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Hidden Shadows

Author: Birdpaw
Rating: Explicit
Status: In Progress
Series: Wolf Heart
Succeeding: Unknown

 

Wolf Heart
Preceded by:
The Price for Freedom
Hidden Shadows Succeeded by:
Unknown
  

Hidden in the shadows

Are our worst fears

And the things we dream

You can't always see through the darkness

Or even the light

You're scared of what might be in there

Waiting.

You just know that there's something dark

And dangerous

Prologue

You can't hide the truth

Forever

The cave was pitch black, and was only lit by a single presence. The black cloaked female presence slightly materilised into a vision, and she asked curiously, "Are you two not here yet?"

"I've been here waiting for a while now," another cloaked presence muttered, they also looked like a vision, they looked around, and asked, "Where is he, not like him to be late?"

"Solaris is getting antsy," The female growled, "He feels like he's being watched."

Another voice made the two jump, "Which means it's not that easy to sneak away anymore," the new voice came out, fully cloaked, it's face hidden in the shadows, but was not a vision, "Is there a reason you called this little meeting?"

The female seemed to stare at him, then muttered, "How much time do we have left?"

They all looked at each-other, the younger one asked sarcastically, "Well? Cat got your tongue or something?"

"I'm glad you're feeling better," the voice growled, "We have very little time, I can give us some more, but that's going to be tricky, as Solaris is jumpy."

"How did you get away anyways?" The younger vision asked.

The voice muttered, "Garaos, an accidental distraction to Solaris."

"Ouch." The female muttered.

"Speaking of feeling better... How is he doing?" The younger one asked without any hint of sympathy.

The voice shrugged, "Could be better, could be worse, but I'm getting a bad feeling, Solaris is planning something, Garaos seems to be... Getting different."

"How much different could he get?" The younger one laughed.

The older two looked at each-other, not making a sound. The younger one stopped, and asked quietly, "What is it?"

"It's probably nothing." The voice growled.

"Tharas, you know Garaos better than any of us, if you're getting a bad feeling from him, then there's something wrong." The female exclaimed.

Tharas stared at her, and said cooly, "I never said it was a bad feeling coming from him."

"It certainly sounded like it." The younger one replied cooly.

"I trust Garaos, I'm not getting a bad feeling from him," Tharas growled to the younger one, who stood his ground. The female however, seemed to shuffle nervously on her spot. "I've got to go." Tharas muttered, and disappeared.

The two visions looked at each-other, the female asked, 'What are you going to do? Do you trust Garaos?"

"Not anymore, but I do trust Tharas, if he says there's nothing odd about Garaos yet, I believe him." The younger one growled also.

The female murmured pleadingly, "But he's been wrong before! What if trusting Garaos-" but the younger one interrupted her.

"Do you trust Tharas or not?!" He snapped.

She faltered, and looked down at the ground, she murmured, "Of course I trust Tharas... It's just, Solaris is dangerous, who knows what he's done to Garaos..."

The younger one already started to fade, as if he didn't want to talk about it anymore, the female was all alone, and she whispered, "You do trust Tharas, but you know he's been wrong before, what if he's wrong again? How many lives will be lost?"

She disappeared too, leaving the shadows to quiver nervously.

Chapter 1

Your best friend

Sometimes knows you

Better than you do.

Orias was walking around Hamark, his arms folded. Winter had come on fast, the north winds were quick and surprising. It was one of the worst winters Hamark has ever seen. Orias jumped when he heard distinct shuffling in the snow behind him, he whipped around.

"Jumpy, aren't you?" Leilas asked, then smirked.

"What is it now, Leilas?" Orias growled, and turned away from her.

Leilas frowned, "How are things? Solaris cause any trouble here?"

"No, the fact that he's not doing anything is making me nervous." Orias grunted, he looked around at the sky, the grey clouds were blocking out the winter sun.

"You look terrible by the way, like you haven't been getting any sleep or anything." Leilas laughed.

Orias huffed, "That's probably because I haven't been getting any sleep, it's weird. I actually need to sleep now," He sighed, brushing his hand through his hair. He looked back at Leilas, who was now frowning, he added, "I see you don't need sleep."

"Nah." Leilas waved her hand dismissivly.

Orias sighed, and asked cautiously, "Well, why did you come here?"

"It's about Tharas." Leilas murmured.

"What about him?" Orias asked carefully.

Leilas looked around nervously, as if she was worried someone was listening in, and she murmured, "He's getting jumpy too."

"I don't blame him, Solaris would make anyone jumpy." Orias laughed.

"He's not jumpy of Solaris," Leilas growled. Orias stared at her as she continued, "It's Garaos that's making him nervous."

Orias raised an eye-brow, "Garaos? I thought we talked about this, if he trusts Garaos, then I believe him, and you should too." He pointed out.

"He does, but last time I was talking to Tharas, Garaos just walked up to us, normal as can be. You should have seen the look on Tharas's face when he noticed him." Leilas whispered quietly.

Orias asked curiously, "Is the energy around Garaos changing or something? Because sometimes that happens with mortals here."

"Maybe, but speaking of mortals, how's Theria?" Leilas asked in a funny voice.

Orias eyed her, and asked, "Why would I know?" Leilas just rolled her eyes, and Orias sighed, "She's anticipating for an attack on Guagamela."

"Are you worried the barrier won't hold?" Leilas asked softly.

"Oh, it'll hold, but anyways, getting back to the reason you came here. Why are you coming to me about this?" Orias asked curiously.

Leilas whispered, "Because I need your help. I know you don't like leaving Hamark after what happened, but something is really wrong with Garaos, and you know it." She hissed in frustration.

"What would you have me do?" Orias asked tiredly.

"Talk to the two of them, I don't know, see what's up." Leilas shrugged.

Orias rolled his eyes, and he asked carefully, "How would that help anything? Are you sure Tharas wasn't just surprised by his sudden appearance?"

Leilas glowered at him, but Orias kept her gaze. She growled, "I'm sure, but I can't do anything. Only you can."

Orias sighed, then closed his eyes, picturing Tharas's and Garaos's mountain. He heard lightning blast in the distance. He opened his eyes to find himself standing in front of the door. Leilas did not follow.

Orias sighed, knocking on the door. There was a hasty, "Hold on!" Orias raised an eye-brow as there were scuffles and bumping into objects, and Garaos peeked out the door curiously. "Oh! Hi, Orias? Wow, you look different from when I last saw you, how you've been?" He asked quickly 

"Thanks, I've been fine, Garaos, is Tharas here?" Orias asked curiously.

Garaos shook his head, and said calmly, "No, I haven't seen him for a while actually."

"Oh, okay." Orias frowned, then turned away from Garaos, but Garaos called him back. Orias looked back, confused.

"I guess you could check at the top of the mountain, Orias, I can't say he's there though, because I honestly don't know if he is." Garaos shrugged, closing the door. Orias shrugged also, and started walking up the steppes to the cave.

Orias finally reached the summit, but stopped when he started hearing a light buzzing sound, he froze near the cave. He narrowed his eyes, and thought quickly, Oh no, not now! Why now of all times?

His gaze blurred a little bit, and soon he was standing once again, in the last place he wanted to be. The Farlands. The monster was also there, staring down at him confused. Orias hissed, "What is it this time? What do you want?"

The monster narrowed it's eyes, it flicked it's spiked tail, and the environment changed. Orias rolled his eyes, and turned to the dragon, but realised it was no longer there. You showed me this already, do I need to see it again?

Orias realised instead of Guagamela, he was on Tharas's mountain. But something about the air gave him a sinking feeling in his stomach. He frowned, and murmured, "What?" He looked around, and shivered, the air held a deep evil, something that he hadn't felt or seen for a long time, and he had hoped never to see.

"Don't let this be actually happening." Orias whispered, as he tried to find his way through the darkness.

He noticed a dark shape, Orias narrowed his eyes when it was Garaos, who seemed calm as can be in this darkness. Orias jumped when Garaos turned to him, eyes flat, and he smiled, Orias shivered, Garaos?

Garaos fully turned to him, or the space, and he snarled to the shadows, his now deep green eyes flashing in triumph, "It is done, Solaris."

Orias looked on confused, and froze completely when Garaos hissed once again, and looked straight at him, "Tharas is dead."

~*~*~*~

Orias opened his eyes in shock, and sat up, nearly bonking his head on someone else's. "Ow!" The person above him exclaimed.

Leilas was rubbing her head, he realised he was in the house on the mountain. He asked quicky, "Where's Tharas?!"

"No need to yell, I'm right here," Tharas was brushing his hand through his hair, and he eyed Orias, "Is something the matter?" He asked curiously.

"What did you see, Orias?" Leilas asked curiousy.

He stared at the two of them, he opened his mouth to say something, but stopped himself. I can't... Something tells me that this can be easily prevented... Tharas trusts Garaos, and Garaos couldn't hurt a fly... Could he? Could Garoas even bring himself to hurt Tharas? He thought quickly, while Tharas and Leilas stared at him. Tharas's eyes were narrowed though.

"Well?" Tharas asked darkly.

Orias sighed, "Just the same mountain dream, no big deal." He shrugged.

Tharas raised an eyebrow, and he asked quietly, "Are you sure about that?"

Orias nodded, standing up quickly. Leilas jumped and snapped, "Don't rush yourself, Orias!"

Orias waved his hand at her dismissivly, not looking at her, "I just need to be alone, that's all." He whispered, and he left the house quickly.

He closed his eyes, trying to envision an area, but his mind was all jumbled up, and it was hard to think. He finally saw the dark forest. He found himself in the lower spirit world, he narrowed his eyes, the spirits stared at him, and quickly disappeared.

Orias took out his sword, and narrowed his eyes. He walked deeper into the spirit world, ignoring the feeling of dread growing inside him.

"Take a wrong turn or something?" A familiar voice asked calmly.

Orias jumped, whipping his sword at the person, but the person dodged easily, and he narrowed his eyes when it was Tharas. Orias snarled, "I thought I said I wanted to be alone, Tharas."

"You did say that." Tharas said calmly, and nodded.

"Well? What do you want?" Orias asked coldly, turning away from him.

"Well, what did you see?" Tharas asked flatly.

Orias stared at him, and thought quickly, That had to be a dream, but I know it wasn't, I can prevent this, I just can't tell him. He sighed, and pointed out, "As I said, same mountain dream, nothing special."

"And as I said, it seemed a lot more than a simple repeat of the same vision." Tharas crossed his arms, he stared down at Orias critically.

Orias narrowed his eyes when there was this growing, unnatural anger inside him. He shook his head, and said through clenched teeth, "All I can say is, be careful around Garaos and Solaris both."

Tharas raised an eye-brow, "That's it?" He asked quietly.

Orias nodded slowly. Tharas hesitated, then asked curiously, "Are you feeling all right?"

Orias grimaced, "Yeah, just perfect, I just need to think, that's all." He muttered, and shrugged. Tharas stared at him for a bit, then sighed.

"Whatever you say, Orias." Tharas muttered, and disappeared.

Orias sat down, brushing his hands through his hair, What was that?! What's happening to me? Why did I feel so... So weird... He thought grimly.

He stood up, I need to talk to Theria, the more I talk with the other old gods, the more I feel like I'm also not in my right mind. He closed his eyes, envisioning Hamark's pine forests.

Orias opened them to a storm. He narrowed his eyes, trying to look for the mountain. He looked up, still getting a nervous feeling from the moutain, but he started walking up. Theria had managed to convince the other villagers that they weren't safe.

He reached the white gate, and he reached his hand out to it. It immediately reacted, and allowed him through. Theria was in her usual spot, but she was carving a wooden boat with a concentrated look on her face.

"What's that for?" Orias asked curiously. Theria looked up, and shrugged.

"I don't know, something to do while I wait," Theria stretched, pointing at the distant castle. Orias followed her pointing. But there was nothing different, but she whispered dangerously, "They're coming," Orias stared at her, and sighed, she raised an eye-brow, and laughed, "No offense, but you look horrible, in human terms."

"Forget horrible in human terms, Leilas just said the same thing." Orias joked, and sat beside her, he watched her carve into the boat curiously.

Theria replied as she continued forming the wood, "You look like you haven't slept in weeks."

Orias nodded, and he murmured, "Yeah, I feel like it too."

"You're actually tired?" Theria asked curiously. Orias nodded. Theria frowned, but said nothing. She continued to stare at the boat. Theria shrugged, and murmured, "I don't blame you, everyone is tired these days."

"Hey, Theria, can I tell you something?" Orias asked curiously.

"Sure, yeah, tell away." Theria looked away from the boat, and stared at Orias.

Orias frowned, and asked, "What... Would you do if you thought you saw the death of someone you trusted a lot?"

"As in... A friend?" Theria asked curiously.

Orias stared at her, and Theria sighed, "I'm going to take that as a yes," she looked away from Orias and shrugged, "I mean, I don't know, I have very little people I can trust. I found out everyone survived the fire... But, I guess, if I think about it, I'd be horrorfied and angry, but you only thought you did, then you can't really say for sure."

Orias looked away from her, and she asked curiously, "Is there something bothering you, are you worried about someone?"

He stared at Theria for a long time, and sighed, "It's nothing."

Theria smiled, "Mmm, whatever you say Orias, you old gods sure are weird." She leaned back against the pillar, and continued with her boat.

Orias stared down at the ground nervously, then he sighed, "Do you know what a seer is, Theria?" Orias looked back at her, but she didn't look up.

"Yeah, they're the ones with that weird power to see the future right?" Theria asked.

"Yeah, I'm one of them." He frowned, returning his gaze to the ground. 

Theria finally looked up at him, and asked quietly, "If you don't mind me asking, is this about mountains, specifically this mountain?"

Orias looked back at her in disbelief, and she had a serious gaze. He sighed, and murmured, "Kind of, but the mountain was different this time, and so was the air."

"Back up, this time?" Theria asked, and raised an eye-brow.

Orias looked up at the mountain, "Remember when you thought I was intimidated by this mountain," He pointed down at the ground, and Theria nodded, concern slowly filling her gaze, "I had a vision that this great big monster destroyed it, I thought that I could prevent it when the time came, destroy the thing right? When it came."

"Noble enough." Theria joked.

Orias tried to smile, but instead grimaced and Theria continued frowning, and he murmured, "Theria, that monster was me. I destroyed Guagamela. I was the monster." He shivered.

"And what made you think that you were this thing? You're far from a monster, Orias." Theria was now sitting beside him, the boat no longer in her hands.

Orias looked at her, and sighed, "Leilas and me were curious as to what you were hiding from the people, which turned out to be the book right? But... I couldn't do it, I started feeling weird, guilty almost..."

"Those are perfectly normal feelings, would it make you feel better that I'd be curious too?" She asked curiously.

"Not really, but that's not the point, the point is, visions, sure they're preventable, but these ones, I don't know how to prevent them." Orias said quietly, and rubbed his hand through his hair.

"Have you been feeling weird lately?" Theria asked curiously.

Orias looked on thoughtfully, then muttered, "Actually, yeah, for the first time, I started feeling angry, and I mean not just anger, hatred. I felt like..." He couldn't finish, Is Solaris doing the same thing to Garaos? Is he blinding his soul? Or controlling him...?

"Like..." Theria drawed out.

Orias frowned, then muttered, "Theria, you can't let me destroy Guagamela, I can try to resist, but I think whatever I'm feeling it has something to do with the thing I saw destroy Guagamela."

"What would you have me do?" Theria asked.

Orias stared at her for a long time, and her gaze darkened, "No way, Orias, I promised myself after reading that book I would never do that, especially to you." She hissed.

He frowned, and Theria continued quickly, "Maybe there's some other way to prevent this, there's no way I'm killing you for Guagamela."

"But Guagamela is your home." Orias stared at her as she stood up, she glared up at the white city.

"I'd rather watch my home burn into rubble then kill my friends with my own hands." Theria growled, and turned to look down at him. Orias raised an eye-brow.

"I'm going to be honest, I have never heard a mortal say that." Orias finally smiled.

Theria sighed, and sat back down, "I know it sounds weird but as I said, there are very few people I can trust, and you're one of them." She muttered.

