NATION

PASSWORD

The Neverending Tale (FINISHED; MT; Attn. Northrop Grumman)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Anagonia
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The Neverending Tale (FINISHED; MT; Attn. Northrop Grumman)

Postby Anagonia » Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:53 am

In the expanse of time, there had been several realities from which to draw inspiration from. Melkos Unchanos had existed in between that framework of multiple realities, ever since his discovery at the hands of Siri and her lot, at the cusp of anger and hatred withdrawn into a sense of paternity and godhood. Through those events, everlasting and ever changing, Melkos had grown from a Dark Lord of Destruction into a shining beacon of hope and life; crossing the expanse of hundreds of thousands of years as he slowly and meticulously placed himself as the head of worship for a people who made it possible for him to know and love his Daughter, Siri. An everlasting covenant established in thanks and remembrance for them allowing him a chance to be recovered, to be discovered, to be changed and forever molded into the entity he existed as in the present. While it was true there had been others before Siri, that those Jedi from that other realm of existence had confronted and harshly converted the Dark Lord, it was Siri and, by relation, Jack O'Neill who had truly and utterly converted the hatred within Melkos into a positive energy of creation and renewal. So deep had the change been that the very universe surrounding the inception of this goodness, this positivity had shifted multiple times until at last it had stabilized into what it was today.

Melkos had never forgotten his daughter, Siri O'Neill. The Anagonian's that had provided the avenue upon which he had discovered her, upon which his very soul had been melted down in magma before her and reforged into the creature of darkest light and life that he was now, had also been at the forefront of his thoughts. There had been several incarnations and attempts to rectify the past, to change events and to better futures; explorations of a primitive god as they stretched their powers into the cosmos and altered the perception of reality for their benefit. Ultimately, Melkos had settled on returning to the beginning, some three-hundred thousand years ago. From that point forward he remained a ever-present presence in the development of life in Anagonia, to grow and nurture them and share with them the benevolence that they had fostered in himself through their selfless acts of worship and praise. Era upon era had passed, with the fall of the United Republic and the rise of the Confederacy a culmination of what Melkos had seen as necessary events to continue his promise to his people. In those events, plans began to unfold, far above those of mortal men and beings.

Before, in other timelines, Melkos had made it an effort to be apparent and visible. Through those mistakes he had come to realize that an omnipresent approach, fluid and nebulous as gentle nudges and hints were ushered through the ages. Preparing a society to fix what he had deemed mistakes of the past, in preparation for what he hoped would be a far better future. In that promise, as fluid as it was dynamic in motion, he still had never forgotten Siri O'Neill. So it was that through a series of rather corporal events, down below in Anagonia as it endured as it always had, though now along a better and more direct path, that Melkos once again looked to the past. There, he hoped to find the stretch of time that would lead him again back to his Daughter, as all of his efforts had been undertaken to do. Fixing the timeline, reconnecting and ending, building new bridges and destroying old, all to configure the bigger picture to open a doorway that had seemed oh-so-impossible not but a thousand years before.

Like a ticking clock, moving appropriately forward, so too did Melkos come to understand that time had moved a equal appropriation forward for him to consider the impossible; to reach his Daughter, to find her and fix this damn mess once and for all. He knew that upon doing so, each attempt at restoring what hope he had lost would be sealed forever away, and that this final incarnation of his attempt would be solidified in time. There would be no going back, no returning to the void and fluid time to play the strings of forever to sing another thousand years into existence - or take away an equal amount. He had left Siri back then, upon doing so sealing the fate that would circle around to a point that required him to fix the mess he had started. It was not so much that he wanted to fix it as it was that he truly did miss his daughter, Melkos just knew that upon taking on this venture the circle would end and time would resume its forward motion. In that end, there was things on the past he couldn't change, of which he was sure he couldn't see again, but the one factor in all this that would close the cycle and allow Melkos the future he had created was to step before Siri and finish what had been started when he had been dipped in that hellish magma.




Sovereign Empire of Imperius
Seventh State in the Confederate States of Anagonia
Imperial City, Grand Temple of Drekanity


It amused the dark god that his people referred their faith as "Drekanity". In all the incarnations of these people, through the vast swaths of time, this was the only one that presented such a unique flair to the context of religion and faith so as to provide importance to both Dragons and Death. In their faith, the Drekamythian Dragons were seen as the true heralds and angels of their dark lord, a lord of death and rebirth who had watched over their civilization for countless thousands of years. Melkos had found amusement in that in many of those specific points in time, he had used his draconic creations to be just that - but only subtly so. This time around he had been careful not to interfere too much with his people, to only appear before just a perhaps unimportant few, to not make himself a shield against the folly of mistakes but rather a figure of comfort in the consequence of aftermath of those mistakes. He had learned much from the worlds other different religions, in doing so he had believed he learned the most important of all; children must learn to walk on their own two feet before they can reach their hands up to embrace their Father.

In the Grand Temple of Drekanity, situated near the center of the largest city and Capitol of Imperius, Imperial City, the original designers had constructed a throne room that was all but blocked off from normal traffic. This had been one of Melkos' interventions, a quiet addition at the request of one of the architects. A personal visitation or two had ushered the architect from several thousand years ago to build a room that was separate from all others, but center to the structure like any seat of authority was. Only a particular sect of Drekan Priests were ever allowed down the secret corridors that mated the room with the exterior, and by divine - to an Anagonian - inspiration by Melkos he had this roomed reserved as a resting place for those considered among Melkos' chosen. That architect, Priest Ushka Kindma, was buried in the first of the sarcophagi that would slowly fill the large space at the center of the large structure. Dozens of sarcophagi were before Melkos, his throne constructed against the wall and properly fitting to a size he had found fitting to a more corporal form. In this room he had no fear of others witnessing him, no fear of breaking his vows to himself to interfere, because in this room he was free.

Being a god was not like what the scriptures of other religions had spoken. It was a dedicated experience, once which Melkos had become intimately aware of over the course of his eon-spanning lifetime. There was an underlying, permanent and unmovable force that Melkos had been required to obey and traverse, a power greater than his own that seemed benevolent enough to permit his interference. He had been forced to utter the vows of his intent to that force, in whatever capacity it existed in the sense of the flow of time, insofar that the vows themselves were permanently etched across time for all eternity. In that, his words would trickle down into the hearts of those who worshipped him, inspiring them to write texts and books and eventually found the very religion that would create the very throne he sat upon. It was through these celestial devices that he felt the paternity of love for his worshippers, his creations, those he guided in both evolution and growth; dragons and humans and others all. Before him, then, were the closest of these worshippers, those who had seen him or thought to have seen visages of his spectral, dark and skeletal form. Over a hundred sarcophagi lay before him, with space for a thousand more if permitted, dotting the room of the massive structure. A darkened tomb sealed permanently from light, visible only to the spectral eyes of the god that inspired its construction.

It was for a purpose that he permitted and requested this rooms construction; sacred as it was, a resting place for saints of the faith. It was a reminder to him of each time he visited someone, showed himself, the consequences thereof and the responsibility that he held for the life he forever altered from the natural order. There was some saints in here that had been burned at the stake at one time for attempting to claim they saw him. In that first instance of such, Melkos had appeared before a dozen people then, proclaiming that they had slain his chosen one of the time without cause. All of those dozen along with that saint had been buried here, their lives forever altered as well. There were others wrongfully killed, but eventually after enough visitations, Drekanity shifted to accept things, to sense that feeling, to listen to Melkos in their silent places for his confirmation. They had learned, but had not given up on their humanity. All of those that he had personally impacted were here, all of the lives he had altered and disallowed from a normal progression, all of them humbling reminders to the risk and consequence of the path he had chosen.

In the darkness without light, the corporal form of Melkos Unchanos shifted on his throne. His ethereal dark cloak, broken in patches to reveal the human-like skeleton underneath, wafted and waved in a nonexistent breeze. The one and only source of the rooms illumination provided by the two red, dim orbs of light that existed within the eye sockets of the skull that resided within the hood of the cloaked figure. The dim hue lit up the expanse of the room, his eyes traversing here and there, examining names and epitaph's of those now deceased. His posture was that of a leaning man, one elbow on the arm of the throne, open skeletal palm carefully holding up the tired and weak looking skull as the spectral eyes gazed onward into the abyss. Time had not been friendly to Melkos, but neither did it take away the entirety of his form. Soon, he knew, even the skeleton of his old life would fade away, leaving only the cloak of his prior existence to house his divinity unto these Anagonians. That in itself was part of the process he had chosen, a process that started for what felt like eons ago on a particular planet, a moon perhaps, where he slid into magma and chose to change himself for his daughter forever.

