Nights and the Sun

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Chapter 16

Sparks stands alone. The desert winds fan the flames of his hair. The sun is low, painting a picture of blues and pinks and oranges and reds across the sky. It is almost time, Sparks thinks. He lets out a short sigh. A quick breath of air to mingle with the wind and sand. Flakes of ember fall around him. They never touch the ground, choosing instead to hover just above the fire elemental's feet. Their hisses and pops providing music for the oncoming night. Anticipation burns within him. Eating away at the iron will and the steeled hold he has on his emotions, keeping his feelings for the dead man sprawled in front of him locked tight. Until the time comes to unleash everything. He hears the sound of sand being crushed beneath metal clad feet behind him. He closes his eyes and thanks his retreating patron. He does not turn around to greet the newcomers to the plains. He knows who they are, there is no need.

"It is time." Cassidy's voice is steady and strong if a little hoarse from the sheer amount of use it has gotten over the past few hours. Sparks opens his eyes. The emotions struggle within barely contained fire. The embers floating by the fire elemental's feet rise to linger around his shoulders. The air around him glows from his light. Without a tell of any sorts the embers fly forward. They circle around the King's decapitated body, moving faster and faster. They look, Cassidy notes wryly, like a swarm of fireflies. Sparks snarls, his entire body tensing and the flames of his hair and eyes erupting. They spill over his shoulders and down his arms. The fire elemental throws the flames at the spiraling embers. The two aspects of his element meet and explode. Thick plumes of black smoke rise into the darkening sky. The cage now broken. The bars melted to nothing. Everything Sparks felt for and about the King, the man who both destroyed and rebuilt his life, begins to play in front of the half elemental's eyes. Sparks can see, reflected in the midst of his element, every action he has ever taken. Every thought he ever thought. Every feeling he felt. All of it thanks to this man. A mere body with its head burning to ash beside it. With little more than a thought Sparks manipulates the fire. The flames rise higher into the blue sky. They twist, knotting together. Coiling around each other like snakes locked in deadly combat. Sparks tilts his head back and closes his eyes. He can see the snakes of flame in his mind's eye. Can see them writhing against each other. Both trying in vain to gain the upper hand against its opponent. He imagines them fusing together, two snakes becoming one serpent. The guardian of the Well. The beast looks back at him, it's four pointed eyes staring into his soul. The serpent's mouth opens wide. Stretching to its fullest. Its tongue of flame snakes out from between its fangs. It drags along Sparks' skin. The half elemental's eyes snap open. The serpent flickers then disappears in a plume of smoke. Amber eyes fall from the star dotted sky to the body, now nothing but black specks on the still golden sand. The wind picks up. It smooths Sparks' hair, easing it against the memory of the guardian. It picks up the ashes, carrying them into the night. Sparks watches them. He knows tears are pouring down his face though he can not feel them.

"Sparks. It is done. Let's go," Cassidy speaks. Not for the first time, Sparks realizes. There is desperation in the new king's voice. Whether he recognized the serpent or not, whether he even saw the serpent, does not matter.

"It is done," the new king repeats with a tone of finality. Sparks turns, sparks falling from his hair as it whips around with him. The half elemental nods and steps forward. He crosses the sand with his king and the guards who followed. Sparks snorts. The guards, he thinks, would be helpless against the spiders. If the spiders were desperate enough, or angry enough, to attack them. Sparks raises a hand to the moon. Fire gathers in his palm. Cassidy steals a glance at his former guardian. One snow white eyebrow raises. The guards trailing behind the pair falter. They look between each other nervously. Cassidy looks over his shoulder at them with a mischievous smile.

"Don't worry," he coos to them, "he's just putting on a show for the spiders." Sparks barks out a laugh. An accurate enough statement. After all, warnings are just elaborate shows put on display to entertain our enemies.

The castle's walls are stifling for the new king. More stifling than they had been for the majority of his life. The throne's grooves dig painfully into Cassidy's back. He does not understand how his father sat here for so long. His violet eyes follow the line of workers, men and women alike, as they transfer his belongings to his new room, and move the King's old belongings out. They are ants, the young king decides. Moving things around deep inside their hive. Violet eyes flicker to the lone ant to break through line. The figure kneels before the throne, flame colored hair bowed. Cassidy's pale lips quirk upward at the tips. Despite having told him he did not have to do so, Sparks finds the formality of kneeling before the throne amusing. He never did so for his uncle, even when Cassidy himself had one knee pressed against the carpeted stones.

