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Ninjago Series Inspirations


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I receive my inspirations from so many different sources, some you may not understand how, but here they are. :)

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Key Locations in Ninjago along with Chosen Themes

Some of the locations are actual locations in Ninjago while others are strictly fictional. The themes that I have chosen for these places are for my own enjoyment and inspiration and belong to their respected creators. Please enjoy!!

Sasha's hometown: Poseidonia www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQhtMP… or if link doesn't work Final Fantasy 7 ost Costa De Sol

Kai and Nya's hometown: Ignacia *real location* www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV-ex7… starting from 0:55 and loops (couldn't find the title of said song)

Jay's home in the Sea of Sand *real location* www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl_9EJ… or if link doesn't work Ratchet and Clank 2 ost Tabora Mining Area

Cole's hometown: Temblor www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mn_PI… or if link doesn't work Assasin's Creed 2 ost Home in Florence

Ebony's hometown: Twilight City www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4eN6y… or if link doesn't work Kingdom Hearts 2 ost Sacred Moon

Zane's birthplace: laboratory (located in Birchwood Forest east of Malcalania Forest) www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yzcc0… or if link doesn't work Final Fantasy 8 ost Find your Way

Dominique's hometown: Ninjago City *actual location* www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQMiQZ… or if link doesn't work Kingdom Hearts ost Traverse Town

Ayane's hometown: Shika www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qXX6o… or if link doesn't work Final Fantasy 10 ost Servants of the Mountain

The Destiny's Bounty: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld8t8o… or if link doesn't work Ninja Gaiden ost Monastery Destroyed

The Forest of Ramza: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fwkjz-… or if link doesn't work Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time Forest Temple

Music is one of my most inspirational sources to go to for my fanfiction. I hope you've enjoyed these fine tunes and I'll probably add a few more down the line once more locations are revealed. :D

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The Mary-Sue and Stu Demographic

Journal Entry: Fri Jan 30, 2015, 12:34 PM




I think people have really forgotten what Mary Sues and Stus are (or Gary Sues nowadays). Don't they know it has absolutely nothing to do with physical characteristics? No where in Fan-Fiction, that I have seen anyway, states that: "Depending of the core setting of your story, characters must look a certain way so that they DO NOT stand out." If there is a rule like that, please show it to me and I'll shut my trap. But the reason why I'm bringing this up is because I was just a little bored one day and was just moseying about looking at random stuff when I came across this poor author getting bashed to death by comments saying that all her characters are Mary Sues because of the way they look! 

I was literally floored by the petty ignorance within the comments, with each one getting more hurtful and distasteful as I went down the line. I went from shocked to pissed about halfway through and wanted to put those sorry suckers in their place so I went to type a comment. But as soon as I was finished with my rebuttal in the author's defense, I found out the comments had been disabled. And when I went back today to see how the author was doing, I found out that he/she had completely disappeared from DA. I know the author had probably been driven away by all the negative feedback he/she had received from their story and I can't imagine the likely frustration or melancholy they are probably going through.

So, I've decided to get this topic out in the open to not only relieve myself of my pent-up anger at people's ignorance, but also to strike out in defense to any author who may be feeling hesitant to publish their story because they're afraid of their OCs being labeled as Mary Sues or Stus solely based on their physical characteristics. So sit back and enjoy the ride because I'm about to set it off!

First off, it's been a long time since the concept of Mary-Sues and Stus been around, about 42 years in fact. So yeah, I understand that the concept may have gotten misconstrued and people started making up their own definitions of what Mary-Sues and Stus are. But for those of you who don't know where the proxy demographic came from, then let me school you for a sec.

It started back in 1973 when an author named Paula Smith released her parody called "A Trekkie's Tale" for the fandom, yep you guessed it, Star Trek. Her OC's name was "Mary Sue" and by golly was she as overpowered as all hell! She was a lieutenant in a fleet at only FIFTEEN YEARS OLD! She had incredible abilities and genius-level intelligence as she was always saving the canon characters from grave situations effortlessly. And apparently she had romantic relations with the Top Dogs of the series being: Spock, McCoy, and Kirk. I mean seriously, the canon characters shouldn't even had been there! Because not only could she do their jobs, but she could do them better. That, my friends, is what a Mary Sue truly is. An overpowered character who is poorly developed and is too perfect and lacking in realism to be interesting. Did you guys hear anything about what a character looks like? No!!!

I mean, c'mon people! If that was the case, almost every single character in Anime would be labeled a Mary Sue or Stu. A few examples: D from Vampire Hunter D, Sakura Haruno from Naruto (Hell, almost every character from Naruto), Zech Merquis from Gundam Wing, Bulma Briefs from Dragonball, Kamina from Gurren Lagann. Do I really have to go on because the list is endless! But the point is, they are no where classified as Mary Sues or Stus because that's not what defines that demographic. And I know what some of you are thinking: Oh, but we're not talking about canon characters. Those can't be considered Mary Sues or Stus. Uh, yes they can, sweethearts. But do you really think when Masashi Kishimoto-sama presented his first rough draft of characters to his senpais, they were like: "Oh can't use that hair color for that girl! It has to be a normal color! Here are your choices: blonde, brunette, black, or red to a realistic orange! That's all!" Nope, ten to one they liked the new and fresh style Kishimoto-sama was going for. Who doesn't want to see characters stand-out physically in some way? In my opinion, it keeps that character fresh in your mind because they don't look like the average Joe or Jane. 

Oh, and don't act like I haven't seen some of you guys on the Ninjago fandom either, creating lists like: "Your character is a Mary Sue if she looks like this" and whatnot. And I see stuff like, you can't have purple eyes or you can't have blue hair... It's obvious you guys don't know what the hell a Mary Sue actually is. Please wake up people! If you really want to give good advice to other writers or you wish to be a good critic, know your facts. Please! Just know your facts. Stop with the belittling of other author's OCs based solely on how they look and not discussing what they are bringing to the story. Look at the character development, their flaws and strengths, can you relate to these characters emotionally. That's what you want to read, isn't it? Especially in a world as fantastical as Ninjago. Come on now! Did you guys not see the blue-haired lego women walking around last season? I say, bring on the rainbow colored hair and the fancy-colored eyes and the different hues of skin! Make them look unique enough for us to take them seriously and keep them in our heads, because that's what really counts in the end. Please look for: how that character is portrayed, how engaging the author's plot is, and how their OCs intermingle with the canon.


VelvetPersona signing off!

 

  • Mood: Rage
  • Listening to: Disturbed....Can you blame me...
  • Reading: Seekers: The River of Lost Bears
  • Watching: Seinfeld
  • Playing: Devil May Cry....Again, can you blame me...
  • Eating: Chicken
  • Drinking: Mountain Dew
Sasha and I stampede through the door, shaking ourselves and breathing heavily in an act of feigned desperation. Although I can't see them, I can sense that there are people here.

My eyes take care to scan the spacious room carefully as I run a deliberate hand through my hair. The place looks to be straight out of an old Western movie. The floors are wood-lined, though a rather elaborately-patterned rug lay before a stone fireplace between rustic and wicker furniture alike. Adjacent to the fireplace sits a large but dated television set. It's almost identical to the one my dad owns to be honest, if not for a few minor details. Neatly stacked magazines lay on an end table as well as a few forgotten mugs.

The rafters arced high above our heads, giving view of the second floor boardwalk. I follow the carved wooden banisters to two flights of stairs connecting and leading downward to our position. I can easily deduce that the rooms the tenants would be using are on the next level. Overall, it appears very quaint and gives off a homey vibe, but regardless of that, I keep my guard up.

"Ahhh, it feels good in here." Sasha sighs graciously and I nod in agreement. Compared to the heat and humidity outside, this place has a nice circulation of cool air going around.

Definitely feels like they have A.C., guess they are keeping up with the times in some areas…

"Hello!?" I call out, stepping forward to lean on the high counter of what has to be a type of receptionist desk. And complete with one of those old-fashioned service bells… Hmm… I cock an eyebrow at the small silver instrument, the polished shine of it tempting me to give it a ring.

"What in tarnation…?!"

Not as soon as I lift my hand, a middle-aged woman comes pattering briskly from two swinging saloon-style doors to greet us, her hands busy wiping themselves on her flower-printed apron. Her face is a bit pale with plenty of worry lines etching throughout, and there's a dull shine to her flaxen hair as it was pulled back into a messy bun.

A wary scowl mars her features, but when her eyes fall on us, surprise and disbelief is all I can see.

"Goodness… Where on Atlas' claw did you two come from?! Don't y'all know there's black showers happenin' out there?!" She questions incredulously, making her way to us while pointing in blatant warning towards the door we just came from.

I hastily lower my hand. "Uh… Yes, Ma'am," I reply earnestly, taking a dip into my acting skills. I throw her a sheepish grin and make a grab for Sasha's hand. "Sorry to intrude upon you like this. We came from the town of Vash, hoping to get to Foxworth City. We hadn't planned on stopping here at Monsoon, but when we saw the blackening of the skies…"I let the notion hang and shrug helplessly for good measure.

The lady nods grimly and stations herself behind the tall counter. "Find shelter as quickly as possible, huh? Right on ya. But y'all must've left Vash pretty darn early to be here now." She jerks her head over to an antique-looking grandfather clock standing in the corner. "Barely pass nine."

"Yes, Ma'am," Sasha continues on politely. "We left Vash a little past five this morning so that we could use as much daylight as we could since we were traveling on foot and all. We had just reached the outskirts of Monsoon when we saw the ink start to gather. We couldn't beat the downpour, but luckily we found your abode before the rain got too hot." Her eyes become downcast in guilt before flickering back up to the one across from us, a very convincing expression of sorrow masking her face thoroughly. "Again, we are so sorry for barging in like we did. We know you probably weren't expecting anybody, but this cabin was the closest too us."

The woman's hand flies in front of her face in a bothersome way as if she was swatting away an annoying fly. "Oh humbug," she says dismissively. "No need to go apologizin' for wantin' to live to see another day…unlike that husband of mine…" she grumbles, snorting derisively and rolling her eyes at her partner's presumed absurdness. I want to try subtly pressing her for more details, but she sobers up too quickly and gives us a pointed look. "I'm just glad y'all didn't go a knockin' on one of them home cabins. They don't open their doors for nothin' or nobody during black showers, bad luck and all that."

That little bit of news isn't all that surprising considering the abundance of folklores and superstitions surrounding the infamous black storms, so I think nothing of it. Sasha and I both simply nod vigorously in agreement with the woman and the worry lines on her face smooth out some as she lets a smile slowly stretch on her thin lips. Gentility replaces the circumspection in her eyes as she gestures to us with a wave of her arm.

"Well y'all were sorry 'bout manners and all, so ain't it polite to introduce yourselves to folks when meeting 'em for the first time?"

"Oh! Right you are, Ma'am." I glance over at Sasha with a smile and she plays the blushing bride role superbly by sending me a secret grin in return and leaning in close in order to nuzzle my shoulder affectionately. My heart thumps readily in fondness, not only for her fortuitous actions but for her in general. "My name is Cole Belmonte and this is my wife, Sasha."

The slight smile gives way to a full-blown beam. "Ah-ha! I knew you two were together! And what a lovely couple y'all make! The name's Rosemary McGunther and welcome to McGunther's Bed and Breakfast! The finest B&B you'll find on this side of the bayou!" Rosemary exclaims enthusiastically and extends a hand.

After pleasantries are exchanged, Rosemary gives us an informative run-down of the place like a proper hostess. Apparently, it's been in her family for four generations and was now run by her and her husband, Montgomery. And interestingly enough, it appears Mr. McGunther has another responsibility. As it turns out, he's also in charge of organizing and leading the caravan.

"Well I sure hope he's not planning to go out today," Sasha remarks worriedly and Rosemary rolls her honey-brown eyes for a second time.

"I told him not to!" she admonishes exasperatedly. "But that hubby of mine can be as stubborn as a water buck! He says he'll wait it out 'til the appropriate time to see if the showers let-up, but regardless if they is or ain't, he plans on callin' up the boys!"

I open my mouth to respond, but just as I do, the door to the right and behind Rosemary suddenly swings open, revealing an older man.

"Don't be spouting our business to strangers, Rose," the gruff-looking man growls with narrowed blue eyes in our direction. "They're just boarders, ain't they? So stop flappin' yo gums and just help them get settled."

Rosemary lifts her nose and plants her hands firmly on her narrow hips. "Oh please! Women have been doin' this for centuries so don't go tryin' to stop it now!" She snaps back then cuts her eyes angrily at the newcomer. "I just don't want you out there sacrificin' our boys, Monty!"

I eye him warily. So that's Montgomery…

Montgomery's upper lip twitches into a sort of snarl. "Ain't nobody sacrificin' nothin', woman! I said I'd wait, didn't I?!"

"Yeah, and you gone be waitin' 'til the showers completely pass over us!" Rosemary counters fiercely.

"Ain't nothin' but a little hot water!" Montgomery rebuttals, his steely gaze now fixed firmly on his wife. "All we gotta do is cover up good!"

I frown at his reasoning and speak up before Rosemary can fire back a retort. "But Sir, surely you know the black showers are transitional? While boiling temps may be the most common that can change in the blink-of-an-eye. It's not worth the risk. Think of the lives of your men. And yours for that matter."

Montgomery sucks his teeth and glowers at me from his peripheral. "Ain't yo business, Boy," he sneers and I can see the threatening glint in his eye. "You a guest here, so act like it." His attention refocuses on Rosemary. "I'll be in the back. Bring me my coffee when it's ready." And with that, he turns on his heel and stalks the short distance back to where he came from, the door closing behind him with a loud click.

Rosemary huffs indignantly, blowing her stringy bangs from her forehead. She juts a thumb at the closed door and eyes us. "See? Water buck. And not just any water buck, an old water buck," she quips with a smirk and Sasha giggles softly.

Rosemary's merriment fades and she graces me with an apologetic look. "I'm sorry, Cole. I sure hope Monty didn't offend you."

I shake my head for reassurance, but unfortunately I can't get my frown to drop. "I'm fine, don't worry about it. It'll take a lot more than that to ruffle my feathers." Not that I enjoyed being called "Boy" when I'm clearly not. Hadn't been a "Boy" in years.

I'm a grown-ass man, damnit! Sasha touches my arm and I glance down at her gentle smiling face. She can see right through me.

My frown loosens. "I'm okay, Hun," I say softly and she dips her head empathetically before turning it upward and taking a few sniffs.

"Mmmm…something smells good," she breathes with approval and gazes at Rosemary with an almost childlike eagerness. "What is that?"

Rosemary claps her hands happily and wags her finger. "Oh I see yo wife has a nose for fine cookin', Cole!" She boasts with obvious pride. I take a few sniffs myself, but I can't say the smell is good per se, though it's not bad either, just…different. "What you are smellin', Dearie is a Monsoon specialty. My very own, one of a kind Swamp Snake Stew! Guaranteed to put a smile on your face and hair on your chest!" She laughs out loud and Sasha laughs with her while my stomach just turns in revulsion.

Swamp Snake Stew?! Wouldn't that be the same as eating the Serpentine?! Urgh! Gross! I hate snakes in every shape or form!

"Should be just about done simmerin' actually," Rosemary carries on with sparkling eyes while opening a large book and grabbing a pen. "Want me to bring y'all a bowl when it's done?"

My stomach clenches painfully. Eww! Hell no! "Uh, no thanks," I decline quickly and muscle a pacifying smile on my face. "It hasn't been that long since we ate breakfast so—"

"Actually, I am kinda hungry, Cole," Sasha interrupts and I turn wide eyes to her. She taps her chin thoughtfully, seeming to ignore my incredulous stare and grins over at Rosemary. "I wouldn't mind trying some, it smells deliciously spicy."

