Fandom: Shadows of Dynasty (Original)
Reilos remembered meeting Dorien for the first time when he was only seven years old. His mother and father- members of another tribe that also happened to be undergoing the Remembrance near the same time- had only recently been killed. He hadn’t been there when it happened, of course, but the young boy saw the char on their bodies. It was enough of a sign to him. Even as a child he knew the destruction that the fire children could bring. A woman found him wandering alone in the desert- half dead himself. She had kind eyes of wine-red and a veil of midnight blue covered her deep black hair that floated in the arid wind as she extended both of her arms in his direction. It was an invitation that Reilos- horribly tired of being alone and frightened- accepted.
Arianna- as her named turned out to be- was not his new mother. On the contrary, he was cared for by her entire tribe as was customary of the L’Vortai. But she was the one he loved most. Everyone else regarded him as that small, strange little child who never spoke. He never laughed. Never smiled. But he would smile and laugh for Arianna. She was his rescuer. His savior. No, Arianna would never be his mother- but he was himself for her. She was the one who sat beside him and nursed him back to health from the scraggly leftovers of another tribe to something equally as scraggly but less inclined to starve or die otherwise.
One morning, once he was starting to feel once again like a healthy young boy, he awoke to something he was not quite expecting. There was a face- painted in palpable curiosity- hanging over his own. Being a child who was not entirely too bright- Arianna liked to blame it on the sunstroke- his first inclination was to shoot up in surprise. This, as one might imagine, only ended in a headache for both Reilos and the one standing over him. The boy hissed and rubbed his head almost instantly before looking back at the person who had been watching him. He had immediately wanted to rebuke the other child for standing so close and therefore causing injury to both of them- but something stopped him. The child that stood before him was unlike any other he had seen in his- albeit short- lifetime. Her skin was the color of unsweetened chocolate with hair as white as the snow that capped the Lazdanese mountains. And her eyes? Her eyes were so amber that they bordered on a metallic gold. He just sat there and looked at her- completely dumbfounded.
“I’m so sorry! I didn’t think you were going to wake up so quickly or I’d have….” The little girl rubbed her own forehead and apologized enthusiastically before stopping mid sentence and raising an eyebrow at him. “…Why are you staring at me?”
He offered her no answer at all. Instead he just continued to sit there and stare- almost afraid of the strange little girl that stood over him. Not, of course, that he was going to let her know that.
Then the oddest thing happened- she started to smile for no apparent reason. How strange, he thought. “Ah, so you must be the quiet type, then. You’re that kid they found in the desert, right? That was silly of you to do. Why would you wander in the desert all by yourself?”
“Now, now.” Reilos’ entire body relaxed at the sound of the new voice. When Arianna came into view and patted the little girl on the head, he almost managed to crack a smile. “You musn’t bother him with so many questions. This is Reilos. His parents have gone home to Mortivus and so he’ll be living with our tribe now. Is that okay with you?” The little girl almost seemed to actually take the time to consider the notion for a second. Even worse, his stomach dropped a bit- fearing that somehow this girl could say no and Arianna would make him leave. He didn’t want to leave Arianna.
Then the little girl smiled- bigger than he thought was even possible- and nodded enthusiastically. Reilos sighed a little with relief and felt a ghost of a smile tug at the corner of his lips.
“Good.” Arianna said- her smile as warm as ever. “Then there’s someone I’d like for you to meet, Reilos.” She gracefully swept a hand behind the little girl’s back and pushed her towards him again. He instinctively shrunk back, but she didn’t seem to be hurt by his reaction.
“This is my son, Dorien.”
Dorien remembered the first time- of many- that he’d had to figuratively put Reilos back together. Even at thirteen, Reilos was painfully awkward and quiet- choosing instead to train with the other warriors rather than spend time with the kids his own age. This was something he understood to an extent- Dorien had his own share of special training that nobody else had to deal with- but Reilos just loved to take things to an extreme. Often times, he was picked on for this. More often than not, he came out of these fights so much worse for wear. Dorien had to admit it- Reilos had a brave heart. He just also had horrendous technique.
