Freedom City: Loves and Other Madnesses

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Freedom City: Loves and Other Madnesses

Post by Davies » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:36 am

[This is a story set in my World of Freedom 2.5 continuity, described in the Setting page. Enjoy.]
[Nereid] and Magni also seem to be close, and there is definite chemistry between them. Magni also comes from privileged parentage, and both bear the burdens of their responsibility. Neither really knows how to take that next step to actually begin dating, much less express how they feel, creating many awkward moments. Should Nereid be dating or in love with a player character, then her attraction for Magni is tearing her in two.

-- Hero High, p. 112
Of course, what if it's a lot more complicated than that?

Time: A few months ago. Late at night.

Caias Ward stood in the forest at the northwest corner of Claremont's grounds, glad that he didn't feel the cold. It was a rare feeling to be glad about something like that, and he cherished it. But his was not a patient soul, and he was on the verge of walking back to the dorm and forgetting this nonsense.

Suddenly, there was a rustle in the bushes. He froze, then softly asked, "Is that you?"

He had just long enough to wonder what he'd do if the answer was "No," before Nereid, dressed in her bathing suit, stepped out from behind the bush.

"Thank you for meeting me," she began.

"Why wouldn't I?" he asked. She had been acting very strangely of late, but nonetheless.

"It is no light thing to break the rules in this fashion, but I must see you. I -- I cannot speak of this, to you, when there are others present, as there would be at any other time."

"What?" he asked, beginning to feel afraid. "What is it? Are you leaving? Have they called you back to Atlantis, or something?"

"No, no, no. No. It is nothing to do with my family. It is -- it is entirely of myself." She paused, then continued, half-plaintively. "I hardly know where to begin."

"Thetis, please. Just ... tell me what's wrong. Whatever it is, it can't be so bad that we can't talk about it --"

"I think I love Magni," she said, her eyes closed.

Caias waited for the rest of it.

Her eyes opened, and she stared at him imploringly.

"Uh-huh?" he said, trying subtly to encourage her to expand on her theme.

"Are you angry?"

"Why would that make me angry?" he asked, wishing that Seven was here as he had never wished for anything in all his years on Earth.

"Has the fury driven you mad, that you mock me in this way?" she cried.

"Sh-sh-sh!" he said, gesturing for her to keep it down. "I don't understand. Why, why is this such a bad thing? He's a good guy. I mean, he's a little full of himself, but being a god, and all, that's probably --"

"Don't you understand how my heart is breaking?" she said, starting to weep. "I love him, and I love you, and I don't know what to do!"

After a little while, he said, feeling very profound, "Huh?"

Her sobs abated slowly, but they did abate. "You didn't know?" she asked, quietly.

"No," he said. "No, I had no idea. I -- now I -- I don't know what to say," he finished, lamely.

"And I don't know what to do," Thetis repeated.

"Well ... there I can help," Caias said.

"What should I do?"

"You should love Magni, if you love him. And you should definitely, definitely ... not ... love me."

"What?" she asked.

"I'm sorry," he continued, sounding broken himself. "I'm so so sorry. If I'd known, I never ... but you were my best friend. My only friend, since Xena -- my only ... but I don't love you. Not like that. Not ever. Not at all. I'm sorry."

"I don't understand," Thetis said, after a time, because she couldn't think of anything else to say. "Do you still love her, then? Xena? After all she's done, can you still --"

"No. No. It's not that either. I never ... can something be, I don't know, platonic, and yet so intense, that it makes you ... I never loved her, like that, either. I've never loved any woman, like that."

She blinked, opened her mouth, closed it, then spoke again. "Are you, then --"

"No. No man, either. No one. I don't think I can."

"What do you mean? Of course, of course you can. Everyone can love, though ... though I suppose there are those who don't, but, but I never took you for --"

"No," he said, and then he spoke ever more swiftly. "No. Thetis, don't you understand? This --" He gestured towards himself. "-- this is all ... just a disguise. Inside of it, I'm not like you. I don't know what I am like. I don't know if my people do things like, like sex. For all that I know, my mother was a petri dish, my father was a knife, and I was made, made to look like one of you, for whatever reason."

She was staring at him now, her hands clenched over her mouth, her eyes wide with what he took for terror. Almost, he reached out to hold her shoulders. Almost.

Instead, calmer now, Caias spoke again. "You see now. I'm glad. I'm glad that you see, glad that you love Magni. You deserve him. You deserve everything that's wonderful in this or any other world. You shouldn't ... shouldn't love a mon--"

She slapped him, then, and for a wonder, he felt it.

"I am Thetis, daughter of Theseus, daughter of Thallor, child of the Kings since the Ocean drank Atlantis," she said, colder than the night. "And no one -- no one, not even you -- shall ever speak so of you in my hearing, and not receive such from me."

"Thetis --"

"No. You have had your say, and this is mine. No one -- no one, not even you -- shall ever choose for me whom I love. My parents have learned this, and now so shall you. I love you, Caias Ward, or whatever name your knife-father gave you. I am not your passion. So be it. But there are loves, and there are loves, and nothing you are will ever make you not one that I love."

And she hugged him, and continued to speak, softly, into his ear. "You and I shall learn what you are, and why you are here, and all manner of other things about you, and if it should be that you were sent here for some fell purpose, then the designs of those who did so will be undone. For that is the work of heroes, and I am one such, and so are you, deny it though you do. Do I make myself clear?" she asked.