"That's because it is!" Rosemary bursts as if Sasha made some million-dollar observation. "My word you have got a good nose!" She stops her jubilatory candor and gives my partner a sly sidelong look. "You wouldn't be pregnant now, wouldja? You are practically glowing!"

My heart stutters at the teasing notion. What had been lingering at the back of my mind now resolutely thrusts its way to the front. However, Sasha is none the wiser and just laughs joyously. "No, not yet, but some day hopefully. I can just identify culinary talent is all."

"Oh then well! Why don't we mosey on over to the kitchen so you can taste the culinary talent of Monsoon, shall we?" Rosemary sings confidently and slaps a key down on the desk right in front of me.

I blink at the coppery gold piece in bewilderment for a second then glance up just as Rosemary winks at me. "Upstairs. Third door on the right, Stallion. No charge."

My mind had completely veered off track, still caught on the possibility of Sasha being pregnant. I know Rosemary said something, but unfortunately I didn't catch it. I can only stare at her wordlessly.

"No charge? Mrs. McGunther, are you sure? What about your husband? Wouldn't he be upset if we stayed without paying?" Sasha asks, coming to my rescue.

"Well of course I am! Do y'all really think I'd be heartless enough to charge people who just want shelter from those mean ol' black showers?" She flips a page and scribbles something down in her book, her eyes focused on her task. "And don't worry about my hubby, he don't actually run anything here. His main responsibility is that caravan. Oh, and no more of that "Mrs. McGunther" hogwash, okay? Just Rose or Rosemary will do."

She closes her book with an almighty sigh and puts down her pen. "Takes care of that. Now come along Sasha and follow me into the kitchen and Cole, you head on up to y'all's room to get settled. Those bags and case look mighty heavy."

I mentally shake myself out of my stupor and express my thanks. "We really appreciate your hospitality, Rosemary. Uhh…" I raise a hand to scratch at my head. "What room did you say again?" I ask, feeling my cheeks warm shamefully.

Rosemary chuckles. "Upstairs, third room on the right." She keeps her voice light and warm. "Make yourself at home and call me for anything."

Sasha's lips graze my cheek. "If you're not hungry, I'll bring you something nice and cold to drink, okay?"

I smile. "That'll be perfect, thanks, Hun."

She steps around me and joins with Rosemary. "Oh, I reckon I have a fresh pitcher of peach tea in the fridge. It's my own special blend 'cuz I sweeten it with gooseberries instead of sugar."

"Wow really? Have you ever tried boysenberry extract? You'd be surprised at its potency."

"Why no I haven't! I'd have to remember to try it next time! I can't wait 'til you try my stew, it's not for everybody, I admit, but I have a good feelin' you'll like it…"

The two women saunter their way to the double saloon doors which I guess leads to the kitchen, talking and laughing amicably amongst themselves as if they'd known each other for years despite their age difference. My eyes follow Sasha's every move, the pep of her steps, the radiance of her smile… She doesn't appear too tired anymore.

Could she really be pregnant…? Surely she would've told me if something was wrong by now… Unless…she doesn't know…

Once I'm alone, I grab the key from the counter and begin my trek towards the stairs to make for the second floor. I can still hear the black showers rage from outside, reminding me of my true purpose for being here to begin with. By sheer force of will, I refocus on my objective and start piecing together the information I learned from Rosemary as I climb the slightly creaky steps.

Okay so, Rosemary's husband, Montgomery, is in charge of the caravan and he might or might not wait out the black showers. I take a glimpse at my watch. Still got about an hour and a half left before the "appropriate time", so we'll keep watch and see what happens. Hmm, and he could be the same "Montgomery" Jay and the others ran into the other day although, he wasn't chewing anything… Anyway, what gets me though is how against Rosemary was to Montgomery trying to leave during the storm. If she's hypnotized, wouldn't she be agreeing with him? Or maybe she is and that was just an elaborate ruse down there she played to throw us off… Damnit! If only we knew more about Hypnobrai power! If only we had something to look for to give us a sign of hypnotism besides physical aggression!

A frustrated frown twists my lips as I stop at the top of the stairs. My mind is a little too pessimistic right now to appreciate the retro décor, but I do take notice that the place doesn't have a lot of rooms. I only count eight doors in the hallway, all of them numbered accordingly: five on the right and three more on the opposite side passed the banister's opening overlooking the entrance. I finger the key in my hand and head for me and Sasha's borrowed room.

But if knowing that Rosemary's behavior might be a ruse…is it really wise for me to leave Sasha down there with her? No, what am I talking about? Even if Rosemary were to suddenly attack her, Sasha is more than strong enough to overpower her... But…she was pretty lax down there… What if she let her guard down too much and Rosemary got the drop on her? What if she got hurt? What if her…and the baby got hurt…?

The black case I'm holding slips from my grasp and lands on the floor with a thunderous bang. My heart almost stops beating as cold fear grips me at an alarming rate. I try to swallow several times to regain moisture in my mouth and when I finally do, I impulsively whirl around and open it.

"Sa—"

Don't you dare! A voice growls deeply in my head, the stern vehemence of it stopping me from crying out Sasha's name. What on Leviathan's scales are you doing?! Pick up that case and get inside that room. NOW!

My mind is a convoluted mess, but I know Lord Atlas when I hear him. "B-B-But, Sasha…"

Be silent! It is not sociably acceptable to stand alone and talk to oneself, is it?! Now move it! You have no definitive proof that your mate is with young! So behaving like an emotional imbecile is unnecessary! Giving into any type of fear during a mission can lead to fatal consequences! This logic has been inscribed onto your very bones, Cole!

With each word Lord Atlas roared, I found more of my resolve. I quickly pick the weapons' case back up and with a shaky hand, insert the key in the door to our room. Unlocking it, I shuffle into the darkness and close the door, taking several deep breaths.

That's it, Young Titan…one breath at a time. Keep your wits about you though, you are on foreign territory. Keep those keen senses sharp and go about checking these quarters like any competent shinobi would.

Letting my lord's rumbling alto soothe my nerves, I listen to his coaching and fumble along the nearest wall for a light switch. My hand lands on a small protrusion and I flick it up. Bright light instantly floods the room and I start forward with steady and cautious steps, keeping my senses alert for any hidden dangers. I place the weapons' case on the round wooden table near the front and set me and Sasha's duffel bags on the floor at the foot of a plaid-covered bed. Like the rest of the establishment, the room is charming, homey, and purely done with the Old West in mind.

"Damn, this place will light up like a roman candle if it ever caught fire with all the wicker furniture around," I observe warily, eyeing the rocking chair near the window and the fancy armoire.

Another old-fashioned television set sits in the corner of the room though it's not nearly as big as the one in the reception area. I try turning it on, but am only greeted with blaring static no matter what channel I pick. "Can't say I'm surprised…" I mumble just as a crack of lightning rips in my ear.

After checking every nook and cranny of the room, I check the two doors next: one leading to a small closet with…wicker hangers and the other leading to a nice clean bathroom complete with a two-in-one shower and tub combo. My eyes search for any possible traps or unnecessary obstructions in both spaces and after finding none, I walk back over to the window (moving aside the rocking chair) and push back the plaid curtains.

"Perfect…" Well the scenery is just as dark and dreary as ever except for the peppering of gold from the lanterns strewn about the town. And thanks to them, I'm able to discern the imposingly sturdy silhouette of a storehouse on the opposite side of the General Store. From Hayate's surveillance feed, that's where the caravan is located, and when it's ready, those barn doors will open and set out en route for the forest located in southeast.

I check my watch again. We still have to wait well over an hour before seeing who or what will break first, Montgomery McGunther or the black showers.

With any luck, this will be an uneventful stake-out. However, if the showers recede before or even after the designated time, you'll have to make communications with the ones you assigned to watch the caravan and make sure they are in position. And if that human proves mentally deranged and charges out during the storm, call for a convergence immediately.

Yeah, I know… I tell the God of Earth. I've calmed down considerably since my little "freak-out" in the hallway and I think it's about time I express my gratitude to the armored grizzly. Thanks, Lord Atlas. I…I don't know what came over me back there.

The bear growls a chuckle. I do, he huffs. Fear-driven instinct took over and all you could think about was protecting your mate and the offspring within her…which you don't even know if she has.

I swallow down my anxiety, my heartbeat already pounding in my ears. What about you, my lord? Isn't there a way for you to tell?

Hmph! Afraid not. Not even Levi knows. Hehehe,it is rather amusing though to witness the mighty dragon squirming from not knowing. Although, I'd be lying if I were to say I didn't feel tremors of anticipation coursing through my pelt. The possibility of more advocates is very appealing to us… But no. All we are able to discern is that your Elemental Tethering with her is strong, which in itself is a good sign.

My brow furrows in thought. There've been other signs too… I remove my gloves and stick them in my coat pocket. I glance at my left hand. One of the most recent is being this ring. She made it clear that there was no real sentiment behind it and was to only be used to make our guises as husband and wife more authentic. She got so furious at me for saying I liked it, which I admit was sort of a lie. I mean gold jewelry does look kinda gaudy on me after all. But those mood swings… And then the whole deal with the snake soup…urgh… And there have been signs at home too, and I'm not the only one who has seen them. Almost everybody on the Bounty thinks something's wrong with Sasha, especially Ayane. She's actually the one who confirmed my suspicions.

Ah yes, the human born with the spirit of a wolf, Amaterasu's daughter. Yes, I can definitely see her "sniffing" that out first. Another gruff growl of a chuckle. But seriously, communication between mates is very important… Talk to her.

I sigh heavily. Yeah, I can't wait any longer. If Sasha won't say anything then I will. I have to know.

It's been eating you up inside, hasn't it?

Now more than ever. It's like a carnivorous bacteria's been unleashed.

Hehehehehe… Oh, and I will divulge something I've learned from Levi which he learned from Waves about the Kunoichi of Water.

I listen intently. Despite the contraception medication your mate is taking…she is still quite fertile. And with you being so young and robust…the same goes for you.

I release the breath I had unconsciously held. So there is a good chance Sasha could be pregnant. I could be a father soon, and Sasha a mother. We could have our very own little family…soon. An impetuous smile curves excitedly on my lips. "If it's true…then they'll be a lot to plan."

"Hey Cole, can you open the door please? My hands are full!"

Sasha's voice carries through the barrier of the door and I rush to open it for her. I open the wooden access to see her grinning broadly with a copper tray in hand, a steaming bowl and two mugs resting on top. She utters a quick "Thanks." as I step aside and let her pass.

"Whoa, didn't expect to see an alligator skull over the bed," she muses while sitting the tray down on the table beside the weapons' case. "Or is that a crocodile's? I can never tell the difference. Ayane probably could." She dips her finger into the murky reddish-brown broth of her stew and sucks on it. "So how's it look in here?" She asks, glancing about.

"Well…" I check the hallway once then close the door before facing her again. "As long as someone doesn't throw a Molotov cocktail through the window, I think we're good."

She approaches me with a mug, a light chortle playing from her pretty full lips. "Yeah, they must really love their wicker," she remarks, handing me the cup. I frown apprehensively down at the floating ice cubes. I can't tell what the liquid sloshing around is. The interior is much too dark.

"Don't worry, it really is peach tea and it's very good. Go ahead." She turns around as I lift the mug to take a tentative sip. As soon the first sweet drops hit my tongue, I'm overcome with thirst and greedily down more of the refreshingly cool beverage. Soon, my upper lip hits nothing but ice as the last streams of tea careens heavenly down my gullet. I lower my mug and wipe my mouth with the back of my sleeve.

Yeah, that really hit the spot… I look up to find Sasha standing by the window where I was previously and I make my way over to her.

"Is that it?" She asks, pointing vaguely to the darkened barn and I nod at her dank rainy reflection.

"Yeah, the caravan's in there. Hasn't been any movement, or people scurrying towards or away from it yet," I reply, casting my critical gaze along the mudded streets below.

"And hopefully it stays that way for the time being," she mutters, then exhales roughly through her nose and moves haughtily away from the window towards the table where she left the tray. "God, I just hate the Serpentine," she spats, grabbing her bowl. Her spoon stirs around viciously enough that I can hear the *clink clink* of silver against glass.

I walk towards her cautiously as she gathers a smoky spoonful and shoves it into her mouth. A disgusted grimace crosses my face when she slurps up what had to be the end of a tail. She chews ferociously on her mouthful, scowling all the while, and points her spoon at me.

"I understand Lloyd, ya know?" She says over a mouthful of snake and whatever else is in the soup. She swallows and licks her lips. "I'll never commit genocide or anything, mind you. I just can understand the need to kill 'em all off. They're just too damn vindictive!"

I can only stare at her as she gulps down another savage spoonful. But then, her face softens and she moans in satisfied appreciation. "Mmmm…. Man, Rosemary really put her foot in this. You really are missin' out here, Cole…" She reaches down to retrieve her mug and takes a hearty swig. "Oh but don't worry, she was kind enough to give me the recipe, so I can make it for dinner one night for everybody."

Oh God…

Her face brightens even more. "Mm! I almost forgot to tell you, Rose is making ambrosias later! Doesn't that sound delicious?! You know she uses Clementine oranges as well as peaches? Leviathan, I hope we're here long enough for that—"

"Sasha!" I cut in quickly before she can continue her burbling. Does she really not realize how rapid her mood swings are? She just passed through five different emotions all within a span of two minutes!

She looks at me expectantly, eyebrows lifted. I remain cautious as I come within reach of her, like how one would approach a wild animal. I put my mug on the table behind her and place a hand on the small of her back.

"I'd like to talk to you about something," I say quietly and gently guide her to the bed. I take a glimpse at the window, glad that I can still see the barn and sit down in front of her when she lowers herself. Platinum irises gleam brilliantly in intensity as she watches me with curiosity.

She holds her bowl comfortably in her lap. "What is it, Cole? Is something wrong? Did you find out something?" She asks and I peer deeply into the eyes that I have come to love, trust, and admire.

Okay, use careful deliberation here, Cole. Say the right words, no foul ups.

"Yes Sasha, I think I might have…and it's about you." Her brow crinkles and I take inaudible breath. "I've noticed some things about you recently and…"

"Oh really?" The "look" settles in on her face. "And what, pray tell, did you "notice" about me?"

*clink clink clink clink clink clink clink*

I look down at her lap and see that the fingers of her left hand are moving. I realize then, the bottom of her engagement ring must be tapping the bowl repeatedly to make the restless sounds. I raise my gaze back up to her face and swallow. She's already getting defensive, and that seemingly passive expression on her face is a definite "red flag" for me to tread softly.

I keep calm and push forward. "Alright, but before I do, is there anything that you want to tell me? Do you notice anything…different about yourself?"

Her eyes thin and her lips form a silent question. Then, realizations dawns, and the rapid "clinking" of her bowl stops. She seems to deflate with relief and I frown when she releases an airy chuckle.

"Oh Cole…" She smirks and eyes me with clear amusement. "I'm not pregnant, okay?"

She lifts her spoon to her mouth; it filled to the brim with a mound of saucy chunks. "Are you sure?" I blurt out and the spoon stops its ascent. "Can you really look me in the eye and tell me with one hundred percent certainty that you aren't pregnant?" The hand holding the spoon trembles and thick broth collects and drips from the bottom and into the bowl.

She looks at me, the passiveness having fled from her face to be readily replaced by uncertainty and doubt. "I started noticing some…irregularities in your behavior a few weeks ago," I begin with confidence. It's time for me to tell her everything. "You remember that time you and I went to the grocery store in Nellyville? You wanted to get the ingredients to make a bunch of sweet potato pies to donate to the bake sale Ebony informed us about for Starlight."

Her eyes narrow and she lowers her spoon to her bowl. "Yeah, I remember. So?" She asks defiantly.

I cock a deliberate eyebrow. "So you don't think you were unnecessarily rude to the girl who was bagging our food?"

