Cassidy's knighting ceremony is large and gratuitous. Every noble has made their way into the main hall where the king is going through the ceremonial motions with grandeur. The palace workers pause in their chores to watch along with the nobles. Tattered and faded rags scattered amongst the crisp dress clothes of the nobility. Sparks feelings himself rolling his eyes every couple of minutes throughout the proceedings but he is smiling all the same. Cheers erupt from the crowd as the King announces the newest knight of the Kingdom. Colin claps alongside Sparks, pushing his shoulder against the elemental's companionably. Sparks pushes back against him. Both are proud of their friend. Happy for his accomplishments.
The prince weaves through the throngs of nobles. Ducking past flowing cloth in colors not found in nature. More than once he finds himself with a mouthful of the stuff. He brushes It away. Apologizing to the noble and accepting the congratulations given. He reemerges from the crowd in front of his friends. He looks down at Sparks mischievously. One snowy eyebrow raised. Sparks sighs. He brushes a hand through his hair. Cassidy pouts childishly.
"You promised!" he whines. Colin chuckles in amusement.
"Yeah. I did," Sparks glances around the room. Looking very much like he would want to get out of the situation.
Years ago, when the prince was just beginning his training as a page, he asked Sparks to spar against him. The fire elemental had refused outright. Cassidy had persisted, however, begging and pleading. At one point Colin had joined in. Taking Cassidy's side and carefully laying out the pros and cons. The three of them had talked about the subject for hours until Sparks finally consented. With the stipulation that he would only spar Cassidy after he had risen to full knighthood.
"Come on Sparks. Please. We both know you won't hurt me. We can even do it at Aqui's lake if you're so worried," Cassidy begs. Sparks sighs again and nods. Relenting to his prince. The taller man beams. They glance around at the gossiping nobles before slipping away. They navigate through the castle's walls. Even through the wood of the doors and the stone walls they can hear the dim of the nobles voices packed together. Sparks and Colin wait in the shadows close to the east fields while Cassidy raids the armory for a training sword. He bounds back to them, dull sword gleaming dangerously in Sparks' light. Sparks gestures questioningly towards the fields. Towards Aquanious' pool. Cassidy nods, eyes narrowed.
Aquanious blinks dumbly at his friends. His sea foam green hair, weaved with gentle pink ribbons, hangs limply at his waist. His form wavers from a child's to somewhere around Sparks'. Sparks has his arms crossed tightly over his chest. He is looking away from the water elemental, staring at the dark trunk of a tree so hard Aquanious is surprised it is not on fire. The half elemental is tense. Obviously displeased. Cassidy, on the other hand, is staring at Aquanious with large, pleading violet eyes. The training sword is resting easily at his side, held in an experienced grip. Colin sits a few paces back, between two trees. He is smiling, like always, and appears interested in the exchange.
"You wish to, fight against Sparks?" he asks. He tilts his head to the side and continues to stare at the prince. "Is that wise?" Cassidy huffs.
"He will not hurt me. He can not hurt me," Cassidy retorts. Aquanious looks back at Sparks. He glides over to the fire elemental, resting a hand on his arm. Sparks flinches and pulls away. He casts an uncertain glance at the water elemental. Aquanious pulls his hand back, frowning.
"If you are worried about hurting him I can protect him. If I feel your flames have grown too hot, I will douse them," he murmurs. His hair floats forward and gently brushes against the fire elemental's back. Sparks flushes. He nods. They hear Cassidy's whoop of excitement. Aquanious sees an affectionate smile slip over Sparks' face. Sparks moves away from Aquanious. He stretches, shaking his head and releasing the flames burning just beneath the surface. Aquanious returns to his water. Alighting on it and standing tall. He stares down at the two as they begin.
Cassidy rushes forward, blade turned to cut through the air as he moves. Sparks bounces on the balls of his feet. His part in this dance of theirs, intricate as it is, is a largely passive one. He is dedicated to only avoiding the attacks thrown at him. And not returning them. Cassidy narrows his violet eyes. Thin as a carefully sharpened blade. Aquanious watches as he throws his arm out, stretching the blade as far as it can go. It narrowly misses Sparks, who jumps back expertly. His feet no longer belong to the corporeal plane. They have been enveloped by fire. Nipping greedily at the tall grass. Cassidy grits his teeth. Even though his former guardian has dimmed his flames considerably the prince of snow can still feel the heat rolling off of him. Though considering their situation Cassidy should not be so surprised.
"Sparks, at least make an effort to play along!" Colin calls form the sidelines. Sparks twitches. The flames of his hair rise, as if fanned. Colin smirks playfully.
"Think of it as a graduation present," he quips. Sparks glares at him. With his attention diverted Cassidy takes the opportunity to slap him with the flat blade of the sword. Sparks jumps, rubbing his cheek. Cassidy grins cheekily at his former mentor. He spins the sword in his hand expertly, showing off, before he slips back into a fighting stance. Sparks' eyes narrow and flare to life. Aquanious tenses.
