|PRIVATE| we are burning out | Salem

None - 24 years
Played by Sam

make a wish on whispered stars

She has had her time to be something. Now, she feels so old, can almost hear her bones creak beneath the weight of her own slender frame. She has become a mother. Orani was forced with the child, she watched her belly grow with life, and then gave birth to the miracle that is her son. Her bright, beautiful son. The moon child has felt her youth for life slip into the belly of Jacob. She feels old, tired, worn. She has lived too much of this life for someone who is still so young. It feels like it has stretched on for an eternity, for eons and onwards.

But, as quickly as she thinks of how long forever is, Orani is reminded with the beat of her heart that she is so incredibly mortal. She has come to Liridon because she cannot bare to sit within the confines her birth home. So what does she do?

She goes to her mother’s.

Orani is hardly alone though. She has Jacob, she has the legacy family. She has friends. She is not alone. The star talker vigilantly repeats this mantra every time she thinks the walls are closing in and she cant remember who she is anymore without someone to tie herself to.

It is—quiet here. The weather is warm and the only sounds she hears are the bird signing and the rustle of trees as evergreens fumble together like award first dances. It is almost, sad. There had been a time in Orani’s life when she would have taken off, desperate for friendship, hungry for it even. Have flittered from conversation to conversation like a honey bee to flower. But, as it is, things were different now.

In the end though, Orani is here and that has to mean something. Here of all places, where she grew up hearing the tales of Michael the Dreamer King and Mitchell the vampire that her mother befriended. Phantom, the shadow king. Tales of Ilir, always of Ilir. These stories feel like nothing more than urban legends, myth. She knew her mother’s love of exaggerations and Orani questions anymore what the truth was. She had said she loved their father, but in the end, when he left, when they all left, she had bedded with another man. The star talker can hardly fault her for such a thing, no matter how much she wished too. Jacob was not Jay’s, not matter how much she wished it to be so. No matter if she named him for her bird. Jacob would never be Jay’s, Orani had left him behind and turned to Cern. She was no better than the one she runs away from for disloyalty.

There is a storm on the horizon, and Orani is unphased. Jacob is safe with Mina and Maren, she needed to see Liridon for the first time alone, unable to explain what it meant to her. The moon child had been so sure of Liridon’s place in her life when she had been small, (bedtime stories and day dreaming.) But, now she was here, and Orani isn't quite sure how it fits in anymore, how she fits in.

Orani always liked the hours before the storm There was something thrilling and exciting and alive about it all. The tension and humidity in the air sent apprehensive shivers down cerulean spine. There was something loud and wild and free about a storm coming. She remembers when she had been small, racing to the top of their mountain hope desperate to catch the lightning in the clouds, only to be dragged back down by her father, concerned for her safety. So concerned for her safety he left.

Orani is not bitter.
But the hollow hole in her heart will not be easily filled when it was dug by the man that was supposed to love her the most.

Silver eyes drift upwards and she loses herself in the storm sure to come, waiting for the thunder, the pounding rain. Let her thoughts drown, drown them all.

{image by Javardh on unsplash}
Son of Ilir - 25
Played by Collie
The meadow was always a place of meetings - for strangers to meet other strangers, start romances or friendships or rivalries. For lovers to meet lovers - for brothers to meet brothers. It was the place where THINGS happened. Big things and small things - things that seemed insignificant at the time and soon became the most important thing in their lives. Those moments were hard to miss, and Lucian used to claim that he missed most of them. He had never been lucky with meetings, did Lucian. And I guess Salem never had been either. He isn't like Orani - he hasn't got anyone, besides Tivus that is. Oh and Entia, and Lucian - but his father's HAVE to know him, they are bound by blood and by duty to know him. It doesn't surprise Salem that he has come through most of his life friendless. He had been hard to know as a child and even harder to know as a teen. 

And after Cyrus's death - well.

Salem had done his best to avoid knowing anyone after that. Why forge bonds when they can be so easily broken. Stupid, or so he had thought. Then Tivus had come to him and Salem learnt just how valuable friendships could be. Tivus had opened his eyes to what it was like to rely on someone and to be relied on in return. Tivus had tuahgt him about himself. Yes...a place of meetings. So that is where Salem starts.