"You trust me even though there's a small chance I cannot prevent what might happen?" Orias asked curiously.

Theria looked on thoughtfully. She smiled and said jokingly, "Let's put it this way. I'd follow you into the lowest of the spirit worlds and back, even though it'd probably be a stupid idea to go there, and of course I'd tell you that straight to your face."

Orias smiled, "All right." He said calmly.

Theria smiled, and reached over to get her boat, but she froze. Orias looked in the distance, columns of smoke were starting to rise out of the pine forests. Theria jumped away, and growled, "They're coming!"

Orias jumped up also, but Theria hissed, "No, no! You have to get out of here, he's probably figured out how to put you guys out of commision already, and technically, you already are, so you've got to leave!"

Orias growled, "If that barrier doesn't hold, it'll be my fault."

"It'll stop holding if you're put out of commision for a long time," Theria growled, and she headed up the mountain. Orias followed her, and she shrugged, "Man whatever, stop panicking. The barrier is going to hold, you aren't that powerless."

"Yeah, but I was not in the right state to using that much power so soon." Orias growled as they both entered the town.

Everyone was staring at the column of smoke, paying Orias no mind, while Theria led him to her house. She pushed open the door, searching for something, "Where is it?" She muttered quietly.

Orias asked, "What are you looking for-" He gasped and nearly jumped out of the house when a small sword came flying towards him, lodging itself in the door frame. Theria went up to it, and grabbed it.

"Good thing my aim is still good." Theria laughed.

"You almost gave me a heart attack!" Orias exclaimed, and stared after her.

Theria joked, "I think I've done that a couple times already." She patted him on the shoulder, and ran out of the house.

Orias rolled his eyes, and followed her out. He started hearing the buzzing sound again, and he called, "Theria, hold on."

"Yeah?" Theria looked back, and walked up to him.

"I'm about to have a vision." Orias hissed, and noticed his eye sight was already blurring.

"What do I do?" Theria asked quickly, shocked.

Orias hesitated, then said quickly, "I need a place to lie down, that's it."

Theria looked back at the other villagers, who were watching the smoke. She sighed, then led Orias back to her house, and she murmured, "You can lie down on the spare bed, do you think you'll have a repeat?"

"I don't know half the time..." Orias admitted, heading towards the spare bed with Theria watching with a look of concern. She finally left, leaving Orias to a darkened vision. 

He narrowed his eyes when the whole house seemed to shift. He was once again on Guagamela, but the city was still standing. He walked around, but something seemed different. He saw Theria's house, and walked in, as the door was open a bit.

First thing he noticed was the boat, but it was completed. Orias smiled, "Wow, she did a really good job on it." He commented, and turned away from it, the house was starting to give him a feeling of sadness. He saw the cave, and headed towards it.

He jumped when someone said beside him, "The dragon is starting to wake up."

Orias stared at the old women who was staring upwards at the cave with a grim look on her face. Orias widened his eyes when she looked straight at him with flat eyes. He sighed, and went into the cave, feeling the women's critical eyes on him.

He entered the big part of the room, but the dragon was there, it was watching him critically, but it didn't say a word, and it seemed more of a shadow then anything.

"Well, I guess this is kind of different." Orias sighed, he rubbed his head.

The dragon nodded. Orias raised an eye-brow, and said, "So Guagamela isn't destroyed yet, but there's got to be a reason you're showing me this then."

The dragon narrowed it's eyes, and soon the vision shifted to Tharas's mountain, and he saw two people arguing. He couldn't recognise the women, but he did see Garaos. But the energy around him seemed different, more like Solaris. He watched as the girl disappeared, and Garaos looked on towards the Plains with a thoughtful look.

"Okay?" Orias mused, but the vision shifted again, to Azarath, or what Orias thought was Azarath.

"What?!" He gasped looking around quickly, it was in ruins, much like his vision of Guagamela. He walked quickly towards Leilas's house, but it was also in ruins. Everything was ruins.

"What happened?!" Orias he asked, and looked around in panic.

His question was never answered. The vision had ended before he could look around Azarath. Orias sat up, then held his head. "No way..." He whispered to himself. He stood up, and looked around, Theria was no where to be seen.

Leilas!? He called, Are you there?

Ow, yes, what do you want? Leilas asked.

Orias rolled his eyes, then closed them. He envisioned Leilas's home in Azarath, he felt a gust of wind, and he landed almost gracefully on her steps. He shook his head, then knocked on the door. Leilas answered, a look of disbelief on her face.

"Hello, I dropped in." Orias joked, and he looked at the steps warily. He gasped when Leilas pulled him in the house, she snapped, "What are you doing here?"

"I had another vision, they're coming on strong lately, and it's making me worried." Orias whispered quietly.

Leilas frowned, then asked, "Are you going to tell me what it was about this time?"

"Azarath was destroyed, it was in complete ruins," Orias said flatly. Leilas stared at him in shock, and he shrugged, "That's what I saw." He muttered.

"But... How?" Leilas asked curiously.

Orias shrugged, "I don't know... But we have to keep an eye on Garaos." He growled. 

Leilas asked, "What, you think he might have destroyed Azarath?"

"No, I'm hoping he's the reason that Azarath was destroyed." Orias murmured, he stared at the clock nervously. He heard Leilas start to pace.

"We need to tell Yuna." Leilas growled, also staring at the clock.

Orias sighed, rolling his eyes, and he muttered, "She's the last person I want to tell about it." He looked away from Leilas, his arms crossed.

"Do you not trust her or something?" Leilas asked, Orias looked at her, then shook his head.

"No, it's just, whenever I'm talking about things, she just looks at me like I'm already dead, or at least, she sees something that I can't. Who knows with her," Orias growled. He looked at Leilas, who had a grim gaze, and he added quickly, "The same look you're giving me by the way."

Leilas blinked, then asked curiously, "Okay, Azarath was destroyed, but what about the other vision you had on Garaos's mountain? Why can't you tell me about that one, what could be worse then Azarath being destroyed?"

Orias lowered his gaze to the floor, and thought darkly, You have no idea... He sighed, then said, "All I remember from that one... I was standing in the darkness, it was quiet, terrifying really. Garaos was there though, but..."

"But..." Leilas drawled out.

Orias grunted, "He seemed different, the same energy Solaris has around him, and he said-" Orias stopped himself at that, which Leilas took quick notice off.

"What did he say, Orias?" Leilas asked quickly.

Orias thought quickly, "I couldn't quite hear what he said really, I could have heard him wrong, I'll tell you when I remember though." He said quickly.

Leilas raised an eye-brow, Orias stared at her, then tried his best to close his mind off to her, and he thought sadly, I'm sorry, Leilas, if I tell you now, it would only make it worse.

Leilas stared at him thoughtfully, then shrugged, "Well, okay, whatever you say Orias, now you better get out of here before Solaris catches you." She pointed out. Orias nodded, and closed his eyes, but once again, it was hard to think, and he ended up in the Lower Spirit World.

"Again..." Orias growled, and narrowed his eyes, he closed them again, trying to think, but all he saw was darkness, he sighed, standing up. He walked forwards, and soon found himself at a soul mirror, he shivered, and backed away from it.

"I doubt anything is going to hurl you in there again, Orias." A voice said from the shadows.

"Hey Tharas." Orias growled tiredly, and sat down on a nearby log.

Tharas finally came out of the shadows calmly, and he asked curiously, "This is the second time you ended up here Orias, is something bugging you?"

"Well, no, it's just getting frustrating ending up in here when I intended to end up somewhere else." Orias growled.

Tharas shrugged, and was about to turn to return to the shadows, but Orias sighed, "Wait a second, Tharas."

"Yes?" Tharas stopped, and he looked back. Orias stood up, and turned to face him.

"The vision I had on your mountain, it was all dark and hard to see," Orias couldn't look at him, so he stared at the ground instead, "I saw Garaos, but he had this strange... Energy around him, kind of like Solaris does... And he said... He said you were dead," Orias met Thara's calm gaze, "I think he killed you Tharas." He murmured quietly.

Tharas looked at him thoughtfully, "That's what you saw?" He asked calmly.

Orias stared at him, and he said in disbelief, "You're taking this a lot more calmly then I first did."

"Visions don't always end up true, Orias." Tharas pointed out, but Orias narrowed his eyes when there was a flicker of recognition, like Tharas was expecting this.

Orias crossed his arms, and raised an eye-brow, "Hm... Okay." He muttered. He watched as Tharas raised an eye-brow. 

"Hmm, shouldn't you have something to do?" Tharas asked with a smirk.

Orias tipped his head, "Should I?" He asked curiously, trying to think.

"Maybe you should tell your mortal friend what happened to you before she thinks you melted." Tharas pointed out.

Orias stared at him, and he scoffed, "Melting. Where did that one come from?" He asked, but gasped when Tharas waved his hands, Orias jumped when a dark circle started to form around him, and his vision went dark as Tharas sent him out of the Spirit World.

Chapter 2

Everyone

Has something to hide

Orias jumped up, and realised he was back in Theria's house, he smiled, and thought calmly, You never do change, Tharas...

"Orias?" A familiar voice asked from the darkness. Orias jumped, and watched as Theria came out of the darkness, tired. But there was still blue fire in her eyes, and she eyed him, and added, "Why are you on the floor?"

"I'm on the floor?" Orias asked, then looked down, he made a face, and jumped up, "Ah, I meant to be there." He laughed nervously. Theria raised an eye-brow, and Orias asked quietly, "Have they gotten through yet?"

"No, but he's going to figure it out." Theria muttered quietly.

Orias frowned, and asked, "How about we go meet him?"

"Taunt him?" Theria asked, and smiled.

"No, just ask him a few things." Orias explained, and shrugged. Theria smiled even bigger, and nodded.

Theria led him out of her house, and she muttered, "I was about to go down there, warn him to turn back, because a friend of mine was testing something about the gate."

Orias raised an eye-brow, "A friend huh?" He asked curiously, "So, what happened?"

"He tried to go through it, he got thrown back," Theria said quickly, and indicated with her hands, then she smiled, "It was kind of funny to watch. He's meeting me by the gate."

Orias eyed her, "Does he know..." He asked curiously.

"He kind of forced it out of me, I'm sorry." Theria muttered, she stared at the ground.

Orias sighed, "It's nothing, Theria, I'm surprised half this mountain isn't cringing in fear or shock." He muttered, rubbing the back of his head nervously.

"Because we're just used to weird things." Theria pointed out, and shrugged. As they reached towards the entrence, a dark haired man was leaning against a pillar, Orias raised an eye-brow, and both of them stared at each-other.

Theria went between them and said cooly, "Hello, Ajin."

"Hey, Theria." Ajin muttered cooly back, then looked at Orias. Orias looked at him back. Theria rolled her eyes.

"All right, Ajin, this is Orias, Orias," Orias flinched when Theria elbowed him in the ribs, and said quickly, "This is Ajin, the person who tested out your barrier."

"Yeah, that's some powerful barrier you put up," Ajin raised an eye-brow, and smiled, "Works perfectly, except..." He faltered.

"Except?" Orias asked cautiously, but Theria looked at him as if he was threatening Ajin.

"Well, I managed to get out, but I don't know how it will work for the King." Ajin said calmly, and blinked his clear green eyes.

"It shouldn't work, that's why I put it there." Orias pointed out, but both him and Ajin flinched when Theria punched them both in the arms.

Theria said, "Okay, boys are the same everywhere. Is he still down there pacing then, Ajin?" She asked, and glowered at Ajin. Ajin nodded. Orias was about to say something, but Theria eyed him dangerously, and he just looked down.

As they walked down the steps, Ajin said camly, "You know Orias, for an old god, you aren't what I expected."

"What were you expecting?" Orias asked, while Theria, who was in between them, looked annoyed.

"Oh, someone way older than I am, at least." Ajin said calmly.

Orias raised an eye-brow, and asked curiously, "Okay, how old are you then?"

Ajin looked on thoughtfully, then said calmly, "Let's see... 300 years old probably, give or take a couple hundred years?" He looked up at the sky with a distant gaze.

They all stopped, Theria face-palmed, and Orias's eyes widened in shock, "Please tell me you're kidding." He said in a rasp.

"Of course I'm kidding, we don't live that long," Ajin laughed coldly. Orias however frowned, Ajin asked cooly, "What, don't know what a sense of humour is?"

Ajin gasped when Theria punched him harshly, and said cooly, "Um, Ajin, cool it on the human lifespan talk, besides, only you get your type of humour." She added calmly. Ajin just shrugged, and continued walking, getting a bit aways from them.

Theria frowned, and asked gently, "Are you okay?"

Orias made a face, and said calmly, "I'm fine. I got his joke, it's okay."

"That isn't what I meant, Orias." Theria pointed out. Orias just ignored her, and walked away from her, heading to catch up to Ajin, with Theria following behind him, they stopped at the gate, where the king was talking with Ajin impassively.

The king looked at the gate, "So, mind telling me what the barrier is for?" He asked dangerously.

Orias thought, Sheesh, he reminds me of Solaris.

Theria laughed, and crossed her arms, "Who said it was a barrier?" She asked curiously.

The king looked at Orias, who stood his ground. The king raised an eye-brow, and said coldly, "The fact that inanimate objects can easily get through, but living things can't, it has barrier written all over it."

"Only inanimate objects, how do you know that?" Ajin asked curiously.

The king shrugged, "We've been testing it out." He walked up to a small pebble, and kicked it easily though the gate, which stopped at Ajin's feet, who didn't look impressed. Orias stared at the king, horrorfied. Theria however, raised an eye-brow.

"You look like you don't believe me, Theria, I'm telling you, everything except things that are living can get through," The kings said calmly, "I'll admit, the old god that put it here was really good with it, except, they left out one teeny little detail."

Orias watched as the king stepped aside an archer had their bow at the ready, who aimed at Theria, both Ajin and Orias noticed this, Ajin stepped in front of Theria just as the person let loose the arrow, but Orias rolled his eyes, and stepped in front of both of them.

The arrow went through his side, and he stared at the king, who didn't seem shocked at all. "So it's you then?" He asked calmly.

"What do you mean?" Orias asked, pulling the arrow out quickly. Theria and Ajin looked shocked. He turned to them, and asked Ajin, "Remember what you said about not living that long? Well, don't just jump at the oppurtunity to die." He took out his sword, some of the men on the other side stepped back a little bit as Orias headed towards the barrier, but the king just stood his ground.

"Thanks for the tip, guess I'll have to fix that," Orias growled, and smiled dangerously, feeling an unexplainable anger within him, "But you know, there's some lines you shouldn't cross, people in this land tend to be... Fiery." He growled dangerously.

He stuck his sword in the ground, and rebuilt the barrier, causing the men on the other side to jump back in shock, and the king to back up a little bit. Orias took it out, and snarled, "Now there's nothing that can't get through, not without my permission, or the permission of the city, you cannot pass."

The kings sighed, "Then it looks like we're at a stalemate then." He looked at his men, and nodded, they nodded quickly back, and ran back down the mountain. The king followed a bit more calmly. Soon, the three were alone.

Theria asked quietly, "What...?"

"What?" Orias asked, he turned to the both of them, but they only stepped back. Ajin more prominately.

"Um, Orias, you're bleeding." Theria pointed out gently.

"Uh, yeah, an arrow will do that to you," Orias shrugged, the anger was still within him, and it wanted out. He closed his eyes, and growled, "I can't believe this..." He opened his eyes to Theria, who was now stepping towards him, he tried to suppress the anger, he snapped, "No, not right now."

Theria jumped back, and he closed his eyes quickly, and thought of Tharas's mountain. He landed gracefully near the cave, which caused Garaos to jump.

"Hey, a little warning would be-" Garaos stopped as Orias glared at him, "Er... Orias-?" He started to question.

"No, not the time, where's Tharas?" Orias hissed.

Garaos pointed at the house, then looked like he was about to say something but Orias turned away from him, and headed towards the house, kicking the door as he snarled, "Let me in, Tharas!"

Tharas opened the door just as Orias was in midkick, and he said calmly, "Okay, I'm letting you in." 

Orias closed the door behind him sharply, and he snarled, "Something's weird."

