The Winterlands

Blind Hemingway

Ancient Iwaku Scum from 2006.
Original poster
Posting Speed
  1. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Douche
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Primarily Prefer Female
Surrealism, Surreal Horror (Think Tim Burton), Steampunk, Sci-Fi Fantasy, Spaghetti Westerns, Mercenaries, Dieselpunk, Cyberpunk, Historical fantasies
Episode One: Human Nature

It was now wintertime in the village of Escadana. Like most of the townships in this region, it was by no means a major city. It had a population of less than 900 people. Most of these souls worked in local trades, such as blacksmithing, tailoring, and farming. Most of their goods would be then sent to the train depot and from there, it'd go to regions unknown. Relatively few of the populace ever left the village. What was beyond, didn't really concern them too much. As well, the biggest form of gossip was that the Lee sisters had gone skinny dipping in the river back in August.

A young man slowly approached the guard house that kept a constant watch for an elusive enemy that was never seen.

"Halt." The guard said. "I have to clear your card, before you can pass by."

The guard wore a long black double breasted wool coat that reached passed his knees. A black belt with a gold plated buckle made him look fairly sharp. Though his shako hat was badly worn. It was clear that this town didn't spend much on it's military uniforms. Then again, the last conflict out these parts happened long before this young soldier had been born.

The young man raised his hand, "Must we do this every time?" He asked.

He too wore a black coat, though this one fit him more like a cloak than a greatcoat. He wore a fur cap that was made from an otter. He handed him a piece of paper that gave a name and basic information. No one really knew if this young man was native to the region; however. He had black hair and tanned skin. Most of the people here were fair.

"Well...You're the only person that comes and goes a lot, Mr. Silverstein....You're a bit unorthodox....Oh sorry, I didn't meant to be so rude." The guard said.

He patted the back of his head, nervously. The guard never liked dealing with this traveler. It was not so much of a hatred but a fear of the supernatural that seemed to flow from the man's form. It was something powerful, indeed.

"This is true. It's only human nature to wish to travel around. Not all of us can fit into the molds of a craftsmen." Mr. Silverstein said.

The guard let the man pass. "Have a good evening Mr. Silverstein."

"You too Guard."

Silverstien never bothered to learn the soldier's names. There were many people in his life that he chose to keep a distance from. Humans were generally feel into this category. Placing his hands in his pocket, Rory walked towards his home near the hill. His pipe was still in his mouth, though the tobacco had long burned up.

Rory lived on the edge of the town. Since it was a cold winter day, he knew that few of the residents would be roaming around. He preferred it this way. The humans generally minded their own business; with a few noticeable exceptions. Those beings that were dubbed the Shades.

He walked towards a two story limestone brick house that he occupied. Rory never had paid for it. The humans knew of this powers and they didn't dare try to offend him.

Once he reached his small home, he opened the door. He stared blankly into the dark room. Sitting on one of the chairs nearest to the fireplace was a young girl with glasses. She had long brown hair and bright eyes of the same color. She was trying to be as formal as possible. However, Rory could tell that the lass was nervous. The girl had probably been told by one of the village officials to go see him about her dreams. The newcomers always came here.

"Well, well...What brings you around here?" Rory then asked.
Nervousness wasn't the only thing she felt. Michelle was confused, curious and lost. As she sat in the chair, she idly combed through her long reddish brown hair, a habit she often did when bored or anxious. She was pointed in this direction so her dreams could be analyzed and hopefully explained. These were common in her sleep these days, but in all honesty, they were the greatest parts of her life. Life in the real world was a boring routine, she had no real friends, her parents certainly weren't close with her...

Once she heard the door open, she straightened up, looking up as confidently as she could with her hands in her lap. She was in nothing too pretty, but nothing ugly either. The sweatpants she wore were much too large for her, though the black shirt with the paw of a tiger on her chest fit her quite nicely. This was a lounging outfit for when she was doing homework, or even when she was going to bed.

Michelle's big, brown eyes looked over the man asking her what brought her here. He wasn't anything like she expected! Actually, he didn't look to be too much older than her. His facial hair made him look more mature the tone of his skin was fitting. What caught the most interest were those eyes. Not only were they unnatural iris colours, they were different. This was peculiar; she wondered what it meant.

Instead of philosophizing and wondering, she should be paying attention. 'Duh. Focus!'

A bit timidly, she stood up from the chair, making a crooked smile. "I came to talk about my...dreams," she answered, and then made a small bow with her head. "My name is Michelle Durango. MD is my nickname. If you want..."
"I see, I see." Rory said. He went over towards the wall nearest to the door and hung his black coat a hook.

