Meara looked up from packing her things and answered. "I'm going to go see Celestyn and Kierlan. Hopefully they're both all right."
"Celestyn?" Larinya, sat up from her bed and then wanted to choke herself for unadvertedly saying that, "......Is it going to be a private personal one?"
The smaller girl shook her head as she secured one of her bags. "I don't believe so. I haven't told them that I'm going to see them. Why, would you like to come along?"
The image that projected in Larinya's mind, of Meara happily telling Kierlan that she had come to visit them too...
"Just something I kept on forgetting to tell Celestyn. I might not be able to tell her." Regardless of Larinya is sealed or not.
Meara nodded, smiling softly as she rose to her feet. "Very well, then," she opened the door and let Larinya through first. "So, you have been sealed... I'm happy for you."
"Tha...nks," Larinya stood up, sentimentally looking back at her bed which she would not see for long maybe, "How do you feel about...the whole move?" She waited for Meara to leave so the gigantic girl could close it. Larinya thought Meara looked like a doll up close.
"A little nervous. It's a big change," she answered as soon as they began walking. "But then, so many things have been changing recently..."
"Well that much is true," Larinya's thumbs inserted themselves behind her thick belt, "It sounded like you're going far away...and be alienated the more. I fear for the time that the government will forget about you. Knowing you have most of the people in the school with you though, well, I hope things will work out. But you would have less of the discrimination. That is sure."
Meara nodded, hearing her own thoughts being echoed. "I'm no stranger to discrimination nor threats, so the reduction of that is a welcome change. As for being forgotten... I really don't mind that... as long as we are not left to deal with things on our own..."
"It sounds to me that they're still hostile to magic users. That what only 'ol Falkswain did was to make a gap. But thanks to his call of peace, he provided an antidote for the sanity of the world. The assemblage badly needs representation from magic users," Larinya mused.
"I would agree, but don't you think many of the leaders would also have grudges against magic users? Even if we were to be represented, I don't think they would heed the cries."
"Yeah but there's someone to argue their point. They're not just going to curse on a blank wall. Something will eventually be done." Larinya realized she was talking about politics then, "Maybe if I really have nothing to do or if I miss fighting too much, I'll try to intervene in the assemblage or something."
Meara smiled at her companion as Kierlan's home came into view. "If you do, I'm sure you'll do a fine job." They soon approached the now-familiar house that was modest for a man of Kierlan's stature, yet expressed elegance. The small Casthamor seal slowly came into view, and before long Meara was knocking on the door.
Larinya paused from her tracks, thus lagging behind, "....Is he constructing his own castle here?"
After a while, the door was opened by Ariadne, who gave a ready smile to Meara then looked at Larinya with a mixture of friendliness and curiosity.
Larinya was terrified. There were more people inside?
The petite girl returned the smile. "Good day, Ariadne. I certainly hope Kierlan and Celestyn are up to visitors. This is Larinya Danaeross, a classmate of ours who was sealed last night."
Ariadne smiled at Larinya brightly as she let them in. "Hello Lady Danaeross. Excuse me for one moment. I'll have to tell Celestyn." And with that she rushed up the stairs, leaving Meara and Larinya in the cozy and elegant receiving room.
Meara leaned on one of the chairs, taking in the elegance of the room as another familiar face came in. "Lord Farnham," she greeted, smiling, then sobering. "Has something happened?"
"I'll let Celestyn tell you herself, Lady Florentine," he answered, then nodding at Larinya. "Good day, Lady Danaeross."
Why is it that I see this man all the time? Larinya started being suspicious of the man. What if he was a spy or any of that make?
"I have something to tell Celestyn. I really did not predict that this would be a Headquarters of some sort."
Zack grinned at the suspicious look in Larinya's face, and bowed. "You really have no need to say that. I have been a longtime friend of Kierlan since boyhood, and thought I should stay here after his... test last night."
Larinya's eyes enlarged, "He also had a test?"
Meara rose in her shock. "How is he?"
Zack tried to calm both women. "He's fine. I'm not exactly happy with how the test went, but he's fine."
"Why in all horse remains is everyone taking a test??" Larinya was unable to hide her emotions in that one.
"Because he's sealed, my lady," he answered, motioning for them to sit. "Kierlan still has a lot to do in Sollus and he can't afford to leave here as of now. The announcement of the assemblage has greatly inconvenienced him," he looked at Meara, "especially you and those still in the school."
Celestyn came down that moment, along with Ariadne.
"Meara!" She smiled, looking pleased and surprised seeing her friend there. "How did you know I was here?"