"Siri," the words uttered from non-existent lips. His voice surprisingly soft, an elf-man once, a Dark Lord of some eternal Force turned for the better by the very woman whose name he had just uttered. "Where are you?"

The question left those lips, wafting onto the frames of the room, then beyond to the sky. There they traversed the endless time, back to a point where perhaps they could be heard. His desire to meet his daughter so great that unintentionally had he opened a doorway to the past, or perhaps the present, or maybe even the future. Time was fickle in these things, it only cared about matching the words with the full intent of the soul that could understand and hear them - for what use would it be if words uttered in time met those of a senseless beast who could not understand? As the flow of time circled, so too did the words, searching the expanse of forever for the ear to listen to the call; a father who quietly wished to see his daughter, whose thoughts of concern and love had created intent, upon which time itself tried to rectify and finally provide a solution.

Back on the throne the aging god's eyes closed. He rested a bit, though rest in the biological term eluded him. His thoughts on his daughter, the moment of his change, and the aftermath that would lead him to almost betray that paternal calling to her. A single tear was shed, equally corporal but slightly less so, sliding down the cheek of a form that no longer existed to neither support nor create it. There in those thoughts and sadness, time stood still.
Last edited by Anagonia on Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sixteen years of NG today!

Postby Northrop-Grumman » Sat Dec 28, 2019 1:40 pm

Routines. That steady pace provides stability in times of trouble. When all else fails, there’s the comfort of knowing that the structure of one’s day never changes – that same place you’ve continually lived, the same pattern you go through to get ready in the morning or turn in for the night, even the same sort of breakfast can settle one’s nerves. On the other hand, one can become captive to the routine, never changing, never daring to do anything to shake up the monotony; after all, change is different, change is unnecessary, change is ultimately bad. Even more so the issue is troubling as it keeps you from thinking, as the motions become effectively automated.

Siri resided firmly in the camp of taking comfort in those same habits for the past several months. It was a marked improvement in her attitude. After her husband’s death, she had wallowed in the grief and self-pity that followed, never settling into any of her old routines; as a result, her health faltered for her self-care was non-existent. Eating, bathing, or other personal responsibilities fell by the wayside as the elf became extraordinarily reclusive. However, later events, the attacks that crippled her son and caused the death of his fiancée, pushed her into facing some of the issues that burdened her and her condition had improved. Had she returned to her former self? No, but at the very least, she returned to her responsibilities and had settled into a routine of actually taking care of herself.

This particular morning, she ate an unremarkable bowl of plain oatmeal, the consistency (and most certainly taste) felt more like spackle, and sipped at a cup of dark roast coffee – no sugar or cream. The breakfast room was silent, save the scratching of the metal spoon against the ceramic bowl. It was a routine morning, just her and the emptiness of the massive house.

When the breakfast was finished, she washed the dishes and utensils and gathered her belongings in the foyer as she typically did – keys, phone, wallet, and weapons all with designated places on her wardrobe. As was the norm, she was dressed with a long grey overcoat over her standard black turtleneck, tan slacks, and boots.

The routine also extended into her schedule; every other day she would drive the forty miles into work, but today was a Tuesday, which meant a status update from one of her “side projects” buried deep within the mountains before she headed to her more “official” job. As such, that had meant alternative means of transport, because of both distance and secrecy.

In the wood-paneled wall before her, she crafted a portal to span that distance, recalling a point in the destination facility that served as her office, away from the work being performed by her subordinates. It was a simple spell, one that she manipulated with ease and without much thought. However, just as she was stepping trough, a voice, a familiar voice called her name out in the room. She swiveled her head about, confused and seeing no one around her, and stepped through the portal.



Darkness encompassed the opposite end of the portal, which immediately closed behind the elf. Her eyes wanted to adjust to the inky blackness but there were no light sources to adjust to. This was certainly not where Siri had expended to end up and even though she could not see it, the room around her just felt wrong – the temperature, the humidity, and the floor beneath her feet. Instinctively, she drew a silvery, high-caliber revolver from inside her coat and pulled the hammer back. With her other hand, she conjured a glowing orb of light to her palm and cast it towards the ceiling.

The orb dimly illuminated the room, ensuring that she would not be immediately blinded by the sudden presence of light but in turn cast shadows from the sarcophagi. Nothing that the light touched seemed familiar to her, from what etching she could see. She had not been here before, that much was certain, which concerned her all the more. From what she understood of her portal spell, she had to have been to a place to be able to transport herself there, which meant that someone or something had intervened.

The someone potentially became apparent when she scanned the room with her weapon, finding that the only person here was a shrouded figure on the throne before her.

“What do you want?” she asked bluntly, her voice echoing through the hall.

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Postby Anagonia » Sat Dec 28, 2019 3:35 pm

"Where are you?"

And there she was. The red illuminated eyes settled on the visage of what should have been a play of imagination, a figment from the past that for a moment seemed quite impossible to exist. Melkos had intended his words to only play at the idea and location of Siri, not intentionally drag her from her reality to this one. For a long while, decades or more, Melkos' power had dwindled as his ambitions further coalesced around the protection and preservation of the Anagonian people. From a Dark Lord whose limitless power could stretch across infinity and back to now a Lord over only a portion of a planets surface, any other entity would have perhaps seen the progressive decline as insulting and hurtful. Melkos had seen it as necessary, a sacrifice worth making to contribute to ultimately fixing a vexing people who constantly battled with their curse of time; Melkos sought to end the vex, end the loop, and restore to them normalcy forevermore. In his opinion, he had done that, and the moments leading up to his silent words to his far-off Daughter had simply been the reminiscences of an old entity past their prime.

Melkos had not, in all truth, considered the potential that his very words had somehow sneaked themselves through the fabric of time and space and established some sort of gateway back to him. In his belief that his powers had dwindled, he had not considered the consequence that perhaps not all of that power had dwindled - the unobservable, inescapable, ever-existing potential energy that permitted him to exist. His eyes drifted over his Daughter carefully, like a Father ensuring the visage of their long-lost loved one was not just a visage and instead was an actual, physical thing to see and understand. A sudden wave of emotion flowed over the spectral being as his eyes closed, a long-winded sigh escaping his form as the framework of his being became briefly incorporeal, returning to normalcy mere moments after the fact. The spectral cloak continued to waft in the hidden energies of particles that played at its edges, the hidden eyes showing again as red partially illuminated the room in places where Siri's ball of light did not. His gaze was soft and kind as he spoke in reply to her, his voice strained and broken.

"It has been a long time, Daughter," he spoke, his voice playing at kindness. "I apologize if I have unjustly brought you here. My old mind perhaps grasped at straws as I thought of you. I did not think I still had the ability."

There was a moments pause, then a gentle creaking of joints as the skeletal frame of Melkos moved. He strained briefly huffing out as he pushed himself off his throne to stand. He was visibly and physically older than he used to be, perhaps weaker and more vulnerable. The cloak did not vibrate around his person as erratically as it once did, instead simply wafting similarly to how it did when he sat; an odd comparison to his previous life, his cloak a symbol of his overall health. He carefully navigated down the steps, lifting a skeletal hand to ignite the torches that lined the sanctuary's inner walls - magical torches that brought a warmth and comfortable light, a glow of energy that perhaps was familiar to Siri. Melkos was careful not to approach too far, eyes drifting over the many sarcophagi that was around the room; the two individuals of Melkos and Siri standing in a circular relief-like area, whereupon one exit led to his throne, and three others to paths between the resting places of the dead with what appeared to be benches lining the circumference of the circular relief where they both now stood. In the center of the circular relief stood Melkos, eyeing Siri with some concern.

