With this Ring
The day had been an exceptionally trying venture for the castanic woman, and as the number of causalities rose to the hundreds her spirits seemed to take a dive. Shutting her eyelids tightly she inhaled a bit of air, taking in the fragrance of the small Allementheian apartment. Cinnamon waves stuck to her forehead now, a few stray strands rested idly against the coolness of the interior front door. Exhaling she moved slowly through the main space, the cloth that hugged her small frame was covered in blood, none of it hers. The quiet tapping of her heels against the smooth wooden floors could be heard throughout the walls of her and Drusus’ new home. Her hand came to rest on the frame of the door leading to their bedroom as she stopped once more and shook her head as if trying to somehow rid herself of the scenes from earlier. Upon opening her eyes she caught sight of a small envelope resting on the neatly made bed. On closer inspection she saw her name on it and opened it to find a small note written to her from Drusus.
Bastion is beautiful but not as beautiful as you.
Seek a panda popo he will lead the way.
As she scanned the letter a slow smile grew on her face, she traced over the lettering as if trying to connect it with his location. Her thoughts centered on him, she could feel the cool breeze that surrounded him and brushed through his hair. But that was about all she got from it, she frowned at this, usually she could discern his location or at least get an idea of the region he was in. With that she placed the envelope back on the dark sheets that clung to the mattress. Dragging her fingers across them as she moved toward the wardrobe to obtain clean robes, after a shower she would make her way there but for now she wanted nothing more than to wash away the sadness of the day.
The flight to Bastion had not been long at at all as the elven city was not far from bordering the beautiful gardens of the Veritas District. Her boots met the platform with a soft thud as she came to stand on her feet and the Pegasus flew off to its next destination. Bastion was indeed beautiful and she had often desired to wander through the lush gardens and explore the wonders of the region. Finally she made her way towards the fountain in the center of the town, spotting a popori fitting the vague description found in the letter earlier she walked to him. “Excuse me but I’m looking for someone, I am supposed to meet him here.” she said looking to the small panda who gave her a curious look. “He is about this tall and has horns that…” as she described Drusus she used her hands to show his height and the shape of his horns. The little panda grinned to her and nodded his head. “Yes that was him…he left this for you. Said you’d know what it meant.” he then handed her yet another letter. On the front was her name Mirage in his handwriting, taking the envelope in hand she opened it. “Thank you.” she said before moving away from the popori and over to her frostlion Lysander who stood not far from the village entrance. Another note was enclosed inside the envelope along with a small butterfly that flew away once the tab was lifted.
Find these and you will find me.
A soft sigh escaped her lips as they curled into a wide grin, she then tucked the note away and set it aside in on of the packs attached to the saddle. A quick lift and she mounted the lion, kicking her heels only to set it in motion and to where she believed Drusus to be waiting for her.
He waited now in the midst of Seren’s Garden for her pacing back and forth in anticipation, his gaze shifting to look at the basket he’d brought with him. The small pond in the middle of it all housed the most beautiful golden display and a small gathering of butterflies frequented the area. A rough hand combed through his white hair and past his horns, he sighed growing somewhat impatient and he’d thought for a second that perhaps his instructions were too vague. These thoughts along with a sense of uncertainty were all flushed away when he saw a certain woman draw near. Padded paws pounded against the smooth cobbles that led towards the garden and atop the large cat sat Mirage. Her cinnamon waves blended almost seamlessly against the crimson robes of almost the same shade. She tugged at the reins and Lysander slowed to a walk before stopping a few meters from where Drusus stood. Shifting her weight she dismounted with a jump. “Dru.” she offered lovingly. “Mira.” he countered grinning at her. “Was it hard to find?” he asked while offering his bare, ungloved hands. She reached out her hand to place it within his, though her gloves remained in order to cover the intricate markings that painted her skin. “No it wasn’t hard to find at all.” she smiled to him knowing that he’d considered his wording carefully for each note. Glancing around she noted the number of butterflies that dances around the garden. A light squeeze was given to her hand as he tugged her closer yet to him. “I was hoping I hadn’t made it too…arcane.” he murmured. His steel gray eyes focused on her features and he seemed lost for a moment. “Well I owe you a picnic.” With that he lifted her hand to his lips and kissed the soft cloth that covered them.
