“It was his idea.” The woman mumbles, trying to look indifferent.
“Give it a rest Rius, I wasn’t the one who ran along and told the others.” Even though Leonardo’s voice is calm, his eyes are flashing with annoyance, like a fire steadily growing stronger.
“No, you wanted to play knight in shining armour and protect Nova.” She flicks her blue hair angrily at him, her eyes are ice cold but wild like the sea in a storm.
Nova laughs softly, stopping the squabble as everyone turns towards her with questionable looks.
“Now, now.” Nova slowly starts to move towards the group, her hands lightly touching the arms of those she passes, bringing a small smile to light their faces. “As you have all left your posts without permission, the others are now unattended and unguarded if under attack. We have to get this over with quicker than expected.” The others avert their gazes, shame on their faces.
“Nova, you know these people?” Turning her head, Nova smiles at Ren causing her eyes to sparkle.
“They are my friends. Ren meet Leonardo,” The man with the red mane and orange eyes nods slightly, expertly swinging his broad sword as if it were nothing. Lockwood’s features harden, knowing that Leonardo is showing off his skill. “The woman in blue is Rius,” On looking at her, she rolls her eyes and inspects one of her throwing knives. “The twins are Gemi” The boy waves his war hammer “And Ni.” The girl copies her brother and does the same. Ren notices their mismatch eyes; their right one is a light grey whereas their left is a dark sea blue. Ni’s hair is beautifully braided neatly around her head containing tiny orbs which seem to shine silver. Her brother on the other hand has no hair at all as he stands proudly next to his sister, their smiles exact copies of each other.
“Cercan is to their left.” A man standing in a blue cotton tunic nods at Ren, his clothes looking like they have been wrapped around him many times for extra protection. With a curt nod, Ren notices the bright silver of his eyes reflecting the lanterns light. At his hip is a strange weapon that Ren has never seen before. It’s a double-bladed knife with a metal handle in the middle which has an iron ring around it and another sharp spike. Again, the weapon is made from an unfamiliar metal tinted blue.
The young girl Lockwood noticed earlier smiles sheepishly at him. Her tight bronze locks surround her face like a halo and her wide eyes seem to changed colour when the lanterns flame catches them at different angles. Her dress is a patchwork, seemingly made up of all sorts of colours and materials with a large snake tightly coiled around her torso. Instead of looking like it troubles her, the girl gently strokes the snakes body. On closer inspection, Ren can see that the snake is aging its own tail, only stopping briefly when the girl pulls it apart but it quickly assumes its recent position. “I see that you have noticed Ophi and her snake Tody. Don’t be fooled, for Ophi is just as fearless as the rest of us warriors. She might look like a little tike but her whip is as sharp as razors and she will not hesitate to use it.” The tall, dark-skinned man says, standing protectively in front of Ophi, breaking Ren’s and hers eye contact.
Nova laughs softly, making the dark green eyes of Ophi’s protector soften slightly. “For a man who observes, you have said a lot but it is all in vain. Ren will not harm any of you. Don’t forget your manners and put away your throwing axes Rexrus.” Nodding respectfully towards Nova, the creature of muscle whom is Rexrus does as instructed and slides them into their holders on his back. Ren notices a slight gleam of silver with slight green encased inside of the metal around Rexrus’s hand in the form of knuckle dusters.
With no time to ponder more on the strange metal, a tall man with long blonde hair and sharp red eyes steps forward. His body is lean and his facial features sharp with his long nose. Along his back is a beautiful bronze quiver with horses engraved on the wood, and the arrows have roses with wicked thorns engraved into them too. “The man with the bow and arrows is Tarius.” Ren’s eyes take in the metal of the arrows, noticing them having the same encased red as Leonardo’s broad sword has.
“The woman in the watery blue cape and dark blue hair is Sces. Her weapon of choice is her gladius.” Turning his attention towards the next warrior, Ren is surprised that he can’t even see her hair under the heavy hood of the cape which covers most of her face, spare her thin lips. Her torso is covered by the cape but her legs are bare, revealing thigh-length shorts and shapely legs. Lockwood watches as she puts her short blue-metal swords away within her cape, keeping mental images of all the weapons and their hiding places on the various warriors.
“Sting, you may resume your post within the shadows if that suits you.” At the sound of Nova’s voice, the woman dressed in black with the sharp needles nods her head. Her watery blue eyes glare at Ren before fully returning back into the darkness. “Isorropia is the woman with the silver battle axe and flail.” The woman wears thin cloth, made of light grey, almost white. Her right side is heavily armoured where she holds her battle axe. The weight of the armour looks as if it should unbalance Isorropia, however, it doesn’t seem to affect her.
“And I am Vi. Good to meet you Ren Lockwood, son of Villiat Lockwood.” Bright emerald eyes grasps Ren’s attention along with thick green hair pulled into a tight bun with vine and flowers patterned in her hair. Her wide eyes along with her timid smile and small size gives an air of innocence to her, making Ren want to protected her nearly as much as Ophi. Her pink and orange clothes act like a second skin, covering her neck to the tips of her fingers and toes. Putting away her katana, Ren notices the tinted green encased inside of the metal, reminding Ren of the colour the forests used to be before the sun vanished.
A woman moves closer to Ren, inspecting his face with her calculating orange eyes. Lockwood stiffens as she brings a chakram up to his face with her left hand and a hung munga from her right. It has a metal pointed blade with a curved back section and separate pike near the handle. The red tinted metal of the throwing disc and hung munga glows brightly, illuminating Ren’s face so that the woman could get a better look at him. “Now, now Seira, we don’t want to ruin his precious face do we?” Leonardo smirks, clearly amused that the woman with the weapons up against Ren’s face.
After scowling at Leonardo, Ren turns his attention back to Seira. Her orange eyes narrow as she inspects her, her tight curls fall into her eyes. Ren blinks. A smile spreads across her face as she lowers her weapons. “Yes! You blinked, I win!” She high fives Ophi as she moves away. Ren watches quizzically, noticing that she has a rams skull in the centre of her back head. Her clothes are a mixture between cotton and silk in a light orange colour.
A man with a thick brown goatee with specks of green within the hairs moves closer to Nova. His deep brown, almost black, eyes shine with respect as he holds tightly onto his spear with green encased inside of the metal. Across his nose is a deep horizontal scar which is parallel to his tear ducts. “Lady Nova, we must leave this place before something large comes this way.”
“We don’t need to worry about that Ricorn! We can take on whatever it is!” Gemi smiles enthusiastically, both his sister and he tap their war hammers together sending shimmers through the ground. As Ren attempts to hold his balance, Nova suppresses a smile.
“Are you two really that naïve? We have travelled far and need to camp for the night before taking on an enemy in this new environment.” Rius hisses at them, causing a heated argument to break out amongst the warriors.
Ren stares at the sudden outbreak, hardly believing that these were the same group of warriors who made him fear his life moments ago. Making her way through the arguing warriors, Nova smiles at Ren as she continues East. Captivated by her smile, Ren follows, holding the lantern high enough to see the ground beneath their feet. With her head directed to the sky, Nova stops where she stands.
“Ren Lockwood, son of Villiat Lockwood of the lunar village, my warriors have travelled long and far, you will give us refuge at your home will you not?”
“Of course Lady Nova, it is not safe to be out here for so long, even with a large group such as this.” She just smiles and continues to walk, her eyes teasing him telling him that she knows more then what she lets her mouth admit to. “What about your warriors, should we not wait for them?”
“They will stop and follow soon enough, they have travelled far and are hungry. They won’t pass on free food.” She laughs, causing Ren to smile at the music in which it creates.