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#1 [en] 

[OOC - this is the story of a reunion between two best friends, told from the point of view of Senatrius]

Senatrius stretched and groaned. It didn’t matter how many times he had teleported before, the process always made him dizzy and disoriented. He looked around, taking in the busy Homins of Fiarhaven. The group of guards that was just passing by recognized him and came to greet him. „Senatrius! So good to see you again, friend! “came a muffled voice from under one of the helmets. „What brings you here? Shopping, perhaps? I hear some young adventurers just brought in all kinds of interesting materials that you might want to look at. “The talk ZoraÏ smiled. „Thank you for making me aware of that. I will make sure to check the local merchants' goods later. I have some personal matters to attend to first. “He bid the guards farewell, adjusted his backpack and took off swimming further into Liberty Lake.

The journey was long and Senatrius was quite out of practice when it came to swimming. He hadn’t done much of it ever since he had gotten married and settled down. Thus, he spent the night at the camp of a nearby friendly tribe. He was quite surprised to be invited to stay for breakfast. „I appreciate the offer, but I would hate to impose upon you like that, especially as I remember you always being a bit short on food. “The tribe chief smiled. „Not anymore, old friend! The powers have started paying us better for our services, making us able to give better compensation to adventuring Homins. Thus, we have plenty of food now, our fields have never been better tended and even our armor is in much better shape than ever before. It’s quite wonderful! “And so, Senatrius decided to stay for breakfast and enjoyed a delicious meal. After wishing his friends well, he continued in his journey.

It was shortly before sunset when he finally arrived at his destination. He smiled ruefully. The beauty of the waterfall was enchanting, but it was impossible to appreciate it without memories flooding into his mind. He pulled off his soaked clothes, staying only in his caster pants, and set them out on the sandy beach to dry in the fresh lake breeze. Next he opened his backpack, taking out his small set of gardening tools, as well as a small pouch of the highest quality fertilizer he had been able to get his hands on. The Yrkanis master florist swore it would make even a dead slaveni grow. With that, he found the small patch of flowers. Maiden’s tears, they were called. Their soft petals were almost as beautiful as their smell. No wonder his friend loved them so much. He felt tears pricking at his eyes. It always felt a little silly, taking care of a patch of wildflowers but the waterfalls were her favorite spot and making sure the flowers were doing well was his own, strange way of honoring her memory. Though, he refused to call it that. So what that it had been over twenty years since she had disappeared without a trace? She was coming back. One day. Yes, he had to keep telling himself that.

It was night when he finished his „flower ritual “, as his wife liked to call it and Senatrius was debating teleporting to Fairhaven but decided against it. It was a warm summer night and he quite liked the calm of the place. He pulled on his already dry clothes, used his backpack as a pillow and went to sleep. He dreamed of the first time they had found the waterfall together, his excited his friend was, immediately remembering the old legend about the origins of the flowers. In his dreams they were both still young and happy, laughing and splashing each other with water as they swam. He slept with a joyful smile on his face.

He woke up with a start. Had he really heard water splashing as if someone was swimming nearby? Or was it in his dream? He had no desire to fight off bandits. Not in this place – a place that was sacred to him. He looked around, blinking in the darkness. Were those footsteps he had just heard? Senatrius scanned the surroundings frantically. An yber screeched above and he looked after it and…there was the distinct cold blade of an axe at his throat. „What are you doing here? “. His eyes went wide and he squinted downwards at his attacker. He knew that voice. He had just heard it in his dream. „Lumi? “ he gasped.

---

Luminatrix

Explorer, storyteller, universalist, fighter for freedom and equality.

