Dark forest If he won't tell me what happened, I would find out
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Battle of Fate and Destiny





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Fumes and Ice

In a time, long ago. War raged across Patria, concerning all elements. Flamma, the Benders of Fire wanted power. Flamma was strong; the other Elements were crumbling. The fate of Patria was linked to the destiny of one...


I groaned, I have never been in so much pain. Every inch of me was bruised and ached. A shiver ran down my spine, where was I? I opened my eyes. The first thing I saw was Kira, beautiful Kira. The second thing I saw was the bow and arrow she was aiming at me.

I chuckled and pushed the arrow away, this had to be some sort of joke. She quickly pulled it back to her target, me. My brow furrowed, I repositioned myself against the tree.

"Why?" she asked seriously, "why did you do it?"

"Why what?" I replied, "as far as I know you kidnapped me."

"Ha! More like saved you. You freed me from Fort Laurus. Zena hit you with a fireball and I saved you from falling down the wall to your bitter end. And I brought you here so they wouldn't capture you and charge you for treason. Ring a bell?" I could tell she was annoyed at my fake innocence, but I couldn't remember anything.

"Honestly, I can't remember anything from last night."

"Maybe an arrow to the head will jog your memory," that was a threat.

I closed my eyes and back tracked my memory. I went to the banquet honoring the capture of the assassin. I remembered slipping out of the room. I recalled falling, shivering, and running. The remembrance of last night hit me like a punch to the gut. I swallowed hard. Last night had past painfully slow. I hoped Zena would understand.

I must have let my realization show in my eyes, because Kira lowered her arrow.

"Why?" she whispered softly.

I had to proceed with caution, "because, I don't know, I just couldn't live with myself if you died."

Kira narrowed her eyes, as if searching my soul for a hint of dishonesty. Satisfied she nodded, "I need to end this war, now. I plan on traveling to Corona immediately. I plan on ending this war by the end of the moon cycle. Whether you accompany me or not is entirely up to you."

I decided right then that Kira must never know my feelings for her. Good or bad. "I'm coming," I replied instantly, "I know the best routes to Corona from here. How do you plan on getting there?"

"Well, I can't take the main roads anymore so I guess having you along won't be so bad after all." She grinned a little, I smiled back. Her eyes fluttered in realization of her involuntary action. She cleared her throat, "well, pack up we have a lot of ground to cover before the end of the moon cycle."

"You know, whether you like it or not you're going to have to tell me where we are sooner or later." I said with a grin on my face. Just because I haven't sorted my feelings for Kira didn't mean I couldn't play with hers. Right?

We traveled for hours, we left around noon and now the sun had begun to sink on the horizon. We seldom spoke, Kira was used to traveling alone, and I wasn't used to making conversation on missions. An uncomfortable silence had been building since we left.

"So, Raydin, your name seems familiar somehow. I have to ask, have we met before?" Kira questioned briskly, "the way your name slides across my tongue, it's...I don't have to hesitate before I say your name like I do others'."

I nodded my head side to side weighing the situation, "I have noticed something about you strikes me as...familiar." I glanced up at Kira. She was staring at me with a smirk on her face and eyebrows raised. Our eyes met, and we stopped.

"Really? Like what?" her gaze bore into mine.

"Like...your eyes," I answered slowly, "the piercing blue, it's breathtaking," I continued and lowered my gaze. She scrutinized me with that look on her face that said I-dare-you-to-try-to-get-out-of-this.

Kira cleared her throat, and looked down. Swiftly, she turned and resumed traveling through the forest.


I smiled as I hiked through the woods. It was quite obvious to me now that having Raydin along had not been a good idea. It was true he seemed familiar to me, but I used this knowledge as a test. A test to see how easily I could make a fool of him, the verdict? Easily, very easily.

I was hoping, when I asked him to come, he would have certain advantages in the area of knowing the layout of the Flamma palace. However, as I walked it became clear to me that I would be able to move about the palace just as easily without him. The truth was that I knew exactly who he was. He was probably the son of the Flamma ambassador. One of the few memories I held of my life before I met Zosime, was that of me begging my mother not to drag me to Flamma for my father's seasonal envoy there. I didn't calm down until she assured me that there was someone for me to play with, a boy my age.

