forum At War // OxO // Closed
Started by @Icefire
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@Icefire

(😅 oof me neither. Uhhh maybe Nik's training and they run into each other and Kaylum sees the soulmate mark on Nik's shoulder?)

@Icefire

(great! Yes I can, no problem!)

A few days later, Nik was in the training ring, hard at work. He did his best to stay in fighting shape, even if the fighting might be over. He was wearing a sleeve-less shirt that showed the soulmate mark on his shoulder; it had been there forever, but had never turned the colors that would signal his soulmate. He was currently had at work, sparring with Aron using bars rather than swords. That way they could whack each other and walk away with nothing worse than bruises and sore spots. The two circled each other, silent as they waited for openings. Both young men were fighting fit and front-tested, among the best. Aron was no longer fit for front-line duty, as he'd undergone too much trauma and now had battle-shock. Nik was physically unfit, after the damage to his left leg, but he still fought masterfully.

@Tired-but-passionate

After inspecting Nikolas’ soul, Kaylum was more curious about him than anything else. Which was good, he supposed, since the whole point of this was to put an end to any feelings of animosity. For the past few days he’d tried to catch glimpses of the Kevran prince fairly often outside of peace negotiations, whether he’d be in his body or outside of it.
Now he was getting a full view. He sat in the training ring, playing with his dreadlocks in discomfort. He wasn’t here of his own volition, rather because his father suggested it. Something about actually getting to know humans through actual socializing and common interest. Truthfully, he’d rather be in the meadow or his tent, reading. It was warm down down here at the border, so Kay had gone shirtless, both because of the heat and in case Xiomara wanted to practice her fighting with him. The draping silks he usually wore just weren’t practical here.
Xiomara was in front of him, wrestling with another Tesh soldier in their dragon forms. The sounds of flapping feathers, growls, and snorts filled the air as they tumbled, glossy black feathers and gleaming pearlescent scales flashing before Kay’s eyes. It was easy to keep track of what was going on, though. Xiomara was winning, having a knack for trapping her opponent with her wings, then pouncing at the right moment. The soldier managed to push her off a few times, to his credit.
Some yards away though, Kay could see Nikolas fighting with his own soldier. Some of the disappointment from earlier disappeared as he watched; despite the human’s wounded leg, Kay could see the truth in the stories the soldiers told from the war.

@Icefire

All of Nik's guards were, in some way, technically unfit for duty. Lieze, well, had undergone far too much trauma while a POW. Errol was missing a hand, and wasn't a good fighter in any case. He was a healer. Ryker wasn't Kevran and had never been in their army in the first place. Aron had served on the front lines for far too long, resulting in the battle shock he still dealt with. Nik didn't mind any of their issues; he'd picked them all himself. He wanted his guards to be men and women he could trust, and he trusted all four of them with his life.

He lunged, swiping at Aron. The wooden bars bashed against each other as the two fought. Aron, since he was bigger, had a bigger stick, to correspond with the size of sword he typically used, whereas Nik's was a bit smaller. Both were fitted to their body size, though the weight balance was obviously different than their swords would have been. Nik was all too aware of the Tesh prince and shifters on their side of the ring, but did his best to ignore them. It was a little bit harder for Aron, for whom the sounds of the Tesh fighting brought back far too many traumatic memories. Nik knew that, and as a result was going just a little bit easy on Aron, to give his guard some time to adjust to the sounds. If Aron needed a moment, they had signals that they used. Thus far, he had not, and so the two continued to clash and draw back, clash and draw back, circling each other and waiting for an opening.

Physically, they were almost perfectly matched. Aron was a little taller, and broader in the shoulders, but they were well-matched despite that physical difference.

@Tired-but-passionate

Overall, the fight was fairly brief. Xiomara won, managing to keep the soldier down for more than five seconds. The two separated, bowing their heads and stretching their wings to each other as a sign of respect and sportsmanship. Here it was easy to see the differences between them when their forms weren’t blurring together. Xiomara had her dark, void-like body contrasting with her bright, teal colored eyes. The soldier was easily lighter in color, a muddy bluish-purple with lighter speckles and off-white belly. An old scar wrapped around his shoulder and reached over his ribs, though it didn’t seem to play any part in his defeat. He was smaller than Xiomara though, which may have played that part. His eyes were a glittering amber, revealing his satisfaction with being on the losing side; it was was best to take it with dignity, especially in front of the prince.
After the soldier took his leave, Xiomara approached him, her feathers fluffed up in triumph. Kaylum gave her a standing ovation.
“Wonderful job, Xiomara,” he said, his ears perked up and a glitter in his eye. “You were always the best.”
“Oh, maybe not the best,” she replied humbly, but her tail swished back and forth with pleasure. “Do you want to have a go?”
“Uhhh…” he hesitated, his gaze drifting over to the Kevrans. The more he watched, the more it seemed like they were dancing instead of fighting. The repetition of the clashing and drawing back was almost hypnotizing. “I don’t know.”
“Might as well.” She also looked over to Nikolas and Aron. “Try your luck to impress them.”
“Impress them?” He raised his brow. “And why would I want to do that?”
Her eyes seemed to smirk at him. “Better impress them than stare at them forever, right?”
Kay rolled his own eyes. “I don’t really care, but I suppose.”
He got to his feet and shifted, then shook out his body. “You know I’m going to lose,” he said, lifting his head in an almost haughty way.
“Well, just remember what I’ve taught you,” Xiomara chuckled. “And always handle your failures with dignity.”

@Icefire

(how should they figure out that they're soulmates? Like who should notice first?)