"Without contraries, there is no progression" - William Blake

#2 [en] 

[OOC - this is the story of a reunion between two best friends, told from the point of view of Senatrius]

The pressure left his throat in an instant. „Sena. “The sun was starting to rise. The two Homins stood there on the beach, staring at each other, unsure what to say. Thousands of words ran through their heads but somehow, they didn’t make it to their tongues. After a long while, it was Luminatrix who spoke up. „I…think I have some explaining to do. Let’s sit? “. Senatrius nodded wordlessly. There were so many things he wanted to ask her – why had she disappeared, where had she been all those years, why hadn’t she contacted him and why hadn’t she let him know she was back, for a start. „I’m not sure how much you’ve heard… “Senatrius grimaced. „I have heard a lot. Many things from many different people. Many claimed to have found your body. Many more said you had been eaten by all manner of beasts. Others insisted that you had become a bandit… “ Luminatrix smirked. „And all of them were wrong. “ Senatrius nodded once again. „Why don’t you start at the beginning? “

„Well then. I’m sure you remember the Matis I was so hear over heels in love with.“ Senatrius remembered. How could he forget? The tall, handsome man had swept his friend off her feet. She had even renounced her Tryker citizenship and became a Matis vassal because of him – a decision the Federation was not at all happy about. As much as everyone liked to pretend that the four Nations had set aside their differences in order to build a new world, old scars ran deep and the animosity between then was still very clearly there. Given the history between the Tryker and the Matis, quite a few Trykers saw Luminatrix as a traitor. The Matis, in turn, had never quite accepted her as one of their own seeing her, a member of a nation that had been enslaved for so long, as beneath them. „He turned out not to be as widowed as he had claimed. His wife had disappeared, not died. And one day, she came to Yrkanis with a group of refugees. He went back to her…and that was that. Suddenly I was seen as a vile seductress, attempting to steal an honest man from his darling wife. I was referred with utmost disdain by those I had seen as friends and shunned away from their society. To make matters worse, soon after that I found out I was carrying his child…“ she went silent for a moment looking at the ground, as if in shame. „Why didn’t you to back to lakes?“ Luminatrix sighed. „I couldn’t.“´

„Not only was I a traitor, I was also expecting but unmarried. Trykers love speaking about how accepting they are, but those are just empty words. I was scorned there just as much as in Yrkanis, if not more. The Desert and the Jungle weren’t exactly an option, as a Kami apostate I wasn’t welcome. There was nowhere to turn… And so, I left for the Roots.“ ´

„You could have let me know, Lumi. I would have helped,“ Senatrius gently admonished.

„I suppose. But you had jus met a woman, you seemed so happy together, I didn’t want to ruin that with my own problems…“

„Lumi. How long have we been friends? No matter what happens, I will always be ready to help. Always. And you know this.“

„I know,“ she admitted. „But I was hurt and scared and just not thinking right. I felt like all of Atys hated me. Like I had no choice but to leave.“

„And so, you did. “

„And so, I did. The Wastelands aren’t nearly that bad once you get used to them. The Patrols are predictable enough and can be avoided easily. Most predators can be snuck by and those who can’t…well…“¨

„Those get the axe,“ Senatrius grinned.

---

Luminatrix

Explorer, storyteller, universalist, fighter for freedom and equality.

"Without contraries, there is no progression" - William Blake

#3 [en] 

[OOC - this is the story of a reunion between two best friends, told from the point of view of Senatrius]

„You bet!“ Luminatrix let out a short laugh. „That’s it, really. I lived there, occasionally working with the local tribes, bartering various materials for supplies I needed. I briefly stayed with the Keepers around the time my son was born, then I went from place to place depending on where I could find food and shelter.“

„That couldn’t have been as easy as you’re saying. I’ve been to the Wastelands countless times. You may be much better at sneaking last things unnoticed than I will ever be, but I don’t believe you had an easy time there. Especially with a small child.“

Luminatrix frowned slightly. As the sun slowly rose above the horizon, Senatrius studied her face. She had aged just a little bit, not much. Her hair was cut short, by the looks of it with a hunting knife rather than by a hairdresser. She had scars he didn’t remember, too. But the one thing that struck him the most were her eyes. They were the same sky blue as always, the same eyes he remembered and yet, they were so very different. The spark of excitement, curiosity, the childlike wonder – it was all gone. Gone and replaced with such sadness, such deep grief it broke his heart. Many good friends had died or disappeared over the years, he had mourned every single one of them. But Lumi had not known until her return. He couldn’t imagine how horrible it must have been for her to find out that almost everyone dear to her was gone.

„You’re right. It wasn’t. That’s also why I came back. I wanted my son to see the upper lands, to experience their beauty, to feel the sunlight on his skin. I had thought that maybe, in twenty years, things will have calmed down, but I was so very wrong. If anything, they are worse now then they had been before.“

„What do you mean?“ What Senatrius meant to ask was rather „how much do you know“. He had no idea how long his best friend had been back. But clearly it had been long enough for her to see what the world had become.