Sasha sucks her teeth. "Cole, everybody knows when you have either heavy or a lot of canned goods you're supposed to double bag them. It's not my fault she didn't have any common sense."

"True, but that was no reason to make her cry."

"She shouldn't have rolled her eyes at me then," she counters back with a sneer of contempt. "I'm Sasha Graciano, damnit! I don't play that crap! And did you see the way she was dressed?! And at a workplace! Hmph! I bet her bed was as easy to get into as a community college."

I bite the inside of my cheek to keep a grin from spreading, knowing I have to stay serious and firm. Composing myself, I barrel forth. "But that's just it, Sasha. I know you don't take any smack, but you've never added maliciousness to your sassiness. And it's not just in public where I've seen you lash out. It's at home too. Remember when you threatened to kick Mydnyte through an electric fan?"

"She scratched-up my favorite pillow!" She defends furiously, nearly rising from the bed. "And she knows she's not supposed to be in me and Ayane's room to begin with! She knows Howard and Lilia are nesting in there! Those eggs are going to be hatching any day now!"

I know I don't need to remind Sasha that Mydnyte's just a cat, so I only look pointedly at her. Her chest heaves and she puts a stressed hand on her flushed face. "Okay, maybe I have been a little hormonal, but that doesn't mean I'm pregnant."

I shake my head in agreement with her. "No, it doesn't. Not alone anyway. But when coupled with your new eating habits, I'd say it's a sign."

She levels me with a withering glare. "Now what are you talking about?"

"Well…" I take a moment to glance at the window. A flash of thunder illuminates the outside for a few seconds allowing me to view the barn clearly. Still nothing. However, the showers seem to be weakening if only slightly, the rain not falling nearly as hard as it was before.

I turn back to Sasha and have to ward off a physical flinch; her eyes are raging like a hurricane! Rarely am I on the receiving end of such an intimidating look and from it, I can guess that my head is just above water. I've boasted before about having no fears, but the wrath of women is a new type of terror that I'm not very immune to.

Especially the wrath of a woman as strong as Sasha…

Willing my stomach not to freeze up, I soldier on. "It's just that…you've been eating more than your fair share as of late and…frequently. Take last night for instance; you ate two burritos, a plate of enchiladas and tamales, a quesadilla and some rice, and three tacos. Tell me that's not more than your usual intake?"

I'm encouraged when her gaze wavers and she averts her eyes to her lap. "That's… I'm just… I love Mexican food…" she mumbles weakly and I place a hand on her shoulder in an attempt to comfort her.

"Yes, I know you do, Hun," I say soothingly. "And that's why I got really worried when you developed an aversion to avocados." Even at the name, her face wrinkles in distaste, but there's also a hint of nervousness too. "You used to love avocados, Sasha. Boasting about how they were so much better than apples, trying to see if you could hit someone on the back of the head with the giant seed."

She grins a little at that, but doesn't comment. "And last night, when I saw you didn't put a drop of guacamole on any of your food, only scrunched up your face and asked for salsa instead…?" I shake my head with a shrug. "What was I supposed to think?" I remove my hand and gesture to her half-filled bowl. "And now you're having these weird cravings and…eating Swamp Snake Soup. Sasha, all of these things are early signs of pregnancy."

"Stew…"

I blink. "Huh?" Her head hangs low, but I see her shoulders seize and her body begin to shake. "It's stew *sniff* not soup," she gasps and wipes at her face. My heart clenches painfully at seeing her distress. "I-It smelled good and—and…I was hungry and…"

Her words turn to tears and I instinctively reach for her. "Hun…" I gently take the bowl of stew from her limp hands and put it on the nightstand beside her. I then bring her to me. "C'mere, amore. You know I didn't mean to make you cry, right?"

Her head bobs against my shoulder as her body convulses into heart-wrenching sobs. Our position is a bit awkward, but I hug her as best I can and kiss the tightly braided red tresses.

"Va tutto bene, amore. Tutto sta andando bene. Prometto." (It's okay, Love. Everything's going to be fine. I promise.) Though she's not fluent, I have been teaching Sasha Italian as she was teaching me Portuguese. She once told me that my voice changes pitch when I speak my native tongue and that she loves the soothing vibe it emits. So I hope my merited words reach her in earnest.

Her sniffles had quieted and her breathing wasn't as ragged anymore. "Meglio?" (Better?) I ask and loosen my hold somewhat as she pulls back. Her eyes are red-rimmed from crying, but she's still so beautiful.

"How do you know? The symptoms, I mean?" She asks and I wipe a stray tear away from her cheek with my thumb.

"Well frankly, I had my suspicions that something was off with you, and everybody back home came to me asking if I knew what was wrong with you because they noticed things too. But it was Ayane who flat-out asked me if you were pregnant. And after my initial dumbstruck, we decided to catalogue all of your symptoms and go online to check. There were a number of possibilities, of course, but pregnancy was the only one that lined up all your new behavior patterns."

"But Cole," Her grip on my shoulders tightens and I can see more fear creep onto her face. "I don't have morning sickness and-," Her lips purse angrily and the beginning of another storm brews in her rainy depths, "-my God, I haven't had my period in seven years! I'm on birth control! I don't ovulate regularly! How is it possible?!"

My hands move to frame her face. Her emotions are running rampant again. "I know, Sasha. You told me in Temblor. But birth control isn't infallible, its sole purpose is to regulate your uh…" I falter and fumble with my next words, "y-your uh…"Womanly Days"… and reduce your chances of becoming pregnant. It doesn't eliminate the chance."

She stares at me for a long while, her eyes wide and disbelieving. Then suddenly a dark scowl shadows her face and she jerks herself away from me and rises from the bed. I sit motionless as she gestures wildly at me.

"So that's it! You and the others notice that I've become a little moody and greedy and chalk it off as pregnancy!? Well let me tell you somethin', Adonis!" Her finger pokes my chest hard. "I'm not on just an 'ol birth control! It's top-of-the-line, you hear me?! I was twelve years old when I went to that gynecologist with my momma and even though I was young, my understandin' was pretty damn good! He said as long as I was on this pill, it would be very difficult for me to have children, but when I decided to get off it, it would take my ovaries six months to a year to start producing eggs regularly! Now are you tryin' to say that that man lied to me and my momma!? Or is it because of your giant cock and rock-hard sperm that this is happening?!"

Her breathing is sporadic, causing her ample breasts to rise and fall rapidly. Her voice had grown hoarse from yelling and fresh tears streamed in rivulets down her flushed face. She shakes her head once and takes a few steps back away from me.

She then covers her face with her hands…and weeps.

Sasha has never cried so much and my heart instinctively went out to her. But…her words had caused a throbbing ache within me. I stand up slowly and approach her quivering form.

My hand lifts, but it feels heavy. Too heavy to put on her delicate shoulder, I let it drop. My voice comes, solemn and quiet. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry that…I'm putting you through all this and…" I nearly choke on my next words. "…I'm sorry that…" I swallow thickly, "…that…you regret…giving yourself to me…"

Despair and self-loathing was settling in like a dark cloud, but my anguish is overruled by surprise when Sasha abruptly hurls herself into my arms and we're sent stumbling and falling back onto the bed. We bounce from the sheer momentum and I'm left feeling slightly winded.

Sasha's guilt-stricken face is above me, her legs on either side of me, straddling my hips… We've been in this position many times before. She sniffs and cups my cheek, her touch is warm and I can feel the metallic coldness of her ring.

"Oh Cole… No, you're wrong and I'm sorry I made you think that I regretted our lovemaking. Because I don't, not at all. I gave myself to you because I love you, and I'll continue giving myself to you for the rest of my life and then some. I'm just…" Her eyes close and her frame shakes violently. "I'm just so scared," she confesses and opens her eyes to look despondently into mine. "I don't know if I'm ready for this yet."

The painful throb in my chest instantly dissipates and happy relief floods my body gratefully. She really scared me for a second there. Even though we've only made love a couple of times, words can't describe how much I relished in each moment. It's like I developed eidetic memory just for the times Sasha and I engaged in intercourse, and more often than not, I sometimes find myself escaping to those precious memories. They were more than just physical acts of pleasure; they symbolized the mutuality of our love for each other. And if she really had regretted our time together, I know I would've been left completely devastated and heartbroken.

Smiling, I carefully sit up and lean back on my elbows. "I'm really glad you feel that way, Sasha. And remember, this is all just speculation here. We won't know for sure if you're pregnant until you've…ya'know, tested."

She nods silently and wipes her face again. She looks so drained and weary… I sit up straighter and wound my arms around her body. I rest my brow against hers and hold her gaze. "Hey, I'll tell ya something else I noticed…" My smile widens. "Your maternal instincts are really kicking in. I've seen the way you handle Dominique. I'd say you'd rival even the great Ayane."

"Oh please…" she chuckles, her stormy depths glittering with gratitude. "If anyone's ready to be a mother, it's her and…Dominique's not a baby. She's just small and delicate. Who wouldn't want to protect her?"

"Maybe," I whisper, my hands smoothing over the soft fabric of her coat. "But I'm just saying that you have it in you. You'd be a wonderful mother, Sasha."

Her caramel cheeks lift a bit. "Maybe," she repeats me. "But what about you, Cole? Aren't you scared too?"

I reply without hesitation. "No, I'm not. Sasha, we both want kids and if they come sooner than expected then that's fine. It won't hinder me from supporting and taking care of you. As convenient as it would be if everything was planned out in advance, life doesn't work that way. But I know some things will happen for sure, without a doubt." My gaze hardens in resolution. "You are going to be my wife and you are the only woman I'll allow to be the mother of my children."

"Cole…" She stares at me dumbstruck, her eyes filling with more tears. But before they get a chance to fall, I press my lips gently against hers, effectively sealing my promise and dedication.

Her lips are salty from her previous cry, but are still so intoxicatingly moist and soft. I try to keep the kiss innocent, though it becomes increasingly difficult when she presses more firmly against me. Yet, to my surprise and albeit chagrin, she pulls back. My discontent is short-lived, however, when I see a lovely smile to match her blushing cheeks.

"You sound like you really want this…" she whispers breathlessly, but a flicker of worry touches her face, "…but, what if I'm not? How would you feel?"

I frown in quick thought. "I'd be lying if I said, I wouldn't be disappointed. Contrary to what Jay says, I'm not made of stone." I smile fondly at her quiet giggle. "But since I'm confident it will happen in the future, I'll simply hang on to that and move on."

She lowers her head and turns away. "You're so strong…" she mumbles. I'm not sure if I was meant to hear that or not, but before I could question her words, she swivels her head upright and faces me. "Nya has a few home pregnancy tests stashed away for emergencies. So when we get back, I'll…I'll use one."

My heart flutters in anticipation. "Okay," I exhale with obvious delight and she smiles somewhat shyly in return. My eyes widen, though, as I get a sudden epiphany. "Or, there is a general store right across the street. I could go and get one for you now?"

She shakes her head. "No, I think we've already proven to be too negligent in our duties for one day, don't you?"

My brow knits in confusion at her culpable expression. "Cole…the mission?"

Oh, shit! I hurriedly bring my arm back and glance down at my watch. 11:17. Thirteen minutes until the daily departure of the caravan. I turn back towards the window. The outside world is brightening with grey, dispelling the black and welcoming the rays of sunlight. I can now see the barn in greater detail…and the clutter of people in front of it. Montgomery must be out there. They're getting ready.

A small moan from Sasha has me turning back to her, her face contorted into a pained grimace.

"Sasha?" She places a hand on her head.

"I'm really sorry, Cole, but I've got to lie down. My head is pounding…must be from all the crying… I'm sorry."

"No, no don't worry about it. Here…" I reposition myself so that I can help make her more comfortable as she stretches out on the bed, her head nestles snuggly on the pillows. "Relax and rest up. We're not going anywhere right now."

She sends me a small tired smile and closes her eyes, though her brow is still puckered in discomfort. I place a chaste kiss to her cheek and roll off the bed and onto my feet, moving to stand at the foot. I make quick work of unzipping her high-heeled boots and sliding them off, at the same time, keeping an eye on the growing activity outside.

Once I set the boots on the ground, I amble to the window. I easily pick out Montgomery, his gruff appearance and gestures seeming out of place amongst the more pleasant mannerisms of the other men.

"Grumpy old terd…" I fork out my PMS from my coat pocket, ready to text Zane, when I see that I already have one from him. I read the message carefully.

(Jay and Nya finished the amplifier and gave it to me for installation at 9:17 A.M. As a safety measure, Jay came up with the notion to install the same hardware and acoustic of the sacred flute melody to the Bounty's computer system just in case your order of convergence was given. He and Nya had begun executing this plan right before Ayane and I left at 9:33 A.M. As it stands, we are now in position in the southeastern forest awaiting the approach of the caravan.)

I look at the time the message was sent…over an hour ago, at 10:17. I sigh shamefully and finally text my reply to him.

(Understood, and remind me to praise Jay for his wit later. Sorry for the late reply, I got very distracted with something important. Anyway, the caravan is getting ready to pull-out now and as you know, the black showers have ended. Keep your guard up though and keep communications open.)

I scan my message once before hitting the "send" button and tuck my phone back into my pocket. I take one last glimpse at the scurrying men outside the window then make my way back towards the bed. I'm relieved to see Sasha is wearing a more serene expression and I settle down noiselessly on the other side of her.

I take her hand in mine and watch her sleeping form, once again losing myself and letting the prospect of her possible condition become the forefront of my mentality.

I squeeze her hand tenderly. "First and foremost, you'll have me, Sasha. But you know what they say: "It takes a village to raise a child." And I'm sure everybody at home would be more than happy to be our little village."

I know it's improbable for us all to stay together forever. Sooner or later, we'll all have to strike out on our own and live our own lives with our chosen partners. But until that time comes, I will cherish the fact that my Ninja brothers and Kunoichi sisters are here with us and that for now and hopefully forever, we will be not only a respectable clan, but most importantly, a close-knit family.
Power of Aura Chapter 13
Again, sorry about the lame editing. I'll try to fix it as soon as I can. Thank you all very much for reading! :)
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Savage drops of rainwater pelt the windshield of the Tread Assault mercilessly and rumbles of disgruntlement drift over us like a looming threat. The twin golden stare of the Tread Assault's headlights provide a lighted path as we traverse the dark muddy road towards Monsoon. But even with the effect of the wipers trying to clear our view of the landscape, the straggly silhouettes of the distant wood cabins look hardly inviting amongst the encroaching darkness.

Sigh…black showers… The last thing we need right now…

Being a Poseidonian, I've always loved the water, rainstorms especially. But there was something about black showers that always seemed to…unnerve me. Granted, I've only experienced one firsthand back when I was a kid and Momma was pregnant with Sophia. I remember being baffled but also elated that Daddy was still home instead of out fishing that day and wanted to play with him. I was going to approach him, but as soon as I caught a glimpse out the window and saw what I thought were normal dark clouds forming in the sky, I promptly forgot my previous notion and rushed to the front door excitedly. I had barely gotten the call over my shoulder that I was going to go play in the rain when Daddy suddenly barred my path.

Never had I seen my father stare down at me with such severity and I had immediately withered and cowered at his fierce admonishing look. But the words he spoke next shook me even more than his penetrating gaze.

"Sasha, listen to me very carefully okay? When the sky turns black during the morning hours like this, it isn't a good thing. It's not Lord Leviathan gettin' ready to bless us with his waters, for which the sky turns grey not black. This is the work of the Kraken, our lord's eternal nemesis. They have been battling since the beginning of time, one never soundly defeating the other. And on occasion, sometimes the Kraken outwits our lord and releases his ink into our skies in crude retaliation. And the black showers that follow are never good, Sasha, no matter what anyone else tells you. Don't ever let the Kraken's black water touch you. Stay within the protection of shelter and calmly wait and pray for Lord Leviathan to push back the Kraken's influence."

