Aerdelle nodded her head, moving to take care of other things. Naki followed Zaer into his private area, but she was stunned. She didn't speak, only followed him. Already, they'd gained the support of an entire kingdom of dark elves. The clothing she was wearing was strange to her. Her heart raced, her skin felt warm. Her hand tightened around Zaer's slightly as they stood there. She was an emissary of the drow, he'd been labeled a demon hunter. But she wasn't so sure that was the problem. She didn't realize that her hand was steadily gripping his, unwilling to let him move away from her even as she let her thoughts run. Perhaps...it was better this way. Everything seemed to be happening in a way that made her make decisions for everyone but herself. She wasn't entirely sure that she could handle it all. And then she looked to Zaer and paused.
Could she do it? When she finally reached Ealgonath and found out the answers she needed, would she really be able to claim her birth right? If she did, it would give them help. She watched him for a long moment before finally speaking, managing to laugh a little as she did so. "If things keep going like this, we'll be leading armies by the time we get to Ealgonath." She was only half joking in her statement. It was entirely possible that they would be. And with the way things were now, it was obvious they would need an army to fight against Draga when the time come.. And they would need more than Dark Elves. It was going to be a long road to finding the gems, and an even longer road to getting an army. She was beginning to see that, in the end, she would have to become the Queen of her own people. She didn't want to say that out loud just yet though.
Zaer smiled at Naki and noticed her tightening grip. He wondered what it could mean, but was a little afraid to ask. He could see that she'd been christened an emmisary, a fitting position he thought. He laughed at her small joke, and replied,"I think it far more than a mere possibility, Naki. You...you are a natural leader. Aeredelle saw it, I see it. Embrace the responsibilities, you will succeed, of this I am sure." He did not say it would be easy, because he knew that wasn't true. But, he did notice, even more now, how fitting it all was. He commented,"That dress looks very pretty on you, as does the crown. Aeredelle has made a fine choice indeed." but he paused, unsure if he should continue to compliment her, or not. He looked at their joined hands, and then back at her.
He knew that she was holding his hand, squeezing it tighter and yet, there wasn't pain, she wasn't try to hurt him. She...wanted him there by her side, Zaer assumed. Zaer stated next what he thought was obvious,"So, if you are crowned Naki'ra Queen of your people...then I am...your royal scepter, your...High Knight and Lord Protector. he smiled at her, and nodded, seeming to accept that this was his fate. He smiled at her and asked, in a voice that showed the nerves he felt inside,"Are...are you holding my hand because...you'd like to dance with me? Or...if not...why are you holding it so tightly? he looked at her confused, nervous, excited, all of these things rolled up into one giant ball of emotions that he could not escape from. He liked her, sure...but...was there room fro love somewhere in all of this? He wasn't sure. Besides, Zaer still had the sword to protect. Surely, he could not love her and protect it with his greatest efforts.
She blinked slightly, blushing a bit when he mentioned the dress looking well on her. She shifted slightly, though she didn't pull away from him. "Dance?" She questioned, looking down at his hand. After a moment she chuckled slightly. "Do you know how? Because I've never danced before." She felt her heart racing even at the thought. She'd seen it in some of the villages before, and the thought brought a small smile to her lips. She was quiet for a moment before looking up at him, her hand still holding onto his. Her voice lowered as she spoke again, serious but gentle at the same time. "The truth is, Zaer... I just...I feel more comfortable when you're close to me." She said honestly. She sighed slightly, still keeping her hand in his.
"As for becoming Queen...though I'm not sure I can do it.. I think I may have to. The more we have on our side, the better. And you, my friend, will be much more than just a High Knight." She spoke seriously then, her hand raising so that she was holding both of his in hers. "If I do this, Zaer... If I become the Queen of my people... I want you no where but at my side. If..if you don't mind the responsibility that is. I'll be looking to you for decisions in everything. I just...I can't do this on my own.. and you're the only one I feel I can trust without hesitation. Would you be willing to take that role? Being my right hand, so to speak." She laughed a little. "Just a bit less than King, actually."