"Uh yeah, you're losing your temper." Tharas pointed out gently.

"No no, Tharas, I keep feeling this weird anger and hatred in me, and it's freaking me out." Orias snapped, he stared around at the house angrily.

Tharas frowned, and muttered grimly, "It's happening faster than she thought..."

"What?" Orias asked, and turned to face Tharas.

"Nothing, just... Take a deep breath Orias, it's natural. All of us start feeling that way at some point, you just need to relax." Tharas said quickly. Orias narrowed his eyes.

"I can't! I can't Tharas! I just snapped at Theria, her, out of all the people I'd love to snap at!" Orias's hands were shaking, Tharas raised an eye-brow.

"I'm going to take you to Leilas, she's... More well versed with this type of thing." Tharas sighed. Orias rolled his eyes, and soon, they were both in the Lower Spirit World.

"Leilas?" Tharas asked the shadows calmly, while Orias stared at a spirit dangerously, causing Tharas to grab the back of his cloak and bring him to the shadows.

"Yes, Tharas?" Leilas asked curiously from the shadows.

Tharas whispered something Orias couldn't hear, and Leilas came out. She looked at Orias critically, and Orias asked dangerously, "What's happening to me, can someone explain this to me?!"

Leilas looked on thoughtfully, Tharas nodded to her, and disappeared into the shadows. Orias glared at her, and she said gently, "Relax, Orias, it'll make it worse."

"Make what worse?" He asked cautiously.

Leilas narrowed her eyes, as if trying to search through his mind, but he stared evenly at her back, and she sighed, "Your temper, you'll make it worse if you start freaking out, just relax."

Orias made a face, and sighed, Leilas said calmly, "You can trust us, Orias, we're not Solaris."

"You never know in this place." Orias glared at another spirit, which caused Leilas to flick him in the head.

"You still haven't fully recovered from the spirit water, Orias, just please relax, you'll feel better." Leilas pointed out.

Orias huffed, and put his face in his hands in frustration, and Leilas asked suddenly, "When was the last time you slept, Orias?"

"Um, I don't know," Orias stared at the darkness, "A couple weeks ago maybe?" He mused.

"A couple weeks, no wonder you're acting like this!" Leilas sighed, then said, "Solaris might be expecting you back, so I guess you can rest at my house, since I don't need sleep anyways."

Orias growled, "That doesn't really answer my question, but fine," He crossed his arms, "You and Tharas have been secretive around me lately."

"Look who's talking, who wouldn't breath a peep about what you saw, you don't have to do everything alone, and the only reason we're being secretive... Well, it's for your own good if nothing else." Leilas pointed out sharply.

Orias raised an eye-brow, "Same with what I saw, I'm not telling you for your own good." He growled. He flinched when Leilas walked up to him suspiciously.

"What do you mean... For my own good?" Leilas asked, her eyes narrowed suspiciously.

"Uh, it's nothing, you aren't telling me this secret that's between you, Tharas, and apparently Yuna? Well I'm keeping this one for your own good." Orias growled.

Leilas crossed her arms, and sighed, "Fine, okay, go sleep Orias." She turned around, and opened the door outside, and walked out, shutting the door behind her harshly.

I didn't mean to hurt her feelings. But really... Orias frowned, and crossed his arms, and thought darkly, If she wants me to tell her, she has to tell me what's going on between her and Tharas, it's like they know something I don't. 

Orias felt himself drift off, he jumped back when there was the harsh sound of thunder, and realised he was on the mountain again, but it was oddly silent, but wasn't destroyed. However, the air was different. He immediately saw Ajin walking down the steppes of the mountain, Orias smiled grimly, "And where are you going?" He mused.

He followed him down the mountain, Ajin looked older than when he last saw him, and he had a sad look in his eyes. Orias raised an eye-brow when he looked back at the mountain, he murmured, "Well, no point coming back here..."

"No point?" Orias mused, and watched as Ajin disappeared into the night.

Orias turned to see Ora staring after him grimly, he watched as she walked back to the village, and the vision ended. Orias blinked open his eyes, and rubbed his head.

Leilas however was watching out the window suspiciously, Orias sat up, and he asked, "What are you doing?"

Leilas narrowed her eyes, and said darkly, "Why didn't you tell me, Orias."

Orias raised an eye-brow, and he asked, "What are you talking about?"

Orias jumped when she turned to him, her eyes red with anger, and she asked dangerously, "What do you mean by that?"

Orias only stared, and thought grimly, Please let this be a nightmare...

Leilas only glowered at him, and Orias growled, "I don't know what are you talking about, clarify!" He took out his sword.

Leilas stood up, no longer facing him, Orias narrowed his eyes. Then Solaris laughed, "Your mind is so easy to fool, Orias."

Leilas turned around, and Orias realised it was Solaris toying with him, Orias growled, "Are you serious? Remember what happened last time you were in my head? I nearly destroyed you."

"No, you nearly destroyed yourself." Solaris pointed out darkly, the vision of Leilas now gone.

Orias backed away from him, and he snapped, "Get out of my head!"

Solaris raised an eye-brow, "You're confused about what your visions mean right?" He asked calmly.

"Why are you asking?" Orias asked cautiously.

Solaris smiled, "Don't take them lightly, you might lose way more than just a close friend." He soon disappeared, leaving Orias in the house, which was now shivering with dark energy, he held his head, and closed his eyes. 

Stop, please... Orias thought sadly.

He woke up to someone poking him in an almost worrying fashion. Orias opened his eyes slightly to see Leilas staring down at him with a grim look on her face.

Orias was about to say something, but Leilas stopped him, and she murmured quietly, "Please tell me, Orias..."

Orias stared at her, and he murmured, "I told you... I can't..."

Leilas frowned, and she murmured, "No, not about the vision with Tharas dying, the one you just had."

Orias jumped up suddenly, causing Leilas to push him back down, and he hissed darkly, "How did you know!?"

"You can't block your mind to me that easily when you're asleep." Leilas pointed out gently, her eyes however had this strange fire in her eyes.

Orias stared at her in disbelief, he held his head, which felt like someone was smashing it, and he murmured, "I don't even remember now."

Leilas sighed, and she murmured, "I'm taking you to Theria."

"No thanks." Orias grunted.

"No choice," Leilas grunted back, "We've been talking."

"About what? And since when did you take an interest in mortals?" Orias asked curiously.

"Since Yuna had that vision, I have to prevent it," Leilas growled, "Which involves you, so let's go."

"How would she help me?" Orias asked quickly.

Leilas growled, "See this as two birds with one stone, I can possibly prevent Yuna's and yours vision, while you can prevent Guagamela being destroyed."

Orias raised an eye-brow, and murmured, "Sounds tempting."

"You shouldn't even be awake right now, you still need that rest." Leilas growled, and grabbed his arm, he saw his vision darken, and soon they were in the Lower Spirit world. Orias regained his balance.

"Why are we going here?" Orias asked quietly.

Leilas said nothing though, and Tharas appeared out of the shadows, looking as tired as Orias felt, Leilas murmured in horror, "Both of you?"

Tharas nodded, "Garaos, me, and Orias are having problems with the fact that for some reason we now need sleep." He murmured tiredly.

Leilas face-palmed, and Orias asked, "What's going on?"

Tharas looked at him, "Leilas has a plan to prevent whatever is going to happen."

Orias smiled, but felt a sudden pang, he looked down, "I don't think it's going to work, Leilas..." He murmured quietly.

"What makes you say that?" Leilas asked curiously.

Orias made a face, and he murmured, "I don't know... I want it to work, but it won't."

Leilas looked at Tharas, who frowned, and he murmured, "He does have a point, but no harm in trying."

"I refuse to let anyone die." Leilas growled dangerously. Tharas nodded, and watched as Leilas grabbed Orias's arm again, and soon, he found himself in Theria's house, who was bent towards the boat, she was carefully brushing woodchips off it, and she looked up.

"Leilas?" She turned around, taking some sort of glasses off her face.

Leilas nodded, "I'm ready." She murmured.

Theria nodded, and murmured, "Then so is the king, we can't waste time."

"I'm lost." Orias joked.

"I see you're in a better mood." Theria joked back. Leilas however, didn't smile.

"Be careful, the both of you, and Orias," she fully turned to him, and growled, "Do not trust what you see, do not trust anyone except me, Tharas, and Theria, and don't tell anyone else about the visions, if you have another one about the mountain or Azarath, come to us, don't keep it bottled up, that's what's causing-" She cut herself off though, and bowed her head.

Orias raised an eye-brow, and Theria hissed, "You heard her, I have to get ready then, you go get some sleep."

"That'll be a chore." Orias made a face, Theria wasn't laughing though as she grabbed her two swords, and put the unfinished boat on a pedestal.

"I really don't want to deal with a moody old god if I'm honest, if I have to knock you out I will." Theria growled, and glared at him.

Orias cringed, and she sighed, "The entire city is on edge, we're waiting for the king to figure out the defenses, and everyone's worried there's a traitor among us, when there isn't, so I need you to stay hidden, and get some rest, because you're going to need it."

Orias only nodded, going to the spare bed as Theria walked out of the house, slamming the door behind her, he made a face, What is going on? Theria seems to only know as much as I do, but she knows that if Leilas is doing something weird, that means the king must be too... He thought grimly.

He rubbed his head, feeling himself drift off once again, but it stayed dark. He wasn't sure how long he was asleep. Orias sighed, and thought darkly, Why would Solaris tell me that? That's strange, even for him... It's like he wants a challenge...

Orias woke up to silence. He narrowed his eyes when he sat up, he murmured, "I doubt it's usually this quiet..."

He sat up, but Theria came crashing in, looking tired and injured, she hissed, "Don't move."

Orias had jumped back, and he hissed, "What's going on?!"

Theria looked out the window, Orias raised an eye-brow, and she murmured, "We have to get out of here." She opened the door, and dragged Orias out.

Orias repeated, "What's going on?"

Theria glared at him, and she asked cautiously, "Can you get me to the bottom of the mountain?"

"Yes, but-" Orias didn't get to finish, because Theria punched him in the arm, he made a face, and closed his eyes, envisioning the mountain. Soon he felt the soft grass beneath him, he opened his eyes, and both him and Theria were staring up at the mountain.

"Did you have any visions?" Theria asked.

"No, what-" He still didn't get to finish as Theria backed up a bit, trying to take in the full mountain. Orias realised there was smoke coming from the entrence, and he murmured, "Theria, please don't tell me there was a traitor."

Theria stared at him, then said coldly, "There was indeed a traitor."

Orias blinked, and he murmured, "Humans are weird." He gasped as Theria grabbed his arm, and dragged him from the mountain as there was a large blast.

"They're breaching the barrier." Orias mused.

"You said that awfully confused." Theria hissed, staring up as her home went up in flames.

Orias said nothing, then he asked, "Can you tell me what's going on?"

"The king wants to prove to us that we aren't the storm warriors that we once were, even if it means razing Guagamela to the ground." Theria murmured, her arms crossed.

Orias felt the anger again, he made a face, and Theria looked at him, but said nothing. Her eyes were narrowed though, and she growled, "Orias, Leilas said to relax."

"I'm relaxed." Orias grunted flatly, but Theria just raised an eye-brow.

"Yeah, sure you are, listen Orias, wait here." Theria muttered, than ran up the steps, Orias was about to call after her, but she was already gone.

"Just leave her, Orias, she knows what she's doing." Leilas said calmly, coming out of the shadows.

Orias growled unnaturally, "Why are humans always looking for ways to just get hurt?!"

Leilas narrowed her eyes, "Come on Orias, relax, control yourself." She hissed back.

Orias didn't hear her, not really anyways. He felt himself shaking, Leilas growled, "I'm taking you to Tharas." She muttered.

"Tharas told me he can't help me, he directed me to you." Orias turned fully to her, staring down at her, but she did not back down. Orias jumped when she grabbed his arm, and dragged him to the Lower Spirit World.

Leilas jumped back when Orias unsheathed his sword, they both landed on the ground. Leilas had taken out the scythe she used to fight against spirits, and she snapped, "Orias, don't let this control you! It's what Solaris wants!"

"Please elaborate, Solaris freed me didn't he?" Orias hissed, pacing around Leilas.

Leilas narrowed her eyes, and she said in an almost desperate tone, "Please, Orias, this isn't like those dumb fights we have, this is serious, you're not acting like yourself." She looked around warily, spirits were taking a eerie interest.

"I'm not acting like myself?!" Orias snapped, Leilas went into a defensive stance, and he added, "You're not acting like yourself either, Leilas."

"I'm not am I?" Leilas hissed back, the spirits seemed to shudder in excitement.

Leilas attacked first, her scythe at the ready, Orias jumped back, and attacked back. The spirits seemed to jeer at them.

The scythe, however, was never for fighting purposes, Orias easily disarmed her, she jumped back, and growled, "Look at yourself, Orias, snap out of it!"

Orias eyed her, he jumped back when someone took him down from behind, he rolled away from this new attacker, and realised with a jolt, it was Tharas, and he didn't look impressed. He looked livid.

Leilas jumped back also, and she snapped, "The both of you!"

Orias jumped back from Tharas, Tharas took out his own sword, and growled, "Orias, you need to relax." He ignored Leilas, who let out a exasperated sigh.

Orias was about to say something, but Tharas elbowed him in the stomach, causing him to flinch back, Tharas's eyes were tinged red, and he growled, "Enough Orias." He pointed his sword at Orias's chest.

Leilas looked at them both, eyes now wide. Orias readied his sword, and so did Tharas. Orias noticed at the corner of his vision that Leilas had disappeared. Orias jumped back from another attack from Tharas.

Orias finally attacked back, it gave him a weird feeling. He suddenly stopped when he pushed Tharas back with force, disarming him by accident.

Tharas didn't get up, Orias blinked, the mountain flashing in his vision, he crouched to his knees, "No..." He hissed.

He knew Tharas had gotten up, He could somewhat see his blurred figure shaking his head. Orias however, could see Garaos absolutely boasting how he killed Tharas.

Tharas had stood up, and he asked curiously, "Orias?"

Orias didn't answer him, the mountain had fully taken over his vision. However, it ended as soon as it started, and Orias found himself staring at Tharas, who was standing over him, his sword still a bit aways from them both.

"So that was the problem all along." Tharas murmured.

Orias held his head, "What's happening to me..." He whispered in a rasp, "I could of easily killed you, Tharas."

"I doubt it, Orias," Tharas made a face, and sat down with a sigh, "But you are getting better, I'll give you that." He commented, and smirked.

"This isn't funny!" Orias snapped, but immediately flinched back.

Tharas looked at him, "Hey, I'm sorry, I'm tired too." He said calmly.

Leilas finally reappeared, also looking tired, she asked curiously, "You guys finally done?"

They both stared at her, Tharas looked at the sky, and murmured calmly, "I guess so, I'm fine at least, you might want to see to Orias though, he's shaken up from the vision still, seems as if Solaris loves toying with him."

Leilas made a face, Orias didn't look at her though. Tharas sighed, "Next time you guys fight though, can you do it where spirits won't get excited?"

Leilas smiled, but frowned at Orias, he murmured, "I'm sorry."

"No you're not, not about attacking Leilas." Tharas said calmly,

Orias stared at him, then looked down at the ground, Leilas laughed nervously, "Ah, it's nothing Tharas, he fought the same way he alway does."

Tharas raised an eye-brow, "Did he now?" He asked, then walked up to the scythe, and picked it up. He pointed out, "You would never let this get out of your hands without choice, if he had aimed for anything else, you would be in a lot worse shape."

Leilas and Orias stared at him in disbelief. Tharas sighed, "And if I didn't know Orias was impatient and never waited for a moment, he could have easily killed me if I had even lowered my guard just a little bit." He pointed out, and passed the scythe back to Leilas, who seemed shocked.

"Looks like you've been learning from the last time Theria had a fight, I was getting worried there." Tharas said calmly.

Orias blinked, and asked, "Are you both all right?"

Leilas said, "You should really worry more about yourself sometimes, but yes, we're fine."

Orias glared at her. Leilas shrugged, "It's true, even humans sometimes have sense to wonder if they're okay."

