AN: ignore the show button, dunno how to delete it


It was later that day.

Lyle had reached an impasse with the three beings inside him and they refused further communication. Melanie had been nowhere to be found when he returned, and he didn't blame her.

He didn't know what happened to Cecelia, she must have returned home at some point while they were gone. Same with A'daire, he was gone as well.

As for his father ...he didn't care where he was at the moment. Though he was likely sleeping alone in one of the various empty rooms right now.

He, having been slightly shaken by their words, threw himself into training for several hours. In the forest there were now many trees bearing the marks of that.

He returned to his room, exhausted, bandaging his arm. He wouldn't have his shirt off in front of others too often, but he didn't want his family to ask about the sudden design.

Or the "mark" as they called it.

The day's events weighed on him. This mysterious group father spoke of...perhaps he would have to go and see what he could find. In the past he had sometimes traveled far for A'daire's missions, built up some contacts.

One of them should know something about them, something father didn't say. Even if not them, then surely the Greyborne information network would.

Gideon, in that case, likely knew something about them. Lyle would have to track him down and find out. Who knew what that guy was doing right now. He was always away on business ever since he and old man Alec became subordinates. But for now, he was tired. Matters like that could wait one more day.

When he returned he had noticed that Melanie made some snacks earlier. And tea. Jasmine, to be exact, to relax the body. He was touched by how thoughtful she always was, and saddened by what he had done.

He needed to make it up to her, explain somehow. He wasn't sure how to handle it either. He had a headache simply attempting to think of what to do about it. In his mind, though, there were a few options...Ignore it, or...No, but that option seemed a bit...

He sighed to himself, feeling horrible. In any case, that would have to be held off until tomorrow. Everything that happened made him feel about ten years older. And that dream...he still couldn't get it out of his mind. Everytime he thought of Iris' face as she fell into that void he wanted to run to the girl and hold her close, keeping her safe and sound by his side.

It was ironic, since he had tried to push he a bit away recently. Now he did a complete turnaround, wanting to keep her with him more than anything at the moment. His sister was the only one he couldn't lose. Mother, father, Cecelia, Melanie...he cared for them all dearly...But they couldn't compare to Iris in his heart.

If anything ever happened to Iris, Lyle didn't know what he would do. They, brother and sister, alway did have a much closer relationship than most siblings. She was a large part of his life. He had to protect her. From anything and everything. Of course, he still wanted her to enjoy the ups and downs of life. But other than that...

He shook his head. He was getting too lost in his thoughts in regard to that topic. Which is an indicator of how deeply that dream affected him. Much more than anything else that happened, save the incident with Melanie. Lyle chose to push these matters out of mind for now.

He quickly ate the food and re-heated tea before heading to bed.


During the night, when all was quite, a lone figure wandered the halls wielding a small, sharp knife.

It walked until it found a large wooden door, instantly familiar.

The door was locked but the figure was never troubled getting last this particular door. A male figure slept, at ease and completely off-guard.

This person would have woken if he was not so used to the figure that was currently breaking and entering.

Of course, this figure was Iris.

She moved slowly, her eyes a peculiar green that almost glowed in the darkness of the vast, opulent room. Making her way to the bed, she uncovered the other person.

Needless to say, it was her brother, Lyle.

She kissed his cheek once, lifting his shirt. Then, using her left hand, she started to write a certain character over his heart. It was an old language, one rarely seen in that era

But as learned as they were the two knew it intimately and it became a language they modified and used to communicate with each other when they were kids.

Only one other person knew this modified version of the language, one who learned it in a day, much to the chagrin of Iris. But she was no longer with them.

Iris then slid the blade over his chest lightly, gentle as a lover's kiss. So sharp was the blade that there was little pain on Lyle's part, not even causing him to frown.

But even so, he soon woke.


"Iris, wake up." He called out softly.

As if heeding his command, her eyes opened slowly, dazed and confused.

She looked up at him, her eyes as pure an emerald green as they had always been.

"Big brother...where...why am I...?" She muttered.

He placed a finger to her lips to quiet her. "Everything is fine. You were just sleepwalking, as usual." The lie came easily to him.

It was believable. She had the habit ever since she was much younger than now. Coming to his room was something she did often, which is why he kept It locked.

Still, sometimes she got past that somehow...

