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Already, even before the trip had started, two of the most difficult and discouraging things had occurred to Leon. First of all, bane of his existence, the shower. Despite there being some kind of basic principle to showers, ie one direction gets hot water, one direction gets cold, every single shower Leon had ever encountered was different by some design choice or other. These differences would leave a frustrated man, slowly coagulating in his own clammy, sweat soaked skin, to fiddle with the mechanism until he was sure that he wouldn’t turn into an icicle or melt completely. Fortunately he had time to shower, dress and make himself as comfortable as he could before the RV had hit the highway, the telltale sign of the lumbering beast crawling it’s way from the parking lot as Leon toweled off, cued him off to get situated quickly. The second thing? It came after the fact.

The air was heavy and thick with tension, and even though most everyone had gone their separate ways to different corners and sections of the bus, whether to nap, relax or just idly pass the time; the mood was more than apparent. It was like a team just before the big game, wallowing in the fact that their lucky stick, knick knack or knockoff was gone and stolen, or just plain broken. It was a dour situation with sour notes in between, an abstract sense of loathing that, despite Leon being emotionally ready, was not mentally available to draw in this sense. It was a feeling he couldn’t really place other than a black shadow that seemed to grow in intensity with the passing moment and seemed to cascade down in the lobby of the hotel they arrived in. Where the time had gone, he wasn’t entirely sure as Leon had spent the majority of his time to himself, idly watching the world go by before it collapsed into the argumentative group of people before him. Even as he took his mint to signify which room he’d be staying, the young man kept wondering what he could do to help? He didn’t feel as though he was the root cause of the problem, but even so, he wanted to figure out some way to lift everyone up. Hell, this was supposed to be a final hurrah and here they were, bitching like little kids, having adults to break them up and find a compromise. They were supposed to be their own people now, their own adults. Was this what Leon was going to look back on when he left town? Years of memories, drowned and sullied in kids trying to be something they weren’t? ...This was getting to be too much.

Leon wasn’t entirely sure when he left the lobby, when he stepped in or out of the elevator, or how he even managed to follow his group to their suite. When the door opened though, it was like a veil had been lifted and all the bad feelings suddenly washed away in brilliant light. The suite itself was amazing, filled with glistening tile, thousand dollar furniture and open space, but what really caught his attention was that gorgeous Vegas skyline. In that instant, his imagination turned on and...everything else sort of turned off as for the second time that day he dropped all of his luggage and anyone else’s who thought they’d use the muscled athlete as a pack mule. “Yo! Check that shit out!” Leon scrambled for his art bag, as he dashed through the open space past everyone else. Anything that Nate had said, completely disregarded. Sami’s lecture? In one ear, out the other as he nearly tripped over a bar stool, knocking it to the floor, as he headed out onto the balcony and planted himself firmly into a chair. Sketchbook, graphite and eraser in hand, he got to work crafting the daytime view of the Las Vegas Strip. Night would probably be more magical with it’s bright neon lights and the sounds of drunken gamblers clambering through the streets, but the daylight brought its own sense of magic with it. What better way to share that magic, than with the people he cared about the most, “Nate! Vee! You gotta take a look at this!”
~ ~ ~


There was...a lot to take in.

Within thirty seconds Val had come storming out of the RV with AJ collapsing out behind her. There was confusion, joking and laughter, painful expressions and ones of understanding. None of that really mattered, because for the first time since entering the parking lot, Leon finally felt it, an overwhelming sense of animosity. Leon knew he was dense, he hadn't noticed it before now, but apparently all it took was a swift kick to the nuts for him to both equally realize and yet not fully comprehend the tension that had formed in the air. It took him a moment to register that Reyna was talking to him, something about going after Val.. a chihuahua, the pound..oh that's what she was going for. Ava somehow found this to be utterly hilarious, even encouraging him to do so and while he wasn't exactly angry with them making fun of her, he wasn't really amused either.

"That's enough...both of you." His eyes probably looked doe like themselves, almost Mastiff in comparison, while his tone came across more like a disappointed parent in their child. Even though his look and tone belied disappointment, he couldn't really blame them for making the comparison, Val was...can come across as hot headed, fiery, like a small fire cracker. He always joked with her that she was like a terrier, more bark than actual bite, though given the pained expression on AJ's face that statement wasn't exactly true. The dog comparison though, was he really up to judge Reyna for making it? At least he told it to Val's face in confidence, but even so. Looking over to where she'd gone, Sami had taken up most of her form from behind her and seemed to be calming her down, at least someone was. Back over to AJ...he had enough onlookers to take care of him, normally he'd just pick up the smaller man from the ground, but it was probably more comfortable down there than the current hot spot in his groin; either way he needed to get out of the fray for now.

