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Zerathur A. Naszberuk
by on June 21, 2022
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As the day turned into night, the golden city of old came to life. Orbs of light flickered into existence, illuminating the recently cleared-up streets and spires; dozens of hundreds of ghostly silhouettes roamed the plazas, parks, and suspended walkways; flags and decorations strung between buildings waved with the passing wind of the Frozen South.
This wasn't Antioch as they remembered it, but they've done so much progress in the last couple of weeks that they simply could not let the opportunity pass.
Joy filled Yllaine's heart as she ran by the ghost-like illusions that wandered the golden streets, her long white clothes flowing in the breeze and her steps light with rhythm, she felt like a youngling once more. She was only seven years old when Antioch fell, her childhood robbed away in front of her very own eyes. But now it's been returned! Even if over a hundred years have passed since then, she can't help but let the youth she had then lost flow through her mind and body.
Not long after sunset, her hooves led her to an opening in the spires, a large square greater than all others in the city. Working fountains, rows of newly grown trees, entire walls of flower bushes, flags, and all manners of decoration that they could possibly get their hooves on were here. Hardly had she set hoof upon this bright environment when one of her forelegs was suddenly yanked to the side, taken by surprise by a tall mare of white coat and vibrant red mane. "Come on, Lain! The others are waiting for you!" She heard Mel exclaim, and it didn't take more than that for the two of them to bolt forth, passing trees and hurriedly making their way through a gathering crowd of ghostly apparitions.
Together, they ran to the very end of Aeon's Square, where they could see the first steps of the Citadel of the Executor, this large pyramidal structure once meant to be a fortress still bearing many scars from the time it spent in disrepair. There, at its very base, she could see the others! Her friends, her newly found family. Tables had been set with a plentitude of traditional meals and warm beverages, even a small wooden stage had been built against the Citadel's wall. Atop of it, the Technomancer twins Malch and Gheed played their respective guitars while Eadil, their Necromancer, would sing High Khalani in his soft and hearty voice. Zilioth wasn't far, swinging along to the music whilst holding a drink that was frozen at the bottom but alight with fire at the top.
Yllaine slowed to a trot, but Melodus didn't. The mare watched as this blur of pure white and crimson sped into a collision course, hitting with all of her might the side of Zerathur. The poor lad, who just so happened to've been too focused on poorly singing along to the song to notice the approaching cannonball, spent the next couple of seconds knocked out cold on the floor, but was eventually fine after being slapped back into awakeness by Mel.
After that, most of the night's events became a blur. The survivors talked, joked, enjoyed each other's presence and the idea of rebuilding their home, drank a bit, and ate a lot... By the end, when they were feeling the late stages of drowsiness settling in, Zerathur raised a glass over his head and proclaimed "For The Empress!", and all others followed suit. Except for Yllaine. She grabbed her glass from the table and raised it with a large smile. "For the Executor!" Her words were met with stares, but soon Eadil too followed the younger one's words. Zerathur lowered his glass, watching with an awkward look on his face as the others too repeated the gesture.
Slowly, the party dissolved as folk went back to their homes to get some sleep before the night was due and the morning rose. At last, Yllaine too got up and stretched, feeling her bones crack and creak whilst her muscles whined with late-night weakness. However, as she turned to leave, she felt a gentle nudge against her shoulder, prompting her to turn her head to look right. "Come," It was Mel, who had hardly lost her energy through the night, "I've something to show you. And the same goes to you, Grump!" Zerathur grumbled something in response somewhere under a small pile of empty cans he had gathered through the night.
Melodus led them through the city's streets and to its very edge. The three walked down the steps of the city's perimeter wall, and it wasn't long before they were walking over sand, with the sound of crashing waves somewhere ahead. They climbed and stood at the very top of the last dune that separated them from the sea, and from there they could see Gymir's Bay in its entirety. High waves rolled back and forth upon golden shores, lit under the bright moonlight. The great ship that once blocked the Bay was no longer there, a fact that Mel quickly pointed out with a large smile on her face. "Our little probe friends did it! They managed to break it down, finally, and have also spent the afternoon and evening cleansing the sands from all that sludge!"
Together, the three climbed down to the shoreline. "It's just like how we remember, it Ze!" Mel continued, but when she and Yllaine looked up to their friend, they'd see a pained smile upon his usually calm expression. "It's... It's great, Mel, but it's not the same without our friends." He muttered out, slowing down to a halt.
"Maybe so, but you've us now."
They sat there and watched the sea in silence. Eventually, Zerathur raised one of his forehooves, and a dozen of glowing silhouettes phased into existence around them. The illusions rushed towards the sea, carrying boards against their sides, before throwing themselves into the water. Graceful, they were, as they weaved over the waves just as they once did, many years ago.
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Zerathur A. Naszberuk
Full beach episode tomorrow, maybe. Have this piece of hurriedly written lore in the meantime.