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Manni

side story Side Story: A Past Best Left Buried.

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Manni

 

Description: After meeting in less-than-ideal circumstances, Alez and Cassandra had teamed up to put a stop to Mr Enron's plans and to find out whom or what they are working for. In their search for Mr Enron, they find themselves inside a Domain of a being from Cassandra's home universe, one sent to start Cassandra's 'punishment'.

 

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Alez was taken aback by the sudden light that emitted from the door. It was actually quite jarring considering the dark hallway they had just come out of, especially considering the fact that she was expecting to see the same pitch black void of nothingness she'd seen before. She shielded her eyes from the blinding light and when she lowered her arms, she was surprised to find that she was surrounded not by the server room from before, or even an empty void, but... a grassy meadow at night?

Where were they? What happened to the server room? She looked around and saw, to her dismay, even the door was completely gone! It was like they'd stepped through a one-way portal! This didn't particularly alarm Alez too much as she knew she could return to Coelis at any time as long as she had her pendant. But she was still bothered. What was that light? Was this where they were supposed to be? Had that demon set up some sort of trap for them? Maybe this whole area was just an illusion meant to protect whatever secrets the actual room held...

When Cassandra asked if she was okay, Alex just nodded silently before looking over at the woman. She seemed bothered by something which only had Alez more concerned for her. "Are you okay?" She finally spoke up, reaching over to gently touch Cassandra's shoulder. "Do you recognize this place?"

 

*Cassandra looked a bit aggravated on the outside, her expression rather grim and perhaps a bit apprehensive. Though, that was nothing compared to how she was feeling on the inside. Internally, she was hurting inside but she was not hardly showing it on the outside. That was due to Cassandra's own training and experience but even that...did not seem to help her cover up every single thing she was feeling at this moment. She knew this place, she had been here before. Though she knew that this place no longer exists now in her universe, the area and planet that this place was is much further along in time than here is, this place was once real...even if it only exists as part of this Domain. The Domain itself, which could take any form the owner wishes it to take, was a power given to special beings...chosen by the god of her own universe. She knew that fact rather well...given she used to have powers like that. That was quite some time ago, a lifetime ago in fact. Cassandra used to be much more powerful than she was now, given that she was meant to be the embodiment of the 'Eternal Hero' of her home universe. This 'Eternal Hero' was god's chosen warrior, whose sole mission was to defeat Evil in all of its incarnations. Her job was to defeat Evil whenever and wherever it would appear in her universe, slaying it was the point of her existence and she would reincarnate again and again to defeat it again and again. That WAS her life and all the lives she had previously were devoted to the task of killing this Evil...even if it kept inevitably coming back. She did her job without question nor complaint over her lives and gave her life to the cause when it came to it which it usually did. However, something changed with the present life she is living...she found Helheim...or Helheim found her and that changed her fate forever. No longer was she the chosen warrior, destined to win against Evil. No longer was her destiny to fight the 'good' fight against Evil. No...her destiny was no longer so simple...if it ever was. Now, she was no longer part of her universe and the use of the current god of her universe for her was now zero. She could no longer serve the purpose god gave her and thus was now useless and unneeded. The current god of her universe, whom she served so willingly and unfailingly over those lifetimes...no longer wanted anything to do with her. But why? As it turned out, her lives before this one were based off lies. Many lies, so many lies. Though she thought she knew how things were...she actually didn't know anything.  Helheim had revealed the truth to her, that she had been deceived for all that time. That the god that she had served for all those lives...was not the god that created her world. The Evil she had been killing all this time...was the god that created the world and started life. Her life...before then...was just a sham, a false but convenient and appealing story for mortals and herself to consume. Her role...nothing more than disposing of the inconvenient past for whatever designs the current god had for the world. But that was history. Here, in this Domain, was someone she once knew very well...and was once someone she could call more than just a friend and comrade...someone she had cared for when they were alive together and even beyond that time. Yet...Cassandra suspected...nay...knew that their reuniting today would not start or end well. It could only end in tears.* 

"I never thought...I would see this place again..." Cassandra said softly, her words wavering. "This place no longer exists in my home universe, you see. Though this is no illusion. This is someone's Domain and they will not allow us to leave unless they are...dealt with." Cassandra's voice stumbled, betraying her emotional state to Alez. That she was definitely suffering. 