I don't remember ever playing with the boy, but my instincts told me that the boy and Raydin were all the same. It was all too easy to see his life pass before my eyes, around the age of thirteen he probably left home and went to the Stirring Sanctuary, where he would learn Flamma history, study strategy and politics, and how to master his fire. He returned home at age seventeen, he had a six-month leave before he was called to the army for a three-year term of serving in the Flamma war. Now I guessed he was eighteen and longing for home.

Ha! Typical Flamma, I thought scornfully, always the predictable ones.

Despite all of the previous facts I had taken into judgment, I still had to hold Raydin with a certain level of respect; he had rescued me from Fort Laurus.

Also as we walked through the rest of the Ventus territory, and as I held my mental test not but a few moments ago, I assessed Raydin. How he walked, where his eyes wandered to, how quickly his train of thought traveled through subjects. All of these were vital to my overall opinion of this boy. I had already concluded that Raydin was attempting to toy with my feelings for him. Trying, but failing. Well, I thought, time to give him a taste of his own medicine. Just because I haven't sorted my feelings for Raydin, didn't mean I couldn't play with his. Right?

The sun had set and the sky, the moon, now waning, was a crescent in the dark night. I heard Raydin stumble on a tree root that I had failed to warn him about. He lit his hand with a small flame to serve as a torch.

"No," I said urgently. I may not know a lot about traveling off the main roads, but I was smart enough not to light any fires, unless I wanted to signal all the military bodies in Flamma of our presence. Raydin? Not so much. "With that fire you might as well yell for the Flamma border patrol to come have dinner with us."

"Oh, right," he quickly smothered the flame by clenching his fist. I rolled my eyes, how thick could you get?

"Let's set up camp here," I recommended tiredly, "I'll scout around the perimeter, take care of any other necessities, and take first watch. You just find some soft ground cover and get some sleep before I wake you for watch." I lifted my bow from its perch on my shoulder and pulled an arrow from my quiver. I started to stalk silently out of the camp area.

"No," Raydin broke the silence I had created, he almost made me jump. Almost. "I'll go, you need the rest more than I do you're the one who's going to end this war. I'll go, and I won't make any mistakes this time." Well that's doubtful, I added mentally.

"I'm still taking first watch," I finalized sternly. Raydin just shrugged in surrender before turning and walking into the dark.

I pulled some dried meat from my pack and consumed it while I looked for a comfortable fork in a tree. Nimbly, I leaped into the tree and climbed farther up. I pulled myself above the highest branches; the forest looked so different from up here. A flash of light to my left caught my attention. Orange flashes of lights, fading then reappearing moments later. They could only be one thing, fire.

Worst-case scenario, Raydin was discovered and captured or killed. Nothing I couldn't handle, I started to climb down my tree. Descending was more complicated than ascending, especially in the dark. By the time I reached my fork I was perspirating from concentration. I retrieved my already loaded bow from the fork.

heard a rustle down below. A dark figure was rummaging through my bag. As my eyes focused I realized it was Raydin back from his scouting. He found the leather pouch of dried meat. I aimed my bow, my fingers brushing my cheek roughly from the scratchy coating that had formed on my scratch. Twang! My arrow ripped the bag out of Raydin's grip and pinned it to the ground.

Raydin jumped and turned swiftly. Chuckling, I grabbed a branch, swung my legs, and did a back flip to land safely on the soil beneath me. "Anything exciting?" I queried, I knew he had caused the bright flashes, but yet again I was testing him.

"Nothing much," he replied with a shrug, "It's a quiet night."

I walked over to my arrow; a strong yank removed it from the ground. Fine if he won't tell me what happened, I will find out. He didn't know how persuasive I could be. With that thought I turned back the way I had come. I climbed back into my fork and notched the arrow on my bow, tonight was going to be a long night.

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