Chapter 3:

Chapter 3


Love And War

A soft clatter radiated off the crystal walls, its somber tune merely a prelude to misery. Each moment that passed revealed more of the suspicious stride. The uneasy steps emanated from two white heels, always in unison pattern. Their narrow structure glistened and shined as the many jewels encrusted within began to dance. Two thin legs appeared past the transparent walls, concealed by a slim white dress flowing in the wind. It's pale skin matched the attire, frail and weak in nature. A silver crested crown sparkled alongside the darkened form as it rested upon pure white hair. At the center of this headpiece lay a sapphire jewel, signifying the circlet's utmost importance.

Clearly this was the appearance of royalty. Not even the Tella in all their fashionable wisdom could match the feudal beauty. But this bright fantasy had been destroyed millennia ago. For the cold figure wandered aimlessly, its every move straining what little sanity was left. The mere act appeared to be an infeasible task. Upon stepping into the light, the slender form revealed itself to be a princess, lost and confused in every stride.

For hours on end the girl would clomp about with her icy heels. The more aggravated she became, the less emotion she displayed. It was quite easy to see the death within her eyes. She had already fallen long ago.

Truly her walk personified much of her existence devoid of hope or joy. She was royalty without power, and a prodigy without youth. Her failure lay not in her actions but her heart. Though in fairness, the present surroundings did not aid in revitalizing her spirit. For even the apex of all Tella civilization was a flawed debacle at best. Royalty was without power and rights. They were merely slaves designed to complete a façade. And unfortunately for the princess, she was the most important servant in the city.

The crystalline walls surrounding her pitiful form seemed to preach the doomed message. The halls were a vast chasm of amethyst and diamond, their many reflections taunting the princess. And as she ventured deeper into the vast catacombs her mood only worsened. Though in a way she appreciated the dim light surrounding her. They allowed her angelic light to shine in all its azure beauty.

A soft, but strangely masculine voice called out to the princess as her pace began to falter. "You wander yet again dear sister."

The girl's eyes suddenly widened, glowing and sparkling with excitement. All sorrow turned to joy as a warm smile took hold. For a moment she even pretended to dismiss the encounter all together. The prospect of luck favoring the broken seemed unbearably rare. And the princess was simply that desperate for attention.

Her brother was much like her, frail and unassuming. But unlike his sister and the rest of the Tella species, he was male. And aside from a few signature traits he did in fact look the part. Short hair and a tall slim body defined his weak, but masculine physicality. His eyes appeared to be orange, signifying his confidence and sense of purpose. He stared at his sister with a look of comedic disappointment. His question did in fact come with more mockery then curiosity.

The sister stood in disbelief as she began to fabricate an explanation to her meaningless adventure. But he interjected like usual. Even a simpleton learned to predict their own kin after countless years of isolation.

"Yes you may enter Ina. Your presence is welcome here."

"Please not tease me so." She whined, her icy voice barely escaping her mouth. "You know how I feel about inquiries."

"Just another task you're not brave enough to complete." He chuckled as he led her inside.

Like most men the young Tella known as Ocelot preferred a snug basement over some lofty chambers. His room was everything but spacious, and contained all sorts of engaging objects. He was never the type to simply mope about. And unlike his sister he rarely slept, as proven by the thin layer of dust over his bed. This caricature even dictated the colors of the room, as it predominantly featured red and gold.

"Now tell me, what troubles you today?" He kindly asked as the princess took a seat upon one of many soft cushions.

"You act as if my burdens are fluid."

"Lonely then."

Ina's eyes lowered in shame, all life seeping out from her invisible tears. This was how she handled the pain. Nothing but cold, excruciating silence was to be found within her.

"Please sister." Ocelot pressed. "What wretched cause is there?"

"A reason? I am drawn into the mirror every morning and have to bear her image. Or rather, a hollow copy of a goddess."

"You believe it's really her? Our mother?"

"I am certain of it." The princess stared, clenching her fists. "Not that it matters."

"Mother will find us...eventually."

"And if she wants nothing of the sort?"

"Have faith Ina. The goddess of love did not inherit her title for nothing."

" that would be me of course."

Ocelot reeled back in disappointment. He had been quite fed up with his sister's depreciative behavior for some time. She promised to improve many times, but had shown no progress. And when their time grew short, she departed almost as hastily as she arrived. Clearly the absence of their beloved mother had taken a great toll on them.