 



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Aura

Alez was unsure how to react to everything that was going on. But listening to the way Cassandra responded to her tugged at her heart. The woman was trying so hard to be strong and yet, something about this location filled her with such an incredible sense of despair. Unsure of what to do, she slowly wrapped her arm around Cassandra in an attempt to hug her. Immediately following her arm, her wings delicately draped around Cassandra's body, giving off a gentle warmth around her body. She knew it wouldn't do much, but at the very least, it could hopefully help her to relax.

"There's no need for us to panic, alright? Because I have a secret..." Alez grinned as she released Cassandra from her hug and brandished her pendant. "This little trinket is more than just jewelry. With it, I can escape to the Kingdom of Coelis from anywhere, as long as there aren't any demons within a mile radius. Now, you seem to know this place better than I do, so I need you to help me find a spot where there aren't likely to be any demons around, and I can get us out of here, alright?" Of course, Alez may have been overestimating the reach of her lady's might. In truth, she had no idea where in the void of reality this particular world existed. All she knew was that the pendant was enough to bring her to and from earth and the kingdom of Coelis. If this world happened to be further away from Coelis than Earth, there was no guarantee the portal would even function properly. Still, Alez was confident in her goddess. She was here for a reason and she flashed Cassandra a reassuring smile. "We can get out of this without even having to worry about whatever it is you're afraid of, right?"

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On 30/04/2019 at 15:22, Aura said:

Alez was unsure how to react to everything that was going on. But listening to the way Cassandra responded to her tugged at her heart. The woman was trying so hard to be strong and yet, something about this location filled her with such an incredible sense of despair. Unsure of what to do, she slowly wrapped her arm around Cassandra in an attempt to hug her. Immediately following her arm, her wings delicately draped around Cassandra's body, giving off a gentle warmth around her body. She knew it wouldn't do much, but at the very least, it could hopefully help her to relax.

"There's no need for us to panic, alright? Because I have a secret..." Alez grinned as she released Cassandra from her hug and brandished her pendant. "This little trinket is more than just jewelry. With it, I can escape to the Kingdom of Coelis from anywhere, as long as there aren't any demons within a mile radius. Now, you seem to know this place better than I do, so I need you to help me find a spot where there aren't likely to be any demons around, and I can get us out of here, alright?" Of course, Alez may have been overestimating the reach of her lady's might. In truth, she had no idea where in the void of reality this particular world existed. All she knew was that the pendant was enough to bring her to and from earth and the kingdom of Coelis. If this world happened to be further away from Coelis than Earth, there was no guarantee the portal would even function properly. Still, Alez was confident in her goddess. She was here for a reason and she flashed Cassandra a reassuring smile. "We can get out of this without even having to worry about whatever it is you're afraid of, right?"

*Cassandra's body tensed up the moment that she felt Alez put her arm arround Cassandra, an automatic response that needed no thought from Cassandra herself. She had grown unused to affection from others, especially strangers. All this time being alone and having no one else to rely on had taken its toll. How Alez would take this was out of Cassandra's hands, though it wasn't because Cassandra hated Alez or something along those lines. Cassandra didn't move or show a response for a few moments after Alez draped her wings around Cassandra's body, it seemed she wasn't sure how to respond to this. Maybe this would be considered odd to Alez but for Cassandra, expecting warmth and goodness out of anyone without a reason for it was asking too much at best and a trap at worst. It didn't mean that Cassandra didn't appreciate the gesture but she was genuinely conflicted about whether to accept it or not. Did she really deserve that kind of attention? Especially after what she has had to do over the lifetimes she's lived and died? Cassandra looked a bit conflicted as Alez let her go but listened to her when she started to talk about her magical pendant. Apparently, it served as some sort of teleportation device to Alez' homeworld. Now Cassandra could understand why Alez would make this offer to her, given the way she felt and the way she must appear to Alez but she also couldn't help but feel a bit insulted. Cassandra wasn't about to let such a trivial thing set her off though, not when something much more pressing was ahead. She thought for a moment on how to respond to Alez and her offer. She decided to answer honestly and firmly.