"Yes," he said hoarsely.

"Yes, your highness," she prompted.

"Yes ... your highness."

She drew back then, and stood on tip-toe to kiss him, for the first time. Then she was gone into the night.

As he was still standing there, some time later, Magni came crashing though the bush, his hammers glowing brightly in his hands. "What do you here, Ward?"

"You might want to lower your voice," Caias said half-dazedly.

Perhaps a smidgen more quietly, the demigod continued. "What do you here, that fair Nereid runs so swiftly away, her eyes bright with tears?"

He might have continued in this fashion for quite some time, had Caias not answered, "We broke up. She's in love with someone else."

Abruptly, it seemed that all the fury went out of Magni, and he swallowed, loudly, before speaking softly. "And ... does this other love her, in his turn? Is he worthy of her?"

"As to the first, you know better than I what's in your heart," Caias said. Then, after a moment, he moved on. "As to the other ... you had better be." And there was something very new, very different in his eyes and in his voice.

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Post by Rubber Baron » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:10 pm


Good stuff, Chris.
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Post by Jalinth » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:52 pm

I rather enjoyed that, thank you.
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.
-A.E. Housman

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Post by Tattooedman » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:57 pm

That is some good stuff there!!

Hope to see more soon!!
World of Freedom Setting 3E

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Graduation Day (Part Three)

Post by Davies » Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:16 am

[Parts One and Two are in the Settings forum.]

For a moment, Caias just stared at Xena, eyes agape. And then he started shouting. "Good grief, have you completely lost your mind? It's only been six years, Ex, and I haven't changed that much in that time! Maybe you have, but --"

And then she blinked, and got it. "Kay?" she said, lowering the barrel of the gun slightly. "But ... but you're -- you can't be -- how --"

"I always was, Ex," he said, taking a step toward her. The barrel came back up again, and he halted. Then sighed. "Given the givens, can you really blame me for keeping it a secret from you, even before -- well, before?"

She was only half-hearing him; most of her attention was being given to the voices, which had never been so loud as they were right then, urging her to shoot him, shoot him now, shoot him or you'll regret it, shoot him --

"Shut up," she hissed, eyes closed. "Shutupshutupshutup!"

"Ex? Xena?" he asked.

"You shut up too!"

Too? he thought, but shut up.

After a few moments, with the voices down to their usual low murmur, she was able to open her eyes and look at him bleakly. "All right. So. You're an alien. That's nice. How's that working out for you?"

"Badly. These people are going to invade Earth, unless we do something to stop them."

"We? Did you just say we?"

"Yes, I did. Don't give me that look. You've always been about making the world a safer place for humanity -- and maybe you can rationalize terrorism as a way to bring that about, but can you really rationalize not doing anything about an army of supermen who actually do want to conquer the world? How do you square that with thinking that supers are the biggest threat to world safety?"

"I -- if they succeed, which is by no means certain --"

"Do you really want to bet the whole damn ball of wax on that?"

"What do you care about any of this?" Xena snapped. "It's not your planet!"

"I care because --" He stopped himself from saying, because my parents are still alive. "-- because I care about you."

"Oh, that is funny."

"No. I mean it. And I'll prove it." Caias closed his eyes, breathed deeply for a few moments, then opened them again. "You want to shoot me? Okay. If you'll help me to stop this invasion from happening, I'll let you. I won't run. I won't try to dodge or escape. I'll let you blast me with that thing, and if it doesn't kill me on the first shot, you can go right ahead blasting me until it does."

She stared at him. "You're lying."

"I've never told you a lie yet, why should I start now? And no, not telling you about what I was, what I could do, wasn't lying, I just didn't tell you. And you didn't ask."

She kept on staring. "What if I had?"

"I don't know what I would have done, but I do know that I wouldn't have lied to you. I loved you." He closed his eyes on that, sure that she was going to shoot him out of hand. But he'd said it. He'd finally said it, no matter how much it hurt. He'd loved her.

He still did.

"And what's to stop me from shooting you right now?" she asked, sounding very strange.

He opened his eyes again. "Nothing but the fact that I will try to get out of the way, and you might never get a better chance than this again. So what's it going to be? You really want to give up a sure thing like this?"

"Sure thing? What if we fail?"

If she was thinking in terms of potential failures, Caias knew that Xena was mostly sold. "Then I'll probably get myself killed anyway, and you won't need that gun."

"You don't even know what this weapon does, and you'll let me shoot you with it," she said. He thought he could hear faint amazement in her voice.

"It's a gun. Presumably, it kills things."

"Nothing so prosaic. It --"

"Who goes there?!" barked a voice which only Caias could understand. He turned to see a watchman approaching them rapidly.

"Last chance, in or out," he snapped at Xena.

Shoothimshoothimshoothimshoothimyoudontwanttobutyouneedtoshoothim, whispered the voices.

"In," she said, and watched as he turned his back, giving her a perfect shot at him, so that he could fight the watchman.

He trusts me, she thought. What a fool.

And yet she didn't shoot him.

To Be Continued.

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Post by Michuru81 » Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:13 pm

I'm really enjoying this. Your stories are very dialogue-driven and character-propelled and I can't get enough of that. Excellent stuff and I'm eager for more. :)