The wind had continued to blow soothing through the valley of the Lowlands in spite of the heated argument that occurred between the two Children of the Crown. The soothing winds did little to quell the frustration that had continued to swelter under Rowan's human form. So tempted was he to just revert to an embodiment of flames and embers, to raze everything around him. But he decided against it, though he didn't know why. Perhaps he would continue to enjoy the gentle breeze soothing the life all around the immediate area.
...Until faint wisps of wind were beginning to circle around his feet in a most unnatural fashion.
Rowan hadn't noticed the visible sensations at first, but then began to feel a little breathless.
"The... hell?!" The wind was blowing fine but he couldnt catch his breath. Standing up now, he felt a little light-headed, before making the desperate move to hurry back to the castle.
By the time he finally reached the open mouth of the valley, he was staggering, trying to keep himself upright.
"Hhhhhh---" he tried to call out. "HELP--"
"Got you, you FIERY BUTCHER."
"You broke the balance, Flame!"
From behind Rowan, two beings emerged from literal thin air. Embodiments of the wind, clothed in bandages and wrappings, swirling twisters in place of any semblance of legs. And their void, blank eyes, though...
Their eyes seemed to demand bloody murder.
"Oh?? This is PERFECT!"
"We thought we had caught a simple ember, but we just netted the Prince of Kasairona, brother!"
"With his murder, those Fire dogs will be scattered to the winds, and we can restore the balance!"
His eyes widened. Air Elementals, here?!
Had the Prince purposefully brought him here to hand him over to the Air Kingdom? Bastard! Rowan aimed his hands downward, fire coming out in a sudden burst, creating a fire ring in an intricate pattern that startled the air elementals momentarily. Anyone who knew fire lore would know it was an emblem of Kasairona. A smirk was on his face; they might take him, but at least someone would know it had been against his will.
"...Too proud to just accept herself as--"
Evan had finally reached the borders outside of the castle gates, when he glanced back bitterly at where there was pitch black smoke in the distance.
"Smoke??" Was Rowan--no, he was tired of referring to the Flame Prince as his preferred name. Was Rabekah deliberately incinerating his people's lands just to vent her frustrations??! "And she called ME pathetic!" He hurried back the other way, preparing himself for some sort of inevitable conflict. "I don't want to do this, but by The Almighty, do I have to be so cross with her?!"
"UGH!! Clever asshole!!" One of the Airs cursed out; they were certainly far more crude than other elementals.
"You think you can consume us?!"
The two elementals pulled back and started to charge their bodies. Amidst their gale-bound cloudy bodies, sparks of electricity crackled within their beings. As their bodies darkened, the sounds caused new worry in the Flame Prince's face.
'They can make lightning?! The rumors were true...!?' Rowan made his fire brighter, black smoke continuing to rise up from the ground. He could control electricity too, but without enough air it was too hard to perform. As it was, he was running out of breathable air quickly by leaving his mark. Spots danced before his eyes before he swayed and collapsed, eyes fluttering shut.
The two air elementals approached his downed body, 'kneeling' as it were to sling him over their shoulders. "Aww... and I wanted to show him what we learned...!"
"Don't bother. If he gets uppity with us, we could just zap him to bits. Her Majesty will reward us fine enough if we can just give her his head--"
"Or even MORE for the Core we'll rip out of his body--"
"RABEKAH!!" The two elementals looked upwards, hearing a different voice approaching them. "How moronic are you truly to be burning my people's land for the sake of--"
They could see Evan stopping at the top of the hill, looking down at the searing flame imprint and smoke, along with her downed form flanked by two bandage-wrapped elementals propping her up.
The 'leader' of the two Airs gestured with his free hand to his brother to begin charging energy. "DON'T YOU EVEN DARE GET INVOLVED, MORTAL. THIS FIGHT IS NOT YOURS!"
They both threw charged lightning at him, striking the Prince almost immediately before he dropped to the ground, rolling down the grassy hill and smoldering patch, just as they started to chortle in victory over their acquisition.
