i'm glad people are getting back to writing. so have i! apologies this early on, i am a bit rusty but i'll get back in the groove soon enough! enjoy!
Part One: Reunions
One year ago
“I see you’ve been invited as well.”
Finn Ferral turned to the source of the voice and beamed. He clasped wrists with the speaker.
“Ciaran! Good to see you again, my friend! I see the rest of the Roughnecks are here as well!” Finn looked slightly past his warrior friend and saw the blue guild capes with the distinct emblem of a golden mug of ale.
“Aye, they are. We don’t back down from a fight, and certainly not a party such as this!”
“Amazing. I hear their voices, and yet their usual unwashed stench is absent. If these two were able to actually scrub themselves clean, then I might just regain my sight next weekend!”
Finn and Ciaran turned to face a ritualist, an elementalist and one necromancer decked out in expensive Vabbian attire. The ranger and the warrior grinned.
“It’s all about finding the right tub to bathe in. It’s been a while, Ryl’ard, Shaddow. And hello there, Night. You look absolutely stunning tonight,” Finn grinned slyly at the female necromancer.
“Careful, Finn. Night’s been a bit testy of late,” the elementalist, Shaddow Firestorm, chuckled.
“I’m Ciaran Black, ma’am. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Of course. As for me being testy, let’s just say I don’t like being invited to a banquet without knowing who our host is. I’ll leave you to your macho banter, gentlemen. Good evening,” Night bowed slightly and turned on her heel.
Ciaran whistled as his gaze lingered on the necromancer. The warrior turned and elbowed the ranger. “She sure has a nice pair…”
“You read my mind, my friend,” chuckled Ciaran as he and Finn exchanged winks amidst a long-suffering sigh from Ryl’ard.
“I just noticed that this is becoming a reunion of sorts,” Shaddow adjusted his spectacles.
“I saw Sule and Zotran earlier, fresh from their trip to Elona. They met with Little Tumblepop. He got an invitation as well. They told me he couldn’t leave the monastery there. Shame, really.”
“Yeah, I miss old ‘Pop.”
“If ‘Pop’s not here, then the only one missing is Akira. Wasn’t he with that monk lass in the Echovald?” Ciaran rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he silently contemplated how another full mug of ale came into his possession.
“If I know our assassin friend, he’s probably been with more than just one monk lass,” Finn laughed. His friends laughed with him.
“Though I think he’s investigating something during his time in the Echovald. Akira likes his mysteries too much,” Finn sighed as he wiped a tear from his eye.
“I happen to know where Akira is, gentlemen.”
The friends turned and had to look down at the petite monk speaker. Her auburn hair was neatly combed into buns on either side of her head. Her dress - not the usual simplistic wrappings people knew monks for - flowed around her body and shimmered a deep blue hue.
“Forgive me for prying, but I couldn’t help but overhear that you were talking about the incident in the Echovald. I was with him on that adventure. Gemini Soulfire, they call me.”
“Ciaran,” Finn whispered loudly enough for Gemini to hear, “I think she’s the monk lass you’ve been talking about.”
“Thank you, Commander Obvious, I think I got that part on my own,” Ciaran grunted as he shoved his elbow directly into the ranger’s gut.
“We are Akira’s friends and traveling companions,” Ryl’ard stepped in and attempted to salvage the embarrassing predicament his friends found themselves in.
“So he told me. I’ve been looking for him myself since he left the Echovald. I got the invitation to come here and I had this feeling Akira is involved in this somehow.”
“It looks like our boy’s gotten himself into a mystery he can’t get out of,” Ciaran mused and wondered how, for the third time this evening, his mug refilled itself with ale.
“That can wait, lady and gentlemen. It appears our host is about to reveal himself,” Shaddow motioned his friends to the large double doors that he knew lead to the music room of this mansion.
The servants politely turned the guests’ attention to the doors where a pale woman in her twenties waited. Satisfied that all attention was to her, she started to address the crowd.
“Honored guests, thank you for coming to this small celebration.”
“She calls this small? I’d say we’re about a fourth of the celebrating population of Lion’s Arch at Wintersday! What do you think, Rhon?”
“Well, we’ll all know about the point of this banquet in a short while, Naru.”
The small woman continued, “Our house has had a long history, a history that has spanned Cantha, Elona and Tyria. Since the time of our founder, we have strived to help the people of our world. During the time of the Guild Wars, our house and our family have been separated. One of our errant bloodlines even ended up in the far reaches of the East, to the Burning Sands. By some miracle of the gods, that bloodline endured. We have gathered you all because you have, in one way or another, have been a friend to our family and we are so happy to inform you that the descendant of that errant bloodline has returned to us.”
“I hope this errant family member has a pair of nice gloves too,” Finn whispered to Ciaran as the latter chuckled.
“The prodigal son of the Rellion bloodline has returned to us. My friends, I, in behalf of the Rellion family, would like to introduce you to my cousin, Alexandros Blackstock Rellion.”
There were quiet applause and gasps of surprise as the speaker made way to the opening doors. Behind them was a man dressed in black, with a silver dragon embroidered on the right sleeve of his fitting coat. The light of the massive overhead chandeliers made the illusion of the dragon moving and coiling. The shadows seemed to come alive around Alexandros, who looked not a day over twenty. His silvery blonde hair was neatly combed back and he sported an easy smile, as if the banquet in his honor was the most natural thing in the world.
“I don’t believe it,” Finn was wide-eyed at what he saw.
“Tell me what’s going on! I can’t see you know!”
“It’s Alexandros Rellion, Ryl’ard,” Shaddow gripped the arm of his friend.
“I know he’s Alexandros Blackstock Rellion, prodigal son of the Rellion bloodline! I’m not deaf! I want to know why are people gasping in shock!”
“Well I’ll be Grenth’s damned. Talk about getting really lucky,” Ciaran whispered as he drank his mug of ale straight down.
“Tell me!” the blind ritualist grabbed the collar of Shaddow’s coat.
“Alexandros Blackstock Rellion is Akira Shinjo!”