I knew Daddy had only meant to warn me in good faith to be careful, but from then on I'd looked at darkening skies cautiously. Would Lord Leviathan puff sanctifying grey clouds from his nostrils? Or would the Kraken stretch a wicked tentacle through the sky and release his blasphemous ink?

Thankfully Lord Leviathan wins most of his battles with his maleficent archenemy, but other times like today… No, we'll get through this. The fingers of dread no longer poked at my spine. I now have the power to protect myself and others from the Kraken's venomous spray. But…only when I'm in their vicinity…

A cold tendril of anxiety slowly snakes around my heart. How will Zane and Ayane endure traveling through the black showers? If they're exposed—

"Sasha, text Zane and Ayane and tell them to take the northwestern mountain path located east of the Bounty's starboard bowel and from there, to travel through the copses of verdant trees. Following the trail of trees should lead them directly to their destination despite being somewhat of a detour. I'm sure one of them would've found the path by themselves, but…just in case."

I stare at Cole for a moment with a mixture of shock and awe, his eyes narrowed and fixated on the road ahead. Yes, the path he spoke of formed a cavernous underpass and would provide adequate cover for when Zane and Ayane used their transports to get down the cliff. And then that path would segued into a wide expanse of thick forestry, the large canopies of the verdant trees providing added cover all the way to the intercepting point.

Regardless of that expression being displayed too much as of late, I smile at his thin-lipped frown. Cole… Always thinking two steps ahead for the safety and wellbeing of the clan. He, of course, has been a leader for far longer than I have and so I've always taken my cues and learning curves from him. He never chastised or tried to dissuade me from thinking out loud, or from augmenting my sisters as I saw fit. He'd just advise me to "think carefully and quickly" for any and all situations.

However, unlike me, Cole hadn't been chosen to be the leader of his Ninja brothers. It just sort of happened, if I were to use his words. Sensei Wu had noticed Cole's natural leadership qualities and had let the transition occur willingly, and the others gradually followed suit. Cole never commandeered the position for himself, nor did he flaunt his sovereignty over his brothers. His orders would sound more like requests from a friend, not a commanding officer. It was his caring behavior that formulated and strengthened the bond of the brotherhood and makes them such a formidable force. He got to know his brothers and identified their individual strengths and weaknesses, and from his keen observations, he's been able to utilize them to their maximum capacity.

I keep my small smile intact as I relay the message to Zane and Ayane. We are equals, but I still have much to learn in regards to leadership.

The air is cool and comfortable inside the Tread Assault and I relax fully against my beau's hard body, knowing well enough that we don't have much farther to go until we reach Monsoon. And to prove case and point, I can discern through the muck and gloom, the dappled golden specks of light scattered amid the blackened silhouettes.

I close my eyes with an imperceptible sigh, feeling calm, ready, and confident that today's mission will be a success.

"Are you tired?" Cole asks quietly. I wasn't expecting him to say anything, really, with him being so focused and all, but I'm not going to shrug off his concern. I'm still not used to staying up all night, mission or not. And I have been feeling a little tired lately.

"A little," I admit, opening my eyes. "But I'm ready, so don't worry."

My head is resting on his shoulder, giving me a clear view of his strong sinewy neck and the glimmering amorilla necklace I gave him for his birthday. I ignore the hammering of the rain upon glass and instead concentrate on the slightly accelerated thump of Cole's heartbeat. I watch with lulled interest as his Adam's apple bobs when he swallows.

"Obviously can't leave the Tread Assault exposed, might need my scythe… Get ready, I'm about to dispel it. You got our story down?"

I lift my head and nod once, gathering my power within. "Yeah," I turn away from the fast approaching dreary marsh town and grace his profile with a brazen smile, "but it's not much of a story, is it?"

He chuckles, the frown melting away. He eyes me with confidence of his own. "Heh, yeah. Kind of a flimsy false pretense, huh? We're not married yet, but we're playing the happy newlywed couple."

Despite the threat of the black showers, and despite the danger of the mission and the probability of walking into a village hypnotized entirely by the Serpentine, I feel giddy. This covert reconnaissance might actually be fun. I let a playful smirk flit about my lips. "Promise me though that you'll try to restrain those newlywed urges and cuddly-wuddly impulses, okay? Mr. Graciano?"

Cole's emerald-jade eyes widen a fraction and his face goes slack-jawed, but he recovers quickly and grins, his eyes glinting roguishly. "Right back at ya! And don't think for a second that I'll be taking your name, amore. You'll be taking mine and you'll love it, just like you love everything else I give you."

My heart flutters as warmth floods my cheeks at his sly and resolute words. The more articulate Cole gets, the more difficult it becomes for me to counteract in my usual manner. His words didn't use to encumber me so easily and we could go back and forth for minutes to hours at a time. Now, however, he knows me inside out. I have bared my body and soul to him, and with my exposure, he's been able to one-up me more times than I care to admit. Funny, I find it both infuriating and heartwarming.

"L-Let's just do this!" I stutter, my face a complete flush. His cunning eyes roam over my expression quickly before he becomes somber.

Unexpectedly gentle, he whispers, "Hold on tight."

For a split second, I'm blinded by gold and the cool interior of the Tread Assault disappears as we're launched into darkness by the momentum of its dispel. Not sparing a moment more, I push my power outward just as suffocating humidity engulfs us without respite.

"Haaaahhh!" Although it isn't perfect, a dome of aqua surrounds Cole and me just as we touch ground with a loud splash. The black rain that falls is at a boiling point. That much is apparent as I can do nothing to stop the Kraken's wretched hot breath from seeping into our protective bubble. Damnable heat! However, Lord Leviathan's cold tears drip on our heads from the dome's crest, blessing us with a cooling effect and I send a small prayer in thanks to my lord before turning to look up at Cole's heavily shadowed face.

His hair has been slightly dampened by the overhead leak though he doesn't complain only nods his gratitude. I can somewhat see the straps of our overnight bags on his left shoulder and clutched in his right hand is a long case which undoubtedly housed our weapons. His other hand grips mine firmly.

"Let's go." And with that, we set off at a light trot and cover the remaining distance to the dimly lit town and take additional shelter under an overhanging eave. The black showers continue undeterred, battering the earth and creating static wails of grief as we walk along the creaky wooden planks of the building. Through multiple silent blinks of blinding white, I make out the bedraggled swamp town in all its miserable glory. Dandelion patches coupled with long swaying cattail stalks and reeds are strewn about, but the flowers' once sturdy stems now hung in depressed defeat from the black showers torment, their yellowed and naked heads bowing in submission as well. The earthen streets are loose and wet, caking and spreading muddy puddles where I'm sure used to be fresh dry tracks of some kind. There looks to be about two to three lanterns stationed to either a post or a rafter beam of each building, though their sickly sallow glow does nothing to make the village appear more welcoming only exemplify that there is a populace.

But regardless of the light, in the wake of a black shower, any town, city, or village will look haunting and desolate.

Cole and I stop under a particular lantern and I spot a few moths fluttering around the light source anxiously. Seems we aren't the only ones to brave the black showers today…

"Man… I'm really glad you're here with me. Regardless of how resilient my body is, I don't think I could handle being in the thick of this mess."

Cole's voice rings clear despite the violence of the scorching black rain and I tear my eyes away from the flying insects to find him glancing down at me with a soft smile curving on his lips, gratitude clearly written on his face. The sallow light from above tries to damper his appearance, but soundly fails and gives his olive complexion an attractive glowing contrast instead. And the never-ending droplets from my bubble have sodden his hair so much that his bangs have gone limp and obscured his left eye.

I return his grin and reach up to delicately push aside his wet hair. "Thanks. I'm just glad this technique works as well as it does. Plus, it doesn't take a lot outta me… But the black showers…" I can't help but let loose a sigh of distain. "I understand their convenience for this mission, but they are also an inconvenience too."

"Yeah," Cole breathes distractedly, his gaze strafing away from mine to survey the surrounding area. "We gotta stay positive though. The pros outweigh the cons here." He readjusts the straps on his shoulder before taking my hand in his again. His face hardens. "C'mon, we gotta find that B&B. According to the map we configured from Hayate's surveillance, it should be somewhere near the General Store."

I nod and we set off again, keeping under each building's eaves as we travel through the town drenched in black rain. Brighter lights were starting to drift from high and low windows of the cabins we encountered, signaling that the people were still trying to go about their day despite the black showers' ominous presence. Cole leads me back out onto the street, rightfully choosing to stay in the obscurity of darkness as much as we can as more cabins light up like holy beacons against the Kraken's vile ink.

These chalets must be residential… I thought keeping pace with Cole. I can easily imagine families and the like taking comfort in each others' company and lifting one another's' spirits in brace of this troubled time. Maybe even some believed in and prayed to Lord Leviathan here. I can't deny that it's a comforting thought.

However, a more dark and sinister thought surfaces. What if the people here are no more than human husks? What if they are mere marionettes on strings, made to act charades and invoke subterfuge all by the will of the abominable Hypnobrai? My stomach clenches painfully in anxiety and my eyes instinctively dart to and from each of the towering weathered cabins we pass.

My mood shifts with accordance to my trepidation and soon wariness sets in, my earlier playfulness completely gone. I purse my lips together tightly and inwardly berate myself for my prior foolishness. This was no time to be frivolous and carefree?! I should be vigilant and serious like I usually am during a mission! What is wrong with me?! Why do I feel so emotionally unbalanced so often!?

I give a small gasp of surprise when Cole suddenly stops in front of me and I quickly reach out to grasp his shoulder to keep from plowing into him, Jay's sardonic warning playing in my mind. Don't run into Cole, it hurts!

I release a subtle sigh of relief and come around to stand beside him, his finger pointing to one of the single-story cabins nearby.

"There! That's the General Store!" He shouts excitedly, but then his finger lowers in almost a hesitant way. "But…" He trails off sounding baffled, and after peering at the store carefully…I can see why.

Sure enough, the lantern hanging from the store's rafters illuminated the green-painted lettering on the display window, proving that the establishment is, in fact, a general store, but…

"It's…open…?" I whisper suspiciously. Bright white light floods from the store's window and within we can see the many tall wooden shelves lined with a variety of goods and products. Even from our angled view, everything shows as clear as day, as well as the "OPEN" sign hanging on the door.

Well, everything…except people. Not to say there aren't people in there.

"Cole?" My hand still grips his shoulder and I give it a light squeeze. I look up at his frowning face. "What do you think? Should we investigate?"

He doesn't answer me right away and I can understand his hesitation. While it may be worth checking out, it may also prove to be a complete waste of time. First and foremost, there's no way to physically identify a hypnotized person, and how are we supposed to determine what is or what's not "strange behavior" if we don't know the person? We'd have no choice but to provoke them into attacking us to find out for sure. Secondly, there are a few good reasons why they would be open. Maybe it was out of the kindness of their hearts? For the convenience of the citizenry if someone needed supplies or food to outlast the storm for however long it lasted? Or maybe the employees were advised to sit tight themselves instead of risking their lives to go home? Maybe they don't know the severity of the storm?

Too many different possibilities with an even wider range of variables. And if Cole were to call a convergence without concrete proof of the village's enslavement, then not only would we look bad for disrupting their lives and accusing them, but more importantly, we'd be putting more stress on the populace which they obviously don't need right now.

I shake my head. The cons outweigh the pros this time.

And it looks like Cole has come to the same conclusion. "No." He says at last. "The caravan is our best bet, let's stick to the plan." He tugs on my hand and nods forward. "Let's go."

Thankfully, the B&B is just around the corner, McGunther's Bed & Breakfast, to be exact. While we couldn't have been out here for more than fifteen minutes or so, I'd still be more comfortable with a roof over my head, powers or not.

Gods and Goddesses be praised!

We clamper up onto the boardwalk under the eave, and purposefully stand away from the lit windows and out of view of any passerby.

"Okay, they should have plenty of room. So if they refuse us, they damn sure better have a good reason."

I worry my bottom lip at this. This will also be a test then. Though I keep my thoughts to myself, there is a chance they may refuse us and it may have absolutely nothing to do with them being hypnotized. Racism still lingers over our world like a ghostly fog, as does many other human injustices. In a perfect world, all of these cruelties would be abolished, but unfortunately our realm is flawed and we humans are fickle.

Sadness and anger well up inside me and I can feel the prick of tears sting the corners of my eyes as past grievances play in my mind. I blink rapidly to stay them and just in time too, as Cole turns back to me.

"You ready, Sasha? As soon as I open the door, release your power…" He suddenly lifts his head to the crest, a thoughtful grin on his face. He then closes his eyes and his countenance relaxes even further, peace and tranquility in the form of water rolling off him in contented streams. "Though…I have to say I'm gonna miss this. Who would've thought that water constantly dripping on your head would be not only comfortable but…satisfying too."

I sniff inconspicuously and beam up at him. "Really?" I am more than used to this feeling of cool rivulets running and dripping down my face, but to hear Cole say he was pleased by the comfort Lord Leviathan's tears brought is a real delight, especially since he's more or less pretty indifferent about rain.

"Yeah…" he sighs blissfully then slowly returns his gaze to mine. His brow puckers and a familiar frown appears, though this one is more speculative. "It's as if…you're all around me, comforting me and relaxing me all the time. The water is cool, but also warm…like…one of your massages…" He rubs the back of his neck and gives a half-hearted shrug. "Ah…I don't know what I'm saying. Bottom line is that it feels good…really good."

I nod mutely in understanding, warmth feeling my heart and soul. He had trouble finding the right words to express his thoughts this time, but no matter. I understand perfectly. I don't ever expect him to be as eloquent as Zane, or as passionate as Kai, or as attentive as Jay.

He's the perfect dosage of everything I want and need. I feel like the love I have for him grows deeper and deeper each day and sometimes the love I feel can be overwhelming. But in spite of that, I wouldn't want it any other way.

He smiles softly and turns for the door, but I quickly stop him. "Cole, wait…" His eyebrows lift expectedly as he refocuses on me and I dig into my coat pocket to retrieve a simple gold band. I lift the hand that had been leading me all this time and slide his black glove off. I keep my eyes on the strong appendage as I slip the ring onto his left ring finger.

"Whoa… Sasha…"

"It's not for keeps, it's just temporary," I explain passively, however, my heart had been pounding in my ears since I first retrieved the ring from my pocket and unfortunately, still is. "We don't know how perceptive these people are going to be so better safe than sorry, right?"

"Uh… Yeah, but…"

I can feel his eyes burning holes through my forehead. He really wants me to meet his gaze, but I stubbornly refuse. I know this is no time to be idle, but I take the time anyway to inspect his hand thoroughly. Or to be more precise, the finger of which the ring encircled. I frown disagreeably; the gold band doesn't suit him at all, even though it fits okay.

Zane and Kai look good in gold… While Cole and Jay look good in silver or platinum shades…

When Cole first told me of the mission and the part we would play, my mind instantly drifted to the gold band and its usage in our little charade. I received the ring as a commemorative gift from an acquaintance back in my Marty Oppenheimer days. In truth, he was Jazz's first boyfriend (since I meet her anyway) and he was studying gemology in hopes of being a professional jeweler and goldsmith. I can't remember his name worth crap, but after he presented Jazz with a stunning promise ring he had crafted, he simply flicked me the gold band and winked at me saying, "Give it to your beau, see if he'll wear it."

I was happy he even thought of me, and maybe I should've given it to Peter when I was with him. Leviathan knows it probably would've suited him rather than Cole. My frown deepens. Cole is going to be my husband. He needs a ring that says his name and shows that his wife not only cares deeply for him, but also proves her complete devotion to him.

"I'll get you a better one," I declare determinedly. "One that you will be proud to wear and know how much I truly care for you."

"No seriously, Sasha, it's fine. I like it—"

I snap my head up furiously and glare at him. "Don't patronize me! It's not fine and you don't like it!" My chest heaves with my outburst and Cole looks completely taken aback, his eyes wide in alarm as he stares at me.