"You may rise," the pale king says. He is unable to keep the amusement from leaking into his voice. He does not even try to hide the smile. The half elemental does so, an amused smile painting his face a pleasant yellow. He forgoes all other formalities and bounds up the steps to his former charge's side.

"How does it feel?" he asks. "To be the king?" His voice is light and easy but the question rests heavy on Cassidy's mind. They do not look at each other. Their amber and violet eyes fixated on the two lines of ants leading to and from the king's chambers.

"It feels wrong somehow," Cassidy replies finally. Sparks hums in response. Both in understanding and in prompt to continue. Cassidy sighs. He does not know how to put his feeling into words. As far as he knew his father was not a bad king. By all reports the Kingdom is very prosperous. Had grown ever since the King was placed in power after his brother was arrested. Cassidy could not have allowed him to live, however. He was not going to live in fear that any friend he made, unless they were a high ranking noble, could be killed at any time by his father's whim. Cassidy idly draws nonsensical patterns on the right arm of the throne with his pointer finger.

"I did not want to be afraid," Cassidy begins. Sparks remains silent. "I did not want anyone else to die because I liked them. I did not want to have my life ruled by fear for my friends because of my father." His head falls backwards until it hits the throne's backing. His violet eyes flicker to Sparks. I could not let him kill you, the young king thinks.

"He would not have been able to," Sparks announces. In response to the younger male's thoughts. Cassidy blinks in surprise. Sparks looks down at him his usually bright amber eyes a dark obsidian.

"Fifteen years ago I received my first and only order from the King. I was to take care of his son and never leave his side. As the son grew I found myself forced to disobey a part of that order and I left the prince's side. Three days ago the King ordered my death. I had long since decided that dying was disobeying the King's order completely. And even I would not go against an order so completely," the half elemental elaborates. Cassidy grins. Sparks replies in kind.

"Besides," Sparks adds casually, sweeping his gaze back over the thinning line of ants, "Aqui would have a break down if I were to die. I wouldn't want to put him through that." The fire elemental's voice tapers off and Cassidy finds himself wondering if he should be hearing his friend say this. "He has been through enough. He does not need to be forced to deal with my death." The new king turns his head back to the main hall. He knows that the older male does not speak out of arrogance. He has seen the water elemental's actions around his former guardian. Sparks' death would hurt them all though Cassidy had a feeling, lurking in the back of his mind, that it would cause Aquanious to lose his own life.

A young maid stands at the bottom of the steps, having been elected to talk to the king. She wrings her hands nervously. Her curly pitch black hair bobs as she looks frantically between her onlooking friends and the young king. Her brown eyes are wide and shinning with frustrated tears. Sparks turns to look at her, finally. He raises a flame drenched eyebrow to the girl, not many years younger than the king himself, questioningly. His lips twitch downwards in irritation as the girl remains silent. Her brown eyes are wide, the tears within them slowly making their way down her face.

"Is everything alright?" Cassidy asks in concern. His voice is low and soothing and serves the purpose of calming the girl down enough to speak up. If nervously.

"Your highness, sire, sir," she stutters. Her mud colored eyes dart to Sparks as his frown deepens. She looks down again quickly.

"Well, sire, the King's room, oh, uh, your room it's. Well that is, it's ready for you. Um, sir," the girl continues rapidly, tripping over her words so much that only a few are understandable. Cassidy is able to garner their meaning, however, and smiles at the girl. He stands.

"Thank you," he tells her warmly. The young woman blushes, dark red spreading across her peach skin. The flush darkens as Cassidy walks down the steps and passes her. The smile he gives her nearly has her fainting. As it is she only stumbles, taking a step back to steady herself and nearly running into Sparks as the fire elemental follows his king. She forces out an incoherent apology to the half elemental. Sparks merely waves it off with an easy smile. Amusement is shinning in his eyes, more entertained by the young woman than he had been for the past few days. The young woman watches in awe as the pair walk off. Her flush does not waver as she rushes back to her friends and begins talking rapidly to them in soft voices.