The pair moved to sit near the water in the heart of the garden, it seemed that he had taken sometime to prepare the area as well. A blanket was carefully placed on the ground with a small woven basket atop it. “Things have been so hectic, between my research with Feth and…” she sighed and looked to him. “…it’s been a very busy time for us.” Grabbing a bottle of wine from the basket he uncorked the top and poured a glass for each of them. “I don’t want us to stop being us though, we need to take time every once in a while for us. Especially now.” he murmured as he offered her a glass. Mirage reached for the glass and took a sip from it, assuring herself and her taste buds that it was not the Castanica wine she found to be less than desirable.”We can never stop being who we are.” Her tone was soft as she spoke to him and he looked to her giving a knowing smile. “Well more importantly time for us, away from the cruelty of this damned war.” He sipped from his glass then continued. “Things change as you go through them…you’ve made me change for the better.”
She had been listening to him as she sipped the last of her wine from the glass. What he’d said did make sense but there was something that concerned her since then, he had changed quite a bit. “There are times I feel that I’ve changed you…too much.” she admits quietly before placing the glass atop her leg. She felt a bit selfish and simply wanted to maybe come clean to him about the thoughts that plagued her mind. Quirking a brow he watched her as he cocked his head slightly at her confession. “Too much…hmm what do you mean?” he asked as he rolled the question and thought around in his own mind. He was once the man who spent every waking hour in the dueling ring taunting any and every one who came near just to feel something, even if that something was pain. The man who would blindly kill any one that stood against his previous order. Although she was happy he was no longer a cold blooded killer and that he had something, someone to make him feel, she couldn’t help but hope she had not broken him in some way. “I don’t want you to forget the man that you were. You are still a fighter…it’s just.” she paused as she looked off into the distance at a pair of butterflies flying far from the larger group. Looking back to him she continued, “I feel as though I’ve taken the fight out of you.” her tone was hushed as if she were telling a secret that only they should know.
A low rumbled erupted from deep within his core as he laughed at that, a smile quickly evaded his rugged features. “No you have not taken the fight out. I had no focus on the fight but now I guess I do.” his nails dug into his scalp as he scratched at it. They exchanged two different looks, on the one hand his read as curious perhaps wanting to know more while hers was more decided. Her tugged her over to him and enclosed her in his arms moving his head moving to rest on her shoulder. “Tell me love, why do you think the fight has left me? Am I different from the man that originally won your heart?” he asked. Shifting only a little she moved to get comfortable in his arms, her glass was set aside as she turned her face to look at him. “You happiness is what I strive for every minute I breath. And if you are happiest fighting for me then I suppose that should be enough.” his hand moved to caress her cheek as he spoke softly into her skin. “Are we locked in the circular rhythm of love? I fight to make you happy and you just want me happy.” she gave a light squeeze to his hand and moved her lips to the scar that extended from the corner of his mouth.
With that she turned to face him, her hand moved to touch his cheek as she thumbed at the scar and looked into those steel gray eyes that watched her now. Gently he took her hand and guided it to his chest and underneath the straps of his armor until it touched just over his heart. “This belongs to you…” he offered softly, then nudged her hand a little higher, she felt something cool and metallic. “What is that?” she thought surely it was the buckle of his jacket but she waited patiently for his response, not wanting to jump to any conclusion as of yet. A subtle smile curved his lips as he watched her, “That is yours as well.” he replied simply. She blinked at him as though her vision might soon blur, her fingers curled to grip the small object and reveal a small ring. It was fashioned to a red ribbon that hung from his neck and rested underneath his jacket. Pulling at one end of the ribbon she freed the ring from his chest and brought it to rest in the palm of her hand. Her smile only grew as she looked to him, a single tear fell from one blue eye. “Marry me Mira.” he plucked the ring from her palm and pulled her glove free before sliding it onto her finger. Nodding her head to him she offered a silent yes as she bit back the oncoming flood of tears. And although she shed a single tear, it was one of joy as she was overcome with happiness, a feeling she had come to know all to well with him in her life.