Zaer listened to her speak, she felt comfortable around him and wnated him as...an adviser of sorts. He smiled. He liked the position, a position of power and wisdom. It fit him. He replied,"I would be honored to take a place in your court, Naki. It would be a highlight of my life, truly. As for dancing...I have..seen it from far away before, but...I have never danced before either. The only real dances that I know of involve the use of our wings...and I am not certain you can move yours fully yet. So, we should stray away from those, I think. He smiled at her and did not let go of her hand, either. He added,"[B]It warms my heart to know that you feel comfortable around me. I sense a calming energy from you. I feel...at peace when near you. I...can control[ my anger better and...I will not leave your side. I will be with you throughout this quest. Together we will find the gems... empower the sword, and lead your people to victory over these deamons and this Draga, who has caused your land so much pain./B] Zaer realized something then. Somehting he had not thought about for some time, and he paused, putting his lips together and grew silent.
He wondered aloud,"What will become of me once the sword is fully powered? It is all I have known...and...I will have completed my duty... he left the rest of his sentence unsaid because, at least by the Prophecy's words. Once his duty was over, the sword would destroy itself...and him in the process. Zaer grew thoughtful and quiet, his eyes filling with tears, this time of sadness. He would be there in Naki, at her right hand even, but he would return to the form he had once held. That was the extent of his knowledge anyway. He let Naki's hand go briefly, as he felt himself growing quite sad over the idea that he had to die in the end. He was not going to see this though, he was supposed to make the ultimate sacrifice...so that she and her people could live in peace. He dropped to his knees and lowered his head, beginning to shake a little as he quietly sobbed, hoping and wishing and praying that this quest would not be the end of him; that somehow, there was some way he would live on.
He could only menage to look up at her and say, though a choked voice,"Naki, you will make a fine queen. I am sure of that and yes, I will always be at your right hand, advising you on whatever you might ask me. But, I will be...as I once was, not in this form, but I will...regain my spirit form. Zaer lowered his head once more, saddened that one of his greatest Protectors would also be his last. Maybe things were meant to be this way though. maybe it was meant to end in a great battle. Maybe he would go out a hero. That was all he could hope for, really, that his years of service to the Sword, to see it at it's full power, to know and feel that, would be an incredible feeling. For now though, all Zaer could see was his end, and though it was far off, it loomed like a elephant who hides in the shadowy corner of a room. It was coming, he knew that, but when or how, he could not guess.
It was a happy moment for a while, but then he suddenly began to cry. The thought of something horrible enough to make Zaer cry frightened her. She stared at him for a long moment as she watched him sink to his knees. His first question made her stiffen, and his next words made her heart ache. The thought that she would eventually lose him, despite everything, made her pause. Shock crossed her features as she sank onto her knees to pull him into her arms. This hug was different than the one before. Though the fear was still there, there was a possessiveness to it that couldn't be missed even by her. She didn't want to think about him being returned to his spirit form. If that was the case, it meant that eventually, he would die. Her grip on him tightened, and she found her own tears falling as she moved herself into his arms so that her own wrapped around his waist as best she could.
The pain she felt in her heart was nothing compared to what she felt on her back. Why? Why would fate force her to lose the one person she felt she could trust above anyone else? Maybe it would be better if she never found the rest of the gems. If they just went home and tried to forget anything was wrong for as long as possible. But she knew she couldn't do that. As much as she didn't want to lose him, she couldn't turn her back on the rest of the people that would soon be counting on her. She couldn't forsake the world for one brief life of happiness, no matter how much she wanted to. But maybe there was a way to stop it. She'd been able to release him from the sword. Together they had found him a physical form. Maybe there was a way to keep him from going back into it. To keep him from going back into his spirit form. Determination entered her voice, a conviction so strong that despite everything else, her mind and focus had shifted primarily to that one goal.
"I won't let it." She nearly growled the words. "I [B]wont/B] let you be destroyed like that. There has to be a way to keep it from happening. We'll find it. Even..." She paused, thinking on it seriously for a moment before speaking seriously. "Even if it requires the sacrifice of a thousand dragons, I will not let you die."
Zaer was heartbroken. In his mind, there was no way around this; no way out of a fate that was his destiny. He felt weak, as if he had no strength, as if the sadness was gripping his heart and squeezing the energy right out of him. But then Naki, knelt down and wrapped her arms around him. She cried too. But then, something changed, she changed. She became more determined than ever to either stop him from breathing, as her hug became tighter, but possessively so. She then growled out a determined statement. She would not let him die. She promised him that much and...she'd find a way to reverse the fate...somehow. They would find the gems, they would do this together...and she would not lose him.