"If that's true, all the humans I've met have no sense at all." Orias growled, and glared at the shadows ahead of him.

"You haven't been around as long as we have, Orias." Tharas pointed out calmly. "We know what humans are like more than you."

"Yet you don't hang around them as much as I do, you may know what they're like, but I know what they really are." Orias pointed out. Tharas shugged.

"Point taken." Tharas said calmly.

Leilas spoke up, "Speaking of humans, we never did tell Theria we ran off."

Orias shivered, "Don't remind me, she's going to kill me."

"She might go easy on you, it's mostly my fault that you're not over there, you probably would have stayed if I didn't drag you here." Leilas pointed out quickly.

Orias watched as Tharas disappeared without another word, and Leilas murmured gently, "Look, you didn't hurt either of us, don't let it get to you."

He sighed, and thought sadly, I don't think you realise the damage I have done...

~*~*~*~

Leilas had taken Orias back to the mountain, but Theria was still not back, and the moon had risen. Leilas murmured, "I wonder what's happened."

Orias didn't say anything, but he noticed the barrier shiver faintly, as if fighting to stay up. But it was slowly failing, Orias murmured, "Maybe I should go up there."

"Oh, great idea, and while we're at it, let's just hand the book to them!" Leilas snapped, Orias flinched back, and she added, "Didn't Theria tell you they probably figured it out?"

They both jumped when there was a large bang coming from the mountain. Orias made a face, and turned to Leilas. She made a face also, and said, "That doesn't sound good."

Orias stepped forward, watching Guagamela going up in flames for real. Orias looked at Leilas, who was staring up at the city with an odd fascination. Orias pushed past her, and Leilas asked, "Where are you going?"

"Don't stop me, or I might not aim where you want me too." Orias hissed dangerously, and trudged up the mountain.

Orias could feel the hatred once again, he walked up to the white gate, he knew the barrier was already weakened, so he just walked through with no problem. He peeked around the pillar, and saw people fighting, and Guagamela in flames.

He tried to find Theria, but could barely see anything through the smoke. He called, "Theria?"

He started trudging through the smoke, dodging people fighting, he called again, "Theria?"

Orias stopped when he heard struggling in front of him. He narrowed his eyes when Theria was struggling to get out of the grip of a guard of the king. The king was no where to be seen, Orias felt himself growl unnaturally, and his sword seemed to respond as he went to unsheath it.

Theria seemed to notice him, and she shook her head quickly, but had to fight off her attacker, as another one went to finish her off. Orias noticed this, and fully unsheathed his sword. He ran towards them, with horror in Theria's eyes.

The attacker turned around to Orias's sword plunging into his chest. Orias snarled, "Not this time." He took his sword out of the guard, Theria was still struggling with the other, Orias pushed him off her, and knocked him out, Theria snapped, "What were you thinking? He didn't need to be killed."

"Oh yes, I'm totally sure he was thinking the same for you!" Orias snapped back, pushing past her.

"What are you doing now?!" Theria asked as Orias walked into the smoke. He looked around, then plunged his sword into the ground, the smoke seemed to retreat away from the point of impact, even the fire seemed to be doused a bit.

"I couldn't breathe with all that smoke." Orias growled, then looked around, "Now, where is he?" He turned to Theria.

Theria shrugged, Orias sighed, he rubbed his head, people were still fighting, Theria gently poked the guard he had killed. Orias blinked, and said, "Are you all right?"

"Only my pride is hurt." Theria joked.

Orias frowned, he sighed, but jumped when someone attacked him from behind. Instinctivly, he flipped them over onto their back, and jumped away quickly.

It was the king, he looked wild. Orias thought, Come on, Theria, finish him off, he's right in front of you, come on, take the chance.

Theria however, looked in shock as the king laughed, "Not nice to see your home burning to the ground?" He looked at Orias thoughtfully.

"Well old god, what will it be?" He took out a sword, "It's simple."

Orias narrowed his eyes as the king headed towards Theria, Theria had frozen up, she started backing up, Orias realised one of the guards must have disarmed her. He headed towards her, but the king turned to him sharply, "No, old god. Why do you care, old gods don't understand that feeling."

"What feeling?" Orias asked.

Theria hissed, "Don't listen to him, Orias."

The king glared at her, then laughed, "You know as well as I do, Theria, old gods are here in the end to destroy us, why would they have any concept of what love truly is?"

Orias mused, "Love?"

Theria looked horrorfied, Orias jumped when the king finally turned to Theria, the dagger close at hand. Orias thought quickly, and just as the king raised the knife, he closed his eyes, unsure of where else he would go.

He opened his eyes to be in front of the king, as the dagger plunged forward. Orias had pushed Theria away. He felt the sharp pain of the dagger, and he stared at the king, who looked faintly surprised, but he shrugged. He took the dagger out of Orias, who flinched back.

"Maybe I was wrong, maybe some old gods do understand some concepts of what we humans do." The king said calmly, while Theria watched in horror.

Orias was trying to think through the pain, it was weird, it wouldn't go away. It felt like everything in him was failing. Orias noticed Theria reach for her swords, her face eerily flat. The king said calmly, "Now, old god? Are you still willing to feel the pain we mortal humans do?"

The king looked and turned as Theria plunged her swords into his sides, he jumped, and flinched when she pulled them out, and poked him in the head sharply, causing him to fall back.

He growled through his own pain, "Fall back!" He got help from some guards, and soon, they retreated.

Orias joked, "Wow, Theria, you showed him."

"You all right?" Theria asked.

"I'll be fine, just give me a second," Orias waved her off, he stood up, and brushed himself off, Theria picked up the dagger the king had dropped, and looked at it curiously. Orias mused, "What was he talking about?"

"What?" Theria asked, examining the dagger closely.

"That... Nevermind." Orias muttered.

Everything was calming down, people were returning to their houses to heal their wounded, Orias asked curiously, "Are you guys going to be all right."

Theria nodded, she muttered, "You better get back to Tharas or Leilas."

"Um, what's wrong?" Orias asked.

Theria slowly turned to him, and showed him the blade, Orias looked at it, and asked, "What?"

Theria took it away quickly, then said, "Just... Go see Leilas." She walked away from him and into her house, Orias raised an eye-brow, and closed his eyes, he ended up in the Lower Spirit World again, but for once, it was empty.

"Well that's different..." Orias murmured, unaware of the restless environment.

Chapter 3

Some things

You can't change

Orias walked around the Lower Spirit World, it was oddly quiet. Orias narrowed his eyes, he thought darkly, Very funny, Tharas.

Orias had a huge head-ache, he jumped when Yuna came strolling out, Orias twitched when the older god seemed tired, he backed up a bit, but Yuna said calmly, "Relax, Orias, I'm not Solaris."

"What are you doing here?" He asked quietly. He noticed that she was holding a couple of pendents, he asked curiously, "What are those?"

Yuna mused, "Oh these?" She held them up, "In the Farlands, the memories of the dead, they're stored in pendents and returned to them, everyone has one, including all of us," she stared at Orias for a long time, then sighed, "I'm hiding these."

"Why?" Orias asked, leaning against a tree.

Yuna murmured, "I don't plan to sit by and watch. This one is yours." She held out a pendent, Orias sat there, shocked, it was Theria's necklace, except it had a small orb dangling from it, Orias tipped his head when the mist in the orb was a dark colour.

Yuna looked at it, and murmured calmly, "You know, I'm going to give you advice."

Orias looked back at her, and she said calmly, "There's a reason old gods are feared the way we are, a reason we stay away from the mortals."

She disappeared at that, Orias stared at the place she once stood. What did she mean by that?

He shrugged, and walked up to a particulary dark patch of shadow, he raised an eye-brow. He reached a hand out into the shadows, and Leilas stumbled out.

"Eavesdropping again, Leilas?" Orias asked critically.

"No, you know better than that, shadows hear what they hear, whether they want to hear it or not." She snapped, and shook her head, "Besides, I have a reason on coming here, what's yours?" Leilas asked dangerously.

"I was just day-dreaming, I guess." Orias muttered, and shrugged.

"Daydreaming, you got to watch out for that, you know what happens when you daydream too much." Leilas pointed out.

Orias eyed her, "You mean when humans daydream too much." He corrected.

Leilas rolled her eyes, and asked quickly, "Have you seen Tharas anywhere?"

"No, why?" Orias asked, "Don't tell me he's disappeared again, he's going to have to save himself this time because I don't want to go through that again." He added quickly.

Leilas shook her head, "No, I have a vague idea where he is, I just don't know why he's there." She said quickly.

"Where is he?" Orias asked.

"The Farlands." Leilas muttered.

Orias stared at her in disbelief, and he said in shock, "You're kidding, you've got be kidding, you know he can't stand that place."

Leilas shrugged, "That's why I asked you, because if I'm honest, I thought I was just imagining things, maybe I was just hoping I was imagining things," she muttered quietly, staring down at the ground sadly, "Orias, I know you don't like that place, but something is happening in the Farlands... I can barely enter it now." Leilas murmured, and looked up at him.

Orias stared at her, unsure of what to do. He sighed, "I'll see if I can find him, but Leilas..." He looked around, "What if he isn't there?" He asked quietly.

Leilas shrugged, "Then I don't know... I just have a vague idea, nothing more than that..." She said quietly.

Orias blinked, then nodded, "All right, whatever you say, Leilas." He turned away from her, but she called him back.

"Orias, I've got to warn you, don't trust what you see in the Farlands." Leilas said quickly.

"Why?" Orias asked curiously.

Leilas didn't answer him, she only walked back into the shadows, and disappeared. Orias rolled his eyes, and sighed.

He walked around the Lower Spirit World a little bit, trying to find another entrance to the Farlands. He finally saw a soul mirror, and looked in it curiously. He looked around quickly, he turned back to it, and thought of the Farlands. He jumped back when the soul mirror quickly turned into ice.

"Huh, it's never done that before..." Orias mused, staring at it. 

He flinched when his vision was overtaken by white light, and he found himself in the Farlands, except it was even darker now, with black fog and spirits staring at him menacingly, their red eyes jeering at him from the shadows.

Orias looked around, This is weird... I'm not getting that weird feeling anymore... Even though it's still kind of giving me the creeps. He shivered.

"Tharas? Are you here?" He called. There was no answer, Orias murmured, "Huh."

There was a noise coming from the bushes, Orias jumped when Tharas walked out, calm as could be, and Orias asked, "Hey! What are you doing here?"

Tharas stared at him, and asked, "What are you doing here?"

"Leilas sent me looking for you," Orias growled. Tharas blinked, then looked around, Orias asked, "What's going on with this place? Do you know?"

"That's why I'm here, Garaos said there was something odd about the Farlands, and he couldn't get in." Tharas mused, and he looked around.

Orias looked around also, and he asked, "Tharas, can I ask you something?"

Tharas relaxed a bit, then asked curiously, "What is it?" He looked back at Orias.

"You and Leilas have been acting weird around me. Leilas has been treating me like I'm about to explode, it's weird," He murmured, and added, "I just want to know what's bugging you two."

Tharas looked on thoughtfully, "It's not as much as you are going to explode, you already have. I guess Leilas has been talking to Yuna too much. Maybe even all the older gods, I guess she got it in her head that you're dangerous in more ways then one." He muttered thoughtfully.

"I'm an old god, ain't I supposed to be?" Orias asked.

"That's not what I meant." Tharas sighed, then added, "Leilas is scared of you these days."

"Yeah, why?" Orias asked quickly.

Tharas didn't answer for him a bit, then muttered, "You remember your visions clearly right?" Orias nodded, and Tharas smiled sadly, "I don't, not when I really need to anyways." He said flatly.

Orias stared at him, "Oh yeah, you get them too, I forgot. I remember my visions though, too well if I'm honest, why?" He asked.

"What did you see when I died?" Tharas asked calmly.

Orias stared at him in disbelief, but Tharas said nothing. Orias sighed, "Well, I saw this black mist, or I guess you could say the whole environment was black, I tried to find my way around, and I stumbled across Garaos, he was absolutely calm about it right?" Orias frowned, and muttered, "He was telling Solaris you were dead."

"Is that it?" Tharas asked disbelievingly.

Orias thought for a bit, then muttered, "Hold on, why are you so curious?" He asked.

Tharas said nothing, then Orias shook his head, "My vision went black, like a shape flew towards me or something like that." He finished.

Tharas sighed, and nodded, "All right? What about that Azarath vision?" He asked.

"Azarath was completely destroyed, I didn't notice the tension at first, but now that I think about it, it was horrible, I've never felt that type of anger before, not even what I've been recently feeling, I was hoping that Garaos destroyed it." Orias murmured.

"Hoping?" Tharas asked curiously.

"I don't think he destroyed Azarath." Orias muttered.

Tharas stared at him sadly, "You're being reminded of Guagamela." He said calmly.

Orias laughed nervously, "It's not even that, that was different, whatever that thing was, didn't even care." He pointed out.

"Yet you're worried it was you?" Tharas asked.

Orias went silent. Tharas shrugged, "Maybe it is because of Theria, I dont know, I wouldn't wholly trust your visions yet, emotions can make them jumbled up." He pointed out gently.

They both jumped when the Farlands started to shake. Tharas hissed, "Time to get out of here!"

Orias stood up, and nodded. He followed Tharas quickly to a clearing. Tharas opened an entrence to the Lower Spirit World, Tharas tipped his head, "You first, I have to keep this open." He said. Orias nodded, and jumped through the portal, Tharas followed him, and the portal closed.

"What was that?" Orias asked.

"I don't know," Tharas shrugged. They both jumped again when Leilas came out of the shadows, "Where have you two been?" She snapped.

Tharas didn't answer her, Orias laughed nervously, and asked, "I thought you wanted me to go the Farlands?"

"Yes... Ugh, nevermind, you better get back to Hamark." Leilas pushed him harshly towards the shadows.

"Why, what's going on, Leilas?" Orias asked, but Leilas had already pushed him through the shadows, and he found himself in Hamark.

It was raining, and Orias sighed. He jumped when there was a noise from the bushes, but it was only a small cat. He jumped when there was a voice, "You're more jumpier than usual."

"If we keep running into each-other, I'll get used to it." Orias growled at the masked person.

She took off her mask, Theria smiled, "You look about as horrible as I feel, how have you been Orias?" She asked.

"I'm fine, what about you?" Orias asked.

"It's official," Theria murmured in an almost sad tone, "This kingdom is now being torn from the inside, and Guagamela has been taking the injured, we try to heal them, but whatever the king is doing, it's working, and many people are dying..." She murmured.

Orias asked, "How long do you think this is going to last?"

"I don't know, but I hope it doesn't last more than a year, Hamark can't take the pressure, if it goes on, Hamark will be destroyed." Theria muttered.

"So you are at war?" Orias asked sadly.

Theria nodded, "Hamark is at war with itself." She said flatly.

"Your people can win this Theria." Orias smiled reassuringly.

Theria looked like she was about to say something, but they jumped when there was fighting nearby, Theria hissed, "Ajin."

Orias followed her quickly, and they both flinched when they stumbled upon a fistfight between Ajin and another person. Theria hissed, "Help me get them apart."

Orias nodded, and Theria grabbed Ajin around the chest, and pulled him away from the other person, while Orias pushed the other person harshly, and Theria yelled, "Woah, woah you two!"

The two men were panting and glaring daggers at each-other. Theria snapped, "What is this about? We can't have infighting now of all times!"

The other person snapped, "He started it."

Orias watched as the two men tried to get to each-other again, and Theria snapped, "Orias take away their memories!"

"What?!" Orias stared at her in disbelief.

"Do it, Orias!" She snapped back, tears in her eyes from frustration.

Orias frowned, and stared at the two men, the other person immediately locked gazes with him, and soon got a cloudy gaze, but Ajin was more stubborn.

Theria was trying to hold him back, and she growled, "Orias, hurry up."

Orias glared at Ajin, and Ajin finally relented, and his gaze went cloudy to, Theria let go of him, and he sat down. Orias held his head, and shook it, and he asked, "What was that about?"

"I have no idea, are you okay?" She asked quietly

"I'm fine, infighting, Theria what is going on?" Orias asked.