"Well now. It's not often that I get guests around here. Let me try to warm this place up before we do anything major."

Next, Rory approached the fireplace and clapped his hands. A small blue flame sprung up, just like magic!

"I'm not usually around here that often, so I don't think about keeping the heat on. For that I most apologize."

Rory was being a little more formal than he normally was. However, he was always like that around women. He enjoined their company and had been a few months since he last encountered someone new around these parts.

"So a dream, eh? You must be Neuankömmling."

The people of the village spoke a low dialect of German, so Rory would often follow suit. He then walked over towards another wall and handed Michelle a blanket. "You humans get cold relatively easily, don't you now?"

Rory then smiled. He generally always had one on his face. To some this meant that he was generally too oftentimes optimistic about life.

"Well, I shall address you by MD then. It's less words to screw up." Rory then laughed.

"I am Herr R. Silverstein. You can address me by Silverstein."
Michelle wasn't used to these formalities, but it probably was because of her poor social life. She relaxed as he went to start a fire so the place would warm up. He put very little effort in that, though! It appeared like magic, her eyes widening at the sight. She's never seen a flame respond to the simply clapping of hands.

"I... What?" MD looked at him quizzically. She could tell that the word, Neuankömmling, was German, but she had no idea how to translate that. The foreign language she took during sophomore and junior year was French.

With a simple nod to his inquiry about humans getting cold, she took the blanket from him, wrapping it around her lanky figure. She especially got cold due to lack of body fat. Years of track and field did wonders for her leg muscles and heart, but that was it. There wasn't any visible tracings of muscle in her thin arms, plus she ate like a bird.

The laughs and smiles he made were so genuine, even comforting. MD smiled back at him as she spoke, "Pleased to meet you, Silverstein." Though, she couldn't help but wonder what the 'R' stood for. Nobody named this fellow directly when she arrived here.
"The pleasure is all mine. I don't get many visitors, so any new comer is a welcomed change of pace."

Rory then extended his hand out to her as a gesture of friendship. MD took the hand, a still a little stunned by the warm greeting. She had only gotten a lukewarm response from the people of the town. Most of them didn't even seem to realize she was even there in the first place.

MD paused for a moment, "You, perhaps live here? I'm afraid I may be intruding upon your hospitality so if you have any jobs you would like me to do whilst I'm here, it would be a pleasure...."

She smiled, her nerves making her forget, for a moment, of the painful thoughts she had had previously. The sun was shining after all, there was no room for darkness here now. Buts he would have to confront them soon.

"M-Mr. Silverstein? I would like to talk to you later, if you don't mind... It's.... a little urgent..." MD laughed awkwardly, and looked at the ground.

Rory then led the way into the old inn, "Don't worry about feeling invasive. It's not summer, so business is kind of slow. Meaning both for the Mahoreopmec and humans. Can't say that I blame them though, the weather is really cruddy this time of year." Rory said with his ever constant bel air smile flashing across his boyish face.

Rory then turned to face, MD, "Well, I guess that we can talk about whatever you feel like. But first things, first, could you say a little about yourself? If you wouldn't mind of course."

MD nodded, accepting the fact it must be quite hard to talk to someone you don't really know.

"Well, I don't really have any hobbies, if that's what you mean, except for reading... and drawing."

She paused, unsure whether or not to continue talking, she didn't want to go into detail about herself yet. She was too private for that, it would be like explaining colour to a blind man - Rory wouldn't be able to understand her.

MD then looked up at the giant painting above them.

"That's a really beautiful picture, whoever painted it must have been very talented..."

Rory continued his smirk, while MD mentioned very little bit about herself. Rory had figured out that the young woman that he was addressing wasn't used to talking to people very much. Of course to Rory, this was nothing to be ashamed of. He, himself, rarely discussed things from his past. Thusly, both he and MD, shared a common understanding. If MD, knew that or not, that was another matter.

Pulling out some tobacco from his breast pocket, he quickly mentioned, "You don't mind, do you?"

MD, shook her head.

Rory, then lit it, and took a slightly more causal stance in the chair he was now sitting in. "I see. Drawing is a great hobby to engage in, I used to do it all the time, before I started to work here. Granted, my stuff was never as good as my lovers."

Once more his smirk, seemed to beam with happiness when bringing up his sibling. He then looked at the painting above their head. MD, seemed greatly impressed by it.

