Gelder Shorts

Gelder Shorts: Etan’s Hidden Pain Part Five

Hi Everone!

Here it is, the conclusion of Etan’s chapter. This is one of my favorites, and I have really enjoyed getting to bring a little more depth to this complicated male. His book will be so intriguing, but that is coming in a little bit.

This will be the last post for a bit, as I will be diving into the world of Golon and Marilee and will not resurface for a few months.

Happy reading everyone!


Gelder Shorts: Chapter Two- Etan’s Hidden Pain Part Five


“I’ll hate you forever for this!” She screams the words at me, her voice cracking on her tears. “I wish I had never met you! I wish you had never come!” I stare at her as she collapses over his lifeless corpse, her body wracked by gut-wrenching sobs.

“I had never intended for this to happen, his death was out of my control,” I speak softly, knowing not the words to lessen this burden for her. In this moment, I would give anything to take her pain. To shoulder it myself, so that she may be spared. “If I could change it… if I could bring him back I would.”

I take a tentative step towards her, for once in my life unsure of the course of action I should take.

“NO!” Her head flies up, her black hair flying madly around her as she shakes her head violently. “You are never to come near me again. Never touch me again. I want you to leave. Or I swear I will find a way to kill you. I hate you. I hate you. I HATE YOU!”

She breaks apart before me, screaming nothing but those same three words over and over again. Each word rips my heart out of my chest at least that is what it feels like.

When she finally quiets, I whisper to her a promise that will tear me apart to keep. But it is the only thing I can do to bring her comfort.

“If my absence will help you, if that is your desire, then that will be my gift to you. Know that I will always love you, and I will always protect you. All you need do is ask, but I will leave you. And I will never return. Upon my word as a warrior, you will never see me again.” I wait with bated breath, hoping to hear her say no. To tell me to stay. That she is grieving but that she longs for my presence as much as I do hers.

She looks over to me with none of the warmth normally in her gaze, her eyes shoot frozen daggers at me. “Good.” Her one word is more than I can take. I reach into my pocket and pull out the memien weave that I made for her. It is linked to me, if she ever needed me she can call me.

I drop in on the ground near where she is huddled and then turn and leave, her broken and hateful words have ripped me open inside like a serrated knife wound. It has left me bleeding and near death and I will never heal from it.


I blink my eyes a few times and notice my glass is empty. Oh, I must have finished another bottle. I flick my hand and another bottle of starskie floats to me. It is an extremely potent alcohol that is strong enough to get a Gelder drunk if he consumes enough. And that is exactly what I intend to do. Sheit I may have already succeeded.

“Another bottle, Etan? That makes seven total now and that’s only in the past hour that I have sat here.” My eyes shoot to the corner of the room, where Arsenio is reclined back on what of my experimental prototypes for caeli chairs.

“What are you doing here, fire master?” I growl while dropping the glass and drinking straight from the bottle.

“I came to see why you fled so soon after we left Danion and our Queen. She was not well after the debacle Danion made of their union, and you were the only warrior to retire. I was curious as to why that was.” Arsenio is pensive as I sit there silently chugging the alcohol.

We engage in a silent battle, one I intend to win since I feel no inkling to appease his curiosity. But then something happens that I would never have expected. Concern warms his eyes, and I see compassion in the depths of his gaze.

“Etan, you are one of the few warriors here that I respect. And even rarer, you are one I like.” Arsenio leans forward in his chair. “So tell me, as a friend, what is ails you. You are hurting, and it is a pain that is old and raw. You hide it well, but something is very wrong with you.”

I lean my head back as I drain the bottle, while his words bounce around in my head. Why do I keep it a secret?

A bitter laugh escapes me, “Do you know why I hide my pain, Senio?” I use the shortened name of his that we used to affectionately use before his crimes. I see the shock in his gaze, his happiness over the nickname, but tonight I care nothing for appeasing him.

“I hide it, because I know every warrior here will try to convince me to return. Or they will intervene on my behalf.” I fly another bottle to my hand with such force that it shatters when it hits my hand. Oh well, I shake my now glass and alcohol covered hand, then bring another over and manage to not break this one.

