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The red headed man had been casting him suspicious glances ever since he'd arrived. Usually, this would be cause for Marcus to start a fight, but today he was still sober enough to keep his head down.

The tavern on the out-of-the-way bloc of Torquay had been Marcus' haunt for the last couple of years. It was secluded, there were not many outsiders that visited, and those that did tended to keep to their own business. He realised now how careless he had grown.

He had recognised the man as he entered, but was not yet sure if he himself had been recognised in return. The man had sat down at the tavern's bar and ordered a whiskey, with none of the usual apprehensiveness outsiders showed when they arrived in this dark, gloomy place. It was only moments later that he had glanced Marcus' way. Marcus hadn't been sure if it was recognition that crossed the man's face for the briefest of moments, because he had quickly turned his attention to his drink. But the furtive glances the other man continued giving him suggested that he may be close to guessing the truth.

Marcus knew he could not give him the opportunity to do so. He drew the cloak he wore around his shoulders close and pulled up his hood, shielding his face from view, and then pushed his barstool back. It made a scraping noise across the concrete floor, all too loud. Marcus winced, unsure if the sound had simply been magnified in his nervous state. But the red headed man did not glance his way, and Marcus slipped from the tavern as silently as the alcohol in his system would allow.

He turned quickly to his left, finding the alleyway that cut through behind the tavern and would exit on the maze of streets where he could quickly and easily lose himself. Despite the wash of relief he felt on arriving at the alley, Marcus cast a quick, furtive glance to the tavern door. Just in time to see the red headed man exit, look to his right and then his left, and make direct eye contact with him.

"Shit." Marcus forced himself to maintain his pace until his view of the other man was lost behind the alley wall, and then he broke into a run.

He careened through a puddle with a splash, seconds later he heard the stomp of boots through the water behind him.

"Marcus!"

There was no doubt he had been identified. Marcus gritted his teeth, and pushed himself harder. Already he could feel himself flagging. Bar fights were one thing, but years of hanging out in taverns and flooding his system with alcohol had dulled his fitness. He doubted he could outrun the man, not on even ground. Trashcans and discarded junk littered one corner of the alleyway, and Marcus flung these down behind him as he passed. The clatter of metal was followed by the sound of cursing, and Marcus felt a smile tug at the corner of his lips.

He dodged out into the street, across it and into another alleyway. Around two more bends and over a low wall he dashed, and finally slid to rest behind a large metal dumpster. Marcus pressed himself to the wall and drew in deep breaths. As his heart rate steadied he listened, but there was no sound to indicate he still had a pursuer.

"Never could teach that man the value of a well-timed retreat," Marcus said to himself as a smirk twisted his lips.

"There's a big difference between retreat and running away, Marcus Farrell."

Marcus jerked upright at the sound of the familiar voice, but was slammed back against the wall almost as suddenly as two hands gripped into his thick jacket at the shoulders.

Marcus coughed as the wind was knocked out of him, but as he again caught his breath he found it was a hacking, wheezy laugh that was the first sound to escape his lips, almost of its own accord. He had moved well into apathy in recent years, but it seemed somewhere deep down his sense of humour was intact.

"Aran Cortes, you haven't changed a bit!"

This wasn't entirely true. Cortes had aged since Marcus had last seen him. Frown lines creased his face and his eyes were less sharp, as if their intensity had been dulled by things seen. But there was still a spark in those brown eyes, windows as they were to emotions that at times the man seemed barely able to contain. This was one of those times it seemed, because as soon as the words were out of Marcus' mouth Cortes yanked him forward and then slammed him back into the wall again. Marcus' head spun.

"Why are you running from me?" Cortes barked.

"Your reputation precedes you."

Cortes stared at him.

"No, wait - that was someone else. Someone with more charisma. Someone who when he was in charge actually made something of the resistance - instead of the weak, ineffective nuisance you pretend to lead."

The punch caught him across the jaw and sent him sprawling into the damp alley floor.

"At least I'm not hiding in the gutter."

Marcus pushed himself back up and leaned against the wall. He wiped a hand across his dirty, stubbled face, and glanced at the saliva and blood that came away on his fingers. "Haven't been missing your little gladiator fights, have you Cortes? You seem to be enjoying yourself."

Cortes was staring down at him, with hands balled into fists and chest heaving. But his clenched fists he kept at his sides; this time he didn't respond to the barb. So, perhaps not quite the man Marcus remembered. He was seething, but he now seemed to have himself in check. There was nothing to be gained from riling in further.

Somehow, this made Marcus' own anger flare. "What do you want with me, then?" he snapped out.

Cortes dropped into a crouch, so that he faced Marcus at eye-level. For a moment he studied the other man. "I've known you were here for almost a year now, Marcus."