"I'm sorry Alez but for me, running away from this is not an option." Cassandra replied to Alez. "I can't back down from this and...I can't let her...the one that made this Domain...suffer any longer..."

Now things were becoming more clear. It looked like Cassandra knew the being whom made this Domain and seemed to indicate that they had history together. It was also apparent that whomever made this Domain, according to Cassandra, was suffering as well but from what?

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On 5/2/2019 at 5:45 AM, Manni said:

*Cassandra's body tensed up the moment that she felt Alez put her arm arround Cassandra, an automatic response that needed no thought from Cassandra herself. She had grown unused to affection from others, especially strangers. All this time being alone and having no one else to rely on had taken its toll. How Alez would take this was out of Cassandra's hands, though it wasn't because Cassandra hated Alez or something along those lines. Cassandra didn't move or show a response for a few moments after Alez draped her wings around Cassandra's body, it seemed she wasn't sure how to respond to this. Maybe this would be considered odd to Alez but for Cassandra, expecting warmth and goodness out of anyone without a reason for it was asking too much at best and a trap at worst. It didn't mean that Cassandra didn't appreciate the gesture but she was genuinely conflicted about whether to accept it or not. Did she really deserve that kind of attention? Especially after what she has had to do over the lifetimes she's lived and died? Cassandra looked a bit conflicted as Alez let her go but listened to her when she started to talk about her magical pendant. Apparently, it served as some sort of teleportation device to Alez' homeworld. Now Cassandra could understand why Alez would make this offer to her, given the way she felt and the way she must appear to Alez but she also couldn't help but feel a bit insulted. Cassandra wasn't about to let such a trivial thing set her off though, not when something much more pressing was ahead. She thought for a moment on how to respond to Alez and her offer. She decided to answer honestly and firmly.

 "I'm sorry Alez but for me, running away from this is not an option." Cassandra replied to Alez. "I can't back down from this and...I can't let her...the one that made this Domain...suffer any longer..."

 Now things were becoming more clear. It looked like Cassandra knew the being whom made this Domain and seemed to indicate that they had history together. It was also apparent that whomever made this Domain, according to Cassandra, was suffering as well but from what?

Alez frowned slightly in response to Cassandra's rejection of her offer. Her choice of words particularly caught her attention. "Suffer... Someone is suffering here?" She glanced up at the starry horizon. Something about that completely changed the tone of the place they were in. It suddenly felt much colder than before. It genuinely made her uncomfortable. She wanted to leave and go back home to rest in Lady Caelisia's arms... But, of course, she had a promise to keep. She had sworn to be the greatest Celestial she could be to make her goddess proud. With her wings still gently wrapped around Cassandra, Alez slowly brushed the troubled woman's cheek and wore a soft smile herself. "Everything's gonna be okay. We promised to fight together, right? I know we just met, but you can trust me. It's actually impossible for me to lie or deceive you in any way. If I did, I'd be unable to return home with this pendant. I have to remain pure or I will suffer... But that part doesn't really concern you. The important thing is that I can and will help you however I can, no matter what it costs, because I can't just sit back and watch an innocent victim suffer." She spoke confidently as she stood upright, unwrapping her wings from Cassandra with a sly smirk on her face. "So, what's the deal? Has this creator been captured by some demon? Maybe everything they create gets destroyed or conquered? Just tell me where we need to go and who we need to fight and we'll have this world saved in no time by the power of Lady Caelisia!"

