ONE • A Heart With Two Souls
Golden solstice 389 Lithea, Auramus
It was a sweltering day in the capital city of Lithea. The kind of weather that keeps you indoors cuddling frozen pillows and braiding ice into your hair, but not the people of Lithea; the scorching days of such were considered a blessing.
The city folks were outside celebrating under the sizzling sun, throwing golden yarrows like confetti that left the cobblestone glistening as the sun rays perfectly hit the flowers.
Music and joy filled the air at the upcoming wedding of their beloved princess, Amberline Aurumeart.
Aurami mores dictated all ladies of high caliber are to have their partners chosen for them at the right age which is to be determined by the guardian, a tradition the princess chose to mildly disregard and select the suitor herself.
Amberline found difficulty breathing through the tight corset of her bridal gown, but chose to overlook that minor detail for the sake of not having to delay the wedding for wrong measurements again. People would start assuming she was doing it on purpose.
She took a brief look at herself in the mirror, dark gray eyes with twinkling flecks of dying ember were staring right back at her, ready to emerge and create a new fire. Her hand caressed the prominent dark circles under her eyes knowing fully well the reason behind her distress.
“You can do this,” she took a deep breath and walked out of her dressing room to meet the delighted seamstress, and her eager bridesmaids who’d see the dress for the first time.
She didn’t know whether they were genuinely awed with her choice of wear, or feigning for the sake of not facing the end of her raging flames; either way she was pleased by their reactions, all but her sister’s who was more busy devouring everything set on the table.
“You like?” She forced a bright smile, and twirled in front of the walls of mirrors to show them every detail encrusted on the fabric. The crushed mystone vines run from the waist and gradually fading at the bottom to keep the dress from catching fire. The sprays of tiny, diamonds change to a golden shade when exposed to sunlight.
“I’m literally speechless,” her cousin, lady Keira, was the first to come out of her trance. “You’re the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen.”
“Hey! You said the exact same thing to me!” Said one her bridesmaids playfully. “Try something more original so you wouldn’t offend her highness at lady Jade’s wedding.”
Keira eyed Jadeline with a raised brow. “That would happen the day the stars take over the realm. Jade would probably wear armor just to spite her spouse.”
Everyone laughed but the said lady who gave a mocking laugh instead.
“So you don’t think it’s too much? I’m having doubts about the diamonds contrasting the mystones.” She frowned looking at her waistline like it’s a crime scene. “Maybe I should go with something more simple and__”
“No!” Keira, and some of the other girls, cut her off before she started fussing about nonexistent issues and delaying the wedding for another month. “It’s perfect, Lord Larson gifted you these diamonds, it would honor him and his people if you wear them at the altar.”
“You’re a vision your highness.”
“People will talk about your wedding for decades.”
The rest of the ladies in present assured her with other reasons why she should keep everything the way it was. The city cannot afford another postponement, the king told them.
Keira nudged Jadeline, the Princess’ twin sister, to say something, making her drop the last bits of her macaroons to the ground.
“Yeah, Amber I’m sure Larry doesn’t even care if you show in a potato sack at this point … what a waste,” she said looking down at her favorite pastry lying on the ground, wondering whether it’s appropriate to pick it up and pop it into her mouth, she decided against it at the last moment and looked up to find all the girls gaping at her like they read her mind. “I mean, he’s so eager to have you and more likely interested in what’s beneath the dress.” She added the last moment for a quick save; the girls looked like they were so close to jump on her and gouge out her eyes.
The ladies fell in fits of girly giggles at her innuendo while Amber sufficed with a demure chuckle and a faint blush.
“How many times have I told you to stop calling him Larry. He doesn’t like your nicknaming habits, especially since they stick.” Amber shook her head unable to erase the smile. Her twin, and her to be husband were cats and dogs since day one. Their personalities seemed to clash whenever they were in the presence of each other, and she found herself on countless occasions standing between them.
“Would he prefer I call him Arse Larson?” She suggested rolling her eyes when the ladies theatrically gasped at her profane nickname.
“I’d prefer you swallow your tongue at his presence and lower your eyes because you have this look every time he’s in your line of sight.” She said.
“What look?” Asked the redhead lady, peeved by her sister’s senseless commands.
“The one you’re having right now.” Interjected Keira. “Like you want to set something aflame but you’re frustrated because you don’t have the gift.”
Jade frowned at how accurate that description was. The only time she was envious of her siblings’ gift was when she needed it to set the said lord on fire.
“Whatever, let’s move on from my sister’s questionable taste in men and focus on more important things,” she said walking towards the table that was brimming with food a few hours ago and pointing at it with both hands. “How can you celebrate without any food!”
“You had everything,” Keira pinched the bridge of her nose. “You literally ate it all by yourself, none of us even touched it yet.”
“Not everything,” She smiled sheepishly. “I haven’t touched the salad.”
