these immigrants from other universes
Ganthor does, indeed, inform Hal and the Green Sentinel doesn't like it. However, like it or not, there's nothing he can do about it.
Hal expected to follow her to her chambers, but instead some kind of teleportation occurs. As refreshments are provided, Hal pours himself a glass of water and drinks it. He offers a thank you to the High Queen when she is finished speaking, respectfully of course.
Ganthor reflects upon her words and what she just said to him before he speaks. When he does, he offers his condolences, "My condolences for the loss of your siblings your Majesty. Losing those close to you is never easy." And for such a long lived being himself, he knows the pain of loss. To a lesser extent, Hal knows the feeling as well since his uncle died when he was a kid.
Then Ganthor decides to offer something, "The Universal Lavalieres are, indeed, a threat. If you need any help, the entire resources of the Green Sentinel Corps are at your disposal should you need them." As Guardians of universal order and balance, Ganthor wishes to help the High Queen in any capacity. But if she does not wish their help, then that is fine. The offer has been made.
When she makes it known she is looking for replacements, Ganthor offers a name of a potential recruit. A name that she might know,
"I believe Sentinel could be a potential recruit, your Majesty. You may already know of him. As I understand it, he's been doing an admirable job apprehending criminals from other universes in order to keep the balance. I am unsure of his answer if you ask him, but it is worth asking him just in case."
Hal glances around the room, being amazed by everything he sees. Are those doors to other universes? At the mention of Sentinel, his mind snaps back into reality. Then Hal asks a question, "If I may ask, your Majesty; these people you intend to visit. Will they know your there?"
"Please spare me your remorse Guardian, my siblings broke the laws of my parents; and they were reasonably punished for it" She explained whilst telekinetically calling upon a book from the library entitled "The War of Kings"
"You see Guardian, It was already written. The same for my coming judgement. It has already been written, I cannot gaze upon the pages of the book. Not even I can know the outcome. Just that I have a role to play in all this. Which is why I cannot accept your request to gather the stones with the help of the sentinels. That is not my role in this ordeal."
The life of the Judges were often mundane, because the Queen and King usually handled cases particular to specific universes; the High King and High Queen typically preside within the library; but now that her siblings were deceased she'd have to do it all for the entire multiverse.
The Judges were purposely made with a flaw, a flaw so powerful that it could change the entire fate of a universe. She wasn't aware of it; only her deceased siblings found out--far too late. The longer a judge interacted with a Universe, the likely they were to inherit traits.
"I'm impressed by your faith in your people guardian, but as you know I cannot take suggestions. My siblings replacements must be judge with my divine eyes. Not fielded on display." She said nodding in his direction.
"As for the immigrants, they will know I am here; they will also know why I'm here. All is necessary for the Trial."
Ganthor bows his head in response to what she just said, "Forgive me, your Majesty. I am so used to offering aid to others that I did not think to treat you differently considering your exalted position. Please, if you wish to know anything that you do not already know, do not hesitate to ask me, your Majesty." Ordinarily, Ganthor would offer her to read the book of Oan. It's a vast collection of knowledge collected over many millennia by the Guardians, but it also contains knowledge of beings still living. So, according to her own laws, he cannot offer her it's knowledge. It might be a little too tempting to read the knowledge that she can read only to skip to towards the end and read what she cannot. Ganthor will not give her that temptation.
Hal thinks of a question, something that is going to be on a lot of people's minds in the city below them. He protects them and cares for them, even if a lot of them are...of a questionable character. Remaining ever respectful, Hal asks the High Queen, "I know you said you will make your headquarters here. However, a massive floating city above New York has already frightened a lot of citizens. The news media wonders what your intentions are. I already know what I will say to them. I won't state your mission without your leave, of course. Is there a way to make your city invisible, your Majesty? That would ease a lot of people's fears. And, if I may ask, what shall I say to them about your intentions? Saying the truth might send the city into a panic, so I'd rather not do that. What would your recommendation, or command, be your Majesty?"
Ishara' attention shift to Hal, she could feel the legitimacy of his question in the concern and paranoia in the people below them. "I forget Earthlings like to pretend everything is alright, even if it's not in most cases" With a snap of her finger the Court of Courts disappeared from the New York skyline for the time being; It was actually better this way. In some of the other universes' she appeared in her presence was met with futile military resistance not that their weapons were strong enough to harm her, but they did a number on her Bailiff and Executioner--that is until she commanded them to stop toying.
