter filled the air. She peeked up through the bush's branches and saw that her elvaan compatriot was standing respectfully with his back to her but close enough to help and support her. On his hip was a magnificent sword in an equally ornate scabbard. He glanced back but only saw a twitch of green as the branch which was pulled back snapped into place to hide Eleusynia from Aleuthiquon's supernaturally beautiful green eyes.

"Thank you for saving me," Eleusynia said wiping her mouth.

"You are very welcome Miss Eleusynia."

"Please," she said rising with as much dignity as she could muster, "call me Ele?"

"Very well, Miss Ele."

His charm overwhelmed her. His voice carried that old and sophisticated-sounding elvaan accent. She knew that mouth had given marching orders to both death and victory, but now were offering her gentle reprise. She smiled deeply, "Just 'Ele' please."

The paladin helped the black mage to her feet and both walked back over to the pit. The black mage could no longer hear her bird under the magical mists. "Poor thing, it died and I lived but all because of my mistake."

"What do you mean?" Aleuthiquon asked.

"I've never seen anything like this pit before. I wanted to study it more so I leaned over. I saw a metallic glint in the fog and got closer. Then a swarm of bats flew out of that hollow log there know the rest." She turned away from the pit. Aleuthiquon's face was stern but he smiled when Eleusynia looked up at her. He stroked her cheek with his armored hand reassuringly. "Thank you for saving me," she said and hugged him.

The two began a twilight stroll together, leaving the glow of the pit in the darkening woods behind them. Eleusyina took her hero's hand and he squeezed it firmly. She smiled, her dream coming true. No words were said yet everything was spoken clearly. For an hour the two of them enjoyed each other's company. The entire time, two hume cheeks blushed at the handsomeness which took stride alongside her.

Up on their left there was a rustling and a dry rasping. Both stopped on the trail. Aleuthiquon's grip tightened some. Still happily reeling from her swooning rush, the black-haired black mage looked up and saw a concerned look on the knight's face. She traced the line of site from his high perch to the brush, where not a moment later several shambling skeletons emerged. Aleuthiquon dropped Eleusynia's hand and went for his sword. Even that seemed to glow bravely with his radiance as compared to the deathly pallid white bones of the horrid menace.

The elvaan looked down to the hume and said, "I'll protect you." The undead drew near and the brave knight plunged into combat. Used to action and seeing a threat to not only herself but to her dream man, arcane powers sparked between gloved hands. Fire soon encompassed one stinking set of remains and it collapsed. A mightly blow of a sword sent the skull of another clattering away and the rest of the bones collapsed following suit.

There was more rustling from the dark brush around them. As Aleuthiquon dispatched the last skeleton, several more advanced on Eleusynia.

"What are undead doing in the Sanctuary," Eleusynia questioned between spells.

"Wherever death is concerned, nothing is sacred. Come, Ele, we must leave. Now." He took her hand and ran with her, bashing in old bones with a clenched fist as they passed. A mob of walking dead swarmed over where they had been and began a trudging march after the fleeing couple.

"Aleuthiquon, I can't go on much further...I need to rest after casting so much magic."

"No, we must continue. We are not safe here. I will protect you."

His hand clenched hers and she wholly gave herself over to him and his competant leadership. Deeper and deeper into the forest they went and darker and darker it became. The moonbeams that managed to break the canopy seemed to make the elvaan glow in his royal armor. Her heart rose up. "Is this what love feels like," she asked herself. "My heart is pounding, my breaths come quickly even without running. I feel the guiding hand of the one I adore leading me to safety and I know that with him I will never feel lost or alone any more."

Thereupon they found a falling down shack. An old outpost deep in the woods. They ducked inside. "Please listen to me, Ele. These creatures will not stop. They will pursue us until we are dead."

"What are they? How do you know? I'm so confused...this is all happening so fast!"

"I have fought them once before. I know their nature and I know their motives. We need to leave these woods." Illuminated green eyes pleaded with Eleusynia's. She leaned in and wrapped herself around her hero's armor in an embrace. He patted her head and stood her up.

