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Girl On Fire - Tales of Cervato

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Return to the Shining Blade
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As Architect dragged Cervato towards the inner city of Divinity's Reach, Cervato did her best to shake off the sudden sensation of nostalgia. The cloaked blonde annoyed her as she continued to weave between buildings, alleys, and all manners of paths instead of heading straight for the local headquarters near the palace for the Shining Blade.

Eventually, they were outside the main entrance. A pair of posted soldiers nodding to Architect as she displayed her badge, before permitting passage to her and Cervato. A shiver ran down her spine. A bustling office that lead deeper into the compound. The desire to stay away ran deep. Though curiosity also persisted. Would anyone beyond Architect recognize her? It'd been two years, but the sickening feeling sat within her stomach. Recalling first meeting Artemis and Exemplar Reed. Delilah and Rhett once more flashed across her mind. All dead. All dead because of her.

Architect brought her back to reality as she lead Cervato to a nearby adjacent interrogation room. She recalled seeing many people brought within these quarters, sometimes even she had to bring a suspect to be lead into questioning by a higher-up. However, there were no chains around her wrists. She was free. That thought kept her sane as she sunk into a chair in the room near a table. Architect made a quick exit, most likely to get her superior.

Looking to the side, she saw the mirrors lining the wall. Tempered. Resilient. No one had ever broken one before though she'd seen many try. On the other side, she wondered if anyone was watching, before realizing it didn't really matter if there was. She'd have no idea either way.

However, in the corner of her eye, she did see something. Someone. And her heart grew still.

Why?

Why here?

Rhett's lazy gaze noted Cervato from his position standing within the corner, slightly hunched over. Staring at her. The same puncture marks and dried blood buried in his chest from when Artemis had killed him.

Quickly, she turned to look in the bare corner of the room behind her. Nothing.

When her gaze returned to the mirrored surface, he was gone.

The door opened, and a heavily armored woman of Krytan ancestry entered. With straight spine, she carried herself with the air of a worn soldier. Always ready to bid to the call of her Queen and country. As the soldier took a seat across from Cervato, Architect entered the room as well with one other male Blade member, in the standard uniform with hood drawn to mask their features, before taking post at the door, hands clasped behind their backs and eyes to the opposite wall.

"...Exemplar...?" Cervato stood out of habit, to which she cursed at herself, offering a quick awkward bow before descending into the chair again. Architect had mentioned a man earlier, before looking to the annoying mesmer near the door, she found the slightest of smiles on her lips. Another stupid game apparently, as she returned to study the woman before her.

The Exemplar's gray eyes studied Cervato. Scars marked across the woman's tanned skin near the corner of her mouth and escaping into her hair pulled tightly back. The woman gestured to Cervato, hand extended to shake that the Commander accepted with brevity.

"Exemplar Cortez. Pleasure. Architect was able to intercept you at the Pavilion. Forgive me, but I've little time. So I'll make this quick and to the point."

Cervato nodded to Cortez, listening.

Cortez continued, "In Doric, your guild assisted along with the Rurikton Roses, the Schools of Garenhoff, and various other free agents and mercenary companies during the Civil War last year. You crossed paths with a certain group of Mantle in one of their strongholds. Little over a year later, your..." sister", Maria Caballero, is abducted, threatening Lord Drake Griggs, leader of the Tyrian Accord, and Cervato Caballero, the Commander of the same guild. The designated Headquarters of the Accord is crushed into rubble near Claypool. Maria Caballero goes missing and still as of two Seasons has yet to be found. Everything correct so far?"

Cervato furrowed her brows, then provided Exemplar Cortez a distinct nod.

"Why would anyone kidnap a student of Kryta University, who has no knowledge of the Accord beyond the fact her sister works for them? To get back at the Accord in some manner, perhaps? The guild's made many an ally, but also a slew of enemies over the years. Even with the law of Kryta herself." Cortez continues. "But we both know there is more to it than that." Looking to Cervato with a scarred smile.