"As for what you must tell them, I agree alerting them to my intentions might not be wise. Of course now is just the pre-trial. I'm simply gathering information on the history of the universe."
Hal has to smile when she takes his suggestion one step further. This is a being who seems to genuinely care, at least on some level, about humans. She did just ease a lot of people's fears. Hal himself is not afraid, as he stands apart from the rest of humanity. As Green Sentinel, has to. The ring chose him because he has the ability to overcome great fear. It's part of his job. It's not easy at times and he'd be the first to tell you that he is not without his own fears and insecurities. But Hal doesn't let himself be ruled by his fears. He overcomes them.
Hal speaks again, "Earth laws would require me to stay within city limits while I'm part of a trial. I don't know if you have a similar law. So, I ask, do I have to stay within the confines of your city, your Majesty, while your investigation is ongoing, or at least within the confines of this universe?" He did claim to speak for humanity, so he's involved. He doesn't know if he's required to stay here or not. It makes sense to him that he'd at least be required to stay within the universe. Not that Hal travels to other dimensions, because he doesn't. Not unless his job requires it, but it's very rare that it does.
Ganthor, of course, already knows the answer. But he let's Hal ask his questions. It's better for his learning experience.
From the back of her chambers, the bailiff moved forward whispering something in Ishara's ear; he'd located the next person on her list of people to visit. It was a person she'd grown very interested in, as she'd cross thru multiple universes a plethora of times stealing whole genetic code from people with her likeness all across the cosmos.
"Of course not. I do not expect you to place your life on hold for me Sentinel. Should I need you, I will know how to find you. Now, if you'll excuse me there is someone high priority that I must visit."
Ganthor rises from his seat and bows respectfully, as does Hal. It is Ganthor who speaks, "As you desire, your Majesty. It has been an honor to talk with you. Thank you for the privilege."
And with that, the meeting is done. Hal has a lot to think about as does Ganthor.
(OOC: Sucky post on my part, but that ends this RP. Thank you, Shanana! ^_^)
A cube floats peacefully through New York City , watching the citizens of the city. Cube flew through the city with a bright trial closely following him. After deciding to blind itself from seeing want behind reality, Cube got to explore what lives within reality's grasps. Cube only believed that he was the only sentient being around...but turns out Cube was wrong.
After he flew a few miles around New York City , Cube began to wonder how did these creations live. So to figure it's question out ..Cube flew inside someone's apartment. The apartment itself as dark and was mostly empty with some blank canvases and full cans of different colored paint. Cube hovered over to one of the open cans of paint.
Cube began to peer into the can of paint . The paint was a dark purple..almost the same color as Cube was. As Cube floated closer to the piant, it tipped the can over spilling it.What followed after was a scream. Cube was a bit curious but also frightened of being discovered so he looked around the apartment for a place to hide so Cube collided with one of the canvases and became a painting.
It was all too familiar, the feeling of detachment from mankind. The Miracle Man cared for their world, fought for their survival, prosperity and self-determination. Born from chaotic quantum fluctuations in the heart of their Sun, free from the tyranny of aging, strong like Heracles, a lord of the sky like Zeus, and beautiful like Apollo, he was otherworldly, divine. And yet, mankind had adopted him as one of their own. But he was no member of their society, and like the Sun worshiped by generations past, he did not live among them - he soared above them. And he could relate to them no more than man could relate to animals. They marveled at waterfalls, and he past the very atoms that bound them.
For decades he'd done the good deed. Defended their world from invaders from the stars, followed their shuttles to ensure the safety of their astronauts, yet he was shaping their world with no thought to what man felt most powerfully; fear. Thee Champion's image was striking, and his power a storm that could break worlds as easily as it could shape them. Perhaps it was why gods so often elected heralds, oracles and prophets. Because to them, these chosen offered a power that escaped even the gods themselves; perspective. And Thee Champion was in need of it. How best can he handle a crisis? How strong a hand must he deal without inspiring fear in innocent hearts? He hadn't the answers. He was no son of man, and he lacked man's perspective. So from above he descended, his cape spreading like the scarlet wings of an angel as he came in search of the one woman with an answer.
There was a king's regality as he landed on the rooftop, and in his eyes - aknight's tempered steel. "Ellie", he greeted, titanium arms crossing over his chest as he met eyes with the most reclusive of Knightfall's.
"Thank you for agreeing to see me".
"It's been a while".