Unlike his mother and father, he was not L’Vortai. For some reason or another- one that only the goddess could possibly know, he was born L’Aria. What was strange though? The L’Aria had been wiped out hundreds of years ago. But yet, here he was- full blooded light child with all the abilities that came with it. This, of course, meant that he was the first real healer that his tribe had ever had amongst their numbers.
“Reilos. Get over here.” He commanded one day as he saw the spry and awkward teenager attempt- with all the stealth of a bumbling elephant- to sneak past him unnoticed. Even once Dorien had made it abundantly clear that the attempt had failed, he still tried to pretend that he hadn’t heard him. Now that was rich. Everyone heard Dorien. Dorien spent a good deal of his life making himself impossible to ignore. Hey, everyone was going to stare at you anyway, right? You might as well rock it. “Reilos. I’m not amused.”
“I’m fine.” He muttered through a bloody, cracked lip. Dorien rolled his eyes.
“Oh yes. You look just fine. Your arm is broken, you retard.” He could tell by the awkward way it was just kind of hanging there. Hell, anyone could have told by the way it was awkwardly hanging it there- no healing training required. “Mom is totally going to freak out, you know. You might as well get your butt over here and let me fix it.”
“You don’t know that you can.” He mumbled with a sour face.
“Oh just shut up, get over here, and take your shirt off.” Apparently out of any good- if one could have even called the previous excuses good in the first place- arguments, Reilos did as he was told. He didn’t do it pleasantly, but he did as he was told. “Well, here goes nothing, I suppose.”
He saw the apprehension in Reilos’ eyes and noted that even after six years, he still flinched when he touched him. “Goddess. I’m not going to magically reach in your chest and rip out your still-beating heart or anything. Relax, will you?”
Reilos still remembered the first time he ever doubted himself. At seventeen, the two of them had finally stopped fighting like siblings and started to act something more like friends. Best friends, actually, since, like his mother, Dorien was one of the few people that ever managed to get him to smile or laugh. Granted, he was so much more personable than he had been as a child. But the only one who still got to see who he really was now was the white haired boy that sat in the grass of the Aerosian plains next to him. They were looking down below- as quietly as possible- observing a group of older women splashing about in the stream. Typical to Dorien, he was thoroughly enjoying himself- pointing out this girl and that one- and talking about how he thought that one was the prettiest. For a man that looked a lot like a girl, he certainly did like to chase them a lot. Predictably enough, however, he never had much luck.
“How are you supposed to get a girl, Dorien, when you look enough like one for the both of you?” He laughed- casting his companion a sideways glance. He knew that the white-haired young man wouldn’t be offended. He never was. As a matter of fact, Dorien was often proud of the beauty that was so unusual for a man to possess.
“And how can you get one, Reilos,” he cracked. “If you don’t ever show any sort of interest?”
He shrugged. “I guess I’m just not interested. They’re really not all that exciting to me, you know.”
Dorien raised an eyebrow and sent an amused sideways glance in his direction. “Why don’t you try to tell me something I don’t already know. “ He laughed in that particularly obnoxious way that he always did when he seemed to know a secret that he wasn’t about to tell me unless I begged him and slid closer in the grass. Predictably, he flinched slightly. Reilos both did and didn’t like when he came closer to me or touched me. It was a bit weird and always really had been. But at the same time, he wanted him to be closer- although he didn’t really understand why. He wasn’t even sure that was normal. Was he going some sort of crazy, or something? As usual, he tried to brush off his reaction with some sort of snide comment. “Why are you smiling at me like you know something I don’t? Cut it out.”
“Because I know.” He chuckled.
“And what, pray tell, is it that you know?”
