Luke's nervousness got the better of him. He had never fought anyone in his life, nor did he ever have an awkward conversation with someone who had a dagger on his neck.
First time for everything, I suppose.
"You're a weirdo, aren't you?" the Allagorian said, mocking him with a strange look.
"Weirdo?" Luke asked with a frown. "What is that?"
The Allagorian tilted her head and clicked her tongue, visibly annoyed. "Are you makin' fun of me?"
"No," Luke said with a forced smile. "See, lady, I hail from a place far, far away and I just woke up here today, so I am afraid I—"
"From far, far into the last century, more like. You talk like those elven folks that visited our academy before. Oh, and what do you know. You dress like one too," said the Allagorian. She then looked more carefully at him—staring him down for a few moments before nodding to herself.
"Is something the matter?" Luke said, uncomfortable at the sudden silence. The girl's eight red eyes that were narrowed down to slits did not help with his nervousness at all.
"How old are you?"
"Fifteen," Luke answered in an effort to earn the girl's trust. "And I shall have my sixteenth nameday soon."
"I don't remember asking for your nameday, but alright. Good to know, I guess," the girl said with a smirk. "Next, what's a kid like you doing in these ruins? Don't you know that there are Aberrants just past here?"
Aberrants? A figure of speech perhaps?
Luke fought the urge to ask and responded to the girl instead. "B-But lady, you look as young as me—"
"Answer the question."
Luke sighed, then shook his head. "Quite embarrassingly, I am lost."
"A Ferrian like you? Lost? Don't you guys have heightened senses to help you with direction or somethin'?" the girl said, frowning. "And you somehow ended up in this old, abandoned castle?"
"As I said, I hail from a place far away. I would tell you where it is but..."
"But?" The girl waited expectantly.
"I just...cannot remember a thing as to what exactly happened to me, or how I got there," Luke said, clutching his head with his eyes tightly shut before looking towards the woods near the castle. "Ever since I woke up in that forest, my mind just keeps on drawing a blank whenever I try to remember."
When in doubt, claim sick, amnestic, or obliviated.
Those were Castarossa's golden rules just in case Luke's supposed transition to the past took him in a location other than the lands of the Asherii.
"Is that right?" The Allagorian narrowed her eyes after blowing over a lock of her short hair that fell down her face.
"I-I am afraid so. I truly am glad that you found me." Lucius's eyes then wandered at the sharp edge of the knife right below his chin. "O-Of course, I do wish that we could have met in a much more friendly, uh, environment."
The Allagorian scowled, not entirely convinced after hearing Luke's story. "Bullshit. I saw you following Aidan and those thieves as soon as they got out of the castle. All sneaky-like, as if you were plottin' somethin'."
"Ah! Th-They were clashing swords earlier. I cannot simply walk right towards them and ask any of them for their help out of the blue, could I? That would have been far too dangerous," Luke argued with a gasp, then continued, "Them? They are a threat to me. But I to them? Not so much. Look at me. I do not even carry as much as a blunt needle on me, do I?
"True, I guess. Although not having a weapon with you in this place either makes you dumb or a reckless idiot," said the Allagorian after seemingly searching him for weapons with a careful sweep of her gaze. "Why were you followin' Aidan earlier anyway?"
"I wanted to go where they were going, which I assumed was the nearest city, by tailing them from behind. Directly approaching someone who is, frankly, a bit terrifying is out of the question for me."
"Aidan? Terrifyin'?" The Allagorian laughed. "That's the first time I've heard both in the same sentence."
"You know of this 'Sir Aidan'?" Luke asked with a wry smile. "I came over running when I heard some noise from this old castle. I took a peek inside and saw him do battle against those thieves."
The Allagorian smiled. "And?"
"He was a great swordsman. Why he did not even look like he was trying., to be quite honest."
"I know! He's so cool, isn't he?" The Allagorian gushed, even lowering the knife pointed at Luke's neck as she held her cheeks dreamily.
"Yes. He was indeed...cool," Luke said with the best smile that he could manage.
She seems rather taken in by this 'Aidan'. I better go along and see where this goes.
Suddenly, however, the Allagorian's expression turned serious, keeping Luke on edge once again.
"Show me your Virtus," the Allagorian said. "I need to know if you're lying about not being a threat, because if you are..."
Luke smiled, and without hesitation, answered, "Of course."
Brought upon by a small bright light, a Declaration that revealed Luke's Virtus appeared out of thin air. He made sure to include his epithet as well, for added effect.
The Allagorian gaped. "Seriously? An 'Unremarkable' on top of not havin' even a hundred Virtus? How did you even survive outside the city with Virtus this low?"
"City?" asked Luke. "So there is one nearby?"
"Damn, kid, you're lucky that a stray aberrant didn't tear you apart while you were takin' your beauty sleep," said the Allagorian. With several quick, practiced motions, she then sheathed all of her knives in the belt that was hung around her tight waist.