"We believe that Maria Caballero was abducted because...." Lifting her gloved hand with middle and index digits poised together. "You've been a bane to the White Mantle forces as part of your guild for many a year. The expedition to the Fen and then participating against them in the Doric War poised you as an enemy. Though we have killed and imprisoned many traitors of the crown, there are still those who slipped through our fingers. Who did not dare head to Doric to wage war against the capital. They're going after the small opposition forces, picking off what they can while they recover, which means you and the smaller groups you worked alongside. Your guild's a threat, Commander. And they'll do what it takes to stop you. Maria was the first of many tragedies unless we act fast. The other reason, is due to the fact that you were specifically wanted by the Shining Blade. Your ties to us make you especially vulnerable to their efforts."

"You said you may know how to help my sister. I figured we'd painted a target on ourselves since we got involved at Doric. But if you have information on how to help my family find her, I need to hear it." Cervato replied, curtly.

"We believe she's been sent directly to the Mists. Which doesn't help you very much, I know. The ones responsible are going to eventually come back to prey on your group. Or you. When they do, we'll be there to intervene. We'll send a small team to focus on your guild at your permission. And when those snakes return, we'll crush them one by one. That is the agreement I wish to make. And my hope is that in doing so, we'll be able to recover your sister in the process."

Cervato looked down to her hands in her lap. Then breathed out slowly. "...I'll speak with Drake and send you my decision. Give me a week. I...I need to consider this. The last time I...cooperated with the Shining Blade, they ended up nearly getting my friends killed."

"Miss Ti'lay Voss and Lord Atreyu Haswari, correct?" Cortez noted, knowing Cervato would react.

Cervato's eyes stared across the table to Exemplar Cortez. Recalling the greivous injuries Ti'lay and Atreyu had received. Exemplar Reed had used Cervato's loved ones as the bait in a failed attempt at capturing Artemis. They both nearly died. Balling her hands into fists, Cervato cursed under her breath. "Yes. Exactly. I know it's for Maria, but I will not sacrifice my guild for her."

"Because she's your half-sister? Due to your father's adultery?" Cortez continued to play with the facts she knew about Cervato. The things she never shared from her private life. The anger in her expression was lit and both Architect and the other Blade officer looked in the direction of their Exemplar, hands set upon their weapons.

"That is none of your business." Cervato abruptly stood, heading towards the door. Meanwhile Cortez cast a glance over her shoulder.

"You should ask your father for the truth. You know more than you're letting on. But it's dangerous for you to continue as you are without knowing everything." Cervato had already opened the door, though halted in place.

"You know nothing of my family." Reply weak. Obviously Cortez knew something that Cervato had no idea about. The scarred Exemplar merely shrugged with a slight sneer.

"I probably know just as much as you, and just a touch more. Though you can find that out for yourself. I look forward to your favorable reply on our agreement, Commander." Cortez nodded to the Commander. Cervato frowned, before leaving the Shining Blade HQ behind.

As Cortez rose from her seat, Architect sighed heavily. "That's just a sad sight." Looking to the Shining Blade operative to her left, who also had been guarding the door. "She didn't even recognize you, either! Very, very sad."

The officer didn't rise to the taunt by Architect, instead looking to Cortez. "She may not agree after all. She's stubborn."

Cortez nodded to him. "Persuasion may be needed after all. The Blade has not been kind to her. My intent is not to cause more harm but to actually help us win on both fronts. Recovering Maria and eliminating these surviving Mantle scum. If she doesn't reply within the week, I'll need you to intercept her, Lindser."

The man's verdant gaze found his Exemplar's stormy hues, before pressing his fist to his chest and bowed respectfully to his superior.
silver.7895 - Cervato - Her Story - The Tyrian Accord
Posted Sep 6, 18 · OP
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Look Where We Are Now
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Golden waves of silk melded into scarlet hues along the evening gown's skirt. Ebon hair was tightly pulled back into an elegant bun. Long legs walked with purpose into the bustling Crown Pavilion for the Queen's Crystal Jubilee Ball. Cervato stopped to adjust her six-inch heel, noting it had nearly slipped off, before her gaze found a familiar figure stopped beside her.