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On 13/05/2019 at 14:09, Aura said:

Alez frowned slightly in response to Cassandra's rejection of her offer. Her choice of words particularly caught her attention. "Suffer... Someone is suffering here?" She glanced up at the starry horizon. Something about that completely changed the tone of the place they were in. It suddenly felt much colder than before. It genuinely made her uncomfortable. She wanted to leave and go back home to rest in Lady Caelisia's arms... But, of course, she had a promise to keep. She had sworn to be the greatest Celestial she could be to make her goddess proud. With her wings still gently wrapped around Cassandra, Alez slowly brushed the troubled woman's cheek and wore a soft smile herself. "Everything's gonna be okay. We promised to fight together, right? I know we just met, but you can trust me. It's actually impossible for me to lie or deceive you in any way. If I did, I'd be unable to return home with this pendant. I have to remain pure or I will suffer... But that part doesn't really concern you. The important thing is that I can and will help you however I can, no matter what it costs, because I can't just sit back and watch an innocent victim suffer." She spoke confidently as she stood upright, unwrapping her wings from Cassandra with a sly smirk on her face. "So, what's the deal? Has this creator been captured by some demon? Maybe everything they create gets destroyed or conquered? Just tell me where we need to go and who we need to fight and we'll have this world saved in no time by the power of Lady Caelisia!"

*Cassandra looked at Alez sadly as it looked like she would have to utter words that she hated so much...that this situation was entirely her fault. She was the cause of not only this being's suffering but many others that would invevitably come after. It was her turning her back on the divine plan that was given to her, where she was the Eternal Hero of the world, that caused this being's present and perhaps future suffering. It was her rejection of her 'god' that led to this...but what else could she do, given the information she had? Given the 'truth' of her universe, as she now knew it?! That she had killed the 'god' that created the universe over and over again, without remorse or regret...with no knowledge of what she was doing? That she was just a toy in some game that her 'god' came up with? How could she just do nothing and continue as she was,  given who she was and what she knew?! There was no alternative in her view to this! And yet...why did she feel such regret and doubt about it? Even if she knew the truth, did it really mean anything? Was it worth damning everyone she knew to perhaps an eternity of suffering?*

"The being here...suffers because I live..." Cassandra said to Alez honestly. "Because of what I did, she and everyone I know and knew...will suffer. Perhaps eternally."

*Perhaps it was as Helheim had said on occassion, Truth was but one small flickering flame, attempting to light up the void of the world. Perhaps it really didn't matter to anyone and because of that, it meant nothing. Certainly, that was the reverse of what people said and what they knew...but what do we really know? Did mortals or even herself really know anything? Did that even matter? This...bothered her to no end. But, in the end...she knew that she was going to have to continue on for now even if she didn't want to. There was still something she had to do.*

"I'll try to explain on the way..." Cassandra said as she held back tears. "That is, if you still want to come..."

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On 5/16/2019 at 8:14 AM, Manni said:

*Cassandra looked at Alez sadly as it looked like she would have to utter words that she hated so much...that this situation was entirely her fault. She was the cause of not only this being's suffering but many others that would invevitably come after. It was her turning her back on the divine plan that was given to her, where she was the Eternal Hero of the world, that caused this being's present and perhaps future suffering. It was her rejection of her 'god' that led to this...but what else could she do, given the information she had? Given the 'truth' of her universe, as she now knew it?! That she had killed the 'god' that created the universe over and over again, without remorse or regret...with no knowledge of what she was doing? That she was just a toy in some game that her 'god' came up with? How could she just do nothing and continue as she was,  given who she was and what she knew?! There was no alternative in her view to this! And yet...why did she feel such regret and doubt about it? Even if she knew the truth, did it really mean anything? Was it worth damning everyone she knew to perhaps an eternity of suffering?*

"The being here...suffers because I live..." Cassandra said to Alez honestly. "Because of what I did, she and everyone I know and knew...will suffer. Perhaps eternally."