Several hulking machines placed themselves outside the room, their mere presence issuing a command. It was time for Ina to depart. And in but a moment, the young Ocelot lost sight of his sister as she became enveloped in the entourage. It was not as if he could protest this arrangement. For these were honor guards, royal Valekry who took orders from none but the primordial princess. Their bright orange garb and golden lances reflected perfectly off of their steel chassis. It was an imposing, yet efficient design. They were meant to be unmoved, their minds lacking in all worldly want. And if the time ever came the royal vestiges would sooner battle their own then allow the princess to fall.

Not another word was to be spoken after the siblings parted ways. Ina hadn't the spirit to express herself, and the Valekry were not exactly keen on vocal distractions. In a way their personalities reflected their maker's. Though the gaping rift in strength set these two apart.

"A fine prison you have built for yourself sister." Ocelot sighed, his mind furiously racing in isolation. "But have yet to operate without reason. What are you afraid of? What disastrous potential do we possess? I swear to you I will uncover the truth."

The prince spoke no lies. But his sister was far too absorbed to notice, her focus now located far beyond the premises. And while she was unable to leave the palace grounds her secretive domain was still quite expansive. Its sprawling architecture would no doubt serve her secretive means. For if one were to look towards the stars, they would find her prison to be absurd in scale. Four gothic spires safeguarded her home, its peak rising far above any other structure aboard the station. Every inch of the stone had been carved with intricate pattern and style. It was an unseemly form of chaos to be sure. The sense of eerie displacement could be seen clearly with the brilliant contrast of metal and stone. But in the end, it was all irrelevant to the princess as she hurried along.

Ina soon stood amidst the royal garden within the castle walls. In a sense the luscious foliage served as a grand archive, filled with all sorts of wonderful knowledge in the form of ancient text. The leaves and grass glowing just like the princess, its sapphire spirit illuminating the reach and providing a warm light for the astute. But below the heavenly display lay a purple mist. All forms of excrement and foreign corruption had seeped beneath the soil, creating a deep and mysterious bedrock. And yet neither element seemed to upset the princess nor her precious artifacts.

Somehow each valuable page did not wither as they embraced the loving grasp of nature. And far atop the spiraling mess of blue lay the princess's own royal patio. Its structure was akin to a pearl chandelier. And like the princess, its fate hung on the edge of a knife.

Her swift ascension proved her familiarity with the place. On some nights, she would wander through the intoxicating gardens taking in as much of the life as she could. It was truly a peaceful endeavor whenever she earned the chance. But as of now she toiled away atop her roost.

"Insight." She mumbled to herself as she tore a blue leaf from its branch. "I must know more."

The act of indulging oneself in mystery was only a novelty for so long. The princess had long since grown weary of her incessant pondering. And no book, no matter how blessed, would cure her insatiable hunger. She of all people understood the futility in her actions. But the past still lay uncovered, along with every aspect of her identity. In particular the nature behind the intrepid mother still clouded her thoughts. The scraps of information she was able to obtain detailed the life of an everlasting goddess whose beauty was said to be unfathomable. This loving deity was more than infamous for all the wrong reasons. Whatever she had done, all of the waking universe suffered for it. Only this did not phase the princess, as she expected nothing less of her bloodline. But the peculiar obsession took hold of not just her time. As it would be, the goddess of love bore the symbol of the blue diamond, its perfect symmetry reflecting her gorgeous devotion. This of course greatly inspired the princess. It was only a matter of time before she had the legendary icon plastered all over her body. To be specific, two blue diamonds rested on the sides of her breasts, while another pair were placed on the anterior deltoids. That was only the beginning of the overcompensating act. Yet another set of diamonds were placed on her calves and thighs, while an array of jewelry and clothing continued to enforce this trend. The sight of her was no doubt breathtaking. But one can easily begin to understand her painful resignation. After-all, she knew little of the mother she idolized.

"Isera." She continued to mumble. "The goddess of love, and breaker of worlds. I cannot tell if she may be the fiercest woman alive, or the most frail. Either way, I cannot help but feel that I do not live up to this legend. It appears I am a disappointment...again." Ina pouted as she closed the diamond shaped book.