Hoisting up his bags he started making his way over to the RV, "I'm gonna go grab that shower now, so if anyone needs me, I'll be inside" At the very least he could go ahead and get clean and hopefully make this trip less mucked up than it already was. His only hope as he climbed the stairs of the double decker was that they didn't start the damn thing while he was in the middle of cleaning himself off.
~ ~ ~


Leon definitely needed a shower, but with Val storming off into the RV with AJ, it didn’t look like it was going to happen anytime soon. So...what to do with his time now? That all too familiar ache was creeping up into his muscles, his adrenaline was going down from his impromptu run. A cooldown lap couldn’t hurt, he’d probably end up kicking himself more later if he didn’t take the time. Ivy and Chloe had the right idea though by bringing their bags over to the RV, they were eventually going to have to be let in at some point and all their luggage would inevitably have to follow. Plus the mention of food did get him going a bit and he needed to calories to keep his muscle mass. Wrapping his hoodie around his neck like a hand towel, he hoisted up the dropped luggage onto his arms and started walking, “Yo, I’ve got our gear bro, think you could grab V’s stuff while I bring this over?”

Making his way over to the girls, he let out a rather light hearted laugh at Ivy’s comment about running a marathon, “What can I say? I had a late morning run, you gotta get your workouts in when you can.” Setting the bags down, he turned to face the girls all the while raising his arms up and resting his hands against the back of his head. Standard post workout procedure, let more air into your lungs or some junk like that, to him it was routine, to anyone else it’d look different. “I’d wear my shirt, but it’s pretty sweaty right now...and by it I also mean me.” Turning to Chloe he gave a little smirk, “and who could resist goodies from Nainai?” Graciously accepting the proffered bun, he bit into it and savored the flavor, “send her my regards, won’t you darling?” Giving Chloe a knowing wink he started strutting off, “gonna go take a quick lap around, be back in a minute.”

He resumed his restful pose as he walked around, bun held in his mouth, hands only moving away from his head so he could savor another bite of the tasty treat. Mid walk, he didn’t think it would hurt to greet everyone, “Chris, Aleks, how you two doing?” He didn’t know them all that well, but still it paid to be polite, especially since they were all going to be crammed into the same vehicle together for a couple of months. “Sami boy, good to see ya. Emi, digging the jacket, it’s a good look. Feebs, pinks a good color for you.” All of them were good people and Leon was feeling more confident that this was going to be a great trip, especially since, “Reyna! Thanks for making food, smells delicious, but I’m coming back for that bacon so save me some, won’t you? Short Stack, how’s my favorite pain in the ass doing this morning?” This was good, he got to cool down from his run, got to eat delicious food and got to say hi to everyone, “Morning Katie.” Wait...what?

Leon paused and actually had to do a double take, why was Katie here? Was she just going to see them off? No that wouldn’t make sense, not really any reason for her to...except she has bags with her...unless. Like a bolt of lightning, more akin to someone just flipping a light switch, things clicked in Leon’s head. “Damn Katie, I didn’t know you were coming with us!” His tone was rather excited, a big smile planted on his face, “Thought you would’ve been halfway to Paris by now, what made you decide to come with us?” He pondered on this thought...for all of two seconds, “Doesn’t matter, you’re coming with us and I’m okay with that. Anyway, I need to finish my walk...and see if I can get into the RV for a shower. Talk to you later.” With that he sauntered back over to the RV to stand by his stuff and noticed that Val or AJ hadn’t come out yet. “Think it’s fine to go in there yet? I’d really rather not start this trip off by making the camper smell like the boy’s locker room…”

For those of you here the last time around when I introduced the weird, hippy, stoner vagabond; he will not be making a reappearance (probably for the best). So in your basic relationships just disregard him, I'll be making a new character to join the ride from the start.
Probably, seems like we're just waiting on more posts

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Fingers dance idly across the polished surface of marbled granite, nails painting out the resounding tempo throughout his room. Elijah, deep in thought, a most common tick in him being the only thing to break the deafening silence in his own little world, his thumb subconsciously stroking his chin, awaiting his father’s reply. Sitting upon that same surface of his desk was a crystallized mirror. Shards of floating glass, imbued with magical properties formed the image of the elder Masterson as he too was deep in thought, reading the letter sent to him via raven only days earlier.