Gone is the youth whose social anxiety caused him to frown and scowl instead of smile - he strides with a confidence that would make both his father's proud if they saw. Cyrus would laugh and tell him he was faking it. But Cyrus was dead. He couldn't mock Salem anymore. He moves with relative easy, a gentle steady pace.  There is someone ahead, Tivus says from where he circles. Salem turns his head. Tivus was right, Salem is not the only one enjoying the meadow today. There is a mare, her head lifted towards the sky and Salem follows her line of sight. Oh. Great. “It looks like it might rain,” he comments, moving carefully to her side, but careful not to stand too close in case he scares her. He doesn't look at her right away, he too keeps his azure eyes trailed on the brewing storm clouds. He was going to get wet, fantastic.  

He finally turns to look at her, head gently tilted to the side, the corner of his lips offering her a smile, “You don't seem phased by the idea though, bit of a storm girl?” Or a star girl, he meets her gaze and for a moment he is lost in space, the universe sparkles in her eyes. Fancy that. This is where LUcian would winks, or make som lewd comment that would either make her frown or giggle. Salem does neither, he simply holds her gaze.
image credit
None - 24 years
Played by Sam

make a wish on whispered stars

She tells herself she doesn't feel guilty about leaving. Leaving and going to her mother’s birth place, among all places. The birthplace of her mother, the land that Tarian’s grandmother had come from, how their lives had intertwined. She perhaps wouldn't be able to hide the guilt quite as well if she didn't know that her mother had twins, new twins, twins that had a different father from her own. Orani’s mother had everything she ever needed, and the moon child so convinced herself that she did not need Orani, however untrue it was.

She has looked into her mother’s dreams, has seen the twins fill them. Astana. Etoile. Perfect little star creatures with skin made of gold and eyes of diamond and sapphire. To have watched herself be compared to these two perfect beauties, to have to carry such a heavy burden or herself being compared to her half siblings. Orani should have gone to her mother, set her flames on fire with a wild jealousy, she should have been angry, should have gone to simply scorn her mother for even thinking to love some other children more than she had ever been able to love Orani. And maybe, had she been such a different creature, Orani would have done just so. And, perhaps, deep in the corner of her heart, she feel that bitterness slowly eating away at her like a silent disease, so subtle that Orani is not able to feel its dull ache or measure the pain of it. There are scars that line her body from the accident, from Cern, but there are far deeper cuts that have marred her soul, and should Orani ever be even an ounce less than who she is, she would crumble under herself entirely.

Orani cannot allow herself to feel the pain, to feel the absence, or the bitterness for the unfairness of it all. She no longer cared what her father thought of her, and Orani tried her best to avoid thinking about her mother all together. They are so different from one another, no matter how often they were compared. The blue roan mare is sturdy, sensible, and if pushed to the limits, she was strong and resistant. Her mother was more somber, cautious, and calm. But there, in that same crevice that hides bitterness and resentment, she hides something fearful. Something she was so afraid of, it may have been the very reason she had run away from their mountain side. It is her mother’s eyes, when once, she looked into those ocean eyes, and saw not her mother, but her own silver, stardust eyes staring back at her.

As if they were simply the same.

That was the night she fled away, under the stars, begging them to stay silent for once. Away from the shallow hole her father left behind, her mother’s tears that stained the ground, and the ocean blue eyes of her mother. And, Orani never went back.

It looks like it might rain.

His voice echoes in her thoughts and Orani thinks she is day dreaming for just a moment before that dark head looks to the stallion that has found her. Silver stardust eyes find his own. Blue eyes. Always blue eyes. They find here wherever she goes. When she looks at Tarian, now, and when she looks into the eyes of her son. She smiles softly, a sliver of a thing on her dark face. “It just might,” she says, her gaze has drifted forwards once again. Storm clouds, distant thunder she cannot yet hear.

But this boy of black and red forces her attention, she looks at the elegant slope of his lips that drift into a smile like a boat to the sea. “Maybe not,” comes her response, vague, curious, Orani can hardly decide how she is supposed to behave anymore after all she has been through. She thinks, for a brief moment, maybe she would reinvent herself here, but Orani is Orani and she could never be anything other than herself. “What about you, are you scared?” She questions him, smiling now as she decides she would be herself and no one else. “I like the way it feel after it rains, like everything is new,” she says, silver eyes blink at him with something of a detachment. “Besides, if the rain comes now, the night will be clear and bright. I could use a bit of star gazing, I think,” she says and watches his own eyes, forgetting every moment when she blinks just how blue and beautiful they are. “You can stay—if you'd like.”