"Not so fast, Aleuthiquon," came a deathly voice. There in the doorway of the outpost was a male hume figure...or what was left of it. Wrapped in dirty black scraps was the twisted and rotten skin of a deceased ninja. "Ishido...not again," the elvaan trailed. The undead hume nodded and immediatly threw a shiruken into Eleusynia's leg. She hissed in pain and clenched the wound.

"*******!" snapped the elvaan.

"Thief!" retorted the ninja, "This never would have happened if you let what was mine be mine."

"That shield does not belong to you, corrupted one!"

"Oh, I suppose you are right," he rasped stroking his chin or what was left of it, "I remember now that my men and I had to murder nearly an entire contingent of royal knights to get it."

"Aleu! Let's go!" Eleusynia cast a spell and the walking corpse was pounded down by a barrage of rocks. Aleuthiquon rammed through the rotted wood on the back wall of the outpost and they continued their journey.

"Are you alright, Ele?" He noticed her limping but keeping up and noting her strength.

"I'm fine, let's get outta here! Who was that? What was he talking about?"

Eleusynia's breath began becoming visible in the cold night. She listened attentively as they ran, stopping to change direction or fend off an accosting skeleton in rotted eastern clothing. She noticed a red stain on her love's armor below the chestpiece and many other dents and cracks elsewhere. Had those been there always or since the initial attack?

"I killed Ishido a long time ago. He stole a sacred shield. Killed many of my men to get to it. This shield belonged to my master's master. He kept a hideout in the Sanctuary...a branch of the pirates of Norg...I followed him here and repayed the blood he spilt tenfold. I killed him."

"Apparently what you said about death is true then if he has come back. But why?"

"Duck!" Aleuthiquon pulled Eleusynia down under a brach, each tumbling under a low branch. He got back up, the black mage did not. She clutched her leg with tears in her eyes. Gently, the knight knelt before his lady. His hands glowed and her wound closed. It was painful but functional. "Come, Ele. I will protect you. We are drawing near to the exit from this infernal graveyard." She got up and smiled but her eyes showed concern. He looked bad. Pale. "Are you-"

"No time!"

Branches and bushes and undergrowth crashed before the pair. Further south they went. Finally they burst into a clearing. A familiar glow raised up from the ground. This was the pit! They were so close now, Ele knew the way. But instead of a beacon of hope, the pit was now a beacon of death. Scores of undead minions turned to face the noise...and on the wooden bridge itself was Ishido - seemingly unscathed!

"Ele," the elvaan lips whispered, "no matter what happens you must promise me that you will escape from this place." She tightened her hand resolutely. "This may not end well for me, but I need you to do this. Thank you."

Unspoken words transmitted between the two. Each reached deep into their souls and tapped the raw power of their feelings. Eleusynia felt empowered. Her body was a pure channel for arcane magics. Unlimited amounts of fire and ice and everything between flew from her fingers, decimating the undead ranks.

Aleuthiquon's body firmed. He glimmered with inner light. Swords nor clubs nor daggers could harm him. His faith was his armor. His sword dispatched skeletons left and right. Green eyes glanced upward. Ishido was gone! Finally a club slammed into his thigh, buckling him to the ground.

"No! Aleu!" Eleusynia's soul dropped as did her tap into the etherial realms itself. Dead bodies burst upward as a tall figure rose from the ground. She smiled seeing her love emerge from the pile of corrupted flesh and bone. Quickly, elation turned to horror. She was in a stinking embrace. Bile rose in her throat as a dead arm clasped her close to an equally dead body.

"Aleuthiquon!" Ishido yelled. He got the knight's attention. "Give it up. You killed me once...shame on me. But that won't happen again! Tell me where the shield is or I will spill the blood of your lover!"

Aleuthiquon gazed into Eleusynia's eyes. More invisible communication seemed to take place in a second. He mouthed to her "Trust me, I'll protect you." The black mage closed her eyes and nodded. The knight leveled his blade. Ishido laughed a dry hack, thinking he won. "Good. Drop it completely and lead me to the shield."