I didn't mean to snap and shout at him, I just want him to understand how I feel. I felt really jealous of Nya and that she could afford to give Jay such a beautiful ring. And it's not just beautiful either, it suits him, perfectly and anyone could tell that she put a lot of thought and love into her choice. And Jay… Heh, not a day goes by that he doesn't try to show off the blue diamond ring, almost always reaching for things with his left hand despite everyone knowing he's right-handed. The guy can really be insufferable at times.

It may be somewhat materialistic, but I want Cole to feel the same amount of pride Jay has for his ring. Hell, I want it to rival Jay's.

I don't have a lot of money, but surely I can get him something more worthwhile… Yeah, I have time.

I soften my gaze and my shoulders sag as the tension leaves my body. "I'm sorry, Cole. I just…" Another bout of tears threatens to fall and I take a deep shaky breath in an attempt to stifle my overflowing emotions and steady my heart. "Let me do this for you, okay?" I try to smile at him assuredly, but I'm not sure how good it is as he doesn't smile back. He just looks at me, his eyes slightly narrowed as he peers into mine. His gaze is searching, like he's trying to uncover some hidden secret within me, but I have no idea what.

"Okay…" he says slowly, his face still taut and stonewalled. It makes me wonder what exactly he's agreeing to, maybe something else besides the ring? I nod regardless though, and slip his glove back on.

"I'm ready. Let's get our game-faces on."

"…Okay…" he says again, his voice barely above a whisper. There's also something in his eyes I can't quite place, but before I get a chance to try, he turns away, taking my hand and grasping the door handle tight.

The moment he bursts through, I release my power.
Power of Aura Chapter 12
I have to edit this later since I get get StashWriter to work *sigh* Anyway, I'll update the second half/next chapter soon. I hope everyone can read this okay. If not, please FFN
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Theme Ten: Kai's Number One Fan

"It's getting harder and harder to find you all. You do know that don'tcha?" The Mailman said exasperatedly while tapping his fist against his lower back in an attempt to alleviate a nagging ache.

All five Ninja were gathered on the Bounty's deck going through some morning aesthetics before training when they saw the Mailman peddling hurriedly to catch up them on his flying bicycle. He now stood before them clearly winded and irritable with five letters in his hand, each of them a different color.

The Ninja didn't try to explain their nomadic habits, only waited patiently with grins in place for the Mailman to compose himself.

Sniffing indignantly, the Mailman adjusted his glasses and stroked his gray beard shrewdly. "Now let's see here… Zane from Ayane," he began, handing a glossy golden envelope over to Ninjago's one and only nindroid. The ice ninja took it gratefully with a soft smile, and noticed that it had been sealed with a white wolf head emblem.

"Jay from Nya…" Jay eagerly plucked the royal violet envelope from the Mailman's hand, his eyes gleaming as he peered at the deep blue eagle head emblem.

"Cole from Sasha…" The Leader of the Ninja stepped forward and removed the sea-shaded envelope from the Mailman's hand with careful consideration. He smiled earnestly at the black dragon head emblem.

"Lloyd from Dominique…" Lloyd frowned and stretched out a trembling hand to retrieve the envelope imbued with the relaxing color of a spring sunset. A scarlet blush instantly filled his cheeks as soon as he touched the edges of the slim sachet, and he stared with wonder and hope at the emerald green phoenix emblem.

Kai blinked at his clansmen as they held their special letters from their loved ones. He turned to the Mailman with a frown. "Where's mine—"

"And Kai gets another fan letter," The Mailman finished promptly, nearly blinding the red ninja as he thrust the ordinary white envelope in his face. Kai snatched it belligerently, if only to remove the obstruction from his view.

"Wait. Are you sure that's it?" He beseeched the aged courier desperately. "I mean, this is the first time the Kunoichi have contacted us since they left for their mission. I'm expecting something from Ebony, Ebony Garmadon."

The Mailman cocked a bored eyebrow at Kai, as nonchalant as ever. "I know the name, son," he deadpanned. "I've delivered letters to you from her before, remember? She just doesn't have one for you this time."

Kai shook his head in disbelief and followed after the Mailman as the latter approached his parked bike.

"Can you at least check that basket-thing on your back again? Just to be sure?"

The Mailman swung a leg over his transport with a fatigued sigh. "I don't need to check this basket-thing on my back again," he retorted indifferently then gave Kai a stern look. "I've been doing this before you could walk. I know my mail like the back of my hand which means… I don't. Make. Mistakes."

Kai glared heatedly into the older man's pious eyes. He was just about to say something snide when Cole spoke up from behind him.

"I wouldn't say that. Remember? You would've left the monastery without giving me my box with Rocky's food in it if I hadn't asked you to look again."

The Mailman's dark brown eyes widened to the size of his spectacles as he gaped over Kai's shoulder at the black ninja, clearly remembering his near blunder. He sobered up with a grumble and rolled his eyes at Kai's smirk before swinging his heavy straw basket to the ground. He dismounted and peaked inside his expansive carrier, shuffling both letters and packages around while mumbling to himself. After several moments of fruitless searching, he straightened up, his back popping loud enough for everyone to hear.

He lifted his straw hat from his head and wiped his brow with the back of his hand. "Sorry, son. Nothing from your woman. Maybe next time, huh?"

Kai's smirk fell away at the news and he watched hopelessly as the Mailman climbed back onto his bike and began pedaling. He soon became aloft and the others waved their farewells to the quickly disappearing form of the old courier's back.

The other Ninja crowded around their solemn brother and patted his shoulder consolingly.

"Don't worry, Kai. Maybe Eb didn't finish hers in time or something. You know how she likes to write," Jay speculated supportively.

"Yeah, wasn't her last letter to you like four pages long?" Cole supplied.

Zane squeezed his opposite's shoulder. "All of Ebony's actions have reason and thought behind them, Brother. Exhibit patience. She'll send you her love soon enough."

Kai nodded absently at all his brothers' words of comfort, but there was one voice missing…

Cole, Zane, and Jay turned their heads expectantly towards the Green Ninja, who was more or less still staring astounded at Dominique's letter in his hand.

Jay cleared his throat loudly, causing the blond to glance up with a start. Rich wine eyes blinked owlishly at the three waiting Ninja. "Uhh… I agree?"

Simultaneous huffs of exasperation sounded from the three elders as they watched Lloyd shrug with a guilty face. Jay shook his head and turned back to Kai. "Anyway, you know it's gonna come. So just chillax and read your fan mail. That always inflates your head," he quipped, hoping to get a rise out of the fire ninja, but Kai just nodded again. "Yeah, thanks guys."

The three frowned at their brother's despondent mood, though chose not to offer anymore words and turned away with a final reassuring pat to his shoulders. Lloyd was already striding hurriedly to the door of the interior.

"Wait Lloyd," Zane called out with an outstretched hand. "Do you need help deciphering Dominique's Braille again?"

Lloyd froze and ever so slowly swiveled his head to look at the tall white ninja over his shoulder. He eyed Zane's innocent grin with trepidation, remembering all too well what happened last time when the other sat with him to decode one of Dominique's letters. Lloyd had experienced absolute mortification as Zane read each word out loud when his nimble fingers traced the small orderly bumps. But what made it so humiliating was that he would add his own little commentary at the end of each sentence as if he was trying to decipher some type of grand meaning to Dominique's words and speculate them to Lloyd:

"Hmm… She speaks so fondly of you, Lloyd. However, I am perplexed as to why she would use the word "endure" here. Does she wish to "endure" her emotions towards you? Or perhaps she wishes to "endure" the consequences her emotions bring…? My…what a fascinating letter Dominique has written. I am most intrigued, aren't you? Now, let us continue…"

After that, Lloyd swore never again and worked tirelessly to learn how to read and write Braille on his own. "No thanks, Zane," he replied with a forced smile. "I got it."

However, the nindroid took no offense and dipped his head affirmatively. "As you wish. I only ask that you let me know if you have any difficulty." He smiled serenely. "I would be more that pleased to assist you."

"Yeah, I promise," Lloyd said and all but sprinted inside to safety.

Cole cocked a thick black eyebrow at the now closed door Lloyd retreated behind, and then shrugged. "Well, I think we can procrastinate a bit since Lloyd ran out of here as if his ass was on fire. We'll pick up training in an hour fellas," he said and began leisurely following the Green Ninja's path, Jay and Zane behind him.

Jay suddenly stopped and glanced at Kai when he noticed the red ninja hadn't moved. "Kai? You comin'?" He asked, but Kai shook his head. "Nah, I'm gonna stay out here."

"Oh… Okay." Jay's attentive sapphires followed his best friend's form as the latter went to sit down on the deck, his back resting against the mast. He didn't like seeing any of his brothers miserable truthfully, but it really tugged at his heartstrings to bear witness to Kai's melancholy, especially since he was closest to him. He sighed in forlorn acquiescence and followed Cole and Zane inside, leaving Kai to his solitude.

Kai sat for several moments just eyeing the plain white envelope in his hand, before finally breaking the seal and removing the two neatly folded papers from within. He then started to read the neat cursive writing quietly to himself.

Dear Kai,

I know you probably get plenty of these types of letters, but I hope this one stands out to you the most. I have been covertly observing you for quite some time I admit and wish to share with you my findings. Truth is, I wish to alleviate the pressures of my heart about you through terms on paper, since I know for certain that I will never have the courage to voice my feelings to you in person. There is much for me to say, so please bear with me.

Kai blinked at the eloquently written words, realizing this was unlike any fan mail he'd ever received before. The part about the person secretly watching him was definitely suspicious, but he only felt impressed that the person had enough skill to keep him within their sights whenever he was in public. He didn't get his hopes up though, as he expected this fan whoever he or she might be was just going to gush about how cool or great he was. Shrugging nonchalantly, he continued to read.

It is a wonder you've survived so long with how recklessly impetuous you are. My heart had always thumped in fear and anger when you barreled forth headlong into danger without a second thought to your safety. Do you not realize how precious life is? You do, don't you? Maybe it was none of my business to try to understand the way the mind works for such an instinctual being, but no matter how much I wanted to not think about you, I almost always did. And from further observation, I learned that that imbecilic carelessness was really the essence of raw bravery. It wasn't that you didn't care about life; you simply wanted to put your life on the line for others. I can empathize with your reasoning, but you still frighten me. And I think you'll always make me fear for you.

Kai's heart was beating soundly in his chest. This person had been close enough to witness him in combat? And what's more, the person's words about him were true. Even Sensei Wu had told Kai how infuriating he could be and to exercise more caution, but Kai's body would react first before his mind had time to produce a coherent thought in the face of danger. The overwhelming instincts to protect, defend, and eliminate the threats to his friends and innocent people flowed heavily in his veins. He could almost say that it was unstoppable. This person had an eye to look underneath the underneath and worried immensely for his safety and wellbeing. Kai swallowed thickly and read on.

As your element ordained, you have brought heat and fire to my life. Unbeknownst to me, I have become very conscious of you and it goes far beyond merely sensing your presence, Kai. It is like my soul reaches out to you, as if it's willingly searching for you. I find that I want you close to me, close enough to burn. No, please disregard that previous statement. That was a bit too much, I was digressing. I wasn't always like this, so open with my emotions. You are so stubborn, always pushing forward when you have a particular goal in mind. However, I am relieved at your obstinacy as well as appreciative. When the spirits of your clan members are falling, you are the first to shout words of encouragement. You are integral to the hierarchy of your clan because you bring the strength of passion. I really admire that trait about you, Kai. You are truly a fearsome and powerful man to have changed my outlook on life.

Kai closed his eyes and smiled at the carefully worded praise within the letter. Happiness washed over him like a tide. But more than that, as he had continued to read, the identity of his fan had become blatantly clear to him, and he could easily hear a melodious sultry voice whisper these very words in his ear.

"Ebony…"

So she had written to him after all. But Kai wondered why she would employ such subterfuge. Was she really that embarrassed to say these things to him personally? Kai's heart calmed and his spirit soared. He decided he would have a nice long talk with her about the contents of this letter when she returned. He opened his eyes and fervently referred to the next page, but to his chagrin, the following parchment was completely devoid of words and had only a single silver handprint on it. Kai starred quizzically for a moment at the odd way Ebony would end her letter and placed the page down on the deck. His first instinct was to place his hand on top to mirror hers so that's what he did.

And just as abruptly, both pages of Ebony's letter erupted into black flames.

"What the hell…?" Kai watched the pieces of paper wither into fine ash then swirl purposefully together. The small mound of powder gradually gave shape to form that of a bird's and when the edge of the beak granulated into a sharp point, the bird shook itself. The ash instantly fell away to reveal lustrous black feathers and the avian opened its dangerous bill to release a sound Kai was quite familiar with.

"A raven…"

An animal known to be a keeper of secrets, the animal Kai had associated Ebony with long ago, was staring at him with knowing silver eyes. The raven cawed at him once more before shifting on its talons to show its back. Kai smirked devilishly at what he saw.

Strapped to the raven's back was a beautiful silver envelope sealed carefully with the emblem of a blood red stallion's head. Kai understood Ebony's intent. "Haha…and I thought Ayane was shy…" The Kunoichi of Darkness had intentionally wanted Kai to read the letter, but also wanted it to be destroyed. Torn between the two, she opted to send it disguised as regular fan mail to throw him off. However, she most likely guessed that he would figure out it was her who wrote it, and due to embarrassment, she couldn't properly end the letter so chose to simply replace it in hopes of eliminating her bout of unexplained weakness. Ebony couldn't express her feelings through her standard letters so she tried a different approach…but unfortunately backed out at the last minute. The whole act was inexplicably adorable.

Kai tenderly removed the envelope from the raven's back strap, his smirk still intact and the bird hopped onto his arm when he offered it. The raven cocked its head, staring intently into Kai's sharp golden-amber eyes with an air of patience.

"Hurry up and get back here. I'll save what I really want to say for then. You just be ready for it."

The raven held his gaze for a moment more before spreading its wings and kicking off Kai's arm into the heavens. It fluttered low then quickly gained altitude and before long, it was only a tiny dark speck against the clear blue sky.

Kai smiled down at the warm silver envelope in his hands. Having fans was nice, he'd admit that in a second, but he knew who his number one fan would always be. And that thought made his life all the more sweeter.
Chibijago! Kai's Number One Fan

This was just a little diddy I coughed up to help me get my creative juices flowing again. And it helped, I do feel better.

Hope you enjoyed!

Reviews/Requests are welcome!

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I listen with half an ear as Cole once again explained the details and overall objective of today's mission. The clouds are dark and ominous, withholding their precious rainwater with barely restrained wills. A few drops are already falling, the calm before the storm. The sky rumbles and my soul shakes.

Something terrible is going to happen today… I can feel it…

I debate internally on whether or not to bring up my worrisome thoughts. My intuition has never failed me before so… But what could I warn them about? The omen from the sky? The Serpentine? All I have are these hunches, these irregular pricks to my subconscious.

Everyone was geared-up and ready to go, their masks and hoods obscuring their expressions, but I could see the alert and focus within their eyes. Sasha and Cole were the only ones dressed normally; completing their guises as mere visitors once they reach Monsoon. I avert my gaze from the two leaders and let it wander until it falls on the two youngest members of our group.

Lloyd, his posture slipshod, his eyes focused on the leaders in a very unenthused way. And Dominique…her and Dusk blink in unison as the little fox's head peeks out of the opening of her zipped-up windbreaker. I don't like the sight of her hunched shoulders, her stance as slouched as Lloyd's but unlike his, she appears more haggard and fatigued.

Phoenix and fox blink again, this time more owlishly than the last…

While Dusk yawns and emits a soft whine, Dominique un-pockets a hand and rubs lethargically at her eyes.

Did she not get enough sleep? Is she sick? Or is this… More troublesome thoughts convolute my mind, although I cling onto one in particular.