Shifting slowly, before blinking and finally being able to take a breath of air, he woke with a sharp and painful gasp. His chest moved up and down rapidly and his eyes moved side to side. Where was he?
The sky had darkened, and in the middle of a forest clearing, Rowan was bound and trapped. His arms and legs were bound together, with only the moon being their source of light as the air elementals both looked to him. Out of pure spite, one of them immediately zapped Rowan with lightning, singing off only a small piece of his pant leg. And if the Prince had tried anything, the other was at the ready to limit his air supply.
"Well, brother, it looks like the pretty little princess finally woke up." The first one mocked.
"Heh, frying that human was admittedly not as fun as I'd thought. But of course, we can't afford any witnesses. This snobby princeling is why Kasairona thinks themselves as conquerors."
"Subjugating Earth and Water was not your smartest move, 'Your Highness'."
"N-no one... no one subjugated them." Rowan struggled to speak. His chest heaved. It was like having the wind knocked out of you, but never catching your breath afterwards. The limited air made his lungs burn. Why had they taken him? For revenge? Fire had never had a problem with Air, as far as he knew anyways. "They... joined us... on their own!"
"Liar!!" The lightning user cast his energy on him again. "You KNEW that the Air Elementals strive to maintain the balance on Paracelsus! It is by HER WILL that we must maintain balance, so that no one plane dominates the others! Fire has become too zealous, too pained to maintain the unity! And your 'allegiances' spit on our very conduct!"
"Stubborn and bullheaded." The asphyxiator smirked darkly to his kin. "Maybe we ought to snuff his fire out now, and extract his core from the smoldering husk. It would make the perfect gift for Her Majesty."
"Yes..." Beneath the bandaged face, the Prince could swear that this man was grinning maliciously. "Alongside the other Flame Prince's core..."
Rowan's eyes widened, trying to wriggle around again as they continued to laugh at his predicament.
"What do you mean, OTHER Prince?! I am the only Crown Prince of Kasairona!!" He endured another zap of lightning, enduring more damage to his garments, a stray scrap frayed off of his chest. His face was in a scowl, trying to control his breathing since the air was still very thin where he was laying. "You're going to be in so much trouble when I am freed. No wonder you all hide, you're COWARDS! Your only tactics are ambushing--"
The lightning caster again zapped him to silence him, looking down at the downed Prince. "Our numbers are far and few, all thanks to the Other Prince's campaign. As for calling us 'cowards', we fight in this way because it is the only way we can beat you tyrants! The Other Prince sought to absorb all elements to his kingdom. Those he did not force in his sway, he would eradicate..."
The other one who was still controlling Rowan's oxygen level looked to his friend, looking to mock the Flame Prince. "Brother, there's no use wasting your breath on this simpering princeling. They must've sheltered the truth from this brat while he lived in the lap of luxury."
"What you do not know will not certainly kill you, yes?" The lightning-user smirked down at him. "If we are 'cowards' to you, it is because we are the ones who will do what it takes for all Elemental kind, Princeling."
Though it occurred to Rowan that even though he was a she, and she was a prince, perhaps her father had kept a secret even she hadn't know about. Was THIS why he truly disallowed her from the battlefield? Mayhaps she had an older brother that her father did not want to reveal to her?
"Well you sorry little... You do know I am a woman, yes? Perhaps... it IS my brother?"
"A brother or a successor, it matters little to us. You and your kind will once more become balanced with Paracelsus."
The asphyxiating elemental that was limiting Rowan's air supply bore a questionable look amidst his brother's gloating. "Wait... did he just say he was a woman?"
"What? A PRINCESS?" The lightning user looked down at the 'Prince', eyes noting the very faint bump on her chest, the clothing damage exposing a faint red undergarment and bare attempt of cleavage. A deviously evil smirk ran along his face now. "Well! In THAT case, perhaps we can have a little FUN with this ember before we snuff out her fire. You and your people certainly have it coming, Princess!"
A dark yet defeated smirk was on her face now. "Go ahead you garish louts... But I'll make sure to turn up the temperature and make it uncomfortable for you as it will be for me!"