„Where do I even start? The separation of Nations hasn’t diminished, if anything, it’s even worse. And same with factions. Instead of uniting together to wipe out the Kitins, they are all fighting each other… their childish wars will definitely not lead to anything but everyone’s deaths. I have no words for how saddened, how disappointed I am. This is not the Atys I had grown to love, not anymore. The Atys I loved was a world of progress, of building bridges across the things that divide us. But now it seems even more frozen in the past than it has ever been.“

Senatrius offered his friend a sad smile. „You’re not wrong. But not everything is so bleak. Homins still do their best to look out for each other. You should come to Zora, live with us.“

„I’m thankful for the offer. But I have already found another place to live. In Hidden Source.“
Senatrius was stunned. So, not all of the rumors were untrue after all. He had refused to believe that his friend would become a Marauder. But she had. „How…why, Lumi? They are horrible people, bloodthirsty warmongers, merciless murderers…“

„Many are. But not all of them. The clan I joined is full of good people. They just don’t quite fit in with the other citizens of the four Nations. Just like me. They took me in and didn’t care about my past, didn’t judge me. With them, I found a new home. Besides, I knew a handful of them. Many were once Karavan…“

Senatrius remembered. He now knew exactly what clan she was talking about. They were strange for Marauders. From what he had heard, they barely partook in raids on cities, they weren’t opposed to occasionally trading with other factions and, supposedly, they had even allied themselves with some Rangers and certain Karavan followers in a number of battles. Certainly no saints, but then, there were very few Homins who didn’t have blood on their hands, regardless of faction.

„And your son, is he in your clan, too?“

---

Luminatrix

Explorer, storyteller, universalist, fighter for freedom and equality.

"Without contraries, there is no progression" - William Blake

#4 [en] 

[OOC - this is the story of a reunion between two best friends, told from the point of view of Senatrius]

Luminatrix shook her head. „He’s old enough to make these kinds of decisions for himself. He stayed at Fairhaven, wants to explore the world. And before you ask, no, I’m not worried about him. He grew up in one of the toughest parts of Atys. I’ve taught him how to fight and when it’s better to retreat and live to fight another day. He’s adept at tracking prey, he can harvest food, find shelter and avoid dangerous predators. My son can take better care of himself than most. And if he so chooses, he can stay with the Trykers. He'll blend in easily enough. He was lucky, got his looks from me and not his father. Looks just like one of us, just taller, with lighter skin and a slightly smaller nose. I’m sure he’ll be fine, wherever the winds take him.“

They sat in silence for a while. They talked about Marauders for a long time, Senatrius gaining a new perspective on those he once saw as despicable fiends. They ate dried bodoc meat and delicious yelk cheese and washed it down with famous Tryker ale. Senatrius was happy to see his best friend again, but something bothered him. There was too much sadness in her eyes, despite the words she spoke about her clan, about her son.

„Lumi…are you happy to be back?“ he blurted out at last.

„I can’t say that I am. Over the years, I have lost so much. So many I cared about are gone, I don’t know which one to mourn first. And my new clan…they are not around much lately. All of them busy with their own affairs. Somehow, I feel more alone than I did in twenty years in the Roots.“

Senatrius didn’t really know what to say. He wished to comfort his friend, somehow. But he had no clue how.

„I heard about Lacuna,“ Luminatrix continued in a solemn tone. „And for the last few days, I have been wondering if maybe I should do what she did…“

They sat, talking of nothing and everything until it was almost nightfall. Senatrius would have loved to stay longer, but he had to finish his shopping business in Fairhaven and go back home to his wife. She had a small child on her hands, he didn’t wish to further burden her with taking care of the shop in his absence. He gave his old friend a hug, a last half-hearted smile and activated his teleporter, leaving her sitting on the bank, deep in thought, sorrowful expression in her eyes, twirling a flower in her hand.

[/OOC]

---

Luminatrix

Explorer, storyteller, universalist, fighter for freedom and equality.

"Without contraries, there is no progression" - William Blake
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