A smile was exchanged with Mercer Shaw, another guildmate of the Tyrian Accord. Surprisingly, he cleaned up well enough in her opinion, noting his manner of dress and demeanor. Offering her arm to him in good form, the pair made their way into the Ball after happening upon one another. A much better alternative than to stand to the side like a wallflower. Kurai wouldn't mind it, though she prayed he'd be finished with his work soon to at least enjoy the ball with her. She'd found herself missing the opportunity to dance over the summer. Mercer and Cervato shared pleasant conversation as they happened across other familiar acquaintances and new faces.

A week had long passed, per Exemplar Cortez's orders. Cervato had ignored the woman's offer intentionally. Instead, she had written to her parents, expressing the desire to meet with them and discuss what Cortez had meant. Though no reply had been sent. Yet here, of all places, she did not anticipate to see him.

When Eric Lindser had left the Caballero Winery and Vineyard, he was a young boy of seventeen. His mother, their head maid, insisted that her son was fine, but every time Cervato had tried to write, Eric never returned anything to answer her letters. Over the years, Eric had faded from Cervato's mind. Her childhood friend. The boy, that at 14, had stolen her first kiss when she'd challenged her fellow peers with a promise for anything they wanted if they bested her. The boy had been her largest comfort for the future. Yet that had all changed the night she threw the engagement away in her parent's faces. Forced Eric's hand, resulting in his dismissal from his position.

Now, Eric Lindser was a man, standing back within the depths of the dimly lit gala, leaning against a column, green eyes staring directly into her sienna hues. He spoke no words, yet he was calling her to him. So she followed him into the darkness. The solace of shadows, past lovers kissing and crying heartbroken souls.

Eventually, she had him cornered. Or rather, she was the only thing standing in his way. Well-groomed, he still kept his hair long, yet swept back. A simple grey suit without much embellishment hugged his brawny form, the thin vineyard hand all but disappeared within Cervato's mind. Verdant eyes looked over her, before he bowed politely to her.

"Good evening, Cervato." And as he rose, the flash of black gloves swiping towards his cheek ended, as he caught her thin wrist within his grasp. Cervato swung her left instead, and this too was trapped in the same manner. "I see you're still your charming self."

"How dare you." She muttered darkly, tone holding him in contempt as well as a spiteful stare.

Eric did not appear amused, a faded smile only offered in response to her anger. "It's been quite some time. You look well. And I've missed many times to offer congratulations and condolences to you over the years. How many marriages has it been? Stone. Haswari. Nearly a Lancastir, even." No morsel of humor or sympathy defined in his voice. "And now a son with a pirate. Your parents must be so proud."

Cervato's anger grew tenfold. Though at the mention of Zen and Kurai, she could no longer control her rage. The fabric of her silk gloves easily became fuel to the flames that ignited within her palms, incinerating them instantly. It should have caused Eric to release her immediately, but his icy touch instead spun her around, arms behind back, until her chest and cheek were pressed to the cool stone wall behind him.

Her magic was killed by his. Another new trait that both had never shared with the other.

"Ah yes, and I know all about what transpired two years ago regarding you and the stint with Artemis Nirdayi and the traitorous Yevon Reed."

Cervato tried to fight him off but surprisingly felt chilled to her core within Eric's icy grasp. When she exhaled, her breath had frosted over. His knowledge of her past astounded her. A few scenarios ran across her mind and a gasp filled the air when sudden realization was upon her.

"Yes, I'm also of the Shining Blade, Cervato. Before you even joined. The only reason I'm here is because you missed your deadline and I'm supposed to convince you to agree to Exemplar Cortez's request."

"Well, you're doing a pretty shit job of it." She grumbled, before breaking free one wrist in an attempt to knock her fist back against his face. It struck his cheek, enough of a distraction to turn and try to land another punch against him when he shoved himself against her, forcing all his strength into pinning her to the wall.

"Stop being so godsforsaken stubborn, Cervato!" Strongly objecting into her face with anger.