Once I have it open, I turn back to the fire warrior before me. “But, I feel like you won’t. You will honor my wishes. Isn’t that true?”

He gazes at me, a look of contemplation heavy upon his face. Then slowly, he nods his head.

I brace myself to speak the words I have not uttered in over thirty Earth years. But find I need more starskie before I can bring the words to my lips. I drink heavily and then drop the bottle to the floor.

“I have a…” I collapse forward in my chair, my hands gripping my head and my elbows resting on my knees. “I have a mate. Like our king has been blessed with, but mine hates me. With good reason, and she refused me. My presence brought her pain, so I left her. The other half of my soul, the one being who could bring me peace. And she hates me.

“So, I left. My gift of caeli allows for me to manage the bond madness, but it is no easy task. It is a constant pain inside. Ripping me apart from within. And one day, it will kill me. Not today, not next year. But, my death will come. I predict within the next five or ten years, I will be no more. And then she will finally be free of me.”

I look up to see the stark disbelief and horror on Arsenio’s face. I let out a dark, humorless chuckle.

“And now you know my big secret, the pain I hide from everyone. And you can’t tell a soul.”

Gelder Shorts

Gelder Shorts: Chapter Two Etan’s Hidden Pain Part Four

Hi Everyone!

Part Four is here! I really hope you are all enjoying getting to know Etan a little better. I am busy getting geared up to dive into Golon and Marilee’s full-length standalone novel so only one more part until this chapter is done!

As always, I hope you enjoy reading this story and if you haven’t already I recommend checking out my books for sale available on Kindle. And if you already have and can’t find your next read, take a gander through all my favorites here!

Happy reading!


Gelder Shorts: Chapter Two- Etan’s Hidden Pain Part Four

“This tradition seems…peculiar.” Arsenio’s spoken words echo my own unspoken ones. We are here on Earth to collect our Queen, and we came expecting the normal fanfare of a claiming celebration. We inform mortal governments of a pending claiming with extensive lead time, that way they can counsel the claimed individual on what to expect. By the time a retrieval party arrives, the claimed is excited and anxious.

This is not the scene that Arsenio and I are witnessing now.

Since we came to an understanding in the caeli training lounge we have learned to respect the other ones strengths. We have even become quite close, choosing often to work through the logistics of collecting our queen. Well as close as two warriors who do not fully trust one another can ever be.

To be perfectly frank, I am the best equipped to not only handle Arsenio and his belligerence, but to understand it as well. The resentment that I harbored for the formerly disgraced fire master is fading away. I can see through the façade he tries to hide behind to the real male underneath. So we have been known to spar with one another and occasionally even share our meals.

Or, like now, stand together slightly away from the rest of our team while we wait for our queen to be called forth. In a manner of tradition that is quite strange. Or as Arsenio put it peculiar. I speak to him, but keep my gaze on the thousands of human females in the stands of the abandoned stadium before me.

“I concur, warrior. This should be a joyous occasion, not this somber affair we are witnessing. Why are they making it into this spectacle? We know where our queen lives, and her government most certainly knows we are claiming her today for our king. It is unclear why they are hosting this elaborate charade. The only purpose they are achieving is to increase the anxiety of their people.”I muse quietly to him.

“Perhaps that is the point.” Arsenio’s tense voice responds.

“Perhaps,” I murmur in return.

I am not sure what is going on here but I know that I do not like it. Something is not right. The horrible female who is filled with darkness is on the stage now. She was most displeased that Kowan did not fall for her wiles.

Mortals, so concerned with their status and their appearance they struggle to comprehend a society that values neither. As a member of the Gelder race, we care for nothing over the well-being of all life, our entire society is based around the betterment of our universe. And as a warrior of the Gelder race, we have pledged out immortal lives into the protection of those who cannot protect themselves.

While we do not meddle in a planet’s own internal affairs, we swore an oath to give all life an equal opportunity to live and prosper. That means, when genocidal races like the Erains come to destroy an entire race of people, we step in and even lay down our lives if that is what is needed of us.