The early morning sun streamed through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the manor that she had made her own, on a patch of land in the city that had been set aside generations ago. It was an ostentatious display of unwarranted wealth, but you could take the girl from the Knightfall. Taking the Knightfall from the girl was another story altogether.
She had been entrusted with the property years ago, after scheming it away from her father, Jayden, and convincing Quintus that it would be ill-suited for a den of iniquity when he had been going through one of his more lascivious phases. Now it served as the home base for her team, the team that she had yet to give a name, because good god she did not want to be a leader, or responsible for others.
Below the manor was more than her fair share of tech, which she had spent the better part of her life nursing along. She could feel it thrumming through her veins even now, as she roused herself from bed, blinking away the sleep from her eyes. It was a matter of moments before she pulled on a pair of form-fitting black trousers accompanied by a white silk button-up shirt, fashionably loose and unbuttoned just enough to show the bralette beneath. She pulled her crimson red hair into a twist and secured it at the back of her head, with a few free strands artfully draping her face. The high fashion was driven into her bones, and she had missed it for far too long while in space not to indulge it now.
Her bare feet padded softly along the hardwood floor as she quickly made her way up to the roof, knowing that would be Alexis's preferred method of arrival. She got there in time to see him land, always the most magnificent of sights. Ellie's family was no stranger to the abnormal, but they were all beings of this planet, if not so much as human. Alexis was a being of another sort entirely, and it was so effortlessly clear as his cape whipped around him, the rising sun limning him from behind, creating almost a halo effect.
"Of course, Alexis," she said, peering up at him, lines of sorrow bracketing her mouth. "How is everybody doing?" She rubbed the flat of her hand over her collarbone, her brows drawing together in concern over eyes the pale blue-green of sea foam. She had a complicated relationship with the Liafadors, even beyond the rift between their families as a whole. Ziccarra had been one of her dearest friends, but Z's own father Kane had tried to kill her, and almost succeeded in doing so. She still bore the scars at the small of her back, and the stiffness in her joints on bad days.
"What can I help you with?"
Among her brothers and sisters, Ellie had always been the one who walked closest to ground. Because of it, her humanity far outweighed that of her siblings. A humanity that when blended with a genius - her genius - that was years ahead of mankind, made her perfect, not in general, but for this.
"How is everybody doing?"
"The kids are doing well enough", Alexis answered, steely eyes more focused on the subtle glimmer of photons - the light - bouncing all about them than the true implication of her question. How was he? Since Ziccarra'd passed? He was strong, but growing more detached from his learned humanness. A humanness swept to it's own grave by Ziccarra's death, and in it's place - the glow of godhood. But then, that was why he was here, why he had sought her out. So as Ellie's eyes caught the warm glow of the Sun, the Miracle Man climbed into the air, an inch above the concrete, and to Ellie's question, he cast his eyes to the pedestrians below. At the building's foot, a crowd gathered. Small but loud enough for Ellie to hear. To those people, New York - a cultural hub unlike any other - was the entire world. It was only when Thee Champion walked their skies in a streak of red and blue that they felt reality pull them back down to Earth.
He made them and their world feel small. And though some in the crowd flashed their cameras with excitement speeding the thrum of their hearts, there were others. Others whose chests rose up and down in heaves of uncertainty, as though today was the day God had finally come to pass judgment. And as Alexis met their eyes, he glimpsed at the jolt of fear that shoved them back. "They're scared of me. Some of them at least. All good men", he finally said. "There are people I want to inspire fear in. Villains, criminals, terrorists. But not people like them", his gaze held, on the people below. He could see their dead skin cells, the cracks in their joints, and the flaws in their genes. And the stares they returned echoed what words could not. He was a god, and they saw him as one.
But as good men often did their gods, they feared him. "When I fly into a city, it divides people. They're used to seeing metahumans, but not people like me", gods he meant. "They don't care what I've done, they fear what I might do". Returning his eyes to Ellie, Thee Champion strode a foot forward, and the air shifted. His presence was as genuine as it was regal, and as calming as it was commanding. "This is a delicate situation. Coming down from the clouds to do my part won't cut it anymore. I'm losing their trust. They can't relate to me, which is sensible because I'm not like them". He was born in the Sun, to no parents but the chaotic fluctuations of reality. Miraculous, divine, and it made him a stranger in man's world.