"Rory, what do you think of this painting? I mean, I've worked real hard on but it doesn't look very good... The walls appear too dark russet, when they should be more of a coffee color. Gaa! This is no good at all. No matter, what I do, I always mess these paintings up.!" A young blonde woman moaned to him.

"Well, Enyo, I have to say that this is one of your best paintings thus far. Though, you should maybe add just a little grey to the walls." Rory mentioned with much contentment to his love.

"Hmm." Enyo then stroked her chin, the classic sign of someone in deep thought. Picking up her brush, Valerie then carefully added just a dab of grey over the entire picture of the walls that surrounded the city. "It's perfect! Thank you, so much Rorbear!" Enyo then ran up and gave her love a strong embrace.

"Rory, tell me that you'll always be by my side." The purple eyed girl's eyes locked with Rory's mixed matched sky blue and purple eyes.

"Of course, I will. Don't you think that I would ever let anything bad happen to you ever."

Rory, then spoke to MD. "I'm glad that you like it. That was the last painting of the walls and countryside that my love ever did. She was always interested in studying them, to her they were a mystery of what lies beyond this world. But she was a frail girl, rarely ever leaving the house. So the allure of the outside world, gave her the gift of painting, something that she longed for. An impressive passion, if I say so myself."

He then smiled, once again. Another distant memory in the back of his mind.
MD stared at the painting a little longer, appreciating its beauty. After a while, her eyes went back to her feet, which were covered by a pair of black knee length socks with thin lines of orange patterning on them. They were worn for warmth, particularly when she wore lounging clothes like the ones she currently wore. Now that she remembered what exactly her attire was, she felt a little embarrassed. The blush on her face could have indicated anything else, though. MD was a bashful girl...

All the while, she was curious about this girl Rory briefly told her about.

The air smelled of ocean water, something she didn't notice until he began using that unique looking pipe. With curious eyes, she looked to Rory again, tilting her head as she studied him. Hopefully, that was no sign of creepiness. There were a lot of things about people and the world that intrigued MD, especially the things and people of this realm. There were so many unanswered questions, so much confusion. Hopefully, there was plenty of time to learn.

"That reminds me of home," she said, her smile quirky. "We're fairly close to an ocean." That felt like an accomplishment to her. She wasn't very good at starting conversation, but when there was something to comment on, she could find the courage to speak it. More often than not, her acknowledgments turned into a pleasant exchange of voices. She felt that she could be friends with this man, if not good acquaintances. After all, he was all he had right now.
To those that entered the small Fine Blessing Inn, things would never be the same again. MD would soon learn this.

For Rory Silverstein, the days often passed through the same routine of boringness. It had been almost ten years beforehand, when his love had passed away. As a young boy, he found it next to impossible to find friends amongst the Peacekeepers. To him, they were all too snotty and regal. His little Enyo, was always the answers to his prays. For the eighteen or so years of her life, she had always been there for Rory to talk to. Enyo always was thrilled about the world. While to many Mahoreopmec, the humans were little more than nusiances, they would purposely intermingle when they really shouldn't have... To Enyo they were so much more. Just another mystery of the world that she would try and solve, one day…

"But as I said, she was nearly always sick. One faithful day, when no one else was at home, Enyo decided that it was the time for her to leave her cage and see the world for herself. She left me only a note, she stepped out and entered the plains. She never returned. After several days of frantic and vain searching, I had given up hope." Rory said.

He puffed on his pipe.

"I see. The ocean is a nice place to be near. I'm glad that you find the Black Bear Tavern, the name of this shop. I realized that my love had gone to do something important. She was truly free for the first time in her life. This loss, although saddening, made me realize that I was only hurting myself by dwelling on the past. So, I decided to help humans and their happiness has kept me going on."

To make the story simpler than it really was, Rory simply said that his Enyo had left. No one ever bothered to ask him the truth.

"But enough about me. Since the rules of this land say that you need somekind of work, have you chosen anything?"
"That's admirable," MD commented, when he mentioned he helped humans to help himself. The loss of a loved one, she knew, was terribly grieving. She's never experienced the death of someone she was in love with, though. That had to be an unimaginable amount of pain for someone to endure. Rory, to her, was a strong character in being able to smile still while making others happy.

'Is he truly happy, though?' she wondered, but tucked that question deep into her thoughts. It didn't seem right to pry too deeply into this man's life. After all, they'd recently met.

Then, he brought up work. MD shook her head and put the tip of her index finger on the center of her glasses, sliding them farther up her nose. That same hand then went to tangle with her head of reddish-brown hair, a habit she had yet to break. Cutting her hair would probably be the only solution at this point.