The words that this female is saying on stage is even more cause for concern. With every word she utters I can practically see the feeling on dread rise in the room. Arsenio and I share a look, our hands moving to rest on our legs, where hidden slits in our warrior leathers conceal dozens of blades.

While our blades will never be our strongest weapon, they are perfect for a fight with a mortal enemy. I shift my gaze slightly to the left, where the rest of my fellow warriors are positioned. I notice they too are all in the warrior stance. Primed and ready to protect our queen if need be.

Except…”Where the fief is she?” Arsenio growls to my right. I hear similar phrases spoken in low tones to my left. With this laughable excuse for a claiming tradition we have no idea where she is. Amell and Kowan know what her physical appearance is but that is not something the rest of us know. How can we protect her if we do not know who she is?

Those two went earlier to her childhood home and investigated. Their stony expressions when they returned was all I needed to know something was wrong. An eerie, almost ominous quiet befalls the crowd. Our queen’s name is flashing on the screen.

For several tense moments, there is no movement in the crowd. And then suddenly, a small female rises from a seat very near the top of the stadium. I can feel the warriors tense next to me. She is a small creature, but in no way does she appear fragile. She is thin, almost alarmingly so, with blonde hair that hangs rather limply along her head. Her clothes are atrocious. To call them rags is too generous.

But that is not what has caused my fellow warriors to tense. It is her inner power, I can feel it. Born of her purity, she is like a blazing star in this dreary arena. She needs to be protected, I can feel the necessity pulling me towards her. And it is not just me, because we all move as if synchronized. Kowan is the only one not to follow, he speaks low so as to not be overheard. “I will ensure the path before us is secure. Guard her, my brothers. Guard her well.”

We all nod, we feel it to. An animosity towards our queen whose origin we cannot detect. As we draw closer to her we can tell she is uncomfortable. Worry, fear, anxiety all seep out of her. Just before we make contact, I hear Malin whisper, “She is perfect. A bright and shining female who is pure of heart. She will do our king proud.” A series of agreements are given, and then they all fall mute for we have reached her and move into formation around her. Escorting her to the room where she will be prepared for her final departure.

I can tell my fellow warriors are pleased, so excited over the female we shall call queen. But, I cannot embrace these emotions. Where they see uncertainty in her, I recognize pain. She is a soul in need, wounded and bleeding, calling out for help only for the calls to be ignored.

I cannot be happy for my king, not yet. For just like these warriors, he is like to accept the façade, believe her to be nothing more than a nervous new mate. But I have been there, and I have made that mistake, and tragedy followed in its wake.

King Danion is up against some horrible odds. Because I can sense what is within Eleanor Sette, and it is not a happy young female who has lived a pampered life. She holds the mental scars of a victim.

Our queen has been mistreated, and I will not rest until I have helped heal her hidden pain. I can do no less, it so closely mirrors my own.

Gelder Shorts

Gelder Shorts- Etan’s Hidden Pain Part Three

Hi Everyone!

Part Three is here! Keep an eye for the final two chapters coming over the next couple of weeks. Quick update on me, I am busy working on my new series of books, The Gelder Warriors. Golon’s book will be first but everyone will have their own books. Including our pain-ridden Etan 🙂

After these stories for Etan, I will be diving fully into writing Golon’s book the blog will be on pause. But I will be working on the blog as well, look for updates in the new year.

Happy Reading!

Gelder Shorts: Chapter Two, Etan’s Hidden Pain Part 3

A loud banging from beneath me prompts me to open my eyes. I look down the long tunnel that I hold myself afloat within where I have been meditating here where nothing touches me but air. There, several thousand feet below me is the hot-headed fire master I have been waiting for.

“You know that it is considered quite impolite to request someone’s presence and then hide yourself away in this star-forsaken tunnel and show off your caeli powers?” Arsenio bellows upwards at me. “You are well and truly gifted in this power, no other can lift themselves so high with such control. There is no reason to keep boasting about it.”

His words open a deep wound inside that he will never see. I do not lock myself in this chamber and call upon my powers to show off. I do it for the emotions I feel when there is nothing around me but the very air that is so much a part of me. If I was on a planet or moon I would be in the clouds. Feeling true freedom. But never peace. Oh no, not that.