The rest of the ladies stared at her unable to speak their minds. Keira being her second cousin could badmouth her as much as she wanted, the rest were too intimidated by the impulsive lady who broke too many noses than she could count.
“How you still fit into that dress is another cosmic mystery.” Remarked Keira eyeing her slender figure, wondering where all the food went.
Jade shrugged, pulling her no-shoulder dress whenever it threatened to fall. "I burn the fat running my ass across the field by dawn and drink lots of liquid. It’s actually a small trick I learned at Kerenile."
“I can’t believe His Majesty still lets you proceed with your knightly training.” She scoffed. “When are you going to grow out of your masculine pretensions and start acting like a proper lady?”
“Probably the day you get your head out of your ass and see the world as it is.” Retorted Jade trying hard not to lose her temper and cause a scene. Another person she’d like the honor to incinerate would be her nosy cousin who always judged her every move with a nose in the air, and an upturned lip. It seemed that her sister always surrounded herself with people she disliked to an extent, and she had no say in it.
While the girls were having a heated exchange about who’s right and who’s being a moron by making unsavory life decisions, Amber had more pressing issues of concentrating on her big day and keeping herself checked. Not letting the wild fire show in her eyes and hair was proven to be a challenge.
Her attempts were unsuccessful when the smoke started rising through her ash white hair, and the dancing flicks in her eyes kept morphing from dying embers covered in cinder to bright gold back and forth.
The hot weather did nothing but fuel her fire with her mind drifting to arguments she had with her brother, the king, prior evening; an argument that kept her up all night thinking about the drastic possibilities of the king’s decision.
The familiar aroma of musk resin wafting through the room took Jade slightly aback. The redhead turned from an aggravated Keira towards her sister knowing fully well the source of the scent.
What was once ash white, almost a silver shade, hair was now a blazing waves of gold and orange. Smoke wafted through her locks as if it was the ancient bonfire that created the realm.
Jade took notice of her sister’s shaken hands who she kept folded under her arms. She sighed and turned to the ladies in waiting.
“It’s bath time,” she announced and was met with confused silence. “Unless you’re willing to aid with the bride’s monthly mystone bath, please evacuate the room.”
Her last words took effect immediately as lady Keira and the bridesmaids eyed the fuming bride and decided they’d rather have their limbs amputated than attend another one of Amber’s cooling baths that did nothing to cool her temper.
When the last one of them cleared the vicinity and closed the door behind her, Jade slumped on the sofa that faced her sister.
“You alright?” She asked knowing fully well she wasn’t.
Amber nodded absentmindedly as she stared at her reflection in the mirror. Truly a work of wonders her dress was, she thought. It would be a shame if it ended up in the pile of ruined crispy dresses.
“I’m just—nervous,” she sat next to her sister without having to worry about burning the sofa or her sister since both are resistant to her type of flames. “Wedding jitters and all.”
“It has nothing to do with incoming Veserians?” She prompted hitting the bull’s eyes as she received the very reaction she was expecting from her twin sister.
The bright orange hair crackled to life and started spitting wild embers, and turned to cinders settling on her bare shoulders like flecks of dandruff. Her flames had that reaction whenever someone mentioned the other realm, Vesox.
“I don’t understand why you're getting all tizzy over this?”
“How can you possibly understand,” said Amber, lingering her gaze on the bright green eyes that reminded her so much of her mother. “You Weren’t there.”
"I know,” she forced a sad smile slowly running her hands through the burning locks. “If only I snuck with you that day instead of being a coward, that way you wouldn’t be going through this all alone.”
“I’m grateful everyday that you didn’t come with me.” Amber smiled back at her sister, the first genuine smile this whole day, “Cosmen know I would’ve turned to stones if something happened to you.”
Jade held her sister in her arms until the flames died down, but her dress wasn’t fortunate to come out this ordeal spotless.
“Sorry,” she winced staring at the dress her cousin forced her sister into to make her presentable for the morning’s premarital ceremony.
“Oh please! You’ve done me a favor. I have to pull it up every five minutes because it insists on condemning me with public nudity.” Jade laughed, “Sir Elton of Sanria was shamelessly staring at my chest throughout the ceremony. Apparently no one notified him that southern women wear more revealing clothes.”
Amber released a hearty laugh. “I’d say you were exaggerating if I wasn’t there. The poor man kept on anticipating the fall of your straps the whole hour, unable to blink in case he missed it.”
“Such an old perv…” they both laughed.
“Now turn around, let’s undress you before your bath gets warm,” she said grabbing her by the shoulder and tilting her aside to get a better view of her back. “As much it would amuse me till eternity, I don’t think it’s wise to set your husband on fire on your wedding night.”
Jade couldn’t help but laugh at her reaction. Even without seeing her red face.
"We’re good, it's not my heating week," she mumbled embarrassed to have this conversation even with her own sister.
