Before you read this short story, make sure to set yourself in the mood first. ;D
[link] Or [link] Enjoy. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Twenty-seven very... very long years.
Twenty-seven years ago, Lai'ya's mate had left on a drop ship to go to war on the other side of the galaxy, and she only gave him a small heirloom to remember her by. There was no communication between Sanghelios and the Holy City, High Charity. The risk was too great. There was no time. It was forbidden that the wives distract the soldiers from their duty.
Was he even alive?
Lai'ya had gone on living with the hope that Ar'sen was still fighting to return home. Lai'ya had raised their three sons into strong warriors, and they too, left to join their father in battle at a young age. The Covenant was desperate for more soldiers to replace the many that were slain.
When word had arrived that the war was at a pause, there was so much rejoicing, Lai'ya couldn't understand it. There was dancing and laughter around the fires surrounding their houses, the air warm with hope and relief. The only daughter that hadn't left the house yet watched outside the windows with Lai'ya. She couldn't bring herself to have hope that her family would return. She didn't want to make matters worse by giving herself false beliefs.
The chances of her husband or her sons returning was very unlikely. Lai'ya knew this. But she still arrived at the ship bay that day.
Iysa, her youngest daughter, went with her. She was eager to meet this unknown father of hers. Lai'ya had raised all of her children to have faith, and even now, couldn't bring herself to tell Iysa to have no expectations. She was angry at herself for being such a hypocrite. How could she tell them to have hope when she had none?
“There!” A young female shouted with a quivering finger.
Lai'ya blinked, her thoughts interrupted, and her gaze followed the direction in which the girl's finger was pointed. Indeed, in the horizon, the dim shadows of Covenant drop ships slowly emerged. Many of the sangheili let up shouting and crying, several pounding the air with their fists.
All at once, fear and delight flooded Lai'ya. She clenched her fists at her sides, trying to calm herself. Iysa placed her hand on her mother's shoulder, and gave her a kind look. Lai'ya brought herself to smile weakly in return.
They stood on a ledge of metal, it's floor detailed with engravings; stories and legends of old. Lai'ya had never payed much attention to the engravings, much less, taken the time to read them. Curved trees bent over the walkways, showering the paths with their cyan and gold leaves. The storage garage stood with a watch tower to the north, blocking one of the sun's rays. Both suns were sinking into the depths of the blue seas toward the east. The skies were blood shot with purple streaks and splattered with reds and oranges. The skies were surprisingly clear, save a few golden wisps here and there. (Sangheilios was almost always cloudy.)
Families were crowded around the dock, waiting for the arrival of the ships. Lai'ya had chosen not to dress too extravagantly. She wore a casual white robe, its edges translucent with gold hints. A maroon cloak hung around her shoulders, her family's symbol sewn with gold within its thin threads. Dark red paint still stained her arms and legs with elegant curls and markings – symbols of her higher rank. Her dark skin contrasted her bright gold eyes, which were narrowed and trained on the horizon.
Iysa wore the same cloak, but wore a gold robe hinted with purple edges. Her green eyes, reminding Lai'ya very much of her mother, were calm and curious.
Lai'ya could see the purple color of the drop ships now. Their surfaces were just as sleek and shiny as the day they took her family away. A wind began to whip across the docks, making their cloaks billow and swirl around their feet. She almost felt as if her belly was buzzing from the hum of the engines now emitting from the aggrandizing drop ships. Or she was just nervous.
Too fast, the ships were upon them, twisting to land perfectly on the edges of the dock. Lai'ya wanted time to stop. She couldn't do this. She didn't want to stand idly by as the other families were united and she stood quietly, waiting for someone that may never come. Maybe she could still go back home. Iysa took her mothers hand, reminding her that she was still there.
Lai'ya looked down at her daughter. Shouldn't she be the one comforting Iysa? Shouldn't she be the one telling her it was all going to be alright? Not the other way around?
The doors began to click, and finally hissed. The families waiting became unglued, shouting, clapping, laughing, and yelling the soldier's names.
The doors opened, revealing a battalion of soldiers in multicolored Covenant armor. Ramps elongated from the bottom of the ship, clacking and popping as it connected to the metal edge of the dock. The injured soldiers were the first to tread on homeland. Lai'ya was a cold statue, standing there, trying to defend herself of these feelings that dared to creep up on her.
But she couldn't stop frantically searching the lines of soldiers that were unloaded from the ships. There had to have been at least fifty ships lined up on the docks. It would be helpless to find anyone in the overwhelming crowd.
Lai'ya watched as soldiers limped forward. Several had missing limbs or eyes. Many were scarred and bloody. Their armor was battered and torn. Lai'ya looked most frantically among these warriors. She was very still, holding her hands below her waist, her head high. Her eyes were darting hopelessly across faces. She sniffed for his scent. Any of their scents.
Silently, she prayed to whatever Forerunner would listen. Please... please, just let me see his face. Please... allow me to have something good for once.
Slowly, the suns sank deeper. And her hearts sank with them. The injured were unloaded and many of the families had gone home with elated singing and joy. Lai'ya exhaled sharply, her fingers clenched around each other as the healthier warriors touched down on familiar soil.
Lai'ya watched as a female ran and leaped up into the arms of a heavily armored soldier, screaming and crying with joy. He embraced her, and both of them collapsed right there on the ground. The female sobbed, hugging him tightly as he rocked her gently in his arms, telling her that he was there and alive. Lai'ya looked away, distracting herself by searching the next group of sangheili unloading from the ships.