"I know it has been some time since we last saw one another," Melkos added in carefully once he stood comfortably, though with a slight limp to his form as if tired and exhausted, "I perhaps do not deserve this visitation from you. I am just....very happy to see you again."

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Postby Northrop-Grumman » Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:01 am

Once he had introduced himself, the sudden recognition of the person standing before her prompted Siri to quickly lower her revolver, while her hands deftly decocked the hammer, returning the weapon to a safe state. She then secured it, out of eyesight beneath her overcoat. While these motions allowed her a few moments to think, it wasn’t enough to overcome the struggle with her response. A rising bitterness nagged at her thoughts. Those months ago, when she needed her loved ones, he was not around. Friends, family, and many others came to her aid, but he hadn’t. Yet at the same time, she knew there would have to be a reason for it; how could there not?

The stony silence felt like it lasted for an eternity, before she settled on the habit that she embraced lately in addressing these kinds of problems – don a mask and just get through it and hope the feelings subside. The last thing she wanted was an explosion of emotion and anger at the moment.

“It has been a long time,” she answered flatly and then a tinge of concern crept across her face. “You’ve changed since the last we saw one another.”

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Postby Anagonia » Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:15 pm

"I have."

His reply was simple, equally flat and without emotion, though a tinge of finality was hinted in the tone. His eyes never left hers, the emotions that boiled within her all but hidden save for the potential energy that cast itself around what he saw as her aura. If he could, he would have grimace at the prospects of what he saw and felt in that simplistic display of emotional energy. Only then did his eyes look downcast, almost submissively to the prospective guilt that was to lay on his shoulders. Melkos should have always been there for his daughter, his proclaimed daughter nonetheless. Yet he wasn't. He had chosen the lives of millions if not billions over her. While he considered all under his care to his children, she was his most beloved. In his act of selfless determination to preserve and restore a people, he had inadvertently ignored the one person that gave him that purpose to begin with.

Slowly his eyes drifted back upward, the red orbs dimmer than usual as they gazed longingly upon his daughter. There was so much he wanted to say to her, so much to say sorry for, so much to tell her about his adventures. All that didn't matter, though. Not now. Not after this. Due to some cosmic set of circumstances, she had been cast upon his plane of existence right after his mind had yearned to see her. Whether by fluke, his own potential power, or some other higher form of power, he now had the chance to restore what he realized he had lost. He hoped it wasn't too late, for he didn't know how much time he had with her; if their meeting was permanent or temporary.

"My daughter," he began softly, "I owe you more than an apology, more than I can ever give. Words alone could not express nor make up for my abandonment of you. I can only hope that my explanation will offer some meager solace as to why I had departed."

Melkos took a few tentative steps forward, bridging the gap between them to now only a few feet. There was no stench that his corporeal form gave off, but there was the hint of a gentle breeze from nowhere; valley scented flowers intertwined with a gentle crook of water was the scent of the breeze, the feel of it perhaps akin to a midday spring sun. There was another hint of something else there, too; Cinders, fires and flame, embers of a burnt out campfire long past its prime and dwindling to nothing. Melkos' form was reminiscent of that scent on that nonexistent breeze; aged, beaten, weakened.

Slowly, and with some visible shakiness that was akin to an elderly individual, he raised both of his arms outward invitingly towards his Daughter. His eyes bore into hers, gentle and yearning, searching for something he knew he did not deserve. He left his posture that way as he spoke.

"My Daughter, what I speak is truth now. After our last meeting, I entered the void and rode the waves of time. I saw in the future destruction for the very people that befriended yours, a multi-star spanning civilization whose aspirations were equal to your own. I saw darkness and oblivion, and I saw no further chances for renewal or salvation. In my alerted state, I went back in time, back to where the Anagonian's began, and helped them start over on a new course in history. Where you stand now is a separate timeline from your own, no doubt, for I sense a difference in you but....such similarity. I spent well over one-hundred thousand years with them, guiding them, using up my energy slowly and over time to establish who they are today. The looming darkness I saw is gone from them, and they are safe, but in my haste I neglected the very reason for my existence; you, my daughter.

I cannot demand nor expect your forgiveness, I can only ask of it. You are not required to make that decision now or ever, but my arms are open to you. I am sorry for what I have done to you, whatever that may be, and as I sit on the very throne made for me I am open to listening to the consequences of my actions. Just know that in all this time, you have been on my mind, and this was the first since my energy dwindled to what it is that you came upon my call. I have been so weak these last hundred years, dwindling away. Whatever fortuitus fate dragged you here, know that I am thankful that I am able to see you again."

As his words ended, he stood there, eagerly holding his arms out. He did not expect her to immediately, if ever, respond to his invitation. He had enough experiences with his children to know how humanity as a whole worked. He was never human before this form, he was of an elven race. Yet ever since Siri had guided him to his present responsibility, he had fallen in love with the humans he had chosen to be his care. Perhaps it was folly and, looking upon Siri now, perhaps that was the case. He hoped that, somehow, it would all work out in the end.

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Postby Northrop-Grumman » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:41 am

The bitterness that crept up within her had gradually subsided the more Melkos spoke, replaced by a sadness that came with knowing everything he’d been through. Siri could not even imagine what it had been like to have been separated from his daughter for that long – to her it had only been a couple of years, a blink of an eye in comparison. Her only other frame of reference was her chief advisor, Ire’arra, who had been in such a state for “only” ten thousand years, which had warped the woman’s mind so much that she was at times like an automaton. Siri could not believe that her father had managed to keep his sanity together for ten times that length.

“I too am thankful that…however this has happened…that I’ve been finally able to see you again,” she finally spoke and stepped closer, yet not enough to be within his arms. The mask finally slipped and her expression reflected how she felt, exhausted, drained of all her energy. Her green eyes just stared down at the floor between them. “It has been…trying lately.”

The elf fidgeted with the golden band around her finger, still a little loose from the weight she had lost and not yet regained. “I lost Jack less than a year ago. Suddenly. There was no long-term illness, nothing that would have ever prepared me for such a thing. Nothing seemed amiss, yet when I woke up one morning…he was gone. I…did not take it well, as you could imagine. I holed myself up in my home and let myself rot for months…and then, there was…an incident. My son was terribly injured, and his fiancée was killed.”

She sighed deeply, the pain still lingering after all this while, and stared into Melkos’ eyes. “The outpouring of care that happens after you lose a loved one only lasts so long. Eventually it just tapers off as people move on and presume that you have too. It doesn’t help when one has developed a knack for pushing others away. I’m grateful that I’ve had friends who gave me a right kick in the ass when I needed it. I don’t have many people in my life and fewer still are a short distance away. So, when certain people aren’t around, I notice.”

A brief pause, allowing that last sentence to linger in the air before she spoke again. “But I don’t blame you. I know it’s not exactly the same, but the qualities of leadership don’t really matter if you’re leading them politically…or like a god. It’s not something that I understood until now, the sacrifices you have to make for your people. I would have let the world burn had it somehow kept my family safe…and honestly, there are times where I still feel that way. But now I realize that the needs of billions matter more than yourself, that these people rely on you to keep them safe, and that they look towards you as they would a parent.”

Siri hesitated for a moment, realizing that she was contradicting herself, but could not allow the question to remain unasked. “I know you’ve given up a lot for your people, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t have done that,” she reiterated, making sure that he knew she understood what was happening. “I have to know – am I going to lose you, too?”

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Postby Anagonia » Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:02 pm

If Melkos would have had flesh, the expression would have shifted from hopeful sadness to shocked impingement. His hands lowered slowly and all at once the cape around his being rippled, reflecting the internal emotional cost that was witnessed not only by Siri's confession of loss, but also the supreme level of innocent surrender presented by her question to him. Like any father, Melkos was at first for a loss of words. The gap had not been bridged between the two bodies and he had at first respected that. The insane aftermath of her question had caused within him a conflict, centuries of dogmatic traditionalism based upon honor and duty crumbling as he faced a part of himself that wanted to go against the wishes and will of another. Just as he had promised a thousand times not to interfere, so too had he previously decided not to interfere in this circumstance. His decision, he reflected, was made in error.