"But I'm no threat to them. I'm not here to impose my will on them or create my own utopia. I defend them, from threats their governments can't reach, and enemies their armies can't defeat. I need someone who can help me handle these situations better. To inspire less fear and more trust and security. I need an eye that'll give me the human perspective so I know how to best approach things. And I need another pair of eyes in the stars to help me keep Earth safe from the cosmic horror or alien invasion of the month". Pausing to allow his words time to settle, Alexis continued, "What I'm proposing is a partnership". With someone who'd keep him from growing too detached.
Ellie tilted her head curiously to the side as she surveyed Alexis, his words sinking in. Ziccarra had tied him to humanity in a way that nothing else had, nothing else ever would. If she was his tie to it, then what would remain of it after she was gone? That was always the question, wasn't it? Politicians had mused on this question since the presence of divine beings on earth - gods - had been made public.
"Well enough?" She asked softly, noting that he had not spoken of himself. His eyes were a little colder than they used to be. When Ziccarra and Alexis were in each other's presence, the glow of love and lust had always been present; a liveliness that so many lacked, a verve that people were lucky to have once in a lifetime.
Ellie craned her neck up as he lifted effortlessly into the air, as if to drive home his distance from humanity, a distance which it seemed that he had always sought to lessen. For a being not of earth, not mortal, Alexis Pettis had always tried to walk in lockstep with humans and protect them with an altruism and lack of ego that many born to this planet lacked. It had always been one of his most admirable traits.
She looked over the flat edge of the roof with him, her hands shoved into the pockets of her trousers as she had a brief and brutal flashback to one of many mobs. Her family had done its fair share of funking over humanity. She'd paid penance for Quintus's crimes, her father's crimes, her mother's crimes, her whole life. Had been her twin's stalwart defense more times than she should have, and would be paying penance for the wrongs that the Knightfall family had heaped upon this world until she drew her last breath.
Where they looked at Knightfalls with fear and revulsion, this crowd looked at Alexis with reverence and gratitude, as if he was their last great hope - Earth's last great hope. She wanted to bathe in the goodness, to soak it up, to become good as well, a height she knew she'd never attain. This world would never trust her, but that would never stop her from protecting them from threats they didn't even know existed.
"They fear you and what you're capable of, but they trust you. They trust you because you empathize with them, something which should be impossible. They trust you because you walk with them, when you have no need to walk at all. They trust you because you have been a bastion of goodness, of hope, of possibility," she responded, her voice as small as his. "They trust you because when darkness soaks over everything, there you are with the sun."
Ellie stepped back from the roof and furrowed her brows as she looked at him, crossing her arms over her chest. She'd been in space for too long, partially on Exemplar business, partially on other matters. It had left her more removed from this Earth than she cared for, and far too out of touch with current events. She was still catching up. But there was a deep, driving need in her to be active, to be doing more, always more. It would never be enough.
"They would never sleep if they knew everything they didn't know," she said softly. All the threats that were stopped before they fully manifested. All the evil that lurked in humanity that was thwarted before it could fully bloom. If the world at large knew how close they constantly were to cataclysm, there would be panic in the streets and breakdown of society.
Ellie nodded her head, her lips turning up into the first full grin she'd had in a while as her eyes lit up at the prospect of what had just been laid in front of her. There was nothing else to consider; she was in. She extended a slender hand towards Alexis. "I'm in. What are the next steps?"
Ellie's words almost seemed to echo an accusation. That he was avoiding the black cloud of Ziccarra's death. Perhaps he'd misheard her tone, but how often did one who heard sounds from across the globe mishear? "They miss their mother", Thee Champion added, calm and once more saying nothing of his growing detachment. He was a god, and humans died. A strong gale swept it's way through the streets, and the crowd below gasped. Had Thee Champion left? They'd seen nothing climb the skies. No scarlet cape or glimmering blur. But he was there, still standing on the rooftop, and his brow now furrowed with the severity of stern concern. He did not like what he'd heard. At the rush of the gale, some thought he had vanished, gone with the wind to the Sun above the clouds. Many sighed, in disappointment. How could he leave? And others murmured, in relief.
Words of fear. So as he held Ellie's gaze, the Miracle Man countered with the knowledge of what he'd heard that she hadn't. "That's true for a lot of them, Ellie. Many of them in fact, do trust me. But not all of them. Many of them trust me, and others trust that I'll one day try and inherit this world". He could only imagine that fear and how it broke their trust in him. He thought of the children, sons and daughters far more impressionable than their parents. If fathers and mothers believed that he'd descend tomorrow's sky as a tyrant, what then would children - who believe most deeply - come to believe of him? Would tomorrow's generation come to regard him with fear and suspicion? Or the hope and faith that their forefathers did? The thought lingered for a nanosecond or two, but his mind shooed it from it's halls. "It might be a few people today, but tomorrow it'll be many more. That to me tells me one thing; I need to change my approach". Perhaps mankind was not comfortable with a figure hearing their cries from above the clouds. After all, could such a figure not listen to their most private conversations and snicker with other gods before smiting the land?