{image by Javardh on unsplash}
Son of Ilir - 25
Played by Collie
He feels a moment of guilt, maybe she had wanted to be left alone - allowed to enjoy the oncoming storm in silence, with her thoughts and not Salem’s. And he had simply interrupted her, only concerned with his own need for company.  Maybe he should excuse himself. But then she smiles, it is slight but present and he takes it. 

Are you scared?  He laughs,“Of the storm? No, I don’t fear something natural like that.” He has faced worse things, unnatural and evil. He thinks of the Jehonas and for a moment is thankful that such a place doesn’t exist anymore. She wouldn’t have to know of the Voyd or his lackeys, of the destruction they liked to wreck on the citizens of Liridon. Just the thought of them sends shivers down Salem’s spine. They would take such pleasure in ripping all the joy from her star shine eyes.

She talks of the feeling of new life after rain and the brightness of star gazing. There is something about her that reminded him of his friend Mina. Maybe it was the softness of her voice - or perhaps it is because she smiles when she looks at him. Like Mina used to.

Mina has always made time for him, even when Salem had been hard to get along with and unfriendly. 

“Thank you, I think I would like that,” He pauses but does not turn back to look at the storm, instead he watches her. “My name is Salem, what is yours?”

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None - 24 years
Played by Sam

make a wish on whispered stars

Since when did she run? Since when did she run and feel like she couldn't stop? She didn't used to be like this. She was bright and vibrant, carefree, her shoulders free of the heaviness that hangs there now like Spanish moss from the trees off the swamps. Orani decides here and now that she is done, done running, it has been too long since she has had a quiet stroll to take in the views. This stance, this stillness, it sits on her bones, it is like the melting ice of winter, the ice that coated the mountain top on which she was born. The ice melts through her body, chilling her until she shivers.

She peers out at him from underneath raven hued tresses. If she had been able to mind read, Orani would have reached out both her hands and grasped onto this stranger with a plea of how she did not wish to be alone. She is as needy as her mother, no matter how much she wishes to distance herself from her parents. His laughter is the promised relief that, for now, she will not be alone. “I wish to be as brave as you,” she says, thinking of the rockslide that had nearly killed her as a child and left her within the lands of Paraiso for nearly a year to recover under their skilled healer.

Her breath steadies, his presence is welcomed and something about him draws Orani near him, so unaware that years before she was even a thought in her immortal mother’s heads, she knew his fathers, she lived within the same lands, watched it grow before leaving it all, like the pale, beautiful nymph she was. Their history is great together, for only just having met. Who knew it would all end up at the beginning.

“Good,” she offers him a one worded response, but she smiles and Orani believes that is all she needs to say. Stardust eyes blink, long dark lashes falling over for a moment, all to aware of his eyes on her. But she doesn't look back just yet, his eyes of glacial blue remind her all too fondly of another’s, someone Salem would never meet. For, although Orani’s roots reside here within the soil of Liridon, her diaries and dream journals are stacked for miles within the land of beyond.

“I’m Orani, and I think…I think I am a long way from home,” she says and only then turns to him. “But it oddly feels like I've come back to somewhere all too familiar,” she says, eyes squinting in poignant thought. “Have you ever felt like that, Salem?” And then she laughs because she becomes all too aware of how silly she sounds. “Sorry, sometimes I let my thoughts get far too complicated, tell me about yourself, Salem, and don't hold anything back.”

Son of Ilir - 25
Played by Collie
“Is it bravery or stupidity?,” he asks with a laugh, blinking soft blue eyes in her direction. Sometimes Salem wasn’t quite sure.
Cyrus had been brave.
Brave and reckless and stupid all at once,  like all the confidence of their father’s had passed down to him alone, leaving Salem with uncertainty. He often wonders if Cyrus would be like them now, if he hadn’t perished at the hands of Respane, if he would have grown to be just as charming and unbearable as his fathers.
Salem would do anything to give Cyrus that chance.
Orani, with a name like that it is no wonder she wishes for a crisp, clear night. Maybe she is of the stars.
 He listen's, curious, patient, and offers her a soft encouraging smile when she apologises. “Don't be sorry,” there is no reason for it. It is refreshing, to be asked more complicated questions alongside the usual. It means that there is the possibility of more interesting conversations in the future; that maybe they would move beyond the surface of social niceties and into the deeper, more important stuff. “I understand how you feel. After a fashion at least, my family is quite large and we wander far and wide; no matter where I go I am always returning to somewhere familiar, bumping into the same old faces.” His smile is both happy and sad; usually it is Entia and Salem wonders if he wanders around so much in order to forget all the scars Liridon had laid upon him.