Is Darkness already taking its toll? A stray nor'easter howls a troubled ballad and only I am affected, my hair tousling at the gale's requiem. Tempest…? I can feel the warmth through my gauntlets as they pulse, a second heartbeat that only I can hear.

Will Cereza train Dominique? Her tone was clipped and serious, lacking the usual light-heartedness and whimsy.

I…I don't know. I answer truthfully. Since yesterday, when my sisters and I witnessed Ebony's dismal outburst, the issue had never been truly resolved. It simply hung in the air in uncertainty. Would Ebony train Dominique?

"…I would rather die trying to protect my mother… I would rather fight Dominique…"

Spoken with such vehemence and melancholy… and if I was to declare judgment based from that…

What about Oblivion? I ask, mentally shaking off the cold tremor that seized my body. Did you ask him? Or…her?

That vague, cryptic jouster?! By Sylph's wings Number Two should be stripped of all power for withholding secrets from us! That rogue knows something the rest of us don't, but refuses to relinquish anything pertaining to Cereza! I have already pleaded with Waves to do something to loosen Oblivion's tongue, but my efforts were for naught! Not even Number One can delve into the obscurity and come back unscathed! That facetious faux pas! It is imperative that the Phoenix receives meticulous training in all the Counter-brink Elements, but that…

Only a few more relevant statements are made before Tempest segues into platitudes, passionately fuming about the utter distaste she has for the second oldest of the Four. Though to me, it sometimes sounds like she's a hormonal teenager with a crush on the local bad boy…or girl. But my mind goes fickle, wondering more and more about Ebony's future. If she refuses…what will happen to Dominique? To us? To Ninjago as a whole? Could that be what my intuition is telling me?

My eyes trail upward again… The bleak sky…

Will Ebony abandon us to fight beside her other kin…against us…?

How would we be able to compensate? Could we compensate?

Ever since her origins had been revealed in their entirety, Tempest has referred to Ebony as "Cereza". Simply omitting her…human name. Why? Yes, it is the name her parents gave her, but… But…I feel that that name puts up a wall between her and us. I don't ever want to think about a time when I would have to brandish my blades violently against a kunoichi sister. She's much too important to me, to Kai, to all of us.

We are a family. We are connected by something much more potent than blood.

Is it wrong of me to always want her to remain just Ebony Youngblood? To have her flat-out reject her other half in favor of her always remaining by our sides without refute?

Tempest had quieted, however every now and again she would huff and mumble incoherently in bitter distain. I believe now I can get her attention. I must know why?

Tempest…

"—amplifier is ready?"

I'm shocked out of my internal trepidations to see Ebony's eyes staring questionably at me…her and Kai's. I knit my brow in confusion.

What's going on?

I flinch when someone grabs my hand.

"Don't worry Cole, we got it covered." Jay. I release a shuddering breath and look to him before focusing back to the front. "We just need a few more hours to make some minor adjustments before we can hand it over to Zane for installation."

Cole frowns at me and I avert my eyes guiltily for not paying attention. He then turns to Jay. "Alright then. Zane, Ayane, you two wait here until Jay and Nya finish the amplifier. The caravan doesn't go into transit until 11:30, so that allows you plenty of time to beat it and get into position. But still, work fast you guys. I want Zane and Ayane to be able to leave as soon as possible… We don't need any surprises."

"No worries," Jay says again easily.

I catch Sasha's eye and the silent question of concern on her lips. I subtly shake my head in dismissal and tighten my hold on Jay's hand. When he responds by pulling me closer to his side, a welcomed wave of calm caresses me and I lean slightly against him.

He was there for me last night…as always. I couldn't sleep, being belligerently plagued with these nagging thoughts of disaster. And since my roommate was elsewhere (I easily guessed where), I was left alone in the moonlit room with only a slumbering Mydnyte to keep me company. In the past, I had always been the one to go to Jay's room when something was troubling me during the twilight hours. So you could imagine my surprise when he suddenly appeared at my door to retrieve me. He gave me a somewhat shy smile and silently took my hand. And he didn't let go. Not even when we reached his room. Not even when we cuddled together in his bed. Not even when I finally found peace and drifted off to sleep, locked in his embrace and comforted by the steady rhythm of his heart.

I continually felt the warmth of his body, the security of his hand all through the night until morning.

"Alright guys, stay alert and we'll keep in touch on our end. See ya tomorrow." Cole grabs his and Sasha's overnight bags and leaps over the railing. Sasha stops before following after Cole and looks pointedly at me.

"We'll talk later," she says knowingly, then sweeps her gaze over the others. "Stay safe everyone." Soon, she's gone too.

In a matter of seconds, we all see the Tread Assault launch over the cliff and speed off in the direction of the dreary Monsoon in the distance.

"What's their problem," Lloyd mumbles. "Could they be anymore repetitious?"

"Cole is still deeply concerned about Slithraa's last words," Zane rationalizes in the ninja leader's defense. "Despite his participation in the camaraderie last night at dinner, I doubt he obtained any sleep."

"Yeah but, isn't that how he normally is?" I turn to look at Kai, his back against the mast with his arms crossed. "The guy's a total worrywart! Don't you guys remember Sensei Wu telling us that Cole doesn't sleep the night before a mission?"

There's a silence of agreement. And it looks like Sasha's formed a similar habit as well… Ayane has confirmed on more than one occasion that Sasha spends nights prior to missions with Cole in his room. The restless meanderings of the leaders prove just how dedicated they are in not only insuring the success of a mission, but also the safety and wellbeing of the clan. Not one of their strategies have ever been misconstrued, however I still believe that they need to appoint second-in-commands, if only for reassurance purposes.

The leak in the heavens worsens as more drops fall and thunder quakes the air in passionate clarity. The dark skies festers its humidity until it's almost choking to me. What I thought in the beginning to it being just a forebodingly bad storm, it has drudged up memories from the past with its growing minacity.

I give a mental shake and broaden my resilience. The near black skies don't lie though. We are in for black showers. With another almighty growl of thunder from above, we are finally assaulted by the downpour. The thick drops fall loud and quick upon the deck, reminiscent of rapid knocks on one's door.

"C'mon!" Kai yells over the strengthening rain, already striding briskly towards the cabin's double doors. "Let's get inside before the water heats up!"

I keep hold of Jay's hand as we follow my brother, just behind Dominique and Ayane. Black showers undergo varying effects, but the most common is the increased temperature of the rainwater. Sometimes the temp stays consistent and refreshing and feels like you're just under a nice hot shower, and other times it can reach a boiling point and feel as painful as hot grease, blistering your skin. And I don't think anyone wants to stay here and find out which one it's going to be.

There are a few other effects that have been recorded by meteorologists, but the most dangerous to date is if the water solidifies due to the chemical imbalance in the atmosphere. Each drop will then take the shape of miniature stalactites and stab and pummel you relentlessly for the duration of the storm. I have seen the worst case scenario. Homes have been destroyed, people and animals killed with their bodies littered and impaled with thick needle-like crystals.

These storms have been dubbed "black showers" because, while they only happen during the day, when they do, the cumulous clouds grow so dark and become so plentiful that they blotch out the sun entirely and cloak the cowering landscapes in complete darkness. But their biggest offense is their malevolent interchangeable abilities.

But I had been alone during that black shower… Kai had told me to stay in the room with Dad while he went to call for help… I stayed right beside him too… I didn't move… I stared unblinkingly at my father's tranquil face for I don't know how long… It was supposed to be just a normal day for a slowly healing family… So why didn't you wake up…? Why didn't you come and greet us like you always did…?

I grimace behind my mask and irritably flick my damp bangs off my forehead only for them to resume their rightful place a moment later. Black shower occurrences are rare, but when they do happen, I'm left to fight off the dreadful memories of my past. I always succeed though and this time will be no different.

"I sure hope Sasha and Cole are alright?" Ayane frets, handing towels to Dominique and Lloyd. Her eyes maneuvered over the children with maternal care before regarding us. "Maybe we should've postponed the mission for a more weather-favorable day."

Zane crosses under the arc leading to the dining room, the flap of skin along his pale forearm lifted as he utilized his other hand to press at some keys. The grace and acceleration of his gloved digits spoke of urgency, but when he replaced the flap and looked over at Ayane, his countenance displayed nothing but serene assurance.

"Sasha will shield Cole from any ill effects the black showers bring. And in any event, my dear…" Zane fingers a few of Ayane's wild golden locks fondly. "Shinobi must always be prepared to act regardless if conditions are favorable or not. One cannot let fear of the unknown stop him from acting."

Despite the blush on her cheeks, the blond huntress looks like she wants to protest, but stops, relents and deflates, her features creasing in apprehension as her eyes roam to Dominique sitting at the table. Our Phoenix was busy patting Dusk's head and face dry, a small smile lighting her lips while she worked with loving diligence. Lloyd was standing off to the side, more near the swinging doors of the kitchen than the table. He seemed to be constantly flexing his right hand, perhaps in an act of restlessness. The towel he received from Ayane draped carelessly over one of the backs of the chairs.

"Day has been overpowered by night…" Ayane whispers solemnly. "Black showers disturb the natural balance of things. I'm glad they're considered uncommon."

"Well, one thing's for sure." I peer up at Jay just as he throws his hood back. He runs a quick hand through his neatly cropped chestnut hair and levels his stare at the surrounding clan members, the lights within his sapphires brighter than usual as they naturally are during any type of storm. "Within a few hours, we'll be able to find out if the townsfolk are possessed or not."

"Huh? How do you figure?" Kai questions, an eyebrow cocked dubiously.

"Well, whether or not the caravan moves at all," Jay retorts then gives further explanation. "Typically, people run for shelter at the first sign of black showers. If they're determined to move regardless…"

He let the notion hang and the rest of us catch on quickly.

"Definitely possessed," Ebony murmurs with a slight shake of her head. "But we must also take into account the duration of the showers. 11:30 is still hours away. If the storm ends before then, we will be back at square one."

My brother's eyes suddenly widen. "Cole must've realized the same thing! The black showers are actually a blessing in disguise for once! That's why he wants Zane and Ayane in position as soon as possible! If he and Sasha spot the caravan being loaded up during the storm, he'll immediately signal for a convergence! Instead of Zane, the amplifier would only need to be installed in the Bounty's computer, and then all we'd have to do is fly over the village and blast the sacred flute melody!" Kai chuckles wryly and rubs the back of his head, his eyes planted on the hardwood floor. "I didn't even look at it from that angle…" he whispers in awe. "I guess there's more than cake in that guy's head."

Ebony crosses her arms under her chest. "We can only hope that today's events unfold in that exact tandem. If we can reduce the length of time it takes to complete this mission, we'll finally be able to begin our search for my father."

That got everyone's attention, especially Lloyd's, his eyes wide as saucers as he regards his sister with mixed emotions I can't place. Dominique is the only one who looks relatively confused.

"Um Ebony…?" Ayane begins tentatively. She walks forward and peeks out of the dining room, her hand gripping the edge of the dividing wall. There's a nervous glint in her eyes as she peers at our youngest sister from around the corner. "Cole said that we weren't to start looking for Garmadon until after Dominique decided what path she would take, remember?"

A tense silence follows, but Ebony's calm demeanor contradicts the static in the air. She gives Ayane a side-long glance. "Dominique can still take as long as she needs to. However, I refuse to rest on my laurels doing nothing when I could be doing something."

You could begin training Dominique… That would be something…

I keep quiet though and watch with rising anxiety as Ebony shows her back to us, "I still find it highly improbable that he is the one who will release the Agamemnon, but if we could locate him…I'm willing to bet that he could point us in the right direction as to who the real perpetrator is. That way…we could stop the prophecy from happening altogether."

"You can't stop a prophecy from happening, Ebony," Kai puts forth aggressively, his hand clenched tightly at his side. "If anything, you'd only be prolonging the inevitable…or worst speeding it up."

The long white braid pulls up when Ebony bows her head.

"You'd take me with you this time, right ane?!" Lloyd exclaims eagerly, but my brother whips his head around and pins the youth down with an authoritative glare.

"She's not going anywhere!"

"Yes, Lloyd…" Ebony's voice…smooth, calm, resolute. Her dark iris glows faintly in the dim lighting of the hallway as she pierces Kai with a challenging stare over her shoulder. "…I would take you with me."

The stare down between my brother and Ebony could've only lasted a moment before the latter turned away, but within that moment, I saw the disbelief and contrite in Kai's depths.

"I'm going to go check the bridge's computers for any activity," Ebony states evenly and starts forward, down the hall. Lloyd bounds after her and once he's by her side, he takes her hand. She glances down at him but says nothing. Then, they turn and disappear inside the den.

I can still see them despite their retreat. The children of Garmadon… Their linked hands…a consensual agreement to try and go against fate. Are we not only in danger of losing Ebony, but Lloyd too?

"I…I'm sorry." I pivot my gaze to Dominique sitting at the table. She looks miserable, the downturn of her mouth making her expression visibly depressed. She appears just as contrite as Kai was earlier. "I am holding…everything back." Dusk's ears fold back against his head and he leans forward to nuzzle her affectionately.

"Oh no Dominique that's not it," Ayane rushes to reassure and goes to sit beside her. She brushes a few loose curls back from the girl's dispirited face. "It's not your fault at all and Ebony knows that. She's just—"

"Inexplicably in denial," Jay cuts in harshly without remorse and everyone turns to him. Kai's cutting-edge glare is back and reinforced with a promise of pain if Jay were to overstep his bounds. But my fiancé is unrelenting and unafraid, and for some reason or other pulls me back behind him when he steps forward to Kai. He points deliberately down the hall where Ebony and Lloyd took their leave.

"She pulled that last theory out of her ass, bror! You know it and I know it!" He fires hotly. "Every time Garmadon is mentioned, she gets defensive!" Jay directs his accusatory finger to Kai next and I can only hope and pray that I'm fast enough to intervene in case my future husband does something reckless and poke my brother in the chest. He growls his next words. "Tell the truth, Kai. Who do we know more "wayward" than Garmadon? Don't say the Serpentine. They're too engrossed with themselves to even consider sharing the spotlight with another species. There's only a mere modicum of a chance that it isn't Garmadon and I only say that because the guy lacks a soul!"

Jay speaks of the prophecy. The "Wayward Soul" is the one who will release the "Corruption" upon Ninjago. It does seem unlikely that Garmadon would liberate the very people who had hunted him for countless years. But if not him…then who else? And if Ebony did somehow stop the prophecy, how would she go about finding her mother? Does she plan on using her amulet in some way? I just can't understand her logic.

Kai stares unflinchingly into Jay's eyes. Thick bands of liquefied gold and amber constrict around shining beads of onyx, his gaze aflame with the heat of a blacksmith's forge. The intensity of my brother's glare matches the passion of his words.

"You think I don't know that, Jay! Hell I know Garmadon is probably the evilest asshole on the planet! But you didn't see what I saw down there!" The fires in Kai's eyes die down but are far from extinguished. "Garmadon expressed genuine care and love for Ebony. He hugged her and she cried in his arms, happy to be reunited with one of the persons responsible for bringing her into this world. I couldn't deny her the pleasures of having a parent. She's not like us and I don't mean because of the obvious reasons. I mean because she grew up not knowing anything about her parents while we did. We had loving homes. We had our parents…" His gaze lowers, "…however brief."

My heart constricts painfully as my mind once again reflects upon the past and a slight flinch jerks my body when a shock of lightning sounds from outside, but as always I fight through it.

Kai takes a deep breath, getting over his weakness and pain just like I am and re-strengthens his stare. "And you… You have the luxury of still having both parents in your life. So y'know what, Jay…?" Golden-amber narrows further. "You don't even have the right to speak to her about family."

The hand in my grasp trembles. "No…t-that's not what I was…" Jay struggles and I step forward to stand beside him. I shoot an uncertain glance at my brother, not truly angry with him, but he still could've used nicer words.