"What are my options?" she asked. "Or do I need to ask someone else?"
"I will be frank. There is not much variety in these lands. A lot of craftsmen, bakeries, and most of the womenfolk tend to be housewives. It'll be a very different place than where you are from, I will give you that much of a warning." Rory said while a smoke ring came out of his pipe. "

It was now starting to rain and the sky remained an unfriendly shade of grey. Rory stood up and turned the chair he was sitting in to face the window. MD now was looking at the back of his head. Rory had hair that reached past his shoulders and was straight on top but slowly got curlier and curlier as it went down. It didn't appear that he bothered to really keep in any style. Not that MD really remembered anything that specific from wherever she can originally come from.

"You'll have to go to the town to see if anyone is willing to hire you."

MD looked down at the ground. She tangled her hair once again; she felt foolish for not responding. Maybe they were right when they said that her head was always in the clouds.

"I see. You don't wish to become one with them. You must be a shade then."

Rory then stood up and looked MD straight in the eyes. "Stand up." He ordered in a gentle but stern voice.

MD felt her body quivering. This fellow always seemed to have a friendly sounding voice, even giving commands.

"Are your legs broken?" Rory asked.

MD then shouted and shot up, "I'M SORRY!"

The young woman then blinked, realizing that she probably sounded more like a small child than a grown woman.

"Move towards the window. I need more light to see something."Rory said.

MD did as he requested. She stood next to the chair were Rory had been sitting just minutes earlier.

"Turn, so I can see your profile."

Once again MD did as he requested.

"Just as I thought. You lack a shadow, don't you?" Rory asked.

She then blushed. This fact that been bugging her for the past few hours that she found herself in this strange world. She was so far from home and so far this town seemed more like something out of a European village in the Victorian era than anything she'd had ever seen.

"Stop blushing, you twat. It's nothing to be overly concerned about, just be glad that you came to visit me before anyone else. You have a pretty heavy burden on your shoulders. I guess it could be considered a curse. I cannot say why this burden was put on you, since I am not a magi nor a sage."

"What kind of curse?" MD asked.

"Best not to ask those sorts of questions; however, it means that you will not be hired by the townspeople." Rory then sighed, "I generally don't offer lodging and food for people, since my charity is of a different sort. For you will I can make an acception. I cannot pay you in gold or silver, since such stones mean nothing to my peoples. So a barter shall be set in place instead. If you do chores such as cleaning and helping on the fields to grow the veggies, I will allow you to have a roof over your head and clothes on your back. You would be free to leave at anytime, but do be warned there are beings out there that purposely seek people with curses like yours and will stop at nothing to make you a part of their ranks."
The jobs Rory mentioned didn't sound too difficult. She had no experience with gardening, but being a bookworm, she's read a lot of books, which included vegetable growth. All this time, MD was supposed to be finishing high school and preparing herself for a summer job, then her first year of college. Being a house maid wasn't exactly on the agenda... What other choice did she have, though?

"Sounds fair enough," she told him with a nod, clasping her hands in front of her. Hearing that she had a 'curse' and probably wouldn't be accepted in this society was nerve wracking. If it wasn't for this man, she'd be completely lost. Even someone who wasn't an academic genius like herself would be smart enough to know she didn't belong here. The only times she felt belonging was when she'd write stories to distract herself from real life.

MD felt relaxed around him, even if he called her a twat of all things, just because she was blushing. She managed to mask the fact she felt offended with a small smile, the red in her cheeks slowly but surely fading. To her, Rory was a superior that deserved the utmost respect.

"If you'd like, I can write a list of things you'd like me to do for you," she suggested. MD liked to be organized and responsible, plus she wanted to show interest in the job he was offering her. While she waited for his answer, she idly wondered if he had art supplies around. Drawing and painting kept her mood cheerful and she felt creatively inspired ever since she arrived here.
"That I can arrange for you. But first things, first. We'll have to get you some clothing. Your school uniform won't do you well here. When you're with me, you'll have to blend in with the locals as much as possible."

What Rory meant to say was that he was often a target of the very beings that he had mentioned to MD. They were a group that called themselves the Hive. They dressed with masks that covered their eyes and gave the illusion that they had bug eyes. Small antennae also sprouted out from the masks, making them rather alien in looks.

"Come with me." Rory then commanded. "If you don't mind borrowed clothes, I have some up in the attic of this old shop."

MD then followed him up a flight of small wooden stairs and into a room that was dark, until he pulled on a chain that turned on a dull lightblub. MD had to rub her eyes to get a better view of what was in the room. To her surprise there were several rows of women's clothing. Most were very dated to MD's tastes, looking like they came out of the 1930s or 1940s to her.