"You want the sacred shield so badly? Fine...I will show it to you!"

Black hair hid green eyes, but soon gave way to them. Alight with emerald fire, they glowed fiercely and an etherial scream filled the air. The cold steel of the paladin's sword pierced the breast of his lover and on through into Ishido's. Eleusynia didn't make a sound. The undead was stunned at what just happened and the knight took advantage of the seconds to wheel behind the ninja and wrenched it's head 180 degrees.

"Here's your prize." Undead eyes stared directly into the ghostly ones of Aleuthiquon. The elvaan pried the hume from behind his love, causing her to slump. Held above his head, the knight used his massive strength to hurl the body of Ishido deep into the crystalline pit. "This time, stay dead!"

Aleuthiquon withdrew his sword from Eleusynia. She gasped at that. Her face was as pale as his now. To her, the knight looked so beautiful. He almost glowed, shimmering it seemed. But everything was cold to the touch. She could hear the melody of the Sanctuary once more.

"I love you," whispered Eleusynia through blood-stained teeth...content to die in the arms of the man of her dreams. Aleuthiquon smiled and lay her down. Dirty armored hands passed over her wound. She spasmed underneath him and gasped as the internal injuries healed. Her eyes closed under a deathly cold kiss. "I love you too, Ele. That's why I must do this."

From that point onward, Eleusynia didn't know if she was dreaming or awake.

Her hero had stood over her and walked away toward the pit. Where was he going? He reached the edge and turned around. His appearance was battered, much more than she ever remembered him to be. He knelt in front of her respectfully, turned on heel and walked out...over the pit. Hovering. Slowly he descended downward, waving goodbye with a sad look.

"I'm sorry."

"No, don't go. Please, I need you! you."

"Take this," a hollow echo arose from the pit, "as remembrance of me. Carry with you and I shall always be near." The ghost of Aleuthiquon lay to rest within the crystals and mist once more and from the hole floated out a heraldic shield which lay protectively over Eleusynia as she lay drifting in and out of consciousness. "I will protect you."

Eleusynia woke up. It was morning. The air was cold and crisp. She sat upright and gasped in pain, clutching her chest. There through her clothes and on her skin was the evidence that it had not been a dream. That indeed the events of that night really took place. Beside her lay a plated shield, it's edge glimmered in the morning sunbeams in a way remarkably similar to the glimpse she remembered seeing in the pit from when she first entered the forest. On it was etched and painted the symbol for the anicent Chocobo Knights, a calvary order now unused but which dated back a thousand years. When she saw the raven-haired rider upon the emblem she cried. Tears of loss but tears of happiness at the same time.

It was a long and tiresome trek back to Jeuno. To her back lay the Sanctuary of Zi'Tah. Its morning mists coalesced into a vague shape of a tall figure atop a lame bird. It too turned its back and went into the woods...dispelling itself to the other floating puffs of morning fog. It took her another day of walking, but Eleusynia needed it. She almost wished it had taken longer to get back home. Once again on the busy streets of Jeuno, she realized her fantasy was over...there was no going back.

Afternoon sun silhouetted the black mage in the common room of the Oplaine Brigade Headquarters & Temp Services. Two blonde heads popped around various corners and said in unison, "Ele! We missed you!"

Awias chirped, "Hey, what's that slung on your back? Can I see it?"

Yekan poked, "Hey, we have another mission to go on. We are supposed to meet the contact in 30 minutes!"

Eleusynia smiled at the barrage of her teammates. "I missed you guys too," she whispered.

"What?" asked Yekan.

"Oh nothing. So...tell me about our next mission."
Hume, Rank 10 San d'Oria
75 WHM (LFM) / 60 BLM (LFG)
20 SAM / 19 MNK, DRK / 18 THF / 13 WAR, RDM, DRG / 12 PLD / 8 NIN, RNG, BLU
Cooking: 93+3, RFH

Fly me to the moon, and let me play among the stars...
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