He'd known he'd been careless! "Shit. So what makes you come for me now? You want to discuss our past victories - for old time sakes?"

This time, it was as if the insult barely registered. "You wanted to remain hidden, that much was obvious. I almost told your family - almost. Right now, I'm glad I never did."
"A dead man has no family."

"You're not dead, Marcus!" Cortes snapped.

"Dead to you, apparently, from at least a year ago. But I'd guess you need me now, isn't that right?"

Cortes looked away for the briefest of moments.

"Figured as much." Marcus felt the wheezing laugh make its way up from his throat again.

"It's got to be nearly twenty years, Aran. And you still need my face to get a little recognition?"

"What were you so scared of?"

Marcus blinked, a breath catching in his throat. He had no answer. Not a short one, anyway. When had Cortes stopped being so predictable? He had always been easy to bait, but after getting in a few punches he'd calmed, and now seemed almost unfazed by Marcus' insults.  Well, it had been twenty years. "So why now?" Marcus growled, ignoring Cortes' question.

Cortes drew in a breath. "Say what you will about my leadership skills, Marcus, but we're closer now than we ever were to defeating the Sphere. At least, since Ronston. We can't afford to be defeated now. What I need is something to tip the scales."

Marcus had heard rumours. He didn't find it that hard to believe that Cortes had managed to pull the resistance up by its boot straps. Still, he drew in a short laugh. "Surely, you don't mean me."

"Don't flatter yourself. No. Something else. Something you buried right before you turned tail and ran..."

"The Hyperion?" Marcus began, but suddenly he realised Cortes did not mean that. He felt bile rise in his throat. "No..." He pushed himself to unsteady feet. The thumping Cortes had given him had rattled his brain more than he thought. "No..." he repeated, putting a hand out to the wall to steady himself.

Cortes stood to his feet as well, but made no move to halt Marcus. "No, what?"
Marcus couldn't look at Cortes, instead he stared at the alley floor. He swallowed. "You want to know where I hid that machine."

"I understand why you didn't want anyone to know about it," said Cortes. "You and Mila had created such a stir with the whole Prophecy thing, it was bound to do more harm than good. But it's not like it was back then, Marcus..."

"I hid it for a reason, Cortes!"

"Aye, because you were scared!" Cortes shouted.

Marcus paused, for a moment fearing this were true.

"I know what happened; I was there, remember? The defeat we suffered at Ronston, the fall of Azul, it would have shaken anyone's faith -  for all the show you and Mila put on, you knew she wasn't strong enough to use that machine."

"She would have destroyed herself and half of Skyland!" Mila. He hadn't allowed himself to think of her in years.

"So instead you hid it," Cortes growled. "And then you ran away. You know I had to deal with the mess you left behind, right? I... I can't go through that again."

Marcus pushed off the wall and turned back to face Cortes. "No one was more cynical of that Prophecy than you, Cortes. What's changed now?"

"Nothing. It's still a load of garbage, but I'm smart enough to see the strategic value of something that can alter gravitational fields. That on the battlefield? The Sphere armada won't know what hit them."

Marcus gave a wry smile. "You need a powerful Seijin to operate it. Someone more powerful than Mila ever was. You think you've found your 'lady of light' Cortes? I've been there - done that - and I was wrong."

Cortes took a step towards Marcus. They stood nearly nose to nose. "I don't believe in any lady of light, Marcus," he growled.

"Well then more fool you, Cortes. Believe me, she exists. But she won't help you one bit, because I'm not going to tell you where that machine is."

Cortes drew half a step back. "You'll come around."

Too late, Marcus realised Cortes' fist was flying towards him. He found himself face first on the alley floor as his world faded to black.
The Lady of Light - Chapter 1
I'm having a bit of go at plotting up a decent Skyland story. I'm not yet sure if I'll continue this, but let me know if you'd like to see more. ;)
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It was the hardest thing he had ever done.

Cortes simply stared as the listing, hulking mass of the Saint Nazaire ploughed into the oncoming warship. Twice the size of the Saint Nazaire, the warship would have easily obliterated Puerto Angel.

He'd had no choice.

Of all the things he'd done – all the commands given, the choices he'd made – many of which weighed upon his shoulders and kept him awake at night, or plagued him with nightmares.

He almost hadn't given the order.

There were hundreds of people on Puerto Angel. And they would all have been killed if he'd allowed the warship to pass. Still, he had hesitated; almost to the point where it would have been too late.

But he had given the order.

In front of him the two ships creaked and groaned as their metal hulls bent and buckled together. The Saint Nazaire's left engine blossomed into flames, and the two ships began to fall slowly from the sky.

"Cortes, come in." The radio Cortes clutched in his hand, almost forgotten, crackled and fizzled.