Celestyn turned and she looked even more surprised to see the woman standing beside Meara. "Hello Larinya." She said politely.
"I had a hunch," Meara grinned. "How is Kierlan?"
"He could be better." Celestyn answered wryly. "But he's doing better now." Then with the help of Zack, they told Meara and Larinya what had taken place that night.
...Isn't it too odd that Kierlan and Celestyn are sealed at the same time? Larinya crossed her arms, finding herself in a plan of some sort while Celestyn related.
And definitely too odd that Celestyn should see me here...
And definitely TOO ODD that I should be here.
Meara's eyes had widened, knowing that it took Kierlan a lot of his strength just to keep up their plan of making everyone think they were sealed. "I can't believe the Headmaster agreed to that!"
"I second that," Zack muttered, still slightly miffed.
"It is over and done with, cousin." Celestyn pacified him. Since Kierlan was still resting upstairs, she gestured for the others to take their seats. "We have much to tell you."
"It's very good news, Meara!" Ariadne said excitedly.
"C-Cousins?!" the small girl managed to say across her surprise. "You're cousins???"
Zack laughed. "We sure are. My mother turns out to be Celestyn's aunt."
Larinya snapped, "And what's next?"
Celestyn smiled inwardly at that. "We shall have to see what then."
She looked at the clock and stood up. "Please excuse me while I go check on Kierlan."
With the graceful rustling of skirts, she walked away to leave them in Zack and Ariadne's presence for a while.
Not wanting to stay there a minute long, Larinya walked after Celestyn, "Wait, sorry if I have to be sudden. This won't be a while."
Celestyn paused and looked at Larinya. "Yes?"
"I met this man, in the artists lounge," Larinya started, "He's very interested in looking for you. Adamantly interested."
Celestyn looked surprised. "Interested in looking for me?"
"His name is Ivarus. I thought you two looked alike," Larinya shrugged, "He's good in fighting. He wanted me to help him meet you, but...I'd rather you decide for yourself. I shouldn't get involved in situations like this. You might see him in the artists' lounge. I have a feeling he won't leave Sollus unless he meets you. That's all I know. And now I think I have to go."
"Very well. I'll see you, Larinya." Celestyn said politely, though she still looked a bit confused.
Ariadne's eyes had widened at Ivarus' name. The man who had saved her... What could he want with Celestyn?
Ivarus? Zack frowned as he heard the name. Exchanging looks with Ariadne, he shrugged.
"Do take care," Meara called as Larinya left, following Celestyn into Kierlan's room where she hardly restrained a cry of shock at his injuries. "What have you gotten yourself into?!"
Kierlan grinned at Meara. "Hello Meara. It's nice to see you too."
She frowned. "Do tell me how you can jest in that condition!" she scolded him.
Zack guffawed at the scene. "Kierlan, I think you just got yourself a 'little sister'."
Kierlan chuckled. "It seems I have." Then he sobered. "It's unfortunate you would have to leave us soon. But it would be best for you. You'll be more at peace when you find your parents."
Celestyn just stood there, surprised at the wave of sadness that hit her. She did not even know the right words to say to someone who had become so dear to her in a short span of time. She managed a smile for Meara, who looked to be in the verge of tears.
Ariadne watched the unfolding scene, feeling like an intruder. Seeing this, Zack placed a hand on her shoulder and gave a squeeze, hoping to make her feel better.
Meara swallowed the prickly feeling in her throat and managed a watery smile. "I will be fine, I just wish... it's for the best that y-you stay... I just..." her words were soon swallowed up in her sobbing.
Ariadne felt own tears at the corners of her eyes seeing Meara. All of them...They are good friends...They are very lucky people.
"Now that we are sealed, there will be better means of communication, Meara." Kierlan told her with a wink, though he himself felt a sense of loss. "Thank you. For everything you've done for us."
"I agree with Kierlan." Celestyn said with a soft smile. "You've done so much for us, Meara."
"Y-You've done more for me than you'll both ever know..." she hastily wiped at her eyes, embarassed at her display of emotions. "You will write to me, both of you...?"
Celestyn and Kierlan looked at each other with sly smiles. "More than that, probably."
Ariadne spoke then, trying to brighten up the situation. "They mean...Don't be surprised if one of them appears at your bedside without warning."
Zack burst into laughter. "Just don't scare the living daylights out of the poor girl. The last thing she wants is a shock."
Meara gave him a mock-glare. "Still treating me like a child?"