"And you have greater insight into humanity than I do", he confessed, steel muscles softening to welcome a small smile. He could only imagine what his son, Leonel, would think of him. Why even care for mankind? He was a god. Where man walked on solid ground, he soared the cosmos. Where man bathed in water, he dove into suns. And where man relied on computers, his mind processed thought and emotion in nanoseconds. He was their physical and intellectual superior. Several houses above man in the cosmic strata, and by every quantifiable measure - worth more than them. So why care? Because he can. And as detached from his learned humanness as he'd grown, he still did. And this was his adopted home. One he'll protect till it draws it's last breath.
"They would never sleep if they knew everything they didn't know"
"That's why we're here, so they don't have to". There was a saying among the Liafadors. "Never trust a Knightfall". He imagined it'd grown in popularity. Yet as he met Ellie's eyes and glanced at her offered hand, he was confident she'd prove the saying wrong. He smiled and a hand that could crush mountains wrapped gently around hers. They shook hands. "I couldn't ask for a better partner. As for the next step, it's setting up a base of operations. Preferably on Earth, somewhere isolated. Underground. Underwater. Antarctica".
"It'll fade, change. It becomes a series of little goodbyes. First you feel guilty for not moving on because that's not what they would have wanted. And then you feel guilty for starting to forget the sound of their voice. Because how could you dare to live in a world in which they don't exist?" Her voice was soft as her eyes glazed slightly, before she pulled herself out of her self-indulgent reverie. She had said too many goodbyes and she bore too heavy a burden of guilt, one that she wore like armor.
Ellie paced back and forth across the floor of the roof before finally perching on the back of a rooftop couch, part of a cozy little seating area she had set up around a firepit. It was one of her small little refuges. Her bare feet dangled several inches above the ground as she tilted her head up towards the sun, drinking in the beams as they warmed her skin. She allowed Alexis's words to sink in, mulled them over. There was a growing contingent of humans who were dissatisfied with anything non-baseline. There always had been in one way or another, but they had never turned on their icons. No, it was usually the icons who turned on them. She shook her head at the thought of her brother.
"I don't know that I'm so close to humanity anymore, Alexis," she muttered, finally turning her gaze to his again. Her technopathy was continuously warping and changing, and she'd spent the last years either off the planet or in other realities. It wasn't exactly the way to build bonds or roots at home.
The corners of her lips turned up in a mischievous smirk as his gargantuan hand enveloped hers. He was a gentle giant. So much power, more than anybody could truly understand, and he wanted to do good, to find his humanity. He wanted people to love him, respect him, like him, and wanted to do the same for them, when it would be so easy for him to rule with an iron fist and become the tyrant some feared. It was why he would never do it.
She applied her fair share of pressure back. Her father had drilled her from the time she developed motor skills on the art of a proper handshake. She was annoyed that she'd carried any of Jayden Knightfall's lessons through to her adult life, but nonetheless, here she was.
Her eyes narrowed as she tilted her head to the side and mulled over Antarctica as a base. Her hands ached at the thought and goosebumps broke out on her arms. “Have I mentioned that I hate the cold?” she asked, grinning.
The sky sank into a warm glow as the Sun began to set, and the Miracle Man paid mind to Ellie's voice. For a nanosecond - a fleeting moment so short it seemed to have never happened - Alexis thought of Ziccarra and the life they once had. But there was no sinking feeling in his stomach that twisted it into knots or caused his heart to clamor. Instead, the passage of time - that one nanosecond - came and left with all the intimate treasures of the past. He didn't mourn as humans did. To him, it had all happened an eternity ago. More than enough time for him to let go and move on. Sweeping his eyes across the distant horizon, Thee Champion kept vigil over cities an oceans away, while Ellie's words echoed in his mind.
"I'm concerned about Tassi. She's the youngest and still a child", and in no position, neither by will nor emotion, to endure the storm of her mother's death. And she was still reeling.