Against those wishes, he stepped forward, then again forward. Two more steps and his arms reached around Siri, then fully and gently clasped her back. Another half step and the corporal remains of the aging god touched the body of the innocent, almost broken woman before him; his daughter exhibiting such sadness and pain, the father unable to resist to comfort. He gently coaxed her closer, leaning down somewhat, fully hugging her to him as his body seemed to coalesce around the pair in a display of loving affection. He was far too tall to have her reach head height - she only reached chest height on him. Instead he lowered his head to look down at his daughter. The next words that came out of his being were gentle, relaxed, and less strained. One skeletal hand gently rubbing up and down her back to comfort, willing to depart from this posture if she were to resist even the slightest, yet eager to have this closeness with his daughter again.

"My sweetest star," he spoke to her, voice calm yet still showing his age, "It was my greatest mistake to choose between what gave me purpose and what I could defend. True enough that I have given for my people, but I would have given all just to see you happy again. Even now, if I were to die to bring back what you lost, I would. I am sad to say that these powers and more are far beyond me now. Am I to die just as a mortal would? Who is to say. Just as you experience your life, so too do I. I cannot promise that I will not die, but I can promise that I will never leave you, even if the distances between us bridge vast expanses."

A moment of silence as he continued to gently comfort his daughter. His eyes never left the top of her head. He felt slightly stronger with her near, as if something base inside him had realized the woman responsible for bringing him back from the dead was near, eager to repay that debt with a life in return. How he had been chosen by her as her father had been a rather pleasant affair. She had saved him from the pains of absolute chaos and evil, dunked within the magma of a volcano on some distant world - or was it this one or something similar? He had to admit his own memory was starting to fade somewhat, but what he did remember was adopting her as his own. He remembered she played a huge part in that decision, and that from that moment forward he became her guardian. Looking back, he had failed his promise to her, never foreseeing the tragedy she would endure when he departing thinking she was all but safe.

He remembered Jack O'Neill, the pleasant acquaintance and friend of Drakomis Reign. Drakomis, too, had died somewhere along the line and Melkos remembered ferrying his soul to his afterlife. Then again that had been in a timeline that had ceased to be, so Drakomis could very well be alive, and Jack could very well be alive in this one. Whatever the case, he had not seen Jack's soul depart, perhaps because he had been too far distanced to sense it. If he had, no doubt would he have returned. But he hadn't.

"There is nothing I can do or say to make up for my mistake," Melkos admitted gently. "I am sorry, my daughter, for abandoning you when you needed me the most. I admit I am unable to bridge you home, for if no intelligence brought you here then not even I can return you. I can, however, try to make up for lost time. I'm not sure how. What do you ask of me? What can I do to make up my failure?"
Last edited by Anagonia on Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Northrop-Grumman » Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:57 am

Melkos’ comforting embrace soothed the elven woman’s worries and concerns, drawing her away from those lingering negative thoughts, at least for a moment, and she likewise extended her arms around him and rested her head upon his chest. It had been ages since another had hugged her in such a manner, and, despite her father’s skeletal being, it was warming for her to be like this.

And when he spoke, hearing those words from someone else made her pause for a moment as she realized that she would have done very much the same thing. Was it right that she would have thrown herself into the fires of hell to bring back her husband, her son’s fiancée, or any of her loved ones? Was that the wisest thing to do. Her sacrificing herself would not have ultimately changed anything – yes, that person would have returned from beyond the grave, but then the afflicted party would have lost her in turn. That pain, that hole would have still been there.

“Nothing,” she finally yet quietly answered, after that moment of reflection. “You don’t have to do anything but what you’re doing now. That’s all I ask.”

Siri sighed deeply and wearily. “I’ve lost so many people over the centuries – many I couldn’t have helped at all, but some I could. I’m just tired of it happening. I can only do so much to protect those I care for, to keep them alive, yet there are things that I’ve missed. Maybe I could’ve done things differently with Jack. I don’t understand his reasons for letting the end come as it did; there are ways around our mortality. Something could have been done. There are so many options out there, and he just gave it up. Maybe we could’ve just retired and travelled the universe; we didn’t have to be chained up to our jobs for the rest of our lives…he shouldn’t have left me here…”

That had been gnawing away at her inside, never allowing her to come to terms with the decision he made. She was already well over two centuries old and had many more ahead of her, possibly extending her life out beyond what was typical for her race. Others, she knew had used magical or even technological means to extend theirs. Yet…he didn’t.

Then there was the other frustration she had. “And I could’ve done something differently with my son’s fiancée, Arielle. I should’ve dealt with her parents when I had the first opportunity instead of letting them do what they did. None of this would’ve happened, and my son wouldn’t have experienced the loss of her and the physical pain they inflicted on him. I didn’t want him to experience the pain and loss that I’ve been through, ever. I’ve always tried to shield him from it, because I knew what it did to me. I know my problems, I know how my past has broken me and made me at times the monster I am. Alakantar was so innocent, so positive, so unburdened by such pain. And now…I just hope he’ll get through it without losing what he was…”

Siri paused yet again and carefully shook her head, holding him tightly. “So, no, what you’re doing now is what I want. I want this moment with my father…where I don’t have to worry about anything, where I don’t have to be running off to solve everyone’s issues, where I don’t have to be suffering through everything, where I don’t have to constantly be reminded of my losses…”

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Postby Anagonia » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:11 pm

"My dearest child," Melkos softly uttered as he held Siri in his arms. True though he might appear skeletal, Siri's head did rest on something corporal enough to provide her with a semblance of structure. It was weak and, if Siri were to pay attention, somewhat fleeting at times, but the feeling of something there besides cold bones was very apparent. A gentle caress of his arm upon her back was what he provided as he stood there, eyes briefly down upon her as she finished speaking, then flicking upward to gaze into nothingness.

As she had spoken, the events that had played out in her experiences transferred to his minds eyes. Whether through the connection they shared or the paternal touch Melkos gave to comfort his child, as Siri spoke brief glimpses of relevancy to those events were made known to Melkos. He came to understand the horrible struggle his child had to endure; the final days of Jack O'Neill, the ordeal with her son, her multiple near-death instances, life in general after the fact, the depression and sadness. The red orbs that signified his eyes dimmed as he closed his eyes, a black abyss before his vision as he experienced her complete and total depression and sadness for himself. His hand never stopped its pace of gently caressing her back, the other arm gently keeping her to him as he came to understand what had brought her to him - at least in some fashion. Hypothetical theories on the mannerisms of metaphysics aside, Melkos felt that somehow this utter loss had traversed the expanse and brought Siri to him. Why now, of all times, he didn't know. In either case, he felt rather blessed for once to experience this tender moment.

"You are strong beyond your understanding," Melkos said after nearly a half-hour of them in that embrace. "What you experience in your life, why things are taken, why doors are closed, not even I can bypass most of these things. There is a Force even greater than myself, an energy that binds and connects us even across vast distances and dimensions. That same Force opens and closes those doors that we sometimes find ourselves incapable of escaping the consequences of. There is a time for everyone that connects with this primordial energy that, I believe, they all feel superior to life itself. What I now understand is that life is that Force, and the cycle of life can never be escaped forever. Not even I, in my mercy by your hand, can escape what is required of me in return. Eventually all shall return to that primordial plane of energy, to either be recycled or, perhaps, to experience eternity."

A few moments of silence as he let his words sink in, his eyes opening as they traversed the room slowly. It was so dark here, yet with Siri present, it didn't feel as dark as it normally did. Through his unique vision he saw the swirls of time and space interconnected. It was how he traversed the distances at one point, how in the present he observed and cared for his people. What was unique now was how those bands of time and space, usually randomly connected at intervals and points, now seemed to bend and twist to connect with Siri. He felt it, even as he touched her, felt the extreme amounts of power that resided within her. If he wanted to, if he was so completely evil enough, he could of siphoned it from her and likely killed her to extend his life. For that was the way, typically, to experience that length of life. One must take from something else to gain to themselves, and some manners of that Force required the taking of lives to extend the life. That was how it was traditionally undertaken from Melkos's understanding.

His eyes glimpsed down at his daughter, holding her now to him, no longer caressing. The next utterance from him was just as soft as before. He decided that instead of addressing this power he saw, he would revert to comforting her, something any father would do.