*Perhaps it was as Helheim had said on occassion, Truth was but one small flickering flame, attempting to light up the void of the world. Perhaps it really didn't matter to anyone and because of that, it meant nothing. Certainly, that was the reverse of what people said and what they knew...but what do we really know? Did mortals or even herself really know anything? Did that even matter? This...bothered her to no end. But, in the end...she knew that she was going to have to continue on for now even if she didn't want to. There was still something she had to do.*

"I'll try to explain on the way..." Cassandra said as she held back tears. "That is, if you still want to come..."

Those words pulled at Alez's heart. She couldn't imagine what Cassandra must have done to cause such suffering, but it was clear she greatly regretted it. There was one way she could theoretically empathise with Cassandra. She could perform a feeling search to truly understand what emotions were going through Cassandra's heart. Of course, Cassandra would have to be at least partially willing to allow her to do such a thing, and it would be an invasion of privacy for her to try and demand her compliance. 

"Cassandra..." She started with a soft tone. She gently rubbed the girl's shoulders with her hands. "Sometimes people just make mistakes... Maybe you're not perfect, but that doesn't mean you aren't deserving of love and support." Of course, Alez knew nothing about what was happening with Cassandra, but her heart ached for the woman. She clearly needed help in some form. "Of course I'm still going to come. We're a team right now and you saved my life, so I'm also indebted to you... But I can also tell that you're struggling and I hate to see people in that situation because I understand that completely, even if I probably haven't been through as serious of problems as you..." She trailed off and slowly unwrapped her wings from around the girl. She then stood in front of Cassandra and slowly raised her hand to wipe the tear from Cassie's cheek. "Um... if you don't mind... there's something I can do to more accurately understand your feelings. It might be a little weird, but I think knowing how you feel will help me work better with you. It'll also help you to understand my feelings as well, which will improve our bond further."

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On 20/05/2019 at 15:34, Aura said:

Those words pulled at Alez's heart. She couldn't imagine what Cassandra must have done to cause such suffering, but it was clear she greatly regretted it. There was one way she could theoretically empathise with Cassandra. She could perform a feeling search to truly understand what emotions were going through Cassandra's heart. Of course, Cassandra would have to be at least partially willing to allow her to do such a thing, and it would be an invasion of privacy for her to try and demand her compliance. 

"Cassandra..." She started with a soft tone. She gently rubbed the girl's shoulders with her hands. "Sometimes people just make mistakes... Maybe you're not perfect, but that doesn't mean you aren't deserving of love and support." Of course, Alez knew nothing about what was happening with Cassandra, but her heart ached for the woman. She clearly needed help in some form. "Of course I'm still going to come. We're a team right now and you saved my life, so I'm also indebted to you... But I can also tell that you're struggling and I hate to see people in that situation because I understand that completely, even if I probably haven't been through as serious of problems as you..." She trailed off and slowly unwrapped her wings from around the girl. She then stood in front of Cassandra and slowly raised her hand to wipe the tear from Cassie's cheek. "Um... if you don't mind... there's something I can do to more accurately understand your feelings. It might be a little weird, but I think knowing how you feel will help me work better with you. It'll also help you to understand my feelings as well, which will improve our bond further." 

*Cassandra thought if Alez knew what she had done, she wouldn't be saying that at all. From what she had seen of Alez, she was acting mostly exactly like she did in the 'old days'. Although nowhere near as skilled and as vicious as Cassandra had to be in her line of work, Alez did display the same kind of zeal and belief in her 'higher power'. Unfortunately for Cassie, her belief in her higher power didn't really amount to anything. The fact was, even if she was still faithful to the cause she once believed in, the moment her 'god' decided her part in its plan was over would mark her end. In her universe, where the current god got to decide the value of everything, nothing was innately valauble...all was expendable and a tool for her 'god' to use as they saw fit. Her life and her 'worth' in her universe had, by that logic, always been conditional and never was secure. Whether she deserved 'love and support'...was up to her 'god', whom it seemed didn't have to justify itself to anyone or anything except itself. In her universe, where god was the centre of all value, perhaps no one but god mattered.*

"If you think it's going to help, then please go ahead." Cassandra replied to Alez uneasily. "Just keep in mind...that you may not like what you will find."