"And as difficult as it's been for all of them, the others are older and better equipped to handle their mother's death". Leonel was a warrior born to the tyranny of a war this Earth had never known. He'd seen family, friend and stranger die more than anyone of any age. Catalina was raised by the cruelest lessons the hand of fate had chosen to teach her. And Maya was so in-tune with cosmic schemes so grand and governed by physical laws indistinguishable from magic, that he could only imagine how trivial mortal death might seem to her. A cool breeze rushed in as the messenger of night's approach, and Ellie's words had caught his ears once more.
"I don't know that I'm so close to humanity anymore, Alexis"
"You're a wealthy woman with a genetic advantage over most of the population, yet you choose to take part in a thankless crusade against threats and dangers to protect people you owe nothing to. I'd say you're close enough, Ellie". Like a ray of light, a glint of warmth broke through the cold steel of his eyes as he echoed the words. He believed in Ellie. A god with faith in a mortal, the irony dawned on him. They shook hands. Her grip was firm and her shake confident. Were his flesh not titanium and his bones stronger still, Thee Champion'd have felt it. And were he human, perhaps he'd feel the cold just as she did.
"Then Antarctica it isn't", he smiled. "I'll leave choosing the location to you. Any suggestions?".
Ellie dragged a hand through her crimson hair as the purples and reds of the setting sun streaked across the sky. Red at night, sailor's delight, she thought to herself. A phrase her father had drilled into her as a young child. A wistfulness for a life that had never been hers bit at her gently as she smiled sadly at Alexis. "Tassi has a family who would burn this world and several others to the ground for her happiness. She's one of the most beloved children in the universe. This will be hard, to lose a mother who loved her with every bit of her heart, but she'll come out okay." Some dark part of Ellie pondered if she and her siblings would have been better off without the harsh hand of Grace Knightfall.
The corner of her mouth turned up in a bitter semblance of a smile as she walked past Alexis and stood at the edge of the roof with her arms crossed over her chest. The cool winter wind rippled through the thin silk of her shirt as she stood there, pondering and sinking into the guilt that always ate at her gut. She looked at him over her shoulder, her brow furrowing as she digested his words. "I don't deserve any of the credit you're trying to heap on me," she muttered. She was a billionaire with a minor messiah complex, who had more money than one could spend in several lifetimes, and who was complicit in murders that could have been stopped if she'd taking off her blinders in time and fecking done something. If she was human, she was some of the worst they had to offer.
She reached over and pulled a tablet from the table. The sleek rose gold frame was cool against her fingers as she held it out to Alexis. At her mental control, it slid through several screens, pulling up and discarding multiple files before finally opening one with a specific set of coordinates she had been keeping to herself for quite some time. "How does that suit you?"
At times, raising a family was easy. Rewarding even. Other times however, it felt like more weight than even Thee Champion could lift. Still, he persevered. Through strength of character as much as strength of body - spirit as much as brawn. In his family's darkest hour, he did as any father should. He shone a light where it was most needed. "She'll be okay. That much I know. But she's not yet okay. And time passes differently for me, Ellie", he reminded, his eyes drifting back to the setting Sun. He was born in it. By the hand of probability, chaotic fluctuations in the Sun's heart wrote him into existence. Ironic that the star that gave birth to a savior of Earth will one day be it's doom.
All things must die. The Sun as much as man.
Yet the time between then and now was a cosmic eon away. And to Thee Champion, so was the time between Tassiana now - and a happier daughter in the future. "I live and process thought and emotion in nanoseconds. And it makes everything else feel - and I'm being generous - slow. A second passes by and for most people, it was just a second. But for me? An eternity. Because a nanosecond is to a second as a second is to thirty-one years, seven months. Anger, sadness, hate, love, all those things I feel and experience so differently, and from a normal person's view, so quickly I seem to have never felt anything at all. Because that's all the time I need. A second is more than the time I need. And every second my daughter mourns, is an eternity I'm waiting to see end".
Silent, the Miracle Man felt the wind rush in with the cold of night, and though his skin didn't react, he met eyes with Ellie and imagined hers had. She had, after all, mentioned hating the cold. The steel muscles in his face softened and he pulled the cape from his shoulders. "Here", Alexis said, draping his scarlet cloth over her arms and shoulders like a guardian angel offering his wings. "You hate the cold, remember?", he smiled, small but genuine. But as Ellie retrieved her tablet and flicked through it's screen with swipes of the mind instead of fingers, Thee Champion's warmth turned to focus. "The mountainside one's perfect. Hard to find and difficult to access. It's secure and well hidden".