"Your husband was a man of honor and integrity," Melkos began carefully. "I knew Jack from a distance, we met once. He loved you very much, but he also had a code unto himself that even I was forced to admire and respect. He did what he did as a man, not as super-man. He showed us, all of us, that even a single human unmodified and unmolested by the energies of the universe can still change the fate of entire worlds. Perhaps it is for this reason he chose the end he did. He conquered life, but even then, life still prevailed unto death. Not as a defeat, but as a victory and testament for those like him to follow. Likely, my daughter, he chose his death not to bring you sorrow but to make you proud. Perhaps then, he believed you both loved each other so eternally that you'd understand that choice he made."
Last edited by Anagonia on Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Northrop-Grumman » Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:57 am

Siri knew that, whatever Jack had eventually decided, there had been no intention to hurt her or, as her father had stated, bring sorrow. But intentions almost always have a certain way of going awry, and those honorable intentions did not make the pain hurt any less. One might be succumbing to a dreadful disease and death is the only option out of it. All may understand that end, but that loss would still bear down on all of their loved ones.

“I understand why he chose to die on his own terms,” Siri answered, yet still not completely certain about her response. There was a line between understanding and accepting. “It doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with that choice. I don’t accept the inevitability of death. I just don’t accept that that’s the way things have to be. It would be one thing if he died by another’s hand or there was an accident, but that’s not what happened here. He chose this path. But there are ways around our lifespans, whether through technological means or even magical means. I would’ve helped him; others were more than willing to help him, but apparently, he didn’t want that. I could very well bring him back some way or another…sacrifices could be made to do it…but…those aren’t his wishes. That’s what ultimately stops me from doing it, not the supposed inevitability of death…”

Abruptly pulling away from Melkos’ embrace, his daughter began pacing in front of a sarcophagus, each hand clutching the opposite arm harshly. “I’m just…frustrated…I have hundreds – if not thousands – of years ahead of me, and all without him,” she lamented, her voice’s tension increasing as she moved repetitively back and forth. “I should’ve done things differently. There’s so much that we could’ve done together if we had more time or if I’d know we didn’t have that time. We could’ve both retired and saw the world without having to be tied down to our jobs. We could’ve spent more time with our son. My life’s path may have gone in a different direction; perhaps I would’ve been better. There are things I should’ve said that I didn’t.”

At that point, she slumped down against the sarcophagus' cold, stony surface, knees bent up towards her chest. With hugging her legs, she looked as though the weight of the world was on her shoulders, the months and months of pain just overtaking her. It was all getting to be too much. She could not resist the sudden pouring of emotion, tears flowed, her body and voice quivered. “And I…I don’t want to be alone. When I was far younger, back in my homeland, everyone I cared about – my friends, family, colleagues – they were all close by. It didn’t matter whether I decided to go home and spend some time away from everyone by myself. It didn’t matter if I was on the other side of the continent. That was all temporary, I was always going to go back to normalcy, to being around those same people. Now, those people are far away. I’ve heard people ask others ‘how can you be alone when you’re around others at work’ or wherever. What they don’t get is, how many of those people do you genuinely share bonds with; how many of those people, if they left that job, would you still talk to; how many people can you actually talk to? You can be surrounded by a million people, yet be alone.”
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Postby Anagonia » Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:51 pm

Melkos didn't respond at first. His eyes followed his daughter as she made a brief trail in front of the nearest sarcophagus. They briefly widened upon seeing her eventual emotional and physical collapse, tears flowing that he could not stop or prevent. He listened as she let loose what seemed like years worth of pent-up stress all in that one moment. He listened, as any father would, but he also acted on instinct and stayed just a hair distant from her. Experience with the humans under his care bringing forth actions of wisdom, especially considering the consequences of actions taken rather than taught. There was difference here, of course, between those humans and his daughter. Still, instinct was hard to kill. In the end, as Siri was silent, Melkos would move forward.

It was a lumbersome action; stepping forward, turning to slide down the side of the sarcophagus, sitting beside his daughter as one hand laid on hers to comfort. He listened to her, every tear, every emotion; felt the emotions, the release they brought. It was only after twenty minutes of silence and her emotional outpouring that he dared talk.

"Humans are a fickle sort," Melkos began in a unusually gentle voice. "I've learned through my course of metaphorical godhood that if you were to give a man food but not teach them how to acquire it themselves, they become dependant on the provider instead of themselves. The hardest lesson a parent can learn is from that, to teach their younger ones to provide for themselves rather than be provided for. Your husband likely understood this lesson most of all, and in that I have a good understanding of his character."

His hand tightened on hers gently as he continued. "Some men, some humans, are so often dependant on themselves they are stubborn. They desire to show the world, perhaps even beings such as myself or above my station, that they can provide for themselves what others easily come by. They accomplish actions through sheer will and effort, and through that they find life. Jack likely wanted to also provide his own end, rather than have the universe decide it for him. A final act of defiance against a cruel and depressing world. In that action, I admire your husband, very much so.

I have had some humans I have become close to in my time, many of them buried here in these sarcophagi around us. There are a few I never wanted to leave behind, to forget or ever let go. Very few lay here that only I remember. What I have found through their lives is an understanding greater than all I have ever experienced. The truth of life, as it were."

His grip gently lessened on Siri's hand, Melkos instead gazing at the emptiness around him. There were bodies here, bones, leftovers from ages past. In all those, memories of times long forgotten. He felt a sigh escape him.

"Humans are not a blessed species. They toil for so few decades to attain what would take others two of their lifetimes. To some, that is a great disadvantage, but I no longer see it that way. I find that their lifespans have endured unto them a sense of purpose and will, that which could be far greater than any in the universe. To that end, they all seek one thing; to continue their memory onto the next generation, to impress upon someone a sense of their existence so that all toiled for would not be naut. In that greater sense, I believe Jack accomplished that and more."

Looking up to Siri, he felt a smile play his nonexistent features. She would never see it, but his voice would carry some of the emotion as he spoke again.

"Jack O'Neill will now live forever, because you live forever - in a sense," explained Melkos. "You gave him what most humans could only dream of; purpose, love from a long-lived species, and the practical guarantee that his memory would outlast him. He fought the good fight and ran his course, and through you, your love, your marriage, and your life together you gave him that eternal peace and happiness. That can never be taken away - at the same time, neither can things be changed so easily. What we do in our lives leaves a precious mark for those that outlive us. What you've done and undertaken could quite possibly not change many things that happened after. In any case, my dear daughter, what you did do was provide Jack what every human strives for; peace."

A momentary silence, then in a softer voice, Melkos asked, "Is that not in and of itself worth all the memories you cherish now?"
Last edited by Anagonia on Thu Mar 19, 2020 6:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Northrop-Grumman » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:36 am

Siri’s mind drifted away from the cold, dark chamber towards a faded memory from a time long past. A summer’s morning brought the salty air across the bay, gently blowing the elf’s golden hair. Seated upon a swing dangling from her home’s back porch were she and her husband, Jack. Despite being much younger then, bits of whiteness appeared in strands of his short hair and wrinkles had developed from the years of stress. Still though, it was a quiet moment in time, and a place where Jack had escaped to often enough while he and Siri had still been dating – away from the responsibilities of home, out of contact from anyone who would dare disturb him.

“How would I want to go?” Siri repeated the question with an eyebrow raise. “They would have to drag me, kicking and screaming, but I would rather spend my dying breath vanquishing my final enemy in one last battle.” She rested her head against his shoulder and rocked the swing back and forth. “What about you?”

Jack gazed thoughtfully across the water, his eye following some type of bird darting into the water to catch its breakfast. “There’s something to be said for going quietly, surrounded by the folks I care about…ya know, peacefully…”

The elf jerked up, nearly spilling her tea, staring incredulously at her husband. “Really?

He nodded with a slight smile, which showed a great deal of weariness yet also a certainty of his choice, that he had thought this thoroughly through. “Yeah, if I could do that…”

“…I’d know that I’d done everything I could’ve done with this life,” Siri continued softly, the memory dissipating and returning her to the present, amongst the desolate sarcophagi chamber. Her hand squeezed her father’s, a quick reminder of where she was. “I’m glad that I was able to be a part of that, that I was able to hopefully provide him with that peace. His memory will not just live on in me, but in his people, our people, most importantly. They’ve always looked up to him as a father figure, and I don’t think that can ever be taken away.”