Peace and serenity are emotions that were stolen from me, by the one person who should have been there to give me such comforts. But alas, I am sentenced to a life of pain and misery while those around me think I am nothing but happy. It’s my curse, to hide my pain.

I begin to lower myself, allowing my powers to gently cradle me as I float down towards the irritated warrior beneath me. I affix a small, pleasant smile to my lips. Once I am back near the floor, I step down with one foot and release my powers completely. Allowing me to walk once more, my time of flight behind me for now.

“Ah, Arsenio. Thank you for coming.” I speak to him in a calm voice. The minuscule pleasure I gained from my flight is making me even more agreeable, even though I do not relish the topic I have come to speak to him about.

A grunt and an eye roll are all I receive in response. Very well, I expected nothing more.

“I requested to speak with you because there is a question I have been asking myself for a long time now, and I have not been able to come to a satisfying conclusion on my own.” I motion towards the door he came through, and we begin walking towards a comfortable lounge situated in a small room affixed to the base of this hollow tower. All caeli masters enjoy testing the control of their power, and often they will compete to see who can reach the highest peaks. This room’s function is for those who are competing to rest comfortably while they await their turn.

Once we enter, I motion for Arsenio to take a seat on the hovering ovals that are positioned to our right. With our intuitive technology, the discs remain dormant until sat upon. Then they will become whatever shape is needed to perform their desired function. Right now, they conform themselves in to comfortable chairs with tall backs and wide seats to accommodate our large frames.

“And what question is so complicated that you must seek me out to answer it for you?” Arsenio’s words are dripping with scorn. His feelings of disgust towards us, those he once loved like brothers, is more than apparent.

His dislike of me is something I can easily ignore, as it bothers me naught. But his blatant disregard for my king has resulted in the suffering of those I love before. Since the conversation with my king, I too have had doubts about Arsenio and his true intentions.

Not about if he will harm our soon to be queen, but if he will attempt to harm our king or my fellow brethren. With these thoughts heavy in my mind and heart, my easy-going façade drops easily. Being quickly replaced by a glare that in no way hides my rage.

“If I will have to kill you. That is my question.” I see the shock in his eyes, he tries to mask his reaction but it is there in a flicker of his eyes. “I will not allow harm to come to my king, my fellow warriors, or my queen. If anything you do hurts any of them in any way, I will not stand idly by. I will take the life you so willingly squander. So I ask you, am I going to have to kill you?”

I let the sincerity drip into my words, my tone heavy with deadly intent.

“Of all the warriors here, you are not the one I expected to have this conversation with,” Arsenio speaks slowly, the insult in his words poorly disguised.

I let my eyes harden, the easy smile dropping from my lips. “And why would that be, hmm?” I ask him with a dangerous growl in my words. “Because I am a caeli master and therefore so opposed to a confrontation that I am nothing but a weakling?”

Arsenio says nothing, but his eyes reveal his agreement with these words. I can feel the anger burn low in my gut, but it is in no danger of escaping. I have total control of my emotions. Which is not something this ignis master will ever possess.

I raise my hand to my chin and study my companion with a face void of all expression. “Tell me, oh powerful one. Who is the better warrior? A warrior who is so capable of fully removing themselves from the temptation of emotion that he can strike down any foe who threatens those he protects no matter his own desires. Can kill anything and anyone for his king if that is what is needed. Regardless of personal feelings, a warrior who can hide his pain, or his rage, or his love so that he can fulfill his duty is a formidable weapon.” I pause to let my words sink in, for the meaning behind them to absorb into him. I am a warrior who will do anything required of me, and if it hurts, well I am more than capable of hiding it.

After I see his eyes darken with understanding, I continue. “But what of a warrior so ruled by emotions that he would turn against everything he was meant to protect in a fit of rage? Who could throw away every pledge he ever made, as if those pledges were garbage. Is this warrior even worth keeping around?”