Theria shrugged, Ajin and the other one were dazed. Orias shook his head, and mumbled, "Mortals." Theria went to help the two up, and push them towards the mountain. She came back, and shrugged again.

"Sorry about that, that's unlike Ajin to lose his composure." Theria said calmly.

"Oh yeah, composure, you mortals have a ton of that." Orias rolled his eyes.

Theria crossed her arms, "If someone hears you commenting about mortals, they'll be suspicious, the King already knows what you are." She pointed out sarcastically.

"I hope they know who I am, I'm a scary monster old god come to eat them." Orias laughed.

"That's not funny, Orias, people here really fear the old gods, we're not the sort to let people push us around, mortal," She poked him harshly in the shoulder, "Or not." She growled.

Orias shrugged, and she said quickly, "Whatever, you've been fitting right in, with your temperment and attitude towards being pushed around, they'd love you."

"There's that word again." Orias muttered.

"What?" Theria turned back, raising an eye-brow.

"What the king said old gods couldn't feel." Orias said calmly.

"Oh, love?" Theria asked curiously.

"Yeah." Orias nodded.

Theria sighed, and fully turned to him, "Well, I know you old gods think mortals are barbaric, and maybe we are, but if I'm honest, love is what makes us human, along with hate and all those negative things, you've got to have something worth fighting for, it's really hard to explain."

"Weird." Orias mumbled. He jumped when Theria had a hidden flash of sadness in her eyes, and she shook her head.

"Only when you've got nothing left to lose." She murmured flatly.

~*~*~*~

Orias was sitting in the Lower Spirit World, he sighed when Leilas appeared from the shadows. She commented, "Look who's all cheerful."

Orias glared at her, and she laughed, "Oh, lighten up Orias, Solaris is actually pretty relaxed now, you could probably return home to Azarath." She sat down beside him, and stared up at the sky.

"I really don't want to go back there." Orias muttered.

"That's okay, too plain anyways, makes me wish I lived in Hamark." Leilas shrugged, and looked back at the shadows.

"I don't want to be there either, it's depressing." Orias said flatly.

Leilas stared at him, and joked, "Well, that's obvious, which reminds me, how's Theria?" She asked quickly, her eyes getting unaturally bright.

"Everytime you see me, you ask that, it's starting to weird me out," Orias muttered, and narrowed his eyes, "She's miserable, she tries to act cheerful, but I'm not that blind, now that she's gotten the fighting chance she's wanted, I guess she's starting to wonder if it's even worth it."

"Have you searched through her mind?" Leilas asked pointedly.

"No, that's rude." Orias grunted.

Leilas leaned forward, "You didn't think it was rude a while ago, you loved searching through minds." She pointed out cautiously.

"Well things change." Orias pointed out, and crossed his arms.

"Obviously." Leilas smirked.

Orias rolled his eyes, but stopped when he heard a light buzzing sound, he thought, Well, anything to get away from this conversation.

He blinked when his vision went black, and when his vision returned, he was standing in Theria's house, he looked around. "Huh, not that different." He mused.

He spotted the boat Theria had been so diligently working on in her spare time, it was completed, he thought, Impressive...

Orias went towards it. He froze when there was an odd chill suddenly coming from the house. He looked at the boat closer, and realised that there was a dragon on the side of it. He narrowed his eyes, and started to back away.

"Okay, this is starting to weird me out." Orias muttered, he walked out of the house, and the chill was still there. Theria was no where to be seen, he did see Ajin though, a bit by the gate, staring at the distance in shock.

Orias walked up to him, he jumped when he saw Ora come up to him, he stood up to meet her, and stared at her. She frowned, and shook her head, "I'm sorry, Ajin..."

Ajin said nothing, only turned away from her, he started walking down the path. Orias turned to look at Ora, she frowned, and murmured, "Theria... Without you, will the war still go on, it was like you were giving the people the courage, and now..." She shook her head, and walked away.

Orias stared at her, then murmured, "Without you...?"

He flinched when he realised what had happened, his vision went white, and he jumped up, Leilas was staring at him in shock, she immediately asked, "What did you see?"

Orias held his head, Remember what Tharas said, emotions make them jumbled up... He repeated to himself, Leilas poked him worriedly. He felt the anger again, he tried to push the feeling away, but it wasn't letting up.

"Leilas, don't." He growled.

Leilas stopped, and backed away from him. He relaxed, and said, "It was nothing." Orias looked down at the ground, and realised his hands were shaking.

Leilas stared at him in disbelief. She sighed, "Whatever, a part of me doesn't want to ask."

Orias made a face, and closed his eyes, immediately thinking of Hamark. He gasped when his vision seemed to crack, and he landed in the The Spirit Path. Tharas was staring down at him, and Orias asked, "What was that for?"

"Leilas told me about this new vision." Tharas said calmly.

"Oh yeah, should have expected that." Orias scowled.

Tharas sighed, "Orias, if you're that worried, why don't you protect it?"

"I tried that already." Orias pointed out.

Tharas seemed to smile, and said calmly, "Then think bigger, you're are an old god after all, if the barrier didn't work, think bigger." He disappeared.

Orias tipped his head, That sounded like he was trying to give me a hint, oh well... He stood up, the Spirits Path was oddly dark, he sighed, and thought of Hamark, he opened his eyes to rain, and narrowed his eyes.

"Hm, that's strange." He muttered, it was oddly quiet, he turned when he noticed dark smoke in the horizon, he thought, Fire.

He ran towards the smoke, he froze when it was Gwen's place, he thought quickly, Tharas! I might need your help!

With what? Tharas asked.

I'll tell you when you get here. Orias growled.

Theria, Ajin, and the other person were dragging people out of the building, but Theria called to the others, "There's still people in there! Get them out, Ajin!"

Orias saw a black cloaked person coming up to him, but realised it was Tharas, he mused, "Why do you need my help?" He asked carefully as he looked at the burning building.

Orias muttered, "I'm not under Solaris's control anymore right?"

Tharas stared at him for a long time, and shook his head, Orias growled, "I'm going to help Theria, just, wait here for a bit."

"What's-" Orias didn't give him time to ask.

Theria noticed Orias, but pushed him back, "Not a good idea! We can handle this." She said quickly.

"Oh yes, you're handling this perfectly, how many people are in there?" He asked.

Theria stared at him in disbelief, Ajin came back out of the burning building, guiding a person out of the smoke. Theria growled in frustration, and muttered, "Look, Orias, this isn't your fight."

Orias rolled his eyes, Ajin came up to them, coughing because of the smoke, "I can't get them out in time! That building is about to come down!" He rasped.

Orias looked at Theria, she stared at him back, and growled, "Fine, there's people stuck in there, I went in there and nearly got crushed, I'd go back in..." Theria glared at Ajin, and said nothing more, "The kings men are probably going to come back for more, so you two better hurry it up."

Ajin nodded, and ran back to the burning building, Orias rolled his eyes, and followed him, Orias called, "How many are stuck in there?"

"No idea!" He called back, he stopped at the door way when there was a log in the doorway, Ajin ducked and looked over it, and he groaned, "There's no way in..."

Orias looked around, then got an idea, "Oh, yes there is." He sneered.

Ajin stared at him as Orias closed his eyes, he envisioned the insides of the building, and opened his eyes to extreme heat, he turned to the doorway, and took out his sword, cutting off the part of the log that was blocking the doorway, letting Ajin in.

"That was cool." Ajin muttered.

They looked around, Orias looked at the structure, and he growled, "Ajin, get the people out, I'll hold the building up for as long as I can."

"How do you plan to do that?" He asked with a sneer.

"Just get them out." Orias snapped, Ajin relented, and went to find the people, Orias stared up at the building. Ajin was guiding Gwen past Orias, and rushed her out the door, Ajin asked jokingly, "How you holding up?"

"Don't distract me." Orias grunted.

Ajin led some more people out, Orias narrowed his eyes when some of the planks started to shift under the fire, Ajin finally got the last person out, Orias felt weird, he finally stopped looking at the building, and turned to Ajin, who was heading toward the front, Orias noticed a log above him start to crumble though.

"Mortals." Orias growled, and glared at Ajin, who got pushed forwards harshly outside, Ajin rolled away, and the log finally crumbled, Ajin looked back with shock in his eyes. Orias flinched when there was ominous creaking coming from the building.

He closed his eyes quickly, envisioning the outside, there was a creak, and he opened his eyes to see the sky and the building crumble in on itself, where he was moments before. He sat down, feeling lightheaded, "Ow."

Everyone was staring at him and the building in shock, everyone was silent with shock, including Tharas.

Orias waved nervously, Tharas stared at him in disbelief, while Theria stared at him in shock. Ajin stood up, brushing himself off, the fire was now dying down because of the rain. Everyone finally drew their eyes away from the building, and stared at him in disbelief.

He stood up, having to lean against a tree, Theria walked up to him cautiously, "Remind me never to go into a burning building again." Orias laughed weakly, coughing because of the smoke.

Theria looked at the other people, and called quickly, "The kings men are going to be here! You have to get out of here! Go to the mountain! They will help you there," she turned back to Orias, "Are you okay?" She asked.

Orias nodded, "Yeah, I'm fine, I'd like you to meet someone." He muttered when Tharas came up to him, and asked, "What was that?"

"What was what?" Orias asked.

Tharas shook his head, Theria murmured, "What?"

Orias smiled, "Technically, old gods aren't supposed to reveal themselves to mortals, let's just say Solaris hates that." He shrugged, "But, seeing as I'm not under Solaris's influence, that shouldn't apply to me." He muttered.

Tharas said quietly, "Think he'd care about that if you are or not?"

Orias sighed, and coughed again, "Tharas? Did... You know...?" He asked cautiously.

Tharas turned around to the building, staring at it for a long time, and shook his head, "No, everyone got out it seems." He muttered.

Orias heard Theria sigh beside him, Tharas shook his head, "Orias, Solaris is going to find out." He murmured quietly.

"Not if none of us mention it." Orias pointed out.

Tharas made a face, then murmured, "I wish that was possible, he is going to find out even if we forget about this." He turned back to Orias. Orias shrugged, and he disappeared.

Theria looked back at Orias, he asked, "What?"

"Are you okay?" Theria asked again.

Orias stared at her, and murmured, "I don't even know anymore." He looked back at the tree, trying to breath.

Theria asked quietly, "Why did that take a lot out of you?"

Orias shrugged, "Well, I almost got crushed, I was kind of in a hurry." He murmured, feeling even more tired than usual, he realised he was nodding off.

"You're exhausted..." Theria muttered.

Orias blinked, and nodded, "Yeah, it's weird." He muttered. He flinched when the shadows started to move and shift, but it was just Leilas. She walked up to him, but she didn't do anything, she growled, "You look horrible."

Theria whispered something Orias could barely hear, "He is going to be all right?" She asked quietly.

She's actually worried...? Orias thought, confused.

He saw Leilas shrug, Leilas walked up to him, "We need to get you some sleep and medicine..." She whispered gently, she turned back to Theria, and murmured, "If the kings men are coming, you're in danger, I'll take care of him." Leilas indicated to Orias.

Theria nodded slowly, and walked away, Leilas turned to Orias, and sighed sadly, "You've really done it this time, haven't you, Orias?"

Orias shrugged, "When haven't I done something?" He asked quietly.

"Good point, come on. That took a lot out of you, you seriously need rest now." Leilas said calmly.

"Oh yeah, and have another nightmare? No thanks." Orias hissed, trying to stand up.

Leilas smiled, "Well, why do you think I'm here? I can take those shadows, you can't right now." She muttered.

"Isn't that a bit dangerous?" Orias asked quietly.

Leilas looked back at the crumbling building, "Wasn't that a bit dangerous?" She asked curiously.

Orias rolled his eyes, Leilas grabbed his arm, and she brought him to his old home. He looked around, "It's been forever since I've been here."

"Yeah, that reminds me, go to sleep, let me handle the shades Solaris is sending after you." Leilas pushed him gently.

"Oh, is that what it is?" Orias asked darkly. He sat on the couch, "What if I don't feel like sleeping?" He asked.

Leilas eyed him, and he jumped back, Oh why did I say that?! He saw his vision darken, he felt like he was floating in an endless space. "Well, I guess this is better than the alternative."

He could see blurred images in the darkness, he looked forwards when a shape joined him, it's icy blue eyes staring at him critically, he growled, "Who are you to judge?"

It seemed to growl, Orias said quietly. "You're not a shade, I know that."

It narrowed it's eyes, Orias widened his eyes when it's wings seemed to spread out, truly revealing it's size. It outstretched it's claws, and started to hiss.

Orias muttered, "What are you-?"

It snarled loudly, and the darkness seemed to be expelled, Orias realised he was on Guagamela, and it was still standing, but what he was looking up at, wasn't human.

The dragon was staring down at him, it's icy white scales shivering. Orias looked down at his hands, and realised that he was slowly disappearing. He sighed, "Are you telling me something? I can't understand you."

The dragon beat it's wings, and indicated to the mountain behind him, Orias looked, and saw Tharas's and Garaos's mountain, it was pitch black. Orias laughed sarcastically, "Haha, very funny, not a good idea to go there."

The dragon snarled at him, anger flaring in it's eyes. Orias flinched, I recognize that type of anger. The dragon stared at the mountain, livid. Orias watched as it outstretched it's wings, and the vision ended.

He blinked open his eyes, Leilas was standing above him, and she asked, "Feeling better?"

"Um, I guess so?" He mused. He rubbed his head, and Leilas tipped her head. 

"You didn't see anything, right?" She asked in a hushed tone.

"Nothing relevent." Orias sighed, sitting up, "Um, Tharas and Garaos were having the same problem right?" Orias asked quietly, and looked at Leilas. Leilas nodded.

'"Yes, but not as bad as you." Leilas pointed out.

Orias nodded, "All right, I'm going to Hamark." He muttered, standing up quickly.

"You're kidding." Leilas growled.

"I'm not." Orias growled back, walking outside. Leilas followed him.

Leilas muttered, "Don't let Solaris catch you, I know what you're up to." She growled.

"Good, you'll understand why I'm doing this at some point." Orias said flatly, and looked back at her. Leilas shook her head, Orias closed his eyes, and imagined the mountain. He opened his eyes, staring up at the White City.

Orias looked around, there was smoke in the distance. "What are you doing here?" A voice asked.

He turned towards the base of the mountain, Ajin was leaning against one of the rocks, eyebrows raised. Orias asked, "Why are you acting so hostile?"

Ajin narrowed his eyes, "Everyone knows what you are." He pointed out harshly.

"Yes, so? Remember when I saved your life?" Orias asked, and narrowed his eyes.

Ajin looked up at the sky thoughtfully, "People are not sure whether you're a friend, or an enemy." He pointed out coldly.

"After we both saved their lives? I'm definately not their enemy." Orias said quietly.

Ajin took a step toward him, "Yeah, but how long will that last? Old gods, they're evil, every single one of them. Why would they care about what happens to mortals? Wouldn't they relish the thought of us fighting amongst ourselves?" He asked quietly.

Orias raised an eye-brow, "We're evil? What gave you that idea? You realise it's because of one of the olds gods that you have all this life around you at all? You realise that the older gods gave you a sun, a moon, light? And without one of the other gods, you'd be nothing, but wandering spirits or shades? Ask yourself Ajin," Orias took a step forward, Ajin stepped back, "Who's the evil one, which old god is evil, because I don't know, and if the old gods aren't evil, then who is?"

Ajin was about to say something, but Theria came walking down the steppes, a book in hand, "Okay, Ajin, I'm-" She stopped when she saw the two staring daggers at each-other, "Ready...?" She mused.

Ajin shrugged, "All right, let's go then." He walked away, putting his mask on. Theria walked up to Orias.

"What did he say to you?" Theria asked curiously.

"Just..." Orias stopped, I-I can't lie... I won't say anything. He shrugged, "Nothing relevent right now."

Theria raised an eye-brow, "All right, you'll tell me eventually," She put on her mask, Orias flinched when it still looked like a dragon. She said calmly, "I'll be back."

Orias shrugged, and watched her leave. He frowned, Am I... Evil? He thought grimly.