Cassidy smiles to himself as the girl's conversation with her friend slowly fades. He walks through the dimly lit, if short, hallway leading to his fathers former chambers. He glances over his shoulder back at Sparks. The half elemental's eyes are glowing faintly along with the torches. Sparks notices him staring and gives the younger a reassuring grin. It is not long before the pair reaches a large door made of a blood red wood. The handles are pure gold and glare in the low lighting. Cassidy rests a pale hand on one of the golden handles. The contrast is striking and he stares at it for a brief moment, as if just becoming aware of the lightness of his skin. This is it isn't it? The prince turned king asks himself. He wraps his hand around the gold handles. His long pale fingers meets the bottom of his palm, his blunt nails scraping against the skin there. He pulls down the handle and pushes the door open. The blood red door swings on well cared for hinges, making not even a whisper of sound in the dim hallway. Cassidy steps through the doorway and into the dark room. Sparks follows him, his hair sizzling as the fire is allowed leave form its cell. Providing the king ample light to see his new room by.

The king's chambers are large, considerably larger than Cassidy's old room. The bed is nearly twice the size of his old one, and one of two pieces that have remained the same in the midst of the regime change. Placed steadfastly in the middle of the room, pushed against the far right wall facing the northern marshlands. Four posts leading from the ceiling to the bed's four corners keep the bed stationary. Three long strands of striking red cloth hang from the posts, cascading down to obscure the bed's black sheets and tarnished gold pillows. A window lays on the left wall, across from the bed. The curtains are drawn against the midday light. Much like the ones in Cassidy's old room the curtains are a deep purple and very thick. Two wall sconces hang on either side of the window. They are made of gilded metal forced into the shapes of winged serpents with open mouths. Within the twin beasts' gaping mouths Sparks can see the soot covered heads of torches. The fire elemental smirks and flicks his wrist at them. The air around the sconces shimmer seconds before the torches hidden within them catch fire. Cassidy jumps at the sudden increase in light but smiles when he sees the dragons breathing fire. The flames lap at the metal edges of the dragons eyes, creating the illusion that the dragons are watching over those in the room.

Cassidy turns his head away from the dragons and sweeps them around the rest of the room. He can see his chests, bookshelves full of his books and even his armor and swords placed on an armor rack in the corner of the room near the bed. The fireplace takes up the corner on the bed's other side. Its light, almost white, gray stones seem out of place in darkly decorated room. Sparks can see serpents carved into the stones' surface. They are climbing the sides and face of the fireplace, eyes inlaid with deep red rubies. Sparks walks over to the fireplace. He strokes the stones' uneven surface, his rough palm sends sparks falling to the logs bellow. Sparks lets out a sigh. His warm breath ghosts over the logs, unsettling the sparks. They shiver and band together creating a roaring fire within the fireplace's white walls. Sparks steps back and turns to look at Cassidy. The young king is sitting on his bed, eyes still darting about the room curiously.

"It's not a bad room," Cassidy remarks conversationally. Sparks chuckles and begins walking around restlessly.

"It's not. A little big for my tastes, though. I much prefer my room to this. It's cozy. Even your old one is small compared to this," the fire elemental quips. He leans back against an open patch of wall between the fireplace and one of the many bookshelves. He feels the wall give way beneath his weight and jumps up, eyes flaring to life again. Cassidy jumps form the bed and hurries to his friend's side. They stare intently at the small opening made by the turned wall. Sparks takes a step forward, Cassidy following directly behind him. The half elemental pushes on the wall, widening the opening enough for him to slip through. He pauses and glances back at Cassidy, once, his eyes narrowed. The king huffs.

"I'm not turning back and letting you explore this on your own," the young man announces. His voice is barely above a whisper. He hears Sparks sigh in front of him and continue walking. Cassidy smiles smugly and moves to catch up to the older male. They follow the unlit tunnel down, bellow the castle floors. Cassidy gags at the smell of stale air, slapping a hand over his mouth to keep from losing his lunch. He sees Sparks hesitate in front of him and pushes against the half elemental's back to get him to move again.