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Cassie's response was more than all Alez needed to put her power to use. It was an ability she'd never really had the chance to use before as in Coelis, there were no secrets to be kept. Emotions were worn on everyone's sleeves. With a friendly smile, Alez gently placed her hand on Cassandra's chest over her heart and stared into her eyes in absolute silence. She focused onto Cassie's pupils and before long, she could feel her heartbeat changing pace to match the beat she felt from Cassie's own heart. Her hand began to give off a faint, golden glow as she peered into the woman's eyes as though they were a window into her mind. It would only be a matter of seconds before that window opened up and she had successfully established a bond with Cassie.

If Cassie chose to peer into Alez's eyes in the same way, she could perhaps feel the bond growing between them as well. Despite Alez's attempts at projecting a calm and supportive tone, Cassie would be able to feel an almost overwhelming, yet perhaps familiar, sense of sorrow, anger, and fear. It was clear that not all was well in Alez's own life, but despite her problems, she also found joy in the world around her enough to balance her emotions. It had taken a massive amount of hard work and training to be able to do this, but it was exactly what enabled her to maintain her ethereal form. After all, if any one emotion grew too much and threw off the balance, she would become stuck in her physical form until she could restore the balance inside her. No doubt, it is a scary situation to be in, especially considering getting stuck in the form for even a second can make an untrained celestial panic, causing their fear to grow exponentially...

If there was any particular emotion Cassie was curious about in Alez, now would be the perfect time to explore her curiosity, or she could completely ignore the opportunity if she was uninterested... The main purpose of this link was for Alez to better understand her, anyway. Just what was going on in the heart of this poor girl? By understanding her emotions, she should be able to find a more appropriate way to combat the problem. 

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*Surprisingly, Cassandra was taking things quite well considering Alez was indeed laying a hand on her body and looking straight into her eyes. This was something that Cassandra was not used to doing and it made her rather uncomfortable. Any form of intimacy or even something as little as this was somewhat of a foreign experience for Cassandra and she found it hard to concentrate and focus. Still, she managed to look back at Alez straight in the eye as well, though it was obvious from the way Cassie looked at Alez that there was something about this that bothered her. Though really, the 'bother' only existed in her mind. Cassie was so unused to being close to anyone or letting anyone in, that doing so constituted somewhat of a relationship progression...and relationships were something  she was never good at. Poor Cassie looked quite embarrassed and somewhat bewildered that this young woman was touching her in such a way and her own body was betraying it. Despite this, even feeling disconcerted as Cassie was, even she could feel some sort of connection growing between them. Though she wasn't quite sure what specifically was going on, she felt some of Alez's emotions that were going on behind the scenes...as well the more obvious ones ones that Cassie was more familiar with. Now while Cassandra was not one to pry into the secrets of others, she was a bit curious as to why she felt some familiar dark emotions inside Alez which seemed more at home with her.*

"Alez...I..umm..is something on your mind?" Cassandra managed to stammer, even her voice sounded like a smitten young girl though she was far from that age. "I...It's like I can 'see' your heart..."

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As Alez peered into Cassie's heart, she could sense a great clash of confused, negative emotions. For a celestial so inexperienced with the feeling search, it was actually quite overwhelming. She'd never really had the chance to try it on anyone outside of celestials who typically only experienced pleasant emotions. Cassie clearly wasn't a human, but these feelings seemed to be more human than anything she'd ever felt, assuming what she'd studied on humans was accurate. The clash of emotions was so great it was actually rapidly becoming physically unbearable for her. At this moment, she merely assumed she could handle the intensity and continued trying to search Cassie's heart. It took every ounce of willpower to keep her emotions in balance long enough to keep the feeling search open. It wasn't too long before Cassie broke the silence. Perhaps it was the straw that broke the camel's back, but suddenly the light from the feeling search had closed and Alez collapsed to her hands and knees, panting as if she were out of breath. Her wings were gone and she had returned to her physical form.