He heard a noise behind him, and relaxed when it was just Garaos. He narrowed his eyes when Garaos asked curiously, "What's the matter? Did the mortal say something?"

"No, not really," Orias said calmly, and crossed his arms, "I just find their thoughts weird, yet I guess fascinating in a way, especially when they're openly honest about it."

Garaos looked at him thoughtfully. "Well, mortals never really know if they're telling the truth or not, they have limited knowledge about the things around them." He said calmly.

Orias stared at him suspiciously, and he murmured, "You've got to give them more credit then that, some of them are pretty impressive, for mortals."

Garaos only shrugged, Orias narrowed his eyes when Garaos said nothing else. Garaos sighed, "Whatever, I guess you're right." He walked away from Orias, who watched him walk away stiffly.

Orias made a face, All right, that was odd, even for him. He thought darkly.

He looked up when there was a loud noise. He frowned, What was that? Orias started to walk towards it, but he heard someone say behind him, "I wouldn't do that, old god."

He turned around, and saw a aged women staring at him grimly, and he asked quietly, "Who are you?"

"Theria told me a lot about you, I'm Ora, I'm the village elder," She bowed, Orias tipped his head, and she looked back up, "You do not need to worry, they are safe."

Orias said, "I don't get why you mortals never accept help."

Ora laughed gently, "It's not that we don't need help, or won't accept it, we do need help. We wait though. Theria's smart, she would never lead the people she cares for into a lost cause, it's not that she doesn't want help, or your help for that matter," Ora eyed Orias, "You're one of the people she's fighting so hard to protect, the king is after you and the other old gods you know."

Orias nodded, "I know that, but I'm not used to just sitting by." He muttered.

Ora looked on thoughtfully, and she murmured, "Maybe there is a way you can help."

He looked back at her, and asked, "What? How can I help?"

"The morale of my people are low, they need someone with you know, talking skills. But they also need someone who knows what to say," Ora said calmly, "I want you to help Theria."

Orias raised an eye-brow as Ora continued, "She doesn't need to know, she just has a hard time trying to get out what she wants to say."

"You want me to control her?" Orias asked curiously.

"Not control, nudge, you can, can't you?" Ora asked calmly.

Orias frowned, then nodded, he murmured, "All right, I'll go do that." He walked away, Ora looked like she wanted to say something, but she said nothing.

Chapter 4

Do not be afraid

Words are powerful

Orias followed where he thought Theria and Ajin went. He stopped when there was a couple camp-fires. There was a bunch of people though, and they were chatting quietly among themselves. Orias saw Ajin and Theria staring at the groups of people with exasperated expressions on their faces.

Orias looked at Theria, then sighed, he heard someone ask, "So, what do we do, Theria? The king has us outnumbered."

Theria only looked around nervously, Orias sighed, and hid behind a tree, "What have I gotten myself into?" He murmured, then closed his eyes. He imagined the clearing, full of people, but Theria stood out like a light, her soul lit bright. He murmured, "It's just a nudge, I'm not going to control her..."

He listened as Theria seemed to change. He heard her say, "We can't give up, not yet, our lives our too short, if we leave this to our next generation, this will never end. This war needs to stop, this control the king has, all the suffering needs to stop," Orias took a breath, and so did she, "So what if he outnumbers us? We know what we're fighting for, and we'll do whatever is necessary to protect the ones we love!"

Orias flinched when he started getting a head-ache, his time was up, Theria knows what she wants to say now. He opened his eyes, and looked back. Ajin was staring at Theria in shock, Theria had a smirk on her face, and she said, "It's hard, the lives we live. We need to do this not for us, but for the ones who will come after us, I refuse to die like this, treated as if I'm nothing! I know you feel the same way, but the fact that the king is fighting back, he thinks we're a threat, and we are, but we also have the element of surprise, don't give up, we've come so far just to let the king have his way."

The people seemed to nod, some just stared at Theria in confusion, but they soon all smiled, and nodded. Orias sighed, and sat down. The chatter grew distinctly louder, he heard someone walk up to the tree Orias was sitting behind, the person sat down also, and murmured, "Thank you, Orias, I needed that push."

Orias loooked back, Theria was staring up at the sky, she asked, "I always knew what to say, but I wasn't sure how."

"I didn't like doing that." Orias turned away from her, and looked down at the ground.

Theria smiled, "It was different, it was like all the doubts I had, they were kind of dulled, I guess," She said quietly. She looked around the tree, "Orias... Why though?" She asked curiously

"Because I want to help." Orias murmured, "I may not have long, Solaris is making me paranoid, so I want to help you." He turned to look at her.

She frowned, "You don't have to do that, Orias." She whispered.

Orias shrugged, "Too late, I'm in it now, maybe with an old god, they might get more confident." Orias pointed at the groups who were talking excitedly.

Theria still looked doubtful. Orias shrugged, and she murmured, "All right, but what about Solaris, I thought if you told mortals who you were... He would..."

"I got released remember, those rules don't exactly apply to me."  Orias pointed out, and stood up, stretching.

Theria nodded, blue fire back in her eyes. "Well then come on!" She said excitedly.

"Come on where?" Orias asked, he jumped when she grabbed him by the arm, and pulled him out from the shade of the tree, everyone turned to look at them. Orias made a face.

Theria let go of him, and he caught his balance, Ajin looked shocked.

Theria waved, "I want you all to meet somebody!" She said loudly.

They all looked at each-other confused, then looked back at her. She said calmly, "This is Orias, an old god."

Orias rolled his eyes when some of them shuffled away from him nervously, but Theria wasn't as tolerant, she asked darkly, "What's the matter?" She took a threatening step forward.

Ajin looked around at them, they said nothing, and only looked down at the ground uncomfortably.

Orias watched as Ajin muttered, "Theria, are you sure this is a good idea? We can barely trust anyone else, what makes you think we can trust their kind?" He nodded to Orias.

Theria stared at Ajin in disbelief, "What makes you say that?" She asked curiously.

Orias crossed his arms, "Because some motals have this belief that all of us are evil, and would delight in mortals suffering." He muttered calmly.

Theria turned around to him, "Who told you that?" She asked in shock.

Orias indicated his head to Ajin, Theria turned back to Ajin, she asked grimly, "Is that what all of you think? Even you Ajin?"

Ajin nodded, while the others just bowed their heads. Theria mused, "You do realise he saved your life, Ajin?"

"Yes." Ajin growled. Orias noticed his hand move towards the hilt of his sword, Orias smirked, and closed his eyes.

"You really want to do this?" He asked calmly.

Everyone looked up at him. Ajin drew his sword, "Prove to me that you're not evil, Orias, no tricks, no powers, nothing that'll give you the edge over me." He muttered calmly.

Orias raised an eye-brow, he took out his own sword, then passed it to Theria, "Give me your sword." Orias muttered.

Theria took his sword, then passed her own, Orias watched as Ajin looked shocked, Orias said calmly, "You told me no tricks, that includes the part of my defense."

Orias watched as his sword glowed dimly, and went out, Theria whispered, "Are you sure about this Orias?"

"What could happen?" Orias asked, and shrugged.

Everyone else stepped back a bit. Orias twitched when he felt the strange hatred rise again, he tried to push it down, and thought, Not now! Anytime but now! He may be ignorant, but I don't want to hurt him.

He started hearing a light buzzing noise also, Theria asked quietly, "Are you okay?"

Orias didn't answer, Ajin lept forward, and Orias dodged clumsily. Ajin turned quickly towards him. The buzzing noise seemed to grow nearer.

Orias dodged another swipe, and images flashed in his vision, but he could still see around him. He stumbled backwards, he noticed Theria looked down at his sword in confusion. It started to get an icy texture to it.

Theria stepped forward, but Orias stopped her, "I can do this without it." He growled through the vision.

Ajin however stopped also, he frowned, Theria however didn't back down, she asked quietly, "What's going on? Why are you shaking like that?"

He dropped the sword, and rubbed his head, Ajin sheathed his sword, and looked at Theria.

Theria asked again, "Orias? What's wrong, you're very pale." She commented.

"Is he a seer?" Someone called from the crowd.

Theria looked at the person, who was watching Orias with keen interest. She looked at Orias, who nodded.

"He's having a vision, kind of impressive that he can still stand." They commented.

Theria looked down at the sword, then passed it back to Orias, whose vision went dark with images as soon as he touched it.

He saw the destroyed Guagamela again, but it seemed different, more recent, there were still fires around, he also saw red at the edges of his vision, but Tharas's mountain seemed normal enough, even though Orias sensed a tense feeling coming from it.

He had a huge head-ache, he blinked a couple times, but the vision continued, it seemed like he was stuck in it.

Orias looked around. The cave was resonating anger, but not hatred. He tried to relax, but couldn't, he felt on edge.

Soon the fires slowed a bit, and it started raining. The mood changed drastically, the anger had turned to sadness and disbelief, Orias raised an eye-brow.

"Well seems whenever you have a vision I get it to now." Someone commented.

Orias jumped, but relaxed when it was just Leilas, she was leaning in the shadows of the crumbled pillars, she smirked, and said calmly, "You might not know it, but I feel the sadness even more then you do."

Orias noiced that she seemed tired, and he muttered, "I've seen this a tons of times though, do I really need to see it again?" He asked.

Leilas shrugged, "That depends." She mused.

"On what?" Orias asked.

"Does anything seem different?" Leilas asked.

Orias muttered, "The feeling's changed."

"Has it? At first, you said that you felt hatred, but was it hatred, or frustration, or something else entirely?" Leilas asked curiously.

Orias shrugged, "I don't know, the sadness is definately new." He said quietly.

Leilas nodded, "Indeed, but for now, this is nothing but a vision." She muttered.

"Which means whatever we're doing to stop these events isn't working," Orias mused, "Or we're making it worse, or it's getting nearer, making it more vivid." He shrugged.

Leilas mused, "So much explanations, what's logical?" She asked.

"I'm seeing things." Orias said sarcastically.

"Haha." Leilas sneered.

Orias made a face, and he said cooly, "Hey Leilas, since you're so smart, tell me something."

"Like what?" Leilas asked calmly.

"Are we evil?" Orias asked tiredly.

Leilas looked at him thoughtfully, "Well, in a way, we are, however you don't seem to have that yet, of course, only a part of us is I guess 'evil' as the humans say it, even though they have it to, everyone does." She commented.

Orias raised an eye-brow when the vision started shivering, she must not have seen it though, as she continued on, even though he couldn't hear her.

The vision suddenly ended, he jumped back, and smashed his head into a tree.

"Ow." He rubbed his head, his vision unfocused, everyone was staring at him. He shook his head quickly, then looked up at the tree.

"Are you okay?" Theria asked quietly.

"i'm fine, what happened?" Orias asked.

Theria looked at him thoughtfully, "Well, you went quiet for a minute, then you backed up quickly and smashed your head into the tree." She pointed out.

"Oops." Orias sighed.

Theria realised everyone was staring at him, and she shooed them, "We have stuff to do, go on!" She said quickly, they walked away bregrudgingly, including Ajin.

Theria leaned forward, "Why didn't you tell me Ajin said that?" Theria asked quietly.

"Because it wasn't relevent." Orias said calmly.

Theria rolled her eyes, "Listen, Orias, whatever you or Ajin may believe, that's your choice, but I'm not fighting this fight just for nothing, I hope you know that, I can make choices for myself too." She said darkly.

Orias raised an eye-brow as she stood up straight, "I know the old gods can be evil their own right, but all I've seen is people just like us, misunderstood and as lost as we are, at least the old gods I've seen anyways. You, Leilas, even Tharas. You all seem different from the stereotypical old god."

"How are we different?" Orias asked cooly.

Theria turned to him, "You all seem to have something human inside, not dark, not even mean, the others, including Ajin, don't want to admit it, and you probably don't either, but you are just like us, the only thing different about us is the fact that I don't live forever, yet you do." She said calmly.

"Don't remind me," Orias muttered, and sighed, "I've watched mortals grow up, grow old, and die, I guess that's one of the reasons we try not to get too attached, because Theria, as you grow old, and have a family. I can never have that, and I will never change, I can't imagine the pain one might go through if they lost someone close to them simply because you don't live that long compared to us, it's kind of depressing to think about."

"Well, Orias, um, have you ever realised why they were taken off guard?" Theria asked carefully.

Orias shook his head, and Theria whispered, "You look unnatural."

Orias raised an eye-brow, "Um, unnatural how?" He asked carefully.

"Well, let's put it this way, you look human, but it's different, you've looked in water, right? Seen your reflection?" Theria asked.

Orias nodded, Theria brushed her hair, "Well, did you look closely? We don't have to look as close, not when we aren't used to you." She pointed out.

Orias stared at her confused, and she sighed, "Just follow me." She stood up straight, and walked away, he followed her quickly.

She pointed at a weirdly shimmering pond, Orias asked, "What's this place?"

"This pond is believed to lead to the Spirit Worlds, a soul mirror, I assume you've never looked closely in a soul mirror." Theria said calmly, staring flatly at her reflection.

Orias rolled his eyes, then looked at his reflection for a long time, he sighed, "I don't get it." He thought grimly, I look like I've always had.

"It's the same with Leilas and Tharas, although Tharas seems more otherworldy than you two." Theria waved her hand.

Orias muttered, "That's probably because he's older than us..." He faltered, then looked at Theria, "Wait, are you trying to say..." He mused.

Theria nodded, Orias looked back at the pool, Tharas had commented that him and Leilas looked eeriely alike, with the same shadow black hair, and piecing hazel eyes, except Orias's eyes were on the dark blue side, while Leilas had more deep brown.

Orias nodded, "I see..." He mused, "I also get why you would say Tharas is otherworldly." He stood up straight, an muttered, "But wouldn't I have to you know, blend in if I'm going to be of any help?"

"That's part of the reason we have these masks," she grabbed hers from her neck, and took it off, Orias narrowed his eyes, "Not only to hide, but to be invisible, unknown." Theria commented.

Orias noticed the shadows start to shift, he said calmly, "I'll be back." He walked into the shadows.

He landed in the Lower Spirit World, Leilas was sitting calmly on a log, she asked, "What's up?"

"You tell me, you're the one that called me." Orias pointed out.

Leilas frowned, "There's something I need to tell you." She said quietly, her eyes losing their blue fire.

Orias raised an eye-brow, "Okay, there haven't been many times where you honestly scared me, but this. This is new." He laughed airily. He looked around nervously.

Leilas looked at the ground, "Tharas had a vision, but this one, he remembered clearly, too clearly if I'm honest." She muttered.

Orias asked carefully, "What did he see?"

She sighed, "You're not going to like this, that's why I have to show you, and you have to promise not to..."

"Not to what?" Orias asked.

Leilas stared at him in grief, she murmured, "Just, not to tell Theria, no mortal, no one at all." She whispered quietly.

"Fine, whatever, I promise." Orias muttered, and waved his hand.

Leilas blinked, Orias watched as she stood up, and walked towards him, he started having second thoughts. He froze when light entered his vision. Leilas had taken him to what Tharas had seen.

"Knowledge is a dangerous thing, it can destroy whole kingdoms." Leilas muttered beside him. Orias realised that he was on Guagamela, but it wasn't in ruins, but from the dragon that was staring around, it was going to be.

"Why show me this, I've seen it already." Orias muttered.

"No, you haven't." Leilas whispered.

The dragon glared right at Orias with pure venom, Orias flinched back. It turned back to Tharas's mountain, nostrils flaring, eyes full of blue flames. Leilas sighed, "This isn't the present, this is the future..." 

Orias stared at the dragon some more, but realised with a jolt that the venom was nothing more than a cover, by the way the dragon was writhing, it seemed to be more than angry. It was like it was in pain.

Orias sighed, "Right, but..." He looked around Guagamela sadly.

Leilas commented, "You won't find her."

Orias stared at Leilas, and the vision seemed to fast forward. Orias realised he was on Tharas's mountain, but it seemed different, unwelcoming.

He watched a women he never saw before huffed up the steps, arms crossed. Orias asked, "Who's this?" He went to poke her, but he just passed right though her.