"This shop was once a clothing store many years ago. I never met the shop owner, but they left all this fancy stuff behind. You can have it all and the room if you wish. I don't have much of a use for it."
Michelle looked around the room with dazzled eyes. She had never seen this many clothes before! Except for shopping centers, of course. From her perspective, this was a wardrobe in a bedroom that he was giving to her. It relaxed her to know she'd not be sleeping in a carpet somewhere... Although she was a lady, nobody ever treated her like one. People her age showed disrespect to 'nerds' and social outcasts, no matter what their sex was.

"Thank you," she murmured, a grateful smile spreading across her face. Since he brought her here, she assumed she should change out of her lounging get up and put on something more proper. With that in mind, she took a step to a rack of the clothes, searching through them for the next few moments. She was getting a feel for the material and styles, also looking to see what would and wouldn't fit her.

While choosing an outfit, she was silent, keeping to her thoughts. This room needed more light and colour, she thought. On her free time, she wanted to fill the walls with her art, just like how her bedroom looked. Her art talents were all she felt she had to be proud of, aside from the academic achievements and track trophies. Those were things forced on her by her parents, though.

"Can you tell me about" she asked him in a hopeful voice. "This world, I guess. So I know how to fit in..."
"It's impossible to explain in words that you'd understand." Rory said a matter of factly. "My rule of thumb, try to be as bland as possible when dealing with the people in the village. Since you lack a shadow, they will fear you. They are also highly xenophobic but that goes hand in hand when dealing with outsiders with a cruse like yours."

Rory then lit up his pipe. "There's a lot to take in. However, I guess to start off with I should explain what I am. As I said in passing, I'm not a human. Rather, I am a Mahoreopmec; the official name of the angelic tribes. As far as I am concerned we've always been here and always will be until the cracking of the world. My job is I am a Dreamkeeper. I have the rare powers to read dreams and determine what they mean, making me something like a prophet." Rory then trailed off here.

He then placed both his hands on his hips. "Well, then get dressed. I'll make you a quick lunch, since you look famished. I'm sure you have a dream that you want me to solve."
MD had a feeling he was going to say that. She hoped that in time, she would be able to understand this new environment. For now, she felt she should avoid much contact with anyone else. Rory said the villages would fear her. That wasn't something she was used to hearing. MD was nowhere near intimidating, yet now that she had no shadow, she was suddenly scary. She supposed being from a different realm had to do with it, too...

"A Dreamkeeper," she whispered to herself, letting the term roll off the tongue. It as a name that made sense, considering his position in this world. At this particular rack of clothing, she decided to stop pawing through it. She pulled out a dress of some kind, since these vintage clothes mostly were dresses and skirts. MD didn't much care for those sorts of clothes, but she wasn't going to complain. The colours of this outfit were nice at least and the style wasn't too incredibly feminine.

"Thanks," she replied, relieved to hear he'd make her something to eat. MD disappeared behind a bunch of the clothes to strip off her lounge wear and put on this new garment. She folded up the clothes she took off and set them onto a shelf before stepping out, a hand adjusting her glasses while the other straightened out her hair.

End of Episode One
Episode Two: Vanity

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The smell of bacon and eggs frying on a pan attracted MD to come down the stairs. She hadn't eaten anything in over 23 hours. When she reached the base of the stairs; instead of seeing Rory there by himself, there was another person there. MD was rather surprised that someone could have come in so quickly; hadn't it just been a few moments that she had changed into a more suitable outfit?

"It took me a long time to find you. It's been years." The newcomer said to Rory. "I missed you and your dark and depressing nature. I had to talk with your sister...And you know that I don't like visiting that Perique smoking Sage." The man then giggled. "It was totally not fair!"

"Atlantis. You bastard. I thought you were dead; we all couldn’t be that lucky...” Rory murmured.

Rory was more focused on making the meal than dealing with the man addressing him. MD decided to stay close to the doorway; not wanting to interrupt her host. She had to take a double look, because the person appeared to be so damned girly. The man had moppy white hair and wore gaudy rings on all his fingers. Unlike Rory, this man had wings, this naturally led to her to assume he was one of the Mahoreopmec that Rory had mentioned to her about a half hour beforehand. He was wearing a tunic of satin purple, trimmed in gold, and sewn into it were diamonds. He was also wearing a white feather boa around his neck and more jewelry than either Rory or MD cared to see. The thing she noticed though, were his eyes.... A bright, brilliant, haunting red...