She flicked at her wedding band with her thumb and exhaled deeply, pausing a moment. The months alone had given her an opportunity to ponder such things, but with that lay a slew of issues that she honestly had little idea of solving. She was, at times, fairly introspective and was keenly aware of all of her problems and failings, but that didn’t mean that it was easy to deal with them. Some things could just not be bashed with a sword. “But sometimes I think I’m being selfish about all this – what I want, what I feel, me, me, me. I just don’t know what I should be doing now, other than this.” A finger pointed towards tear-soaked eyes. “Day in and day out, I follow the same routines, do the same work, see the same people; I feel lost, like there’s nothing beyond the here and now. In the past, there’s always been someone to blame for such a loss. It’s easy to exact vengeance – to put it plainly – on someone whose hurt you. But here…do I blame him? Do I blame the natural process of death?”

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Postby Anagonia » Sun Feb 23, 2020 8:47 am

Melkos listened to his daughters words, and watched as within her eyes her mind drifted to times past. At one time in his life, Melkos would have drifted with her, his own essence and being able to slide between the dimensions of reality and fantasy to stay close to the fabric of existence a person held as they drifted in their memories. At one time, he would have been able to do many things, including save his daughter from this torment she endured. Those times had long since past, the sacrifice of his present life weighing heavy on his barely corporeal form. All he could do now was listen, and imagine for himself what she had seen, because after which she emerged a somewhat different person. It was clear a veil of some sort had been lifted, and the words that followed tugged at Melkos' heart.

"You shouldn't," Melkos said to reply to her words on her husbands status as a popular father figure. "Think of how my people have prospered because of their perception of myself," he added in softly. "The assurances that they do have a watcher, someone in the background handling the mysterious and often incomprehensible. It allows them to live happily."

He continued to listen as she spoke again, his heart once again tugging, all of his being desiring to comfort and end her suffering with a simple hug. It wasn't that easy, he knew, it never was. In his previous incarnations and lives, those before when he was transformed into the Wraith-like entity he was now, he recalled his fatherhood and - yes - motherhood. It had taken considerable effort on behalf of his own personal desire for self-discovery, but Melkos had eventually tugged and pulled at enough of time and space to discover the memories locked away previously of his past incarnations - all of them leading to this point and time, culminating in the complete wraith that he was now. Melkos was different than a typical wraith though. Wherein his original transformation had been one of pain, torment, and endless suffering, he now existed purely because of the love of his daughter that was beside him. She had saved him from his final fall into oblivion, the inescapable transformation from wraith to complete ghost and fabrication. Somehow, she had saved him, turned him into what he was now, and he felt he owed everything to her to make what she felt right now better in every possible way.

The nagging feeling that he couldn't, perhaps shouldn't, tugged at Melkos's mind. That somewhere, deep inside, even he understood that what she endured was far beyond his capacity to fix. It was, instead, a natural process that needed to be played out. He had seen many of his favorite children (though none as prestigious and loved as Siri) endure similar hardships. His mind slipped back to how he dealt with that, realizing that much like a parent of yore, he would need to let his child accept the fact that circumstances had changed. It was all at once a critical moment in his thinking, where before he worried she'd be trapped, now he was sure she was already free; she was free and she didn't know it yet.

As she concluded her words, he gave a gentle sigh, still holding her tight to him. He spoke with similar softness as before.

"My daughter, there are times when we accept the responsibilities bestowed upon us, be either they by choice or circumstance, and we adapt and evolve to accommodate the growing needs of that station. You, however, have grown beyond your sorrow. You have yet to realize it."

Melkos gently played a skeletal hand through her hair, eyes observing how the weak metaphysical substance that surrounded his form played almost like skin as it parted the strands. He yearned to be of some physical form again, to have a life. That yearning, though, was beneath the need of his daughters happiness. He easily pushed it away and destroyed the notion entirely, a callback to when he was a wraith, and something that never would again bother him from this point forward. Another small miracle his daughter saved him from, another debt he could never repay.

"My sweetheart and world," he said, voice softer than before. "You cannot let yourself linger any longer in a place of refuge that no longer provides that refuge. Where once you sought this place in your mind to keep from sorrow and the finality of it, you have now grown and are ready to accept it. There are others, millions of others, who no doubt look up to you for your guidance and cannot receive it. Not because you are selfish, my daughter, but because you are afraid of letting go. It is the hardest of practices we can do as parents to let go, to trust our children - even our loved ones and mates - to have enough understanding to survive without our care. My daughter, my sweet child..."

Another gentle stroke through her hair. He leaned his head down, just enough so his eyes could view her own.

"My daughter, Jack no longer needs us to protect him," he said, his voice still soft, caring, understanding. "It's time to let him go, to trust him that he is happy and content, and allow him the relief in knowing we have moved on with equal happiness from the time he spent with us. You did so much to make sure that what he lived, endured, and experienced was all the worth living for. Now he has moved on, accepted his new station wherever that may be. But you have not, my child, and I fear if you are unable to it may be your undoing. So let us consider together the possibility that, yes, it is time....to trust your husband and lover, and trust me your father, that this moment is the time to let go."

His eyes lingered on hers for that moment, full of confidence - if ever spectral orbs of energy could convey such.

"I promise that this time, I will catch you," he said, and the universe listened. "Trust me, and let go."
Last edited by Anagonia on Thu Mar 19, 2020 6:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Northrop-Grumman » Sun Mar 15, 2020 9:02 am

Siri remained in quiet contemplation while she listened to her father’s words, which bore a measure of truth as they reflected her husband’s final words those many months ago. Knowing that he would be passing on but never truly knowing the time, Jack had written her a letter to be delivered upon his eventual demise. And in that letter, he left her with the last statement of his eternal love for her and tried to provide her some measure of comfort, but most of all, he encouraged her to move on, to let go, and to not allow the loss to consume her.

“Letting go of anything has never been one of my strengths,” she said after some silence. “When most of my family was murdered, I left a trail of broken relationships and bodies, the latter deservedly so, in my wake over the course of several decades as I sought my revenge. That need I had within, to ensure that someone had paid for what they’ve done was fulfilled, but that never did easy any of the pain. I never truly let it go, and it’s shaped my mindset ever since, sometimes beneficially, but often enough it makes situations worse. I have a tremendous fear of losing people, of losing those that I care about the most, which forces me into making decisions that may ultimately harm my relationships with them and those same decisions at times harm even myself.

“Even my professional life has been affected by this. I’ve had certain challenges moving from leading less than a hundred people to having the lives of billions in my hands, and the decisions I’ve made for my people have not necessarily been the wisest. For example, I accepted the need for an alliance we were in to enter a war, which eventually resulted in hundreds of thousands being wastefully lost. It was not a just or worthwhile war. Naturally, I did not handle it well and harmed myself deliberately, which you had healed the last time we saw one another.”

Her slender fingers twitched slightly as the elf remembered that time long ago. A shattering mirror, shards slicing away at her hands, and the throbbing pain that persisted for weeks without the necessary care and treatment needed to heal it. The justification for allowing such wounds to linger was, as she always professed, punishment for screwing up that matter, for losing so many lives. Those choices were her sin and her sin alone.

She tightly clenched her father’s hand as she exhaled deeply. “There are many things that I deeply regret, and many things I wish I could have done differently, but I cannot do anything about the past. What is set in stone cannot be changed, the pain and loss will be with me forever and is a part of me. It is who I am.

“But that doesn’t preclude me from trying to make things right with people. After I almost lost my son, I’ve reconciled with him and tried to re-establish that relationship; we’re now at least talking, better than we had before. It had been one of the things that Jack had pushed for in his last letter to me, but admittedly it did take the pushing of multiple people to get me moving on it.

Siri paused yet again in reflection. Her thinking had culminated into one conclusion, the verdict that she had been avoiding all this time. There was no escaping it any longer. “At this point, I feel as if I need to do things differently, like what I have done with my son. I’ve just never considered myself very good with the…softer side of relationships. Of all the things in the world that could make me afraid, somehow that manages to be the one, because I’m worried about screwing it up. On the other hand, avoiding it has gotten me nowhere and has actually made things worse over the years. I need to get better at this. I need to start making things right.