"There are lit candles ahead," Sparks announces in an voice as quiet as Cassidy's had been. Another few steps and Sparks leaves the tunnel, coming upon a small room with only a paper and candle covered table and chair as furniture. Two men stand in front of the table, staring at Sparks with narrowed light blue eyes. In each of their hands is a matching sword, all sharpened to promise death no matter the strike. Sparks recognizes them. He tenses, his own amber eyes narrowing. The candles flare and flicker. Cassidy appears behind the agitated fire elemental, his violet eyes blinking rapidly as he takes in the sight in front of him. The men notice him and give him twin mocking smiles.

"Welcome, brother," the one on the left greets. Cassidy takes a step back in shock.

"Yes, welcome," the one on the right echoes. "It is so nice to meet you, finally. After all this time." He adds.

"Father was so against us meeting you. Going so far as to forbid it shortly after our arrival to your pathetic kingdom," the first spits.

"Of course now that he is dead, congratulations by the way, we can just forget that little order," the second continues sarcastically. The one on the left twirls his blade idly, smirking at Sparks as he does so.

"But since you killed our dear old dad we're going to have to kill you," the left one all but shouts. He drops into a fighting stance, swords poised to strike all but his twin.

"Any last words, requests, questions?" the one on the right asks in feigned curiosity. He remains standing, relaxed almost but with a steady grip on his swords. Ready, Cassidy can tell, to attack if either he or Sparks made a move against them.

"You're my brothers?" Cassidy asks. The first snorts.

"Half brothers, but really does that matter? In court everyone is related to everyone else one way or another," he laughs at his joke and winks at Sparks. The fire elemental growls at him but otherwise does not move. He will wait until the youngest of the supposed siblings has learned everything he wishes to.

"What are you doing here?" Cassidy ignores the first of his potential brothers, his violet eyes locked with the blue of the second.

"We came to give father some information. Basic stuff, just the location of something he has been looking for nearly all our lives," his eyes flash in the candle light and darken, "something he had to give up after our uncle was exposed as a traitor." Smoke begins to rise from Sparks' hair. His teeth grind together and his fists clench. If there was any doubt that the men in front of him were the late King's sons then it was obliterated at those words. Cassidy's violet eyes flash to his former guardian's face. He sees the tightens there, the pain and the restraint. He returns his attention to his brother.

"One last question," he begins. The man bows his head in acceptance. "What was, our, father looking for?" The man grins, raises on finger to his lips and shushes the younger. He laughs and shakes his head, waving one of his swords at the pair.

"Kidding kidding," he giggles. In a second he is serious again. He moves into a position parallel to his twin.

"He was searching for a fountain that holds all the power in the world. He found it, too. But then you killed him before he could go claim it." The words send ice flowing through Sparks' veins. His fire stops all movement. The candles are snuffed out plunging the room into a total and complete darkness. Sparks can feel the heat radiating off of the three humans in the room. It comforts him but he does not reignite the candles just yet. In the darkness, they are safe. The twins are unable to attack without fear of hurting each other. Unlike in the dungeon, which is so close only separated from them by a wall of stone, this absolute darkness saves Sparks' life, not takes it.

"Why?" Cassidy's voices glides through the darkness. It sounds like it is coming from every direction within the confines of the small room. Even though Sparks knows the new king is standing directly behind him, one hand bunched into Sparks' shirt to assure himself that the fire elemental is still there. One of the twins chuckles humorlessly in the dark.

"You said you only had one more," the twin's voice is ripe with a sort of dry amusement. "Fine fine, we cannot do anything in this state anyway. Clever boy." His voice sounds to Sparks like the oil the courts ladies use obsessively. Sweet smelling but sticky and uncomfortable. Sparks wonders if it, like other oils, burns so well.