Sometimes it was Lucian - Lucian who could not settle down unless he had Entia by his side and Ilir under his hooves. And sometimes it was his many siblings and half siblings - there were so many of them after all. Cousins and aunts and uncles. Their family tree was so wide spreading, their branches vast and great. It was never the one person he wanted to see though, it never would be again.

“Oh what is there to tell,” he continues with a teasing sigh, lifting his eyes to the storm clouds once more, “I'm a simple lad really.” He is silent, contemplates his words for a moment, then looks back to her, “I was born here - well not here here, in this meadow - in Liridon. I supposes I always return here, no matter how many times I wander away.” 

Tivus comes to land on his withers, sharp claws sinking into Salem's mane, but he is so used to his companions perch that he doesn't wince. “Ah, yes. This is Tivus, my friend.” The bird nods its head, sharp eyes more focused on the storm than on the mare. Salem knew that his feathered friend didn't want to sit out in the rain; no doubt he would go take shelter in the trees rather than brave the storm but for now he would watch the clouds roll in whilst Salem satisfied his ever-growing need for company. 

Salem doesn't elaborate any more, he is sure that Orani would ask him what she was interested in. “What about you?” He questions instead, “What is it about this place that makes it feel familiar?”
image credit
None - 24 years
Played by Sam
“You sell yourself far too short, Salem,” she says with a hint of a modest smile crinkling the corners of her cheeks. Feyn had been far different from Salem’s own brother, quiet and contemplative. Orani would spot him staring at the stars for hours, charting their courses. While Orani looked to the night sky beauties as companions (she so often talked to them, they knew all her secrets) Feyn saw them as maps. ‘We could reach then end of the world you know,’ he had said that night, blue eyes never leaving the dark canvas above. ‘It is all right here…if I can just find the path.’ His face turned inquisitive. “But Feyn, what happens then, if we reach then of the world?” She asks, and she tries to hold the fear from her voice (Orani so delicately mortal while her brother would love for ages and millenniums.) ‘We will stand together you and I.’ And if he hadn't sounded so sure in that moment, maybe Orani would not have believed, but she did all the same.

And Feyn lied to her too, the moment he left and didn't come back.

“Then I wont be,” she says, it is cheeky, much too cheeky for Orani, but the smile on her face hardly speaks ill intent. Dark ears within that tangle of raven locks listens carefully to Salem’s own words. “I would have love to have come from a large family,” she thinks aloud to her companion. “Mine was small, just father, mother, brother.” It feels like a lie saying it. Her father who abandoned them when they needed him most, her brother who left for studies, breaking promises, and her mother that had been to broken to hold herself up, let alone to be there for her daughter.

Her attention, if she was not intrigued before (though she full heartedly was, Orani loves to live in the world of strangers), she was now. “Born here, in Liridon?” She asks. She had wondered not for the first time what her life may have been like if she had been born and raised here in Liridon. Of course, her mother never would have known her father, but would that have been such a terrible thing? Orani would just be floating out there now, never to have come into existence, maybe she would be in her beloved stars apart of everything that could have been, but was never meant to be.

“Well hello there,” she says to the feathered creature. Orani has her own companion, a small hummingbird, Lilly, named for her red haired friend. But, Lilly was as wayward as the moon child, as often with Orani as not. “He is quite handsome,” she notes, eyes looking to his feathers before they move downwards, back the glacial blue eyes of Salem.

Those rogue thunderclouds continue moving in, but Orani stands as strong and as steadfast as stone. “Would it be silly to say stories and dreams?” She asks him, she blink silver stardust eyes. “My mother used to live here, but my family has a bad habit of leaving every where behind,” she says, and she sounds like a hypocrite as she still smells like the mountain tops of Beyond. “Were you born to a kingdom, Salem?” She asks, her feet shuffling forwards slightly, like a child edge towards a parent with a storybook in hand. “Are you a prince in disguise?” She teases lightly. “I do love a story with an unexpected ending.”

make a wish on whispered stars

{image by Javardh on unsplash}

Son of Ilir - 25
Played by Collie
Did he really sell himself short. Yes, probably.