Zaer admired her courage, bravery, and determination very much, because right then, he flt none of it. He only felt grief. His heart ached, as before, but he turned to face her, marveling at her words. He said quietly,"Do not let me go. Stay...with me, for a while longer Naki. I...I doubt that I can handle this great destiny of mine...I need your strength to keep me going. then he leaned towards her, eyes closed, lips together, aiming to kiss her once more; far more passionately than the previous two had been.
The next morning he awoke, having slept perhaps the worst he ever had. The night had been restless, and his dreams were all of deamons or of his death. Nothing clear and specific, but just general depreciation of how he'd die. He was unsure of how the day would go, but he was eager to move on and make their way up to her dragon, if he still lived.
She had nodded her head at his request, but the kiss had surprised her. She hadn't expected it. Still, after only a moment or two of hesitation, she had returned his kiss equally. She didn't leave his side that night. Even when the healers had come for her, she'd refused to leave his side. That night, she slept in his arms. She did a little experiment with her original power then, wanting to see if she could maintain the invisibility shield while asleep. Mostly for a purely selfish reason. Laying in his arms had been the happiest she'd felt in a while, despite the pain of their realizations. It had worked.
The next morning, when the healers came to check on her, they had grown frantic when they saw neither of them, despite the fact they were both laying there. That was a good sign. And yet Naki's dreams had been full of nightmares. Zaer's death loomed in every one of them. It became so bad that she eventually have up on sleep and had simply lay there in silence while be slept. When the commotion died down that morning and she had apologized for making everyone worry, she followed the healers to get her wing mended.
It had taken hours, but she was finally able to leave. Three armed guards and the Queen escorted them for a full day. The first drow had showed them how to read the map, and armed with supplies and fae lanterns, they began to travel on their own again. Naki kept hold of Zaer's hand the entire time. It was a quiet journey, as both of them had much to think about. When at last the two of them stopped to eat one of the meals provided by the drow, Naki had made it up in her mind to seek out her people when they had gotten answers from Ealgonath. She told this much to Zaer. After dinner, she put up her shield, and moved to his side once again. This time, her arms wrapped around his shoulders from behind, resting so that her hands lay easily over his chest. She had done much thinking over that time, and she had finally realized that she cared for him far more than just a friend.
"Do you remember the oath I swore to you the night you gained your physical form?" She questioned quietly, her head falling to rest against his gently. When he confirmed he did, she continued. "I'm making another one now. No matter what it takes, when all of this is over, I'll still be at your side.. One way or another. Now that I have you.... I never want to be without you." Her voice had turned almost whispered at the last part as she confessed her feelings for him. She wasn't sure yet if it was love, but it was certainly a deep caring for him that only seemed to be getting stronger.
He had not realized that Naki had used her power, until the drow became highly concerned,, and the healers panicked, fearing that some deamons had takenthem, again, but Zaer lay asleep, only waking when he heard the great commtion that was made. Naki slept in his arms that night and he enjoyed it far more than a guardian should have. But, in his mind, he was more than just he guardian, watching over a powerful sword. He cared for Naki deeply, he had ever since she'd allow him to take a physical form. He had to wait hours while her wing was mended, and while she smoothed over hurt drow feelings. He wondered if the Queen would rescind her pledges and promises, but she did not. They were escorted to the extent of the drow map, which turned out to be a full day. They were blessed by Aeredelle for a safe and fruitful journey, she gave them each one last hug, and then the dark elf departed, with her guards in tow.
They continued on the next day, in silence, as Zaer was lost in his thoughts. Naki interrupted the silence by informing him that she would seek out her people after she gained the answers she sought from the great blue dragon. He nodded, but said nothing more on the subject. He was not in a position to speak on her decision, he felt. It was something she wanted to do, they would just have to wait and see the results. After they had stopped for the night and set up dinner, Naki embraced him, but in a new and different way. Zaer relaxed into her arms and she asked him quietly if he recalled her original oath. He said quietly,"Of course naki. I recall it well.
Her next statements surprised him. She cared for him deeply as she made her second oath to him. She would never leave his side, she did not want to be with out him. Zaer turned and kissed her on the lips softly, broke the kiss softly, said,"I never wish to be apart from you either, dearest Naki. I...too care about you deeply;you have become my greatest companion and you have earned my trust with...many things. We will be together, after all of this, though where and in what form...I know not. All I do know is that I want to be with you deeply." His eyes glowed then, they suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea if she put up her shield once more. For both protection...and other reasons.