His large hand ruffled her hair. "You're my friend's 'little sister', so yes."
"We'll always be there when you need us, Meara." Kierlan assured her with a smile. "I doubt we need to. You have many people who would be watching out for you there. One in particular."
"Someone tall, dark, handsome...and a decided partiality for a black-haired and green-eyed healer who has a tendency to blush..." Celestyn couldn't resist adding, though there were tears threatening to fall.
"Since I still don't know who he is, I might just appear at your bedside one day to make you tell me all about him." Ariadne joked.
"I should find out myself one of these days who this person is," Zack smirked.
"You guys..." Meara reached over to give Celestyn and Ariadne hugs. "I'm really going to miss you all..."
Celestyn hugged her back. "Likewise."
Ariadne smiled. "Me too."
"What about me?" Kierlan spoke from the bed.
"And me?" Zack joked.
"Come here, 'big brothers'!" Meara giggled as she tried to put her arms around both larger men. "Thank you, thank you for everything..."
Kierlan hugged her back with his good arm. "I should be the one thanking you. We'll be there when you need us, we promise."
"And you're never one to go back on your word. I know you will," Meara answered, releasing both him and Zack. "If you need a place to get away from Raegan, my home in Dallsborough will be there. It's not much but..."
"Ahh, knowing his highness here, he'd make sure someone would fix it all up as soon as this is is all over," Zack snickered at Kierlan's scowl.
Meara looked at Zack with questions in her eyes. What did he mean?
Kierlan smiled mysteriously. "You'll see."
"Meara, would you like to help me prepare for lunch? I think we should spend the whole day together." Celestyn said with a smile.
"Zack and I will stay here to watch Kierlan, Celestyn." Ariadne assured her, understanding the best friends' need for a private farewell.
"All right," Meara took another look at Kierlan's bandages. "I am sorely tempted to use my powers on you."
"I am fine." Kierlan assured her. He turned to Celestyn with a wink. "I had a good nurse."
Celestyn laughed. "Orders anyone?"
"Anything Meara would prepare." Ariadne answered with a grin.
Kierlan laughed. "Yes. Anything Meara would prepare." He chuckled when Celestyn made a face at him.
"I wouldn't know how good a cook she is, so just bring me anything," Zack pretended to be indifferent, which gave him a soft punch from Ariadne. "Kidding," he grinned.
Meara found herself rolling her eyes as she followed her friend into the kitchen.
Once they arrived there, Celestyn faced her friend. "This is a false errand." She admitted with a soft, somewhat sheepish smile. "Wait, I mean I do intend to prepare lunch for them..." She took a deep breath, not knowing how to begin.
There were times that words are not enough...
"So... what is this about other than lunch?" Meara asked.
In response, Celestyn merely unclasped her firestone necklace.
"W-What are you doing?" Meara asked in hushed tones. "You're not sealed, they only think you are! Your father-"
Ignoring that, Celestyn put the necklace carefully on a table and extended her hand towards it.
A blue ball of flame began to form on her palm.
"C-Celestyn?" she gazed at the blue flame before her, wondering just what was happening. "What is this?"
"This is why it is called firestone, Meara. Only fire can truly do something to it. Nothing else could break it apart." Celestyn said quietly.
Like a bolt of lightning, a blue spark struck the stone, splitting it gracefully into two.
"You've..." Meara's green eyes were wide. "You've split it..."
Celestyn chuckled. "Yes." She wore her necklace and took the half of the firestone in her slender hand. Wordlessly, she handed it to Meara.
The smaller girl's eyes filled with tears again as she reached over to take the stone in her hands. "Celestyn, thank you... I'll treasure it..."
But what did it mean?
"It would protect you." Celestyn said simply, seeing the question in her eyes. "Just wear it for all times. I can't be there with you all the time, but at least, I will feel less anxious knowing you have half of my firestone with you."
"But... that would mean-" Meara reeled back. "Half of your protection from your father! Celestyn, you-"
"That's what friends do, don't they? Sacrifice?" Celestyn smiled, though not denying what Meara just said. "I did not know what friendship was all about at first but I am sure now. You taught me."
Meara gripped the stone tightly. "Celestyn, take care of yourself or I will never forgive myself for accepting this..."
"I will." Celestyn felt that coldness once again. She somehow had the feeling it would be a long, long time before she could see Meara again. "Take care of yourself, Meara." She hugged her friend again. "Froduit nelan, muirel." Blessed be, sister.
"Froduit nelan, muirel," Meara returned the embrace. "Thank you for everything..."