The truth is that Salem has always been more capable than he had ever given himself credit for. In a way success was in his very blood, in the way he set his admirations. He wanted to be like Michael, like the gentle, wise dreamer king that had taken over from his grandfather, and passed the crown on to his father. Michael who was also full of self doubt and insecurities, Michael who had also questioned his own capabilities. They were more alike than Salem may have realised. Of course he never really knew Michael, not properly, he was robbed of the opportunity to know the dreamer king as an equal, all he had ever done was look up to him like a wide eyed youth. 

And now that Ilir, and all the people that belonged to it, were gone. No more Michael, or Mina, or Tranquiliser, no more Cyrus. 
Just Salem, and Lucian and Entia. Like always. The ones who were unable to move on. 

Salem humms and nods his head when she repeats - it seems like such a long time ago now; the world had been dark then, there had been no sun. But for some reason that didn't seem to matter to Salem, he had all the light he needed in Cyrus, in the way his brother laughed and smiled and called Salem's bluff every time he pouted and told Cyrus he hated him. Born at the same time under the same circumstances and yet so different. 

At Orani’s compliment Tivus fluff his feathers importantly and shuffles his wings. Salem glances at him over his shoulder, before bringing twinkling blue eyes back to Orani.  “Now you’ve done it, that compliment will go to his head,” he jokes, earning a soft peck from Tivus, who decides to leave Salem’s side to watch them from the shelter of the near by trees. Salem watches him go. 

His attention is drawn back to Orani when she speaks again. “And did you inherit that? Your family's habit of leaving every where behind?” Salem asks with a curious tilt of his head. WHy does he hope not? Besides Mizumi this girl was the first he had really had a proper, deeper conversation with. Beyond the normal how are you's that he had become accustom to. 

Born in a kingdom, she asks and Salem is happy to elaborate. God he sounds like Lucian, any opportunity to talk about Ilir.  “Yes, in the Kingdom of Ilir, it’s where my family was based...mostly”. and then were you a prince in disguise? Salem's laugh is low, a chuckle, and he looks down at his hooves, although the action is not done out of shyness, and when he lifts his head again his smile is lopsided and boyish. 

 “I mean....I won't inherit the kingdom if that's what your asking. It was more of a ceremonial position.” Even when Ilir had been bustling and busy, and he had spent his time roaming from member to member, begrudging all of them his time, he had not been addressed like a prince. But,  “my father was king. And my grandfather from my other father's side was the first king of ilir. So I guess its on both sides of the family.” And a confusing family at that. He wonders if they were disappointed that he had ended up doing so little, being nothing in a family full of impressive names was very hard.

Phantom of the Opera, his grandfather, had been the first king of Ilir. Entia had been its last. Lucian had been a prominent member of Ilir. His uncle Edward had ruled Elian, his aunt Aislia had ruled Donieta. He was certain that Entia came from a line of kings too, although Entia never really talked about it. And then there was Salem. Just Salem.

Not a prince, not ever really there.
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None - 24 years
Played by Sam

make a wish on whispered stars

There is a reason love stories end at the confessions, and do not follow them any further. Because it’s ugly, what comes after fate throws them together again and again, as the stars align and shine down.

(It shouldn’t be ugly. It should be tender. Shouldn’t it?)

But love is a living thing, a beastly thing, and it consumes lovers in different ways. It is the reason her mother looked so sad even as Bastille reached out to touch her cheek and the twins clamored at her heels.

Love nourished her.
It destroyed her.

There is a reason love stories end. Because the tenderness is not sustainable, not with men who leave and abandon, who break promises and forget his children.

“I love you,” she had heard her mother say time and time again, throwing her heart like a safety line.
But he had said goodbye.

(There is a reason love stories end.)

Orani cannot help that silvery bout of laughter that perches on her lips at the sight of the bird fluffing his feathers as one may fluff a pillow. “Well, he has every right to be proud,” Orani says with a curt nod of her head, confirming her earlier statement. Her eyes follow him as he goes, a beauty flying through the impending weather. “It is nice to have someone to keep you from being alone,” she says, but she is not thinking of Salem’s bird, but she is thinking of Jacob and his blue eyes and his smile. Her ever present light, even when the storm darkens everything else.

“I haven't quite figured that out yet,” she says, even as her hoof prints are still fresh from her to the mountain pass she once stood upon. “But I have learned not to leave without saying goodbye.” Why does she feel this is so important? Because her father never reached down when she had been asleep to kiss her forehead and tell her he loved her and wished her well. He never said goodbye.

Orani is not bitter and nor is she sad.

Not anymore.