Cortes lifted it to his mouth and depressed the talk button with a shaking hand. "Aye?" he replied coarsely.

"I did it – I stopped the warship. But I…" the voice on the other end faltered. "I'm not going to make it off the Saint Nazaire."

Cortes' eyes squeezed shut. He drew in a breath. "I know, son."

Four hundred meters off Puerto Angel's cliffs, the Saint Nazaire and wounded warship were both engulfed in a ball of flame.

On those same cliffs, Cortes fell to his knees and wrapped his arms around his belly as if he'd been shot.
The sun set over the forest, casting a fading, orange glow on the trees and leaves. The sounds of birds settling down for the night filled the air, and the evening breeze had begun to pick up and was whispering through the trees. Ronin's shift had just ended, and though the safety of the forest was always foremost in his mind, now he had the time to grab a brief moment of peace.

A brief scuffling sound came from the branch behind him, and Ronin glanced swiftly over his shoulder. But it was only Nod; the younger leafman had just alighted on the branch behind him and was now slipping from the saddle of his hummingbird.

Ronin let out a brief sigh. He'd thought a branch high in the treetops would at least give him a few moments of seclusion but he had obviously been wrong.

"I thought you'd be having one of your little evening chats with MK," he said, allowing some of his frustration to creep into his voice. Perhaps Nod would pick it up and leave him alone.

"Um, yeah..." Nod removed his helmet and ran a hand through his hair. "I was planning to. But I wanted to ask you something first..."

"What?"

"Well... just about, you know... something to do with MK, before I... talk to her..." Nod wouldn't quite look at him.

Ronin felt his initial annoyance subside, if only a little. It had been a long day, and though the events that had led to the choosing of the new queen had been a good few months ago, Ronin still found himself apprehensive whilst on the job. He'd always been cautious, but he knew it was more than that lately. He would not let something happen to the new queen. He knew the constant worry was getting to him, leaving him more tired at the end of the day than he usually was, but that was no reason to take it out on Nod. "Go on…" he pressed, a little more gently than before.

"Just..." Nod tried again, nervously, "well, you know MK's a stomper... human... and me being a leafman... I was just thinking how well we were getting on. But I don't know if a human and a leafman would... work..."

Ronin raised an eyebrow and folded his arms. He suspected Nod's question was not to do with the physical aspects, but he could not stop himself. "Nod, I know your father's been gone awhile, but you weren't that young... I really would have thought he'd have taught you about these things."

Nod blinked at him, and then he screwed up his face in disgust. "Ronin! No! That's not what I'm asking just... no!" He squeezed his eyes shut briefly as if to clear some image or thought from his mind. "You know what, never mind... I just... thought you'd be able to... never mind..." He turned back towards his hummingbird and grasped the saddle.

"Alright, hold your birds," Ronin held up a hand. Nod was more serious about this than he had first thought. "I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. What do you mean by... 'work'?"

Nod paused with one foot in the saddle, and then turned back towards Ronin. "I know there's the size difference," he said eventually. "But I don't know... eventually if we were really sure it would work, I'm sure the queen would be able to accommodate making MK small again, or me big..."

He was serious. "Have you talked to MK about this?"

"No, not yet." Nod walked past Ronin and stared out at the gathering twilight. "I know that's too far ahead to really think about. I wouldn't even think of asking her that until... I need to just figure out if it would work first... it'd be a huge change for one of us... I couldn't even suggest it until I was sure that it would be..." he trailed off.

"What, Nod?" Ronin came and stood beside him.

"She's a human, I'm a leafman... I don't know, is it even... allowed?"

Ronin closed his eyes briefly. What Nod meant suddenly hit home, and he wondered why it had not been obvious to him earlier.

"I mean, I know it doesn't say anywhere that it isn't allowed, but..."

"But it doesn't have to say it somewhere. You're worried that people would think it was strange, or that you'd crossed some line, or that you had other motives."

Nod let out a sigh and sat down on the branch. "I... yeah." He looked up at Ronin and frowned. "You gonna tell me you were in love with a stomper now?"

"No, not a stomper." Ronin stared out at the gathering night.

"I... oh... you mean you and... but that's not the same."

"Really? Then how come you can't even say it?"

"I..."

Ronin could feel his apprehension building again, but not as a result of the stresses of the day. This was different. It was the same gut-wrenching feeling he'd had when he'd first realised he'd fallen in love with his queen. The same when he realised, in all her teasing, that she felt the same. The feeling that had always welled up whenever she got close, and yet she had been the only one who could make that feeling fly away as swiftly as it had come with just a touch. And the same fear that had always made him hold back.

"Ronin, I'm sorry, if you don't want to talk about this..."

Ronin sighed and sat down on the branch beside the younger leafman. "Nod, if MK was one of us, would you hesitate?"