"Oh, how bloody rude! You hurt me right herrrrrrrrre, right here!" Atlantis then pointed to his heart.

"You are Mr. Funny, aren't you?" Rory said.

“Why am I funny? I’m gorgeous! Just look at me!” Atlantis said haughtily.

“Spare me, please....You’re a guy, I think. Act like one a bit more.” Rory said.

Atlantis stuck his tongue out. “This is going to be fun! I'll be able to bring back the Peacekeepers to this town and I'll get to hang out with you evvvvvvvvvveryday!"

"That's nice, Atlantis." Rory said quickly, there was a certain amount of annoyance in his voice, though it was masked by his smile.


The white haired angel just continued to stare with a girlish grin on his face. It was fair to say that MD was a bit unsure of what to make of this man...Atlantis, was it? Just then, much to her dismay, she felt a sneeze coming on. Rory never really bothered to dust the old building that he used for a home. She then let out a cute sneeze and that brought on Atlantis' attention. He got up and walked over to the young woman.

“Well, hello pretty. Aren't you fine looking? Hmmmm.” He stared at MD intently, then kissed her full on the lips. She didn't know what to do.

"Atlantis, behave." Rory said.

Atlantis pouted. “Rory, you are so mean! How can anyone stand to be around you for more than five minutes? Woe is me!” He said dramatically.

Rory rolled his eyes. “Drama queen...This is Michelle, she'll be doing some housework for me until she can find a job in the town. Be careful with her. She's a human, not one of you Peacekeepers."

"Well, well. If she is not your new girlfriend, I think I should make her my own! I just love having new toys to play with." The angel said with much glee. “Nah, I’m just kidding! I just like flirting!" Atlantis said. “Little Rory, what are you doing? You just couldn’t wait for me, could ya?” He gave a laugh, and turned his eyes on MD again.

"Atlantis flirts with everyone." Rory said dryly.

The flamboyant angel then danced towards Rory, “Isn’t he just darling? I forgot how cute he is!” Atlantis said wistfully. “Hey, don’t forget, he’s mine, girlie girl!”

Rory then hit Atlantis in the gut with his cane and the angel fell to the ground with tears flowing like a little child. He then stepped over Atlantis and handed MD her meal.

"I swear to god, if Enyo hadn't love Atlantis so much, that pansy would be dead. Maybe not dead, but close enough. I can’t stand him. Though, I’m being unfair, I know in my heart I don’t really hate him. Annoyed, yes."

"Yay!" Atlantis squealed.

"Shut up." Rory then said.
There was scarlet in MD's cheeks still as she held her meal, staring at this angelic boy in disbelief. Part of her was raging at him; her first kiss was with a complete stranger! She considered herself hopelessly romantic since she wanted to save that moment for someone she was actually in love with. 'It's okay, it's okay... It didn't last long enough to be a real kiss anyway!' she mentally assured herself.

"It's nice to meet you," she told him politely, making a small nod with her head. Atlantis was much prettier than she was and also a hundred times more talkative. It was no wonder why Rory was so annoyed with him. She also found it believable that he'd pulverize Atlantis into oblivion if nothing held him back.

"Thank you for the breakfast, Rory," MD cooed before taking it to a table for her to sit at. Her nose gave a twitch, possibly signaling another sneeze. It looked like she'd need to do some dusting before anything else. All these particles weren't kind to her allergies.

Silently, she picked up a strip of bacon and swallowed a bite of it. MD didn't realize how starving she was until the food was actually presented to her. She had to constantly remind herself she was under someone else's roof, so eating the food like a savage wasn't appropriate. Otherwise, it would have all been gone in seconds.
"What brings you here anyways, pretty boy?" Rory said while scrubbing the cast iron skillet that he had used to cook MD's meal. "MD, you don't need to be so formal while eating. Your body is saying it's hungry, eat to your heart's content." Rory seemingly had the ability to see more than one thing going on at a time in his mind's eye; he was almost telepathic. "Now answer me, Atlantis."

"Ooooh, silly boy. I'm just socializing right now. But if you want the facts, it was because she wants you back!" Atlantis grinned. "She says that you were the best fighter against Them back during the War of Succession. So of course she's the best tracker in the entire Peacekeeper camp."

Rory asked, “So, what is Faye up to now that your queen is missing?”

Atlantis shook his head. “Our queen is not missing! Yes, its been years; maybe even decades....But she has not abandoned our people! She will return when the snows melt from this land! The Elders say that she's hidden away in a city surrounded by walls that are impossible to scale!"