“It’s taken me a long while to realize all of this. That despite all these worries, despite all the pain, I need to just start doing it. Never thought that that would be a problem I’d have.” The corners of her mouth turned up slightly at that last thought, almost managing to reach a smile.

She leaned more solidly against him, finding herself finally being able to release all of her pent-up tension. “It seems whenever we meet, you’re managing to save me from something, mainly myself. It’s relieving just to be able to talk about something like this and have someone actually understand. It’s easy for me to have all this crap swirling around in my head with no way to get it all out.”

Sighing almost at the point of contentment, Siri felt that the path forward had become clearer; she would never be able to escape the pain that she felt, but she expected that perhaps the intensity of it would lessen over time. The hope was that her outlook on life would be able to improve and that she would be to come to terms with these things. As that sentiment became more apparent, the elf felt that her time here was coming to a necessary end. She could not remain here forever, nor should she; she had her nation to lead, and her father had his people to attend to. There was a certain unexplainable, nagging sensation in the back of her mind.

As she began to grasp at that thought, her vision clouded over in darkness, but she felt no fear; no, it consumed her with a warming, calming embrace, one that conveyed that everything would be alright in the end. And as her eyes only saw the darkness of a night, she gradually dissipated from her father’s presence. However, before she was completely gone, she spoke two last words to him.

“Thank you.”

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Postby Anagonia » Thu Mar 19, 2020 6:00 am

The words of his daughter bore into his heart. He felt her lean against him, more surreal than real at that point, almost as if the feeling of the physical had transitioned into more into an imaginary comfort. His eyes gazed down at Siri, one hand provided between them for her to grab, the other around her. Melkos held onto her protectively, feeling something within him begin to surface that had been dormant for a long time; possiveness. He saw the futility of the emotion, the inevitability that what had transpired here was intended to end - beyond his control, far beyond his control. He watched as her form began to dematerialize, but not in a way detrimental to her being. He could see the strands of time and....something else. Something grabbing her back from whence she had came, returning her to correct her placement, though intentionally slow about it. As he peered closer, his eyes glimpsed briefly a portal of a metaphysical nature behind it, wherein a plethora of energy lances gently shot out, moving as if alive and with purpose to begin to slowly wrap around his daughters form. As they did, more and more of her physical form began to disappear.

The father listened to his daughters words, knowing it would be the last he would hear of them for, perhaps, forever. He said nothing, the internal fight inside him mounting as he felt emotions roiling that had long-since thought to be gone; sadness, grief, guilt, depression, want, helplessness. If he had a physical form, tears would be streaming down his face at this point, and perhaps his body would be rocking with grief as he tried to come to terms with what was happening. As it was, he remained stoic and still, a solid foundations of comfort for his daughter as she transitioned from her previously-saddened and weighted spirit to one more free and liberated. His head lifted only just, eyes glimpsing upward towards that portal that only he could see, an expression within the expressionless red orbs of his eyes begging for his daughters return, to give her back, to let her stay here. The futility of the requests turned into begging for his daughters safety, happiness, and comfort, knowing he would never again be around to provide that. In all that, he felt only finality from the portal - no emotion, just purpose.

Siri would be returned to where she belonged. There was nothing Melkos could do.

As his eyes met Siri's departing form, as it slowly began to completely dematerialize, he heard her last words to him. "Thank you," she had said. So perfect an utterance, full of relief and happiness, Melkos knowing that whatever had transpired here had freed his daughter from an incredibly persistent demon that had plagued her. He tried to grip her tighter, surprised that he could feel her still despite her being almost completely faded and gone, and in that last few moments he had with her he uttered his response. It was gentle, caring, loving, a voice reminiscent of when he had been a healthier being, surprising even himself briefly at the resolve of it.

"You are welcome my daughter," he managed before Siri was gone. "And I love you. Always."

Then she was gone. The tendrils of energy that had gripped her shot back into the portal, and that too was gone. In an instant, all the manifested energy he felt and saw dissipated and returned to normal. Melkos felt himself slump to the floor, expression downcast as an incredible sense of loss and sadness overtook him. Siri was gone, forever, and he would never see her again. That sense had been implanted into him by an exchange between the metaphysical energies which controlled the portal and the very essence he was made up of. It had been a transference of thought, of assurance, and of finality. A decision made by something, someone, far more powerful than he. The sense that it had allowed her to linger for his last words, but no longer, that Siri was of its utmost importance and not he. Slowly, the sadness turned into acceptance, quelled by the thought that whatever had recaptured and returned his daughter would surely look out for her.

Still, Melkos Unchanos was sad. For a long time thereafter, perhaps hours or even days, he stayed in that position thinking on his past decisions that led him to the point and time he was at. How he could have changed his decisions to better situate himself to be there for her, how he could have saved her. Eventually his mind calmed, the incredible yearning to hold his daughter subsiding to that of unyielding love despite the separation. He found new strength in that, knowing that despite whatever he had endured, he had done what he should of did years ago to help his daughter move on; be a proper father, be there for her, listen and provide that rock to help her stand back up for herself again. Whatever force had propelled her here and taken her back knew that he was the only entity in all the multiverses that could do such a thing, and that alone brought him a sense of relief and joy.

Eventually the old spirit would stand again, and for the first time in a long time, the torches inside his sanctum came to life. He gazed over the sarcophagi that littered his sanctum, memories of all who lay within flooding back into his mind. He had his children here to care for now, to fully commit to again. He no longer felt that his energy was fading, somehow the meeting with his daughter rejuvenating a sense of being into him. Perhaps that was simply his mind - or whatever constituted it - playing tricks on him during his last hours of existence. Perhaps, maybe, it wasn't. In either condition, he felt a renewed sense of purpose.

To the sides of his sanctum, the doors that had remained sealed for the longest years began to rumble. The temple itself rumbled, as if a great quake had briefly struck. He heard on the outside the screams and cries of panic from those within; worshippers, visitors, tourists, children, all his people. His head turned to the eastern entrance, feeling a renewed sense of control as he gently lifted one hand to instruct the door to open. It lifted off the ground and light from the outside, foreign to this interior for what seemed like an eternity, began to flood in. The cries of panic ceased, at least in the vicinity of the opening door. There were shouts from outside, instructions from individuals, priests and soldiers running to and fro and in the back of them what seemed like an endless sea of faces staring wide-eyed at the ancient rooms interior.

The doors opened fully, speckles of dust and rock falling as the structure secured and settled. To the sides of the door, Melkos saw two guards keeping the crowds at bay. They permitted one individual through though, followed by another guard, as both stared in awe and reverence to the interior well lit by ancient torches. Their eyes eventually wondered full circle, setting on the center of the interior of the sanctum - empty.




On the outside, a guard briefly moved to the side for what appeared to be another priest. The man thanked the guard by name, which seemed odd to the soldier at the time but would eventually subside - after all, they both would likely have known each other. The soldier felt like he knew the priest, despite his mind trying to convince him otherwise as he watched him depart. He hadn't noticed him a moment ago, but perhaps he had been there all along and he had overlooked him. He didn't recognize the face, and odd almost pointed ears. The smile he had given him upon his passing seemed oddly comforting, beyond that simply of a greeting. The deeper he felt concerned about it, however, the more an overwhelming feeling of calm overtook it. Eventually the guard simply gave up, shrugging off the perception. Going back to observing the crowds, he briefly noted the priest merge into the crowd, heading toward the temple exit.

Taking a last look at the crowd as they slowly began to encircle the entrance to his sanctum, Melkos adjusted his collar and outfit. He opened the doors to the outside, feeling for the first time in what felt like centuries the warmth of a the living sun on his skin. It had been forever and a day since he had the energy to manage this. Somehow, he did now. His children waited, their world slowly revealing itself as the glare faded as his eyes adjusted. He felt renewed, full of vigor, a rekindled sense of purpose. His never ending love for his daughter still lingering close to his heart as, briefly, he uttered thanks to whatever force allowed Siri to return to him. Maybe one day, perhaps soon, he'd try to find her again.