"Why else would he go after the fountain. Power. Father wanted power. He wanted to control the land, the sea, the sky." Sparks can feel a pair of those light blue eyes on him. "Fire." A soft touch of Cassidy's hand on his elbow is all the encouragement the fire elemental needs before the candles in the room spark and flare to full life. The man on the left lunges forward, his arms drawn together in the small room, his swords poised to slash Sparks across the chest. Cassidy backs away into the still dark hallway and turns to stare at the stone walls. Sparks bares his teeth his hair and eyes erupting. He meets the swords head on. His elemental engulfing the metal, melting it, eating it. Forcing it to waste away until it is nothing. The flames spread. Coursing forward along the hilt of the swords. The first twin barely opens his mouth to scream before the flames overtake him. Seeping into his body through his open mouth and gaping eyes. The man is ash in seconds. The second twin does not hesitate after seeing his brother so thoroughly ended. He barely takes a step before the fire is on him. Ripping him apart like a pack of rapid dogs to a last meal. The candles burn steadily. Their flames never wavering through the ordeal.

"Pity. Had they been nicer I sure would have liked to get to know my brothers," Cassidy remarks, stepping back into the room. Sparks nods, distracted. The young king goes to investigate the papers strewn about the table. Ignoring the twin piles of ash to either side of the chair. Sparks remains where he stands. Conflicted.

"Go. I think you eliminated all threats in this room. I'll be fine," Cassidy calls to the fire elemental, his violet eyes never leaving the yellowing papers. Papers untouched by the destructive flames that took their writer. Sparks smiles. A proud grin slipping onto his face. He murmurs a quick 'thank you' into the air of the small room. He spins around and begins making his way back up through the hallway.

The walls blur together in Sparks' amber eyes. Maids and nobles and kitchen hands become one and the same as the fire elemental passes them in a rush. His heart pounds against his ribcage. The sense of urgency nearly overwhelming him. Then, he just stops. The King is dead. The thought permeates the haze of scorching adrenaline. The threat is gone, extinguished like fire doused in water. Sparks begins running again, for an entirely new reason. His feet pound against the stone, fading with every step. The never dying flames inside him burst forward, engulfing him in his element. His clothes burn away, leaving a trail of ash on the green grass. He sees the lake and a wicked grin spreads over his face. He jumps and dives into the pool.

The shock of the water forces him back into his corporeal form. He is completely submerged. Neither falling nor floating only held in place by his opposing element. Water caresses him, stroking along his arms, his back, his thighs, everywhere. He feels the pressure of lips against his own, gentle but insistent. He feels in such a way that no one other than the other elemental surrounding him can make him feel. He pushes against the water holding him, feeling it loosen to allow him to surface for air. The sun shines down on him pleasantly. The scent of flowers blooming fills the air. The water moves in a steady rhythm against Sparks. The atmosphere is peaceful. The feeling of contentment flowing through Sparks' veins like blood warms him better than any fire could. His eyes slip closed and images flash before him. Memories, reminders, of what had occurred mere minutes prior to the bliss that has taken over the fire elemental's being. Amber eyes snap open and Sparks lashes out violently. Fire shooting from his palms with no enemy to strike or food to consume. The water tightens around him and soon two strong frostbitten arms are holding him tightly against a strong featureless chest. Aquanious presses gentle kisses along the side of the half elemental's face. The water elemental breathes words of comfort in Sparks' ear in a tinkling and melodic voice. The fire elemental calms after a while. He turns in the others grasp and wraps his own arms around his friend's shoulders.

"Do you remember when you first told me about the Well, about how someone had gotten close to finding it?" he asks insistently. Aquanious nods and runs a soothing hair through his anxious fire elemental's damp hair.

"He was my uncle." The water elemental stills in his ministrations. Sapphire eyes stare down into amber in disbelief. The air around them grows tense and uneasy.

"Cass killed him a few days ago. After he ordered my execution," Sparks continues. Aquanious tenses around him his hair darkening to an inky gray black. The water ripples, as if stirred by a storm. Sparks notices all this. He tightens his grip on the water elemental's shoulders. He leans in closer and brushes his lips over frostbitten blue ones. A gentle heat begins to radiate from him.

"Like I said, he's dead. But," he breaks off and frowns. "I thought you would like to know. About my uncle that is. That he was the one who got so close to finding the Well."