Rory shook his head, "I'm not asking about Geneva. I asked about Faye."

MD then blinked and asked, "Who's Geneva?"

Rory sighed, "Since Dinkledork is here, I guess you might as know since I doubt he'd going to go away anytime soon...."

Rory then spoke: "Many years ago, there was once a queen of a unified Mahoreopmec kingdom. Everything seemed bright and happy but as is the case in all tales of love, a tragedy befalls the couple.

A band of rouges led by an eccentric man declared that his allies no longer wished to be members of the unified nation. They then resorted to under handed tactics and tried to assassinate the queen. The warriors of the nation banded together to fight this new foe that would one day be known as the Sorrowkeepers.

“I will fight, so you don’t have too.” A young knight told his queen, “It is my sworn duty to protect you at all costs. The people shall not blame you for a war of aggression started by someone else.”

He then patted his love on her head. This warrior had known her ever since they were children. He had hoped that one day she would be his own. Though love has a strange way of dealing with people.

The war was hard fought for the Queen’s Knight. He fought against a foe that acted no longer as angels but as vampires feeding off of the raw emotion of hatred. The fallen angels were now more like a single hive mind. The campaign continued on for several more years….

Now let us skip ahead a months, to when the queen made a choice that would forever change the course of history…

“Damn it all! Where is she!?” Her Knight demanded.

“Calm down! You’re going in circles!” His blade responded

“Shut up! Why did she do this?! It doesn’t make sense! She had no reason! Everything was fine! Nothing matches up!”

Finally, the knight curved a corner and found who he was looking for. There was no mistaking that hair. He ran ahead of her and barred the path of the queen.

“What the hell is going on here? Why did you step down!? Everything was fine! There’s no reason for you do… To do this! Why are you doing this, and don’t try telling me that you’re tired of the throne! I know you, and I know that is a complete and utter lie!!!”

She gave her knight a forced smile, even as a queen, she still dressed in a modest dress and wore a shawl to cover her wings.

“It is quite simple. You know, what has happened over the years…”

She continued with her normal distant stare from the world. She had been queen for only a short time and then various powers wanted her to side with them. This was something that she would not do. To be queen, she had to listen to the people, not the war tribes.

The fair woman knew better than to give her knight, idle chit chat.

“All thoughts my thoughts are anxiously directed to an impending civil war. These are trying occasions, not only in success, but for the want of success. I failed to keep my people safe. I promised them that the continued strife would end. It hasn’t. I have failed them.”

She then cut loose her pony tail, a sign of the royalty. Her hair was now free flowing, and then she placed a white bowler on her head.

“Where I am going, I do not need guardians; so if you get chosen to watch me, please don’t fall for the allure of trying to see me. If we should ever meet again; remember, we are equals in the eyes of God.”

With that, she gave her a kiss and started to walk away to her new destiny. The knight stood there for a moment trying to process everything. It made sense…he didn’t want it to, but it did. Finally his fist clenched and yelled as he punched the wall behind him, cracking the stones.

“…Damn it…damn the code…damn the war…damn it all! I don’t care!”

“Calm down!” His blade spoke.

“I’m going after her.” He responded to the soul weapon.

“What!? Don’t be a fool! You’re still needed here! They need you to help with the aftermath of all of this…”

“I told you, I don’t care! I just…I want her to stay…”

“Because you know its your duty to stay here…and that you can’t go with her. You’re a Brigader General. You can’t leave here.”

“…But…But I……”

“I’m so sorry…”

The memory fades into a new one….

The young queen found herself standing on a railroad platform. She had been asked to give her peoples a few parting words, and she gave them a speech that had come from the deepest chambers of her warm soul.

“There are no falters in my choice to resign. Every effect must have its cause, and I feel that it is important that a new leader rise to the occasion. I look at it in this sense; the past is the cause of the present, and the same goes for the present dancing with the future. All these are links in the endless chain stretching from the finite to the infinite. However, what does the past mean to those that can no longer or choose not to remember it? It leads to them asking questions that keep going on in circles forever. A torment in their minds. They fail to see that in the end, the answers they seek are right in front of their very noses but I have chosen to break free. I have given you all a second chance through forgiveness. It is far better to do what your mind tells you to do, than regret not doing it. I bid you, my people, a sweet good bye.”

With that, the stunned room gave a somber applause their beloved queen as the train began to drive away. The angels say it is was the coldest rain they ever felt, the day she left for her own self imposed exile.