For now, though, his people, his flock, waited with silent prayers and the continuation of their everyday life. Maybe living amongst them for a while would do him some good. He smiled at the thought, moving forward and down the great temple steps to the courtyard below as families from all over gathered into the temple. Smiling faces, all of them, save for one. A man, sitting on a bench, secluded and visibly saddened. Melkos approached the bench and sat, gently placing a hand on the mans shoulders as the individual looked up to see a Priest of Drekanity beside him.

"Tell me what ails you my child," Melkos said, giving a welcoming and heartwarming smile as he waited patiently to listen. In a way, he came to realize in that moment, he had forgotten that these people were his children too; sons, daughters all of them. He had sacrificed so much for them, only to keep them at a distance. It had taken Siri to remind him of that love. That despite her being gone now, he didn't lack for want in family. His children were all around. And right now, his son beside him needed him the most.

"Well, Father," the man began, a tear forming at the corner of his eye, "I just don't think it's working out."

And Melkos Unchanos listened, eager to hear the problems of his child, and provide comfort and solace to another broken soul.
Last edited by Anagonia on Thu Mar 19, 2020 6:28 am, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
Northrop-Grumman
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1586
Founded: Dec 28, 2003
Benevolent Dictatorship

Postby Northrop-Grumman » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:18 am

Her father’s final words echoed throughout the stark nothingness, seemingly emanating from everywhere but yet nowhere, as Siri remained in this transitioning state. There was a brief flicker of sadness, because she would have certainly loved to have remained with her father for far longer than she had, to have someone she could speak with about her life’s struggles. But yet, that sadness dissipated away, replaced with an equal love and happiness. Those departing words, ones which hadn’t been heard since her youth those many centuries ago, when her birth parents had been snatched away from her, struck her with the fact that family was much more than bloodlines. Her son had lost his family and had been subsequently adopted by her and Jack, and she very much had the same situation with Melkos.

That comforting thought stayed with her as that void had been replaced by another kind of darkness, the worldly absence of light, which was only broken by daylight creeping in through unevenly hewn window shutters. Her hand gently brushed up against the handknit quilt she laid upon, and she shifted slightly on the bed as the surroundings disoriented her. The faint outlines of furniture surrounded her – a nightstand next to her, an armoire across the small room, a chest at the foot of the bed. It differed so much from her downright cavernous bedroom, but yet it seemed so familiar and then, it suddenly clicked.

Quickly swinging her legs over the bedside, she darted over to the window. However, in her initial attempt at opening it, a shock of electricity bolted from a sudden shimmering barrier, causing her to snap her hand back and curse under her breath. Of course, there was a ward in place…as there should be. Waving across the opening, she disengaged that protection, opened the window, along with the shutters. The bedroom was now bathed in the warm morning sunlight and revealed what she had finally figured out.

It was home, but not the one she had grown well accustomed to for the past several decades. Her eyes surveyed the room, flowing over the various objects from her past. Most of the natural wood furniture had been hewn, painstakingly handcarved, and then assembled by her hands. The sweeping lines almost made it seem as if the wood was still alive, still growing and climbing towards the ceiling. Nothing had sharp corners and instead gently curved and twisted into their shapes. Additionally, paintings were scattered about – some piled up together front-to-back in the corners, but others hung neatly upon the walls. Most were simply scenes in nature, reflecting areas around her home, such as gentle seascapes and snowy mountains. Others were more abstract, conveying feelings, emotions, and states of mind. These hobbies had been greatly suppressed by her current responsibilities, managing the lives of billions of people. It was a past that she would have liked to return to, but yet, there were other memories around there that were not as pleasant.

These were not as tangible as those other objects, yet persisted in Siri’s mind all the same. Being a leader, being busy all the time, had kept her thoughts away from them, which was the same when she actually resided here. Most of her time had been spent out beyond these walls, leading her company of mercenaries, for lack of a better word. It was always easier to keep one’s problems out of sight and out of mind when you do not have the opportunity to dwell on them. But coming back here, with nothing that needed doing, allowed them to come rushing back. There were the relationships that she discarded, including those with her parents’ friends. They had eagerly invited Siri and her sister in, after her family had been largely wiped out, and treated them as their children, but Siri latched onto feeling how her parents were now suddenly being replaced, that the memories of them were being discarded, so she rebelled and struck off on her own.

Yet, her father proved to her that such things need not happen. Parents weren’t truly being replaced and again, family did not always have to be those who you were directly related to. He had stepped in when she had no one in that role, but he did not demand that she forget about them. He showed her the unconditional care and love that a parent would have, regardless of how she felt and what she did. That had been something that had stuck with her now, and that she truly needed to “let go” and move past this. But that would take something that she continuously struggled with: addressing her feelings without letting them consume her, exposing that vulnerable side to others, and especially asking for forgiveness. Despite her stubbornness and perseverance, that was always what gave her pause.

Siri dropped down onto the bed’s edge and stared aimlessly up at the structural beams running parallel across the room. Whatever fates or whatever power was at work here seemed to have a plan for her, much like it did her father. If it had dropped her back on the Grummian mainland like she had never left, she would have chalked it up to a some weird magical fluke between her teleporting powers and the Melkos’ presence reaching across the multiverse, yet it deposited her here, home, where her life’s hardships began so long ago.

“He was right,” she said aloud to no one but herself, an attestation of the conclusions that she had been brought to. “Not just about Jack, but in general. Everything goes back to one point, and I need to be able to let it go or it will become my undoing.”

She swore under her breath at how obvious the answer seemed, yet it was now a matter of actually going forth and doing it. However, only one more potential roadblock needed to be dealt with before she could move forward. A small box from the space beneath her bed was unlocked and opened, revealing a simple computer screen nestled amongst a myriad selection of buttons and toggle switches. She flicked one and that screen began to brightly glow with green text overlaid on a black background and a blinking cursor that began to move as the computer’s thoughts were laid out.

Code: Select all
Establishing satellite comms…please wait…


Code: Select all
Connection established. Synchronizing with time service…please wait…


Code: Select all
Synchronization complete. The current date and time is: Tuesday, May 25, 2066 – 0934 HST. Please select from the following menu options…


There was some measure of relief as she returned around the same time she left, as opposed to being dropped off in the distant past or future. Still though, she needed to reach out to let others know that she hadn’t simply dropped off the face of the world and in turn create a panicked search, and she reached inside the box, pressing another switch. In a few moments, a slightly static-y male voice answered, a tinge of concern creeping into his words.

“Siri? I had not expected to be communicating with you in this manner,” stated the elven Vice Chairman.

In turn, Siri chuckled a little in amusement. “Neither had I, but it’s a long story for perhaps another time, Shiran. I’m back home right now, and…well…” She hesitated briefly, considering her words. “I think I’m going to stick around for a few weeks, sort of like a vacation. I’ve not had a chance to get away, and I honestly would not have done so until circumstances presented itself. So, I think I should take it.”

“Understood,” he responded simply at first. “Take all the time you need. I will handle everything in your absence. Reach out again when you are prepared to return, and I shall send a ship.”

Despite him not being able to see her, Siri smiled and bowed her head in gratefulness. “Thank you.”

“You are welcome,” Shiran answered and then asked, “Are you alright?”

Siri paused for a second and considered everything that had happened these past few hours. It was a rollercoaster of emotions – frustration, anger, tremendous grief, worry, and joy. Yet amongst all of this, she had been bettered because of it; there was a path forward and work that needed to be done. For the first time in a long time, she felt less burdened by her past and that gave her hope for the future.

“Yes…yes, I am…”

User avatar
Anagonia
Minister
 
Posts: 2531
Founded: Dec 18, 2003
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Anagonia » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:35 pm

THE END


The Neverending Tale

A short-story by; Northrop Grumman and Anagonia

Story Note:
This stories conclusion marks the end of multiple before-left-undone timelines. Due to various circumstances, much of those were never finished properly. It is with a deep and humbled gratefulness that I thank Northrop Grumman for joining me on this brief interlude to tie up those loose ends, and finally provide that ending-to-new-beginnings these characters - and our stories combined - deserve.

Thank you my friend, my brother. You continue to be an inspiration.
Last edited by Anagonia on Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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