Jay is the luckiest out of all of us in the aspect of parents. And the fact that he seldom visits them or when they do show up for a visit on their own, he's doesn't exactly display the type of warmth one would expect towards their parents. I know he loves them, but there had been many a time when I had wanted to pinch him or pull his ear in chastisement for not realizing how blessed he was for having Ed and Edna.

I was jealous…and not only of Jay.

I was jealous of Sasha when she got the chance to visit her mother in Poseidonia and later when she found out her father was still alive. But I experienced envy firsthand when we visited Shika. The sight of Ayane jumping into the arms of her uncle caused a painful twinge to erupt in my chest.

I couldn't do that anymore. I had lost that satisfaction years ago, in the most unfair and premature way. I would never again hear my mother's soft melodious voice sing to me while she lovingly ran a comb through my hair. I would never again get the chance to ask my father questions about pieces of his metalwork while he worked tirelessly in the forge within 4 Weapons.

But…at least I have memories of those times. Can I really fault Ebony for wishing to create such memories with a family she never had?

"Brat'ya, please…" (Brothers) Zane had suddenly appeared on the border between Kai and Jay, his hands lifted in a placating gesture. "None of us can truly empathize with Ebony, but we can surely sympathize," he voices wisely and moves his hands to each of his brothers' shoulders. "Her family is scattered and I sense that more than anything, she wants a reunion. She has already lost an uncle. She does not want to lose anyone else."

I nod at Zane, pleased with his choice of words. "It would be cruel to deny her that right," I say, looking up at Jay's solemn face, but then I turn to Kai. "But, it would also be dangerous to let Ebony do whatever she wants."

"I know, sis," Kai counters roughly though his eyes have softened. "So how do we go about compromising?"

I shake my head. "Nothing can be done right now. All we can really do is keep an eye on both her and Lloyd." I squeeze my fiancé's hand tenderly and place my other hand on his chest, gazing up at him once more. "And we can't afford to argue about it any longer. There is a mission, remember?"

Jay swallows and nods readily. "Yeah, you're right, sweetheart. Sorry…" He looks across to Kai. "Sorry, bro. I care about Ebony too. After all, she's both my precious student and my badass little sister," he smiles and despite the red hood obstructing my brother's face, I just know he's returning Jay's grin with a forgiving smirk.

"And about Lloyd…" We all turn to regard Ayane's hopeful two-tone irises. "If there's a chance Ebony's mother is alive, isn't there a possibility that Lloyd's is too?"

I purse my lips in thought. Yeah, there's always hope for that…

"Maybe…" Kai mutters and I see his eyes shift in an almost suspicious way. My brow furrows on instinct, knowing my sibling well enough to guess when he's hiding something. But before I can call him out on it, he turns and walks away. "I'm going to go check on them," he says distantly and he too soon vanishes inside the den.

By the Gods! Don't tell me your kin follows after Oblivion! Tempest accuses incredulously in my mind. However, I'm quick to defend my brother.

No, of course not! He's…probably just distracted by Ebony that's all. And even if he was…I'm sure it's not consequential.

I know I don't sound very convincing when Tempest huffs in indignation. Nya, I know I don't have to remind you on the direness of the overall situation your realm is in. Any information, consequential or not, should be divulged!

Calm down, Tempest. I try to soothe the ruffled spirit with some light teasing. Hmm, I would think it unbecoming for one of the Four to lose their cool about such a trivial matter. And what's with this "Nya" business? What happened to "Little Gale"?

A brief pause. …Your future mate is rubbing off on you…

I can only blush and smile to myself.

"Zane, gives us a few alright?" Jay says, rousing me. "We'll contact you when the amplifier is ready."

Zane dips his head in a respectable nod and Jay turns to me with a smile. "C'mon, sweetheart. We'd better get crackin'."

I return his smile. Though it's barely distinguishable behind my mask, I know my eyes fully express my contentment. We face the opposite hallway and together, with linked hands as well, make our own departure.

*~PoA~*

To get to me and Nya's laboratory bunker below the ship, we have to go down and through the Ninja Training Hall. The Hall has a door located in the back which connects to a service ramp that leads to the bunker.

Which means…once we pass through that door we'll be exposed to the black showers and whatever trippy effect they have decided to plague the atmosphere with.

Doesn't that sound fun!?

I unconsciously tighten my hold on my girl's hand and use my other to pull my hood back on. Regardless of it being a straight shot to the bunker once we exit, I'm not taking any chances of losing her. I mean come on! It's going to be pitch black out there! And I mean pitch, pitch black! Blacker than Cole's hair black! Not a single ray of light will show unless Lord Thor blesses us with a display of power.

And yeah, I know he's out there, if the lapses of thunder and constant stirring in my blood are anything to go by. There's always this magnetizing pull my lord has on me during storms that behest thunder and lightning. It's like an almighty summon to my core that tempts and beckons me to hop into my Storm Fighter and fly up to the midst of it and just watch the sheer grandeur of Lord Thor's might. And I do sometimes. The temptations are just that great. But today, I'm railing against the urge the best I can, especially since the "lovely" storm that beckons is a black-freakin'-shower!

Deepest apologies, your mighty Thunderness. I'll be taking a rain check, thank you very much!

"Maybe it's not so bad," Nya speculates softly, but I hear more ambiguity than optimism in her voice.

We stand at the ready in front of the door that leads to the outside, and just as I move to grasp the metal lever, a ferocious growl followed by a deafening crack roars from beyond the barrier and reverberates throughout the entire Hall.

I can't keep the sardonic grimace from forming on my lips. Oh yeah, nothing but gumdrops and ice cream out there…

Steeling myself, I follow-through and take hold of the handle. I glance back at Nya to make sure she's ready, but stop to do a double-take on her expression. I don't need to see the entirety of my girl's face to assess her state of being. The eyes are the windows to the soul, as the saying goes and I can tell she's deeply distressed. Her eyes are frightfully dilated and wide, with only a sliver of milk chocolate circling dark disks.

It looks like she's been spirited away to a dark void within her subconscious, but from my experience I know she isn't conversing with the spirit that houses itself inside her bladed gauntlets. She and the other Kunoichi get a little glassy-eyed when that happens, sure, but nothing to this extent.

"Nya?" I call gently; a bit unsure with what's going on. Her hand is limp yet rigid in mine and her body's as still as a statue. I call her name again and take a chance and squeeze her hand to see if I can get a response. Then, as if a switch is suddenly flipped, her form visibly relaxes and she squeezes my hand back. She blinks up at me, soft cocoa dominating over onyx once more.

"Yeah? Are you ready?" She asks innocently enough, her eyes bright and alert.

I scrutinize the woman I love steadily and unhurried. Yeah, we have a mission but…

I'm not Cole… The mission can wait… Nya is far more important…

"Are you okay?" I ask, letting go of the door and turning to face her fully. A flicker of annoyance and frustration settles in her eyes and I could discern the set of her jaw beneath the thin cloth of her mask. I frown at the sight. Was I not supposed to notice her "deer-caught-in-headlights" look from before? Was I not supposed to adhere to her wellbeing?

"Of course I am. Why wouldn't I be?" She refutes exasperatedly, but I'm not convinced. I know what I saw.

I don't soften my expression and after seeing the hardness in my eyes, she decides to step around me to get to the door. "Seriously Jay, I'm—"

Just as her fingers close around the handle, she yelps in pain and jerks her hand back, pulling it up to her chest and cradling it with the other. Alarmed at once, I step quickly to her side. "Nya! What happened?!" I ask anxiously, but her consternated gaze doesn't remove itself from the door.

"Dear Sylph…" she whispers nervously, "the handle…the handle is boiling hot…!"

I snap my head to the access then back to Nya's slightly blistered fingers. My eyes narrow. Of course. My hands are protected by thick leather gloves, but Nya's, while protected by gloves too, her fingers are exposed.

However… I let my gaze drift back to the door leading to the outside, its stature now an imposing sight. Just what was on the other side of it? Hellfire? Acid? My features take on a new level of hardness. Argh! I know this mission is important, but… I flick my eyes to Nya briefly and see her still clutching her hand. No, I'll go alone—

"I'm still coming with you, Jay." Not as soon as I finished my thought, Nya spoke up to banish it. I peer at her with a fair bit of trepidation. I guess my eyes said it all because the soft chocolate of her optics solidified instantly into opaque bronze. "Yes, I know you can finish the amplifier by yourself, but it would also take longer by yourself and we are already pressed for time." My eye twitches in a vague sort of wince at her reasoning. It's true but…

"Two heads are better than one," she presses, "and…" I watch transfixed as the flash hardened bronze melts away to smooth milk chocolate once more, "I can't just stand here and let you face something dangerous alone. We're partners, Jay. And soon we're going to be partners for life. I know you worry, but…" she shakes her head and her eyes shine up at me again. I can easily discern the appreciation and heartfelt apology within her warm depths. "I want to stand beside you…through everything."

I blink. Breath. And blink again. I realize in shock that there's no getting used to this feeling in my chest: the swell of my heart, the pleasurable electric jolts coursing through my soul.

Yeah Jay…this is what true everlasting love feels like…

I grin toothily at her beneath my hood and scoop her up in my arms. My name pours from her masked lips breathlessly, matching the subtle alarm of her widened eyes.

"Okay, future Mrs. Walker!" I erupt joyously. I can't help it! I'm completely stoked right now! I meet my bride-to-be's gaze with a sure grin. "Let's pretend this is a practice run before the real thing! Carryin' the bride over the threshold into her new home!"

"Jay…" Her eyes, while still open, crease into happy crescents. My heart flutters swiftly before I swivel my focus to the opposing door that most likely led to Hell itself. I set my jaw and narrow my eyes determinedly. "Only there are a few rules first. Don't worry; this is only a safety precaution for the current situation. There will be no such nonsense during the real thing!"

I lean forward carefully and grip the handle tight. "Okay, sweetheart. Keep that pretty lil' face of yours turned away from the open air, and close your eyes too. Same for your hands, keep them covered the best way you can."

I can feel her eyes on me. "Alright," she replies steadily and snuggles closer to my chest, following my instructions to the letter. I wish there was something I could do about her head being exposed, but all I can rely on is my speed to get us across the service ramp and into the lab bunker before anything…unfortunate happens.

"On three…" I whisper and get into position. I coil my muscles readily, my body as taut as a bowstring and my arms maintain a strong hold on my precious cargo. "One…two…" I grit my teeth and push down on the lever forcefully, "…three!"

The door gives way and I charge forth. I gasp and cough reflexively when I'm suddenly assaulted by the rapid change of humidity. I feel like I'm in a boiler room with one too many blast furnaces occupying it! The complete and utter blackness I'm fine with since I've tread this metal pathway many times before, but this degree of heat is downright detrimental!

I work my legs rapidly, but I don't beat the next shift of hot wind. Berating myself for not closing my eyes the moment I stepped out, I catch a boiling drop of water in my left one. I grunt, effectively stunting the yelp that threatened to escape instead and quickly shut my eyes. The harsh stinging sensation is immediate, but I ignore the pain and reach blindly for the door when I feel the path nearing its end.

My hand slides down the surface until I can grasp the handle and with a fluid downward motion, the door opens and grants me access. I close the door desperately after shuffling in and lean back against it.

Shit, shit, shit! Within only a few seconds, the burning has increased ten-fold.

"Jay? Jay!" I can feel Nya slide out of my arms and her hands frantically pull back my hood. The warm fingers on my face bring me limited comfort, although I try to relish in it anyway. "Jay! Jay, open your eyes!"

"Huh? O-Oh, okay…" I vaguely realize that I hadn't yet. Even though I know my right one is fine, I still use caution in opening it and immediately focus in on Nya's wide and worried chocolate eyes.

"Okay, now your other one," she orders gently, then almost as an afterthought she adds, "Can you see okay out of that one?"

I stand up straighter and absently roll my shoulders. "Yeah, no prob," I assure and simply open the other. I swallow at the sudden blurriness and distortion my left retina presents me with, but I still offer a grin to play it off. I guess it's a little lop-sided though because her worry doesn't fade.

"They look okay…still beautiful…but, can you see? Out of both?"

I open my mouth, ready to pour out some reassurance and bravado, but at seeing her anxiety I stop. If it were someone else, sure I would've cut loose, not wanting to appear weak in front of them. However, this is Nya and I promised I would always be honest with her.

I close my mouth and open it again albeit reluctantly. "Uh…*sigh*… Unfortunately, I was struck by a stray drop in my left one and…now it's blurry and…" I wince at the annoyingly persistent stinging/burning sensation that lingers, "…and kinda burning…yeah…"

Her eyes widened on her face momentarily before they narrow, her forehead drawn down in fretful deliberation. Utilizing two fingers, she pulls her mask down to reveal her pursed lips. She grabs hold of my hand purposefully.

"C'mon, let's get you to the rinse station," she says curtly while leading me to the opposite side of our lab. I follow obediently, my half blurred gaze downcast to the slate metal floor. I blink again and have to huff irritably when I feel tears trail down my left cheek.

Bah… Now what's happening to it?! I swipe at my face quickly to remove the wetness on it that hadn't dripped from my chin. No sense in making her witness me "crying" too…

It's not long before I'm sitting on a stool with my back against the edge of the sink. I can't help but make light of the situation, however, so I send another smile to my girl, this time making sure it was more earnest. But to my chagrin, Nya scarcely blinked. Broadcasting the same tightly controlled consternation, her focus is zeroed-in behind me, over my head. Her arms move above me and although I can't see exactly what's she's doing, I can certainly assume she was checking the medicated rinse dispenser.

An eerie sort of silence then settles over us. It isn't entirely uncomfortable mind you, only…dissonant. It seems the black showers have quieted a little bit since we came in. But for reasons pertaining to the mission, I hope they will continue for a little while longer.

I gnaw gently on my lower lip, feeling the unmistakable urge to say something to fill the voided silence. I lift my eyes to my fiancée again, deciding to close my left one so her image wouldn't be distorted, and look her over.

She looks fantastic as always but… "Are you okay too, Nya?" I ask for clarification and her movements above me come to a slow standstill, a tiny smile that gradually reaches her eyes is directed at me.

"Yes, I'm alright…" She grins, though I can still see the worry. "Your speed can be assessed as legendary. I didn't feel one drop of rain."

My face splits into a mile-wide smile. "Good! That's what I was hoping for!" I deftly remember something else. "What about your fingers? I know we have some aloe vera stashed somewhere in one of these cupboards."

She nods languidly. "They're not that bad, but I'll put some on once I take care of you," she compromises.

We stare at each other for a moment, me with my carefree exuberance and her with her stifled contentment. I'm taken aback, however, when the lights within her eyes suddenly quiver before they resume their attention behind me. A second later, I hear the tap of the faucet squeak on and the trickle of water fall.

"Lean back…" she instructs, her voice barely above a whisper, "…the water will warm quickly."

My gaze remains on her face as I silently comply, a small frown now marring my features. The pain in my left retina is insistent, but I thwart its efforts to sway me from thinking about Nya's melancholy.

Her gaze drifts back to me and I open my left eye at her unspoken request. She rinses my eye once, twice, three times and during it all, I don't flinch. I feel cold, but it's not from the water that now soaked my hair and drenched my face. Over the course of our relationship, I've become much attuned to Nya's emotions. Well, at least I would like to think so. And now I'm beginning to feel anxiety gnaw at the pit of my stomach.

But…is it mine or hers? And would she be affronted if I decide to call her out on it again?

I close my eyes despondently, my heart and mind waging a tumultuous war with each other. I know Nya is extremely independent, more so than any other person on this ship. Her self-reliance plays a major part in her personality whether it's on the battlefield or everyday life. I heard from Kai that when it was just the two of them, Nya did more than her share of the work around the house and even though Kai carried his own weight, whenever he had offered to help her, she would deny his hand and shoo him away.