"With the both of us suffocating you, I doubt kindling like you can burn suffici--"
The sounds of rustling leaves surrounding them halted their thoughts.
"What was that?"
"Perhaps it is a mere deer or squirrel, brother."
"No... We've come too far to risk that--" His eyes widened. "It must be a human scouting party...! The human boy we fried back at the valley--we should've made proper care to leave nothing of his corpse behind!"
'They... killed a human?' Rowan's eyes widened weakly. 'But the only people around would have been a farmhand, a villager, or--or even--'
"Fine... You continue choking out the 'Princess', and I will deal with this threat."
The asphyxiator concentrated an aura of airlessness around him; anything that would get too close to him or sneak up behind him would certainly lose their breath immediately, losing their element of surprise, leading for the kill. The lightning user immediately disappeared into the woods.
"Who--who did you kill?" She felt a little panicked; this would not bode well. A wounded human who suffered electrical damage--she would very likely receive the blame.
"Huh, who would show worry for you, you hatemongering monster?!" The air elemental spat on her face. "Well, since you're done for, Princess, from what I cared to notice of that fleshy imperfection, it was one of their Empire's healers. All the better, really. One less of them makes all the difference~"
'No...! No no no!!!' Evan had been dressed in some semblance of healer's robes when they had been out; it was his choice attire. Though she was furious with him, and used him as her means to vent her frustrations, she still didn't wish for anything dire to have happened to him.
From their viewpoint, faint sounds were mere breeze-wisps through the trees.
"I cannot risk having my quarry being taken by those mortals...!" Rowan's 'jailer' muttered before strengthing his own air-stealing aura. "Another minute, and I must--"
There were definite sounds of conflict now. Not overly violent, but it still sounded of a struggle. Crackles of lightning sparked bright light amidst the trees. Lights and the scent of something burning, and a violent-sounding thud... before a sound of breathless death.
"Ha... and here I thought I had something to worry about! Whoever came to your rescue, they must have certainly drawn their last brea--"
From the trees was a hard, crystalline-like sphere thrown close to the border of the clearing. Within was a faint swirl of air... An air elemental's core.
And now a firm foot stepped on that core, shattering it and reducing the faint element within to nothingness.
"Impossible...!!!" The air elemental's eyes looked to the tattered and battle-damaged robes of the human Prince, blood coming down his sleeved arm. His meager mace that always hung off his waist for self-defense was now splintered many times over. From that desperate encounter with the other elemental, he was scraped and bleeding from his arms, legs, and a diagonal hint along his chest and stomach. "How are you still alive?!"
She twisted to see the prince standing there, looking pale from some blood loss. "E-Evan?" Rowan said with surprise. But given their enemy's shocked state, she too was surprised that the Prince had lived. Though Rowan noticed that with the air elemental's attention was now on the human, the air was returning to her lungs.
Rowan took a deep breath, feeling more like 'himself' again, as if he was kindling being stoked. Her hair began to pulse a vibrant red and he felt his body temperature rise again.
"You have something... that does NOT... belong to you...!" Evan spoke slowly, breathlessly, his breathing and heartbeat twitchy and unpredictable. Regardless, he still raised his damaged weapon challengingly towards the air elemental "Release the Flame Prince at once...! Or p-pay the price... that your friend--"
He grabbed at his throat the moment the air elemental reached his arm out, doing little good to protect his own throat. The sole air elemental left had both arms spread, hands out to limit the both of their air supplies. "You were WARNED not to intervene, mortal! The affairs of the Elements are far beneath you sacks of meat!!"
Despite the air elemental cutting off her air once again, she had caught enough of a breath to heat up, the air around her was wavering with intense heat, and her eyes completely changed to look like fire was in them. Fire and air worked in tandem, and worked against each other, and right now she was burning up all the oxygen around his attacker.
"Breathe your last--br-breath--AAAUGH!!"