The suns were halfway into the ocean by the time the higher ranking officers were arriving. Lai'ya wanted to go home. Her hearts were pounding so much that it hurt. Her expression was of stone, but her hands said otherwise. She couldn't do this for much longer. Couldn't somebody just tell her that they were dead or alive? Couldn't she just get rid of the stress and the suspense? Her body was trying so hard to determine what she should be prepared to feel. Lai'ya was always notorious for thinking ahead.
But she didn't know what to feel. And it terrified her.
The ships were closing up and were departing. The first sun was gone, and the other was still struggling to stay above the water's surface.
Lai'ya exhaled. She found it easier to breathe, but her hearts felt that they should be torn from their places in her chest. Someone might as well, from the pain that she felt.
“Come along, Iysa.” Lai'ya said softly. Iysa stood there, gazing sadly at the last sun as Lai'ya turned away. Lai'ya clenched her fists at her sides, containing herself. Her boots thudded softly and hesitantly on the path, and Iysa soon followed.
Lai'ya felt dazed. It was almost as if she had just pulled herself from watching a screen. A fantasy. As if she had just been living through somebody else's body – not her own, and she had just returned.
“Excuse me, my lady?” A voice said from behind her.
Lai'ya stopped. Iysa turned and stared with a look of confusion at the armored sangheili next to her.
“I believe you dropped this, a while ago.” The sangheili held up a small heirloom. Lai'ya turned around, gazing at the necklace dully. Where had she seen it before? On a thin, long chain was a symbol...
Lai'ya looked up into the eyes of Ar'sen 'Saronee. Lai'ya's hearts stopped and her eyes flared with familiarity. Ar'sen slowly walked forward and stood before her. He looked no different than the day she had thrown the heirloom to him before the drop ship's doors closed. His silver and blue armor was faintly gold as the last sun began to set. By Fate... his scent. She still stared at him.
Of all of the emotions to rise up at the sight of him, anger, surprisingly, was the first. Lai'ya punched him as hard as she could directly below his eye, sending him stumbling backwards in shock. Iysa blinked in confusion and alarm.
“ASSHOLE!” She shouted, her face contorted with fury. Anger and frustration pent up after twenty-seven years poured forth. Anger that he had left. Anger at herself. Anger at her pain. Anger at the way things had been. Anger at the way her children had been raised. Anger that she had just punched her husband in the face.
Twenty-seven very... very long years.
Never, in twenty-seven years, had Lai'ya cried. Not until now. She ran to him, clutching at his armor. Her body racked with uncontrollable sobbing. Sorrow and joy poured forth in sparkling silver tears. Ar'sen blinked at Lai'ya, and then looked over at Iysa, who shrugged, indicating that she was just as confused as he was.
Ar'sen smiled softly, wrapping his arms around Lai'ya's waist, as if afraid he might get hit again. He nuzzled the top of her head gently as his wife released herself.
The iron warrior that she had built up to protect herself these last couple of years had deteriorated, collapsed, and let down her arms. Her walls were torn down and Lai'ya felt, for the first time, free. Happiness could not express the pounding of her hearts, truly alive for once as her mate held her. Tears trickled down his armor, and eventually splattered on the floor at her toes.
“It's nice to see you too.” Ar'sen said, clicking his mandibles together in a smile.
Lai'ya reduced her crying into quiet sniffles, and found herself chuckling softly. She sighed with relief as twenty-seven years of stress was lifted off of her shoulders.
Ar'sen looked down warmly at his mate. She was so strong, and at times, he had to remind her of it. Both mentally … and physically. He made note of this as his cheek began to throb painfully. His firey eyes softened as she looked up at him.
“I think there's someone else who would like to see you, too...” Ar'sen mused. Lai'ya blinked another tear away and turned her head, trying to see over his shoulder, where Iysa embraced her older brothers.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Oh my goodness, I had to stop, or else I would be typing forever.
I am not afraid to admit... I cried a little while I was writing this. Fine. >.>
Happy Late Valentine's Day! I know it was two days ago, but I really wanted to make this for the holiday. Sorry for the lateness. ;-;
OMG Z!!!! DDD this is bueatiful ;-; like amazeing... and wonderful... and... im sorry i should shut up now XDD i need you to make one for every holiday for my phone background because this blew my mind :3 (even st. pattys day D:<!!!)
Guess what guys! I'm
reopening my stores
(Etsy and Storenvy)
and commissions, I
can finally announce
that I'm getting
married and I need
to save as much as
possible for the big
day, July 27th.
before anyone asks,
the wedding is not
been planning it for
a long time...
away time is back
:D! This time I've
got 1500pts to give
away c:The last
giveaway was really
well received so I'm
doing another! After
the way the last one
panned out, one
thing I would like
to remind you guys
of is to PLEASE
PLEASE follow the
guidelines so you
can be properly...
Sorry, I can't
believe it's been so
long since I've done
this "orzEdit: I
forgot, but my
friend here's having
it's about your
with your favourite
food. It can be your
own character or
FIRSTLY: thank you
so much for all your
kind birthday wishes
and little gifts!
:hug: you made me
:heart:I hope this
small feature can
bring a smile to
your faces, too
:)enjoy and make
sure to fave some of
this great pieces!
;)and now we move on
to the first part of
`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More