The next few seconds went by so quickly that Reilos had to spend double the amount of time afterwards replaying it in his mind in order to convince himself that it actually happened. Dorien leaned forward, as if everything were perfectly natural everyday business for him, and planted a kiss on Reilos’ lips. They were a certain type of soft that he had imagined over and over again in his head. It was the type of sensation that Dorien had always explained to him when he talked about what kissing girls was actually like. But at the same time, his brain couldn’t seem to fully process what had just happened at all.
“I know why it is they’ve never been interesting for you.”
Dorien remembered a dark time following that day when Reilos wasn’t the same anymore. He had wondered even back then if he had been way too forward with his best friend when he knew that the other boy really had no understandings of his own feelings. Had he been unfair to force Reilos to think about those type of things before he was ready? Maybe. But really, that was how they had lived their eleven years of life together- with Dorien barreling forward and pulling Reilos after him into the rest of the world. For a time, he wondered if he had been completely wrong about his best friend after all. Maybe he had misjudged.
He knew well what people meant when they said that you never know what you have until it was gone. Reilos had shortly thereafter run away- run away from him, he couldn’t help but feel- to the remnants of his old tribe. He didn’t so much as say goodbye. He didn’t leave a note. Dorien found out the day he left when his mother shed tears like she had just lost a son.
It wasn’t just the sight of his crying mother that broke his heart in two. He had always known- somewhere in the back of his mind. But he hadn’t known how much.
He lay on his back- looking up at the stars- in the very same field that he had destroyed their friendship in almost exactly one year ago. It was just a kiss, really. He hadn’t expected at all that Reilos would have reacted as he did. He had hoped, he guessed, that such a simple gesture would transcend the words that he didn’t even know how to begin to say. He hoped that his best friend shared those same feelings he did and all would be resolved and laid open.
He hadn’t counted on the pain. He had never counted on the rejection.
And so there he sat, tears welling up in his golden amber eyes and plucking out strands of grass from the earth one by one attempting to keep those tears at bay. He failed, of course- and they streamed gracefully from his glowing eyes as shooting stars across the night sky of his face.
“It’s so easy to find you in the dark.” Dorien froze instantly- not daring to look anywhere but at the stars overhead. He didn’t dare think what he wanted to. He didn’t dare look in case he was wrong. Of course he was wrong. Why would he have come back? Finally, he turned his attention to the soft grass below his hands and resumed plucking it out- one by one.
“Well, I do kind of glow. It’s really hard to miss.” Dorien snorted softly before letting out a long, extended sigh and falling on his back- chancing a look upwards. He nearly choked on a sob that he couldn’t describe as either happy or devastated. He just wasn’t sure. He only had one question- one that he could only manage to get out in a whisper. “What are you doing here?”
He got on his knees in the grass- Dorien had never really noticed before how much he did not look like that child his mother pulled out of that desert eleven years ago anymore- holding his face above that on the ground. “I’ve lived this past year of my life as only half of myself, Dorien. Like, all I can explain it to you as is that I really only felt like half a person. They told me I was homesick. I suppose I tried to believe them at first. It was the easy thing to believe. But I knew better. I’ve…always known better, I guess.”
Gingerly, Dorien sat up and turned around to face his former best friend- whom he’d never thought he’d ever see again. Still, he kept his distance. Reilos bowed his head.
“I’m not even going to pretend that I somehow deserve your forgiveness. Because I wholeheartedly know that I don’t. But I’ve come to accept that I was half a person because I left my other half behind. Please. Please, Dorien. Can you forgive me?”
Dorien, despite himself and even through the tears, smiled. “How many times did you rehearse this?”
“More than I care to admit.” It was the smile. It was the smile that he had wanted to see so badly over the past year they were separated. Still fearing the worst- fearing that Reilos would up and change his mind again- he tentatively reached out his hand to stroke his friend’s stubbly face.
Reilos, for once, did not flinch. Instead, he lay his own hand over Dorien’s and leaned into the touch- orbs of deep violet staring into pools of gold.
Dorien also remembers the first time, at eighteen, Reilos twined his fingers in his own white locks, pulled him close, and kissed him with a passion of two half-empty shells completing each other in a way only they could.