“You’ve really managed to piss him off this time, haven’t you?” The distorted voice of the crystals resonated out to him. Elijah’s eyes instinctively wandered out towards the window as he began formulating a response in his mind. The air had grown much colder lately, the starting signs of impending winter and soon enough snowfall would grace the land, “She is not the goddess, Father.” The tapping stopped as Elijah leaned back in his chair, his fingers folding and interlocking with each other, his embered gaze never leaving the glass panes of his window. “So you have stated in your letter here, and exactly how well did Ulric take those words?” The mirror mockingly asked him.

“Better than I thought… less than I’d hoped.”

“My Lord, I must advise you to seriously reconsider this announcement involving the Kassian girl!” Elijah was hot on the tail of his Emperor, having watched and listened for days while the insanity of it all took off. First it was kidnapping some poor peasant girl in the streets, next it was comparing her visage to that of the goddess Aurelia, now it was announcing to the world the return of the goddess; enough was enough. “One person, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, looking seemingly like a portrait from a thousand years ago, does not one a goddess make! Please My Lord, you must see reason to this!” He had to do something, they were already considering making one of the servants in the castle a scapegoat as her appearance was very nearly identical.

"Quiet!” The Emperor stopped mid-stride and turned quickly on heel to face his advisor. "I will not hear it anymore.” Faded & tired hazel eyes glared at the young man before him, “You know that I trust Lord Baron a great deal. What reason would he have to lie?!” The Emperor huffed and turned, seemingly done with the conversation. He began to walk down the hallway again, toward the audience chamber. "For God's sake, Elijah, he once led my royal guard. He has no reason to lie to me! In fact, he has more reasons NOT to lie to me.

Elijah came to a halt as Ulric turned on him, the young man’s heated gaze matching his Elder, before he turned and continued back down his path. “This is not a matter of trust and loyalty, My Lord!” Elijah’s own strides carried him further ahead, passing Ulric before turning to face him, hoping to halt his advance. “This is about common sense! What if he’s wrong about the girl? Think of the political backlash you would face, kidnapping an innocent girl, claiming she’s a goddess among mortals? We are already in a war and making such bold claims could not only lose us allies, but make more enemies, it would be the end of the Empire!” He let the words sink in, but more than frustrated Elijah continued on, “You’ve done many a great deal for this kingdom, and your word is law, but you cannot deny that there are those who believe your decisions to be controversial, this would only add more fuel to the flames.”

Ulric paused briefly, looking his advisor up and down as if to question why he would ever think to cross into the Emperor’s path. "And what of it? Are great things not done when there is also great risk?” He shook his head, moving past the younger man. "Your father might have thought better to question my decisions. I advise you to hold your tongue on this, young lord.” The Emperor once again began his walk to the audience chamber. "We will awaken the Goddess.” He paused for a moment to look back at his advisor. "And if we don’t… Aerowyn may be lost for us all.” He stared at Elijah, clearly wanting to further elaborate on this statement but instead keeping whatever it was he knew to himself. It was time to announce Goddess Aurelia’s return.

Aerowyn may be lost for us all, initially Elijah thought Ulric was filled with spiteful pride and arrogance, but those words left an ominous foreboding that only left more questions with no answers. “He’s playing a dangerous game, for what the worth is I know not of.” Elijah’s face turned back towards the visage of his father, “He’s deliberately hiding something, something that could very well affect everyone and everything involved.” The crystals in all their odd distortions chuckled in resonance with Kenneth’s voice, “Ulric has always been that way, one to burden himself with all of the responsibilities, even when those around him were willing to aid him.”

Elijah stood up from his seat and walked towards the fireplace, a subtle flash in his eyes igniting the semi charred remnants already there, the ignition quickly warming up the cooled room. “He certainly makes it difficult to play the role of advisor,” he stated, turning around and walking towards a nearby cabinet to shuffle through his clothing. “So what do you intend to do about your role with the girl then? Simply give up on her before anything has even started?”

“No,” he stated with confidence, wrapping a burgundy cloak around himself, inlaid with silver trim, “I shall do as my Lord commands and ‘awaken the goddess’, however his expectations of what I am to do with her, will be entirely different from what I actually will do with her.” Approaching his desk once more, he stared into the crystallized image of his father, “For now, I must bid you farewell, the ceremony is about to start. I will send more information to you once I have a further inkling of understanding to it.” The image chortled, “Of course, I look forward to it. I wish you the best of luck, and as poor in taste as it might be, may the goddess guide your steps.” Elijah’s face grimaced as he saw his own father smirk in the mirror, a hand wave gesture later and the fractured mirror mended itself into a solid piece of glass, the only reflection in it was Elijah’s own. Turning on his heel to march out of the room, he stated to no one in particular, “She is not the goddess,” and slammed the door behind him.
@The Muse Yo!
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