Timeless

Adventuring through twisted time.



Xylina stood at the edge of the royal gardens, the soft hum of early morning filling the air. Dew clung to the petals of vibrant blooms, and the first light of dawn painted the sky in shades of lavender and gold. She had always found solace in these moments of quiet, but today, her tranquility was shattered by the scroll clutched tightly in her hand.

She unfolded the letter once more, her eyes skimming over the elegant script of King Kyan's handwriting.

"The rare Emberbloom Flower, crucial for the Midsummer Festival, must be retrieved from the depths of the Grimshade Hollow. Echo will accompany you, for your combined skills are needed to ensure success.

This is not a suggestion. You'll depart immediately. Send word when you've returned upon success.

King Raventhorn"

Xylina's jaw clenched as she crumpled the letter in her hand. Of course, King Kyan would orchestrate such a scheme, knowing full well she would never agree to this venture willingly. Echo. The very name brought a surge of old, buried emotions to the surface—anger, betrayal, a bitterness she had never quite managed to let go.

She glanced around the garden, half expecting Echo to appear any moment, as if summoned by the king’s decree. Her fingers traced the outline of the pendant around her neck, a token of her promise to serve the kingdom. It was that promise alone that kept her from storming into the castle to voice her protest.

Instead, Xylina took a deep breath, willing herself to remain calm. The Midsummer Festival was a sacred tradition, and the Emberbloom Flower was indeed vital. She could not deny the importance of their task, nor the king’s wisdom in pairing their complementary abilities. But working with Echo again—after all these years—was a different matter entirely.

She heard the familiar sound of approaching footsteps, light yet purposeful, and knew without turning that Echo had arrived. Xylina straightened her shoulders, masking her inner turmoil with a facade of cool detachment. This mission would test more than just their skills; it would challenge the very fabric of their strained relationship.

Xylina finally turned to face Echo, her expression unreadable. "It seems we have a task ahead of us," she said, her voice steady but devoid of warmth. "We should discuss our plan and leave as soon as possible." The air between them crackled with unspoken tension, but there was no turning back now. The fate of the Midsummer Festival was laid on their shoulders. She refused to be the obstacles that stood in the way of the joy the Festival brought to their people.

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There once was a boy whose light burned so bright it lit the light of those who saw or passed him by. His eyes held his love and joy. His heart filled with excitement and longing. His mind was packed with the tales of the gods and their heroes, and the people they saved. His soul was etched with desire and burning for adventure. 

Nonetheless, this World is cruel, and its people? Dark, and so the boy's light was snuffed out.

His soul lost its purpose and that loss took everything with it. His mind turned away from the stories that once brought him such joy. All that was once engraved on the walls of his heart were naught but meaningless writings on the now stone walls. 

And his once effervescent jade eyes met a girl. A girl who was a flame, who burned so bright she made the light in the boy reignite. She taught him how to love again and in turn, he let her go so her light could reach all of those he kept her from.

There was no anger. No violent reaction. Nothing flew across the room in a burst of rage. The paper in his hands didn't even burn. He was just numb. And while those emotions were surely all there he no longer reacted how everyone expected. His taciturn demeanor was a hard one for all to accept. But like the rest of the world, he grieved and grew differently. And so his anger no longer went misplaced. He was alone at this moment and had been for quite some time. As the messenger who'd delivered the scroll had left hours ago but Echo's eyes never peeled from the words on the page and a swirl of adverse emotions overtook him entirely. Xylina, the name of his new partner, wasn't even the problem here. While of course that wasn't great it was the mission itself that was. 

The Emberbloom Flower… he used to do this every Midsummer Festival with Aspin. His youngest sister had a knack for the agriculture of the forest. She knew every plant and animal by name and it seemed they knew her right back. His heart clutched at the distant memories which still felt like fresh wounds. And he dropped the scroll as if he were the one who had just been burned. He couldn't recall the last Midsummer Festival he'd been to. Or the last time he was sent on a mission within Thistlemoon. But most of all and what he feared was he couldn't remember his sisters’ voices. 

He was starting to forget. And that terrified him beyond comparison because as the last of his line, he seemed like he was the only one who remembered them. Would their memory die with him? He rubbed his face from the stress plaguing his mind. Changed the way he breathed as his chest grew tight when he tried to remember the way they laughed. Argued. Joked. Walked. Ran… His mind had been haunted by their deaths so long that that was all he could remember clearly.

He needed air. He needed to see them first before seeing… her. He pulled himself together. Bathed. Shaved. And made himself presentable. Which he only did when he visited his family’s burial site or when Kyan summoned him. So the looks of pleasant surprise as he passed his fellow Fae by didn't surprise him. He had gone around looking rough for so long that it was a nice change of pace for him. 

He stopped in the garden first to get their favorite flowers. A moment he thought was private. A moment he let his guard down as he lovingly found each bud he needed. Careful in his manner so as to not burn them from the natural heat he radiates. He was lost in his attempts to recall If he had any mementos of or from his family. But he knew… he knew everything he had of and from them had burned with his home that day. 

