@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.
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