"Tell me why!" She struggled against him, frustrated certainly.

"Tell you what?" He grumbled, looking into her eyes.

"Why did you abandon me there?" The question hanging heavy in the air after it escaped from her. Pained expression bestowed to the man that once was her greatest friend. The anger left his expression, as guilt formed in it's place.

"It was nothing against you. But I needed to find my own place in this world. Just like you told me. Just as you were forced to do."

"And you couldn't tell me...?"

"I chose not too." Grip weakening as he backed off of her. The woman's arms fell to her sides, as she looked upon him.

"Why..." Cervato's voice cut off by Eric's.

"Look where we are now. Would you truly give it all up?" He replied.

Silence lingered for several minutes between them as they both calmed themselves down, avoiding eye contact and each other. Finding their true selves again instead of remembering when they were teenagers with nothing but dreams in their heads.

Eric eventually spoke, "You need to find her, Cervato. We need to rid the world of the existence of these monsters." Referring to the White Mantle. "They will kill and keep killing until nothing is left. We're finally in a position to do something about it. Please....please Cervato." His gaze found hers.

It took her another minute to find her voice. Looking upon him with a weakened spirit.

"Alright." She relented, looking upon him. Relief flooded his features as he took a step forward, about to grasp her shoulders but she instead avoided the contact as she started to walk away without another word. Cervato swore she could feel the burning sensation of his stare upon her back but she continued on. She refused to falter here.

Mercer noted her bruised knuckles and missing gloves upon her return, as he lead them both to the dance floor at her request. The man leaving her to her own devices, understanding her desire to not speak of what had occurred. Instead, she tried to bury the memories of her childhood into the depths of her mind. Locking them away tightly. Refusing to reflect or remember anymore.

She was the Commander of the Tyrian Accord.

He was the Shining Blade serving her royal majesty.

As Mercer lead them both into a dance, Cervato instead chose to reflect on the present. She was in a beautiful dress on a wonderful evening, dancing with a slightly handsome gentleman that was not really gentle at all. Smirking at the thought, she continued along with the escapade until they finished their last dance.

Soon, she would inform Drake regarding the Mantle situation. Soon, she would tell Kurai the events of what transpired. Soon, she would ask her parents if they minded taking care of Zen for a little while. Soon, she would handle the current task at hand, in addition to the weight of the world upon her shoulder's in regards to healing Saromire's very soul.

But for now, she'd focus on attempting to beat Mercer in a duel back at the Accord's HQ to let off some steam.
silver.7895 - Cervato - Her Story - The Tyrian Accord
Posted Sep 9, 18 · OP
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Resurrection - Melancholy Memories

I never wanted to return here.

Cervato trudged through the snow, doing her best to follow in Kurai's footsteps. Howling between the mountain pass, the biting chill of cold air was forced over the small group as they journeyed to the kodan sanctuary that served as Saromire's pyre. Tugging the borrowed coat closer around her form, Cervato looked ahead to watch the others. Collyn's disgruntled demeanor. Joan's quiet contemplation. Kurai's peculiar silence. Thoughts of the man who's spirit perhaps occupied the golden sword at her hip began to form.

Was it truly Saromire? Was it a demon? This question never seemed to dawn upon her until Collyn had stated as much. After introducing the magical blade as his brother to both of them, Collyn had given his reservations regarding the prospect, but there was nothing left to lose. Cervato was thankful Joan and Collyn were with her in this endeavor, for she feared alone she may not have had the strength to even set forth on this land.

Descending the path, they came across a single kodan that blocked their passage into the middle of the frozen pond where the funeral pyre was located. The kodan conveyed the terrible visions and ceaseless haunted images that filled their minds. When the kodan recognized Cervato, claiming to have seen her before, she felt embarassed. What was being shown? How? Why? These were things she wished to share with no one, and so she offered to take away these haunted visits. Or at least do her best.

Granted permission, their group entered the forsaken grounds. Every step Cervato took, she felt the deafening thud of her heart. Adrenaline began to flow through her form, as if commanding her to leave this place. Light-headed, it felt surreal as they rounded the corner, before the world suddenly became black.