Arsenio’s eyes burn, his rage building. “Careful now, fire master. We wouldn’t want me to have to kill you now would we?” Without breaking eye contact with him, I slowly begin funneling all the air out of the room. Something I do not require to function, but Arsenio does. He cannot die due to lack of oxygen but his body will shut down without it. And his powers would be useless here in a room with absolutely no oxygen.

His eyes begin to bulge, I wait until he is just on the verge of unconsciousness and then let the room fill with air once more. I add a not so gentle push of air to his back, causing him to fall to the floor.

I lean over him, and I affix my happy, pleasant smile to my face once.

“So Arsenio, as I have just proved I can defeat you. Easily in fact. I can render your power useless. I have not risen to this position, as the highest-ranking caeli master, because I am weak. I have done it because I have embraced who I am. You still battle with this. I can help you accept your lot in life. Or you can continue to wallow in self-pity and arrogance. The choice is yours, either way, I will have a smile on my face. It is up to you if I am grinning with you, or over your corpse.”

I turn and leave the lounge, whistling a merry tune all the way. Listening to the gasps of an asphyxiated warrior behind me.

Gelder Shorts

Gelder Shorts: Chapter Two- Etan’s Hidden Pain Part 2

The next installment of Etan’s story is here! Make sure to follow the blog to stay up to date on all the latest content. Be sure not to miss out on the new developments in his story.

New and different posts will be coming soon as we head into the holiday season with special ideas for gifts for the reader in your life.

And if you haven’t checked it out yet, click here to see a list of my all time favorite books for some inspiration for your next read!

Happy Reading!

Gelder Shorts: Chapter Two, Etan’s Hidden Pain: Part 2


“Etan, may I speak with you a moment?” I wave my hand in the air to dismiss the small, holographic display that houses the arrangements I am making to travel to Earth soon. I turn towards the deep voice, an easy smile appearing on my lips as always.

“My king,” I greet Danion with a shallow bow, had we been in public I would have dropped much deeper out of deference to his title. But here in private I am allowed a more informal sign of respect. “Of course you may speak with me, you know that my door is always open.”

I move over to the two small hovering planks in my chambers, they are intuitive technology that will form around our bodies once we sit in them creating a perfect comfort experience.

In our personal chambers is some of the only places you will find these luxuries. Danion has had them removed from all the other areas of the ship in order to make his human mate feel more comfortable.

“Yes, Etan, you have said that before.” Danion moves to the intuitive seats and falls into it with the grace only a seasoned warrior like himself can achieve. “I have come to request your opinion on my adding Arsenio to the team.”

I wasn’t expecting that, the king has never before questioned his decision once he makes it. Ever. For him to be this unsure, something is bothering him. I can sense it beneath his calm façade. He is plagued by unease.

“What is it, my king?” I ask the warrior sitting before me. “I know you are ill at ease. Share with me your burden.”

Danion drops his gaze to his hands, his eyes are dark with memories past.

“You know that my mate is due to come aboard soon.” I nod my head to him, silently requesting he continue. “I find that I am…quite anxious about her arrival and safety once she is on board. She is human, and therefore delicate. No harm can come to her. None.” Rage is swirling in the king’s turbulent gaze.

In any other warrior, such anger would be dangerous. But in our king? The most powerful warrior among us? It is deadly. He is barely maintaining control of his emotions.

“Have I ever told you that bond madness can be managed?” I ask him in a deceptively bored tone. I have no intention of explaining why I know this. His interest is piqued, so I continue. “It never goes away, and the more powerful you are, the more maddening it will be. It will work to drive you completely insane. Desperate for one thing and one thing only. Your mate, and when you cannot get to them, we all better hope no one gets in your way.”

I stare at him for a time, contemplating this powerful being in my chambers. The stronger the warrior, the harder the bond madness will be. I wonder if he will be able to control it. And more importantly, if we will survive his loss of control.

“I know this Etan, I have been feeling it every day for the past twenty years.”

“Yes, but you are only experiencing a mere fraction of what you will feel once you see her.” My mind threatens to turn to memories better left buried, but I refuse to let it go there. “You need to be prepared.”