He froze when she spoke. His stern cold face and harsh glare accompanied a sharp breath. He wasn't paying attention and was passing through the garden after getting the flower buds he needed. He also thought he was alone so she took him by surprise. Despite him unwittingly approaching her. He didn't pay attention to Xylina enough to know this was her station. Now thinking of it he actually hadn't seen this Fae since they were teens and she caused him to fail a major trail to becoming a sentry. He didn't recognize her honestly. And if she hadn't said anything he would've just ignored her. But once her words registered he could suddenly see that that girl he once hated had blossomed into a woman he still hated. 

He grits his teeth. He didn't want to go on this journey again. Not without his baby sister. And certainly not with Xylina. But there was nothing he could do unless he wanted to disobey the King and betray Thistlemoon. So he held his tongue within his clenched teeth. “Sure.” He said through his teeth. “In a minute. I'm busy now.” He didn't want to explain. Nor did he feel he had to. And with that, he walked past her. 

It'd been… way too long. “I'm sorry.” His breath was low and soft. Spoken like his words if whispered too loud would break the ground beneath his feet. He planted the buds taken from the garden with special permission. He planted a new flower every time he visited. And when he was done he rested on his knees. He'd stay here all day if he could. Hidden away. Hoping he would remember at least his parents' laughter. Or his Sisters’ smiles. Instead, his cloud of memories was shattered by the sound of her footsteps. Which of course didn't help how he hated her.

Somehow, he had managed to not even see a glimpse of her for centuries. And now it seemed he couldn't escape her. Maybe he should've explained what he was doing. Just so she would give him that privacy but she didn't seem the type to respect him enough in any event. His guard shot up as he stood. Once again holding his tongue solely out of respect for his family’s burial ground. He passed her once again. And once he felt he was far enough he spoke. But avoided what he really wanted to say. “The hardest part of this mission will be keeping the Emberbloom alive since neither of us can use water.” 



The air between them was electric, their cold stone faces masking the tumultuous history they shared. Her azure eyes crackled with the energy of a brewing storm, one that might have mirrored her Thunder abilities if she had mastered other elemental powers. It was clear he had grown stronger—this was the first time she truly assessed him. She had always moved in the darkness of the shadows, catching only glimpses of him.

Gazing at him this long stirred a tempest within her soul, a maelstrom of memories and emotions. She recalled his abandonment during her youth, a betrayal that had shattered her meticulously planned path. Her mind drifted to Ze’ev, the man who had promised to train her in Echo Place. A chill ran down her spine as she remembered the strike upon her body, the near-miss of an unwanted marriage. The night of their wedding, when he didn’t show up, the relief she felt was profound and liberating.

Shaking her head to return to the present, she saw him grit his teeth, raising a brow at his brusque I’m busy. She wanted to point out the scroll and the message, but instead, curiosity got the better of her. She followed behind him after a few moments, silent, observing his movements until he stopped. She remembered his clan, his family, his sisters—their laughter, the times she braided their hair. Pulling her gaze away from him, she stared at the Mapleshade, waiting for him to initiate the mission.

She knew Kyan would despise it if she started on her own, and she didn’t dare think of what punishment he might inflict. As he brushed past her once again, as if she were merely an obstacle in his way, she huffed, fighting the urge to send him to his knees with a Thunderwave. Twirling on her heels, she fell in step behind him, her mouth remaining closed until he spoke. As he brought up the need to keep the flower alive, the oversight from Kyan surprised her. After all, she could only wield the Thunderstep Clan’s elemental ability, and had little knowledge of Echo abilities.

“Well, we can get an eternal decanter of water for the mission. Then water won’t be an issue. Do you know of a certain transport method?” Her tone was neutral as she addressed him, turning to head toward Kyan’s magical item room. It was a place shrouded in secrecy, known only to a handful and accessed by even fewer. Yet Echo and she were trusted with their mission, allowing them to take a few items deemed useful. She didn’t look back to see if he was following her; she wasn’t his keeper, merely his forced partner at the moment.

As she passed the centaur Gwainar, he called out to her, “When are we going on that date, Lina?” His confident smirk curved on his lips.

Xylina gave a gentle pat to the centaur’s arm as she passed him. “When I grow hooves, Gwainar dear, when I grow hooves.” The song of laughter left her throat as he flicked his tail at her in playful response, nodding toward Echo before returning to his post.

Turning down the hallway toward the magic item room, she found the hidden door and slid her palm along it, watching it pop open as she walked into the room. The scent of magic hit her like a wave, the potent energy almost overwhelming. How many of these items could destroy the happiness that Kyan fought so hard to protect? She shifted over to the desk where the gnome sat. “Greetings, Grool,” she said, smiling at the elder gnome who looked up from his book at her. “We are off to retrieve the Emberbloom. Do you still have the endless decanter of water?” She leaned over the desk to sneak a peek at what the gnome was reading, her curiosity piqued.

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Citizen of the Realm Brandon LeCreaux

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