There was no light.

Voices. Echoes. Distant. Near. Converging into one yet splintering around them. Angry. Upset. Who were they?

The world shifted.

Rurikton Square, by the fountain. Golden armor gleaming in the sun. A thoughtful expression aimed towards the fountain's waters. Saromire. He was there. Before she could call his name, another woman approached him. Silver hair as pure as moonlight. A Minister Guard worn proudly.

Joan, Collyn, and Kurai all watched with curiosity at the interaction as a memory passed before them all. Cervato left stunned. They were watching the past. Saromire's past with the woman known as Myra Llewelyn.

The scene shifted. To the lost city of Arah. Then to the Lancastir manor.

There was something always left unsaid between Saromire and Myra. Or at least, that Cervato and the rest were not permitted to watch.

Then they were before the slab of stone that held the body of the man they all mourned. The phantom of Myra knelt before it. The amulet within her hands as she too mourned the passing of Saromire.

The amulet fell from her hands atop the grave. "Now you're...both gone." Myra's voice murmured as a single tear ran down her cheek. "Whoever that girl was, that you mentioned last we spoke, I hope she made you happy, old friend." The woman exhaled, pressing their palm to the flat surface of his resting place, before placing a handkerchief atop the stone. "...I'm sorry I wasn't there, dear friend. But I'll carry you in this heart of mine. Maybe we'll meet again one day. Goodbye..."

Cervato felt her hand rest upon the pommel of her sword. Saromire's spirit had been quiet throughout the entire duration of this journey. As the spirit of Myra faded from their vision. Cervato felt plagued by her own emotions. Seeing Saromire's form lying atop the stone monument, offerings placed near his form, and her own fingertips feeling the cold metal links of the golden necklace she had crafted for his last birthday that rested against his chest.

That damn nightmare came to her again. The rain. Slipping in the swamp's murky and muddy waters as they fought the monster. The man she loved more than anything being taken away from her in an instant, cradling his form in her arms as she relived his death. Watched his eyes lose their light. Felt her own heart threaten to die with him.

Then his voice woke her from that scene. The rest of the group on alert as Saromire's voice filled inside their heads.

"I want to die."

The amulet. It was coming from the amulet. The ground quaked beneath them all, threatening the small island in the frozen pond. The voice grew louder. In despair. Cervato pleaded with his voice, begged for him to stop. Saromire would never say such things. But then again, did she truly know him enough to even say this? Had she not wished to die before? Had she still not kept that thought within her, even still to this day?

"Cervato lies..." The voice began, and begged again for death. Fire. The place where Saromire's body had burned was being set aflame. A hasty thought reached her mind, and she decided for each of them despite Kurai and Joan's protests.

The golden blade easily met her grip, and arced defiantly down atop the amulet, the force of the strike splitting it in two. The whisper of a voice spoke softly to her. "Thank you..." Wisps of smoke encircled her blade until the world grew steady around them.

Destruction. This was what Cervato was capable of. Had there been any alternative? Was this the right thing to do? Regardless, she felt she had at least kept the others safe. Kurai's cold golden gaze met hers, before stalking off. The first time she had seen such anger from him directed towards her. The words she wished to convey held back as she watched him leave.

Emotions high between the trio, Saromire's voice sounded among them, the spirit within the soul asking what had happened.

"I feel as though I could cry, but I cannot." The sword confessed as they explained what had occurred. "But I feel more whole, even if these memories are difficult to bear."

The group dispersed, Cervato stubbornly heading elsewhere rather than home. She didn't want to deal with Kurai's antics this night. The stubborn pride swept her away as she continued to march. The woman didn't handle being abandoned very well, despite the nature or circumstance.

Yet this was only the beginning. For when even the prideful Cervato returned to her home, Kurai wasn't there. Nor the next day. Or a week following. Kurai was merely gone.

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silver.7895 - Cervato - Her Story - The Tyrian Accord
Posted Sat at 12:34 pm · OP
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