Danion, in a rare moment of weakness, wipes his hand down his face and sighs in frustration. “But how?” He beseeches. “That is what no one says, we all know about the bond madness and what it does to a warrior’s control. But no one says how to combat it. I feel like a scimaar is slashing my brain to bits, my skin is crawling with power just begging to break free.”

I must tread carefully here, to ensure that I can help my king, but not reveal too much. My pain is mine and mine alone. I have no intention to share it.

“You must be find ways to center your powers around the calmer lineages. Distance yourself from ignis specifically. The fire lineage is too volatile. Anium and caeli are the best to focus on. They will provide a measure of peace, and once you have found that peace, you grab on with everything you got.”

“How do you know this will work?”

How indeed? That is an answer I will never give. So I do little more than give a careless shrug of my shoulders to him, and then toss a happy smile to him. “You will just have to trust me that this will work. I would not steer you wrong.”

Danion nods, “Yes, I know that.” He sighs again, then turns to me. “Do you think Arsenio will hurt Eleanor? His vendetta against me has harmed innocents before.”

“If I may be so bold, if you were so worried about this, why bring him on at all? Why not leave him to his banishment?” I ask him, hoping to allow him to draw is own conclusion and ease is own mind.

“Because there is no one with better control of ignis than myself. Arsenio may reject the teachings he learned when he was taught the warrior’s code when it comes to other warriors, but he has always been fiercely protective of females.” Danion’s head falls forwards, a furrow on his brow.

I smile at him, “Yes, I agree. Arsenio may be a right rultshart, but I do not believe he would intentionally harm your mate. Even to spite you.”

“It is easy to convince my head, the heart however is not so easily persuaded. I fear for her. She will no doubt be unaccustomed to hardship, and the life of a warrior king is no easy life.” Danion seems to suddenly realize how much he has let slip, he stands abruptly and moves to the door.

More than his concern over her safety, he is concerned she will not be happy with him. An understandable worry for a mate to experience.

Danion nods to me in farewell, and exits the room.

Now alone, the smile fades while the pain I keep locked away blasts its way through my defenses. I send a pray to the stars that Danion’s mate loves him, and provides him the peace that only a mate can give.

To walk these endless years of existence alone is no laughing matter. It is enough to sour you against immortality. Because what good is living forever when you are trapped in your own personal nightmare?

Gelder Shorts

Gelder Shorts: Chapter Two- Etan’s Hidden Pain Part 1

I am so happy to announce chapter two is here! These will be coming out weekly on Wednesdays and will be slightly different from the previous chapter’s layout. These will build off eachother more and not jump around so much in the story line to help provide more depth to the struglle Etan is going through in the beginning parts of Danion and Eleanor’s story.

Reading the books that introduce these character is not necessary, they are entertaining in their own right, but I do recommend checking the books out if you enjoy these stories. You get  more depth to the characters, and may just pick up on little clues about upcoming books.

I am planning some more exciting things for the blog, so anything in particular you want to see drop a comment below. Also, don’t forget to follow the blog to get up to date lists of all the new posts.

As always, happy reading!

Gelder Shorts- Chapter Two: Etan’s Hidden Pain Part 1


I stare at my king with a pleasant smile on my face. It is deceiving, this smile of mine. Some would say I am blessed with the ability to always appear peaceful. But I know it is a curse.

I have lost everything that I have ever cared about because of this deim lineage. Caeli, one of the great lineages it is the power of air. As a Gelder warrior, I am gifted with the ability to control certain forms of matter in the world around me. All warriors possess some form of control, but only a few have risen to the level of master in one of the great lineages.

I am so lucky, and so unlucky as it were.

Each lineage comes with its own specific form of side effects. Warriors who are masters in the fire lineage ignis, for example, are quick to anger. Hotheads every one of them.

But caeli is so much worse. I am cursed to be tied to happiness, no matter my own true emotions. I am driven to help others, to shed light into the darkness. I am light-hearted, but that does not mean I am without feeling. It is easy an easy mistake to make. The air that flows so readily through me provides me with a calm personality.

I am often the self-volunteered therapist to my fellow warriors, and even my king. Whenever tensions rise in our group, I am the one who can calm the storms.