"It certainly makes you a much more sympathetic character in the eyes of the other elementals," an airy voice comments. Sparks jumps and spins around in Aquanious' arms. His eyes are wide and burning with an uneasy light. Aquanious raises a questioning frosted eyebrow at the sky. The air elemental manifests in front of them at the lake's edge. He bows to Sparks. Sincerely or mockingly neither can tell.

"It is a pleasure to finally meet you," the air elemental says. "I am an envoy of the elemental... council, of sorts. My name is unimportant to you at this juncture, and probably always will be." Sparks continues to stare at the new elemental with shifting amber eyes. He leans back against the water elemental behind him, taking comfort in his aloofness towards the intruder.

"What do you want?" Aquanious asks in a bored tone. The air elemental frowns.

"Nothing good I am afraid," it responds. "They know, Aquanious, about everything. You are being ordered to meet the council at the Well. And to bring your half elemental with you." Sparks growls uneasily. Reacting to the tenseness of the body behind him.

"What will happen to us there?" the water elemental asks in a carefully controlled voice.

"You will be tried. For treason to our kind amongst other charges," it replies. Sparks looks back at Aquanious fearfully. Sapphire meets amber and a silent conversation passes between them. The air elemental notices this and sighs.

"You will be put on trial at the Well. You remember what that means, do you not Aquanious?" Sapphire eyes leave amber to stare into smoky gray.

"What does it mean?" Sparks asks.

"Our dead are a lot kinder than most of our living," the water elemental answers without taking his eyes from the air elemental's. "They are also very vocal about their opinions. In many cases more so in death than they ever were in life. There is, in actuality, a high chance we will be pardoned for all crimes. Especially since your mother is amongst them." Silence descends upon the three elementals. Air hovering idly while fire thinks and water passes restless hands over fire's torso.

"How do we get there?" Sparks questions, breaking the silence. The air elemental smiles widely, revealing a nothing but a hollow, transparent mouth.

"We walk."

Sparks has never been in the magic plane before. Has never even left his corporeal form entirely. Aquanious guides him through the process, holding him until he slips from the water elemental's grasp and joins the name untold air elemental. The magic plane is the embodiment of magic and nothing. Or nothing but magic, depending on how one looks at it. Here, elementals are neither seen nor heard. They are felt, in the deepest sense of the word. Every elemental is but a feeling to every other. No more and no less. What that feeling is depends on the elementals. When he joins them, entering his natural plane for the first time in so long, Aquanious feels like strength to most. His power over his element is rivaled by few others. To Sparks, he feels like everything. Everything in the endless expanse of nothing. To Aquanious, Sparks feels the same.

"Come," the air elemental presses. Sparks obeys with Aquanious by his side. They begin to move, if it could be called that. The half elemental feels the nothingness as it moves around them. It is not long, or it is too long, before the trio reaches a break in the nothing. A pulsing entity of power. A purer structure of magic than the plane itself.

"Back to the corporeal. There is no more for you to do here," the air elemental forces. Aquanious pushes against Sparks and the half elemental finds himself back in the corporeal plane, in his corporeal form. Surrounded by angry elementals of each of the four elements. Aquanious appears next to him and glares down at all the other elementals around them. Many shrink back under the icy stare. There are four, however, that do not react. Four elementals, one of each element, standing in a line. Only one steps forward. A water elemental itself with no discernible features other than its eyes of pure ice.

"Aquanious do you know why you are here?" it asks. Its voice is the crashing of ocean waves against rocky shores. Aquanious nods.

"Good, then we do not need to repeat it. Personally I am of the opinion that we should just kill you and the mutt now and be done with it but traditions must be met and kept," it continues. Sparks snorts. An ember flies from his nose to land on the muddy ground by the other water elemental's feet. With a blink of amber eyes the ember sparks and grows into a low burning fire. The ice eyed water elemental steps back and glares at Sparks. It then spins around to direct that glare to the fire elemental standing in the line, who laughed at Sparks' action.

"You might wish their death but you know very well the Well has other plans. At least for the mutt," the fire elemental comments with a rakish grin. Aquanious' eyebrows furrow and Sparks looks at his friend in curious confusion.

"What do you mean 'has other plans'?" the sapphire eyed water elemental asks darkly. The earth elemental in the line opens its mouth to speak when another voice answers in its stead. The voice is haunting to all, phantasmagorical in the very core of its nature. All eyes turn to the Well to see a man, an old and very much human man, standing in the center of the mass of water and magic.