"I don't know, Tharas was kind of mum on that." Leilas walked up the women also, and stared down at her, Orias looked at where she was looking, and realised it was Hamark, but not the Hamark he knew. This Hamark seemed dead, lifeless. Orias narrowed his eyes, and looked at Leilas.

"Leilas, what's going on? What's happening?" Orias asked.

Leilas grimaced, "Get prepared to see this picture, this is the fall of the old gods, and that includes me and you." She said coldly.

"Fall... Leilas, I only saw Tharas fall, not us." Orias said quickly.

Leilas stared at him, then pointed at Karai, where Azarath was located. He could somewhat see the spires of Azarath, but he realised with a jolt that it was in ruins.

"Looks like the destruction of Azarath is a go." Leilas growled darkly.

They both jumped when someone came running up the stairs, the women turned to stare at the newcomer.

Orias stared at the newcomer. He looked no older than 18, but there was something about him that was familiar. He was talking quickly with the women, who looked shocked.

"Leilas..." Orias muttered, walking up to him.

"I don't know who that is either, don't ask." Leilas shrugged.

Orias however, was staring at the two, their souls were immortal, Orias thought, Weird... Old gods have this weird power always around them, but these two, they look and act mortal... What... How could they have become immortal.

"Orias, are you all right?" Leilas asked.

"These two, they were once mortal..." Orias mused.

"What?! How can you tell?!" Leilas asked, and ran next to him.

Orias stared at them both, "Just look at them, Leilas, I think this one is really honestly 18." He pointed to the young man, who had gone silent.

Leilas was about to say something, when the young man turned to face Orias. Orias jumped back, he was met with Theria's fiery blue eyes, however, the man just shrugged, and continued talking avidly.

"What?" Leilas asked.

"What colour are his eyes?" Orias rasped.

"Grey, why?" Leilas said calmly.

"They're blue..." Orias whispered in horror.

"Um, Orias, I'm pretty sure they're grey." Leilas said quietly.

Orias stared, "Look Leilas, you can't see as deep into souls as I can, and eyes are practically mirrors of the soul, what you're seeing is his immortality, not his humanity." He said quickly.

Leilas shrugged, "Whatever you say, Orias." She was more interested in the mountain. However, Orias continued watching the two, they were soon joined by a third, Orias raised an eye-brow, "Tharas?"

Leilas looked up quickly, and ran to Orias. They watched as the third walked up to them cooly, Orias thought, Hmm, that's not Tharas... Tharas looks a bit older than that, and with more whiter eyes...

The third seemed to be telling the other two something, they all stared at each-other nervously. The vision began to shift, and they were at Azarath, it was in ruins.

Orias followed Leilas to the temple, it was also in ruins, but was more intact than the rest of the place. The vision soon ended, and both Orias and Leilas were sitting on the ground.

"All right, what did I just see?" Orias asked.

"The future, you were right Orias, we can't stop what's going to happen." Leilas was on the verge of tears, and was shaking clearly, "Which means... Tharas... He's going to..."

Orias wasn't sure what to do, I've never seen Leilas like this. What do I do? What can I do?

Orias tipped his head, "Hey, Leilas?"

Leilas looked at him, and he said confidently, "I'm not going to let Tharas die, I will stop this, no matter what it takes, even if I myself, have to die to stop this."

Leilas grimaced, "You sound like Theria, I don't want to lose you either, Orias." She murmured.

Orias only frowned. He sighed, "Leilas, when is this going to happen?"

Leilas stared at him, then she shrugged, "I honestly don't know, we need to figure out what those immortals were." She said quickly. Orias nodded in agreement.

"We also need to make sure Tharas or Garaos don't do anything dangerous, we have to keep Solaris away from Garaos." Orias added quickly.

Leilas asked, "What about the dragon?"

Orias shrugged, I'm still not sure about the dragon, I'd like to avoid it, but something tells me I can't. He thought grimly. Leilas stared, and finally nodded.

Orias muttered, "For now, I'm going to repair the barrier around Guagamela, I'm at my full power again, and this time I'm not going to make any mistakes." He growled.

Leilas quickly disappeared. He closed his eyes, and imagined Guagamela. He found himself staring up at the mountain. He could see the barrier fighting to stay up. He sighed, and closed his eyes, he could hear the shiver of energy climb up the mountain quickly. He opened his eyes to see the barrier pulsating with energy.

Orias looked back at the castle in the distance, "Try getting through that..." He murmured.

He turned back to the mountain thoughtfully.

"Hello, Orias." Someone muttered darkly behind him. He jumped back, but realised it was Garaos, he had his arms crossed, and his gaze was flat.

Orias stared at him, and asked, "Is there a problem?"

Garaos looked around in curiosity, then looked back at Orias, "No, nothing is wrong in particular." He took a threatening step towards Garaos, Orias took a step back.

Garaos unsheathed his sword, Orias snapped, "You've gone crazy."

"Crazy? No, I've seen the truth," Garaos growled, and narrowed his menacing green eyes, "You cannot fool me, dragon, not anymore." He snarled.

Orias looked around quickly, and thought, Ah, what do I do, what do I do.

Orias jumped when he was inches away from him, he threw a punch at his face, and hit him, causing Garaos to fall backwards. "What the hell Orias?!" He snapped.

Orias was about to throw another punch, but quickly realised that Garaos's eyes had turned to their soft brown, he was rubbing his face where Orias had punched him. "Garaos, what do you mean? You're the one threatening me!" Orias pointed out.

"Threatening you, what the hell are you talking about?! Also..." Garaos looked around, "How did... Okay next minute I was on the mountain, and now I'm here on the ground because you punched me." He grumbled.

Orias stared at him in growing fear, Garaos looked up at him, "Orias? What happened?" He asked curiously.

"You... You don't remember?" Orias asked nervously. Garaos only stared at him as if Orias was the one that had gone crazy. Orias brushed his hair with his hand, "Oh, this cannot be happening."

Garaos looked at him fearfully, "Orias, I have no idea what's happening." He murmured quietly.

Orias only blinked tiredly, "Nothing, maybe I'm too tired." He murmured.

"You need sleep?" Garaos asked curiously.

"I don't know anymore." Orias muttered quietly.

Garaos stood up quickly, "Well, your strength certainly hasn't been worn out." He commented, and rubbed his face.

Orias shrugged, and looked back up at the mountain, he muttered, "Well, see you later, Garaos." He started to walk away from the old god, but he called him back.

"Orias?" Garaos asked.

Orias narrowed his eyes, and asked, "What?" 

"Why did you punch me in the face, really?" Garaos asked curiously.

"You were acting weird." Orias admitted, and continued up the mountain, and ignored Garaos furthur. He reached the mountain peak, it was quite busy, so he put his cloak hood up, and looked around nervously.

"Why are you hiding?" Someone questioned him, he jumped, but relaxed when it was only Theria, he noticed that she was having some trouble carrying two stacks of books.

"You scared me, and I'm hiding because I don't want people to look at me like they did down there." He muttered, and grabbed a stack from her, she sighed.

"Just ignore them, they'll come around." She said cooly.

Orias shook his head as he followed her, "Mortals are never really keen with stuff they don't understand." He muttered, and looked at the other mortals cautiously.

"That's because we're curious, we always need to know how things work, how big things can get, and how big our world is." Theria muttered, putting the books down on a table outside her house, "Which is why we write, which is why we document things we learn, why we're so curious and inquisitive to learn more, they don't hate you, they're curious of you, intrigued by you, and yes, scared of you." She added.

Orias rolled his eyes, and watched as a child ran up to Theria, holding another book, Theria took the book from the child, and the child hopped away without a second look at Orias.

"That was strange." Orias muttered, Theria raised an eye-brow.

"What about it was strange?" Theria asked.

"That child didn't even look at me, everyone's been staring at me ever since I revealed who I am." Orias said calmly.

"That's probably because in a childs eyes, you really aren't that different from the rest of us," Theria pointed out calmly. Orias blinked, and sighed. Theria muttered, "What's the matter?"

"Why is it you mortals want to avoid death? Why do you search for something you'll never find without us?" Orias asked quietly.

Theria shrugged, "Some people are afraid of what lies ahead, and will do anything to halt life, to escape it," She muttered, then eyed Orias, "And you say 'without us' does that mean there is a way?" She asked curiously.

"Yeah, there is," Orias muttered darkly. Theria blinked at him, and he sighed, "You've got to promise me you'll never seek it, you do not want immortality, I would never wish this on anybody."

Theria said calmly, "I promise."

Orias looked down at the rocky ground, "The old gods were born immortal, even though we never really exactly remember how we were born, it's like we just appeared, mortals however, are different, you're born from another, brought into this world by real love, something that we have a hard time comprehending." He said quietly, "As far as I know, old gods are not capable of love, of attachment, because we're thought of as evil, immortality sounds tempting, I know, but try watching all you love slowly wither away, while you stay the same as if frozen in time, it's not that great, it hurts, it hurts in a lot of ways."

Theria listened quietly, and Orias continued, "The soul is delicate, no matter who it is, it is what we are, who we are, you cannot lie to yourself, no matter how hard you try, to make someone immortal, they first must experience death, and come back, forced away from the Spirit World, and that hurts." Orias growled.

"So... Like raising the dead?" Theria questioned.

"Almost, but not exactly, as soon as the soul's reached the border of the Spirit World, they must be immediately brought back by an old god before they touch the veil between." Orias explained.

Theria blinked, and muttered, "I don't want immortality anyways, so don't worry about me Orias." She smiled.

Orias smiled back, and she continued, "Death is part of the cycle, you can't stop it, time stops for nothing." She kicked a rock off the edge.

He nodded quietly, Theria looked at him, "You're tired. You should get some sleep." She muttered, and pointed at the house. Orias shrugged, and looked at all the books.

"Are you sure you don't need help?" He asked quietly.

"I'm not carrying them anywhere else, no." Theria muttered, and pointed at the house again. Orias got the message, and walked inside her house, he saw the unfinished boat on a stand, and looked at it closely, She's very handy... He thought quietly, and walked into the guest room.

He sighed, about to lay down, but froze. He felt weird, he looked around quickly. The shadows seemed to grow larger, he took out his sword slowly, eyeing the shadows. They seemed to freeze at the sight of his sword, he looked down at the ground. He jumped when Theria walked in, she blinked, and she asked, "You all right?"

Orias, however, looked around quickly as the shadows shifted, he growled, "I'm..."

Theria took a step in the room, the shadows froze, Orias flinched, but they seemed to retract from her, as if scared. Theria looked around, and said quietly, "Nothing is here, Orias."

Orias blinked a couple times, and the shadows seemed to return to normal, he shook his head, "I'm... I was just..." He stammered.

"Orais, relax, you're getting yourself worked up again, you need sleep." Theria murmured gently.

Orias only nodded, and Theria stepped out of the room again, he layed down, and immediately fell asleep. He woke up in the dream world, he brushed his hand through his hair, he looked around, and stood up. He looked around at the sky, and jumped when the dragon came out of the forest, it's ice blue eyes narrowed.

"What do you want?" Orias asked, and stared up at it. It blinked, and whipped it's tail back and forth, it looked around also, and then looked up at the sky.

They both jumped when something in the distance called his name, Orias blinked as the dream started to shiver. He sat up in the bed, and looked around quickly, but it was silent. He got up, and looked out the window, he sighed, and jumped when Theria walked in, she looked irritated, but asked, "You feel better?"

"Yeah, a bit." Orias muttered, he looked back at her, and asked, "Are you all right?"

Theria nodded, "Yeah, I'm fine." She murmured, Orias looked down at the ground, she commented, "You seem nervous."

Orias blinked a couple times, and looked back up, "It's nothing, it's just a feeling I'm getting." He said calmly, and waved his hand dismissivly. He eyed the window again, Theria also looked outside.

"There's nothing there..." Theria pointed out, and shrugged. Orias shuffled nervously, Theria looked back at him, and she murmured, "Are you sure you're all right?"

"I just need some air." Orias muttered, and walked out of the house. Theria followed him quietly. It was slightly windy, but the mountain air was cooled from the late winter air.

Theria started pacing, Orias asked, "Is something the matter?"

"I honestly don't know, you saw how little morale my people have, Orias, and I honestly can't blame them." Theria muttered, and looked around quickly.

Orias looked down at the ground thoughtfully. He murmured, "You should just take a walk to think sometimes." He looked back up at her, and she stopped pacing.

"I have no real time for myself." Theria murmured.

Orias tipped his head, and thought quickly, then asked quickly, "Is there anything going on right now?"

Theria shook her head, and asked, "Hey, I've got another question, about Azarath."

Orias raised an eye-brow, he murmured, "Eh, it's a really big city, but deep inside I guess the part of it, it's where the Temple of the Old Gods is, we don't really use it, Tharas goes there sometimes for some reason or another, I've only ever been in there once, it's got this really big mosiac on the ceiling, it's got the stars the sun and the moon on it, and it glitters in both lights, and the rain, it's quite beautiful..." He blinked, and looked back at Theria, who looked mildly curious, he said quickly, "But, I find Guagamela a whole lot more interesting to be honest, but I guess that's because I'm not from here, I mean, you'd find Azarath cool, but for me, it's all right, nothing too spectacular."

Theria laughed, "That's how I feel about Guagmela, as I said before, I like this place and all, but it does get boring, and with the rebellion going on, instead of interesting, it's dark, and when you're fighting, you don't know what might happen to your friends, or yourself for that matter." she looked at Orias sadly.

Orias frowned, and looked up at the dark sky, he looked back at Theria, and murmured, "You've got to win, Theria."

Theria raised an eye-brow at him, she smiled, "We're trying, Orias, but the thing is, who knows how long this war will last, it may not last long after I'm gone." She whispered.

Orias looked down at the rocks, then looked straight, where Tharas's mountain was, piercing the sky with it's grey top, he narrowed his eyes, then looked around, people were whispering to eachother, he noted their shakiness, and the hidden fear in their eyes. He took a deep breath, and looked at Theria, who stared at him, he murmured, "I'll help."

Theria whispered, "It's not your fight."

"Then I'll make it mine." Orias said coldly. He narrowed his eyes, "The king thinks he'll win against us, let's show him he can't."

He noticed something spark in Theria's eyes, he watched as she took out her dragon necklace, and smiled softly, "I think I know what to use as a motivation." She said quietly. She took off the necklace, "The dragon... Has always beeen a sign of great power, of protection, of strength." She looked at Orias, and the fire had returned in her eyes. "The king has never liked stories of dragons, thinking that he was above all." She pointed out.

She looked back at her necklace, "My mother made this for me, she taught me and many of Guagamela residents how to make necklaces like this, I know what to do."

Orias suddenly remembered Tharas's words as he stared at the dragon, Think bigger...? He didn't mean the dragon in my visions? Or did he mean something more symbolic? Or did he mean both...

Orias watched as Tharas looked back at the gate, where Ajin was whispering quickly to others, who were nodding determinedly.

Ajin looked back at Theria, who twirled the necklace in her hands, Orias raised an eye-brow when Ajin widened his eyes, and finally nodded in understanding. Orias widened his eyes when he also took out the same dragon necklace, the two others that were with him widened their eyes, and took out their necklaces, and looked down at them, then looked at eachother in excitement.

"It's time," Theria said quietly, putting the necklace back on, "Orias, if you're willing to fight with us, rely on us, trust us, we're going to be behind you the whole way."

She started walking towards Ajin, and Orias followed. Ajin smiled hopefully, Theria murmured, "Let's do it, now's the time."

"You've got it," Ajin said quickly. He turned to the others who stood stiffly in front of him, "Send the message to the camp, the king won't expect this one." He added.

They smiled as well, Orias tipped his head when Theria turned to him, "Thanks to you, Orias, we might win this war."

"What's going on?" Orias asked curiously.

Ajin murmured, "The real fight is about to begin, and this time, we're not holding back." He looked at Orias determinedly.

Theria put on her hood, then said, "Now, there's no need for masks."

Ajin and Theria started walking down the mountain, Theria looked back, and asked, "You coming or not?"

Orias nodded, and followed them down the mountain, he looked back at the cave nervously, the dragon flashing in his vision. He heard thunder above them, he shivered. They reached the forest, and Orias looked around, and looked at Theria. They once again reached the camp, people that were there looked up curiously.

