@shanana: A Queen never reveals her secrets!
It was strange being back here, without the superior commands of Ziccarra Liafador guiding her actions. It was here the two of them plunge the country of Spain into a civil war; and what followed shortly afterwards was a long road to reconstruction.
For Shira not only was it the beginning of the end for a brief time of peace it was the beginning of the end of her time with Ziccarra.
In probably the most selfless sacrifice she could make Ziccarra sacrificed her life to rid the world of the Harbinger of Rage Zeon Liafador--but it was in vain. Zeon's rage was so strong it followed her even in death she eventually got the better of Z and offered her soul as tribute to the King of Cardinal Hell--Ramon Liafador himself.
Her time on Earth was far from over, pretty soon she'd find another host to anoint with the power of the War Goddess, she had a few choices--namely someone in the family so she could keep watch over those that she'd come to lay claim to.
Her children, her husband, her presence in Z so strong that she essentially took the form of Ziccarra too.
Her eyes surveyed the destroyed palace walls these walls once house the prolific Liafador family, but these walls were a boundary on the potential of her children. Cat became a mother and had seemingly fought off all her former urges to be the protector of the family. Leonel grew stubborn in his pursuit of absolute justice, "by any means necessary" in his efforts to prevent another "M". Tassi was just as free as ever, getting bigger and smarter with each passing day. Maya was approaching power on a level that transcend the universe--they'd all grown.
Her eyes dart toward the sky, she could feel him moving at speeds the naked eye couldn't process. "What brings you here..." She questioned with her hands folded. She was unsure if he'd actually be able to see her, but perhaps with all Alexis's power--perhaps he could feel her standing in the midst of the Broken Kingdom.
For years come and gone, Thee Champion had carried the weight of duty on his shoulders. A weight that now sat heavier. For where once his duty was of a hero to the world, now his duty was of a father to his youngest daughter. A daughter he had to instill the values of common goodness in, but a daughter who had to embody the warrior the world will need as much as the hero it wants to believe in. And so, thunder cracked overhead as he came down from the heavens - to the ruins of man. The Liafador Palace had been his home once, and as his cape spread wide like the scarlet wings of an eagle steadying it's descent, the Miracle Man felt something pull at his heart. For a precious tick or two between nanoseconds, he remembered the life he once had.
Yet as he landed, the warmth in his eyes was tempered like a steel blade. Where man would walk, he hovered, a foot above the ground as he met eyes with the woman - the goddess - that'd drawn him here; Shira. It would have been easy for fondness to take him hostage. But his time perception - an otherworldly clock ticking in the mind of a god - made those memories feel an eternity ago. The eternity he had needed to let go of a life long dead. So as he locked gazes with a goddess that looked every bit the Ziccarra he was once married too, the Miracle Man had the calmness of a veteran general. How he could see her, be it the simple power of his sight or a relic from the psychic link he once shared with Ziccarra, he didn't know, nor did he need to. But he could see her, and he could hear her.
"What brings you here..."
"You did", Alexis answered, strong arms crossing over his chest as his feet finally touched the ground of this ruined kingdom. "And there's something I need your help with. Something I hope you'll consider", he paused, facial muscles softening at the thought of Tassiana, a child he knew Shira to feel was her daughter as much as his. "Tassi has grown. She's five now, and curious. There's a lot I intend to teach her, about life, about being a hero, a goddess. But there's one thing I can't teach her that you've always had. After all, you're a war goddess", he smiled, short but genuine for how little it lasted. "And only you can teach Tassi the ruthlessness a warrior needs. Because in a world as brutal as ours, she'll need a warrior's edge".
"I imagined Leo and Cat could do it but Leo has other priorities", the Imperium being one, "And Cat has a daughter of her own to raise. And you were a mother to Tassi as much as Ziccarra was. So to learn this from you, will be good for her".
"Hmm.." She groaned firing a curious eyebrow skyward at his unusual request. "Well, I am doing fine by the way" She said sardonically whilst turning her head away from him as she continued surveying the damage to the former Liafador Palace. She came here because it was only now that she could see her handy work and not become overran by emotions. Shira and Ziccarra were linked by emotions, it was the only way Ziccarra could control the naturally destructive nature of Shira, it was the reason Shira was able to fall in line with Z's family. It was a weird trade-off, the host was turned into a Goddess while the Goddess was turned human--able to feel. Something she couldn't do at the present moment.
"I honestly would expect this request to come from those two, Leonel and Cat. But certainly not you." Shira's eyes slowly trace Alexis's demeanor to verify that she was indeed talking to Ziccarra's former husband.
Shira was a War Goddess, at the base of her abilities; she was able to bestow her physical attributes to her host, enhancing their combat ability exponentially. At her height, she was able to release "War Energy" that would infect the minds of those caught in the middle and cause them to lash out.
He knew and understood what she was, which was why his request was a bit troubling. "Sure" she obliged shrugging her shoulders indifferently. It'd give her a chance to spend more time with Tassi, watch her growth she knew that Ziccarra would've wanted her too.