Nod thought about that for a moment. "No. But what if I mess things up? People might think it was weird, or that she didn't belong... And you and the queen were different. No one would have minded; it wasn't even as secret as you thought."

"I'm fairly certain most thought I was no more than her play-thing," said Ronin. "Even that was better than what would have been thought of her if... it were more."

"'I'm sure they wouldn't have cared. But I don't want anyone to think bad of MK because she's different. The queen, no one would have thought bad of her..."  He paused for a moment. "You guys had something anyway though, right?'

"We had... something," Ronin admitted. He drew a deep breath. If he were talking to anyone but Nod he would have let it rest there. But he would not let Nod make the same mistakes he had.  "Nod, there was so much more I would have said to Tara, what I would have dared ask of her, if she hadn't been the queen. And you're right; I never regretted what we actually had. I regretted what we didn't do... what I didn't say. And now..." Ronin drew in a breath. "If you're serious about MK, and you actually want to say something, don't hold back. You don't know what may happen, son, and if there's something you need to say, do it while you have the chance."

He could feel Nod's eyes on him, but Ronin continued to stare out into the gathering night.

"Yeah. I… I'll try talking to her," Nod said, though he still sounded nervous. He stood to his feet. "Ronin…"

"You'd better hurry up. She'll be wondering if you've been eaten by a mouse or something."

There was a pause, and then Ronin felt Nod place a hand on his shoulder, briefly. "Thanks." A short moment later, the sound of the hummingbird taking flight announced Nod's departure. Only when the flutter had faded did Ronin let a sigh escape and the tension in his shoulders release. He would give anything to be that young again, or to still have the option of grasping what was now forever beyond him.

With one last glance at the darkening sky, Ronin stood to his feet and summoned his own hummingbird with a whistle. It didn't pay to dwell on the past, but he knew that later that night when he settled down to sleep, there would be one thing, one person, he would dream of.
Epic Fanfic: Questions
I've just watched the movie Epic, which is amazing. The plot/storyline could've been tightened up a bit, but otherwise was awesome. 

I decided to do a short fanfic just to play with the characters a bit. They're all so adorable. ^_^
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Well I've just recieved the novel writing course I ordered in the mail. So guess what's going to be taking up most of my spare time? D:

I'll probably still be posting up doodles and art stuff. Seeing as that runs on a slightly different wavelength in my brain then writing and might even accompany plotting/character development, etc. But I've been slowing down on the fanfic lately and that will probably stop. It's no longer assisting me with developing my writing skills; that's what the writing course is for.

So here's hoping I will be able to develop my writing skills further maybe up to the point where I can actually publish a novel. Which would be awesome.
  • Mood: Excited
  • Listening to: Creed
  • Drinking: Tea

deviantID

hyperpsychomaniac
Laura
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
Australia
Current Residence: Hervey Bay
Favourite genre of music: Rock
Wallpaper of choice: Not good with glue. Painted instead.
Favourite cartoon character: Random Virus, from Ace Lightning; Cortes, from Skyland. ^^
Personal Quote: "Meh."
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:iconfreddykrueger4eva:
Freddykrueger4eva Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
z10.invisionfree.com/Ace_Light…

Hello HyperPsychomaniac! Its ArcticChillAquaMarine! Come back to the message board :D We miiiissss youuuu
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:iconhyperpsychomaniac:
hyperpsychomaniac Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I've visited and made a few posts! :D
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:iconfreddykrueger4eva:
Freddykrueger4eva Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I saw :P Im now under as Flightoftherose because I forgot the pass and stuff for my other account ^^;
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:iconhyperpsychomaniac:
hyperpsychomaniac Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Okay, cool. Thanks for the link too. :)

(had a slight panic myself trying to sign in and remember what my password was but I remembered XD)
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(1 Reply)
:iconalairis:
Alairis Featured By Owner May 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Do you post any of you original writing online?
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:iconhyperpsychomaniac:
hyperpsychomaniac Featured By Owner May 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Nah. I figure if its original I should try and make some money from it, but that hasn't happened yet. :)
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:iconstratoc:
Stratoc Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
eyyyyyy happy birthday :w00t:

i have given you a llama (i think that's customary on deviantart, even though I have no idea what the purpose of llamas is???)

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:iconhyperpsychomaniac:
hyperpsychomaniac Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Lol, thankyou!

I still have no idea what the llamas are for... XD
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:iconstratoc:
Stratoc Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This might sound super random, but since I assume you're interested in httyd, did you happen to catch the new Httyd 2 trailer? If you haven't, it will BLOW YOUR MIND.
just saying. ;)
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:iconhyperpsychomaniac:
hyperpsychomaniac Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I just watched the trailer.

Hiccup is totally an engineer. Just saying. ;)

(Also: Eeeee! :D)
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