Atlantis nodded, "It's a tale that has been told for several decades now. Most of us Peacekeepers support trying to find the Queen and restore her to the thrown. The problem is that only the Elders know where she lives and they aren't going to reveal that secret since they swore an oath to the Queen. Most of us alive now are too young to remember the Queen, but your host certainly does!" Atlantis said.

"I know nothing of where she is. Even if I did, I wouldn't inform the Peacekeepers of anything." Rory said.

"But you were a champion fighter against the Sorrowkeepers! You were the best fighter in all the lands! You were one of her knights!" Atlantis exclaimed.

"No.Let's just drop the subject about the War." Rory scolded.

"But-but!!!" Atlantis pouted.

"I'm a Dreamkeeper. I no longer have my wings because I regret my actions during the war. Go tell Faye I am not going to get re-involved with a war that I can no longer support."
Finishing her meal didn't take very long, thanks to his not minding the pace she devoured it. Cleaning her plate that quickly was a good idea, anyway. Rory was telling her a long story; a historical one with great importance. MD didn't know anything about this world, yet here she was learning about it!

The story was full of emotion. The entire time, she pictured the people involved in a world with no colour. MD was a highly visual person, which showed greatly through her paintings and sketches. She wished she knew exactly how the Queen look. Doubtlessly, she was a highly respected icon to this realm. As a matter of fact, she was still around!? That really rose a question: What was the lifespan of these people?

Silently, she watched Rory and Atlantis argue. That adorable, angelic boy really wanted Rory to help find their Queen. Yet, he had no interested in doing so. MD tilted her head, pondering on why he wouldn't want to participate in such a heroic endeavor.

"Rory, what are... Dreamkeepers? And Peacekeepers? And... Whateverkeepers?" she asked innocently, blinking her large, brown eyes at him. "And why don't you want to help?"

An apologetic look then masked over her face, some fingers covering her lips to hush herself. Perhaps he wouldn't want to answer such a personal question. After all, she was just a mere mortal girl; no one special. What significance could she possibly have in this place? Still, she couldn't help but wonder what happened to him.

'He had wings?'
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Atlantis jumped up from his seat. "I can answer that my adorable little maid friend!"

He flashed her a boyish smile. "We Peacekeepers are the good guys of the angel world whom support our Queen Geneva that was forced into exile during our long ago war with the Sorrowkeepers. We collect the Shade Treasures, in hopes that we can use them to find where she is located. Now, now...The bad guys, they are the Sorrowkeeprs...." His voice purposely sounded sad and heartbroken over discussing them, "Sorrowkeepers are mostly fallen angels who usually do not care for peace between humans and angels. They are collecting and using the Shade Treasures for their own evil purposes!"

Rory then butted in, "Unfortunately for the few Sorrowkeepers that respect and do not seek to upset the balance, some Peacekeepers do not distinguish between them, and thus become targets."

"Heyyyy...Stop making us out to be bad guys as well!" Atlantis whined. His boyish face had force tears. "I happen to be a member of Lords of the Queen’s Realm! We are a group of Peacekeepers that govern the angelic world while searching for their exiled leader. Therefore, I cannot be associated to the few bad eggs in the various clans."

"Now for your boyfriend here," Atlantis said, getting overly close to MD and making a condescending face, "He is what they like to call a Dreamkeeper. It's a limbo state for us Mahoreopmec..."

"No, it's not. We're not even a true warring faction like your sides are Atlantis. I'm just sick of the fighting. There were things that were done by the Peacekeepers that I cannot agree with any longer and the same goes for the majority of the Sorrowkeepers. I have a right not to be involved. I know it's hard to understand for someone with a skull as dense as your's."
With the way these 'keepers' names were, it would be easy to remember who was what. MD couldn't help but wonder why Rory was against searching for the Queen, though. Then again, fighting was a pointless endeavor for just about any universe. It made her think back to Earth, where man constantly fought for ridiculous reason. The past was far more understandable! People warred for their freedom, after all.

There was faint blushing on MD's face from when Atlantis got so close to it. She pressed her glasses farther up her nose as a nervous habit. More often than not, they weren't really sliding off.

"I see," she said quietly. MD then collected her plate and fork so she could carry it all to the sink of Rory's kitchen. It only took a moment for her to splash some water onto the dish and set it down in the sink so she could properly scrub it at some point today. Not that she minded... Dish washing was a chore back at her other home.

A hand ran through her crimson hair just then before she gathered it all, pulling it to hang over just one shoulder. The length was annoyingly long; she eventually needed to cut it. Or at least search for a hair tie to keep it all out of her way.

MD looked from Atlantis to Rory before saying something else, "What makes someone into a Sorrowkeeper?"