But…I just feel that I can't leave her to stew about in her own inner turmoil. Because, well, because I feel it too. After all, didn't she say she wants to stand beside me through everything? Well then she has to know that it's twofold…

I slowly open my eyes when I hear my name play serenely from Nya's lips. I feel a soft cloth to my face and realize she's patting it dry. Her features are soft, but unfortunately still blurry from my left eye's perspective.

"There… The burning's gone now, right?" She asks, her gentle eyes fleeting over my face. The cloth had been replaced with her fingers.

I nod and the small smile stretches slightly, enough to lift her cheeks more. But her relief is short-lived, and her expression takes a pensive turn.

"The blurriness though… I'm not naïve enough to believe it'll be gone after just a few washes. We'll repeat the process four hours from now, for the next twenty-four. Hopefully by then…no… I'm sure by then the blurriness will be gone."

I feel myself nodding at her words again, more involuntary than responsive. I close my left eye, wanting to see her clearly and sit up straight. The water from my hair immediately drizzles down to my face, forming separate paths at different speeds.

Nya takes her cloth in hand for a second time and moves to remedy the problem, but I intercept her attempt and grasp the clothed-hand decisively in mine. I smile at her questioning eyes and beckon her with a tug to sit in my lap. And she complies without rebuttal.

I make no move to try to wipe the water from my face and instead just focus on my girl and speak my mind.

"Don't take this the wrong way, but…to me, the wedding itself is not all that important."

She blinks. I know my statement is really out-of-the-blue and has no context at all to what just happened, but despite that, I feel I have to finish what I started. No matter how roundabout it may seem.

"What I mean is…that it's just a process to making it official, to have it printed down in front of you in black and white. I don't know if I'll feel any different when the pastor announces us as man and wife or even after I kiss you. The reason being is because I already feel married to you and I know this may sound a bit pretentious, but…" I stop and can only look at her with honesty and hope and pray that she doesn't think I am some type of spoiled brat when I say my next words.

A few strands lose their place and fall into my right eye, but again, I do nothing to alter my appearance. I keep my one good eye locked on her bewildered gaze and open my mouth. "Nya, I've felt that I've been married to you for a few months now."

Her eyes widen considerably and her mouth struggles to form words and sounds. Seconds pass during her gaping, but finally it stops when she closes her mouth with an audible click. Then, like a blooming hibiscus, a tender shade of red slowly spreads on her face, from her cheeks on outward.

I grace her with a smile, which I can only hope matches the beauty of her face and raise my hand to settle it on her scarlet cheek. "I can't describe to you step by step on how I came to that conclusion. I'm not as eloquent or dramatic as all that. But what I can tell you is…how everything within me: mind, heart, and soul, is connected to you. I'm not gonna be presumptuous and say that you also feel this way, but the words you spoke so lovingly in the Hall made me what to clarify to you my own aspirations."

My thumb smoothes adoringly over her cheek, I just want her to understand. "I feel you Nya… I feel your pain, your happiness, your fear, your ecstasy. You don't have to do or feel anything alone. Time and time again we walked the same path, but more times than what I would've liked, you were either in front or behind me. Or I was in front or behind you."

She grits her teeth and her eyes shimmer in fresh tears. However, she refuses to let them fall, blinking rapidly to stifle their flow. I smile encouragingly. "But, those few precious times where we did reach perfect equilibrium and walked the same path side by side, shoulder to shoulder… I've kept those instances close to my heart, always wanting more of them. Where I'm going with all this, sweetheart is that…though I want that precious perfection with you as much as possible… I won't rush you nor will I try to push you. Just…come to me when you're ready…and I'll be here…right beside you."

She had been reduced to gasping by the time I'd finished, her eyes obstinately squeezed shut, her hands trembling and fisting themselves in the edges of my robes. I move my hand from her cheek to cradle the back of her head, and gently coax her to rest it on my shoulder.

I wrap my arms protectively around her. "It's alright to cry sometimes, you know that. You're still strong. Relying on me or anyone else when you're hurting…does not diminish your strength."

Her head shifts and she presses her face into the cloth of my shoulder. Her body moves next, snuggling as close as she can to me in our somewhat unorthodox position. A smile of nostalgia curves my lips as I place an arm under the knees of her legs to support her better.

We are in the same position as we were before coming here, only now I'm sitting down.

Cold water leaks from my chin and into the seams of my robes, chilling me. But the effect is negated when I feel Nya's hot tears soak my clothes soon after. Her small frame convulses, and her breathless sobs echo a defeated siren's song off the walls of the bunker.

She cries…and cries… and cries…

All I can do is hold her, having said all the words I needed to. Now I'll simply wait for her to speak…if she chooses to.

Whether time is flowing or standing still, I don't know nor care, but Nya's breathing has mellowed into deep elongated breathes. And when I look at her through the mussed silken raven locks her hair has become, I see her sodden red eyes and wet cheeks. She stares at nothing that I can see, and when she finally begins to speak, her voice sounds strained, hoarse, and hollow.

"Kai and I…we found our father dead in his bed during the morning of a black shower…"

At her words, my blood runs cold. When she speaks again, the utter despair and sadness in her voice is damn near palpable.

"He was just fine the day before, you know? It had only been two years since Mother was killed, but we were slowly moving forward, day by day. My father was a strong man, Jay. He would never give up!" Her voice rose with each word and the strength and angry conviction behind them tugged violently at my heartstrings. "So I don't care what the autopsy report said! My father would never do something as foolish and cowardly as overdose on fucking sleeping pills! If he was going to take his own life, then he would've committed seppuku to release his soul and die honorably! But he would never do that either if he had children to care for! He wouldn't just leave us! He wouldn't!"

Her eyes had become wide and dilated again; a massive thunderstorm raged within her being that I couldn't possibly understand. "Nya…"

I give her the security she needs and hold her as close and protectively as I can, her body stiff and unresponsive in my arms. I add a slow rocking motion as I cradle her, in hopes of soothing the obvious anguish she's in. I grit my teeth and start to berate myself inwardly for being unable to do more when I remember Zane's words from earlier.

When one cannot empathize, sympathize.

I cannot understand Nya's pain, not even a little bit, but I can offer her my sympathy. I can support her.

I kiss the top of her head and position her better so that I can run my fingers through her hair. She lets out a strangled breath and soon, I feel her arms wrap around my neck and back. Her next words are whispered, but the undertone is steady and somewhat askance.

"I didn't know what to think when Kai returned with Ebony, our father's katana, the Masamune, in his hand. I was initially angry with him for disrupting the peace of our past home. But…what he said made sense… 'We have a piece of Mother with us. It's about time we have a piece of Father with us as well.'."

Her grip on me tightens and I can feel her warm breath ghost over the skin on my neck. "Kai keeps Father's Masamune and I keep Mother's wakizashi, the Kunimichi, and her bangle bracelets. Whether I'm holding my mother's keepsakes or not, I feel her spirit around me…" Her voice drops an imperceptible octave. "…I can't say the same with my father's though… I cannot feel his spirit at all, not even when I'm standing in Kai's room staring right at the Masamune… What does that mean, Jay?"

The genuine uncertainty and bewilderment of her tone shakes me. This wasn't a rhetorical question; she really wants me to answer.

But what can I say…? That maybe the spirit of her father was still trapped inside his body because he didn't commit seppuku? Or that maybe because she associates the black showers with her father's death, her spirit is clouded and hinders the ability to feel his spirit?

Neither thought appealed to me enough to voice. So when she lifts her head from my shoulder and peers at me with melancholic expectancy, I swallow hard.

"Nya…" I waver, clearly at a lost. But when she gradually lets warmth renew her features and lifts a hand to cup my cheek, I stare at her dumbfounded.

She smiles affectionately. "Can you open both your eyes for me, Jay?"

I snap the other open immediately, rushing to help in any way I can to dispel her sorrow. The blurriness is unwelcome, of course, but it's a small price to pay for seeing her face brighten. Her smile, as always, is infectious and I find myself easily smiling back.

Her nimble fingers play with the hair on the base of my neck and when I see her inching towards me, her eyes locked on mine, I feel that a new understanding between us is slowly being revealed. My eyes hood then drift shut the moment her lips mold themselves against mine, and as rapture and euphoria blossoms within me, I have to think to myself: Maybe words aren't always needed to portray one's intent.

Nya knows that I'm here for her and I'm here to stay.

I pour all of my emotions and intent into the kiss, holding her just as tight as she's holding me. And there's no doubt in my mind that she understands, her passion and love equal with mine.

Sometime later, we found ourselves up and about. The black showers continued wrecking havoc outside, drenching the lands with their abysmal terror, but here, inside our little laboratory bunker, inside our safe haven, all is quiet and tranquil. Nya told me she could differentiate between a normal storm and a black shower without having to look outside, the memory of her father's lifeless face becoming plastered to the forefront of her mind's eye whenever one's brewing on the horizon. She still tenses at a growl of thunder or a crack of lightning during a black shower, but I always manage to bring her back to me with a firm quick squeeze to her left hand.

Whether time slowed for us or we worked with incredible speed and diligence, I don't know nor do I care. All I cared about was the woman standing beside me, my wife, here and now. As long as we walked the same path together, side by side, for all eternity, I could do anything.

We smiled at each other when the last wire was welded and our work was complete.

We finished the amplifier…with plenty of time to spare.
Power of Aura Chapter 11

This interlude was fun and I hope all of you enjoyed and got better insight on both Jay and Nya's maturing personalities. I think this chapter speaks for itself really… Next up will be Cole and Sasha.

Please show your love and support by faving, commenting, and downloading! ;)

Glossary:

Seppuku: "stomach cutting", it is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. It was originally reserved only for samurai as part of the "Bushido Code" and was performed in an act to die honorably by one's own hand. The Japanese believe that the soul is located in the center of the body AKA the stomach. So gutting oneself is equivalent to releasing one's soul.

Wakizashi: a 12-24 inch Japanese short sword.

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The Mary-Sue and Stu Demographic

Journal Entry: Fri Jan 30, 2015, 12:34 PM




I think people have really forgotten what Mary Sues and Stus are (or Gary Sues nowadays). Don't they know it has absolutely nothing to do with physical characteristics? No where in Fan-Fiction, that I have seen anyway, states that: "Depending of the core setting of your story, characters must look a certain way so that they DO NOT stand out." If there is a rule like that, please show it to me and I'll shut my trap. But the reason why I'm bringing this up is because I was just a little bored one day and was just moseying about looking at random stuff when I came across this poor author getting bashed to death by comments saying that all her characters are Mary Sues because of the way they look! 

I was literally floored by the petty ignorance within the comments, with each one getting more hurtful and distasteful as I went down the line. I went from shocked to pissed about halfway through and wanted to put those sorry suckers in their place so I went to type a comment. But as soon as I was finished with my rebuttal in the author's defense, I found out the comments had been disabled. And when I went back today to see how the author was doing, I found out that he/she had completely disappeared from DA. I know the author had probably been driven away by all the negative feedback he/she had received from their story and I can't imagine the likely frustration or melancholy they are probably going through.

So, I've decided to get this topic out in the open to not only relieve myself of my pent-up anger at people's ignorance, but also to strike out in defense to any author who may be feeling hesitant to publish their story because they're afraid of their OCs being labeled as Mary Sues or Stus solely based on their physical characteristics. So sit back and enjoy the ride because I'm about to set it off!

First off, it's been a long time since the concept of Mary-Sues and Stus been around, about 42 years in fact. So yeah, I understand that the concept may have gotten misconstrued and people started making up their own definitions of what Mary-Sues and Stus are. But for those of you who don't know where the proxy demographic came from, then let me school you for a sec.

It started back in 1973 when an author named Paula Smith released her parody called "A Trekkie's Tale" for the fandom, yep you guessed it, Star Trek. Her OC's name was "Mary Sue" and by golly was she as overpowered as all hell! She was a lieutenant in a fleet at only FIFTEEN YEARS OLD! She had incredible abilities and genius-level intelligence as she was always saving the canon characters from grave situations effortlessly. And apparently she had romantic relations with the Top Dogs of the series being: Spock, McCoy, and Kirk. I mean seriously, the canon characters shouldn't even had been there! Because not only could she do their jobs, but she could do them better. That, my friends, is what a Mary Sue truly is. An overpowered character who is poorly developed and is too perfect and lacking in realism to be interesting. Did you guys hear anything about what a character looks like? No!!!

I mean, c'mon people! If that was the case, almost every single character in Anime would be labeled a Mary Sue or Stu. A few examples: D from Vampire Hunter D, Sakura Haruno from Naruto (Hell, almost every character from Naruto), Zech Merquis from Gundam Wing, Bulma Briefs from Dragonball, Kamina from Gurren Lagann. Do I really have to go on because the list is endless! But the point is, they are no where classified as Mary Sues or Stus because that's not what defines that demographic. And I know what some of you are thinking: Oh, but we're not talking about canon characters. Those can't be considered Mary Sues or Stus. Uh, yes they can, sweethearts. But do you really think when Masashi Kishimoto-sama presented his first rough draft of characters to his senpais, they were like: "Oh can't use that hair color for that girl! It has to be a normal color! Here are your choices: blonde, brunette, black, or red to a realistic orange! That's all!" Nope, ten to one they liked the new and fresh style Kishimoto-sama was going for. Who doesn't want to see characters stand-out physically in some way? In my opinion, it keeps that character fresh in your mind because they don't look like the average Joe or Jane. 

Oh, and don't act like I haven't seen some of you guys on the Ninjago fandom either, creating lists like: "Your character is a Mary Sue if she looks like this" and whatnot. And I see stuff like, you can't have purple eyes or you can't have blue hair... It's obvious you guys don't know what the hell a Mary Sue actually is. Please wake up people! If you really want to give good advice to other writers or you wish to be a good critic, know your facts. Please! Just know your facts. Stop with the belittling of other author's OCs based solely on how they look and not discussing what they are bringing to the story. Look at the character development, their flaws and strengths, can you relate to these characters emotionally. That's what you want to read, isn't it? Especially in a world as fantastical as Ninjago. Come on now! Did you guys not see the blue-haired lego women walking around last season? I say, bring on the rainbow colored hair and the fancy-colored eyes and the different hues of skin! Make them look unique enough for us to take them seriously and keep them in our heads, because that's what really counts in the end. Please look for: how that character is portrayed, how engaging the author's plot is, and how their OCs intermingle with the canon.


VelvetPersona signing off!

 

  • Mood: Rage
  • Listening to: Disturbed....Can you blame me...
  • Reading: Seekers: The River of Lost Bears
  • Watching: Seinfeld
  • Playing: Devil May Cry....Again, can you blame me...
  • Eating: Chicken
  • Drinking: Mountain Dew

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VelvetPersona
Sondreia
United States
Greetings and salutations everyone!!
I'm no artist when it comes to drawing, but I love art in general and all it entails. A friend of mine from fanfiction.net suggested I come here and post some of my stories about Ninjago, so that's what I'm going to do!!
I think I'll remain anonymous about the details of myself, but that may change in time.
Pleased to meet you everyone!! :D
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:iconmayspring5:
Mayspring5 Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014
I tagged you!!!!!!!
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redwallfvs Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2014  Student General Artist
Heeeeyyyy~!
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snakesskin Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oi, sondreia dear, send me your email~
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VelvetPersona Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014
lol, here ya go! sondreiag@gmail.com
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snakesskin Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
t.co/GnHkRfHMC4. See if that works :3
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Pokeninjagirl Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday!  :cake:
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VelvetPersona Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2014
Thanks! :)
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Pokeninjagirl Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
NP!  ^^ How are you doing so far? 
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VelvetPersona Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2014
I'm doing well. Had a great day with my bf and I'm fully recovered from my accident and surgery. Life is great! How are you?
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LidyGarmadon Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Student Writer
Happy birthday! :D
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