"But It won't be the same" She warned crossing her hands in front of her breast. "I look like her mother, and sound like her mother; but I won't be able to teach and care for like her mother. In service to Ziccarra I was given access to her emotions. I was able to feel and experience for myself. I can't do that in the present state. I will train Tassi just as I taught Nayru. It will not be pleasant."
The irony that he - a hero who once championed forgiveness and second chances - now sought to instill in his daughter a warrior's decisiveness, was not lost on him. But as he stood surrounded by the ruins of the Liafador Palace with his arms crossed over his chest and his eyes stoic like a war general, one thing stood clear - Thee Champion had changed. He'd given into his godhood, and unlearned his humanity. So to Shira's word, that she was doing fine, Alexis simply nodded, speaking only when his two eldest children were mentioned. "Things change", he countered, "I'm not going to be around forever. And many of my past failures were because I gave second chances instead of ending threats then and there. I wasn't decisive enough".
"If Tassi and the others're to survive, they can't afford to repeat the past". Tassiana could not grow into what he once was; a good god who did nothing. Catalina was too unstable - good today, evil the next. And Leonel was too detached from his earthly ties. For Tassiana to survive, the pressure'd mount on her. It was the burden of living in a world so otherworldly. Allowing his words a moment to sink in Shira's mind, Thee Champion held her gaze. She was a war goddess, and a victim of her own impulse for war, be it mindless or necessary - it rarely mattered to her. She was a risk, but the only one with the power to bestow his youngest daughter with lessons she'd one day come to need. For Tassiana, it was a risk he was willing to take - and manage. "Training of any worth is rarely pleasant", for it was not only decisiveness he wanted for his daughter, but a strength of character one built only by meeting and overcoming that which most challenges us.
"So I understand that it won't be pleasant. But it'll do her well to learn this from you, someone with whom she's familiar, mother or not. You were as much Ziccarra as you are Shira. You're not Tassi's mother, and I'm not asking you to be, but you know her like her mother did. You know how to reach her, what'll work and what won't". Then, as his words rolled out like the calm before thunder, the glint of a safeguarding father was in his eye, "But I will oversee the training with you". Because as much as Tassiana'll need a tough hand, so too will she an encouraging voice; her father's.
To no offense to Alexis, Shira couldn't help but chuckle. Not out of some misplaced sense of amusement, but because one of the last things she was able to feel before her connection to Ziccarra was lost; was failure.
Standing here now, in the moment with Alexis she understood why Ziccarra felt that way with her last breaths. Z believed that in her death it'd be Catalina's newfound perspective on life that'd change the landscape of the "Liafador Family Curse"; Or Leonel's ironclad resolve that'd usher in a more stable environment for his sisters. Shira didn't agree, she foolishly believed their sacrifice against Zeon would solidify a better future for the children.
But now? She was conversing with Alexis about Tassi's future as a warrior. One with the ability to kill for the greater good something he lacked previously. They all failed.
"I will train Tassi, I will be harsh but Just" Shira finally replied her head tilting toward the shattered marbled floors underneath her feet. It was in this very spot that the deranged Outlaw Queen sought to end the life of her youngest daughter.
"I can only hope that at the finale of all this, she doesn't lose her view on life. She brings a certain joy to the miserable, At one time I could attest to that. You tell me where you need me, and I'll make it happen"
For the fleeting moment he'd allowed himself, Thee Champion's gaze swept through the palace ruins and recalled - in feeling, instead of memory - how the Liafador Palace had both been his brightest day, and his blackest night. He had survived it, and so had his children. He would allow no repeat of the tyranny that had taken this place. Brushing aside a memory that now felt thin and far away, Thee Champion returned his attention to Shira and watched her glance at the spot where Tassiana first saw the threatening gleam of her mother's sword. "Good", he approved, "And I'll be there to oversee it. She'll need my encouragement as much as she'll need your harshness". A balance. Tassiana would learn to wield a warrior's decisiveness - but cling to the nobility of heroes.
She would be no Ares, but an Achilles. "She won't. She'll simply learn that to protect the lives of others, we must sometimes take the life of the enemy". It's why nations had soldiers, cities law enforcement, and man the will to kill a home intruder so that his family may live. "Come meet me in Jacksonville, Wyoming. In three weeks. We'll speak then". The Miracle Man said little else but, "Take care", before the ground lumbered in anticipation, and he lanced heavenward, leaving behind the print of a god's boot, and a glowing streak of red and blue across the sky.
Zeon had appeared in the ruins that were left of the Liafador Palace. It still not rebuilt even after it’s catastrophic destruction. Some of it had been cleaned up, but there were still piles of debris everywhere. She had just captured Catalina’s love interest. As to what she saw in her, Zeon couldn’t understand, but either way, it was a perfect way to lure Catalina out. To make a mistake by following her emotions. She was counting on it. Any law enforcement who were guarding it at this time to make sure no one would attempt to try and dig up anything dangerous that would linger inside what was left of the structure were now laying on the ground, bleeding out or already dead by the Demoness herself, stepping over their bodies as she made her way deeper.