Theria whispered, "It's time." She took out her dragon necklace. They all stared at her in shock, then smiled, one of them asked, "Finally? We've waited so long..."

Theria nodded, Orias blinked when they took out the same necklace, Theria whispered, "For years, we were forced to hide, this symbol is all we had left of what Hamark used to be, it gave us hope, it is not a force to fear, it's a force that had given us a reason to fight, to fight for what we used to be, what we are, and what we stood for," Theria looked up at her group, "Now, it's time to fight back." She said calmly.

She looked back at Orias, and smiled knowingly, he blinked, she whispered, "Everyone regards these creatures as evil, they are all but extinct, but they were always protectors, and not always of treasure... Not literal treasure anyways, but where they are gone, I think I know someone who might have been made with their last remnents.." She smiled hopefully.

Orias blinked, and everyone stared at him, Theria turned to him, and asked, "Orias, how were the old gods made?"

Orias tipped his head, and everyone looked at him curiously. He murmured, "Um... Well, we're not born by human means, if that's what you mean, we're not born of love of what a human can make, which is why I guess we don't have that part of us."

Theria nodded, and Orias continued, "I don't even remember when I was 'born' it's been so long, it's kind of fuzzy, but since I'm the youngest, I might be able to go into my repressed memories and find it. Solaris represses our memories when something happens, and I'm the only one that ever seems to be able to remember."

Everyone stared at him curiously, Theria blinked, and signalled for him to follow her. He complied, and they walked through the forest together. Orias asked, "I'm guessing you want this to be kept between me and you?"

Theria nodded, "Right, you can tell them whenever you're ready, but the book was very mum on your creations." She looked up at Orias curiously.

Orias sighed, and closed his eyes, "I don't know, there was Yuna and Solaris, I think there was another one, but, Yuna and Solaris don't know how to create life." He said calmly.

Theria murmured, "With that, you all shouldn't be alive."

"But we are... Not even Tharas is sure of our origins, he's the oldest, he won't remember." Orias pointed out.

Theria asked, "You can though?"

"It's fuzzy." Orias admitted. Orias blinked when she smiled.

She murmured, "How humans are born is curious, but I won't bore you with the details of it."

Orias raised an eye-brow, and said nothing, Theria asked, "So, the third oldest god created life?"

"Well, came up with the idea of it, souls always have these components to them, and an animal barrier for protection, that's what she came up with, and only certain components will make a soul a living one, and this was long before mortals or old gods came into being." Orias explained.

Theria raised an eye-brow, "What kind of components?" She asked curiously.

He shrugged, "Well, your soul is mortal, mine is immortal." He pointed out, and she nodded, he continued, "She had given Yuna and Solaris both not the ability to create life, but to envision it, that's where we come in."

"What, you're telling me you were just poofed into existence?" Theria snickered.

Orias laughed, "Not quite, as I said, souls have these parts to them, the outside, the animal barrier that protects the actual part, it's what humans call a spirit animal, but, old gods don't have that, or, aren't supposed to." He added, "There was one component neither Yuna or Solaris understood or appreciated, and that'll be what you mortals call love."

Theria looked on thoughtfully, "That's why it's said old gods can't understand love, because that component isn't there?" She asked.

"Supposedly," Orias said quietly, and murmured, "It's weird though, that's where it gets fuzzy, I don't know how I was born, none of us do."

Theria blinked, and asked, "You definately weren't born by human means?"

Orias nodded, "That I know for sure, the rest is foggy." He murmured.

Theria stopped, and tipped her head thoughtfully, "So what's the real difference between a mortal soul, and an immortal one, other then the fact you live forever unless specific circumstances are met." She mused.

Orias looked at the sky thoughtfully, "I don't know." He murmured.

She blinked, and asked, "Back to that animal barrier, you say old gods aren't supposed to have it?" 

Orias shook his head, "We're too powerful, we'd have the capability to use it, humans have it to, but can't actually become it, not unless requirements are met." He pointed out.

Theria crossed her arms, then looked back at the mountain, "Orias, that vision you had... The one with the dragon in it," She murmured. He turned back to her, and she continued, "Was that just you?"

He said nothing, and only frowned, "It's becoming more possible." He murmured, and looked up at the mountain.

Theria frowned, "Then you saw a vision that the dragon destroyed Guagamela." She added.

Orias nodded, "Right, and that is why old gods aren't supposed to have that barrier." He pointed out.

Theria looked on thoughtfully, and narrowed her eyes, she looked at the shadows, and asked, "Does Leilas remember anything?"

Orias shook his head, and he murmured, "I'm the only one."

She looked up at the sky, and her eyes widened, "Orias," she mused, and turned back to him, "What was the last thing you remember of that?" Theria asked.

Orias stared at the ground for a long time, and said, "Well, not a lot, but, it was nighttime, I know that, the rest is foggy."

Theria pointed out, "You say that old gods don't understand the concept, but you, Tharas, Leilas all seem to have at least an understanding of it, you have something that only mortals are supposed to have supposedly, and you're all connected to Yuna right? Not Solaris, what did Yuna do to you guys specifically, that changed that?" She asked.

Orias rubbed his head, and crossed his arms, "I don't know, there was something Yuna did, like a choice of some sort," He widened his eyes, and he growled, "She knew..."

Theria raised an eye-brow, and Orias murmured, "Yuna is a seer, she saw Solaris acting weird, but wasn't told much more about that, then there's Tharas, who also has that gift, but can't remember his visions, the only exception was that one mountain vision, where Azarath had been in ruins for a long time, then there's me, I only got it because Solaris had unintentionally given it to me. I remember mine vividly, Leilas doesn't have it, but she is really smart, she knows how to get information in other ways."

"There was another mountain vision?" Theria asked.

Orias nodded, "It was unnerving, the old gods were gone, well, most of them. But the thing is, the immortals we saw, they were originally human, which shouldn't be possible... Turning a human soul into an immortal, for one, either they'd have to be forced to die, touching the veil between the worlds, and then brought back, which is extremely tricky to do, I don't think even Tharas could do it, or have something in their soul that has that part that'll enable them to be immortal, which mortals don't have." He said quickly.

Theria stared at him, and she asked, "How would they have it, if that was possible?"

Orias looked on thoughtfully, "Eh, your guess is as good as mine, the one thing I know for sure, their mother or father would have to have it as well, or at least someone in their family." He pointed out.

"So, a family thing?" Theria asked.

"Yeah, often things get passed down to generations, so say if their mother or father had that part of immortaility, which again, shouldn't be possible unless farther down the line the mortal side fell in love with something that wasn't mortal, which again, in the old gods case, isn't exactly possible, because we can't exactly feel it, either if they were forced or had it anyways, it would still be a part of them, and could still get passed down in either situation, whether given or had it right from the start." Orias pointed out.

Theria blinked, and nodded, "Okay, that's a start." She said quickly.

Orias stared at her in confusion, and she murmured, "We've got to show the king we're not going to back down, thankfully you look human, so only he knows what you look like, everyone else is unsure, I don't think he'll be doing fighting though."

Orias brushed his hand through his hair, and Theria said, "Let's go!" She ran ahead.

He called back, "Wait! Where are we going?"

"To Gwen's place!" Theria called back, and he sighed, and ran to catch up with her.

It was still in a state of ruins, she rummaged through some of the wreckage, "Where is it...?" She muttered.

Orias blinked, when she had managed to open the cellar door, she looked down into the darkness, and Orias peered down as well.

"Well, time to go down!" Theria jumped into the cellar, and Orias raised an eye-brow.

He waited as she shuffed around, and brought out a chest, he tipped his head, and asked, "What is that?"

Theria didn't answer him, she took out her small sword, and broke through the lock, she opened it, Orias sighed at it's content, Theria took most of the papers out, Orias looked at one, and it was a map of Hamark, he looked up when she took out another chest of some sort. Orias watched as she opened it, and took out some sort of green rock.

"Uh, what." Orias mused.

Theria looked at him, and she murmured, "Pass me your sword."

Orias complied, and she brushed the rock down the blade, his sword began shining a light blue in colour, and she sighed, "I was worried I'd never get to see this."

He tipped his head when she stood up, sword in hand, which was still shining a light blue, she passed it back to Orias, who examined it. Theria looked back down the rock, and brought it up to her face, and she whispered something that he couldn't understand, he jumped when she broke it, and it crumbled into dust, and flowed into the wind.

Orias asked, "What was that?"

"You'll see, let's go back for now." Theria murmured, she gathered up the maps. Orias followed her through the forest. Orias looked around, the moon was well into the sky, he shivered.

He called, "Theria, you go on ahead, I'll meet you there."

Theria looked at him questioningly, then shrugged and continued walking. He watched her leave, then turned to the shadows on his right, he rolled his eyes, and walked up to it. Orias crossed his arms, and grunted, "Leilas."

He jumped back when Leilas landed not so gracefully in front of him, and she asked, "What?"

Orias watched as she stood up, and brushed herself off, he mused, "That was unlike you."

Leilas eyed him, and she sighed, "Sorry, I've been running around for Yuna," she hesitated, then added, "Also, been trying to get into Garaos's mind, but no luck."

"Why are you trying to get into his mind?" Orias asked curiously.

Leilas turned to him, "I've been getting an odd feeling from him, and I know you have too." She pointed out.

Orias shook his head, and she asked, "What've you been up to?"

"Nothing much, really." He replied.

Leilas nodded, "Right." She said quickly, then looked around.

Orias looked back up at the moon, and narrowed his eyes, "Leilas," he turned back to her, and she looked up, "Do you remember your first years?" He asked curiously.

Leilas stared at him, and shook her head, he sighed, "Of course."

"Why? Are you starting to remember?" Leilas asked curiously.

Orias stared at her for a long time, then shrugged, "I don't know yet." He answered.

Leilas blinked, and looked down the path where Theria had gone, then looked back at Orias, and tipped her head, "Well, at least you seem okay, wish I could say the same for Tharas." She murmured.

"What's going on with Tharas?" Orias asked curiously.

Leilas sighed, "He's barely getting any sleep, and he's been having visions left and right, not that he can remember them all, have you seen anything lately?" She asked pointedly. Orias shook his head, Leilas crossed her arms, "I'm worried." She murmured. 

Orias looked back up at the moon, "Think we're running out of time?" He asked.

Leilas nodded, "Garaos is acting weirder than usual, and it doesn't break like you said, it's continous, Yuna has shut herself away, and Solaris has kind of hid himself a way as well." She murmured.

Orias murmured jokingly, "Well, he only broke because I punched him."

Leilas stared at him, then shook her head, "I tried that, but nothing happened, Tharas is pushing me away as well, it's like he knows what's going to happen." She whispered.

"When it's not, I said I wouldn't let it." Orias pointed out.

Leilas looked away, "I'm worried what price that would have to be paid if you do that." She murmured.

Orias stared at her, then frowned, "I'll go talk to him." He murmured, then headed towards the shadows, Leilas looked up, and looked like she was about to say something, but didn't.

He closed his eyes, and saw Tharas's mountain.

Orias walked up to the door, and sighed, he knocked on it, and waited.

Chapter 5

Sometimes 

You don't know

Who the real enemy is

Orias jumped back when Tharas opened the door, the old god looked a lot more tired than usual, and his gaze was flat, "Orias, what are you doing here?" He asked quietly.

"I need to talk to you." Orias growled.

Tharas blinked, then looked around, "Fine, but not here." He growled back, then left the house, and closed the door behind him, Orias flinched when they were in the Lower Spirit World, Orias raised an eyebrow.

Tharas turned to him, and asked, "What is it?"

Orias murmured darkly, "Leilas told me you've been pushing her away, that you aren't getting any sleep, and that your visions are getting worse."

Tharas stared at him for a long time, then shook his head, "Orias, I know what you're trying to do," He pointed out. Orias blinked, then Tharas murmured, "You cannot stop this anymore then she can."

"I can try." Orias growled, and stared down his friend.

Tharas asked, "Orias, do you know what might happen if you do?"

Orias shook his head, "No, do you?" He asked pointedly.

Tharas narrowed his eyes at that, then murmured sadly, "I was hoping you knew." He turned away from Orias.

"Tharas," Orias said flatly, Tharas turned back to him, and he continued, "I know lately we've been not getting along, but you can still trust me, I won't let Solaris hurt either you or Garaos, and I don't think Leilas will allow that either."

Tharas seemed to smile, then asked, "Then let me ask you this, what'll you do if Solaris gets to Garaos?"

Orias stared at him, and looked on thoughtfully, "I don't know... I guess I'll improvise." He murmured.

Tharas sighed, "I appreciate the gesture, and I trust you both, there's just one slight problem," Orias narrowed his eyes when Tharas pointed behind him, "I am not worried about me, Orias, far from it," He pointed out gently. Orias looked behind him, and saw the massive dragon engulfed in shadows behind him, "I am worried what might happen if you and Leilas intervene." Tharas said quietly.

Orias asked, "What can the dragon do? As long as I can control it, there shouldn't be any problem."

"How long can you keep that up if the inevitable happens?" Tharas asked quietly, "Often in times of trauma, horror, and fear, the spirit will activate a defense mechanisim, and sorry to say it, Orias, but that dragon of yours, that's your defense mechanisim, don't you remember the destruction of Guagamela?"

Orias nodded, and Tharas sighed, "Think of this way, on the road to prevent one end, you cause another, I don't want you or Leilas to choose."

Orias murmured, "I plan to prevent both."

Tharas smiled, "At least you're optimistic, maybe you're right, maybe you can prevent both." He murmured quietly.

They stood in silence, and stared up at the dragon, Orias sighed, "Wish it was easier done than said."

"Nothing is ever easy, Orias." Tharas pointed out.

Orias nodded, and he muttered, "Right, I got to go back to Theria, make sure nothing stupid happened while I was gone, so on that note, don't you do anything stupid either," he looked back at Tharas, and he pointed out, "You can at least talk to Leilas, she does care about you, in a weird sentimental way."

Tharas nodded, "I'll be sure to apologize to her." He murmured.

Orias nodded, and headed into the shadows, leaving Tharas standing in the clearing with a thoughtful look on his face.

Orias landed on the stone path that was overlooked by Guagamela. He looked around, then looked at the shadows. He sighed, and walked towards the nearby firelight.

"Orias, I'm over here." He heard Theria murmur. He looked up to see her sitting on a low hanging tree branch.

He tipped his head, and asked, "What are you doing up there?"

Theria sighed, and said calmly, "Just needed some time to myself for once, besides, they were getting too chatty."

Orias smiled, and murmured, "I've noticed that your people do tend to talk a lot."

Theria looked back up, and asked, "What happened when you were gone?"

"I had to go talk to Tharas, you've met him before." Orias answered flatly.

Theria blinked, and murmured, "You're worried..." Orias stared at her in disbelief, "I've noticed this about you, whenever you're worried, or nervous, you get this flat tone to your voice, I guess to try and hide it." She pointed out

Orias asked curiously, "Noticed anything else?"

Theria smiled, "Not much, you're very good at hiding yourself, not saying that's a bad thing." She added quickly.

Orias sighed, and brushed his hand through his hair, Theria tipped her head, "Now, what's up?" She asked curiously.

"Hm, well, Tharas doesn't seem to believe that me and Leilas can stop what might happen to him," Orias said calmly, "He told me, that on a road to prevent one, I will cause another." He turned to look at her.

He watched as Theria looked up at the mountain, "Sometimes that's true, sometimes it isn't, you have to be careful." She pointed out.

Orias blinked, "I guess." He muttered.

Theria sighed, he looked up, and smiled, "It's rare, to see you like this." He said quietly.

"Like what." She asked curiously.

"Usually you're a whole lot more louder, more confident, right now, you're being a lot like Tharas, reserved, wise to what's going on around you, without being open about it." Orias commented.

Theria blinked, Orias stared at her, and she smiled, "What are you staring at?" She asked gently.

Orias looked down swiftly, and he murmured, "Sorry, I'm still getting used to being around mortals..." 

He looked back up, she had smiled. He finally smiled back, "Here," She murmured, and took off her necklace.

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