Her sorrowful ramblings continued and intensified, their depreciative powers now reaching critical levels. "For what am I compared to her?" The princess cried as she stared into the misty waters. "She was beautiful, and I am but a simpleton. She was brave, and yet I am a coward unable to assist my own kin. Everything I have made is for naught. They do not love me, and they never will."

Whether or not her damning assumptions were correct was irrelevant. Ina well and truly believed herself to be alone. And no matter what she did, nothing could understand the reason as to why she continued to exist.

"Perhaps it is the family I seek. Could there be another, truly related to me?". Isera sighed as her mind began to race.
She had attempted many types of sorcery before, yet it was all in vain as she was unable to sense another. But things had changed; the usual tingle in the air she felt seemed more potent. For years she had only located a total of four creatures similar to herself. But none of these were remotely close to her bloodline, and she found herself yet again in defeat.

"Should I try once more? I know she would."

Isera stood up from her chair and began to concentrate with all her inner might. If there was indeed a new power aboard this station, then she had to find it at all costs. Four stark imaginations appeared before her, their many colors sending the room into chaos. But she was not interested in purple or yellow, nor did she care for orange and green. For it was the crimson glow she sought, as its power began to dominate her surroundings. A single blue diamond began to form around her frail hands as she collected herself. But Ina soon began to struggle, her gem splintering into several blue petals. But once she heard her family's heartbeat, she closed her eyes and began to triumph. A crimson symbol then appeared before her, its faint power whispering into her ear.

"Sister?" She gasped, upon creating an image of a pale girl.

Exhausted, Ina returned to her chambers in a mixture of excitement and dread. She was quite unsure whether she detested the results, or found it to be a welcomed form of respite. Either way the trek from the gardens to her lofty spire was not at all agreeable to her lesser strength. The princess nearly failed the trip altogether, the stairs proving to be more than a match. But in the end she found herself back within the same winding halls. She was sure to slam the old oak door with furious rage as she sped towards her privacy.

"Do I allow myself to dally? Or does my sister need my aid?" Ina scoffed as she began to inhale her room's stale air.

Ina's chamber was quite like one would imagine, its structure resembling an ancient cathedral with a steel cage enveloping her lofty bed. Just about every corner of the room had been inundated with sapphire gems and dark wood furniture. She would use little of this, as she was usually too preoccupied with sleep. Even now she tossed aside her crown and leapt into the sheets. Since birth, her one and only memorable experience was the sweet release of sleep. Most children had always loathed the idea of letting a day's adventure escape them. But Ina had been quite privy to the concept for as long as she could remember. Though not even the warm confines of her blankets could soothe her crippling loneliness.

"If only." She whispered to herself, wishing she could be held by another. "If only you could be with me now."

That wasn't to say she was entirely alone within the room. For like another fallen creature, she had a pet. An ear piercing screech reminded her of its presence, and the princess was quick to comfort her equally forsaken friend.

"Aldria, fear not, I am here." She smiled, looking upwards toward the hulking machine atop her cage.

It was a bird of sorts, its wings and frame entirely made of Valekry alloy. Even its head contained only one singular lens. This gave its eagle like stature some favorable beauty. For the pet was a large guardian, its body barely able to perch atop Ina's cage. It chirped and squeaked like a lost baby, eager to socialize once more. This was the nature of most birds, and Aldria was of course no exception.

The princess's absence hurt it dearly so. But the machine was no fool. It understood Ina's need for rest, and sang her a soothing melody once it realized she was in dire need of one. It was always quite interesting to her how a mentally inferior machine somehow served her with more sympathy than the stoic guards. Then again, she was the one who built them all.

Ina sang along with the intrepid tune as she undressed. Something about the song had always been calming, no matter how many times she heard it. In a way, it reminded her of her mother. Each melodic tune echoed about with an endless amount of emotion. It detailed a beautiful struggle, and a beautiful girl who braved the dark. Ina proudly named the song "Memory". Perhaps fantasizing the events of the past meant more to her then the misery found within the present. For if the battle had already been fought, why should there be another? Hasn't there already been enough sacrifice? This dreadful thought forced her to sleep, while the loyal bird continued to celebrate her royal legacy.

"Perhaps I may now look to the future. I do hope you are well dear sister."