"Fine, let's do this," Sparks replies. Cassidy smirks. Sparks flicks his wrist, send a flurry of embers falling to the ground. Glittering like the stars. He opens his hand to them. They waver then stop all movement. Suspended in the air between the fire elemental and his former charge. Sparks snaps his hand back, closing his hand into a tight fist. The sparks move into a loose formation then shoot forward towards the prince. Cassidy ducks, feeling the embers pass over his head in a rapid fire. Less than a second later water falls on his head. Sharp cold in contrast to Sparks' steady warmth. His hair glues itself to his face. He shakes it away from his eyes, sending water flying. The water freezes in the air. It disappears from the competitors' peripheral vision.
Aquanious stands delicately on the smooth surface of the mirrored lake. Individual drops of water floating suspended around him. Only his forearms are raised. His fingers stretched to the tips. Holding the water there. The moon shines down on him, and only him. Its reflected light within each drop. The water shines with it. Aquanious stands there on the reflected surface of the moon with its tears surrounding him. The sun might be Sparks' patron, but the moon is very much Aquanious' matron. Sparks looks over Cassidy's head to look into Aquanious' sapphire eyes. The water elemental meets his gaze.
Sparks moves first. Starting the dance once again. Moving forward, swinging his right arm up. Fire crackles at the tips of his right hand. Cassidy dodges, moving only his left side away from his opponent. He plants his left foot and uses the stability to swipe at Sparks. The fire elemental jumps back. He claps his hands together sending a blade of flame towards the prince. The prince brings his sword up to his face, matching it perfectly to the sheet of fire. The fire shatters. Tiny sparks scatter in every direct. Sparks calls them back to him. They rush towards the fire elemental. They are snuffed out before returning to their master. Doused by Aquanious' tears.
The night is completely dark. The light flashing, reflecting, off of Cassidy's sword and Aquanious' water barely illuminate the ground bellow them. Sparks' fire seems almost to not exist. He keeps it close to him. Hair and eyes as dim as the stones littering the ground. They come alive again when Sparks calls for his element. More brief flashes light. Though brighter than the mere reflections of metal and water.
Fire cuts through the darkness. A knife of light. Cassidy brings up his sword. Water encompassing metal strikes against the fire in a parry. The fire evaporates with a hiss. Cassidy swings his sword. Water flies from it. Sparks catches the water in a flurry of tiny flames. Trapping the particles of his opposing element. He pushes back against them. Sending pins of light flying through air once again. The light shines on Cassidy's face. Revealing his smile. He twirls the sword in his hand. The hilt passing from one pale finger to another. Never once wavering. The flashes would be enough to blind anyone. Sparks just soaks them up as his element gets soaked by the water coating Cassidy's sword.
A pause in the dance. The dancers catch their breath. Cassidy plunges his sword into yielding dirt. He bows low to Sparks. Sparks nods in response. The fire of his eyes flickers and begins to burn brightly again. Cassidy retrieves his sword and walks to Colin's side. He sits beside his friend, white head resting on Colin's dark shoulder. He lays his sword on the ground beside him. He and Colin watch Sparks and Aquanious as the elementals begin their own dance.
Sparks turns to Aquanious. The burning suns of his eyes meet the soothing moons of the water elemental's. The water elemental towers over Sparks. His frostbitten blue skin glowing an ethereal white. His hair is a waterfall, the dark blue of the night flowing down with the gentlest of waves to his waist, growing progressively lighter until it curls there in a rolling knot of white foam. It is at the curls where the familiar pink is visible. Aquanious raises a hand, reaching out to the fire elemental. His palm facing upwards. An orb of water begins to form there. Swirling with all the fierceness of the ocean. Sparks smiles softly. The look invisible to Colin and Cassidy. The fire elemental raises his own hand. An orb of fire manifesting in his own palm.
Amber flecked embers begin to circle Sparks. Mirroring Aquanious. The twin sets of tears move slowly around their masters. The embers' light reflecting off the water. Their eyes locked, the two opposing elementals move in perfect unison. The orbs lift from their masters' hands. They shoot into the dark sky. Flying high above the tree tops. The sun and the moon dance. They twirl around each other. Moving close but never touching. They leave trails of their elements shimmering amongst the stars. The orbs move quickly. Their lights blend together. Fire and water merging during the dance more natural to the elements than the fights more commonly seen.
Cassidy dozes off during the show. Colin following shortly after. Sparks and Aquanious are aware of this, to some extent. But they do not stop their dance. Intricate and intimate. The elements maneuver around each other. With each other. It takes time. Many hours. Before the elemental orbs flicker out of existence. Sparks yawns. Aquanious smiles at him fondly. He shoos him away with his hands. Sparks smiles both indulgently and irritatedly. He gathers the two sleepy humans. Prodding them awake with searing fingers. They grumble but comply and begin the trek back to the castle. Sparks takes one last look behind him. At the water elemental watching their departure. Her brushes a finger over his lips and sends the resulting spark to his friend. Aquanious watches the spark fly over to him. Feels the sting of it on his lips. He does nothing to hide his resulting smile and the explosion of pinks in his hair, as Sparks turns his back to him and trails after their younger friends.