"He is to become our new guardian," the man says in that ghostly voice. Sparks' jaw drops.

"What?" he asks dumbly. Aquanious merely stares at the visage. To shocked to do anything else.

"He reminds us of ourselves when we were young so very many years ago," the man says by way of explanation. "And we will have no other so there is no point in arguing with us." The water elemental with the ice for eyes walks up to the edge of the Well.

"But a guardian cannot be created without an elemental of each element joining willing with each other," it protests. The man waves what could only be a hand at the elemental.

"Nonsense. We will give him the remaining power he needs. He will be allowed to keep his body and mind, so much is lost when you fuse elementals, and everything will be fine. So, what do you say boy? Be our guardian?" Sparks hesitates, looking from Aquanious to the image of the man.

"I think it is only fair, seeing as you killed the only one," an elemental of the crowd remarks darkly. Sparks flushes. Aquanious turns, hair whirling wildly about him and sapphire eyes hard. The elemental who spoke against Sparks takes a hurried step back then disappears, back to the magic plane right as jet of water shoots from the Well. Aquanious looks around at the other elementals present, daring them to speak against the half elemental. Sparks rests a warm hand on his friend's arm. Sapphire eyes meet amber and widen, seeing the decision glowing within the flames there.

"I will," Sparks says. The man claps his hands together happily.

"Only if I am able to say goodbye to Cassidy first," Sparks adds before the man can do anything else. This prompts the surrounding elementals to grumble in irritation. The man silences them with a clap that sounds like thunder.

"That is enough, all of you. Leave you bore us," the man shouts. The elementals obey and in seconds only Sparks and Aquanious remain. The man raises a phantom eyebrow at the water elemental.

"Do you need something?" he asks dryly. Aquanious hesitates briefly before nodding.

"I have two requests to make of you," he says boldly. The man's eyebrow raises further.

"Very well," he concedes.

"First, I would like to stay here with Sparks."

"As a guardian to our guardian?" the man asks, clearly confused by the notion. Aquanious shakes his head, his hair turning a pink streaked sea foam green.

"As a friend," he clarifies. The apparition seems to confer with itself. Its lips moving rapidly with a multitude of voices leaving them.

"That is acceptable. And your second request?"

"I wish to learn the name given to Sparks by his mother." Silence meets this request. Sparks stares at his friend with wide amber eyes. A smile grows on the man's face.

"Kasaika." The name is less of a word and more the essence of all fires as it slips form the man's ghostly mouth. Sparks' lips move as he attempts to form the word foreign to his human mouth.

"Thank you," Aquanious says gratefully. The man nods and turns his attention back to the half elemental.

"I suggest hurrying to speak to your prince now, we do not wish to go for very much longer without a guardian." Sparks nods before taking Aquanious' hand and disappearing within back into nothing.

"So you are leaving? Forever?" Cassidy asks. Sparks nods. Aquanious, standing beside him, echos the action. Colin shakes his head. Not wanting to believe the news. They are standing beside what used to be Aquanious' lake. Having gathered there to talk without anyone interfering. The air around them is still, as if to give them privacy as they say their goodbyes.

"Will we ever get to see you again?" the king asks. Sparks shrugs and looks at Aquanious.

"The guardian's job is to protect the Well from humans wishing to abuse its power. Assuming you never decide to do so, you may visit as much as you are able," the water elemental answers. Both the king and chef breath out sighs of relief. They give Sparks bright smiles.

"We will miss you anyway," Colin mutters around the tears falling from his golden hazel eyes.

"It will not be the same," Cassidy agrees. Sparks forces himself to smile even as hot tears streak down his own face. They move at once, wrapping their arms around each other and letting their tears fall uncontested. A gentle wind brushes over them.

"I hate to ruin this moment, but the Well is asking for you Kasaika. It is getting rather impatient," the air elemental whispers into Sparks' ear. The half elemental nods and pulls away from his friends.

"Visit soon," he says before fading away with Aquanious.

"We will," Cassidy assures the empty space where his brother had once stood.

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