Which will most definitely be needed soon, if what I am hearing from Danion our king is correct.

He is bringing the traitor Arsenio out from his exile to fill the ranks of our soon to be queen’s praesidium. To grant a traitor such an exalted position will not go over well. I can sense the unease in my fellow warriors.

More so in Malin, our anium master. He is normally hard to ruffle, his control over the elements of water granting him the ability to roll with whatever arises. But given his history with Arsenio, it is of little surprise that this news would be upsetting.

I hear a door opening to my left, and turn towards the sound. What I see shocks even me, Arsenio himself walking in with arrogance dripping off him with every step. I sense a disturbance to my right, and look over to see Malin tense further and then walk out the door behind.

The room is filled with awkward, but no less deadly, tension. My warrior instincts prompt me to bend my knees just slightly and move my hands close to my sides where dozens of scimaars are concealed in my clothing. Prepared for anything.

“Warriors, you will need to put your personal feelings aside.” Danion, our King speaks in a deep gravelly voice. “We all know what Arsenio did to earn his banishment, but we all also know that no one is more gifted in fire. He will be brought on for the good of my mate.”

With those brief words, Danion too turns to leave. A wise choice, Arsenio’s dislike of Gelder custom is solely rooted in Danion himself not the rest of us.

One by one, the rest of the highest ranking warriors in the Gelder Fleet slowly file past Arsenio with no spoken words. I see only two who acknowledge him with a small nod of their head.

Internally I sigh, but on the outside no visible signs of my dislike of Arsenio is present. I remain where I am while the remaining warriors make their way to the door. Once we are alone, I speak.

“It appears I am the only one left to welcome you to our praesidium. I am sure Kowan, as leader, will be speaking with you at a later time.” Arsenio turns to stare at me with ill-disguised contempt.

“Oh, yes. The chipper fellow with the permanent smile on his face. What good will you do me?” He sneers to me. “Your power is laughable and you are still so deim positive it is downright sickening.”

He turns to leave the room, but I shoot my power out and lock him in place. With my ever present smile in place, I walk to him, enjoying his obvious annoyance at being trapped by a ‘chipper fellow’.

“Let us speak plainly here, you fool who possesses no honor. Caeli is a force to be reckoned with. Where your power makes you impulsive mine makes me calm. Where your power bashes rage against your mind, mine tempers all emotions on the surface.” I say it all with a smile.

While not impossible for me to lose a smile, it takes considerable emotional over load to achieve a somber appearance. But deep inside, the pain and the rage is always there. And it always will be, I have lost the only thing that could ever make me happy. Without it, my best hope is to live out a meaningful life filled with duty and honor.

“What emotions?” Arsenio bites out, but his body relaxes in the hold my power has on him. With barely a thought, I allow my weaves to dissipate.

“I feel every bit of what you did. The pain you caused and the death you wrought will forever be burnt into my memory. But, the curse of caeli compassion you so readily mock compels me to spare my brethren the pain your mere presence will bring.” I turn to walk towards the doo her entered from.

“Etan, why do you call it a curse?” Arsenio’s quiet words stop me in my tracks.

I turn to him and see nothing but curiosity in his gaze. I sense he needs to feel a connection to us, to me in order to find his way back to the path of duty and honor. So, as much as I don’t want to share with him I find myself opening my mouth to bring life to words I have never uttered before.

“Because, Arsenio, on the surface I am a happy male with no concerns at all. But underneath that veneer that I cannot fight, is a male who has lost everything because no one can see past that wall my power puts out. I once thought true happiness was within my grasp, only to have my very self deprive me of it.  Because everyone sees the happy, and is blind to the hidden pain inside.”

I turn to look him in the eye, this warrior who was labeled a traitor for his heinous crimes against his own people.

“I am wracked with so much suffering inside that if I could, I would cry.” I stare at him, allowing my words to penetrate. Warriors don’t cry, but of how I wish I could. “But, crying is not something a caeli master can do. We are filled with an unrelenting drive to bring joy to those around us.  We are cursed to spread happiness, but wallow in our own despair.”