She found herself back at the place she once lived. The place where she was once Matriarch of the family. The place where she first met her sister, Chance. Her mind thinking about how the two met. How she came to her after the battle with their other sister, Jessica. It made Zeon’s stomach turn in disgust how she allowed herself to become so weak. She wasn’t here to walk down memory lane. Oh no, she walked with a purpose to an area of the palace that was familiar to her even though the area was mostly destroyed… her office.
There was a time where a young Liafador/Knightfall by the name of Marcus Knightfall terrorized both families. He tried to manipulate both parties and deceive them to do his will. Even Zeon fell for it at one point, when he put Tassianna in immediate danger, causing the young demi-goddess to be attacked in broad daylight. If it wouldn’t have been for Alexis nearby, Tassiana would have been hurt. Or even worse. But that was beside the point. After all was said and done, the young Liafador/Knightfall killed Qintus Knightfall and said to have captured his soul inside a pandora's box type cube. He presented it to the family as a way (in Zeon’s eyes) to boast his status in the Liafador family and to further manipulate them. Zeon took the cube and hid it away from the rest of the family. No one ever questioned it or even spoke of it again. Macrus was banned from the family and the memory of the cube was gone forever.
Or at least it was to the rest of the family.
Walking to where her book case once was, she knelt down feeling the fractured cemented ground. Giving it occasional knocks on it until a block of the cement shift downward, revealing a staircase. Walking down she opened her hand as hellfire swirled around the palm of her hand. This was created to hold items that Zeon felt were personally valuable to her. The decree of when she became Matriarch signed by Ziccarra. The bow of her Bell’uomo, her first and only true love. Her decree for the banishment of Marcus Knightfall. Her first uniform as a White Cardinal. Many trophy items from various missions she went on while working under Ziccarra. But her eyes stopped at the Pandora’s Box. Her hands grasped the box, untouched from all those years ago.
A grin stretched across her face. Her plan was slowly flourishing.. Soon… soon she will have what she wanted.
The ruined palace of House Liafador was a dismal sight. Bands of pale moonlight slipped through the cracks, silvering an abode that smelled of dust and dried blood. Navigating its halls, Achilles swept the palace with his eyes, studying the crumbling walls and torn portraits of Liafadors past and present. Years ago, his father walked these halls as the husband of a Liafador temptress by the name of Ziccarra. Were the tales of his father's past to be believed, they were deeply in love. But as the American God had come to learn from his exposure to Zeon's descent into madness, love could be cruel.
Love is a two-faced mistress. With desire came jealousy, and with devotion came betrayal. It can both inspire and destroy. And in Zeon, it inspired a desire to destroy her own family. Such a waste.
Waiting for Samuel's inevitable arrival, Achilles strode to the courtyard. Eyeing its forsaken remains, the American God sighed. Summoning the goddess who had once shared Ziccarra's mind and soul ran the risk of an awkward encounter. Achilles was a golden-haired mirror of his father, looking every inch the son of the god Ziccarra had twice married. So as he waited for Samuel, he allowed his thoughts the freedom to wander to how the summoning ritual will transpire.
At the command of the Prized Fighter, Samuel went to meet with Achilles at the Liafador Palace. But he had to be careful crossing into the country, for Liafadors were no longer welcomed due to his families history. Traveling in the silence of night he made his way through the cursed city as he approached the Liafador Palace he never resided in. He had only read about it through the journals of his sister. From her explanation it was a beautiful building with history of the family within every marble that made it up. But now? It was nothing but ill-fated tales of the rise and fall of the Liafadors stained the grounds.
He was careful not to disturb what was left. Not wanting to draw any further ill will towards the family from any negative spirits that were doomed to roam the land. They had enough curses attached to them to last for several generations. Instead he bowed his head in respects for those whose lives were cut short due to his bloodline. Carefully walking his brown eyes spotted the Eternal God who appeared to be in deep thoughts of his own.
The White Cardinal didn’t say anything upon reaching him, instead stood silent for a moment before he pulled a blade out from behind him. “Well… shall we?” He brought the blade to the palm of his hand as he pressed firmly against his skin before slowly running it across. His crimson blood quickly surfaced as he pulled his blade away and tucked it back. Stretching out his arm he turned his wounded hand over and squeezed it tightly, forcing blood to stain upon the unholy ground before them. "Ziccarrra Liafador"
In a flash of brilliance, the War goddess sister to Prize Fighter emerged in all her glory. As the Spirit of Ziccarra slowly purges from her divine system she regained some of her former traits; even her bronze skin.
Her divine eyes cast out over the two who summoned her, one obviously shared features of Ziccarra, while the other was like her former husband Alexis Pettis.
Before addressing the two that brought her here, her eyes surveyed the Liafador Palace, a place she used to call home.
With people she truly considered family. Now in ruins, a family at turmoil still for the sins she helped cause; And what of her host? dead and gone.
"It feels like the end is coming. Your father truly deserves to rest." She said speaking directly at Achillies. Shira was a roaming Goddess, she'd scour the Earth and Heavens to find someone that might need her abilities, but she found no one.
She was content now with watching over Ziccarra's children, and over the likes of Alexis' whenever he dared to traverse outside wherever he'd held himself up.
"What have you summoned me for? There's not much I can help you with in my current state"
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