Ilir. Oh, Salem has uttered the magic word. Orani’s childhood bedtime stories find her now and she is a few hands shorter, with spidery legs, and an awkward grace, with silver satellite dish eyes too large for her face. She looks towards Salem with something akin to awe. But just as her eyes turn up, his gaze falls downwards, a chuckling gently pulling it towards the ground. As he returns to look at her, the boyish smile, the charm on his face, Orani moves a few steps closer, so eager to hear what he has to say now. “How exciting, it isn't every day you meet royalty,” she says with her own note of laughter.

“I’ve always wanted to see Ilir,” she says then, almost breathless, her childhood dream just within arms reach, can almost feel the dreamscape on Salem’s two colored skin. “My mother, she was there when it first began. I grew up hearing stories about Phantom and the democracy they had. Of Michael and Mitchell,” she says these names that had previously just been names, shared between herself, her mother, and her brother. But as she deposits them upon Salem’s awaiting ears, she cant help her heart doing the Charleston inside her chest, her expectations hanging precariously high. “I always thought that is what they would stay, just stories, but—here I am.”

And here her mother is not.

Son of Ilir - 25
Played by Collie
Being alone had once been something Salem had craved. He hadn't want to force smiles, to force niceties, to pretend that he really cared about what other people were saying or thinking. For some reason though Salem had always ended up with people around him (right now he thinks of Mina, of Ainegal) people he somehow managed to care for - caring was a burdern, caring meant that you would eventually get hurt.

And he had gotten hurt.
Mina could never love him back, not that Salem could ever have the courage to tell her.
Aingal had been hurt in ways Salem could not have stopped. Broken and he had no strength to build her back up.
Cyrus had died.

Caring simply made you feel helpless.
Or so he had thought back then.

Trials and time had changed his mind; Tivus had changed his mind. The bird had shown him that being alone meant being lonely and that nothing was worse in the world. With his feathered friend by his side Salem had learned what it really meant to love; to care, to not fear the things that could break him. Salem hums, his own baby blue's locked on Tivus's retreating form, although he isn't paying too much attention to Orani - he is busy being lost in his own head.

But then Orani speaks again, and Salem is thankful for it, the sombre tones are gentle and her silver specked eyes are curious and wide, Salem wonders if he could get lost in them (he almost does, and has to remind himself not to stare). “Good,” he murmurs, dragging his attention from the starlight in her gaze. Goodbyes are painful, god they hurt, but it sometimes hurts more without them.

He doesn't miss the way her posture changes, the awe that slips into her gaze - Ilir, it is magic to her like it is magic to him. But why though, why does his forest home bring her such joy. Salem's head tilts curiously.  “It's okay, I won't make you bow or anything,” he jokes. “People might find out who I am if you do and then we'd have to fight them off,” and right now Salem doesn't want any company other than hers.

He listens intently as she speaks - names that are so close, so personal, and some that he only knows as that; simply names. But the way she says them, like they are legends. Is it bad of him to be glad that his father's arent't among them? Her mother must have not been around when Entia and Lucian had been most active, and he is grateful that he wouldn't be tarred by any reputation his sire's might have gained. In their youth they had been chaotic and troublesome. They had proved themselves in the end though, didn't they, the annoying nagging part of Salem's brain chipped in, reminding him that yes - he did love his fathers even if they were total nutjobs. 

Still there is something about the look in her eyes that makes his heart flutter, “here you are,” he echos thoughtfully, until he realises that she is waiting for him to speak. To shed light on the names and people she had heard legends about. “Ah well. I never met my grandfather...I mean Phantom. My dad didn't like him much,” understatement of the century there, “Didn't know Mitchell either. Dad didn't like him too, I am sensing a trend here.” He snorts, it is half laughter half annoyance, Lucian really did know how to make enemies. Oh but Michael though,“Michael should have met him. A true king the true king. Ilir will never be the same without him.”

He has to cough down his sorrow at the thought - that Michael's skills, his kind heart, had gone elsewhere, to serve some other cause, and that Salem didn't have it in his life anymore.

“Your mother was around when the kingdom first started then?” His lips twitched into a smile, “You were almost a child of Ilir, like me.” But then Orani would have known the darkness and destruction that the Voyd had caused - maybe she wouldn't be the bright shining star that she was today - wouldn't have existed at all - and that thought is terrible, it makes him strangely sad. He wouldn't ever want to dampen her glow with the tragedy of Liridon's past.
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