"Suits me fine".
Her eyes narrow as she tilted her face up to look at him, tilting her head to the side as she mulled his words. It made sense, of course it made sense. He was not of this earth, even though he was well and truly mired in it, adopted by its people as their favorite son. No, of course his mind wouldn't work like a human's. In this way they were similar. Her mind filtered and processed data in ways that could be more machine-like than human, and her inherent connection to technology only furthered that connection. Sometimes it was othering, and other times it was a reprieve.
They stood in silence as Ellie turned his words over in her head. Her experiences with death were different than Tassi's would ever be, but something made her want to weep for the little Liafador whose father loved her so very much, and weep for the little girl she had been, whose father had cared nothing for her, beyond what she could do for the family legacy and his own personal gain. Her mother had been no better.
The cold evening air whipped over the roof and goosebumps broke out on Ellie's flesh as Alexis pulled the iconic red cape from his shoulders and draped it over her, as if it were an impervious shield. She pulled it tight and jokingly pulled it up over her head, created a hooded cloak, making her seem like Little Red Riding Hood. "Come inside," she said, as she began walking past him and back into the manor.
Ellie pulled his cape from around her and draped it over the back of the expansive leather couch. She looked at it for a moment, the corner of her mouth turning up in a bemused grin at the juxtaposition of an iconic symbol of heroism against something as mundane as a couch, before slipping her shoes off and tucking her legs underneath her as she settled in the corner.
In the middle of the room, over the coffee table, rose a holographic projection, mirroring what she was doing on her tablet. "You're a good father, and you know that. Tassi will always mourn her mom in some way, Alexis. You can't agonize over it. You can only support her and clear any paths in her way."
She bit her lip as her focus narrowed on the tablet in front of her, design scheme after design scheme shooting through her not entirely human brain. "I've had some space in Colorado earmarked for something, secluded and up in the mountains. Isolated, and a little cold but not Arctic. Thoughts?" she asked, looking over at him briefly before turning her attention back to the tablet perennially attached to her grip.
Outside, the air whistled with a cool breeze. Inside? The air hung warm and perfumed. Scented candles, he imagined. And as his eyes swept through Ellie's living space, Thee Champion was reminded of the privilege the Knightfalls so enjoyed. Yet his mind passed no judgment on Ellie's taste for the finer things in life. After all, had he not married into Liafador money? And though Knightfall wealth sat just a step above in the social strata, he still had a privilege beyond their world; godhood. They thirsted and had need of air and food. He did not. They aged, and he would live forever. It was a privilege with which he stretched the rules of man's world and make it otherworldly.
Following her stride, Alexis looked her up and down from behind, glancing past flesh and bone and into molecule and cell. Could he ignore what he saw? "Strange as it may sound, it's good to see you walking again", he said, his eyes recalling the tale her cells had told him of her time in a wheelchair. "Though I expect nothing less than defying the odds from the Rebel Knightfall, so-called", he bantered. And though short, his smile - was true. Yet with the return to his daughter's mourning, it hardly lasted. "I shouldn't agonize over it, but I wouldn't be a good father if I didn't". His voice - those words - they hung in the air with a mountain's prominence. Thee Champion would never not agonize over his youngest daughter's pain. And for as much as detachment had taken him and how stoic he'd become, there remained a simple truth.
"As a parent, my life, my thoughts and my actions are for my kids as much as myself". He paid little mind to social relationships beyond the borders of his own family, but inside them - Alexis surrendered his heart. When he spoke of his children, the steel in his face gave way to something soft. A distant god became a loving father, an impassioned soldier come to lay his life for theirs. They were his everything. And for them, he would do anything. Catching the subtle glow from Ellie's tablet, the Miracle Man nodded at her words, "Good location and with a little redesigning, it'll be a proper base. But, bases aside, I already have something that concerns our newborn partnership", he paused, the gravity of his coming words written over his face.
"You're a highly intelligent and well-traveled woman of the cosmos, Ellie. So I know you know about the Universal Lavalieres. And I've come into possession of two. The Mind and Reality Lavalieres. And in doing so, I've learned just how desperate people are to have them, and how dangerous those people are". For a fleeting moment, his mind pulled back to memories of a recent battle for the fate of the two gems of power he now owned. "If there's a cosmic arms race for the Lavalieres, we need to know. Because if something like the Abyssal Imperium or Y-Intercept acquires just one Lavaliere, we'll be in complete shit".