"Here, let me take you back to--"

"No!" Came an instant reply. She was hyperventilating a bit, clutching his hands in a death grip. "Don't leave me, please..." She begged. A wild, panicked look came into her eyes.

She seemed...terrified. How could he refuse?

He paused. " Alright. You can sleep with me tonight then. Go lay down, I'll be there in a minute."

Only after he assured her he wouldn't leave her there, that he would be back, did she calm down enough to listen and walk to the bed.

Lyle when made his way to the small bathroom down the hall a bit.

He touched a large crystal to his right as he entered and instantly it caused another sequence of crystals along to ceiling to light up the space in a warm, yellow glow. He approached the mirror, lifting up his wet shirt.

On his chest, right above his heart, were two small and carefully carved characters. Almost tattoo-like. Then he cleaned the blood and saw the characters more clearly.

Two names, written in a modified language only he, Iris and one other person knew the meaning to. Others might be able to understand, given the right knowledge and time to decipher it, but few knew the origin language in the first place.

One of the names were Iris'.

The other was different, one he had never heard before.

"Livia..." The name rolled off the tongue pleasantly.

He touched the names with his hand. The move caused a sharp pain, making him grimace. This...didn't feel like a normal wound. It stung deep, his body feeling a chill that had nothing to do with the temperature. How odd. When he cleaned it just now it hadn't hurt like this...

Then in the next moment the serpent design around his arm lit up briefly, glowing an iridescent green. A warmth spread through him, like water. A nourishing energy that was almost intoxicating invaded his body and seemed to concentrate more near the injury. But it wasn't just there, no, ir wrapped around him everywhere in a gentle embrace.

The wounds healed almost instantly.

Lyle's eyes went wide in surprise. He ran a hand around the once-maimed flesh and was struck dumb. It was really healed. The skin felt smooth to the touch.

"Well, at least the thing is good for something." He said to himself, a bit in awe. It appeared those three wanted him whole. He wondered to what extent they could heal him. What if his arm was cut off?

Though he dared not put that to the test...Even high leveled regeneration spells, from his knowledge, were fairly difficult and not something easily done. He didn't know much, but it shouldn't be easy to simply grow back a limb. So suffice it to say he was not in a hurry to find out whether he could be healed from that.

He looked closer.

Hm. It seemed the names had now become pale white scars. Noticeable. A permanent brand on his flesh.

Sighing, he took back his words. This...was troublesome. He had other scars, but they served as a reminder of his past mistakes and inexperience. He learned from them. These? These were rather unsightly. No, well, they were cut rather cleanly and every line was crisp. But he didn't want them. Having the names of the two cut onto him made him feel...Owned. Not a good thing at all.

He took the bloodied shirt and threw it in the trash. He had of course long since disposed of the knife. Then once this was all done he returned to the room, took out another shirt, and laid down by Iris.

"Big brother, are you okay?" A quiet voice in the darkness.

Her tiny body was next to his own, emitting warmth.

He lightly patted her head, chuckling softly. "I'm fine, nothing's wrong at all. Go to sleep."

With her blond curls laying by his shoulder, she nodded and groped for his hand.

Then, using the other, she rested it by his heart, making tiny circles with her index finger. He stiffened instantly, batting her hand away. She didn't notice, did she? No, probably not. If she did, she would mention it. She didn't seem to remember her actions at all, and he wanted it to stay that way.

Iris, having her hand cast aside, felt something unpleasant well up in her.

" won't leave me, right? You won't abandon me, will you?" She asked suddenly.

He gazed at her darkened figure curiously. "Of course not. The two of us will always be together." He placated. What an odd question. She knew the answer, so why ask?


Lyle hesitated, not knowing where this was all coming from. "I promise. I'll never abandon you. How could I think of leaving this annoyingly adorable sister of mine?"

She made a noise, as if this was as expected. "That's what I told her. But she kept telling me that you would leave someday. She keeps saying such mean things about you, but don't worry, I stopped listening to that pesky woman. I just wanted to hear it from you, because you never lie to me. That woman, who is she to say such things? I told her...I told her you wouldn't ever do that to me." She giggled, happy. Her smile was almost blinding. Then she nodded her head, wiggling to get more comfortable before closing her eyes.

It took several moment for Lyle to process all the strange things she said. "...She? She who? Iris, who've you been talking to? Iris?"

But she was already fast asleep, leaving him to his thoughts.


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