"Ah... S-sorry... I guess I'm just not as good at that as I thought..." She slowly rose to her feet again and brushed herself off. "Yes, there's a lot on my mind..." She sighed. "I've never felt these things before coming to the surface... Anyway," she shifted the subject for the time being. "What I just did was a feeling search. It allows us to see into each other's hearts through our eyes and feel everything each other is feeling. It can only be done voluntarily and it's a key ability for us Celestials to get to know other. You, though..." With a frown, Alez gently reached out and touched Cassie's shoulders, almost in tears. "I don't know what you've been through, but whatever it was must have been awful... to the point where you don't even know what to feel... But the biggest feeling I'm getting is this overwhelming sense of loneliness... guilt, as well... I'm really sorry you've had to endure such intense pain." Having just experienced the same emotions as Cassie, even for as brief of a moment as it was, she knew very well just how horrible the girl's life had been. She was nothing like Caelisia or the other celestials who had an overwhelming aura of comfort and love. Still, her feeling search wasn't all-powerful. She had no idea what had happened to cause these emotions to stir up inside the woman, and her past still remained just as much of a mystery. 

"For what it's worth, I care about your well being. I will stand by your side throughout this, and thanks to our feeling search, you should know that to be the truth. I'm scared and a bit insecure, but I'll give this problem my all and I want you to as well!"

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*Cassandra could tell that Alez was not comfortable with the question she asked as Alez seemed to change the subject without giving her much information on what was going on inside of Alez. She did tell Cassandra though what she was doing though so that helped. So that was what that 'light' was. Though Cassie wondered why the girl's form had seemingly changed, no wings and all and why Alez seemed so tired. Perhaps this 'feeling search' was exhausting for her or something. This wasn't good as Cassie would have preferred Alez to be in a better condition since she assumed that they were going into battle soon. Well, this was going to mean more work for her. Cassandra also noted that she said something about 'coming to the surface' which was unusual. From what Cassie expected that this girl was from another world or something, not from some place underground. Unless of course the girl meant that she was from underground in another world...then that would explain that too. As Alez seemed to cry from what she may have saw or felt during the 'feeling search', Cassandra did not seem too emotional about it. From her perspective, what happened was unavoidable. Anyway, her current position was bought on by her choices and the consequences that followed, Cassandra couldn't really complain about how the dice fell given that complaining would do little to change things.*

"Well, if you want to help me in this, it would help if you could explain to me why you seemed to change 'form' just now?" Cassandra asked politely. "Was that process of 'feeling search' that draining on you? Do you need a rest afterwards? Unfortunately, I don't suppose we have much time for a rest in this place. Hmm...would a restorative potion help? I believe I have a few on me."

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Aura

Alez nodded in agreement with Cassie's words. "Yes, I suppose I should probably share how we celestials work..." She paused for a moment to think of how exactly to explain it, as it was such a natural feature of her body. It's like explaining how one can maintain balance on two feet without falling over. "Well... our forms change based on our emotional state. You see, our ethereal bodies are entirely projections of divine light. We can maintain that form as long as our minds are pure and our emotions are perfectly balanced. But, if our emotions are out of balance, we enter our physical forms instead. That can be really bad, especially for someone like myself who really lacks confidence in their own abilities..." She paused again, tapping her fingers against her elbow. 

"Long story short, we can tap into magic and we have no physical presence while in our ethereal forms. Plus, we can't be seen in that state except by other divine beings, demons, and any mortals we allow." With a deep breath, Alez's wings returned, stretched out wide on either side. She then flapped the wings in an effort to draw Cassie's attention toward them. "The color of our wings reflects the purity of our hearts. If we sin, they become darker as we distance ourselves from Lady Caelisia... That is the most shameful thing that could happen to one of us. If we aren't pure of heart, we cannot return to the kingdom of Coelis and we just end up slowly withering away without our mother's embrace..."