Ellie absentmindedly ran her fingers over the tablet, flowing through and past information before flicking her gaze up to Alexis for just a moment, his words about her walking sinking in. A bitter smile curved her lips, a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes. She'd spent the better part of a year in a wheelchair and the cold wreaked havoc on the joints in her knees. There were nanobots of her own design running through her blood, and a clump of technology at the base of her spine that helped hold everything together. "It took a while to get there, and now I unfortunately have no excuse not to jog," she said, nodding before going back to the Colorado design.
"You are a good father," she said quietly, tilting her head back against the couch and closing her eyes for a moment. She was a grown woman, in her thirties, with more than a little lived experience under her belt. She ran what could loosely be termed a group of vigilantes. And every now and then, the lack of having her father as a figure in her life was a pang in her gut. She instead had settled for Ian as a father-figure, but nothing was quite the same.
She stopped for a moment, both in action and in thought, as the screen of the tablet froze. "I have an agent in space right now, but her focus is the Imperium, not Lavalieres. None of my intelligence indicated they were such a present threat." She laid the tablet down on the couch next to her and rested her elbows atop her knees, cupping her forehead in the palms of her hands and tugging at her hair for a moment as she thought, puzzled, her brain going a million miles a minute. How did she miss this?
Her head snapped up as what he said hit her like a freight truck and she sprung from the couch to her feet, pacing back and forth. "You have two of the Lavalieres?" she whispered, as if somebody could overhear her. "You have the Reality Lavaliere?" Her heart thumped against her chest several times before she willed it back to a natural beat. "What needs to be done in order to protect them, and what needs to be done in order to prevent the Imperium or Y-Intercept from obtaining yours, or any others"
Concern was written all over her face, her freckles standing in somewhat stark relief against her pale skin. The corrupting powers of a single Lavaliere was the thing of nightmares. Two held by one person provided an almost unprecedented level of power on a universal scale. There was perhaps nobody she would trust to withstand the potential corrupting influence of Lavaliere contact than Alexis, but even then, the concern was there.
It was, quite literally, impossible for Thee Champion's mind to ignore what his eyes'd noticed. For when he passed his gaze over Ellie, he glanced past the red hair and fair skin to glimpse at the cells working to keep her breathing - and the nanites clinging to her spine. By decree of science and nurture, Ellie could walk again. To that, the Miracle Man smiled, and to her joke about jogging, he countered with his own. "Jogging? I thought Knightfalls had people to do that for them". Yet as his voice echoed, his hearing caught the subtle cry of pain from Ellie's knees. Ellie, a diamond among geniuses, had not cared well for herself, had devoted more time to stopping threats cosmic and grand than to see out the brittleness of her joints.
It concerned him.
And with an emotional sincerity that was now often dwarfed by a general's steely resolve to serve his people and protect his realm. He'd become more soldier than caretaker, more sword than shield. Ellie, in her mortality, yanked him back, even if fleetingly, to a time when he was warmer and less stoic. "You're in pain", his gaze focused, sweeping the interior of her bones every ticking nanosecond. She was not a god as he was, and thus - her body bent to the forces his did not. When time passed, she aged. And when injured, her body kept relics. "You need nanite-surgery on your joints. If not to take care of yourself, then to prevent the damage a madman with a freeze-ray would cause. Your knees are vulnerable to the cold". With a commanding stride, he moved to her side and summoned a gift that was as much as it was anyone's in need.
A hand that tossed mountains and shattered worlds came to rest on her shoulder with the gift he'd summoned; his power. A field of energy, invisible to the naked eye and silent to the ear, radiated out his cells to drape Ellie like a warm blanket. Withdrawing his hand, the night's cold would sting her joints no more so long as he stood near. It was all the reprieve he could offer. "I have two, yes", Alexis answered, "Rather, I keep two, I don't use them. I just make sure no one else does. The Mind Lavaliere was entrusted to me by my eldest daughter. And the Reality Lavaliere I confiscated from a cosmic tyrant. He tried to take the Mind Lavaliere, so I took his Lavaliere instead. As far as what needs to be done to keep them from the Imperium, Y, or anyone else... you and I'll need to find a prison".
"A prison even they can't break into. Maybe a black hole. Or maybe we destroy them, throw them into a universe where the physical constants and physical laws are so fundamentally different from ours that information processing as we know it, like life, cannot exist there. Anyone and anything from this universe entering such a universe would just stop existing if it were transported there. And the threat of the Imperium is as close as it's ever been according to my son".
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