“Well! I’m pretty sure Liam will have my ass handed to me if something happens to his precious Genoresian lord’s ass.” She joked sensing the heat emitting off her bare shoulders. The mystone vines were a wise decision, Jade thought. If it weren’t for the energy absorbing gem, the whole chamber would’ve been razed to the ground over the princess’ unbalancing.
"You better zip that mouth and unzip this dress already," she muttered warningly.
“Okay,” She beamed amused with her sister’s piousness. “Amby?”
“You’re the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen!” She breathed in a faint shock mimicking Keira.
“I hate you.”
Kyle closes his eyes in frustration hearing that sentence over and over again ever since they emerged from Eruba’s cosmic gate.
“If I had the power to go back in time, I would’ve taken that chance and slaughtered your ancestors so you wouldn’t even exist.” He hissed covering his sensitive eyes with his hand to keep the sun out of them.
“I should’ve gone with Helen Ocelli, she’s less of a pussy than you.” Kyle shook his head staring at the dry and scorching landscapes through the tinted glass of the solar vehicle the Aurami used as a means of transport.
“Nice pun, why don’t you shove it up your ass and shut the fuck up.” He groaned.
Kyle eyed his fellow Darkblood who wasn’t built to handle the sunny environment; neither was he, but he was in no place to complain when he’s the one who dragged them both to the realm of eternal light.
“Are we there yet? This solarproof glass is as useless as a bag of dicks.”
“Stop whining, We’re close.” Answered Kyle.
“I hate you.”
“You already said that.”
"Remind me why we're doing this? The Aurumearts despise the living day out of us after the Royal massacre." He asked, questioning his rationality for ever agreeing to come.
Kyle sighed quite loudly. He fully explained to his nation’s pillars many times how they need Aurami support to wage war against the Imperials. Aiden, head of the Darkbloods, slept throughout the whole assembly and declared the Sanoirs will help Aracelus clans by any means they see fit. He didn’t know the council would take his words to heart, and here he was signing up for something he didn’t understand.
"The king agreed on a treaty, we need alliance and unity if we're declaring a war on the Lycans," he replied firmly, not in the mood to entertain the man.
"What makes you think they won't revoke this treaty over the act of mindless beasts."
Kyle pursed his lips and tightened his grip, he knew it was a great sacrifice, but he'll do whatever it took to help his people live and migrate for a better life if the need ever arises.
He turned to Aiden and replied with a formal smile. "we shall tighten our connections . . . By blood."
Aiden furrowed his eyebrows, not completely sure of what he said, although his attention had peeked at one word. "All I heard was blood."
Kyle couldn't help but chuckle at that. "It’s only a week, your blood won’t thicken in such a short period."
The Darkblood huffed. “Tell that to Emery, the woman wants to get me on a year's diet over animal blood, she read it somewhere and won’t stop yapping about it.”
A small smile tore through his face at the thought of having this powerful man controlled by a shortsighted Mage. “Your Ancura is quite the special one.”
“Your time will come. But if it’s a Rebelle, like Emery, make sure she doesn’t see you. And run as far as the realm could take you.” He Joked gesturing with his hand that they’re insane.
"About that..." he trailed off.
"You know it's nearly impossible for Regal Alphas to find their Ancuras, right?" he paused with a rhetorical question left in the air.
"Well, it's not impossible. More like bloody difficult." He snorted. “You can’t really have it all handed to you. Why do you think all the Cosmen are women?”
“Because they fucking enjoy making our lives a living hell.” He shook his head, “I’ll never sleep on an assembly ever again.” He mumbled to himself.
“My father and grandfather died without meeting the anchors to their souls. I believe I'm facing the same fate as they,” Said Kyle after a long pause.
“What are you, an Oracle?”
“I’m making sure the Aurumearts won’t revoke the treaty out of cowardice by marrying the king’s sister.” He said very much ignoring Aiden’s attempts to drift from the subject.
The vehicle was swarmed with silence as Aiden gaped at the Shifter.
“You’re telling me,” He broke the silence after a minute, “you dragged my ass across the cosmic veils into this hot as a scorpion pepper realm so you can dip your cock in a fireborn’s__”
“Not a fireborn.” Kyle interjected. “But yes, I need an ally, and you swore your allegiance at the assembly like an idiot.”
“I blame animal blood.” He muttered after they both decided to go silent.
The solar empowered vehicle finally made it through the city borders and finally the wide opened cerulean gates.
The city left both men in wonder. How these people tolerated the humid sweltering weather and celebrated like it was the end of the world. Golden flowers covered every inch of the blue cobblestones making the whole city glisten under the sun.
“I hate you.” Said Aiden, begrudgingly staring at the scene. “I hope she’s ugly and loud.”
Kyle laughed at his misery. But deep down, he hoped she wasn’t.