He let go of Evan, immediately turning to blast Rowan with a full wall of air that suddenly became ignited, sending all parties into the trees. The two elementals shrugged the notion off uneasily, but eventually got to their feet. Evan, however, due to being a creature of flesh, took much more of the impact on his end, his body aching and bleeding, the human Prince trying to control his breathing, his vision getting blurried.
"You cannot win this, Flame... Your days of razing our realms will cease, even if it doesn't come in my time...!!"
Rowan's head was spinning as she barely caught the sight of the Air Elemental fade away into the night, seeming to have run off with his tail between his legs. With a firm growl, she finally corrected her vision while burning the ropes on her bound wrists, her hands now free.
She coughed hard; the fresh air and ability to actually breathe seemed to hurt her lungs. "Evan... where are you?" Rowan saw his body, banged up and bloodied, lying several feet away, before slowly making her way towards him.
She could see Evan breathing loudly, heaving desperately with his every attempt to keep the air flowing. A small flash of white light that generated from his hand faded away from his chest and stomach area, his body starting to resume seeping blood through his healer's raiment.
"R-Ro--Ro-Rowan--aahgh...!" He coughed loudly, finding it difficult to concentrate and hold back the bloody wounds of his. And trying to stand on his own merit was out of the question.
Rowan rushed over to him. Seeing the blood pouring from him, she dropped to her knees, her firm hand on Evan's chest, ignoring the damp sensation of moistened blood. "Evan... Evan, hang on!!"
"Y-you're... you're alright--aagh--"
"Don't speak now!!" She looked around hurriedly, feeling the empty sensation that no one else was around; he went alone to rescue her. Her usual emotionless face was actually showing worry now; HER worry was the one thing Evan could glance up at. "I--I can cauterize your wounds, even if it scars-- Wh-what do you want me to do?! Evan, you must decide, quickly!"
"I-I...!" He tried to sit up, fingers tearing his bloodied and weakened robes open to expose his gaping wound, starting from his collar bone and moving diagonally down his chest to the end of his stomach, giving the Flame Prince an up-close view of extreme flesh wounds. He tried to concentrate, with flashes of white light trying to join the open wound, as if to stitch the flesh back together, which in turn was an unnatural sight to the fire elemental.
But another forced cry and groan broke his concentration, making the light dissipate, and allowing the wound to continue to bleed. "I can't c-concentr--agh...!!" He took Rowan's hand in his. "I'll... I'll be... f-f-fine--AGHrgh--" Even if he couldn't say it himself, his gestures urged her to proceed.
She could tell he would be unable to heal himself; not that she could understand how bright lights would be suitable for restoration unlike the definite properties of the Elements. But as she laid him back down, her face returned to its default stoicness. "This will hurt a little. Or a lot, I'm not sure."
With two fingers, she touched the top of his wound, which started at his shoulder and ended at his hips, and her fingertips looked white hot. She began moving her fingers down, noting the flesh being melded together rather smoothly, promising to leave nothing but scar tissue behind. She could feel his breathing and heartbeat intensifying the immediate moment he felt the searing healing against his wounds, crying out here and there from the pain. During those moments, she held her other hand behind his neck, emanating a gentle and soothing heat into his body. trying to help him relax.
She tried to calm him as she would a fussing babe, knowing that without the soothing heat, he would had lapsed into shock. "I'm going to pick you up now. Okay? We have to get back to the castle... Please don't pass out."
Rowan slipped an arm under his shoulders and another under his knees, feeling the steady increase of warmth from the Prince, meaning that the soothing heat was immediately taking precedence over the painful sting of the cauterization.
Counting quietly, she easily picked him up. "Hmph. You're surprisingly light, Prince Evan."
"Ahh... w-w-w-well... I-I know I am not muscled... but th-then again, an e-elemental w-would be strong--aaagh..." He breathed in and out again, trying to control his breathing. His eyes glanced towards Rowan's own. "I-I was glad I w-walked back... when I s-s-saw smoke--agh..."
"Shush. Don't strain yousrself, Prince." She began to run, her long legs covering a long distance quickly through the night-darkened Lowlands. "You've done more than you'd ever know..."