Per the insisting of a certain forum. And a certain , you really have come up with all my better ideas. Thanks for this one, it's exactly the sort of thing I would never think of on my own. ;D
Also, thank you to Moonclaw, who helped me with some character design. 8D
SO. This is the beginning of a new arc about our favorite dysfunctional twins, because they are my specialty. I love them. And I always love a new angle for them, so this prompt was quite a paradigm shift. It is so far removed from Faraxhae Family Circus, I don't know where to begin. I don't think anything I've wrote about them can even tie into this, because they all depended on that. Feh. Looks like I'm starting over... Also, it does not in any way relate to The After Years. I haven't the format to play it, so I will do it justice and not touch it for now.
However, we are keeping one or two OC's from the previous canon; aaaaaaaaand, I'm thinking that From Me To You will also stem from this, instead of from FFC.
And so, without further ado, a pathetic attempt at a prologue-because we all know, I can't start a new epic without one.
To the Dark Side of the Moon
It was dawn. From the top of the tower of prayer, it was impossible to ignore the coming of the new day. The early morning light danced on the shifting waves, rolling with them up the sandy shores that surrounded the shining, holy city. As if the oddly dragon shaped island of Mysidia was physically soaking up the light, heralding the dawn to the rest of the world.
Only one man was there to see that glorious view that morning, and his head was too troubled to notice. Malachi had been the city's Elder for nearly 35 years, and had seen many sunrises and their respective sunsets from atop the tower. For the moment, he silently worried over the dawning day; there were many difficult decisions to be made today.
As he stood solid in the center of the tower's top, facing west and out of the rising sun, the breeze flew past him sharply. The height, coupled with the vast ocean on all sides of the island, always made for fierce winds. They drowned out all other sound, all other thoughts, leaving only the roaring of wind and waves; it was an ideal place for Mysidia's highest, most esteemed mage to meditate and pray. As the wind whipped him, so it whipped the slip of paper in his hand, threatening to yank it from his gasp entirely. Yet he held it firmly, not allowing it to be lost. The item was nondescript, worthless to any other eye in the city. But it meant all the world to him now; and it would mean all the world to a pair of newborn children, someday when they were ready.
Malachi was beside himself. The solitary scrap of paper was now all he had left of the odd girl he had taken in, some five months ago. His subordinates hadn't cared for her in the slightest-she had been a stranger, too traumatized and hysterical to even remember where she had come from; and she had come to him with a pair of children in her belly, with no father to account for them. The other mages had made moves to shoo her from the city altogether, if they could help it. Even the white mages had scowled after her and called her unclean, defiled, unfit to be in the holy city.
Whether they wanted any part in the girl's unfortunate story or not, Malachi had felt compassion for her. Asking her name, she had said to call her Verinia. Much to the displeasure of the other mages, she had become a somewhat permanent fixture of the Elder's household. He liked to think she had come to be a daughter, the child his duties to the city had prohibited him from having. What was more-though he refrained from discussing it with others yet-he had intended to take the children as his own, as well. They and their mother would have everything they could need in his house, and he would teach them his magic.
They would have a home, for Verinia didn't seem to have one of her own. At least, not anymore.
This had been the plan. It had been a wonderful plan, and devising it had brought him joy. Today, it was sorrow that gripped him instead. The twins had come as expected, without particular hardship or curiosity. And yet... She was just gone. His Verinia had simply slipped out of the world, seemingly without cause, and she had left so little behind. Her last words to him were in the form of a frantically scribbled note-the paper he held in his hand.
It seems only right that you know this now, at the end of our time together. Yet promise that you will keep this from Palom and Porom, until they have reached an age that they can understand. I would entrust this to no one else in this world, but you, my dearest and only friend.
As he scanned the note, for what must have been the thousandth time, he sensed someone coming up the stairs to see him. He looked up to see one of his assistants, a black mage, slowly, cautiously approaching him.
"Her passing still troubles you?" the mage asked, his voice sounding somewhere between perplexed and indignant.
"Verinia meant a great deal to me," Malachi answered, sadness dampening his voice so he thought his words may have been lost on the wind.
The black mage seemed to make a face; but with his face cast in the shadow of his pointed hat, it was difficult to tell.
"...Sir, what do you intend to do with the children?"
Malachi glared back, knowing his assistant knew the answer.
"Surely, you do not mean to keep them, as well?" the black mage continued, almost demanding. "Children born of wickedness, outside of all the laws we hold dear. It isn't right!"
"Passing judgement on infants for the fault of their birth is hardly my place," the now angry Elder snapped back. "My place, as the spiritual leader of this city is to care for the weak, to protect the defenseless, and to show compassion. I will be keeping the children, as my own, and the next one of you to challenge my decision will be demoted, I say!"
"That hardly seems fair to any of us!"
"Your collective behavior haven't been exactly fair to the children, or their mother, who came seeking our help. Our job is to aid those in spiritual turmoil, to ease their burdens, not to add to their load. The lot of you have been far less than helpful with that these past few months."
"She was sullied-"
"Verinia was a pilgrim, seeking redemption and a second chance, for herself and for her little ones, and you sent her away."
"She was beyond redemption. Her mind-"
"Sought healing and comfort, and you denied it."
"We are to look to our own people's safety, our cleanliness-"
"No. Not only our own," Malachi interrupted yet again, storming into the black mage's face. "We exist for all people. Verinia was no different. You have failed in your calling, young man. Be thankful I believe so strongly in redemption, or else you would no longer hold your title."
The black mage was stunned to silence, and tried not to glare too much into the Elder's furious face.
Calming himself, he folded Verinia's farewell note and placed it gently in his pocket, brushing past the younger mage to stalk down the stairs.
"I go to see to the twins. There is much preparation to be done, in their wake."
For lack of a better place, the newborns remained in the room that had belonged to their mother-the space where they had been born only three days before. As the Elder entered the room, he found it eerily quiet. On a normal day, he would have found Verinia there in bed; he would have woken her with the gentleness of a father, and she would have greeted him with a smile, in the face of her troubles. The sight of her now empty bed filled his heart with grief and dismay. He had come to love the girl so...
Beside the empty bed, however, stood a very full cradle. Malachi let go a sigh of sad relief; the infants were still asleep. He came to sit on the edge of the bed, where he could look down upon them with watchful eyes.
They were so small. They were only the newest of babies, innocent and unspoiled. He couldn't understand what could make the other mages hate them so badly. Gazing upon them, with a heart filled with compassion and grief, he was slightly startled by how much he cared for them already. He had played no part in their creation; yet they were already beloved to him, just as their mother had been.
Palom and Porom, he thought to himself. The sun and the moon... Can it be, in her leaving so suddenly, my dear young friend left me the cosmos for an inheritance...?
The thought made him smile-a weak, tiny smile at first, which quickly grew into an amused, thankful grin. He had always wished to have children of his own, to teach and train in the ways that were right and proper to go in. He had found a child to raise in Verinia, however briefly. And now, she had left him two little ones that needed a home and a father. She had left him a gift far greater than all the stars in the heavens.
Whatever the other mages had to say about laws and cleanliness and everything else, was irrelevant. No matter what was to happen next, Malachi made the solid decision in his heart, in his very soul, that he would be the one to provide the twins' shelter. No one was going to stop him.
My children... You are safe here, in the house of your father. I promise.