Alez frowned slightly and slowly the wings disappeared. "In our physical form, we appear just as any normal human would. We don't have access to our magic or any other powers. We're just flesh and bone. We can only return to our ethereal forms when our emotions are balanced. That's why we go through extensive training to have perfect control of our emotions. However, even though I graduated... I'm still not totally confident in my ability to do that. That's why I find myself getting stuck in this form a lot. It's by far my biggest weakness. If I get particularly angry, sad, happy, or afraid... I can become temporarily trapped. It gets worse when it happens at a bad time, because then I just get more afraid that I'll be stuck like that, which only causes it to become harder to return... It's like being bound in such a why that the bonds only get tighter the more you struggle... it's really scary..." 

"Anyway, that's pretty much the extent of our form change. I hope that answers your question!" Alez put a smile on her face before returning to her ethereal form and spreading her wings again.

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Manni

*As Cassandra listened to Alez's explanation of to what celestials were and how Alez herself seemingly changed form, she could hear Helheim's voice in her mind. They didn't seem overly impressed with the explanation that Alex was giving. In fact, they didn't seem to be taking it very seriously at all. This reaction bothered Cassie and so, without changing her outer expression of intent listening (both out of consideration for Alez and so that Alez wouldn't think Cassie herself was crazier than she was), she tried to reprimand Helheim about their behaviour.*

Are you done? I'm trying to get some useful information about Alez and... Cassandra 'replied' back to Helheim by merely concentrating on that thought stream. While out the outside, it looked like Cassandra was intently and seriously listening to Alez (and she was), she was also having an internal conversation with Helheim...who she really didn't know much about other than what she could get out of them...which did not tend to be much. 

I bear no ill intent towards our young companion and I do not think she speaks falsely.

Then what's with some of your comments? Cassandra snapped back at Helheim mentally, acting a bit protective of Alez whom she thought they were disparaging. Such as that they seem more akin to the dead than to the living?

*Helheim seemed to sigh audibly though obviously no-one but Cassandra would hear them or know they had a channel of access inside her mind.*

I am merely just making an observation, based on what they have said. It is interesting that they talk of their mortal body as being a cage when their 'celestial form' seems much more restricting. Isn't it interesting that the emotions and minds of these celestial beings must be so tightly controlled and regulated just to 'be'? 'Pure' minds..balanced emotions...do you even know what that means? Have you ever met a mortal like that, whose mind is 'pure' and whose emotions are 'balanced'? What would such a mortal even be like? Is it not the case that mortality is a condition where such things are not achievable or even meaningful? What do those terms even mean, Cassie? In mortal terms, do 'pure' and 'balanced' mean anything...if they intended to mean or refer to anything at all?

To those questions, Cassandra had no answer. Of course, she wasn't really interested in answering those sorts of questions. She was more interested in the 'now'.

No response? I would have expected someone of your stature to be concerned with matters as these. After all, you are...

"...Shut up." Cassandra responded back to Helheim internally, interrupting them. She figured she knew where he was going with that and she didn't particularly like the direction. She so wasn't in the mood for it. Now, she felt she had wasted enough time with Helheim and now since she had sensed that Alez had finished talking about her Celestial form, was now more inclined to talk to her. 

Very well. For someone supposedly concerned with practical matters, you certainly have your theoretical priors.

Ignoring Helheim for now, Cassandra went back to talking to Alez. But before she did, she heard music coming from what seemed to be a small settlement further down the grassy knoll which Alez and Cassie were on. The music itself was nice but there seemed to be a tragic undertone to it that was very palatable even to an untrained ear. Cassandra looked at Alez with a rather grave and serious expression on her face. "Looks like we're expected. We best get going. I hope you are ready, Alez."

 

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