Relieved that the girl finally let her guard down, Luke's expression finally lifted. "Compared to you, I am certain that I am not that young, Lady...?"
"Oh." The Allagorian smiled toothily as she crossed all six of her arms in front of her chest. "Tissette Carraway. You can call me Tiz. I've had 16 namedays, which makes me older than you, which also makes me your senior!"
"Pleasure to meet you, Lady Carraway," Luke said, bowing in a perfect thirty-degree angle. Deep inside, he felt giddy that he could finally use his years of training in etiquette.
"Tiz would do just fine. Calling me 'Lady Carraway' every time you address me just feels weird. Makes me feel like I'm in a play or somethin'."
Oh right. Different era, different practices of etiquette.
Luke, once again, had to fight off the urge to blush in embarrassment and simply moved on to more important things. "You have quite an unusual name for an Allagorian, Tiz."
"Both my parents were the brood of Outworlders from long ago. Take it up with them and their 'outworldly' naming preferences."
Tiz gave him a sideways glance. "Geez, have you been living under a rock?"
"Geez?" Luke curled his eyebrows. "That is quite an interesting name you have given me, but I would like to be addressed by my own name. I feel a bit insulted, quite honestly."
"Huh, okay weirdo." Tiz rolled her eyes with a smirk. "Do you even remember your name?"
"I do," Luke replied.
It was at that very moment that he realized he could start anew.
To experience something he had never experienced before, and it was the opportunity given to him by the Sphere of Temporea and his own father's sacrifice. To live a life where he did not have to worry about the whims and wishes of an entire kingdom and its people like he was raised to do.
He was given a page that was his, and only his to write on alone.
But first, he needed a name. An identity with no connections to his past whatsoever.
Luke. My precious little Luke...
He smiled inwardly as he remembered his mother's words. The very same words that echoed in his dreams earlier, which he remembered so vividly as if he had only heard them yesterday.
At that very same moment, he created a name that no one knew. A name that cannot be traced back to him, or his past. A name born out of what little memories he had left of someone who he accepted he would never see again.
«Activate: Crest of Name Change».
The consumable item: Crest of Name Change has been used.
Uses Left: 0/1
What will be your new name?
"Lucius," he muttered with a genuine smile, although he did not choose the name simply for sentimental reasons.
With those who ever knew him decimated right before his very eyes, he did not need to hide his true name in fear of being recognized. But then again, to him, it was better to be safe than sorry. Like always.
Moreover, he no longer wanted to be associated with the Asherii in any way. For both personal, and other more obvious reasons.
Item Usage Complete
Your name is now [Lucius].
All Epithets associated with the name [Luke Kerril telos Ragnarossi] had been removed.
"You're one to talk about unusual names. Doesn't sound very 'Ferrian' to me," Tiz said with a smirk. "Are your parents the descendants of Outworlders too?"
Luke, now Lucius, smiled wryly. "Could be. I barely even knew them before they were gone."
A half-truth, but it was enough to convince the Allagorian.
"I'm sorry, I—"
"It was no trouble at all, Tiz. That was a long time ago," Lucius said with a nonchalant wave of his hand.
Seemingly a bit thrown off by the pregnant pause that came by, Tissette hurriedly changed the subject. "So, you don't remember anythin' else in your name? Are you just called Lucius?"
Lucius shrugged. "I do not recall my parent's names, so yes. Just Lucius."
"Where do you remember you're from? If you even do, that is."
"An orphanage," Lucius said, trying not to waver while expanding on a lie. "I cannot remember where exactly, but I was, well, as you could probably tell with my age and how long I lasted there, remained unwanted."
"I could see why," Tiz rubbed her chin, pointedly looking at Lucius's pointy, furry ears. "That orphanage must be somewhere in one of the Human kingdoms. Maybe even the Elven? That would explain your weird way of talking. And your clothes. You look ancient, dude."
"Perhaps," Lucius said as he looked at his clothes with a pout and went along with what Tiz speculated on her own.
"So, what do you plan on doing once you get to the city?" Tiz asked, placing two of her six crossed hands on her hips.
"I plan to improvise. Find some work, perhaps? I am able-bodied enough for menial work. Maybe I—"
Tissette shut Lucius's idea down immediately. "Listen, Lucius. Alavaria might be the best place there is for your kind and mine, but I can't simply let you fend for yourself out there. Now, if you haven't got any plans yet I've somethin' for you if you want."
"You are very kind," Lucius said before tilting his head in confusion. "And Alavaria, you say?"
Tissette rolled her eyes and sighed. "This is exactly why I can't leave you alone. Why I doubt you barely even know anything about this country!"
Lucius could do nothing but scratch his head with a smile as the Allagorian went on and grilled him verbally.
After some more reprimanding from the girl, however, he finally got the answer to his question.
"You're in the Country of Alavaria, Lucius. 'The Sanctuary of All', founded by the Outworlders exactly three hundred years ago after they defeated the Insidious Ones."