Once the two Tesh were no longer fighting, it was easier for Aron to slip into his element, and the two really began to duel in earnest, then. It was a spectacle, if a different sort than the two dragons had been. This was swordsmanship by two fit young men who both knew exactly what they were doing. Even if Nik was used to dual wielding, he was just as used to using just the one sword; he excelled at both. Aron's weapon of choice as a heavy broadsword, which, while the stick was different, was not too different so as to handicap him. None of Nik's other guards were currently in the room; it was only he and Aron. Both were starting to sweat more, foreheads slick and shirts sticking to their backs and chests.

@Tired-but-passionate

“Perhaps we could do a psychic’s duel, Your Highness?” Xiomara suggested. “It’s at least something you’re good at.”
“Why not?” Kay swished his tail in her direction, then moved a bit aways from her. “Give me what sliver of chance I can.”
A psychic’s duel was considered the opposite of a simple brawl or wrestle. The entire point was to avoid being hit. One touch from your opponent made you the loser. Of course, they each had their psychic abilities to help out with this. The only thing that wasn’t allowed was telepathy, for obvious reasons, but neither Kay or Xiomara were very good at telepathically communicating with each other anyway. The addition of being dragons and having the power of flight always made things more interesting though, although some duels were done with the restriction of staying in human form the whole time.
Once they were a good couple of feet away from each other, Xiomara held out her foreleg.
“I’ll start us off. Three— two— one—“
She lunged, closing the distance between them in a single moment. Kaylum disappeared just in time, immediately taking a defensive position as he reappeared farther away from her. She responded quickly, teleporting as well and appearing nearer to him, flying over his head. Kay barely escaped, teleporting and flying away from her.
“This is very cowardly of you, Your Highness,” Xiomara observed.
Kay laughed. “Brave words.” He flinched away from her as she teleported again.
“You know I’m blunt,” she said, going in for a swing with her claws. Kay teleported just as she came down on where he would’ve been. “I’m just telling the truth.”
“Well the truth hurts, Xiomara.” He said, finally turning offensive and telekinetically willing the pebbles and stones to rise from the ground and shoot toward the other dragon. She dodged, merely flying above the little projectiles to avoid them. The duel settled into that sort of pattern. Xiomara took a mainly offensive position, using her claws or teeth to attack, and Kay taking defensive, but using telekinesis to pull an offensive move occasionally.

@Icefire

Eventually, Nik and Aron took a moment to breathe, wrapping damp towels around their shoulders and taking slow sips from water bottles. They watched Xiomara and Kay quietly, occasionally talking to each other as they studied the duel currently going on between the two dragons. It was fascinating, especially for Nik, to see this side of the dragon shifters. They usually only saw the death that followed in their wake, not this sort of thing. It was interesting to see the two fight each other, rather than infantrymen from Kevra.

@Tired-but-passionate

Now, they both tried to keep the fight clear of the humans, but with duels like these, it was difficult to keep the playing field contained. Neither of the dragons wanted to accidentally hit them with a stray teleporting wing or tail. Sometimes they had to get near the humans to avoid their opponent, but usually not near enough so as to invade their space.
It was at one of these points that Kaylum caught sight of something on the Kevran prince’s shoulder, peeking out beneath the towel. The utter familiarity of it made him lose focus, and he didn’t avoid Xiomara in time as she teleported to touch him on the foreleg.
“It seems I win again.” She grinned. “We could always do a rematch if you want. Um, Your Highness?”
But Kay was still staring at Nik’s shoulder, trying to see if he wasn’t imagining things.

@Icefire

Nik blinked at Kaylum when he realized the other prince was staring at him. "Can I…help you?" He asked slowly, shifting. As he shifted, the towel fell lower on his shoulder, baring the full mark to Kay's view. Nik didn't really like the intensity with which Kay was studying him, eyes flicking between the dragon prince and the guard, Aron shifting defensively in preparation for a fight. Just in case.

@Tired-but-passionate

Kaylum's eyes widened and he shifted to human form. He glanced at his own shoulder, then looked between it and Nik's.
"Your Highness? Is there something wrong?" Xiomara stayed in dragon form, just in case.
He let out a sigh. "This would be so funny if it wasn't actually happening," he said and turned to let Nikolas see the mark on his own shoulder, identical to the on Nik's. It had been there for as long as Kay could remember, but he had never really cared about what it meant until recently. His soul was tied to someone… and the prince of Kevra, of all people.

@Icefire

Nik stiffened faintly. "You're fucking shitting me." The language wasn't exactly princely, but he couldn't stop himself. He took a faint step closer, studying Kaylum closely. "That's…this isn't possible." His eyes were narrowed and focused, taking in Kaylum. Aron took a step closer, gaze moving from Xiomara to Kaylum to Nik, silent and watchful.

@Tired-but-passionate

Kay tsked, more annoyed than anything. “I’m not, but we can pretend as if I did and this never happened,” he said, avoiding Nik’s gaze.
To him, pretending was so easy. His parents did it all the time whenever there was something ‘he wasn’t ready to know yet.’ Although the things his parents hid from him turned out to be things he could actually handle, this wasn’t one of those things. Thus, pretending and avoiding it all seemed like the easiest and most painless option, especially when Nik was still technically a stranger to him.
Xiomara had moved so she could get a better look at what they were talking about, and for a moment she caught Aron’s eye. She stayed quiet then, looking between the two princes.

@Icefire

Nik nodded slightly. The revelation of this could go one of two ways: it could tear apart the fragile peace, or it could cement it. A marriage between them could cement peace, but if any of their parents reacted negatively, this peace would shred apart like wet paper. Either way, they weren't in a good place to reveal the news. Plus, he didn't know anything about Kaylum, and the idea of getting to know him more was a bit of a scary idea.